Obstacles to Weight Loss with David Katz, MD
What's standing between you and a healthy weight?
If this year is not the first time you've made a resolution to shed some
pounds, you already know the kinds of obstacles that stand between you and a
healthy weight. We discussed the hurdles and pitfalls of weight management when
David Katz, MD, co-author of The Way to Eat, joined us on as part of
WebMD's New Year's Challenge.
The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been
reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you
should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational
Moderator: Welcome, Dr. Katz. Your book is called The Way to
Eat. That's a subject of great debate these days, especially when it comes
to weight loss. The low-carb versus low-fat argument continues to rage. Where
do your book and your medical opinion fit in this fight?
Katz: I think the goals for weight control must include life long
health as well. I am unapologetically opposed to fad diets. They are about
short-term weight loss but not long-term health. Health and long-term weight
control can and should be pursued together. I think people's common sense
guides them in the right direction. We all do really know that a balanced
moderate diet rich in grains, fruits, and vegetables is good for us. It's worth
noting that some very bad diseases like cancer, cholera, tuberculosis, and AIDS
produce rapid weight loss and lower your cholesterol. Clearly these are not
good for you. And what that points out is that not just any approach to rapid
weight loss is good for you, either.
In my view, learning the skills and strategies for lifelong nutritional
health and weight control is like learning to ride a bicycle. Until you know
how, it's scary. If you try it without knowing how, you will tend to fall down
and get hurt. And by that I mean failed attempts at controlling weight -- which
really are painful for people. In response to epidemic obesity, many nutrition
experts are unfortunately fussing about which bicycle you should ride or which
bicycle you should buy without stopping to consider that you don't know how to
ride. Fad-diet authors say forget about learning to ride a bike; come take a
ride in my limo instead! The Way To Eat teaches you to ride that
bicycle. Once people know how to pursue a healthy lifestyle and diet for
lifelong weight control, the appeal of quick fix fad diets dissipates.
Moderator: Of course, exercise is part of that equation, and we have
a question about that:
Member: So how long should we exercise daily? Is it OK to exercise
two hours daily?
Katz: In terms of how long you should exercise for weight control,
there are several considerations. I won't bog down in math now, but unless you
work out very intensely, usually the number of calories consumed in exercise is
limited. Most of our calories are spent on basal metabolism. But the benefits
of exercise go far beyond control of weight. Exercise certainly contributes to
weight control, improves cardiac health, seems to reduce cancer risk, is
clearly good for mental health, and is associated with longevity.