The Weight is Over – Diane B. Hill: ‘Never Give Up!’

Diane, thank you so much for talking with us today about your health and fitness journey. YOU are the person who inspired me to join Align and work with Matthew R. Lister. I saw one of your Facebook posts in the fall, and you said you’d lost 30 pounds in something like three months. That convinced me.

First, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, Doni, I have lived in Redding for about 38 years. I have been married to Barry Hill for 37 years, which is more than half of my life. I have a daughter Sarah, who is married and living in Reno, and has just blessed me with my little grandson, Joey. I also have a son Adam, who lives in Lincoln, is married and gave me my first grandson, Braydon. I have been in the automobile industry for 31 years. I work at Crown Motors as the finance director. All in all I’m very blessed in the family and work area.


Diane with husband Barry, daughter Sarah and son Adam.


Diane’s grandsons motivated her to get healthy and fit.

OK, can you give an overview of your health-and-fitness history up until you started working with Matthew?

Sure, but I don’t think there is enough time to tell you my whole diet and exercise history; it’s been a long one. Let’s see … in the last 15-20 years I have been on Weight Watchers (four times), Jenny Craig (two times) Nutrisystem, Dr. Powell (three times), a liquid-only diet and then the dreaded diet pills.

Those are just the diets. When it comes to exercise I have joined countless gyms, tried my hand at Jazzercise, racquetball, boot camps, and the list goes on. As far as results, they were somewhat decent, but each of them lasted short-term, due to motivation, the programs themselves, or just simply not feeling it.

Of course I regained the weight I lost, plus even a little more than when I originally started.

I’d say to to myself, Oh well. Who gives a damn? I deserve to eat now that I have suffered for those three months of dieting.

Like a reward. Really?


A low point for Diane Hill; the high point of her weight.

Oh, Diane, your story will resonate with so many of us. Believe me when I say we can relate. I can relate!

You’ve had so many different attempts at losing weight. What led you to Matthew to try one more time?

Well, Doni, where do I begin? Let’s see, two years ago I was at a point where I was pretty much disabled to where I could barely walk, could not walk upstairs and had to be assisted to go up and down curbs. My doctor told me both knees were bone on bone, and that I had to have a total knee replacement. Actually, I needed two knee replacements, but we just started with one at a time.

I had the surgery and two weeks to the day — because of the pain meds — my colon blew out. Well, needless to say I ended up in the ER at Mercy and had my stomach cut wide open, ended up with a temporary ostomy bag, wound vac, and of course this was all while I was trying to function with a new knee. I was only able to get around on a walker at best.

I wanted to seriously end my life at this point, thinking there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was so depressed, the only thing that kept me going was looking at pictures of my kids and grandchildren. Eleven months and five surgeries later everything somewhat healed (thank God). However, by then I was heavier than I had ever been. This made me feel even more depressed than I already was.

I said to myself, This crap has got to stop. It’s time to break this never-ending vicious cycle or you will not live to see your grandchildren grow up.

Long story short, (yeah, right lol) my boss, Steve Roberts, saw that I was very depressed and suggested that I go see a guy that he had been seeing, and getting results, named Matthew R. Lister at Align Private Training. I told him that I really can’t exercise because of all my surgeries, and no one would even want to tackle my poor pathetic self.  Steve said Matthew knows all the ins and outs of the body, and that he would be able to work with me. He said,“Please just go talk to him. Please, I want you to stick around a long time”.

Matthew R. Lister

Matthew R. Lister

September 1, 2015 I walked into Align Private Training against my own will. I felt scared, uncomfortable, and most of all, very doubtful. Nothing else has ever worked, and I am worse off than I ever was. Why the hell would this work?!!

I was greeted by a cheerful energetic guy: Hi my name is Matthew. You must be Diane.

Little did I know my life was about to change FOREVER. He did an interview with me, and asked about my health history, diet history, exercise history. I remember thinking to myself that he was saying to himself, OMG do I want to take on this project?!!

However, this time, unlike any other, I felt very comfortable. I actually felt like Matthew sincerely cared, and really wanted to help me. He explained how we would start out very slow, as my body would allow, and just take it day by day and see how I progressed and adjust accordingly. He would help me with my nutrition, too.

I thought, Well, maybe this time this can work!

That’s an amazing story. I’m so sorry you endured so much, and that you were to the point of giving up, not just on health, but on life.

So, bring us up to speed. What happened when you started Align?

My first day of working out consisted of sitting on a bench and moving my foot side to side for one minute. Matthew put a Styrofoam block between my knees and told me to push my knees together against it for 30 seconds. I thought, Are you fricking kidding me?! This is a joke! What is this going to do?

Matthew asked me to have faith in him, and said there was a reason why we were doing what we were doing. He promised me it would all eventually make sense. After my strenuous exercise that day (ha ha) he presented me with a nutrition program that consisted of proteins, good carbs and veggies, all mapped out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I thought, How the hell am I going to do this?  But I decided to give it a shot. On the first day Matthew texted me and asked how I was doing. No one I has ever texted me to see how I was doing on their plan. He followed it up with a smiley emoji, clapping hands and, “You’ve got this!”

I felt as if this guy really cared. This was a first. There was something about having someone check up on you that helps (at least for me) to hold me more accountable. My next visit he ramped up my exercises to working on my arms, with each session getting a little more difficult. All the while I was he was encouraging me every step of the way.

My first week’s success was I lost seven pounds. Yay!

Wow. Seven pounds in one week. That’s great.

Diane, could you take a moment and talk about what’s the biggest challenges during this latest health and fitness journey, and how have you handled them?

One of my biggest challenges that I have is that I go out of town quite a bit. My grand kids have to see their grammy!! I plan ahead as much as I can. I bring with me my snacks, and try to eat before I hit the road. We go out to dinner when away and ordering MY meals (no carbs), salads (dressing on the side) etc., I feel sometimes that I am a pain in the waiter’s ass, but oh well; I am the customer. 🙂


A healthier, happier Diane Hill holds a grandson in each arm.

What combined benefits have you noticed since you started this journey?

The benefits have been amazing, to say the least. Where do I start?! First off, since September 1 of 2015, I am very proud to say that I have lost a total of 84 pounds. I have no clue how much I now weigh because Matthew and I decided in the beginning of this journey that it would be better if I didn’t know my weight, and we just concentrated on my loss, and how I felt.

Speaking of how I feel; let me tell you, I can honestly say I feel better now than I have felt in more than 20 years. I can actually keep up with my 20-month-old grandson when he is running all over the house. Oh, and I did fail to mention that walking up and down stairs is not a problem now. There is this curb in front of Align Private Training that Matthew used to help me get down to my car when I started going to Align; now, no problem, and I do it all own my own. Exercise-wise I am now lifting 12-pound weights in each arm, doing over 1,000 meters – twice – rowing on his machine. Riding the exercise bike. And the list it goes on and on.

Those are mind-blowing improvements! Any surprises?

The biggest surprise is that I am actually enjoying going to Align Private Training and working out. I never in my wildest dreams would have ever imagined that I, Diane B. Hill, would enjoy exercising! It is really incredible!!


A light moment between Matthew R. Lister and Diane Hill at Align Private Training in Redding.

You’re doing great, Diane. You really are an inspiration. Do you have any words of wisdom for someone who’s tried and failed at getting healthy before, people who may have given up? Is it ever too late?

Words of wisdom? Me? All I can say is, Never Give up! Just when you think there is no solution to diet, weight, and emotional well-being, something or someone comes into your life and changes everything.

This, Doni, leads me up to the most important motivating factor for me in my journey. I attribute a huge amount of my success to the one and only, MATTHEW R LISTER. Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, you are a saint!

He never gives up on me. When I walk into the gym and I’m – let’s say, a little bitchy or tired — his smiling little face does not allow me to stay that way. He just ignores my grumpiness and says OK, Diane B.,  I want to start with stretching or whatever the exercise may be. He has a way of pushing me to limits I never in my wildest dreams would of ever thought that I could achieve.

I tell him all the time that not many people get to boss me around. Well, he does, and I let him get away with it knowing that he has my best interest at heart. Matthew has a way with working with people that I have never seen in anyone. He is very caring and compassionate, yet stern and determined to assist people in getting the job done. He has a way of motivating not just me, but anyone who walks into the gym. Each program is individualized, and he maps out separate nutrition and workout plans for each and every one of us. Whether it’s people who are overweight, or who want to build muscle mass, or correct posture, or even people who are disabled and need to regain their strength; he has patience of steel.

Let me tell you, to work with me it takes a ton of patience (ha ha). I can truly say that everyone at the gym just adores him. The way that everyone interacts and cheers each other on, I feel speaks highly of the person leading the group: Matthew. We all laugh, sweat, and for the most part enjoy the workouts that we endure. Not only is he my personal trainer, he has become one of my best friends; a friend with whom I can share the good, bad and ugly. He’s a friend who I know will be there for me unconditionally. What a gift I have received in meeting Matthew R Lister!

Diane Hill progress

Before, during and now.

Of course, you know you’re preaching to the choir when it comes to singing the praises of Matthew R. Lister. I feel the same as you about him.

Anything else you’d like us to know?

Thank you, Doni. You are an inspiration to me, also. Look how far you’ve come! You always have such an awesome attitude. I admire the fact that you put yourself out there, with all the trials and tribulations of the journey that we are on. I love the fact that we all feed off of each other’s stories, good, bad or indifferent.

I am so very blessed, and I thank God every day that my boss pushed me to take my first steps to walk into Align Private Training. From that day forward my life has never been the same.

What an incredible ride this has been, and if my story can inspire people to jump on the bandwagon and have the opportunity to feel half as good as I do, then I know it has all been worth it.

Diane, I appreciate you, and your bravery to share such a personal story. You have inspired me, and I know you will inspire thousands more today as they read your words.  Thank you!

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar EasternCounty says:

    When I read such magazines as Prevention, my favorite parts were the success stories.  And now A News Cafe is including them, too.  Thanks, Doni, for your own story and now Adrienne’s, Erin’s, and Diane’s.  So inspiring!  Thanks to all of you for sharing.

    • Eastern, it’s my pleasure to share these incredible life stories of struggle and success. And Diane, well, she is just an amazing woman who lives her motto. She never gives up. She’s my inspiration, and the reason I’ve embarked on this health and fitness journey. (Thank you, Diane!)

      • Avatar Diane B Hill says:

        are you kidding me???? thank you Doni for allowing me to share my journey.  And the story will continue………….


  2. A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

    YEA DIANE . . .  YEA US . . . . AND DOUBLE YEA FOR MATTHEW. Here’s the deal. As much as we like to tease about Matthew being our Guru, this is not a personality cult . . . . quite . . . . his brilliance and talent for ‘reading’ people results in his being able to get us to push ourselves and find our own paths to health. And for that, I feel eternally (auto correct made that word ‘ internally’ . . . not totally incorrect.)  grateful . . . and lucky!

    YOU GO, GIRL!!!

    • Avatar Diane B Hill says:

      We have so much fun in Align.  Look at the people that we have been so  fortunate to meet  and share our stories with.  You my dear should pat yourself on the back also.  You are doing so well too.  YOU go girl!

      • A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

        One of Matthew’s more brilliant thoughts . . .  whether this is original with him or whether he learned it somewhere, doesn’t matter . . . .is that there is a social element to this journey. Maybe more-so for some of us than others. But pairing us with a workout partner, even on a part time basis, has given this journey a whole new complexion for me.  Yes, I LOVE meeting the people who are traveling their own journeys at Align.

  3. Avatar Shelly Shively says:


    “Never Give Up”,  is such a powerful mantra, whether it’s embarking and sticking with a nutrition and fitness journey, or the mental and emotional fortitude applied to decisions in every aspect of living.  It’s one thing to embark on such a challenging journey, and quite another, to be so transparent in relaying your story.  I applaud you, in your courage and generosity in sharing this personal life change.  .  Your triumphant experience and success in your quest for good health, is an inspiration that offers hope to those who think that it may be too late, or too difficult to bring positive transformation in their life.

    Thank-you, Diane, for giving Hope to others, in sharing your story.

    Congratulations:  wishing you continued success in your new life, enjoying family and those precious grandsons.


    • Avatar Diane B Hill says:

      What wonderful words to hear.  I was not easy putting myself out there, however it thrills me to be able to just inspire even one person with their struggles.  Life is very tough sometimes and it helps to know that others can rise above difficulties that are placed on them.  One just needs to try and stay positive and forge forward .  Thank you again for your kind words

      Diane B Hill

  4. Avatar Chris Nagy says:

    This is a difficult question, but I know others want to know. As always, there is no dumb question. I find all of the stories inspiring and am happy for all that have found a mentor and new way of life, but what was the cost, in dollars. I ask this because many have the opinion that a personal trainer is very pricey, what should they expect to pay and what should they expect in services? Not just from Matthew, but from any personal trainer we might want to contact. I realize that it is difficult to put a price on your health and therefore the cost should be worth it. However, there are a few of us penny-pinchers who might not investigate a personal trainer because we feel the cost is prohibitive.

    Doni, thanks for any information you can provide to the rest of us.

    • Avatar Diane B says:

      Chris. I was the same way in the beginning  wondering about the money. All I can say is after 8 months of working with Matthew the cost is so minimal in comparison to how I feel. Matthew had given me my life back. I literally could not walk when I went into his place.  I could not go to events because I was scared I couldn’t fit in the chairs or worry if they even  had chairs because I couldn’t stand for more than 2 minutes at a time.  Anyone that asks me about going to Matthew always wants to know the cost so you are not alone.  All I personally can tell you it’s minimal in comparison to how I feel now.  His program may not be for everyone but as I said I thank god he came into my life and I am forever in his debt.  I hope it somewhat helps. I want to thank you also for reading the article it was extremely hard for me to put myself out there but at the same time healing if that makes any sense. Take care.

      • Avatar Chris Nagy says:

        Diane, your story is so …. heart wrenching, motivational and wonderful, all at the same time. I can fully understand where cost is not an issue at all. You were very brave to acknowledge your situation and do something about it. In anyone’s estimation, you have won.

  5. Chris, I know the cost varies from person to person, depending upon their needs and how many hours are spent. I’m going to let Matthew answer this, since he knows better than I.


    • Avatar Matthew R says:

      Hey Chris! Matthew Lister with Align here. That’s a great question….especially the services side. It’s actually an incredibly complex question. I will try to simplify it into a framework that will allow you to make a wise decision.

      1. Every person truly does need something different to get them over the threshold to maintainable health. So if you engage with a health professional and their first action is to talk about themselves and not ask a ton of questions about your body, objectives, past struggles and successes, your home life, psychology, passions and interests, and paradigms of the world, then they are not going to be a leader and guide to you. They will deliver a scripted plot line that may or may not help, be ineffective, or might even slightly hurt or catastrophically destroy your chances for success.


      2. Find someome/someplace who is passionate about WHAT YOU NEED. If you have significant injuries, find a place passionate about working with injuries. If you need motivation, find a place passionate about motivating the unmotivated. If your passion is competing against others, then find a place built around competing against others.  If you don’t know what you need, find a place built on developing comprehensive leadership plans. They can evaluate, identify and point you in the right direction. I have people sit in my office all the time where I tell them, “You don’t need me. You can do this on your own”. Then there are others who I tell to settle in, because they will be spending some time with me. Diane is a great example of someone who succeeded because of the proper program design. She had dramatic musculoskeletal, internal and motivational hurdles that needed to be scaled before sustainable changes could be attained


      3. Cost. Oh, the cost question. What should services cost? Depends what the services are. You should not spend 50 dollars an hour for a 23-year-old to count reps for you and then get on FACEBOOK. But 50 dollars an hour for someone to: develop personal leadership in your life, do timely problem-solving, fix your injuries and global movement issues, manage your nutritional environment for day-to-day needs, and manage or consult on pain generator identification — is a very good bargain based on the money that would be spent on treatments for the symptoms of the problems that would be created later, if never addressed.


      With that said, Align clients pay $300 per month and have a designated recurring appointment slot 2 times per week. We do comprehensive outcome planning, postural evaluations, gait analysis, nutritional analysis, lifestyle analysis, and monthly wellness reports.

      Not everyone needs this level of service. But for those who do need it, anything short will result in failure.


      I hope this was helpful!

      • Avatar Chris Nagy says:

        Matthew, thanks so much for the detailed answer, I can appreciate how complex the answer would be to my question. To find a person with your level of motivational skills, psychological prodding and nudging, and compassion would be difficult. You have given some very good suggestions for what to ask and how to look for it. To anyone looking, don’t be shy, write his list of questions down, take them with you for the interview (remember, you are hiring their expertise, you are the boss) and don’t stop asking until you have all the answers. If they become annoyed, leave, they don’t have your best interests at heart. Thanks again, Matthew, good answer.

      • A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

        Matthew . . . . THANK YOU from me for this detailed answer to Chris’s inquiry. I’m so green at this whole concept physical well-being, that I didn’t even know what questions to ask. Closer to the truth, I didn’t even know I should ASK questions.  You are so articulate in your answers that now I know stuff I should have known all along but didn’t even know I didn’t know!! I’ll never believe anything other than that the universe directed me to you and we, you and me, were smart enough not to let my ignorance get in the way.

  6. Avatar Kerri says:

    This was a minor part of Diane’s inspirational story, but what resonated with me most was that her boss is the one who noticed her signs of depression and asked her directly about it. I wonder how many times I have thought that a friend or colleague seemed “off,” but didn’t reach out because I wasn’t a closer friend or family member. This is a beautiful example of human compassion, which led to huge improvements in someone’s physical and mental health. Way to go, Diane’s boss, and congratulations on your success, Diane!

    • Kerri, that’s an excellent point. How often do we notice someone struggling but we remain silent, for fear of butting in. Here’s to butting in. It could literally save someone’s life.

  7. Avatar Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    When I read this article I was reminded about the years that I played competitive softball.  I don’t like being told what to do…what adult does?  But in that time I had a coach that I “gave myself up to” because he was so skilled and compassionate  and honest that I never doubted or resented one thing that he told me.  And he ran me ragged.  I mentioned this because I had felt conflict about taking direction from any coach I don’t trust and respect so thoroughly.

    I haven’t met Mathew, but I think he must be one of the great life coaches.

  8. Avatar Stephanie Griffin says:

    Another great article, Doni.  Thank you.