The Promise of Hope for a Healthier Lifestyle. July, 2014

I saw a female patient this past week that broke my heart during the interview. She weighed in at 378 pounds. She had been on various diet plans prior to coming to the Weigh Station and finally became so desperate she underwent gastric bypass surgery. She lost 70 pounds with gastric bypass but gradually regained all her weight over the last three years. She shared with me how she had fought her weight all of her life including high school and college. Her weight problem controlled her life. She said she became a recluse for most of her years because of it. She was desperate and out of control completely. Her weight was climbing back up at a terrifying speed so she chose gastric bypass as the answer. Obviously that did not work. The tears began rolling out of her eyes. I asked her the most important question, “Do you believe we can help you?” to which she quietly replied, “Yes, I do." 

I told her that many people come here to start the program but they never quite finish. That’s because they get lost in just doing what they feel is right and they think that that is all it takes. They believe that just by walking through the door every week their weight will magically melt away.  Other patients come to the Weigh Station that have had multiple trips around the circle of the diet industry. They were on every program known. And like you, I told her, have resorted to gastric bypass or gastric banding. It’s not the panacea that everybody thinks it is. However, I told her we can help her. I told her there was hope.  She responded, “I sure hope so."

Hope. Have you ever thought about what it means to hope? ‘I hope I passed the test;’ ‘ I hope I get into school;’ ‘ I hope it’s nothing serious.’  Have you ever looked at the true definitions of hope? The Bible says a lot about hope, but let’s first see what Webster says. “To want or expect something; to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely confident; desire; a feeling that something desirable is likely to happen; likelihood of success; a chance that something desirable will happen or be possible; Synonyms: confidence, expectation, optimism, anticipation,  courage.

People often use the word hope as something that they long for when the odds seem against them as in, “I hope to win the lottery." But Biblical hope spring from the promises of God. Abraham’s faith is not described as a leap into the dark completely baseless, an almost irrational decision, but as a leap from the evidence of his senses into the security of God’s word and promise…

It is tragic that it takes something like standing on a scale and seeing that you regained 70 to 80 pounds to get you to take action.  According to the Center for Disease Control, between 70 million adults or 30% of the US population is now obese. The rates have more than doubled among children and it tripled among adolescents.

Type II diabetes is being diagnosed among young people at a rate of 61% of them being overweight. Five-year-old children already have one risk factor for heart disease, and 26% have two more risk factors. In 2009 obesity health care costs were estimated at $150 billion. The statistics are real; we know that they are from the data we received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We need to learn how to change this. People can only do what they know how to do—what they are taught how to do as we teach you here at the Weigh Station.

Do you want to do something about it for yourself? With what you have learned here, can you now determine for yourself what to do to make better food choice? To get active and commit to changing your lifestyle? You will lose weight, gain better health, and change your life if you do. Remember, use all the resources available to you at The Weigh Station from the dietitian, to the nurses, the newsletters, the recipes and your physician. Do not listen to the naysayers that are only out there to cause you pain and anguish. They wouldn’t be saying negative things about your new lifestyle if they had ever been positive about their own weight loss.

Learn to ask us good questions as we love answering your questions. It causes us to think that maybe someone else might be in the same situation. Our newsletters come from question-and-answer sessions that we have with patients throughout the month.

So as you begin the Fourth of July week with all of the festivities with family and friends that show up to admire how much weight you've lost or to hear that you are going to start a weight loss program this month, allow God to stir up the hope in your heart! The God-like hope that is not the same as, " I hope it will.” His hope is eternal and everlasting. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11 .1)  Allow the seed of hope to spring up in you so that you will finish what you started, and you will become the person you want to be. Remember, even if you need to lose 100 pounds, with strict adherence to the program with both correct eating and exercising, it can be accomplished in about six months.

 To all of our Weigh Station Family--- Happy Fourth of July!  My family and I are vacationing together for the first time in years! Please pray for us as we do you on a day-to-day basis. And please remember the true meaning of what we are celebrating this holiday---our freedom. If you see someone from the armed forces, tell him or her you're grateful for their service, then go and buy them lunch.


Chuck Shaffer MD