• Susan Seligson

    Susan Seligson has written for many publications and websites, including the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Yankee, Outside, Redbook, the Times of London, Salon.com, Radar.com, and Nerve.com. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 52 comments on MED Prof’s Overnight Diet: “Fast, Permanent” Weight Loss

  1. Great, like the shelves have enough room for “another” diet book. Good luck making money off of those who are desperate to try another “fad” diet.

    Bottom line, eat sensibly and exercise. This really is the only combination to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    1. I for one am willing to try it – it seems I taking in far too little protein according to the calculation, and despite exercise, commuting by bike, and relatively moderate eating (including some chocolate, I admit) the pounds won’t go.
      I think it’s unfair to characterize a plan developed by the head of BMC’s Obesity Research Center as automatically a “fad”. The shelves definitely have room for a book with a plan that might work!

      1. Susie – please see my post after the moderators review and release it. I felt very fortunate to come across The Paleo Solution and now mentor (at zero cost) anyone who asks. Results in our group have been amazing.

        1. David. Stop spamming people with your Paleo diet. That does not contribute to this discussion. If you were to talk about the paleo diet in conjunction with this article, that’s one thing, but to just go around advertising it because oh, this article is about diets, is really inappropriate.

    2. Actually, that doesn’t always work. It’s not always that simple. Especially for women. After 45, our hormones are so out of whack that we are dealing with a different body every YEAR let alone every five years. It’s really tough to lose weight while up against such chaos. So no. You’re wrong.

  2. I agree B. Fast and permanent weight loss? I’d like to see that. Dieters are desperately looking for anything that will work. Unfortunately there are not too many that work long term, apart from clean eating, regular exercise, good mindset, healthy relationships and enough sleep. Are these variables all included? Too many people are trying to make quick bucks from these desperate dieters. Why not each them a way to permanently drop their excess weight so they never had to spend another penny, and looked and felt great for the long term?
    To health & happiness.
    Dee :)

    1. Wait. Seriously? Did you read this interview at all? She wasn’t offering some *~crazy miracle~* diet. Most things you just listed as being the only working long term solution to weight loss is /exactly/ what she promoted.


      Clean eating: “We will need to provide people with fresh fruits and vegetables and good protein sources”

      Regular exercise: “All you need to build muscle and create afterburn, which means your metabolism stays up long after you stop exercising, is 21 minutes, four days per week.”

      And consistent sleep schedules: “You need eight hours of sleep per night”

      You said: “Why not teach them a way to permanently drop their excess weight so they never had to spend another penny, and looked and felt great for the long term?”

      That’s…that’s exactly what she’s doing. My impression was that she is attempting to offer people a clear way to clean up their diets, get into shape, and sleep more frequently, and for those who are insecure about this method, she provides data and research to explain and help support her suggestions.

      Honestly, I think people are just dismissing this whole book because of the way it’s presented. Yeah, it sounds gimmicky, but I would blame the marketing department for that one. It’s impossible to sell anything helpful without being ridiculous, apparently.

      Technically, if you eat well, and exercise, and get enough sleep, it is a “permanent” solution, in the sense that as long as you maintain healthy routines, you will attain certain consistency in your weight and health. Other factors obviously exist, but I don’t think she discounts them either, at least, I don’t get the sense that she would. She seems pretty reasonable, and it doesn’t strike me that she’s trying to exploit people. Exploitation would be like “Follow my 5 step guide to losing weight fast by buying all this special food from my company that I’ve crafted specifically for you!” instead she’s like “Hi. Don’t buy fast food. Buy vegetables and get some rest.”

      Seriously though, word of advice: read the article. And also, nobody is making you buy this.

  3. While some would believe it matters not what a person eats, as long as it is ‘sensible’, I have found, and the group of people that I’ve helped over the past 2+ years have too, that WHAT we eat makes all the difference. After not being able to lose weight using practically any method of exercise and diet, I stumbled upon The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. In this book he explains the chemical actions our bodies have to certain foods, and why some things such as grains and beans, are simply not good for people. He backs this up with research and chemical analysis. I tried it his way, and dropped 70 pounds and got back into my size 34 waist pants, and I have more energy than I did in my 20’s. There are people in my Paleo group who have literally been ‘cured’ of Type II diabetes by following the Paleo method, which isn’t a ‘diet’; it’s a life-style. This author’s book seems to follow many of the tenets of Paleo, such as being protein-rich and lots of hydration; but do be aware than many, many people suffer a gluten intolerance that they never know about unless a doctor stumbles upon it, or they find the Paleo Solution or Wheat Belly books. If you’re tired of IBS, gout, high BP, migraines, snoring, aching joints, lack of energy, heartburn, and numerous other symptoms you notice after eating, think about The Paleo Solution.

  4. “Fruits, vegetables, and protein in almost limitless quantities”…no. Too much fruit will make you put on weight. Too many veggies might, but it’s much easier to eat more fruit in a day than you should because it’s delicious. My grandmother put a lot of weight on this way using fresh fruit and was confused until she saw a nutritionist.

    Also, why is losing water weight a good thing?

        1. Hi Ruth – My apologies, as I missed the “water” portion of your question. I am dyslexic and sometimes need to re-read. I don’t really know why losing water weight would be good, so the doctor would need to address that one.

          As for qualifications to offer answers to people’s questions, I can answer based on my own experiences and results, and those of people in our group that have had some pretty amazing results. I offer these opinions and results in an earnest desire to try and help, and for no other reason. I would assume that you would offer suggestions to people for the same reason.

          1. Yeah, the WATER was the entire point of the question. As a dyslexic myself, I suggest reading twice before you answer things.

            “our group,” again does not answer whether you have any actual qualifications. It’s great that you’ve had good results, but so has the random guy I met at the gaming store who eats 400 calories a day and lost 100 pounds…it may have taken the weight off, but you’re setting yourself up as an expert and answering people’s legitimate questions to the book’s author–i.e. why water weight loss is something people should could care about. You still haven’t answered what you’re studying, although from your lack of an answer I’m guessing it’s not vaguely science-related.

          2. David,

            I think it is great that you are willing to put your thoughts and experiences out there for others. Ruth, if you do not like it then don’t respond to him. You are being very rude and if you do not feel that David is qualified to answer, then go speak with a doctor about this diet. This isn’t the place to put others down or be condescending.

  5. Did you see the line, “You do not have to give up any food completely. Of course, I do not consider processed foods and high-sugar processed items food.” Translated this means people need to “give up” most of what they are eating because most Americans live on processed food. Read Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food.”

  6. So if two pounds of water are lost the first day, that means that seven more pounds need to be lost over the remainder of the first week. For the medical model (male, age 25, 70 kg), the average calories per pound is about 3,500.

    So you would need to lose 24,500 calories (7 pounds x 3,500 calories) in the next six days–or 4,083 calories per day. Even with no food intake, and several hours of hard exercise, how is this possible?

    Perhaps Dr. Apovian could respond?

    1. Mark asked a very good question about the calculation for weight loss versus intake and calorie burn via exercise that appears to be in conflict with expectations. I can offer this from the book I mentioned; When people eat certain foods such as grains and beans, it causes distress and damage to the small intestine, and other vital organs. The body responds by packing body fat around those organs in an attempt to protect them from further damage. Gluten, for example, is an significant irritant to more people than most realize, and retained body fat around organs results (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18594089/ns/health-fitness/t/thin-people-can-be-fat-inside/).

      When a person removes these irritants/allergens, they can ‘flush’ body fat from their system without it having to go through the caloric burn cycle.

  7. I wish BU Today would stop focusing so heavily on weight loss and dieting. This semester alone, I have seen way too many articles criticizing “unhealthy” lifestyles, promoting weight loss weight loss weight loss, and featuring fad diets like this one. Weight loss is absolutely NOT the only way to have a healthy body. Actually, weight has very little to do with actual health; a person can be fat and very healthy or thin and very unhealthy. (Here are some resources concerning that: http://bigliberty.net/truth-behind-fat-links-science/) Our society has an extremely unhealthy and damaging obsession with weight loss. This obsession not only shames and marginalizes fat people (who apparently make up 1/3 of the American population–how is it okay to marginalize that many people?), but also promotes extremely unhealthy dieting and exercise norms which very often lead to eating disorders, especially in young people. Please stop hyper focusing on weight loss. If promoting good health is so important to you, I urge BU Today to promote things like positive self image, loving oneself, surrounding oneself with positive influences, or listening to your body’s signals when eating or working out.

    1. Why should BU stop focusing on weight loss and dieting when it is a problem in America? Do you suggest we as a society never address an issue and ignore it forever? Maybe there are so many articles criticizing unhealthy lifestyles because people do not take responsibility for themselves and their unhealthy lifestyle is taking a toll on aspects of our society.

      I agree weight is not a factor of health exceptions being athletes who are heavy in weight but very fit. These articles, however, are not addressing them. For the most part, the article is addressing those who are considered obese. (by the way, your source is hardly a primary scientific source). The obsession may shame or marginalize fat people, but these articles offer alternative scientifically backed methods of achieving a healthy lifestyle. And by the way, 1/3 of the American population is fat and you don’t think that’s an issue?

      “self image, loving oneself, surrounding oneself with positive influences”
      -These are great things to strive to achieve for but can be a double edged sword. If you’re obese, these phrases could allow you to justify staying obese, make an excuse for who you are, and surround yourself with people that let you continue being unhealthy.

      “listening to your body’s signal when eating or working out”
      – This article does comment on hormones when you eat or work out. Most people don’t know these signals to even try to “listen” to them.

      Bottom line, this is meant for people who are obese and want to do something about it in a correct way. If you are obese and are ok with it, then great, this is also not meant for you. If you are obese and are ok with it, but find the attention given to obesity problematic then one needs to admit that they are obese and wish there was something to do about it.

      1. Anon, you appear to have completely missed the point of L’s comment, and you certainly didn’t bother looking at any of the articles in the linked page. Athletes are not the only people with “obese” BMIs who are healthy as is, nor are they the only people who lead active, healthy lives. Not all bodies work the same way and trying to make all of us conform to a narrow range of so-called acceptable weights does a whole lot to damage the health (both mental and physical) of perfectly normal people.

        Furthermore, the idea that people only find the “attention given to obesity problematic [need] to admit that they are obese and wish that there was something to do about it” is deeply ignorant of the impact of social factors in how we feel about ourselves. It is extremely difficult to maintain a healthy, positive self worth when you are constantly being told that you are damaged or unattractive and need to change how you look just to be afforded basic respect.

        There are plenty of resources for people who want to lose weight. None of them work in the long run for the vast majority of people, but they still exist, nonetheless. If people want to pursue weight loss, why shouldn’t they have to go through a doctor to find out what the “latest breakthroughs” are.

    2. I’m with you, L. I’ve seen entirely too much focus on weight *loss* in BU Today articles, without a balancing discussion of what constitutes *health,* and why/how some fat people are perfectly healthy. I cringe every time I see another article on health… yet I do keep reading. Maybe because I keep hoping the focus will change.

      BU Today isn’t known for being the most balanced tool in the news shed, but how about it, guys? More perspectives in this area?

      1. You’re casting just as generalized a net as the frequent discussions on weight loss. What you’re suggesting is: Just because this article (which happens to propose a very healthy way of eating well) discusses weight loss it must of course be applied 100% to all people and there is no possible scenario where this doctor might see someone as healthy with some extra weight.

        All I read were excellent, common sense approaches to having both a healthy diet and promotion of exercise. Why is this bad?

    3. “…but also promotes extremely unhealthy dieting and exercise norms which very often lead to eating disorders…”

      Obesity is a result of unhealthy and disordered eating, yet you seem to have no problem with it?

  8. I am very critical of any doctor that makes money selling their own product.. it seems that Dr. Apovian is making money from selling protein smoothies.making a whole business out of this. seems like a fad

  9. I think most of you are being too judgmental. People need some guidance on these things and adding another book to the shelf doesn’t make any difference, it just gives people more options. All of you are making a big deal out of nothing. Also, she clearly stated that if you do this plan, for it to be permanent you need to KEEP the plan. Loving oneself must also include exercising because if you let yourself go, you’re going down a bumpy road of heart disease and diabetes. This is not the “slimmest” of countries, so weight loss is important. Can someone explain to me why losing weight is a sign of “omg she’s sick, get her a doctor”? It’s just like going to the dermatologist to get one’s acne cleared up. You’re there because you need the help and yes you don’t like the acne, just like someone doesn’t like their extra fat.Also, it’s comments like “you can be fat and healthy” that mislead a lot of people.

  10. Ok I get where this diet is coming from. Even though it is nearly impossible to follow high protein low carb diets, they can be very affective as they cut out almost all carbs which are the body’s main feul source. Sending the metabolism into a process called ketosis, burning fat beyond the calorie deficit created. But having tried Atkins for a month this year I have realized that cutting out all carbs was taxing (mostly mentally but also physically), I had low cravings, was losing inches but my brain just wasn’t functioning. Also, the insane weight loss lasted for about a week and then my body adapted to the diet changes and eventually I was loosing no weight at all. I lost a total of 12 pounds, 8 of them in the first week. Although I think that Dr. Apovian’s diet isn’t necessarily a fad diet, I do believe that it is a modified version of Atkins (just like the palleo method and most of the scores of popular diets today). Low carb diets seem to be trending (just as low fat diets were in the 80’s and 90’s) and they are definitely not effective or healthy in the long run (increasing risks of hypertension, heart disease, cholesterol an stroke because of the extreme meat consumption). Sporadic fasting (like the one day feul up) has been proven to kick start weight loss, not getting enough sleep causes metabolic distress and can cause unhealthy over eating; apart from these to factors, this diet only modifies Atkins, which all the popular diets out there seem to be doing. Adjectives like “overnight” “fast” “easy” and “permanent” make diets like these popular and commercial. Sselling protein smoothie bases is especially commercially motivated and hypocritical as these smoothies use processed artificial protein blends, which the creator herself correctly labels as not food. I do have an answer to the water weight issue: I think it’s honest of Dr. Apovian to admit that the initial weight loss is just salt and water. I t is “good” because retaining water causes hypertension, increased triglyceride levels and slows the metabolism. Put simply, in order to burn fact you must first lose the unnecessary retained salt and water. However, this diet and all popular diets today (palleo included) uses a high protein low carb approach, which in my opinion has been done to death and are rehashings of Dr.Atkins book from the 70’s, which even now remains controversial, unhealthy and impossible to maintain over a lifetime.

    1. Incorrect. Low-carb diets do *not* lead to increased heart disease. Studies are showing that cholesterol counts go down on these diets and that the good cholesterol to bad cholesterol ratio improves. People who have mental fuzziness issues or who don’t feel “right” on low-carb diets need to adjust what they eat. We’re all different, so the level of carbohydrate that is right for each of us is different. Some people are less tolerant of carbs than others. Also, you should check for food allergies. A lot of processed low-carb oprions like snack bars and such use a lot of soy, which a lot of people can’t tolerate or are allergic to (myself included).

      Claims about heart disease and stroke like you’ve made are hearsay and not backed up by the data. Like I said, we’re all different so we’ll all have varying results to these diets, but low-carb is not unhealthy.

    2. I have the book, have tried the diet for over 5 weeks (I took a 1 week break) and can attest that I am not a dieter, I have never tried Atkins or Paleo. It is NOT A LOW CARB diet. It is a RIGHT CARB diet. It basically takes most processed carbs out of your diet. The reason you can eat as many fruits and veggies as you want is because once you follow the basic percriptions of the eating plan, you really are not that hungry so you don’t go on fruit binges at night. I find it actually pretty hard to eat the food required. Sure, I’ve made some modifications, I slipped some, but the best thing is that I know what I should be eating daily (e.g. # of servings and proportions of whole grains, # of servings of dairy or dairy substitutes, etc.).

      Anyway, that’s my 2-cents, but completely based on actually reading the full book and trying the diet. For those who think she’s out to make a quick buck by selling her “food products” the only thing she sells is her smoothie mix and protein powder which I’ve never purchased and it clearly states in her book how to do the diet without buying her stuff. I just head to my local grocery store.

  11. Her plan isn’t exactly a dieting plan as much as it is a ‘cleansing’ plan. Her program seems to essentially flush out all the ‘bad’ stuff in your body and replacing it with ‘good’ stuff as deemed by high protein, lots of vegetables, etc. Thermodynamically it makes a lot of sense, especially with the salt and water– effectively using osmosis to lose water weight, then using low to no-fat foods to cleanse the body even further. As the previous comment stated, this will only work for probably a week as it radically changes your body to basically the most efficient it can be. However, to change your set point and actually start losing serious weight, traditional methods of proper exercise and dieting is probably still the most robust strategy.

  12. In spite of all these new “researched” diets,(and as an educational administrator, I can tell you that often you can make your “research” conclude anything you want it to conclude) the safest and most effective way to consistent weight loss, especially for those of us who are diabetics, are what we in New Orleans call the “Louisiana Two-Step: eat less, exercise more”.

    Reading the article, I do believe that this is essentially what she’s offering.

  13. I AM PROOF THIS ABSOLUTELY WORKS! After attending one of Dr. Caroline Apovian’s seminars last year I altered my diet per her recommendations. I’ve lost 40 pounds and have kept it off. Thank you Dr. Apovian!!!!

  14. A bit irrelevant to the content of this article, but I am waiting for the day neuroscientists make a breakthough in solving the problem of obesity. A lot of health conditions related to eating from overeating, to binge-eating, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa, are behavioral. The neuroscience of eating disorders is analogous to addictions.

    I think the best ‘diet’ books are those that address the behavioral/neurophysiological aspects of eating. We should focus more on effectively changing our habits and ways in which we think rather than on the actual foods themselves. Nonetheless, it would be inadequate to pay no attention to the actual foods we eat, as they surely affect our brain and body chemistry and in turn affect our thoughts and behaviors.

  15. Of course eating sensibly and working out more is going to help. The problem is that most people want to achieve their weight loss in the most efficient way possible. Dr. Apovian is promoting a particular way she has compiled from medical literature that she believes will deliver weight loss in the most reasonable way.

    What exactly is eating sensibly? Is it David – MET students paleo way? Maybe (though I myself don’t do paleo and I’m pretty sure David’s a blogger/spammer) (you totes get paid for your posts right : )?) All Dr. Apovian is trying to do is provide a defintion for eating and maintaining overall health in a way that promotes weight loss. As a consumer, you can google the most random diets (or even give David your email and he’ll bring the diets to you), but the goal would be to find something that has a higher likelihood of actually working for you in a way that doesn’t make you radically change your lifestyle. Workout more, eat less? We look for ways to define what exactly that is. By defining a work out/eating regimen, tackling weight loss is a more feasible possibility for people who are having trouble just increasing their output and dropping their input.

    As far as marketing goes, if I spent my life researching obesity and trying to develop methods to counteract the direction of the nation’s trends in weight, I’d hope to get paid as well. She puts work into this and does this for a living, why shouldn’t she try to profit? Jiffy lube says they’ll clean your car’s engine. If you don’t want to take your car to them, you don’t have to. But if you’re having trouble cleaning your engine even though you “drive sensibly” and always make sure you’ve got enough oil, then give it a shot. You’ll have to pay for their services.

    If you want something free, there’s tons of free diets, workout plans on the Internet. If what you find isn’t working and you have some money laying around (does this book really cost that much that people are getting mad) try something that has favorable reviews on amazon for example.

    If you’re a reader who takes offense to online comments, get off your high horse. Yes I used sarcasm in this post.

    In conclusion though, weight loss is a very complex entity with numerous implications on the human body. If you read about an extreme diet, please take caution. Feeling sick a few days into the diet may be signs that you’re body isn’t getting enough nutrition. Stop the diet. If you or someone you know on a “crazy” diet faints, do consider taking them to a doctor or the emegency deparment as more serious complications do occur. If you feel good, keep going! Keep trying different things until you achieve your goals!

  16. This looks like a variant on the Paleo/low-carb diets out there. Those are proving more and more to be viable diets that truly work. We’ve all been brainwashed for years about fat being evil, but studies are now showing that despite consuming less fat than ever before, incidence of diabetes and heart disease are up. Think about what they use to replace fat in food products to make them taste good: sugar and processed carbohydrates. We don’t need that stuff.

    Eating real food and not packaged junk is the first step. Meat, vegetables, and fruit are the key. One big problem in our society is that so many people can’t even find their kitchens and so become dependent on take-out or packaged junk that passes for food. Learning to cook would probably do wonders for America’s obesity problem. Real foods are cheaper than that processed crap along with being healthier.

    Start small. Cut out a couple slices of bread, a serving of pasta, or a serving of potatoes. Or switch that sugar-loaded soda for the diet version or drink plain water. You don’t have to switch it on radically for it to have benefit. You won’t see quite as rapid a result, but it might be best if your diet is heavy in carbs and sugars.

  17. I’ve been following this plan for 3 weeks now. My weight was never bad but my bmi very high risk after having h. pylori. Need to do something about my BMI. Weight coming off is very slow. Am doing the exercise 4 days a week as indicated. Thus far I have taken two inches off my waistline. I’ll be on this plan for a long time with my BMI. I’ll keep at it. Have hope!

  18. It seems a lot of people aren’t liking plan, but it seems good to me. Every person is unique and I believe they need a unique diet in order to give them the body that they want. This could be the perfect plan for someone out there.

  19. Thank you so much for talking about this.I’ve been trying to drop the pounds for well over 9 years after i got hurt skiing. I’ll try this out.

  20. What about older athletes. I cycle 120-300 miles a week and in the winter, spend weekends xc skiing (skate skiing), and try to ride when I can. And, of course, the gym and a bit of swimming. Athletes need more protein, and being 60, I need more protein. So I try to eat 10-30 grams at every meal, which means I am probably getting 90-110 (extra added for protein in nuts and other low protein foods). That seems like it should be enough, but I am not sure. And then, no matter what I do, I can’t seem to lose 10 pounds that I do have to lose. I lose 5 and it comes back, and so on. It’s possible that that goal is not attainable at 60. So, I sleep, exercise, eat right, eat protein, but most dietary information is targeted at older sedentary people. They need it, but it leaves older athletic women to sort of guess what is needed. Just a comment. I am just one of a group of people who find themselves outside the realm of mainstream dietary advice.

  21. This sounds like an alternative to low-carb / low-carb diets there. Those that prove more and more are a viable diet that really works. Our brain has been brainwashed for many years about the fact that fat is evil, but studies now show that although less fat is consumed than ever before, diabetes and heart disease have increased. Think about what they are using to replace fat in food products to make them good bait: sugar and processed carbohydrates. We do not need those things.

    Eating real and not bottled packagings is the first step. Meat, vegetables and fruit are the key. One of the big problems in our society is that many people can not even find their own kitchens, and therefore become dependent on junk or junk food that goes through for food. Cooking education may do wonders for obesity in America. Real foods are cheaper than those processed waste along with being healthier.

    Start small. Cut slices of bread, a plate of pasta, or a meal of potatoes. Or turn sugar-laden soda into a diet or drink plain water. You do not have to change them drastically to take advantage of them. You will not see the result too fast, but it might be better if your diet is heavy in carbohydrates and sugars.

  22. This is great information. Moving away from sugar and processed foods can dramatically reduce weight quickly. I recently researched nuts to get me the protein along with vitamins and minerals to complement a more plant based diet. I found that pecans were the lowest in net carbs and found they are packed with vitamins and minerals: https://millicanpecan.com/pages/pecan-faqs. I also found they have more Vitamin E than any other nut. But, I realize that they are caloric with 1 TBS = 100 calories (2 grams of protein) so they must be eaten in moderation. I found they reduce my urge to eat and I can eat pecans or pecan butter by themselves or in my daily smoothie. The walnut also has tremendous benefits as it is the pecan cousin. Thank you for your research and I look forward to more articles.

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