Exercise is a component of the new UT Physicians Center for Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance.
Exercise is a component of the new UT Physicians Center for Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance.

Do you measure your happiness by the number on the scale?

A new UT Physicians clinic is teaching patients to step back from the scale and look at weight management from a comprehensive health- based approach.

“It is so frustrating for patients, when they see an ad on TV for a weight-loss product, and at the bottom of the screen it says, ‘results not typical.’  Here at the COMMP program, we are creating typical results by using evidenced-based medicine,” explained Dr. Deborah Horn, assistant professor and director of the UT Physicians Center for Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance (COMMP).

Horn and her team, which includes dietitian Carol Wolin-Riklin and patient advocate Cassie Saravia, create comprehensive and individualized plans for patients with a four-step approach:

  • In-depth initial assessment, including resting metabolic rate and body composition analysis using the latest technology.
  • Nutritional optimization through protein meal replacements combined with real food to control hunger and maintain strong, lean muscle mass.
  • Physical activity that is patient centered and individual, including a 20-module program tailored specifically to each patient.
  • Behavioral modification
  • Anti-Obesity Medication – the Food and Drug Administration recently approved two new medications to treat obesity. When needed, medication is a tool that can assist in controlling hunger and cravings and reaching goals.

“Research has proven that weight loss results in the first 6 months can predict long-term success, so we meet the patient where they are and hit the ground moving together,” Horn explained.

“This comprehensive physician directed approach is ideal for patients who are ready to succeed.  COMMP participants include patients that specifically desire medical treatment; patients that want to prepare for bariatric, orthopedic, and other types of surgery; and patients that haven’t lost or are regaining weight after bariatric surgery.  Success is yours for the taking — we provide you with the tools you will need to get there every step of the way,” Horn said.

Patient meets with a clinician once a week for the first 8 weeks, then once every other week for the second 8 weeks.   Dietitian visits are included in the package.

Obesity is a chronic disease and long-term follow-up is planned individually.  Patient Centered Physical Activity is an internationally known program that teaches patients 1-2 exercises at each visit using resistance tubing, physiology balls, and stretching straps to improve core strength, muscular strength, balance, and flexibility.

Horn is more than just the director, she is also an exercise physiologist.  She is dedicated to helping patients discover the physical activity and nutritional choices that they can maintain for life.

“Our goal is to change our patients’ body composition and physiology,” Horn said. “We measure success by more than just a number on a scale. We track metabolic biomarkers including: lipids, glucose, liver function, resting metabolic rate, and blood pressure and body composition markers including visceral fat, percent total body fat, lean muscle mass, edema, waist circumference, and finally weight.”

The COMMP program is cash based and not covered by insurance. More information can be obtained at the free monthly seminars or individual consults.  The next seminar is at 5:45 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21at UT Physicians at Bellaire, 6700 West Loop S.  Suite 500. To sign up for a seminar or consult, please call 713.892.5500.

The medical group practice of The University of Texas Medical School at Houston (a part of UTHealth), UT Physicians offers the most advanced technologies with a personalized touch from its flagship location in the Texas Medical Center and at a growing number of clinics throughout the greater Houston area.

-Darla Brown, Medical School, Office of Communications