Medical Weight-Loss Programs Extend far Beyond Diet



An airplane flight was the wake-up call Katie Toomes needed to lose weight.

Katie had been referred to Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Weight Management Center after a consultation for surgery. While trying to decide if she wanted to do the weight-loss program, Katie took a trip to Boston.“For the first time ever, I had a hard time buckling the seatbelt on the airplane,” Katie said. “I love traveling and have flown all over the world, so this was quite the wake-up call for me. I called the Weight Management Center as soon as I got off the plane in Boston to make an appointment.”

Obesity declared a disease

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released in 2017 stated that 39.8 percent of American adults were obese in terms of body-mass index, a measure of body fat calculated from weight and height. In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease.

The AMA’s action was important to Jamy Ard, MD, Co-Director of the Weight Management Center, which offers both medical weight-control programs and weight-loss surgery.

“Historically, providers have been taught directly or implicitly that obesity is related to being lazy and inactive,” Ard said. “The AMA’s statement and obesity science are changing people’s attitudes. The next step is to improve access to more medical treatment for obesity.”Ard noted that most commercial weight-loss programs have centered on diet rather than lifestyle changes. However, medical weight loss focuses “on the ideal weight for you to do the things you want to do and be healthy.”

For people with serious weight problems who are not interested in, or candidates for, weight-loss surgery, the Weight Management Center has two physician-supervised weight-loss programs that go beyond diet and exercise to tackle obesity from multiple angles.

Gaining Freedom by Losing Weight

Katie ended up choosing the Optifast program, a comprehensive course that included meal-replacement and nutrition plans; behavior modification to promote lifestyle changes; counseling to address underlying issues that contribute to weight problems; medical attention to weight-related problems and personal exercise training with a fitness specialist; plus follow-up sessions, support, and guidance.“I knew that I needed to have the accountability piece in my journey and felt this more intensive program would provide that,” she explained.

Katie lost 90 pounds, went from a size 18 to a size four, and no longer takes any medication for weight-related problems.“Overall, I am significantly happier. The vanity part is nice, but I find more joy because I have more mobility and feel like food no longer controls my life,” Katie said. “I hiked Mount Rainer, kayaked in Thailand and went on an adventure tour in Australia. I lost so much weight, physically and mentally, and I gained freedom in my life to pursue the adventures I wanted.”

For more information about Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Weight Management Center programs and locations near you, call 336-716-6099 or visit WakeHealth.edu/WeightManagement. 

 


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