(c) Dieting: general concepts

Your goal is actually fat loss, not weight loss. Weight can change because of water retention, hormonal variations in women and changes in muscle mass.  You should follow progress with a mirror and measuring tape, not the scale. Weight needs to be recorded no more than once per week.

To lose weight, you have to decrease the number of calories ingested (diet) or burn more of them (exercise). Even with exhausting exercise is difficult to burn enough calories. The only practical alternative is a controlled diet.  There are multiple kinds of diets.  You can lose some weight with any of them.  However, most are unsustainable (mainly because they contain nothing fun to eat!), unhealthy or both. The ideal diet has to be simple to follow, have reduced calories, contain nutritious aliments and be tasteful. The best diet is the one you can stick for life and we will help you to design one.

The food macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. One gram of protein produces a net calorie gain of 4, one gram of protein produces 4 calories and one of fat 9 calories.  Based on our experience and recent research, we recommend a diet rich in proteins and fats with reduced carbohydrates.  High protein diets reduce hunger, increase metabolism and prevent muscle loss normally associated with weight loss.  Although fats produce more calories per each gram consumed, they induced more satiety.  Together with proteins, they improve flavor, making diets tastier and also help to induce ketosis.

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain nutrients like vitamins and other essential constituents, in addition to fiber.  Fiber have multiple benefits that include satiety and control the intestinal flora (microbiome).  They rank high in the list of favored foods. Within this group, eat more frequently the fruits with less sugar and plenty of green fresh vegetables.

Many products in our modern diet are made of highly refined (processed) carbohydrates (carbs) with no residual fibers or other micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.  They include refined sugars such as sucrose (table sugar) or high fructose corn syrup. Processed carbs also include refined grains. They are rapidly converted into sugars. They include white flour made from wheat (used to make bread, pastas), white rice, processed foods such as pastries and breakfast cereals.  Because they are low in fiber and are digested quickly, eating refined carbs cause major swings in blood sugar and contribute to over eating and diabetes (probably through leptin resistance). Check the percent of carbohydrates and sugar indicated in the package labels whenever possible. However, this is not enough.  Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Gram per gram, some increase more the blood sugar (glycemia) when ingested (see glycemic index table).

Cooking at home whenever possible has multiple advantages.  Ready to eat processed food (frozen and otherwise) bought at the grocery as well as restaurant meals have many unknown components, usually including excess fats, sugars and salt.

Cutting calories will improve your health (lowering cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure for instance) even if you do not lose weight. However, your focus should be on the overall quality of your diet, not on calorie counting.  For instance, highly processed meals will affect the body differently than from unprocessed meals with an identical nutrient profile. Processed foods often add unnecessary sugars or dangerous trans-fats. Another big problem is that the average American ingests about a quarter of the daily calories from snacks that tend to be processed with added salt and sugar.  Read labels and make substitutions.

You need to complement the local fat melting performed in our office by commanding the food that you eat. Most diets work, at least for a while. Why people do not stick to them?  One reason is that diets may be complicated, because of need to count calories and the like. Or they are not tasteful or make you feel sick.

Our approach is to help you to learn to eat healthy without feeling that you are actually dieting.  We avoid strict or crazy restrictions. It is very simple: (1) control portions over time (we will give you some techniques); (2) choose from a large variety of healthy foods, but giving preference to those with lower caloric content (we will list them); and (3) use macronutrient proportions favoring proteins and fats over carbs. We recommend a very low carb, high protein, near normal fat diet.  Even with modest reduction on calories, it produces weight loss that is sustainable over time because of the high degree of compliance and long-term correction of the hormonal imbalance.

Remember: you have the power and the freedom to have the body you want by deciding how  you eat. Your improving mirror body image is going to be the main motivation factor. You will freely choose which foods that fit into your diet program, ending up with a list of foods from all categories. Our focus is on properly nourishing your body.  Weight loss will be a side effect.

NEXT: How to control calories with minimal effort (Click).

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