The nation's first HEALcare For Life National Forum took place on Saturday at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown with an all-star speaker lineup and 300 attendees.
People came from all over the tri-state area and beyond to learn and be inspired by healthcare professionals in the field of low carb nutrition, and by countless people in attendance who have lost weight and have regained control of their health issues.
Even organizer, Melanie Miller called the Shepherdstown "The epicenter of the grassroots low carb movement in the United States," due to the success that's been had by thousands of people through meetings that started in Shepherdstown.
The HEALcare program is an expert-guided, low-carbohydrate program that helps people shed pounds without calorie counting. The evidence-based program protocol is clinically tested and has proven to put type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes into remission, without medication, within seven weeks. The program is multifaceted, consisting of medical and nutritional advice, in conjunction with commitment coaching. HEAL is an acronym for "Healthy Eating and Living." The program works both at the HEAL clinics, and remotely, using digital health tools and tele-medicine.
Dr. Eric Westman, one of the event speakers, is a New York Times best-selling author, Director of Duke University's Lifestyle Medicine Clinic, associate professor of medicine at Duke, and Chief Medical Director of HEALcare.
Laura Westman, professional life coach, coach trainer, senior HEALcare commitment coach and daughter of Dr. Westman, gave an overview of the in depth coaching patients can expect to receive through the program, discussing goal setting and obstacles.
"Because of my dad's work, lifestyle transformation has been a part of my life for a very long time. This has been a really important part of my life-it's something that just makes sense to me."
Jacqueline Eberstein, an RN who had worked for Dr. Robert Atkins for 30 years, shared her expertise in the area of carbohydrate addiction, saying that the addiction to sugar is very real. She referenced the findings of a British medical journal that, in 2005 said sugar is as dangerous as tobacco and should be classified as a hard drug because it is harmful and addictive. She said here in the United States, people are slowly beginning to understand the dangers of sugar.
Eberstein explained that sugar appeases the circuitry in the reward centers in the brain, which can lead to addiction.
"That's part of the reason it's so important to get into the commitment coaching part of the program to help you understand what it is you're looking for as far as a reward. For a lot of us it's comfort and anti-stress, but we have to find some other way of dealing with it except by continuing to feed our reward centers. It leads to behaviors that replace healthy behaviors. We see many examples of addiction where people are badly damaged, and yet they can't seem to stop."
Eberstein also explained that food people eat as infants or children can set up patterns for potential future carbohydrate addiction, leading to insulin resistance and a myriad of other health problems.
After recognition of over 60 people in the room who had lost weight and regained good health, Miller introduced Westman, one of her mentors, saying, "There are so many of us that follow football players and other sports figures, but guys, the true heroes are nurses and doctors and people that are absolutely healing people. That's a hero to me."
Westman discussed his interactions with Dr. Atkins in the late '90s, which kicked off Westman's own processes of clinical research into a program that was so obviously helping patients-the low-carbohydrate lifestyle. He explained physiological responses of people who begin to change to a low carb lifestyle and also walked the attendees through what he does now at his clinic on a daily basis with patients.
"I usually see people skipping out of my clinic one by one," joked Westman, "but it's great to see hundreds of you here. Thank you for your enthusiasm, for spreading the word and for healing other people. That's fantastic."
Westman continued saying, "It's only after weeks, months, years, that I see people waking up and caring about themselves. That's what I like. That's why we do this. It's rediscovering something you thought you've lost forever."
After giving his presentation, Westman took questions from the audience and continued to speak with people and pose for photos with guests at the special dinner afterwards-low carb, of course.
For more information about the HEALcare clinics and program, visist healclinics.com/.