A Questionnaire With “The Biggest Loser” Researcher – Dr. Mondo [INTERVIEW]

The Biggest Loser

We have interviewed Dr. Mondo, where he shared his opinion with us.

Question 1. Why people suddenly gain weight?

Dr. Mondo: We want this answer to be simple but it’s nuanced. The short answer is, people suddenly gain weight from consuming too many calories. Why they consume so many calories is more of the question. In part, it’s because they’re likely eating calorie dense foods with little nutrients (processed foods, high fat and high sugar foods). Their brain is trapped in what Dr. Doug Lisle and Dr. Alan Goldhammer refer to as “the pleasure trap.”

My clients often say they feel “out of control”, “powerless” or “addicted” to food. They are right. These high fat, sugar and processed foods mimic drug like effects on the brain. They release a powerful chemical known as dopamine–a neurotransmitter in the brain that is released and we get flooded with positive feelings associated with pleasure.

For some people we can just stop there. For others it goes deeper. In my opinion, some people use food to comfort themselves, or numb out to uncomfortable emotions. It’s common for clients to often enter my practice with very little self-awareness about why they overeat, let alone with insight into much about how their emotions are tied to their binge eating behaviors.

My job is to help them learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable in exploring their emotions and develop a deeper level of insight around why they do the things they do. My approach is to the point but my flavor is compassion. If people can get to a place of understanding what emotions are recruiting them into comfort eating, and compassionately see the history of that survival skill, then they are better equipped to make new choices moving forward.

Question 2. Why some people gain so much weight?

Dr. Mondo: See above. I’ll add, that we live in a weight shaming society. As a result weight gain is a vicious cycle. We gain weight and we feel bad about ourselves. We hear this voice in our heads that says “everyone notices,” so we slowly retreat more and more into isolation.

In that isolation we use food to comfort or escape the painful emotions. Of course this means we end up gaining more weight, and thus the vicious cycle spirals.

Question 3. If you’re working out why do you start gaining weight?

Dr. Mondo: It’s been said that about 90% of what happens on the scale is determined by your food choices. Too often we think we must workout obsessively to lose* weight. While exercise is crucial, it’s been proven to be more crucial to weight maintenance than weight loss*.

Start Gaining Weight

Question 4. Any tips on how to stop gaining weight?

Dr. Mondo: Get out of isolation. Get into a community of supportive people who share your similar values for a healthy lifestyle. Develop a Why that is bigger than just wanting to look better. “Why do you want to lose* weight?” Spend a lot of time in reflection on that question.

If your motivation is centered around things like fitting into a dress for a big event chances are, like the event, the motivation and subsequent success are temporary.

Question 5. What can cause you getting unexplained weight gain?

Dr. Mondo: Again, this stuff is not so simple to unpack. The first step is always to rule out any medical conditions (for example, hypothyroidism, or anything that impacts hormone levels). If you are doing everything right and have ruled out a medical condition then the next step is to examine life balance.

Sleep is crucial. If you’re not sleeping well that could explain a lot. Finally, you would want to explore the emotional state of your life. It’s not uncommon for people to gain weight during difficult periods of their life–major life transition, loss of a loved one, breakup/divorce, stressful work season, etc.

Question 6. What should be an average weight for people?

Dr. Mondo: I’m not a medical doctor, but if you ask them they’d probably refer you to the BMI. I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Body fat analysis are probably much better indicators than weight because many people’s bodies are built so differently.

Question 7. If you’re gaining weight how many pounds you must lose* get noticed?

Dr. Mondo: This depends on how much you weighed to begin with. If I had to estimate, I would say 20lbs is generally noticeable.

Question 8. Sometimes people say that they gain weight overnight. Is it possible?

Gain Weight Overnight

Dr. Mondo: Often weight gain is slower than overnight, it’s just that many of us are not conscious of how our behavior is impacting our waist line until we see a photo of ourselves or go to try on new clothing. Sure, there’s some instances where weight gain happens faster than what can be expected, but usually overeating, stress and poor life balance are hallmarks of those circumstances.

Question 9. How are some people get thinner but gains weight?

Dr. Mondo: Some people gain muscle and lose* fat.

Question 10. How would you describe weight loss* v/s fat loss? Any correlation?

Dr. Mondo: Fat loss is often more desirable than losing muscle mass. If you lose* fat you lose* weight it just takes longer to see the impact on the scale. But, the scale hardly tells the entire story. This is case and point.

Question 11. Some people just get a fat tummy only, how to take care of this?

Dr. Mondo: All roads lead back to diet. Some MD’s like Dr. John McDougall is famous for saying “the fat you eat is the fat you wear.” While that sentiment is undoubtedly controversial it is more to the larger point that you can’t outrun the fork.

Sure, focusing on core workouts to get a flatter stomach makes sense, but the only way to get that layer of fat off to expose that core is to focus on your food choices.

Question 12. Which exercises reduce* belly fat?

Dr. Mondo: The exercise of making better food choices. If you have fat to lose* your body will know how to eliminate* it. You just need to set it up for success by fueling it properly.

Question 13. If you’re gaining weight, what foods you must avoid and what to consume to control weight gain?

Dr. Mondo: I am not a licensed nutritionist or dietician. For that I would refer to nutritionfacts.org and Dr. Michael Greger.

Dr Mondo: Today Show Australia Interview

Question 14. Your final tips on controlling weight gain?

Dr. Mondo: Prioritize your overall health over a goal to lose* weight. People who desire to ReWrite their entire life story during weight loss* end up being more successful long term. The weight loss* isn’t the focus of why they want to change, it’s just a byproduct.

Image Credits
Feature Image: drmondo.org
Inpost Image: drmondo.org, shutterstock.com

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Author

Contributor : Dr. Mondo (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Mondo is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Professor and Academic Researcher who conducted the first psychological research with former contestants of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. In his research, Dr. Mondo discovered a lack of addressing the emotional and psychological aspects of weight loss was a key contributing factor in explaining why nearly 95% of people regain all the weight back after drastic weight loss. Dr. Mondo is on a mission to transform how the medical field supports people during weight loss. His online program "Rewriting My Story With Dr. Mondo" at www.DrMondo.org is fastly becoming a go-to resource for people to help address this often neglected side of weight loss. Connect him on Twitter and Facebook.

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