Helping Female Patients With a Major Health Challenge


“It’s just impossible to lose this weight.”

How often do we hear this statement, or think this thought ourselves, when counseling our female patients? More than two-thirds of women in the United States are overweight or obese. Many women find it is much harder for them to lose excess weight than most men do. Especially when women reach menopause age, there is a tendency to just accept that excess weight is inevitable. But it isn’t. My patients and I are proof that women, even while going through or being past menopause, can lose that weight and achieve better health.

In my OB/Gyn practice, I saw my overweight patients suffering from a host of obesity-related health ills, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome and depression. Some of my female patients also suffered from obesity-related complications such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility and post-menopausal weight gain.

I knew that my patients would feel better and enjoy better health if they lost weight, but I also knew that weight loss is easier said than done. My own personal experience was consistent: it was hard. But, my experience is also testimony that it can be done.

I had been unhappy with my own weight—which was steadily going up—for a while, but with a busy practice, an active family life that included four teenagers and the day-to-day stresses that happen in everyone’s life, I simply didn’t see how I could possibly fit a weight loss plan into my schedule. I was 49, gone through menopause (due to a complete hysterectomy at 42), and taking estrogen. Everything seemed to be stacked against me losing that extra weight.

Then I learned about Ideal Protein, a medically-designed protocol for weight loss that also teaches how to sustain the weight loss over a lifetime. I decided to try it. I set a goal and breezed right through it—busy practice and all—losing 70 pounds. I could not believe how great I felt and the increased amount of energy I had! My patients watched my progress with growing interest. They began asking what I was doing and whether or not it could work for them, too, so I introduced them to the program. It has dramatically changed many of my patients’ lives, both young and old(er), and helped alleviate a variety of health situations.

First, women who could not get pregnant lost weight with the protocol and found themselves able to conceive. With the weight loss, they were able to lose their excess weight, regulate their insulin levels and finally realize their dreams of pregnancy and motherhood. It’s so rewarding to see these women who struggled with the pain of infertility now enjoying the motherhood they sought for so long. Other women with polycystic ovarian syndrome and its debilitating symptoms also experienced significant improvement when they lost weight.

The protocol is also an answer for post-menopausal women who have gained weight.  Most women, on average, gain about 12 pounds during menopause, virtually all of it in the stomach and hips. That weight gain, along with all the other symptoms of menopause like night sweats, irritability and insomnia, can be very troublesome. Plus, taking estrogen to alleviate those symptoms frequently causes weight gain. My experience, and that of my female patients, shows that this weight can be lost and it can be kept off, at any age. In fact, my 78-year-old mother-in-law was still carrying around post-menopausal weight when she started the protocol, and she finally lost the weight, too.

Weight loss has also helped some of my patients with diabetes reduce or even get off their insulin, improving their health immeasurably and their prognosis for a longer, healthier life. Consistent with evidence-based guidelines for weight loss management and long-term weight control, the protocol is a proven, medically designed and developed plan. It enables safe, effective weight loss, which leads to improving patients’ health. I’m living proof that it works!

As physicians, I believe we owe ALL our patients the guidance and assistance to help them get and stay healthy. We can’t be distracted or discouraged by clichés and outdated thinking that it can’t be done. Winning the fight against obesity is possible and we owe it to our patients to take the steps to help them win it.

To join the ranks of healthcare providers fighting obesity, tweet @DrsFightObesity or use #DoctorsFightingObesity to keep the conversation going.

Kelly G. Bagnell, MD, FACOG is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist in Polson, Montana. She is affiliated with several hospitals in the area, as well as The Lake Lifestyle Medical Clinic, which offers a structured weight management protocol, the Ideal Protein Protocol. She is a member of the Ideal Protein Medical Advisory Board.