Dr. Mark Hyman

on Losing Weight
Physician, author and co-founder of Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa

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Exclusive Interview

Dr. Mark Hyman on Losing Weight

Mark Hyman, M.D., is a board-certified family medicine physician in private practice in Lenox, MA, and is the author of the best-selling lifestyle books Ultraprevention, Ultrametabolism and The UltraSimple Diet: Kick-Start Your Metabolism and Safely Lose up to 10 Pounds in 7 Days. Hyman is editor-in-chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal, and was co-director of the Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa in Lenox, MA. Here, Hyman provides his advice on how to lose weight.

For someone interested in losing weight, is it better to make small or big lifestyle changes?

There is a clear distinction between incremental versus dramatic change. A fundamental principle of the functional medicine approach is that if you are experiencing any sort of physical attack on your health—be it a cold or weight gain—you should address all aspects of that attack in the healthiest way for the body. That’s usually a big, rather than incremental, change.

For example, if you cut sugar out of your diet, but you still drink a few beers and three lattes daily, you’re not getting the true benefit of your dietary change. If you don’t commit to real change, you won’t experience the power of your lifestyle choices to influence how you feel. My goal is to give people an immediate understanding on a deep level of what it’s like to feel good. Most people just don’t feel very good most of the time.

What is the “UltraSimple” diet?

UltraSimple is a seven-day program. It gives you the power to make a dramatic change in your life through your diet by simply taking away the things that don’t make you feel good. Then you can make a choice as to your future lifestyle. People need to work in conjunction with their medical team before undertaking this or any other new health program.

How do people feel in the first 30 days of losing weight?

The biggest change in the first few days is withdrawal symptoms. Most people have poor digestion, which leads to food sensitivities and inflammation. People will not feel well. We’re often addicted to foods we’re allergic to. In the first two days, when you’re withdrawing from those foods, there are things you can do to mitigate those symptoms, like taking vitamin C and baths. By day three, people are usually feeling better, and after that really thrive—aches and pains clear up, there is often significant weight loss. After seven days, people follow a normal unprocessed diet, or they stick to the same diet they followed in the first seven days. By 30 days, people can really see the impact of the cleansing and are making up their own minds as to what they’ll adopt.

How does your program approach the emotional and psychological aspects people go through when committing to weight loss?

It’s important to realize that a person’s emotional and psychological health are tied to lifestyle behaviors and choices. Working on your digestion can literally change your brain and the way you think. My next book focuses on that.

Everyone can develop ways of noticing what works and what doesn’t and how they can eliminate or change the things that don’t work in order to have a more fulfilled and happy life. I think the UltraSimple approach helps people see that.

How can people continue to progress beyond the first 30 days?

By continuing to eat well and making great lifestyle choices. My book Ultrametabolism talks about that. We have to repeatedly go back and clean out on occasion, because we do live in a highly processed food environment. There’s always a life event that gets you unbalanced, so you need to go back to the basics again. It’s a matter of continuing to pay attention, and to get the professional support you need, too.


What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?

I believe in an acceptance of change—it’s inevitable and one of the laws of the universe. You just can’t fight it, and I try to work with it when it happens. I also tend to be someone who can make lemonade out of life’s lemons. In times of change, I also rely on being conscious about eating well—eating whole foods, getting sleep, exercising and disengaging from the stress response through yoga and meditation.

The best thing about change is...

…it gives you a chance to start again.

What is the best change you have ever made?

Recently, becoming more autonomous in my work, writing my books and opening my own center, and just following my dream and passion of sharing this information.

For more information on Dr. Mark Hyman, visit


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