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Carle Place guidance counselor loses weight on NYU Winthrop HMR program

Joy-Anne D'Anca, 36, of Mineola, at left in

Joy-Anne D'Anca, 36, of Mineola, at left in March 2017 when she weighed approximately 260 pounds, and after her 85-pound weight loss. Credit: Nassau Counselors’ Association; Newsday / Steve Pfost

Joy-Anne D’Anca, 36, of Mineola, says a trifecta of factors contributed to her weight: a family history, a trauma in college and years of higher education schooling that eventually led to her doctoral degree but also meant “time was never my own.”

A year ago she weighed 260 pounds and knew she had a problem but didn’t know what to do. “I was always out of breath, had no energy, hated getting dressed and hated going out. But I knew I was too young to be feeling that way,” she says. Her medical indexes supported what she was feeling. She was borderline diabetic, had high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Though she had tried many weight loss approaches and always lost weight on them, she couldn’t maintain it. D’Anca says she was only mildly aware of NYU Winthrop Hospital’s weight management program. Then she read about a man who lost 165 pounds in 10 months and called NYU Winthrop that day.

“It’s about changing your relationship with food,” she says. She explained that there are two phases. Phase one is re setting eating habits by eating HMR (Health Management Resources) prepared entrees and protein shakes and five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. “No. 1 is: Think before you eat,” says D’Anca. That’s followed by eating only fruit or vegetables between meals and attending weekly meetings. Phase Two, which D’Anca isn’t in yet, reintroduces different food groups every couple of weeks. First proteins, then whole grains and, lastly, carbs.

D’Anca prizes not having to dress in layers anymore to cover herself up and feels better about going out. She says she’s even comfortable doing public speaking now. “I no longer reach for food when I’m stressed. I use coping mechanisms like going for a walk or heading to the gym.” She’s lost 85 pounds and aims to drop another 45.

D’Anca has an HMR shake and fruit, usually a banana, for breakfast. Midmorning she has another piece of fruit or a vegetable. Lunch can be an HMR entree like rotini chicken and a second shake. For a midafternoon snack, D’Anca has a fruit or vegetable and a third shake. Dinner is usually an HMR entree — penne with meatballs and spinach, for example. She sometimes has an HMR snack bar at night and drinks 80 ounces of water daily.

D’Anca works out three times a week using a treadmill, an elliptical machine and, recently, weights. She gets in about 10,000 steps a day.

“The first step is the hardest. It’s hard work but so worth it. My mantra is “think before you bite.’’


Joy-Anne D’Anca

36, Mineola

Occupation Director of guidance at Carle Place School District

Height 5-foot-5

Before 260 pounds, March 2017

After 175 pounds, March 2018