You on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Managementby Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, America's most
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For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting -- and why so many of us struggle with our weight and the size of our waists. Now researchers are unraveling biological secrets about such things as why you crave chocolate or gorge at buffets or store so much fat.
Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, America's most trusted doctor team and authors of the bestselling YOU series, are now translating this cutting-edge information to help you shave inches off your waist. They're going to do it by giving you the best weapon against fat: knowledge. By understanding how your body's fat-storing and fat-burning systems work, you're going to learn how to crack the code on true and lifelong waist management.
Roizen and Oz will invigorate you with equal parts information, motivation, and change-your-life action to show you how your brain, stomach, hormones, muscles, heart, genetics, and stress levels all interact biologically to determine if your body is the size of a baseball bat or of a baseball stadium. In YOU: On a Diet, Roizen and Oz will redefine what a healthy figure is, then take you through an under-theskin tour of the organs that influence your body's size and its health. You'll even be convinced that the key number to fixate on is not your weight, but your waist size, which best indicates the medical risks of storing too much fat.
Because the world has almost as many diet plans as it has e-mail spammers, you'd think that just about all of us would know everything there is to know about dieting, about fat, and about the reasons why our bellies have grown so large. YOU: On a Diet is much more than a diet plan or a series of instructions and guidelines or a faddish berries-only eating plan. It's a complete manual for waist management. It will show you how to achieve and maintain an ideal and healthy body size by providing a lexicon according to which any weight-loss system can be explained. YOU: On a Diet will serve as the operating system that facilitates future evolution in our dieting software. After you learn about the biology of your body and the biology and psychology of fat, you'll be given the YOU Diet and YOU Workout. Both are easy to learn, follow, and maintain. Following a two-week rebooting program will help you lose up to two inches from your waist right from the start.
With Roizen and Oz's signature accessibility, wit, and humor, YOU: On a Diet -- The Owner's Manual for Waist Management will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the food you consume, so that you'll diet smart, not hard. Welcome to your body on a diet.
Read an Excerpt
YOU: On a Diet
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Most diets promise commonsense solutions to tight-pants problems: Eat less, and you’ll weigh less. Keep your mouth closed, and you’ll keep the pounds off. Sweat like a sauna-dwelling sumo wrestler, and you’ll wind up skinnier than a sheet of paper. Straightforward enough. But if it really worked that way, our bodies wouldn’t be large enough to be spotted by Google Earth. If it really worked that way, then most diets wouldn’t fail. If it really worked that way, then we all must be a bunch of rebellious hellions with mayo-covered lips and belt-busting bellies who don’t feel like following a few simple instructions.
Or it could be that most diets have it all wrong.
We believe it’s the latter.
You know why? Because most diets instruct you to take on the corn chips, meatball specials, and dessert trays with brute force. It’s you versus food in a lifetime heavyweight fight. But in that scenario, the fight is always fixed—and not in your favor. That’s because the battle against extra pounds isn’t won with force, with sweat, with trying to diet. It’s won with elegance, with smarts, and with healthy choices that become as automatic as a Simon Cowell barb.
When it comes to dieting, trying to whip fat with our weapon of willpower is the food equivalent of holding your breath underwater. You can do it for a while, but no matter how psyched up you get, at some point your body—your biology—forces you to the surface gasping for air. And with most diets, your body forces you to gasp (or gulp) for food. No matter how hard you try not to eat, some hidden force deep inside is always prying your mouth back open, making it impossible for willpower to win. Instead of sparring with your waistline, it’s time you made your body an ally in the fight against fat.
Our process is to look at our overweight bodies the way scientists would: Identify the underlying biology of the problem, then find the cures. Why? Because we’re lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time—a time when the scientific world has just now started to unlock the biological mysteries that have caused us to store fat and gain weight. For the first time in our history, the scientific community is uncovering the medical evidence about food, appetite, and satiety that will allow you to tackle weight problems with the real weapon against fat: knowledge. By making this knowledge simple and accessible, we’re going to give you tools and actions to crack the code of true and lifelong waist management. In fact, our plan will help you avoid the dangerous yo-yo cycle of weight gain and weight loss. We’re going to help you reprogram your body so that you can keep off the weight you lose forever.
Through the years, many of us have been led to believe that our weight problem is about two things: calorie counting and mental toughness. While some of us may say that the weight problem is too much of the twelve-cheese lasagna, the real problem is that most of us have as much of a clue about how our bodies work as we have about how our cars do. Sure, we know the major parts and generally what they’re supposed to do. The real danger of thinking we have most of the answers is that we stop asking the questions. If we look under our hood, do we really understand the systems that make our bodies accelerate to a life of fat and the ones that slam the brakes on the dangerous cookie-and-cake collisions that take place every day? Probably not, and that’s what we’re here to help you learn.
Above all, we’re going to teach you that when it comes to dieting, you need to work smart, not hard.
Following our plan, you can expect to drop up to two inches from your waist (or a dress size) within two weeks and see results steadily after that. While the end goal is what many of us look for, we believe that the path you choose to get there is what really dictates whether you make it or not. Our path looks like this:
Part 1: What a Waist! Starting here, we’ll talk about our major principles for how the body is designed to work and how our program is geared toward those functions. And we’ll also give you the biological ideals of the human body—how our bodies originally looked and functioned. We’ll also give you some self-assessment tools for figuring out your own body’s ideals. Once you know where you’re going, you’ll have a better idea of how to get there.
Part 2: The Biology of Fat. Here you’ll follow morsels of food from the pantry to the porcelain bowl and everywhere in between. We’ll start by exploring the physiology of appetite, and then we’ll dive into the science of fat—how we store it, how we burn it, how we fight it. Obesity is really only a twenty-year-old problem (not for you but for society). Since 1990, we’ve gone from 1 percent of North Americans with the dangerous disease of inflammation from fat in the liver to 35 percent who have it now. You’ll learn what a truly amazing system your body is when you steer it in the right direction through wise nutritional and activity choices.
Part 3: The Science of the Mind. When it comes to overeating, most of us put more emphasis on what we’re noshing than on what we’re thinking. But you can’t discuss weight issues without exploring the scientific and chemical (and even spiritual) reasons why your brain hormones and your emotions drive you to the eight-enchilada special. You’ll learn why some foods are addictive. More important, we’ll show you the strategies for making your emotions and the chemicals that drive them work for, not against, your waistline.
Part 4: The YOU Diet and Activity Plan. After you read and learn about the intricacies of your body, you’ll find the eating and activity plan that will teach your body to eat and work smart. Your body will become your gym as you gain sleek strength in your body’s foundation muscles—all without using weights. And you’ll learn to make the right decisions in the supermarket aisle and at the fast-food window. The fourteen-day plan outlines recipes, exercises, and actions you can take to live leaner and healthier.
(In our appendices, we’ll explore the medical options for dealing with weight issues—for times when you may plateau, and for those people whose weight problems have led to major medical problems.)
Now, with all the diet information that’s circulating today, sometimes it’s hard to know what’s right, and sometimes it’s hard to remember what to do even if it is. That’s why we feel that while the program is important, how you learn it—how you ingrain it as part of your lifestyle—is just as vital. As we travel through the four parts of the book, you’ll notice various ways you’ll learn about your body and how to change it. These are the five main elements we’ll use along the way:
YOU-reka Moments! Like Einstein suddenly realizing that E = mc2 you’ll develop deep insights that challenge your preconceptions about diets, about fat, and about your body. In the margin, you’ll see our YOU-reka imp—the signal that we’re about to come upon a moment of enlightenment by busting a myth or explaining something to you about diets that may seem 180 degrees from what you believe is true.
YOUR Body: In Parts 2 and 3, as we explore the biology of your body, we’ll start each chapter by giving quick biology lessons about what really happens inside your body. We ask that you put on your metaphorical scrubs and gloves as you whiz through your arteries, travel through your intestines, and hang out in your stomach. We’ll get up close to your fat so we can see how your body handles it and how it manipulates your body. We believe that by learning about how the inside of your body works, you’ll develop the smarts you need to change how the outside looks.
YOU Tests. Through interactive quizzes and measurements, you’ll establish baselines for such vital statistics as your ideal body size and your eating personality. And you’ll also be able to test for the secret things that could be contributing to a weight problem (get a load of our tongue test on page 76). You can start in a few pages by taking the Fat Facts Test on page 18.
YOU Tips: After we explore the biology of your body to show you what bad things can happen if you make the wrong choice or have cross-wired genetics, we’ll immediately give you actions that can help turn your body around. At the end of each chapter, we’ll outline intelligent strategies—big and small—for living, eating, and moving in a more healthful way.
The YOU Diet and Activity Plan: In Part 4 (on page 217) we’ll detail the specific and simple strategies, recipes, and exercises that will lead you to the body you want—for the rest of your life. The fourteen-day YOU Diet (it’s actually so easy that we crafted a seven-day plan that you do twice) and the no-weights-required YOU Workout provide all the tools and instructions you’ll need. Best of all, they don’t take a lot of time, and they’re so easy that you can incorporate them into your life today. You’ll be rewarded for the time you spend planning, exercising, shopping, and cooking with more energy and a better mood—and you’ll enjoy looking in the mirror more!
So where do we start? With our first YOU-reka! moment: Your body naturally wants to take you to your optimum weight, as long as you don’t get in its way.
That’s right. For almost everyone, no matter what your genetics, the systems, organs, and processes of your body all want you to function at an ideal weight and size. With the following few principles that we’ll develop throughout the book, we’re going to teach you how you can make that happen without having to bludgeon yourself in frustration with a butter knife. These are our major principles for achieving your very best and very healthiest body.
When you lose weight without exercise, you lose both muscle and fat, but when you gain weight without exercise, you gain only fat. It’s much easier to gain fat weight than it is to gain muscle weight, which is one of the reasons why yo-yo dieting fails so miserably: When you continually gain and lose and gain and lose, you end up gaining proportionally even more fat, because of the muscle loss that takes place every time you lose.
YOU Will Choose Elegance over Force
Most dieters try to defeat their Oreo/Cheeze Doodle/custard pie infatuations with will, with deprivation, with sweat, with a “my-brain-is-stronger-than-your-crust” attitude. But trying to beat your body with mind power alone may be more painful than passing a melon-size kidney stone. Instead, you have to learn about the systems and actions that influence hunger, satiety, fat storing, and fat burning to fine-tune your corporeal vehicle so it runs on autopilot and takes you to your ultimate destination: a healthy, ideal body. (For those who want to skip ahead, you’ve probably already peeked at Part 4; however, getting to know the nuances of your body is what will help you achieve and maintain a truly healthy-size body.)
YOU Will Learn How Your Body Thinks
True body improvement is about science. It’s about making the leap from witchcraft to hard data, from alchemy to chemistry, from speculation about what works for your body to explanations of how your body actually works. The only way you’ll understand the way calories and fat travel from that 2,000-calorie onion loaf to the back of your arm is by bringing alive the physiology of hormones, blood, organs, and muscles—by explaining the processes of digestion, starvation, fat storage, and muscle movements. When you understand the magic of physiology and the fun of biology, you’ll know what actions to take—and why you’re taking them—to reboot your body back to where it wants to be. Just as when you’re trying to help a tantruming toddler or kick-start a frozen computer, you can’t fix it unless you know what’s wrong. Know the why, and it’s much easier to handle the how—when you need to. Let’s face it, we’re not going to be sitting next to you at 10:30 p.m. when you’re pilfering a Pop-Tart. So you need to be equipped with knowledge of how your body works and reacts to that Pop-Tart so that you can defend against the little sugar-coated bugger.
YOU Will Challenge Your Beliefs about Diets
Throughout our lives, we’ve been conditioned to believe that if one thing is good for us, then more of it must be better. If you eliminate 100 calories from your daily diet, then eliminating 400 must qualify you for size 2. If you walk to lose weight, then running a marathon must nuke the fat right off your body. Well, neither idea is true. Worse, not only aren’t they true, but many of the diet myths perpetuated today actually hurt our bodies. Food deprivation, for example, drops your metabolism and makes your body want to store fat. Many of the rules, ideas, and principles you may believe about dieting—that you assume work when dieting—simply aren’t true and can very well contribute to weight issues because they keep the vicious cycle of fat loss and fat gain revolving faster than Lance Armstrong’s front wheel.
Throughout the book, you’ll learn all about this perfect storm of factors that contribute to our ability to gain so much weight—and our inability to lose it. You’ll see that some of these reasons are biological, some are environmental, and some are psychological, and only when you learn how to navigate these tricky waters will you find true success when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy size.
In men, the supplement L-carnitine—at a dose of 3 grams a day—helps muscles use carbohydrates, but it is also good for blood vessel function in both men and women.
One of the reasons why most so-called diets fail is because of a psychological and behavioral flaw that many dieters have. We desperately want to believe the simple, comforting promises that diets make—that doing A always gets us B. Because once we see that A (eating wheat germ 24-7) doesn’t always equal B (the cover of Vogue), then we get frustrated and angry, and give in to the gods of cream-filled baked goods.
Unfortunately, your body and your fat do not have a linear, two-step relationship. Instead, think of your body as an orchestra. All of its systems, organs, muscles, cells, fluids, hormones, and chemicals play different instruments, make different sounds (your intestines have dibs on first-chair tuba), and produce different results depending on how you use them. They work independently, but only when they’re played together can you appreciate the magnificent symphony of your own biology. As the conductor of your biological orchestra, you control how the instruments interact and what the final result will be.
YOU Will Make Dieting Automatic
While we want you to “not think” about eating good foods, we also know that “not thinking” may be how you got into this pants-stretching mess in the first place. When you don’t think about the consequences of ordering football-size calzones, you wind up with such pleasantries as high LDL (lousy) cholesterol, low HDL (healthy type of) cholesterol, a fat-filled liver, inflammation in your arteries, and a higher risk of aging arteries that cause memory loss, heart disease, even wrinkles, as well as a steady stream of coupon offers from the large men’s department. We want your body to guide you to the right choices—without thinking about them—so that they’ll lead to the results you want. It will take some effort at the start to retrain your habits, palate, and muscles, but this program will serve as a lifelong eating, activity, and behavior plan that will become as routine as going to the bathroom before bed.
Unless you’re the rare kind of person who responds to dietary drill sergeants, you won’t find long-term solutions using traditional weight-loss methods: willpower, deprivation, fads, phases, or dead-bolting the lid of the butter pecan. Instead, using this plan, you will train yourself to never think about how much you’re eating, never think about getting on a diet or worry about coming off one, and never have to figure out formulas, zones, or, for the love of (fill in the deity of your choice), place a chicken breast on a food scale.
YOU Will Focus on Waist Management
Our society seems almost as obsessed with pounds as it is with celebrity breakups, but it’s time to shift your thinking: Studies have shown that waist circumference, not overall weight, is the most important indicator of mortality related to being overweight. Of course you’ll lose pounds on this plan, but we want you to switch your focus from a number that measures your weight to one that measures your waist. Because of its proximity to your organs, your belly fat is the most dangerous fat you can carry.
In addition to helping you shrink your waist through diet, we’ll also teach you the exercises that will help you achieve and maintain a healthy waist size. Now, we don’t want you to think that exercise must involve sweating like a waterfall and panting like an obscene caller, because it doesn’t. But you do need to start thinking about your body as a dartboard: It’s all about what’s in the center. You’ll be focusing on the physical activities that will help control your waist size—specifically walking and foundation-muscle training of your entire body (without growing igloo-size muscles). We’ll teach you simple moves that will develop all of your foundation muscles, and we’ll teach you how to tighten your belly, improve your posture, and develop the muscles that will make you fit into your clothes better. That translates into a shapelier waist, which, studies (and pick-up line frequency charts) show, makes you more attractive to others.
But let’s not overlook the management part of the waist management equation. We all know how good managers work: They plan ahead and create systems that play to people’s strengths, they set realistic goals, they measure progress, and they don’t force their employees down roads that are designed to give them a pack-your-things meeting with HR. You need to train yourself to be a good waist manager by following a plan that’s designed to help you become the CEO of your body.
Take Out the Tape
Some people haven’t stepped on a scale since Laverne & Shirley played in prime time. And that’s a good thing. For our purposes, you don’t need to know how much you weigh (but if you want to check your progress on this program, then go ahead and peek). All you need is a tape measure. Measure the circumference of your waist at the point of your belly button (suck in; you will anyway), and record the score here. (Depending on how your weight is distributed, you may need to make an adjustment to where you place the tape. If you’re overweight, keep the tape measure parallel to the floor during measurement.)
Your Size: _____
For optimum health, the ideal waist size for women is 32½2 inches; once you hit 37 inches, the dangers to your health increase. For men, the ideal is 35 inches, and the dangers to your health increase once you hit 40 inches.
While we’re going to emphasize waist over weight in this book, we also know that many of you won’t be able to resist the siren of the scale. When it comes to actual weight, you do need to stop thinking about one specific number. (“I want to get down to one hundred thirty.”) All of us have an ideal playing weight—not a weight for running marathons or making All Pro linebacker or posing for an airbrushed-anyway centerfold. This ideal playing weight is a range in which you live lean and healthy, and one in which you significantly reduce the risks of aging diseases associated with being overweight (more on all of this in Part 2).
You Will Focus on YOU, but Not Rely on YOU
It doesn’t matter whether you look at presidents (Lincoln or Taft), musicians (Usher or Heavy D), or tennis players (Sharapova or Serena), it’s clear that we all have different builds, just as we all have different genetics, metabolic rates, and chemical interactions. Still, there are some fundamental biological facts that are true whether you’re built like a branch or a stump. As a species, we’re programmed to gain and preserve the right amount of weight. That’s simply what our bodies are designed to do (more on that coming up). The trick is to figure out your factory settings. Then, we’ll give you the all-important lock-setting tools that will help you to reboot those factory settings so that your body maintains its ideal size and shape.
While this is a very individual challenge, it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Life is a team game; you’ve got sports teams and surgical teams, restaurant staffs and office staffs, hip-hop clubs and calculator clubs. And of course you have the ultimate team: your family. The most successful teams all work the same way: Everybody plays a different role and contributes in his or her own way. You may have a Shaq, Kobe, or LeBron on your team, but the team can’t win the title unless everybody, not just the stars, works for the team goal.
Somehow, though, when it comes to weight control, you believe that you’re solely responsible for dropping your excess pounds and changing your habits. To make it worse, when you’re gaining weight, even the fans are chipping in on your side; the world around us wants us to gain weight in the form of big portions, drive-throughs, and family dinners that could feed a small municipality. Then when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s as if everyone’s against you; they bring junk food into the home, suggest that everyone go out for ice cream, and feast on pork fat while you’re trying to gnaw on cauliflower. You can think of this as being green at the same time. What’s good for the outside environment (more plant food, less four-legged food) is good for your environment too.
You have to stop thinking that this game is you versus a stadium full of rib-loving opponents. Sure, you need to be the quarterback of your waist control team, but you won’t achieve success without a team that can block for you, high-five you when you’re doing well, and give you an encouraging smack on the butt when you’re not. Your starting lineup should include your doctor, maybe a nutritionist, maybe a personal trainer, and certainly scads and scads of fans like your family and friends (online or in person) who can push you, support you, and yank the bowl of candy corn away from you. But you shouldn’t be the only one relying on other people; you should use this opportunity to find a support partner who needs you as much as you need her. After all, the best kinds of satisfaction shouldn’t come from the sixth spoonful of cake batter, but from sharing knowledge and support, and helping others lose inches.
YOU Will Stop Blaming Yourself
The classic psychology of fat is this: If you’re thin, then you believe that fat people must be doing something wrong to make them fat. But if you’re fat, then you blame the environment, or your genetics, or anything else. Well, we’re going to try to eliminate that blame and use medical insights to explain the epic saga of weight-related problems. We want to move dieting past a guilt-driven and blame-ridden system, and make it a science-based system.
Of course not everyone can look like a Beyoncé or a Brad Pitt. To get an idea of what your healthy weight, waist, and shape should be, you’ll need to take into account such things as bone structure, muscle mass, genetics, and risk factors associated with your weight. Here’s a fact that goes virtually unmentioned: There are clinically obese people who live with no risk of health problems, and there are CD-thin people whose risk of dying prematurely is more than a chuteless sky-diver’s. Our goal is to get you to the point where you strip away inches, you strip away the risks of being overweight, and you strip away the guilt associated with the process of always trying to do so.
YOU Will Never Be Hungry
We know exactly how you’ve felt when you’ve dieted in the past. Hungry. Famished. Three seconds away from steamrolling through a triple-dip cone with sprinkles. That recipe for dieting is one you can tear up. In fact, the only place hunger ever got you was a pair of pants that could double as curtains. To eat and work smart, your goal is never to be hungry and never to be in a state of dietary angst, where your only salvation is the 99¢ menu at the drive-through window. By keeping your hunger (and internal chemicals) in check, you’ll avoid the impetuous behaviors that send fat on an express ride to your belly.
YOU Will Make Mistakes
Look, we don’t care how motivated you are, how willing you are, how inspired you are by Eva Longoria’s body. Someday, and someday soon, a volleyball-size muffin is going to get the best of you and nudge, bribe, or cajole its way into your stomach. That’s OK. Hear that? That’s OK. You’re going to have moments when your eyes, body, and curious fingers won’t be able to turn their radar lock off of the queso dip. You have to get past the concept that diets have side effects—that is, unexpected negative consequences. Instead, realize that eating plans have effects—offshoot actions, behaviors, and emotions that are simply part of everyday living. One of those effects is that you will occasionally eat things that are nutritional cigarettes; though one may not hurt you forever, it can get you addicted to some bad behaviors. Because of that, waist management is about developing contingency plans—plans that allow you to make mistakes and then get back on the right road. We’re going to teach you how to make a YOU-Turn when you do make mistakes with Twinkies or Tootsie Rolls or any bad-for-your-waist foods. That way, your dietary fender benders won’t turn into hundred-car Autobahn pileups.
YOU Will Be Flexible—and Have Fun
Most of us want our diets to be a little like having the remote control; we want the power to make lots of choices, depending on everything from our mood to the time of day. It’s clear from research that the most successful eating plans are low-maintenance: You can follow them with your family, and you won’t feel overwhelmed by cravings. If you can do that, you’ll get results. But try to stay on a diet where you feel more isolated than a Yankees fan at Fenway Park, then chances are that the result will feel like the box-office numbers of a B-level horror flick—a miserable failure.
Eating right shouldn’t be about feeling bad. It should be about feeling strong, increasing energy, living better, feeling healthier, and having more fun than a front-row rock fan. It should be about eating without thinking and without obsessing about every forkful. Of course, we all have reasons for overeating or eating the wrong kinds of food (stress, boredom, comfort, five-cent wing specials). But our goal isn’t just for you to make by-the-book food substitutions or come to grips with your Devil Dog demons. You should be grinning—not grimacing, grunting, and growling—as the inches melt away from your waist, and laughing as your lipid profile improves. You’ll understand how, after we show you how the mind-stomach connection works by explaining how brain and belly chemicals control what the mind thinks, how the fork acts in your bodily orchestra, and how this relationship can become a cacophony in the wrong hands.
So now that we’re about to begin, you’re probably asking, What are we going to do, and how are we going to do it? Well, we’re going to give you everything you need to make a body change—through a series of elegant and effective changes based on hard science—that will stick with you for your life. Simply, this book will serve as your lifelong waist management, body-changing plan.
Best of all, when you put it all together and integrate automatic actions into your life, you’ll live by the principles you’ll need to stay fit and healthy, so that you can achieve and maintain exactly what you’re striving for:
Your ideal body.
The Fat Facts Test
What Do You Really Know about Fat, Diets, and Other Weight-loss Solutions?
To help you determine your level of dietary knowledge, take this Fat Facts Test. In less time than it takes to listen to an American Idol off-key clunker, you may just learn more about your body and belly than you’ve ever known before.
What is the first historical event that we can point to as contributing to the rise in excess pounds?
a. The development of agriculture.
b. The development of whipped cream in coffee.
c. The development of more office jobs.
d. The development of fast food.
What is the reason most diets fail?
a. They’re designed so that they’re impossible to stick to long-term.
b. They’re so complicated that you need a math degree to follow them.
c. There are only so many carrot sticks and celery stalks a person can take.
d. Mozzarella sticks. Mmm!
Which of the following strategies is most recommended for people trying to lose weight?
a. Weighing yourself once a week.
b. Eating two to three small meals a day.
c. Eating nuts every day.
d. Ex-Lax smoothies for everyone!
What’s the most important number for determining whether an increased waist size is putting you at risk for health problems?
a. Bra size.
b. Blood pressure.
d. Heart rate.
What is ghrelin?
a. The name of a Harry Potter character.
b. A hormone that makes you want to eat more.
c. The name of fat cells in your belly.
d. The chemical in your brain that makes you feel good.
What is leptin?
a. The name of the dude on the Lucky Charms cereal box.
b. The muscle-building protein that helps burn fat.
c. The nutrient in fruit that works in conjunction with fiber.
d. A chemical from fat that tells your brain you are full.
Which spice has been shown to be helpful for controlling weight?
d. The one married to David Beckham; Posh, is it?
Which one does not stimulate eating high-calorie food?
a. Too little sleep.
b. Too little sex.
c. Too little water.
d. Too much work.
What does your body most want to do in periods of extreme stress?
a. Stay away from food.
b. Gorge on food.
c. Seek crunchy foods.
d. Crumple up into a pile of jelly and retreat to a warm bath.
An ideal buddy is:
a. Tall, dark, and handsome.
b. Someone who has more fat than you to lose.
c. Someone who loves to celebrate with molten chocolate cake.
d. Someone who is on the same journey as you.
Of the following choices, which is least dangerous to a long-term waist management strategy?
a. A 1,000-calorie-a-day diet.
b. Higher than usual colonics to remove all fat.
c. Training for a marathon.
d. Playing video games.
Which organ is most responsible for metabolism?
The perfect storm for waist gain means:
a. You eat more because corner stores and fast-food restaurants that serve high-calorie foods are everywhere.
b. That high-fructose corn syrup can overwhelm an already fatty liver, producing a storm of inflammatory compounds and making the liver fatter. And you want to eat more and find a corner store that offers half price on anything with corn syrup in it.
c. You get too much sleep, so your metabolic rate slows; high-calorie food is easy to get, so you make up for oversleeping with overeating.
d. You can float more easily during a storm surge.
Calorie for calorie, what fills you up for the longest amount of time?
d. French fries.
At least how much must you walk daily for optimum waist control?
a. Thirty minutes.
b. Two hours.
c. Any time you can spare.
d. Any, as long as it’s not traveling to and from the fridge.
What is the main purpose of liposuction?
a. To help people lose weight.
b. To target problem body parts.
c. To keep some Hollywood docs in business.
d. To ensure another season of successful reality TV.
What is your omentum?
a. A badly misspelled word.
b. The part of your brain that’s stimulated to store fat.
c. A chemical that controls hunger.
d. A fat-storing tissue that becomes metabolically active.
Health-wise, what is the optimal waist size for a woman?
a. As little as possible.
b. 32½ inches.
c. Under 35 inches.
d. Whatever slides into that little black dress, honey.
Which part of your body that plays a role in weight gain works most like your brain?
a. Your stomach.
b. Your heart.
c. Your small intestine.
d. Your unmentionables.
What is CCK?
a. The former Soviet Union.
b. A hormone that regulates insulin levels by changing your blood sugar level.
c. Colonic Creations by Katherine.
d. Cholecystokinin, a chemical that tells your brain to stop eating the waffle.
Of the following items, what contributes most to weight gain?
a. Periods of low levels of willpower.
b. Short periods of high-intensity stress.
c. Long periods of low-intensity stress.
d. Periods of high-intensity dessert trays.
The difference between an allergy to and intolerance of gluten is:
a. Five trips to your doc.
b. Whether milk is eaten with gluten.
c. The degree of T-cell involvement in your gut.
d. Whether you have a deficiency of an enzyme or too great an immune response to gluten chemicals.
Which of the following can be an effective medical option for weight loss?
Which activity is most helpful for waist control?
b. Cardiovascular training like running.
c. Resistance training like weight lifting.
d. Naked salsa dancing every other Tuesday.
What’s the worst side effect of losing weight?
a. Increased risk of chocolate withdrawal.
b. Increased risk of muscular and joint aches.
c. Increased risk of yo-yo dieting.
d. Increased risk of astronomical tailor bill.
1. a. The development of agriculture meant that we could now have foods we wanted, not needed. And that’s what provided the foundation for indulgence.
2. a. Most diets don’t reprogram you to think and eat automatically, so that eventually you’ll go off the diet just as surely as you went on it.
3. c. Eating a handful of nuts has been shown to help you stay full, while skipping meals can be detrimental because your body will go into a fat-storing, starvation mode when it doesn’t have enough calories.
4. b. Of these risks, blood pressure is the greatest indicator of health risks associated with being overweight.
5. b. Ghrelin makes you want to eat more.
6. d. Leptin keeps you full.
7. a. Cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity, which helps enhance the satiety center in your brain (and also reduces blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels).
8. d. All four satiety centers (for food, sleep, thirst, and sex) are collated in your brain; too little sleep or sex or too much thirst makes you crave sugary foods. Work will increase calorie intake only if you are stressed out and cope through eating.
9. a. Extreme stress (as in the case of a car accident, or even exercise) turns off your hunger. Chronic stress (like a long line of looming deadlines or family problems) can make you crave feel-good carbohydrates.
10. d. You and your buddy adopt each other’s habits (and looks, to a degree).
11. d. Playing video games works because it keeps your hands busy, so you can’t eat. (Training for a marathon is actually destructive to your body because of the risk to your joints, and for most people, 1,000 calories is a dangerously low daily caloric intake. Do we really need to explain colonics?)
12. c. Your liver is responsible for most metabolic functions.
13. b. Your body has a biochemical perfect storm. Too much fructose presented to a fatty liver makes the liver process it differently from fructose delivered slowly, as it does in whole fruit. The rapid delivery is believed to cause your liver to produce an inflammatory chemical that damages your liver, arteries, and immune system. We’ve gone from consuming 0 pounds per person of high-fructose corn syrup in 1960 to 63 pounds now.
14. b. Fiber fills you. A cup of oatmeal in the morning has been shown to prevent you from afternoon gorging.
15. a. Walk at least thirty minutes—at once or in intervals—every day.
16. b. Liposuction should be used to sculpt problem areas, not to remove a lot of fat.
17. d. Located next to your stomach, your omentum is fat that can cause damage to surrounding organs.
18. b. While 32½ inches or less is ideal, 37 inches is when women start seeing a greatly increased risk of weight-related disorders.
19. c. Your small intestine—with 100 million neurons—has anatomy similar to your brain.
20. d. CCK is a chemical that directly and indirectly sends a message to your brain from your guts that you’re full.
21. c. Chronic stress makes your body store more fat.
22. d. An intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme that metabolizes gluten; an allergy provokes a too-great immune response to a gluten antigen or protein.
23. d. Bupropion, an antidepressant, has been shown to help control cravings and lead to about a 7 percent weight loss. Other antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can often be associated with weight gain.
24. c. Adding a little muscle through resistance training helps your body burn more fat throughout the day.
25. c. Yo-yo dieting not only has physiological effects, because you end up gaining more weight after you’ve lost it, but it also has psychological effects.
You get one point for each correct answer.
20 and above: Congratulations, doc. You’re an anatomical expert.
11–19: You’re average, but then again, the average person is overweight, so maybe this isn’t so good. Maybe you’d better read on.
10 and below: Don’t worry, you’re about to enroll in the ultimate course in the biology, history, and anatomy of fat—which is the best way to change your body.
© 2009 Michael F. Roizen, M.D.
What People are saying about this
Meet the Author
Michael F. Roizen, MD, is the four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author and co-founder and originator of the popular RealAge.com website. He is Chief Wellness Officer and chair of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and Chief Medical Consultant to The Dr. Oz Show. He currently lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Mehmet C. Oz, MD, is also a New York Times #1 bestselling author and multiple Emmy Award-winning host of The Dr. Oz Show. He is professor and vice chairman of surgery at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University and the director of the Heart Institute. He currently lives in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have mixed feelings about this book. Even though we are all hoping to open up a weight loss book and find an effortless way to lose those unwanted pounds, we all know that the only way to lose weight is by eating less, exercising more, or both.
Hence, if you strip away all the elf pictures and humor, 'You: On a Diet' really has nothing more to offer than that. So if you're looking for a new slant to things, or some cutting edge weight loss plan, you'll probably be disappointed.
Having said that, for what it is- a quite entertaining weight loss book that explains in plain language how your body gains/loses weight and details a sensible diet and exercise plan- it is well worth your time and money. Also recommend The Sixty-Second Motivator for those who need motivation to keep exercising and dieting long enough to see results.
I am an educated, well-read, exercising health nut who was over weight. For those who have said that this is just another diet book, I would have to disagree--at least for me. I have researched, read and practiced virtually every diet book published in the past five years. This is the first book I found to be so entertaining that I truly processed the information. It also lacks the counting aspect of many diets. Additionally, I found that the doctors in this book lack the superior way of speaking to obese patients. 'Just eat less and exercise,' has been the advice for many years. It doesn't always work that way. These doctors helped me to lose inches because they took the time to understand why some people are overweight. I haven't had a Twinkie since I was a teenager but I get accused of it every time I visit a weight loss doctor.This book explains why I was overweight even though I was eating what I thought to be healthy foods. I also like the critique on supplements. They didn't give a blanket bad review of all, and they even recommended a few. I learned much from this book and recommend it highly to those who not only want to lose weight (or inches rather) but also to those who simply wish to live healthier.
I had seen this on Oprah and thought i would give it a shot. WOW. the info packed in this book!! This has helped me change my lifestyle so much. Single most important tool for my motivation. It only took about 1-2 weeks to change my habits & tastes...now I can't stand eating "unhealthy". I hate the feeling of it on my stomach...and to think, that's what I thought "full" felt like!! I've eaten french fries [my former weakness] twice in the last 14weeks, and regretted it both times...not because of "guilt", but because of the physical "gross" feeling. I learned you don't have to feel that way!! My energy is through the roof. I am the first one up in the morning, the last one to sleep at night, all without an alarm clock. I make sure I get the 30min walk MINIMUM everyday & eat as the book recommends and I feel like a new woman. The inches are coming off, I haven't been this size since before my first pregnancy. Most importantly, I don't feel like I am on a diet. I feel like I am in charge, nothing is off limits. If after you start this lifestyle change and you still think you want cake...i say go for it, because you won't do it again after you see what effect it has on your body, energy, and mind. It's like someone saying "don't touch that it's hot" and you touch it anyways...you learn from your mistakes and you don't make them again. They did a thorough job of explaining everything from A-Z. They used examples & metaphors to help illustrate the science jargon. Plus there are lots of great recipes in the back, great for getting started! A few things I didn't like about it: -i wish they put the fast facts at the end of the chapter, not as side notes... gets overwhelming -the color of the cover is the exact same as a box of Oreos...made me hungry in those first couple weeks..lol...i threw the cover away & that took care of that: ) -he makes many, many, many food references in the book, and if you are easily influenced, again, makes you hungry for what every he's bad-mouthing: ) Its not that way after you kick those habits.
Very few diet books, in my opinion, do as good of a job as YOU on a Diet does. I am a fitness trainer and nutritional consultant all day long, so staying on top of the reading material helps me help my clients. Lots of diet books just give you quick fixes that are not sustainable...actually, at our gym, we feel EVERY diet book does that. But, this book has a nice way of teaching the reader some valuable points about dieting, metabolism, and reaching their goals. So, pick this up and keep it handy. And, if you are REALLY serious about getting to your fitness goals (and being happy as you do it---and not being one of those miserable dieters) then pick up: "Build Your Mind, Your Body Will Follow"...it is tops on our list of recommended readings for EVERY one of our clients. It will be the best book you read, to help you truly be happy as you identify and attain your fitness/body/weight goals. AND, it is a quick read! If you buy YOU on a Diet then definitely get "Build Your Mind, Your Body Will Follow"
Michael Roizen helps you learn how your body works and how to get in touch with it. The only criticism I have of the book is that Roizen advocates a special diet, rather than focusing on what your body tells you what it needs. None the less, This book is your own owners manual for your own body. To be healthy you have to understand all of the various bodily functions, not just the dogmatic views other books discuss, and what you need to do to keep everything running smoothly and remain and maintain a healthy state. Michael Roizen supplies us with relevant information, dispels myths and gives us real, no-nonsense advice about our bodies and makes you pay attention, understand and make choices. You provides the necessary information in simple terms as a guide to take care of your body from your internal organs point of view. It tells you the type of food that will help your body run well. The main focus is the heart and digestive system which I've found to be tremendously helpful. Very well written and put together. It supplies the information on health everyone should have. Hattely
I do not understand the bad reviews because to me this book is the best. It gives you the nuts and bolts to WHY you gain weight biologically and gives you common sense ways to lose weight and be healthy. It is an in depth analysis to the way your body and mind works in regards to food and dieting. In one month I have lost 9 pounds incorporating the recommended theories and practices. I love it!
I purchased this book 3 weeks ago, read through it and began following the recommendations. While somewhat "high school biology", it was informative and simple in its explanations. Great illustrations and very good recipes included.
Do not for one second pay attention to the negative reviews. This book is great because it's not really a diet book but a healthy living book. I thought I couldn't lose weight b/c I have never had the dicipline or desire to diet. Because I was eating way too much sugar I was on a constant roller coaster of hunger. For me, packing my lunch, watching my sugar intake, and cutting out hydro. fat and corn syrup have been the answer. What makes this book unique is that it uncovers the mystery of how your brain and body process food. Understanding the science of hunger and cravings was most helpful. For those readers who didn't like the cartoon elves and silly humor: Lighten up and get a sense of humor!
This book is more than a diet book. It's about making good choices. Healthy choices. It's about changing the way you look at food, and applying them. Not just for your self but for your whole family. I highly recommend this book.
I have mixed feelings about this book. Even though we are all hoping to open up a weight loss book and find an effortless way to lose those unwanted pounds, we all know that the only way to lose weight is by eating less, exercising more, or both. Hence, if you strip away all the elf pictures and humor, 'You: On a Diet' really has nothing more to offer than that. So if you're looking for a new slant to things, or some cutting edge weight loss plan, you'll probably be disappointed. Having said that, for what it is- a quite entertaining weight loss book that explains in plain language how your body gains/loses weight and details a sensible diet and exercise plan- it is well worth your time and money. Also recommend "The Sixty-Second Motivator" for those who need motivation to keep exercising and dieting long enough to see results.
Even after I found the first glaring errors in this book, I still kept trying to read it. But I finally decided that if the only material I could trust was the material I already knew about, the book wasn't worth reading. In the section on fats, for example, the authors put omega-3s and omega-6s in the monounsaturated fats category, along with their associated foods, when in fact they're polyunsaturated. 'And there was no caution about the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, or the different effects of mono- and polyunsaturated fats on HDL.' This isn't arcane information it's in every other diet or nutrition book you can find. I also found the book to be too alarmist about some things and too cavalier about others. For example, after the nightmarish cartoon sequence about the damage high blood pressure can do to the arteries and the seeming inevatibility of a heart attack from this damage, the authors later give 117/76 as the 'normal' blood pressure, implying that, say, 130/79 puts a person into the nightmare scenario. Although the 117 systolic may be ideal, 130 is by no means lethal, and in much of the current literature is considered to be not even hypertensive but only prehypertensive. Similarly, in the discussion of cholesterol, the authors hold up 100 as the ideal HDL level, which might lead people with excellent HDL levels in, say, the 60s or 70s to think they're in danger, and the authors say nothing about the importance of the LDL/HDL ratio, which may be the most important figure of all. Conversely, the book blithely advises people to take various supplements, with few cautions about overdoses, toxicity, or the dangers of unsupervised combining of supplements. I could go on, but the fact is that as the errors and bad advice kept piling up, I stopped reading the book halfway through, since I could no longer trust it at all.
It's a typical diet book. I was expecting something different. Also, the book contains tables that do not display properly on the nook.
This book is like my bible because I refer to it over and over. I believe it has changed my life. What I like most about it, is that it is simple and easy to read. The doctors break down the topics to a level that anyone can understand, regardless if they have a medical background or not. They introduce some healthy living tenets that are fairly easy to adopt. My personal favorite was to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from my diet. I have noticed a great difference since I've done this. I also find that if I do eat something with high fructose corn syrup that I immediately crave more sweet stuff so it's pretty cool to be able to be that attuned with your appetite. The doctors advocate reading the labels of all the foods you purchase and that can't be a bad thing! They list items that you should look for in the first five ingredients of the items you want to purchase. If the item has one of those taboo things in the first five, then you shouldn't buy it. It makes choosing healthy foods in the grocery store amazingly easy.
This book has some serious mistakes in fat classification. Omega-6 fatty acids are in the wrong category and no measures on what is a healthy ratio to the omega-3. Seroius stuff that has serious health consequences like heart disease and cancer.
If you want a fad diet, this might just be the diet for you. I really like Dr. OZ and his program and thought the book was okay, but it lacks serious information on good and bad fats. I do think it is a book that was placed in a little time and effort.
I got this book after much anticipation. It is pretty much the same information with nothing new; eating right, living a healthy lifestyle and tons of boring stories.
This book is better than a book that just gives you a diet to follow. This book explains how your body interacts, reacts and processes food. Understanding these principles, you are able to eat intelligently, understanding how your body is going to process that food. You can then make an informed decision of what to eat and whether to eat it. That is so much better than just following some diet somebody else made up.
It's NOT just a diet book. It's a lifestyle book that is informative on so many levels. This book really helped me connect the dots about what happens to our bodies when we eat what we eat. I've already read it twice. It's written with a sense of humor, too. Even if you don't want to or need to loose weight, it's a great tool to become fit and stay healthy.
The book was entertaining and a bit overdone in some respects. Yet, I found it lacking in vital information and scientific facts. All and all, I did learn a few things along the way, and have made some improvments in my body's health. My total body fat has dropped by four percent in the last three months. 'This is amazing, as my BMI is now in the optimal zone'. Therefore, I can recommend this book as a starting point towards a healthier lifestyle.
I an a Board Certified Internist who has practiced weight management for almost 30 years. The best way to obtain and maintain a healthy weight is to reduce to a MINIMUM highly processed calorie-dense foods and substitute whole, real foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc. No need to count or calculate anything! A minimum of animal products is also a very healthy practice. This is the way the healthiest peoples of the world eat, and, not surprisingly, the ones who have very little problem controlling their weight!
This is not the same old diet book. It tells you how the body deals with food. I don't recall ever reading a diet book that tells you about what is going on in your body, your brain, as food is processed. This is a very basic, and yes, common sense book. But the way they explain it, a light bulb went on inside of me. I have changed the way I eat and the foods I eat and now I am full throughout the day. I don't crave chips. I don't crave junk. For breakfast, I eat a bowl of Kashi cereal with fruit and I can make it to lunch! I don't ever remember being able to do that with something sugar laden like Raisin Bran. I grab a few peanuts and unbelievably I can make it from lunch to dinner without going crazy. I am eating again only when I am hungry. And I am losing weight. Almost without thinking about it. I also want to ask what other diet book out there tells you about the omentum? I think to find out that this is the number one organ that can do harm to you is very important in the arsenal for getting fit. I don't know. I haven't read 500 diet books. I have read this and it appeals to my scientific mind and simple logic. It requires you to change your thought and your habits should fall in to place. I believe it's a good tool for someone who isn't looking for a fad diet, but for someone looking to change their life habits. And you can even have chocolate. Just don't go crazy. Simple as that. I would really recommend this (though the website offers the same info as well.) Refreshing book.
I couldn't believe how much information was in this book. Everything from menus to various medical facts, questionnaires to myth busting data. It is just so informative and from these doctors I feel like I can trust the stuff and use it. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
I was waiting for this book for a very long time and was keeping an eye on everything related to it. I am pleased with the depth, scope, wit and overall value of this book. It takes you on a journey through all those important organs, substances and processes in the body that eventually make or break successful weight loss. I am glad that although the book is written in a light and entertaining style, it is serious, detailed, well researched and effective. After all, this is the most important thing for a weight loss program. I agree that it is more than just a diet and this makes it even more valuable and recommended read. The two doctors are well known and trusted experts and this is reflected in the book. I liked the questionnaires, busted myths and witty things that make the book hard to put down from start to finish. I think that the 2 week long reboot program is ok in terms of difficulty and needed time and I hope to direct my body in even more positive direction. Overall, I am very satisfied with the result from the obviously long, hard and dedicated work of two big names nowadays and I urge you to take a copy of it.
I enjoyed this book and have lost 50 pounds on this plan. It is really a life plan, not a short term diet as the title says. Lots of common sense and flexibility. Try it now!