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Tidewater Bariatrics, Weight loss Chesapeake, VA

Chesapeake residents battle the numbers on the scale

By Christy Barritt, The Virginian-Pilot (The Clipper) - March 28, 2008

Original article here.

Chesapeake is shrinking.

While the city lines haven't budged, some citizens' waistlines aren't bulging the way they did a few months ago.

At Butts Road Primary School in Great Bridge, 36 members of the faculty and staff battled for 12 weeks to be the biggest loser and said goodbye to 609 pounds.

At Tidewater Bariatrics in Greenbrier, 136 patients have shed more than 3,000 pounds in the last 10 months under the supervision of a medical internist.

At the Taylor Bend YMCA in Western Branch, members aren't worried as much about numbers as they are getting healthy one day at a time.

No matter what the program, each participant agrees: Losing weight and getting healthy feels great.

Butts Road Primary teachers became motivated through their own version of the television show "The Biggest Loser." Participants were placed in teams of five, and each Wednesday morning before school they had to weigh in. Knowing other team members counted on them to win spurred on many participants.

"They were motivated, not just for themselves, but for their team to lose weight," said school nurse Lucia Farmer. "That's the plus behind this program. It holds them accountable, and they get to share with their team when they win a prize and that motivates them."

"They're very competitive and it's fun," said Principal Elizabeth Stublen, who lost 16 pounds. "We have certain staff members who love Starbucks, so those of us who were not on their team would say, 'Here's a gift card to Starbucks.' We're very competitive."

More than one-third of the school staff and faculty participated. They enjoyed it so much that they're doing it again until the end of the school year.

"I think it sets a great example for the children," Stublen said. "The fact that faculty and staff want to continue until the end of the year I think says something."

Special needs teacher Valerie Shoulders was named the Biggest Loser, dropping 33-1/2 pounds, or 20 percent of her total body weight.

"I tried to eat before 6 and to cook my own foods," said Shoulders, 49. "I stopped eating out. I prepare my meals so that I know what's in them."

Learn how to eat right

Dr. Margaret Gaglione of Tidewater Bariatrics, at Volvo Parkway and Kempsville Road, describes the weight loss plan she prescribes to patients as "aggressive." She teaches people how to eat properly while monitoring their health.

"To say that in one year I've dropped 33 medicines for 135 patients is remarkable," Gaglione said. "The success stories are phenomenal. The patients look younger, they feel fabulous, they're exercising."

Dorothy Caldwell, 58, is one of Gaglione's patients. She started using Tidewater Bariatrics last June after reading a newspaper article. She has lost 73 pounds since then and dropped three of her medications. Her husband has given her two new nicknames: "Skinny Minnie" and "Little Woman."

"I feel a lot healthier," said Caldwell, a Great Bridge resident and director of human resources for Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia. "I feel good, and I have a lot more energy. It's a great program. All the staff at Tidewater Bariatrics knows your name, and they never make you feel uncomfortable."

Caldwell said her biggest problem was fad dieting.

"I needed more structure," Caldwell said. "The personalized structure at Tidewater Bariatrics works for me."

Learn how to live well
At the Taylor Bend YMCA, Lisa Groh is an inspiration to many people. She's a fitness instructor. Not too many years ago, she was overweight herself.

Groh, 40, said she started gaining weight after her two sons were born and her life became sedentary. Her mother bought her family a YMCA membership, but Groh still struggled to exercise.

"I couldn't work out," said Groh, a Great Bridge resident. "I was too out of breath. I was too atrophied and unhealthy."

When her oldest son was killed in an automobile accident four years ago, she got serious about living healthy.

"That's when I made the huge transition from trying to be skinny to living well," Groh said. "I wanted to live really long and really, really well. That's when I really took control of my health and stopped all dieting and started eating to live, as fuel for the body."

Even though she's lost weight and gained muscle, she said she still has her struggles, especially when it comes to brownies.

"I'm still a regular person," she said.

Today, she coordinates a Y-Change group at the YMCA in Western Branch. The fitness program helps members jump-start a healthy new lifestyle and includes one-on-one sessions with a coordinator and educational seminars.

"We deal with what we're eating and why we're eating," Groh said. "We put it all together to create a healthy life. It's not about doing three hours at the gym because bathing suit season is coming."

Learn what not to do

Gaglione said she's concerned about the obesity rate in our nation.

"Sixty-six percent of our population is overweight; 33 percent is obese," she said.

One problem she sees is fast food.

"I don't think people have any idea what they're consuming," Gaglione said.

"If you walk for a mile, you burn 100 calories," she said. But, she noted, a 32-ounce Hardee's sweet tea, for example, contains 256 calories. A Starbucks venti Caramel Macchiato tallies in at 340 calories.

And a No. 1 meal combo at McDonald's - containing a Big Mac, large fries and medium drink - has a whopping 1,300 calories. "That's my whole day's calories in one meal," Gaglione said, "and we're giving that to our children. It's crazy."

Groh has advice for others trying to develop a healthy lifestyle.

651-6166, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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This is the first step in improving your health and lifestyle.

At Tidewater Bariatrics, my staff and I are committed to helping you achieve your weight loss goals.

I am a board certified Bariatrician and Internal Medicine physician. I will tailor a program specific to your needs, time constraints and abilities.

Our program is modeled after successful academic university medical center programs, and is dedicated to decreasing your health risk, improving nutrition, providing health education, and increasing your overall wellness. You can expect to lose weight, improve your cardio-vascular health, and reduce your risk of developing long-term obesity complications.

Even if you already have the complications of obesity, weight loss can decrease or eliminate their effects.

Dr. Margaret Gaglione

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