The Love Diet

The High Intensity Health podcast #150 touches on quite a number of points that reflect the interests of Childhood Obesity News. In this episode, host Mike Mutzel interviews Drs. Mark Dedomenico and Connie Guttersen on the topic of “Cultivating Weight Loss Habits and Mindset.”

After developing coronary bypass surgery (with fellow cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Lester Sauvage), Dr. Dedomenico segued into a career whose aim is to prevent anyone from ever needing coronary bypass surgery. The next step was founding the 20/20 Lifestyle Program, which can actually reverse heart disease.

The staff includes not only physicians but registered dieticians, certified exercise professionals, and licensed counselors. The program can add 15 years to a patient’s life, just like bypass surgery — but without scalpel or sutures. The patient meets with a psychologist once a week for the first six weeks and attends group therapy 10 times while in the program.

Full-scale staff meetings discuss each patient individually, and success is measured by more parameters than just the scale. People stay with the program for various lengths of time to learn new ways of living, and their average weight loss is 1% to 2% per week. Dr. Dedomenico says:

We used to run insulin levels here on every patient coming in. They were all elevated, which means insulin-resistant. By the time they were finished with the program, there were no elevated insulins, so I quit doing them…

We get our diabetics totally off their medication 73% of the time. We get our hypertensives off of all their medications, normal blood pressure, 79% of the time.

As in Dr. Pretlow’s W8Loss2Go program, patients identify their trigger foods. An important step is to eliminate sugar, because once it finds its way into the body, sugar calls out for more sugar. Since carbohydrates turn into sugar, they are frowned upon. But an emotional eater will eat anything, and with most people, it all comes down to emotional eating.

The need for psychological tweaking was obvious from the start, because the problem is mainly in people’s heads, and originates from their lack of self-love. (In fact, Drs. Guttersen and Dedomenico recently published The Love Diet, a book that was 20 years in the making.)

The people in the patient’s environment are very important, which is why the program recruits them as allies. Childhood Obesity News has noted how parents can be enablers and saboteurs, and unfortunately this is also true of spouses and children, who may have some unconscious vested interest in keeping a relative overweight.

Stress and sleep deprivation are to be avoided, as are large dinner plates. Both doctors emphasized that standard plates used to be 9” in diameter, but now are more likely to be 12” or 14”. Eating from a plate, rather than directly from a processed food package, is important because it ties into the need for mindfulness. Putting food on a plate is a signal to be aware: “I am eating.” When a person grazes and nibbles from packages, this is all too easily forgotten.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Cultivating Weight Loss Habits and Mindset,”, 08/04/16
Sugar (red handles)
Photo credit: Lisa Risager via Visualhunt/CC BY-SA

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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