Carrying around extra weight doesn’t just impact self-esteem and confidence, it can also lead to joint pain, trouble performing daily activities and an increased risk for serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes. But losing weight can be incredibly hard—a factor that helps explain why almost 35 percent of Michiganders are overweight and 30 percent are obese. That’s where the Medical Weight Loss Clinic can help. It is a Michigan-based company run by physicians who take a clinical approach to weight loss. They create customized programs based on each person’s medical profile and weight loss goals, combining one-on-one counseling, food plans, recipes, nutritional supplements and a custom exercise regimen. The clinics also offer Blue Cross members an exclusive discount through the Blue365 savings program. Members can access the discount by logging into their account. The Medical Weight Loss Clinic recently helped four Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members lose weight and get their health back on track. Here are their stories: Paul Spaniola, 50 years old, Flint Paul lost 62 pounds in 10 weeks. “I knew I’d been gaining weight, but I saw a photo of myself and could not believe how big I looked. It made me start thinking about other things, like that it took me three tries to put on my socks, how easily I’d get short of breath, and that even mowing the lawn was difficult. Medical Weight Loss Clinic created a meal program for me that consisted of six to seven smaller meals a day that had lots of vegetables and some protein. The plan was easy to follow, so I was able to stay on track with my goals. Now I can walk, jog and run without pain or shortness of breath and I only have to bend over once to put on both socks! All the shirts I had put away because they were too tight are now loose on me. To anyone who wants to lose weight, I’d say to find healthy food that you enjoy eating, drink a lot of water and keep a photo out that motivates you to stay on track. If you are cheating, you are only cheating yourself.” Megan Ling, 22 years old, Livonia In just over a year, Megan lost 147 pounds. She’s kept it off for six months. “Personal problems caused me to emotionally overeat and multiple injuries kept me from being physically active. As a result, I weighed 353 pounds by the time I was 21 years old. I wasn’t happy with myself and knew I needed to change. With this program, I learned how to have a better grasp on my diet and make more conscious eating habits by weighing my food. My meal plan had three different levels depending on my workout schedule. Every meal included protein – chicken, fish or red meat – vegetables and fruit. I also removed triggers from my life, like candy and chips, and didn’t overload myself with changes—I didn’t start exercising until I’d lost 100 pounds. At that point, I eased into an exercise routine, first with breathing exercises, then I graduated to high intensity interval training and weight lifting. I’m a whole new person now. I wake up and have energy for the whole day (something I’ve never experienced before). If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t get discouraged. It didn’t take one day to put all of the weight on and it won’t take one day to take the weight off. Don’t give up on yourself – there is nothing more dangerous than self-doubt, but there is also nothing more powerful than self-respect.”
"Don’t give up on yourself – there is nothing more dangerous than self-doubt, but there is also nothing more powerful than self-respect."
Kelly Hembree, 46 years old, Warren Kelly lost 55 pounds in six months and has kept the weight off for four months. “My excess weight was causing a ton of joint pain. Getting in and out of my car, tying my shoes, clipping my toenails and putting lotion on my body—it all took so much extra effort! Plus, being only 10 pounds lighter than my husband was heartbreaking to me. In this program, I used a journal to keep myself accountable and weighed all of my food. I also followed an exercise routine five days a week that was made up of 30 minutes of cardio and another 30 minutes of circuit training. I learned how to focus on the day-to-day tactics to keep the weight off instead of just thinking about the big picture. My life has changed in so many ways. I never realized how much my weight bothered me until I lost it, and now I can’t believe I lived with it for so long. I feel like I’m in my 20’s again! I went from a size 16 to a 2 and I’ve completed two 5Ks (and can’t wait to do another!).” April Hill, 50 years old, Kalamazoo April lost 160 pounds in just over a year. “At my heaviest, I really hated any time I had to walk more than a couple of blocks. I rarely took the stairs because I couldn’t climb them without losing my breath and I couldn’t keep up with my husband when we went shopping. I followed a meal plan that consisted of healthy foods like fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, low-to-no-sodium-added meat, eggs or egg whites, canned tuna, low-fat milk, string cheese, Greek yogurt and a few starches like low-sodium rice cakes or crackers. I didn’t start exercising regularly until I had been with the program for about nine months—at that point I added in workouts consisting of 20 to 40 minutes of cardio and about 30 minutes of weight lifting. The Kalamazoo clinic always cheered my successes and gave me pep talks when the number on the scale wasn't moving as fast as I would have liked. I’d tried and failed to lose weight on my own. The support I received from the crew at the clinic was the added boost I needed. I still work out 45 minutes to an hour every day, have adopted a whole-food, plant-based diet, meditate for at least five minutes every day and do my best to get six to eight hours of quality sleep every night. Now that I am 160 pounds lighter, my husband has a hard time keeping up with me! I had hoped to get down to size 12 or maybe even a size 10 – I never in my wildest dreams considered I would be able to wear a size 6! If you’re like me, and have to lose a significant amount of weight, try not to focus on your end goal. Break your journey into smaller, more manageable goals. Be patient and never give up!” If you liked this post, check out our other posts about members transforming their health: