Mar - Apr 2014

Finding the Solution

By Nancy Halstenson, PhD MHA

“It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.”

Albert Einstein


If I only had a dollar for every time I heard a patient say…“I’ve gained 10 pounds in the past 2 months and I have no idea how that could have happened. I don’t eat enough to gain weight!” I hear this time and time again.


People struggle with weight gain or regain, and have no idea why it is happening. The deficit here is not lack of motivation to lose weight, but rather difficulty with problem solving. You have to know what the problem is before you can fix it! Begin by taking note of your eating or other automatic habits. Keep a food journal or activity log. Identify the problem. For example, snacking between meals. Think of as many solutions to this problem as possible, whether they are silly, unreasonable or unrealistic. For instance, running in place every time you have a craving for food, or distracting yourself with other tasks between meals. Take the list of solutions you generated and pick the best solution you can find at this time. Put it in place and see how it works. If your solution doesn’t help your eating problem, then either you haven’t identified the real problem or you need to go back to your solution list and pick a different solution to try. See, you don’t have to be smart to tackle and overcome problematic eating and behavior patterns, you must use the systematic steps of problem solving and stick with it until you find the right solution!