Healing from the Inside out – The Riddles of Hope, Wellness & Sexy Numbers
Most of the emphasis on weight loss is focused on outward appearance. Look at any wellness marketing and you see happy (istock) people sporting some measure of success. These images sell products, procedures, and billions more in pharmaceuticals. People align with what they want and media sells the image (or illusion) of hope. Buy this…you’ll be fine! That said, after cycles of dieting, emotional eating, and other impulsive behaviors, patients lose hope. Instead of buying that idealized size 8, they’re shopping for size 18.
There are no quick fixes and unfortunately as providers we’re often the first face of truth. We’re tasked with talking about the insides and explaining terms like LDL, AIC, BUN and others. We’re the bearer of bad news while at the same time we must hold and extend hope for their recovery. We’re challenged to teach and sustain hope until our patient has hope. It’s a daunting process but critical to aligning with patients and enrolling them in a lifestyle of change.
The short message that works is: “if we focus on the inside; the outside will change.” This is true for arteries, organs and waistline, but for the brain as well. At the heart of obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cognitive decline, is inflammation of the HPA axis. Reduce the inflammation caused by excess glucose and lipids, this area recovers important brain – body regulation. The point here is not to get into a deep clinical dive but to share the message If we heal all the insides; the outsides will heal as well.
We know that sex sells products. Our approach to numbers then needs to be appealing, interesting, and …achievable. We may need to inspire people and it happens with understanding, and at times, humor. For a man I might suggest that an LDL of 192 is the equivalent of driving a rusted out Pinto when he’d rather drive a Ferrari. I rely on the seduction of the Ferrari to help that person say: “damn – I don’t want to be a Pinto. I want my Ferrari.” As a clinician…I’m here to hand you the keys.
At BreakThrough! we focus on treating the mental health disorders that lead to emotional eating and the development of metabolic disorders. We work exclusively from the inside out to promote sustainable behavioral change. Our simple message is WE BELIEVE IN YOU. Too often a focus of weight management is behavioral change but for at least 50% of clients, mental health intervention and cognitive restructuring is key to sustainable behavioral change. If we can help you patients address their mental health please contact us!
About the Author & Founder of BreakThrough!
Heather Hamilton PhD, LMHC, NCC, DCC
Dr. Hamilton is a women’s health psychologist who created BreakThrough! as a dedication to the memory of loved ones who left us too soon. This program draws its inspiration and hope from clinical research and program participants. It represents the gift of heartfelt stories, insights, humor, hope and encouragement!