Here at The Doctors’ Weight Management Program, we see people from all walks of life. What we have found is that no matter what cultural background, age, gender, or occupation, the challenges of weight management are experienced by all at some point, with few exceptions. Enter Jamie West, one of Santa Barbara’s premier executive chefs (www.chefjamiewest.com). Whatever initial questions we may have had about his ability to do our diet and maintain his top notch work were quickly put to rest when we saw the dedication and commitment he had to losing weight and getting healthy for his family. Jamie began his weight loss journey with authority, and hasn’t looked back since. All of us at The Doctors’ Weight Management Program would like to thank Jamie for sharing his experience with us, in his own words:
Q: Jamie, what led you to the decision to change your lifestyle and lose weight?
A: In May, I went for my annual physical and was surprised that my weight was as high as it was. My doctor suggested the Dr. Weight Management program and thought it would be a good option for me. Then in June I turned 50 and I thought, “Ok, I am 50, I want to lose 50 pounds.” I was tired of being overweight and decided this time I really have to do it. Over the past 10 years I have gained 5 or 10 pounds a year, and this past year probably close to 20 pounds. I thought that since it was medically supervised, it would be a safe way to lose weight successfully. I also knew I needed a good start and a way to keep motivated.
Q: When did you start with The Doctors’ Weight Management Program and how was the adjustment?
A: I started the program in the middle of June. I chose the Decision Free Program as I wanted to lose the weight as fast and as safely possible. I am still on the program, and the only decision you have to make, is to choose to stay on the diet, or “in the box”. With the results, support and educational process, it has been easier than I anticipated. I am not saying it is easy, but it is a choice, and once you make the choice to go on the program then it is just the decision to stick to the program and see how well it works.
Q: How much weight have you lost? Have you reached your goal weight?
A: My original goal was to lose 50 pounds. After I attended the introductory class, I realized how much weight I needed to lose to be healthy. With the help of the Health Educators, I decided to increase my goal to lose 90 pounds. I have lost 75 pounds in 17 weeks! I feel great and I am 15 pounds from my goal weight.
Q: How has your life changed as a result of the program?
A: It is a lifestyle change, I am much more in tune with my body, not only how I look, but how I feel. I feel much more in control with what and how I eat, and how important it is to exercise regularly and how that all affects me. I feel much better, I sleep better, I can move easier, my blood pressure is lower; I do not take medication for Arthritis in my knee any more. I can be more physical and be more active, I can do push-ups again! Before, I did not want to get on the floor to even try to do any because it was hard to get up off the floor. Overall I feel so much better and more comfortable, and I want to stay this way!
Q: Can you share some of the successes you experienced that helped you stay on track?
For me, the best thing I have done to stay on track is take it day by day. I wake up in the morning and decide that today is going to be a good day, I am going to stay on track and I am going to stay “in the box” and I am going to get in my exercise.
The support from the health educators of the program is a big factor in my success. They are knowledgeable, informative and supportive. They offer ideas, suggestions and give you the tools for success. They are great!
Having to be accountable and keep track of what I eat and how much I exercise.
The positive support from the others in the program has been wonderful.
Having support from my wife and kids has also been a great motivation. My daughter is my coach at home, helping me to stay on track, and cheering me on while I am exercising.
Seeing the number on the scale go down every week is an obvious motivator.
Looking and feeling better and getting comments from people on how much younger I look also helps.
It is important to look at the whole process and not get discouraged when you don't have a big weight loss one week. Keep on track and stick to the program, it works.
Q: What were some of the challenges you encountered on your journey? How did you move past them? Did you ever gain weight during the process? If so, how did you get back on track?
A: For me one of the biggest challenges has been my job. As a chef, I am required to cook and prepare food and a big part of that is to taste food. I have been very good about not tasting food at work or at home. Ok, I have tasted a few things, but it is either very minimal, or I spit it out. I have relied on the people I work with to be my palate as needed. It has brought to light how much I was eating without even realizing it, and how little exercise I was getting.
Socially it has been hard for both my wife and I as we have not gone out much. I decided it was easier to eliminate the temptation and to “stay in the box” to be safe. I decided that since I made the commitment to lose the weight, that for this relatively short period of time I would stay on the program and stay “in the box”. I did gain weight one week, and I felt very guilty and went right back to being on the program, worked a little extra physically to stay on track the following week, and it worked.
Q: What type of physical activity are you participating in? How did this contribute to your weight loss?
A: I have an exercise bike. I can ride it outside, I can ride it inside. I can watch TV while riding: I rode this past summer while watching the Tour de France, the Summer Olympics and now I can watch football on Sundays all while riding my bike in the comfort of my own house. I have ridden over 1,200 miles or about 65 miles a week on my bike since I started the program.
I think the key to any physical activity is to find something you like to do, schedule and make it a priority to make the time in your day to do it, even if it is shorter bouts, like 10 or 20 minutes. I often exercise 2 or 3 times a day. For me, it helps the time go by much faster and easier. I also have been walking more and riding my mountain bike as well. The physical activity is a major factor in the success of the program. I actually like to break it up, so it does not feel like a chore. Not to mention how much better I feel when I exercise!
Q: Are you still using the Doctors’ Weight Management Program to manage or continue to lose weight? If so, to what extent?
A: Yes I am still on the program, after the initial 13 week CORE program I lost 60 pounds, and have lost 75 pounds so far with about 15 more to go. I am in an Ongoing class to continue on the program to reach my goal. Then I will transition to Phase 2, or the maintenance part of the program, for 6 months more and introduce healthy foods into my diet to maintain my weight for the long term.
Q: What information about the program would you like to share with others who struggle with their weight?
A: You are the only one who can decide to make a change in your life to become healthier and when you do, let Sansum Clinic’s Doctors’ Weight Management program help you. It is a fantastic program with guaranteed success! The results are clearly worth the effort.
I look back at my lifestyle just a few months ago, and think about how unhealthy I was allowing myself to be. Because I was already unhealthy, I would just accept it, and not even try to make a change. I wanted to make the change, but just could not get started. Or I would start to lose a few pounds and then I would go off the diet, and then would not start again. The Doctors’ Weight Management program offers all of the help that you need: the training, support, the motivation and the accountability that you don’t get when you try to lose weight on your own. It very well may be one of the best decisions you can make in your life.