Little things, big results

The little things we do in life can often lead to big and dramatic results. That’s why it always bothers me when a patient comes to my office and thinks they haven’t lost enough weight that month, week, day–whatever.

Let me give you an example–a long-time patient of mine whom I’d been treating for pre-diabetes (let’s call her Brenda). For a decade, Brenda’s weight just kept going up and down. But, to her credit, she kept coming to the office and trying (which is often half the battle).

She made regular visits to my office but since she lived quite a distance from midtown Manhattan, she also used to attend a weekly meeting for people who were trying to lose weight.

Anyway, she would go to the meetings and listen as the other people in the room would regale the other with tales of their 5…8…sometimes 15 pound weight loss. And even though my patient would consistently drop 1/2 a pound per week, hearing those stories made her feel bad because she wasn’t having similar, dramatic results. I of course told her not to worry about those people and to keep on doing the best she could. After all, even 1/2 pound per week adds up to 25 pounds in a year.

Then she stopped coming in for office visits, and I was beginning to think she had given up the battle. When she showed up about nine months later, she was down 20 pounds. I was thrilled to see her progress and asked her what had changed. She told me that she was still going to the meetings but she’d stopped listening to the others and decided that whatever little progress she was making each week would be good enough for her.

She’s now down 65 pounds, her blood sugar is amazingly even, she feels great, and has more energy than she has ever had.

And just yesterday I had another patient come in with a similar story.

She’s lost 22 pounds in the past six weeks following my advice. But she was so upset when she found out her HgbA1c had “only” dropped to 7.8 from 8.4. But I reminded her that fixing a metabolic disorder like diabetes or pre-diabetes takes time. And she’d already made terrific progress in just six weeks.

The point of both these stories is that little things really do make a big difference–over time.

Don’t get discouraged if your own progress is slow to start. Don’t get upset if your HbA1C hasn’t plummeted to under 7 after six weeks of following my program. Yes, by all means we want that number below 7, but when you’re going about it the right way–with healthy eating habits and exercise–it may take a little longer than it does with enormous amounts of medications. But that’s perfectly OK. (In fact, some studies are even suggesting that using medications to get that number below 7 may actually do more harm than good.)

And I always caution my patients against setting any specific expectations when it comes to weight loss. Because the fact is, even the smallest loss means you haven’t gained anything. And every pound helps in controlling weight and blood sugar issues.

Be patient and stick with the program and you WILL get the results you’re aiming for.

And in the next RHC, I’ll tell you about some simple things you start doing NOW (yes, even this week–the kickoff of what I call “Eating Season”) to ensure long term weight loss results.