To help meet the high demand for weight loss programs in the Lowcountry, Beaufort Memorial Hospital has launched Healthy Weight, a physician-supervised service designed to help overweight patients drop unwanted pounds and keep them off.
The goal is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of overweight- and obesity-associated conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and some cancers.
Led by board-certified obesity medicine specialist Dr. Yvette-Marie Pellegrino of Beaufort Memorial Lady’s Island Internal Medicine, Healthy Weight takes a holistic approach to weight loss, focusing on nutrition, exercise, behavior and medication.
“This is not your typical cookie-cutter weight loss program,” Pellegrino said. “We look at the patient’s health history, lifestyle and obstacles to losing weight and then develop an individualized plan that makes sense for that patient.”
Patients are asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire covering everything from previous diets they have tried to behaviors affecting their eating habits. They also need to provide a brief food journal.
At the first visit with the doctor, the patient will undergo a physical exam and biometric screening to establish a medical baseline. Depending on the patient’s health condition, further testing may be required. It could include blood work, an EKG or sleep study.
Working with a registered dietitian, Pellegrino will recommend a meal plan that fits the patient’s specific needs, work schedule and home life. Because exercise is also a key component of the program, Beaufort Memorial is offering Healthy Weight patients a special six-month LifeFit Wellness Center package that includes access to the hospital’s gym, group classes and eight sessions with a wellness coach at the significantly reduced rate of $200.
As part of their long-term maintenance plan, patients also may be prescribed medication to regulate hormones or insulin, slow down digestion or target binge-eating disorders.
“The majority of people who get on diets to lose weight will gain it back, plus 10 percent more,” Pellegrino said. “What we’re doing is not a short-term plan but realistic and ongoing lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy weight.”
By following the program, patients are expected to lose one to two pounds per week. Studies have shown people who lose weight gradually and steadily are more successful at keeping the weight off.
Pellegrino, who is also board-certified in family medicine, will also treat any comorbidity issues, including diabetes, arthritis and depression.
To participate in the program, patients should have a body mass equal to or greater than 25. For more information, call Beaufort Memorial Lady’s Island Internal Medicine at 843-522-7240.