Hemelt: Lifestyle changes succeed where diets can fail

Published 12:03 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

Diets rarely lead to long-term success, but lifestyle changes do.

That’s a fact I have come to realize as someone who has struggled with weight gain during different parts of my life.

When my wife and I first bought a treadmill, we knew we were taking the chance that the purchase would ultimately devolve into an expensive electronic clothes hanger.

By committing to the treadmill as part of a lifestyle change and not just a function of our latest diet, it stayed in regular use for four years. Five months ago we traded it out for an elliptical machine, and our activity has maintained.

That train of thought is behind a lifestyle diet reboot effort at St. James Parish Hospital known as the Ideal Protein Program, of which a free introductory seminar is scheduled Feb. 7.

Hospital officials introduced the effort to our community in the fall of 2013, and the success stories for many dozens of our neighbors and friends has followed.

Ideal Protein is a medically designed weight loss protocol that helps clients lose weight and keep it off through a four-phase plan.

Each dieter receives support from a local coach that assists with goal setting, weight stabilization and post-diet living.

Dieters learn how body fat is burned, the relationship between insulin and weight gain and which foods are best suited for healthy weight management. When, why and in what combination to eat carbohydrates, fats and proteins are also shared.

Ideal Protein products offer a variety of flavors. Several offerings are gluten-free, and new products are constantly being developed and introduced.

Local Coach Emma Taylor told me this week that seeing her dieters set and achieve their goals is her favorite part about being a coach.

“I’ve had dieters who had a big weight loss goal, so I’ve seen some of these people once a week for a couple of months,” Taylor said. “You get to know the dieters and get to know the journey that got them here. I get to see the success almost as instantly as the dieters are seeing it.”

Taylor said she’s seen grandparents and parents who today are more able to move around with their children and grandchildren.

“I’ve seen people get more confident in themselves as the weeks went on, so I find seeing that firsthand from the dieters is really rewarding,” she said. “The diet is supposed to be a lifestyle change and not just a temporary weight loss, so to have an impact on people that big is also really rewarding.”

The Ideal Protein seminar starts at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 in the medical plaza located next to St. James Parish Hospital. Each attendee receives a free gift and is entered into a drawing to win an Ideal Protein recipe book.

Those interested are asked to RSVP online by visiting sjph.org/events. If you do not have computer access, call 225-258-2014 to register. If you are interested in learning more but can’t make the seminar, call 225-258-2014 to schedule an appointment that works for you.

“The thing that excites me the most about the Ideal Protein Program is the success rate,” Taylor said. “If you’re following the diet exactly as follows, each one of the dieters gets results. I think that’s what makes this diet so unique. What drew me to the job was getting to interact with people and help them on the road to become healthier for themselves and their families.”

For those on the diet yoyo wanting to try something new but still maintain a fear of the unknown, Taylor stresses Ideal Protein doesn’t take away any “real food.”

“I find that there is something that everyone can enjoy,” she said. “With this diet, it’s more of trying to adjust the dieters’ lifestyles for the long haul. I find the diet is usually a mental challenge for my dieters, but once they get over that, the diet is smooth sailing for them.”


Stephen Hemelt is publisher and editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or stephen.hemelt@lobservateur.com.