The physician and the patient should both know that the long term results of attempts at weight loss are often poor. It is therefore important to expose that patient, at the beginning of treatment, to the attitudes and behaviors that are likely to foster long-term maintenance of weight loss. These may be summarized as follows:

1. Readiness—Correct timing for change is vital. It is folly for your patient to begin a diet when he or she is not yet convinced of the need to do so or is in the midst of a stressful life event such as divorce.

2. Setting reasonable goals—Aiming for attainable rather than an "ideal" body weight is advisable. A reasonable long-term goal might be the lowest weight the patient has successfully maintained for 1 year or more during the previous 10 years.

3. Reliable support systems—Obtaining helpful assistance aids in both weight loss and maintenance. This usually involves seeking out a friend or relative who knows how to listen and not just give advice.

4. Building in maintenance—Planning and executing behavioral changes from day 1 is essential.

5. Becoming invested in one's goals—Learning how to talk to oneself in a positive way in order to enhance commitment to self-set objectives is a useful technique.

6. Making gradual changes—Modifying food choices and level of physical activity reduces the sense of deprivation and may make the process of change easier and the changes themselves more likely to be permanent.

7. Keeping records—Recording weight, foods eaten, exercise, and precipitants of inappropriate eating is an excellent way to identify problem areas and to spot a relapse before it gets out of hand, thereby improving the chances of long term success.

8. Making it enjoyable—This is self-explanatory. It is much easier to comply with the new behaviors if they can be enjoyed. If your patient cannot stand to exercise, do not tell him or her to do it anyway. Instead, suggest taking a child to the park or walking around the mall to people watch. The achievement of a positive change in lifestyle is, by itself, very reinforcing and should not be discounted as a source of satisfaction and enjoyment.

9. Being flexible—This applies to both the physician and the patient. If an approach that has been given a fair trial is not working, or if the patient's circumstances change (eg, a new job), the weight loss plan may need to change, too.

In closing, it should be obvious that helping patients lose weight and keep it off requires a comprehensive and sustained effort. Although it is true that only the patient can do it, this is one area where the diligent and caring physician can make a real difference.

Constipation Prescription

Constipation Prescription

Did you ever think feeling angry and irritable could be a symptom of constipation? A horrible fullness and pressing sharp pains against the bladders can’t help but affect your mood. Sometimes you just want everyone to leave you alone and sleep to escape the pain. It is virtually impossible to be constipated and keep a sunny disposition. Follow the steps in this guide to alleviate constipation and lead a happier healthy life.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment