Our Story

GFM Weight Management is the brainchild of Dr. Theresa (Tess) Garcia, a Family Physician who has practiced in Eastern Jackson County, Missouri for 20 years. All this time, she has seen many patients with weight problems and realized that what doctors have been advising patients about weight management – Eat Less and Move More – does not work. She has noted Level B medical evidence that shows that the most successful approach to weight management is the provision of multiple, frequent counseling sessions. The evidence is based on studies with numbers of sessions is from 12 to 20.

Having worked in ambulatory care, Dr. Tess knows that there is no way such counseling can be delivered in a regular doctor’s office environment. One doesn’t have enough time to counsel, and with a full patient panel, patients can’t come in frequently enough for the counseling to be meaningful (especially with as many overweight patients as most practices have). Some doctors send patients to registered dieticians; some have nurses do the counseling but the biggest problem is our society’s belief that being overweight is not a physiologic process but rather a reflection of the patient’s character or lack thereof. Our society, including our physicians or health professionals, believes it is the patient’s choice and if they only had the will power to resist eating and the energy to exercise more, they could CHOOSE to be slender and svelte. Nothing could be more untrue or more unfair.

It’s both untrue and unfair because obesity is a disease, controlled by hormones and each body’s metabolic setpoint. It doesn’t follow the Laws of Thermodynamics, is not a case of “Calories in equals calories out.” It cannot be overcome by being handed a list of foods you can and can’t eat. It must be managed and managing a complex hormonal disease cannot be passed off to allied health workers. Obesity is a disease, which like all diseases, must be treated by a physician. That’s why you need a practice dedicated to weight management. 

At GFM Weight Management, however, we are not focused on one patient at a time: we are working on families. Nothing makes you feel deprived like being on a diet. Well, no, there is one thing that makes you feel more deprived, and that’s sitting at the table eating your diet food while everyone else is eating the family meal. We want the whole family eating the same thing. And a bunch of families eating healthy foods makes the community healthier. We are focused on changing the community.

One final point: Dr. Tess does not promise that you are going to shed pounds like your cat sheds fur. She does promise that you will not leave the table hungry. She does promise to show you how to manage your weight for life.

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