Weight Loss vs. Weight Management

Posted: Feb 17 in Health And Wellness by

Weight Loss vs. Weight ManagementA patient once asked me “Who is the most likely to be successful at losing weight?” After a brief moment, I answered “Moms who have a child getting married in a few months.” In my 12 years working at Clinical Nutrition Center, nearly every mom wanting to get into that pretty dress for the child’s wedding has succeeded. Many even lose more weight than they intended.

After a great wedding and picture session, unfortunately, the “success” is usually short lived. Shortly after the wedding, mom finds herself back at the weight before the “weight loss program.” It has become clear to me that losing weight for an important event is a great motivator. But when the motivator is past, the weight inevitably returns.

These days, I’m far more interested in a permanent result. If you asked me “Who loses weight – and keeps it off?” Again the answer is easy: people who lose weight for a real, persisting reason – health, function, reducing pain, improving mood and energy… Oftentimes, these are my older patients. If I had to pick a single demographic who seems to keep weight off the best, it’s my patients in their 70’s. Weight loss enables them to do the things they want to do – walk, hike, get out of a chair, enjoy life. If you don’t believe me, read Donni’s success story. Feeling better and doing more stuff is a permanent motivator. It doesn’t end on a particular date after a set of pictures.

Patients with a permanent motivator are more likely to continue treatment long-term. Continuing office visits, anti-obesity medications, meal replacements, behavioral changes, self-monitoring, self-weighing, structured food plans… It all works better when the goal is chronic weight management vs. weight loss.

Do you want to lose weight, or do you want to change your weight permanently? If you want to change your weight permanently, think about why weight loss is important to you. Pick a real, enduring reason. Then you can remain motivated to make your change permanent.

To learn more about the differences between weight loss and chronic weight management, consider attending one of the free classes Dr. Lazarus offers at CNC – in particular, consider attending Understanding Weight Management. Learn about the best tools to make your weight loss success endure for the rest of your life and avoid the pitfalls of short-term goals.

Ethan Lazarus, MD

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