NICE and thin...
May 30, 2014
It was interesting to learn this week that NICE (the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) here in the UK have spoken out about the possible benefits of joining weight loss organisations and suggested that perhaps such facilities could be available to those who are obese via a GP referral and funded by local authorities.
Needless to say it’s been picked up by all the national media and sparked some very interesting discussions.
I can understand both sides of the debate… there are those who believe that a short twelve-week course isn’t long enough to encourage people to change their habits and stick to them for the long term; whilst others believe that a 12 week “kick start” could be exactly what people need to empower them to believe that they can lose weight and set them on course for a successful weight loss journey and long term maintenance.
However, I do wonder if there is a problem with laying down a timescale of 12 weeks. It is a very short space of time and, yes, it is possible to lose a significant amount of weight in that time, but I worry that people will think that 12 weeks is “all it takes”…
The reality is that is a far quicker process to put weight on than it is to lose it.
I am a little under two stones away from my absolute ideal goal weight. I know that it will take me time to get there (and it has taken me quite some time already). I also know that I have had to make a really conscious effort to lose the weight and change my habits. If only losing weight were as “unconsciously effortless” as gaining it was. The gain took very little effort at all… I just sat and ate comfort food; filled up on fizzy drinks and pretty much anything wrapped in pastry (if it contained cheese then so much the better) and before I was even aware of it my midriff had expanded and I had become a shape and size that I hated.
I also knew that I had to do something about it… and that’s where another question about the NICE recommendations occurs to me.
Who decides which weight loss programme to sign patients up for? There are so many different organisations, plans and strategies for weight loss – how do you choose which is the “best” for a given individual.
I know that in the past I have tried various methods and joined several clubs. My twin sister was amazingly successful when she signed up for weekly classes with an international weight loss organisation; I signed up and it just didn’t work for me. Another friend then recommended that I come along with her as she was a member of a different organisation. Again, I gave it a go but it just didn’t feel right for me. I did find one weekly class-based group that I was successful with, but didn’t stick around for maintenance and when I revisited it the strategy and ethos of it had changed and I really didn’t like it.
I know that WLR is the “best fit” for me. I’ve tried other routes, but this is the one that is best suited to my personality and my physical and mental approach to weight loss. It seems to suit a lot of people, if the positive comments and shared results and stories are any measure of success. I also know that some members use WLR “in tandem” with other organisations or strategies or eating/exercise plans. And that’s what causes me to question just how “the experts” would determine which option would best suit potential “patients”?
When it comes to weight loss the reason that there are so many possibilities and programmes to explore is because when it comes to shedding pounds, changing shape and maintaining… one size does not fit all.
What works for one person may not necessarily work for the next. The weight loss journey is unique and personal to each one of us. I am sure I there are many of us who have tried and tested a good many of the options available – with varying degrees of success – before finding “the right one”.
I also worry that if people are “signed up” for a 12 week course which really doesn’t “suit them” or which doesn’t provide impressive weight loss in a relatively short space of time, there is a strong possibility that they will become disheartened or demoralised or just decide that they “can’t” lose weight. And what about the people who feel they are “forced” into weight loss?
When it came to tackling my increased “heft”, the important factor, for me at least, was that I had to be the one who made the decision that enough was enough and that I was going to take action against my wider-than-I-want waistline.
It is all well and good people being told they need to lose weight (whether that is by family, loved ones and friends or medical professionals) but I know from my own experience that until I was ready to commit wholeheartedly to “Project Hudson” then I could have attended classes every day and read every piece of literature and not lost a pound.
(I even used to joke than instead of “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink”… my version used to be “You can lead a girl to salad but you cannot make her eat”…).
And I do feel that, sometimes, there is a underlying current of “how hard can it be?” when it comes to experts making judgements about the weight loss journey.
How hard can it be?
Sometimes it isn’t hard at all – it is a joy and breeze; my head is in the right space and I feel unstoppable in my quest for a slender weight; other times it feels damn near impossible (and without the expertise, advice and support that I find here on WLR I’m pretty sure I would have thrown the towel in several times…).
What I would really like to find out is how many of the “experts” who have come up with the proposition have actually “walked the walk”? I would be eager to learn how many of the people on the NICE panel that came up with the recommendation have actually embarked on a weight loss journey which has seem them not only lose weight but maintain it for the longer term?
I have a feeling that there are far more “experts” here amongst the amazing WLR members who could offer tangible advice and really strong strategies and solutions… Perhaps I should drop NICE a line with a link to the website, eh?
Before I head off for today – I don’t think I’ve said “thank you” for a while now – which is very remiss of me. Thank you to all of you who share your stories, your secrets, your strategies; to those of you who have made me feel better when I’m having a bad day; and to those you who have inspired me to keep going after you’ve shared your own successes here on the website.
Here’s to a great WLR day for all of us.
With a (less-hefty-than-it-used-to-be) hug.
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