October until the New Year is a tough season for dieters. Every month, there is a holiday that can present numerous challenges to remaining compliant to a diet, with temptation lurking around every corner in the form of candy corn, warm apple pies, buffets, and dining room tables full of fattening, delicious food. By the time New Year’s rolls around — if they are not careful — dieters can find that in three months they put on more weight than they lost in the previous six months. It can be even more difficult to come back from such a setback.
The key is prevention. Set your patients up for success this holiday season by making plans now to deal with holiday temptation. To get the conversation started, click here to download Robard’s helpful Holiday Goal Setter worksheet. Then, use the tips below to have some proactive discussion with your patients to help them stay compliant between now and the New Year:
1. Stock up on Tricks, not Treats
When trick or treating time rolls around, that bowl of candy can look mighty appetizing. Your patients might be eating one piece of candy for every five they give out. Suggest that if they choose to be festive on this holiday, instead of handing out candy, provide fun non-candy dollar store items that the kids will still love, like glow sticks, whoopee cushions, crayons, bubbles, stickers, and temporary tattoos. In addition to avoiding candy cravings, they’ll also be accommodating children who may have food sensitivities/ allergies.
2. Eat healthy first.
If your patients have company or family holiday parties to attend, suggest that they be proactive and control hunger by eating a healthy meal or snack before they arrive to the party. They can even bring along a yummy weight loss shake packet or protein bar that complies with their diet to enjoy just before or during the party to ensure that they are satiated enough to avoid giving in to hunger and overeating. Robard’s meal replacement shakes and bars are delicious and scientifically designed for the highest level of satiety to curb hunger and cravings.
3. Bring your own portion-controlled plate and cup
Those large dinner plates can cause people to pile on far more than a single portion of food, and people are inclined to try and finish all the food on their plate. To help with this, suggest that patients bring their own smaller plate, maybe even find one with sectioned out portions, so that they are aware of how much they are consuming. Bring a five ounce cup and limit oneself to one high calorie beverage a night, and stick to water for the rest of the night.
4. Eat mindfully.
People often overeat because they revert to unconscious eating, leading them to not recognize when they are full. Eating mindfully helps dieters to slow down and focus on what they are eating and how much to create a better connection between their physiological need and their mental state. This can also help them make healthier choices about food selection in addition to eating less. Click here for 9 easy tips on how to eat mindfully during the holidays.
5. Buddy up.
When possible, patients can identify a friend, family member, coworker, or significant other who can be their support system through the holidays. This person may also be on a diet, have similar weight loss goals, or may be someone who can just be there to eat healthier with them, cheer them on, and remind them of their goals (without shaming). It is important that this buddy be positive and uplifting, and can help bring a sense of joy and camaraderie to the pursuit of eating healthy during the holidays. Ask your patients if they have someone in their lives that can support them in this way, and coach them on how to approach such people and make the request for support.
Want more tips on how to keep your patients on track through the holiday season? For Robard customers, there is a wealth of complimentary resources and information available to you in the Holiday section of Robard.com. Simply click the link, log in, and start browsing. For non-Robard customers, contact us today to learn more about our services and resources!
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
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
For dieters who need to lose 40 pounds or more, traditional methods of diet and exercise are oftentimes not enough. A Low Calorie Diet (LCD) has been shown to be extremely effective in jump-starting the weight loss process. Often LCDs utilize various meal replacement products, primarily shakes. And anyone who’s been on a diet before knows that the same shakes can get monotonous after the first couple of months.
Fortunately, there is a multitude of ways that you can spruce up a shake and look forward to your next meal replacement — and you can do a lot with items you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. Take a look at our slideshow (below) that gives you five ways to shake up your shakes! Mixing it up can definitely help give you the encouragement to stick with your diet.
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
Obesity statistics in the United States are staggering. When you see that more than 35 percent of men and women are obese, you have to ask yourself what can be done about it. As a healthcare provider, you want to make sure your patients lead a long, healthy life — and obesity may be prohibiting them from doing that.
If you’re a healthcare provider or professional that’s ever considered offering obesity treatment as a fee-for-service addition to your practice, now is the time. Not only is obesity the country’s biggest health issue, it’s also one of the more lucrative businesses to undertake. When it comes to considering treating obesity, keep this in mind: Lack of experience, cost and other trepidations can be lessened or eliminated by practical hands-on training and resources to support a new program, your staff and your business. That’s what we do, and we can help.
It is imperative to recognize that as the obesity epidemic grows, so will its related comorbidities. Eighty percent of people with diabetes are overweight. That’s more than a mere coincidence. Robard providers can attest that when their patients go on one of our weight loss programs, comorbidities such as diabetes subside and even dissipate. Our obesity treatment models were created specifically for busy medical and healthcare professionals so a new obesity treatment program can be implemented — utilizing your existing staff — while you maintain focus on your expertise. Resolution or reduction of chronic medical conditions can be achieved by treating the common root source: Obesity. It starts with you. Click here to learn more.
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
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