I had done all I could to help Mike lose weight, but the tools available to me were inadequate. He had lost and regained a few pounds over and over again, each loss achieved through heroic efforts of willpower. But he could never put a lasting dent in the 150 excess pounds he had accumulated over the decades.
Finally, Mike approached me about a gastric bypass. He already knew my feelings about it, but he was desperate. Still, I couldn’t be supportive of this surgery. Don’t get me wrong: I was supportive of him, but not the surgery. It doesn’t fix the underlying problem. Its nutritional consequences are permanent but its metabolic consequences are not. In other words, too often people regain their excess weight but suffer from vitamin and mineral malabsorption forever after.
But I didn’t have anything else to offer Mike. All of those weight loss drugs are worthless. Besides the fact that they have no proven long-term effectiveness, the side effects and long-term risks are unacceptable. For its part, a healthy diet is great for maintenance, but not for serious weight loss. Mike needed SERIOUS weight loss.
Actually, he had lost serious weight—60 lbs in four months—on the hCG diet. That was a good start, but he still had a long way to go. Unfortunately, over the next seven months, he gained 50 of those pounds back. Why? Because it’s a diet! Diets are things people go on, hopefully lose weight, then go off….then gain it all back. Over the long term, dieters usually gain more than they lost, precisely because some of what they lost was muscle, and what they regain is fat. And we burn fewer calories keeping fat alive than we do keeping muscle cells alive.
What we need is transformation, not a diet; a lifestyle, not a short-term (and very temporary) fix.
This is where health coaching comes in. Our health coaches and I just returned from an exhilarating weekend at the annual national convention of health coaches in Dallas. We learned a lot, of course, and our health coaches will share it with you as you meet with them. If you are already the epitome of health, keep doing what you are doing, but take a moment to look around you. Who do you know who needs this? On the other hand, if you are stuck; if you could stand to be in better health; if you want to prevent or even ditch disease: Our health coaches can help you. It’s not too late. Forget everything you have tried before, which has failed you. So many other approaches fail because they rely on sheer willpower to overcome some pretty powerful forces.
Let me introduce you to my new friend Stan. In March 2016, Stan weighed 450 lbs. At that time, he met Jan, who introduced him to health coaching. Stan decided he didn’t have anything to lose—except a LOT of weight—and gave it a try. Sixteen months later, Stan is down 196 lbs so far, and couldn’t be more thrilled. He would like to shout from the rooftops about his good fortune. Among other benefits, he no longer takes any prescription medicines, which previously cost $450 per month! He is almost off his CPAP for sleep apnea. His diabetes is gone, his most recent HgbA1c being an astounding 5.1. Blood pressure is back to normal. His inflammation is now too low to measure. He lost a whopping 22 inches of waistline. He can fit both legs into one of his previous pant legs.
Listen to him:
“I can go to the store and not get tired and winded in fact I can go to several stores in one day now. I can stand while I am cooking and don’t have to rest after every activity. I have been golfing 18 holes, bowled 3 games in a row, I have been on several mountain hikes that were 4-6 miles long. I have gone snowshoeing a couple of times 3-4 miles, I was able to stand on my feet for over 4 hours doing a refresher on the observatory telescopes and didn’t have to sit down. I went to a swap meet and was on my feet walking around for 4 hours straight and was not tired or sore and then when I got home I started going through boxes in the basement that I haven’t looked at since I moved in 13 years ago. I have been organizing my basement now, organizing my house, building sound booths for recording, setting up radios and antennas for ham radio, I walk everyday and started to do some resistance training. I am a Cub Scout leader and can go on trips with the boys and keep up with them and stand while teaching them lessons, sing in the choir at church. I am helping other people find this program and helping them get healthy. In short I got my life back and now the sky is the limit with hiking, camping and fishing.”
You got that right: Even as he continues his transformation journey, Stan now coaches countless others in theirs.
But Stan is not an isolated success story. There were so many “Stans” at the conference that we could have spent ten minutes with each one and run out of weekend long before running out of heroes to listen to. A large number of them would have qualified to go under the surgical knife but discovered this transformative lifestyle change instead.
At the same time, there were as many who only needed to lose 12 stubborn pounds to reach their health goals. All were thrilled to be living a new life compared to where they were as recently as two months ago or as long as 15 years ago.
The bottom line is this: I wish I had known about this tremendous life-changing program five years ago. It’s too late for my team to help Mike, but not too late for them to help you. If you don’t need help, chances are you know someone who does. And it doesn’t matter where they live, as long as they have a computer or a phone.
Maybe now is the time for you to discover health coaching. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s about gaining health. Live the abundant life!
Yours in health,
Ray Andrew, MD