Each Weight-Loss Journey is Unique: a Doctor’s Perspective

ThinkstockPhotos-177633548My journey regarding weight loss started about eight years ago. I had a heart attack, a bypass and I weighed 365 pounds. I felt helpless and hopeless. I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes, and struggled to get around. It was around that time that one of my good friends badgered me into trying an Ideal Protein diet program. Ten months and 197 pounds later, I felt like a different person. But it was truly a beginning – even after losing the weight.

During the eight years since that first outing with Ideal Protein, I have been up and down in weight, but I have learned many lessons. Every time I gain 50 pounds, I restart the diet and get my weight – and my life – back. During these sessions, I have worked with Becky Hanzen and the Avera Ideal Protein team. There have been a number of sessions during the three-to-four years I have been doing all of this, but the central goal remains the same: an effort to find my personal path to weight and diet maintenance.

Only about 2 percent of people are able to maintain weight loss for more than five years, so I know I’m not alone. It is not an easy task, but it can be done when people like me are given the help and tools. I have changed many of my personal views as a physician, now that I have discovered these mysteries for myself.

Diet can markedly change a person’s cholesterol and health in many positive ways. I have learned these facts personally and in the process, I have discovered that some of my ideas about diet and weight loss were way off the mark. As a physician, sometimes it’s hard to say you were incorrect.

Now I advocate the changes to my patients in a more positive fashion, one I learned from my own journey. When I can help them with more choices, I can help them with their hypertension, diabetes and obesity. I can provide a more personal approach to wellness because I have walked those miles and adopted the necessary changes in what I eat and drink.

While the majority of my patients are very heavy with many of the complications that go with an unhealthy weight  – bad backs, varicose veins, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes  – they have possible approaches that can help them. I know this full-well: it has helped me! I wasn’t a success completely – but it helped me initially and the follow-ups also have helped. The same can happen for any person, no matter their weight – if they are willing to focus on the rewarding aspects that come from the hard work.

As a new contributor to this online discussion, I see the Avera Balance blog as a great place to dig deeper into these issues. I hope to share my unique perspective in hopes it can provide a less-than-perfect guideline for those who, like me, struggle not only to lose the weight but to keep it off. I hope you’ll continue to join me as I share my story. If it helps one person out in our audience, it’ll be worth it. So stop by as I describe my journey.

Dr. Leonard Gutnik

By Dr. Leonard Gutnik

Physician at Avera Medical Group Internal Medicine Sioux Falls

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