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Published on October 17, 2013

Lighter in Body and Spirit Thanks to Medical Weight Management

Rose Mary CochranMany people think of managing weight as a burden and a chore, but RoseMary Cochran of Sanford lightened her body and her spirit when she chose the Medical Weight Management Program offered by MidMichigan Health.

After selecting the Physician-Guided Plan, one of several tailored approaches, the 5-foot-1-inch-tall grandmother began working with Obesity Medicine Physician Jennifer Morse, M.D. “I enjoyed every minute of it,” Cochran said, “and I love Dr. Morse.”

Like many people, Cochran gained and lost weight over her adult life, going from a low of 110 to a high of 200. She successfully brought her weight down and kept it at about 130 for years.

After her husband died, though, she became depressed and started eating.“It was literally comfort food. I didn’t want to go out of house or do anything with other people,” she said. “I would just sit around and be bored and sad. I did not exercise. I thought, ‘I’ll feel better if I eat potato chips and ice cream.’”

Last fall, tired of not having much energy, she started thinking hard about losing weight. “I told myself I was responsible for my own self, and I didn’t want to die or rely on someone to have to take care of me,” she said.

Cochran wanted support, but not in a group setting. “When I was heavy, I never liked comparing myself to others or having other people know my business,” she said, “but I did feel like I would do better if I had a watchful eye on me.”

At just the right moment, a flyer from MidMichigan Health arrived in the mail. After exploring the weight management program options online at MidMichigan.org, she called for an appointment to meet with Dr. Morse.

“When we met, she was focused on me,” Cochran said. “There was a physical exam and blood work, and she asked about my health habits. There was a lot of medical information, too.”

They continued to meet every other week for seven follow-up sessions. Cochran received the information and support she needed to make long-term changes to support a healthy lifestyle, such as personalized counseling on diet, changing behaviors and becoming more physically active.

“Dr. Morse gave me information that coincided with the phase I was in, including a lot of great advice. For example, I learned how to respond to people who almost bully you into eating,” Cochran said. “The thing to say is, ‘I don’t feel good when I eat that.’ They don’t like it when you don’t eat something just to lose weight, but they understand health issues.”

She could also speak with Dr. Morse between office visits and access support services for fitness, nutrition and wellness coaching. Cochran thrived on the flexibility and support, which was designed for her long-term success.

“Everybody was so nice and helpful. They didn’t make me feel bad about anything,” she said. “When I occasionally overate, they were nonjudgmental and just helped me get back on plan. I would look at it as just one bad day, and say that now I was going to be good.”

At each follow-up session with Dr. Morse, the scale showed a bit of progress. In about six months, Cochran was 20 pounds lighter and feeling a lot more energetic and sociable, making it easier to continue habits that will help her stay slim.

“I just enjoy doing stuff again,” she said. “I’m back walking outside and exercising. I tote around my 1-year-old granddaughter and play outside with my 9-year-old grandson. We chase each other: He loves that! I joined the Eastern Star Mothers and the Moose Club because I like to dance. The first time, I took my son and daughter with me because I’m bashful, but now I go by myself.”

Her advice is to take action before weight gets too far out of control. “It doesn’t seem as bad if you don’t let it go so long,” she said. “You have to know that you’re worth it.”

In addition to the Physician-Guided Plan, MidMichigan Health offers a variety of other medical weight management plans. All plans are supervised by a multidisciplinary team that consists of an obesity medicine physician, an exercise physiologist, a registered dietitian and a behavioral specialist. Those who would like more information may call (855) 296-7252.