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Barbara Berkeley
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Top row: escargots, sardines, and fava beans (Crete); naan in salty yak-milk tea (Afghanistan); fried geranium leaves (Crete); boiled crab (Malaysia); raw beetroot and oranges (Crete); chapati, yak butter, and rock salt (Pakistan). Middle row: dried-apricot soup (Pakistan); boiled plantains (Bolivia); fried coral reef fish (Malaysia); bulgur, boiled eggs, and parsley (Tajikistan); stewed-seaweed salad (Malaysia); boiled ptarmigan (Greenland). Bottom row: grilled tuna (Malaysia); cooked potatoes, tomatoes, and fava beans in olive oil (Crete); rice with melted yak butter (Afghanistan); fried... Continue reading
Reblogged 7 hours ago at Refuse To Regain
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Despite having ample experiential evidence that low carb trumped low fat, weight loss specialists have never been taking seriously on this point. After all, how could doctors (who know very little about nutrition, by the way) have been wrong about the low fat mantra for all those years? What would it mean to admit that we might have unwittingly created the obesity epidemic by blindly assuming that our dietary precepts were infallible? Finally, studies are being done that may change... Continue reading
Reblogged 11 hours ago at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD Although I have written many posts about LeBron James (to the consternation of many of you, I'm sure), I have never written about LeBron's own weight. It never occurred to me, even though he has definitely gotten noticeably larger over the past couple of seasons. Now, LeBron has reportedly gone low-carb in order to get back to optimal playing weight. This article in The New York Daily News is just one of the many written after... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD If you are over the age of 60, you remember a time when most Americans were thin. Sure, there were some overweight and obese folks, but they were few and far between. Photos and films from the 50s and 60s will confirm the fact that the average weight of America has changed drastically, with the greatest escalation in size occuring since 1980. It is easy to blame our increasing fatness on cheap, available food, poor willpower,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD Whenever this blog turns to my basketball obsession I always try to warn readers first. If you are not interested in my ravings about Le Bron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, skip this post. But really, how can you not be interested in a story that reads like fiction playing out in real life? Should Cleveland win an NBA title in the next year or two, the screen writer for the movie that surely will be... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD It's the Holy Grail of weight maintenance. The X Factor that turns repetitive dieters into successful maintainers. Over the course of the years I've met and corresponded with many long-term weight maintainers. Without exception they were repetitive dieters at one time. Weight would come off and come back--not once, but many times. And then, something happened. But what? That's the million dollar question. I've asked, I've pushed for an answer, but no one appears to be... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD In the war for the way America eats, the most recent battle went to Big Soda. Citing "personal freedoms" the Coke and Pepsi folks raised their glasses to Thursday's court decision that overturned the New York City limit on soft drink size. How much would you like to bet that those happy executives were not toasting with the sugar-filled products they sell? Heck no. They want to live long enough to spend their fortunes. To be... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD The debate continues and probably always will. Is regain inevitable after weight loss? Does our body inevitably sabotage efforts to keep weight stable? Is the only way to avoid this "fat fate" a jaw clenching, moment to moment fixation on every habit and morsel? Are all maintainers clinging to a cliff by their fingernails ready to plunge as the result of a single tremor, a momentary gust of wind? Dr. Rudolph Leibel of Columbia University is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD Diabetes is decimating us. This week, the CDC reports a sharp escalation in blood sugar problems, a rising tide of deadly disease. This should come as no suprise as this medical equivalent of global warming has been predicted for some years. What continues to be a surprise is the utter lack of concern about what is happening to us and to our children. Are we really so busy shopping, texting and watching America's Got Talent? Let's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD Patients who undergo psychoanalysis engage with their psychiatrists on an intense basis, often for years. When the time comes for treatment to end, the therapist initiates a "termination phase": a time period that allows for examination of what has been acomplished and prepares the patient for separation. Here is a bit about termination from a psychiatry website: "Most experienced psychotherapists are trained to start the termination process early — far earlier than most clients are probably... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD The things that keep us healthy and fit feel so good when we do them. So why do we always find ourselves returning to bad habits and struggling with our resolve? There are a number of reasons. First, we are inextricably intertwined with our culture. We swim in it, breathe it and are fully surrounded by it. Unfortunately for those who want to stay healthy, our culture does not promote health. Instead, it does everything it... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
A new study suggests that minimal calories and maximal exercise can significantly reduce body fat in just four days — and the loss lasts for months. This article appeared in the May 25, 2014 issue of The New York Times Magazine. Losing weight is simple: Ingest fewer calories than your body burns. But how best to do that is unclear. Most experts advise small reductions in calories or increases in exercise to remove weight slowly and sensibly, but many people... Continue reading
Reblogged May 23, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
Are we fat because we overeat, or do we overeat because we’re fat? FOR most of the last century, our understanding of the cause of obesity has been based on immutable physical law. Specifically, it’s the first law of thermodynamics, which dictates that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. When it comes to body weight, this means that calorie intake minus calorie expenditure equals calories stored. Surrounded by tempting foods, we overeat, consuming more calories than we can burn... Continue reading
Reblogged May 20, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
BOOK UPDATE For those of you who might be looking for Refuse to Regain on amazon.com but are finding it "out of stock temporarily", I just want to let you know that restocking should occur shortly. My publisher has changed printers and the process has had some problems. RTR should be available again sometime later this week and I am assured it will not run out in the future. The hard cover edition is not being printed any more, but... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
Hi Everybody!! Just in case you didn't realize, our blogging platform (Typepad) has been down for several days following a cyber attack. I was very nervous that all my content had been lost, because I've been writing blogs since 2008 and have always trusted they would remain on the web. Guess nothing is guaranteed anymore! In any case, we are back up and running although some of the graphics are not yet available. Thanks for hanging in there and for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
Thank YOU Karen for all your support and for publicizing your maintenance experience. It's extremely valuable and you do a great job! Dr. B
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD Imagine that you lived next door to a factory that was working on an automatic program and was spewing out toxic garbage. Over time, your property had become covered with smelly, unsightly waste and each day, as you gazed out your window, you became more and more upset. Your beautiful home was ruined. One day, you wake up with a great idea. You are going to clean up the toxic mess. You put on your gloves,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
by Barbara Berkeley, MD We hear a lot these days about listening to our bodies. The body is presumed to speak the truth. The problem, we are told, is not that the body speaks falsely but that we don't heed its messages. As I've discussed in previous posts, the underlying assumption of bodily wisdom is not always correct. If the body is putting out signals that are distorted or simply wrong-headed, following that particular body's direction is not going to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, MD During the spring, summer and fall in our Cleveland practice I can generally predict that 80% of the patients we see will be losing weight, while 20% will be struggling. In January and February, the ratio flips. I've often wondered why weight loss becomes so difficult as the winter wears on. This is especially true in northern Ohio, where below freezing temperatures and daily snow flurries are compounded by an unending expanse of grey sky. Over... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
by Barbara Berkeley MD An email from a friend of mine started me thinking about this topic again and it's a fascinating one. I am interested in the fact that we spend so little time thinking about the territory above our shoulders. Why is that? Maybe because we can't see our brain so we are continually looking out from it, perusing other parts of our bodies, but largely ignoring the place where we truly exist: in the neural net that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
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by Barbara Berkeley, I'm certainly not the only one who used to note the irony of cartons of cigarettes stacked semi-furtively behind the check-out counter at drugstores. So bravo to CVS for ditching the tobacco. But does CVS's big move mean that it has recognized it's role in health promotion? That's way too much to expect. After all, a drugstore is just that: a store that sells "drugs"....and we all know that the word drug carries multiple meanings. Health care... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
This winter’s frigid temperatures could be having one desirable side effect. They may be revving up your metabolism. This winter’s frigid temperatures could be having one desirable side effect. They may be revving up your metabolism. Shivering in the cold sparks a series of biochemical reactions deep within the body that alters fat cells and bolsters metabolism, much as formal exercise does, according to a fascinating series of new experiments. The findings intimate that exercise and shivering are related in... Continue reading
Reblogged Feb 5, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
by Barbara Berkeley, MD It's been just two weeks since I resolved to do one new thing each day, in search for an answer to the following question: can daily micro change lead to macro change? The experiment is already interesting. I can tell you that, while most new changes don't stick, a few do. And those can be really, really good. One of the new things I decided to do last week was to limit my clothes closet strictly... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
by Barbara Berkeley Are you as fascinated by the microbiome as I am? It seems simply amazing to me that, until just recently, we've completely missed the fact that we are composed of 10 times more microbial cells than human cells and that our bodies are simply teeming with microrganisms that determine our health. We are more neighborhood than we are individuals. What else have we missed? Probably a lot. Anthropomorphizing probably doesn't go a long way with microbiota, yet... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2014 at Refuse To Regain
Just wanted to post this, sent to me by DSY She is having trouble leaving a comment without having it get erased! Here is what she said: Interesting. I don't have the negative reaction you do. I think she's right on most points -- for herself and others like her and even people fatter than her but with no other confounding symptoms. I think if she presented herself to you as a patient, you'd send her off with a blessing. She acknowledges the toxic food environment, she reads good science (Leibel, et. al.), she doesn't see mindful eating as a weight-loss program, but a way to eat that promotes a healthy body and relaxed mind for herself. The problem comes with people generalizing her experience broadly. She's also right that diet culture is wreaking havoc (promoting disordered thinking) with teen girls and teen culture, and likely contributing to more obesity (through weight cycling) than would happen without diet culture. Parents need to stop contributing to that diet culture, and need to work with their daughters to develop a more healthy relationship with food. Her suggestion about how, of course, is incomplete. Nevertheless, if we could get young girls to eat more fruits and vegetables, to take up exercise for fun, and to stop the extreme famine-feast cyclical thing, and if we could persuade most of them (who are NOT as fat as they think) to wait until they're adults to think about weight management, then that would be a good thing. Your response is also right, and also incomplete. I can see someone reading your response and saying, "yeah, defensive eating" and interpreting that any number of ways, including portion control of the SAD, which is fruitless, of course. It gets down to our culture accepting that this area of study is NOT addressable with a 12-minute fix. Over and over we think a dumb article in a women's magazine or a 12-minute lecture can hold all the answers for everyone. That's what's frustrating. I'm reminded that I really wish we'd stop talking about "obesity" and start talking about "obesities." Perhaps, this woman could be said to have struggled with "mental obesity" and she needed to discover and accept that she wasn't physically obese or unhealthy because of her weight. That happened, she's found a better way (for her) to deal with food and she's healthier. Hooray. Now, she cannot speak for the broad spectrum of people with weight issues. Grrr.
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