Kristin Francis is a medical assistant in Orthopedic Care at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Kristin Francis is a medical assistant in Orthopedic Care at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

I have been on a diet for as long as I can remember. I always picked a weight I wanted to lose and an occasion for which I wanted to lose it — whether it be a vacation, a reunion, or a family event. I always lose the weight, but I have never been able to keep it off. So, when my friend, Amy, mentioned a program called “Move to Lose,” I thought, “let’s give it a try,”

A New Approach

For as many diets as I have been on, not once have I ever taken the time to learn about the actual foods I’m eating and how they were benefiting or hindering my health. In this class, we meet with a nutritionist once a week to discuss different topics concerning nutrition. In the first class we talked about how this was going to be a lifestyle change, not a diet. As soon as I went home, I put that paper on my refrigerator to remind myself.

New Challenges

I have to admit there have been a couple of challenges. The first week Kim Evans, RD, our instructor, asked us to log our food in MyFitnessPal, a mobile application that can be used on a phone or computer. I thought, “I just can’t do it. I am on the computer all day at work and I just can’t be on the computer when I get home.” Nonetheless, I did what Kim asked, made an account, and logged one day of food consumption for the week.

The next week Kim said to try it again, but I wasn’t going to do it. Then I read an issue of People Magazine with articles on how people successfully lose weight.  After reading the fourth story of a person who said logging food in MyFitnessPal was a tremendous help, I looked at the paper I had put on my refrigerator and thought “just suck it up and do it.”

Well, guess what? I love it! I can’t believe how much it helps. I had no clue as to how much protein I was eating at each meal or how many carbs were in certain food. I have even learned how to download a menu from a restaurant to select what I ate so it is logged in my account. My husband asked me the other day if I was going continue logging after the class was done, and I am. I think this will help keep me on track for weight loss maintenance.

Setting Goals

Kim encourages us pick one goal per week and share it with the group. I love picking my goal each week and working to achieve it. I’ve found it makes a difference saying it out loud to other people. One week my goal was to include more protein in my breakfast. One of my classmates suggested I try overnight oats and gave me a great website to view. I eat them every day now. This week my goal was to switch one serving of fruit with a vegetable. So far, so good!

As part of the “Move to Lose” program, we are able to use the cardiac rehabilitation gym at the UVM Medical Center for free. Amy and I try to go twice a week. We also meet on Saturday mornings and hike a 3.5-mile loop near our homes. We end up talking the whole time, whether we are in the gym or on the walk, and time just flies.

We are on week five of the class and I feel like I have learned so much. I can’t wait to see what new things I will learn about the food I am eating in the upcoming weeks.

Learn more about “Move to Lose,” a medically-managed weight loss program that combines a 16-week support group with a physical activity program for weight loss success.

Kristin Francis is a medical assistant in Orthopedic Care at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

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