Focusing on You: UHealth Gastroenterologist Discusses Healthy Weight Loss

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Small changes help patients with chronic gastrointestinal disorders shed pounds.

In this segment, Michelle Pearlman, M.D., a gastroenterologist who specializes in weight management at the University of Miami Health System, discusses the steps to healthy weight loss, especially for patients with chronic gastrointestinal conditions.

Andrea Galante is one of those patients.

Andrea Galante is active and eats healthy so she couldn’t understand why she struggled to lose weight. “I was almost 200 pounds, and I only am five foot one. So, for me that's a lot, I mean, for anybody that's a lot,” says Andrea.

Andrea also has ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, that didn’t make dieting any easier. She was referred to UHealth gastroenterologist Michelle Pearlman, M.D., who specializes in weight management.

“The first step is really trying to figure out what are your short-term goals that you can work on? Not saying, I need to lose 50 pounds, or I need to lose a hundred pounds. Because more importantly, it's about feeling well,” Dr. Pearlman says.

Especially, Dr. Pearlman says, when it comes to people who suffer from chronic GI conditions like Andrea. “They have a lot of diarrhea, bloating, and pain. And so many of them actually start to fear food. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli… can actually make people with chronic gastrointestinal disorders feel very sick,” says Dr. Pearlman.

Dr. Pearlman studied Andrea’s medical history and discovered she had an insulin imbalance.

“Patients who have insulin resistance don't need to be carbohydrate-free, but we have to kind of adjust the macronutrients to reduce those insulin levels,” Dr. Pearlman explains.

She put Andrea on a medication that regulates insulin and modified her diet. Andrea took up Pilates and has lost 30 pounds so far!

“I have to buy new clothes because they don't fit anymore, so that's nice,” Andrea says.


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