Dr. Andrew Krause ND here: The majority of my patients come to the office with weight loss as part of their goal. Whether it’s losing the final few pounds, or starting towards a larger weight loss goal, it’s an extremely common health goal at the office. As information about “best” ways to lose weight becomes more and more prominent online, it’s harder than ever to actually try to figure out what might actually be best.
Here are my first three questions to think about if you’re trying to lose weight:
What’s your goal?
Let’s get as crystal clear as possible about what you’re trying to achieve. Some patients want to lose weight because their doctor has told them to, others want to feel better, others want to look better, others want to lose weight for a particular occasion, and others want to reduce their risk for other health conditions. It’s an important part of my process to understand why a patient wants to lose body weight. If someone has a long term goal then it’s important to build a weight loss strategy that is going to be able to be maintain for a long time as well.
For how long do you want to keep your weight loss?
This might seem like a silly question (and it kind of is), but I find it’s jarring enough that it gets patients to think more about how their weight loss process is a LONG HAUL. Losing weight quickly is certainly possible, but has its drawbacks. The quicker the weight loss, the stronger the body is going to try to re-gain the weight. This happens because when the body is in a situation that feels uncomfortable (reduced calories/energy availability) it’s going to try to bring the body back to normal in whichever way it can (increasing hunger and drive for calories). If a patient wants to keep their weight loss for a long time, then we need to build a nutrition strategy that lasts a long time as well.
My favourite quote about weight loss comes from Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, author of “The Diet Fix“. He says: “If you’re not loving your life while you’re losing your weight, you’ll go back to the life you love and your weight will come back too”. I don’t know of another statement that sums up the long-term goal of weight loss so well, and how the sustainability of the plan needs to be one of the more important factors for patients looking for lifelong changes.
How do you track your food?
I don’t make tracking mandatory for patients for the rest of their life. Lots of people find it difficult to measure their food, even with an app as easy to use as My Fitness Pal (my preferred tracking app). Tracking doesn’t need to be on an app, pen and paper can be just fine too.
I do make tracking mandatory for 2 weeks though. If I’m to help a patient lose weight, then I need to make sure that I have accurate information about what the patient is eating. From there, we can build strategies together that will be easy to maintain, long lasting, and enjoyable. I want to stress the “WE” in the previous sentence. It’s critical that patients be part of the process of planning their nutrition so they remember the “WHY” behind the reason some foods are encouraged and some foods are discouraged at different times during the nutrition plan.
Want to start working towards your weight loss? Book an appointment with Dr. Andrew Krause ND today.