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Diet Talk from the Doc
by Dr.Diet, Diet.com's Medical Director

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It may be more effective for doctors to help their patients change multiple behaviors at once - like stopping smoking, reducing their salt intake, and increasing physical activity, according to one study. This seems to go against the prevailing wisdom that it may be hard to change too many things at once. In contrast, the participants who were helped to change multiple behaviors simultaneously had the best outcomes.

Click here for the full article:
Docs Should Tackle Patients' Problem Behaviors All at Once: Study

Dr. Diet weighs in:

I do agree that some patients who are motivated and not easily overwhelmed could do well to work on 3 different behaviors at one time. But this certainly would not apply to all of my patients.

When it comes to losing weight, the more behaviors you can work on simultaneously, the better weight loss results you will achieve. The key is not to feel overwhelmed. This study does make you think that it may be okay to do 3 new things at once.

If you're serious about losing weight, here are 3 behaviors that you can try:

  • Eat breakfast each and every day

  • Downsize your liquid calories, which means switching from sugary sodas to water or other non-caloric beverages; if you currently drink 4 cans of pop per day, try downsizing to 2 cans to start.

  • Accumulate 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days.

  • If you're hesitant that you may become overwhelmed by doing all 3 things at once, feel free to pick one of these behaviors to change. Which one to choose?

    We talk a lot about picking the "low hanging fruit" first. In other words, I encourage patients to begin to change a behavior that they're pretty confident they can be successful at changing. This way, your confidence builds which keeps you motivated to work on another behavior.

    Choose any one of the 3 behaviors and get started today. No excuses!

    @ 1:13pm ET on June 25, 2007 Well, I did it "all at once." Last May, I quit smoking and completely revamped my diet and exercise as well. I think making a whole new start worked really well for me. It's been 13.5 months since I started this, and I never want to go back! I've always failed before, but making a clean break with my old lifestyle made all the difference for me.
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