For Rita Brosie and Teresa Billman, weight loss can’t be measured in numbers alone.
Brosie shed pounds through bariatric surgery at OSU Medical Center and now feels energetic and able to do more with her son. Billman, who lost weight through Ohio State’s Living Well program, is more active, sleeps better and feels more fashionable. The health benefits of their transformations are proportionate to their weight loss—but the psychological and emotional benefits are off the scale.
“I was unhappy with my body and needed to change,” says Billman, a 41-year-old decorator from Columbus. “Now, I do things I maybe wouldn’t have done before, like bike ride. I feel more confident about myself when I interact with other people.”
Roughly 57 million Americans suffer from some degree of obesity, a condition that increases health risks. The Ohio State Comprehensive Weight Management Program offers options like Living Well, a comprehensive wellness program, in addition to surgical weight-loss procedures.
OSU Medical Center has been designated a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Ohio State’s program performs more weight-loss surgeries than any other program in central Ohio. We were the first facility in central Ohio to offer minimally invasive gastric bypass surgery, which creates a small stomach pouch and changes the pathway of the small intestines. Ohio State also offers the laparoscopic gastric band surgical weight-loss procedure, and was the first in Ohio to perform it. The gastric band is used to shrink the active area of the stomach with an adjustable silicon band. All options are geared toward helping patients make sustained, successful changes.
When Billman enrolled in Living Well, she was frustrated and looking for help when she made a cold call after thumbing through the phonebook. After trying other programs, she wanted something that worked. Living Well was unique.
“It’s so different having college-educated professionals teaching me instead of selling me pre-packaged food,” she says.
Living Well begins with a health and fitness assessment and orientation followed by weekly classes with dietitians, exercise specialists and behaviorists. The six-month Phase One, the first of three phases, reinforces the habits necessary for lifestyle change. Dietitians teach meal planning, portion control, healthy cooking and grocery shopping skills. Behaviorists expose the psychological roots behind eating issues, unhealthy eating cues and healthy ways to deal with stress. Exercise specialists provide individualized exercise plans and instruct participants on the benefits of a variety of activity options and the impact of these on long-term weight maintenance.
“Our weight-loss participants are shown how to make lifestyle changes to lose the excess weight and maintain the loss, but they must make the change to be successful,” says Shirley Kindrick, PhD, wellness and prevention team leader and registered dietitian for the Center for Wellness and Prevention
Billman, who lost 50 pounds during Phase One and went from plus-size to her new smaller size clothes, feels Living Well made her more independent.
“Now I can go anywhere and make good choices,” she says. “I’m part of real life, not on a special program.”
Brosie, a 42-year-old single mom from Zanesville, also wanted to empower herself. Two years ago, she was overweight, suffering from numerous health issues including diabetes and paying for an expensive regimen of 15 medications. She decided to make a change and undergo gastric bypass surgery. She connected with Bradley Needleman, MD
, medical director of the Bariatric Surgery Program at Ohio State.
“Dr. Needleman is an excellent doctor,” she says. “He was very professional and very caring.”
After completing a six-month session of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle education, Brosie had the surgery in May 2008. She has since lost 164 pounds and her cholesterol and blood pressure are down. She believes the support she received from Ohio State played an important role.
“I think the encouragement is a big thing,” she says. “Knowing that someone’s looking out for your best interest makes you feel good.”
Spotlight on Diabetes Treatment
Bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery can be a solution for those with severe weight issues. But Dara Schuster, MD, an Ohio State endocrinologist and associate medical director, and a growing number of her colleagues, also believes it can help people with type 2 diabetes.
“People need to think about this surgery as a tool for diabetes treatment,” says Dr. Schuster. “It’s really the best thing we’ve got.”
Recently published research shows that nearly 90 percent of the morbidly obese patients studied returned to normal blood sugar levels within the first year following their bariatric surgery. About 60 percent of those patients were still diabetes-free five to 16 years later. Those who were insulin-dependent at the time of surgery were more likely to have their diabetes return.
Ask Your Advocate
HOW DO I DECIDE WHICH WEIGHT-LOSS OPTION IS RIGHT FOR ME?
The optimal weight-loss plan includes three components: diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. Certain patients may eventually require other interventions beyond these changes, such as surgery or medications. Surgery is usually only recommended for people who have severe obesity and who have attempted weight loss with diet, exercise or medication without success.
Schedule an appointment at OSU Internal Medicine at Morehouse or with Dr. Grever by calling 1-800-293-5123.
SMART, BALANCED DIETS CAN LEAD TO LIGHTER FRAMES AND HEAVIER WALLETS
Saving cash and cutting calories can sometimes seem like conflicting goals, but dietitian Shirley Kindrick, PhD, of the OSU Center for Wellness and Prevention, believes it’s feasible to keep both your budget and waistline in check.
“Watch the ads for what’s on sale and stick to your menu plan,” she says. “It’s pretty easy if we just take a little time to plan.”
Dr. Kindrick recommends serving smaller portion sizes and replacing part of the meats with fruits and vegetables. In season fruits and vegetables not only taste great but they are less expensive when in season. She also suggests using a slow cooker, which has the advantage of saving time. Preparing chili with extra tomatoes and beans stretches money while increasing the protein and vegetable content of a filling dish. Finally, using salsa as both a condiment and a sauce or marinade can add flavor without loads of extra fat.
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