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What Are Common Weight Loss Mistakes?

By Dr. Peter Vash Expert
 
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More Videos from Dr. Peter Vash 9 videos in this series

Dr. Vash shares the most common mistakes and myths women make when trying to lose weight.

Dr. Vash:
As a obesity specialist, one who has been working in weight loss for 25 years, there are three basic misconceptions or myths or erroneous thinking that patients have expressed to me and I’ve tried to correct. One is the fact that you can’t do it. Yes, you can do it. You put weight on; you can take weight off under your control. You have put food into your mouth; you can not put food in your mouth. You can do it.

Most important medicine a physician can give to their patient is a gift of hope. Sensing that you can do this, sensing that there’s hope that you can correct a disease or a disease process sets the mind in a different fashion. That element of hope is incredibly important. Most physicians, take these pills, do this, what not, come back in a week’s time doesn’t give the patient any sense of hope that they can control it.

So knowing that you can do it and having the belief that you can do it is a very important misconception, and then once they have lost weight the next conception is, “I have done it. I am a good patient. Thank you doctor, so long, good bye. It’s not going to come back,” and they go back to their old eating habits and the weight comes back. Every diet works, most diets fail, not because of the diet but because people go back to their old prior eating habits.

And the first thing is that “Well I have lost my weight, I have kept it off, now I can kind of eat what I want and do what I want because my body has adapted that.” It’s not the case. You must maintain an eating habit with matches calories in and calories out with activity.

The example I give patients is, “I got a speeding ticket on Monday. Well on Tuesday I bought myself a brand new Porsche and I went through the same red light and the officer came and gave me a ticket and I said, ‘I got one on Monday. I got new Porsche.’ ‘Here is your ticket doctor.’ Well then on Wednesday I had my top down in my new car and I went through the same light and he gave me another ticket, until finally by Friday I realized, ‘If I stop at the light I don’t get any more tickets.’

When I realized that I have to manage my calories coming in, my eating behavior coming in with what I am doing, whatever that ratio is, once I understand that and I have control over that I am free, I am liberated, and I am empowered.”

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.

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My experience with the "I can't do it" feeling is, unfortunately, due to countless diets (some quiet extreme) that may have worked for awhile, but I then swung into binge eating to make up for the restriction I'd been engaging in. Logically, I knew I could lose weight but a history of bad diets and swings in weight made it hard to believe.

October 13, 2010 - 7:05am
Alison Beaver (reply to Anonymous)

I think that is exactly what the doctor was talking about, that diets DO work, and people do lose weight...but that diets also fail because they are not maintainable...just like the "swings" in weight that you mentioned. We've all heard about women (and men) who have lots hundreds of pounds of weight over time...but for every 1 pound they lost, they gained a few back. Losing weight can be easy...just skip a meal, don't drink water, or other unhealthy behaviors, but then maintaining a healthy weight while you are also active and eating is difficult.

You sound like you've been down a tough rode with weight loss... how are you doing now? Are you finding success, or would you like to talk about it more?

October 19, 2010 - 2:02pm
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