My Weight Loss and Lifestyle Support Group will meet monthly, the 3rd Wednesday of every month.
This spring, I led a series of free community discussions about the latest in food and nutrition. I was surprised by community members’ overwhelming interest in learning more practical and factual information about healthy eating.
More than 125 people registered for each session. I noticed that many were curious about all the TikTok and Instagram posts about which foods, how much and when to eat. As we sorted out the social media posts, separating fact from fiction, participants began to get a clearer picture of their health and how to achieve wellness through eating.
For instance, a discussion group participant asked me if it was healthier to purchase organic produce or nonorganic options. We reviewed recent findings from the Journal of Toxicology that found that there is likely no difference in your health risk with organic vs. nonorganic produce.
I also discussed the limitations and barriers from a farmer’s standpoint. To become a certified organic grower is expensive and requires expertise in navigating through the legal system, even if the grower meets all the standards of the operation. Most participants agreed that organic produce is often more expensive and can spoil quickly. I explained that only one in every ten Americans consume enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, so conventional fruits and vegetables are better than none at all.
It was a topic that everyone was happy to get more information about, so now they can confidently purchase conventional — or even frozen — produce without guilt.
Another participant told me she had been interested in intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. I was able to say that while there is some evidence that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss and improve heart health, most dietitians remain skeptical about the technique and do not recommend it.
I discussed the physiological impact that weight loss from intermittent fasting has on the body - forcing it to dip into energy stores, which messes with metabolism in a way that ultimately causes most people to regain the weight they had just lost.
I was able to stress the importance of thinking about what will work over time, not just in the short-term moment, to make us successful in our healthy lifestyle habits.
As a registered dietitian at Chestnut Hill Hospital for almost 10 years, I’ve counseled inpatients for weight gain and weight loss; and on how diet impacts conditions from heart disease to diabetes.
But since providing nutrition support is not just a profession for me, it’s my passion, I want to reach more people outside the walls of the hospital.
Peer support can help people follow a plan for healthy eating and exercise for a longer period. A study in 2018 reported that people in group programs lost an average of 7.7 more pounds than those who pursued individual counseling only.
Starting this fall, I will lead a healthy weight loss and lifestyle support group. The Weight Loss and Lifestyle Support Group will meet monthly, the 3rd Wednesday of every month. Our focus will be on healthy lifestyle and weight management techniques, and we will include guest speakers and interactive activities.
All are welcome. The support group is free and will meet from 6-7 p.m. in Chestnut Hill Hospital’s Main Level Conference Room. Registration is not required. If you are interested, please leave me an email at carlie.kamnik@ towerhealth.org.