Doctor’s Note

Dr. John Cleek’s personal weight loss journey began with his first diet in the third grade. As a Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated bariatrician, he’s fascinated by the intricate inner workings of the hormones that control hunger and metabolism. His common-sense approach to wellness and weight loss emphasizes balance and understanding.

I wish my patients knew: “What a reasonable meal plan looks like. These days, everybody is looking for a quick fix—no carb, keto, caveman, cabbage soup, whatever diet. Restricting ourselves to certain foods doesn’t work in the long term. We really need to focus on a balanced meal plan and lifestyle to maintain our health.”

Dr. John Cleek, obesity medicine

I frequently recommend: “Dr. Judith Beck’s The Diet Trap Solution for emotional eating. The book focuses on practical behavioral changes that can improve dietary outcomes.”

Let me set the record straight: “Obesity is not a direct result of calories in versus calories out or a matter of willpower. Weight is influenced by so much more than that, including what constitutes those calories, stress in all its forms, hormonal changes and sleep, which plays a major role in metabolic rate and hunger control.”

I often tell patients: “There is no secret diet or pill that will take careof weight. If I were to publish a diet book, it would be called There Ain’t No Magic. Successfully losing weight takes emotional and physical energy.”

My refrigerator always holds: “Protein drink supplements. When I haven’t made a meal or don’t have time to eat, which happens two or three times a week, I grab a Premier Protein as a meal replacement.”

To live better every day: “Balance is the key. Get enough sleep, engage in adequate activity and make reasonable food choices with the least amount of unprocessed foods.”

Photograph (Dr. Cleek) by Erica Navarro