'My 600-Lb Life': What is the Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Plan?

Dr. Nowzaradan – or Dr. Now, as his patients call him – is a popular guy. After all, the Houston-based surgeon is one of the main characters on the hit TLC show My 600-Lb Life, which documents the lives of morbidly obese people as they try to lose weight. What brought them onto the show may vary – genetic factors, emotional eating, loss, trauma – but the thing they all have in common is a desire to lose weight. And often, Dr. Now is their only answer.

Why do patients love Dr. Nowzaradan so much?

The first reason to love Dr. Now is that he’ll take on patients who other doctors might have rejected. “I don’t have a selection process like most doctors have. I don’t have any selection process. Everybody comes and we take care of them,” he said at the 2017 ObesityHelp conference.

Dr. Now has a no-nonsense, tough-love approach that’s sometimes the exact remedy patients need to make a real-life change. He’s kind to everyone, but he’s also real: it’s likely to hear Dr. Now use words like “death” to illustrate the severity of the situation. Dr. Now wants the best for his patients, but most of all, he wants them to survive.

The first day of the rest of her life. Octavia's journey starts NOW on the season premiere of #My600lbLife.

Posted by TLC on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Why do Dr. Now’s patients go on a diet before surgery?

Contrary to popular belief, weight loss surgery is not a magical solution to obesity. Many of the severe cases Dr. Now takes on require a lot of preparation prior to getting the Lap Band System or the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery. Many must lose a specific amount of weight before they can go under the knife.

Dr. Now does this for two reasons. First, it’s much more dangerous to have surgery when you’re morbidly obese since it puts such a strain on your body. Dieting and losing weight first helps to decrease these risks. But the second reason is more psychological. Even after the surgery, patients must change their habits, diet, and lifestyle. By following Dr. Now’s prescribed diet ahead of time, they’re practicing for the future and proving they’re committed to getting healthy.

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The more weight they lose, the more they stand to gain. The journey begins Wednesday, January 2 at 8/7c on the season premiere of #My600lbLife.

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What is the Dr. Nowzaradan diet plan?

Each of Dr. Now’s patients receives a customized diet plan to suit their individual health needs. But all of the diets have a few things in common.

First, the doctor restricts calorie intake to anywhere between 1,000 and 1,200 calories per day. This may sound extreme – and it’s often a huge adjustment for Dr. Now’s patients – but all of them are racing against time. Extreme calorie restriction is the fastest way to lose weight quickly. It also helps prepare the patient for learning new portion sizes for the future.

On his website, Dr. Now explains that surgery, “may address the mechanics of how much food you will need in order to feel full, or how much of the nutrients and calories are absorbed into your system, but the surgery does not control your own post-surgical behavior.”

So basically, the diet is practice for life post-surgery.

Brianne relies on those around her for everything. Her journey to take control starts NOW. #My600lbLife

Posted by TLC on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What foods are forbidden on the Dr. Now diet plan?

While the diet isn’t meant to focus on deprivation, there are several trigger foods which Dr. Now forbids. L.B. Bonner, who appeared on Season 6 of the show and tragically passed away shortly after at the age of 30, shared that some forbidden foods include sugar, candy and sweets, chocolate, crackers, potato chips, French fries, popcorn, nuts including peanuts, white and brown rice, pasta, cereal, fruit juice, bread except in moderation, natural sweeteners like honey, sofa, and high sugar fruits such as watermelon.

fast food snacks and drink on table | iStock.com/dolgachov

What can you eat on the Dr. Now diet plan?

The diet plan Dr. Now recommends has two main components: Real food and small portions.

For breakfast, he recommends egg whites, turkey sausage, beans, oatmeal, low-fat cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, or whole grain bread.

At lunch, you should bake, broil, grill lean protein or have canned tuna, deli meat, non-starchy vegetables, and salads without dressing. A portion of meat should measure 3 ounces, or about the same size as a deck of cards.

Dinner can include the same types of food as lunch. Snacks may be a turkey or ham roll up or plain (no sugar) Greek yogurt.

The diet is difficult to follow, but anyone who has seen the dramatic results Dr. Now’s patients have had realizes that in the end, it’s all worth it.

Fitness salad and apple fruit surrounded by measuring tape on rustic wooden table | iStock.com/Martinina

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