For many people in Vanderhoof, a common New Year’s resolution won’t be to lose weight, but rather to keep it off.
Ever since the Omineca Medical Clinic adopted a special weight loss program in early 2011, dozens of people in the community have collectively shed an enormous amount of weight.
“By the time we hit January 2013, Vanderhoof as a community will be quite a bit lighter,” said Jennifer Little, an office assistant manager at the clinic.
The program, called the Robson Valley Lifestyle or the Eat For Life Program, has proven to be hugely successful among people who have repeatedly tried to lose weight, as well as those affected by diabetes, obesity and hypertension.
“This plan has worked very well for our patients who do have some of these chronic conditions,” said Little.
“We’re trying to focus on these types of patients.”
From the central interior to the Kootenay’s, many B.C. communities have adopted the plan, which has gone viral ever since it was introduced to the Town of Valemont by Dr. Stefan Du Toit, the program’s creator.
In Vanderhoof, people are lining up to enroll in the program, but patients are accepted on a basis of priority.
“It’s not just who went on the list first,” said Little.
“We’re trying to focus our efforts, if you will, on the patients that definitely have problems because they’re overweight.”
The program doesn’t involve any pills and there is no cost to the patient to enroll, save for a voluntary $10 photocopying surcharge.
However, physicians at the clinic do expect patients to commit to the plan’s 12-week diet of nutrition and exercise.
“It’s a lifestyle plan; a low carb, low fat, low calories eating plan that patients follow,” said Little.
“It’s not really intended for somebody who just need to lose five pounds.”
The program has helped patients lose more than 25 pounds over a three-month period and enabled some diabetics to stop taking medication.
But given the risks associated with diabetes and obesity, medical supervision at the clinic is required to ensure that a patient’s existing medications are being adjusted appropriately to correlate with the program’s diet plan.
At the end of the 12 weeks, if a patient hasn’t quite achieved their goal of losing a certain amount of weight, they will have the knowledge and tools to continue adhering to the diet plan independently while consulting with their family physician.
“It’s a fairly easy program to follow,” said Little.
“Part of the problem isn’t losing the weight. It’s keeping it off that’s more difficult.”