Each day is the start of a new year!


    By Teah Mogae

    I have already failed my resolution… 

    James casually exchanged new year pleasantries as we walked to my consultation room. He was the first patient of the day, and I was running on time! As he sat down, I sensed something was amiss.

    “I cannot seem to stick to my new year’s resolution Dr Teah. It’s only the third week of the year and I have given up on losing this weight we have been talking about. I signed up for the gym and thought I could make the 5am sessions which went well for the first week but now that work is back, I struggle to get up that early especially as little Bella still wakes up overnight. When I come home from work, the chaos of our evening routine means I do not have any time to attend the gym. My diet was also pretty good initially as I was able to meal prep and not have the usual bacon and egg roll, but that fell by the wayside as it all became too much. I am keen to lose weight and I was hoping you could give me the injection I have been hearing a lot about as it looks like that might be my only option,” he said, looking dejected and close to tears. 

    Further discussion indicated that his resolution had been to exercise for an hour six days a week, and to completely overhaul his diet to low carb in order to shed the weight which we had attributed to his pre-diabetic state. Despite having our last consultation in October, the previous year, he had decided he would completely address his weight issue with the new year and the apparent failure to stick to the resolution had left him demoralised and seeking a quick fix. 

    “We cannot already rule out the year, it’s only three weeks young and so I think we can resuscitate the resolution by ensuring that we are not biting off more than we can chew. We are going to come up with a realistic plan to lose weight for the long term by making sustainable life changes that we are able to maintain.” 

    With encouragement, he came up with a plan to attend the gym three days a week, on the days his partner arrived home early from work and could handle dinner preparation and bath time in his absence. On the other days, he had to find a home-exercise plan he could follow, or take the kids for a walk after work to give his partner a break too. Rather than overhauling this whole dietary intake, he was to swap out his daily intake of five cans of coke for one can a day and to ensure the family cooked enough food to have leftovers to take to work. He understood that each day was the beginning of another year and one where small changes to his lifestyle would result in improvement in his health for the long-term. 

    We planned to follow up on these smaller steps in six weeks. He walked out, head held up high, looking like a man with a mission. And I was happy as I was still running on time, a rarity in modern general practice.

    Dr Teah Mogae is a General Practitioner living in Hoppers Crossing. In the interest of protecting patient confidentiality, patient stories are often composites and used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons is entirely coincidental.

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