Chuck Lange is sold on the often circulated notion that dropping some excess weight can be a life-changing event.
Already carrying some excess heft at 250 pounds, Lange was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood, in 2003 and began treatment at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ world-renowned Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy.
An ongoing heart problem coupled with his cancer sidelined the director of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association and kept him from doing the extracurricular activities and hobbies that usually kept him off the couch.
“I went from getting out on my motorcycle, fly fishing, deer hunting and other outdoors activities to basically just sitting around on my couch watching television,” Lange said. “I got comfortable with that routine and I sat here eating and eating and not doing anything remotely physical or active.”
And so the 250-pound Lange quickly ballooned until topping out at 317 pounds, which wasn’t doing his myeloma or his heart ailment any favors. Lange’s doctors and family members began urging him to take control of his weight problem.
“The constant support and structure is what kept me going and believing. You immediately see results, and you really start feeling better overall.”
Lange had heard about the UAMS Program for Weight Loss and Metabolic Control, and finally came to the conclusion that he’d give it a try, if only to satisfy his doctors and loved ones.
“My initial goal was just to start the program to get everyone off my back and make them happy,” Lange admitted. “I heard success stories about the program, but initially I didn’t think it’d work for me.”
After the program helped him drop 120 pounds, Lange’s heart problem was suddenly under control and his cancer went into remission.
“Like magic,” Lange said. “It’s unbelievable how much your life is affected by unhealthy eating and excess weight.”
Fad For Your Health
The “magic” of the program, says Clinic Coordinator Betsy Day, is giving participants the knowledge and tools to succeed.
“By committing to the program, applicants begin a journey that not only includes steady weight loss and improved health, but gives them a concise road map and the necessary tools to maintain the lifestyle change,” Day said.
While most trendy “fad” diets and weight loss programs might offer a quick fix, the UAMS program aims to permanently change unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits. This ensures a higher success rate and leads to overall better health and quality of life.
Getting participants to reach their ideal weight is accomplished through a documented, medically proven strategy.
“Many people don’t realize the dangers of fad diets and drugs that are sometimes more risky than being overweight or obese,” Day said. “The key part of any rational diet includes behavior modification to avoid regaining the lost weight as soon as previous eating habits resume.”
Second Time Around
It didn’t take long for Lange to buy into the program.
“The constant support and structure is what kept me going and believing,” he said. “You immediately see results, and you really start feeling better overall.”
The rate of weight loss during the program is contingent upon sticking with the program and varies depending on age, weight and the amount of exercise.
“At each visit, participants must weigh in and attend learning sessions,” Day said. “Regular lab tests are performed and medical staff visits are also required. This is designed to guard physical and emotional health while assuring long-term weight maintenance.”
Now 120 pounds lighter and back to doing the activities he loves, Lange said he owes his new lease on life to the care and support he received at UAMS.
“I was initially sort of forced into making the decision to join the weight program,” Lange said. “But it didn’t take long to realize that if I hadn’t done it, I probably wouldn’t still be around. I now have a whole new attitude about life and possess the tools to keep me around for a lot longer.”
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