The Mystery of Weight Loss

Diets Work, People Don't - Clarence Thomson

We eat and drink to survive. We don't easily let go of habits that have kept us alive all our life. These habits are not just daily routines, they are biological systems, neurological responses and unconscious drives that serve us now and served our ancestors well enough for us to get here. Mess with these at your peril.

Our body has a variety of complex systems to insure that we consume food and water. One system is fat -our energy storage system for when times get lean. Fat is nature's savings plan. We have a portion of our brain called the hypothalamus dedicated to control acquisition and storage of energy. It is part of the autonomic nervous system and controls temperature, growth rate, water consumption, fertility and sexual drives. So it is key to our personal survival and the creation of our descendants.

The Carrot or the Chip

Our decision to choose the carrot or chip is rooted in Stone Age adaptive habits and will, ever so slightly, influence the health of future generations. But even the present decision is complex, even if it seems casual and inconsequential.

Most people understand that food and water are nutrition and fuel. But when we decide how much of what kind of food to eat, many factors come into play. Nutritionists generally divide these factors into three major areas: metabolic, environmental and emotional.

  • An example of metabolic motivation would be you when you skip breakfast, work hard all day and come home at night "starved." Diabetics experience ravenous hunger if their blood sugar gets too low. Your body urgently insists, "Eat!"
  • An emotional factor would be something like getting angry at your spouse, saying nothing, but gobbling down a whole pint of ice cream before bed. Sometimes what you eat is related to what's eating you!
  • Plate size would be an environmental factor. Research shows that people eat more off large plates than they do small ones, regardless of hunger or mood. Do you think the colors in a fast food restaurant are just someone's arbitrary taste? Or do you think that a red environment makes you eat faster so they can get more people through in less time?

All three of these crucial factors combine to encourage us to eat without thinking -just to respond to stimuli from within or from without. Staying on a diet is extraordinarily difficult because we have to resist our natural, life-sustaining impulses from within and without. And we have to do it for a long time, maybe forever. We have to change survival behavior that we have practiced all our lives. It's just not "natural."

The Team

Dr. Shadrach Smith has 20 years practicing and teaching medicine. Clarence Thomson has 15 years of experience teaching the Enneagram and using it in counseling and coaching. We have worked with thousands of patients. Most of them improve their physical weight, but more importantly, they live happier, more energetic and productive lives.

We don't promise everyone can have an ideal body. If you are forced by circumstance to sit 12 hours a day in a high stress cubicle and then drive an hour to get home to fix supper, knowing your metabolism or Enneagram style is not going to be enough.

However, we are expert in what makes people tick - and eat. Our shared understanding of biology, psychology and spirituality has allowed us to develop a deep appreciation of why one 300 pound person can lose 150 pounds in a year while another with the same problem labors to shed 25 or 30 pounds. We are eager to share what we've learned, through clinical research and counseling, about the psychological, emotional and metabolic factors that create success or failure at permanent weight control.

Shadrach Smith, MD is the director of Truman Medical Center here in Kansas City. He's been specializing in weight control for 20 years. For the last few years he and I have worked together helping people change their lifestyles so they can lose weight. For the lifestyle changes, we use Enneagram coaching.

We use the Enneagram to determine and work with patient's deepest motivations. We assume people want to lose weight for deeper reasons than vanity and reasons a bit more complicated than health.

Access to Motivations

So if you know your Enneagram style, I will coach you how to access your real (and often at least partially unconscious) motive to lose weight. It should only take a few sessions to clarify how best to handle your weight problem. If you have some metabolic disorder, I'll get Dr. Smith's help, but if your problem is not sticking to what you know you should do - that's my specialty.

My fee for weight loss coaching is $250 prepaid for 3 sessions (usually lasting about an hour). Call me at 913.376.3337 9am to 9pm C T.