Dr. Vash recalls common characteristics present in women who are going to lose weight.
The characteristics of a woman who is going to lose weight is one, first of all recognizing that she is in control, and then putting that control into action, taking action steps.
One of the best ways to do that is to have like a food journal. Every one resist it, but it’s the most important thing that a person can do – get a notebook. You don’t have to count calories. You don’t have to weigh your food. Write down what you have for breakfast – what and how much? Write down what you’ve had for lunch – what and how much? Half a hamburger, some fries, a salad, three drinks – what did you have? How much of it? Write down if you had a snack. Write down what you had for dinner and after dinner.
By doing that you are going to see the calories coming in and then when you also write down your physical activity, you’ll see what you have done. “That doesn’t work very good doc.” they say and I’ll say, “Well let’s do this – when you get your VISA bill at the end of the month and it’s $410.00 you say, ‘Oh, they must have made a mistake. I did not spend $410.00. It’s impossible. They made an error.’
Let me just go through this – okay, Starbucks and there’s Macy’s and there’s the movies and there’s dinner – you add it up - $410.00 to the penny, because if you match what’s coming in and what’s going out and you write it down, there’s no way of escaping the hard facts that what’s coming in and you are not using is being stored as fat.
Many people will say, “I have followed it to the T and I am eating this and doing that,” and they have taken a number of people in a clinical study and they have taken women who were unable to lose weight, honest women, not hiding anything, they put them into a metabolic chamber and they have given them a diary to record and they setup a camera to watch the activity, and then they monitor all the food, from a dietician’s point of view, that went in and what they ate, a very carefully controlled study.
At the end women did not lose as much weight as they had hoped to and they said, “Look, here is the calories that I am taking in and here is what I am doing.” Then when they looked at the tapes and dieticians they found that the women were indeed eating this amount of calories and doing this, and what occurred, that was well known by clinicians and most people kind of understand it in the heart, but deeper was the fact that these people were not lying to the doctors. They weren’t trying to concoct a story. They wanted to please their physicians. They wanted to be a good patient. They wanted desperately to be able to do this.
But what had prevented them from doing that was being realistic and looking at the diary, being honest and being really critically on what they are taking in and what they are doing. Once a person does that, like their bill from the VISA card and they are looking at every day they are not going to overspend. They will control their bill. They will watch their calories and they will find that their weight everyday is becoming less and less and less.
About Dr. Peter Vash, M.D., M.P.H.:
Dr. Vash is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Center for Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a Board Certified Internist specializing in Endocrinology and Metabolism, with an emphasis in obesity and eating disorders.