As an obesity physician, I survey all of my patients about their diets. I also make note of the patients who are the most successful at losing and keeping off their weight. There is ONE trait that every successful patient shares in common. Is it their carbohydrate count? Are they vegans? Do they track their calories on an app? Are they on amphetamines? The answer may shock you…. or maybe not.
The answer: They all found their own way to sustainably lower their energy intake.
When I get a new patient coming in for weight loss, I give them my book The Fat Loss Prescription (Get through Amazon here,). I tend to push a more “Mediterranean” style low carbohydrate diet, which focuses on foods that are shown to improve mortality AND satiety (the satiety is important for sustainability). But as I work with the patients throughout the months, the diet changes into something that fits the patient’s personal preferences and life schedule.
Here is just a handful of ways they do it:
- They literally keep their same diet, but found a way to eat less of it. Maybe they eat slower now or maybe they keep the extra servings in the kitchen. Many will use salad plates instead of dinner plates to trick their mind into thinking they ate just as much. Some of then do in fact track their calories with an app and when they get to their calorie goal, they stop. This one always makes me smile because I think it is less than ideal but who the hell am I to judge?
- They went to a low carb or vegan diet (or another diet that restricts food groups). How could I lump these things together? These diets totally cut out either a whole macronutrient (like carbohydrates) or food groups (animal products). Paleo works as well for the same reason. These also entail (should anyway) increasing vegetables and other high satiety foods. Either way, many will not need to track their calories because their calories will be lowered automatically if they follow the diet correctly.
- They replaced meals. People think protein shakes are just for meat heads. However, there is a lot of evidence that replacing your meals with a low energy protein shake will increase your chances at weight loss success. You replace a high calorie meal with a low calorie, high satiating protein shake. Makes sense.
- They practice fasting. I have had some patients go to an intermittent fasting style of dieting. Whether they cut 1-2 days or restrict when they eat during the day, they find that this works better than just keeping calories controlled all day every day.
I am getting quite annoyed at the arguing over which diet is best for weight loss. There are physicians, researchers, fitness professionals, etc. who demand that their way is best. The most vocal are the low carbohydrate advocates as they blame obesity on insulin. I am an advocate of a low carbohydrate diet (especially for my insulin resistant/pre diabetic/type 2 diabetic patients). However, you would be astonished at how many of my patients who are successful who do not follow a low carbohydrate diet. It would be nice if we could just shift our efforts from arguing online to helping those who are actually in need of weight loss.
Here is the live video I did
If you would like to know more about my plan and how I do it, make sure to get my 5 Days to a Better Body and Healthier Life email course (and my Fat Loss Cheat Sheet).