The Science of Weight Loss and Real Food

By Darlene Kvist, MS, CNS, LN
February 26, 2019


Have you put off making an appointment with your doctor because you dread the nurse asking you to step on the scale, followed by the doctor telling you to lose weight? “Your blood pressure and diabetes will improve,” the doctor will say knowingly.

Does any of this sound familiar? You’ve tried cutting back on food, but it just makes you hungrier and you end up eating more. A low-calorie starvation plan worked at first, but a short time later you looked at the scale and were 15 pounds heavier than when you started! Then came the daily trips to the gym, but soon you lost motivation and wound up back on the couch. You joined Weight Watchers 15 times, or paid big bucks when the latest weight loss clinic came roaring into town. Perhaps, you’ve also tried hypnosis, acupuncture, psychological counseling or (now recalled) weight loss drugs.

Whew, let’s get out of that downward spiral! Even though your doctor may say, “Dieting is simple; it’s calories in and calories out,” you know by now that isn’t true. You live on a low-calorie diet, but to your frustration, it no longer works.

As a nutritionist, I hear stories like these over and over from clients. They experience frustration, anger, fear and loss of self-esteem. They believe there must be something they are not doing or something they are overdoing.

There is a better way!

If you survey people on the street asking “Do you want to be overweight?” I would guess not one person would say yes. But 62% of the population is currently overweight, and the number is growing.It’s not as simple as we’ve been told. Weight loss and weight maintenance are complex problems.

Based on 30+ years of nutrition experience, I understand how frustrating and difficult it can be to lose weight, but want to share that there is hope for success.Take it from Kathleen, a 69-year-old woman who came to Nutritional Weight & Wellness for nutritional counseling to reduce her body pain. To date, Kathleen has lost 76 pounds and no longer experiences pain. She has become a new person since her depression lifted and she no longer craves fast food and bread. Kathleen's own daughter did not recognize her when she attended her grandson's baseball game! Seventy-six pounds lost on a 5'3" woman is a lot! Kathleen achieved all of this success and never counted calories or points; she ate real food in balance throughout the day. Here’s how she did it. It’s what we shared with her and what we share with our nutrition counseling clients every day.

How to Lose Weight

Eat Real Carbs, Ditch the Processed Kind – For many clients, the first step is learning to eat real food and eliminate processed food. This may be difficult to grasp because large food corporations spend billions of dollars annually on marketing and advertising campaigns that persuade you to eat processed foods like bagels, cereals, low-fat dressings, soda, low-fat yogurt, fat-free goodies, soy burgers, crackers, breads and the list goes on. If you struggle with weight loss and are eating processed foods like those listed, this is likely the root of your problem. For true success, we suggest replacing all those processed carbohydrates with real carbohydrates (vegetables) at every meal. Let go of bread, pasta, chips and crackers so that your body can let go of extra pounds. Processed carbohydrates are the number one culprit for slow metabolism.

Don’t Skimp on Protein – Choose a variety of healthy proteins, such as organic and grass-fed meat and eggs. Beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, pork, and buffalo are all good choices that will kick-start your metabolism. Eating small portions of protein several times a day increases metabolism by 30%.

Eat Fat to Lose Fat – Finally, realize that beneficial fats are metabolism enhancers! Beneficial fats include butter, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut oil. Add a healthy fat to every meal and snack. Good fats are what keep you satiated and content between meals and snacks. If you’re hungry all the time, there’s a good chance you’re not eating enough good fats.

That’s it, the true science of weight loss, healthy carbohydrates, protein and fat at every meal and snack. You may be thinking that it can’t be that simple, and that can be true, especially if you have unique health concerns in addition to your weight loss goals. Metabolism is a complex topic, which is why calorie counting and fad diets don’t work. But at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we truly believe, and have seen success in thousands of clients, that the base of a successful nutrition program needs be eating real foods in balance. What happens in addition to that is unique to the person.

So, where do you begin? Your success starts with your next meal. Remember to eat real carbohydrates, healthy proteins and beneficial fats at every meal and snack.

About the author

Darlene founded Nutritional Weight & Wellness. In her 25 years as a counselor and nutritionist, Darlene has helped so many people change their lives using the power of real food. She is a licensed nutritionist who earned the title Certified Nutrition Specialist from the American College of Nutrition, a prestigious association of medical and research scientists to further nutrition research. She has served on the Board of Dietetics and Nutrition Practice for the State of Minnesota.

View all posts by Darlene Kvist, MS, CNS, LN


What percent of my daily calorie intake should be protein, what percent should be fat and what percent should be carbs?

September 13, 2016 at 10:38 pm


At Nutritional Weight & Wellness we recommend a balance of about 40-50% fat, 30%-40% carb, and 20-30% Protein.  Everyone is different but these are a good place to start. 

Melissa Goodman
I am a vegetarian. I do not eat meat, poultry, or fish. I also do not eat eggs. I still eat dairy. What do you suggest I use as my sources of protein?
September 19, 2016 at 10:19 am


As a vegetarian your most absorbable form of protein will be dairy.  But you can get some protein from beans/legumes, nuts and seeds, or protein powder such as whey or plant based.

So can I not eat whole wheat bread? Whole wheat crackers? Triscut organic has 3 ingredients that are not processed. I have 100% whole grain wheat toast with a T of PB before working out. Is this bad? Thanks
February 26, 2019 at 5:25 pm


100% whole grain bread and crackers are still processed foods. Some people can have a slice of bread every day and still lose weight, but for many people this slows down their weight loss. Everybody’s body is different in regards to what they can tolerate. If you’re not losing weight, I would recommend reducing the bread and crackers and replacing it with less processed carbohydrates, preferably vegetable carbohydrates. Doing this may jump start some weight loss. When purchasing bread, make sure to find one with as minimal ingredients as possible or consider getting it from a bakery so you know it’s very fresh.
I've listened to many of your podcasts and am curious about whole grains. you don't mention any rules for grains like quinoa, farro or freekah. thoughts?
April 7, 2019 at 4:35 pm


Grains fall into the same category as the starchy veggies like potatoes, beets, and winter squash so they should be limited because they're more likely to spike your blood sugar. We do find some people do best completely grain free and need to get their carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. If you don't seem to react to grains it's totally fine to include them in your diet. If you would like further personalized guidance you can set up a one-on-one appointment with one of our nutritionists. 

I would like more of informtion
October 22, 2019 at 9:40 pm


Hi, We will reach out to you via email to provide you more information. Thank You

I would like more info on grains also. Thank you
March 8, 2020 at 5:29 pm


We always recommend getting your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables because grains break down quickly and cause your blood sugar to rise. Those blood sugar spikes are a negative stressor on our body.

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