This is an excerpt from a interview conducted between Dr. Daemon Jones and a sophomore from the Marietta College's McDonough Leadership program. She was asked to give her perspective on the following questions for an educational video focused on childhood obesity with an emphasis on how to use personal lifestyle change to effectively address this problem. Questions:
In your own practice, have you ever directly dealt with patients coming to you seeking to lose weight? If so, what successes/failures did you experience when trying to help them live healthier lifestyle?
Answer from Dr. Daemon Jones:
In 10 years of practice I can say that almost every patient that came into my practice, both men and women, have wanted to lose weight. Some patients only wanted to lose 10 pounds while others have wanted to lose over 60 pounds. Weight was usually one of the health goals they request when they come in to see me. The most successful experiences for my patients always come when they have an emotional motivation for their goal. For example, a mother came into my office to lose weight. She was doing well with her goal because she wanted to fit into her clothes; however, after 15 pounds her daughter was finally able to hug her and have her hands touch around her back. The mom was so excited that she became more motivated to lose another 15 pounds. She was emotionally attached losing weight.
I find most patients are successful when they break down their health goals into small bite-sized pieces. For example, if someone is only drinking 8 ounces of water every day, I want to get them up to 60 ounces. I usually recommend that they start drinking 16 oz every day for 2 weeks to get people into the routine of drinking more water. Two weeks later they add another glass of water. In four months they will be up to over 60 ounces. The same can be done with increasing exercise, decreasing serving sizes of food, etc. Sustainable health happens when you can create sustainable behaviors that become part of healthy lifestyles.
The combination of setting achievable, desirable goals and a step-by-step plan on how to get healthy over time has created the success for my patients in the practice.
Some of the failures come in when people come into the office to get a family member off their back. For example, if a husband comes in because the wife wanted him to instead of because he was motivated to change. People have to be ready to make lifestyle changes or naturopathic medicine will not work.