Nurse practitioner uses weight loss struggles to help others

Nurse practitioner uses weight loss struggles to help others

TYLER (KYTX) - For some of us, tackling weight loss on our own just isn't enough.  There are trainers, support groups and even doctors and nurses who can help.  In Fit City, meet a nurse practitioner who is using her personal and medical experience with weight-loss to help others.

Zana Elliott at integrative medicine of East Texas can identify with her clients, because she has been there.  Jimmy Peterson has lost 40 pounds and he gives Zana a lot of the credit for teaching him accountability.
Two years ago, Zana Elliott weighed 150 pounds more than she does today.  "Actually, over the years I have probably lost and gain weight 100 times. 6 years ago, lost 100 pounds and gained it all back," says Zana Elliott, nurse practitioner.

But Zana's journey with weight loss was different this time. She learned to give herself a break and be patient.
"Along the way, things changed.  My brain changed. I started to learn things about myself. I tell people this is really a journey about learning something about yourself and doing this with real life and learning what along the way makes you give up, because you don't get here without giving up a thousand times," says Zana.

Zana has been a family nurse practitioner for the last 12 years.  The majority of what she does now is weight loss.  Zana says everybody is different. She uses a variety of weight loss tools.  She says appetite suppressants help, treating the thyroid, and a lot of weight loss counseling for her clients.  

"I was a little over 224 pounds and then I started fluctuating, because I was trying to lose weight, but it didn't really happen until I came here to Integrative Medicine to try and figure out how to do that with my schedule and the way my life works," says Jimmy Peterson.
Jimmy Peterson works full time and is also in the Navy Reserves.  "I live and breathe the Navy. It is my passion," says Jimmy Peterson.

He didn't want to lose his position there, after 17 years of service because of his weight.  Zana taught Jimmy to the importance of tracking his calories and activity, but in a way that worked for him.  "I use My Fitness Pal and I have a Fit Bit and it all works together to help me keep up with this. I am thinking if I have to write this down and count calories, I have failed already," says Jimmy. 
Jimmy is succeeding. He's down from a size 38 pant to 34.  "I can take a pill that curbs my appetite, I can walk around the park and I can count my calories, but without the commitment none of this will work," says Jimmy.

He believes Zana's weight coaching and counseling gives him the accountability he needs to reach his goal weight.  The journey isn't over for Zana either, she's maintaining her weight-loss for 10 months and counting. For her, that's the best part.
Zana doesn't want people to have unreasonable expectations about their diet and exercise program.  She says we can let a fast food run ruin our progress, but just don't give up, when we don't eat perfectly.

This is a medically managed weight loss program, so Zana does monitor patients closely-- looking at their blood work, and medical history.
An update on Jimmy, he did pass his physical fitness assessment to remain in the Navy.


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