The Science of Change

“I want to learn how to eat and make longterm lifestyle change to keep the weight off once I lose it.” This is an important and insightful concern I hear. Even a highly effective weight loss program needs to address the powerful physiologic drive for weight regain in a holistic manner. Let us turn to the science of habits and neurologic pathways to do so. Today’s blog is a few “pearls” I hope you find helpful!

Treatment Adherence

Medication adherence is the extent to which a person takes a medication as prescribed.

Studies show that only 50% of adults follow treatment plans for chronic diseases. So, when a program to treat the condition of overweight/obesity attributes lack of efficacy on “non-adherence,” that is an example of weight bias in a healthcare setting that contributes to adverse health outcomes. Why? Because treatment for overweight/obesity is so much harder than taking a pill! Let’s take a closer look.

Weight Bias

Weight bias is a common phenomenon in which negative attitudes, beliefs, judgments, stereotypes, and discriminatory acts are aimed at individuals simply because of their weight. It can be internalized (by oneself) or externalized (by another person or organization). Ironically, some weight management treatment programs try to explain a lack of efficacy by a lack of adherence to a diet or exercise plan. This is an example of weight bias in healthcare causing adverse outcomes and potential harm. We need to look at change management from studies on the science of habits and change.

Gap Analysis

A gap analysis is an evaluation of the difference between the current state and the desired state. Assuming a person has already received a correct diagnosis and treatment plan for the chronic condition of overweight/obesity, there are two potential types of gap that can interfered with achieving the desired outcome: a knowledge gap and a change gap.

Knowledge Gap

A knowledge gap is a shortage of the knowledge needed to make a change. In this application, it may be the knowledge of a nutrition or exercise plan. I think the knowledge gap of nutrition or exercise is overemphasized and can lead to “diet jumping” to the latest trendy di