PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you’re tired of fad diets that might work for a while but then you always re-gain the weight, a new program may be just what you need.

It’s called “Fit, Fun and Fabulous at Any Age.” It’s a 12-week program developed by a local doctor and it is changing lives.

Melody Pierce was almost 300 pounds and felt her body shutting down. After no success with traditional medicine, she came to Dr. Kathleen Hartford for help.

“I’m here to say I lived. She fixed me,” Pierce said. “When I started the program, I was 292. I lost 157 pounds. It took 13 months and it was an easy 13 months.”

Pierce says she was shocked at how much she could eat to the point of feeling full, and still losing weight.

“It was a lifestyle change, not a diet. No deprivation,” says Pierce. “It made you consciously make decisions about what you were eating, how much you were eating, but yet never limited or deprived.”

Even Pierce’s diabetes was reversed.

“I probably was more afraid of the diabetes than the weight but they coincide. So, as I started to lose weight, the diabetes leveled off, I was off medicine,” Pierce said. “Now, clinically, I have no more diabetes.”

Pierce now works for Dr. Hartford, helping others on the program.

“We want two things – to live a long time and to feel good while we’re doing that,” said Dr. Hartford. “That’s the key to living a vital life.”

Dr. Hartford is a chiropractor and approaches health holistically. The program focuses on three main components — diet, exercise and meditation or prayer. It’s all based on reducing inflammation – akin to a fire inside the body.

“Inflammation is really the base cause of the diseases we’re dying from,” says Dr. Hartford. “We’re used to think of diseases of aging – Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol are related to inflammation.”

Also, many cancers are related to inflammation too.

The diet is simple – eat five times a day, food that’s not processed, ideally organic.

“I always say, eat food the way God made it, whatever you believe that to be,”Dr. Harford said. “When we’re eating the food the way it comes out of Mother Earth, we’re going to be getting all the nutrients.”

Keep portions smaller – both food and drinks.

Dr. Hartford recommends taking four basic vitamins and supplements every day as well.

Dr. Hartford’s program includes exercising at least three times a week, five times ideally with some sort of weights or bands for strengthening. The third key component is meditation.

“Meditation, journaling, prayer, sitting quietly with good healthy thoughts has such a profound effect on our life,” she adds.

How does meditation affect weight loss and physical health? It decreases stress, which decreases the cortisol hormone in your body.

“Cortisol is what causes or contributes to that insulin resistance – it causes more fat gain than people realize and that cortisol is triggered because we’re always stressed,” said Dr. Hartford.

The diet, exercise and meditation are a lifestyle change that result in weight loss and can even reverse disease.

“I feel better than I ever have in my life, and I feel like I’m 21,” said Pierce. “The energy level’s amazing. The whole program just changes your life. You can do things with your grandkids, your kids.”

Dr. Hartford and Pierce coach patients individually on the program out of their office in Natrona Heights.

There’s a special starting package that includes the “Fit, Fun and Fabulous” book, cookbook, supplements, meditation CD and a coaching session for $160.

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