Adhering to a strict fad diet or overly vigorous workout routine to lose weight is a lot like swimming in a lake in the springtime. At least that’s Dr. Yoni Freedhoff thinks.
“You jump in and get wet, but because the water is so cold, when you get back out you never want to get back in,” said Freedhoff.
That philosophy is one Freedhoff teaches every single day to his patients and the millions of people who view his blog. Freedhoff believes that the most important part of actually succeeding in weight loss and a healthy lifestyle change is being happy doing it.
As a doctor, Freedhoff saw the negative toll that obesity-related illnesses were taking on his patients. He started looking for ways to educate himself.
“Nutrition and diet-related illnesses are the number one cause of death – it seems crazy to not know more about them,” said Freedhoff.
Now, Freedhoff is one of the most respected weight loss experts in the field. In 2012, Greatist named him one of the 100 Most Influential People in Health in Fitness for founding the Bariatric Medical Institute, an “ethical and evidence-based” weight management center.
Greatist also cited his award-winning and extremely popular blog, Weighty Matters, which gives readers unique, often cynical, views on nutrition and weight loss, and provides a unique perspective on what healthy living is really about.
“I wanted to promote my office, and I remember asking my marketing friend what a blog was after he told me to write it,” said Freedhoff about why he started the blog in the first place. “I used it as an outlet at first and as a means to help people outside my office, and it gained popularity.”
Freedhoff also started using social media to spread his message of happy, sustainable weight loss. With over 13,000 Twitter followers, Freedhoff makes a very big splash in the world of progressive weight loss advice and expertise.
Perhaps one of the most interesting ways Freedhoff demonstrates his belief in new, more understanding approaches to obesity is his outspoken criticism of TV shows like The Biggest Loser.
“I think The Biggest Loser encapsulates the hateful bias with regards to weight management,” said Freehoff. “It teaches people that self-esteem is related to weight, and if you don’t succeed, you’re not as important.”
Freedhoff also said that the show is extremely problematic because it shows people that they have to suffer to lose weight, and that they never deserve to have a treat or be happy.
To do this, Freedhoff advocates for hunger-prevention treatment. At the Bariatric Medical Institute, for example, Freedhoff teaches patients to avoid becoming hungry so they make better choices.
Freedhoff’s method challenges the popular notion of just eating less and exercising more to lose weight, an approach he calls “nonsense.”
Instead, he said he has an obligation to his patients and followers to know what he’s talking about. He never retweets or discusses an article or study until he has read the actual article. After he reads it thoroughly, Freedhoff will often critically analyze and discuss it on his website, and spur real conversation around it on Twitter.
“We have an ethical obligation to followers to know what we’re talking about,” he said.
Freedhoff also spreads his message through his books. As a co-author of Best Weight, Freehoff gives fellow physicians, dietitians and other health professionals a practical guide to helping others lose weight safely.
Freedhoff is also finishing up his next book, The Diet Fix, which will be released in March 2014. The Diet Fix will show people why everything they know about dieting is wrong and teach them how to fix it. It also contains its own distinct weight loss plan, a plan that is uniquely adaptable to any diet.
“My hope is that people will pick it up and think differently about dieting and why they may have struggled over the years,” said Freedhoff.
Freedhoff said this hope is also one of the best parts of his work. He loves watching people improve their health and recover from their medical issues.
“People suddenly feel empowered to change their life for the good without it being a form of suffering,” said Freedhoff.
The key to success, he said, is for people to allow themselves to indulge on occasion, live as healthy as they can, but make sure they are still content.
“Unless you answer yes to the question, ‘could you happily live like this for the rest of your life?’ you need to change,” said Freedhoff.
Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.