Avera Medical Minute AHH: Balanced Weight Loss Program

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It's a common belief that it will take you 21 days to form a new habit, but in reality, it takes much longer than that. To train healthy lifestyles, Avera dietitians have developed a plan that is much longer than a three week fix, in fact it's 52 weeks.

Change is coming to the Avera Heart Hospital. For Stacy Allen, it's a change to her health and lifestyle.

"I'm nervous and excited to see what the outcome will be at the end." said Allen.

For the hospital's dietitians, it's a change to the routine.

"We want to teach you the tools to make this a lifestyle change forever, so that this is weight-loss that you keep off and you're able to maintain." said Lauren Cornay, a registered dietitian at the Avera Heart Hospital.

For years, the team of registered dietitians have been an integral part of the Heart Hospital and the new balanced weight loss program hopes to take their expertise to the next level.

"It's a year with a dietitian. So every single visit is going to be with a registered dietitian someone who understands not only the weight loss and diet aspect but also any other disease states that you're having to work with." said Cornay.

The idea is similar to the TV show Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition with Chris Powell. Just like the show, over the course of the year, dietitians will work with clients like Stacy and truly personalize their care. For a $200 flat fee, you'll get custom meal plans, custom workouts, and unparalleled accountability and access.

"The plan is really to tailored to the individual, so initially it will be every two weeks and then monthly, however, if you are struggling and need an extra little visit we are happy to do that! We are really going to do what works for you!" said Cornay.

How are all these visits possible? Well, this program will also utilize the AveraNow app.

"So we can do it all by video-visit or we can do a combination of face-to-face and video visits whatever works best." said Cornay.

Working behind the scenes at the heart hospital, Stacy has seen the success of others who have gone through the previous programs with the dietitians. So for the next year, her family will be working toward a complete makeover of their own.

"I know all the dietitians here and it will help me and my husband lose some weight and get better health for our son and our future." said Allen.

The dietary change is not made with shakes or supplements, it's with real foods and changing the way people shop at the grocery store. It's not a quick fix, which is another reason the year long program will help people be successful long-term.

"We make our eating habits over a lifetime so no, we can't break those in one or two visits. It's going to take a year of a lot of individual personalized counseling to break the habit so that this is something that you're going to be able to sustain." said Cornay.

Stacy and her family are just starting down the road to better health. A year is quite a long time, but Stacy has a few words of encouragement for her future self as she works to change for the better.

"Just stay focused, stay positive, ask for help, and ask for advice if you need it!" said Allen.

Because this program utilizes the AveraNow app, people all over South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa can take part in the program. AveraNow is available now and can be accessed from your home computer or downloaded to your tablet or phone. For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.