WEIGHT LOST FOREVER - The Five-Second Guide to Permanent Weight Loss by Henry K Chang, MD, (drchang@weightlostforeverbook.com) Long Bow Publishing, Fair Oaks, CA, www.longbowpublishing.com, © 2003, ISBN: 0-9729368-0-7, 137 pp.

Review by Del Meyer, MD

Recognizing that obesity is rampant in America, Dr Henry Chang, an Internist in Carmichael, California, has written Weight Lost Forever. He estimates that 31 percent of adults are obese while another 34 percent are overweight. He defines the latter as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more and obesity as having a BMI of 30 or more. Since he finds the BMI calculation too complicated for most people to comprehend, he simplifies the average to abdominal obesity with a waist of over 40 inches for males and over 35 inches for females. There are three phases to the Chang Method or Weight Lost Forever: monitor your weight daily; lose your excess weight; and maintain the weight lost with an aerobic exercise program.

Chang became interested in the first phase of his program, weight monitoring, about a year after he was forced to give up his twice-a-week tennis and martial arts regimen due to a shoulder injury after which he observed his own profile of a protruding abdomen in the mirror. He stepped on a scale and noted a ten-pound increase. Hence, he emphasizes weighing daily to catch the gradual increase in weight, a normal occurrence as we age. If we note a slight increase in weight, we can reverse it immediately rather than waiting for it to get out of control. Then it not only becomes a problem to lose weight, but even more difficult to maintain the weight lost. Thus, it is important to prevent this common weight increase as we get older simply by daily weight monitoring.

Chang doesn’t spend much time on diets since "there has been so much written about them." He does give us an overview of the three different types of diet and their categories. He lets patients choose their own weight-loss method. He likes the weight watchers program because it is nutritionally balanced, lowers LDL cholesterol and offers more food choices. However, for phase two of the Chang method, he recommends limiting the amount of fat to 40-80 grams a day, depending on the patient’s weight. He gives his patients a simple one-page list of the fat content of common foods that can be taped to their refrigerators for easy reference.

Exercise is the third phase of the Chang method. He feels it is virtually impossible to lose weight and maintain the weight reduction without it. Although he hates aerobic exercise, he recommends it for at least 20 minutes a day. He gives examples of how to make it less boring. He points out that these 2 ˝ hours of exercise a week drastically lower the incidence of diabetes and help diabetics control their disease better. It also reduces the risk of heart disease by up to 40 percent and reduces blood pressure, strokes, stress and osteoporosis. These topics are appropriately reviewed in separate chapters.

There is a book by Bob Schwartz called Diets Don’t Work. The author endured over a hundred diets and lost more than 2000 pounds–unfortunately he gained 2001. He points out that most people hate their diets. After they’ve been on them for the proscribed period of time, they can’t wait to get off of them, and the regain cycle begins. Dr Chang understands this and acknowledges that 95 percent of people who are successful in losing weight gain it back. He feels that phases one and three of the Chang method guarantee the weight loss in phase two. Monitor your weight so that you never gain significantly; or if you do, lose the weight and embark on a healthy exercise program to keep it lost. There are numerous personal testimonies of weight loss, cholesterol reduction and diabetic control to which many of our patients can relate. This appears to be the significant and valuable contribution of Dr Chang’s volume as epitomized in his title: Weight Lost Forever. It is in a readable form that all of our patients can understand. It may also help turn the tide of obesity which is becoming a pubic health problem. Order your copy at www.longbowpublishing.com, www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com. It can also be obtained at Borders, Barnes and Noble and Tower Book Stores.