Our program helps patients achieve healthy weight - not with a magic pill or fad diet, but with a comprehensive lifestyle approach, with individualized nutrition, activity, behavioral, and medical strategies to fit each person's unique needs. Long term success does not come from a quick fix or extreme approach - we can't beat up our bodies or bash them into good health! We need a healthy approach - and we need realistic expectations. In order to get our bodies healthy, we first need to get our "head in the game".
Many of us have mental blocks that lead us to failure. To succeed, we need to become aware of these self-sabotaging thoughts and behavior patterns, and then take concrete steps to change them. This is tough to do all by yourself - but you don’t have to! We’re here to help identify the negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns, and help devise concrete plans to overcome them. We’ll be here when you slip off your plan, and help you get right back on track. Over time the new habits become more solid, and easier to maintain. Studies show that people who have this kind of support are much more successful at long term weight loss. We’re here to help you become empowered, and get control back in your life.
Let's look at some unrealistic, unhealthy thoughts and patterns, and some better, healthier, more effective approaches we use with our patients:
1. “I want to lose thirty pounds in thirty days.”
Of course you do! Our society expects instant results, and we see advertisements all over the internet which make these promises. Some of these ads have the nerve to claim that this massive weight loss comes without any change in diet, exercise, or lifestyle. Hmmm...wouldn’t that be nice? Too bad it’s not reality. Many of the companies which have made such outrageous claims are being investigated by the FTC, and some have already been heavily fined for fraud. The scams have become so widespread that the FTC can hardly keep up.
We ask our patients to look down the road just a bit. Where do you want to be next year? If you want to feel healthy, strong, sleek, have less body fat and more fit, lean muscle, you have to do it the right way - by developing a new healthy life pattern. Proper nutrition, proper exercise, rest, sleep, stress management, and more, are key to becoming - and staying - healthy in our "obesogenic" world. Does this sound boring, and like hard work? Well, there is work involved. Our job is to make the process as easy and effective as possible, and help you be as successful as possible. We’ll teach you the techniques that have been shown to give results, and provide you the support and ongoing accountability so a healthier you will become a reality. You can’t expect a change without making a change. But we’ll show you which changes to focus on to obtain the best long term results. Over the next few months, a realistic goal is to work for a maximum rate of weight loss that is between 1 and 3 pounds per week on average, depending on your current weight and medical conditions. Some weeks will be faster and slower than others - this is normal.
2. “I want to weigh what my skinny friend weighs.”
You can find many different charts, graphs, and recommended “ideal weight” goals when you look around. No chart is a hard and fast rule for you as an individual. Your personal "best" weight depends on MANY different factors. Your weight is affected by your bone structure (take a look at your wrist), your body muscle, fluid conditions (these may shift dramatically), your gender, age, hormonal issues, genetics, lifestyle factors, even personal preferences.
My personal belief about “best" goal weight is that this may change over time, depending on many factors in a person’s life. A realistic healthy weight for you may be very different from your “skinny friend”, even if the two of you are the same height. Medical conditions related to weight must be examined (high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, etc), and personal lifestyle considerations must be weighed. Quite simply, some people lose weight more easily than others, with less time and effort involved. You will need to determine how much time and effort you are willing to put in to achieve a particular goal. Remember that “Hollywood” and fashion magazines have essentially brainwashed the average person into thinking that there is something very wrong with him or herself. In reality, many of these images have been dramatically altered to make people appear bizarrely skinny; over time, we begin to think that these altered images have some connection with real human beings. Don’t be fooled! Of course some people naturally are quite thin, but sadly, some models have eating disorders, and are very unhealthy. Your goal should be health, energy, strength, happiness - try to focus on these goals as the top priorities. (When helping you estimate a healthy weight goal, we ask about weight history, including highest past weight, lowest weight maintained as an adult for a period of time without extreme measures, medical conditions and medications, patterns of behavior, current lifestyle, and additional factors.)
3. “I can eat anything I want, as long as it’s in moderation, right?”
Well, the answer is…yes and no. Be realistic - if you were able to eat in moderation, you probably wouldn’t be struggling with your weight, would you? The reality is that some types of food keep you full and satisfied, so it is easy to eat fewer calories, while other foods leave you hungry, and some seem to make you hungrier. Research has also shown that some people are more neurologically "wired" to be sensitive to "addictive" foods, and are therefore at high risk of weight gain in our "obesogenic" (weight-gain-promoting) society. If you notice that certain foods always trigger you to overeat, and lead to feeling out of control, then you may have to "remove and replace" those triggers. When you set up your food environment in a way that helps you make good choices more often, you are more likely to succeed. We help people do this every day. We want to "make the EASY choice the HEALTHY choice", since it is human nature for us go to the easy choice when we are busy, stressed, tired. If we set up our lives so that the easy choice, the "default" mode is also a healthy (and tasty) one, we are far more likely to sustain healthy lifestyle.
In order for you to succeed with long term weight management, you need to become an "expert on yourself", know your tendencies, and then establish a core pattern of healthy eating, eating healthy foods that are filling and satisfying, in proper calorie amounts. Once that core is established, healthy eating becomes "second nature", and easier to maintain over time. Research has now shown that you can "rewire" your food preferences, so that addictive foods may not have the same power over your. As you feel more in control of your eating, you may begin to carefully add back small controlled amounts of “problem foods” - if done properly. We’ll help you do this without going completely off track.
4. “I can lose weight really quickly with a fad diet now, and then learn how to eat properly later.”
Okay, many of you have already proved to yourself that this method doesn‘t work for long term success - yet it is so tempting to believe this myth that you try again and again. Stop the insanity! Extreme fad diets and excessively rapid weight loss itself can carry risk, and are not the way to achieve lasting results and optimal health. If we starve ourselves, or go to other unhealthy extremes, we not only risk our health, but we are also setting ourselves up for failure. Do it right, right from the start - stop playing games! Believe me, if you eat properly during the weight loss process, it makes maintenance SO MUCH easier. You‘ll actually be able to re-set your “set-point“ weight lower - so you will cruise into maintenance weight, and then have to INCREASE your calorie intake. Honestly. You already intuitively know this is true.
Strictly speaking, no, if you cut calories below your daily requirement, you’ll lose weight, whether you exercise or not. But you will lose excess MUSCLE, along with fat, and slow down your metabolism. Then your weight loss will plateau, and you will become "flabby", with loose skin, unsupported without healthy muscle. You’ll also be far more likely to regain all the weight you lost, and add some more. Research by the National Weight Control Registry reveals that almost all long-term successful weight losers/maintainers do some exercise every day, to keep weight under control (a whopping 94% exercise daily at maintenance!) So no, you don’t NEED to exercise. But if you want to lose weight and keep it off, keep your metabolism strong, and not be flabby, then yes, you DO need to exercise.
6. “Anyone can lose weight; the tough part is maintaining.”
Um, not exactly. Anyone can lose a little weight, but very few can actually succeed in losing a substantial amount of weight. And sure, if you’ve starved yourself to lose a lot of weight, and ruined your metabolism in the process, losing healthy muscle and putting your body into “starvation mode”, the weight will come flying back on when you add a few extra calories. BUT…the story is very different if you lose weight properly in the first place - with a healthy diet and exercise. Research (such as studies like the National Weight Control Registry), show that people who have lost weight with long term lifestyle changes actually find it EASIER to maintain over time. The longer they maintain, the easier it becomes. Sure, people who maintain always have to stay aware of their nutrition, exercise, and weight, and maintain their new habits. And there will be some times that are more challenging than others. But that’s life, right? When the going gets tough, call for help! We will help you with the maintenance process.
6. "I heard there is a "magic pill" on the internet, and it is safe and natural too!" Ever heard of P.T. Barnum? To paraphrase, he said a sucker is born every minute. I prefer to say that there are many people who feel desperate to lose weight (any of us can feel this way at times), and unfortunately there are also unscrupulous criminals who are willing to take advantage of innocent people who need help, and steal, harm, and even kill them for a buck.
Some companies are advertising "natural weight loss pills" that are anything but...some contain poisonous, illegal substances that may be life-threatening. From a warning on WebMD: "The international police agency Interpol has issued a global alert about an illegal and potentially lethal drug used for dieting and bodybuilding. The warning concerns “2,4-dinitrophenol” (DNP), a combination of compounds that increases body temperature and metabolic rate. Last month a British woman who’d taken pills containing DNP died. The drug also left a French man seriously ill. DNP, which is also used as a raw material for explosives, is linked to other deaths too. It’s highly toxic and causes side effects like hot, dry skin, excessive thirst, and an unusually fast heartbeat. The drug is being sold on the Internet. It’s usually sold in yellow powder or capsule form, but it’s also available as a cream." http://www.webmd.com/diet/20150506/dinitrophenol-dnp-diet-pills
Weight loss supplements will never, ever, be a substitute for a comprehensive healthy lifestyle plan, which includes healthy diet, exercise, and behavioral strategies. Period.
While some vitamins and supplements may be safe, never, ever take a supplement without doing thorough research on all of it's ingredients, the manufacturer, knowing all of it's potential side effects interactions with other supplements, medications, etc...and discuss it with your medical provider, as well!
7. "If I take a prescription weight loss pill, then I can eat whatever I want, and I'll lose weight, right?" Wrong. Of course. The role of appetite controlling medication/"weight loss drugs" is NOT to REPLACE healthy lifestyle, but to help in the creation of healthy lifestyle, while adopting and practicing new habits - by controlling excess appetite and cravings during the process. Some people have genetically high levels of "hedonic hunger", and the current typical American diet, which is chock full of "addictive food", can set off metabolic and neurological food cravings which are out of control, and abnormal. Appetite-controlling medications can bring the excess "food drive" back down to a managable level, while patients build a new healthy diet, and lifestyle pattern. Research - and our clinical experience - shows that many people find their excess appetites calm down, back to normal over time, and they no longer need medication to control their excess cravings, as long as they are able to keep up with their healthy patterns. Brain studies (something called "functional MRI" tests) actually have demonstrated that people have "retrained their brains" so they no longer feel excess, abnormal cravings.
So again, medication, if needed, does not replace, but rather, should enhance healthy lifestyle changes. Patients should always fully discuss risks, benefits, and possible side effects and interactions with their medical providers, before initiating any medication.
7. “I should be able to do this on my own, without any help.”
The reality is that MOST people who lose weight and keep it off long term have some kind of ongoing support. Period. Don’t feel that you are a failure because you need help to focus and stay on track. The way our society is set up right now, you have everything working AGAINST you. Most people are stressed, overworked, without exercise built into their daily lives, surrounded by tempting unhealthy food and treats everywhere we look, bombarded by junk food ads, and “food pushers”. Its not easy to do the right thing! With all that working against you, is it any surprise that you need someone on your side, to help you fight back? That’s why we’re here.
If you'd like to know more about our program, you can call any time: (603) 379-6500. Read more at healthyweightcenter.com
If you'd like to know more about our program, you can call any time: (603) 379-6500. Read more at healthyweightcenter.com