Sun City resident Jubie Hughes, left, is feeling better than ever after winning a $500 prize in Wellness by Design’s “Greatest Loser” contest. Timothy Gerhart and Caren Marshall helped the 82-year-old lose 21 pounds.

Dave Martinez/Daily News-Sun

Sun Citian Jubie Ellen Hughes lost 21 pounds and won $500 through her health clinic and had a lot of fun in the process, even though she made some major lifestyle changes to achieve her goals.

But she’s not quite there yet, so she reinvested the money she won from Renovare Wellness by Design’s Greatest Loser Contest into a boot camp program to continue working to improve her health.

“I still haven’t hit my goal completely,” Hughes said.

When she first came into the Peoria clinic, Hughes said she was borderline diabetic, had difficulty walking because of a fused ankle, and her primary care doctor wanted to put her on medication for osteoporosis, but now, at 82, the only medication Hughes needs is glaucoma eyedrops.

“I think this country needs to get on the bandwagon and realize your lifestyle is what’s going to last you,” Hughes said.

The clinic’s Timothy Gerhart helped Hughes plan a healthier lifestyle that he said fits her genetic needs through a combination of changes to her eating habits and exercise routine, along with a personal nutritional supplement plan.

“In this, everybody’s different; the program has to fit the person,” Gerhart said. “How do you know if a lifestyle fits? How do you know if clothes fit? You try them on.”

Hughes was initially concerned about aches and pains, wanted to become lean and trim and improve her metabolism, walk more freely and maintain her independence, and maintain a high level of energy and stamina to pursue her love of theater acting.

In addition to a new exercise schedule, Gerhart and Hughes worked out a gluten-free and sugar-free diet that Gerhart said helped feed her metabolism, which they also boosted with supplements, giving her more energy. Hughes said even though she thought she would miss gluten foods the recipes were delicious, and she actually enjoyed exercise.

“They made exercise fun,” said Hughes, whose workout plan includes water and group aerobics. “I have never liked exercise before, but now I look forward to it. For a while there, I was exercising eight hours a week.”

Hughes also works out with resistance bands to build strength and reduce inflammation in her joints.

“I do what I can,” Hughes said.

Caren Marshall, Hughes’ certified lifestyle coach at the clinic, is proud of the progress she’s made.

“When I first started working with Jubie, she had some concerns about her walking and balance,” Marshall said.

But after watching Hughes perform in a recent play with the Sun City Community Theater, Marshall said she was “walking like a girl.”

Gerhart also emphasized that mental health is important to overall health. Emotions and stress can lead to issues like over-eating, taking too many medications, and general health problems. Making a lifestyle change is about more than losing weight.

“It is very healthy to help others. Being self-centered is a recipe for misery,” Gerhart said.

“We have this fixation on dieting and weight loss, which isn’t constructive. With Jubie and with others, they may lose weight, but that’s not what’s important.”

Hughes gives back by volunteering with the local Soroptimists club, and she is the author of ‘Powers for Overflowing Abundance’ about the power of positive and spiritual energy.  

“She’s a wonderful role model,” Marshall said.

Hughes said when she runs into people she hasn’t seen in a while, they tell her she shines now and ‘I don’t know what you’re doing but it’s sure agreeing with you.’

“I don’t think anything can replace good health,” Hughes said, adding that she doesn’t mind spending the money for the program because the preventative steps are cheaper than many costly medications or surgeries. “Money is nothing when you’re not healthy.”

A lifestyle overhaul might seem intimidating, but Gerhart and Hughes both said the work is worth it.

“There are a lot of people that get discouraged, they might believe ‘It’s just my genes,’” Gerhart said. “If Jubie can do it at 82, almost anybody can do it.”

Renovare Wellness by Design is located at 18969 N. 83rd Ave, Suite 1 in Peoria. The clinic can be reached at 623-776-0206

Reporter Nora Avery-Page can be reached at 623-876-3691 or via email at

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