Do Individual Differences Matter?

I have been practicing medicine for almost 38 years and after hundreds of thousands of patient encounters I have learned this: People are “built” differently.   From the response to one antibiotic as opposed to another to how stress impacts on sleep/mood to how joints respond to long term exercise….these and many, many more aspects of the human condition/health/illness have lots of individual differences.  One of the many differences includes what “works” for long-term weight control.

For example, there are some people that cannot drink an ounce of alcohol without  derailing any weight control efforts whereas other people can consume their nightly drinks and still continue to lose weight simply by following the food intake dietary plan.  Some people can substitute “real” protein with protein bars/shakes/powders and can lose weight whereas others must consume the eggs/poultry/fish/red meat to lose weight successfully.  Some people can lose weight aggressively without one bit of exercise as opposed to others that must incorporate aerobic exercise to see the scale go down.

My point:  You, individually, need to recognize the patterns of eating/drinking/exercising behaviors that work for you.  As your journey to a healthier/happier weight unfolds, be cognizant of the patterns you followed in the weeks that weight was lost as well as the patterns that were followed in the weeks when no weight loss or weight gain occurred.    Perhaps you only need 12 protein exchanges a day to lose weight as opposed to 16.  Maybe you can indulge in one drink a day but not two.  You may notice that exercising 2 days a week is all you need to see the scale come down.

The individual differences in response find their basis in genetic and environmental reasons.  However, there are other factors involved as well.  Success in long term weight control may require different approaches for different people, but here is what is similar:  We all can be successful reaching and maintaining our happy/healthy weight.


Dr. Robert Posner One of the world’s leading medical weight loss researchers, Robert Posner, MD, operates his state-of-the-art weight loss clinic, Serotonin Plus, in the heart of Burke, Virginia, in the suburban Washington area.

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