Based in Richmond, Va, Catherine is a freelance writer specializing in stories about the arts, parenting, health and wellness, aging, and fascinating people.

Brooklyn Dooley—No Longer Eating for Comfort


Since May of 2017, Brooklyn Dooley has worked hard to lose nearly 90 pounds with the help of Kenneth Luckay, DO of Luckay Doc in Roanoke, and his individualized weight management program. Now 29, Dooley has struggled with her weight for much of her life, but she has committed to becoming healthier to keep up with her two-year-old daughter and set a good example in years to come. “It will be important for me to demonstrate how to manage weight and add healthy activity into daily life,” she says.

Dr. Luckay and his team see a variety of patients of all ages and from all walks of life.

“Sometimes our waiting room looks like a perfect cross-section of southwest Virginia,” he says.

The doctor strives to provide an individualized weight loss program for each patient.

“We look at the whole person,” he says. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to managing weight issues. Above all, it’s about helping people achieve a state of wellness or a return to health.”

Dr. Luckay, who works with his wife, Melinda, a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner, initiates his work with patients by trying to understand any underlying issues.

“Weight issues are multifactorial,” Dr. Luckay says. “Sometimes they can be due to a medication, an emotional issue, an undiagnosed medical problem or even early childhood trauma.”

After talking to patients, the doctor, who is the medical director at Luckay Doc, and his team administer a full workup of their Body Composition Analysis to determine fat percentage, fat location, water percentage and muscle mass, among other factors. From there, Dr. Luckay determines whether the patient requires medication and designs a meal plan to help him/her lose weight.

Dooley describes herself as a “comfort eater,” and explains that she gained weight during her pregnancy and subsequent postpartum depression. Because of her age, she has remained relatively healthy, but her blood pressure has always been on the high side. Fortunately, she has never been prescribed blood pressure medication and she hopes her weight loss will help her avoid having to take medication in the future.

“Starting to deal with a chronic problem is obviously not a great idea when I’m not even middle-aged,” she says.

Dooley feels her health has suffered enough because of excess weight. It contributed to hypertension during pregnancy, which resulted in induction of labor and a C-section.

According to Dr. Luckay, “Like many people, Brooklyn can lose weight just fine but needs help maintaining her weight loss.”

In working with Dooley, the doctor and his team developed a meal plan involving a balance of carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, fats and proteins consumed at planned times. At this stage, Dooley was also prescribed, medications that help with appetite suppression. For her, the plan’s primary benefit is its flexibility.

“As long as I am reasonable with my portions, I can truly eat whatever my heart is after,” she notes. “I just have to make sure I count everything so I’m not kidding myself about my portions.”

While the program’s flexibility enables Dooley to eat a variety of foods, Dr. Luckay’s support helps her stay focused and committed. As she explains, when nobody else is supporting her weight loss efforts, she often engages in a dangerous cycle of feeling bad about herself and eating for comfort.

“Knowing that I have to be weighed right in front of someone who is also going to take my blood pressure is a huge incentive to stay on the straight and narrow,” she says.

Dr. Luckay strives to deliver support without judgement and offer compassionate care.

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