Duke university weight loss

10 Weight Loss Tips From the Duke Diet

“Seeing a full plate also helps you feel more satisfied on a low-calorie diet,” says Christine B. Tenekjian, a Duke Diet & Fitness Center dietitian. “When people come to our program, they’re afraid of being hungry, but more often they say, ‘This is more food than I usually eat.'” Tenekjian recommends having at minimum of two to four servings of fruits and vegetables each day and making sure your plate contains 50 percent produce. Ideally, the rest of your plate’s real estate should be filled with 25 percent healthy protein — fish, lean beef or white meat chicken, or a plant-based protein such as tofu — and 25 percent should come from carefully-chosen, fiber-rich starches, such as beans and other legumes.

2. Schedule Your Meals

Many people who come to the Duke Center have stopped listening to their hunger cues long ago and instead eat because they’re upset, bored, or just saw a commercial for a tempting food, says Tenekjian. “As a society, we’ve really lost the ability to recognize our hunger signals,” she notes. “Until the people who come here become cognizant of that, we ask them to eat on a schedule — small meals every three to four hours — when they go home.” Those who are most successful at losing weight and keeping it off tend to eat five to six small meals a day or about every three to four hours, according to Tenekjian.

3. Keep a Food Journal

Jotting down what you eat — in a journal, on your iPhone, or in an Excel spreadsheet on your computer — helps you stay aware of whether your meals are balanced, how frequently you’re eating, and how many calories you’re consuming. “If people come back to the center because they’re regained the weight,” says Tenekjian, “it’s often because they stopped monitoring what they’ve been eating.”

Dieting Without Dropping Pounds?

4. Get a Grip on Emotional Eating

To help halt emotional eating, says Sofia Rydin-Gray, Ph.D., assistant director of behavioral health and lifestyle coaching at Duke, first suss out why you’re reaching for that pint of ice cream in the first place. She suggests asking yourself the following questions before eating.

  1. Am I hungry?
  2. How am I feeling?
  3. What do I really need?
  4. What can I do instead?

5. Allow Yourself a Daily Indulgence

Duke Diet participants stick with a 1,200- to 1,800-calorie diet each day, but that doesn’t mean they’re deprived of sweets. The diet allows for a planned treat — chocolate, alcohol, cookies, potato chips — that’s no more than 10 percent of the person’s daily caloric intake. So if a person is on a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet, he can have a 150-calorie treat every day as part of his total daily calories. The catch? “You have to find a treat that doesn’t turn into a trigger food,” says Tenekjian. If you can’t eat just one chocolate chip cookie, then that shouldn’t be your treat. “You have to find something that tastes good and satisfies your craving for something sinful, but doesn’t turn into something completely out of control,” she says.

6. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

If you caved in and ate nachos and frozen margaritas at happy hour with your friends, don’t blame yourself for blowing your weight loss plan. “It’s impossible to ruin your diet in one day,” says Tenekjian. “Don’t try to make up for it with excessive exercising or fasting the next day.” Rather than adopting an all-or-nothing mentality, she suggests just getting back on your normal plan and journaling about your feelings and why you think you fell off the weight-loss wagon.

If You’re Going to Splurge, At Least Do It Right.

7. Walk Your Way to a Lower Weight

Most people who come to the Duke Diet center have not been exercising regularly, says Gerald K. Endress, a clinical exercise physiologist and fitness director at the center. He recommends using a pedometer as an easy way to rev up your activity level. “If you’re just starting out, figure out how many steps you take each day as a baseline,” he suggests. “Then try to work your way up to 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. That’s a great strategy for getting people going, and having that feedback from the pedometer is important.”

8. Rise, Shine, and Work Out

Making exercise a priority is a challenge for most people, but it’s non-negotiable when it comes to weight loss. Ryden-Gray recommends exercising first thing in the morning so other commitments — work, dinner plans — don’t get in the way. “Some people cannot be successful if they don’t exercise in the morning since it’s often hard to fit it in at the end of the day,” she says.

9. Make Working Out Easy

Using your own body or minimal equipment allows you to work out anywhere — at home, on vacation, on a work trip. Endress recommends squats, wall pushups, triceps dips from a chair, abdominal crunches, and calf raises. Do one to two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions two to three times a week. “If you prefer to workout at home or you travel a lot, I also recommend resistance bands — you can pack and travel with those,” he says.

There Are Plenty of Exercises You Can Do Anytime

10. Find More Than One Way to Stay Motivated

You might think setting a weight-loss goal is all the motivation you need, but Rydin-Gray encourages clients to come up with a variety ways to stay on track. “You want different things to motivate you, especially down the road once you’ve lost weight or more importantly, when you’ve reached a plateau,” she says. “If your motivation is weight loss and you haven’t been losing weight, you’re at a loss.” Rydin-Gray suggests other meaningful motivators such as training for a 5K race or focusing on being healthy for your children.

Duke Diet and Fitness Center

501 Douglas Street
Durham, NC

Duke Diet and Fitness Center is pleased to announce a 10% employee discount on our one, two, three or four week residential-style weight loss programs. For more than 40 years, Duke Diet and Fitness Center has helped over 50,000 people achieve sustainable weight loss and transform their lives. Individuals come to the Duke Diet and Fitness Center to lose weight, adopt a healthier lifestyle and take control of obesity-related conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and arthritis. We believe that healthy weight loss can be positive and transforming. It is not just about losing weight. It is about getting the life-saving and life-altering benefits that come along with it, like lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels; decreased pain; fewer medications; increased mobility and energy; improved sleep; and better overall quality of life. No more fad or one size fits all, yo-yo dieting. Our individualized approach to healthy weight loss addresses each client’s unique medical, behavioral, nutritional and fitness needs. With that insight, we help identify realistic lifestyle changes, assist with goal-setting, and start our clients on a path to sustainable weight loss and better health. For more information please visit www.dukedietandfitness.org/ or call 800.235.3853. Must show valid Duke ID.

OPTIFAST program

The Duke Diet & Fitness Center is pleased to offer Duke Employees 10% off the OPTIFAST program. Must show valid Duke ID. OPTIFAST Weight Loss Program OPTIFAST is a medically supervised, meal-replacement weight-loss program that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. Holistic in its approach, it includes medical, nutritional and behavioral guidance and monitoring. It is recommended for those with a BMI of 30 or greater, and is often used for rapid weight loss prior to bariatric surgery, for those suffering from severe obesity that hampers activity or for those who can’t dedicate the time to a residential program. Because participation in the OPTIFAST Program spans several weeks and requires the attention of our Duke Diet and Fitness Center team, it is only offered on an outpatient basis to individuals able to travel to our Center once a week. The OPTIFAST program is not billable to insurance; however, some patients have been able to use Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for the program. For more information about the OPTIFAST program https://www.dukedietandfitness.org/outpatient-services/optifast-program.

Generic advice doesn’t help patients drop pounds

Participants in the study had only modest weight loss when doctors gave generic advice such as “you should exercise more.” They fared much better when doctors instead provided specific instructions.

“Just telling somebody to lose weight or improve their diet or physical activity didn’t work,” said study co-author Gary Bennett, a professor of psychology at Duke. “The doctor should instead encourage patient participation in a specific program.”

The new paper appears Wednesday in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The year-long study took place among 134 study participants who were overweight, predominantly female and had a mean age of 51. In addition to weight problems, participants had additional health concerns such as hypertension and diabetes.

Study participants were invited to take part in a comprehensive weight-loss program that included tailored behavioral goals, educational material, calls from coaches and text messages with weight-loss tips and progress reports.

Participants also checked in regularly with health care providers. Some doctors or nurses simply urged patients in general terms to “lose weight” or “exercise more.” Other health care providers, though, gave specific advice that reinforced the comprehensive weight-loss program, such as encouraging patients to take calls from weight-loss coaches. Patients in the latter group lost nearly 7 pounds more on average.

The amount of empathy doctors displayed made a difference, too. Patients who rated their providers as empathetic and caring lost about 7 pounds more on average than those who did not.

“Patients who enroll in a weight-loss program should consider asking their health care providers to check in on their progress,” said study co-author Megan McVay, an assistant professor at University of Florida. “This can help keep them accountable. It is also important to have a provider that they feel cares about them and has sympathy towards how hard it is to lose weight.”

Integrative Nutrition and Weight Management

What is Integrative Nutrition?

At Duke Integrative Medicine, we offer integrative nutrition services that address your health concerns by taking a “food as medicine” approach. Our nutritionists draw on their extensive experience and education to identify how a customized nutrition plan can improve your well-being.

A consultation with a nutritionist begins with your questions, concerns, and goals. The nutritionist will assess your symptoms, laboratory tests, food preferences, and health history and begin to build a personalized nutrition plan. Over the course of several appointments, your nutritionist will help identify interconnections between food, movement, rest, and stress in your life. Your recommendations may include changes in food selection and/or preparation, strategies for developing menus, nutritional supplementation or techniques to support awareness of your eating habits. Together, we will work toward initiating positive change in your health and lifestyle.

At Duke Integrative Medicine, our integrative nutrition services are used to treat a specific health condition, manage weight healthfully, or to attain optimal vitality through a wholesome diet. Our nutritionists understand that getting on the right path toward your health goals is a process that requires support, adjustment, and taking small steps to make lasting and positive changes.

When should I make an appointment to see an Integrative Nutritionist?

  • Pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, or diabetes

  • High blood pressure or high blood lipids

  • Digestive and gastrointestinal disorders

  • Cancer prevention, treatment and survival

  • Autoimmune conditions

  • Inflammatory conditions or arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Migraine headaches

  • Food sensitivities, allergies, or intolerances

Do you have a condition that is not listed above? Please contact us to find out how we can help you.

Healthy Weight Management

Our nutritionists understand that achieving and maintaining weight loss can be a confusing and difficult process. At Duke Integrative Medicine, we help you grasp the factors that have made it difficult for you to achieve your healthy weight. Our weight management services offer much more than just a list of healthy foods. While we will address what you eat, we also explore how and why you eat. This mindful approach to food consumption can help identify behavior and stress patterns that may hinder weight loss. Our nutritionists will help you develop a comprehensive, personalized plan designed to bring lasting change and results.

How to Do the Duke Diet

It started as an intensive four-week program at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in North Carolina, but now you can learn how to eat better, lose weight and improve health in the comfort of your home with the diet creators’ book 1. While what you eat is an important aspect of the Duke diet, it also focuses on teaching you how to live an overall healthy lifestyle

In Person or At Home

How you do the Duke Diet depends on your needs and flexibility. The traditional program requires a stay at the facility and includes a team of experts to help you on your journey, as well as a slew of classes, meals and exercise programs. The program offers a number of different options to fit your availability, from a five-day intensive program to the traditional four-week program. If getting away is not an option for you, you can do the Duke diet at home using the book as a guide. The book includes the same advice as offered at the center but may be less individualized.

Choosing a Diet Plan

The Duke diet does its best to create a diet plan that fits your personal needs, especially at the center, where a registered dietitian does a complete nutrition assessment and develops a plan just for you. Diet plans offered at the center include a low-fat diet, low-carb diet or a moderately low-carb diet. The book version of the diet includes two diet plans: a traditional and a low-carb diet plan. The traditional plan encourages healthy foods, including healthy fats, and aims at teaching you how to control carb and calorie intake. The low-carb plan in the book is similar to the Atkins diet, according to dietitian Laulita Kaul, but is not as carb-restrictive.

Knowing What to Eat

At the center, you eat healthy meals and snacks prepared by the chef, which helps give you an idea of how to control portions and create healthy meals. The dietitians at the center also work with you on developing your own meal plans. The center also offers cooking classes and virtual grocery store tours. To help you at home, the book version of the Duke diet features four weeks’ worth of menus, as well as recipes from the Duke kitchen.

Making Lifestyle Changes

The Duke diet focuses on helping you change your overall lifestyle. At the center, physical therapists teach you about activity and fitting in exercise, while behavioral therapists work with you on managing stress and building a successful support system. The book version of the program also offers a variety of exercises to fit your fitness level, as well as steps to help you feel better about your body and to deal with food.

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