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Being Sensitive to Weight Loss Patients’ 'Bad Habits'



How do you get patients to stick with the plan?
Compliance to a medical treatment can be challenging, to say the least. Patients want to be healthier, more active, and more energetic. Yet time and time again, they fall off the wagon and resort to going back into the same old habits that don’t support their progress. Why? (Click here for a flashback on 5 Bad Habits that Lead to Weight Gain)

For health care providers, it can be frustrating to check in with a patient and hear that their diet or exercise plan isn’t going so well. But it can also help to understand how habits form so you can not only help set realistic expectations for your patient, but also for yourself.

Studies on habit formation have shown that habits form as part of a three-step process. First, there’s a cue, or trigger, that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and let a behavior unfold (i.e. hunger). Then, there’s the routine, which is the actual behavior that we associate as being the “bad habit.” The third step is the reward: Something that your brain likes that helps it remember the “habit loop” in the future. In the case of overweight patients, the pleasure of enjoying “off-limits” food can be their reward. (Learn more about this physiological pleasure connection for those suffering from food addiction in our free white paper.)

Neuroscience has shown that habitual behavior and conscious decision-making are handled by two different parts of the brain, and the area of the brain that controls habits can often supersede and shut down the decision-making area. So when patients revert back to old habits, it is not that they are just battling low motivation or self-control. Their brains are hardwired to return to the behavior that it is used to, even when they no longer benefit from it.

So what can health care providers do?
First off, be patient with your patients. It’s not that they are less committed to their goals; for many it can just be that they require a little more time to relearn healthier habits. Studies show that it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. And there will be trips along the way.

Secondly, don’t stress too much about when they mess up. Researchers have found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then. Reassure your patients that an occasional binge is not the end of the world and encourage them to get back on the horse.

Third, understand that old habits are not forgotten, but replaced with new ones. We can’t magically expect patients to stop a damaging behavior without providing an easier alternative. For overweight people who have an unhealthy relationship with food, there can be a benefit to introducing something like meal replacements. Rather than expecting patients to completely change how they relate to food, they can replace their normal food habits with an easy shake or bar and make it part of a new routine that is easier to implement.

Dr. Valerie Sutherland of Rainier Medical Weight Loss and Wellness notes, “[Patients] typically report that taking food away for a period made a huge difference, even if only for a month. Since food can be addictive for some people, taking it away completely can be crucial for long term change, which is the opposite effect that you may be warned about by some critics of a short term rapid weight loss program that is ‘unsustainable.’”

For a more help on helping patients set realistic goals they can stick with, instantly download our free Short Term Goal Helper Worksheet!

Sources: NPR, MIT News, HuffPost


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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Walk the Walk: Robard’s VP of Sales Gets with the Program



If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. And that’s just what Robard Corporation’s Vice President of Sales, Mario Testa, decided to do on Super Bowl Sunday 2016. As the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, Mario was set to launch his own fight. He weighed 217 pounds, felt sluggish, tired and had very little energy. He had never struggled with weight as a youth, but age, lack of exercise, work, travel and, what he calls “perhaps a bit of laziness,” took their toll.

“I didn’t feel I was heavy until I saw a picture that ‘woke me up,’” recalls Testa. “It was a picture of me at my son’s sports banquet. It actually brought tears to my eyes.”

Mario had calculated that he had gained 85 pounds since he graduated high school — nearly three pounds a year. In addition to the weight, he faced a handful of related medical conditions, including high cholesterol and triglycerides and pre-diabetes. However, after just a week of using New Direction System products mixed with an occasional NutriMed shake, he began to notice a difference.

“I could tell it was working — and I was being disciplined to the program — because my pants felt a bit loose,” he says. “It was a huge motivator because I never ‘dieted’ before.”

Within a few weeks, his energy was improving, and he wasn’t getting out of breath as quickly. “I started exercising and being more active with my kids,” he says. “It also increased my confidence because I didn’t feel self-conscious anymore.”

Along with products, Testa began a simple exercise routine. He would walk around his neighborhood three nights a week and run on a treadmill one night a week without setting a distance or time. “I just do it until I work up a good sweat,” says Mario.

The discipline paid off. Now at 162 pounds, Mario’s showing no signs of slowing down. He’s got his eyes set on a strength conditioning program, and says that the current state of his health is excellent.

“My whole outlook on food has improved," he says. “I’m much more disciplined with what I eat, when I eat, how I eat and no longer have the cravings for the foods that fell into my danger zone. I’ve been able to keep all the weight off after nearly a year on the program.”

Mario never thought he would be so passionate about how losing weight and keeping it off could have such a positive impact on the overall quality his life — physically and emotionally. “I’m a true evangelist for healthy lifestyle and a disciple for our products,” he says. “It hasn’t changed my life. It saved my life.”

To find a New Direction System or NutriMed program near you, please visit our Find a Clinic page. If you’re a healthcare provider interested in Robard’s proven weight management programs, nutrition products and business services, you can learn more by visiting us here.


Blog written by Kevin Boyce/Robard Corporation

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Candy, Cake and Tempting Delights. How Can You Compete?



The time between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be the most challenging for your staff and your patients. There’s temptation around every corner — saboteurs are everywhere and, as a result, many patients fall victim to the mentality that “no‐one can maintain a diet during this time of year.”  This mindset causes a chain of negative events that result in lost retention, decreased program effectiveness, lost revenue and momentum within your business.
  
But facts confirm that it’s simply not true. It’s time for you to prepare and educate your staff so your patients can break through the obstacles of tempting delights so they can enjoy a January filled with weight loss achievement.

The belief that patients can’t be successful during the holidays is based on outdated assumptions. Years ago, before we had an obesity crisis — before over 65 percent of Americans were overweight — the diet industry largely catered to cosmetic and seasonal weight loss. From January to May and from September to Thanksgiving, consumers turned to weight loss programs and then dropped their program during the summer and holidays. Today, more people join weight loss programs for health and wellness and to eradicate medical issues. These reasons are impervious to seasons, but patients are still susceptible to sabotage and exposure to diminished expectations. It’s during these times that we need to increase our vigilance against excuses and sabotage.

Educate your staff to counter all of the excuses, uncover sneaky saboteurs and eliminate them.

9 Tried and True Strategies for Retaining Your Patients

1. Create a weekly calendar with each client for each week during the holiday season and include their upcoming social events. Let the patient see how many of the 42 weekly eating occasions don’t involve a social event. (Assuming a patient eats six meals/snacks daily). 
2. Stock up on Robard snacks and protein bars. These are easy to take on-the-go and require no prep. Perfect for shopping!
3. Re‐do goals with every patient and give specifics to focus on. Remind them it’s a series of small daily choices, not all or nothing. Help them counter the, “Well, I had cake at lunch, so I will start again tomorrow” approach. 
4. Help patients visualize January 1.
5. Have patients fill out their food log.
6. Go over socializing basics. For example, if there is a dinner? On that day, eat breakfast, a snack, and lunch (preferably products). Eat just before arriving. Consider trade‐offs. For example: wine vs appetizer/appetizer vs dessert/sharing dessert. At the event, relax and socialize. Keep high‐fat treats out of sight.
7. Eat regularly every 3–4 hours and sleep regularly.
8. Don’t buy or make holiday treats until the last possible moment. Buy or make things that are not your personal favorites.
9. Maintain and increase physical activity. Great walking opportunities can be had with shopping or taking the family for a stroll to view the holiday lights.
While we would all like our patients to be perfect throughout the holiday, many struggle. For the struggling patients, continue to encourage them by letting them know that moving forward, even without perfection, is a goal worth driving towards.

For more tips and information on helping your patients and your business succeed through the holidays, Robard customers can download one of Robard Corporation’s many resources that help patients successfully navigate through the season. We also invite non-customers to download a holiday staff training kit, titled Visualizing January, by clicking here. Good luck and have a wonderful holiday season!


Blog written by Lynda Lewis/Robard Corporation


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