By Habib Wicks, PEERtrainer co-founder
At PEERtrainer we have been following Stephen Covey's advice, being very mindful of the space between stimulus and response, following the publication of an article on the difficulty of weight loss from a widely followed blogger at the New York Times.
Many people have read the article and asked our opinion of it, because the conclusion it reaches is completely, 180 degrees opposite of everything we have learned running this company. We have talked to a lot of people in our industry, and also considered our own experience helping guide people toward healthy, long term weight loss.
One of the more thoughtful (and measured) responses was from our friend Dr. Joel Fuhrman, which we have included in this post.
Our own quick summary of the situation is that the writer named Tara Parker-Pope managed to conclude that weight loss was futile for most people based on a) a study that showed people failing at long term weight loss on a low nutrient, low calorie diet and b) her own personal experience where she has failed to lose the 60 pounds she has gained since her high school graduation.
Our Key Point: One of the reasons that we have reacted so strongly to Tara Parker-Pope is that we have a situation where someone who has admittedly failed at figuring out how to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way, has somehow managed to widely influence the way people think.
Not only are there diet approaches which get people out of the cycle of failure that Parker-Pope is trapped in, there are tens of thousands of people at PEERtrainer who have been through our free and paid programs who have experienced breaking this cycle.
We see that when people 1) incorporate nutrient density as a core part of their long term eating plan, 2) explore the removal of toxic foods to see how they react to things like wheat, eggs, dairy and corn and 3) take an in-depth account of how they make decisions- incredible progress can be made.
This happens every single day, and the pattern repeats itself with such clockwork regularity that we want to literally scream when someone says that losing weight is just not possible, because they are following the wrong plan.
To compound matters for Tara Parker-Pope, she recently revealed in an interview with Jean Fain that her plan this year to lose weight is to "be mindful" of what she eats and exercise between 90 minutes and two hours a day.
It doesn't take an expert in logic to conclude that the likelihood of her actually exercising this much is very low. And that her attempts to "be mindful" have clearly not worked!
PEERtrainer's Advice To Tara Parker Pope
Since Ms. Parker-Pope is very likely to read this post, we would ask you to do what we advise everyone who comes through PEERtrainer to do. First, pick up a copy of Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman MD. And when you do, make sure you understand the concept of nutrient density and apply it.
Second, we'd strongly encourage you to check out this interview with weight loss resistance expert JJ Virgin, PhD. In the interview that she conducted with my wife and PEERtrainer co-founder, Jackie Wicks, she goes over a "cleanse" protocol that helps you see what foods you might react to. There are many ways to implement this protocol, but the bulk of what you need to know is right on that page.
In our experience, when you combine these two approaches, it becomes a lot easier to lose weight. And since Parker-Pope made herself a personal example, I want to point out that Jackie currently weighs what she did at her high school graduation.
In fact, there is nobody that we work with at PEERtrainer who is not in excellent shape, because we make sure that everyone we work with and present walks their talk. Now, we do understand that someone who is engaged in a struggle deserves compassion, and that someone who is publicly talking about their own struggle is displaying enormous courage.
But that same person cannot possibly be in a position to influence the debate, at all.
One person who is in a position to influence the debate is Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who has an amazing track record at helping many obese and sick people recover.
Dr. Fuhrman's Comment:
"The article perpetuates the simplistic and most common error in the dietary arena; that is focusing on dietary quantity instead of dietary quality. Calorie counting diets almost never work because people are never satisfied with eating less and their metabolism slows as they reduce calories.
My advice is of a completely different nature, because my discovery and studies show (Nutrition Journal Nov 2011) that nutritional quality reduces food cravings, reduces appetite and has people prefer fewer calories. Furthermore the anti-angiogenic qualities of the healthiest foods interfere with fat storage by the body.
The metabolic rate can only slow so much, and one's desire for food reduces to match a healthy (slower) metabolism perfectly. In other words while the rest of the world is trying to speed up their metabolism so they can eat more and still lose weight, I am encouraging people to slow down their metabolism, so they will age slower, protect themselves against cancer and then they can comfortable eat less without getting too thin.
Once you eat right, you simply enjoy eating more but do not enjoy overeating anymore. If Tara Parker-Pope was right anorexics would all be obese too. It’s H = N/C, that means taking in fewer calories in a high nutrient environment is the secret to cancer protection and dramatic increases in life expectancy. The rest of the diet world needs to better understand my work, because they are all ignorant in this area. The healthiest diet leads to a healthy weight."
The H=N/C means Health = Nutrients Over Calories. If you go into any Whole Foods in the US, you'll see this formula applied to many of the fresh foods in the store. John Mackey, Co-CEO of Whole Foods, has been a strong advocate of the work of Dr. Furhrman, and has had some good success recently getting his own employee base to lose weight and get healthy by incorporating this general idea of nutrient density.
Tara Parker-Pope might be well served to directly speak with both Fuhrman and Mackey and hear from both of them directly about this whole subject.
Like What You've Read? ... Republish It And Share The Good Health!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Marketers, Media, Webmasters and More...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. If you'd like to share any of the informative articles on PEERtrainer.com, you may republish or syndicate without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted, with no changes whatsoever. You also need to include the following attribution statement and link to our website:
"This information is provided by PEERtrainer.com, the web's leading weight loss community and resource for long term, healthy weight loss success. To sign up for free daily weight loss and motivation tips and more visit http://www.peertrainer.com."
Wow great response----I read her article and I agree with you------it was very "it's not your fault" and full of half truths and excuses ! I work hard every day at keeping my weight down----plan, shop, cook, monitor, and go to the gym. It's not easy, but I like the way I feel and look. Being "mindful" is delusional. And 60 lbs overweight is A LOT of fat. Been there.
Posted by: Kathleen | 01/09/2012 at 04:20 PM
Claiming that Tara Parker-Pope "isn't possibly in a position to influence the debate, at all" because she has a personal struggle with her weight is insulting and ridiculous.
Posted by: Jobo | 01/09/2012 at 05:41 PM
Jobo- how so? If you were learning how to swim would you take lessons from someone who couldn't swim?
Posted by: PEERtrainer | 01/09/2012 at 06:40 PM
Well, I sort-of see what Tara was trying to say in her article. Those of us who do not like the taste of most nutrient-dense foods will ALWAYS gain the weight back. It's pure miserable going through life eating only foods that you despise, so we inadvertently end up back where we started. The more dieting I do, the bigger I get. My weight leveled off only when I stopped dieting and did not restrict myself from anything. I don't like the extra weight, but I'm still comfortable and content everyday.
Posted by: Mike | 01/09/2012 at 07:20 PM
Mike- it can take some work to learn how to cook and order- but once you make the shift you'll never go back. You probably would do well with a shake a day and blend some greens into that.
Posted by: Weight Loss | 01/09/2012 at 07:36 PM
Thank you for this post. I have been a plant-based eater for almost 4 years, after having read Eat to Live. When I read the NY Times post, I felt she was totally on the wrong track. I actually agree that relying on willpower is a mistake but that's because I don't think willpower is what it takes to make a huge change. While there are many components to successful change, I find the biggest ones are education and conviction. Once I had the right information and felt strongly about it - i.e., believe it with every fiber of my being (which I did after reading the fabulous information in Eat to Live) - it was VERY easy to make the switch to a healthy diet. Of course there was a big learning curve and certain frustrations, but never a question of going back to a SAD way of eating. Thanks for your post.
Posted by: Abigail | 01/09/2012 at 08:37 PM
Thanks guys for all of the great info you share. And thanks to Dr. Fuhrman and others like him who are seeking to help the hurting with the truth, not get kickbacks from the USDA, Con-Agra, etc....
Posted by: Copywriterwisc | 01/10/2012 at 07:27 AM
I have to disagree with your analysis of the article. I took away from the article that it is difficult to maintain weight loss but not impossible. Most people have this "diet" mentality where they will lose weight and then go back to their old lifestyle and expect to maintain the weight loss. The article's point is that this will not work. Your body changes when you lose weight (I think this is not in dispute), and you will have to change your lifestyle if you want to maintain your weight loss, which is your point as well.
Posted by: Joanne | 01/10/2012 at 09:43 AM
Joanne- right, but the article gives no idea of what will work, and leaves the reader with the impression of hopelessness. That was the takeaway from much of the response that we saw- from our perspective, this is the WRONG conclusion to draw, based on our considerable experience.
Posted by: PEERtrainer | 01/10/2012 at 10:18 AM
It is hard to maintain if you have ever been truly obese. It's awesome that Jackie can wear the same size she wore in high school, but that is not everyone's story. I lost 130 pounds about 6 years ago. The 100 is gone, but I keep struggling with the 30. I read Fuhrman and I agree with him, but it is not always easy. Especially in our toxic environment. We KNOW the answer is to eat more veggies! It's the only thing you can truly pig out on.
Posted by: Cyndi | 01/10/2012 at 04:38 PM