Over the past year, Dr. Tro Kalayjian has become a highly sought after speaker and interview subject on the topics of weight loss, obesity, intermittent fasting, and a wide range of metabolic diseases. His online popularity surged in late 2018 with the launch of the LowCarb MD podcast, which features Kalayjian and Dr. Brian Lenzkes as hosts, along with Dr. Jason Fung and Megan Ramos.
Last week, Kalayjian was the featured guest on Episode 54 of the Everyday Wellness podcast hosted by Cynthia Thurlow & Dr. Kelly Donahue. In the 42-minute episode, entitled “Losing Weight the Healthy Way,” Kalayjian talks about his own personal weight loss journey, and provides listeners with information they can use to start their own journey. Topics covered include common misperceptions about weight loss; hormonal, societal, and lifestyle influences that contribute to obesity; and the benefits of community and lifestyle support in controlling obesity.
Everyday Wellness co-hosts Thurlow (a nurse practitioner and functional nutritionist) and Donahue (a clinical health psychologist and nutritional therapy consultant) have more than 25 years of combined experience in medicine, psychology, and wellness. The mission of their podcast is to provide the best science-backed yet practical information to improve their listeners’ physical and mental wellness every day.
Kalayjian leads off the interview giving listeners an understanding of some of the many struggles he faced as a morbidly obese medical student, and of the well-intentioned but awful advice he received along the way from some of the medical field’s most brilliant minds.
“I was disenfranchised. I was 30 years old, I was morbidly obese, always tired, my joints hurt… Every single expert in the Yale system told me to eat less and move more. I’ve had excellent mentors over the years, people I consider brilliant minds… They’d basically ask “Why can’t you just eat less… Why can’t you just go exercise… I have pictures of me at 350 pounds with dumbbells, exercising… The problem is the advice has been terrible.”
That’s the wrong advice, Kalayjian explained. A person can cut calories using executive function and willpower, Kalayjian added, but that approach is rarely sustained.
“Willpower is a finite resource. Relying on willpower and using only that to cut calories is a sure way to not succeed. Appetite control comes before calorie control. If you control appetite, the calories will control themselves.”
Kalayjian went on to discuss the obesity epidemic from a societal perspective.
“Something is wrong here and it’s not about willpower deficiency. We’re being born into this… What is causing this? What is driving 40% of the United States to become obese and another 20 to 30% to become overweight? And what’s driving the 70% that are either prediabetic or diabetic? There’s something very powerful and insidious that is driving this.”
Big food companies, Kalayjian explained, spend a great deal of money and effort designing foods that will make customers hungry.
“Hellman’s could be making mayonnaise with just avocado oil, but even their avocado oil mayonnaise is mostly soybean oil, and we know soybean oil contributes to insulin resistance, messes with your hormones, and makes you more hungry… There is a reason why soybean oil is being used at McDonald’s & Wendy’s. They know these crap oils will not fill you up… So they’re using these really terrible oils and they are packing (their food) with sugar and carbs to get you more addicted….”
The conversation moved on to the very interesting topic of intermittent fasting, a subject that Thurlow has spoken about extensively. Her Ted Talks video, entitled Intermittent Fasting: Transformational Technique, has received nearly 3 million views on YouTube in just a little more than two months.
Kalayjian explained how intermittent fasting works, and how changing the types of foods one eats can help make fasting an effective tool.
“The average American eats 15 to 16 hours per day. It’s insane that were eating this much and this often.”
The interview concluded with Kalayjian providing an overview of his practice’s Medical Weight Loss Program To Treat & Reverse Disease.
Dr. Tro Kalayjian is a physician who is board certified in Internal Medicine & Obesity Medicine. Dr. Kalayjian received his medical degree from Touro Medical College and completed his Internal Medicine Residency in the Yale New Haven Health System at Greenwich Hospital, serving as Chief Medical Resident during his time there.