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Fat and Happy?

  Doctor Empathy
Photo of Blackburn putting on the fat suit
  The extra forty pounds in this suit gives Blackburn a daily dose of empathy

Yo-yo dieting: it's a common term in the weight loss field. Every diet author is searching for that magic solution - the perfect diet that allows their readers to lose weight and keep it off, permanently.

In "Doctor Empathy," Alan meets Dr. George Blackburn at his clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and learns right off that being overweight is no laughing matter. Blackburn, who specializes in treating the seriously obese, believes that doctors need to have more compassion for their patients. To Alan's amazement, Blackburn pulls on an "empathy suit," a full-length body suit that simulates forty pounds of extra weight. Suddenly, everyday activities like tying his shoes and crossing his legs become nearly impossible. It's Blackburn's goal to help people facing this disabling condition, and he just may have the solution.

Photo of Alan being weighed
Alan learns how he measures up at Blackburn's clinic  

Blackburn takes Alan into the kitchen to test three diet menus - the popular high-fat, high-protein variety, a very low-calorie, vegetarian choice, and the diet recommended by Blackburn and his staff. Blackburn's credo is "lose weight slowly," no more than about two to four pounds per month, eating moderate-calorie meals with satisfying and complex flavors. Alan himself finds it a tasty alternative. It's one Blackburn hopes his patients can stick with for the rest of their lives.

For more on this topic, see the web features:
Caloric Confusion
Compute Your BMI
The FRONTIERS Cookbook

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