June 2015 | Dr. Stephen Gullo

Monthly Archives: June 2015

Can You Be Obese and Fit?

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Obesity is linked to so many health complications, from infertility issues to type 2 diabetes to symptoms of arthritis. Aside from the medical problems, most people pursue weight loss to feel and look better. As I’ve pointed out before, you’ll have to wear the food that you choose to eat. But is it possible to be fit and obese? A study published in the European Heart Journal that analyzed over 43,000 participants acknowledged the many medical complications of obesity, but went on to state that some obese people may have a reduced risk of complications because of their metabolic health.

Metabolic health is determined by factors like cholesterol and blood pressure. Unsurprisingly, the obese participants who were metabolically healthy had a reduced risk of obesity-related problems, as compared to non-metabolically healthy obese people. However, the study author does not suggest that the results of the study provide an excuse to delay weight loss. Rather, he suggests that exercise should be promoted along with diet to fight the obesity epidemic. It should also be pointed out that insulin resistance was not measured in the study. So when you’re planning out your weight loss meal plan, don’t neglect to schedule in blocks of time for regular exercise. If you loathe the gym, go for a hike with a friend, walk your dog, or try a yoga class.

Is Clutter A Symptom of Weight Loss Failure?

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We’ve all had times where we’re a little messier around the house than we’d like to be. But could seemingly harmless clutter be an early warning sign of weight loss failure? And moreover, could this effect women more than men?

A weight loss study on domestic habits might just ruffle some domestic feathers. Dr. Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Arnold School of Public Health, and his colleagues extended a 2011 report that states that in the last 50 years, most American workers have been –(surprise!) –sitting down on the job, with very little physical activity. This report overlooked women. Dr. Archer decided to examine how women working outside the home affected their physical health and weight loss or gain.

Starting in 1965, the American Heritage Time Use Study collected a vast array of “time-use diaries” that detailed how women spent their time. Along with the help of modern time-use diaries, Dr. Archer concluded that in 1965, women spent 25.7 hours weekly on various domestic activities, and in 2010, that number dropped to 13.3. Screen time also greatly increased, and caloric expenditures decreased. Despite angering some critics, the study appears to be very well researched and completely unbiased. And it also proves that the little things really do add up, as I’ve been saying for years. Find ways to stay more active during the day, like walking to the corner store instead of driving and parking your elliptical in front of the TV. And remember to make healthy changes to your diet by swapping out higher calorie choices for low-cal alternatives.

How to Minimize Your Health Risk When Eating Red Meat

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It’s always best to limit the amount of red meat in your diet plan, or avoid it altogether. Not only is it full of saturated fat, but studies have shown that those who eat more red meat are more prone to serious health conditions. If you’re following a diet plan for Alzheimer’s prevention, for example, you’ll want to avoid red meat. However, if you’re a diehard steak fan and simply can’t eat tofu on a regular basis, at least choose the leanest cuts of beef available. According to the USDA, an “extra lean” cut of beef is officially defined as a 3.5-oz. serving that has less than 5 g of total fat, 2 g of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol. Here’s a guide to the parts of the cow that qualify as extra lean. And remember to always trim off all visible fat, use low-sodium marinades, and be mindful of healthy cooking techniques (like broiling instead of frying).

Top Sirloin Steak

This is considered one of the choicest cuts of extra lean beef and you can broil it in less than 20 minutes.

Top Round Roast

This cut is so lean that grilling it doesn’t work very well; instead, try seasoning it Cuban-style and braising it

Top Round Steak

Braising also works best with this cut; try this recipe for herb Swiss steak, but use reduced-sodium broth.

Food Addiction Is Real (And Might Require Counseling)

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Previous studies have shown that friends have a significant impact on your efforts to lose weight. Not only will you tend to gain more weight if you hang out with a friend who is heavier than you, but on the flip side, having the support of a weight loss buddy can help both of you lose weight more effectively. And now, a recent study highlights the potential for effective workplace weight loss programs. It makes sense. Many weight loss gurus stress the importance of healthy eating at home (which is definitely important), but most people are at work or elsewhere for most of the day. If you use Dr. Gullo’s weight loss strategies, however, you’ll learn how to choose better foods wherever you are. This new study also supports another key component of the methods that Dr. Gullo’s patients use to lose weight, which is behavioral counseling. Food can be an addiction for some; we use it to cope with stress and deal with difficult situations. All of your efforts to lose weight will be stymied until you deal with your underlying issues.

The study participants apparently dealt with their issues successfully, because with the help of their weight loss program, they lost an average of 18 lbs. over six months. The control group gained an average of 2 lbs. The participants used behavioral counseling, along with nutritional counseling during their lunch hour. They also followed a high-fiber diet, but they were responsible for choosing their own healthy foods.

America’s Eating Less Fast Food…But Why Are We Still Obese?

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It’s pretty obvious that fast food in people’s diet plans contributes to the obesity epidemic in America. And cooking at home using healthy food substitutions as per Dr. Gullo’s recommendations instead of eating out constantly is a great way to accelerate your weight loss. But even as the numbers of overweight and obese Americans continues to climb, we are apparently eating less fast food in our diet plans. According to a recent survey by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, adults are consuming about 11.3 percent of their total daily caloric intake from fast food. This is a 12.8 percent decrease from data compiled from 2003 to 2006.

Doctors noted that the younger demographic (20 to 39) still consume the most fast food in their diet plans, and that figure drops as you move into the silver-haired generations. Apparently, by the time we reach 40 and beyond, we’ve realized that we really don’t care all that much for high blood pressure and heart attacks. And as delightful as EKGs can be, it really is a pain to get all those electrodes and sticky stuff off afterward. –

But it does appear contradictory that obesity numbers continue to climb and yet we’re eating less fast food. Maybe we’re simply cooking more fattening foods at home. Homemade burgers and fast food burgers will both inflate your belly. So use some healthier food substitutions and try a healthier chickpea patty instead, or grill an alligator steak instead of a big slab of cow.


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Summer is right around the corner and in many parts of the country it’s already starting to heat up, which will lead millions to reach for tasty frozen treats. But before you head for the ice cream parlor, or even your favorite frozen yogurt shop, check out the frightening calorie and fat counts listed below. While it’s common knowledge that ice cream isn’t exactly health food, neither are many heavily marketed alternatives such as frozen yogurt. Indeed, the amount of fat and calories in your favorite summer treats might shock you. Fortunately, there are alternatives. The winners at weight control know that dieting is not about deprivation, but substitution. Unless your food history says otherwise, you don’t need to deprive yourself of dessert. Below are some frozen treats to avoid along with some smart alternatives.

Ice Cream
Some brands can have 1/4 of a day’s worth of calories or more, plus upwards of 20 g of fat. Always read nutrition labels and choose lighter sorbets or sherbets.

Blizzards in particular can be very high in calories and fat. A Georgia Mud Fudge at Dairy Queen has 122 g of sugar and 1,450 calories, 740 of which are from fat.

Liquefying ice cream doesn’t make it any healthier or lower in calories. – Instead try a smoothie with nonfat yogurt, skim milk, and fresh fruit.

Iced Coffee
It’s all about the nutrition label. – Some Starbucks’ iced coffees have 20 g of fat and over 500 calories. Instead, order a plain iced coffee and add skim milk.

A daiquiri can set you back 300 to 800 calories; choose a wine spritzer instead.

Mud Pie
At Red Robin, this popular summer dessert has over 1,300 calories per slice (!).

Frozen Yogurt
While this can be much healthier than ice cream, many brands are high in sugar. If you can’t steer clear of this sweet snack, order the small serving size, nonfat, and add fresh fruit instead of candy.

Should Your Age Impact Your Weight Loss Strategy?

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Weight loss is all about certain numbers like pounds shed and inches lost. But there’s another number we must take into account: age. In Thin Tastes Better, we note that the body’s metabolic rate decreases at a rate of two percent per decade. Simply put, as we get older, it gets more difficult for us to lose weight as easily as we once did. Further, older women in particular must deal with going through hormonal changes like menopause which can wreak havoc on their bodies and make weight loss much more difficult. Perhaps this is why women in different age brackets generally approach weight loss from very different perspectives.

In an article published by the journal Obesity, data showed that motivations for weight loss varied widely between younger adults (ages 18-35) and older adults (ages 36-50). And just as their reasons for wanting to lose weight differed, so did their approaches in tackling the task.

The 2,964 participants in the National Weight Control registry were candid about their habits and motivations. People in the younger group were largely motivated to lose weight due to societal pressures and expectations: they listed goals like wanting to feel good about themselves, wanting to look good at a particular social event, or wanting to generally improve their social life as their reasons for losing weight. The older participants, on the other hand, were much more motivated to lose weight for health reasons.

Younger participants were much more likely to be self-motivated when it came to starting a weight-loss regimen: they were more inclined to throw on some stylish, yet comfortable gym clothes like the kind worn by professional trainers and head off to exercise classes. Older participants instead tended to consult their doctors or seek support through commercial weight-loss programs. Both groups reported weight loss, but ultimately, older participants were able to maintain their weight loss for a longer period of time.

So what can we learn from all of this? There is no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Depending on your age, your habits, and where you are in your life, different techniques and strategies are going to work better for you. Age is nothing but a number. This study proves that people from across the age spectrum can successfully lose weight and keep it off no matter how old they are. With time comes wisdom. Older participants in the study were able to maintain their weight loss longer. We are very vocal that weight maintenance is just as important as, if not more important than weight loss. You need to develop a strategy to conquer rebound weight gain, whether it’s by food journaling or finding a likeminded tribe to support you.

How To Keep The Weight OFF After Weight Loss

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In Thin Tastes Better and The Thin Commandments we don’t just talk about the importance of weight loss: we also talk about just how crucial weight maintenance is to your lifestyle change. A weight loss journey doesn’t end once you reach your goal weight. It’s a path you remain on for your entire life. Rebound weight gain is extremely common, even among the most successful dieters, but it doesn’t have to happen to you. Here are some valuable strategies not just for losing weight, but for keeping the weight off: – See more at:http://drgullo.com/diet-resources/maintaining-not-gaining-life-after-weight-loss/#more-10039

Don’t Call It A Diet

You may successfully lose weight by following a trendy extreme diet. But unless you’re willing to commit to continuing to eat an unsustainably restrictive diet for the rest of your life, you will gain that weight back. Fad diets can help you drop pounds quickly, but weight loss isn’t about the short haul. It’s a lifelong commitment. Making sensible, nutritious food choices a part of your everyday life may not melt the pounds as quickly as a crash diet, but once you actually reach your goal weight you are much more likely to actually stay there. No one wants to be on a diet for their entire lives, so don’t go on one in the first place: instead, commit to a healthier lifestyle.

Stay Mindful

Once you’re no longer in the weight-loss mentality it’s easy to let yourself slip off track one indulgence at a time. You may not realize just how often you’re splurging on calorie-rich food until the day you can’t zip up your favorite skinny jeans anymore. Stay on top of the situation by keeping a food journal or weighing yourself once a week. You can adjust your calorie intake or physical activity accordingly until you figure out that happy medium that lets you maintain a consistent weight without rigorous scrutiny. The point is not to use these tools to obsess over every calorie consumed or every ounce gained: instead, they should help you live your life freely without worrying about weight creeping slowly back on.

Move It Along

Studies show that people who exercise every day are much more successful in maintaining weight loss for long periods of time. This doesn’t mean you have to clear time in your busy schedule for a grueling sweat session at the gym every day though. Find exercises that are pleasurable and easy to incorporate into your day to day life, and you’ll be setting yourself up for weight-maintenance success. Yoga can help you improve muscle tone and flexibility from head to toe – it even strengthens feet and ankles. Prefer something a little more lively? Find a local belly-dancing class and shimmy your way to weight maintenance. Even something as simple as walking can help you maintain your weight loss, and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Start a walking club with co-workers during your lunch break, or make post-dinner walks into a fun family experience. Whatever you do, choose something that will fit into your personal lifestyle: you’ll be more likely to stick with something that you enjoy.

While You Weren’t Sleeping: How Sleep Loss Can Screw Up Your Weight Loss

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Are you struggling with weight loss and can’t seem to figure out why, despite reviewing your food history as Dr. Gullo recommends? If you’re dutifully swapping out cream cheese for cottage cheese and pasta in favor of spaghetti squash and the scale still won’t budge, take a look at your sleeping habits. Studies have previously shown that when a person is sleep-deprived, his levels of ghrelin increase. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that increases the appetite and jeopardizes weight loss. And now, another study recently published in Psychoneuroendocrinology evaluated the food selections of people when they were sleep-deprived vs. when they slept normally. The researchers, from Uppsala University, evaluated 16 males of normal weights at a food buffet.

The study participants were asked to select ideal portion sizes from seven meal items and six snack items. During one test, the participants were hungry, and during another, they were sated. The participants were also tested when they slept for about eight hours, and when they did not sleep enough. The participants consistently chose larger portions of energy-dense foods when they were sleep-deprived, regardless of whether they had just eaten. The study seems to suggest that even if you eat a big breakfast, your brain will still trick you into thinking that you’re hungry when you’re not, which of course, sabotages weight loss. So in addition to your healthier eating habits and regular exercise routine, make sure you get enough Zzz’s.

Wedding Weight Loss: Why We Need To Change How We Think About This Special Day

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There are a few days that always stand out in our memory as the most joyous days of our lives: the day we graduate high school, the day we land our first real job, the day our children enter the world. But there is perhaps no other day associated with as much powerful happiness as our wedding day. The wedding industry has become a massive industrial complex, generating 40 billion dollars in revenue each year. Niche businesses within this industry from photographers to caterers to florists to dressmakers bend over backwards in their marital marketing attempts as they jockey for a bigger piece of the pie (or slice of the cake, if you will). And what’s the fastest-growing sector of the wedding industry? Wedding weight loss.

Thanks to the intense expectations associated with weddings, brides put an extraordinary amount of pressure on themselves to pull off the perfect day. And for better or for worse, the area where they focus with the most determination is on their weight, so that they can look stunning walking down the aisle in their designer dream gown. Countless women share their progress online in wedding weight loss journals or blogs. And the weight obsession doesn’t come to an end after that trip down the aisle as magazine writers issue dire warnings about post-wedding weight gain. Even decades later, dieters will hold themselves up to the impossible standard of looking as beautiful as they did on their wedding day, even as their bodies and metabolisms have been changed by childbirth and age.

It’s difficult to shake free of all the messages that bombard us telling us crash diets are the only way to look beautiful on this most special of days. Famously beautiful women from Victoria’s Secret models to Oscar-winning actresses like Anne Hathaway have succumbed to the pressure to go to unhealthy lengths to slim down. Why wouldn’t we emulate these dangerous efforts in order to achieve our perfect weight on this most special of days?

However, we need to slowly but surely begin to adjust our attitudes about weight loss, especially when it comes to achieving fleeting perfection. More and more women are finding their voices and speaking out against the one size fits all mentality that permeates our society. Offbeat brides are taking the wedding industry and media to task for their bizarre obsession with wedding weight loss, and active women are encouraging women to run and exercise in order to be stronger and healthier and not with the strict goal of losing weight. We’re proud to add our voice to that strong group by encouraging people to forget the media in the book Thin Tastes Better, which contains an array of healthy lifestyle strategies.

Overall, the best thing we can do to avoid the ups and downs and crash diets is to follow simple dietary tenets that help us avoid the pitfalls like binge-eating that accompany yo-yo diets. We shouldn’t go on diets at all: instead, we should adopt a dietary lifestyle in which we employ strategies to live a healthy and fulfilling life that still allows us the occasional indulgence. This way, on your wedding day, you’ll actually be able to enjoy the delectable food prepared by the caterer that you so meticulously selected. And even better, when you look back on your wedding in twenty years, you won’t remember how hungry you were, but how happy you were.