The Mayo Clinic Diet blog

Individualization key in weight loss program

By Donald Hensrud, M.D. September 6, 2013

Unless you're looking for a quick fix (that usually doesn't exist), remember that losing weight and maintaining weight loss requires lifestyle changes in diet, exercise and the behaviors associated with these habits.

While ultimately weight loss is dependent on those main areas, there are many different challenges we all face. For example, some of you may have challenges because you eat out often, you don't know how to cook healthy meals, or you don't like vegetables or fruits very much. Others may have different challenges. And a few don't have any challenges.

Because most of us have different challenges, individualization is extremely important in a weight management program. "One size fits all" doesn't apply. When you're designing your weight management plan, do an inventory of your strengths and challenges. Write down what you do well, such as eat plenty of vegetables. Recognize and rely on your strengths.

This will give you confidence and help you carry out your plan. Also, write down your challenges and obstacles. Then do some problem solving and come up with specific strategies to help deal with these obstacles. The more honest you are with yourself, both in recognizing your obstacles and coming up with realistic strategies, the greater the likelihood you'll succeed.

In "The Mayo Clinic Diet" book there's an Action Guide that lists many different obstacles and strategies on how to address them. This may help you on your weight loss journey. We're designing a new healthy living program at Mayo Clinic that will include a weight management component.

This will be a 2-3 day onsite intensive lifestyle change program, and one of the key features will be individualization. Everyone is unique in their own wonderful ways. And everyone who undertakes weight loss should tailor their plan to their own unique circumstances.

Sept. 06, 2013