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WhyWeight Loss Programs Fail TH E VA LU E OF A P ROB L EM WE L L - STAT E D
“Well-stated problems empower us to identify the obstacles we face and create a plan to overcome these obstacles, so we can achieve the results we dream up.”
Every year, more people use their New Year’s resolutions to take steps to improve their health. People want to lose the weight they’ve gained over the holidays, lead a healthier lifestyle, or feel more comfortable in their body. The health and weight loss industries are eager to take advantage of this fact, and companies like Jenny Craig and Gold’s Gym spend tons of money on advertisements every year. They swear that if you just change one thing, like eating their food or use their exercise equipment, that you’ll lose weight. But if these plans worked like they claimed, more than 9.2 percent of people, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, would feel like they successfully achieved their goals. When most people start a new weight loss plan advertised on TV, they only look at the external problem, their weight, without taking into account any of the internal obstacles which contribute to that problem. If you don’t really assess your health and determine what things in your life influence your decisions around eating and exercise, you’ll never get to a point where you can achieve sustainable weight loss. When patients sign up for our nutrition program, I encourage them to assess their situation by following these three steps:
A better question would be, “How do I lose weight and eat healthy when I have to wake up at 6, get the kids ready and out the door by 7, work all day, pick the kids up at 3, and spend the rest of the day driving to extracurriculars all over town?” This is a problem well- stated. Now, you know the problem isn’t that you’re overweight — the problem is that you’re so busy that when you need to eat, all you have time to do is swing by the McDonald’s drive-thru. You can’t do much to change your hectic schedule, but by clearly identifying the problem, you can create a solution. In this case, if you want to lose weight, you start by cutting fast food out of your diet. Give yourself ten minutes each night to prepare a healthy lunch for the next day. When you get hungry, you will already have a better option than a greasy burger and sugary soda. Well-stated problems empower us to identify the obstacles we face and create a plan to overcome these obstacles, so we can achieve the results we dream of. This approach to weight loss has enabled us to help 70-year-old patients successfully lose 50, 60, and even 70 pounds! Despite what health ads suggest, it’s not an easy process. One thing isn’t enough to change your health path. However, if you identify the right things you need to change, you can ensure your New Year’s resolution succeeds when everyone else’s fails.
1. Identity the problem.
2. Look at the things inside and outside of your control that make the problem worse.
3. Do you understand what the problem really is?
Famed inventor and GM’s former head of research, Charles Kettering, once stated, “A problem well-stated is half-solved.” I firmly believe he is correct. When we state a problem well, we simultaneously identify the steps we need to take to solve the problem. For example, most people will ask something like, “How do I lose weight and eat healthy?” But this is too broad. In order to state the problem well, you need to identity the reasons why you are not losing weight and eating healthy already.
–Dr. Bao Tha i
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