Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson spoke at the Dillon Lecture Series recently and he had some interesting things to say. He is associated with Medifast products, otherwise known as “Take Shape for Life.” There are a number of people in Hutchinson who have done this diet, and some of those people are very evangelistic, which I find to be a big turnoff. My observation is that any diet involving meal replacements tends to work in the short term, and when people stop using the meal replacements they gain that weight back – plus some. It’s the “plus some” that is the big problem in dieting.
Regardless, I went into the lecture with some “attitude” about the whole thing because people can be so pushy about it. And, it should be noted, that many of them are making money off convincing you about how wonderful it is, so I am suspicious of this.
But, I have to say, I was very impressed with Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson. He was not at all pushy about the product and just talked in general terms about health and weight loss. Frankly, I was surprised. I half-expected the lecture to be a “rah-rah” about this program, but it wasn’t. He had some things to say that I thought were excellent points.
The main one that resonated with me is that he said for people to lose weight you have to help them overcome the psychological and logistical barriers of losing weight. He said one of the things about the meal replacements is that they remove the logistical barrier because people don’t have to become nutritionists overnight. Frankly, he’s the first doctor I’ve ever heard mention there’s a psychological barrier to losing weight. I don’t know that these things are the answer, but it was interesting to hear someone actually say that. And I can see that point about meal replacements. I just don’t see how that works when you’re not using them anymore.
I’m not on the bandwagon, but I had had some of the food from a friend who has used the diet, and it’s not bad. I even ordered some to have for travel food. I have to say it’s really great for when you’re hungry and need a little something and don’t have time to make something or find something. The first time I had it was before a concert with this friend and we didn’t have time to eat. He produced some of the pretzels and although we were very hungry they held us for 2-3 hours. I was impressed with that.
I think Dr. Anderson may have also offered the secret in passing when he was speaking at the luncheon. He still uses the meal replacements – not that he needs to lose weight – but he uses them for convenience. Maybe that’s key and people can keep using them indefinitely to keep the weight off. In the arena of making money off people, that’s pretty darned convenient, too. But, of course, you have to eat anyway.
It was very impressive that he said during the luncheon that it didn’t even have to be those meal replacements – that any would do that were nutritionally sounds. That is certainly not the attitude I hear from people who are pushing the diet locally. Of course, that wouldn’t make them any money.
I’ve been paying careful attention to those in town who have done this diet and how their weight maintains over time. In general I’m seeing the same process as with any other diet – it comes back – perhaps more slowly than with other diets, but it seems to keep coming back.
Although I have no medical training, as a life-long fat person I could teach medicine a couple of things about weight loss, but no one wants to listen to the people living it. I’ve tried – with MDs and psychologists since I was in my early 20s – to explain it’s not physical but mental. Every fat person you know can tell you the calorie count of any food off the top of their heads. It’s not a lack of knowledge. It’s not a lack of willpower. We understand the equations involved of calories in and calories out – fat does not make us stupid.
What we can’t get you to understand is that all the solutions you’re offering are not addressing the real issue, which is beyond “life style change” and “diet” and such. But, either you won’t listen to us or – what I’ve come to believe is more likely – you don’t care. No other medical advice is offered that has the tremendous fail rate of dieting. If 90% of the time when you set a bone the bone was still broken when the cast came off, we’d stop doing that.
It seems there would be a tremendous financial advantage in figuring out a real solution – and Medifast, Jenny Craig and the others – are taking their piece of that pie. But, unfortunately, real pie will most likely beckon people back to their old ways and weight. Until someone creates a real solution, the cycle is set. But we need someone with some medical training who actually cares about doing that, to find a real answer. So far that person hasn’t been born, it seems.