For Immediate Release
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Managing Weight Effectively the Smart vs the Hard Way
The Overweight Epidemic & the Catastrophic Failure of the Medical Model
Throwing Down the Gauntlet to the American Medical Association

Rockville, MD—With 2 out of 3 American adults now overweight and 1 in 3 obese, the American Medical Association’s leading obesity expert, Philip Fontanarosa, threw up his hands in despair by saying that “the epidemic of obesity continues virtually unabated with no sign of reversal. What could be wrong?”

        “What is wrong, Dr. Fontanarosa, is that the traditional medical research and dietary model that the AMA has been championing is a dismal failure. It's time for the AMA to break ‘out of the box’ by promoting an interdisciplinary approach to weight/lifestyle management, instead of continuing to work hand in glove with the drug industry that is trying to find that magic weight reduction pill to boost their profits,” declares author/lifestyle expert Al Louis Ripskis.

        “Our bodies, notably our brains, with their 100 billion neurons and up to a quadrillion interconnections between them, form such an incredibly complex array of interactive systems, as to stagger the imagination. Yet, AMA keeps sanctioning weight research confined to extremely narrow turfs rather than aggressively promoting the overall well-being of the 129 million overweight Americans,” says Ripskis.

        “Even if weight researchers came up with an effective appetite/hunger suppressant that had no serious side effects, that would not solve the Overweight Epidemic,” Ripskis points out. “Eating and drinking are an integral part of our social fabric and our brains’ hard-wired reward pathways, which evolved over millions of years to assure our survival. No pill is going to re-wire million of years of human evolution and social conditioning.”

        Ripskis dismisses the popular theory that we are genetic hostages of our hunter-gatherer descendants, who genetically predisposed us to build up large fat reserves, as far-fetched, and advances a much more immediate explanation, based on his 17 years of lifestyle research.

        “Look, during the past two decades when obesity more than doubled, life in the U.S. has become ever more stressful, insecure and unpredictable as over 53¼ million Americans lost their jobs since 1979, and over a million more are being downsized each year. These perpetual downsizings, September 11 and world-wide terrorism, Enron and record-setting number of personal and corporate bankruptcies, and ever-widening pension and health-benefit takebacks are just a few of the events that have unsettled our lives.

        “When a baby is upset, what’s the first thing a mother does to comfort the child? The answer, of course, is that she offers her breast or bottle! As adults, when we are disappointed, frustrated or have something to celebrate, what’s the first thing we’re likely to do? Usually have a drink and/or eat our favorite food. Food and liquor comfort and soothe, are inexpensive, readily available and provide short-term gratification.

        “These examples illustrate that overweight is due to many causes, and that the solution requires a broad, interdisciplinary approach that goes beyond narrow biological/genetic/pharmaceutical research in the quest for the ever-elusive magic pill or diet. Beyond these factors our weight is affected by a multitude of individual habits, attitudes and preferences, and includes a crucial existential component that up to now has been ignored.”

        Here is how Ripskis summarizes the key factors for effective, enjoyable weight management, which he explains in detail in his book Unlock Your Life: Using Breakthrough Discoveries in Brain Science and Psychology. (Impact Journal Press, Boyd Printing)

        o Neuroscience reveals that our brains are modular, containing extremely powerful reward pathways that require daily “quotas of pleasure," via serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters. For the overweight food tends to be the major source of that pleasure and emotional gratification. Self-deprivation, diets and “no-pain, no-gain” exercise regimens deprive the reward pathways and thus are self-defeating in the long run.

        o We have to function from the existential position of a Proactor, operating from the positions of Reactor or Victim engender the sense of helplessness and perpetuate overweight and obesity.

        o Repeated surveys show that over 60 percent of Americans don’t get enough exercise—and this was before the Institute of Medicine recently raised its recommendation from 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity. We have to accept the reality that the majority of Americans don’t like exercise. But they can stay fit through play, without torturing themselves with those “no-pain, no-gain,” exercise regimens.

        o Since our brains are modular, Cortical Integration is the key for resolving conflicts involving eating and finding more fulfilling ways for gratifying our emotional needs, outside of food.

        o Adopting healthy eating habits, quit playing the Fat Game, applying smart calorie math, demystifying weight loss and using a radically revised version of the Food Guide Pyramid are part of the interdisciplinary approach for enriching lives and keeping overweight at bay.

        Ripskis boils it all down to this:

        “Smart weight management is really enjoyable lifestyle management. Maintaining a healthy weight is not about self-deprivation. It’s about getting more pleasure in life through other means than food and turning what once might have been an ordeal into a positive experience — by using the discoveries in neuroscience and psychology to get past resistance, change habits to enrich our lives, while losing those archaic attitudes about willpower, dieting, and the “no-pain, no-gain” mind-set that get in the way of happier, more enjoyable living. The exceptions: the extremely rare cases where there are genuine genetic or deep-seated psychiatric disorders.”

For more details see full text, annotated version at

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