By Cheri Hinshelwood
A significant turning point in Greg Lisenbee’s lifelong weight-loss battle came while listening to the welcome speaker at Mission Weight Management Center’s free information session two years ago. She was a remarkably self-assured woman, who at one time carried an extra 70 pounds.
“I was inspired to follow her example,” said Lisenbee, who remembers being an overweight child when obesity was uncommon and misunderstood. “I realize now anyone carrying more weight than he should is just not making the best choices to manage his disease.”
With a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 when he started, obesity had begun to take its toll. Getting winded while taking the stairs was concerning, and chronic knee, back and foot pain made activities more difficult. To top it off, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol signified something needed to change.
From counting calories to following popular diets, Lisenbee repeated a pattern focused on weight loss for more than 30 years. Mission Weight Management Center is different.
“Losing weight is just one part of appropriate weight management,” said 55-year-old Lisenbee. Through intensive lifestyle interventions, Lisenbee learned about his triggers, coping strategies and exercise science. One of his most important takeaways was learning obesity is a disease that can be managed.
Mission Weight Management Center addresses nutrition, activity and behavioral health. The program hinges on a three-pronged approach — weekly lifestyle modification classes, individual visits with program experts and homework. Candidates for the program have a BMI of at least 30 or a BMI between 27 and 29 coupled with weight-related medical issues like diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure or heart disease.
Most weight-related medical conditions can be improved with modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent, known as medically significant weight loss, explained Sonia Humphrey, MD, Medical Director with Mission Weight Management. Many patients at the center lose up to 20 to 30 percent.
Patients are encouraged to share their experiences, choices, struggles and tips instead of weight and weight loss to reinforce positive lifestyle change.
“We take a closer look at what our body needs versus what it wants. The more you focus on what it needs, the more consistent and healthy your eating choices become,” said Lisenbee.
“Greg is especially good at the homework,” said Dr. Humphrey. “He consistently looks at his old habits to actively apply what he’s learning to meet his health goals.”
“Success is when I’m following my new routines, and they are so much a part of my life that I don’t have to think about them anymore,” said Lisenbee.
Greg’s Weight-Loss Tips
For Lisenbee, going to Mission Weight Management Center has been life changing. “I feel much better and much more confident about my overall health,” he said. Here are a few tips that have helped him over the last two years:
- Plan 5 to 6 eating occasions per day to consume your ideal daily caloric intake. “This model increases metabolism and minimizes the chances of extreme hunger, which can sabotage your progress.”
- Keep carbs and proteins in balance daily. “Ideally the amount of proteins will match your carb intake each day to keep them in balance.”
- Don’t think of any particular food as bad. “If you really want something less than ideal for your body, eat it and enjoy it. But understand moderation is key.”
- Be mindful of what drives you to eat. “If you’re not truly hungry or it’s not time to eat, consider drinking a glass of water, talking with a friend or going for a walk. If after 10 minutes you’re still hungry, then eat.”
- Be consistent with regular exercise. “The goal is six times per week for 50 minutes of deliberate activity to both burn fat and build muscle.”
- Don’t be shy about forming a support system among friends and family. “There is no shame in letting people know you’re trying to be healthier, and you need their help to make it work.”
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. “I integrate each new tool and skill into my life to the greatest extent possible. That way, eventually I won’t have to think about it.”
Sonia Humphrey, MD, is Medical Director with Mission Weight Management.