By Michelle Levine, OMS IV
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Colorado, Class of 2019
If you’ve struggled with your weight, as so many of us have either intermittently or continuously in our lives, I hope you already know that you’re not alone. That your self worth does not rest in your physical appearance. You also probably know many or all of the various types of diets suggested in our culture to lose weight and be healthier, and have likely tried many of these diets in hopes of more energy, fewer necessitated medications, and maybe even a bit of the prestige that accompanies a slim physique in our modern society. In struggling with obesity, it is not only our bodies that are affected but disproportionately our minds and our spirits as well.
The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung translates his experiences as a physician treating obesity into terms that are easily understood, relatable, and backed by various scientific studies. His perspective on obesity will offer validation of your prior dieting efforts as well as explanations for why diets fail despite continued compliance. He explores how we arrived at such overwhelming rates of obesity as a culture as well as the role of each of the macronutrients in our diet. He also offers steps that you can take to reduce your weight and improve your overall health, focusing mainly on the type and timing of food consumption but also acknowledging the roles of exercise, sleep, and meditation in creating a balanced picture of health.
Dr. Fung presents a hormonal theory of obesity that integrates our bodies’ tendency to self-regulate with the effect that eating has on insulin levels. He suggests a diet that minimizes blood insulin levels and fights insulin resistance with short periods of fasting. The diet he recommends reflects a healthy balance of whole unprocessed foods. His theories about obesity are well supported in scientific literature, although his interventions have not yet been accepted as superior to other diets and further research in this area is needed.
In my own personal experience since reading the book, I have done a fast of about 30 hours and found it to be achievable with the right mindset and not disruptive to my normal activities. I have done more frequent and shorter fasting intervals of ~16 hours and found this to help decrease cravings and allow me to make healthier food choices. Although I will need much more time to fully evaluate the effects of these practices on my own body, the relationship between insulin and the body’s homeostatic mechanisms to control weight fits well into my greater understanding of physiology.
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