Personal Experience as Base for Curriculum
Five years ago Kathy Campbell, Pharm.D. at Medicap Pharmacy in Owasso, Oklahoma, was searching for new ways to increase revenue. She wanted to grow profit at a low cost by utilizing the resources she already had. Campbell realized that she already had the location and the knowledge to conduct weight loss classes for the people of Owasso. “I had been giving one-on-one hormone consultations for years and I realized that most people don’t understand how the balance of hormones in the body affects weight. I always had to do a lot of teaching in those sessions, so I had no problem turning those lessons into class material,” said Campbell. She quickly wrote a curriculum, cleared out space on her pharmacy’s floor, set up some chairs, and started teaching.
Campbell’s story began with her struggle as an overweight child. She was overweight until young adulthood when her healthcare career inspired her to make a change. Through pharmaceutical work, Campbell became aware of how unrealistic many traditional weight loss plans are. So, she created her own diet and weight loss plan and lost a remarkable 150 pounds. The innovative health plan worked so well that she decided to share it with her patients.
Campbell calls her philosophy “lifestyle medicine.” Her weight loss classes emphasize stress management and fundamental nutrition. According to Campbell, these two factors are the true drivers of obesity. “Obesity is a symptom of an underlying disruption of physiology, not the cause,” remarked Campbell. She offers a science-based diet plan focused on altering physical and mental habits. Her program emphasizes the fact that weight control and hormone balance go hand-in-hand. Weight gain is caused by the hormones insulin and cortisol. The traditional American lifestyle leads to overdoses of stress and carbohydrates, which cause the body to produce too much of these hormones.
Awareness is the First Step Weight Loss to Success
American culture makes fighting weight gain difficult. Many people work long hours in a stressful environment and lack access to healthy food. “Eating healthy at home is the easy part,” said Campbell, “the hard part is culture.” In northern Oklahoma it’s very counter-cultural to be focused on health. Therefore, the first step in Campbell’s health plan is making patients aware of their community’s unhealthy culture. “Culture is like the water the fish is swimming in. Does the fish even know it’s swimming in water?” Remarked Campbell. Sitting at a desk all day and eating fast food is standard behavior for Americans. So standard, in fact, that people aren’t aware of the negative impact this sort of lifestyle has on their well-being. Campbell encourages her patients to swim upstream and craft their own culture. She teaches them to disrupt their sedentary lifestyles. Something as simple as walking to a restaurant during lunch break or taking a break from work to socialize with colleagues can significantly lower cortisol levels.
Campbell also works to dispel misconceptions about dieting. “People are misinformed,” she said, “they think that the way to lose weight is to just eat less and exercise more.” The key to true, long-lasting health is adopting a lifestyle that embraces healthy foods and cuts out empty calories. Eating too little and exercising too much sends the body into famine mode causing the body to preserve sugar, not burn fat. With this in mind, Campbell created a personalized meal plan for each patient based on a Mediterranean diet. Her clients eat a well-rounded diet of foods that contain a wide spectrum of chemicals.
Getting to True Health
Campbell’s philosophy is a bit controversial in the pharmaceutical industry. She aims to provide her patients with health counseling that allows them to take less medication. “We really need to start looking at what real health is,” said Campbell. “Health is not taking 15 pills a day. True health is not needing to take any pills.” She advocates for pharmacists to have a different conversation about weight loss and even spoke at last year’s NCPA conference about the need for a change in attitude. She believes pharmacists should take care of their patients holistically rather than just filling prescriptions. And the growing corporate pharmacies are causing a shift even further away from personalized care.
Digital advertising was critical to the success of Campbell’s weight loss program, particularly search engine optimization. Utilizing Google reviews and Google Adwords allowed her diet and exercise plan to become a full blown business. “I think a lot of pharmacists don’t understand these platforms and don’t think they’re worth learning, but my business wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without them.”
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To learn more about Dr. Campbell’s health and fitness plan, visit drkathyweightloss.com.