July 2003, "Which Diets Work?"
Excerpted from Town&Country's Guide to Sensible Eating and Weight Control
You have a better crack at making long-term dietary changes, say the American Dietetic Association and several other groups, if you consult an expert - whether it be a nutritionist, dietician or doctor.
A case in point: Angela Painter, a managing director of U.S. Trust, was looking to lose about twenty-five pounds when she consulted Jana Klauer, a Park Avenue internist specializing in nutrition and weight reduction. After giving Painter a complete medical workup, Klauer designed a program that reflected her back-to-basics approach: plentiful fruits and vegetables, low-fat protein and dairy products, vitamins and calcium supplements, forty minutes of exercise daily and regular visits for nutrition and lifestyle counseling. A quick initial weight loss helped, but what really made the difference was Dr. Klauer's personal involvement.
"We'd talk through things," says Painter. "When I'd go on a trip, we'd discuss situations I might face. For me, the challenge was going to dinner parties and not having a glass of wine. Or she'd draw a dinner plate and tell me how much of it should be protein, how much vegetables. She'd say, 'Eat your vegetables first, so your protein will seem bigger.' We took power walks in the park and did exercises along the way."
Under Klauer's customized coaching, Painter lost twenty-five pounds (still off a year and a half later) - and gained a gratifying sense of ownership of her lifestyle. "It puts you in control," she says. "Now if I go to a dinner party and I want to eat my whole dessert, it's my decision. I exercise every day; it's a choice I've made. I couldn't do anything about growing older, but I didn't want to grow older and fatter."