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Magic numbers



To Dr. Mark Blake, weight is just a number on a scale. "Weight is not all-meaning," he says. Body fat percentage, cholesterol levels and body mass index are much more important numbers, he says.

After trying mostly in vain to convince his plastic surgery patients that liposuction wasnít designed as a weight loss procedure, Blake says he decided to develop a physician-supported weight loss program. "I looked at all the reasons why people struggle with weight loss and tried to address all of those reasons," says the doctor and personal trainer.

Heís been practicing since September 2008 at the Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery in Milwaukee. In that time his Contour Weight Loss program has experienced many successes. "I had one patient who was on the program for a couple of months," Blake says. "He didnít lose any weight but he went down eight pant sizes. His watch didnít fit anymore."

The program, Blake says, focuses on education, accountability and exercise. "I have a strong belief that may not be popular," he says. "People have to start being accountable for their own health."

Here are some of Blakeís tenets for achieving lasting weight loss and improving overall health.

ē Donít be fooled by quick-fix diets. "You end up just losing water or just losing muscle. If you donít break bad habits the weight is just going to come back."

ē Stop eating the doughnuts. "Become educated about how your body works, educated about what is really in food and then make those changes in your diet. Itís not that you have to be on a restricted diet for the rest of your life, but, yeah, you have to cut some things out."

ē Find support. "If there is nothing pushing you or forcing you to stay with it, there are too many excuses for people to come up with," Blake says. "Iíll start after that bad weekend, after the birthday party Ö" Some of his patients work with a life coach to uncover the underlying psychological reasons why people use food as a crutch.

ē Add exercise. For some, that might mean joining a gym or a brisk morning walk. For others, Blake says, it starts smaller, such as parking farther away from your destination or ditching the motorized cart at the grocery store.

ē Be committed. Whether itís 10 pounds or 200 pounds, itís a long-term commitment to healthy living that will achieve lasting results. "Most people have tried other diets in the past and have struggled," Blake says of his patients. Many say, "ĎI know what to do, I just canít do it on my own,í" Blake says. "The most important thing is people have to be willing to change their ways. I tell them if there are not going to change their ways then, sorry, nothing is going to work," Blake says. "Itís up to them to do the work. Itís not easy."

Lisa Hanson, outpatient dietician with Columbia St. Maryís Health System, recommends these Web sites for healthy eating tips and information: is sponsored by the American Dietetic Association and offers daily tips and monthly features; is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Web site touts the benefits of ó what else ó fruits and veggies, along with interactive features, such as Analyze My Plate and Recipe Remix.