The numbers 5 and 5,000 are stark and meaningless standing alone except when they apply to Kellie Dye’s management support weight loss effort at the Conway Regional Health Center.
The integers represent a five year plan that produced 5,000 pounds lost by her participants in this major war against obesity, a health threat serious enough to command the complete attention of this registered dietitian.
She maintains that this obesity “epidemic” is not the result of personal laziness, but a by-product of the environment in which the current supply of processed foods is undermining our ability to feel full and satisfied, a condition that drives us to eat more — ergo obesity kicks in.
So she asks the plaintive question — what can we do?
One answer, as far as she is concerned, has evolved from the highly successful Regional Health Center’s management support group that has compiled unheard of statistics in the matter of weight loss.
These determined group members have lost weight the lasting way. And as a result, they have altered their lifestyles and become healthier.
Dye, who has been a registered dietitian for 24 years, is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She has worked as a clinical nutritionist specializing in renal dialysis/kidney transplant, geriatrics and as a gastric bypass surgery nutrition specialist. She also specializes in adult and child weight management metabolism testing, eating disorders, heart disease and diabetes.
Her most recent weight management support group program began in July 2008. It ended a fortnight or so ago this summer.
The effort was based on accountability of weight posted each week by her “students,” record keeping and counting calories. Every member of the group was on a different calorie plan individually established to meet the goals of the individual. They kept food journals, controlled food portions, shared recipes, explored emotional and stress eating. These are said to be the techniques for taking weight off and keeping it off, says Dye.
The support group is all about losing weight in the real world Dye points put. Partakers of the program were at least 18 years of age. Joiners made visits of one or two weekly classes under Dye’s tutelage — Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m., and Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. The joining fee was $40 for members of the fitness center and $50 for non-members. Each additional week cost $5. The classes ranged in numbers of 40 to 50 members.
Dye is obviously happy with the outcome of the support group. She makes no idle claims, going so far as to suggest that many people who become part of the effort, did it as a last resort.
Her weekly classes are revelatory, exploring every aspect of eating in the real world, finding ways to keep weight at bay, and keeping it off.
Dye suggests that her participants seem to have done every other diet program out there and found the results to be far from satisfactory. “They were tired of fad diets, and they were ready to make a life style change — and that’s what we’re all about,” she said.
Asked her view of the weight loss programs being trumpeted in newspapers, magazine and television, she responds by saying if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “If you can’t do it for the rest of your life, it’s not worth doing,” she notes, adding that most people can’t do a fad diet the rest of their lives.
“Many of those fad diets work for a spell, but the key is can you do it the rest of your life? Can you keep the weight off? And usually the answer is no. You can eat pre-packaged meals just so long. They don’t apply to real life. And they’re expensive.”
“So,” she added, “we’re all about real food, real world food eating which means it does not involve shakes, supplements, pills or shots and gimmicks.”
That participants in the program are happy with outcomes is putting it mildly. The weight loss among them varies wildly — one individual counted losses of well over 100 pounds.
James Quinn, for example, led the pack with a loss of 150 pounds. His wife, Kelly, lost 35 pounds. Mary Lynn Quattlebaum lost 40 pounds in three years. Based on the information they gleaned in Dye’s classes, Karen New and Kim Scott, for example, discovered new, satisfying ways of eating and losing weight. They accepted the new norm in the ways of eating.
It was a life-changing way of eating for all of the people in the classes. And they will continue on this course.