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Doctor's Orders

Dr. Ramani explains that the real challenge is to break bad habits.

By Dr. Ramani

Please let Dr. Ramani issue a 4 word prescription for how to lose weight:

Eat less, exercise more.

So simple. But in fact it may be the most challenging, painful and complicated thing most of us will ever take on.  Welcome to Jackie Warner’s THINtervention. You have met 8 people who are publicly willing to take on what millions are doing in private.  In the next few months, as you accompany all of us on this journey –  their struggles will mirror those of every frustrated fat burner out there.    

Not only did we meet them but we learned how they gained the weight.

Habit and emotion.

Habits are automatic.  When was the last time you really THOUGHT about brushing your teeth or fastening a seat belt? You just do it.  For our 8 clients, eating the wrong foods or too many of them is a habit.  Cheeseburgers – habit.  Cookies – habit.  Cocktails – habit.  Breaking a habit is damn near impossible, and losing a habit means creating a hole that needs to be filled.  Hopefully with a healthy habit. 

Emotion is tougher.  Listen to how they talked about food:  "I LOVE food, it' culture."  "I feel naked without a cocktail."  "Ice cream is kryptonite."  Giving cookies a "last kiss goodnight."  In their worlds food is love, food is erotic, food is power, food is family.   When you take away their pie – you don’t just take away sugar and flour – you take away grandma.

When Jackie did the great sugar massacre she was in essence asking them to kick a lover and friend out of the house. It was actually the removal of an undermining partner – one who would be a familiar quick fix, but harmful in the long run. Regulation of sugar intake is a challenge for this group, and when you remove the quick fix, you give the person pause to really think about whether they really need it. 

Translating calories into activity is a powerful metaphor – and Bryan's cookie stairway to heaven was a prime example of that.  An INTENSE hour on a treadmill can burn between 600-800 calories.  That’s equal to a medium bowl of pasta or a hamburger. Three minutes in, an hour out. Joe and others commented on how what they were doing with Jackie and Craig was nothing they had ever done before in a gym.  Exercise is not just about showing up – but about pushing hard.  

So we have two struggles ahead of us in the next several weeks with our group of clients – (a) changing habits, and (b) getting to the core of the emotions around eating. A burger is not a parent, ice cream is not a lover, we are not Hobbits thus, 3 breakfasts is two too many. Changing eating habits is just as much about addressing thoughts and feelings as about behavior.

Learn from our weight loss warriors. Step away from the cookie. This week – throw out one sugary food per day, add one healthy habit per day, take the stairs, and stop whining – it's your health, mind and body. Own it.

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