The opening slide at the Obesity Medicine Association’s Fundamentals of Obesity Medicine course says “All Diets Succeed. All Diets Fail.” This is true and there are biophysical reasons why they do (I will address these mechanisms in later blogs). But two beliefs are NOT the reason why diets fail:
- The belief that people are overweight because they eat too much
- The belief that they are overweight because they exercise too little
These beliefs are untrue but, unfortunately, they are the beliefs of most medical practitioners. This “Blame the Victim” attitude is a standout among a profession that is marked by compassion. Medical evidence shows that very overweight patients get less face-to-face time with their physicians. A patient with diabetes gets more time with the doctor than does a patient with diabetes and obesity. The first one suffers from a disease; the second one brought the disease upon his/herself. Blame the victim. You did this to yourself, and if you had any willpower, you could fix it easily. “All you have to do is eat less and move more.”
If this were true, the population of overweight people in the US would drop rapidly. Go to Planet Fitness, the “Judgement-Free Zone,” and see all the overweight people working their butts off, yet after weeks and months of working out, their butts remain. They have pictures of the successful few, but let’s go back to the Fundamentals of Obesity Medicine course: there is data about how many minutes of vigorous exercise per week will maintain weight loss, but when you ask how minutes of exercise will make you lose weight, you learn that there is no data to show that exercise, no matter how much or how intense, makes you lose weight.
At GFM Weight Management, we take a different approach. Our mission is to provide our community with weight management skills that one can continue to use throughout one’s life. Following the evidence that lifestyle change is best achieved with multiple counseling sessions, Dr. Theresa Garcia brings rapport and understanding to patients struggling with weight issues, along with a weight loss plan that can change lives.
So why isn’t the name of the practice GFM Weight Loss instead of Weight Management? It’s because achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is not something you can do without engaging in a total lifestyle change. It’s not a matter of buying a new outfit and starving yourself to lose weight to fit into it because even if you make your goal, you haven’t changed your lifestyle, especially if you put yourself on some really restrictive diet to do it. You will likely go back to your old eating habits after you get past the occasion for which you bought that outfit. And the pounds will return. Then there’s the matter of perception. Right now when someone says “weight loss,” the first thing you think is “Diet!”. And the next thing you think is “Deprivation,” a response that hampers one’s motivation to achieve lifestyle change.
At GFM Weight Management, we will not put you on a diet. We will discuss your present food choices, and those of the rest of your family, and help you make healthier food choices without significantly increasing your food budget. We will not sell you replacement meals, protein bars, or shakes. We will help you look at your pattern of eating. This will tell us if you are eating in response to psychological triggers. Then we will analyze the causes of these triggers, and help you release yourself from their effect.
Being released from those triggers is part of lifestyle change. But what else does lifestyle change entail? It means healthier food choices on a regular basis, healthier food choices for the entire family. It means changing how you buy groceries. It means increasing your activity level, becoming less sedentary. You can begin doing this in small increments multiple times a day, or you can go all out at a fitness center. But the most important thing is that these changes are not temporary. You are going to stick with them for the rest of your life.
At GFM Weight Management, we understand that weight management isn’t about how much you eat. It’s about WHAT you eat and WHEN you eat it, and we are dedicated to teaching you this. Our program is eight months long and consists of 16 physician-led counseling sessions, with access to a health coach in between sessions. In addition, you have the option of attending group sessions in the evenings. GFM Weight Management was started to give back to patients: you WILL get the time that other physicians have not given.
Keep following this website. There will be a new blog post each week. Call (816) 427-5320 to make your first appointment. We are dedicated to helping you change your lifestyle.