Nutrition management clinics: Critical component in care and clinical outcomes
Nutrition management clinics are designed to educate and advise people on their weight loss journey. When appropriate, weight loss can have an incredible impact on wellness and quality of life. It can remedy, improve, or prevent conditions like high blood pressure (hypertension), high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
In some situations, like the story of Columbia Orthopaedic Group (COG) patient Linda Ellis, weight loss can be necessary before surgery and can result in significant pain relief.
Success Story: Linda Ellis & COG's nutrition management clinic
Linda Ellis (70) of Sedalia, MO, came to COG when she was experiencing hip pain in the fall of 2017. Dr. Alan Anz recommended hip surgery, and to have a safe and successful surgery, Linda would need to lose 20 pounds. Linda was able to lose 12 pounds on her own, but her progress plateaued.
"I referred Linda to the program director of COG's nutrition management clinic, Andrew James, APRN-BC, because I knew she could benefit from working with an expert in nutrition management," said Dr. Anz. "A nutrition management clinic was the right fit to prepare Linda for surgery and the best possible outcome."
Going into the nutrition management clinic, Linda wanted more accountability. She believed this was the most significant gap in her ability to reach her goals. She didn't anticipate how much she would learn.
Long-term versus short-term goals
Linda had focused on her short-term goal of losing 20 pounds for surgery. Andrew was focused on the big picture and asked for her long-term goals. It was the nudge she needed to consider why her weight loss was vital.
She was experiencing fatigue and pain. The reasons she listed will resonate with many who find themselves contemplating weight loss:
- She was tired of not being able to do activities with her grandchildren.
- On a trip to the state fair, she could barely make it back to the car due to pain and overextending herself.
- She worried she might soon require a motorized cart to keep up and attend activities.
"Andrew has a great way of meeting you where you are," added Linda.
She started with a calorie reduction (826 calories per day) through eating supplement shakes and bars.
"Andrew provided excellent advice and guidelines for success. He told me not to rely on willpower and avoid keeping snacks and unhealthy food around the house. It's easy to eat from boredom rather than hunger."
"When I gained back a few pounds, I reevaluated what was important and chose to focus on maintaining significant weight loss at a level that I could also enjoy life. Andrew uses the phrase 'live at the corner of happy and healthy."
While food substitution and eating the bars and shakes were helpful to Linda, she identified portion control as one of the most consequential changes in her weight loss journey.
"It was a gamechanger to understand that I didn't need lots of heavy carbs such as my favorite bowl full of pasta with cheesy sauce and bread," said Linda.
Immediately, Linda lost weight and was able to have hip surgery followed by a total knee replacement and partial knee replacement, all with Dr. Anz at COG.
Longevity and momentum
After each surgery, Linda set new goals for herself.
"First was to walk to the mailbox, then to the bridge. I set milestones for myself, each a little longer. Before long, I had worked up to walking two to three miles per day."
"As the weight came off, the better I felt. I increased my movement. I had momentum!"
When people make positive changes in their lives, they can impact those around them.
"My husband of 50 years actually lost weight too," said Linda. "He began eating better and walked more. I couldn't have done it alone. I'm happy that my husband was committed to supporting me in my journey. We both became committed to making healthier lifestyle choices. The surgery was the catalyst for change."
Best practices and tips for lasting success
Today, it's been three years, and Linda will tell you that she doesn't have it completely mastered, but her results are inspirational. Best practices she established include:
- It's difficult not to indulge at a birthday party where everyone else is eating pizza. Be prepared. I choose to pull a protein bar out of my purse.
- Healthier baking options like Greek yogurt and Splenda are easy swaps.
- Take extra time in the grocery store to read labels.
- Get help to stay the course. I still attend Wednesday night classes with Andrew.
"I appreciate how COG's nutrition management clinic helped educate and keep me accountable," concluded Linda. "While I had days where I got discouraged, I decided to stick with the program and not to let them down. They were just as invested in me as I was in myself. Often, it's easier to let yourself down than others. I just wish I would have made the changes earlier."
How to engage COG's nutrition management clinic
COG offers comprehensive weight management programs for patients needing to lose weight with medical assistance.
Reach out to Andrew James, APRN-BC at 573-876-8141 or Info@ColumbiaOrthoGroup.com if you are interested in a weight loss program that can:
- Prepare you for surgery
- Avoid the need for surgery altogether
- Reduce and prevent disease
- Provide better mobility and reduce pain
- Improve mental health
- Increase life expectancy
Learn more here.