Patient Stories

Find your care

Our specialists help you prevent and manage health conditions and meet your goals with individualized, expert nutritional care. For help finding clinical nutrition care, call 310-825-7921. To reach the Medical Weight Management Program, please call 310-825-8173.

Weight Management Patient Experiences

The UCLA Medical Weight Management Program features a multidisciplinary team of experienced physicians, nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, clinical psychologists and therapists who are passionate about weight management. We utilize a combination of dietary, physical activity and behavioral lifestyle changes, which are individually tailored to fit each individual’s weight loss goals.

Below are some of our patient stories and UCLA weight loss program reviews.

Susan Whisnant

Susan Whisnant

I’ve lost 15 pounds. My doctor said it was equivalent to a big five-gallon water bottle. When you view it that way, it’s pretty dramatic,” says Susan, who joined the UCLA Risk Factor Obesity Weight Management program. “One of the things that I think is different is that this weight program really touches on some of your basic psychological patterns. The classes help with weight loss, and it also helps with life overall. I think it’s a wonderful program because it’s so supportive. It’s the total package, from the doctors to the lab work to the support of the staff. It’s a good program for living."  (Source: UCLA Health Facebook)

Steven Batesole

Steven Batesole

"My doctor created a graph of my blood-sugar levels over the last 10 years and you could follow the graph as it climbed. He told me that within a year I'd be on diabetes medicine," says Steven Batesole, who followed his doctor's recommendation to join the UCLA Risk Factor Obesity Weight Management Program. "The care is fantastic. Everybody is friendly, caring, attentive and responsive-it's been nothing but a positive experience. Everybody from the doctors on down is here to help the people who come here. I've been in the program for about a year and I've lost 90 pounds!" (Source: UCLA Health Facebook)


Oonagh Sankar

Oonagh Sankar

"I noticed a co-worker at a conference, and I had to look at her about three times to realize it was the same person because she had lost so much weight," says Oonagh Sankar, a nurse at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center who joined the Risk Factor Obesity, or RFO, Weight Management Program at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition three years ago to lose weight and improve her health. "I'm currently in the maintenance phase. I started off around 173 pounds and the lowest I went down to was 143 pounds. This diet program is different than other diet programs where they tell you what you can't do or limit your choices. Here at UCLA, it's a cognitive behavioral approach where you learn how to manage food and manage daily situations. It just becomes a lifestyle and not a diet."  (Source: UCLA Health Facebook)


Dawn Before
Dawn After

"I began the UCLA RFO Program in September 2005 at 300 pounds. I was on five different prescription medications for a variety of conditions. I was only 37 years old. I had been struggling with obesity for over eighteen years. I was scared, tired, and in constant physical discomfort. I truly felt helpless and hopeless. I believed that I was going to die too early as I could not find a way out of the physical prison I had created for myself with my body. Over three years later I have removed over 150 pounds from by body, and I now weight half of what I weighed when I began the program in 2005. I am no longer on any prescription medication. I am no longer scared, tired, or in any physical pain. I am hopeful now, and I no longer live in a prison of my own creation. I know that the UCLA RFO program provided me with the opportunity to save my own life. The RFO Program provided me with a team of support and for me at the center of that team is Debbie Lux, who leads the behavior modification and maintenance groups on Wednesday nights.  I learned many tools in that group that aided me my desire to remove the extra weight from my body. I gained invaluable knowledge about concepts ranging from environmental control with  food to the need for physical activity and self-management. I also received much needed support from the other patients in the program. I found a place where I had a voice and where I could relate to others in a way that no other weight loss program ever offered.  There is nothing magic about this program it requires hard work and a deep personal commitment to one's self. However, I truly believe that with the right intention a person can utilize the structure and support that the RFO Program offers in order to change and save your life. I am living proof of that, and I halve enormous gratitude for it."

Brothers Arturo and Gilberto

Arturo and Gilberto

The brothers started the RFO Weight Loss Program at UCLA in January 2008. Both over 400 pounds when they started, they each lost 185 plus pounds by the December 2008 Holidays, one year later. They commented:
"Wow! What a deference a year makes. We cannot believe it. We each have lost more than 185 pounds in exactly one year! the healthy way too. Thanks a million from us and our families. This has completely changed our lives. When we arrived at the program we did not know what to expect but you made it simple. You held out hands and taught us how to succeed. We have learned so much about nutrition, exercise and the body. Look at us now. One year ago we felt trapped and now we are living again. Our outlook on life has done a complete 180. We FEEL fit. We feel amazing and energized. We are enjoying life and our families more than ever. Thank you and it is great to be alive."

Arturo Before
Arturo After
Gilberto Before
Gilberto After



"As Thanksgiving approaches, and I think about what I am thankful for, RFO immediately comes to mind. My experience in the RFO Program has been a revelation. That doesn't mean it doesn't have ups and downs, but such is life and RFO is no different. We learn to manage the ups and downs in our own individual ways with all the tools that are provided to us. What's unique about RFO is the staff. They are universally behind each and every participant 100% and they really know their stuff. I have been on every diet imaginable, and I thought I knew it all, but I have learned something new every single week, and the new knowledge has given me confidence that, this time, I can keep the weight off. The reason is that the knowledge is not simply about's also about me. The other aspect of the program that I so appreciate is the group. We meet in a room every week and there is honesty. Honesty about successes and honesty about shortcomings. That honesty is freeing, and it imparts hope on everyone, that we can handle the shortcomings and in the long run, be successful. The group is an inspiration. So RFO is at the top of my list this Thanksgiving - a revelation and an inspiration - can't ask for more than that. As my family and friends hold up their wine and sparkling cider this Thanksgiving, I'll be holding up my shake, with immense gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at RFO!"

Anonymous Patient

"My journey with the UCLA RFO program has been remarkable!" I have moved very slowly through the journey and am thrilled that finally I have lost weight that has stayed off because I am breaking bad habits, it has taken me a lifetime to develop these bad habits and the RFO program is assisting me to slowly but surely replace the bad with healthy habits, I could not be happier! In the beginning, I wanted to lose a lot of weight very quickly, but I have learned slowly and surely is healthier and has helped me achieve weight loss that stays gone :) "


RFO has been the best weight loss program I have ever experienced. Like most overweight adults, I have been to many, many weight loss programs. You name the program, I have been through it. I lost significant weight with every one of them. They have all worked very well... until they didn't. They all taught me what not to eat.  That was pretty much everything. So once I reached a goal weight, I would go off the "diet" and slowly gain all the lost weight back, plus a little more. RFO is the first program to teach me what I can eat. It painlessly, through systematic small changes has led to a complete change of lifestyle as regards eating. That is not to say that my style of eating has changed. I still eat what I want, when I want. But armed with precise knowledge about food & nutrients, I find myself making much better choices for myself. I recommend this program to everyone who lets me know that they wish to reduce their weight.