Weight loss starts with fundamental changes sustained over a long period of time. Sure, there are the fad diets where you can lose weight. But as soon as the person goes off the diet, the weight returns.

Weight loss starts with fundamental changes sustained over a long period of time. Sure, there are the fad diets where you can lose weight. But as soon as the person goes off the diet, the weight returns.

What’s needed is weight management over a period of time, said Julie Leibold, a registered nurse and spokeswoman for Transitions, a lifestyle system aimed at weight management.

Transitions next month will be offering a free 12-week weight loss management program in Independence. The only paid requirement is to buy a $10 journal to keep track of progress.

The class will meet once a week after Jan. 20, the start date of the program.

A clinical nutritionist will head the program, Leibold said.

The program stresses weight management and is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. It’s a commitment.

A diet messes with the metabolism. It’s good for awhile but when the person goes off the diet, the metabolism reverts back to the way it was, causing the weight to come back.

“You keep with this weight management program, and you keep doing it and you won’t put the weight back on,” she said. It’s not just about losing weight but more about managing your body fat.”

The program aims to work off body fat, a key component in losing weight and managing body composition.

 The participants will have their body fat tested. Then, they will go through a Nutra Physical survey that reviews the persons eating and overall lifestyle.

“We’re going to go over diets, what kind of foods you eat and don’t eat,” Leibold said.

The person will then watch a series of videos that explains the program, aspects like reviewing food labeling, the glycemic index.

A chef might come in and offer tips on how to prepare a healthy cuisine.

“We’re going to individualize a diet plan and look to see if they need something to curve their cravings, things like that,” Leinbold said.

A big aspect of the program is structuring  food choices around the glycemic index, she said. The index is considered the foundation of weight loss, according to dietitians.

The index ranks foods, specifically carbohydrates, by a number. The higher the number, the more blood glucose is released in the body. That means the food will more readily turned to fat.

Foods high on the glycemic index are enriched white bread, which scores an 80. In contrast, a piece of 100 percent whole grain bread scored a 51.

Lower glycemic index foods burn more slowly and sustain energy levels through a longer period of time. Also, these foods, like fruits and vegetables, are higher in fiber.

The program will structure a diet around these low-glycemic index foods.

Other fundamentals of the program are managing and reducing stress levels and supporting the weight management with nutritional supplementation.

This is the first time the program will be offered locally.

Other states have offered the program and numerous people have regularly lost 50 and 65 pounds in four months, keeping the weight off as well.

Exercise will be a part of the program. Resistance and strength training will be offered.

But the individual surveys of the participants will determine an exercise routine designed for that person, based partly on age.

“But in general, everyone would need to walk,” Leibold said.

Anyone interested in the program should call Julie Leibold at 816-517-6802 to schedule a health assessment prior to the start of the program on Jan. 20.