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Letter from the Editor: Flash Diet Successes and Interval Training

May 21, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the “flash diet.” This program requires the participant to take a picture of everything that they are about to eat, usually with their phone camera, with the idea that they might not eat as much. I convinced three of my patients to start doing this and this week I asked them what happened. Two of the patients had improved their eating habits and were eating less. Just focusing on the plates of food to take the picture made them aware of the portions. The third patient ended up making some radical changes. The idea that she could show me the “good foods” she was eating was very important to her. Often times we give our patients a target of weight loss or diet change, and then when they have no way to see the results quickly, they give up. Maybe asking them to try the “flash diet” can show them the value of the changes they are making before they get frustrated and quit.

Possibly these same patients could download one of the many programs that records physical activity on their phone. According to an article in the American Journal of Public Health, we are doing a terrible job at increasing our physical activity levels. Although we have admonished our patients for years to get more physical activity this new study shows that we have not had any significant increase in walking or cycling for health in the past 10 years. In lieu of separate walks or rides maybe we can just add interval training to our patient’s daily routines. Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM, brings us a way to Using Interval Training Effectively in this week’s feature.




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Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief