Today I was truly inspired by what people can do if they put their minds to it. I was lucky enough to snag a seat in the audience of a taping of the Dr. Oz show, which featured my dad as a guest. My dad was energetic and aroused the audience nimbly with his discerning nutritional advice. However, what really touched me were the guests who came on the show to describe their success stories. To witness what this advice can actually do for people when they apply it and stick to the program was incredibly inspiring. I think my dad can agree that these success stories are the most thrilling aspect of his career. I can see why- the thankfulness, happiness, and renewed sense of hope for a better life was so apparent in each guest that I couldn’t help but feel grateful myself for the healing powers of natural, nutrient-dense plant foods and what they can do for people.
Each of the success stories on the show didn’t starve themselves, count calories, reduce portion sizes, or cut fat. They made a lifestyle change with vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds as the stars of their diets. Over a period of weeks, they got used to eating these foods and began enjoying them without cravings for the junk foods on their old diets. Our taste buds adapt, as my dad likes to say, and they found nutrient-rich recipes that they enjoyed the best. The positive energy was flowing freely with each and every smile of the guests as they discussed how eating foods like three bean chili, eggplant roll-ups, and chickpea “popcorn,” helped them drop the pounds like it’s hot and bikini season is coming up.
Being extremely overweight or obese cannot be a walk in a rosy park. While I cannot personally rock a transformation story like Emily Boller (she was one of the guests on the show!), anyone can see that going from obese to slim must be nothing short of life changing. One of the success stories featured on the show had lost over 200 pounds, another 91 pounds. Seriously, what an achievement!
Given that the American public continues to get larger and our weight problems are not going to disappear unless we make drastic lifestyle changes, this show was a ray of light amid the formidable storm that is the obesity epidemic. It really is a force to be reckoned with- if trends continue, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women are projected to be overweight or obese by 2020. These numbers come from Mark Huffman, an assistant professor of preventive medicine and cardiology at Northwestern University who presented them at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association.1 Even he was shocked by the numbers.
All we need is the knowledge about healthy eating and the will to give it a shot. I think this Dr. Oz episode has the power to inspire viewers to make the right changes. Seeing people who have already had success at losing a lot of weight and have kept that weight off is empowering. They are a testament that people can achieve ideal health via a nutritarian diet and the delicious, hearty meals that go along with it. The show aired this past Monday June 4th at 4:00 pm. For those of you who had the chance to watch it, were you inspired too? Are there any of you reading this whom have had the life changing experience of going from very overweight or obese to slim and fit? I love to hear about your experiences in the comments section to share with other readers as well as myself.
1. Huffman, Mark. Cardiovascular Health Behavior and Health Factor Changes (1988-2008) and Projections to 2020: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES)