I saw a patient earlier this week that has lost over 40 pounds in the SP Program and when I looked back on her weekly visit stats, basically she lost weight every week, even on her vacation weeks. Her weight loss was more aggressive than we usually see AND it is unusual for us to see a patient that does not have at least several weeks of weight gain, either due to business/vacation travel or due to a particularly stressful week(s). I asked the patient her “keys to success” and she reported the following:
- Journaling her food intake: The patient stated that she records every meal/snack in a journal and by doing so, she is completely aware of how many exchanges she is eating of the specific food groups AND this allows her to think more of exactly what she is eating.
- Asking herself the question: “Am I still hungry?” before completing her various meals. She finds herself bringing more food home from restaurant meals because she is more cognizant of responding to her hunger as opposed to “finishing everything on my plate”.
- Training her mind to focus on the “reasons why I want/need to lose weight”: The patient stated that her desire to be healthy and spend more quality time with her children and grandchildren is very strong and when compared with the immediate gratification that derailing food sources provides, the “choice” of behavior patterns became much easier.
- Planning her meals and snacks the day before: Prior to starting the program, many meals and snacks were occurring more spontaneously as opposed to being planned in advance. The patient would take 15 minutes the day before to strategize the following day’s meals/snacks.
Successful weight control requires lots of “work” whereas weight gain requires no thought and no effort. People are different and the keys to success may vary from person to person. However, there are a few basic principles that will tend to work for everyone and I believe the points outlined above will enhance the chances of a successful journey to better health and happiness. Take some time to write out your “keys to success” and follow this yellow brick road!