Finding weight loss success with counseling

Victor R., a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier in Glendale, Ariz., had once prided himself on maintaining a healthy physique.

In his 30s, while serving both active duty and in the reserves for the U.S. Army, Victor weighed less than 200 pounds and maintained a waist size of 36 inches. Once he left the service, however, he began putting on weight. Over time, it added up, and about two years ago, he topped out at more than 250 pounds with a waist size of 40 inches.

Victor sometimes would eat a whole bag of chips in just one sitting, not paying attention that the calories listed on the bag represented just one serving. Try as he might, he just could not find a way to lose the pounds.

Searching for new options

“I had tried on my own to lose some weight,” explains Victor. “I tried some pills. I tried some natural products. Nothing worked.”

After his service in the Army, he got into the habit of working, coming home and eating, doing essentially nothing — a self-described couch potato. “I felt that if they can make rockets to go to the moon, why can’t they make a pill so you can lose weight; but that’s too easy,” Victor adds.

While surfing Facebook, he came upon a clinical trial being offered by the HonorHealth Research Institute. While Victor was not accepted for participation in testing a drug, device or procedure, he did receive a diagnosis of obesity and was placed in a control group that received only counseling. Every two to three weeks, he was weighed and measured during meetings with an expert dietician at the HonorHealth Bariatric Center where James Swain, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director of the GI Bariatrics Research Division at the Research Institute, sees patients.

From January 2023 to January 2024, Victor lost more than 70 pounds, settling in at less than 190 pounds, with new holes in his belts to match a waist measurement that’s now the same as when he was 30 years old.

“At the beginning, I was a little skeptical,” says Victor. “It’s really difficult to change your eating habits.” At first, he doubted that he would be satisfied with smaller food portions or be disciplined enough to count calories and keep a diary of the foods he consumed.

HonorHealth patient V Ramirez

A learning experience

“I learned a lot — a lot!” he emphasizes, receiving inspiration from his counselor.

At first, not much changed. “She said, ‘Don’t worry. You’re going to do fine,’” shares Victor. “She was so great. She didn’t push me. But she made me believe that I could do it. And voilà!”

Victor said his friends and workmates were really surprised when he began shedding pounds and asked if he was on one of the new weight loss medications that have become so popular in recent years. He tells them that he is focused on a higher consciousness and diet. “You need a commitment — a commitment to yourself,” Victor explains.

He’s always loved cooking, but now he follows vegetarian recipes and is always on the lookout for healthy foods. He still tracks his calories. And Victor gets plenty of exercise from walking his seven rescue dogs. He’s a mailman, after all, so he sees a lot of dogs on the streets that need care.

Victor also suffers from back pain due to lumbar stenosis. But now that he’s lost so much weight, he’s in a good position to make strengthening his back his next goal.

Clinical trials available for weight loss

The demand for innovative – and less invasive – treatments for weight loss continues to grow. The HonorHealth Research Institute pursues clinical research to treat obesity placing an emphasis on investigating new endoscopic and nonsurgical approaches focusing on treatments that don’t permanently alter the anatomy of your GI tract.

Explore weight loss clinical trials