Come in for a Free Information Session Today the center for weight and wellness Contact Us (202) 223-3077

Our take on that Biggest Loser study

By Scott Kahan, MD

Published in The Huffington Post

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

Support – What happens when you don’t have it?”

By Kelly Theim Hurst, PhD

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight and keep it off – especially through the holiday season or other ups and downs that life offers – knows that it can be quite a challenge.  What can make this process even more difficult to manage, though, is when you don’t have enough (or the right types of) support for your efforts.  Most people are lucky enough to have a few important people in their lives: perhaps a spouse or partner, family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.  But even when you have people around you, there’s no guarantee that you can or will get the support you need.

Of the people in your life, give some thought to which ones know about your weight management goals? Who would you expect to support you through this process? And equally importantly, how could they support you? Have you ever expected someone’s unwavering support only to realize that they disappointingly came up short in this department?

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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:

 

Navigating New Year’s Resolutions Pitfalls

By Robyn Osborn Pashby, PhD

December 31st marks that wonderful time of year when millions of people ring in the New Year with confetti and party hats.  Whether you choose to spend the evening out dancing past midnight or you prefer to snuggle into bed by 9pm, the new year isn’t just about celebrating; it is also a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions and try to take advantage of the fresh start feeling that January 1st brings.

For many Americans who struggle with weight, losing some of that weight is perhaps the most common resolution set each year.  But as you may have experienced in the past, the energy and focus you have to work on your resolution in January tends to fade.  And for most people, by the time February rolls around, you may be feeling discouraged and either at the same weight as you started or even with a few additional holiday pounds.  If this has happened to you, like it has for so many Americans who start out strong but lose steam a few weeks/months in, there are some simple steps you can take to try to make this year’s resolutions more sustainable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scott Kahan named Chairman

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

The Society’s website describes the role of the committee as follows:

“Advises the Society on matters that relate to the clinical care and/or treatment of patients with obesity; serves as a vehicle for member clinicians to express their ideas and concerns to the Council; advises and guides the President on the appointment of members with a clinical interest in obesity to the Education and Public Affairs Committees in order to ensure full and accurate communication.”

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.

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 »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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!”


Dr. Osborn speaks at Children’s National Medical Center

Dr. Robyn Osborn was recently invited to host two career development seminars at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC. She spoke to the current psychology resident/intern class and to the post-doctoral fellows on issues related to medical psychology and professional development. Dr. Osborn enjoys such opportunities to mentor young professionals and looks forward to this annual event! 

How To Spot a Fad Diet

Dr. Scott Kahan was recently interviewed for a report on how to avoid fad diets and gimmicks. “Fad diets prey on people who feel helpless about managing their weight and health, and they ultimately demoralize us from moving forward,” he stated. Read more here.

Treadmill Desks?!

Dr. Scott Kahan was interviewed on Fox 5 News in a story about treadmill desks. “If you can make time in your busy day to go to the gym or go outside to walk or run, that’s fantastic. But for many people’s lives, including mine, there’s not much time in the day to devote to exercise,” he says. “With my treadmill desk, in the middle of my day, for example, I can walk slowly on my treadmill desk while talking on a conference call, for example.” Watch the interview here.

 

 

February Workshop: Get Your Back on Track

With our contemporary lifestyles of office work, sitting in traffic, and a proliferation of electronic media, it is no mystery that many people have some degree of chronic low back pain! Fortunately, alleviating low back pain with appropriate movement is also not a mystery!

Read the rest of this entry »

Shame Regarding Past Weight Loss Efforts and Its Effect on Efforts to Lose Weight Again

By Robyn Osborn, PhD

The American Lung Association writes the following about smokers: “…each time you try [to quit smoking], you learn a little more about the quitter in you. You become a little wiser about what to do and not do the next time.”  We can learn a lot from this perspective.

As someone who works in a multidisciplinary medical center dedicated to helping people manage weight through working towards wellness, I wish that more people would look at previous weight loss attempts with this same positivity. I wish that any effort at weight management was viewed as a learning experience that would bolster future efforts. Instead, when weight is regained (or never lost at all), these attempts are too often considered “failures.” Read the rest of this entry »

Menopause Madness: Managing Weight through Menopause and Beyond

Whether you’re approaching menopause, having current menopausal symptoms, or it is long past, these normal phases in a woman’s life have profound effects on how you feel day-to-day and on your weight management. Dr. Renu Mansukhani will be holding a special workshop on this hot topic for women in March. Read the rest of this entry »

“Mindfulness in the New Year” – Upcoming Meditation Workshops with Ellen Tynan

It’s a new year and many of us are already overwhelmed with the constant balancing act of work, life, and family.. The busy-ness of our lives can impose serious demands on our emotional and physical well-being. So how do we find time for ourselves that won’t affect our hectic schedules and postpone our everlasting “to do” lists?

Mindfulness and meditation can be used to help all individuals manage stress and their overall wellness. Anyone can benefit from meditation. In this workshop, we help you get started. This is an introductory meditation course for those who would like to learn about the practice of meditation. We will also offer a second and more intermediate course for individuals who are already familiar with meditation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mythbusters: Exercise

What You Won’t Learn at the Gym

By Susan Silver, HFS

There are lots of misconceptions about how much physical activity we are “supposed” to get and what it means if we get less than the news media says we should.

For example, many people think, “If I don’t exercise every day – or most days of the week – there’s no point in doing anything because it won’t be worthwhile.”

Read the rest of this entry »