Navy Veteran took back her freedom

She lost 117 pounds and is buying dresses again


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Not being able to adventure with her grandson was the last straw and would forever change Sharyle Robert’s life.

The Navy Veteran (pictured above) says, “My grandson told me I could not go to the beach with him because I walk funny. That cut close to the bone. That hurt.” It was in that moment that Sharyle no longer allowed her weight to make decisions for her.

As close-minded as one could be, she attended her first MOVE! class at the Orlando VA Medical Center’s William V. Chappell Veterans’ Outpatient Clinic.

She sat closest to the door and was ready to sprint out at any second. This all changed when she met MOVE! instructors Teresita Janiola and Becky Shelley.

Great things were to come. “I went to the class and it was wonderful. That is where I met Teresita and Becky. Those two ladies saved my life. After I met them, I said I’m staying and went full force into the program!”

As her biggest fan, Teresita says, “Against all odds, Sharyle did it. She kept trying and she succeeded. There is a big difference in her. Week after week her personality changed and by the time graduation came, you could see the difference in her.”

Breaking from what she knew best – fast food and ice-cream stops – she deserted her cycle of depression and transformed herself into the 117-pound lighter women she is today.

(Left to Right) Becky Shelley, Sharyle Robert and Teresita Janiola celebrate Robert’s weight loss.

Her calorie book held her accountable

When asked what the biggest factor to her weight loss was, Sharlye said: “My calorie book. It goes everywhere with me.” The book held her accountable to not only lose weight, but to help her sustain it.

MOVE! is not about a diet. It is a life-altering decision. It is what you do for life. If you follow the class, you will never have to worry,” says Sharyle.

The class guides Veterans to fit what is best in their lifestyle.

“The old me was stuck in the house, definitely depressed and dependent on my walker. I didn’t want to get up and move. Now, I can walk and breathe so much better. I can now walk freely,” says Sharyle.

Leaving behind limitations, Sharyle now tries new things and has found a new hobby in arts and crafts.

Able to wear a dress again

Sharyle went from being ready to dash for the door in her first MOVE! class to now encouraging Veterans to join. She tells Veterans who are interested in attending the life-changing class, “You will add days to your life. You will be happier. You can do it!”

Sharyle has gone from having to purchase men’s clothing to being able to wear a dress again. She said she feels like a woman, and the change has made all the difference in her life. Today, Sharyle can go anywhere with her grandson. As a reminder, she holds a dear picture close of the two of them at the beach for the first time.

Sharyle’s three tips to lose and sustain weight loss are to:

  • Weigh yourself everyday.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated.
  • Carry healthy snacks. For example, Sharyle throws her favorite fruit in her bag.

Andrea N. Madrazo, M.A., is a public affairs specialist TCF trainee for the Orlando VA Healthcare System.

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VAntagePoint Contributor

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