Weight loss program teaches new lifestyle

A new weight loss program takes a more medical approach combining trainers, nurses and dietitians to educate participants.

"Smart Solutions teaches you why. It doesn't say this is what you need to do period. It says why. Why is calcium important? Why is this important? Why is it when you go to a restaurant you do x-y-z," said Samantha Rider, registered dietitian at Christus St. Patrick Hospital.

After 10 weeks in the program Leona Fletcher dropped almost 11 pounds, but she was even more excited about her lab results.

"I lost my father in November of last year to diabetes where he had his legs amputated. I didn't want to be in that situation, so looking at my high blood numbers I decided that I really really needed to do it," said Fletcher.

"There are so many environmental things that are working against us, so many stresses in our life that we have no control over...that I do feel like what you eat every day is something you have control over," explained Rider.

Melanie Moreno, another Smart Solutions participant, struggles not only with weight but also with hypertension and fatigue from Multiple Sclerosis. She said the program helped with her MS symptoms and got her blood pressure back in a normal range.

"Anything you can do to help MS is positive," explained Moreno.

The 10 week program includes weekly nutrition classes, a three month gym membership, personal meal plan from a dietitian and lab work at the beginning and end.

"I don't think people choose to be overweight. I don't think people just say that I don't care. I think that people don't know," added Rider.

The second session of Smart Solutions begins April 21, 2011 and is now enrolling. Call the Christus St. Patrick Women's Health Network at (337) 491-7577 for more information.

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