I’ve just got to share the sheer joy and reward I’ve recently experienced facilitating yet another chat-based online weight loss group for the program called vtrimonline.com.
Picture this: It’s Tuesday evening at 7pm ET. Somewhere between 10 to 20 people who range in age, health concerns and pounds to shed; log on to the vtrimonline website for one of our 12 weekly chats. No phones, no cauliflower ears or hoarse voices. Just our fingers!
During the hour I, as the registered dietitian facilitator, get group members to share their weeks’ weight loss wows and woes (with no mention of pounds lost). I deliver key content to help arm people with nutrition, fitness and psychological expertise to lose weight and (hopefully) keep it off. Topics range from how to get moving more each day, to tactics to deal with emotional eating, to healthy choices when eating out, and much more.
A few facts are crystal clear:
- Myriad adults would improve their health status and potential longevity by losing a few pounds. Five percent seems to be the magic number to reap health benfits.
- Two thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese, including many Medicare beneficiaries.
- Losing weight, even a few pounds, and keeping those pounds off is tough work which requires tenacity.
- Primary care providers (PCPs), including general and family practice physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants and others; aren’t known for addressing or spending the time it takes with clients to counsel them on weight control. (In all fairness, they haven’t been allotted the time until now.)
- Susan Yanovski, MD, in her 11/24/11 New England Journal of Medicine editorial Obesity Treatment in Primary Care – Are We There Yet? (abstract), stated: “less than 50% of PCPs report consistently providing weight-control advice to adults and less than 25% report regularly referring people to other providers who may help them with weight control.”
- It’s well known that PCPs receive a minimumof nutritional science in training and it’s highly unlikely that many have obtained the skills known to be effective in weight management counseling from studies on long term weight management.
Yet despite these facts, on November 29th, Medicare (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) announced in their Decision on Intensive Behavioral Counseling for Obesity that it will start to cover obesity counseling services when provided by PCPs (as defined by CMS).
At 4’10” (and hitting that age when I’m more likely to spread and shrink), I work hard each and (nearly) every day to keep the needle on the scale pointed at just below 100 pounds. To mark the launch of the next iteration of hopewarshaw.com, I thought I'd reveal my trade secrets to staying fit and trim for a few decades.
OK, I'll admit it, I'm a bit addicted to Biggest Loser and I found myself getting dragged into another season last night.
Why do I like it? I enjoy watching the transformations people accomplish. These are particularly enjoyable towards the end of each season as people are approaching their goal weights. I also enjoy the transformations shown at the end of each show of the contestant who was voted off. They're impressive! I also like that the show portrays losing weight and keeping it off as very difficult...an effort that takes a constant and continual commitment.
What’s vtrim and what have I experienced first-hand?
In the era of the Biggest Loser, the ante for pounds to expect to loose per week has gone up, not that the number ever approached realistic, even before Biggest Loser. People have long had unrealistic expectations for weekly loss - 3, 5, 10 pounds - feed by overpromising diets. Simply AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN if you’re following a sane and sensible weight loss plan!
Yes, we’re once again in depths of the post holiday New Year's resolution ritural. And yes, the most common resolution is: lose those unwanted pounds – again or still. But, think - are you really ready to lose weight and do the daily work to keep off those unwanted pounds?
The first report of the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcome Study (DPPOS) came out October 29th, 2009 online in The Lancet, a well known medical journal. DPPOS is part two of the ongoing Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) conducted in the U.S. as a National Institutes of Health multi-site study. The DPP and DPPOS results are similar to findings from trials conducted internationally over the past two decades in Finland, China and elsewhere.
I’m just back from the American Diabetes Association 2009 Scientific Sessions and feel compelled to shout out to all who will listen, especially parents of younger and older children and people on their way up the scale, that more and more research points to the many damaging impacts of excess pounds on long term health. Fat is not simply excess pounds of inactive tissue.