Perhaps I don’t have to tell you that in the United States, the percentage of people who are considered overweight or obese continues to get larger with each year.   I like to drive this point home when I am giving educational talks about health by shcdc obesity map 2014owing a series of maps of the country from year to year, which clearly shows that this is becoming an epidemic.
Check out the percentage of obese people – those with BMI 30 or greater  (Source: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC).

You can get started by checking your own Body Mass Index (BMI).  It just takes a minute and knowing your BMI is the first step to take.  Remember, >25 is considered overweight, and >30 is obese (or maybe a better term for all of this is “unhealthy weight”).

Wow.  But it is more than a bunch of statistics.  These are real people who are risk for diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, musculoskeletal problems, to name a few, not to mention the toll it can take on their sense of well-being, their relationships, their mood.

IMG_0873 On today’s Healthy Matters (my weekly radio show), Natalie Ikeman, a certified Physician Assistant at HCMC’s Golden Valley Clinic, joined me in-studio to talk about strategies for losing weight, and specifically her new program, called The Great Slim Down.

Natalie grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota for college and Augsburg College for her Master’s in Physician Assistant studies.  She’s cool.  She’s not judgmental.  She’s smart.  You’ll like her, trust me!

The Great Slim Down

Natalie’s program is unique in that it happens in a medical clinic where weight loss is put in the context of your total health care, both physical and mental health.  It involves a monthly visit with Natalie, usually for a year, in which she provides counseling, support, medical advice.  Not only that, you will meet with a registered dietitian and there is a psychologist available as well.

The Great Slim Down involves counseling in several areas:

  • Behavior modification (monitoring and modifying food intake, monitoring physical activity, controlling cues and stimuli that trigger overeating)
  • Dietary issues to help you with healthy choices
  • Exercise, including balance, flexibility, and aerobic training

What’s super cool about the program is that you are held accountable each month – after all, you have a recurring appointment with Natalie to keep tabs on your progress.  The idea is to learn new behaviors, new habits, and sustain it over the long run.  Natalie is taking new patients to the Great Slim Down – just call the schedule line at 612-873-6963 and make an appointment with her.  Many insurance plans will cover it, but be sure to check yours – call them and ask if “weight loss counseling” is covered.  One other cool thing – the scales are not in the public areas of the clinic.  Privacy.  What a brilliant concept.


Natalie Ikeman, PA-C joins me in the WCCO studio, podcast available at HCMC.ORG