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Lose It Right - Book Review

>> Monday, January 27, 2014

I've had the great pleasure of reading James Fell's new book, Lose It Right, and let me tell you, it's a great read!

The book is written by James Fell, a Calgarian fitness journalist, MBA, columnist for Chatelaine and the LA Times, amongst a long list of achievements.  He has written a very pragmatic, well researched, and entertaining approach to weight management and leading a healthy life.  He truly walks the walk, enjoying a permanent (and impressive!) healthy lifestyle after struggling with his weight in the past.

The book goes through three Stages:

Stage I: Learning why we as a society, and as individuals, struggle with our weight.  From portion sizes, stress, and external food cues, to understanding the dopamine reward pathway in our brain that reinforces rewarding behaviors, James runs the gamut to help us explore the diverse elements that may be contributing to each individual's weight struggle.

Stage II: Preparation for changing your lifestyle, from changing how you view food, to goal setting, and how to manage practical aspects of lifestyle change.

Stage III is the Doing part of the book - James' actual how-to's of morphing your lifestyle into a healthy one.

You can read an excerpt from his book here.

What I really love is that this book is all about not just doing a lifestyle plan, but becoming that lifestyle.    James' plan has an emphasis on exercise - while exercise is important, it's not for everyone, or at least it is more for some people than for others.  Also, it's important to speak with your doctor before you embark on a new exercise routine, to ensure it is safe for you to do so.

But regardless of the details of how you embark on a healthier lifestyle:

"Losing It Right is about changing who you are.  It is not a list of actions, but rather someone you become."

And finally, my very favorite quote:   "Don't just do this.  BE this."

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2014


HCG Diet - FDA Alert

>> Monday, January 20, 2014

Patients, doctors, and other health care professionals often come to me to ask about the HCG diet.   The bottom line is that the HCG diet is dangerous - you can read more on my thoughts about the dangers of HCG here, and more on the dangers of the accompanying very low calorie diet here.

What I wanted to share with you today is an alert page that the FDA has set up to inform about the dangers of the HCG diet.  As clearly stated, there

“is no substantial evidence that [HCG] increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”


"HCG is not on the [Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia] list and cannot be sold as a homeopathic medication for any purpose"


"FDA advises consumers who have purchased homeopathic HCG for weight loss to stop using it, throw it out, and stop following the dieting instructions. Harmful effects should be reported online to FDA’s MedWatch program or by phone at 800-FDA-1088 (800-332-1088) and to the consumer’s health care professional."

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2013


McDonald's or Twinkies for Weight Loss??

>> Monday, January 13, 2014

The media loves to lather attention on stories of people who lose weight by controversial means.  And who better to draw attention to than those who do it by eating nothing but fast food or junk food?! It's the ultimate sexy paradox.

There's the teacher who has recently been heralded for his 37 pound weight loss eating nothing but McDonald's for three months.  And then there's the nutrition professor who dropped 30 pounds in 8 weeks eating Twinkies.  

Well, I for one am not lovin' it.

I agree that these 'diets' prove the point that weight loss is achieved when calories in is less than calories out.  I also think it is quite cool that the teacher used this opportunity to teach his students about how to read and interpret restaurant nutritional information - this is an important skill in navigating our toxic societal obesity terrain.

However, these headline 'diets' put out a lot of wrong messages as well.  First of all, successful weight management is about permanent lifestyle change, not temporary diets.  How about if we follow these guys up over the next few years and see what happened to their weight after they stopped their temporary diets?

Secondly, weight management is about addressing the underlying contributors to the weight struggle - from the emotional relationship with food, to the home environment, to stress in the work place, and so on.  No discussion of these issues with these guys as far as I can see.

And I don't think I need to say that from a nutritional perspective, neither of these diets are recommended.

So how about we focus on the stories of people who make appropriate, healthy, permanent lifestyle changes and enjoy sustained weight loss as a consequence?  I'd love to hear your stories - send them in!

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2014


Type 1 Diabetics Climb Kilimanjaro!

>> Monday, January 6, 2014

Here's an inspirational story to kick off 2014 - check out this amazing group of people with type 1 diabetes who conquered Kilimanjaro.   They have put together a fantastic documentary that describes their journey and some of the challenges they encountered along the way.

When climbing with diabetes, some important things to consider include:

  • several factors that play into blood sugar control and the impact on need for diabetes medications and insulin.  This includes the high daily calorie burn which may DECREASE diabetes med or insulin requirements, but also includes the increase in hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that may increase blood sugar and could therefore INCREASE medication/insulin requirements (and this balance can vary from moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day)
  • keeping insulin, meter, and meter batteries from freezing
  • acclimatizing well and staying well hydrated
  • preventing and treating altitude sickness
  • preventing and treating gastroenteritis - ie viral or bacterial travellers' diarrhea (particularly if climbing in developing countries - the Kili team struggled with this)

If you are a diabetic and considering a climb, be sure to contact your doctor, your diabetes educator, and a travel clinic with a doctor that has experience in counseling and preparing diabetic climbers.   It is also best if the climbing team includes health care professionals with experience in supporting diabetic climbers. 

A heartfelt congratulations for the Type 1 Diabetes Kilimanjaro Expedition!

Follow me on twitter: @drsuepedersen © 2014



I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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