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Dennis Halldorson had to get serious about shedding pounds – once and for all. What ignited the renewed motivation? His cardiologist.

The 72-year-old began experiencing shortness of breath and it was recommended he enroll in a medical weight loss program. The widower wasn’t in the habit of counting calories or watching what he ate – and the result was weight gain.

“I was eating the wrong things,” he says. “When I went grocery shopping, I picked up whatever looked good.”

But that stopped when Dennis enrolled in the medical weight loss program at Sanford Health almost one year ago.

The retired crop insurance manager started counting calories, changed his diet and increased his activity level. Not only has he lost 70 pounds, but, more importantly, regained his health and a new level of happiness.

“Dennis has embraced the whole multidisciplinary approach we recommended,” says Ronald Wiisanen, MD, obesity specialist at Sanford Health, who regards Dennis as one of his most successful patients. “He has been very faithful in attending weight loss classes, seeing a dietitian, and taking medication used to aid weight loss.”

Before specializing in treatment obesity, Dr. Wiisanen was a primary care physician and saw the effect being overweight had on his patients.

“I grew to see obesity impact so many medical problems,” he says. “But our weight management program offers a smart, safe and reliable solution to help reverse some of the negative impact.”

Dr. Wiisanen says most of his patients can achieve at least a 5 percent weight loss, which can produce meaningful health benefits. And that is the primary goal at Sanford – to improving the health of every patient seen.

Because losing weight – and sustaining weight loss – involves lifestyle changes, providers work with patients to offer manageable goals and help keep them on track.

“Most individuals are frustrated and have lived with this for years,” Dr. Wiisanen says. “We deal with the psychological aspects, as well, and try to support them. I do a lot of cheerleading.”

All of the medical weight loss patients also see a dietitian for an evaluation and counseling.

“I tell my patients just to take everything in moderation,” says Kelsey Herrick, the dietitian working with Dennis. “Food logging is a huge thing to help a lot.”

Dennis credits Herrick with helping to keep him on track, and to overcome his fondness for apple pie and other sweets.

“No more candy bars,” he says.

Surprisingly, Dennis has discovered he can still eat many of the foods he enjoys, but he has increased the vegetables and especially fruits in his diet, and counts his calories.

Dennis has often battled the pounds over the years, and watched his weight fluctuate as his diets took hold, then slowly loosened their grip over time. He vows that won’t happen again, now that he’s experienced sustained success in keeping the pounds off with help from a team of experts at Sanford.

“I’m not going to throw away what I learned,” Dennis says.

To learn if the medical weight loss management program at Sanford Health could help you, call (701) 234-4311.

Posted Date: November 2014