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What’s New at the DFC in 2020!

February 10, 2020

At the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, we strive to provide a solid and comprehensive education to help you better understand how to live for long-term health and weight management. At the DFC, our goal is to explain the most important fundamentals and provide evidence-based information to help you prioritize the strategies that will help you to succeed.

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What new classes are being offered at the DFC in 2020
At the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, we strive to provide a solid and comprehensive education to help you better understand how to live for long-term health and weight management

Our curriculum includes lectures given by treatment team members from all components: Medical, Nutrition, Behavioral Health and Fitness. In attending as many lectures as you can while on the program, you will receive an education that is unmatched even in the best professional school programs. Many clients say “it’s like going to graduate school!”

For 2020, we looked at the latest research and updated lectures in every pillar of health. Read on what’s new in our curriculum and brief descriptions of lectures being currently offered:


The lectures from the medical team have undergone an extensive update to incorporate new topics in the syllabus and reflect the latest evidence and breakthroughs. For example, a foundation lecture on overweight and obesity discusses groundbreaking research on the microbiome, epigenetics, and strategies that can alter energy expenditure. A lecture on low-carb and keto eating patterns discusses several mechanisms behind weight loss with these patterns and demonstrates how diabetes reversal can occur. A recently added lecture discusses the impact of sleep disturbance on weight and health, several causes for interrupted sleep and approaches for getting deeper, more restful sleep. And our newest lecture addition, Women’s Health Throughout the Life Cycle, discusses common health issues such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, low fertility and menopause. 

Low-Carb and Keto Eating: The Scientific Evidence.

Low-carbohydrate, high-fat (also known as Keto) diets are becoming increasingly popular and recognized as evidence-based treatments for obesity, diabetes and other metabolic issues. This presentation reviews the history of evidence related to dietary fat as well as the latest evidence regarding the effects of low carbohydrate eating patterns on weight, blood lipids and blood sugar.

Sleep Ease: Learning How to Sleep Better.

A discussion on sleep disorders and the impact that inadequate sleep has on weight and health. The presentation focuses on the two most common sleep disorders, both of which are very common in patients who come to DFC: sleep apnea and insomnia. Several strategies to improve sleep will be reviewed.

Men’s Health: Sex, Drugs and Water Flow.

This open discussion reviews the physiology, diagnosis and treatment of four common issues in men’s health: benign prostate enlargement, prostate cancer, low testosterone level and erectile dysfunction.

Women’s Health Throughout the Life Cycle.

Health issues that are specific to women over the life cycle are discussed in detail, from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to endometriosis to low fertility to menopause. Learn underlying physiology, testing for diagnosis and treatment approaches for each issue.

Diet and Nutrition Counseling

The nutrition team has updated its lectures to include subjects of current interest, such as plastics, sustainability concerns and future protein alternatives (discussed now in “Nutrition Controversies”) as well as the fascinating question of whether carbohydrates are essential for health and well-being (offered in a debate format). “Hot Topics in Nutrition” now includes a segment on the science behind intermittent fasting and “The Chain Restaurant Challenge” is continuously updated to include the most recent trends in this expanding market.  The latest research findings in nutrition supplements have been included in the “Vitamins and Minerals” and “Nutrition Supplements” classes.  Finally, the “Cooking Demo” and “Modifying Your Recipes” classes continue to feature new recipes and interesting techniques, including testing different food preparations where clients are jurors!

Nutrition Beyond Calories. 

We provide an overview of calorie and energy needs along with crucial, core nutrition information on the macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. This is the class that serves as the foundation of your nutrition education! In addition, we offer a full description of the options for weekend DFC take-out meal options.

Nutrition Supplements.

Learn important facts about nutrition supplements including regulatory issues. We review the scientific evidence behind the most popular supplements, from melatonin and probiotics to herbal remedies, such as Gingko Biloba and ginseng.

Virtual Grocery Store Tour.

Take a “trip” along the aisles of a typical supermarket with us and get a detailed explanation of nutrition labels and package lingo as well as shopping tips for each department.

Cooking Demo.

Watch DFC Chefs whip up some favorite DFC recipes (as well as other recipes) and share their favorite healthy cooking and food prep tips. Samples provided.

Hot Topics in Nutrition.

We review topics clients frequently enquire about: meal spacing and timing, the controversy over genetically modified organisms, the safety of artificial sweeteners, and gluten.

Behavioral Health Services

The Behavioral Health team has revamped its lectures and groups by incorporating more interactive exercises to facilitate the integration of information and skills. Thus, the curriculum has more of a workshop experience. For example, “Relapse Prevention” will help clients identify their specific high-risk situations as well as develop a solid action plan. In “Change Your Negative Self-Talk” clients identify self-sabotaging thoughts and then practice taking a more helpful perspective. 

The updated “Mindfulness Stress Management” curricula are based upon the latest research in brain research and somatic, trauma-informed practices. Focus is on self-regulation through a better understanding of the autonomic nervous system and increased mind/body awareness. For instance, new information on “vagal tone”, as a marker and indicator of overall health and wellbeing, has been integrated into our curriculum, along with practical exercises to improve and enhance it.

The weekly experiential groups have enhanced their focus on more mind/body awareness. Most dysfunctional behaviors are driven by impulses and urges below the level of conscious awareness. Experiential groups offer a chance for more mindfulness to identify those urges, feelings, and needs. These groups also create a feeling of safety, as sharing among group members reduces shame and the knowledge that they are not alone in their situation. Group sharing about gratitude, compassion and other values, gives clients a chance to create more positive feelings, which are clinically proven to increase resilience.

Positive Body Image.

Developing a positive body image, regardless of your current weight, is important for your self-esteem and for prioritizing self-care. You will learn to identify what triggers negative body image and what can help you improve your body image.

Awareness Training Through Mindfulness Meditation.

Before we can make lasting lifestyle change, we need to develop a better awareness of the barriers that get in the way of change. This class teaches practical mindfulness skills that you can use immediately to make powerful changes in your life. You'll learn how valuable even a moment or two of mindfulness can be in settling down and centering during the day.

Setting Effective SMART Goals.

We discuss the importance of planning and monitoring, and we review the goalsetting model, identify red flags and begin to formalize an action plan for home. You will write out your goals share with other clients as appropriate.

Fitness and Activity

There are several areas of fitness that combine to produce overall ‘active health’. The Diet and Fitness Center always aims to share information that represents the most current research and exercise/fitness trends. While cardiovascular fitness has long been a lead topic for exercise professionals, the recent focus in exercise science is on strength training. Our newest lectures look deeper into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of resistance exercise, to discuss the benefits that make strength training important, as well as the methods that are being used most effectively. Further topics examine ways to progress exercise programming to achieve increased health, as well as the safest ways to do that. Learn how the DFC exercise team can assess your current levels of fitness, and implement that information to create the most productive and individualized exercise plans.

Making Peace with Exercise.

Maintaining a consistent activity plan is challenging for many people. Examine the real reasons for your beliefs about exercise. Learn how to frame your outlook about activity vs. exercise, and the steps toward making behavior changes for a positive relationship with your fitness plan.

The Scoop on Pilates.

Designed to provide an overview as to what exactly Pilates is about. Discuss the history, guiding and movement principles, as well as the benefits of doing Pilates. This is great format to get answers to questions you may have, as well as understand the many ways to incorporate Pilates into your life.

Aquatics – Planes of Movement.

Explore the different ways we can hold our body in the water to effectively and safely exercise our muscles properly. Other topics include the ways to better support your body, with and without equipment and movements in the water.

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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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