Health Check: Program helps weight-loss candidates "Keep on Track"

At Miriam Hospital, there are several weight-loss programs to choose from at its newly renamed Center for Weight and Wellness. (WJAR photo)

If losing weight is on the top of your New Year’s resolution list, you might want to consider a program specifically tailored to you. At Miriam Hospital, they have several to choose from at its newly renamed Center for Weight and Wellness. For Susan Sparks, of Rehoboth, this is now her second go round here. The first time, she opted for a shake-based plan.

"So it's three shakes and one meal,” said Sparks.

And, she says, it worked!

"It did work. It worked great,” said Sparks. “It was easy to stay motivated because I was losing five to six pounds a week.

She lost a total of 55 pounds. But then, she says, she sort of fell off the wagon after taking part in a grueling fundraiser.

"We did Grand Canyon from rim to rim to rim,” said Sparks. “So you got in a great workout. Yeah, I got in a lot of great workouts but as part of that and training for that, I amped up my food."

"This keep on track program came from a lot of patient feedback," said Dr. Kalin Clark, a staff psychologist who helped developed the program known as Keep On Track.

That feedback from patients like Susan who felt the maintenance program wasn’t enough; who wanted to keep on track, for life.

"It's a higher level of intervention, a higher level of patient expectations," said Dr. Vincent Pera, medical program director at the Center for Weight and Wellness.

Keep On Track involves weekly group sessions and there’s homework.

"They're asked to practice the skills that we talk about in group,” said Clark.

Things like emotional and bored eating. For Sparks, she uses distraction.

"I play with my puppies or I may try to do some meditation.

There are other specialty groups such as one specifically focused on overeating.

The overall results, no matter what group patients choose is impressive.

"When we look at weight loss as a definition of success, those numbers are fairly good but we also want to look at medical improvements," said Pera.

"We are very commonly able to take patients off insulin entirely. Very commonly diminish blood pressure medication, acid reflux medication."

"A lot of people have increased motivation and are taking a different look at life long weight loss and weight management rather than short term weight loss," said Clark.

"I'm back on track," beamed Sparks.

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