7 Paths To Weight Loss Cover image

Topic: CHOOSE TO LOSE

A University of Alabama study has shown that, once you lose weight, as little as 80 minutes per week of aerobic exercise or resistance training can prevent regain of potentially harmful visceral fat. (This is 20 minutes, 4 times weekly!) The measurements were taken one-year after diet-induced weight loss.

7 Paths To

Your Ideal Weight

To Lose Weight, You Can —

• Eat Carbs

• Appease Your Instincts

• Go Pritikin

• Fill Your Plate

• Cure Stress

• Use Adaptive Stress

OR

• Flush Your Fat Away!

Look Inside.

There Will Be Something For You

In This Diet Line Up….

Simply put, being fat is more likely to kill us than anything else.

– Floyd H. Chilton, PhD, in The Gene Smart Diet.

Worldwide, obesity is on the rise. In the US, seven out of ten people are overweight or obese. According to an article in Obesity, Johns Hopkins researchers predict that by 2030 (one more generation), 86.6 percent of American adults will be overweight or obese. In other words, it is going to take a concerted effort from all concerned adults to transform this almost certain future. The responsibility falls especially hard on parents who need to insure that their children grow up eating wholesome food and getting regular exercise.

Surprise! Surprise! The evidence is in: We must reduce calories to lose weight. However, all the authors represented here agree that it’s not about dieting, it’s about the way we choose to eat for life. Losing weight is not a temporary fix. The most successful weight loss is achieved by people who develop an eating plan that fits their lifestyle while they keep their weight where they want it.

In 1994, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was established to track successful weight loss strategies. Since that time it has tracked over 5000 people.1 Here are some findings from the registrants:

• 98 percent modified food intake to lose weight.

• 94 percent increased physical activity, most commonly by

walking.

• 55 percent used a program; 45 percent lost weight on their own.

• 78 percent continue to eat breakfast regularly.

• Most maintain their new weight by eating a low calorie, low

fat foods and engaging in high levels of activity.

In this issue of Nutrition News, we present seven strategies for achieving your ideal weight.2 To lose weight, you can choose any of them, choose yet another plan, or create your own plan. What’s important is to take on a plan, take off the weight, and then maintain the new healthier you.

1 To qualify for the registry, one must be 18 or older, have lost at least 30 pounds, and kept that weight off for at least one year. (www.nwcr.ws or google National Weight Control Registry.) 

2 To calculate your ideal weight, using current weight, height, sex, and waist measure, go to http://home.fuse.net/clymer/bmi/. Don’t make the mistake of setting a fantasy weight goal.

Eat Carbs – The Serotonin Power Diet, Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, and Nina T. Frusztajer, MD. New York: Rodale, 2009. (Paperback, $15.99)

Are you one of those people who just goes nuts on a carb restricted diet? Then this is the diet for you. Originally created for people who gained weight on SSRI-type antidepressants, it is also effective for inveterate carb eaters.

The science behind this plan is impeccable. Judith Wurtman discovered the connection between carb craving, serotonin, and emotional well-being in her clinical studies. The Serotonin Power Diet is based on her years of lab research and work with hundreds of volunteers at the MIT Clinical Research Center. With her colleague, Nina Frusztajer, Wurtman founded the Adara Weight Management Center where The Serotonin Power Diet is used.

What is the connection between carb snacks and weight loss? The authors state unequivocally that carbohydrates are essential for weight loss. Carbs drive the appetite control system as well as controlling emotional eating and mood. This happens because the end result of eating carbs (by themselves) is the rapid production of the “feel good” brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin turns off our appetite so we feel content with eating less. Because it also initiates feelings of well-being, we are more resistant to stress-triggered overeating.

Simply, with The Serotonin Power Diet, you snack yourself thin. Starchy carb snacks are mandatory. These snacks are to contain no more than 160 calories and up to 35 grams of carbs. Within 8 weeks serotonin levels are balanced. From week 9 on (the Serotonin Control phase) only the afternoon snack remains.3

3 The authors contend that slowing down in the late afternoon is a universal human experience. They recommend that we all eat a carbohydrate snack at that time.

Meal foods are the usual low-fat, healthy food fare with lots of fruits and veggies. Breakfast is starchy carbs, protein and fresh produce; lunch, protein and non-starchy veggies; dinner, all veggies, both starchy and non-starchy (no protein). This eating style provides 1400 calories for women and 1800 for men. I tried it out for about 3 days. I was never hungry. 

Appease Your Instincts – the “I” diet, Susan B. Roberts, PhD, and Betty Kelly Sargent. New York: Workman Publishing, 2010. ($13.95)

A common theme of the weight loss plans in this issue is to keep us satisfied while reducing our calorie intake. By now, everybody knows that feeling hungry nearly always leads to failure. Susan B. Roberts, PhD, is a professor of nutrition and a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University. She is an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and obesity.

Another diet plan based on impeccable research, the “I” diet satisfies because it meets our five basic food instincts. These are the same instincts that left uncontrolled are making many of us fat. They are 1) hunger; 2) the availability of food; 3) the variety of food; 4) the familiarity of food (think “comfort foods”); 5) caloric density.

Dr. Roberts delivers an 8-week, 3-phase plan. Each phase contains four days of meals and recipes for meals that can be repeated. She states that one can expect to lose 7-10 pounds in the first 2 weeks, and up to 21 in eight. In this plan, wholesome foods and snacks, plus “dessert” after dinner make up a 1200 calorie per day regimen. People who weigh more than 160 pounds are encouraged to augment their intake to 1600 calories in very specific ways that are designed to satisfying the five instincts.

The Instinct or “I” eating plan is an interesting approach. It is smartly written with lots and tips and lists to help you out by a gal who has been there.

Go Pritikin – The Pritikin Edge, Robert A. Vogel, MD, and Paul Tager Lehr. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010. (Paperback, $15.00)

Today, Nathan Pritikin’s take on dieting has become universally accepted: Ditch the fad diets and commit to living a better, more healthful lifestyle. Meanwhile, the Pritikin people have been informed by others also. They now include “good fats” in their regimen.

After nearly 30 years, the folks at Pritikin are tremendously effective food educators. In this new book, one lesson is the difference between calorie-light and calorie-dense foods. According to Pritikin research, a man feels satisfied eating about four pounds of food a day and a woman, about three. (Notice, this is not about calories. The act of stretching the stomach with food yields a chemical response that results in satiety.) 

If you were to eat just one pound of peanuts, you wouldn’t have eaten enough food to be satisfied for the day. However, it would cost you 2,500 calories, more than most of us need. On the other hand, you could eat 3 or 4 pounds of food that “weighed” 450 calories per pound for a total of 1350 (woman) or 1800 calories. Your stomach and mind would be satisfied, and you would be losing weight.

Of course, the Pritikin Program is made up of nutrient dense, calorie-light foods that take up lots of space in your stomach. The plan is basically salads, soups, whole grains, non-starchy veggies, and fruit. In fact, eating those foods is the first step in Pritikin’s “10 Essential Ingredients….” The other nine are: eliminate high calorie beverages (no sugary sodas or fruit drinks); restrict calorie dense foods like cookies and ice cream; eat non-fattening snacks (a 100 calorie cookie per day results in 10 pounds in a year); forget fast food; walk more (an hour of exercise adds an hour to your life); reduce salt intake; don’t smoke; and manage stress.

Fill Your Plate – The Full Plate Diet, Stuart A. Seale, MD, Teresa Sherard, MD, Diana Fleming, PhD, LDN. Austin, TX: Bard Press, 2010. (Hardcover, $19.95)

This diet is based entirely on the calorie light, nutrient dense, full stomach concept. The take away here is “The more fiber you eat, the more weight you’ll lose.” Dietary fiber makes you feel full – and it contains no calories. When        you add fiber to your meals, you eat fewer calories. Voila! A slimmer you.

The authors predict that fiber is the Next Big Thing in nutrition. Their beautiful full color book is a perfect guide to eating more fiber-packed whole foods. Medical researchers are among the strongest supporters of a high fiber diet. The Institutes of Medicine, plus the American Heart, Diabetes, and Dietetic Associations all recommend increasing our intake of dietary fiber. Interestingly, a recent USDA survey found that over the last decade dietary fiber information is the only label info that has seen an increase in use by consumers.

Few realize how important eating fiber is to weight control. There is a strong and proven relationship between high fiber consumption and weight. Knowing that our stomachs need 3-4 pounds of food for us to feel satisfied and that fiber is filling and has no calories, this information is easy to understand. When we feel fuller, we eat less. In one study, participants who increased their fiber, lost 37 percent more weight than those who didn’t add fiber. 

In this book, you learn about the top 5 fiber-containing fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds, and grains. Photos of delectable foods show you what to eat and how to add fiber to foods you already eat. For example, “power-up” your oatmeal (1 cup, 4 gm/fiber) with an apple and an ounce of slivered almonds (for a total of 12 gm/fiber). Your goal is to eat at least 40 grams of fiber every day, and lose weight naturally. The authors include the Prochaska Readiness Assessment to help you determine if you’re ready for change. Are you? I sure am.

Sidebar

Use Adaptive Stress – The Gene Smart Diet, Floyd H. Chilton, PhD, with Laura Tucker. New York: Rodale, 2009. (Hardcover, $25.99)

This is a breakthrough book, not a diet plan but the herald of a paradigm shift. Chilton, an inflammation researcher, guides us into the future. Using nutrigenomics, the science of the effects of nutrition on our genes, he delivers a way to eat that can increase our longevity as it potentiates our optimal health. The plan does this by awakening an ancient mechanism, inherent to our humanism but awakened in only a few of us. This mechanism is the adaptive stress response.

The adaptive stress response (ASR) is a highly centralized biological system, regulated by our genes, that is instrumental in controlling our susceptibility to disease and how rapidly we age. This is not the usual fight or flight stress response. Rather this beneficial response forces the body to utilize its natural resources. The stressors that bring the ASR into play are severe calorie restriction, certain bioactive compounds in food, and exercise (to name a few). Simultaneously with triggering our ASR, our bodies begin to protect themselves from chronic inflammation.

Are you stopped at severe calorie restriction? Don’t be. Chilton has designed a way to reduce calories rather than restrict them. The Gene Smart Diet approach has three phases: 

1) The Adaptive Response Phase; 2) The Preconditioning Phase; and 3) The Optimal Maintenance Phase. We limit our discussion to the first phase.

In Phase I, we ramp up our adaptive stress response.

Chilton pronounces this 3 week segment as the most rigorous stage of the program. However, his purpose is to have the mandated behaviors function as a biological reset button in our brains and bodies. 

Phase I has five steps. In the first step we cut calories – by 20 to 30 percent. Cutting calories is the only way to lose weight. It also increases longevity.4 With step two, we increase our intake of insoluble and soluble fiber. Step 3, we add specific bioactive foods called polyphenols. These include whole fruits and veggies, green tea, and dietary supplements. Step 4, add the omegas. This means 1250-3000 mg per day of omega-3 fish oils and 400-500 mg of GLAs (borage, black currant, or evening primrose oils). Last step, bring on the exercise.

4 This aspect of the program is based on work originally performed by the late Roy Walford, MD, PhD, of UCLA. In Roy’s lab, when mice had their calories restricted by 40 percent, they lived long and healthy lives. I worked with Roy in the late 70s early 80s, about the time he chose to mimic his experiment with mice and radically restrict his own calorie intake.

Instructions are specific for accomplishing each step, as you bring your body into alignment with its ancient, internal, and health-giving regulatory patterns. One last word. Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that during the Depression, the average life span was extended by 6.2 years. They suggest that this was due to insufficient money to buy alcohol and tobacco. Maybe. Or, maybe they just ate less.

Cure Stress – The Stress Eating Cure, Rachael F. Heller, PhD, and Richard F. Heller, PhD. New York: Rodale, 2010 (Uncorrected proof. Market price: $24.99.)

The doctors Heller are the famous authors of over a dozen The Carbohydrate Addict books. Initially, they solved their obesity by recognizing their addiction to carbs.5 Later, Ms. Heller had an epiphany around her still unresolved cravings. The two researchers then worked ten years to define and solve the stress eating syndrome. The Stress Eating Cure is the result.

5 In the book, Ms. Heller notes that she weighed over 300 pounds for about 20 years, until she was 38. Many years later, she appears to have slain the monster for good with her stress eating cure. Reputedly, Richard also had a weight problem. He is a slender fellow today.

Do you eat when stressed? Take the Heller test and find out. (I scored high.) The reason for stress eating lies in an imbalance in our hormones. Stress creates this imbalance, starting cravings and hunger that are virtually beyond our power to control. As the Hellers put it, “Stress-eating is not a matter of willpower. It’s a matter of biology, pure and simple.” With the Heller’s method, you can break the stress eating cycle, and take control of your food intake.

The subtitle of the book is Lose Weight With The No-Willpower Solution To Stress-Hunger And Cravings. A big component of this method is eating breakfast. There are many studies showing a tendency for breakfast eaters to be a healthy weight, and conversely, a tendency for non-breakfast eaters to be overweight or obese.

A most persuasive paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in 2008. Researchers found that when the weight loss regimen included a BIG, well-balanced breakfast, there was a five fold increase in weight loss.6 After 32 weeks, the breakfast eaters lost an average of 40 pounds versus 9 pounds for those following a lower calorie, low carbohydrate diet.

6 “Well-balanced” in Heller parlance means this meal contains plenty of protein – like Canadian bacon. Otherwise, it can include all the Comfort Foods you desire. These include grains, beans, and fruits. See their sample breakfast meal.

Wow! Can it be that easy?! Maybe when the remaining snacks and meals are made up of non-starchy veggies and whole protein foods as in the Heller plan. On days when you are going out for lunch or dinner that meal becomes the Big Blowout Breakfast. Eat protein and a non-starchy vegetable at breakfast time. I’m currently following this diet. Does it work? Too soon to know, but it certainly is satisfying.

The Stress Eating Cure

Sample Breakfast

Plain yogurt with strawberries Cheese omelet

(sweetener optional) Cheese Danish 

Toast with butter and/or jam Water, tea or coffee

Nutrition News „ 2009 VOL XXXIV, No. 1