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The Science Behind Dieting Right



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Established in 1969, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has a long-established reputation among the most highly respected treatment centers in the world for individuals who are severely overweight and who have a sedentary lifestyle.

The primary reason people seek their expertise is for help achieving sustainable weight loss. What sets it apart from other programs is its attention to the bigger picture. They’re skilled in weight management, but also guide patients to substantially increase physical activity - which is equally important as eating healthfully. They also utilize the best available medical information to assure that clients learn strategies conducive to weight management while maximizing overall health.

The clinic strives to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, to minimize disability from arthritis and chronic pain, to build stamina, mobility and lung function, while managing stress, and improving mood.

Their “immersion” approach to lifestyle change has people seeing lasting changes in their lives. Clients stay at the Duke facilities for two to four weeks or longer to experience healthful eating and safe exercise. This experience is combined with an intensive program of individual assessments and treatment sessions, group classes, and activities that reinforce the adoption of healthy lifestyle strategies. An example of the programs available at the Duke Diet Center is listed below.

The Four-Week Program includes:

  • Medical evaluation, including laboratory tests
  • Fitness evaluation
  • Individual consultations with behavioral health, fitness, nutrition staff
  • Weekly check-ins with professional staff
  • Lectures on topics in nutrition, fitness, psychology and medicine
  • Small group workshops and discussions
  • Three nourishing and healthy meals and a snack each day
  • Cooking demonstrations, a restaurant experience and grocery store tour
  • Daily fitness classes and access to our fitness facilities, including treadmills, stationary bicycles, virtual reality bicycles and steppers, rowing machines, stair climbing machines, elliptical trainers, weight circuit and free weights, and a large indoor lap pool
  • A complimentary personal training session

While this program has proven successful, it’s not for everyone. It requires a significant investment in time, money, and energy. Fortunately, now the Duke program is available to the mainstream public in The Duke Diet book.

Authors Martin Binks, Ph.D., and Howard Eisenson, M.D., have taken what works at the clinic and made it available to the general public. Through the book and, anyone can see lasting weight-loss results, quite similar to those they could expect from actually going to the clinic.

Dr. Binks says they decided it would be good to have a book for those who can’t afford to stay at the clinic but want to benefit from the program.

The Duke Diet program emphasizes healthier lifestyles. The doctors say this really isn’t a diet, but instead, a life plan. There aren’t "off-limits" foods, but there are structured meal plans. Binks says plans start out more structured and then as people move forward become less-so, because what the program does is teach people how to eat properly and make good decisions.


Another unique aspect about the program is its whole person approach. The Duke Diet takes into account the fitness and health side of losing weight, but also looks at the behavioral side of weight-loss. Just take a look at the authors: Dr. Eisenson is a medical doctor. He is the program director of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. Dr. Binks is a psychologist who specializes in obesity treatment, research, and education. He is the director of behavioral health and research director for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. Together the doctors address their clients’ mental and physical states in order to better help them lose weight.

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