beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

To find a doctor, call 800-667-5356 or click below:

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

left banner
right banner
Smaller Larger

Lose Weight Naturally

A Few Key Principles to Help You Lose Weight the Natural Way: And Keep It Off

By : Doug Bremner
Submitted 2008-05-22 08:25:43

Ever been to a country like Italy? Did you wonder why they don't have any obese people? It isn't genetics. It isn't exercise (they don't even run for the train).

It's this: they don't eat in fast food restaurants.

Why not? Because they correctly believe that their mothers can cook something for them that's just as good. When they do go to a restaurant, it's privately owned and the cook is probably someone not unlike their mother.

Although they don't know it, they also are helping their health.

Fast and chain restaurant food are the worst things ever to happen to the American diet. McDonalds, Burger King and chain restaurants like Appleby's and TGIF pile on the calories in ever expanding portions, sodium and fat all in far excess of what you need. And since there is a natural tendency to eat everything on your plate, you know the consequence of ordering off their menus.

People who eat fast food three or more times a week have a greater than 90% chance of developing heart disease or diabetes. I don't want to develop heart disease or diabetes-do you? That is why I stopped eating fast food.

And it isn't only fast food that is to blame. Chain restaurants like Appleby's and TGIF pile on the calories in ever expanding portions that are far in excess of what you need. And since there is a natural tendency to eat everything on your plate, you know the consequence.

I understand changing behavior is not easy - the temptation to take a pill to solve a problem is very appealing for many of us. Yet you know what I am going to say: excess weight is not a "genetic" problem; it is not possible for genes to account for such a dramatic change in obesity in the country in such a short period of time. The only logical explanation is the rapid shift in the amount and kinds of food we eat combined with a lack of exercise. The only lasting, healthy solution for weight loss is to eat less and move more.

It has no side effects, is free (actually saves money), and has good long-term outcome. Unlike drugs, it has also been shown to prolong your life and prevent negative health outcomes like stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and hypertension.

Miracle diets come and go, but the bottom line is we gain weight when we eat more calories than we burn, whether they are calories from carbs, protein or fat. All diets, no matter what claims they make, work because they call for calorie restriction. However, if you are overweight, you can lose excess weight by eating healthfully for your height, age, and activity level -- for moderately active women this is between 1800 and 2000 calories a day and for moderately active men it's between 2000 and 2400 calories a day. That is certainly not restrictive, but for overeaters, getting back to a normal eating level does take some getting used to. You should have less than 35% of your total calories in fat, and less than 10% in saturated fat. Exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, will speed up weight loss and give you many cardiovascular and strength benefits besides.

On a practical level, you should eliminate carbonated beverages like soda that are high in sugar content. Soda, and in fact almost all processed foods, has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose goes straight to the liver, and increases insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes. So-called "sports drinks" should be eliminated, since they are high in calories. Soda, juice, energy and sport drinks contain empty calories that will make you fat; soda and energy drinks also have caffeine that is addictive and makes you consume even more of those useless calories. If you are thirsty, drink water. Replacing sodas and juices with water will help you lose over 5 pounds per year; solving the weight problems of most people. I don't advocate drinking any minimal amount of water above what you would drink normally based on your sense of thirst because I don't think there is good evidence that it is helpful, what I think is most important is replacing calorie-containing drinks with calorie-free water.

You should limit your time at restaurants to once a week. Avoid fast food, which is usually served in excessive portion sizes: a single meal typically contains twice the fat and saturated fat that you should eat. Incorporate fresh vegetables into your meals. Eat fruit after every meal. The high fiber decreases cancer and aids digestion, as well as aiding in weight loss. Don't eat red meat more than twice a week. Eat 3 to 6 ounces of fish or shellfish twice a week or more. Watch out for the mercury in canned tuna - keep weekly consumption to no more than three six-ounce servings of tuna per week, unless you are pregnant, in which case I would avoid it altogether.

Watch out for fancy diets that promise too much. Treatments that promise to drop more than a pound a week are too good to be true. You should not follow low carbohydrate diets or other gimmicks. If you stop eating you won't necessarily lose weight-you will break down protein as fast as fat. Foods with high fiber include brown bread, brown rice, and fruit. They take longer to pass through the stomach and therefore make you feel more full.

Several studies have shown sustained weight loss with a Mediterranean diet.77 This diet is high in vegetables (550 g/day, or 20 oz/day), legumes (9 g/day or 1/3 oz/day), fruits and nuts (360 g/d or 10 oz/day), cereals (180 g/d or 6 oz/day), and fish (24 g/d, or 1 oz/day), and low in meat and poultry (120 g/d or 40 oz/day) and dairy products (200 g/d or 70 oz/day). Alcohol consumption was 10-50 g (1-4 glasses of wine) per day for men and 5-25 (1-2 glasses of wine) for women. The diet also involves a high amount of olive oil consumption, and reduces heart disease and cancer risk and prolongs life. People who followed this diet had mortality cut in half over a four year time period.

This delicious diet substitutes unsaturated fats (olive oil) for saturated and monounsaturated fats (butter, animal fat), and also has wine and nuts. Patients with heart disease who followed the Mediterranean diet had a 50-70% reduction on recurrent heart attacks. Overall, the effects of these diets were better than statins and weight loss drugs, and without side effects. You'll lose weight eating this way - and you'll look and feel great.

Author Resource:- Learn more about alternatives to medications and hidden risks of prescription medications in
Before You Take That Pill: Why the Drug Industry May be Bad for Your Health: Risks and Side Effects You Won\'t Find on the Label of Commonly Prescribed Drugs, Vitamins and Supplements
by researcher and physician J. Douglas Bremner, MD.

Article From Article Health And Fitness

Contact Information

Tanger Be Well Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Clinical Center
Ground Level
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-667-4695
617-975-5175