Extreme Makeover Q&A with Paulette Lambert

Featured Article, News and Advice, Weight Loss
on May 31, 2011
Courtesy ABC

SpryLiving.com: What is the very first piece of advice you give to someone who is super obese and just beginning their weight loss journey?

Paulette Lambert: The first very first piece of advice to someone who is super obese and beginning their weight loss journey is to focus on health, get a physical to know where you are medically, then focus on eating healthy; get off the refined sugar and refined carbs; and no fast food!


SL.com: What is the number one risk for dieting failure and how can it be prevented?

PL: The number one risk for diet failure is doing radical, short-term changes that are not sustainable for more than 3 weeks! Sustainability means focusing on eating healthy, the right portions, and good eating habits, like eating 3 meals and 1-2 snacks daily. It should get easier over time and actually become just the way you eat, a good habit. If a person cannot do that, then he or she should seek further help with the psychological issues that prevent him or her from being able to do that, such as depression or anxiety.


Click here for some recipe recommendations from Paulette.


SL.com: What are the major nutrients that should be included in any successful weight loss nutrition plan? Why?

PL: The major nutrients that should be included in a weight loss plan are adequate protein but not excessive, which helps control appetite; fiber, which really helps with satiation due to less insulin response causing less hunger; and some good fat in the diet for anti-inflammatory benefit and satiation


SL.com: What are the biggest no-nos in any person’s diet while trying to lose weight? Why?

PL: The biggest no-nos are sugar drinks of any kind including juices, fast food because of high calorie content, high sodium, and low fiber, dessert daily because the more sugar you consume the more you crave, and alcohol daily due to the excessive, empty calories, which can stimulate appetite and cause lack of judgment about how much one needs to eat.


SL.com: If you love someone who is super obese, how can you motivate and/or encourage them to make a change and lose weight? How do you begin that conversation?

PL: You cannot motivate someone to lose weight; it has to come from them. You can inspire and encourage. You can voice your concern: “I care about you and am concerned about your health.” And you can offer support, but be careful to not give specific direction unless asked. Let them know you will help, but give no advice. Let them take the lead, and that’s going to happen when they are ready. It is frustrating, but trying to understand what is getting in their way may make it easier to be patient. By being kind and non-threatening, you may actually help this person work through their resistance.


SL.com: What are the top five foods/ingredients that should always be kept on-hand in the kitchen of someone who is obese and trying to lose?

PL: 1) Freshand frozen fruit and vegetables in large quantities, 2) lean protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, including canned tuna or salmon, beans, and eggs, 3) whole grain carbs such as oatmeal, brown rice, barley, whole wheat pasta, 4) healthy oil such as canola or olive oil to be used in small amounts, and 5) spices and herbs to pump up the flavor.


SL.com: This question is from a Spry fan: “Exactly why does alcohol interfere with fat burning?”

PL: Alcohol has a very negligible effect on metabolism. While the liver is metabolizing alcohol, fat burning is on hold but for such a short time that it does not affect weight loss. Alcohol, however, is high in calories, and one needs to be sure that an occasional glass of wine or beer is calculated into the desired calorie intake in order to not interfere with weight loss. Also alcohol is a stimulant, increasing the appetite. Beware of how it affects your control over your eating.


Paulette Lambert, R.D., CDE, Director of Nutrition, California Health & Longevity Institute, who also served as the Nutrition Director on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."