Local doc takes overweight NWA women in a new direction

feezellmugshotwhite1.jpgSince nwaMotherlode.com opened its doors in May 2008, Mercy Health System has been our corporate sponsor. One of our favorite physicians within the system is Dr. Randy Feezell, who’s been practicing in Northwest Arkansas for 12 years.

He’s very personable and always delivers a generous dose of humor with his medical advice. (You may remember Dr. Feezell’s answers in Doc Talk about over-the-counter weight loss medications HERE and birth control options HERE.)

Dr. Feezell is a gynecologist, but he’s also a board-certified bariatrician (which means he has specialized training in weight loss medicine). Dr. Feezell is one of our new sponsors and he’s trying to get the word out about a new program designed to help overweight women in NWA: the New Direction Weight Control System. You can click on Dr. Feezell’s picture or the New Direction ad on the right to learn more.

The program is designed for women who have 40 or more pounds to lose and those who are struggling with that last 10 or 20 that can hang on for dear life.

Dr. Feezell fills us in on the weight loss program in this Q & A:

Q: Who would be a good candidate for this type of program?

A: New Directions offers two multi-disciplinary weight management programs:

The Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) is for people who have over 40 pounds to lose or someone who is overweight and has health risks that could improve with weight loss.

The Low Calorie Diet (LCD) is designed for those with 10 pounds or more to lose.

Q: Why does the VLCD program target women who have at least 40 pounds to lose?

We know that people who have at least 40 pounds to lose are at risk for a number of life-threatening diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure.  Obesity and being overweight are also major contributors to female cancers, arthritis and joint disorders, high cholesterol, early death and depression.  The New Directions program is an  intense, medically supervised, multidisciplinary program specifically designed to provide a rapid, safe weight loss option to quickly reduce risk of these obesity complications.

Q: Is it healthy to restrict calories so drastically?

A: The health benefits of weight loss and the safety of nutritionally complete VLCD’s of high-quality protein, supplemented with adequate fluid, have been documented in the past two decades.

Q: Do you go through the program independently or with a group?

A: The New Directions program offers weekly group meetings that cover behavior modification, nutrition education and exercise. The group format allows you to not only learn how to modify your lifestyle but also to get support from others and learn from discussions with staff and other groups members how to make food choices that will help you manage your weight.

Q: About how much can someone expect to lose in a month?

A: That depends on several factors, including your current weight, age and sex.  An average weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds a week is common with the VLC and 1 to 2 pounds a week with the LCD.

Q: Why would this work for me when so many of the diets and tricks I’ve used have failed in the past?

The VLCD and LCD programs will allow you to “jump start” your weight loss and lead you on the road to a healthy lifestyle.  Research shows, however, that losing weight by diet alone doesn’t work, at least not in the long run.  To manage your weight for a lifetime, you need to make permanent changes in your eating and exercise habits and the role food plays in your life.  New Directions offers weekly group meetings that provide you with the support and skills needed to help you manage your weight.  These meetings, led by a behavior counselor, registered dietitian, and exercise specialists are offered during all three phases of the program.

Q: Why did you decide to start offering this program at your clinic?

A: We needed a multidisciplinary program (complete) for this difficult problem.

Q: What do I need to do to get started?

Call our program coordinator at 479-338-3830 and register for our free orientation.  At this session, you’ll learn all about the program, including the diets used, medical screening and monitoring and fees.

Q: How does this program help ensure long-term weight loss and prevent the “yo-yo” effect?

Experts agree that the best approach for successful weight loss and weight maintenance is one that promotes permanent changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle behaviors and attitudes.  The required weekly group programs help patients learn and apply key behaviors associated with successful long-term weight maintenance.  Everyone has a choice to change the behaviors that lead to obesity.  If they choose to change their lifestyle, we’ve provided the people and education to help them do so.

The most satisfying part of my job is to teach and advise people so they can reach their health goals.  This takes a partnership to succeed and that is rewarding to see.

We haven’t personally participated in Dr. Feezell’s program, but we wanted to share some testimonials from a few of his patients:

Elaine: “This is the first time in my adult life my weight is under 200 pounds and my blood sugar is normal.”

Haley: “I didn’t think I could do it .. now I’M GOING FOR ROCKSTAR!” Down 94 lbs

Anonymous: “My husband says it’s like being with a new woman.”