Jill Branovsky of Oakdale had been burning the candle at both ends for quite a while when she went to her regular medical check-up in the fall of 2014. She is a full-time maternity nursing supervisor who spends part of her time at the bedside with patients and also does administrative work. She had completed her master's degree early in 2013. Her New Year's resolution for 2014 was to take off some of the extra pounds that had crept on during those hectic times.
"I wasn’t obese, but at 163 pounds I was heavier than I wanted to be and I wasn't feeling well," Jill recalled. "I would feel a sugar rush after lunch and then I'd feel shaky when my blood sugar was lower. I had never dieted because I hadn't needed to, so I didn’t really have much nutritional knowledge."
At the checkup, she learned that her fasting blood sugar level was high, as was her cholesterol. Jill, who had experienced gestational diabetes and has a family history of diabetes, was concerned. She was having a harder time walking, camping and doing the other outdoor activities she loved because she was no longer at her optimal weight.
Jill had heard good things about the new medical weight loss program at HealthEast Clinic – Stillwater. She decided to give it a try and in February 2015 she started working with Jennifer Landers, MD, who did further blood sugar testing and diagnosed pre-diabetes.
"I learned that part of the problem was that I was eating a lot of carbs; a bowl of cereal was my normal breakfast," Jill said. Through nutrition counseling with Dr. Landers, she drastically reduced her carbohydrate intake. Breakfast was transformed into Greek yogurt with fruit or nuts, or eggs. Lunch became protein-packed salads with lean meats, vegetables and cheeses. At dinner, Jill still ate the traditional family meal with her husband and three teenage boys but reduced her portion sizes. She kept her servings of meat to three ounces and sweets became a rare treat.
By fall, Jill had also started doing cardio, weight-lifting and core building work at Ways to Wellness, which is closely affiliated with the HealthEast Weight Loss Program – Stillwater. Her weight had dropped to 141, her cholesterol had dropped 16 points and she no longer had to take statins. She moved into maintenance mode.
"Going in every month really kept me on top of it, but now I’m back to just going to my regular doctor for my annual physical," Jill said. "If I get to 144 pounds – I don’t want to go any higher than that – I’ll use my fitness app and start very closely tracking my calories again like I did while I was trying to lose the weight."
Jill credits the weight loss program’s emphasis on candid conversations between patient and doctor as the top reason it is so effective. "Through my success, I have made an impact on other people," she said. "My sister has lost 40 pounds thanks to the dietary learnings I shared with her.