New Year, New Name, New You: Let's Talk About Weight Management

Vincent Pera, MD

Anyone who struggles with weight management knows how difficult it can be. Many factors can affect your weight. Your environment, physical activity, medical conditions, medications, stress, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral issues can all play a significant role in determining eating behaviors, level of physical activity, and lifestyle. Ultimately, these all impact your weight control.

Studies show that genetics play a significant role as well. Your body processes food as fuel through a process called metabolism. The genes you inherit from your parents can impact that process and its efficiency. But as we look at the many factors that may affect your weight, genetics alone actually becomes somewhat less important.

The fact is, it is difficult to control weight simply by diet alone. For most of us, following a diet is something done for a relatively short, finite period.  It is difficult to stick to a diet for some and it may become even more difficult over time.   

Why diet alone is not the key to success

Weight loss is more successful when it is part of a coordinated approach to weight management. This approach includes comprehensive behavioral intervention, nutritional education, a customized exercise protocol, and medical management.

A coordinated effort offers the tools and skills that individuals can use well into the future to help maintain their weight. Positive food choices, controlled portion sizes, avoiding eating triggers, and exercise are all key parts of weight management. Coping with stress, anxiety, and other behavioral issues are also a factor. The result is a lifestyle change to manage weight and improve health indefinitely.

The Center for Weight and Wellness online orientation

Online Orientation

An orientation session is the first step in our program. Patients can now participate from the comfort of home.

After your successful completion, a member of the Center for Weight and Wellness team will contact you with next steps.

Take the Online Orientation Now

It is this complete lifestyle change – not just what you eat – that can help you lose weight successfully in the short term, and maintain your weight loss in the future.

A new name

At The Miriam Hospital, our weight management program has been the key to success for many on their weight loss journey. Now, we are starting the new year with a new name -- the Center for Weight and Wellness

This new name better reflects our comprehensive treatment programs. It also acknowledges the significant improvement in health and wellness that our patients enjoy as a result of their weight loss.

Our goal is to provide weight loss and weight management treatment that is coordinated and comprehensive. Obesity is a complex, chronic disease. The Center for Weight and Wellness provides treatment interventions that cover the wide range of causes and issues associated with obesity.

A team of obesity treatment specialists including physicians, psychologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, and health educators will work with you to achieve the best results.

Our program offers a variety of approaches and specialty programs, which allows us to customize treatments to meet each patient’s unique needs. We also offer programs for those with special medical issues, like our specialty diabetes program. For those who have behavioral issues, our Emotional Eating program and Keep on Track programs may be beneficial.

The measure of success

The first way to measure a weight management program’s success is to look at the amount of weight lost by individuals in the program. Weight loss typically varies from one person to another. There are many variables, including starting weight, gender, age, physical activity, and, of course, adherence to the recommended diet. Also, individuals who start at a higher weight will lose a greater amount than those starting at a lower weight over the same time.

Of course, different diets will also have different results. Our center offers three different programs:  the Full Fast Program, which uses a full liquid diet using nutritional supplements, the Modified Fast Program, which has some solid food and some nutritional supplements, and the LEAN Program with all food and no nutritional supplements.

After 20 to 24 weeks of treatment, the center’s average weight loss results are 63 pounds using the full fast, 46 pounds with the modified fast, and 21 pounds using the LEAN Program. 

The second way to measure success is how an individual’s health improves as a result of weight loss. This is reflected in the ability to stop or reduce the use of medication for conditions like diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

On average, by 16 to 24 weeks of treatment, about 34% of all diabetes medications were discontinued and another 25% were reduced. For hypertension, 18% of all medications were discontinued and another 12% were decreased during the same period. With hyperlipidemia, 13% of all medications were suspended and another 4% were lowered.  For those with GERD, 17% of medications were discontinued.

These changes show a significant improvement of these medical conditions through weight loss, and in general reflect improved overall health for these patients.

We believe that our program’s philosophy of comprehensive treatment covering eating behavior and weight issues is what drives our patients’ success. For our patients, the benefits include favorable outcomes with weight loss, improved overall health, less medication, more physical activity, better mood, and improved self-esteem. These changes are a result of our patients’ hard work and the dedication and compassion of our staff.

Learn more about our Center for Weight and Wellness.

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