The Skinny

Lose Weight. Not Pleasure.

May 24, 2016 « Back to The Skinny

 Lose weight without a restrictive diet? A Quad City hospital realized it was onto something when it began offering a healthy lifestyle program to its employees that has been so successful, it’s now offering the plan to people out in the community. And it’s changing the way they eat.

People currently enrolled in the Naturally Slim program met at Genesis East Hospital last week where there was a lot to cheer about.
“20 pounds. In five weeks? In 5 weeks,” said Bonnie Gaylord of Davenport. Naturally Slim was created by a Texas nurse who studied why some people are thinner than others. During the meeting, Marcia Upson spoke to the group via Skype.

“How do we usually know we’re full? Our eyes. True ‘thins’ do it with their stomach,” Upson said.

“They know when they’re hungry. They know when to eat.They know when to put down their forks in between bites, added Missy Gowey Executive Director for Genesis Philanthropy, which is funding the outreach.

By knowing when and how to eat, participants in the ten week, online program are already seeing results. Karen Lawless of Andalusia has lost 17 pounds.

“Been easier than I thought and I have my family support. My son said, ‘good job, mom.'”
Lawless is among 100 people hand picked by Genesis to participate because they all have risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome is comprised of five conditions that can lead to chronic illness, like heart disease or diabetes. Factors include being overweight, having high cholesterol or high blood pressure. During the course of the program, Gowey says participants have lost an average of 15 pounds, but many also reduce their need for medication.

John Ortega has diabetes and since he started the program, he has lost six pounds and his blood pressure has dropped from 120/83 to 100/61.

Genesis first offered the program to its employees eight years ago, as a way to keep health insurance costs down. It was so successful, today, all employees are asked to sign up. Now, through donations, Genesis Philanthropy is able to offer the Naturally Slim program to hundreds in the community at no charge.

So how does it work? There are a lot of tips, but key points include eating only when you’re hungry and drinking a mixture of watered-down orange juice to keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day.

“If you’re eating when you’re hungry you’re burning fat. If you’re eating when you’re not hungry, you’re making fat, ” said Gowey.

And unlike typical weight loss diets, no food is off-limits.

“It allows me to eat anything I want, as long as I’m truly hungry when I eat and take my time to eat and enjoy it and you’re not hungry when you’re finished, ” said Gaylord.

The results are remarkable, but you have to wonder how long they will last. A year ago, Tony Tharp of Alexis, Ill. struggled to even walk around the yard. At 5′ 8″, he weighed about 350 pounds and had just discovered a 20 percent heart blockage.

“I had a lot of stress at work and would come home and had headaches and all I wanted to do was sleep,” recalls Tharp.

After getting heart treatment while taking the Naturally Slim program he lost weight. To date, he’s lost 137 pounds and instead of struggling to walk around the yard, Tharp recently ran his first 5K. He says he did it for his family. He has three children. His wife also enrolled in the program and lost 79 pounds. Tharp says because of his weight loss, his cardiologist recently took him off some medicine. Tharp also had sleep apnea and no longer needs to use a CPAP machine. Now, he’s giving back, by offering help to mentor others enrolled in the program through a Facebook page.

Although less dramatic, Genesis also continues to see results. Since 2008, employees have reduced waist size by 24 percent, blood sugar by 21 percent and high blood pressure by 82 percent. Over that time, Genesis estimates it has saved $110 million in health care costs. But for people like Tharp, the benefits are immeasurable.

“People say, ‘you’ll gain it back’ and I might, but pretty good chance I won’t,” Tharp added.

Genesis Philanthropy has pledged to offer the Naturally Slim program at no charge to 750 people who are at risk of Metabolic Syndrome over a five year period. It is also available to businesses looking to improve the health of their employees.

This article originally appeared on KWQC, written by Marcia Lense and was shortened for length and clarity. Read the full article here.