Getting patients to diet is an uphill battle. They may be sitting there unable to breath from sleep apnea, unable to move without pain from osteoarthritis, unable to take care of themselves because they plain can’t reach the necessary parts of their body, but some will munch their donuts as they shake their chubby fists and threaten to leave the hospital against medical advice if you restrict their calories.
The more compliant bunch will go ahead and accept the restrictions. At first. But after a few weeks… or a few months… or a few years… they typically go back to the habits that brought them to their state of obesity/cardiac disease/high cholesterol/etc. in the first place.
It takes an unusual amount of resolve and determination to continue denying yourself for a lifetime what you crave but know will not be for your good. Bodies are hard wired to reinforce eating high calorie foods, and it’s a relatively recent evolutionary paradox that there’s enough food around for people to kill themselves with it. Knowing that polishing off a dozen fresh baked cookies is really not going to be good for you—despite that the warm gooey chocolate chips perpetually argue otherwise—doesn’t assure doing the right thing. It’s a bit daunting to imagine that graph that shows people dropping out of their diet compliance—giving in—one by one over the months and years until only a fraction remain.
What does it take to be someone who can persist in choosing mind over body for a lifetime?