Winning the War on Weight Loss

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Dr. Schumacher looking slim and trim.

When it comes to weight loss, it seems like every month we are bombarded by ads for some unpronounceable miracle fruit from the depths of the Amazon or ads for a celebrity-endorsed quick-fix pill. At the end of the day, the best strategy for winning the Battle of the Bulge remains the same: eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and no matter what, maintain a positive attitude about losing weight. No one knows this better than Columbus-based physician, Dr. Douglas Schumacher.

If you’ve visited the good doctor lately you may have noticed that these days, he’s looking quite slim and trim. With just a few tweaks to his daily routine, Dr. Schumacher has lost a whopping 60 pounds over the past few months. We wanted to find out the secret to his success so we stopped by to get the scoop on getting (and staying) in shape. Dr. Schumacher, like many of those who ride the weight loss rollercoaster, could trace a major source of his weight gain to stress. He says that he “didn’t want work stress to kill him” and he decided to do something about it.

Despite weight fluctuations through the years, Schumacher has been a faithful user of Tony Horton’s P90X fitness program. At first he would have to modify some of the exercises due to his weight and fitness level. Despite this, he continued to use P90X as his primary workout and as he began losing weight, he found that the exercises were less taxing and required fewer modifications. Dr. Schumacher also used Fit Bit, an activity-monitoring device, to help him keep track of his daily activity.

Dr. Schumacher also began tracking the foods that he ate so that he could easily monitor his caloric intake. He tried to eat healthier but didn’t want to deprive himself; he confesses to eating an ounce of chocolate everyday.  The doctor grew up eating healthy foods. His mother, a school teacher, studied to become a dietician and began cooking healthier meals shortly after his father suffered a heart attack when Schumacher was only 5 years old.

The doctor’s current diet involves “eating clean” by consuming quality meats, fruits, and veggies.  He said that his diet is loosely based on the popular Paleo diet that involves “eating like our ancestors” and avoiding junk foods and other diet-sabotaging foods.  Processed foods often contain large amounts of salt, nitrates, and other chemicals used for preservation purposes.

Frequent consumption of processed foods can increase our risk of developing health problems like diabetes and heart disease. In fact, according to a 2010 Harvard study, eating processed meats like bacon and processed deli meats led to a 42% increased risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Other processed foods to avoid include canned foods and convenience foods like frozen pizza or frozen dinners. Replacing these items with whole foods like nuts, beans, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables provides a healthy alternative to eating processed foods.

To find quality produce, Schumacher suggests buying quality fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets but says that despite the hype, buying “organic” fruit is not necessary. He also recommends avoiding eating products with more than three ingredients, processed foods, and foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

To monitor weight loss as well as weight gain, the doctor referred to this helpful equation:

Weight Change = Calories Consumed – Calories Burned    

                                                        3500

First calculate the number of calories that you consumed for the week. Next, subtract the number of calories that you burned that week.

Take the result and divide it by 3,500, the number of calories in a pound of fat, to determine your total change in weight for the week.

Ready to shed some pounds but feeling apprehensive about whether you can achieve your weight-loss goal? Try using Dr. Schumacher’s top three tips:

  1. Document the foods that you eat either by writing them down or tracking them electronically*.
  2. Exercise regularly and track your activity*.
  3. Take the first step!

*Check out these helpful phone apps and websites to help you keep track of your diet and exercise. Myfitnesspal.com (app available), Runkeeper (app), Google Now (app), and Nike Fitness Club(app).

Still feeling doubtful? Remember Dr. Schumacher’s words of wisdom “ It’s doable, just DO it! “

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