New Year, New You: Getting Fit and Fabulous with Dr. Oz
Do you have any health tips for men?
Dr. Oz: I'll speak broadly here. Women have a natural desire to fill themselves up and I'm not just talking sexually. I'm talking about emotionally as well. They want to take in emotions, deal with them, and process them. Men have a desire, generally, to get rid of stuff. This is why women turn to food emotionally more than men will. Men often eat out of boredom and they'll eat because they don't understand the biology of blubber. I'm being overly simplistic on purpose because there are clearly hybrids there, men who do things that women do, women who do things that men do.
But with men, they understand the basic principles of weight loss and will often find it easier to do just because they're emotionally not as tied into using food to medicate the other emptiness they may feel in their lives. Sleep, in particular, is a big issue because men will eat carbs when they're sleep deprived and they think insomnia is a badge of honor. You know, I'm not sleeping enough because I’m working hard is just what guys do because it's macho. Not the case because it takes away some of creative energy you need for the next day.
One thing I’m talking with men a lot is that now is a great time to begin new physical programs. There are wonderful ones that are available on the web now. They're inexpensive. On 'Transformation Nation,' we had a huge physical fitness program. It's all free. We worked on it with thousands of trainers, creating programs you can customize.
What initiated ‘Transformation Nation’ for you?
Dr. Oz: During the first two years of the show, I spent a lot of time talking to people about what I think they ought to do. I would get approached by baggage handlers smoking cigarettes, asking me questions about their arthritis. There's something not right in this picture because you're cherry picking what to hear or, more importantly, you know you need to do it, but you're unable to actually do it. I'm just trying to get you to realize that you can save your own life. You can become the world expert on your body. If I'm getting that across to you and you don't have the infrastructure, the organizational tools, and the team to actually help you accomplish what you need to do, then I need to go one step further.
How can TV help people lose weight?
Dr. Oz: I’m involved with the psychology of change. If you look at the stages of change, we have to move from a phase-it's called precontemplative. Like the name sounds, it's before you've even started thinking about it. We've got to move from there. Television is really good at that. It's very effective at getting people who didn't have on their radar screen the ideas about change. They start to think about it in a way that might motivate them. The actual programs themselves can be problematic because it requires the long-term, consistent, daily interaction. ‘Transformation Nation’ was started as an effort to give you a free and easily accessible program you could rely on when you want to sleep better, lose weight, connect with your doctor, or deal with stress more effectively. The reason I go on the set every day is to make sure you know I care about you, that you have a voice, that you matter, and here are some things you should be thinking about and feeling differently about in order to change. That's a big idea because as a doctor, and I still practice medicine, I spend a lot of my time giving you the facts. People never change based on what they know by themselves. They change based on how they feel. TV gets you to feel differently about a process. Now you have confidence to make it happen. You then partner it up with specific plans, which is what we try to do. Then you'll have a recipe for successful change, including weight loss.
If you could change one thing about modern society, what would it be?
Dr. Oz: Prevention is about making it easy to do the right thing. The human brain is not designed to continually think through new ways of figuring out how to live your life and that's one of the reasons we slip into bad habits. We have created a society where it's easy to do the wrong thing. Classic examples are simple carbohydrates. We have white foods, like white rice, flour, pasta, and sugars in almost everything we snack on. We fall prey to them. Remember, sugar and salt are addictive. They're as addictive as crack cocaine for many people. Salts and sugars are used commonly because they do have that impact, so you'll want them more. Historically, we needed them. The prehistoric man did not have adequate access to salts and sugars, so whenever we found them we were going to want them. But when we get them in the large quantities we find today, it leads us into stray, turbulent waters.
If I had to pick out one thing, it would be those white foods. The number one food without any question that is correlated with weight gain in America is French fries, which is the perfect storm. The potatoes themselves are not a problem. But French fries are fried, simple carbohydrates with salt. That's why it leads to so much weight gain among many Americans.