As a chiropractor, you are very aware of the detrimental effects on the spine and joints that result from carrying extra weight.
If you desire to approach health from a holistic perspective, failing to address needed weight loss will send patients an inconsistent message.
What is your niche?
A recent survey asked chiropractic patients what they wanted from their chiropractors that they weren’t getting. The top response was advice on weight loss. The survey also revealed that it was also the No. 1 service that chiropractors didn’t want to do. In their opinion, they felt weight loss was too complicated and had a poor success rate. But this gap between supply and demand can provide you with a niche that offers significant opportunity to provide a wanted service and can significantly increase the profitability of your practice.
Most people think the secret to losing weight is to consume fewer calories than they expend. But weight loss is a more complex process involving self-esteem, body chemistry, genetics, exercise, and lifestyle choices. Providing patients with a way to jumpstart their weight loss is the best way to introduce a weight loss program. This way you can provide patients with the motivation they need to make lasting lifestyle changes and support long-term weight reduction.
Breaking the cycle of addiction
You can help patients end the pattern of unhealthy caloric craving and chronic inflammation from the consumption of unhealthy calories by providing them with a detoxification program that helps break their addiction while promoting weight loss. There are several excellent beginner’s detoxification programs offered by reputable manufactures of nutritional supplements for chiropractors.
They typically involve a brief period of meal replacement shakes and anti-inflammatory nutritional supplements, followed by the introduction of healthy eating of anti-inflammatory foods. They are simple to teach, easy to follow, and produce consistent results.
This approach quickly breaks the cycle of junk food addiction and increases cravings for healthier alternatives. The typical weight loss produced by the detoxification approach
is between 8 to 10 pounds during the first week of the program. This is due to a decrease in the fluid retention that often accompanies chronic inflammation. These results are significant in the eyes of patients because their clothes fit better, their energy increases, and they begin receiving positive reinforcement from friends and family complimenting them on their improved appearance.
Inflammation: the silent killer
Cellular inflammation leads to many, if not most, chronic health conditions, including aches and pains, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The first phase of a detoxification program is directed at getting rid of that inflammation and is one of the reasons patients lose weight so quickly. It is also the first step in resetting the body’s chemistry and reprogramming new healthy eating habits.
You can then help patients maintain their initial weight loss by teaching them how to choose anti- inflammatory foods such as fish, whole grains, and dark green leafy vegetables, while avoiding pro-inflammatory foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes, and refined carbohydrates.
Basic is better
Keep your message simple. Tell every patient who walks in your door that they’ve got to move right and they’ve got to eat right and the better they do those two things, the healthier they’re going to be.
Eliminating chronic inflammation is about long-term health. As a chiropractor, this becomes your focus with patients—not weight loss. Most patients will benefit immediately from weight loss; however, your goal is to shift their mindset toward their long-term health. This changes the conversation from weight loss being an add-on to being an integral part of your practice and your patients’ health.
Provide your patients with step-by- step instructions on what they can expect from your program. Give them a list of pro- and anti-inflammatory foods so they can learn to make healthy choices. Rarely, if ever, will a patient follow a weight loss program perfectly. It’s human nature to slip back into old habits.
But when a patient falls off the wagon, let them know it’s OK. They can reset their body with a mini-detox to get back on track. Let patients know they can live their life and enjoy it.
Weight loss is a lifelong process that includes up-and-down fluctuations. The goal is to keep deviations from becoming too large and enact course corrections quickly.
A proven profit center
A weight loss program can be an excellent profit center in your practice. When patients do well with your program, they are likely to purchase your products and supplements when they get their chiropractic adjustments. They also tend to be excellent sources of new patient referrals.
If a patient doesn’t get the big idea about how chiropractic should be a part of everyone’s healthcare, they can at least return to your practice to purchase weight loss products and supplements. This keeps them connected to your practice and in a healthy chiropractic environment on a regular basis.
When introducing a weight loss program into your practice for the first time, be sure your staff knows your system and the products you are using. It is best if your entire practice team experiences the program themselves so they know exactly what patients will be going through.
Your staff can then become ambassadors for your program because they’ve witnessed its benefits first hand. They’ll also know the answers to patients’ questions and people love sharing their personal success stories. Having a healthy practice team is essential to a successful weight loss program. When chiropractors and assistants radiate vibrant health, patients are more inclined to follow their recommendations.
Mark Sanna, DC, ACRB Level II, FICC, is a member of the Chiropractic Summit, the ACA Governor’s Advisory Cabinet, and a board member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. He is the president and CEO of Breakthrough coaching. He can be reached at 800-723- 8423 or through mybreakthrough.com.