20/20 Lifestyles Program

January 15, 2009

You know by now that I’ve got my own ideas about things that come from sources that I feel good about (I’m not really making any of this stuff on my own) but I’m pretty down on what most authorities put out there and say what’s good for you. So I went to an introductory meeting of this program called 20/20 Lifestyles expecting to here more of the same yadda, yadda. Even though, I know, having personally seen at least a dozen people benefit tremendously from the program, that it works. The vast majority of those people have appeared to remain fit and hadn’t reverted back to their previous habits.

So it might seem a little strange that I was going into this meeting a little skeptical. You see, I was expecting this to be all about caloric balance (calorie restriction and exercise) – yes it’ll work, but it’s gonna cost ya – big. The whole scene reminds me of this segment I heard on NPR once. There was this guy who was some world-renown expert on music composition who seemed to make a point to cite all the errors in counterpoint Mozart made in his compositions. It’s like, OK, I get you know all this stuff, but it’s Mozart! (that reference makes sense in its own twisted way … just let it settle in for a bit).

Can’t tell you how wrong I was about the program. First off, I was a little surprised to see the head guy of the program, Dr. Mark DeDomenico delivering the session. I expected a perky trainer right out of their ASCM certification class. What almost floored me is that he led with tying the increase in obesity in the US to the low-fat diet (i.e. increased carbohydrates) emphasis over the last thirty years. He got my attention.

He went further to go into surprisingly complete detail to explain how insulin resistance, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease all tie together. He also echoed one of the themes from Good Calories, Bad Calories essentially stating that people aren’t fat because they eat too much, they eat too much because they’re fat. Well, he didn’t state it as black and white as that, but he did make it clear that abdominal fat is not simply this inert blob that has no impact on our metabolism (other than making it harder for you to get up that flight of stairs), but that the presence of excessive abdominal fat causes the insulin resistance and the cycle persists until you stop it.

But wait, there’s more. He described ghrelin and explained it’s impact on your impulse to eat. Then there’s leptin which also governs your sense of hunger and SOCS-3, which is tied to leptin resistance. Then there’s PYY-3-36 and CCK Protein which help govern your sense of satiety. This was way more than I expected and way more that I expected to buy into. With all that science, it’s hard to image in being engaging, but he manages to keep it light hearted and is constantly referring to those in attendance with ‘we’ citing his own battles with weight over the years.

Lest I leave you completely misled by the program, there is a very significant element of exercise to the program and there are major elements of the energy/caloric balance orthodoxy still in place. But to emphasize that would be like quibbling with Mozart’s contrapuntal technique. The program really works for people and that’s the bottom line.

Well, I’m not a fan of long posts, so I’m going to end it here. I’m sure my buddy Chris took way better notes than me so he’ll have a lot more to say on his blog when it’s time. But for now, I’ll just say that I’m heartened and encouraged by what I saw tonight and don’t feel like I’m tilting at windmills so much.

I guess you could call this a post-script. If the name DeDomenico sounds familiar to you, it may be because it’s the name behind one of the biggest food brand names ever as far as I can remember: Rice-a-Roni (I’m sure the jingle is bouncing around in your head right now). Seems the good doctor participated in the family business for many years. Now he’s down on carbs. I guess we all live and learn.

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2 Responses to “20/20 Lifestyles Program”

  1. Tremonte Says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Keith. I am working on my blog post about 20/20 but it probably won’t be ready ’til the weekend. I’ll post a trackback here once that entry is ready. I have another nutrition post queued up ahead of the 20/20 post.

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  2. Byron Williams Says:

    Hey Keith,

    This post was a great read…probably because I went to the same 20/20 intro meeting a few years ago when we first moved out here. It was so eye opening for me that I sort of “shadowed” my wife Alonda when she went through 20/20. She ended up being one of the 20/20 success stories you referred to in this post…losing over 50 pounds and becoming a triathlete in the process! She urged me to attend the session even if I had know intention of doing the program because it was so informative about how the body works and processes food. Until reading your post I forgot how much good info I picked up at that session. I’m actually thinking about attending it again to refresh my knowledge about what Dr. DeDomenico shared.

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