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Weight loss tips from the doctor who lost 100 pounds in his 50s

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When Dr. Emi Hosoda sees patients struggle to lose weight, she knows what they are going through.

She herself has struggled with obesity, eventually losing 100 pounds and keeping it off since around 2020. But it was a tough road for many years, with a number of factors working against her.

Now 53, Hosoda says she hit 235 pounds – her peak weight – after having children in her 30s. She managed to lose weight, but not for long.

“It was pretty easy to lose most of the weight at around 37,” Hosoda, a resident physician at Enumclaw, Wash., told TODAY.com.

“But then perimenopause came around 2010 and I started working night shifts in a hospital and then all bets were off. So I pretty much regained my weight.

Emi Hosoda before weight loss
Dr Emi Hosoda, left, seen here in 2016, weighed 235 pounds at her heaviest.Courtesy of Emi Hosoda

Hosoda has a strong family history of type 2 diabetes and says she had to take supplements to help fight insulin resistance in order to lose weight. She has FTO, a genetic variant that predisposes a person to weight gain. She also suffered from a difficult-to-diagnose thyroid condition, which made it difficult for her to lose weight. On top of all this, Hosoda had rheumatic fever as a child and took antibiotics for years. His gut health was therefore devastated and took a long time to rebuild.

For all of these reasons, when she sees patients “who eat next to nothing”, who are constantly exercising and who are still struggling to lose weight, she tries to uncover hidden factors that might be at play.

“What I’m looking for is, why isn’t this person losing weight? Because anyone would have the perfect body proposal if they could,” Hosoda says.

She now weighs 135lbs after restarting her weight loss efforts a few years ago when her heavy body tired her out and made her hard to work all night and if you’re not in good shape it can be a burden.

Emi Hosoda at work
Hosoda lost 100 pounds and was able to keep it off for about three years.Courtesy of Kandis Spurling

Hosoda recently shared some of her weight loss tips in a viral TikTok video.

Here are some of his favorite tips from that clip and his overall experience:

Look at the sugar value of foods rather than their calories

It’s about following a low-glycemic diet, which focuses on eating foods that keep your blood sugar levels up rather than just strictly watching calories, Hosoda says. This means avoiding foods like white rice, white bread, potatoes, and sugar itself.

Most processed foods are very high in carbs and very low in fiber, “so they can give you trouble when it comes to your blood sugar stability,” she warns.

The low-glycemic diet includes moderate amounts of beans, lentils, non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and fiber-rich whole grains, as well as lean proteins like fish and skinless poultry; and healthy fats found in nuts, seeds and avocado. Studies have shown that this diet can help maintain weight.

Hosoda advises watching fruit intake and opting for berries as they have a lower glycemic load.

“I am not anti-fruit. But I think sometimes people overdo fruit or think it’s a pass. But it contains sugar,” she notes.

Drink enough water

People often confuse thirst with hunger, so they may think they need a plate of food, but they would feel satisfied if they drank plenty of water, Hosoda says.

Proper hydration can also slow aging and prolong a disease-free life, according to a National Institutes of Health study released Monday, January 2. The National Academies of Medicine suggests that women drink about 6-9 cups of fluids per day, while men consume 8-12 cups.

People with heart failure, kidney disease, or low sodium should check with their doctor about how much water they can drink before increasing their intake.

Get enough magnesium to handle sugar cravings

In addition to managing chocolate and sugar cravings, optimal levels of magnesium also help with muscle tone and keep the heart in the right rhythm, Hosoda says.

You should get your levels checked “before you willy-nilly take a ton of magnesium,” and people with kidney problems can’t take it, she warns.

If you’re healthy and really need a boost, magnesium-rich foods and supplements, including tomatoes, nuts, and seeds, can help.

Include strength training in your workouts

If you’re not building muscle, you’re not making the plant that actually burns calories and fat, Hosoda says. Muscle dictates metabolism, so the more of it you have, the more likely you are to stay fit, says Hosoda.

“A lot of times, as people get older, they do aerobics exclusively, and then they wonder why their body doesn’t look good to them. It’s because it takes muscle tone to really have the kind of body composition that people imagine they have,” she notes.

Hosoda gets up at 4 a.m. to train at least three days a week — warming up on a stationary bike for about 30 minutes, then lifting weights for about an hour. Some studies show that people who want to burn fat are better off exercising early in the morning. “I’m a fairly muscular person, so my goal is to remove the fat layer from my muscle. So that’s what I do,” she says of her morning routine.

Cardio is important for cardiovascular health, but when done exclusively, it’s not helpful at all for weight loss, she adds.

Eat five cups of low-carb vegetables a day

They provide nutrients and fiber, plus plenty of bulk to eat so you don’t feel like you’re starved, Hosoda says.

She particularly likes Swiss chard, celery, romaine lettuce, carrots and cucumbers.

Make sure to include good fats in your diet

In addition to helping you stay satisfied, healthy fats can help fight inflammation. Hosoda recommends avocado oil, olive oil, and walnut oil.

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