Becoming a weight management role model

Nurse practitioner challenges herself to model a healthier lifestyle for her patients

Armed with a toolbox of resources to help her choose healthier foods, Tara Mudd weighs less these days. And with the support she received through the Norton Medical Weight Management Program, she sees her future being even lighter.

“I was finding it difficult to keep up with my daughter, Carter, who had just celebrated her first birthday and was running all over the house,” said Mudd, a nurse practitioner with Norton Heart Specialists.

“At the same time, a landmark study was released around people with atrial fibrillation and how they could prevent progression of their disease,” she said. “The study encouraged radical lifestyle changes such as weight loss. These are patients that I counsel every day, and weight loss was going to become a primary focal point in my discussions with them.”

Mudd immediately recognized she needed to make changes, not only for her own health but also to model behavior she would be encouraging her patients to follow.

“If I was going to be referring patients to a weight loss program, I wanted to be able to share with them my firsthand knowledge,” she said.

Mudd enrolled in the Norton Medical Weight Management Program in September 2014. Her first appointment was with Jeanne M. Thompson, M.D., an internal medicine physician who specializes in weight management. The appointment consisted of blood work, a family history and a physical exam to ensure that Mudd’s weight loss challenges weren’t being caused or compounded by an underlying medical condition.

Through the program, Mudd also worked with a dietitian and mental health professional. As a self-confessed emotional eater, Mudd found these relationships helpful for developing better coping skills for her food “triggers” and learning to look at food as a fuel source instead of a comfort.

“Everyone facilitating the program was respectful of my lifestyle; they understand that I am busy with work, kids and other commitments,” Mudd said. “Together we focused on improving the things I already do, offering tips for healthier cooking and recipe suggestions that would improve my health and my family’s health.”

When Mudd finished the 12-week program, she was down 25 pounds. She continued to lose weight, ultimately shedding a total of 60 pounds. Now she is maintaining a healthy weight by continuing to implement the tools she learned through the medical weight management program. Her husband, Jason, also is enjoying the healthier food choices. Together they are demonstrating a healthier lifestyle to Carter, who is 3 years old.


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