Lisa Slater had been dealing with weight issues her entire life when her Primary Care Provider (PCP) suggested she consult with Dr. Ellie Chuang, MD, an obesity medicine specialist at Southern New Hampshire Weight Management.
“I had tried everything – Weight Watchers twice, all kinds of other fad diets – the most I ever lost was 30 pounds and nothing lasted long,” Lisa says. “I had convinced myself over the years that maybe I was one of those people who is meant to be overweight.”
Then Carrie Illg, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, recommended Lisa, 49, consider a medical weight loss program, supervised by Dr. Chuang, that is tailored to each patient.
“She said, ‘What do you have to lose?’” Lisa says. “And I thought the only thing was the weight.”
The Nashua mother of four children, Lisa said she had been over 200 pounds ever since having her second to youngest child – who is almost 18 years old.
When Lisa began the medical weight loss program in May 2020, her initial goal was to weigh less than 200 pounds. By fall of 2021, she was down 72 pounds, a 28% weight loss. At her most recent appointment, she had lost 77 pounds or 30% of her body weight and her cholesterol level had improved.
“We started with helping her establish healthy lifestyle habits she could maintain long-term,” Dr. Chuang says. “She did a great job working on these goals but wasn’t losing much weight, so we started her on medications to help her lose weight and get healthier.”
Lisa says having Dr. Chuang and a nutritionist with her every step of the way made all the difference. “We worked on everything. It wasn’t just what the scale said. Every little thing I achieved along the way, we would celebrate.”
As the weight came off, Lisa says she was able to walk up the stairs with her daughter “without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack” and visit a clothing store without worrying about whether she’d fit into a certain size.
“It’s an amazing program,” she says. “Just as you’re about to slip it’s time for another appointment with Dr. Chuang, who would always ask, ‘Let’s talk about your new goals. Where do you want to go next?’ She was never judgmental.”
For someone with a part-time job, two grandsons and four children, ages 9 to 29 – two with special needs and each with their own challenges – Lisa says she never thought she had extra time in her schedule.
“I don’t have a lot of time to exercise or meal prep or put myself first,” she says. “I wondered how I would fit everything in.”
Dr. Chuang worked with Lisa to find “five minutes here and there.” Today she has no problem finding the time to move and exercise. She even does yoga with her youngest daughter three days a week.
“They helped me put myself first,” Lisa says. “I actually felt in control for the first time in my life.”
She learned how to eat healthy, while working around food sensitivities because of her IBS. It also became routine to track calories with an app on her phone.
“It has all just become my normal life – not to the point I obsess about it – but my life has changed every day,” Lisa says. “I have certain routines I do and the medication helps me with my cravings.”
Although her original goal had been simply to weigh under 200 pounds, she has found between 175 and 180 pounds is her “best weight.”
Dr. Chuang uses that term with her patients to describe “that healthier place they get to where they can maintain long-term with a lifestyle they’re happy with.”
“It has been a very mental, emotional journey for me,” Lisa says. “Sometimes I forget I lost the weight until I see myself in the mirror.”
Dr. Chuang encourages patients to define their own goals.
For instance, Lisa decided it’s critical to weigh herself every day to convince herself the weight is still gone.
“This program is life-changing,” she says. “I learned that you deserve to put yourself first and that it will benefit your entire life and your entire family.”
Please note that on average, medical weight loss leads to a 5-12% weight loss.
Contact Southern New Hampshire Weight Management at 603-577-3275.