Testimonial: I never really saw the number 305 on the scale but I was at the doctor’s office and I’d always close my eyes and I would tell the doctor: Tell me. But they finally moved the bottom bar—the bottom weight—from 250 and I had my eyes closed and I knew they had moved it to 300 and moved the other back. And that was just a . . . I’ll never forget that moment.
Dean Ornish: If you’re overweight or obese, I’m sure you know the statistics. It’s not good for you. I’m not here to tell you that. What I am here to say is what you can do about it.
And in a sense there’s no mystery in why people gain weight. If you eat more calories than you burn, then you gain weight. It’s as simple as that. But it’s not just the amount of calories; it’s the type of calories that really make a difference.
Fat tends to cause you to be fat because fat is very dense in calories. Fat has 9 calories per gram whereas protein and carbs have only 4—less than half. So you go from a higher fat diet to a lower fat diet you can eat the same amount of food but you’re still going to get many fewer calories because you’re eating foods that are less dense in calories.
Also, refined carbohydrates cause you to gain weight for different reasons. Refined carbs are things like sugar, white flour, white rice, and so on. And when you go from brown rice to white rice or from whole wheat flour to white flour, you’re removing the fiber and the bran and it’s the fiber and the bran that tend to keep you from gaining weight. You can only eat so many apples; you’re going to get full before you get too many calories. But you can consume virtually unlimited amounts of sugar without getting full. So you get a double whammy; you get all these calories that don’t fill you up and you’re more likely to convert them into fat.
Stress also plays a role in being overweight. We find that many people overeat when they’re stressed—or they’re lonely—or they’re depressed. So in the Spectrum we address all the different components of what lead people to be overweight. When we work on that level, we find people are able to lose weight and to keep it off. We found the average person lost 24 pounds in the first year and they kept half that weight off five years later even though we weren’t actively trying to get them to lose weight. We were trying to teach them how to live healthier. And when you live healthier, the weight comes off naturally and tends to stay off at the same time.
Testimonial: One year after I started . . . I didn’t see Dean regularly . . . but we were down in the Sausalito office and they got the scales out and the staff was all there and I closed my eyes and I got on and Dean actually did the weighing and he said: Open your eyes. And I weighed 205 pounds. I’d lost 100 pounds.