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Dr. Mehmet Oz shares fitness and nutrition prescription

Written by: Cary Castagna, QMI Agency
Jun. 12, 2014

Dr. Mehmet Oz shares fitness and nutrition tips.(Supplied)


 Forget the snooze button or morning coffee.

TV talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz starts his day with a workout. It’s just a seven-minute workout, mind you. But the 53-year-old surgeon swears by it.

“It’s so short, by the time you start doing it, you’re almost done, which is why, for everybody, it’s a nice way of just getting a day started,” he tells Keeping Fit this week in a phone interview from his Midtown Manhattan office. “I use it instead of caffeine. And all day long I know I did my seven-minute workout, so I’m a little bit ahead of everybody in my own mind.”

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Oz’s wake-up workout consists of a sun salutation — a sequence of yoga poses — combined with calisthenics, including push-ups and jackknife sit-ups. He developed the routine several years ago with help from his personal trainer Joel Harper.

“I’m usually sweating just when I finish that,” Oz says. Then he hops in the shower and gets on with his day. But that’s not the only time the Daytime Emmy Award-winning host of The Dr. Oz Show works up a sweat. “On at least one weeknight, I’ll do something a bit more active: Running, playing around with the kids, shooting hoops,” he adds.

“And on the weekends, I’ll do bigger workouts: Play a couple hours of tennis or basketball, or I’ll get on the elliptical and watch videos from the week — shows, things I need to watch. So those are longer workouts.” It all adds up to a decent amount of exercise for Oz.

“In aggregate, if you add up the total number of hours that I sweat a week, which is the bigger number that you want to focus on, it’s probably about four or five hours a week of sweating,” he explains. “You probably need only half that much to be in reasonable condition. And you don’t need much more than that, although there are, of course, many who do more.”

Oz, arguably the most influential doctor on the planet, certainly practises what he preaches. And that goes for what he puts in his mouth, too. The new grandfather, who turns 54 next week, eats a primarily Mediterranean diet (plenty of fish, whole grains, fruits and veggies).

“I only eat whole foods. If it comes out of the ground looking the way it looks when you find it, I’ll eat it,” he says. “That means I’ll eat red meat. I’m fine with lean meat. I’m actually much happier with that than beef patties or processed crisps or this and that.”

Oz, however, steers clear of fried foods and “the whites” — white rice, white pasta, white sugar and white flour.

“All those white foods are the bane of our existence in the west,” he says. “They lead to obesity more than anything else.” Oz also never counts calories. But he is human. And so he admits to splurging. Among his favourite treats is pistachio ice cream.

“Pistachio ice cream is the best,” he enthuses with a chuckle. But he emphasizes that treats are to be enjoyed only once every week or two.

 

“The day-to-day life that drives whether you gain weight or lose weight is all about 100 calories of too much or too little a day,” he explains. “If you can keep your calorie intake to within 100 calories of the ideal, which is pretty easy to do, then you won’t gain or lose weight.

“If you want to lose weight, take 100 calories out of your diet, do it all year long and you’ll lose 11 pounds. It’s actually much easier than people think.” In general terms, Canadians seem to know what’s good for them, Oz notes. In fact, Canadians are more attuned to their health and well-being than Americans, opines the good doc.

But only slightly.

“I think Canadians are a bit more aware of their bodies,” says the author of seven New York Times best-sellers. “You just seem to be a little bit more understanding of how sacred it is to have a healthy body.”

Of course, there’s a seismic gap “between understanding it and doing it,” Oz adds. And that’s where he comes in. Through 80-plus appearances on Oprah and nearly 1,000 of his own shows since 2009, Oz has learned that it takes more than education to persuade the masses to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Emotion, he has discovered, is a major part of the equation.

“One of the big insights I’ve gained is people don’t change their minds based on what they know — at all. They change based on what they feel,” he says. “So if you get them to feel differently about the problem, then they’ll act differently towards it.”

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