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Teaching Your Belly to Feel Full

"THE SKINNY," by Dr. Louis Aronne of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Says Losing Weight Takes More Than Willpower

Diet Plan Harnesses Body's Chemistry to Shed Pounds

NEW YORK (Jun 12, 2009)

Why do so many diets start successfully, only to crash and burn? Why is it that no matter how hard dieters try, keeping the weight off seems impossible? Dr. Louis Aronne explains in his new book, "THE SKINNY: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry" (Broadway Books), written with Alisa Bowman, that the key is your body's chemistry, not willpower. His solution: teaching your body to stop craving food and feel full sooner.

A leading authority on weight loss and obesity, Dr. Aronne is director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, a multidisciplinary obesity research and treatment center that he developed and founded in 1986. He is clinical professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"Weight loss isn't about priorities, willpower or wanting it badly enough. Rather, it's about your body, your brain and your hormones," says Dr. Aronne. "And if you don't first re-sensitize your weight-regulation mechanisms, typical approaches to weight loss, such as portion control and calorie counting, just won't work. As a result, 'THE SKINNY' is not just another diet book. It reviews the latest cutting-edge weight research and delivers recommendations based on science. 'THE SKINNY' represents a new way of looking at weight problems, one which recognizes the complexity of the disorder, and evaluates people for underlying aspects which may have been missed by other physicians."

According to Dr. Aronne, our bodies are programmed to resist weight loss that goes beyond roughly 7 percent of total body weight. That means that if you weigh 200 pounds, you may be able to lose fewer than 14 pounds before the going gets tough. The reason, he explains, is that the body's metabolism and weight-regulating hormones — like insulin and leptin — drop faster than your body loses fat, making your brain think your weight is near normal even though you're still overweight. This leaves dieters hungry, even after they've eaten all the calories they need.

To overcome this obstacle, he teaches readers to use the latest advances in the science of appetite and body weight regulation to flip off an internal biological switch that is driving them to eat. Rather than using willpower to force themselves to stop eating, readers use "fill-power":

Among his specific tips:

  • Eat a Protein Breakfast. People who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight because it helps control appetite and cravings throughout the day. High-protein, low-starch foods like a vegetable frittata are best. Avoid juices that pass through the body too quickly. Eat grapefruit or melon instead.
  • Exercise in the morning. Putting off your gym visit until later in the day increases the chances that something will come up to derail your plans. And don't think of making up for it with a longer weekend session. How often you exercise is more important than the length of each exercise session.
  • Eat your salad and vegetables first. Dig into the leafy greens before you start the main course. This will curb your appetite by making you feel full. Other foods to keep you feeling sated include soups and spicy foods.
  • Watch less television. By turning off the boob tube you will automatically be more active.
  • Look for hidden causes of weight gain. Sleep disorders and medications can cause weight gain. Appropriate management can help with weight loss.
Dr. Aronne says his plan is easy to follow, and can help many people to lose between 10 percent and 20 percent of their weight, and most can lose 7 percent or more. However, he cautions that the weight loss won't be immediate, and may take several months. The payoff, he writes: "You will know what it feels like to fill up on a normal amount of food. You will eventually be able to stop obsessing about food. You'll be able to stop forcing yourself to eat less because you'll eat less automatically."

For more information, patients may call (866) NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances — from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and, most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is ranked sixth on the U.S.News & World Report list of top hospitals, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, visit www.nyp.org and www.med.cornell.edu.

Contact

Lezlie Greenberg
Phone: (212) 821-0560.
leg2003@med.cornell.edu
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