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  • ​My Patients Seldom Gain Weight Back


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Monday, July 30, 2012 2:50 pm Email this article

    ​My patients seldom gain weight back. I know, because every July I get my secretaries to randomly pull 100 charts of patients who were in my office for at least three visits and had not returned in over a year. We call the patients and have long conversations with them. We find that with few exceptions the patients kept the weight off or continued losing. When we do see an exception, it is almost always because of (1) a new major life-stress or (2) the patients never learned or forgot the Six Lessons. [As readers of this blog know, there are now Eight Lessons.]

    I am aware that telephone follow-ups, in studies, are notoriously unreliable because (1) patients are less than truthful over the phone, (2) may not know their weight, and (3) may be annoyed at being bothered. Our patients, however, are seldom annoyed, because over many long visits in my office, my secretary/sister and I develop such a close relationship with them.

    Besides, having treated over 12,000 people over 17 years in my community, I encounter my patients often in local restaurants and shopping malls, and I see how seldom they gained weight back. The trouble is that there are so many charlatans and quacks in my business, so much exaggeration, it is hard to convince anyone of my real results.

    A physician-colleague of mine, met by chance, mentioned he assumed all my patients gained weight back. But why assume, why not ask? Wouldn’t that have been polite? Wouldn’t it have been useful to know, to help patients?

    I encourage you to read Dan Ariely’s new book The Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone–Especially Ourselves. We expect other people, especially politicians and our own colleagues, to be dishonest, and we don’t care. Dan, an experimenter, is often on NPR radio. His previous book Predictably Irrational was famous.

    Articles on the same subject can be found here:


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