Enthusiastic participants in the Medical Weight Management Program at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh have lost a ton of weight. The group of just over 150 people has collectively lost over 2,000 pounds.
The medical-based diet program is designed to help people with Type 2 diabetes and other medical conditions get their body mass index (BMI) into an acceptable range — typically 30 or below.
Nurse practitioner Michelle Medvecz is the coordinator of the program.
“This is completely rewarding for me,” says Medvecz. “I’ve worked with people with chronic diseases for 15 years. I never get to tell anyone they’re fixed. So seeing people come in and say they’ve lost 16 pounds, or they need to buy smaller pants, it’s so exciting. They smile. They’re joyful.”
Using food logs, exercise programs and the help of dietitians, physical therapists and behavioral health professionals, the Medical Weight Loss Program has been helping people lose weight and avoid weight loss surgery. Developed by Dr. John Newman, the program focuses on a low carbohydrate diet as an alternative option for surgical weight reduction procedures.
“It’s everything — how you feel, how you’re sleeping, how much you’re moving,” adds Medvecz. “It’s not just the food on your plate that makes you the size you are. It’s a whole lifestyle.”
Loretta Pamenter of Ripon has lost 46 pounds – which is remarkable considering she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and back problems. She’s tried countless diets throughout her life. She says this one works for her because it’s a personalized plan, led by medical professionals.
“All the other diets say ‘we’ll help you lose weight and get down four dress sizes.’ That’s not what this is about,” she said. “My lab work is my biggest success so far. I was a stroke waiting to happen. My triglycerides were super high, now they’re normal. My good cholesterol went up, my bad cholesterol went down. Now I can cut my grass without gasping for air. This is not a fad diet.”
Pamenter says she has tried everything to lose weight.
“I would lose a little bit of weight and then it would just come right back on,” she says. “When I went to see Michelle, she designed this diet for me and I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness!’ I’m a well-educated woman. I was thinking everything I was doing was good for me, and it was the opposite of what I should have been doing. The bell went off for me.”
Pamenter says she has other medical conditions that make it hard for her to exercise. But this program provided a solution for that, too.
“Michelle referred me to a physical therapist who gave me a home exercise program that I could do. This is a holistic program,” says Loretta. “I know what I need to do, but having Michelle there to talk to is a wonderful thing. They’ve made this personalized for me. This isn’t about pant size. That’s the difference this time.”