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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dr. Phil, what ARE you thinking?


I was watching Dr. Phil's program last night. They had another installment (I hadn't seen the first installment) of yet another weight loss contest. I personally think these weight loss shows are good except......

Ok, it's a good idea to get people who are very heavy and who have really horrible habits (eating badly, not exercising) together and help them learn to make better decisions. That's really laudable. But there are some issues I have with these shows in general.

First off, I have noticed that often they push people a bit too much. They take people who have rarely stood up for long periods of time, much less walked, and push them to do things that athletes do during their off season training. This helps the people see big numbers quickly, but it's not necessarily the best way to go, in my opinion.

I'm a bit of an expert on dieting and losing weight. I've been fighting the battle of the bulge since I was in my teens. I've tried calorie counting, the eating man's diet, the enzyme catalyst diet, the fit for life diet, Atkins, Ornish, Powter, running, walking, pilates and yoga. All worked to some degree, but some helped pile more pounds on (most notably Atkins since it's such an unnatural way for me to eat that I couldn't keep it up for long and when I stopped, I slingshot not only back to where I started, but to a higher weight -- it was after my first run at Atkins that I reached my heaviest point -- about 250 pounds).

The times I lost the bulk of my weight were when I became a vegetarian and, 12 1/2 years later, when I went vegan. I'm still fighting -- I've recently (within the last 10 or so months) started losing weight again (by taking nutrient supplements designed to treat my adrenals) and then even more recently (about 4 weeks ago) started Prevention Magazine's Flat Belly diet. Since Pesah (Passover) last year, I've lost almost 20 pounds, a bit more than 5 of them since I started the diet.

In any case, back to the main point -- the second thing I don't like is that they eliminate people. Granted, they didn't last night (and I hope they never do, but that may be a vain hope), but they were supposed to and made it sound like they will in the future. This is just what these people need, right? Here are a bunch of people who already have low self-esteem (I ought to know, I'm the princess of low self-esteem) and, instead of encouraging them, they will bring on a streak of self-loathing by making them feel like losers in the weight loss game. It's also a bad idea because the people who need it the most will get the least help.

I also get the feeling that often these people will go back to their "real life" and without a trainer or a nutrition coach, end up back on the couch. I hope I'm wrong (will we get to see what they look like a year or two years or five years from now?). But I'm also still worried.

From my perspective, the best thing anyone can do diet wise is to eat lots of vegetables -- sauteed vegetables, boiled vegetables, steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, vegetable soup, etc. Learning how to cook for yourself (and not be dependent on industrial food) is a huge step forward. Check out recipes on line and in cookbooks. But eat veggies!!!

Check out my squidoo lenses (articles):

Strong Biblical Women
Strong Biblical Women 2
Why Be Vegetarian
Vegetarianism: Getting Started 1
Vegetarianism: Getting Started 2
Rosh Hashana
Quick Vegan Cooking
Creating new recipes from old
Strong Biblical Women Part 3
About the Jewish Calendar
Witches and Morality
Presidential Trivia Quiz
Christmas and the Jewish Single
Math Hints 1 -- Adding Fractions
Presidents1: George Washington
Passover: Holiday of Freedom
Ruth and Naomi
John and John Quincy Adams
Television Trivia Quiz
Tamar -- Mother of Kings
Jewish Perspective of G-d
Why I'm a Red Sox Fan

Check out my other blogs:

Jewish Sandwich
Jewish Singles
Strong Jewish Women
Israel and its place in the world
Everything Goes

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