The Real You Approach to Weight Loss

The Four – Point Foundation of the BEAM Box

While you may be tempted to jump to a particular category of interest, I hope you ’ ll take a look at the next four chapters before you start to build your BEAM Box. Or, for a quick overview, take a look at the list of tools in appendix C. It ’ s a good way to take an inventory of your needs before beginning the plan.

Behavioral Tools

When I think of behavioral change, I think of the willingness to try new things and about the lifestyle issues of eating, exercising, and stress management in a new way. I also think about individual temperaments. Some people are naturally optimistic and are the “ glass half – full ” thinkers. Some of us are the “ glass half – empty ” thinkers, expecting things to go wrong. Most people are somewhere in – between and can swing between both extremes from time to time, particularly when it comes to weight loss. Think of the beginning of a weight – loss plan. Eternal optimism. A fresh start. You ’ re told precisely what to eat and how to exercise. It must work. Since the typical plan is not personally tailored to you , but to some imaginary perfect – world person, you usually start out strong, complying with what the diet asks. Then real life intervenes, and the novelty wears off. The natural optimism of the new plan falls by the wayside and a sense of impending doom sets in. What started with a bang ends in another diet failure.

Eating Tools

Many of my patients laugh when we fi rst start to talk about what to eat. “ I ’ m a walking encyclopedia of food facts, ” say many. And I believe them. This set of tools is to make food work for you . We must all make friends with food, because unlike smoking or drinking , we have to eat. Nature provides an inborn drive to eat for survival, and nothing can take that survival signal away. We must learn to manage that biological signal and separate it from all other reasons for eating. Here is where I ask you to take an honest look at your food likes and dislikes. We are often confused by what foods are considered “ healthy ” or pressured to consume the “ right ” foods for weight loss, without ever taking into account food composition, taste, texture, and enjoyment. Enjoyment and eating? Do those two actually go together? Of course! Food choice, not just nutrient and calorie choice, is what we ’ re looking at here. We all have food preferences and aversions, and you ’ ll learn to personalize your eating plan to match your eating style. My favorite motto is: “ There are no bad foods, just bad portions. ”

Activity Tools

Move more . Sounds easy, so why is it so hard for most of us? Those two words are a huge barrier for many reasons. How and when you do it are negotiable. What does “ moving more ” actually mean to most of us? Of the whole toolbox, this is often the area where there ’ s the most confusion about what to do. It all seems too time – consuming and a chore. What is the most frequent reason I hear from patients about their inactivity? “ Lack of time. ” The next most common reason is the lack of confi dence that activity can make a difference in a weight – loss plan, unless it ’ s a punicing routine. Confusion abounds about building muscle, developing core strength, and activity’s relation to heart health. This tool group will distinguish the different types of physical activity and show you how you can mix and match them to meet your personal needs. You ’ ll want to evaluate the kinds of activities that you enjoy and are comfortable doing. Plus, you ’ ll learn how to make a change when you become bored — and even how to recognize boredom. (Do you really hate the treadmill, or are you just tired of it?)

Medical/Biological Tools

While most people say, “ I feel good enough, I just have to lose weight, ” many have not seen their doctor for quite a while — even those on prescription medications for illnesses often related to weight! Whether you ’ re too busy to make an appointment, or you dread the embarrassment of a c01.indd 9 10/22/09 10:12:35 AM skimpy examination gown, or even just getting on the scale, a visit to your doctor is a must – do, to identify what I call “ hidden barriers ” to weight loss. (These are described in chapter 2 .) These can only be determined by a blood test and a physical exam. It ’ s important to rule out — or treat — some biological causes, such as hormone imbalances and certain prescription medications, that can interfere with even the best lifestyle efforts.

Power Tools: Supporting a Lifestyle Effort

Adding the power tool of medication or surgery is always a tough decision, and the pros and cons should be discussed to determine your own personal risk – to – benefi t ratio. At one end of the spectrum, you hear it ’ s a “ quick fi x ” or “ the easy way out. ” This is particularly true when it comes to discussions of weight – loss surgery. Your fi rst step in considering these options is to embrace the idea that a power tool can only support, but not replace , your lifestyle effort. This core understanding must be part of any discussion of a power tool. The addition of power tools comes after a thorough evaluation of how the four core sets of tools are working (or not). When it comes to adding power tools successfully, it ’ s all in the right timing.

Last word

A final thought before we move on to the important beginning steps of building your new toolbox. Theif rest step is self – evaluation — how to size yourself up before choosing your tools. As you read the next chapter, think about a journey of self – awareness to develop personal insights that fuel success and help explain past sabotage. No matter what size package you are in right now, you ’ ll be able to pack your BEAM Box with everything you need if you listen to the most important person of all you .

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