Jefferson Weight Management Program Provides Tools, Support and Motivation to Lose Weight

weight loss patient, Eddie Bruce

Eddie Bruce before going through the Jefferson Comprehensive Weight Management Plan

In 2014, Eddie Bruce, band leader and entertainer, sought out the help of Jefferson’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases. His health was not where he wanted it to be and a high blood-sugar test motivated him to reach out for help. Eddie made an appointment with Dr. Serge Jabbour, Division Director, because he was highly recommended by friends and family.

During the appointment, Eddie was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and Dr. Jabbour prescribed medication and encouraged him to lose weight. When Eddie had a follow-up appointment a few months later, he was not making the progress he had hoped and was diagnosed with diabetes. He asked Dr. Jabbour about Jefferson’s Comprehensive Weight Management Program.

“I had been on every diet program out there,” Eddie said. “I lost the weight, but it would always come back. I liked that Jefferson’s program looked aggressive.”

Jefferson’s program uses a product called OPTIFAST®, a medically-supervised, nutritionally-balanced, liquid diet that provides participants with 800 calories per day. The program is clinically proven with documented outcomes in more than 80 research studies.

“For about a week, it was tough,” Eddie said. “Shortly after, I started to feel energized. I saw a large weight loss and that helped motivate me.”

But for Eddie, what really sets the program apart is the team approach to weight management and the supportive education, led by Cheryl Marco, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.

“The difference is the classes and Cheryl’s approach which is really about personal responsibility,” he said. “The classes are fact-based and study-based information. I thought I knew everything but the classes are so informative, so practical. Cheryl is remarkable.”

Pretty soon, Eddie was seeing the results.

“My health improved dramatically,” he said. “The fatigue went away, I felt so much better. My levels, including cholesterol, all went down. My diabetes is now controlled entirely by diet.”

The Comprehensive Weight Management Program takes participants through a three-part process. The first phase lasts six to 12 weeks and includes the 800-calorie-per-day liquid diet and mandatory weekly group meetings. Average weight loss is 15-20 percent of body weight. The second phase transitions participants from the liquid diet to a new, healthy way of eating. The maintenance phase is ongoing and includes support sessions for continuing education about nutrition, maintenance and healthy behaviors that will last a lifetime.

“Life is so much easier, so much more fun,” he said. “I’m right around my goal, still completing the transition phase. The classes include great information about superfoods and how to eat out at restaurants.”

weight loss patient Eddie Bruce

Eddie after the program.

Cheryl attributes Eddie’s success to his willingness to take personal responsibility. “We provide the education about the skills and tools needed and an engaged participant will try different things to see what works for them,” she said. “Eddie has been engaged every step of the way.”

Cheryl also emphasized that many weight loss programs work – for the short term. But long term success is more elusive and requires behavior change. “It’s very difficult to get participants to buy into the behavior change,” she said. “They think weight loss is the outcome but really behavior change is the goal. The weight loss comes from the behavior change.”

Eddie agrees. “The hard part is not the weight loss – it’s the weight management,” he said. “Staying connected is the key.”

Jefferson’s Comprehensive Weight Management Program is offered in Center City and Bala Cynwyd. Contact the Weight Management Program to find out more.

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