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Success Stories

Transforming Lives One Bite at a Time

You are what you eat. This old saying is truer than many people think. But just what does it mean? And if we really are what we eat, then what foods should we consume? Cleveland Clinic's convenient, online nutrition program gives easy answers to these questions and many, many more.

Unlike other nutrition plans, such as Weight Watchers, Cleveland Clinic's MyConsult Nutrition Counseling is customized to each individual. The convenient, Web-based program connects people to a Cleveland Clinic Heart Center registered dietician who develops personalized, comprehensive nutrition programs based on each particular person's unique requirements.

"We empower people to make positive changes in their lives," says Melissa Ohlson, one of the program's dietitians. "It feels good to see the successes." One woman, for example, lost a significant amount of weight, and a year later, she is still on track. It's also pretty amazing to watch patients reduce their triglycerides by 30 percent and make dramatic reductions in their cholesterol and sugar levels.

"Follow up is important because it enables us to fine tune what our patients are doing," she adds. "What I like about Cleveland Clinic's online program is that it makes it easier to keep tabs on people. If they have to physically go somewhere, it takes time away from work and life. But if they can simply go online, then they are more apt to seek the follow-up care that is so beneficial."

How It Works
To take advantage of the nutrition program, visit www.eclevelandclinic.org. Scroll down and click on "Nutrition Consultation." Here you can read about the program, including "frequently asked questions." If you decide to register for the program, you will establish a secure user name and password. Once this is done, you can access the MyConsult Nutrition Consultation service from any computer.

To get started with your consultation, you need to complete a simple, online questionnaire and consent form. After these are submitted, you will receive a thorough, detailed report within five to seven business days. Then a few days later, you will receive your first consultation.

"I can provide more information in one of these consultation reports than I can in an hour-long, face-to-face session," explains Ohlson. "Patients really benefit from this because they get more valuable information, and since the report is printed, they can refer back to it. Also, by doing their consultation online, they can do it at their convenience without traveling anywhere."

During two sessions, Cleveland Clinic dieticians will help you establish realistic goals, advise you on grocery shopping and eating out at restaurants, encourage regular exercise regimens, and provide a wealth of additional information and support to start you on your way to a healthier future.

You will also be given access to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Consumer Health Information. Here you'll find online articles and tools to help you manage a chronic disease or condition, live healthy and be well. The special site, which includes material approved by Cleveland Clinic experts, enables users to review health articles, videos, webcasts and podcasts, health tools and other valuable content.

"Our nutrition program has been popular because we offer simple, practical steps that people can take to improve their health," says Ohlson. "Since it's online, it is very convenient. Our detailed questionnaire gives a really good picture of where people are and where they need help, and the advice we provide covers every aspect of those needs."

"Our reports are generally eight to 10 pages long and provide a lot more information and advice than someone would get if they had a face-to-face session," she adds. "One man followed our guidelines for a year or so and made terrific progress. But then he got off track. He thought our program was so valuable that he came back to us two years later to ask for additional consultations."

"This is not just a one-time deal and you're done," Ohlson notes. "You choose your consultation as a package. The weight-loss package, for example, includes two sessions. So there is follow-up, which can be important - especially if changes have taken place in a patient's life."

Dramatic Weight Loss
Many people who participate in the Cleveland Clinic nutrition program want to lose weight. They have typically failed with other weight-loss methods because the programs were not tailored to their individual needs and lifestyles.

"I tried Weight Watchers, but you can't spend your life counting points," says a 53-year-old Cleveland-area resident named Susan.* "I got frustrated and discouraged. But then I noticed a link on the Cleveland Clinic Web site that changed my life. The link connected me to the nutrition consultation program. It sounded really good; so I signed up."

Within a few days of completing her simple, online questionnaire, Susan received her first consultation from a registered dietician. "She was very, very good," says Susan. "She tried a different approach with me. She wanted to know what has not worked for me in the past so that she could develop a plan for me that would work."

Apparently, the online service has proven quite successful for Susan. "I feel awesome," she says. "I have a lot more energy and am motivated to stick to my weight-loss goals. I went out and bought smaller-sized clothes. When people see me, they do double-takes. My family is very proud of me. Plus my husband tells me that I look very, very good."

Ohlson has been pleased and gratified by the success Susan has made. "It's so rewarding to have someone like her," she says. "She was great because she's motivated. What I like is that I gave her the tools and she took it into her own hands. When you help someone, it makes your day."

Susan has equally flattering things to say about the counseling services she received. "I've been very impressed by the MyConsult nutrition program," she says. "And I'm glad my dietician really listened to me."

* Although the above story is true and the quotations are accurate, the client's name has been changed to fulfill her request for anonymity.



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