Reading Time: 2 minutes Dr. Michelle McMacken says those hoping to lose weight should 'start from a place of kindness' towards themselves (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A leading plant-based medic has shared everything you need to know about losing weight on a whole-food plant-based diet in this exclusive Plant Based News video.

Michelle McMacken, MD is Assistant Professor of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine and the director of Bellevue Hospital Weight Management Clinic.

‘Start from a place of kindness to yourself’

According to Dr. McMacken, her first weight loss tip is to ‘start from a place of kindness to yourself’.

She adds: “I say that because having directed a weight management program for 15 years, what I’ve seen is that people get incredibly frustrated. It’s a challenging process, and people can get really down on themselves because ultimately there are a lot of factors outside of our control that can go into maintaining our body weight.

“And so, while there are lots of things we can do to address our body weight, it’s important to start from a place of compassion and kindness to yourself.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Dr. McMacken pointed out some of the specific difficulties people can have when losing weight, one being that many get to a point where it becomes more difficult to lose weight.

“That’s not anyone’s fault, or a lack of willpower,” she said. “It’s just biology. So it’s important to be realistic about where you’re going with it, and not be hard on yourself, and to minimize the shame you might feel if you slip-up, because again, everybody is human.

“So what I often will tell patients who come to see me when they are trying to lose weight, is that I’d like very much not to focus on the number on the scale. In fact, I have patients when they come to see me who we don’t even check their body weight, because that can actually frustrate people more if it’s not going as quickly as they would like or if it’s going in the wrong direction.”

She recommends instead focusing on tracking the behavioural changes you’re making –  as that is something tangible people are in control of.


Dr. McMacken’s third tip is not to rely on willpower, which she joked ‘extinguishes by about 1pm’.

“It’s not really a good strategy for longterm weight loss – to rely on denying yourself, and willpower, and trying to white-knuckle yourself through a dietary plan,” she said. 

“What I think is much more important is to change your environment, and that looks like changing the foods that you just happen to have in your home, working with whoever you live with to help strategize with you…changing your routine – so that if you know you have a habit of walking past a certain bakery each day and getting a donut, it would be better just to walk on a different block so you’re not tempted to do that.”

Klaus Mitchell

Klaus Mitchell launched Plant Based News in 2015 whilst studying an MSc in ‘Genetics of Human Disease’ at University College London. He has had a number of writing roles, including authoring an article published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition, which explored the effect of diet on various health markers. After founding the company in 2017 after joining forces with Robbie Lockie the year before, PBN now reaches over 70 million impressions each month across multiple platforms. More recently, he helped as script editor on Netflix documentary Seaspiracy and among his day to day management...