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Articles by Dr. Walt Larimore

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Dr. Walt Larimore

Walt Larimore, M.D. has been called “one of America’s best known family physicians.” He is a nationally-known and nationally sought after speaker and health expert. read bio

Weight Loss That Works…and Keeps Working

In their book Alternative Medicine: A Christian Handbook, Dr. Dónal O'Mathúna and Dr. Walt Larimore explore the vast number of alternative health options available to consumers. Their goal is to help people make well-informed decisions with regard to health and wellness.

Diet and exercise are two pillars of personal wellness which can be overlooked when we seek to improve our health with supplements or fad programs. Drs. O'Mathúna and Larimore offer the following information to help us understand what works and what doesn't.

  1. Two key findings. Consumer Reports surveyed more than 30,000 people in 2002 about weight loss. A quarter of those surveyed lost at least 10% of their body weight and kept it off for at least a year. Almost half of them kept it off for five years. Comparing the strategies of the successful weight losers with those who didn't lose any weight, two clear findings emerged: you must increase physical activity, and no one diet or program works for everyone. In fact, 83% of those who kept the weight off for five years didn't follow any established program.
  2. Lifestyle change and moderation are key. A 2005 study found that after one year, people using the Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, the Ornish diet and the Zone diet lost similar amounts of weight. However, only about half of those on the more extreme Atkins and Ornish diets completed the program, while two-thirds of those on the more moderate Zone diet or Weight Watchers finished the program. Choosing a program that you can reasonably maintain for the long term is vital to success.
  3. Secrets of Successful Maintainers. Those who lost significant weight and kept it off long-term typically had three strategies in common: they followed an eating plan to reduce calories and achieve a balanced diet, they incorporated exercise into their daily lives, and they had social support for their effort. Support and encouragement are important, and this may be the main benefit offered by programs like Weight Watchers, where you have a group of people who share your desire for change. However, the support of an understanding family and friends can play the same role in your weight loss effort.
  4. Pay attention to portion size. Unfortunately, the food service industry has radically increased the amount of food served as an individual portion, totally distorting our idea of what an appropriate portion of food should be. As a result, we're piling our plates with enough for three meals, just because we think it "looks" about right. Successful weight losers report paying greater attention to portion sizes, even measuring some foods to ensure that they stay within certain caloric boundaries.
  5. A Caution. Diet programs that call for a heavy intake of one food, or the total elimination of a food type may lead to deficiencies in necessary vitamins and nutrients. Think moderation rather than elimination.

With the facts in hand, you can make a systematic change in your lifestyle to improve your health. What's more—your healthier approach will likely benefit your family, as you find ways to stay active and eat right!

Used with permission from the book, Alternative Medicine: A Christian Handbook by Walt Larimore, M.D. with Dr. Dónal O'Mathúna.

Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition. 

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