For the past year I have subscribed to an excellent blog called “Weighty Matters” written by MD Yoni Freedhoff.1 He is an associate professor in Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and an international expert in weight loss. His posts are always sharp and relevant, with many practical suggestions for those struggling with their weight. He has also written “The Diet Fix”: the best book on weight management I have ever read.2
In his book, Dr. Freedhoff discusses the common myths of dieting, and then provides a 10-day “re-set” plan to counter all these myths. He provides a means to succeed with permanent weight loss WITHOUT SUFFERING! How revolutionary! The secrets are thinking, planning, organizing, and reflecting. Of course, these simple tools require a bit of practice to develop. Yoni calls this “skill-power”, as opposed to “willpower”.
Myth #1: weight loss is all about willpower. Diets work, it’s we who fail, right? Wrong: countering the obesity epidemic requires societal change and re-thinking our approach to food, especially processed foods. Cheap calories are everywhere, and eating out is way more frequent than ever before. Until society changes, we need to develop skill-power, not willpower.
Myth #2: losing weight must be difficult, requiring suffering, sacrifice, and struggle. Wrong: improve your path and make living with less calories easier. Food offers pleasure and comfort, and food is important socially. Change “blindly restrictive” into “thoughtfully reductive” and there are no longer any forbidden foods. Just eat the minimum amount you need to be happy.
Myth #3: don’t eat unless you’re hungry. Wrong: hunger is not your friend. When you are hungry, it’s harder to make a healthy, calorie-conscious choice. Organize your meals and snacks to prevent hunger. If you plan a high-calorie night out, don’t skimp all day and show up hungry. Instead, pre-eat to help you indulge less, avoiding excess while still enjoying yourself.
Myth #4: fitness is more important than food in managing your weight. Wrong. Here is my favorite line in the whole book: “YOU CAN”T OUTRUN YOUR FORK!”. Exercise is very important for your overall health, and my number one piece of anti-aging advice, but it’s not the principal driver of weight loss. It’s much easier to lose weight in the kitchen than in the gym. Yes, you should enjoy some daily physical activity, but the key is to make the right dietary choices.
Dr. Freedhoff addresses a number of other myths as well, including the idea of “cheat days” and the uselessness of weight-loss supplements. He also discusses how to transition from other weight-loss approaches using his 10-day “re-set”. The most important ingredient is patience: the desired outcome is not rapid weight-loss but maintaining a healthy weight long-term. I strongly endorse the methods outlined in “The Diet Fix”. Stop dieting and start living. If permanent weight loss is one of your goals for 2015, check it out.
Your partner in Living Longer Better,
Dr. Grant Pagdin MD
2. Freedhoff, Y. The Diet Fix: Why Everything You’ve Been Taught About Dieting Is Wrong And How To Fix It. Random House ISBN 978-0-345-81358-9, 2014 http://www.amazon.com/The-Diet-Fix-Diets-Yours/dp/0804137579
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