How not recognizing success leads to failure

This evening, I received an e-mail from a 52-year-old male patient distressed that he has been on the Nutrisytem diet plan for four weeks and has only lost 10 pounds. I thought that the advice I offered him was worth sharing. I have deleted all references to my patient’s identity and pasted the e-mails here:

Distressed:

Doc,

I am just trying to figure out why my metabolism is so slow .
I am on nutri system for 4 wks and I am working out 5 days a week.

I promised myself I would lose 40 pounds by Christmas and I today I weighed 294 pounds.

I do not get it!!!!!!!

Doc:

Dear Distressed:

I looked at my records and before you started Nutrisystem you weighed 304 lb. That means, in your first month on the program you lost 10 lb., or 3.3% of your initial body weight. Listen up because I only want to tell you this one time; and what I am about to tell you is not meant to discourage you. To the contrary, I am giving you rational encouragement (as opposed to irrational optimism).
First, an ancient Yiddish quote, ” Mench Tracht Und Gut Lacht” which means, “Man plans and G-d laughs”. In other words, only Santa Claus can make outrageous promises about what we get on Christmas. So, please drop the 40 lb. weight loss by Christmas goal immediately. Thank you.

Now a quote by a locally famous Yiddish Doctor from the little Village of Skokie;
“The number one cause of failure in weight loss programs is people’s failure to recognize their own success”, which means exactly what I just said, so please read it as many times as you need to to fully comprehend it.

Now for the facts about weight loss:

  • < 40% of people on a diet program will ever lose 10% or more of their initial body weight.
  • < 10% of this group will keep the weight off for more than one year and most will gain back more weight than they lost
  • If we were to consider the entire population of the United States to be just one really obese person, and if this really obese person permanently lost just 5% of his initial body weight, there would be a 58% reduction in Type 2 Diabetes, which is the number one co-morbidity or complication of Obesity!
  • An person who permanently loses 5% of his initial body weight can reasonably expect to see a normalization of his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels and a substantial reduction or even a complete remission of his Obstructive Sleep Apnea; not to mention he will simply feel better.
  • Among people who permanently lose 10% or more of their initial body weight, most of them lost just 3% of their initial body weight in the first three months of starting their diet and/or exercise programs.

In conclusion, my good friend and patient, you are two months ahead of schedule, do something to celebrate; doctor’s orders. Your success at losing weight hinges on your acquiring the right perspective, which I just gave you because after all, I love you man.
I urge you to keep up what you are doing. I promise you that you are on precisely the right path!

Your friend and personal physician,
Doc

End Post

Mitchell R. Weisberg, MD, MP

Founder-CEO

Internist-Psychopharmacologist-Personal Physician and,

Corporate Wellness Consultant at:

Optimal Performance MD

When employers feel the need to play doctor

In response to a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), The Rand Corporation recently completed a comprehensive analysis of all the available evidence from scientific and trade literature about Workplace Wellness Programs. Their findings are certain to surprise as well as disappoint employers. Contrary to the claims of the $2B/yr Corporate Wellness Industry, Rand found these programs to have minimal benefit on employee health and to have failed outright at cutting employers’ healthcare costs. From outside the Wellness Industry the one question that should come to mind is what compelled employers to take on the role of physician for their employees in the first place? The answer to this, as I am about to show you, brings into question the quality and value of our healthcare system’s services as well as the business savvy of our corporate leadership.

In brief, here is the mounting problem employers have grappled with for the past three decades; health care costs in our nation have risen at five times the rate of inflation and employers foot for 1/3 the tab. To combat this formidable threat to their existence, employers selected Workplace Wellness Programs as their weapon of choice for improving their employees’ health and cutting their healthcare costs. To execute their battle plan, employers took a play right out of their healthcare handbook, outsourcing wellness to third-party vendors; and just as Managed Care did before them, wellness vendors commandeered employers’ good intentions for their own profit, for which I do not blame them any more than I would a scorpion for biting me. That’s what they do. In all fairness, they are in business to make a profit and in contrast to their impact on employee health and healthcare costs, at this Wellness Vendors have been quite successful.

Regardless, the failure of workplace wellness programs is not the fault of wellness vendors. Rather, the lion’s share of the blame falls squarely on the American Healthcare System, including me and my 850,000 physician colleagues. Because we failed to keep their employees healthy and well, employers felt compelled to do it themselves. Employers do have a share in this failure. Instead of demanding their money’s worth from a healthcare system that threatens them with bankruptcy, employers chose to throw good money after bad, involving yet another third-party to do the job; and while wellness vendors were able to make employers feel good about their programs, the evidence clearly shows they failed to deliver the goodsTheir ill-conceived attempt at duplicating in the workplace what we collectively failed to do in the healthcare system, should make The Rand Corporation’s findings none too surprising.

While hindsight is 20/20, Rand’s findings should serve as an eye opener for both employers and physicians making them better prepared, moving forward, to fulfill their respective obligations to the American Workforce. Clearly, now is the time for employers and physicians, unaccompanied by a third-party, to return to the wellness drawing board with a unified mission of getting employers the healthy workforce and the healthy returns on investments they have already made. In the process, we will go a long way towards fixing (adding value to) our ailing healthcare system. Successfully fulfilling the wellness mission hinges on employers and physicians capitalizing on the lessons learned from The Rand Corporation; let employers take care of business while physicians take care of employees. 

End Post

Mitchell R. Weisberg, MD, MP

Founder-CEO

Internist-Psychopharmacologist-Personal Physician and,

Corporate Wellness Consultant at:

Optimal Performance MD

 

In addition to my private practice and my corporate wellness consulting, I am the Medical Director at Spero Pain Relief Therapy of Illinois, PC in Riverwoods, Illinois. This past Friday, the brother of one of the patients that I treated there posted the following on Facebook and LinkedIn. I thought it was worth sharing here:

Tom LeClair: My sister, Astrid-Nanci LeClair Nedweski, completed her chemotherapy a few weeks ago – but not before the peripheral neuropathy showed up. Imagine your hands and feet tingling/burning and feeling like they are asleep and restless … all at the same time. Yeah, like that, only WAY worse. But that wasn’t as bad as the deep, mind-bending pain in her long bones and joints caused by the shot given after each chemo treatment to stimulate the production of White Blood Cells needed to help stave off any new infection(s) since her body’s immune system is suppressed due to the chemo. Pain. Lots of Pain! BUT,

Ever since Nanci’s first session at the Riverwoods location of SperoTherapyIllinois.com (Spero Pain Therapy Clinic) a week ago Monday, her pain has lessened after each 45 minute treatment. So much so, she’s been able to return to work for a few hours a day after her treatment. Can you say AWESOME? Imagine not having to take more pills (which may have some negative interaction with existing medications) and your pain becomes a thing of the past. If you have been “living with” chronic pain and your doctor’s have told you there’s nothing else they can do for you – call the Spero Clinic (847) 520-7111 and ask for Norman Black or Renee Hanson. Tell them Tom LeClair sent you. Once you meet Dr. Weisberg, Spero’s Medical Director, your spirit will be renewed and faith in medical possibilities restored ~ and that’s BEFORE you even have a treatment session. I’m Tom LeClair, and I approve this message. BTW, I am not a paid spokesman for Spero – I am a fierce advocate for my sister, Nanci, and anyone else who’s life has been devastated by chronic pain. BELIEVE!

via Facebook.

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