Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD
With over 16 years experience, Manuel Villacorta is a recognized weight management expert. He is the founder and creator of Eating Free, a national lifestyle weight management program, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, health blog contributor for the Huffington Post and Fox News Latino, and on-air contributor for Univision. Moreover, he operates a top-rated weight loss clinic, MV Nutrition, in San Francisco, CA. He is also a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Sports Dietitian.
Manuel lists the most common mistakes people make when it comes to weight loss: depriving themselves of eating what they really like; approaching weight loss as if it’s a temporary thing and not a lifestyle change; and thinking that weight loss is simply about calories in and calories out.
“There are other factors that affect weight management than just calories in versus calories out, such as stress,” Manuel elaborates. “Stress is one of the biggest barriers for people. Stress management should be a component of any weight loss program.” Manuel is successful because he knows how to help clients change their lifestyle. “I teach people how to manage their weight every day by eating real food that they enjoy,” he notes. He also stresses accountability with clients, which he says is critical to behavior change.
When asked to name the biggest misconception about carbohydrates, Manuel doesn’t hesitate. “That carbs will make you fat and not understanding portions,” he says. “Carbohydrates are not the problem. The problem is how much you eat and what you add to them.” He notes that carbohydrates play a role in preventing sweet cravings and binge-eating episodes, and that they help lower ghrelin, your hunger hormone. “Those who cut carbs will have a very hard time managing hunger,” he adds. Manuel also clears up another common misconception on exercise. “Weight loss is 80 percent nutrition and effort and 20 percent exercise. Exercise doesn’t make weight loss happen. What drives weight loss is what you eat. Exercise is for keeping what you’ve lost off and maintaining weight,” he emphasizes.
Manuel is often asked for his best weight loss tip. “Prioritizing weight loss so you food shop, prepare meals, and keep records,” he responds. “If it’s not a priority, you won’t meet your goal. Remember, this is about creating a healthy lifestyle, not following a diet.”
Corinne Dobbas is a Registered Dietitian in the San Francisco Bay area specializing in weight management, sports nutrition, and disordered eating.