I recently attended the Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC) Your Weight Matters 2023- Engage conference in Orlando.
No matter how long I’ve been practicing, I continue to be inspired by those who share personal weight journey stories that include both their struggles and successes.
Throughout the weekend, we heard inspiring stories from former professional football players, Chairwoman Kristal Hartman, OAC members, as well as children and their families.
We also connected with one another in small groups, large groups, at social events and even on the dance floor.
As program committee co-chair, I was also pleased with this year’s expert speakers.
If you’re someone who struggles with weight, here are key take aways you may find helpful:
1-Joy is a Nutrient
Registered dietitian nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner discussed how it’s time to make changes if you have signs of “joy deficiency”, such as being bored, unmotivated and overwhelmed by the unhealthful habits creeping back into your life.
Dawn recommends improving your health behaviors by practicing her “EFG” Joy Formula skills:
- E is for Ease, where you choose the behaviors that are easier to follow.
- F is for Fun, where you add some playfulness to your healthy lifestyle program.
- G is for Gratitude where you focus on what you’re grateful for instead of only what your life is missing.
How to implement this into your lifestyle?
Try keeping a joy journal, says Dawn. Tracking joy can help you to change it.
2-Self Compassion Beats Self-Criticism every Single Time
Psychologist, obesity investigator and behavior change expert Dr. Gary Foster discussed the power of mindset in weight management.
While nutrition and physical activity are key parts of behavior change and your weight journey, your thoughts and attitudes are equally important.
If you’re struggling with weight, Dr. Foster recommends these 3 mindset shifts:
- Embrace self-compassion
- Value your body now
- Build a helpful thinking style
If these are issues you struggle with, you may want to check out Dr. Foster’s latest book, The Shift: 7 Powerful Changes for Lasting Weight Loss.
3-The More Touch Points You Have, the better You Do Managing Weight
Obesity medicine expert, Dr. Holly Lofton, discussed the chronic, relapsing disease of obesity and why it’s so hard to lose weight and keep it off.
Her recommendation is that the more touch points you have with health care providers, the better you will do.
Now that there are multiple modalities to improve weight management outcomes, this is not a time to go it alone.
Consider each visit with your primary care professional, registered dietitian nutritionist, exercise trainer, health psychologist or obesity medicine specialist to be one of your touch points.
Be sure that the recommendations from your entire health care team are consistent with your own health goals.
Getting the right message and kind of support is critical to your long-term success.
Robert Kushner, MD