Wife, Mother of Two, and Lover of Life!
"I learned how to take charge of the food instead of the food controlling me."
Weight Loss Program was the Missing Piece to the Puzzle
Jeannette Ferguson battled her weight for years, until the day she walked into a session of MidMichigan Health’s “Am I Hungry?”® weight loss program with Family Medicine Physician Jennifer Morse, M.D. That day, Jeannette knew she’d found the missing piece to her weight loss puzzle. Here was a doctor who could see weight loss differently.
Jeannette’s struggle began several years ago, when she gained weight during a stressful move and relocation. To lose the extra pounds, she met with a dietitian who helped her understand how to make healthy choices and become more structured. Four years ago, Jeannette took it a step further, joining a gym and losing 20 pounds. The yo-yo pattern continued, though, as the weight slowly started to return.
Time for a change
The turning point came as Jeannette approached the age of 50 – the age at which her father died. She was 60 pounds overweight and not healthy. Her cholesterol was climbing. She knew high blood pressure and diabetes (which runs in her family) could be right around the corner. She also knew the best way to avoid those issues was to make a difference in her health – by losing the extra weight and then keeping it off.
The problem was, Jeannette didn’t know where to begin. She’d tried different diets. She thought she was making healthy eating choices. She felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing.
“I was ready,” said Jeannette. “I’d been on a long journey to find the right answer for me.”
Then Jeannette saw a flyer in the newspaper about the “Am I Hungry?” program. The flyer described how a person can change the patterns in their life with good eating habits. Jeannette approached the first class with an open mind.
When she heard the presentation by Dr. Morse, Jeannette said, “This is the missing piece. They’re speaking my language.”
Dr. Morse launched the Am I Hungry? program after overcoming her own struggle with weight. The hectic lifestyle of medical school had left her feeling out of control, and she realized she had to make a change when she found herself 100 pounds overweight and facing the health consequences of obesity. She has since lost 100 pounds and shares what she has learned, both through medical training and through her own experiences, with Am I Hungry? participants.
Teaching people to rethink their relationship with food
The program teaches intuitive eating by empowering participants to relearn to use their natural ability to eat just the right amount of food and meet other needs in more productive ways than eating. Participants learn how to handle “head hunger,” gain strategies for intuitive eating, find out how to get more pleasure from less food, and more. The program, comprised of eight weekly workshops, combines the benefits of this innovative non-diet approach with the interaction, motivation and support of a group.
Through the Am I Hungry? program, Jeannette learned that although she was eating healthy foods, she was eating too much of them. She also realized that she was eating when she wasn’t really hungry.
“Now, I wait until I’m hungry to eat. And then I think about what my body needs. I don’t just eat anything,” said Jeannette. “I think about what I want to eat first, and then I eat that item first.”
The key for Jeannette was learning what it feels like to be satisfied versus full.
“Babies instinctively stop eating when they’re full. So, I’ve learned to eat instinctively,” she said.
It’s been 15 weeks since Jeannette attended her first “Am I Hungry?” class. In that time, she’s lost 16-18 pounds (the weight fluctuates). Jeannette said that while the weight loss itself may not seem like much, the important factor is inches lost: in her case, more than 6 inches around her waist alone.
Jeannette has also cut her food intake in half.
“You take charge of the food instead of the food controlling you. You learn to taste food again, and you become more aware of your body,” she said.
Jeannette is also lucky to have a supportive partner. Her husband, Steve, has become so involved in Jeannette’s lifestyle changes that he, too, has begun losing weight and inches – already 14-16 pounds and 4 inches around his waist.
“It’s more of an attitude,” said Jeannette. “You live the way you want to become.”
Motivation to lose weight for better health worked far better for Jeannette than motivation based on appearance.
“It’s not about the weight; it’s about the health,” she said. “I was already comfortable in my own skin, but I have more energy throughout the day than I did before. That’s been fun.”
Jeannette continued, “This program helped me become who I used to be. It re-taught me to be an instinctive eater. I feel like the old me.”
Jeannette is thankful Dr. Morse could see weight loss in a different way from other programs. “This is a whole new way of seeing weight loss,” said Jeannette. “This is not a quick fix. Be ready to do things differently.”
At MidMichigan Health, our doctors see weight loss differently. It’s not just about achieving a particular weight or body shape, but about improving your health, resolving weight-related medical conditions, and giving you the energy to do the things you love. Our comprehensive weight management program offers patients all the motivation, support and resources that they need to succeed. Learn more about how MidMichigan doctors see things differently at www.midmichigan.org/difference. Or, for more information or referral to one of our medical specialists, call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199. Online, visit www.midmichigan.org/doctors.