Jennifer wanted to lose weight without bariatric surgery, Dale wanted to control his diabetes without insulin shots, and Lisa just wanted a healthier relationship with food.
All three found the solutions they sought at the JCMG Weight Treatment Center. Since opening in 2003, the medically managed weight loss program has helped hundreds of Mid-Missourians lose weight to healthier levels. Once they’ve succeeded, the benefits multiply.
“The value is that I have better health now, that I’m happier, that I’m more confident. You can’t put a price on that,” said Lisa.
The unique program combines the expertise of physicians, nurses, dietitians, counselors and exercise specialists to help patients quickly and safely reach a healthy weight and maintain it for the long term.
“This is about more than just calories. Our participants build skills and knowledge which helps them transition into healthier lifestyle choices that are sustainable,” said Lisa Finley, a registered dietitian and program coordinator. “Our staff helps facilitate the discovery and learning process in a patient’s transformation.”
The center was launched by Dr. Christopher Case, endocrinologist, and Dr. Alan Rauba, internist and diabetes specialist, who screen each participant and monitor their progress with regular medical checks.
An initial phase of a very low calorie diet of meal replacements helps participants lose weight and reduce medications quickly. They also receive weekly instruction and support on healthy eating and exercise from the multi-disciplinary team of specialists.
Small groups of 12-15 participants meet in weekly evening sessions to gain ongoing support from professionals, as well as each other. “They hold each other accountable and encourage one another,” Finley explained.
The weight-loss phase is followed by a six-month phase aimed at weight maintenance. Participants put into practice the skills and tools which help them cope with stress or handle social situations without overeating, for example.
From 2006-2009, average annual weight loss for groups in the initial phase averaged 27-29 percent; six months later those groups were still averaging 24-25 percent weight change on a food-based plan.
Jennifer, who sought an alternative to surgery, said maintenance was the key to her successful weight loss. “This is the healthy bariatric surgery. You still lose a huge amount of weight, but with that you get a tremendous amount of support and knowledge and the tools it’s going to take to keep it off afterwards.”
Dale dropped and maintained his weight at such a healthy level that he no longer needed daily insulin shots to control his diabetes.
“When patients are able to stop or reduce medications, they’re saving a lot of money,” Finley noted. “That’s particularly important as health care changes and the economy becomes more challenging.”
Another participant, John, said the benefits went beyond his own weight loss. “It’s been good for my family members as well. The whole household eats a lot healthier.”
To attend a free informational meeting, call the JCMG Weight Treatment Center at 573-556-5774.