Weight-management goal: Lose it for good

For the Mirror

The Northwest Center for Weight Management, located on the campus of St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, has begun a medically supervised program to help individuals lose weight safely and keep it off for the rest of their lives.

The physician-directed program’s officials say it enables participants to move beyond vague promises of some weight-loss plans and toward sensible strategies for real, long-term success. It provides lifestyle education to help people improve their daily nutrition and exercise. And it offers personalized attention and followup, with an emphasis on lifetime weight-management.

“Successful weight-management is a matter of learning and practicing new skills,” said Dr. David Bales, medical director for the Northwest Center for Weight Management. “Our program focuses on teaching new lifestyle skills for decreasing calories, increasing physical activity, and eating more fruits and vegetables to manage weight and improve overall health.”

Two diet options are offered. The medically supervised diet is for those who want to lose 30 or more pounds; it uses a low-calorie or very low-calorie diet of special nutritional shakes and entrees to promote significant weight loss under medical supervision.

The second diet option promotes slower, more moderate weight loss without medical supervision by using nutritionally complete shakes, special entrees, fruits and vegetables.

Both diet options meet 100 percent of the nutritional requirements for adults, including vitamins and minerals, officials said.

After working with the clinical staff to determine the most appropriate diet option, individuals who will be on the medically supervised diet undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation and receive regular follow-up consultations.

Additionally, participants attend weekly classes to learn more about how to lose weight safely and about strategies for adding physical activities to their daily routines. Participants keep daily records and use their personalized information to create weekly goals that they share with their health educator.

Following the weight-loss phase, those enrolled in the program attend weekly classes for professional support while learning steps to achieve long-term weight management.

Each person receives a health-risk appraisal that yields information to reinforce new, better-health habits, Bales said.

“Our program is easy to use and easy to understand,” he said. “Most importantly, it shows people how to move beyond promises and make plans they can follow for success.”

For example, Bales said, the program inspires people to break through the usual but ill-defined New Year resolutions to lose weight and get on a monitored schedule of regular exercise and improved nutrition. The failure of most weight-loss programs is the cycle of making vague promises to one’s self that are easily broken or forgotten, which only makes the next infraction easier, he explained.

Northwest Center for Weight Management is affiliated with St. Francis Hospital and Franciscan Health System, which includes St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. The multi-week program is in partnership with Health Management Resources, a national provider of medically supervised weight-management regimens.

The per-person cost depends on the length of the weight-loss phase and level of medical supervision. Some health insurance will cover some of the costs. More information is available at (253) 944-6544.

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