Win By Losing
Through Medi-Weightloss in Berwyn, individuals gain the incentive, support, and resources they need to achieve their long-term wellness goals.
Every year, as the calendar turns from December to January, Americans embrace the time-honored tradition of making changes for the better—such as cutting out bad habits, embracing exercise, or, most commonly, shedding unwanted pounds as a way to improve overall health. While many of these resolutions become distant memories by February, individuals who fulfill their commitment often do so by enlisting the help of professionals who are devoted to helping others succeed.
“Weight loss is difficult, and we are here for people who want to take that step toward healthy living,” says Penny Rose, office manager at Medi-Weightloss in Berwyn. “We’re here to be their cheerleaders, and to provide a judgment-free space for them, and we hope this is the last diet a patient will ever have to do.”
Since Medi-Weightloss opened its doors in December 2009, its patients have experienced some truly incredible results: In all, Medi-Weightloss patients have dropped more than 90,000 pounds, according to Rose. Besides relieving the physical and emotional burden of unwanted pounds, the Medi-Weightloss program can also help men and women curtail, combat, or prevent serious diseases related to excess weight—namely, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and diabetes.
“For a lot of people, food is a legal drug, and people are using it as such—and that’s hard, because you have to eat,” says Nicole Malany, Physician Assistant with Medi-Weightloss. “Unlike drugs, you can’t just say, ‘I will choose to no longer associate with people who eat food.’ Support is key, because it’s all very hard to do alone.”
At Medi-Weightloss’ facility in Berwyn, patients interact with licensed medical practitioners, including two Nurse Practitioners, three Certified Medical Assistants, and a Physician Assistant. Each treatment plan, which is customized to the individual, can be broken down into three distinct parts: the acute phase, the short-term maintenance phase, and the wellness phase. Individualized attention starts the moment the patient steps onto a Tanita digital scale, which provides a detailed analysis of the individual’s weight, including factors such as body mass index, water content, and body fat. The patient then meets one on one with a staff member to determine a path forward.
While each patient is unique, certain tactics can be applied to most cases. For example, most individuals follow a modified ketogenic diet. This restriction in the consumption of sugars and carbohydrates stimulates ketosis, the metabolic state that enables the body to use its own fat as its principal source of energy. Likewise, most patients are asked to keep a food journal, which is reviewed with Medi-Weightloss practitioners at weekly visits, so the individual’s diet can be modified, if needed, to promote weight loss.
“A lot of patients come to us because they feel like they’ve tried every diet under the sun,” says Alexandra Ott, a Nurse Practitioner with Medi-Weightloss. “It’s really rewarding when a patient comes to our clinic and they start to lose weight when they never thought they could.”
Rose says the individuals who tend to keep the weight off long term are those who embrace all three phases of treatment. In the acute phase, Medi-Weightloss advises patients to visit the Berwyn office weekly. Only then, after the patient has achieved his or her goal weight, does he or she move into the short-term maintenance phase, when a patient transitions back to “everyday living,” as Rose calls it, and “starts gradually adding certain foods back into a diet.”
Once a patient enters the wellness phase, he or she is encouraged to visit the office monthly. This, Rose says, is where the true long-term success of the Medi-Weightloss program shines.
“Throughout the process, patients are given one-to-one attention,” Rose says. “We have patients who have been in wellness for years. Some only visit every two to three months, but they do still check in. It may sound cliché, but managing a healthy weight really is a lifestyle change.”
As the Berwyn office is the only Medi-Weightloss clinic in Pennsylvania, individuals travel from far and wide to access the office’s services. The regularity with which patients visit the office not only ensures accountability but also maintains the close, personal relationship between patient and staff.
“We have patients who want to lose 15 to 20 pounds, and we have patients who want to lose well over 100 pounds,” Rose adds. “Our patients run the gamut; they include post-menopausal women, patients who have just given birth and want to lose baby weight, and patients who just don’t feel as fit as they’d like to and want to get a little healthier.”
Of course, the team at Medi-Weightloss understands that healthy living requires much more than simply monitoring one’s diet and encouraging physical fitness. In fact, one of the Berwyn clinic’s most remarkable offerings is counseling, as a way to help patients through the process.
“More often than not, a patient needs more than just treating a problem with a pill,” says Malany. “If we change our way of eating, and our lifestyle choices, we can really change a lot. Most primary medical providers just don’t have the time to offer effective preventative medical counseling, but we believe that kind of counseling is essential to an individual’s success.”
In addition, Ott says learning how to prepare meals effectively is one of the keys to maintaining a patient’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Even so, she says busy work schedules and other commitments can make meal prep an ongoing challenge. That’s why the Medi-Weightloss program offers recipes to teach patients how to prepare healthy, easy-to-make, and flavorful meals that use only a few ingredients.
“What really keeps me excited about the job is that our patients are so happy, and they’re so appreciative when they lose weight,” Rose says. “Even if a patient only loses one or two pounds in a week, it is a success. And if a patient has a week when they aren’t doing so well, we don’t judge; we just want to help them get back on track.”
Insurance companies have come to recognize the tremendous value associated with the kinds of services provided by Medi-Weightloss, which, incidentally, became credentialed by most major insurances approximately two years ago. In other words, now that such weight-loss programs are covered by insurance, patients have more incentive than ever to take the initiative and regain their health.
“Weight loss is not easy, so there is nothing wrong with needing help,” Malany adds. “There is not a perfect person among us. It’s never too late to start making positive changes in your life.”
901 Lancaster Ave., Suite 100
Photograph by Jody Robinson