Read James Oricchio's Story
When James Oricchio walked in the door at South Shore Hospital, he weighed 430 pounds. He had pre-diabetes and had recently struggled through a severe bout with pneumonia. “My eating was very poor, and I did very little exercise,” he recalls. “My dad said to me, ‘try a hospital dietitian,’ so I chose South Shore Hospital.”
James entered the Hospital’s Nutrition Education Center in 2011. There, a registered dietitian developed an individual meal plan for him based on his medical history, lifestyle and medications. “In our program, there are no fad diets or one-size-fits-all meal plans,” says Lisa Raymond, Clinical Nutrition Manager. “We use evidence-based practices based on research.”
Raymond points out that people often misunderstand the difference between those who call themselves health coaches or nutritionists and registered dietitians. Registered dietitians have graduated from rigorous college programs, completed clinical internships and passed a national exam. At South Shore Hospital, all registered dietitians are also licensed by the state.
In James’ case, the dietitian helped him focus on decreasing his overall food intake and switching to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and complex carbs, while also significantly lowering his sodium intake. “She adjusted my eating,” says James, who now weighs 237 pounds and is 6' tall. “I ate too many pizzas. I ate ham steaks and burgers. I didn’t cook vegetables. I didn’t eat enough fruit.”
James is quick to point out the long list of fruits and vegetables he now eats, from every conceivable berry to the turnips he finds so tasty in soups and stews. He rarely eats at fast-food restaurants but instead enjoys home-cooked meals and healthy snacks with his family
Exercise also played a large part in James’ weight loss. He works out daily with free weights and walks four to five days a week. He also continues to chart his food intake, limiting high fat or processed foods, except for a single “junk meal” on Fridays – when he allows himself a slice of pizza or sandwich on white bread.
Today, James’ blood glucose is within normal range and many of the health issues that seemed almost insurmountable have been overcome through his almost 200 pound weight loss. “The Nutrition Education Center works. My goal is 220,” he says. “When I get there, I’ll find out from the dietitian how to maintain my weight.”