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The Gravity of Weight

A Clinical Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance

Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D., and T. Byram Karasu, M.D.
Foreword by Albert J. Stunkard, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-360-0
  • Item #62360


The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance, by Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D., and T. Byram Karasu, M.D., is a scholarly and critical inquiry into the field of overweight and obesity. Reviewing more than 900 publications, from some of the early classical papers to the most recent research, the authors have integrated the complex psychological and physiological aspects of the mind, brain, and body to explain why the control of body weight is so daunting for so many people.

Written primarily for clinicians in all health-related fields, including physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and nutritionists, as well as for their intellectually curious patients, The Gravity of Weight explores the controversy regarding obesity as a disease with morbidity and mortality, as well as the complex methodological issues involved in obesity research. The authors delineate the extraordinary metabolic complexities implicated in weight control as well as the importance of circadian rhythms and sleep as they relate to weight and even disorders such as the night eating syndrome. They also investigate the psychological aspects of overweight and obesity, including discrimination against the obese and the fat acceptance movement, and they discuss some of the most common diets as well as the psychotherapeutic, pharmacological, and surgical treatment options currently available for these patients.
The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary text that synthesizes some of the most essential information for successful weight control:

  • The role of the environment, including diet, disordered eating, and portion control, in weight management
  • The National Weight Control Registry and the study of those successful at weight control
  • The importance of differentiating weight loss from weight loss maintenance
  • The qualitative and quantitative measurements of physical activity, including the role of exercise for maintenance of weight loss
  • The contribution of genetics to “the obesities”
  • Depression and obesity: cause or consequence?
  • Psychotherapeutic strategies, including cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medical and surgical treatment approaches and their effectiveness

Drs. Karasu have drawn from both professional and personal experience to write The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide To Weight Loss and Maintenance. Both had fathers who suffered from morbid obesity. One died at the age of 56, while the other lived to be 91. The authors’ professional curiosity led them to question how differences in environment, genetics, and overall physical and psychological health can affect one person’s longevity and another’s early passing.

In searching for the answers to some of the most perplexing questions regarding weight, the authors have created what is perhaps the most comprehensive exploration of the relationship of the mind, brain, body and our environment to overweight and obesity. The resulting text deserves a prominent place in the library of those who work in this field.


  • Foreword
  • A Tale of Two Fathers
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. Obesity in the United States: The Gravity of the Situation
  • Chapter 3. Food: The Basic Principles of Calories
  • Chapter 4. The Psychology of the Eater
  • Chapter 5. The Metabolic Complexities of Weight Control
  • Chapter 6. Psychiatric Disorders and Weight
  • Chapter 7. Medical Conditions and Weight
  • Chapter 8. Exercise
  • Chapter 9. Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Weight
  • Chapter 10. Diet and Weight
  • Chapter 11. Psychological Treatment Strategies and Weight
  • Chapter 12. Pharmacological and Surgical Treatments for Overweight and Obesity
  • Appendix: Selected Readings and Web Sites
  • Index

About the Authors

Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D., is Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Associate Attending Psychiatrist at New York–Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, New York.

T. Byram Karasu, M.D., is Silverman Professor and University Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York.

Foreword by Albert J. Stunkard, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at Penn.

Drs. Sylvia and Byram Karasu have approached the topic of weight with an exceptional blend of scholarship and compassion. The book consistently demonstrates, and thus imparts, a deep understanding not only of the condition we call obesity, but of the individuals affected by it. Thorough and thoughtful, practical and impassioned, The Gravity of Weight will make better clinicians of its readers.—David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., FACPM, FACP, Director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, Author, Nutrition in Clinical Practice

Obesity is now a global phenomenon—a complex problem that goes well beyond simply eating too much or moving too little. The authors of The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance accurately depict this crisis and its medical and psychosocial implications. They offer well-researched and valuable insight into the intricate connections between weight control and the exquisitely balanced workings of our brains, bodies, minds, and souls. This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in managing, treating, and preventing obesity.—Frank B. Hu is Professor of Nutrition, Epidemiology, and Medicine at Harvard University and author of Obesity Epidemiology

The Gravity of Weight: A Clinical Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance examines the intersection of mind, brain, and body as it pertains to physical self-image and dieting. Written by a pair of renowned psychiatrists, the book provides a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute overview of both the psychological and biological factors that affect weight loss and maintenance. It is a valuable and clearly written resource for clinicians of all kinds who may be faced with the growing problem of obesity.—Antonio M. Gotto, Jr. M.D., Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean, Weill Cornell Medical College and co-author (with Michael E. DeBakey, Lynne W. Scott, and John P. Foreyt), The New Living Heart Diet

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