Conversation with Dr. Kushner about Six Factors to Fit

Why did you write this book?

As a young doctor interested in diet, nutrition, and weight control, I learned that if I wanted to help my patients lose weight and keep it off, merely helping them adjust their carbohydrates, fats, or calories wasn’t enough.

I also needed to become an expert in helping them take control of other lifestyle factors that affected their weight, including physical activity, behav­ior change, stress management, and even sleep.

While diet books promising one-size-fits-all solutions to losing weight were cropping up, I took an opposite approach. I was paying attention to the dif­ferent habits causing weight gain that were emerging in my patients and began to create tailored treatment plans to meet the individual needs of each patient.

Although I am an active clinician and see thousands of patients through the Northwestern Medicine Center for Lifestyle Medicine in Chicago, I wanted to share my expertise and experience with those who would not be able to see me in the center.

The book allows me to ‘come to the individual’ to change more people’s lives and give new answers to those who struggle with weight and want to get healthier.

How is this book significantly different from the other weight loss books out there?

Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You! is not a diet book that you go on and then off of. Instead, it’s a lifelong weight management and healthy lifestyle program all in one, personalized just for you.

Most diet books are one-size-fits-all and focus mainly on your food intake. However, from my almost 40 years of practice, I learned that this kind of generic weight loss advice doesn’t work well for most people. I also learned that losing weight and keeping it off are not just about the carbs and protein in the foods on your plate.

That’s where the factors come in. Through my published research, I identified the 6 factors that are major barriers to successful weight management.

These factors have to do with your daily behaviors and thinking patterns that include not just what you eat but why you eat, how you may eat on the go and handle eating temptations, the emotional connection to food that many of us feel, how you handle stress and make time for self-care, how active you are, how you treat yourself and how flexible you are in your goal setting.

Once you know your factors, I can personalize a plan to help you lose weight, eat better, be more active, gain energy, improve your mood and feel better.

What is the reason so many people aren’t successful with weight loss programs or can’t keep the weight off?

Most food-focused diet plans can help people lose weight but because they’re so restrictive and often don’t address other issues like stress, activity, sleep, behavior change or mindset, people are not equipped with what to do when life gets in the way.

So they fall back into their old habits and patterns of behavior and thoughts that led them to gain weight in the first place. The 6 factors in the book are the top default habit and mindset patterns people fall back into.

With your book, how do people get a personalized program?

The program starts by having readers take a short, 5-10 minute scientifically-validated Six Factor Quiz that reveals their scores for each of the 6 factors.

Based on these scores, readers are then given a personalized roadmap to the program. They are empowered to prioritize which factor(s) they want to address and the time frame that feels most comfortable for them.

Using this approach, readers tackle the issues and challenges that are unique to them by employing evidence-based strategies and skills.

You can take my Six Factor Quiz at https://drrobertkushner.com/quiz/ and get your personalized results.

Do you think people can really do it on their own with advice from a book vs. a coach or group?  

Yes! Self-help books can be a powerful resource for those who are looking for a practical and meaningful approach to weight management.

We empower readers to take control of their life and focus on their unique challenges that make weight management difficult.

Whether it’s personal habits, a self-defeating mindset, or unhealthy environment, we take readers ‘by the hand’ and guide them using step by step evidence-based strategies and skills to overcome these challenges.

And we guide readers to know if and when they may need more help, the type of help available and how to get it.

Losing weight is really a team sport. Lifestyle modification is often the first step.

“This is not a diet book,” said book contributor Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, who was instrumental in developing the book’s meal and snack ideas to fit readers’ busy lives. “This book helps people get to know themselves, ex­plore new ways of thinking, and use personalized strategies to lose weight, instead of generic advice. Perhaps most important, it helps you feel better and live smarter.”

Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is available on Amazon.

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