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“Jump Start” Your Weight Loss A great way to start the New Year, or is it?

Posted: Dec 31 in Favorites, Weight Management Strategies by

As I begin my 7th year at CNC, I have to try really hard to think of any person I have worked with who would not want to “Jump Start” their weight loss program. What better way to get our minds and bodies in gear than a success message: “You can do it!”
Would CNC have remained popular for the past 35 years if we promised
agonizingly slow weight loss? Of course not. Many people continue to come see us because they know that they can lose weight quickly and feel good while doing it.
Many patients successfully keep the weight off; however, some continue to lose and gain, over and over again, yet continue to tell me each time that we meet that they need the instant gratification of quick weight loss or they will run out of steam and not stick with it.
If you are one of these people, then perhaps “Jump Starting” your weight loss program is not the best plan for you. As I reflect back on many of my most successful patient stories, there is a common theme. I often ask, “Why did this work for you? After all the previous attempts that didn’t go so well, why did things turn out differently this time, and you lost the weight and kept it off?” The answer is always the same: “It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle. I changed my lifestyle, Dr. Lazarus.”
What does this mean?
This sounds nice, but what does it actually mean? We are all creatures of habit – we have a routine that we get comfortable with and we stick to it. Most people that I initially meet with have been in a routine for many years resulting in slow weight gain. We all want to blame something – “I stopped going to the gym” or “I have a sweet tooth.” But the reality is, we settle in to a routine that we are comfortable with, and we do it mindlessly, day after day, month after month, year after year. Unfortunately, all too often this routine is slightly off-balance. What do I mean by slightly? I mean by 50-100 calories a day. 50-100 calories? That’s nothing! It’s two bites (remember the two bite rule?)! It’s 5 or 10 more minutes of being active! (remember handout #5, lifestyle activity?) Most patients with weight problems are gaining at a rate of between ½ and 1 pound per month. This is 50 to 100 calories a day!
So, what separates the weight loss maintenance success stories from those who are not able to achieve this? People who are willing to look at their routines and make real and lasting changes do the best at keeping it off! As we settle in to our new routine, over time it becomes the new way of doing things, and we can successfully maintain our weight loss without thinking about it.
How can I do this?
Unfortunately, most of us are not successful figuring out the best routine by reading diet books (with all the recent New York Times Best Sellers, our country continues to get heavier), using internet programs (too boring, impersonal), or even signing up for gym memberships (go for a few months, then stop going). When I ask patients, “What was the most important thing we offered you at CNC that helped you change your lifestyle?” the answer is always the same: “The accountability.” Most current research studies support our experience. Accountability with an experienced professional remains the most important tool we can offer for long-term success. When accountability is lost, often the old routines seem to find their way back, the old lifestyle takes root, the weight begins creeping up again.
So, do you really want to “Jump Start” your weight loss for 2010? If the answer is “Yes,” this is fine. But, the more important question is, are you willing and able to look at your routine, and try to put a new routine in place that will successfully aid with long-term success? Whatever approach you choose, shoot for a lifestyle that you enjoy, that is healthy, that you can be comfortable with, that becomes a routine that you can follow without thinking about it. If you can achieve this, you will have achieved long-term success.
It’s never too late to get back to work. If you have experienced weight regain, please don’t hesitate to pick up where we left off, to really look at your routines, and to see if we can find a lifestyle that will promote a healthy weight rather than weight gain. I know if we work together, we can do it!

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