George Blackburn, professor at Harvard Medical School, uncovers the secrets to a correct diet. He also talks about how to find the ideal weight and how thin people should lose weight. At the end he discusses the connection between sleep, stress an...
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Question: How do you ‘Break Though Your Set Point?’ Blackburn: It's been now almost 20 years since I published the first observation of the significance of a ten percent weight loss. And then it just built on that that was the amount of weight that people could lose without regaining it. So there is the stretch of the rubber band, and the amount of weight that you can lose and expect to keep off approaches ten percent of your body weight. So that's the reset that we want to do. We want to take that weigh on the scale and reset it, you know, with just under-eating 200 to 400 calories a day, one, two pounds per month, until you get the ten percent off. Now the average person, you know, starts-- should be weighing 150 pounds, they actually weigh 180 pounds, so we're really looking for a ten percent or an 18 or 20-pound weight loss in this area. And just with under-eating this little bit, getting rid of your hunger, eating slowly, will get the 20 pounds off, and lo and behold, that's the weight you can keep off. And so we ask people to stay there for six months, get this new eating and activity lifestyle, and then you can go to add another five pounds or ten pounds from that direction. Question: How do we find our ideal weight? Blackburn: To find what you should weigh is to know your actual weight in pounds and make a calculation of what's ten-percent less and go through that weight in pounds. The body mass index helps us normalize the society in females and males. So for scientific purposes and for medical evaluation, body mass index is a vital sign, just like weight circumference. But for the individual it's to know your weight, that's your set point, subtract ten percent of that weight and go to that new weight and see how good you feel and how healthy you are. Question: Should thin people lose weight? Blackburn: Well, the nice thing about it is that this intrinsic gut-bringing set point regulation will keep you close to your ideal weight. So if you're already at the weight most people of your height are at age 18, if you try to lose ten percent you'll find the brakes will go on at five percent. So you'll really be protected from losing too much weight. But you can test that to see how you feel. If I have more energy, more stamina, you know, I can perform better. Some people are. We're not all made in a cookie cutter so we're all one-size. Some people, your height could be five pounds or ten pounds less, and some people could probably be five pounds or ten pounds heavier to be at their best performance, their best hunger control, their best fitness. Question: How does stress affect weight gain? Blackburn: Almost anybody who changes weight more than one or two pounds, you know, per year can probably look back and find that something stressful happened in their life. A new job, a new marriage, you know, a new location, illness in the family, illness in themselves, so that stress is a major contributor, and therefore it's important that we identify that in ourselves and implement a plan to understand it and then to treat it. So that by virtue of the fact that you maintain your weight within one or two pounds year-in and year-out probably means you have manageable stress. You may feel stressed, but the good news is, it hasn't translated into changing your appetite or your activity so you're holding to your normal weight. Question: How does sleep affect weight gain? Blackburn: Sleep is a major contributor to our fighting stress and fighting fatigue, so that we know that if you are fatigued, undoubtedly you're not getting enough sleep. First you can know if I'm not getting six to eight hours of sleep per night, then I'm probably not getting enough, and it's wearing on me. The second thing of course if that when you wake up in the morning, if you don't feel refreshed then there was something wrong with the sleep. Wasn't long enough, you weren't restful enough, you weren't p

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