Skip to navigation Skip to Content
Join a world-class health system. Find Jobs

HMR program testimonials: Darla's story

​Finding time to be an active, healthy grandma

Darla before and after

After being unhappy with her weight for most of her life, Darla Norton, Wausau, needed a change.

Read Kurt's story of weight loss success

She had tried popular diets and cutting calories, but nothing seemed to work. 

Norton was convinced she didn't have time for exercise with her busy life and work schedule, but was tired of feeling miserable most days. 

She decided to try the Health Management Resources (HMR®) weight management program offered through Marshfield Clinic Health System at Marshfield Clinic Wausau Center.

"I heard about it when I started working at Marshfield Clinic four years ago," Norton said. "I've had problems with my weight my whole life and finally, I was fed up. I wanted to be more active with my grandkids."

The Health System has been using HMRfor more than 30 years to help people lose weight. Norton joined the program in February 2018, with a weight loss goal of 80 pounds. 

She was pre-diabetic, felt bloating daily and had no form of physical activity. 

In the first phase, Norton was required to burn 2,000 calories per week, along with starting the Decision Free program to drop weight quickly. 

Decision Free is designed for maximum weight loss using nutritionally complete HMR shakes, cereal, soup, pudding, snack bars and entrees under medical supervision from staff, and includes weekly classes, individual support and accountability.

Although nervous at first, Norton said she enjoyed the variety of meal replacements and new active routine. 

Today, she still rides her indoor bike in the mornings and takes a 15-minute walk during her breaks to get moving.

"After the first week, I got in the groove," she said. "I was not hungry. My meals were spaced out enough to keep me full and seeing how others in the class were doing, was a constant motivation."

HMR is different from the diets Norton had tried before. She now has accountability to lose weight and support from everyone around her. 

She attends weekly classes where participants can share their challenges and successes and has Marshfield Clinic Health System Registered Nurse Kelly Murphy to provide encouragement and education.

"Kelly is always there if I have any questions or problems," Norton said. "She's always there to help me out."

Murphy, who is HMR's health educator and program nurse for Wausau, said Norton was motivated from the start to lose weight. 

After 17 weeks in the program, Norton is no longer on HMR Decision-free diet and is in the maintenance phase. 

She has lost 77.5 pounds and is still going strong. She said her husband has even lost weight from eating some of what HMR recommends.

"I don't miss the unhealthy foods," Norton said. "I think the only thing I miss sometimes is pizza, but I can still have a slice or two. You just have to be mindful of what you eat. I'm so happy I started the HMR program."

HMR, offered at Marshfield Clinic Health System's Wausau and Minocqua centers has been named a No. 1 Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet in U.S. News & World Report's Best Diets of 2018 rankings. It was the third year in a row that HMR has achieved this ranking.