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Individualised support as part of a nutritional programme

In order to lose weight, the overweight or obese person must make different nutritional and lifestyle choices regularly and durably, which cannot be achieved without help from a health professional trained in how to provide this support.

If the support can be put in place at an early stage, weight loss and stabilisation can be achieved more quickly. However, most importantly, the loss of weight must be durable and thus the individual should follow a programme whose suitability has been proven and that has been prepared and is delivered by qualified professionals.

Achieving durable weight loss

Re-balancing a diet and re-engaging with sport or physical exercise with a view to losing weight are often difficult changes to adhere to when the timescale is long.
Sooner or later, old eating habits or lifestyle choices return, often due to insufficient support and motivational encouragement. 

The three key requirements for achieving durable weight loss are: re-balancing the diet, developing a more positive body image and learning how to manage everyday emotions. This last requirement is essential in terms of staying on track for the long term.

Individualised Behavioural Nutrition addresses these three requirements and is a technique which has been proven to be effective in: 

  • re-balancing an individual’s nutritional and micronutritional intake,
  • maintaining motivation and managing frustrations and emotions to ease food cravings and replace them with other pleasures,
  • teaching individuals how to regain self-esteem, feel good about themselves and get active again.

Individualised behavioural nutrition has been proven to be effective in achieving durable weight loss

An observational study* demonstrated that individualised behavioural nutrition does indeed make it possible to achieve long-term weight loss. 

The study was conducted in a primary care setting (i.e. physicians’ practices) and included more than 14,000 obese and overweight subjects who were monitored as part of an individualised nutritional and behavioural programme. More than a quarter of the subjects lost at least 10 % of their initial weight and maintained this weight loss for more than 12 months. This success rate exceeds that typically reported in the literature for other weight-loss techniques.

* LENOIR L, MAILLOT M, GUILBOT A, RITZ P. Primary Care Weight Loss Maintenance with Behavioral Nutrition: An Observational Study. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md ). 2015; 23: 1771-1777.

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Medical support to aid weight loss

The support provided by a health professional is a crucial part of a nutritional strategy. 

The professional can assess each individual’s requirements for nutrients and micronutrients and offer personalised and tailored advice.

This monitoring and support should be provided regularly and frequently at first during the re-balancing phase before being scaled back during the maintenance phase.

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The medical component of the support can: 

  • Diagnose any health problems, which may not previously have been detected, but which need to be considered (diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc.) in order to adapt the nutritional programme,
  • Consider and investigate any factors which might have caused and/or be maintaining the weight gain: emotional trauma, illness, medication, eating habits (skipping meals, eating on the hoof), lifestyle (physical inactivity), etc.,
  • Assess specifically for each individual the need to be supported throughout the programme and for as long as is required.

Achieving a stable weight can take time

There are two key points to note. Firstly, it is not easy to change eating habits and ingrained behaviours. Secondly, overweight and obesity, like all chronic diseases, evolve and in some cases changes to the nutritional advice and behavioural management may be required. The input from the health professional is an essential component of this individualised monitoring and support. 

Sometimes, the journey to the goal agreed with the doctor requires support so that benefits can be visualised and the obstacles removed. The professional must refrain from being judgmental at all times.

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