Battle of the Bulge

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

Menomonee Falls-based Medical Associates Health Centers launched a medically designed and assisted weight loss program in January that is open to the public. The program, called Inside Out, is geared toward overweight and obese individuals. Participants in Inside Out join a monthly weight-loss program that includes an office visit with the medical director, Dr. Marc Eiseman, one-on-one training with an exercise physiologist, weekly weigh-in and coaching with a nurse care coordinator and small group meetings with a psychologist and a dietician.

The program was tested in November on employees of Medical Associates and launched to the public in January.

The initial goal for the first year was to have 12 participants enrolled. However, Medical Associates already has 30 participants, said Jim Lorence, clinical director of Inside Out.

Inside Out can be more effective for weight loss because of its holistic approach and continued support where commercial options that are available do not offer the full package, Eiseman said.

“Personal trainers offer exercise, but do not have an expertise in dieting. Then individuals can go to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig and get foods and nutritional counseling, but (these programs) do not offer much help in terms of changing behavior,” Eiseman said. “Inside Out is comprehensive.”

Requirements to join the Inside Out program include a financial commitment and a time commitment to meet with a group or specialist at least once per week. Individuals must also be at least 20 pounds overweight, Eiseman said.

“Participants have to be motivated and willing to make changes in their life,” Eiseman said. “It is like anything individuals have to give up including drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. You have to be serious and ready to go through some of the hard things that are required.”

Customized programs are designed according to how much weight individuals want to lose and how quickly they want or need to lose it, Eiseman said.

Once participants have reached their weight loss goal and feel they have finished their programs, Medical Associates will offer a maintenance program where past participants attend group sessions once per month for continued support.

Inside Out costs $250 per month plus an initial $550 for an assessment to determine a customized program for each individual, Lorence said.

The assessment includes a meeting with Eiseman and with a nurse care coordinator, psychiatrist, a registered dietician and an exercise physiologist, plus lab work, an EKG, stress test, measurement of resting metabolic rate and body composition analysis.

“There are two concepts of the program that set it apart from other approaches available,” Eiseman said. “One is the fact that a medically-supervised and multi-disciplinary team of professionals work with each individual client. The other thing that distinguishes us from other programs is that we have the ability to use things like prescription weight loss drugs and nutritional food substitutes that people can consume for a period of time and then transition back to eating regular food (with the help of professionals).”

Participants are required to sign up for a minimum of six months but programs can last up to 12 or 18 months depending on each individual, Eiseman said.

Currently, the Inside Out program is not offered through insurance carriers, however participants can use money from flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and they can finance the program with the guidance of Medical Associates.

Medical Associates also reached an agreement with the tri-county YMCA to offer a free membership for six months as part of the monthly payment for Inside Out, Eiseman said.

Eiseman is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and the Inside Out program is in the process of becoming certified by the American Board of Bariatric Medicine.

Eiseman mainly practices from his Hartford-based family practice but meetings for Inside Out are located at the Menomonee Falls location of Medical Associates.

In the future, Eiseman hopes to add more participants to the program, create a maintenance support group and launch a pediatric program to help children who are struggling with obesity.

“There is an overweight and obesity epidemic in this country, and the consequences are (conditions) like diabetes, sleep apnea and heart disease, which continue to be problematic,” Eiseman said. “Medical Associates recognizes the problem and tries to take a proactive approach in dealing with it. We recognize that other approaches and doctor advice tend not to work, because to make the kinds of changes that lead to weight loss requires looking to why a person gained weight in the first place. It takes a lot of energy for people to learn what they need to do and to learn the behavioral changes they need to make (for weight loss).”

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