According to a survey done by Statista, the top three New Year’s resolutions for Americans in 2019 were: diet or eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight.
An earlier survey, conducted in Dec. of 2018, said that just 16 percent of respondents stuck to some of their 2018 resolutions, while 13 percent said they kept none of them. While those three resolutions are obviously intertwined, in order to make lasting changes to one’s health via weight loss and diet, one must adopt lifestyle changes.
Those changes can be easier to make and keep when you have the help of professionals.
Since 2006, Medi-Weightloss of Lutz, one of more than 100 locations nationwide, has helped clients make lifestyle changes that stick. To date, the office located on S.R. 54, two miles west of S.R. 56, has helped patients lose 107,877 pounds.
“I started going to Medi because I couldn’t stick with a diet longer than a week,” client Danielle Crowley says. “I have now been going to Medi for two months, and have lost 20 pounds and nine inches from my waist.”
The professionals at Medi-Weightloss focus on three phases.
The first is the acute phase, also known as the weight loss phase.
The initial visit is a 60-90 minute consultation. Professionals will take weight measurements, do blood work, take an electrocardiogram (EKG), present informational handouts that go into a binder and start a detailed journal where the client will log eating, drinking and sleeping data.
During the acute phase, clients come in once a week until they hit their target weight. Medi-Weightloss has many ways to help during this difficult phase. You’ll get two injections, one called a Methionine Inositol Choline or MIC Combo injection that puts B12 vitamins and amino acids right into your bloodstream. The lipotropic substances help with fat metabolism, liver function and fat excretion.
“The MIC injections are good for everyone and we never charge for them if you’re on the program,” Lutz Medi-Weightloss owner Gerri Willett says. “While you’re on the program, you can come in twice a week and get the MIC Combo for free.”
The second shot is a Vitamin B6 and B1 injection that helps reduce water retention and helps your keep energy up while battling food cravings. In the first phase, clients also will have help with vitamin supplements, a good multi-vitamin as well as calcium and Omega 3 supplements. You’ll also receive a food scale to help with portion control and ketone sticks to detect your level of ketosis.
“Ketosis is a state where your body burns fat faster,” Willett said. “The ketone stick will reveal what level of ketosis you are in. Some don’t get there but it’s okay if they just get close.”
Once you reach your target weight, you’ll move on to Phase 2: the maintenance phase. Clients meet with Andrew Weitzman, M.D., who is Board-certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Weitzman will try to slowly take you off any medications you may be taking.
“One of my favorite things is getting someone off of blood pressure medications,” Dr. Weitzman says. “You lose 20 pounds and all of a sudden, your blood pressure goes down.”
Phase 3 is the wellness phase. At this phase, clients need only come in once a month.
Shannon Terkoski says she came to the Lutz Medi-Weightloss weighing 250 pounds on Jan. 16, 2018. She now weighs 143.2 pounds, for a loss of 106.8 pounds.
“Week-to-week, they were encouraging but also made real suggestions on what I could do to improve things like the way I go grocery shopping and not just pushing their own products, even though I still take some of their proprietary products,” Terkoski says. “I stopped going on a weekly basis, but I continue to maintain what they have shown and taught me about making better lifestyle choices”
And, it’s okay to come back later. Medi-Weightloss has clients return after completing the program, sometimes 10 years later, sometimes to share their success, sometimes because they are in need of additional help.
“They can always come back,” Willett says. “If it’s 10 years or 13 years later, I want them to be able to come back in. I want success for my patients. They shouldn’t feel guilty about coming back in. Losing weight is a lifestyle change. If it was easy or just a pill you could take, no one would be overweight.”
A Staff That’s There for You
Some clients are so happy with their results, they join the Medi-Weightloss team, like Erin Jones.
“I lost 25 pounds in the first month-and-a-half and ended up losing 50 pounds overall,” she says. “I liked the program.”
Jones, who affectionately goes by “The” Erin Jones in the office, lost her husband in 2010 and then, “I ate for a year” she said.
She started coming to Medi-Weightloss in late 2011. By April of 2012, not only had she met her goals but she took a job interview at the clinic after her weight loss appointment. She started off working 10 to 12 hours per week and is now a full-time medical assistant and the office manager at Medi-Weightloss of Lutz.
“Patients can take comfort in knowing that we’ve been down their road before and that we can truly say we know what they’re going through,” Jones said.
Medical assistant Patty Pinson has been with Medi-Weightloss for a decade and is a retired Registered Nurse (RN).
“This is a good place to work,” Pinson says. “Everyone gets along, we get to know the patients and it makes us feel good when we’re able to help them — it’s a win-win all the way around.”
Medical assistant Angela Wild is the newest member of the staff, but comes with 14 years of experience in the radiology field.
“This is definitely a happier field than radiology,” Wild said. “People come here because they want to be here and I don’t dread coming to work. I really enjoy it.”
Dr. Weitzman earned his Doctor of Medicine Degree from Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, and completed his residency in Long Island, NY. He operated a primary care practice in New York for three years and ran one out of Manatee County prior to coming on board at Medi-Weightloss two-and-a-half years ago.
“There aren’t as many dissimilarities as you’d think (between primary care and weight loss clinics),” Dr. Weitzman says. “The main difference is with primary care, you’re already treating a patient’s disease. Here, we’re working strictly with prevention.”
He stresses the three legs to the weight-loss process: diet, exercise and appetite suppression.
“The diet we choose for you is sensible,” Weitzman said. “It’s not some newfangled diet. It should be possible for you to eat this way for the rest of your life.”
Dr. Weitzman and the staff at Medi- Weightloss also will help develop an exercise program that fits your capabilities, and he has a lot of experience prescribing appetite suppressants.
“You must do all three in order to succeed,” Weitzman said. “Journaling helps a lot with diet. We also have supplements to help you.”
In the office and also in the startup bag clients receive is a menu of different supplements. From flavored powders for shakes, to snacks and vitamins, you’ll have all the tools for success at your fingertips.
While not at the Lutz location, Medi-Weightloss also employs a full-time dietitian who works at the corporate office in Brandon.
Jeff Cervero is available for consultation and has added valuable information to the company website, like recipes, exercise tips and information. Cervero even went through most corporate restaurants’ menus in the area and came up with a list of options that fit with the Medi-Weightloss program.
“We have no competition that does all the things we do and we do them very well,” Willett says.
From the research and development coming out of the corporate office, to the experienced and well-trained staff, to the emerging technology in the field like a step counter called the Fit-Stik that comes in your initial bag of goodies, all of the tools you need to reach your weight loss goals are available at Medi-Weightloss of Lutz.
“I have done lots of other diets before and none of them worked for me,” Terkoski says. “It has been exciting to follow a plan that actually works. They helped me get over the physical symptoms early in the process and were proactive in dealing with issues. It was all very smooth”
New Tampa and Wesley Chapel residents are invited to stop in at the Lutz Medi-Weightloss Clinic at 24420 S.R. 54. The office is open five days a week: 6:30 a.m.-noon on Monday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesday, 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday; 1 p.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday; 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m on Friday. For more info, call (813) 909-1700 or visit online at MediWeightloss.com/locations/lutz/