THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 523.5 Guest: Anne Fletcher, Reg. Dietitian Topic: Thin- Fit for Life - One Part Host: Steve Girard Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: If you're tired of turning to the shopping channels for new gadgets that promise to get you and keep you slim....perhaps some success stories will help you get motivated to be, "Thin for Life"....that's the name of a best selling book by Registered Dietitian Anne Fletcher....

FLETCHER: "I became intrigued with what I call the failure figure' we keep hearing over and over again. And that is that 95% of all dieters gain their weight back. I just didn't buy it. I knew a lot of people in my own life, and I had done enough reading and writing about weight loss success stories, that I believe there are far more people out there who have been successful losing weight and keeping it off than we've been led to believe. So, I set out, oh, about three or four years ago, looking for people who've lost weight and kept it off. And, within a short period of time, I had recruited a hundred and sixty people whom I call masters at weight control. These people have lost at least 20 pounds and have kept it off for at least three years. Now, they really floored me, because their average weight loss was far more than 20 pounds....this group of 160 people, their average weight loss was 63 pounds.

NEMA: Your book looks into ten keys to success for losing weight and keeping it off...but you became interested in the psychology of change in these people....

FLETCHER: "How do you grab hold of a life-long problem and do something about it? Y'know, most of these people had been on five or more diets before they were finally successful, so they were so called, yo-yo dieters"...and you often hear that there's no hope for these people. But these people finally got it right. But what was it that they did, what's unique to these people? Well, one of the common things that I found was that they accept responsibility for their weight problem...so one of the early keys for success was, take the reins! What I heard was stuff like this, "I wasn't ready to lose the weight, until I was ready to lose it for me.

NEMA: What else did you find was a common thread among these successful dieters?

FLETCHER: "You have to do it your way, you have to find what's right for you when you're actually losing the weight. Even when people lost weight with help, from somebody else, they found some way to tailor that plan and make it their own. For example, one woman who lost weight on a popular weight loss program back in the days when their diet was quite strict , and you weren't allowed to eat sweets on the program, what this woman did was she realized she really loved chocolate, and she didn't want to give it up.....and she said to me, I'm a chocoholic, so even though I wasn't supposed to, I added several chocolate chips every day to my diet. What that person was doing was, from the start, she was starting, part of it was take responsibility, and part of it was she was starting to carve out a way of eating that she could live with for a lifetime.

NEMA: Did these people have a ripple effect emanating from their decision to and success in losing weight and keeping it off?

FLETCHER: "One of the important keys to success is that I found that these masters of weight control had learned to get more out of life. What I always say to people who want to lose weight, is, if you just lose weight and don't change anything else in your life, then you're bound to gain the weight back. These people didn't just change their eating habits, or their exercise habits...many of them developed new hobbies, new friendships, some of them changed careers, lots of people stopped waiting for the day when they would be thin and decided to start doing some things now that would make them happy.

NEMA: Look toward those who have been successful for motivation in keeping an ideal weight for you...that's the message of our guest, Anne Fletcher, and her book "Thin for Life", available in bookstores and through Chapters Publishing, 1800-892-0220. I'm Steve Girard.