January 2016

Science-Backed Weight Loss Program Helps People Get Healthy

by Stephanie Ryan Malin

Chris Washington is noticing a lot of double takes these days.

“My family and friends, they all ask me, ‘What are you doing?’ and I just smile,” Washington said. He has lost 34 pounds over the course of 12 weeks as part of the Elite Health and Wellness Program, a new multidisciplinary approach to weight loss from LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The program is based on medical research and tailored around the lifestyle of each person who is participating.

Washington is an attorney by trade and while his colleagues in the courtroom may refer to his stunning weight loss as a wonder, Washington brushes that notion off, noting that his weight loss is a result of the sophisticated program that was developed by Pennington Biomedical’s world-renowned scientists who specialize in metabolism and weight loss.

“It’s really science-backed, and that’s why I decided to give it a try. What sets the Elite Health and Wellness Program apart for me is that it’s based on research,” said Washington. “Over the years I’ve seen all the work Pennington Biomedical has done to help people lose weight and get healthy, and I really wanted to improve my health—that was my number one goal.”

Washington weighed in on day one of his weight loss journey at 268 pounds, having already tried diet after diet.

“When I stepped on the scale, I was disappointed and felt sadness, because I’d tried everything—the paleo diet, the low-carb diet, and I even went vegan for a while, but nothing seemed to work,” said Washington, who was ready to make his health a priority.

“I have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and my doctor was always telling me I needed to lose weight to avoid some really dangerous additional health problems. Now that I’m 34 pounds down, she is going to be so surprised to see me the next time—and proud too. Now I’m excited to step on that scale at the doctor’s office,” Washington said.

The Elite Health and Wellness Program began seeing clients earlier this fall during a soft launch of the program, which provides a combination of one-on-one health counseling, personalized meal plans, and an array of state-of-the-art health tests.

“What we are doing is bringing our science to those in our community looking for a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off,” said Rob Leonhard, program manager for the Elite Health and Wellness Program. “What makes this program different is that we’re providing you with insight into your health that you wouldn’t find at your ordinary weight loss clinic, along with a program designed with your unique needs in mind.”

That insight comes through scientific tests such as an assessment of resting metabolic rate, biochemical profile monitoring, body composition analysis which shows precise measurements of body fat, lean tissue mass, and bone density, a VO2Max test to determine aerobic fitness levels, and more.

Washington said his health coaches at Pennington Biomedical have streamlined the details of his health assessments to ensure the weight loss process has remained straightforward and easy to follow.

“I’ve been lifting weights for about a decade, but they told me what kind of cardio would be best for me and I can see a difference. I’m no longer huffing and puffing when I jog and I’m not feeling all those pains I used to,” said Washington, who has also benefitted from the nutritional counseling.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is about making choices—how to choose what kinds of foods I’m going to eat every day, and that’s what is going to help me keep the weight off long-term. The people at Pennington Biomedical helped me learn how to make my choices work for my lifestyle, and I still eat those foods I love, but now I have a plan to limit them, and I have a team of people who are backing me up,” said Washington.

If you’re interested in learning more about investing in your health through the Elite Health and Wellness Program, visit www.penningtonelitehealth.com.