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Finding a Weight-Loss Solution

By Keri Brenner | The Olympian

Egads! Who knew about Solutions when I wrote a three-part series on obesity that was published in The Olympian?

If I had known that Solutions, a down-to-earth, personalized independent weight-loss clinic, was here in Olympia, I would have tripped over myself to get them on board.

As it was, I did hear about it later from passionate Solutions customers.

"It is too bad that a viable, safe approach did not make this round of your reporting," wrote one woman, who signed her letter, "A happy, thinner Solutions client."

"Maybe next time, the REAL Solution will be represented."

OK, well, geez. Consider this column my mea culpa.

I have to admit that Ms. "happy, thinner" letter writer has a point. After interviewing Solutions owner Anna Adolphsen, reviewing the program, and speaking to Rainier resident Rae Simpson, who lost 50 pounds in five months with Solutions, I'm a believer myself.

That's not to say that many other methods, programs and services I covered in the obesity series don't work - they do for many people.

But for those who don't want prepackaged food, who aren't ready for weight-loss surgery, but who still need a lot of nutrition education, personal support and accountability, Solutions could be a good bet.

"I'm a nurse, an R.N., so I know that I'm supposed to eat the right foods in the right proportions and exercise," said Simpson, 42, the mother of three teenagers and an administrator at Western State Hospital in Lakewood. "But for whatever reason, I couldn't do it on my own."

Simpson began the Solutions program last spring when she said she was "at my wit's end."

At more than 200 pounds, her 5-foot, 10-inch body was hurting in the knees, hips and back, Simpson said.

"I did not have any energy," she said. "My three teenagers are very active, and they wanted me to participate. I couldn't."

Simpson - a Midwest native who grew up on meat, potatoes and gravy - said her weight had "yo-yo'd" for years. By last spring, she told her husband: "I don't want to live this way anymore."

Five months later, Simpson was 50 pounds thinner and on Solutions' month long stabilization program. Now she's on maintenance, which lasts about a year.

"Since I've lost the weight, I'm so much more confident," she said. "My husband and I are dating again - we go out to concerts, out to dinner."

Simpson is no longer stuck at home, afraid to go out for fear of being ridiculed because of her weight.

"I enjoy going shopping now," she said. "I'm not afraid to go into a store; there are clothes I can buy that fit me."

What's Solutions all about? Here's a quick outline:

You meet with clinic owner Ms. Adolphsen, who has more than 24years of experience in the weight-loss counseling and clinic management field, for an in-depth personal assessment. The assessment is more than a superficial interview: You talk about goals, habits, dreams and lifestyle. It can go more than an hour.

Ms. Adolphsen determines your ideal average weekly weight loss, given your exercise and activity levels, excess weight, age and metabolism. She sets up a schedule for you to reach your goal weight.

She calculates your estimated length of participation, included in three phases: the Weight-Loss period, a month of Stabilization, and a year of Maintenance.

The investment of the program varies from person to person. According to Ms. Adolphsen, the average weekly cost works out to be less than many of the corporate chain or franchise weight-loss clinics - if you calculate the average weekly cost during the entire length of the program.

You meet with a skilled weight loss consultant to work out a customized program of balanced proteins, fats and carbohydrates using regular foods - along with a target daily calorie intake. You keep a daily food journal.

You visit the clinic three times a week between 8 a.m and 6 p.m to receive knowledge, support, and encouragement in both nutrition and behavioral/lifestyle changes with one of the skilled weight loss consultants. To ensure your ability to participate, no appointment is needed. Having worked with thousands of clients locally, even with that large a group, "we know who you are," says Ms. Adolphsen, who connects with each client personally. Ms. Adolphsen also works with clients around the country, who check in by phone and/or computer.

After you meet your goal, you transition into the second phase, the Stabilization period, where your nutritional plan is appropriately adjusted, incorporating additional food choices which prepares your body for upcoming Maintenance. This final phase of the program provides you with the ability to remain at your desired weight long term. You reduce your clinic visits to two times a week.

After stabilization, you continue on Maintenance for a year, visiting the clinic about once a month. If you need to come more frequently, that's available, too. 

The goal is not just to lose the weight, but to change lifestyles and behaviors permanently.

"I never call it a diet; it's a program," Simpson said. "This really helped me enjoy life and live my life again."

OK, consider this my obesity series, second season. I wonder when it will come out on DVD?