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January 14, 2009 > Nutrition Program Can Help You Lose Weight The "Right Weigh"

Nutrition Program Can Help You Lose Weight The "Right Weigh"

Washington Hospital Weight Management Program Promotes Long Term Weight Loss and Improved Health

During this time of year, many people make weight-loss resolutions but they have trouble sticking to them. Losing weight is not just about dieting and looking good, it's about making permanent lifestyle and behavioral changes that result in healthy and long lasting weight loss. If you or someone you know would like to join a weight management program that can improve your long term health, then a nutrition program offered through Washington Hospital's Women's Center may be just for you.

The "Right Weigh" nutrition program is taught by a registered dietitian and promotes physical activity, nutrition and behavioral lifestyle changes for long term weight loss and improved health. The program is based on the most current evidence-based practice guidelines for weight loss by major health organizations including the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), among others.

"The goal of the "Right Weigh" program is to provide the necessary tools to help women in our community achieve healthy weight loss, reduce the risk of disease and improve the quality of their lives," says Andrea Vintro, R.D., M.S., Washington Hospital registered dietitian and program course instructor. "Education and self-management are key components to aiding long-term results and the emphasis will be on learning about nutrient components of foods, meal planning, the role of physical activity and behavior strategies."

Geared exclusively for women, participants will initially meet with Vintro one to one for an individualized nutrition assessment. Based on personal weight loss goals and estimated energy needs, a meal plan is developed, as well as individualized recommendations for physical activity. The assessment also identifies barriers to behavior change, and aids Vintro in helping the participant determine the best path for successful weight loss. After the initial consultation, participants will attend eight, small group sessions over a 12 week period. Classes will include individual weight checks followed by group education sessions on pertinent topics that will help the individual stay focused on their weight management goals.

"The emphasis is on whole foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats, says Vintro. "Although all foods can fit into a healthy diet, we learn about which foods should be "regular", or "sometimes" foods - foods that should be eaten only occasionally, and in smaller amounts. We want to make sure the education is tailored to help individuals include special food to avoid feelings of deprivation."

Is Fat Really the Enemy?
According to Vintro, it wasn't that long ago when nutrition experts were advocating fat-free diets to achieve weight loss and long term health, but that's not always the case anymore.

"Fat is essential to the functioning of a healthy body, and we need to find ways to incorporate these healthy fats (plant oils, nuts, seafood) into our diets," she says. "It can be tricky, and sometimes a bit scary, because we also know that with fat, comes a lot of calories."

Vintro says that many people trying to lose weight already know a lot about what they should do to lose weight. She says the difficulty comes in the "How-To" and to implement the necessary changes into our daily lives.

"It's imperative that the diet and exercise goals are tailored to the individual - this is not a "one-size fits all" approach," she says. "This is often why individuals get discouraged following a diet because it doesn't take the individuals life, time schedules and responsibilities into consideration. This program educates and guides the participant to empower themselves to achieve a healthier weight. We provide the tools and options the participant needs to individualize the meal and exercise plans to fit their needs."

Health Benefits
Vintro, who has worked for several years as a research dietitian and also received a Certificate in Adult Weight Management through the American Dietetic Association, estimates that participants in the "Right Weigh" program should experience healthy weight loss of one to two pounds a week. Over the 12 week program, participants may also see other benefits such as a drop in their high blood pressure and improvement in their cholesterol levels. Participants will also likely experience an increase in energy and improved mood.

Group Discussion
Each group session will start off with an interactive lecture and participants are encouraged to ask questions and provide perspective. The group sessions can be a valuable opportunity for participants to share experiences and insight that can benefit the entire group.

Can Anyone Join This Program?
All women who want to lose weight but either don't know how to begin, or have been unsuccessful with "other" weight loss programs, are encouraged to sign up. Vintro says that women who struggle with barriers that prevent healthful eating will benefit from this program. Women with severe obesity and those that need to continue weight loss upon completion of the program will be referred to appropriate health providers as needed. (Participants will be asked to inform and be cleared by their physician before participating.)

Vintro says that research in the area of weight management has come full circle by identifying whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low fat dairy) and regular exercise as key components to a healthy weight, rather than focusing solely on getting enough "specific" nutrients in our diet.

"Although scientists are still identifying disease-preventing nutritional components and chemicals, The "Right Weigh" program bridges the science to the real world and the big picture: eating real food and navigating our way around the constant bombardment of food advertisements for processed foods," she says.

Classes are Now Forming for the "Right Weigh" Program
To register for the "Right Weigh" Nutrition program, call Kathy Hesser, R.N., Washington Women's Center Coordinator at (510) 608-1356 to schedule your private consultation starting Tuesday, January 29th. Group classes begin on Tuesday, February 10 and meet once a week for the first four weeks. Group meetings will then meet every two weeks for the next two months. The fee for the entire program is $185. Group classes and meetings will take place inside the Washington Women's Center Conference Room located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

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