GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A local doctor has gained weight intentionally in order to inspire others to lose weight in the new year.
Jeff Cremonte, a doctor of physical therapy, started the Facebook group “Drop with Doc.” This is the online community where Cremonte and others will go on a weight loss journey starting Jan. 1.
Cremonte, a normally active and healthy person, wanted to show people the process of losing weight and all the components that go into weight loss and improving one’s lifestyle overall.
He said many patients who want, or need, to lose weight get the “diet and exercise lecture” from their doctor, who is typically a very healthy, active person that isn’t going through a similar lifestyle change.
“I decided I wanted to do something to address that dissonance between the average health care provider and the patient,” Cremonte said.
“I think sometimes as a healthcare professional, we can kind of be up on a pedestal and it’s hard to get the patient to directly buy in.”
While he’s fit and healthy now, Cremonte was overweight as a child and young adult and went through his own weight loss journey when he went to college and started studying health and medicine.
Cremonte, of Grand Rapids, has a bachelor’s of clinical exercise science from Grand Valley State University and a doctorate degree in physical therapy from Duke University.
“A lot of other providers who are maybe currently really fit or maybe have never struggled with weight loss or gain, they don’t really understand the real-life difficulties that people that are actually overweight have to go through,” Cremonte said.
Over the past three months, Cremonte has changed up his diet and exercise habits significantly and has now gained approximately 22 pounds. Before, he was eating nutritious, low calorie foods and working out four to five times a week.
Now, he’s eating more calorie-dense foods on an unregulated schedule and works out two to three times a week. He said he’s had to force himself to eat more than usual and consistently feels uncomfortable.
The 26-year-old doctor stands at 5 feet 10 inches and currently weights 187 pounds, up from his former weight of 165 pounds.
“I just feel fatigued all the time, my joints hurt more, I get out of breath quicker, a lot of stomach discomfort, my feet hurt,” Cremonte said. “What I did was definitely unhealthy. I was so confident in what ‘Drop with Doc’ has to offer people that I was willing to put my body on the line.”
Those who join the Facebook group will start to see Cremonte’s posts beginning Jan. 1. He said the first phase of the program will be setting a behavioral goal.
“We can’t always control how much weight falls off our body,” Cremonte said.
“We can control our habits, our behaviors, our actions that will eventually get us the results that we want. So, for example, right now I’m eating terribly, I’m not exercising and so for my goals over the next couple months I want to start going to the gym more.”
Over the course of the next several months, the Facebook group members will be educated on advertising schemes, meal tracking, goal setting, nutrition and more.
They will also have access to Cremonte, who provides individualized, preventative healthcare through his business, Leap Health. The online program runs through Memorial Day, May 27.
Cremonte wants to lose a pound a week or one and a half pounds every two weeks until he loses the 22 pounds. He said that measurement is a healthy way to lose weight over time, but he tries to not have his clients focus on numbers as much as habits over time.
“My body, right now, is addicted to this kind of unhealthy lifestyle,” Cremonte said. “Our bodies have this defense mechanism where it wants to maintain the current, so it’s going to be a lot of work.”
Many people are already in this state and that’s exactly the reason why Cremonte chose to intentionally change his lifestyle, so he could go through the ups and downs alongside his clients. Because of it all being online, the Facebook group will allow Cremonte to reach an even wider audience.
More than 70 people had joined the Facebook group as of Friday, Dec. 20.
“What a productive use of time,” Cremonte said. “Now I can help hundreds of thousands of people all at the same time. What an incredible use of technology.”