Lindsey’s struggle with her weight began in childhood. She lived with her father, who was a single parent, and so they often ate out or had meals that were quick to fix but not the healthiest. She did not notice the weight gain at first, but then around age 10 other kids started to point it out. From middle school on, it seemed like she was always on one diet or another.
After having her son a few years ago, she weighed 215 pounds and was still on an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting. She tried low-calorie and low-fat foods. She tried high-fat, low-carb foods. She tried lots of exercise. She tried over-the-counter weight loss drugs.
While her weight dropped to as low as 178 pounds at one point, she felt sluggish and unhealthy. As a full-time mechanical engineering student and mom with a part-time cake decorating business on the side, she wanted to feel healthy and energetic.
When she saw her MultiCare primary care provider, Shamsa Mawjee, MD, she would frequently ask for advice on addressing her weight. Her weight had reached 196 pounds when she learned about a new medical weight loss program based at the MultiCare Center for Weight Loss and Wellness (CWLW), which included seeing a primary care physician who was board-certified in obesity medicine and a dietitian.
At first Lindsey was skeptical, because she had seen a dietitian when she was a kid and they basically just explained the food pyramid to her. Her skepticism quickly turned to excitement when she met Jeffrey Hooper, DO, in August 2016.
"It was very helpful to work with an expert who understood weight loss on a deeper level than most primary care physicians," says Lindsey.
In addition, she was excited to learn that the CWLW Medical Nutrition Therapists were more than just registered dietitians. They also served as health coaches who would help identify her personal challenges to losing weight and help hold her accountable during their sessions, which were held every two weeks to one month.
After her initial meeting with Dr. Hooper, Lindsey met with her Medical Nutrition Therapist, Melanie Machado, who spent time learning how Lindsey was currently eating and working with her to lay out a meal plan. The plan was based on a Mediterranean diet, which is a style of eating that focuses on on anti-inflammatory foods including produce, fish, whole grains and healthy fats. Melanie helped her start a reduced-calorie diet with the goal of losing 1-2 pounds per week.
To help curb her hunger, she took an appetite suppressant called Phentermine. At first she felt like it was not working, but Dr. Hooper worked very closely with her in making adjustments to the medication. After a few weeks it was working quite effectively.
Lindsey has become more mindful in her eating and knows that evenings are when she is the most prone to make a bad decision. She tries to make it easy to make good decisions during the day by packing fresh vegetables in her backpack to snack on at school. She also tries to exercise in the mornings, because she knows that she will feel an energy crash in the afternoons when she doesn’t.
Some days Lindsey doesn’t eat as well as she would like, but now rather than let that drag her down permanently, she gets a fresh start focusing again on eating right and exercising.
Over the course of the past four months, Lindsey has lost over 40 pounds, and is now at 154 pounds. She is now under her pre-pregnancy weight and feeling great. She is no longer reaching for a finish line in her weight loss, but has come to view it as a lifestyle change.
"My mindset is not about reaching a certain goal or number," she says, "This is simply how I live now."
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