A weight loss program that’s different

lthough each individual’s weight loss goal is different, the aim of treatment remains the same – to improve your health and quality of life. Here are four reasons why the medical weight management program at Houston Methodist will help you reach your goal.

1. What is medical weight management? Why is it better for me?  

Medical weight management is a physician-supervised weight loss program that allows patients with a BMI of 30 or above to safely and rapidly lose excess weight through a very low calorie diet (low carbohydrate/high protein).  

Shenese lost 105 lbs. with the help of the Houston Methodist Weight Management Center.
Shenese lost 105 lbs. with the help of the Houston Methodist Weight Management Center.

Prior to entry, a physician will review a patient’s detailed history, physical, blood work and electrocardiogram (measures heart’s electrical activity) to ensure that it is safe for them to be in the program. Thereafter, a physician will adjust the patient’s prescription medications for safety, address diet related symptoms, review monthly blood work and ECGs with every 50 pounds of weight loss to ensure continued safety. The physician will monitor medical safety as part of the comprehensive team approach to weight loss that includes weekly nurse, dietitian and counselor visits. 

2. Why is it important that I see a medical weight loss or obesity specialist?

An obesity medicine physician completed additional education, training and testing to become board certified in weight loss medicine. Certification as a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) signifies excellence in the practice of obesity medicine and distinguishes a physician as having achieved a high level of competency and understanding in obesity care.  Only about 1500 physicians in the U.S. and Canada have completed the process to become board certified in obesity medicine by the American Board of Obesity Medicine. 

3. How long will it take for me to lose weight? How much weight will I lose? 

Typically, patients in the first phase of our rapid medical weight loss program, called New Beginnings, can expect to lose two to five pounds per week. Patients most often stay in this program until they achieve a reasonable goal weight. However, some may choose to enter the transition phase, called My Journey, before their goal weight is achieved, and can expect to lose one to two pounds per week, depending on the plan they choose with the dietitian.  

4. I’ve tried a lot of programs, why is this one different? How will I ensure that I am successful at this?

Numerous studies have shown that successful weight loss, and maintenance of weight loss, is best achieved through a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach that addresses the medical, nutritional, behavioral and physical activity contributors to excess weight. Through adherence to the rapid medical weight loss program, patients will achieve significant weight loss through scientifically proven methods.  However, our ultimate goal is to help patients maintain the weight loss for the rest of their lives by providing the education, support and tools necessary to sustain their new healthy lifestyle. 

Learn more about your weight loss options at our open house events. Join an open house event at one of our Houston area hospitals. Learn about your weight loss options and enjoy a healthy cooking demonstration. Attendance is free; however, registration is required.

Learn more about the Weight Management Center and the programs it offers.

Weight loss: a challenging journey

Lies. All lies. Whatever the number says on the scale can’t be right. At least, that’s what I tell myself. But my clothes are telling a different story. Getting dressed in the morning has been more like forcing toothpaste back into the tube. I suck it all in and pray that I will be able to zip up my pants.

I was doing so well after I had my gastric bypass. I was eating right and I was trying to move more despite arthritis and chronic pain. All of my progress got derailed last year with an unexpected health crisis. After that, everything fell apart. As I recovered, I didn’t just fall off the wagon; I jumped head first into emotional eating and back to my sugar addiction. Before I knew what happened, I picked up 30-plus of the 100 pounds I lost.

Weight loss isn’t easy. I know that is an understatement, but it’s true. Unlike a drug addiction, with food, you can’t live without the thing you are addicted to. It doesn’t help that all of the foods that are bad for you taste so good. Part of the problem is behavioral. I fell back into old habits when I was presented with a difficult challenge in my life.

In 2009, I had the roux-en-y gastric bypass at Houston Methodist Hospital. I truly believe it saved my life. At the time, I was 36 and plagued with a bunch health issues, including prediabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, osteoarthritis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

I went through the classes at the Weight Management Center. The instructors reminded me that bariatric surgery is a tool and that it requires lifestyle changes and ongoing support.

Sheshe lost 100 pounds as a result of her gastric bypass surgery, diet and lifestyle habits.

I made many changes, but I chose to disregard key components, such as support. Each month, I get an email from the Weight Management Center about their meetings, but I only attended a few. I didn’t believe I needed the support because I didn’t believe that I had a problem. But then last year happened, and after I recovered from my month-long hospital stay, all will power vanished. I should have attended meetings and made an appointment with a dietitian to help get me back on track. I didn’t.

30-something pounds later and a bunch of clothes that no longer fit, I have to ask, “How well is going at it alone working for me?” I know the answer: It’s not.

“What am I going to do about it?” I’ve made an appointment with a dietitian to create a meal plan and deal with my emotional eating. The hard part will be giving up sugar all over again. I’ll also attend meetings and look into joining a support group.

I have a lot of hard work ahead. The improvements in my health and quality of life have been significant, which is motivation enough for me to acknowledge that the scale hasn’t been lying.

Unlike a drug addiction, with food, you can’t live without the thing you are addicted to. Click To Tweet

The Weight Management Center offers treatment, services and support for the various stages of the weight loss journey. The center’s specialized programs include a medical weight management program; Step LITE, a moderate weight loss program; medical nutrition consultation; diabetes education program and weight loss surgery.

The center has locations in the Texas Medical Center, Sugar Land, Willowbrook/Northwest Houston and West Houston/Katy. To take the next step in achieving your weight loss goals, register for a free orientation session or visit houstonmethodist.org/weight-loss.

Weight loss: there’s an app for that

“I will start tomorrow” was a common phrase for me. I uttered it every day, usually as I was eating a Pop Tart or a bowl of pretzels or handful after handful of Wheat Thins.

Weight loss was just one of those things that I would get to … eventually. But as the years went by, I watched my weight continue to rise. I always vowed that I never wanted to weigh “240,” so whenever I would get within a few pounds, I would exercise or lay off the sweets for a day or two, lose a couple of pounds and breathe a sigh of relief.

On February 20, 2014, I stepped on the scale and it said “239.8,” not the dreaded “240,” but about as close as you can get. I knew it was time for a change. I was tired all the time, I had low self-esteem and I knew that 240 would eventually become 250 and it would just keep going up if I didn’t do something now.

A couple of weeks earlier, my daughter began using a food app called MyFitnessPal as a way for her to stay in shape for her upcoming soccer season. That was the spark I needed.

The app is not magic, but it does help you lose weight by simply counting calories. After you put in your current weight and then your desired weight, it gives the number of calories you can eat each day to lose the weight you want.

I put in that I wanted to lose 55 pounds, so it gave me 1,340 calories. It sounds like very little, but if you can make it through the first few days, you gain momentum and it becomes a new way of life.

3d supermarket smartphone
From automating calorie counting to assigning letter grades to foods, apps can help you lose weight and make healthy food choices.

While calorie counting is a great way to lose weight, Houston Methodist dietitian Kari Kooi says it’s important to make sure your calories count and that you are just not counting calories.

In other words, you want to be eating nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc., and staying away from processed foods that usually have empty calories. She says a good rule of thumb is to eat foods with five or less ingredients in them.

Kooi adds there are a couple of other apps besides My Fitness Pal. One is called Fooducate. This app assigns a letter grade, A through F, to the foods you eat. It also tells you why certain foods receive the grade they receive.

Another app is called ShopWell. It helps you pick groceries based on your health goals.

In the beginning of this quest, I did not exercise at all, but I have recently started to incorporate that into the plan.

While counting calories is helpful, don't forget to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods, too Click To Tweet

I downloaded a workout app called Endomondo. It tracks how far and for how long you run or walk, and measures how many calories you burn. The great thing is that it connects to MyFitnessPal, so every time I exercise it automatically adds the extra calories I have burned to the daily calories I can eat.

Since February 21, 2014, I have lost 34 pounds. While I haven’t turned into Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt, I feel much better about myself and my health.

Through this journey I have found that whether you have an app or go someplace that helps you, losing weight is all in your mind. I know I sound like Tony Robbins, but it’s true. If you decide to do it, you can do it. Food apps are just great tools that will help get you there.