I haven’t written anything in quite awhile with regards to weight loss or emotional eating but I had to write a blog about an article I read in the NY Times: A Weight-Loss Strategy From an Unlikely Pair.
My thoughts about the article
The article is about Steven Kates, a personal trainer, and Myles Berkowitz, an indie filmmaker, who have teamed up to develop Lifesize, a weight-loss company that advocates a portion-control diet system. Although I find it somewhat interesting that these two very different individuals have teamed up, what I don’t understand is how they think their portion control system is going to make a huge impact on the community of people who are trying to lose weight. They have developed an odd looking portion control system for each food group. Some that looks similar to the measuring cups I have in my cupboard. Myles used the portion control system and lost 46 pounds but beyond his experience there was no research done on how the measuring cups were going to be successful. It may be that they feel they’ve come up with something just different enough to be the next fad. Many of the people trying to lose weight are interested in a quick fix and while their measuring cups do look similar to my everyday measuring cups they are a bit more cute and odd looking. Attractive to some I suppose. It may work?!
Here’s the bottom line for me, rarely is there radical, complete, sustainable change with weight loss or emotional eating clients until they’ve worked on the emotions that are and have held them back 5, 10, 20 times from losing weight. For most, the patterns and behaviors around food & exercise stem from childhood. People who have dieted 5, 10, 20 times never get to radical, complete, sustainable change because they haven’t dealt with what’s underneath (emotions) the surface (food & exercise) to adhere to a healthy lifestyle. How do I know? I work with those that have come to the realization that it’s not the exercise and it’s not the food but that it’s the emotional patterns around those things that is stopping them from the ability to lose weight. Imagine if these people would have started their health endeavors by dealing with their emotional patterns. I believe this is the hardest but most important place to start and many of my clients feel the same.
How does change happen
Alongside dealing with emotional patterns people who want to lose weight need a lot of information and support. I teach exercise psychology at JFKU and part of what I teach is that people who are making change (weight loss, food habits, smoking, etc.) go through a process called the stages of change.People do not go from precontemplation to action with regards to weight loss or exercise. This is important information for people who are trying to lose weight and people who work with people who are trying to lose weight.
|Stage of change||Level of Physical Activity|
|Precontemplation||Your client is not currently active, with no intention of becoming active|
|Contemplation||Your client is not currently active, but is thinking about being more active some day|
|Preparation||Your client is planning to be active on a *regular basis and is taking steps to be more consistent|
|Action||Performing *regular physical activity for less than six months|
|Maintenance||Performing *regular physical activity for more than six months|
*Regular exercise means three or more times a week for 20 minutes or more.
Money better spent
Am I mocking Kates and Berkowitz? I am a little bit! I think it’s great that they want to help but in my opinion one more ‘diet scheme’ is not the answer. I have spent a lot of time working with NASM and Sharecare to help them better educate personal trainers about how to deal with new exercisers and weight loss clients. If people want to spend their money on something to help people who are trying to lose weight, open a facility to provide the right kind of exercise environment for new exercisers and weight loss clients: better communication, more support, outside the box thinking, skills for dealing with negativity, self-doubt, non-traditional exercise for individual’s, pairs and groups, include a nutritionist that can help people with specific weight loss issues and an exercise psychologist who can help clients deal with old emotional patterns that are getting in the way them having a healthy lifestyle.
Photo credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times