Meredith Humphrey loves to roll the dice. She is a member of two bunco teams. Bunco is a dice game during which points are scored while taking turns rolling three dice in a series of six rounds.
Bunco is not the only time Meredith has played a game of chance. She rolled the dice in the past on a number of popular diet plans, with little success.
“When you look in the mirror, and you are disgusted with what you see, it’s time for a change,” she said. “It got to the point where I was at my heaviest – 252 pounds – and realized I needed help.”
A Blessing Health employee, Meredith turned eventually for help to the Blessing Bariatric Institute’s Medically-Managed Weight Loss program.
“I was hopeful that it would work,” she said. “I knew a lot of diets fall by the wayside. The thing with this is, it is not a diet. It’s a program in which you have the support of your provider team. You are not alone.”
The American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease process in 2013. The Medically-Managed Weight Loss team approaches obesity as it would other chronic, progressive conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
“I have some patients that want a medication that will magically fix the problem,” said Veronica Roth Phillips, APRN, FNP, the program’s bariatric nurse practitioner. “We live in that type of society. We want instant results.”
“Our team advises against extreme measures,” she continued. “Because over the long term, when a diet is too restrictive, people tend to regain weight lost. Our program takes time, and sometimes medical adjustments. You have to switch things up as your body adapts. It’s constant reassessment.”
With the help of individually selected medications- that can either manage hunger, address cravings, or both - and carefully crafted goals, the Medically-Managed Weight Loss team of a nurse practitioner, dietician and counselor help people discover what success in weight loss means to them.
“Success is personal,” Veronica said. “We are trying to help people reach the healthiest version of themselves that they can be. If you continue to do that, you are a success, whether the scale goes up or down, continuing to work on your health is success.’
“We develop the approach together,” she explained about each patient’s plan. “When people have involvement in setting their goals, they can be a bit more compliant in trying to meet them because the goals belong to them, not to me.”
Meredith’s weight loss journey was not a straight line. It was more like a zig-zag, as she and her Medically-Managed Weight Loss team worked to find the right combination of medications to address her eating habits, and then adjusted medications as Meredith’s body responded to her treatment plan.
Between February 2021 and the end of March 2023, Meredith lost 104 pounds.
“I really noticed a change in energy and confidence,” she said as a result of shedding her excess weight. “I have more confidence now than I have had in a long time. I feel good about myself. I feel better when I look in the mirror, I hold up clothes and I think, ‘That looks really small.’ But then it fits. That brings a happiness, a joy that I was missing,” Meredith said.
While her body has changed, Meredith is still the same person she has always been.
“I am terrible about exercise,” she said. “I like cake and I will never pass up a marshmallow cream filled donut. Moderation is always key.”
“We have to live with food. It is our energy source,” Veronica concluded. “The key is finding a healthy relationship and balance with food.”
For more information on the nationally-accredited Blessing Bariatric Institute, its Medically-Managed Weight Loss program and surgical options, go to blessinghealth.org/bariatric.