Monday, October 10, 2011

Weight Loss Strategies

This is taken from my Unit 7 Seminar Post from NS220 Nutrition Planning and Management class at Kaplan University.  The question posed was "If you were educating an overweight client, what types of strategies would you provide for weight loss?"  Here is my reply: 



When it comes to educating a client on weight loss, I would have to say that I would start with a lot of what the Mayo Clinic has to say regarding the six main strategies of weight loss:

1.  Get them to make a commitment to their weight loss.  Some are not aware of the mental and physical aspects of losing weight, so I would want to make them fully aware that this is not an easy road ahead, but by committing themselves to the process, they can and will achieve success.

2.  Help them find their inner motivation.  What is motivating them to achieve this weight loss?  Better health?  Do they want to be around longer for their kids and family?  Maybe an event like a wedding, reunion or vacation is coming up and they want to look and feel their best.  Finding their inner motivation will not only help them focus to their commitment to weight loss, it will also help them weed out the negativity in their life.  It will surprise a lot how unsupportive some friends and family members will be.   With their inner motivation they will be able to shrug off those people and comments, and know that that's their own insecurities and to not let them affect their own goals.  Which brings me to #3.

3.  Help them make S.M.A.R.T. goals with their weight loss.  They will be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time oriented.  How much weight are they looking to lose?  How long will it take?  What changes will they be able to allow in their lives to make it possible?  Having long and short term goals, and even writing them down, will help them on their weight loss journey, and will help them change their lifestyle and not just "diet".

4.  Have them start eating and enjoying more healthier foods.  Honestly, a lot of times, there are foods that are healthy for them they've never even tried!  Healthy doesn't mean bland, boring food!  There is a wide varieties of things that can be prepared and enjoyed that I truly feel they would be surprised with.  I would add one more specific thing to this strategy - meal planning.  When you take a little bit of time just once a week to sit down and figure out what you will eat for your meals in the upcoming week, not only will it save on calories and get your eating the right foods, it can also be a money saver, and an extra bonus in changing your lifestyle.

5. Get moving, and stay moving!  When I personally hear the excuses of "no time" for exercise, I have to ask that person, what is so important in your life that you've put your own health at risk for it?  If you are not healthy and active, you won't be around for those things that you made more of priority than your own health and well-being.  Whether work, kids, functions, events, if you don't take time for yourself to improve on your health, you won't have the ability to keep up with it all, and your health, mental state and physical abilities to do all that you do will become less and less, and your quality of life will be poor.  There are a number of ways to keep active that don't involve going to the gym and working out for X-amount of time a day.  I would show my clients the possibilities that fit into their current lifestyle and responsibilities.

6.  Help them change their perspective on losing weight and getting healthy.  So many times people give up because they want to see instant results on the scale.  A lot of times they are gaining muscle mass, or maybe that week they are retaining water more than normal, and sometimes they just aren't being truthful with themselves about what they are doing.  Many of the changes can be seen in their bloodwork and lab results.  They have to remember that is something that is changing almost every aspect of their lives, so it's not easy, and it's not an instant change.  Celebrating your successes is KEY!  Maybe the stuck with their exercise plan that week, or maybe they planned their dinners and kept to it.  These are great successes in the long term goal of not only losing weight, but having the tools in place to keep it off.

When it comes to my client, I would try to stay actively involved with their weight loss as well.  Maybe suggest a website such as www.FitDay.com to help them keep track of their calories, exercise, moods and be able to keep a journal for themselves to vent or praise themselves, or have them email me and touch base with them directly.  I honestly feel that people can achieve great success in weight loss and maintenance when they have a great support system in place.


References;

Mayo Clinic Staff (December 18, 2010) Weight loss: 6 strategies for success.  Retrieved 10/10/2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/HQ01625

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