2014 OPTIFAST® "New You" Weight Loss Winners Announced - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

2014 OPTIFAST® "New You" Weight Loss Winners Announced

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SOURCE Nestle Health Science

Patients and Healthcare Professionals from California, Illinois, Minnesota and New Jersey Honored for Devotion to Healthy Lifestyles

FLORHAM PARK, N.J., July 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Nestle Health Science today announced the winners of the fifth annual OPTIFAST® "New You" weight loss contest. Three OPTIFAST patients, whose combined weight loss totals more than 282 pounds*, will receive an all-expense-paid getaway trip this summer for a weekend of rejuvenation in recognition of their dedication to long-term weight loss management. Their deeply moving stories, ranging from a battle with cancer to making overall lifestyle changes for the peace of mind of their families, inspired the "New You" judges throughout the contest period.

2014 OPTIFAST(R) “New You” Weight Loss Winners Announced

In addition, three outstanding OPTIFAST healthcare professionals will be honored with the OPTIFAST Inspire Award for their commitment to helping patients lose weight and engage in healthier lifestyle behaviors.

"In less than 40 years, the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. has increased by over 50%. The reality is that two out of every three American adults are now overweight or obese[1]," said Maureen Monahan, director and general manager for the U.S. OPTIFAST business. "We're striving to create a healthier reality so these figures will change. This year's 'New You' weight loss contest winners and Inspire Award recipients show us that reality is achievable through OPTIFAST."

The 2014 OPTIFAST "New You" weight loss contest patient winners are:

  • Marcia Johnson, San Diego, CA: In July 2005, Marcia weighed in at 265 pounds. She joined the OPTIFAST program and lost over 60 pounds*. But in December 2005, her joy turned to fear when she found a small lump in her right breast. She was diagnosed with metaplastic breast cancer, a rare form of the disease that represents less than one percent of breast cancers. With a 50 percent chance of survival, Marcia built a 40-person strong support group who band together to fight their rare cancer. Marcia was one of the 18 women to survive and tell her story. Both her surgeon and oncologist agreed that the weight loss Marcia achieved on the OPTIFAST program likely facilitated her discovery of the lump in time to help save her life. Marcia celebrated seven cancer-free years in 2013 and to date has lost a total of 85 pounds*.
  • Mara Rosenbloom, Hoffman Estates, IL: Mara was small when she began high school and was convinced she would be that size forever. But with the "freshman 40" in college, Mara began to experience significant weight gain that continued through to adulthood - at her first job, when her father and grandmother fell ill from cancer, before her wedding and on her honeymoon. A middle school teacher and food blogger, Mara realized it was time to make a change. Mara has lost 86 pounds* on the OPTIFAST program and plans to continue with her weight loss journey. She is following a healthier diet, is focused on her photography business, and looks forward to starting a family with her husband.
  • Tim Lechtenberg, St. Paul, MN: Tim fully embraces the name of the "New You" weight loss contest. After losing 111 pounds* with OPTIFAST, he feels the program has "completely transformed him - body, mind and soul." He used to balk at the thought of exercise, but now he walks five miles a day, four to six times a week. Activities he was previously unable to do, such as bringing the tray table down in front of him on a plane and riding his motorcycle for long distances, he now does with ease. But the best part? For the first time in 14 years of marriage, his wife can give him a complete hug by putting her arms all the way around him.

The 2014 OPTIFAST Inspire Award recipients are:

  • Anthony Auriemma, MD, JD, Medical Director, Alexian Brothers Weight Loss Solutions, Chicago, IL: Dr. Auriemma is board-certified in Family Medicine and Obesity Medicine. He spent several years practicing Family Medicine while also treating obesity as Medical Director of The Center for Health and Nutrition. Nominated by patient Maria Daniels from Elk Grove Village, IL, Maria calls Dr. Auriemma her "inspiration on this journey of discovery," noting he was a "beacon to follow" and will "lead you to be a better and healthier you."
  • Janine DiGiacomo, Health Educator, Kaiser Permanente Medical Weight Management Program, Santa Clara, CA: A long-time health educator at Kaiser Permanente, Janine DiGiacomo has taught weight management for over 20 years. She is passionate about reaching the weight management population because she feels good when she knows that she has helped someone build a better life - physically, mentally and spiritually. She believes, and her belief is demonstrated daily, that "helping others is the best part of life."   
  • Madeline Denlinger, RN, BSN, MPA, Center for Advanced Weight Loss, Flemington, NJ: Nurse Denlinger is known for being incredibly supportive of everyone she works with and for cheering on her patients through every part of their journey - from the first weigh in through the maintenance program. She has even joined her patients in the gym to give them fitness tips and encourage them to keep going. Said patient Annmarie Gorda from Little York, NJ, "Nurse Denlinger truly cares about her patients. She is reassuring, thorough and patient. She is an inspiration!"

"Time and time again, patients talk about the impact their healthcare provider has had on their weight loss journey," said Dr. Jamy Ard, co-director of the Wake Forest Baptist Health Weight Management Center and medical director for OPTIFAST. "Dr. Auriemma, Janine DiGiacomo and Nurse Denlinger not only motivate their patients to get healthy; they also encourage other healthcare professionals to become true partners with their patients as they strive to build their new lifestyles."

To view the contest winners' before and after pictures and learn more about these healthcare professionals, visit www.OPTIFAST.com.


OPTIFAST was developed in 1974 to fill the growing need to address obesity in a healthy, effective way. As diseases related to obesity became more prevalent, and more people began taking drastic measures to treat the problem, OPTIFAST was introduced as a sensible option for lifestyle transformation. The program combines support and counseling, lifestyle education, and medical monitoring with meal replacements to help people lose weight which can, in turn, reduce weight-related health risks. A team of dedicated medical professionals provide support. The OPTIFAST Program is available in over 400 clinics nationwide. OPTIFAST is a business segment within Nestle Health Science. For more information, to see patient stories and to find a clinic, visit www.OPTIFAST.com.

About Nestle Health Science

Nestle Health Science, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestle, has an ever developing innovative portfolio of nutritional therapies, supported variously by proprietary diagnostics and devices, targeted towards the Vital Support areas of aging and critical/intensive care, as well as Gastrointestinal, Brain, Metabolic and Consumer Health, changing the way patients and healthcare professionals approach the management of health. Nestle Health Science employs around 3,500 people worldwide and has its headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland. For more information, please visit www.NestleHealthScience.us.

*The typical OPTIFAST patient loses over 50 pounds in 18-24 weeks. For many dieters, weight loss is only temporary. For more information, please visit www.OPTIFAST.com.

[1] "Obesity in America: What's Driving the Epidemic?." MSN Healthy Living. n.p. Web. n.d. <http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/obesity-in-america-whats-driving-the-epidemic-1>


Mary Wade                                                        
Nestle Health Science                                          
Phone: 612-384-8484                                            

Ashley Dos Santos
Edible, Inc.
Phone: 323-761-6513

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