Weight Loss thru Lifestyle, Not Diet
Posted On Apr 16, 2012
With obesity sweeping the country, Smart for Life is countering with a special approach to dieting: Eating your cake—or cookies—and having it too!
By: Paige Herman-Axel
There’s no question that America is facing an obesity epidemic. The numbers of overweight and obese Americans climb year after year, and this trend is showing no sign of slowing. Nearly 34 percent of adults are now obese, more than double the percentage three decades ago. Vanity aside, our country will feel the effects of this weight problem for decades to come, since the health consequences of obesity include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, many types of cancer and even joint problems.
So how did this happen?
“It’s not just calories in and calories out,” explains weight loss expert and author of Why You Can’t Lose Weight: Why It’s So Hard to Shed Pounds and What You Can Do About It, Pamela Smith, MD. “If it were that simple, everyone would be the weight they want to be.” According to Dr. Smith, allergies, hormones, stress, lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle and even the medications we take play a role.
Smart For Life founder Sasson Moulavi, MD, agrees that times have changed and contributed to this obesity epidemic. “Americans have been trained to eat three big meals a day, and our bodies are not designed to work this way. Cavemen put any food they were able to get in their mouths. The stomach only has the ability to digest a fistful of food at a time, but if the caveman got lucky and got more, his body would store the excess calories—but this wasn’t a daily occurrence as it is today.”
Dr. Smith agrees that the amount of food most of us eat is problematic. “Plates are bigger than they used to be and people have no idea about portions.” A big breakfast makes matters worse, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike early, leading most people to chase that sugar high all day. Dr. Moulavi and Dr. Smith both say that the body needs five small meals a day to get the protein it needs—and curb hunger.
What You Can Do
Dr. Moulavi struggled with his weight for years before collaborating with a variety of medical specialists to create Smart for Life—but it didn’t happen overnight. “It took time for the plan to evolve, and today we have the best ingredients for weight loss and the research to show it works.” According to Dr. Moulavi, the average Smart for Life patient loses 13 pounds a month through a supervised program that involves meal replacements and sensible-sized meals. (The number of each per day can vary since the program is customized for individual patients.) He says the plan’s success rate is 30-40%, which is high in terms of weight loss.
Gina Sheppard, 54, was one of those successful patients. On the path to obesity at 262 pounds, “I felt like I was at death’s door,” she recalls. Sheppard lost 108 pounds in eight months on Smart for Life. Her program limited her to 800 calories a day, despite eating three meal replacement “supplements” and three small meals a day—without ever feeling hungry.
“We spend too much time obsessing about food,” says Dr. Moulavi. According to him, the beauty of Smart for Life is that, “We have made weight loss brainless—our patients don’t even have to think about it.” His weight loss plan is about getting all of the nutrients of a well-balanced meal in the form of a minimally-processed natural and organic cookie, protein bar, muffin, or shake (or one of Smart for Life’s other products—Sheppard loves the plain and garlic bagel chips.) These essential nutrients include protein, fish oil, complex carbohydrates and fiber, without the extra sugar and flour that can derail any weight loss plan.
There are a variety of other weight loss programs that use meal replacement as a means for weight loss, but very few include the one-on-one supervision that is necessary for long-term results. According to Dr. Smith, “Studies have shown that patients with
constant medical follow-up do better, and those who don’t see a physician don’t maintain weight loss as well.”
Maintaining Weight Loss
After any weight loss plan, the next obstacle is maintenance. Dr. Moulavi and Dr. Smith agree that a change in lifestyle is essential for keeping weight off. According to Dr. Moulavi, “Establishing healthy eating habits and exercise are essential, because without these, virtually every patient gains the weight back. A little gain is normal, but replacing one meal a day with a Smart for Life product and exercising go a long way.”
Dr. Smith also stresses the importance of encouragement to reinforce the lifestyle changes that are necessary to maintain weight loss. “Meeting with a physician, psychologist or nutritionist regularly or partaking in group activities help, since most people are not successful by themselves.” Another key to maintaining weight is how you react when you slip up. Dr. Smith says, “Don’t get frustrated. Everyone falls off the wagon. Just get right back on and start all over the next day.”
Dr. Smith’s Weight Loss “Do’s”
1. Eat five small meals a day. This keeps
blood sugar and insulin levels stable—
and ensures you don’t overeat.
2. Take supplements. Omega-3s,
multivitamins and probiotics support
3. Exercise. Aim to double your pulse for
20 minutes three times per week.