Nutrition, weight management and obesity are beastly topics. When I come across people or websites that are able to simplify these topics into bite-size (no pun intended) recommendations and guidelines I get excited.
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff’s site, Weighty Matters, is one of those resources.
I have been following Dr. Freedhoff’s site, Weighty Matters, for a few months now. Dr. Freedhoff is a family physician that specializes in bariatric medicine (medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity).
He covers a serious topic with an open lightheartedness that will make anyone interested in diet, nutrition or weight loss coming back for more. See this post for a great example:
We were very fortunate to have Dr. Freedhoff answer a few questions – a huge thanks for his time and expertise!
It’s no secret that children today are growing up in a different world. What needs to happen to fight the childhood obesity epidemic?
Dr. Freedhoff: That’s simple – we need to change the world. Because really it’s the world that’s the problem, not the kids. Kids are kids. There hasn’t been a pandemic loss of willpower in 6-year-olds these days. Instead these days 6 year olds are growing up in an environment that is by its very nature obesogenic. Focusing on the kids treats the symptom. We need to treat the cause.
Whether it’s banning advertising targeting kids, ending the provision of no-name junk food at schools, bringing back home economics, launching public health campaigns to promote the home cooked around the table meal, changes to crop subsidies to make junk food less inexpensive to sell – there are no shortages of initiatives we could take.
Though it’s important to note, no one initiative is going to fix this problem and so folks who whinge about how, “soda taxes aren’t going to fix this problem”, are simultaneously both right, and ill-informed.
What are some of the most common misconceptions about obesity that people have?
DF: That exercise matters as much or more as dietary intake (it doesn’t), that you should wait until you’re hungry to eat (by then it’s too late for any hope of control), and that suffering is required (if you’re suffering, you’re going to quit).
Clever marketing and misleading food / nutritional labels usually come down to corporate profits. Companies will always want to make money, so where does the fight against obesity go from here?
We need to create a world that nudges us in the right direction, and it’s going to take a huge amount of time and effort. It will require abandoning the notion that the food industry is a “partner” and accepting the fact that their sole job, by the very definition of industry, is to increase profits.
We’re not going to solve this problem with “food products”, but we might solve it with actual food. The sooner governments appreciate that fact, the sooner we’ll see actually evidence-based food guides, true school food reforms, and public health campaigns that are actually helpful.
A good friend wants to lose weight – what are your top 3 tips for them?
1. Don’t set number goals. Numbers are hopes. Goals should be behaviors – tangible things like eating out less frequently, cooking from scratch, keeping some form of food diary. It’s goals like that which may get a person to their hopes.
2. Spend more time in your kitchen than in your gym.
3. Keep a food diary. Clinical studies suggest people who keep food diaries lose twice as much weight as those who don’t. My own experiences with literally thousands of patients would be that people who keep them really well lose three times as much weight as those who don’t.
Any simple nutrition advice for parents trying to provide a healthy lifestyle for their children?
DF: Live the life you want your children to live. If you want them to be active – be active yourself. If you want them to eat healthfully prioritize actual cooking, and teach your kids how to do it.
Carve out at least one night a week to, as a family, cook a healthy meal from scratch and eat it at a leisurely pace around an actual table and make meals out and ordering in a rare treat.
What are your favorite nutrition / health resources?
DF: There are too many to list!
My blog’s sidebar has a listing of some of my favorite blogs, but honestly, I think I probably use Twitter more than anything else to keep me abreast of what’s going on.