Keeping it Off
Melanie Miller’s passion and enthusiasm for weight loss and good health is contagious.
After experiencing enormous success on her own journey to better health through weight loss, Miller began having local meetings with the help of local, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, that were more like pep rallies to cheer people on to success. Miller and Cucuzzella taught attendees about the significant health benefits of a low-carb lifestyle.
In a short time, Miller helped more than 1,000 people begin the low carb lifestyle, and she caught the attention of Dr. Eric Westman, internationally known internal medical doctor, author of the New York Times best-selling book, “A New Atkins for a New You” and the Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University.
Westman was impressed with Miller’s ability to bring people to the meetings she was organizing, which had typically 150 people or more in attendance. When Miller hit the mark of helping 4,000 people, Westman came to Shepherdstown to see the excitement for himself.
Westman said of Miller at the time, “If you think about it, I’m one doctor, in one clinic. I can only see so many people in the course of a day. This is a big picture of a ‘lay’ leader like Melanie affecting change. The more leaders we have that can put on conferences like this and share their experience-it would be fantastic.”
Miller has done just that.
She has now lost 90 pounds, herself and has helped over 10,000 people discover the power of low carb eating and lose weight. And Eric Westman is coming back to the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown on April 8 to inspire and personally congratulate all of the (weight) losers. Westman will also be talking about his new endeavor with HEAL Clinics, which is a specialized program to put pre-diabetes, diabetes, and obesity into remission using medical supervision, dietary and nutritional advice, exercise and support groups.
Miller and a few other locals are part of the HEAL Care team, running meetings and providing support in the tri-state area.
“I started working with Dr. Westman and so many people were asking me questions, I couldn’t keep up,” said Miller. “We knew Dr. Westman had to create something for me to be able to help these people. I can’t do what I have to do for HEAL and help people-and my heart is that I have to help them. That’s why HEAL Care. It’s the medical and the non-medical treatment. Medical, meaning they (patients) have to be seen in the clinic. A person that is diabetic, has high blood pressure, if they have really bad PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome), things like that, they’re on medications. That’s why it’s so important to be seen by a physician when you change to this way of eating. People get healthy so fast, and their medications become stronger. They have to dial your meds down or get them off entirely.”
She then made a surprising statement. “Most of our diabetic patients are off their meds within four weeks or less. But you’ve got to continue to follow the program. That’s why we say it’s a ‘lifestyle’, not a diet.”
So what’s the secret of their success? In a word, support.
“I believe that everything I’ve been through is just an experience to get me to the next level of helping someone else,” said Miller. “There is a whole support system that we have. It’s invaluable. It keeps people on track, helps them when they are struggling. People are staying connected. When they fall out of coming to the meetings or the dinners or whatever, they are losing that connection and might not have the support at home. We are here to help combat that negative self-talk.”
The first clinic in this are will be opening in Landsdowne across from Loudoun Hospital this month, and Miller and her team are also working on getting a clinic open in West Virginia.
Tickets for the HEAL Care forum on April 8 with Dr. Westman are $25 and are available on the website, www.eventbrite.com/e/healcare-for-life-national-forum-tickets-31767537560.