Weight Loss And Wellness


Obesity is a personal and national affliction. Here in the United States, more than 60% of the population is overweight or obese. It seems that over the last 20 years it just snuck up on us, but in reality, our diets have been changed dramatically by food producers.

Today’s obesity problem is less about how much we eat and more about what we eat.

Obesity is a strong risk factor for chronic life-diminishing diseases, including elevated cholesterol, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, gout, gallbladder stones, several types of cancer (especially breast, prostate and colon), dementia, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and infertility.

Our Western diet, which provides tasty, energy-dense foods rich in fat and sugar, are conducive to weight gain. These foods are actually designed to activate reward systems in the brain, up-regulate the expression of hunger signals, and blunt the response to satiety signals, promoting overconsumption.

What we know:

  • Common short-term diets that focus on limiting portion sizes tend not to produce the kind of long-term weight loss and maintenance necessary to regain health.
  • Appetite suppressants and other types of medications have shown none to only moderate success in achieving permanent weight loss. These medications are also associated with significant, even life threatening side effects.
  • Scientific review indicates that chitosan, chromium piccolinate, garcinia cambogia, glucomannan, guar gum, hydroxy-methylbutyrate, plantago psyllium, pyruvate, yerba mate, and yohimbe don’t work. They should be avoided.
  • Ephedra-containing formulas have been found effective for weight control, particularly when combined with aspirin, but they do increase your risk for serious cardiovascular and/or gastro-intestinal damage.
  • Bariatric surgery is widely used for morbidly obese patients. However, complications are common and patients must take supplements for the rest of their lives. Many patients regain weight after surgery.
  • Low-carbohydrate diets have been popular, but over 12-months they have not been found superior other diets including low-fat, high-carbohydrate or calorie-control. Low-carb diets can increase plasma low-density lipoprotein concentrations in approximately one third of dieters. Not good for the heart.

Our Approach.

Research has shown that low-fat plant based diets do promote short- and long-term weight loss. Also, importantly, while today’s processed foods contribute to health problems, a plant-based diet actually improves plasma lipids, insulin sensitivity and other important health functions.

Obesity is most successfully treated through lifestyle modification including a diet low in fat, sugar and processed foods and high in fiber, plus regular physical activity and behavioral/psychological support. Nourish Health focuses on all three. But it starts with a low fat, plant-based diet.

Certain personality and behavioral factors are characteristic of those who succeed at maintaining weight loss. These include coping skills that prevent using food for comfort; increasing self-efficacy with respect to weight control, engaging in higher levels of physical activity (approximately one hour a day), choosing a low-calorie, low-fat, nutrient-dense diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight, and maintaining a consistent eating pattern throughout the day and the week.

Patience is important. Set long-term goals, and don’t focus on short-term gains. It probably took some time to gain all that weight. Give yourself some time to get rid of it too.

The family plays an essential role in supporting the diet and lifestyle changes than can prevent and treat weight problems. Family members are likely to benefit from the same changes.

Insights from a Nourish Health Patient:

“Doing the Kickstart Course was a fantastic eye opener for both my husband, myself, my mom, and my teenage daughter. Wow. That’s all I can say. Dr. Sigal is an amazing teacher and coach: unbiased, real, and factual. We don’t have any medical problems, but we all could use to shed some pounds – and, boy, did we ever. There was really nothing to it. I just cannot even begin to explain. Just eliminating dairy and meat, and chicken, and fish, and paying attention to fat intake – olives and avocadoes for example – was all we did. The foods are delicious. It’s kind of “back to basics”. And it takes some planning ahead. It is so worth it. It’s effortless, once you get the hang of it.”

Diane, Harold and Ginny Macormack
Linda Burton
December 2012