Healthy Way Program
We focus on behaviors that help you to be healthy and feel healthy.
The Healthy Way Program is not a diet or weight loss program. In society today, it is hard to escape images and discussions about weight and appearance. Our team is sensitive to the psychological harm, social stigma and prejudice many have experienced associated with body size or shape. This program fosters body positivity and mindfulness. We do not set a goal weight or body mass index (BMI).
There are several factors that contribute to our body size. Weight is mostly determined by our family history or genetic susceptibility. There are also health conditions that cause weight gain, such as insulin resistance (e.g., pre-diabetes) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Additionally, certain beneficial medications may cause weight gain.
“This program has completely changed me. I used to skip meals and overeat at night. Now I eat when I’m hungry during the day and walk at night. I have so much more energy living this way.” - A recent program participant
Excess body fat causes changes in our body that may increase the risk of developing diabetes, inflammation, fatty liver disease, blood clots and can add to our risk of certain cancers. Other health-related effects include obstructive sleep apnea and poor mobility due to worsening osteoarthritis. Not everyone with excess body fat will develop a medical condition, but it is important to review your family history and consider your potential health risks.
Most turn to dieting to lose weight. By the very nature of a diet, if you limit your food intake, you will lose weight. While diets may result in short-term weight loss, they cause our body to fight back, so we end up with weight regain and often heavier than when we started. Diets lower our metabolism and make us feel hungrier and less full. As a result, many have tried multiple diets only to find themselves “yo-yo dieting” without sustainable results.
Others may choose to exercise to lose weight. In general, physical activity does not have much effect on weight in the short-term. However, those who become long-term exercisers gain many health benefits as well as a more favorable body composition for metabolic health. For these reasons, in the Healthy Way Program we take the focus away from the effects of exercise on weight and focus on feeling the difference that exercise makes in our daily lives and the long-term benefits to our health.
Dr. Sheenagh Bodkin explains why it’s so easy to put weight on and so difficult to lose it. Watch the video.
Our team of specialists in the Healthy Way Program is dedicated to addressing your physical health as well as the lifestyle components that contribute to your quality of life. Quality of life is not defined by the number on a scale. Our team teaches Intuitive Eating©, a weight-neutral approach, to guide you toward a healthier lifestyle, with a holistic and mindful approach to help you achieve optimal wellness.
Our board-certified obesity medicine physicians, Sheenagh Bodkin, MD and Lucia Larson, MD, are assisted by an exercise physiologist and health coach, a registered dietitian, and cognitive-behavioral therapist. Our team will work with you to break the cycle of dieting and help you achieve your healthiest lifestyle. Once you become an Intuitive Eater, we will reassess your health measures. Sometimes efforts to achieve an improved lifestyle can’t be realized, or for those that do, they may still be living with health conditions that could benefit from additional therapies. For those patients who want help, we may discuss FDA-approved weight loss medications or bariatric surgery to help with diabetes, cardiovascular health, mobility and excessive hunger.
For patients who have had weight loss surgery, it is normal to regain some weight without health conditions returning. However, many patients fear further weight gain and jeopardize their health by going back to dieting. This is a major risk factor for significant postsurgical weight regain and a return to poor health. We offer group classes in Intuitive Eating©, which is a weight neutral, long-lasting approach to your relationship to food. This includes mindfulness, an ability to cope with emotions without using food, exercise that makes you feel better, and gentle nutrition.
Most importantly, our team offers long-term encouragement and support to help you sustain your lifestyle changes through shared medical appointments, individual sessions, and mentored support groups.
Our program is located at the Lifespan Lifestyle Medicine Center. In addition to the Healthy Way Program, we offer a full complement of services including yoga, stress management, mindfulness, acupuncture, chiropractic services, massage, and more.