Helen Ramsey, RD, dietitian health educator: Measuring 'non-scale' victories
Helen Ramsey loves hearing about the “non-scale” victories of the bariatric surgical patients of Via Christi Weight Management.
“I like to help people build skills for a healthy life and to hear about their success,” says Ramsey, who has spent 10 years of her last 40 years as a dietitian working with surgical weight-loss patients.
As she leads the weekly support group of postoperative surgical patients, she enjoys hearing about how much the patients have gained in their lives, not just how many pounds they've lost – things like running a race with their young child or getting on the floor to play with a grandchild.
About 30 people attend the weekly meetings to find support from staff and other patients and help maintaining their weight loss and postsurgical lifestyle skills. Once-a-month presentations on specific topics also are offered.
Ramsey works with the patients before their surgery, teaching the life-after-surgery portion of the preoperative Lifestyles class and the skills they’ll need to maintain weight loss. In those classes, she hears the patients’ desire to start “living life” again. At the postoperative support groups, she hears them tell how they are finally able to do just that.
“It's not all about getting to an ideal weight. It’s also about improving the patient’s overall health by reducing illnesses related to overweight,” she says. “It's getting to where you can do what you want to do and live your life.”