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INTERVIEW: Dr Nick Fuller, author of Interval Weight Loss

INTERVIEW: Dr Nick Fuller, author of Interval Weight Loss

We are living in a world where the rates of obesity continue to climb. At the same time more and more of us are going on diets as a way to combat this issue. But what if we were actually dieting ourselves fatter? Dr Nick Fuller is a leading obesity expert who works at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. His work involves researching and testing the best methods for weight loss and these findings have informed his book, Interval Weight Loss. This volume outlines a new approach for people to employ with respect to weight loss and one that could help people to achieve sustainable, long-term results.

We sat down for a chat with Dr Fuller to learn more.

Natalie: Could you please begin by briefly describing yourself and your work as an obesity researcher?

Dr Fuller: I have been lucky enough to complete three different degrees including exercise physiology and how the body moves; diets and metabolism; and a doctorate in the management and treatment of obesity. In my current position at Charles Perkins Centre (University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital) we run a clinical research facility where we test the best methods for weight loss.

Natalie: What does a typical day as an obesity researcher involve?

Dr Fuller: Over the years my roles have evolved from being involved on the ground level and seeing patients in hospital clinics/research programs to now running a service that is continually testing and trialling news methods of weight loss. I work with government and industry as we work towards painting a better picture of how to prevent and treat obesity.

Natalie: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing obese and overweight people today?

Dr Fuller: The environment makes it challenging to live a healthy lifestyle. We are moving less (70% of the population don’t even meet the bare minimum requirement of physical activity), we are eating more, and we rely on convenience ready-to-eat foods during our busy schedules. We are also misled by conflicting and confusing nutritional and weight loss information every day of the week that is disseminated by celebrities and unqualified personnel. Diets are contributing to the problem i.e. we are dieting ourselves fatter and fatter because diets (all of them) don’t work.

Natalie: What is the biggest myth surrounding obesity and weight loss?

Dr Fuller: Genes have not contributed to the rising prevalence of obesity and our genes are not to blame.

Natalie: Can you briefly describe your book Interval Weight Loss?

Dr Fuller: The Interval Weight Loss research-heavy approach is simple and fun, and it doesn’t involve starvation. Unlike diets, Interval Weight Loss is not a diet but rather a holistic lifestyle plan that allows and encourages an individual to include and enjoy all foods. It is scientifically proven to prevent us rebounding to our “set point”. It works on the principle of aiming to lose a very small amount of weight over the course of one month (ideally around 0.5kg a week) before being required to maintain that weight for the second month. In the third month you can aim to lose a further 2kg, before once again maintaining that weight for the fourth month and so on, until your goal weight is achieved.

Interval Weight Loss can be followed by everyone from those that need to only lose a few kilos to those that need to lose 30, 40, 50 + kilos. Those that need to lose more just need to follow the plan for longer. If its 5 kilos you need to lose, the plan will allow you to keep the 5 kilos off. If its 30 kilos you need to lose, the Interval Weight Loss plan will allow you to keep the 30 kilos off. This is applicable to all situations and individuals of varying weight. The book goes into the intricate detail of how to trick your body into a new set point and how to lead a fun and healthy balanced lifestyle.

Natalie: Your book involves the idea of reprogramming your body whereby you alternate between a diet and exercise regime for one month and a maintenance period and exercise regime for the following month. What tips can you provide for people that already struggle to get the equation between calories consumed and energy expended right?

Dr Fuller: The weight maintenance months prevent the usual response to weight loss that you get when you follow all of these “diets” that exist and allows you to reprogram your set point slightly lower each time so that you don’t regain the weight you lose. Monitoring your body weight by recording your weight and monitoring the trends over time in a spreadsheet, as explained and provided in the book, will ensure you make the correct adjustments in your lifestyle to achieve the small amount of weight loss during a weight loss month, and then to ensure you maintain your weight during a weight maintenance month.

Natalie: What things can people do to keep their motivation going when on a weight loss journey?

Dr Fuller: Interval Weight Loss is proven to not only work but be enjoyable so that you can stick to it long-term. Diets don’t work because they are not sustainable and unrealistic, so you end up going back to your old ways.

People stay motivated on Interval Weight Loss because it is easy. There are no foods that need to be excluded but there are some foods that need to be kept in the “treat” category of once per week. The great thing about it is that every second month you have to maintain your weight loss from the previous month and therefore it allows for the inclusion of more of those favourite “treat” foods, less exercise, and a more relaxed approach to your lifestyle.

Natalie: Your book has a lot of yummy recipes for breakfast, main meals, sides and snacks. How did you come up with these recipes? Do you have a favourite?

Dr Fuller: These recipes are a combination of family traditions such as “The Brothers Loaf” found at www.intervalweightloss.com.au as well as recipes invented over many years of cooking. They are designed to be easy with minimal ingredients whilst also being healthy.

Natalie: What is your opinion on models like Tess Holliday and other individuals who advocate body acceptance?

Dr Fuller: It is important for people to understand the realistic and achievable weight loss goal that is applicable to them. Body size is not everything and if someone can achieve just a small but clinically significant weight loss (5kg) and keep it off, they will significantly reduce their risk of developing and dying from lifestyle diseases (such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease).

Natalie: In your opinion, what is the key to successful long-term weight loss?

Dr Fuller: Interval Weight Loss teaches a person how to reprogram their “set point” and clears up all the misconceptions surrounding nutrition and weight loss so that they can adopt a lifestyle plan that is healthy, realistic, and achievable life-long.

Natalie: What is your opinion on bariatric surgery?

Dr Fuller: Everyone can achieve weight loss on Interval Weight Loss which is a fun and importantly very safe and non-invasive way of achieving long-term weight loss.

Natalie: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of 100% Rock Magazine about your work?

Dr Fuller: Next time you are looking to shift those kilos, for example, for a wedding or the summer beach body, don’t go on a diet. Diets don’t work (and yes this includes the new fad 5:2 and intermittent fasting) and you will only diet yourself fatter and fatter. All diets result in weight regain because every one of them fails to address the defense for our set point. Everybody has a set point and this varies from individual to individual. It is the weight that you remember being at for a long period of time in your adult years (>18 years of age) and it varies from individual to individual. Every time we go on a diet our body works differently (your metabolism will slow and your appetite hormones will change telling you to eat more) to ensure we get back to our set point and to ensure we stop losing weight and regain the weight we lost.

Interval Weight Loss by Dr Nick Fuller is published by Penguin Random House and is available now, RRP $32.99

INTERVIEW: Dr Nick Fuller, author of Interval Weight Loss

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