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MEEKER I Meeker is shrinking. Not in population, but the actual size of residents who are participating in a medically-managed wellness and lifestyle coaching program called The Ideal You.
Results aren’t limited to weight loss, either. Many of the program’s participants are referred to Ideal You by their family physicians because of health conditions exacerbated by their weight like high blood pressure, pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions, and other weight-related problems.
Working under the supervision of Jona Ely, DNP, Ideal You coach and clinic manager Janice Ciesco meets with clients once a week to measure their progress and encourage them to keep going. Ciesco has had one client go from being insulin dependent (60 units a day) to coming off insulin within three months. Another client who has lupus has been able to come off of her medication since starting the program. Others have been able to reduce their blood pressure medications and improve other vital health statistics.
Since starting the program Sept. 29, husband and wife duo Dick and Cindy Welle have lost a combined total of 112 pounds and 111.25 inches.
“This is the lightest I’ve been in 35 years,” Dick said. “We’re a great test case. We started at the wrong time of year—right before hunting camp and the holidays.”
The Welles said they have struggled with weight since the 1980s, and have tried pretty much every popular diet out there, from Atkins to “Wheatbelly” to Nutrisystem and more. While they had a modicum of success with some of those programs, their transformation—both physically and mentally—on The Ideal You program is dramatic.
“The coaching makes a difference. Our coach is always available,” Cindy said. Even through the dreaded plateaus that happen during weight loss, Cindy has lost inches every week.
The protocol isn’t new. It was developed more than 20 years ago by Dr. Tran Tien Chanh, whose research led him to believe that insulin dysfunction brought about by diets high in saturated fats and sugars was the underlying cause of many weight issues in modern society.
The Ideal method consists of four phases. Clients stay in phase one until they reach their goal weight. Phase one restricts fruit, bread, dairy products and alcohol from the diet, giving the pancreas, which produces insulin, a “well-deserved break.”
Clients consume between 800 and 1,000 calories a day derived from vegetables, lean protein and high-protein meal packets and snacks which are purchased through the clinic’s office. Phases two, three and four are about “waking up the pancreas” again and learning to maintain the body’s ideal weight while restricted foods to the diet in moderation. All four phases require food journaling, which provides accountability.
While many of Ideal You clients are referred by physicians, referral isn’t required.
“Anybody on the program has to fill out a health program,” Ciesco said. That program is reviewed by a physician.
The Welles said they appreciate the personal touches and that the program is science-based. Regular emails and information are part of the package, as well as access to Ciesco. They also like the privacy of a personal coaching session as opposed to a group setting.
“People text me all the time,” Ciesco said.
The Welles are still in phase one, and say they’ve never felt better. They aren’t starving, either. Cindy said food cravings passed after two or three weeks on the program, and now sometimes it’s hard for them to eat as much as they’re supposed to every day.
Asked about the cost of the program, Dick said, “You can’t leverage your future health.” He believes the cost of the coaching and the meal packets is balanced out when you consider the reduced cost spent on groceries, in restaurants and at the liquor store. He said they eat at home more now, and when they do go out, they plan ahead. Some local restaurants will now prepare Ideal You friendly meals if clients call in advance.
The Meeker office is upstairs in the Hugus Building. On the third Tuesday of each month they host a workshop for anyone interested in learning more about the program. The next workshop will be May 16.