Key research findings that have helped me develop methods of successful weight management that are tailored to each individual’s unique circumstances.
- Intense and often subconsciously held skepticism; basically a deep mistrust in the value of a program, ex. Weight loss. Such skepticism will prevent any person from directing any energy towards that project.When people feel this skeptical, they are unable to use any advice on weight loss beyond a few days or weeks. In fact, the well intentioned advice from a doctor, dietician, or nurse, is perceived as an insult to their intelligence, and to their abilities to succeed in other areas of life. We learned that it is only by removing roadblocks to weight management that an individual regains their sense of mastery over many areas of life that in aggregate caused the conditions in which weight gain began and proceeded. Skepticism is replaced with hopeful optimism as successes in obtaining better mood, pain management, sleep, mindfulness of internal cues of hunger and fullness, time management, and self-directedness are gradually experienced.
- weight loss is harder to accomplish, more effortful, than leaning to read as a young child. And it has to be accomplished without the advantage of having parents and teachers helping. As we are not children, the “help” offered by a diet plan is internalized differently, and it creates dependency by externalizing our normally internal control over food; this means that the dieter becomes less and less able to recognize or respond to feelings of hunger and fullness as effort is directed to weighing, counting and so forth. It is also impossible to sustain by dietary means because our genetic heritage contains no genes that direct weight loss.For all of human history, our genetic heritage directed us to eat as much as one could whenever food was available. Weight gain conferred a strong survival advantage when war, famine, or illness occurred. Attempting weight loss by current low calorie (hypo-caloric) diets ex. 1200 cal., goes very much against Mother Nature’s plans, and triggers counter regulatory forces in the body. Hormonal levels change, cravings arise in the mind, people move less and less as calorie restriction continues, and metabolic rate ( the rate at which calories are used ) is lowered so that weight loss cannot be sustained.In summary, by observing how competently our patients deal with day to day life, clearly weight loss failure is due to many adverse environmental factors (late night TV, far less physical activity than our forbearers, abundance of food, sleep deprivation etc.) combined with our very ancient genetic heritage. In an lecture I gave recently entitled: Increasing Prevalence of Obesity, ADHD, and Sleep Disorders as a Consequence of Elements of a Modern Lifestyle. The Perfect Biological Storm of the 21st Century? , I have shown in detail how all of these factors combine and directly cause obesity and weight loss failure. (Available upon request)
- The only way to empower an individual to the point where they can experience weight loss slowly and realistically ongoing, is to make the process easily doable! It is almost always possible to create conditions for weight loss; we do it by gaining an understanding of all of the unique circumstances of that individual’s life, and then planning methods of correcting as many of the 7 problems affecting weight loss as possible ( see below) , within those circumstances. A realistic expectation is for our patients to experience a daily calorie deficit averaging 328 cal. in women, and 450 cal. in men. This deficit leads to a weight loss of 32-35 pounds per yr. for women and 45-50 pounds for men. Attempting more rapid weight loss than this (excluding weight loss due to surgery) is a recipe for failure.
- An unrealistic expectation for the rate and degree of weight loss on the part of the patient, or their physician, is the second biggest cause of weight loss failure, and the most avoidable cause of weight loss failure.Unrealistic expectation leads to often considerable feelings of disappointment, anger, loss of control, and of powerlessness in both patient and physician. The patient will always leave a program when unrealistic expectations are permitted to remain unaltered, and often regain any weight that had been lost.