How and why the RMS system was created is, honestly, a pretty darn cool story! In the beginning stages of going through the phone process of writing a book, I was speaking with a colleague at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. She suggested that I try to whittle down my philosophy and recommendations for successful lifestyle change into 4 "pillars". Make no mistake, it was a very good suggestion – but tried as I did -I could not try to compress it down to 4 pillars. The reason why comes down to Einstein's comment (paraphrasing) that everything should be explained as simply as possible, but not one bit simpler.
Nevertheless, I did whittle it down to 5 key areas of successful therapeutic lifestyle change (nutrition, physical activity, "mind matters", environments and accountability).
Not only throughout my social media presence, but also in the highly recognized metabolic health program at the renown Henry Ford Health System, which I lead and brought the concept of the 5 key areas of achieving healthy and therapeutic lifestyle change, The mass majority – well over 90% – find the concept of organizing The process of achieving healthy lifestyle into 5 areas to be significantly impactful!
There is simply no way to make healthy lifestyle change ultra simplest it – but the RMS five key areas concept helps people break it down into manageable components that can be built either quickly, or slowly, at your own at pace and level of "energy" (and precious time!) that you have available.
I've worked in some of the most well-established multidisciplinary care therapeutic lifestyle change programs imaginable ranging from massive hospital, outpatient/ambulatory based to world recognized residential medical resort. They all have a very strong components. I am honored to have worked with them all! But none of them truly organized the TLC (therapeutic lifestyle change) concepts necessary in a way that allows you to take an otherwise potentially overwhelming TLC process and break it down into manageable sections and subsections. Now you have RMS! Lifestyle Science for YOU!
Dr Tom Rifai is a physician expert in the areas of lifestyle medicine and metabolic health coaching for wellness, weight loss and disease prevention. He has worked with countless patients to reverse or substantially improve their type 2 and prediabetes, heart disease and unparalleled skills in healthy, sustainable weight management. Many physicians claim to be expert in metabolic health, lifestyle medicine and weight management. Exceedingly few have Dr. Rifai's well established experience at the highest levels of multidisciplinary care nor his personal insights as a recovering binge eater (see link at bottom). His evidence based training and clinical approach is one of "lifestyle first, medications only if necessary". Dr Rifai has been elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians for his leadership in education of physicians and medical students in lifestyle medicine and type 2 diabetes prevention. He recently served as Regional Medical Director of Metabolic Health and Weight Management for the world renown Henry Ford Health System of Metro Detroit, Michigan - helping make unprecedented strides in standardizing and integrating multiple different program offerings throughout the system to one based on a solid, unified curriculum based on his Reality Meets Science® based 5 Keys to optimal wellness, weight loss and disease prevention: Understanding Nutrition, Understanding Activity, "Mind Matters" (psychological and spiritually related issues), Environments (e.g., food, social) and Accountability (whether to a program like RMS, a hospital based program or even self-monitoring tools like food and fitness apps or groups).
Dr Rifai is founder and President of his health education and wellness company Reality Meets Science® LLC (aka RMS), the mission of which is to translate lifestyle science into powerful, yet practical and sustainable applications for the every day person (tag line: "Lifestyle Science for YOU"). The 5 RMS Keys of healthy lifestyle helps busy, hard working people break down the otherwise challenging process of life saving lifestyle changes into manageable areas of focus. As they operate together when one Key area improves, it typically helps benefit other Key areas of healthy lifestyle (an interdependent superstructure of the most critical distilled components of health and well-being)
Dr Rifai has also been distinguished as a Harvard Medical School continuing medical education (CME) online course director of Lifestyle Medicine on the urgent topic of prevention of type 2 diabetes (course title: "Nutrition and the Metabolic Syndrome" Weblink - CMEonline.Med.Harvard.Edu/Info/Nutrition
) Rifai's Harvard CME course educated thousands of health care providers since its release in 2009 and has been in the top quintile of most popular online Lifestyle Medicine CME courses through Harvard Medical School. The course guides and educates doctors and health care providers on evidence based motivational interviewing techniques, practical, achievable but effective and lifesaving lifestyle changes as well as the type 2 diabetes prevention drug Metformin, where evidence justifies its use and potential benefit as an add-on to (not as an alternative to) lifestyle change.
Dr Rifai served two terms on the board of directors for the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists and was unanimously elected its president during his final term.
After graduating with “Highest Honor” from Michigan State University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Pre-Med, he then received his M.D. from Wayne State University School of Medicine – one of the few medical schools in the US with a significant medical nutrition education component.
During his senior Internal Medicine residency year Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, Rifai served as the chief resident coordinator for the hospital's Nutrition and Preventive Medicine (now known as Weight Control) Center – one of the United States first hospital based, multidisciplinary weight management programs.
Since completing his Internal Medicine residency program in 2003, Dr Rifai has been appointed Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and has been invited on multiple occasions to provide lectures to medical students on nutrition interventions for Metabolic Syndrome and weight management, as well as provide senior medical students real-world clinical experience in his metabolic practice, including pre and post operative medical and nutritional management of bariatric surgery patients.
From January through November of 2008 Dr Rifai served as the Associate Medical Director for the world renown Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida, helping revamp their nutrition, lab testing and educational programs – particularly as it applied to weight management and type 2 diabetes. He was consistently assessed as one the most dynamic, compelling and enjoyable lecturers while at Pritikin. He continues a relationship with Pritikin as a member of their Science Advisory Board and as part of their national, Medicare approved, Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation (ICR) video education series, providing the lead educator role on dietary fats and weight management. He was also on the lauded Pritikin roster for expert guest speakers in 2017, which also includes other nationally recognized name such as Dr. Michael Greger, author of "How Not to Die" and former American College of Sports Medicine President, Dr Barry Franklin PhD.
Dr. Rifai is a highly sought after public speaker and appearing via TV and radio media in Detroit and has also been recruited for media and speaking in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Cleveland and others. Print appearances have been numerous and notably included the honor of being given a full page spread and article in the 2010 HOUR Detroit Magazine “TOP DOCS” issue, as well as being featured in the 2013 issue on the topic of the type 2 diabetes epidemic in Michigan.
Dr Rifai's appearance in the Michigan Emmy Award nominated documentary film "The Embrace of Aging - The Male Perspective" while in Sardinia, Italy was touted as one of the most memorable parts of the film (EmbraceOfAging.com
). He will also be appearing in an upcoming PBS documentary on by the same director entitled: "On The Front Lines of Alzheimer's and Dementia".
Dr Rifai has also served the public by donating his time as a gratis consultant to two Michigan public school systems in Warren and Birmingham and as nutrition advisor to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan publications.
In 2009 Dr Rifai co-designed a comprehensive a healthy gourmet menu for the largest Michigan based Italian restaurant chain, Andiamo Italia restaurants called "Andiamo Lean!". Working with executive chef Jim Oppat, the menu was designed to allow metabolic patients (lipid, blood pressure, diabetes and weight control) and fine dining, healthy culinary experience. The "Andiamo Lean!" has now more fully evolved to allowing their customers to custom order their meals in detail towards healthier preparation throughout the Andiamo chain. For instance less or no oil, less or no salt, ordering leaner sources of protein (if breaded whitefish is desired without breading and baked only with no salt seasonings, consider it done!) and being given the courtesy of asking if bread basket is desired, rather than assuming such.
Dr Rifai is married to his amazing wife, Angela. They welcomed their first child into the world May of 2015, a beautiful daughter, Liliana and their second arrived June 2017, handsome little Antonio!
Dr Rifai enjoys brisk walking, biking, strength training and flexibility exercises for health. He also enjoys domestic and international travel, playing guitar and singing and during medical school was in a band that raised money for pediatric cancer as well Alzheimer's research. He has met the founding members of KISS (Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons) on multiple occasions and enjoys showing his patients the difference between "dieting" and true lifestyle change by showing them Paul Stanley’s 2 minute video “Paul Stanley on growing old” (available on YouTube). Dr Tom's "guilty pleasures" include "binge watching" Game of Thrones with Angela and watching professional mixed martial arts events. He enjoys pop film culture and live shows ranging from rock concerts to musicals, comedy shows and classical music.
In all of this, Dr. Rifai is not only an expert in the area of therapeutic lifestyle change, but also a patient himself. As aforementioned, he has spent years challenged with depression, binge and nighttime eating. The experiences and journey through such, while maintaining great health thanks to all the blessings in life he has to motivate him to "battle on!" has given him great insight, and humbling modesty, in his becoming an elite lifestyle and health coach. He provides not only great sympathy, but great empathy with the clients and patients he serves. His story on becoming a lifestyle medicine doctor was recently published through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine: https://www.lifestylemedicine.org/page-1863534
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