With celebrities extensively promoting diet fads, such as Weight Watchers, many individuals sometimes feel bamboozled by the false hope that is advertised. However, a Lifestyle Modification Clinic may be just what the doctor ordered to combat weight loss.

Marlene Francis has tried Weight Watchers and admitted to gaining more weight after she completed the program, but participating in a Lifestyle Modification Clinic has helped her lose 50 pounds , as well as lower her cholesterol level by half.

The Lifestyle Modification Clinic, at the University of Connecticut Health Center, was launched on 2010 with the assistance from the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center. The health care professionals consist of a team of cardiologists Joyce Meng, Anjanette Ferris, Peter Schulman, physician assistant Brad Biskup, registered nurse Dawn Smith and exercise physiologist Gina Correa.

According to Biskup, the clinic gives patients a place where they can go and retake control of their life in addition to empowering patients to become knowledgeable about alternative options beyond medication.

Those who qualify for treatment at the Lifestyle Modification Clinic are patients who suffer from coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease or carotid artery stenosis, had a history of a stroke, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and hypertension or who have been at the Cardiology Clinic or Hypertension Clinic within the last three years.

The Clinic personalizes each patients care to their specific needs and adheres to a patient's life style, behavior and their limitations and then works on modifying them.

A patient's first visit consists of reviewing prior lab work and doing cardiovascular risk assessment. Physicians also obtain an analysis of the patient's current diet, and exercise routine history.

"We do a lot of education," Biskup said. "The more education they get - the better."

"The difference between the clinic and fad diets or other programs is the focus on what is important. "It's not just about weight. It's about your cholesterol, blood work, and how your body works. For the first time in a long time my blood work has been normal," Francis said. "Seeing the scale is only one difference."

In addition, the clinic also works with patients to find activities that they enjoy doing, as well as healthy foods they already like to incorporate it into their daily life.

"Seeing how well patients have done is the most rewarding thing for me. Yes, weight loss is great, but seeing them stop medications and still improve their risk factors is testament to their hard work," Biskup said. "It's amazing to see the empowerment with a little guidance."

Today, Francis walks three miles every morning as well as challenges her husband and children to Wii Fit Challenges.

While having the assistance of health care professionals makes life easier, taking the steps to implement lifestyle changes at home is achievable. The Clinic's philosophy is one that many physicians have urged including everyday strategies that anyone who is struggling with weight loss can apply to his or her life. By simply modifying your actions such as walking more, replacing one sugary drink a day with water or participating in a physical activity you love, you are slowly modifying your lifestyle at home.