Weight has been a life-long issue for me. I love to eat and like all foods, especially high-carb foods. In my early 30s I was trying to lose weight and amazingly I seemed to be losing even if I was “cheating.” I was expecting praise from my doctor at my annual physical for losing over 20 pounds. However, I learned at that visit that the real reason for the weight loss was an overactive thyroid. I had 85% of my thyroid removed and carried on for many more years before I needed to take thyroid hormone.

So, my referral to MNCOME was originally for thyroid function review. Although my weight was not the reason I first came to MNCOME, I appreciate the lab workup and general health evaluation that were part of my first visit and have found my education appointments to be extremely helpful. The compassion and concern that all of the MNCOME staff have for others has made it possible for me to actually look forward to my education visits. I have attended the classes also and although I know a lot of what is discussed, the new ideas from other patients are motivating. Even though my weight loss has been slow, my MNCOME team always reminds me that I have made a lot of progress from where I started. My quarterly visits are just as much for support as for accountability, and I know I can always count on my team if I have questions in between visits.

Elsie J.

MNCOME patient

My story starts when I was in junior high school; my mom put me on a diet that allowed only 500 calories a day. At the time I only weighed 127 pounds, but the diet starved me down to 106. This was the beginning of my struggle with weight. I’ve battled eating issues for over thirty years and have tried every diet out there; I lost and gained weight like a yoyo. At my top weight of 245 pounds I experienced health issues that triggered a desire to start making a lifestyle change. I started walking, which helped me lose about twenty pounds but I couldn’t seem to get below the 200 pound range. Once I developed insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), my primary care physician referred me to MNCOME.

I went to my first appointment with some understanding of my weight issues but not really knowin the physiology of what the weight was doing to my body. The MNCOME team educated me on the diseases I had developed, what they were doing to my body and how I could overcome this. We have worked on behavior modification and healthy eating together. I am treated with kindness, sincerity and respect, and am always given the time necessary to go over any questions, concerns or setbacks I am experiencing. My team never gives up on me as I keep trying different approaches to reach my goal. I have lost about 25-30 pounds and have kept it off for a significant amount of time. I am still working on losing more weight, and I know that the longer it takes me the more success I will have in keeping it off. I am very thankful to the MNCOME staff for providing excellent care and treating me like I’m worth a million.

Michele W.

MNCOME patient

I first started at MNCOME after a conversation with my primary care provider. I had told him I wanted to lose weight, but I would not diet, so he referred me to MNCOME.

Meeting the goals I set with my educators and Dr. Gonzalez has been a gradual process, which is okay with me since weight loss and management are ongoing. It has felt relatively easy to keep moving forward in this process because of the support and encouragement I receive. When I started, I told them I did not want to have to use pre-packaged meals, or shakes, or whatever supplements to lose weight. I wanted to learn how to make changes to my existing lifestyle, not spend money on things that would not help me in the long run. Although we created goals that allowed me to make small, realistic changes (which takes a lot of patience!) I did start taking medication for weight as well. This has been a tremendous help, but I see its role as assisting the chemical side of weight loss, while I work on the things I can control: what I eat, how much I move and how I handle the balance of life’s demands. Kathy R.

MNCOME patient

In February, 2009 I became a patient at MNCOME. With the help of the staff there I have been able to learn and use tools for a healthier lifestyle. My weight has dropped steadily so that today I weigh 90 pounds less than I did when I started. Because my eating disorder involves a psychological component, MNCOME staff referred me to the Emily Program, an eating disorders clinic. For three years now, my specific mental health needs are met by the Emily Program. I get medical care and nutritional guidance from MNCOME.

Dan H.

MNCOME patient

My journey began with the conviction that if I didn’t want to live the life my mother and sister endured because of obesity, I had to make a decision. My sister was admitted to a nursing home because of complications of morbid obesity – diabetes, heart and kidney issues took over her body. She could not take care of herself and watching her being hoisted into the air so her bed could be changed or to transfer her to a wheel chair was more than I could endure. This part of my story is important because until I accepted where I was and not hate myself for being there, I couldn’t move forward. I knew I had to change my thinking; to remove the foods I liked and enjoyed seemed such an unrealistic expectation. I always failed and the weight came back.

It took me some time to be truthful with myself and own my obesity. For the first time in my life I understood that it–- obesity-–was the enemy, not my life or me. I knew I had to have help; I relied, and continue to rely on, my faith in God. I also wanted to have medical guidance. Even though I dodged Dr. Gonzalez after my first appointment with him five years earlier, I remembered how it went. I knew he would encourage, guide, and hold me accountable just as he did at our first meeting. I made another appointment when I was ready and now, three years later, I can confirm it was the right decision. Has my journey ended? No, nor will it. That is everyone’s reality. Whether I hit a plateau or gain weight during this maintenance challenge I am in, I make adjustments and remain focused. Maintenance is the greater challenge for me; although food may no longer be an addiction, the reality of weight control and healthy living depends on my decision making process. I take it one day at a time, because that is all God allows. During each day I find hope, joy, and freedom in embracing healthy changes instead of being stuck in the past.

Gloria L.

MNCOME patient