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Oct 16

Sustainable Weight Loss with Dr. Sandra Lerner | Health … – The Jewish News

About 90% of those who lose weight will eventually gain it all back, according to Michigan Medicine. Thats because most diets and weight loss programs arent sustainable.

Bloomfield Hills resident Shari Dobrusin didnt want to try the latest fad diet that wouldnt stick. Instead, she decided to go with a medical expert Dr. Sandra Lerner, a Southfield-based family physician specializing in obesity and lifestyle medicine.

I had put on some weight during COVID, and I was having trouble getting it off. I knew that, as women get older, our estrogen and metabolism decreases. So, what had worked for me in the past no longer did. I needed guidance, and I needed someone to hold me accountable, Dobrusin said.

Someone had recommended Dr. Lerner in a womens Facebook group Im part of. When I visited her website, I liked that she was a D.O. and that she was more science-based than health coaches who dont have that medical background.

So, last fall, Dobrusin decided to enroll in a virtual six-month weight loss program, which consisted of weekly hour-long sessions with Dr. Lerner. During the program, she learned about hunger hormones, what her body needs at this stage in her life and how her own habits were inhibiting her.

We talked about how negative self-talk can affect your weight loss journey, and she helped me reevaluate how I talked to myself. When I began to think positively and stopped judging myself, it helped lower my cortisol levels, which led to me losing weight, Dobrusin said.

During the six-month program, Dobrusin was able to lose about 1 pound a week, and, since the program ended, she has been able to keep the weight off.

Dr. Lerner helped me reframe the way I looked at food, to stop being hungry all the time, and to develop a schedule for when I ate. I started eating foods that filled me up and made me feel satisfied instead of snacking between meals. And, because of this, I was able to get to my goal weight and sustain it, she said.

Weight Loss that Works

Lerner, who holds membership in Congregations Beth Shalom and Shaarey Zedek, wanted to help people like Dobrusin because she knew, firsthand, what it was like to be in their shoes. When she was 40, she had started a new practice and found herself under increasing pressure both at work and at home while taking care of her young children. Despite eating healthily and regularly exercising, she gained about 50 pounds within five years.

I would look at my diet and think, Im not doing anything wrong! It didnt make sense why I was putting on that kind of weight. So, I signed up for an intensive weight loss coaching program with a doctor out of Wisconsin, geared solely toward women physicians in clinical practices. It was specific toward what I was going through and it turned out that stress was a significant factor. When I started to better manage the stress in my life, I ended up shedding the weight, she said.

Lerner had known what foods she was supposed to eat to be healthy, but it was her knowledge base about metabolism that was lacking. This program helped fill in the gaps, and it helped suppress her emotional cravings. And, 10 years later, shes been able to maintain those habits and her weight loss.

In her career as a family physician and obesity medicine specialist, she has found that many of her patients were going through similar issues. They would tell her that, no matter what they ate, they would gain weight anyway. So, she decided to take what she had learned through her coaching and training in obesity medicine to start her own weight loss coaching business.

I didnt have time to do this in my practice. Its not like I could give detailed weight loss advice during a seven-minute check-up. Those conversations require time and, in a medical practice, you only have a small window of opportunity to bring up a topic, she said.

Weight loss is a multifaceted approach, not a one-size-fits-all solution, and Lerner needs to get to know her clients before putting together a successful plan to help them lose weight. First, shell have a preliminary conversation with a prospective client to make sure they are a good fit for the program and that they are truly ready to make a lifestyle change. Then they meet on a weekly basis, for an hour, in addition to quick daily check-ins to hold them accountable and keep them motivated.

I love working with people on weight loss. I love talking to them about it. I love seeing that transformation. I love seeing them develop a different view of themselves and how to manage their lives. I really just revel in watching that change unfold, she said.

Lerner usually takes on clients who have a significant amount of weight to lose and have tried other weight loss programs that have been unsuccessful. Shes found one common reason why many of her clients have difficulty losing weight because they expect it to be difficult. Thats why she makes it her goal to get people out of their own heads.

If you change your expectations, it gets easier. I think thats a really important message for a lot of people. The mind-body connection is very real, and everything we think impacts our hormonal and neurological response, she said.

You need to be able to visualize what itll look like when youre at lower weight and work through the obstacles that are keeping you anchored where youre at. You need to have a really clear image of where you want to go and where you want to end up.

Dr. Lerners Wellness and Weight Loss program is for adults, age 25 and up, and she currently has limited availability for new clients. For inquiries, email her at For more information, visit

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Sustainable Weight Loss with Dr. Sandra Lerner | Health ... - The Jewish News

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