Tag Archives: fat

How Dieting Makes People Obese

 

From my latest article for The Huffington Post:

“I didn’t have a weight problem until after my first diet. Then, gradually, with each diet, my weight and overeating became a bigger and bigger problem. I hear the same thing from most of my clients, women telling me about dieting when they were young girls who thought they were fat but weren’t. As teens, they really weren’t very overweight, but the dieting turned them into compulsive overeaters and they became food addicts who then……….”

 

What is Qsymia, the new Weight-Loss Drug approved by the F.D.A.?

 

The big weight loss news this week, all over the press and Internet, is the new weight loss miracle drug Qsymia! “F.D.A  Approves Qsymia, A Weight Loss Drug”, says the New York Times.

However, it’s not a new drug at all! It’s just a new name for another weight loss pill that doesn’t really work, Qnexa. Qsymia/Qnexa is a combination of two existing drugs — the stimulant phentermine, which was the surviving part of the fen-phen combination, and the epilepsy and migraine drug topiramate, also known by the brand name Topamax. If you google around, you’ll get all sorts of details about the effectiveness in trials and the dangers. The results are not impressive, but the dangers are. Still, people hope for a miracle in these pills.

There is a huge marketing war evolving in the sales of weight loss gimmicks being conducted not by the usual charlatans, but by big drug companies, hospitals and doctors. Another drug, Belviq, is also coming out. When you read the reports of any of these drugs, they are not impressive, people losing only a few pounds for a while, a bit more than with the placebo. But they are getting the F.D.A. approval, they will be prescribed by doctors, and you’ll be seeing lots of advertising to get you to ask your doctor for prescriptions. Then you’ll have to pay for a visit to get it. Everybody wins, right? Except you. The drug companies, insurance companies and prescribing doctors win. You lose, but not weight.

If you are like I was, these articles about effortless weight loss gets your attention. They lead you to believe you can solve your weight problem without doing the work to change your habits and lifestyle. But the only way to solve your weight problem is through behavior change, the province of behavioral medicine.   But behavior change is not a matter of will power. There are techniques you can learn, or as some clients call them, “tricks”.

Believe me, you can solve your weight problem. Read about my method and read the testimonials from clients and readers by clicking on the menu bar above. Behavioral medicine, like I teach, has helped me and my patients to solve our weight problem permanently, losing huge amounts of weight, sometimes over 100 pounds and keeping it off. There is hope and promise for the solution to your weight problem. But it’s not in pills, it’s in methods I, my therapists and my book teaches.

 

 

Food, Sex, Obesity and Weight Loss: What Are the Connections?

Libido — That’s sex drive, right?

Actually, no. While most doctors today think that libido means sex drive (as in decreased or increased libido), libido actually describes eating drive as well.

Click here to read the whole article on The Huffington Post

What do You Think of Alli, the Weight Loss “Miracle” Pill?

Does Alli work? The answer is yes and no.

As the prescription medication Xenical, it was promoted as the only weight loss pill that really worked. Then it became an over-the-counter pill and has made millions for the company that makes it. But does it really work to solve your weight problem?

(The author is a psychotherapist who lost 140 lbs. when he discovered Therapeutic Psychogenics,  and he’s kept it off for over 25 years. He has helped thousands to lose weight permanently with this approach. More about it at the end of the article.)

Alli works by preventing your body from digesting and utilizing fat, so when you take a pill when you eat a fatty food, the fat passes through your digestive system undigested, and you don’t acquire or accumulate the calories from it. For most of us, 30% of the calories in our diet or more come from fat. So, if you were eating a 1000 calorie per day diet in three meals with a pill at each meal, you’d only be taking in 700 calories, and if it was a 1500 calorie per day diet, you’d only be taking in 1050. If you stuck to your plan of eating only that amount of calories at those meals, you’d probably do well losing weight.

For this to work in actually producing weight loss, you’d first need to maintain the kind of control of your eating that my clients achieve with The Anderson Method (www.TheAndersonMethod.com) described in my book of the same name. With it, you enjoy real weight loss with or without the pill. With the pill, the weight loss is faster. Sounds good, right?

However, there are some other results that you need to think about before you start eating Alli pills. The most attention-getting is what they describe as “anal leakage”.  Fats, like butter and the fat in meats, become liquidy at body temperature. Fats like the oil in salad dressing and cooking oil are already liquid. With Alli, this oily liquid passes through your system without being digested, and then ends up in your colon, where it does not form a solid stool like the rest of your feces. You have the equivalent of cooking oil seeping out on a regular basis, or worse, all the time. If you are not controlling your eating, you have a lot of oil running, so not only are you not losing weight, but you also have poopy pants with oily stuff that seeps through layers of clothes. Not a pretty picture. I’m always all ears when I hear about some way to make weight control easier, but “anal leakage” is all I need to hear about Alli. Like other drugs, they have a whole list of possible nasty side effects, but I don’t need to know any more than “anal Leakage”.

Here’s the facts: to solve your weight problem, you need to shape your habits so that you eat the right number of calories per day, and these habits become permanent so that the weight stays off.  There is a way to train yourself to do this so that it is not hideous and you don’t have to deny yourself good food or eat diet food. That’s what The Anderson Method teaches, a method of behavioral medicine that has helped me and thousands of my clients and readers to lose weight the right way, and keep it off.  More about it at www.TheAndersonMethod.com

As long as you are looking for pills or procedures to relieve you of the need to change your behavior and figure out how to live on less, you’ll be putting off what you need to do to solve your weight problem.  If you use Alli and continue to live and eat like most Americans, you’ll still have your weight problem, and you’ll have a new problem on your hands (and elsewhere too).

Can Dieting “Ruin” My Metabolism?

A writer asks, “I’ve heard that my metabolic rate screeches to a halt if I go on a calorie restricted diet. I’ve heard my metabolism will be ‘ruined for life’ if I lose weight that way. OMG! Is this true?”

(The author is a psychotherapist who lost 140 lbs. when he discovered Therapeutic Psychogenics,  and he’s kept it off for over 25 years. Read about his method of fast permanent weight loss and the clients who have used them by clicking on the menu above.)

The answer is a big authoritative NO, evidenced by NIH  funded research at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine.  I’ll explain more about that study below, but first, let’s clear up any misunderstandings you may have about a “calorie restricted” weight loss diet, as opposed to any other weight loss diet that works, as if there was such a thing.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a landmark study about a year ago of the longest, largest and most rigorous test of several popular diet strategies (low carb vs low fat, etc.), to see which worked best.  The research, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, showed that as long as people reduced their caloric intake, the diet worked, and it didn’t matter how. All the diets worked, that is, any diet that was low in calories. A diet that was not low in calories (not calorie restrictive) did not work. The lesson, researchers say, is that people lose weight if they lower their calories. “It really does cut through the hype,” said Dr. Frank M. Sacks, the study’s lead author and professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health.

So, let’s be clear on this. The only way to lose weight is to restrict your caloric intake so that it is lower than your metabolic rate. It could be a goofy diet, or it could be real food in a way you can live with. Doesn’t matter. Create a deficit of 3500 calories and you lose a pound. If you are a 5′ 0″ woman with a metabolic rate of 1500 calories per day, and you restrict it to 1000, that would equate to a pound a week, 50 lbs. in a year. That is not an extreme restriction that produces a fast loss, but it is reality, and it is a fantastic success for my clients who do it. It changes their life. Forget about phony baloney gimmicks that promise to get around the realities of thermodynamics. Forget about losing weight without restricting calories. It’s not going to happen in this Universe. “Restricting” your caloric intake is the only way to lose weight, whether it is a goofy diet where you don’t realize that’s what you’re doing, or real changes with real food and habits that you’ll make permanent.

Now, before you keel over, thinking you’ll never be able to lower your calories for even a day, let alone for life, let me assure you that it can be done with the right method. I’ve trained thousands to achieve permanent weight loss, and some have even gotten to the point where they say it’s easy, second nature. Doing  what they need to do to maintain their success has become a satisfying way of life. For more information, go to www.TheAndersonMethod.com .

Now, back to the original question: Does reducing your caloric intake for a long period of time (I lost 140 lbs. in 18 months) permanently lower your metabolism so that when you’re done, you’re worse off than before?

It is widely accepted that after a while on a reduced calorie regimen, your body becomes more efficient metabolically and tries to get by on the lesser amount you’re eating, making it harder to lose weight.  You may have found that after a month or so on a diet, the weight loss slows, and you start hitting plateaus. After a few months, you may find that you don’t feel hot as much as you did before the diet, or you feel chilly more often and the plateaus get longer. Most people are unable to a continue a diet in the face of these discouragements, and that’s an understatement. Most of us have a hard time sticking to a diet for even a week, even when it’s working! While some clever entrepreneurs find that this slow-up creates a great market for products and magic to change this, there is little you can do to change this evolutionary and genetically predetermined response to “undereating”. Its nature’s way to help you survive a famine. The closest you can come to negating this “lowered metabolic response”  is to use the kind of strategies employed by The Anderson Method to thwart it, such as the lifetime eating patterns we’ve developed with lower calories on five of seven days, or a diet that does not eliminate your normal foods. These strategies are designed to “fool” your body so it does not sense a lack of food abundance. They are also designed to satiate the mind/body. I introduced this method over twenty-five years ago, and it has now become commonplace in the weight loss community. Increased activity is also a good idea.

Rather than try to change your body’s “metabolic efficiency response” to less food, an inborn trait that has been developed through many generations of evolution, it makes more sense to figure out how to continue losing weight in spite of it. This, we have done, by persisting in a reduced calorie regimen sufficiently low to lose any amount of weight you want, no matter how long it takes, and keep it off. With my method, we have found a way to thwart this “metabolic efficiency response”, and lose as much as you need to, and keep it off.

If our body does indeed lower its metabolism when we give it less food for an extended period of time, does it stay low forever? This is the fear of my writer with her question. Does the metabolic rate go back up when you stop eating very little, or does it get “ruined”, staying low forever and therefore making it easier to gain weight after the diet? Are we worse off trying to lose weight?

This is the question addressed by the research study I first referred to, funded by the NIH, at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine. Do people who have lost large amounts of weight through calorie restriction now have a lower metabolism because of the dieting?

For this, they compared a group of people who had lost large amounts of weight to like-sized people who had never been overweight. Working with the National Weight Control Registry, the largest and oldest longitudinal study of successful weight loss in the world, they assembled a group of documented formerly obese people who had kept the weight off for over a year,  and compared their metabolic rates and body composition with like-sized people who had never been overweight and never been on calorie restricted diets. (Even though I am one of the study subjects of the NWCR, I was not one of the participants in this study and have had no contact with the NWCR other than being one of their guinea pigs.)

The methods of assessment were not subjective reporting by participants. In other words, self-reports of metabolism like “I really don’t eat that much anymore and still gain weight” were not accepted. The RMR (resting metabolic rate) of all participants was scientifically measured using ventilated-hood, indirect calorimetry with a SensorMedics 2900 oxygen uptake system. This device measures the amount of oxygen used in the combustion of your biofuel, and therefore the amount of calories you are burning. There is no fooling this device.

They found that the metabolic rates of those who had lost a great deal of weight on long-term calorie restricted diets was no different from people who had never been “dieting”.  Losing weight on a “calorie restricted diet” does not ruin your metabolism.

The conclusion of the study? “We found no indication of increased energy efficiency in a group of individuals who have been successful in long-term weight maintenance. The RMR in this group of reduced-obese subjects was not significantly different from that in control subjects. This suggests that an increased metabolic efficiency is not an obligatory consequence of weight reduction. ”

However, you may ask, if we lose weight, is our metabolic rate lower than when we were overweight? Perhaps, slightly. As I point out in my book, The Anderson Method, your metabolic rate, without activity being considered, depends on the amount of lean body mass you have, which depends mainly on your height. If you were to reduce greatly the amount of lean body mass you have, then yes, your metabolic requirement would be lower. However, most of us who are overweight are overweight because we’ve accumulated excess fat, not excess muscle. Fat is not metabolically active like muscle, so when we lose our excess fat, it does not change our metabolic rate in any real way. This has been borne out in case after case with my clients who have their metabolic rates assessed scientifically with respiration calorimeters, like the SensorMedics 2900.  In fact, their living metabolic rates are often higher after weight loss with “calorie restrictive dieting” because they are able to get around better and they are more active.

Don’t let nonsensical diet and weight loss malarkey keep you from doing what you need to do to lose weight and have a healthier happier life. Will you need to eat less than the overindulgence we have gotten used to? Yes. Will you need to eat less for the rest of your life to keep it off? Yes. Is it awful and impossible to do this? Absolutely not.

You can learn to live in a new way that is much healthier and happier than what you’ve been doing if you are overweight. It will be work, harder than what you’ve been doing in many respects. But being overweight is not an easy road. Having been there, I know this too well. Getting healthy is work, and there are things we have to let go of and change that are hard to let go of and change. However, there is a happier and more satisfying way to live waiting for you if you want to solve your weight problem. Follow me.