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Weight loss that works: A true story

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March 01, 2017

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Comments

Alizeh Jackson
April 24, 2017

Hi,
I read your blog it is very knowledgeable and interesting. I’m a professional gym trainer daily exercise and work out is very important for fitness and healthy life. Make your workout your priority.
Very good blog I love it 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

Joseph Styles
April 17, 2017

Thanks for sharing the article Monique. Obesity and more body fat can make people weak and accustomed to several diseases. Diet is the single most important thing when losing weight along with regular exercise and sipping green tea. Love the idea about self-monitoring though. This is something many people totally ignore. Stuffing down whatever is served on the plate is an unhealthy way of eating. While losing weight people should make sure they are receiving enough nutrition.

Margalit
April 12, 2017

Your story demonstrates that the NY Times is sending so the wrong message with “Americans Blame Obesity on Willpower, Despite Evidence It’s Genetic” – by stating genetic predisposition and contrasting it against will power, they are asking people to resign themselves… ah.. its in my genes, sorry. What your and thousands of story e.g. on forum.lowcarber.org show is that will power has a lot to do with it – even if some people are more genetically predisposed than others, the epidemic isn’t here because our genes changed. I had a fairly similar story except the excess weight was due to stopping smoking, so it was tempting – I knew exactly how to lose weight, but did not want to start smoking again

Dee Brown
March 10, 2017

I think (in my case also) was accepting that there are no quick fixes. Interesting article and thanks for the share

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
April 05, 2017

I agree and thank you!

Nancy Brunskole
March 09, 2017

Dr Tello

How do you feel about almond milk? Do you believe it’s more healthy than skim milk?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
April 05, 2017

Not necessarily healthier, but it is a healthy alternative. Many people cannot tolerate dairy, or can only tolerate so much. Having all the varieties of nut milk nowadays is a really nice thing for people.

Dee Williams
March 08, 2017

Thanks for this article. I too have found that whole foods worked for me when I wanted to lose weight along with drastically reducing sugar. I also found a high fat diet, as illustrated on healthyfittips.xyz also helped.

Findel
March 08, 2017

I have largely a Vegan diet but still was overweight and bloated – until I cut out bread, wheat products and dairy – lost 10 kg in 2 months and people tell me I look amazing! I eat a lot of food too, lots of olive oil and avocado.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
April 05, 2017

Yes, decreasing the amount of certain foods that more easily convert into fat can help with weight loss. However, for some people it can be very difficult and unappealing to completely exclude whole categories of food.

Kate
March 08, 2017

Hi. I too read Dr Gregers How Not to Die and have found followed his
Diet suggestions for over a year now in an attempt to reverse prediabetes, atherosclerosis, who knows what else after years of the kind of diet recommended here. I’m a 75 year old. With the diet (giving up animals and dairy ) and more exercise, I feel great. I went camping in Yosemite up 8 and 9k ft which I couldn’t have done a year ago. I also,want to keep my mind clear. Keeping my circulatory system seems to me the smartest thing I can do. As heart disease is preventable and reversible so I am hoping is dementia. It seems to me Harvards new diet is primarily plant based with small amounts of animal proteins — 200 mg. Why not give it up? I’m a foodie and enjoying my new way of life. Oh and I lost 10 pounds without counting calories.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
April 05, 2017

Sounds like veganism is working well for you! That’s nice, but it can be really hard for people to completely cut out all animal meats/ products. I think a diet that is largely based in fruits and veggies with occasional animal protein is fine as well, and the world would be a better place if we all adopted some version of that.

Mrs. Vida Commey
March 07, 2017

Thank you Doc. for your submission.
Please are groundnuts okay, i mean a lot of them when you want to loose weight?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
April 05, 2017

Like peanuts? These are healthy, in moderation. They are concentrated sources of calories, so one needs to watch the intake.

Doris
March 07, 2017

Out of curiosity, which commercial diet did you (more or less) follow?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Hi Doris, South Beach, but not to a “T”. I never eliminated any food groups completely (like, fruit). And I never bought any prepared foods. It was kind of the “hot” diet at the time.

T.Fox
March 07, 2017

I like this article and my heart goes out to everyone struggling with obesity. I think the comments demonstrate that no one method works for everyone. Because of both mental and physical genetic variation we must find the way that works for us. Clearly physical activity and essential nutrients are play a huge role in health and weight loss. How you accomplish these goals can be done in may ways. Thanks for sharing this info.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

ThaddeusMbabazi
March 07, 2017

Good and educative article. We must discipline ourselves otherwise we commit suicide. We are killing ourselves through our eating habits and lifestyles. Thanks for demonstrating to us that nothing is impossible with discipline. This formula has less financial implications – yet it reduces expenditures on foodstuffs

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Thanks- a diet high in fruits and veggies can seem like it’s going to be expensive, but there are ways to stay on budget, you are correct. Frozen produce, CSA’s, cooking in bulk are all useful tricks.

Keresi Finiasi
March 07, 2017

Thank you so much for this beautiful article..i have never had problems with weight loss until after i had my last child and hysterectomy years later because i am always finding myself going back to the gym which has helped me greatly.Lately I have found it difficult to lose the pounds because I mess up my diet plans and think it wont work , so I give up..thank you for encouraging us forgive ourselves and continue on with the diet..i am now encouraged and energised the to do it once again..

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Oh, wonderful! Yes, forgive yourself and move on towards your goals, and you will do fine!

Vakhar Samkhanov
March 06, 2017

I’m not an expert, but I read the article and follow-up comments with great interest. Thank you.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

It is kind of entertaining, isn’t it?

Mark
March 06, 2017

Sorry, I should have read those articles on carbohydrate in full first before I got on my soap box. They’re inaccurate too. In 2015 the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), advisors to the UK government, did a meta-analysis of all the best research and found none of the effects on health, i.e. heart disease, cancer and diabetes, reported by small scale studies and the likes of Robert Lustig. Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-carbohydrates-and-health-report
Demonising whole food groups isn’t helping anyone. Yes, cut down refined flour but only because it lacks fibre and micronutrients such as folate. Sugar isn’t great for your teeth and easy to over-consume, which is really the actual problem. It’s simple maths, consume more than you burn, regardless of whether it’s fat, sugar or protein, you gain weight. Consume less than you burn, you lose it.

I will say the report above does note a casual link between sugary drinks and type 2 diabetes but, as they suggest, more research is needed. It doesn’t really make sense. Soda raises blood sugar no faster than a banana (glycaemic index). Also, why not confectionary too?

Lucia
March 07, 2017

Food is information regarding of the numbers. It’s not just simple maths. Calories in vs Calories out will have an very different outcome in someone who consumes a healthy mainly plant based diet than someone who just eats junk. We are much more complex than that type of old school thinking.
Also, “demonising food groups”???. as far as I know Flour and sugar are not food groups. They might be part of one but sure as hell do not compriseone. The author never wrote she stayed away from carbs but simply stated what worked for her by staying away from sugar and flour. Many people have been successful at eliminating anti-inflammatory foods in their weight loss efforts. Bashing people’s personal experience in the efforts of conveying your own perception and information is not kind. You are not right and she is not wrong. We are all different.

Bill Sutton
March 06, 2017

Bill

I started my journey just about 1 year ago to the day and have lost 42 lbs. The hard part will be keeping it off. I used the same ideas as the author and will tell you they work. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself if you slip up. Log your food and by all means do your exercise. My wife and I walk approximately 2 miles a day in addition to the normal walking we do around the house.

It also helps to have a partner to whom you are accountable!

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment! Thansk so much for sharing your experience and your tips!

Mark
March 06, 2017

I’m a nutrition graduate (MSc dietetics student) and I’m frankly shocked that this has been allowed to be published. It’s borderline “clean eating”, now proving to be an antecedent to eating disorders and pro Atkins. It also contradicts other articles written by Harvard: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/low-carbohydrate-diets/
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/

Contradictory, confusing and purely anecdotal.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Yes, it is purely my experience and my take on the data, I am pretty honest about that.

Frank Schnur
March 06, 2017

Keep researching. I’ve recovered from sciatica pain, lost 19 lbs, dramtically reduced my cholesterol and lowered by blood pressure from 137/93 to 125/89 in 3 months ! Read Dr Greger’s book: “How Not to Die” and Dr Campbell’s book: “The China Study.” Watch the documentary “Forks Over Knives.” Look up Dr Ornish, Dr Barnard and Dr Esselstyn. I’m convinced that eliminating all (or almost all) animal protein from your diet is the way to go. There’s a mountain of evidence that shows a whole food, plant based diet can prevent many cancers including prostate and breast cancer and even reverse many major diseases like heart disease (Dr Esselstyn). Dairy is very bad for you, your patients and your kids. But, don’t take my word for it, you’re a doctor, do the research. Dr Greger’s book references thousands of studies. May be the best place to start.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

That’s great that you have had success with a diet that you enjoy! Everyone is different, and many diets will work.

Rory
March 06, 2017

I already have type 2 diabites, high cholesterol and tryglicerides. My downfall is an addiction to bad carbohydrates, especially bread and butter. I’ve tried to resist but I can’t fight the cravings. Is there anything that can help?

Naomi
March 06, 2017

Excuse me for butting in; I’m just a passer-by but:

It seems you are talking of white bread and there is NEVER any reason to eat that. A seedy, fibrous, whole wheat bread, thinly sllced, is the way to go; it gives you many nutrients, fiber and a delicious taste treat.
Try it, you’ll like it.

Naomi

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Hi Rory, as someone has mentioned, you can try healthier substitutions. But there really exist issues such as food addictions, and these may be best addressed with a psychiatrist, therapist or a specially trained nutritionist who can help you work through it. I don’t know your case, but for others, overeating or overeating certain foods is self-medication, as it can trigger similar neurochemical responses to certain drugs.

Josh Poznanski
March 06, 2017

Great Article but so way OFF THE MARK to such a degree as to make me cry. Controlling weight gain can only be done by controlling, and reducing, blood levels of INSULIN – and there is no medication that can do that. But, and its a big BUT, one can reduce Insulin very precisely by eliminating sugar and carbohydrates from the diet and fasting, preferably at least 16 hours (I try for 20 hours) between meals. I am a type two diabetic of 25 years duration, and have been doing this for 3 months and not one hypoglycemic attack during this time with a weight loss of 19kgs, down to 69Kgs. To prevent hunger add a healthy, natural fat, such as butter, to your diet. Does wonders. If I understand it correctly the reduction of Insulin below a certain level allows the body access to the body’s fat stores so that it can finally burn off these fat stores.stores. Once Insulin reaches a certain blood level it PREVENTS the burning of fat stores – hence the need to FAST and reduce the Insulin. The fasting is also wonderful for Calorie restriction and it’s benefits. – Just my two cent’s worth – hope its been useful.

Ed Clark
March 06, 2017

your reply is not very useful to me, and I find your “made me cry” most hyperbolic and disparaging; especially since you’re wrong on many counts.

you’re half-right on most of what you’ve written. Anyone who wants to correct what I’m writing, please feel free, I welcome it. My ego is not involved in this conversation. 🙂

you’re partially describing a ketogenic diet. Instead of getting energy from carbs, you get energy from (good) fat; the intro of sugar into your system is slower and so the pancreas doesn’t have to produce as MUCH insulin; recent British studies show that a pancreas can rejuvenate itself and increase its ability to produce more insulin after given “rehab” time off from constantly producing insulin, too! Amazing.
The ketogenic diet also has been proven most helpful to epileptic folks, by increasing the ketones in the body’s system.
And if you noticed, in the article, the phrase “for those who don’t have medical or psychological issues” – believe that that includes DIABETICs.

And the BAD thing about fasting is that it signals to the body to go into survival mode (since it doesn’t know when the next food is coming in, after about 3 hours; it pays to keep the furnace stoked and the metabolism rate higher. Fasting lowers the metabolism and burns much less fat (or carbs) or protein.

And another point is that, if you keep carbohydrates low (25-100g per day), and get some added protein without too much saturated fat, the body will use the FAT provided, since the carb count is kept low. If carbs aren’t used, the sugar level doesn’t spike, and no insulin is created by pancreas.

I was diagnosed diabetic, with A1C of 8.8. Three months of my own low-sugar diet (almond milk instead of cow milk, e.g.) and my A1C just got reported to me as 6.5! And my cholesterol level went from 165 to 145 in the same 90 days. I also lost 30+ lbs (now 38) (USA) – what is that 13.5kg? From 302 to 264.6lbs.
At least 50lbs more to go.

And as far as keeping it off, not something that I’ve ever done for long, successfully, the threat of diabetes (just had a guitar-playing friend lose a toe from undiagnosed diabetes) is an adequate motivation to KEEP the weight off.

I’m not trying to disparage or be critical of anyone but incorrect information is incorrect information and I have to say about your parentage or character for providing it. LOL

Background:
I’m a USAF Viet vet; 66 years of age; diagnosed with hernias (surgery not required now); nerve impingement that I just fully recovered from (it happened a couple of months before the diabetes diagnosis). Now I have to rebuild atrophied leg muscles from when the nerves were not innervating the muscles in my left side – the feeling in my arm came back the next day, but numbess from waist down on left side for a few months – some chiro, mainly a lot of scans (MRI, cardiac ultr-sound, etc.) to insure that it wasn’t a stroke.
The hilarious part of this (there were many!) is that I got the Diabetes II diagnosis the day before Thanksgiving. LOL
No, I started the diet the following Monday after a lovely Virginia Beach vacation. 🙂

William R Edwards
March 06, 2017

As an exercise physiologist, life coach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor for many years I have promoted these ideas and they work. Not only does this approach effectively result in a sustainable weight loss, it promotes good health in general. At age 73 I have had bypass surgery and lived many years with advanced prostate cancer. Walking the walk has kept me fit and healthy regardless of my diseases. I test in the excellent percentile in ACSM fitness tests for my age, actually in the good percentile for 50 year old men. Remember that the three pillars of good health are: routine exercise, healthy diet and positive attitude.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

I do agree with you, and I am glad that you have had such good health!

Andrea
March 06, 2017

Many people think that they can eat what they want if they take Lipitor. Lipitor doesn’t seem to take care of triglycerides. However, drop the junk foods, processed foods and stick with a plant based diet and you’ll see those triglyceride levels drop. So…. taking Lipitor but still eating whatever your sweet/ salty tooth desires, your triglycerides may still be high. Ouch!

Ciccia
March 06, 2017

“Look, we’re human. Birthdays, office parties, weddings, random movie nights: they happen, and we celebrate by having the amazing chocolate cake, or Betsy’s famous buffalo chicken dip, waaaay too much champagne, or buttered popcorn. Expect this, enjoy, and then move on.”
The above exceptions may work for some overweight people. But both in my practice as a psychologist and from personal experience I can attest to the fact that such exceptions can be disastrous. There is increasing evidence of an addictive component to overeating, especially when it comes to sugar and refined grains such as those in pasta and bread products. For many people, suggesting that an occasional indulgence is OK is tantamount to telling an alcoholic s/he can have an occasional beer. Its much easier not to start than to stop. After a few months of eliminating sugar and flour from one’s diet, those “occasional treats” will seem unhealthy and the high likelihood that eating them will trigger a cascade of further unwanted cravings will serve as ample deterrent to indulging in them. I have stayed off those “treats” for over 8 years, eating ample amounts of fruits, nuts, raw and cooked veggies, beans, fish, chicken and small amounts of cheese, oatmeal and brown rice and I have never enjoyed food as much as I do now

samar singh
March 06, 2017

I am a 70 year old prostate cancer patient. My doctor did a series of tests and passed me to his nutritionist while telling my wife that I would not die of cancer but of a heart attack. I was keeping blood sugar at about 130 ng/dl without any medication and had thought that was fine. It is not!
The nutritionist has slowly led me into a ketogenic diet and within 2 months my PSA has gone from 8 to 6.6 and the latest reading is 6.0. I have gone from 62 kilos to 58 kilos in about 2 weeks and it is fair to say that I do not feel hungry although I have one meal or at most 2 meals a day. I jog almost every day for about 60 minutes keeping my heart rate above 120. My diet bothers everyone else but not me.
A couple of learnings. Firstly, there are so many sources of sugar in food outside our home that I realize it is best to accept an increase in blood sugar if one is eating out. Secondly, I used to love bread but I have not had a toast in 2 months so one can get used to it.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Absolutely, and why we screen for eating disorders such as food addiction/ binge eating disorder before making any recommendations. (See first part of the article) These are distinct and complex medical/ psychological issues that need to be specifically addressed and treated very differently than what I have outlined here. I am in agreement with you.

Linda Webster
March 06, 2017

I am not as much in favor of ‘forgiving’ as you mention. Let’s be honest about realizing that if you want good health, stop giving in to the miriad of food temptations. I am in my 70’s and hear all the time from my contemporaries that they think keeping to a good eating regime is only necessary if one has a ‘health problem’. The most valuable asset we all have the potential to possess is good health.

Among older people, much of their disability is due to lax attitudes toward diet and exercising, and always forgiving themselves for eating more than they should, approaching exercise as if it is something only for the young.

Linda W

Andrea
March 06, 2017

If your contemporaries don’t keep to a good eating regime sooner or later they will have a health problem!

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
March 07, 2017

Ah! The difference between what you are describing and what I encourage is the concept of the occasional treat. I really mean occasional treat. That can mean different things to different people, but generally should mean that MOST of the time, one is sticking to one’s healthful diet. But even if one indulges in a weeklong all-you-can-eat cruise, one should still be able to forgive oneself and move on, pick up where they left off, or progress will not occur.

Reuben
March 03, 2017

Overall, great article! Especially the emphasis on self acceptance, which is often lost in weight loss plans playing on false notions “transformation” and “finding the new you,” while subliminally encouraging body-shaming along the way. I do have a question about the very last sentence of the article though. You specify that these things work “for average adults who do not have contributing medical or psychological issues,” but what about those who do have such issues?

Dr. Tello
March 05, 2017

Absolutely! Doctors are supposed to consider, screen for, and treat any underlying issues that could be causing weight gain or difficulty losing weight. As above, “Once we screen for (and treat) any contributing medical problems that could be causing weight gain (low thyroid function, polycystic ovarian syndrome, prediabetes, among others), or psychological issues (bulimia, binge-eating disorder, depression, anxiety), I encourage a diet-and-lifestyle approach for many reasons, among them my own personal experience.”

Ramon
March 02, 2017

Como conocedor sobre este tema me gustaría añadir en este comentario que mucha gente quiere perder peso muy rápido y no saben los problemas de salud que esto le puede acarrear, por lo tanto quisiera decirles que una dieta correcta, equilibrada y de sentido común y con un tiempo lo suficientemente largo es cuando se puede llegar a tener éxito.

Tim
March 01, 2017

This article is excellent! Many people struggle realizing that although they can lose weight fast, it does not happen overnight and takes work. Much of that work being outside of the gym in their day to day lives whether it be eating or maintaining the proper mindset. Check out a few weight loss techniques here: grab.fitbytim.com/weightloss

Dr. Tello
March 05, 2017

Thanks Tim!

Randy Smith
March 01, 2017

If you or someone you love suffers from obesity, I can HIGHLY recommend “The Obesity Code” by Dr. Jason Fung https://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Code-Unlocking-Secrets-Weight/dp/1771641258/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
he has a website too. Oh, and down 140 pounds and counting.

Josh Poznanski
March 06, 2017

Yes, Dr Jason Fung’s work needs to be highly commended, and his Book “The Complete Guide to Fasting”, is a great guide. He also has a wonderful way of explaining this issue and has a wonderful series of videos on Youtube – just enter Jason Fung into you tube and the whole series shows up.

MedShape Weight Loss Clinic
March 01, 2017

Having the right attitude plus exercise is the best and healthiest way of losing weight. Cutting calories is vital too. One just needs to be consistent in his/her weight loss efforts to really succeed.

Dr. Tello
March 05, 2017

Agreed!

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