Weight Loss Advice Worth Sharing

August 21, 2013

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:



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!!!!!!!


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,

End Post

Mitchell R. Weisberg, MD, MP


Internist-Psychopharmacologist-Personal Physician and,

Corporate Wellness Consultant at:

Optimal Performance MD


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