Holiday season is officially over and you’ve spent these past few months (or just last night) feasting on never ending dishes and drinks with the family-now what? New Year’s resolutions may not matter to some after January 1st, but Dr. Mehmet Oz believes they’re key to conquering upcoming swimsuit season. Simply known as Dr. Oz by fans, including TV mogul and friend Oprah Winfrey, the best-selling author, professor of surgery at Columbia University, and two-time Emmy Award-winning host of “The Dr. Oz Show” believes now is the perfect time to take control of 2012 by getting fit and feeling fabulous. As a means to motivate audiences who’re ready to get physical, Dr. Oz has developed “Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You,” a season-long health challenge that’s set on getting viewers off their couches. Whether you’re seeking to make your goals a reality this time or just need an extra boost of confidence to tackle the New Year, Dr. Oz has plenty of tips and tricks to creating a brand-new, happier you. We chatted with the famous medical expert about getting rid of pesky pounds, what “Transformation Nation” is really all about, and why there’s one food you should stay away from if you really want to get into your favorite jeans.
Do you think it's better to prevent putting on the pounds during the holidays, as opposed to trying to take them off afterwards?
Dr. Oz: We know from experience that most people who put weight on have a lot of trouble getting it off. So without question, you're better off preventing it. Weight gain during the holidays is related to increased alcohol, which isn’t surprising. A lot of it is also related to not getting enough sleep due to social events and dealing with stress from relatives. When you stop sleeping you crave carbohydrates, so you’ll eat things you normally wouldn’t have eaten. The biggest tip I could give is to break your drinks up with a glass of water in between, which will both prevent hangovers and slow down the amount of carbs you take in.
There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the benefits of red wine, but we haven’t been hearing much from someone outside of the wine industry.
Dr. Oz: There's no question that wine is a healthy beverage. If you're trying to lose weight, it becomes a bit of a problem because it sometimes releases hedonistic desires to eat. It also has simple carbohydrates. But wine has a lot of antioxidants and resveratrol, which is found in the skin of grapes. It has significant benefits for the heart and reduces inflammation, so it's probably a generally good thing for maintaining your weight. I'm a fan of red wine. In fact, all alcoholic beverages that are beneficial to the heart are also beneficial for weight when taken in moderation. So basically one drink a day for women and up to two for men, especially when it’s not linked to overeating in other areas because it's easy to defend it as a helpful habit.
Are there any foods during the holiday season you personally indulge in that you wouldn’t normally during the rest of the year?
Dr. Oz: We have more tofu than usual. No, I'm kidding. Yes, I indulge like everybody else does. I drink more during the holidays. My biggest addiction is dark chocolate around nuts. One little trick I have learned, and I use it frequently these days, is to always drink a sip of water after I have a piece of chocolate because it cleanses my palate. Otherwise the salt and sweetness reinforces that I want them. Without that, I'd be 240 pounds. You'd be doing shows about Dr. Oz's transformation, not his 'Transformation Nation.'
In the New Year, the number one thing I'm going to focus on with people is getting a little bit of fitness in their lives. Walking or even fidgeting for that matter is not only helpful for losing weight, but it begins to give you a foundation to do other activities. I do think people in the New Year ought to at least adopt some programs, short because most people are unwilling to acknowledge that they're so disorganized in their lives they can't even shave seven minutes of time to make it. They can then use that as a platform for confidence. It can be calisthenics, yoga, stretching, just something you do every morning. There are also too many people who think they can get a healthy fast food breakfast on the run. It is doable, but hard to do. I'd much rather you make something with protein or whole grains for breakfast, even within an hour of awakening.
What should people be doing on the first week of January to set themselves up for a successful 2012?
Dr. Oz: January 1st isn’t about beating yourself up for making foolish mistakes during the holidays. It's a time for reinvention, revisiting the things you want to do in your life, and committing to them. Starting today, what people ought to be thinking about is their New Year's resolution. Roughly half the people who try to lose weight will be on some kind of a program that will at least last into the summer. Only about 4% or 5% of people who don't do New Year's resolutions will have similar statistics.
New Year's resolutions matter, but there are two important mistakes you make with them. The first is we're not concrete enough. Set a goal that is unambiguous. I'm going to lose seven pounds by this month, by my birthday, or by whatever the endpoint is. The second mistake we make is we don't hold ourselves accountable for the people around us. If you tell people publicly you're doing it, and better yet, if you partner with one or two of them so they can help you in your darker times, this will allow you succeed at a much greater rate.
You don't want to reinvent the wheel. You want to automate your meals, so breakfast and lunch ought to be pretty much the same thing every day or at least close. You don't want to waste time thinking about what snacks you're going to have. You should have all those things close at hand so that you don't have to go through making difficult decisions where you'll trip and begin to fail.