For nine seasons, TLC’s My 600-Lb. Life has shared stories of severely overweight patients as they prepare to reclaim their lives by undergoing weight loss surgery. In each episode, subjects travel to Houston, Texas, to visit Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, more commonly known as Dr. Now.
Dr. Now is a bariatric surgeon and an expert on all things weight loss. The patients featured on the show travel to him for weight loss surgery, but if you’ve seen the show, you know that they aren’t allowed to jump right into an operating room. Dr. Now almost always requires a patient to naturally lose weight through diet and exercise ahead of scheduling a weight loss procedure. Fans of the show are always curious about the details of the Dr. Now diet because even if you aren’t prepping for weight loss surgery, his plan could help you shed a few pounds. Here are the details on the Dr. Now diet and his philosophy on weight loss.
Dr. Now Has Been A Bariatric Surgeon For Decades
Dr. Now isn’t just some television doctor that TLC hired to play a part. He’s the real deal. He first graduated from the University of Tehran in 1970 before traveling to the United States and starting his bariatric surgery career.
Since entering the medical field, Dr. Now has advocated for the treatment of severely overweight patients. In a keynote presentation at the 2016 ObesityHelp National Conference, he talked about how different things were when he started his career.
“In the early 1970s, when I started doing bariatric surgery, 350 pounds was considered to be a high-risk to have surgery. There are many people that exceed the 350-400 pound weight restriction policy that most bariatric centers had. To me, these are the people that need the most help by having the operation so I knew I needed to find a way to help them.”
He Has An Established Philosophy On Obesity
With tons of experience under his belt, Dr. Now has established a solid philosophy on obesity and how to solve it. Of course, there’s diet, exercise, and for severe cases, surgery. But, there’s also a mental component that many dieters disregard. Maybe that’s why he demonstrates a tough-love attitude on the show when patients make excuses for venturing off the diet. He knows there’s a mental battle that the patient has to overcome.
In a conversation with People, he said, “Severe obesity is a complex physical and psychological condition with many components. Not realizing how much of their struggle is psychological and not just physical can be the biggest obstacle for change with patients.”
For his patients on My 600-Lb. Life, weight loss surgery removes the physical compulsion to eat, which then creates the opportunity to address the psychological factors that impact their weight.
Dr. Nowzaradan also acknowledges that having a support system can make or break a weight loss journey. “Families can either be enablers or encouragers. Having a supportive family for patients on a weight loss journey is an important component to their success,” Dr. Now said. “If they don’t have that, it’s almost impossible for them to be successful in the long term, unless they remove those people from their environment. So they either have to change their dynamic with those enablers or separate from them if they want to succeed.”
F.A.T. Is Part Of Dr. Now’s Diet Plan
All of the details of Dr. Now’s diet are included in his latest book, The Scale Does Not Lie, People Do.: Reversing Obesity Now. On Instagram, he shared a snippet that highlights a concept that is super easy to remember: F.A.T.
F.A.T. describes the aspects of your diet to consider for your daily caloric intake. Dr. Now believes that changing your eating habits and the relationship with food are the keys to success in shedding weight.
So what exactly does F.A.T. stand for? The F is for “Frequency” of eating within a 24-hour window. The A is for “Amount” of food consumed for each meal. And the T is for the “Type” of food we eat.
Check out the sneak peek of the book he shared on his Instagram.
Dr. Now’s Diet Plan Includes Forbidden Foods And Limited Calories
In addition to the F.A.T. philosophy, Dr. Now’s diet also includes a limited calorie diet and a list of triggering foods to avoid.
James “LB” Bonner, a former subject on the show, shared a list of foods that he was forbidden to eat as part of Dr. Now’s diet plan.
The list includes many sugary snacks, like ice cream, chocolate, donuts, and candy. In fact, sugar should be avoided in general. Most fruit derivatives are also prohibited, whether it’s juiced, dried, sweetened, or candied. Rounding out the list of forbidden foods are high-carb items like chips, bread, rice, pasta, and even nuts like almonds and cashews.
With such a long list of things not to eat, you’re probably wondering what you can eat. The diet is low-carb, low-fat, and high-protein, so keep leafy greens, fish, and low-fat meat on hand. If you have a sweet tooth, you are allowed to use artificial sweeteners to satisfy cravings.
The forbidden foods are all a part of a limited calorie diet that Dr. Now prescribes his patients, typically 1,200 is what he says on the show. However, if you’ve ever tried dieting, limiting your calories is probably the most common advice you’ve heard time and time again. But of course, Dr. Now presents the concept with a unique point of view. He says that a 1,200 calorie diet isn’t necessarily the go-to solution for everyone. At the 2016 ObesityHelp National Conference, he shared an extremely helpful analogy:
“Your weight is like a bank account. The money you put in is just like the food that you eat. The bill is what you spend, write the check, and that is like the energy you spend to live. So, everybody has a different budget. Everybody has a different metabolism. You can’t take everyone and tell them that 1,200 calories are going to be good for them. You have to figure out what their metabolism is, how many calories they need, and what we need to do to get to that. The 1,200 calorie standard isn’t a standard for everybody.”
So, to recap, adhering to the Dr. Now diet means that you should focus on high protein foods while steering clear of carbs, sugars, and fats. But perhaps the most important thing to remember about Dr. Now’s diet plan is the idea that weight problems stem from a combination of physical and psychological factors. Make sure you have the right mindset and the right support system. And it’s always a good idea to chat with your doctor about your goals.