If you’re overweight or struggling with obesity, you are not alone. Nearly two thirds of adults in the U.S. are dealing with this epidemic (National Center for Health Statistics (1999), (2000) Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults). Obesity has been classified as a chronic disease. During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity with rates rising in 37 states in 2007. Being obese or overweight is not about how you look: it’s about your health. Being obese or overweight can affect your basic health and quality of life.
In terms of its financial consequences, obesity is estimated to cost $45 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity to US businesses. It has led to a 36% increase in health care spending. It has outpaced both smoking and alcohol as a medical cost (RWJ Foundation 4/9/08).
The more overweight you are, the more likely you are going to face health problems. This is why decreasing an unhealthy weight is so important: it can help lower your chances of developing certain health problems, and even help you improve managing some conditions you already have. Studies have shown that “medically significant” weight loss of even 5% to 10% of your total weight can have a measurable positive impact on your health.
Overweight and obesity are complex problems due to multiple factors. It is a fact that weight gain occurs when there is an imbalance in the amount of calories the body takes and what it uses up in both non-exercise and exercise-related activities. Changes in diet (quality and quantity of food intake) have been shown to decrease weight initially but anytime someone decreases ONLY caloric intake to lose weight, your metabolic rate will slow down. This is a normal adaptive response of the body meant to assure survival in times of famine. A lower carbohydrate diet with an optimal protein intake and vegetable intake will minimize the decrease in metabolic rate, but it will still occur. This is one of the key roles exercise and physical fitness play in healthy weight maintenance, avoiding the “yo-yo” effect of dieting alone. An exercise program will be recommended, which is individualized by a certified personal fitness trainer.
However, weight gain also occurs when there is an imbalance of hormones and nutrients, accumulation of toxins in the bowel and liver that do not allow stubborn fat to be released, and stressors in the mind and body. Hence, we find ourselves faced with “stubborn” weight and fat which may be very difficult to lose with calorie restriction and exercise alone. The SaJune Weight Management program is designed to restore optimal metabolic balance and address these issues.
Our program uses an approach that aims to correct the underlying imbalances that lead to weight gain. The program is individualized for each patient, avoiding the cookie-cutter approach. The program is medically supervised by a board-certified physician trained in bariatric medicine, a doctor focused on the treatment of overweight and obese patients and their related conditions and complications. All patients undergo a thorough medical/nutritional history and comprehensive laboratory review to allow optimization of hormones (like thyroid, insulin and cortisol). A baseline body composition analysis and anthropometric measurements are obtained to help assess medical health risks and establish goals.
Pharmaceutical-grade supplements will be recommended to optimize nutrition. Specific nutrients are required to activate each hormone so attention to having high dose nutrients on board is critical. For example, iodine is a necessary element for thyroid hormone activation. Specific nutrients will be recommended to take while on the program to allow optimal balance and improve metabolism.
Our various dietary plans were reviewed with registered dietitian and nutritionist Tara Gidus (MS, LD/N), the “Diet Diva” and team dietitian for the Orlando Magic (www.dietdiva.net). Our dietary plans (calorie-restricted or non-restricted) utilize real foods modified by a personal nutritional advisor.
Detoxification is an important step in our weight management program. In order to appreciate its role in health, one must understand that all body functions are based on chemical and electrical activity. These processes proceed and function optimally at a tissue pH of around 7.4 (alkaline). A drop in pH (acidity) leads to a drop in the efficiency of chemical and electrical functions in the body. In the US, we are exposed on a daily basis to various toxins (chemicals, pesticides, water contaminants, food preservatives, heavy metals and electromagnetic radiation) that deter the normal uptake and utilization of nutrients, carbohydrates and proteins. The resulting acidic, low-energy state of inflammation with low oxygen uptake in the body makes it difficult to treat disease or excess weight. Bowel toxins may prevent the normal absorption of nutrients necessary for hormonal activation and the metabolism of sugar, fat and protein. This cleansing process aims to stimulate the body’s natural means of processing and elimination by decreasing the body’s toxic burden, increasing oxygenation, circulation and alkalinity to help reduce inflammation, allowing the liver and intestines to function without hindrance.
If medically appropriate, we also utilize prescription medications which will help you attain your goals. These may include injectable medications (like HCG and other supplements that help boost metabolism) or FDA-approved appetite suppressants.
Another key piece of healthy weight maintenance is the life-style modifications one must incorporate into your daily routine. We will assist you in incorporating behavioral guidelines which will improve your overall health and assist in the maintenance of healthy weight. We will help you set and attain specific, realistic and forgiving goals which will help you progress successfully. We will help you identify the cues which are associated with undesired behaviors and help you change them.
We are aware of the emotional strain that extra weight places on your life so we approach each person individually and with love and attention. Patients tell us that they actually look forward to their weekly visits and know that we are here for them.
You can gain weight back after any diet or weight loss plan if you do not make permanent lifestyle changes with regards to eating, physical activity and restoring the balance that made you gain the excess weight in the first place. The initial decrease in your weight loss is only the first step on a lifetime journey of healthy weight maintenance. We hope that you will be able to adopt the lessons we teach for lifelong weight management during our program.