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‘Holy moly! How did you do it?’

Starbuck woman lost nearly 100 pounds, gained energy and confidence on Profile

By Jim Palmer

Karla Pederson of Starbuck has struggled with weight much of her adult life. Over the years, she has tried multiple diets and weight-loss programs, but none of them seemed to work. Then she contacted Profile by Sanford in Alexandria.

Karla Pederson of Starbuck today (left) after losing more than 90 pounds in about 16 months through Profile by Sanford. Photo by Jim Palmer

“I started the program on June 10, 2020,” said Pederson, who is married and has three adult children and a dog named Max. “I had heard people talking about it and it sounded like it worked for people so I thought I would try it.”

Profile by Sanford is a health and wellness solution-focused program that focuses on nutrition, activity and lifestyle change. Bonnie Bina, manager of the Alexandria office and Pederson’s coach in her weight loss journey, explained how the program works.

“Profile is not about dieting. Profile takes an approach that incorporates nutrition along with activity and lifestyle,” said Bina. “We go beyond the weight loss to help our members establish a healthy meal plan that will help them get to and sustain the loss. Profile provides personalized one-on-one coaching with our members, not only during their weight loss journey, but beyond.”

When Pederson started on Profile, a few adjustments were needed to get her on the right track.

“The first few weeks with Profile were a big change,” said Pederson. “My husband and family were very supportive and that really helped. He would ask me what he could do to help with my meal preparation, like cutting up fruits and vegetables. And the people at Profile were helpful and supportive, too. If I went out to eat, they would even go through the menu with me and help me decide what to order.”

When Bina first met Pederson, she said that Pederson was uncertain whether the program could work for her.

“Karla works a night shift, so right away we personalized her plan to fit her schedule. We met face to face on a weekly basis throughout her journey and we continue to meet every six weeks. One of the most important components of our coaching is that sense of accountability that the member feels our program gives them. They have a commitment to us as well as to themselves. This personal connection helped Karla and I establish a relationship of support and encouragement.”

The one-to-one coaching was a big boost right from the start and grew stronger with each visit.

“They treat me like family there,” said Pederson. “When I come to Profile for my meeting, they always offer me something to drink as soon as I walk in. Now that I don’t see them for six weeks at a time, I’ll miss them.”

“Each one-on-one meeting is very personalized,” said Bina. “We will talk about challenges and wins from the previous week and we also focus on educational topics.”

Pederson learned quickly that Profile wasn’t like other programs she had tried.

Above is a before photo of Karla, taken with her husband, her dog Max and the rest of her family a couple years ago. Contributed photo

“One of the programs I was on, they just told you what to eat and sold you that food to eat. They didn’t teach you how to eat,” she said. “Profile has food for us, but also teach you how to eat regular food at the same time so you slowly ween off their food. They teach you how to eat right.”

“The Profile program was developed as a slow weight loss journey, with intention,” said Bina. “Losing weight is only part of the journey. A slow and steady weight loss program contributes to changes in behavior and daily habits. By committing to our plan, the member’s daily meal uses a combination of grocery foods and Profile products. Our plan includes Profile meal replacements as part of daily meal plan which provides the supportive meals and snacks helping the member make changes in behavior while learning to make healthy selections for their grocery meals. And we are providing them with FDA approved products that are fortified with vitamins and minerals.”

Pederson carefully kept track of the foods going into her body, she weighed portions, read labels and followed the Profile plan. This often meant fewer carbs, less sugar, more protein and lots of water, she said. And it didn’t take long before the pounds started to melt away.

“I could see results pretty fast and since then it has been a gradual drop in weight,” she said. “My original goal was to lose 55 pounds. I lost that in the first five months... and kept going.”

Changes to her nutrition and activity soon became the norm. And the temptations that once kept her from reaching her goals were now gone.

“I’m just not interested in sweets,” she said. “I haven’t had a pop since I started Profile. Someone brought in a big box of glazed donuts at work and I just looked away. You need to learn to do that -- be disciplined. I just think if you eat that, you have to work even harder to get it off.”

How about holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas?

“If I do miss some foods, Bonnie said, like stuffing and salads, I’ll take a few bites of it and I’m good. I can make a full meal for my family, including dessert, and not eat any of it. She said at holiday time to pick out one food I really like and just have a small portion of it.”

Everything is tracked at Profile by Sanford -- foods consumed, weight loss/gain and even the inches lost/gained during the journey.

Jessica Drake and Bonnie Bina of Profile use a string to show a member who had lost 90 inches loss after a 3D body scan. Karla Pederson, who is featured in this article, lost 97.5 inches during her weight loss journey. Contributed photo

“We use a 3D body scanner that measures the body’s circumferences,” said Bina. “The member stands on a rotating base that revolves 360 degrees and as the turntable revolves the member’s body is scanned and measured. The result is that there are full body circumference measurements from the neck down through the torso and the extremities. The first body scan is utilized as a baseline for the member. Then there are subsequent scans every six weeks. Once there are two scans, we can review them and compare measurements. We can view the scans side by side and see changes in the measurements. This is often a time for celebration with our members and we will cut a ribbon the length of the inches lost for the member to take with them.”

After about a year and a half on Profile, Pederson has made it to a comfortable place in her health journey. She said both she and her husband have learned how to eat healthier, and she has reached all her goals. Now, instead of losing weight, she is on a maintenance program.

“The most weight that I was down was 94.4 pounds,” she said, looking down at the Profile app on her phone that monitors and tracks her weight every time she steps on the Profile scale. “Today I’m down 92.6 pounds, stabilized and healthy. Of the Profile foods, I’m actually down to just eating just one bar a day. The rest I make myself. I have lost a total of 97.5 inches and I’m down five clothes sizes since I started 16 months ago.”

Because she started at Profile at the beginning of the pandemic, some friends didn’t see Pederson for about a year. They could hardly believe her transformation. “They would see me and say ‘Holy Moly! How did you do it?” she said. And some barely recognized her.

“My husband and I go to Old Tyme dances and we would dance every week. Then COVID hit and we quit going because they didn’t have dances. In January, we went to an appreciation dance with the band that played for our wedding. The people who we usually dance with were there. When they announced our name and we came out to dance, everyone was looking at us. Some said they didn’t even recognize me since I lost so much weight. I said, ‘yeah, it’s me!’”

And Pederson’s weight loss is just one part of her success story.

“I have a lot more energy. Before, when I would go for a walk with my husband, he would look back and say, “Ya coming?” And now, I’m way ahead of him. “Slow down, I can’t keep up.”

She said she also gained confidence as she continued on the program.

“The results I was seeing and the improving health kept me motivated,” she said. “Eventually I was asked to be an ambassador for the Profile program and I have shared it with others who have joined. It does take discipline, but learning that is a reward, too. It is great being able to shop easily for clothes again and have a lot more energy.”

Profile by Sanford is moving to its new location, 410 30th Avenue East, Suite 105 in Alexandria. It is just a couple doors down from their current location (shown above). Contributed photo

“It is beyond rewarding to see members like Pederson reach their weight loss goals,” said Bina. “It is so incredible to see the changes that they have made not only visually, but also physically. Weight loss is only one of the goals members come in with. Often a member will join because of diabetes, high cholesterol, or other medical conditions. Last winter we had a member with type 1 diabetes join and within three months their blood test, HgbA1C, had gone down 3 points to a normal range. Another member with Type 2 diabetes also saw the HgbA1C drop and was able to avoid having to start on medication to treat her diabetes.

Karla said she encourages anyone looking for a weight and lifestyle change to consider Profile by Sanford. She is one of many success stories to come out of the program.

“Since we opened 8 ½ years ago our location in Alexandria has helped over 3,800 members lose over 79,000 pounds,” said Bina. “We currently have 496 active members who have lost over 17,000 pounds. Across its network, Profile by Sanford has worked with over 196,000 members and who have lost over 3 million pounds.”

And each story is unique.

“Each member is different, and it is vital for us to understand the underlying reasons for their weight loss journey when they first meet with the member,” said Bina. “At the free consult visit, we get to know the member, find out more about any underlying medical conditions, and most importantly, find out their ‘why.’ A member’s reason, or why, for weight loss often plays a significant part in the member’s commitment to their weight loss journey.”

Profile by Sanford is in the process of moving into its new store location at 410 30th Avenue East, Suite 105, in Alexandria (just a couple doors down from their former location).

“Please come check out our new digs,” said Bina. “And watch for some specials around Thanksgiving and Black Friday.”

For more information or to start your weight loss journey, contact the Alexandria Profile by Sanford office at 320-421-9140 or visit

This is a paid business profile. If you would like to learn more about promoting your business in the Sr. Perspective with a business profile, call Jim at 320-334-3344.

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