There’s a study that’s been widely quoted in the news. I believe it is being misinterpreted.

It showed that the women who lost the most weight in a weight loss program, also weighed less 18 months later.  Click “More” below to see the details of the program.

OK. How much did the “most weight-loss” group lose? More than 1.5 lbs/week in the first month, and 1 lb/wk average over the entire first 6 months!!  This is similar to my weight loss trajectory.

To me, this does NOT represent a crash diet. The medium group lost 0.5-1.5 lbs/week and the low group lost less than 0.5 lbs/week during the first month.

Rather, I believe that the women who were most dedicated and successful early on, continued to be so 18 months later. The slow losers never lost as much as the fast losers.  To my dismay, minority women were much more likely to be slow losers.

Contrast this to the Celebrity Fit Club participants, who sought to loose 4-7 lbs a week. I believe losing that much weight is usually unsafe. It may result in loss of muscle. We want to ADD muscle (it burns calories 24/7), not lose it.

Participants were 298 relatively healthy, weight stable,
obese women between the ages of 50 to 75 years (mean±
SD; 59.3±6.2 years) with a mean baseline weight of 96.5±
14.9 kg and body mass index (BMI) of 36.8±5.0 kg/m2.
The racial/ethnic composition of the sample is as follows:
Caucasian (75.5%); Black, Non-Hispanic (20.5%); Asian,
Native American, or Pacific Islander (2.3%); and Hispanic

Phase I of the TOURS trial included 24 weekly group
behavioral treatment sessions designed to decrease caloric
intake and increase moderate intensity physical activity to
facilitate a weight loss of approximately 0.45 kg/week. All
participants were encouraged to consume 1,200 kcal/day
and to increase physical activity to reach a 10,000/day step

average or attain at least 3,000 steps greater than baseline
levels. No liquid meal supplements were utilized in the
TOURS trial.

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.


  1. Hello Dr. Ellis,
    I have been reading your blog and now have joined weight watchers. My goal is a lost of 100 lbs. Weight Watchers encourages us to eat plenty of leafy vegetables. I work full time and working on my dissertation and am a single parent. I found it is easier to grab fast food. I know many places offer salad and I am trying to use no dressing. I am so frustrated, I can not understand how I can be so successful in some areas and such a failure when it comes to loosing weight. You are such an inspiration.

    Thank you

  2. May I suggest VEGGIES, not salad. I make 1/2 to 1lb cooked veggies with 1 TEAspoon olive oil and spices (onion, garlic, basil) for every lunch and dinner. Nuking them in a covered bowl takes 5-12 min depending on the veggie and the strength of your microwave. Steaming is another option. It’s a lot easier to eat a lot of cooked veggies.

Comments are closed