eating habits by dr nowzaradan my 600lb life doctor 2

F.A.T. Factors & Eating Habits by Dr. Nowzaradan, My 600lb Life Doctor

April 6, 2018

This is the third article in the three-part series on the information discussed by Dr. Nowzaradan, My 600lb Life Doctor at the 2016 ObesityHelp National Conference as the Keynote and Fireside Chat Speaker.

If you'd like to catch up and review the other two articles, Dr. Now discusses his insights from the past 30 years as a bariatric surgeon in the first article. To learn about metabolism before and after weight loss surgery, Dr. Nowzaradan, My 600lb Life Doctor explained it in detail in the second article.


From Dr. Nowzaradan's 30 years of experience as a bariatric surgeon, he tells his patients about the environmental factors associated with our eating habits that come into play after having weight loss surgery. In other words, according to Dr. Now, the environmental factors come down to our eating habits. 

Eating Habits by Dr. Nowzaradan, My 600lb Life Doctor

For example, if a patient regularly eats fast food, if there an enabler in the patient’s family, if there is an element of depression, and for many patients, it is emotional eating. All of these environmental factors are within our control. These factors need to be corrected before we consider doing bariatric surgery on a patient. The surgery will work on the component of metabolism but what it will not do is to change your behavior and choices. Surgery will not impact what is wrong with your eating habits.

F.A.T. Factors

There are three factors that control your eating habits. You don’t have to write them down or memorize them because they spell F.A.T. and will help you to change your eating habits and lose weight.

Three Factors that Control Your Eating Habits

I tell my patients that they are three factors that control their eating habits that anyone can use.

  • What is your frequency of eating? In a 24-hour period. I'll call that "F"
  • What is the amount of food you're eating? I'll call that "A"
  • What is the type of food you're eating? I'll call that "T"

That means FAT.

All of these factors contribute to your calorie intake every day. You need to figure out what’s wrong with your frequency of eating, what's wrong with the amount of food, and what’s wrong with the type of food you’re eating.

I talk about this to my patients before surgery and after surgery because I believe they are important to having WLS and their success. The surgery will give you a tool to change those components. If you don't know what your issues are, you won't know how to change them.

10 years ago, I did a study on 100 people. I asked them before surgery, “what do you think is the cause of your obesity?” I heard everything under the sun. Patients told me they were on their period, they didn't exercise, they eat late, it must be their work, they don't cook, I.... I...this and that, and the list went on and on. I heard everything except I eat too much. Patients don't think that could be the problem.

Dealing With Denial is the First Step to Success

I share a story in my book called Mr. Jones. When Mr. Jones came in, he brought his wife that weighed around 370 pounds that he wanted to have weight loss surgery.

So I asked him "what seems to be the problem?" He told me the problem was because his wife doesn't like to eat very much. I asked him "Okay, so she doesn’t eat very much, Why does she need surgery?” He told me “Because she wanted to lose weight.” I asked him, "If she doesn’t eat very much, how can she weigh 370 pounds." He insisted that she doesn’t eat very much. I asked him, "how do you think surgery is gonna change that?” He replied, "Well, you can make her lose weight.” Can you explain that?

The next time they come in to see me, he brings everybody including his neighbor's dog and told me to ask them to confirm she doesn't eat that much.

The denial that we’re eating too much is the first step for failure. Everybody thinks if they're going to go down this road, they’re going to lose weight. How? This is an important question to answer. How is weight loss surgery going to make you lose weight? If the patient is in denial, it won’t help them to lose weight.

Solution to Weight Loss Success by Dr. Nowzaradan, My 600lb Life Doctor

You need to understand how you’re going to change your eating habits. If you don’t know what to do and correct it, it’s like having a puzzle and you don’t know what the puzzle is but you want to solve it. That’s not going to happen. So this is the issue that we need to work on.

It’s going to be a constant challenge and here’s the situation.

If you take a 500-pound person and ask them to forget their eating habits. If they don't understand what their issues are, or refuse to figure out what's wrong and you want them to find a solution without knowing what the problem is they're going to fall to the 95% if they don't fix the real problem.

Weight is only a symptom of patients' problems. That’s all dependent on their ability to understand what the problem is, what the solution is, and that surgery is going to fix their problems.

The surgery is only a tool that is going to give the patient an opportunity to put off the problem but if you don’t know what the problem means the patient will never be able to correct it long-term.

But, there are people that are getting to analyze what’s wrong with their eating habits line of thinking. There are a few people that do the work. They come into the office and will talk about seeing what their problems are and how their eating habits help them.

They will see a problem is when they are stressed, I need to eat late at night, or when I get upset, I eat what my enabler has. Once a patient knows their problems, you can work with them to solve those problems. Then they can change their life.

To show you how important it is to get to the issues of your eating habit problems, I’ll share an example. On the show “Skin Tight” I had two men that lost over 400 pounds with diet only, no surgery. Without surgery, these two men lost an impressive amount of weight. What did they do? It that shows if patients figure out what the problem is causing their eating habits and find solutions, it is not always the surgery. The most important thing is you have to know is what’s wrong so you know how to correct it.

Going back to the difference in a 5% success rate and what patients can do to avoid the other 95%. If a patient wants to be in the 5% of patients that are successful with losing their weight and keeping it off, they have to do the hard work, do the emotional work. That’s the key. That is what is going to help a patient to be in that 5% success.

(Article was created from the transcripts of the videos of Dr. Nowzaradan)


F.A.T. Factors & Eating Habits by Dr. Nowzaradan, My 600lb Life Doctor