Evaluating Your Weight-Loss Program - Part 2
Jun 30, 2014 10:20AM
By David Rendelstein, D.C.
Figuring out how to lose weight these days is a lot like being Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee interrogating Colonel Jessep in the movie A Few Good Men. Reacting to Kaffee’s questions on the witness stand, Jessep angrily replies, “You want answers?You want the truth?You can’t handle the truth!” The evidence suggests that this inability to grasp the truth exists for many of us trying to shed pounds. In 1990, the obesity rate among Americans was 14 percent.Today, that number is a whopping 35 percent, even with more weight-loss plans and programs than ever before.
Could it be that some weight-loss programs are actually contributing to this epidemic? And how do we know if a weight-loss program is any good in the first place? The answers to these questions can empower you with the knowledge to choose the best plan for you.
If we accept the premise that weight loss (and we should be talking about fat loss, shouldn't we?) is entirely a matter of caloric restriction, then our weight-loss industry is doing a fabulous job and should be praised. However, if we take the view that weight loss is more complex than “calories in, calories out” and it involves correcting imbalances in our hormonal system, cleansing organs and cells of dangerous chemical toxins, and restoring the body's ability to properly use and store energy, then we must conclude that the weight-loss industry is not only failing us but also contributing to the obesity epidemic.
How do you know if your weight-loss regimen is working? Here are some important questions to ask yourself in evaluating your program.
1. Does your program address the reason(s) why you are overweight?
Have you ever met anyone who eats everything in sight and refuses to exercise, yet never gains a pound? How about someone who counts every calorie and works out constantly, yet is fat? Weight is not always all about food! The gasoline is only as good as the engine it's going into, and no two “engines” are exactly alike. Your program should be customized for you. Perhaps your metabolism is slow or your digestive system will not allow you to absorb important nutrients. Maybe your hormonal system keeps insisting you store fat when what you want to do is burn it off. A one-size-fits-all approach will never address all of your individual needs, which is why it’s important to know exactly what your individual needs are.
2. Does your program use some kind of objective testing?
There is no reason to guess or assume when it comes to weight loss. Think about it. Every other field of endeavor in this information age is driven by data. Your doctor performs extensive tests before arriving at a diagnosis and treatment plan. So does your lawn guy. Information is the key to understanding, and the more accurate and complete it is, the better your chance for a successful outcome.
3. Is your weight-loss program fast?
Now I know this consideration flies in the face of everything we've been taught about how one is “supposed” to lose weight, but in recent studies, fast weight loss has been proven to have better long-term outcomes than slow weight loss (New England Journal of Medicine, January 31, 2013). Let's face it: Nothing kills enthusiasm for losing weight like slow, imperceptible results. How many of us have had this conversation with ourselves: "OK self, here we go. It's really going to happen this time. Let's see, if I lose one pound a week, I’ll be at my goal weight in just 67 weeks. I can do that. All I have to do is cut out the ice cream and the soda and go to the gym five times a week and before you know it . . . oh, who am I kidding? Hey, what time is it? If I leave now, I can hit the McDonald's drive-through before it closes.”
Results matter. Momentum matters. And hope, like a prizefighter with poor stamina, can exhaust itself before reaching the late rounds.
4. Is your weight-loss program permanent?
This would seem to be an important and reasonable criterion but, upon further inspection, it is actually quite absurd. Show me someone who is looking for a permanent weight-loss program and I'll show you someone who is either searching for a reason not to begin a program or who refuses to take responsibility for his or her own body. A program is just that—a program. It is the vehicle, not the driver. The better questions to ask are these: 1. Does your program change the factors that predispose you to weight gain (such as hormone balance, metabolism, weight set point, etc. )? and 2. Does your program provide you with sufficient understanding so that you have the tools to make your weight loss permanent?
If the answer to these questions is yes, and you are willing to assume personal responsibility for your health, then you can achieve a lifetime of looking and feeling your best. And that, lieutenant, is the truth you've been seeking.
Dr. David Rendelstein is a licensed chiropractor and the president of Thintech Weight Loss and Nutrition, distributor of the Nutrimost Ultimate Fat Loss System.
Connect at 908-376-6062 or visit NutrimostNJWeightLoss.com.