Welcome 2022! As we launch into a brand new year, I would like to share with you a personal collection of quotes, pearls and tips on weight management that I’ve collected over the years, which I often refer back to (in fact, it’s a monthly installment in my google calendar!). These words of wisdom come from many sources: colleagues, patients, friends, review articles, and academic symposia. Some I have heard from several different people. Some of my sources will recognize words below as their own – if so, thank you!! (should you wish me to update this post with your name as a reference, please reach out and I’d be happy to do so. 🙂 )
Tips on healthier eating approaches:
Humans generally eat the same volume of food every day. –Dr Barbara Rolls. Think of this like eating the same sized box of food every day. Now, fill your box with lower calorie choices, which will lower your calorie intake for the day. And remember, veggies are free!
If you are right handed, try eating with your left hand when you are snacking; you’ll eat about 30% less. (and of course, vice versa if you are left handed). Using our non-dominant hand helps us engage in more mindful eating, simply because we have to think about it more.
The worst time to eat… is when you’re hungry! – Dr Arya Sharma (The reason: the hungrier we are, the more our brains are ramped up by hormones and neurotransmitters to find the highest calorie, most palatable, most satisfying foods, and to eat it NOW and QUICKLY. It is harder to make healthy food choices when we are hungry, and we often eat faster than it takes for our bodies’ hormones to release and signal to our brains that we’ve had enough, resulting in eating more than we would have if we weren’t so hungry. And there’s more – stay tuned for more on the hAnger factor on drsue.ca next week!)
On why lifestyle induced (dietary and exercise) weight loss is so hard:
Weight loss is unnatural. Our bodies are built by evolution to defend our weight.
Hunger is a discomfort – it doesn’t feel good.
On why exercise alone generally does not work for weight loss: We can’t out run our calories.
People don’t fail diets. Diets fail people. – Dr Michael Vallis. Diets alone generally don’t work because when we lose weight, our hunger hormone goes up and our fullness hormones go down, making it harder to stick to the meal plan. Also, the word ‘diet’ usually implies ‘temporary’, and what is needed is a long term treatment plan that will help to control weight over the long term.
It’s not finding the time you need, it’s using the time you have. –Dr Michael Vallis.
On celebrating your achievements, even if not as ‘great’ as you had hoped for: Don’t think about having what you want – rather, want what you have. –Dr Michael Vallis.
From my patient: It helped me to stop thinking about pounds on the scale. What matters is improvements in my health!
Grocery shopping: Think about having not just a ‘to-buy’ list, but also a ‘not-to-buy’ list. – Prof. Ofri Mosenzon
From my patient: Ramp up activity in mini steps. I could not walk due to knee injury and was told to walk an hour a day, which I couldn’t do. I felt like a failure. My next doctor encouraged me to increase activity in acquirable steps. This allowed me to feel like a success!
For health care providers:
On the advice of ‘eat less move more’ being useless in helping a patient lose weight: Telling a person with obesity to eat less is like telling a person with depression to cheer up. -Dr. Arya Sharma
On treating obesity like you would treat any other chronic disease: Would you stop a diabetes medication if it didn’t give a full 1% A1C reduction? Would you stop it if it did? (The answer to both of these questions will almost always be no. Weight management medications should be thought of in the same way!)
Think of your approach to weight management as being similar to your approach to pain, edema, or headaches: to treat it well, you have to understand the causes.
We wouldn’t avoid a discussion about diabetes or cancer, nor would we avoid treating these conditions. Weight management should be no different.
When you are treating obesity, think about how you would discuss, approach, assess and treat other chronic medical conditions like hypertension or diabetes, and then do it!
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