UCLA weight-management program changes direction of woman’s life

Frances Berman enjoying exercise outside
Frances Berman lost more than 70 pounds within a six-month period. (Photo by Joshua Suddock/ UCLA Health)

When Frances Berman’s doctor told her she someday would need a knee replacement because of the strain her weight was putting on her legs, she embarked on a supervised weight-loss program and, within six months, shed more than 70 pounds.

“My doctor was constantly telling me I need to lose weight,” she said. “So, I would lose weight, gain some back and then lose it again. It was a cycle.” But shortly before he retired, Berman’s doctor told her about the UCLA Medical Weight Management Program, a program of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. She enrolled in February.

“I’ve never, in all my life, been on a diet like this,” Berman said. “I’ve always been overweight, and I’ve been on lots of diets, but nothing like this. It is an amazing program.”

The right mindset is key to weight-management success

Successful weight loss is a long-term journey that requires patience, perseverance and, above all, a positive mindset, Berman learned.

For her diet, Berman eats lean proteins, fruits and vegetables on a set schedule throughout the day. In the evening, she enjoys a full meal with her husband.

Through the program, which includes regular visits with a physician and dietician, as well as group cognitive behavioral therapy classes, Berman discovered that many of her weight-management issues stemmed from her negative relationship with food. She credits much of her success to Debbie Rehman Lux, MS, LMFT, a cognitive behavioral therapist, who conducts weekly virtual and in-person sessions with participants in the weight-management program.

“I often address all-or-nothing thinking, which is the belief that 'if I'm not perfect on my diet, I have failed,'" said Lux. "It's this kind of negative thinking that can interfere with their success. So, it's my role to help them acknowledge their progress, the positive changes they made, and remind them of the importance of self-compassion.

Berman is in it for the long-haul

Berman said that seeing her health improve as she has lost weight is enough to keep her motivated and committed to the program long-term.

“I have diabetes. When I started this program, I was taking five shots of insulin a day, and I did that for eight years,” said Berman. “As I was losing the weight, my doctor kept lowering my dosage, and now I am off insulin completely.”

Berman said she plans to continue on her path toward better health.

“I never want to go back to where I was,” she said. “And I love the members of our weekly group. We all encourage each other. It really is an amazing feeling.”

Take the Next Step

Learn more about UCLA Health’s medical weight loss program.

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