Weight loss a team effort Macquarie’s one-stop shop for slimming down and getting healthy
Fed up of traipsing from one health professional to another in a quest for a joined-up thinking weight loss regime? Some smart clinicians at Macquarie University Hospital recognised this and have opened a one-stop shop at a hospital clinic there, with a host of weight loss specialists under one roof. Here’s Monthly Chronicle reader Fiona Wilson’s story:
“Since the birth of my third child 10 years ago, I’ve accumulated an extra 15 kilos around my middle. I found it impossible to drop more than two or three kilos, dreading summer and doing my best to avoid beach visits! Yet not only have I been sensible with my diet but I‘ve also done four hours a week of exercise, including Zumba and walking.
An additional predisposition to Type 2 diabetes - my father has it - which is characterised by raised insulin resistance levels, has also had an impact on my ability to lose the weight. My self esteem and confidence have taken a big knock along the way.
I’ve since been told, it was these factors – my inflammation, my psoriatic arthritis (arthritis in people with psoriasis) and insulin resistance, that were impacting my ability to lose weight.
A friend mentioned the ‘Healthy Weight Clinic’ at Macquarie University which opened in May - it’s the first of its kind within the private sector in Sydney. The ‘one stop shop’ offers all the specialist services under the one roof, conveniently housed at Macquarie University Hospital Clinic. I couldn’t wait to go. Stop 1: At initial consultation I met three specialists. First, Dr Veronica Preda, an endocrinologist. We discussed at my medical and family history, lifestyle and genetic predispositions. I learned my BMI was 27. She was very thorough and was able to form a pattern of symptoms quite quickly. I was storing weight around my midriff, was tired and lethargic, and not sleeping well, and I had a bit of a fuzzy head, all caused by my insulin resistance. Dr Preda arranged for blood tests and a scan of my thyroid gland. She started me on Metformin, a drug that helps lower blood glucose levels by improving the way the body handles insulin. Stop 2: Next stop was with dietician Phoebe Starling who suggested the use of the app Diet Tracker to track calories. We set a few goals, such as a low calorie diet and she gave me a written food plan which involved avoiding carbohydrates which my body was storing as fat. Stop 3: Lastly I saw Joanna Jaques, the exercise physiologist. She gave me very useful tips on using my treadmill at home to increase fat burning, which included shorter but higher intensity exercise. This meant shorter bursts of faster speeds with a higher incline, and then slowing right down again. She assessed my fitness levels and wrote an exercise programme, rating me at “fit”. But my goals became to enter the “very fit” category, as well as weight and waist circumference reduction, controlling my insulin resistance and lowering my cholesterol. Stop 4: Blood tests found I had raised cholesterol, and a clear picture had formed regarding my slow weight loss. I then visited the clinic every two weeks and then less frequently as I progressed through the treatment. Stop 5: Now five months since that first appointment, my motivation has rocketed. After struggling to lose weight for so long, I’ve now lost 9 kg, and am down to 66 kg and have a lot more energy. My new BMI is 24. I feel like I’ve been in the dark and come out into the light.
I’m well on my way to achieving my goals: my insulin resistance is under control, my cholesterol is no longer high, and at my last visit I was delighted to hear from Dr Preda that I’m now fighting my genetic predispositions of Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disease - a wonderful turnaround!
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, whether you’re suffering from obesity, or are overweight, or have any health risks associated with extra weight like insulin resistance or high cholesterol, this clinic offers a comprehensive service backed up by a caring, proactive team. Fiona Wilson with exercise physiologist Joanna Jacques