Geoffrey Loomis, weight management coordinator at Benefis Weight Loss Center, said the new approach bridges a gap between two existing programs offered at Benefis. For those who wish a toned-down version of the program, the center offers a package meeting such expectations. While bariatric surgery is the most aggressive form of losing weight, no options in between were available, Loomis said.
United Health Foundation released a report mentioning that nearly 24.3 percent of Montana’s population is overweight or obese. Compared to other states, Montana has a low percentage of obese or overweight people, but still a high number.
The Benefis three-step program combines a meal replacement product, education about shopping and eating and maintenance. The program is aimed at people who have a body mass index greater than 25, or those who are about 35 pounds overweight.
The first step, lasting between six and 12 weeks, asks clients to eat only the meal replacement product.
The second phase, lasting about four weeks, is adapted for each person and is a combination of meal replacement and food purchased at a grocery store and prepared at home.
The third phase involves the client eating a grocery store diet and meeting with staff as needed to talk about progress and obstacles
The program’s focus extends beyond food; it also offers education on being active. However, Loomis mentioned that modifications in diet is the biggest contributor to weight loss.