UCHealth program lays out real-life ways to manage weight | SteamboatToday.com

UCHealth program lays out real-life ways to manage weight

George Watts recently completed the Real-Life Weight Management program and feels that it will continue to change her life.

As George Watts sat in her doctor's office earlier this year, she wasn't looking for change. But that's exactly what she found as she read a flyer on the wall for the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center's Real Life Weight Management program.

"I was having problems getting motivated," Watts said. "I hit 60 a few years ago and was using that as an excuse."

In fact, she said, she had lots of excuses. But as she looked at the flyer, she decided the time had come to put those aside and sign up for the class, which started in two days.

"We thought that there really wasn't a program that was all-encompassing, run by health professionals," said Cara Marrs, a registered dietitian with UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. "We didn't want it to be about how quickly can you lose 20 pounds by severely restricting your calories or just doing meal replacement. What we really wanted to do was focus on teaching them to change the way they look at food, and the way they eat."

That program, which started two years ago, meets once a week for eight weeks. As part of the program, participants get a one-on-one meeting with either Marrs or Laura Stout, the two nutritionists that run the program.

"We saw a need for a program … We wanted to have something that was very individualistic, but still part of a group," Stout said. "We really want to focus on giving them information that they can use in their everyday life."

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The meeting allows Marrs and Stout to collect individual information on the 12 people who take the classes and tailor calorie levels and other aspects of the program so that those individuals have the best chance at success. That success is based not only on weight loss, but on giving the participants tools that will help them live healthier lives.

"Laura and Cara are teaching you how to use real food, not processed," Watts said. "They teach you to take real food and use it to get healthy. Weight loss comes after that."

The program is about a lot more than food, however. It includes the one-time individual health assessment, eight 1-hour classes, the science behind good nutrition, life skills to live by, balanced lifestyle and a good, healthy attitude.

Participants track their progress online, and the two nutritionists keep an eye on that progress each week, sending participants emails with suggestions on things they may want to change to achieve better health.

Marrs and Stout have asked Kelley McDaneld to come to the next session and show participants how acupuncture can help reduce stress and may aid in weight loss. Marrs said that the Real Life Weight Management program takes a holistic approach to help the participants make lifestyle changes that will not only help them lose weight, but will lead to better overall health.

"The participants are pretty varied … some have young children and are busy working parents, some are retirees, some have 90 pounds to lose and others have 5 or 10 pounds and just want to get into better health," Marrs  said. "They key is that they leave the program wth the tools they need to go beyond eight weeks.”

She said that participants will be educated on the benefits of eating a balanced diet that pulls them away from processed food, and they will be inspired to get their bodies moving.

"You don't have to run 100 miles — that is not really normal," Marrs said.  "You just have to move, and what that means is pretty varied. Some folks are in exercise classes, some are  jogging and some are skiing. But others are just trying to get moving."

The next program will run from March 1 through April 19, 2018, on Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. Those interested in participating can sign up online at info.yvmc.org/reallife or can call 970-870-1048 for more information.  The cost of the program is $225, which includes all eight sessions and the initial health assessment. There are no additional products to purchase and payment will be collected at the initial health assessment.

"I went in thinking that I had healthy habits, and I do have quite a few," Watts said. “But this taught me there is a lot more out there."