Treatment Hurdles: Time

Today’s post is another excerpt from “Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Weight Management“, recently published by the Canadian Obesity Network.

This guide is meant for health professionals dealing with obese clients and is NOT a self-management tool or weight-loss program. However, I assume that even general readers may find some of this material of interest.


Lack of time is one of the most common barriers to persisting with a weight management strategy. Planning a healthy diet, preparing home-cooked meals and exercising all require a significant investment of time. It bears repeating: patients need to recognize that obesity is a chronic disease that has no “cure,” that long-term treatment is necessary, and that this treatment involves permanent changes to their daily routines.

The weight management strategy you design with a patient must therefore be simple, enjoyable and adapted to their particular schedule so they can follow it over the long-term.

The time required will vary from one patient to the next, but it is safe to assume that a patient who is unable to commit to 30 minutes per day of combined dietary and fitness effort will be unlikely to succeed with weight management using a purely behavioural strategy. Asking patients whether they feel they can find 30 minutes a day for their weight management effort will help to assess their readiness and willingness to change.

Patients looking for quick fixes from pharmacological or surgical assistance must be reminded that dietary changes and physical activity are just as essential with pharmacological and surgical treatment as they are without them. Pharmacological treatment without lifestyle changes produces only very modest weight loss: 1.8 to 2.7 kgs (4 to 6 lbs) on average. Patients who undergo surgery have to be able to devote a significant amount of their time to shopping for, preparing and eating appropriate meals. If they cannot find the time to do this, they will be unable to achieve and maintain good results with either medication or surgery.

© Copyright 2010 by Dr. Arya M. Sharma and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. All rights reserved.

The opinions in this book are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Members of the Canadian Obesity Network can download Best Weight for free.

Best Weight is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles (part of the proceeds from all sales go to support the Canadian Obesity Network)

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