Since spring 2022, Dr. Rob Lejawa has been continuously referring patients to CoreLife Novant Health, a comprehensive weight loss program that guides people through a journey of positive transformation. The program centers around medical care for obesity and related conditions, the importance of proper nutrition, development of an exercise plan that is enjoyable, and behavioral health support, so that weight can be lost in a way that is healthy and sustainable.
“CoreLife provides the tools a person needs to begin their weight loss journey, be successful in losing, and keep the weight off, long-term,” said Dr. Lejawa. “It’s a ‘one stop shop’ approach that teaches people how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, while also offering tremendous support and encouragement. It’s streamlined. It’s efficient. It works.”
Dr. Lejawa understands how it feels to be overweight and overwhelmed on what to do about it. Growing up, he was always known as “the big kid” and his weight issues followed him into adulthood. Eventually, he created his own pathway to better health and wellness. Dr. Lejawa lost a tremendous amount of weight by viewing food as a tool to fuel his body, and incorporating exercise into his daily routine. His experience and perspective have proven to be invaluable in his work as a primary care physician in Charlotte, North Carolina. Practically every day, he works with patients who need and want to lose weight, but simply don’t know where to begin.
“I wish CoreLife had existed years ago when I was struggling with weight issues and needed help,” said Dr. Lejawa. “I know from my personal experience that this is not an easy journey to figure out on your own. I refer patients to CoreLife because I know that they will get the education and support they need to change their lives for the better.”
Dr. Lejawa often speaks about his personal experience as he encourages patients who are overweight to begin a weight loss program. He keeps an old picture of himself tucked away in his desk drawer and shares it with patients to convey not only what is possible, but also that he truly understands what they are going through.
“Sometimes in the midst of these important conversations, patients will say things like ‘you can’t possibly understand how I feel’ or ‘yeah, it’s easy for someone like you to say weight loss is important’ -because they look at me and see someone who is in good shape. What they don’t realize is that I didn’t always look this way. That’s when I bring my old photo out,” said Dr. Lejawa. “I do understand and empathize with these patients, greatly.”
Dr. Lejawa says the need for CoreLife’s services has grown since the onset of the COVID pandemic – a time when people who are typically active found themselves isolated at home, and when those who are typically healthy eaters made some shifts in their normal food choices.
“Obesity has been recognized as an epidemic for a long time, and the pandemic exacerbated the problem,” said Dr. Lejawa. “We are seeing the results of that in our practice today. Many patients are coming back in for their check-ups, weighing in heavier than they did before. We educate them about why it’s important to get their weight back in check, and we refer many patients to CoreLife when they are ready to commit and need accountability.”
Looking good is one goal typically associated with weight loss. But most importantly, maintaining a healthy weight is critically important to avoid comorbidities such as heart disease and diabetes. As he is meeting with patients who are at high risk for developing these conditions, Dr. Lejawa reminds them that weight loss is a process that requires hard work and that success won’t come overnight.
“I tell patients that they are the CEO of their own health, and it’s up to them to own the process,” he said. “Your life is your most precious asset. It’s worth it.”