UBC Okanagan introduces weight management special service

UBCO keeps the weight off

An on-campus healthy weight specialty service is being launched at UBC Okanagan this spring to help people lose weight, and keep it off.

The program is brought to UBCO by Dr. Lesley Lutes, director of clinical training and registered clinic psychologist in the Department of Psychology, and is led by doctoral students. 

It includes individual or group assessment and treatment for a number of health and weight-related issues including weight loss, obesity and diabetes, binge-eating and emotional eating disorders, weight gain prevention, nutrition and physical activity changes.

Lutes is encouraging Canadians to make small changes toward healthy eating by making changes one meal or one choice at a time, following two decades of experience and research which led her to believe small changes can be more effective than drastic changes. 

"To date we’ve treated over 2,000 patients in different trials and I’ve had a clinical service now for small changes in three different provinces and two different countries over the last decade, helping people with a longer term weight loss and weight loss maintenance approach that is healthier. It's not about the number on the scale but about making clinically significant changes that they can maintain across time, to be healthier and happier emotionally and physically."

According to her research, long-term weight management is not as simple as calories-in and calories-out – it is a much more complex issue involving biological, psychological, and social factors.

She says growing in self-compassion is another big learning curve for participants. 

"Instead of having these ideas of 'I’m going to lose 50 pounds' or whatever, it's important to have more realistic expectations of not only what can they do, but doing it in a way emotionally and physically that will set them up for greater success long-term to be able to keep that weight off. No amount of initial weight loss is going to benefit someone long term if they’re just regaining it.

"More isn’t always better. Making one change at a time - be it something cognitively, emotionally, behaviourally - can really add up to long-term changes across time if you’re able to sustain it.

Patients receive individual or group treatment, a 12-week cognitive-behavioural group therapy program for weight loss that is co-facilitated by two clinicians. Group sessions take place on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Clients of the service will also receive an individual health and wellness assessment before and after the program. There is a fee of $120 to participate; this includes treatment materials. A sliding scale fee structure and/or payment plan is also available.

The program is open to community members, staff, faculty and students at UBC Okanagan. 

To find out more or to enrol in the Healthy Weight Specialty Service, contact the Interprofessional Clinic at 250 807 8241 or by emailing [email protected].

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