Phil Hawk

“You can do it, and the difference will be a better life.”

Phil~ Nurse Practitioner Hermiety Van Laar, after Phil Hawk said he wasn’t up to the challenge of getting healthy—and didn’t see why it would even matter.

That’s where Phil’s journey to a better life began.

The stores/warehouse supervisor started working at Tunnel Ridge in July of 2009. On Monday mornings, he made the three-hour drive from Meigs County in Ohio to the mine in West Virginia; on Friday nights, he returned home to spend the weekend with his wife, Donna. Back then, he weighed around 360 pounds.

2010 started on a positive note: Donna was able to move in with Phil in West Virginia. But that’s also when a routine HealthCheck revealed that he tipped the scales at 407 pounds. Besides Phil’s unhealthy weight, other red flags jumped out: elevated sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure readings.

The self-described “jolly fat man” was at a crossroads, and NP Van Laar’s heartfelt plea had an impact. “If I didn’t get a handle on things,” he recalled, “she said I would end up on more pills than even a 400-pounder could swallow!”

Phil and Donna agreed it was time to set a personal health goal and make some changes. Donna took control in the kitchen, from how food was prepared (nothing fried) and portion size, to when they ate (nothing between meals or after 7:00 p.m.). Surprisingly, Phil says he never felt like he was giving anything up—“just taking control.”

The Hawks’ new lifestyle initially included going to the YMCA five days a week. Eventually, they transitioned to using an elliptical machine at home and going on long walks.

So, was it worth it? Definitely, according to Phil, who is now age 54.“Since that day in 2010, I have lost more than 150 pounds, and all my other health issues are under control.” And who does he credit for his amazing health turnaround? “It all comes down to what can be achieved by the grace of God, love of a good wife, and support of NP Hermiety Van Laar.”