Stop Scolding, Start Encouraging

by Dr Naras Lapsys

It looks like healthcare providers around the world are catching on to something we’ve known all along through our experience in successful weight loss with Sydney area residents:

It’s a far better strategy to encourage people as they work to control their weight, rather than scold them.

You probably know the old adage that says, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” This turns out to be quite true, even in the field of weight loss and control.

Success through motivation

This may not come as a surprise, but if you ask any youngster, he’ll be quick to tell you that scolding usually doesn’t work and in fact it often backfires. Unfortunately, many healthcare providers, including physicians, have tried bullying their patients into weight loss regimens over the years and their success rates, as you can imagine, have been less than stellar.

However, the world of substance-abuse and addiction counselling often employs a technique called “motivational interviewing.” It’s been used effectively in those areas since the 1980s and recently has been proven useful in the management of chronic diseases, weight control and other areas. In our years of experience, we’ve found that when working with a professional dietician, Sydney residents always appreciate a more proactive and encouraging relationship rather than one built on guilt, scolding and nagging.

One specific lesson learned from this approach that is helpful when promoting sustainable weight loss with Sydney area adults and children, is to avoid harsh terms like “must” and “have to” and work to get those seeking weight loss into cooperative relationships. When the right relationships are formed, a nutritionist working in Sydney and the surrounding areas can produce much better results.

Don’t push too hard

At The Body Doctor, we understand the importance of achieving sustainable weight control. While pushing clients too hard too quickly can result in a sudden slimming, this kind of weight loss is typically not sustainable.

Over the years, the field of motivational interviewing has come to the same conclusion. “Pushing people further than what they think they can do can have negative results. It’s better to set more reasonable goals and if they exceed those goals, it serves as extra motivation. At that point, clients can set higher goals for themselves”, explains Chet Fox, a family medicine professor who develops motivational interviewing courses for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Take the lesson home

Everyone can pick up some good tips from the principles upon which motivational interviewing is founded. It’s better to set achievable goals, maintain a positive attitude and instead of scolding one another—and ourselves—try cooperation and encouragement.

We know these kinds of strategies work for weight loss in Sydney and beyond!






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