What Diets Do Doctors Recommend?

Why Weight Watchers, South Beach and Eat For Health Make Sense

By Laurie Plichta Rothman, MD
As a family physician, I have usually turned to Weight Watchers and the South Beach Diet when making recommendations to my patients who want or need to lose weight. I choose these diets because they are safe, healthful, proven, accessible and can be effective.

The Accountability Of Weight Watchers Helps Make It A Recommended Diet

In general, a diet is only as effective as the dieter is motivated. The diet really just gives the dieter a framework within which to work and focus her efforts.  Additionally, Weight Watchers has the added bonus of accountability, which for many people is crucial.

Avoiding Recommending Approaches Like Nutrisystem

I have avoided recommending diets where one needs to purchase the food from the diet plan. I explain to my patients that it is my belief that this is dieting "in a bubble" and they do not learn how to eat or manage their food choices and portions in their ordinary lives.

My Personal Experience With The South Beach Diet

I have had my own personal experiences with dieting as well. During college, I was able to take off my freshman weight gain successfully with Weight Watchers and exercise. Before getting pregnant with my second child, I lost 18 pounds on The South Beach Diet.  I found it to be intelligent, safe and healthful. It took first place in my mind over Weight Watchers because it eliminated so many of the potentially unhealthful food choices from one's diet. Gone was the refined sugar, white flour and full fat dairy. As a physician, I knew if my patients would follow this diet, they would be making good choices.

Weight Watchers Is A Great Starting Point 

Weight Watchers points systems would still allow a lot of sugar, white flour and saturated fat into the diet.  I still recommend it, because when my patients have hypertension, diabetes or osteoarthritis I want them to get the weight off any way possible.

Joel Fuhrman's Eat For Health...So Far So Good

Last month, my friends lent me Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book, Eat for Health. Dr Fuhrman has it 100% right. Let me say that again - he has it exactly right. We are all trying to figure out a way to not do what is right, how to get around it. We think that we want to keep eating the over-processed, high calorie, nutrient poor food. He says stop eating the garbage. Eat the good stuff. You will lose weight, get healthier and feel better.

Dr Fuhrman Makes Optimal Eating Easy To Implement

He comes out and says what we all know is true, but don't say or do. He states the obvious: eat more vegetables and fruits. Eat more fiber. Eat less animal products. The result is that you will be healthier and lose weight. He gives easy to implement strategies for how to do this. Why didn't someone think of this sooner and why isn't it a national phenomena?

Here I am, almost 39 years old, trying to take off the excess weight I am carrying after giving birth to my third child. He is 8 months old and its time to get serious.  I tried to get back into Weight Watchers at 4 months post-partum with no success. I am back at work full time, so as you can imagine...busy mom, 3 small kids, full time job...I need a plan that is simple, fast and effective.

Why Eat For Health Has Worked Well For Me

I read Eat for Health and the light bulb went off over my head! I can eat more food, prepare less and actually lose weight? We'll see about this. I started by implementing Dr Fuhrman's simplest 3 pieces of fruit for breakfast and eat 1 pound of raw vegetables before lunch and dinner.

Easy enough. I was so full from the fruits and veggies that I was not that interested in other foods. The vegetables tasted good. I started having veggies and hummus for lunch. This was great, nothing to cook or prepare. I could just throw it into my bag on my way out the door.  As the week went on. I added in the beans and ate less dairy and fish (I am mostly vegetarian to begin with).   The amazing thing has been how easy this has been. 

Eat For Health Helps Fight Food Cravings

I have not been hungry at all. I have not been craving sugar, bread, pasta, bagels or any of my usual weaknesses. I am eating when I am hungry and happily making good choices.  I sat with my kids while they ate ice cream cake and had green apples dipped in peanut butter. It was fabulous. My four year old even stopped eating his cake and joined me.

I am only 2 weeks into this process and it is very exciting. 2 weeks and 8 pounds lighter, I cannot wait to see where this is going.

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