Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Self Motivation and Weight Loss

The CDC's Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) has become the gold standard for weight loss programs. The program was put in place by the CDC to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. It has been shown that weight loss can lead to improvements in prediabetes. And helping the program participants become self-motivated to lose weight is an important element of the program.

The program is a one year program, in which the first six months are the core sessions, where participants learn the basics of healthy eating, physical activity, and lifestyle modification. And the last six months are the core maintenance sessions, where what was learned in the first six months is reinforced. The DPP program sessions are facilitated by coaches who work with program participants to help them learn how to motivate themselves to set goals, eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight.

It appears that many of the people who succeed at weight loss are self-motivated. These individuals can  lose at least 5% of their weight without guidance from weight loss professionals or weight loss programs. And one study has pinpointed characteristics of those individuals who are able to motivate themselves to lose weight.

These individuals are able to add lifestyle change to their daily routine, they are able to learn from past experiences with weight loss attempts, and these individuals don’t need a lot of support from others to achieve their goals.

Specifically, the investigators concluded that “Overweight or obese individuals with strong internal motivation, problem‐solving skills and self‐reliance are more likely to be successful at achieving self‐directed weight loss. The patients identified with these characteristics could be encouraged to self‐manage their weight‐loss process, leaving the places available in more resource‐intensive professional‐led programmes to those individuals unlikely to succeed on their own.”

And one thing is obvious: for patients who are not self-motivated, providers need to learn to collaborate with these patients, and empower these patients to take action. This will enable the patients to learn to hold themselves accountable in their weight loss efforts. So when there ceases to be outside help, the patients will know that they can achieve their weight loss goals. The DPP program can give an individual the skills to do this.


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