Everyone knows that to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more. But have you ever really identified your particular lifestyle habits that sabotage your efforts?
It may be time to look at your lifestyle patterns to find out what may be causing unwanted weight gain. Robert Kushner, MD, medical director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, has identified six cluster behaviors people identify with that influence weight management.
People generally fall into one or more of the categories below:
• Accidental Diner – someone who doesn’t plan their meals and ends up eating whatever is most convenient and readily available
• Fast Pacer – someone who has other priorities and distractions making it difficult to eat healthier or exercise
• Food Lover – someone who eats out of emotion, eats whenever food is around regardless of hunger level or eats large portions of food because they don’t sense a stop signal
• Couch Champion – someone who leads a relatively sedentary lifestyle and may be inactive because they do not like to exercise
• Self Critic – someone who treats self poorly and tends to be shy and unwilling to participate in things because they are so self conscious of their body shape/image
• All-or-Nothing-Dieter – someone who is either on or off when it comes to losing weight and can’t find a happy medium
Dr. Kushner’s research began over 10 years ago after talking to thousands of patients about what’s tripping them up in getting their weight under control. Though 21 distinct lifestyle-related habits or patterns emerged, Dr. Kushner is in the process of studying these traits and condensing them into the six cluster factors listed above.
To continue this research and help people figure out which category they fall into, Dr. Kushner has developed a new Lifestyle Patterns Survey that he hopes will lead to the creation of a streamlined questionnaire that patients can fill out before seeing their physician.
You can contribute to the online research by completing the 10-minute questionnaire https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7LLVJPYLifestylePatterns. This survey is for those just starting out on their weight loss journey. It’s not for those who are actively engaged in a weight loss plan.
“What’s novel about this is how quickly and effectively this quiz can get to the heart of a person’s obstacles to losing weight,” says Dr. Kushner. “Once this has been identified, the actual treatment consists of specific targeted strategies that will resonate with that individual.”
For example, take the accidental diner. Treatment is to offer ideas of what are convenient healthy foods, how to make meals in minutes, how to be savvy so you’re not caught off guard, how to avoid going long periods without eating and how to carry simple foods with you.
If you’re in the couch champion category, you may be counseled to wear a pedometer and build brisk walking activities into your normal day’s routine by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car farther away, taking walking breaks instead of coffee breaks and walking your dog longer before and after work.
“Once someone takes the survey they self identify very quickly,” Dr. Kushner says. “People know themselves. Survey results also allow counselors to target each person’s weight loss struggles head on. Within minutes you’re talking specifics.”
For more information, visit Dr. Kushner’s website at www.counselingoverweightadults.com or www.nmff.org/CLM. To see a provider at the Center for Lifestyle Medicine, call 312-695-2300. You can also check out Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet (iUniverse).
Which category do you fit into?
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