New To The Freshology Program?
Nicholas “Dr. Nick” Yphantides, MD, MPH
Freshology Medical Director
The key to healthy and sustained weight loss is a combination of caloric restriction and increased physical exertion. Individual caloric goals will vary based on age, gender, activity levels, weight loss goals and one’s starting point. Freshology’s FRESHLITE gourmet menu for women is generally in the 1150-1400 calorie daily range which provides for a nutritious and delicious approach to healthy eating while cutting back on caloric intake.
The Baylor College of Medicine on its website has several Health Calculators including a healthy Heating Calculator that will allow you to input your personal numbers and get some well informed feedback on specific caloric targets. You can find that online Calculator here.
Successful weight loss that is sustained cannot be about pure deprivation but rather healthy moderation. Part of the appeal of FRESHLITE is vibrant variable menu that includes food that is prepared in a healthy manner but may include occasional treats like a small chocolate chip muffin for breakfast which is complemented by the routine addition of fresh fruit as well.
Q: Why there are only 3 meals and a dessert, not 4-6 small meals in the FRESHLITE program? Iv’e heard it’s better to eat about eating smaller meals throughout the day
Dr. Nick Says: This is a fascinating issue that many consider but for which very little research evidence exists either way. I believe that healthy weight loss ultimately comes down to how much energy in the form of calories is consumed on a regular basis rather than based on how often or how regularly one eats. It is really a matter of style and preference. If one finds themselves hungry between meals perhaps adding a small snack or spacing out some fruit would be strategic. On the other hand, I have lots of experience with clients who when eating more frequently often times consume incrementally more than necessary and because of greater eating frequency the impact of that is magnified. Bottom line is no medical research exists that I am aware of that proves that more frequent meals are preferable to 3 meals a day.
Q: Can I still have my glass of wine while on the program?
Dr. Nick Says: Wine in moderation can certainly be part of a healthy diet and there is research that even indicates that when used appropriately may boost heart health. I personally do not drink much alcohol as I would rather eat my calories than drink them but obviously this is a matter of personal taste, preference and priorities. For many a moderate amount of wine with a meal may help make your caloric restriction more appealing and will unlikely hurt your efforts. Wine or alcohol in excess can have the opposite impact both in terms of the caloric impact as well as potential clouding of judgment that may lead to a great number of calories consumed. Certainly 5 oz. of wine a day for women and 10 oz. or less of wine a day for men would be an acceptable amount to consume.
Q: What do you suggest I do when I go out to eat?
Dr. Nick Says: I have written about this many times including in my book and it is an important topic for me as well with all the travel I do. Rather than looking at yourself as having a caloric prison sentence there is a healthier perspective and that is that you can almost always make smart choices. There are so many of us that pay attention to what you eat that almost all good eateries will accommodate your requests and considerations. I cannot remember the last time I ordered a salad with the dressing mixed in for example but rather always order it on the side. So much could be said but here are my most important suggestions:
- chose foods that may be out of the ordinary that you might not routinely eat at home and enjoy the variety without filling yourself up with bread or other unnecessary side dishes
- substitute extra veggies or salads in place of pastas, bread or creamy fat filled side helpings
- focus and enjoy the delicious tasty company that hopefully you are with
Q: I just had surgery, I am unable to workout, will I still lose weight?
Dr. Nick Says: Hopefully the post operative surgical pain you are experiencing will resolve quickly allowing you to return to your usual baseline. Physical activity is so important not only in terms of the actual calories burned but also the impact stimulating your baseline metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate influences how many calories of energy your body burns over the course of time which can vary quite a bit for a variety of reasons. Obviously it is important to follow the medical advice of your physician and physical therapist if you have one in terms of how quickly and how aggressively you can exert yourself after having surgery. If you have been experiencing great weight loss momentum and you truly go from an active daily routine to a sedentary one it will impact your pace of weight loss if you continue consuming the same amount of calories. I enjoy on average an hour of physical activity a day and can burn between 800-1000 calories in that period of time. If all of a sudden I was unable to sustain that level of activity I would certainly need to cut back on my caloric intake to avoid adding back the pounds.
Q: I would like a program that is less than 1200 calories, if I cut the portions in half, is that still healthy?
Dr. Nick Says: A daily caloric intake of less than 1200 calories is probably not healthy for many of us without some type of medical oversight or supervision. Depending on one’s age, health status, current body weight and physical activity levels it is possible to experience malnutrition with associated complications without appropriately monitoring various measurements. Cutting portions in half would lead to only 600 calories a day which could be medically risky and lead to inadequate daily nutrition so I would not recommend it. In general, I promote the notion of eating to the point of satiety and satisfaction rather than eating to the point of being stuffed like a thanksgiving turkey. Learning your body’s signals of satisfaction versus discomfort is a core principle that many who struggle with their weight need to rediscover.
Q: Why is exercise suggested for best results?
Dr. Nick Says: There are a variety of reasons. If one is serious about weight loss and they are cutting back on their caloric intake there is likely to be an impact on your metabolic rate. Usually with fewer calories being consumed the body goes into preservation mode and your metabolism may slow down so your body becomes more efficient in using its calories. Think of getting better gas mileage with your car. With a good weight loss program we don’t want good fuel economy. We want our bodily vehicles to get low gas mileage and use up as much energy as possible. Physical activity has been clearly shown to counteract that metabolic slowdown that often comes with caloric restriction.
Aerobic activity causes you to breathe harder and your heart to pump faster. It is good for your heart and lungs and the process itself burns up more calories. (you are taking your car out for a spin and using fuel in your body’s tank!) Resistance training and strength building increases the proportion of muscle in your body. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue and so the more muscular you are the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you will burn! This is true even at rest. I truly believe it is impossible to lose weight and never find it again without some type of regular and sustained physical activity.
Dr. Nick Yphantides, MD, MPH is the consulting Medical Director for Freshology and the author of “My Big Fat Greek Diet.” He also serves as the Chief Medical Officer for San Diego County. More information about Dr. Nick can be found at www.healthsteward.com