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Our take on that Biggest Loser study

By Scott Kahan, MD

If you haven’t seen the New York Times article describing a new NIH study on long term outcomes of former Biggest Loser contestants, I strongly recommend reading it here. It showed that most contestants gained back weight and their metabolic rates plummeted.

Those who have read it seem to be universally upset.  Countless patients told me it made them feel hopeless – “what’s the point of all this if my body is just going to undermine my efforts?”  One patient was convinced that the author wrote it “just to make fat people feel like failures.”

I’m somewhat fascinated by the overwhelmingly negative and emotional reactions.  My own view is actually quite positive. Here’s why:

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How you talk to yourself (and why it matters)

By Robyn Osborn, PhD

If you listen carefully, you will hear all sorts of thoughts running through your head at any given moment. There are the endless to-do lists for the future (pick up the dry cleaning, return that email, schedule eye exam, etc.) that take up space in our heads. There are the thoughts about past events and conversations (e.g., “I wish I had said no to that request,” or “I wonder if I made my point clearly enough in that meeting”). Then there are the most important thoughts—your own thoughts about you. These are the thoughts that are hardest to notice, and we call this “self-talk.”

Self-talk is the category of thoughts that most folks don’t tune into or even recognize they have, yet these are the thoughts that ultimately have the biggest impact on how we feel and what we actually do (or don’t do). I like to call self-talk the ‘stuff that lives in the gap between knowledge and action.’  Self-talk is what gets in the way when we say things like “I know I should go out for a walk” but then we don’t go. Read the rest of this entry »

Psychologist (Osborn) and Mom (Barnes) on WTOP

WTOP News published a radio and online piece highlighting Kassie Barnes, a busy professional, great mom, and NCWW patient.  Psychologist and assistant director Robyn Osborn was quoted.

While it’s a great article, we take issue with a particular part: A personal trainer was quoted saying, “This is [just] old-fashioned…hard work.”   Read the rest of this entry »

NPR Series on Obesity in America

NCWW patient featured in NPR’s Here and Now for a special on Learning to Live with Obesity.

Scott Kahan discusses personalized nutrition on CBS radio

Dr. Scott Kahan commented on a fascinating new study in the journal Cell, which focused on new research that may push the field forward to better, personalized nutrition recommendation. You can listen below:

 

Scott Kahan named Chairman

Dr. Scott Kahan was named Chairman of The Obesity Society’s Clinical Committee.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

By Kelly Theim Hurst, PhD

Sleepless nights can affect every part of our lives. Beyond feeling fatigued, they can cause irritability, stress, increased appetite, and overeating. Fortunately, there are many treatments that can help. As a psychologist, I specialize in behavioral approaches to insomnia and other sleep difficulties.

The tricky part is that sometimes – like with Chinese handcuffs – the harder we work at sleep, the more elusive it may become. That is, imagine trying to force yourself to sleep by repeating: “I’m going to force myself to sleep now!” Rather, a gentler, strategic approach includes easing into sleep, starting with adjusting our environments, our bodies, and our minds to be as conducive to sleep as possible.

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Diabetes Myths

By Kathy Rodgers, MA, RDN, LD, CDE

As a registered dietitian and diabetes educator for the past 16 years, I have worked with many people at different stages in their relationship with diabetes.   No matter the length of time someone has been trying to manage their blood glucose, I hear two common myths over and over:

Myth 1: Carbohydrates are “bad” and should be avoided.

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The Number on the Scale

By Kelly Theim Hurst, PhD

Stepping on the scale can be an emotional experience. At NCWW, we understand that weighing is a personal choice. It’s up to you whether to weigh (or not), how often to weigh, whether to share your weight with us, and so on. In fact, we have a policy at our office that encourages you to only record your weight if, or when, you choose. We want to empower you to feel ownership over your weight management plan, which includes learning about which strategies help or hinder your path to managing weight and health over the long-term.

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NCWW Team members advise Mautner M.O.V.E. Project

Nicole Brown, MS, RDN, LD, HFS, and Robyn Osborn, Ph.D. recently completed their work with the Mautner M.O.V.E. (Making Our Vitality Evident!) Project Advisory Board. The Mautner Project of Whitman-Walker Health aims to improve the health of women who partner with women including lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, through primary medical care, support services, education and advocacy. Conducted by Mautner, the M.O.V.E. program was a targeted 4-month weight management research study aimed to help women who identified as sexual minority develop a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown that lesbians are twice as likely to be overweight as heterosexual women and yet research with this population is limited.

In addition to her role on the Advisory Board, Nicole also was heavily involved in both the initial consultations for the research participants in the D.C. and Silver Spring, MD locations as well as ongoing nutrition counseling and educational sessions. She and colleagues worked to develop educational sessions and to support the participants of the study – and her efforts paid off. Their work was very well received.

Says Nicole of her experience with M.O.V.E. Project “The interaction at each of the group nutrition education sessions was excellent. Participants came ready to exchange info, ask questions and then take the info and apply it.  Honestly, it was a joyful experience!”