Living Lite

A New Diet Strategy for the New Year: Semi-Fasting

January 29, 2017

When it comes to dieting, I've heard everything, tried everything and studied everything. The challenge is always: How do you eat fewer calories than you need to lose weight and avoid starving? I've discovered in my 25+ years of practice that for weight loss to last, the diet must be enjoyable, flexible, healthy, and fit into busy lifestyles. That means fad diets or extremely strict or punishing diets are best avoided. The results just can't last. And the studies back me up.

Instead, I've found certain personalized "strategies," can really work for lasting results. One of my favorites right now is what I call a "semi-fast." How it's done depends on my clients' lifestyle, abilities and preferences. 

I used to believe that fasting was to be avoided as it lowers metabolism and could lead to bingeing. But new studies and my clients' experiences have changed my opinion - 180 degrees. Nutrition and solving weight problems is a constantly evolving science and I'm always looking for easy ways for people to manage being at their ideal weight and be happy - and healthy, of course.

I first heard about the success of the "semi-fast" at an American Institute for Cancer Research conference. Cancer researchers are always looking for successful weight loss techniques since body fat is one of the most potent cancer risk factors. A British study divided women into two groups: One group was on a consistently low calorie plan. That is, they ate the same amount of calories daily, about 1,200. The other group ate more daily calories - say, 1,500 -  but they cut their calorie intake in half twice a week. The study results were amazing. The group that fasted twice a week were more successful. They enjoyed their diet more, were more likely to stick with it, and achieve lasting results. 

I always give my clients the option and we decide the best way to go about it together. One of the most successful ways is to fast in the evening. The way I recommend doing it is to eat about 2/3 of your calorie needs before the evening and then skip dinner, or stick with something very low calorie such as a veggies, yogurt or fruit. The two nights of fasting allows you to eat a more enjoyable diet, it can undo damage done during the week, and a growing body of evidence shows calorie restricting reduces disease and extends life. There are many theories to explain this and one is that a lower metabolism causes less oxidation, cell proliferation (cancer), and decreases harmful chemicals and hormones in your body.

There have also been studies showing that eating most of your calories during the day and less at night is more likely to aid weight loss. One of the keys to the semi-fast is to find two nights when fasting would be easier. One of my clients fasts on nights her husband is traveling, when she isn't faced with eating a full meal with him. Another has just decided that every Monday and Tuesday night she doesn't eat - and she lost 50 pounds before her wedding and has kept it off.

I personally have used this strategy most of my adult life, before knowing about the studies. My motto since the 1980s has been "Light at Night," and it works!


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Friends of Rose Park Holds Fall Benefit

October 10, 2016

The Friends of Rose Park held its annual fundraising event at the historic Evermay estate in Georgetown on October 6, 2016.

Abby Blomstrom, Sara Macauley and Ramona Green (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Abby Blomstrom, Sara Macauley and Ramona Green

The evening was co-hosted by Evermay co-owner, Dr. Sachiko Kuno, President and CEO of S & R Foundation, who lent the refurbished 28th Street mansion to the cause.

David Abrams Dr Sachiko Kuno and Dr Russell Bridges (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) David Abrams Dr Sachiko Kuno and Dr Russell Bridges

"Georgetown is going through a golden age," said Georgetown's D.C. City Council Member, Jack Evans, who attended along with other esteemed neighbors, including Jeh Johnson, The United States Secretary of Homeland Security. "There's nothing like Fall in Georgetown!" said Evans on one of the most beautiful evenings of the year.

Katherine Tallmadge and Jeh Johnson (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Katherine Tallmadge and Jeh Johnson

The Friends of Rose Park mission is to maintain and improve Rose Park and its landscape, flower beds, trees - 36 of which have been planted over the past 19 years - and its hardscape, its benches, signage and playgrounds. It also organizes its Wednesday Farmers Market.

Theresa and John Mongan Dudley Cannada and Katie Sexton (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Theresa and John Mongan Dudley Cannada and Katie Sexton

Katie and Jon Oehmen (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Katie and Jon Oehmen

David Dunning and Jack Evans (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) David Dunning and Jack Evans


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Does Meal Timing Influence Weight Loss?

October 2, 2016

I've written a lot about how factors beyond calories - such as meal size, balance, and timing - affect your ability to lose weight and improve your health. A new study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms what I've observed during the 20-plus years of my personalized nutrition counseling practice. And that is, having your larger meal at dinner or at lunch can make the difference between losing and not losing weight, even if the same food - and the same calories - are eaten.

This clinical trial - the gold standard type of study, because it controls all conditions so it can determine a cause and effect - took 80 randomly assigned healthy overweight or obese women and fed one group a larger meal at lunch and a smaller meal at dinner for twelve weeks. The second group was given the opposite condition: a smaller meal at dinner and a larger meal at lunch. 

The groups experienced significantly different results. While both groups lost weight, the small dinner group lost more weight. They also achieved a lower fasting insulin and improved insulin resistance, a precurser to diabetes. Your insulin level is important for your health. Higher insulin levels correlate with a higher rate of heart attack and colon cancer - and possibly other cancers - as it is considered a "growth factor," which increases cellular proliferation in the body.

"Light at night" has been my mantra since I first started working with clients, though it was poo poo'd by so many of my colleagues and doctors through the years. Well, science is finally starting to catch up with my recomendations!


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