Lisa Maurer never spent much time in the produce section of the grocery store. “Now it’s my favorite place,” laughs the 46-year-old Lancaster woman. Lisa credits Lancaster General Health’s Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery non-surgical weight-loss program with “absolutely changing my life” by helping her change the way she ate.
A Worsening Struggle
Lisa had struggled with her weight since high school, trying a variety of diets over the years.
“Some worked for a while, but I always put the weight back on,” she says.
Then in November 2017, a back injury that kept her in near-constant pain and less active for six months, took Lisa’s challenges to a new level.
“I had trouble being on my feet and gained a significant amount of weight,” she says.
The Domino Effect
The additional weight aggravated arthritis in Lisa’s knee, which made walking even more difficult. This led to more weight gain. Her job as a digital and print resource specialist with the School District of Lancaster required Lisa to be on the go, meeting with students and teachers throughout the district. She began to experience depression.
It was Lisa’s orthopedic physician who suggested she check out the medically managed weight-loss program offered by Lancaster General Health. Lisa took the advice and had her first appointment in July 2018.
“I never knew this program existed,” says Lisa, who raves about the amazing support and guidance she received, and continues to receive, from a nurse practitioner and dietitians. “I thought I knew how to eat healthy, but found out I really didn’t.”
The Journey to Healthy Eating
The weight-loss team worked with Lisa to evaluate her current eating habits, starting with asking her to write down everything she ate.
“It became clear I was eating for comfort and joy, rather than sustenance,” Lisa recalls.
At regular office visits, Lisa received educational information on nutrition, practical tips, and healthy recipes.
“I tried things I never thought I’d try…like bok choy,” smiles Lisa, who soon began to reach her weight-loss goals. In a little more than a year, she had lost 102 pounds.
“It’s all about portion control,” she says.
Lisa makes it a habit to weigh meat when she gets home from the grocery store and freeze it in portion-appropriate sizes.
“That way I’m not tempted to eat more than I should at meals,” she says.
“You can eat as many vegetables as you want, so I learned to prepare them in new ways,” she says. One of her favorite techniques is roasting vegetables in the oven with a sprinkle of garlic powder and occasionally, a little Parmesan cheese.
Accountability and Celebration
While Lancaster General Health’s Healthy Weight Management program stresses accountability and sticking to a plan, the team “didn’t shame me if had a treat,” explains Lisa. “In fact, they said it’s good to celebrate milestones.”
Lisa remembers treating herself to Chick-Fil-A (her favorite place) when she hit her 50-pound goal.
Spreading the Word
“I feel like a different person,” says Lisa, who now goes to the gym four times a week, can almost win races with her godson, and loves shopping for the first time in years.
“I can fit into the clothes I’ve always wanted to wear!” she says.
Lisa has follow-up appointments with the Healthy Weight Management team every three months to review her progress, discuss new developments, and help stay on track. Next year her visits will move to every six months.
Lisa has already recommended Healthy Weight Management to three friends and encourages others to consider its benefits.
“I would never call the program a diet. That’s temporary. I’ve changed my whole way of life and this is something I can sustain indefinitely,” smiles Lisa.