Stories of research, nutrition, and nature

HBO’s new mini-series, The Weight of the Nation, is tough to watch in the beginning. The health consequences of obesity are dire and so are the numbers: 68% of US adults and 18% of children are overweight or obese. But there’s hope as well: people are able to change their habits and environments, if they commit to it, have realistic goals and social support, and figure out which changes they can do in their lives.

Incidentally, the CEO of Weight Watchers, David Kirchhoff, just published a book called Weight Loss Boss about his own personal journey in weight loss and, even more importantly, weight maintenance. I got a free copy at Mobile Health conference and I have to say, it’s actually a very good book (despite the obvious promotion of Weight Watchers). He is totally honest about his own failures and bad habits, and there are no magic tricks: it’s just portion control, physical activity, staying away from unhealthy food, and arranging your environment to support healthy eating. Basically:

  1. Eat vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy
  2. Avoid junk food
  3. Watch portion size
  4. Exercise daily
  5. Repeat

Kirchhoff talks a lot about environmental influences and he’s been heavily inspired by the research results of Food & Brand Lab. In his book and in his presentation at Mobile Health, he praised a certain Dr. Brian Wansink and his lab of their clever research several times! It’s great that Weight Watchers have incorporated this into their program.

It’s habit and lifestyle change, not willpower or temporary dieting. Small habit changes was really what Mobile Health was also all about – I’ll soon write more about key insights from the conference.

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