Weight Loss Help – from Berkeley!

(Last Updated On: August 16, 2018)

weight loss - woman on scale

Weight loss: it’s on a lot of our minds today. We’re emerging from the cocoon of our quilted down parkas and earmuffs to greet the warm weather. Of course, we’ve been eating healthy food all winter. And, surprise, during the cold months our bodies, hidden beneath layers of warm clothing, have added a few pounds of thermal insulation!

Fat, you might call it. I’ve got my share too. And together, you and I can shed a little in time for summer.

Berkeley Helps with Health

One of my favorite health newsletters is produced by the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. And their editorial board is impressive. Forty-five MDs and other professionals, some faculty members, some in private practice. And these aren’t just celebs lending their names – the articles they produce are thoughtful, soundly researched and useful.

The Berkeley Wellness Newsletter comes in two forms. I highly recommend their e-mail newsletter1 which is 100% free. It comes once a week and contains links to articles on a number of health topics. In addition, there’s a print version, which I subscribe to. However, the free letter is almost as good, and the price is right.

Berkeley Helps with Weight Loss

weight loss - scale

OK, this blog is about weight loss. And when I looked for recent scientifically sound articles on weight loss I found several of them close at hand on the Berkeley Wellness website. Here are a few I’d like to recommend for your consideration. The publication dates link to the full article. After the date are the article’s title and then my very-brief summary of its content.

May 19, 20182: 10 Evidence-Based Weight-Loss Tips

Summary: This article is packed with practical suggestions for making your diet plan more successful. And here (without the added explanations) are my favorites:

  • Make lunch your biggest meal.
  • When possible, order take-out or restaurant food in advance (this is just like “Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry”!).
  • Beware added sugar.
  • Learn to like black coffee.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Try the “fortnight diet” or another interval dieting strategy.
  • Eat mindfully, being aware when you’re no longer hungry.
  • Beware the calories in alcohol.
  • Avoid sugar substitutes (see my blog Why Diet Drinks Don’t Help You Diet).
  • Don’t shun dairy foods.

And, of course, they should have added: exercise regularly and be sure to eat healthy food!

March 16, 20183: The Best Diets of 2018

Summary: Here, Berkeley Wellness gives their critical analysis of a USA Today article comparing forty weight loss diets. Furthermore, Berkeley’s discussion adds an additional dimension that’s important for those of us who don’t want to lose our marbles as we get older: cognitive functioning.

Berkeley concludes that the best overall diets are the Mediterranean, DASH, Flexitarian and Volumetrics. Also, they give explanations of the differences between them with some additional links to describe the diets.

Berkeley notes that the MIND diet ranks high for cognitive functioning. However, it may be less effective for weight loss. I have previously blogged (Alzheimer Prevention: Risk Down by 35 to 82%) about how the Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets compare.

The five diets mentioned above are all sound and recommendable. And as you probably know, different individuals find different diets to be effective. All you need to do is start with a menu of proven choices like these. Then, the best diet for you is the one that turns out to work best for you.

December 5, 20174: The Fortnight Diet

weight loss - veggies

Summary: This article tells lots more about the “Fortnight Diet” referred to in the 10 Weight Loss Tips article mentioned above.

Here’s the simple version. Suppose that you stay on a weight loss diet – any of them – week after week. Consequently, things happen. Things that counteract the weight loss you’re trying to achieve. Specifically:

  • Your body learns to make do with fewer calories. It starts burning them more efficiently. As a result, the calorie intake that should cause weight loss starts maintaining or even increasing your weight!
  • You get bored and frustrated with feeling deprived by your weight loss diet. Hence, you rebel. Either by cheating on your diet, or trashing it altogether.

The article describes research in which the participants alternated between a weight loss diet and normal eating. In this particular study, it was two weeks on, then two weeks off, hence the Fortnight Diet. As a result, the interval dieting group wound up losing more weight, and keeping it off, compared with those who simply followed the weight loss diet.

October 5, 20155: Best Diet Plans / Comparing Low-Fat, Low-Carb, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Jenny Craig, and More

This article is two years older but is referenced in the newer articles above. That’s a tip-off that Berkeley considers it still to be accurate. It quotes research that directly compares low-fat diets to low-carbohydrate weight loss diets.

The bottom line is that both types of diet are useful. I noticed that in one study, low carb seemed to be the winner. However, generally speaking, both approaches are worth trying.

September 29, 20156: 18 Keys to Healthy Weight Loss

weight loss - salad days

This is another few-years-old-but-still-valid article. It’s offers weight loss tips like the May 2018 reference above. However, this article adds extra value because many of the tips are different from the May article! Here are some favorites:

  • Balance different types of food.
  • Try portion control.
  • Control your “food environment.”
  • Go for volume (foods with the same calories but which occupy more volume).
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand.
  • Limit your food varieties.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Reward yourself for doing well.

I hope this blog post has achieved its goals: To give you useful tools if you are interested in weight loss. And to make you aware of the Berkeley Wellness Newsletter. It’s one of the most reliable and noncommercial sources available for news and advice on being healthy. And – it’s free. (Just like ArtChester.net!)


Drawing Credits (all via openclipart.org)
– Weight Loss by oksmith
– Scale by SunKing2
– Smorgasboard Of Vegetables by GDJ
– My Salad Days by oksmith

Other References:
1 http://www.berkeleywellness.com/berkeley-wellness-newsletters
2 http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/diet-weight-loss/slideshow/10-evidence-based-weight-loss-tips
3 http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/diet-weight-loss/article/best-diets-2018
4 http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/diet-weight-loss/article/fortnight-diet
5 http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/diet-weight-loss/article/comparing-diets-what-research-shows
6 http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/diet-weight-loss/article/18-keys-healthy-weight-loss

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