New blog

Dear reader

This site is no longer active but I have started a new blog at:

The new blog is in Swedish, although this may be expanded to English once I see what kind of response I get. I will not delete Holistic Obesity for a long while since I think there is still good content here.

All best,


Weight loss wonderland

It’s January and that is a very intense time for everyone interested in diets and weight loss. This leads us to the topic of fad diets, which, at least here in Sweden, seems to grip the collective consciousness in a very short space of time through both mainstream media and social media.

Sweden is probably quite interesting from the dieting perspective because it’s a small and fairly homogenous country, which means that fad diets, or indeed any kind of trend, spreads very quickly. There is also a rather anxious mind-set, especially in urban areas, which means that people are more inclined to listen to outside “experts” as opposed to trusting their own knowledge and experience.

2013 and 2014 was really dominated by the 5:2 diet, although there was a definite drop during 2014. Before that we had LCHF, GI, Atkins, and lord knows what else. I have written quite a bit about the limitations of dieting, so I will not go into more detail about that, but diets have come and gone for many decades now.

There are many people around the world right now who are seriously trying their best to launch the next diet wonderland, and then make hay while the sun shines. There are many ways of doing this, but sound research has not been one of them, although having a physician as the “inventor” definitely helps. Another good thing to have on-board is a well known celebrity who can go public with some miraculous results.

Ideally, there should also be a kind of magic molecule involved, something new and glitzy, which more or less solves the weight loss mystery. Every now and then, it can also be effective to re-launch a previous diet with a more shiny exterior this time around, such as fasting (5:2), high protein, or something else which has worked in the past.

Since the 5:2 diet slowly faded away last year, I am wondering what the next big diet wonderland is going to be. Personally, I am hoping we get a more balanced way of eating (and exercising) in the future that will make dieting redundant, but this is not very realistic for quite some time yet. If you have a good idea what the next miracle diet is going to be then let me know. Whatever the next big thing is going to be, it is unlikely to be determined by science, and instead by clever and determined marketing and media campaigns.

‘Tis the dieting season


It’s January and the weight loss industry is gearing itself up for the most intensive part of their year. Many have gained a little too much perhaps over the holidays and now they are resolved to losing some of it. An improved diet and added exercise can obviously bring many benefits, but if you are really serious about losing weight long-term I have some added suggestions.

First, you should try to understand why you gained the weight to begin with. Unless you understand this you are less likely to keep the weight off long-term. Factors such as stress, negative thoughts and negative emotions usually play a major role in weight gain, it’s not just about overindulgence or a lack of exercise. You need to go a little deeper.

Secondly, keep a diary of your thoughts and emotions, particularly when it comes to situations where you experience negative thoughts and emotions, but also what makes you happy and relaxed. By becoming more aware of what presses your buttons so to speak, you can avoid getting into the same situations again, so that your thoughts and emotions gradually become more positive.

Thirdly, try to have a mindset where you do things, such as weight loss, out of a positive perspective, i.e. as a reward and not as a kind of self-punishment. If you feel like your weight loss regimen is a punishment, it will probably not work very well.

Finally, learn to listen to your body and what is needs, don’t disconnect from it or view it as something dysfunctional. Remember that  there are always reasons your body has stored extra weight. If you can get to the source of the weight gain, the path to lasting weight loss will be much clearer.

2015 predictions for obesity research

Dear readers

I would like to start by thanking all of you for reading this blog and I hope you will continue to check back to see what is going on in the world of obesity research from my point of view. 2014 was a very exciting year, with some very interesting developments, not least in the area of stress and psychosocial factors in weight gain. Hopefully 2015 can continue along this path.


As promised, here is a (light-hearted) list of predictions of some things that I expect to happen this coming year:

– There will be an increased focus on other factors than calories as drivers of weight gain, since more and more people realize that the run-more-eat-less-stretegy is not getting us very far in the vast majority of cases, particularly for weight loss maintenance where the results from new trials will continue to be disappointing.

– There will be added focus on the quality of food, as opposed to the old fat/protein/carbs macronutrients debate, when it comes to weight gain. This also includes things like preservatives, antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals that we regularly consume.

– Junk food will be under increasing scrutiny as a major driver of obesity and other diseases, and the fast food industry will face quite serious consumer pressure for greater taxation and even bans (marketing to children, for example), particularly in California and other progressive places. Politicians will find is hard to withstand this increasingly organized consumer pressure, and will finally start act after years/decades of inertia.

– More and more studies will confirm the very powerful role of stress in weight gain and obesity, particularly when it interacts with junk food and poverty.

– The powerful role of negative thoughts and emotions in weight gain and obesity will gain traction, particularly in chronic dieters who will become more and more fed up with diets, and instead want a lasting solution to their weight problems.

– Techniques such as yoga, mindfulness and different types of therapy will increasingly be seen as interesting additions to more traditional weight loss programs.

– There will be an increased realization that all patents are unique and will therefore require unique treatment programs that more directly target the underlying causes of their weight gain, whatever they may be.

– There will be an increased and much welcome focus on prevention of obesity, especially for children in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, and there will finally be some much-needed boost in the funding of such programs, particularly in the US, UK and the wealthy gulf states where the problems are quite severe. Asia will also take obesity prevention very seriously given the strong association with diabetes in these areas.

– The food industry will continue to have problems with credibility due to more and more scandals. People will become fed up with food industry shenanigans and the movement to grow you own will really take off.

– Given the extremely high cost of obesity, there will finally be a much needed funding boost for applied obesity research as opposed to basic obesity research, including studies on childhood obesity prevention and obesity etiology.

– Instead of only blaming the individual for obesity, there will be an increased focus on the environment as the main driver of obesity.

Well, that’s it for this year. I hope you have a Happy New Year, and see you in 2015!