What we learned from a big-deal diet doc

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What we learned from a big-deal diet doc

blog_skinnycover.jpgWe ignore most of the new weight-loss books that appear on our desks at W month after month. The advice is usually either totally obvious or totally lunatic, and we’re often too busy deciding between the slow-roasted pork at ‘Wichcraft or the chicken & avocado at Pret a Manger, anyway. We were, however, sufficiently intrigued by The Skinny: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry (Broadway) by Louis J. Aronne, the New York-Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell obesity specialist whom David Letterman has called “the man who saved my life.” Among other things, Aronne (who also slimmed down derm-to-the-stars Pat Wexler) says that weight loss isn’t about willpower, but about biology, and that people can trick their bodies into feeling satisified by eating filling foods first.  

There are a lot of diet doctors in New York who scold and yell. You have the reputation as the “nice” weight-loss doc.
I don’t advocate perfection — I advocate the good. I’m sick and tired of people being persecuted for being overweight. As I say right at the top of my book, “It’s not your fault.” Dieting isn’t about willpower.

We hear you aren’t exactly the biggest fan of The Biggest Loser.
Some people say the show is motivating and I can understand that. But to me, the show is upsetting. The way the show humiliates people — you couldn’t treat people with any other disease that way. Someone hasn’t eaten in a month, and then you put food in front of them, and then if they eat the food they get voted out? It’s ridiculous.

Well, those people do seem to lose a lot of weight.
Basically, if you’re on the show your job is to live in that house and be tormented by fitness people.  And it’s very unrealistic because if you lose a huge amount of weight one week, your body will compensate for it. So one week you could be the hero, but then the next week you’re thrown out.

blog_wexler.jpgPatricia Wexler in 2004 (left) and 2007.

Here’s a scenario. I’m on a mission to lose 15 pounds, but I went to Waverly Inn last night and had cheese fondue and the chocolate-covered potato chips. Should I just give up now?
They key is not to feel guilty, which just sets you up for yo-yo dieting. The best thing to do after a binge is to wake up and eat what I call a “Skinny” breakfast, a bigger than normal breakfast with protein-rich foods, which will help break the overeating cycle.

What do you say to all those Manhattan society diet doctors who prescribe things like vitamin B12, coenzyme Q10 and glutamine pills?
I’ve done 35 clinical trials of new treatments for obesity and there are certain prescription medications that may help if you try everything and still can’t lose. But I would ask the doctors you’re talking about to show me a research study that any of those supplements work. There is no research to prove that any of it is effective.
 

How was Harvey Weinstein as a patient?
Sorry, I can’t say anything about Harvey. But he did blurb my book!

See our November 2008 story on NYC’s top society doctors

Photo: Wexler (left): Billy Farrell/PMc. Wexler (right), Jennifer Livingston.

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