Bob and Merle Scolnik Achieve Success with HMR Program Offered Through Mercy Health Weight Management

Scolnik Bob & Merle NYE 2016 123116 3Weight loss.

For most people, it becomes an issue at some point in life. Imagine having access to one of the most successful weight loss plans in the country right at your fingertips, according to U.S. News & World Report.

What if the cost were similar to your usual weekly grocery shopping bill, and what if you could see results quickly? Would you go for it?

Bob Scolnik did, and he and his wife Merle have a lot of positive comments about the HMR program offered through Mercy Health Weight Management. Together they have lost more than 62 pounds and are still going strong.

For Bob, the motivating factor to begin a weight-loss program in 2015 was when he stepped on the scale and discovered he weighed 200 pounds.

“I’m five foot four, and it was getting to the point that I couldn’t find clothes that fit right. I am a county commissioner, and I like to look right.” Even finding a sport coat to fit was difficult for Bob at that time.


The HMR program has a three-pronged approach: You buy the prepackaged food — which includes breakfast, shakes, snacks, and lunch and dinner entrees; you attend weekly educational/coaching classes; and you exercise.

“I actually like the food, and it makes meals a lot easier,” said Bob. “The oatmeal is really good! Before this diet I never ate oatmeal.”

Having weekly support and accountability is another integral factor in the program. “I hit it off great with Donna, our instructor/coach, and I tracked my food and calories like she taught us.”

To help monitor his daily exercise, Bob bought a Fitbit that he continues to rely on each day. Bob lost an amazing 37½ pounds in about four months.

“My BMI has moved from ‘obese’ to ‘normal.’ What surprised me was that once you start following the program, the weight just comes off. We haven’t done anything extraordinary,” Bob said.

Merle has struggled with her weight due to diabetes, neuropathy and painful arthritis, which limit her ability to exercise as Bob does. “I’ve been on multiple kinds of diets that didn’t work,” said Merle. “I start out with a diet, and then it goes downhill. I haven’t found that to be the case with the HMR program.”

Her motivating factor to try another program was Bob, who told her that he doubted she could do what he was doing with HMR.

“Bob gave me a challenge. No one is going to say I can’t do something,” said Merle. So in the summer of 2016, Merle joined the HMR program.

Merle has lost 25 pounds, despite her spending some of that time with a cast on her foot. She looks forward to continuing to lose more weight and to the camaraderie she experiences at the HMR classes each week.

“I really enjoy going to them. Sometimes our instructor gives us a homework project. We talk a lot about different vegetables, portion control and healthy snacks.”

As an added bonus, the Scolniks rarely cook. “We’ve changed our eating habits,” said Bob. “We don’t buy bread and desserts. We eat a lot of salads, and the HMR food is really good.”

Bob has Crohn’s disease, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying salads without lettuce — a vegetable that he cannot eat. “Other than buying fresh vegetables we can eat, we’re not spending much money at the grocery store each week.”

Because of Bob’s position as a county commissioner, the couple eats out rather often. When they know they’re going to eat out, they often drink a shake beforehand, to limit what they eat at the event or restaurant.

“We consciously try to eat healthier when we are out. Drinking a shake ahead of time has worked for me,” said Merle. The lactose-free shakes have made a big difference for Bob.

“If you are careful, you can eat healthy when dining out,” said Bob. “For example, I’ll look for fish on a menu.”

Another benefit of the HMR program for Merle came through her doctor. “I do not take insulin, but I take a tablet for my diabetes,” she said. “My doctor said that in the spring, once I’ve lost more weight, she might take me off the pills altogether.”

Bob and Merle had their photo taken by a friend at a recent community event, and they are thrilled with the results. “Merle is 73, and I’m 72, but we don’t feel that age. We could be fat and floppy, but we look pretty good!”

There’s a lot for the Scolniks to brag about when it comes to their weight loss. Perhaps Bob says it best: “It feels good when clothes fit!”

To learn more about the HMR program through Mercy Health Weight Management, call 231.672.4325 or visit


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