Rob and Lorraine Counts check in with the staff of the Ideal You program in the basement of Kinder Family Clinic. Ideal You utilizes the Ideal Protein diet system, through which the Counts have lost a combined total of more than 190 pounds.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Rob and Lorraine Counts check in with the staff of the Ideal You program in the basement of Kinder Family Clinic. Ideal You utilizes the Ideal Protein diet system, through which the Counts have lost a combined total of more than 190 pounds.

Your Health: Craig couple sheds nearly 200 pounds

At the beginning of 2013, husband and wife Rob and Lorraine Counts knew they needed to make a change. Both of them were significantly overweight and had been for much of their lives, and they were worried that without a major body overhaul, things only could get worse.

Less than a year later, the two of them are much healthier, happier and ready to embrace life.

It's all thanks to the Ideal You program.

Run from the basement of Kinder Family Clinic, Ideal You recently celebrated its first year in Northwest Colorado as a way for residents to manage their weight. Using the steps of the Ideal Protein system, numerous people from the area — as well as through the clinic’s satellite office in Baggs, Wyo. — have found success in slimming down and achieving better overall health, ridding themselves of concerns like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Organizer Jona Ely, a certified family nurse practitioner with a doctorate in nursing practice, said more than 350 people in the region have signed up since September 2012.

“Not all of them stay with it, but the people who do have done well,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, it truly is the answer to our epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and obesity in the United States.”

Roughly half the program’s participants have continued with it religiously, with more than 50 completing Ideal You in its entirety. The four-step process involves losing weight through dieting, eventually leading to the body “resetting” itself with healthy levels of insulin from the pancreas.

“It takes about a month to reset it, and it teaches your pancreas to utilize the fuel you put into your body as fuel instead of storing it as fat,” Ely said.

After this comes “phasing off,” as people maintain their newfound weight.

The program specifically is targeted at those whose weight has been such an inhibitive factor in their life that it has required medication.

One of those people was Rob Counts, whose lifelong struggle with his size left him with a dependence on pills to control his blood pressure.

“It was getting to the point where I was always uncomfortable, and it was hard to do everything,” he said.

His spouse, Lorraine, already concerned about him, likewise always was on the lookout for when her weight could become hazardous.

“I’ve always run borderline with my blood pressure, flirting with the boundaries of it, and the heavier the weight, the worse it was,” she said.

Since beginning Ideal You, Rob has shed 100 pounds, and Lorraine, 94 pounds. He already has phased off the program and lost the need for blood pressure medication, and she is close behind with the goal of hitting triple digits, as well.

Although they prefer not to discuss their previous weight totals, the couple is glad to acknowledge that the combined amount they’ve lost constantly is noticeable.

“It’s like a person disappeared out of our lives,” Lorraine joked.

One of the best things about no longer having that phantom figure of excess weight between them is the two can focus more attention on being active with their 4-year-old son, Tristen.

“There’s just so many things with kids, and you don’t want to miss them,” Lorraine said. “You don’t want to have to wonder if you’ll be around for another 20 years to see a grandkid.”

Before starting Ideal You, they had heard all the excuses in weight loss procrastination — cost, time, etc. Looking back, they can’t believe anyone would hesitate to get a jump on being healthy.

“I mean, how much is your life worth? Is there a dollar value?” Lorraine asked. “Every life is priceless.”

No matter what the cost, you can’t argue with results, Rob added.

“The quality of life is just so much better now,” he said.

As with any weight loss system, results with Ideal Protein are not guaranteed, and those considering it should consult a physician familiar with any health conditions that could prove problematic with dietary alterations.

Lindsey Hester, registered dietitian with The Memorial Hospital, said elements of the program’s diet might be harmful for those uneducated about the specifics of their own body chemistry such as electrolyte and potassium levels. Although she doesn’t wholeheartedly endorse Ideal Protein herself, Hester thinks the goal of reducing weight to be an important one in promoting overall health.

“There’s no magic approach to weight loss, but if you lose weight, you’ll reduce your risk for diabetes and for cardiovascular complications,” she said.

The Counts’ achievements using the program are the kind Ely would like to see in Northwest Colorado and beyond.

“It’s my life goal to see how fast we can spread this across the United States, but the success that I see in our clients is the whole reason that I started it and why I will continue it,” Ely said.

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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