Expert tips on the fight against obesity

If anyone knows how difficult it is to lose weight and maintain weight, it’s me. My battle with obesity began at the same time with adulthood. In the year when I finished high school — I was 18 — I moved to Italy. Six months later, while staying in the city near the Adriatic sea, I gained more than 11 pounds.

The reason for the increase in my waist at that time was clear: I ate ice cream, bread and Buffalo mozzarella like the last time. For me it was not uncommon to pop in before school in the café and gossip with friends over a Cup of cappuccino with whipped cream and bomboloni — donuts with custard. After school I ate Gelato and for dinner — pasta, cheese and bread. Who needs vegetables when there’s fresh mozzarella?

Stay in Italy was amazing. I made friends, learned the language, visited the streets, squares and galleries of Rome and Florence. And fat. It took about three years before I was able to return to the size that you wore before you travel to Italy. And since maintaining weight requires the required daily thought and effort: avoiding sugary drinks and late meals, cooking possibly at home, don’t forget to count calories in my head or the app on my iPhone and regularly weighed. When the numbers on the scale creeping up, I’m trying to figure out what was doing wrong and pull myself together. I abhor these rules and acknowledge that they are necessary for the preservation of health.

I spent more than 20 interviews with leading researchers in the field of nutrition. From what they told me, I gave you the most important thing.

Given this, I would like to give you what I hope will be a useful guide to thinking about the weight problem. Again, I know how hard it is to watch your weight, and how annoying articles such as “10 tricks to get rid of the fat in the abdomen” or stories about the magical pills and medicines for weight loss. From personal experience I know that these do not exist, and I want to offer an alternative to something that actually reflects clinical experience and scientific point of view on a healthy lifestyle.

I spent more than 20 interviews on the issue of weight loss with the leading researchers in the field of nutrition-certified nutritionists, doctors, and evidence-based ideologues from across North America. They have written and reviewed hundreds of studies and treated thousands of patients. I asked a rather simple question: based on the available evidence, what advice would you give to people who struggle with their weight? What do your patients who have lost weight and managed to not gain it back? What people wrong? From what they told me, I gave you the most important thing.

1) “Perfect” diet does not exist, and it’s true

All experts with whom I spoke stressed that modern science almost definitely has shown us that all diets, whether low fat, low carb, diet weight watchers, Atkins, or other — in the long term have similar modest results, regardless of the composition of macronutrients.

Consider the findings of Dr. mark Eisenberg in his recent review of research diets South beach diet Atkins diet weight watchers diet Zone. He and his co-authors found that regardless of diet people lost two to three pounds a year, and then gained some of that weight back.

These conclusions form only a small part of a large-scale research with the same conclusion. In the experiment, a random sample involved 300 women who were sitting on a diet either low in carbohydrates or high in carbohydrates or low in fat. Researchers found that while women on low-carbohydrate diets (specifically Atkins) lost a little more than others, the end result “was at least the same as for any other diet”. In other words, there is no “best diet” have been identified.


Instead of studying the efficiency of different diets, the scientists with whom I communicated, said that have sought to understand how people with different personal qualities, preferences, and genetic characteristics respond to various lifestyle changes. The future, according to them, finding out more suitable alternatives to the existing formulaic approach.

While we can’t answer that, it is satisfied with the findings of the different literature we were sold the idea that if we believe in any particular diet, then step on the path to harmony. But science (and experience) show that this is not true. You can save money and ignore all sorts of promising quick weight loss diets that will inevitably come into Vogue and out of her. There is no need to adjust their habits and preferences under unreasonable or irrational meal plans that, as time has shown, still no nothing. Instead, the experts suggested cutting calories comfortable for you way you will be able to withstand, and focus on healthy food.

Dr. Arya Sharma, Director of the Canadian community on the issues of obesity, as a fundamental principle called regular food. Hunger, according to him, prevents you from making sensible choice. This does not mean that you can constantly snacking; just make sure that you won’t be hungry for the next meal. He also advises patients to eat more fruits and vegetables and less foods “empty calories” such as sugary drinks and processed foods.

His advice is similar to the approach Matt Fitzgerald, author of “diet Cults”. He told me that made the product hierarchy on the basis of evidence about their quality, from more useful to less useful:

• Vegetables

• Fruit

• Nuts, seeds and healthy oils.

• High-quality meat and seafood.

• Whole grains.

• Dairy products.

• Refined grain products.

• Low-grade meat and seafood.

• Sweets.

• Fried foods.

Eat more food from the top of the list and less from the bottom.

If you need an even simpler guide, there is a so-called “plate rule”: make sure half of your lunch and dinner consists of vegetables and fruits, and the other half is protein and starch. All of these are reasonable approaches to consume a more nutritious and fibrous foods, not saturated calories, recommended that everyone with whom I spoke.

2) Watch what you eat and what you weigh

One of the best works on the issues of weight loss was the study of the National registry of weight control, which are analyzed traits, habits and behavior of adults who have lost at least 13.5 kg and managed to keep the result for at least one year. Currently involved in a study of 10 000 people every year are questioning, answering questions about how they are able to reduce weight.

Scientists who conducted the study, found that people who successfully lose weight have a lot in common. They weighed at least once a week. They regularly arrange themselves fiznagruzki of varying intensity, the most common of which is walking. They restrict your calorie intake, avoiding foods high in fat and watching the size of your portions. Most of them don’t skip Breakfast. But part of their ration differences are great. (Again, there is no “best” diets or diets with fast weight loss, which would solve the problem). And they feel calories.

“Start with the food diary. You should know what stage you are in and only then realize that you need to change”.

This is what the last paragraph says the expert obesity doctor Yoni, Freedhoff. “The most important thing where to start is a food diary,” he says. “It’s not attractive and not funny, but before starting a diet, you should know what stage you are in and only then realize that you need to change”.

A food diary is to use before you start to change your eating habits to reflect it all: the very starting point, your mistakes and the possibility of reducing consumption of certain products. Then, on the way to the cherished goal, a food diary will help you relax. “The diary is in real time, recalls the commitment to healthy choices and changes.”

3) Self-identify barriers and motivations

National registry of weight control — the experiment is not controlled; it is not random assignment of various treatments for weight loss among groups of people in order to ascertain which of them will be able to lose weight. It involves the people who have already succeeded, and it turns out just how they managed it. Members of the group have in common is they have a strong incentive: they continued to weigh, count calories and restrict the diet even after weight.

Many of the experts with whom I managed to talk, said that people with steady weight loss clearly define its goals and motives and follow them over a long period required to reduce and retain weight.

To clarify this information Dr. Matthew Gillman, program Director of obesity prevention at Harvard medical school, always starts, ask people about their intentions in the issue of weight loss. “I ask patients about their goals, about how they are going to achieve them that will allow them to change, and how they are confident in their abilities.”


The Cornell University Professor Brian Wansink said that questions about losing weight he answers next to questions. “The most important thing is to find out whether a person wants to lose weight,” he says. According to the Professor, people believe what they want to be slimmer, but, thinking about the victims of the necessary and responsible approach, you’re totally not ready for this.

No less important, says Dr. Sharma, to identify the existing for weight loss obstacles. “The first question you want to solve the cause of weight gain. This may be genetic factor, stress, presence of chronic diseases or take drugs”. There is also a clear link between obesity and other social determinants of health such as income and education. Obviously, some of these barriers be overcome more easily than others. But for making any sustainable changes in lifestyle is very important to identify and eliminate them, he said.

4) the Ineffectiveness of diets due to excessive expectations

The idea of the doctors was remarkably consistent: people who go on diets are often doomed to fail that expect too quick results, or choose a meal plan that does not fit with their lifestyle or is not possible to maintain.

According to an endocrinologist at the Mayo clinic Dr. Mary Collazo-Clavell, the main mistake of losing weight is that they expect to lose weight in a relatively short period of time, the beginning of summer vacation, or upcoming wedding. “Such short-term approaches do not work,” she said.

Echoes and, Dr. Sharma, saying that “the greatest danger lies in trying too fast to lose too much weight”.

Dr. Gillman of Harvard suitable practical question: “have You gained weight during the year and not be able to lose it overnight. And try to do it more likely to gain it again”.

Dr. Freedhoff concluded that people in the beginning of your journey to losing weight or malnourished, or unnecessarily burden yourself with exercise, or both. Their charm diminishing numbers on the scale. But inevitably they fail, so as to maintain such a regime impossible. “Striving to be too perfect is a huge problem in the world of diets “, he added.

“You don’t need to be a Saint, you need to be a smart sinner,” said Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, Director of the Center for the Johns Hopkins weight management.

Certified nutritionist at the Mayo clinic Katherine Zeratsky also of the opinion that unreasonable expectations and self-blame only complicate the weight loss process. “When people try to lose weight and fail, you lose confidence and that can really take such reasonable changes, or do not believe that these reasonable changes will be any good.”

To summarize, we can say the following: change a little and think about the long term. The doctors promise that your patience will definitely pay off.

5) Know how many calories you consume and what you burn

Another mistake that people make who want to lose weight, is to self-deception regarding the number of calories they consume and expend.

Studies have shown that people often underestimate the amount of “eaten” calories and overestimate the amount spent during physical activity. Everything becomes so much easier when you have a food diary.

We are also in error and the following: healthy food sometimes has a “halo effect” and when you add in the food (e.g., cheeseburger with lettuce) makes people believe that the total caloric content of food is somehow magically decreasing.


In this study it was found that people generally misjudge the amount of sugar in fruit juices, believing them to be healthy. Dr. Frank sacks, who has conducted several baseline studies on nutrition at the Harvard school of public health, said that people who usually commit such error, when trying to lose weight regularly. A friend once complained about the weight gain, and the question of Dr. sax about his diet, admitted that daily drinking of orange juice on 1000 calories. “This was a major source of calories,” said Sachs.

In order to understand what you actually eat, try some time to measure the amount of food, advises Dr. Freedhoff. Use kitchen scales and measuring cups. In the restaurant measure your portions with your palm. You don’t have to do so constantly, and soon you will learn to identify the amount of food eaten. This will help to ensure that you do not spend time doing a food diary and not delay the results of your efforts.

6) Change the circumstances to be healthy

Experts in the field of weight loss told me how they outsmarted themselves and created for themselves the conditions under which it is easy to maintain a healthy weight.

Dr. Sachs said that got rid of the house from the foods might overeat. “On the dining room table I have is not worth a box of biscuits, to which I may continually come. In my house there are no such”.

Dr. Freedhoff, like Dr. Sharma, believes that hunger can be avoided: he often bites before the main meal, usually proteins, which provide better carbs, that helps prevent excesses in the main meal. He also tries not to consume before eating alcohol, since it is proved that it stimulates the appetite and leads to overeating.

Dr. Wansink from the University of Cornwall will teach you how to cope with the circumstances so that it was easier to make the right choice. In his recent book “the Harmony through the interior” Wansink sets out the conclusions made on the basis of studies of human behavior: people who eat directly from the stove or at the kitchen table, eat 19% less than those who puts their own food in a communal setting. The doctor thinks also plays an important role and place of product placement: you are three times more likely to eat what they see first, than what was filed later. In another study, he found that at lunch people usually eat 60 more calories if you eat from large plates, so he proposes to replace the 30-centimeter plates of 25 cm.

Some of these tips may seem absurd, since nobody is going to throw from home plate, but the main idea is more than reasonable: to overeat is not hunger, and external benchmarks.

We can be difficult to resist the temptation to eat outside of the home (a display of cakes and cupcakes, which we look at in the morning in line for coffee; huge portions at lunch time), but we are able to make at least small changes in our environment: do not keep biscuits next to the plate, not at the dinner table — all this can lead us to a healthier lifestyle.

“Slim become easier, thanks to the interior than willpower,” says Wansink. “You will change once you will power will have to train every day until the end of life.”

7) Exercise weight loss not promote

This review of research on the connection of exercise with weight loss showed that people dropped only a small part of the expected, given the amount burned while you exercise calories. Some suffer from overweight people even gained more.

In part, this may be due to the fact that people in sports develop “compensatory behavior,” believing that can now afford a little more, says Tim Caulfield, author of the book “the Cure for everything”. “Run after the person eats high calorie cupcake and negates the result of their efforts. To lose weight this way it is impossible”.

This does not mean that exercise is useless for health: it raises mood, increases resistance to disease, gives strength, improves sleep quality, and that’s just some of the facts.

On the dining table I have is not worth a box of biscuits, to which I may continually come. In my house nothing is.

Physical activity is important to maintain a normal weight. In one study, the purpose of which was for 20 years to observe the increase in weight of 3 500 men and women, it was found that physically active patients gained less weight and had smaller waist than the rest.

But some only exercise to lose weight will not. Bringing together a huge number of studies of weight loss and physical activity, the researchers found that, in General, exercises involve only a small weight loss. In the absence of treatment, exercise helped relieve just a little bit, but as soon as people started to exercise and cut calories, the weight started to go faster than with one only a diet. The study revealed other benefits of physical activity: participants in the experiment decreased blood pressure and the number of triglitseridov in the blood.

Key point: science has shown that to lose weight only through exercise, in most cases, impossible. Sport is important for maintaining normal weight than for losing it. The most important is the control over calories consumed.

8) Medications for weight loss and boosting metabolism supplements ineffective

In General, physicians dealing with the problem of obesity, not happy with currently available prescription drugs for weight loss though some of them can help with certain degrees of obesity, especially along with lifestyle changes.

Dr. Collazo-Clavell from the Mayo clinic did a review on the drugs for weight loss and claims that “in recent years, several studies have been conducted that have shown that the best results were among that group of people who apart from reducing the weight of the medicines, have focused on the changes of their lifestyle and was able to lose weight and then continued to take medication to maintain results. I believe that such drugs play a role in the process of weight loss, but not to say that they give fast and easy results.”

Other doctors gave a less than encouraging forecasts. “I don’t prescribe to their patients drugs, because the results and/or side effects I’ve never been impressed,” said a member of the American heart Association, Dr. Donald Hensrud. “Too little benefit and many risks.”

Dr. Sharma believes that such drugs can have a positive impact on the condition of people whose obesity has caused other diseases, and that this matter must first consult with your doctor.

As for supplements that promise to speed up your metabolism and thereby reduce weight safely ignore them. Nothing eaten you will not speed up your metabolism so much that you will begin to lose weight. And in General, obese people, the metabolic rate will not necessarily be lower than the lean, so all of this nonsense.

“We measured metabolic rate at rest many lean and excess weight in people and tracked all the possible values in between,” said Dr. Michael Jensen, an expert on metabolism at the Mayo clinic. Regardless of whether you are above average height or below, you thin or full, is not to say that fat people metabolism lower than the lean. This is not true.”

“We know that overweight people are awake for 2-2.5 hours a day less than lean” — says Dr. Jensen. “In my perception, physical activity and the number of calories consumed is much more important than what we do at rest”.

Although you can’t control the speed of your metabolism, you can control the amount consumed and burned during the fiznagruzki calories. On the question of how to speed up metabolism, Dr. Jensen says: “Hiking”. They are more effective than supplements like green coffee and raspberry ketones, and it is absolutely free.

9) Forget about the last five pounds

People who have lost weight, but did not put it their goal often complain about “last five pounds”. Surprisingly, the doctors dealing with obesity, said: if their so hard to throw, just throw it out of my head.

“If the last 5 pounds are harder than all the previous, they are likely to be back,” warns Dr. Freedhoff. “You will gain those pounds again if you had to do more to ensure that they drive away”.

Dr. Cheskin put it simply: “these Last pounds aren’t worth it. Losing weight at least two-thirds of the plans, you get great health benefits and probably most of the expected social benefits.”

He says that health benefits will bring deliverance even from 5% of the total body weight. “You need to enjoy going at least part way.”