Obesity and overweight have become an epidemic in America. One complication, Type 2 Diabetes, is on track to overtake half of the population by 2050. This is a staggering projection. Neither our economy, our people, nor our medical resources can sustain this epidemic. Obesity causes or worsens virtually every inflammatory or degenerative disease state, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, chronic pain syndromes, hormone deficiencies, and so forth.
The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle have combined to cause Americans in large numbers to lose the Battle of the Bulge. Every fad diet under the sun has only made it worse, as we lose weight (and muscle), go back to our bad habits, then gain it all back, plus some more (fat). This phenomenon is called “Yo-Yo Dieting.” It didn’t help that the food industry bought off scientists several decades ago, getting them to sign off on the completely unscientific “low-fat” diet theory. This move has enriched the food industry while fattening and killing (with heart disease and cancer, among other diseases) millions of Americans.
Patients have increasingly sought medical help to address this crisis. In response, doctors were taught to answer patients’ pleas with the plausible but completely unscientific equation:
(Calories in) minus (calories burned) = weight gained or lost
We can’t tell you how many of our patients have put this equation to the test, only to discover that eating nothing but lettuce and going to the gym seven days a week has not enabled them to shed their excess pounds.
Another common problem people have is that most diets are unsustainable. Diets rely on more willpower than most of us can sustain for more than short bursts of a month or two. Diets thus set us up for failure because we throw in the towel and gain it all back as soon as life creeps in and we find ourselves unable to maintain all the restrictions. Two common saboteurs are stress and travel, both of which require enormous willpower and planning to stick with the program.
In frustration, when one after another diet fails them, patients often turn to doctors for drugs or surgery. Unfortunately, we have yet to see any drug yield sustained weight loss. And the risks (including addiction) of using chemicals to force the body to do what it was not designed to do often prove unacceptably high. It’s tempting to think that a chemical will fix the problem by making us not hungry or disturbing some critical physiological process, but it doesn’t pan out in practice.
For those who need to lose more than a few dozen pounds and have already tried everything else, doctors and patients often give up in desperation and turn to “the nuclear option.” Others haven’t tried everything but are looking for a “quick fix” to a problem that grew over a period of years or even decades. In anticipation of gastric bypass surgery, one patient admitted, “I have no willpower. This [surgery] takes the choice [of eating too much] away from me.”
After any of the bariatric (weight loss) surgeries available, patients are no longer physically able to eat as much food as they used to. Unfortunately, without a fundamental transformation in their thinking and lifestyle, the majority of such patients we have seen end up gaining back some if not all of their previous weight within a few years. And they are no longer able to absorb in sufficient quantities the vitamins and minerals the body requires. This leads to a number of undesirable health consequences, many of which are not recognized until decades later.
Our health coaches have guided numerous patients through a program of permanent lifestyle change. It doesn’t rely on superhuman willpower, just simple changes. Patients learn habits of health that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Those who need to lose ten pounds can do it in less than a month. Those who need to lose hundreds of pounds can do so far more quickly than they gained them in the first place, noticing multiple benefits along the way.
Many of our patients have so much excess weight, along with associated disabilities such as arthritis, chronic pain, and muscle atrophy, that they can’t exercise at all. Getting up from the bed to the bathroom is a workout for them. Even they can follow the program. Once they lose enough weight, they can start to enjoy sensible physical activity that they could only dream of previously.
The program is simple. You follow the program and you lose weight. Our patients don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They don’t have to quit their jobs and spend all day at the grocery store and the kitchen. They don’t have to memorize or look up how many calories every morsel of food has in it.
They aren’t hungry, so they don’t have to worry about the program pushing their willpower beyond its limits. Of course there are old favorites they would like to eat, but they choose not to because they would rather be healthy forever than enjoy ten minutes of pleasure now.
Our health coaches routinely hear comments like these as excess fat disappears:
This is just a small sample of the successes we hear about every day from those enrolled in our health coaching program.
If you or someone you know is struggling to reclaim your life from the ravages of overweight or obesity—whether it’s a few pounds or a few hundred—call us to set up an appointment for an exploratory call with one of our dedicated, caring, and experienced health coaches. This may just be the single most powerful and sought-after intervention we provide in our offices. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing. Your health coach can meet you on your terms by phone, computer, or other internet-connected device any time of day, whether you are in your bedroom or on the beach. Chances are, before too long, you’ll feel comfortable spending a lot more of your time on that beach!