"Help me ... help you. Help me, help you."
That famous line from the film Jerry Maguire may be the best advice a
doctor could give his or her patient.
"Some patients have the attitude, 'I'm putting myself in the hands of a
professional,'" says Stephen Permut, MD, chairman of family and community
medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "They want
you to make all their decisions for them."
Permut prefers to have patients get involved in their own care and engage
Before you lose the belt, remember that there's more at stake than looking buff. Excess belly fat can tag along with a laundry list of chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
There are plenty of reasons why your efforts to flatten your stomach may be falling flat -- including these mistakes about what, how, or when you eat.
Thinking You'll Work It Off
If you're eating and drinking more calories than you're burning, you're heading in the wrong direction. And though you may be confident that you can make up for it in the gym, think twice.
Exercise is not enough. This is something that Brett White, MD, a family medicine physician at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, often tells his patients who need to reduce the size of their midsection.
“There’s a mythology about the role of exercise in weight loss,” White says. “Even if they get a bike or a treadmill, they still have to change their diet. Exercise is critical for cardiovascular health. But realistically, losing weight starts with what we put in our mouths.”
San Francisco-based dietician Manuel Villacorta, RD, founder of the weight management web site eatingfree.com, sees many men in their 40s and older who have discovered the shortcomings of exercise in their weight loss efforts.
“It’s what worked before,” Villacorta says, “but now they are finding that it doesn’t have the same effect.”
Of course, you need to be active to lose weight and keep it off. Just don't count on exercise alone to cover your calories -- especially when you're packing away too much too often.