Ellensburg's Darcy Poulsen turned to the Lose It program in 2010. More than a year later - and 16 pounds lighter - Poulsen looks trim, fit and energetic. "The greatest thing about Lose It is you walk out inspired saying 'I can do that'," Poulsen says. "They're encouraging and they give you the tools to be successful."
Those tools include tips on making healthy eating choices, menu planning and exercise. Pam Dick, a Registered Dietitian at KVH, is low key in her approach. She knows that in a "diet crazy" society many people end up frustrated. "Our program focuses on long term health changes that people will stick with because we don't want to be a fad diet," she says. "So many people have been beaten down by the word diet. I want to help them tweak their diet a little and make little changes. Let's stop demonizing food. If you want an Oreo cookie, you eat an Oreo cookie - just not the whole package."
So how do you tweak a diet? Start small and go from there, Dick says. One strategy is to focus on one meal a day. "Maybe dinner is when they really eat," Dick says. "So I ask them, 'How can you change that meal?'" For one man who lived alone and typically ate standing at the sink or in front of the TV, it was a decision to sit at the table and take 15 to 20 minutes longer to eat a meal.
For Poulsen, keeping a food journal helped her track her eating. "It helps you track the calories. It makes you aware of what you're putting in your body," she says. A Lose It "supermarket safari" to Super One Foods made changing food choices tangible to Poulsen.
Add to making smart food choices another piece of the weight loss puzzle: regular exercise. "If you do nothing else, start to exercise regularly because it's super important," Dick says.
Poulsen is impressed by how Lose It changed her life. "The healthier I ate, the better I felt," says Poulsen who has fibromyalgia and arthritis in her back. "My joints stopped aching. I was on a lot of prescriptions before I was on Lose It. As I've gotten healthier I've come off many of them. The energy level you gain is amazing. Eating healthy and losing weight helps with your mental and physical well being. You have a lot more energy and feel so much better."