June 23rd, 2009
11:17 AM ET
Join Dr. Gupta's 'Four Months to Fitness' initiative!
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Today, I am starting something I have wanted to do for a very long time.
Using this blog and my @SanjayGuptaCNN twitter account, I am going to try to harness some of the best practices people employ every day to stay in the best shape of their lives.
Truth is, there are hundreds of sites like this, so I want to make this one different. First of all, I am hoping it becomes a living, breathing forum that users, like you, use to share your best health and fitness tips. I learn new things every day from CNN bloggers and Tweeters. You all are a great resource of information.
I am also going to call on my friends and others I find inspiring to help as well.
For example, @JoePerez helped create something called the Daily Plate, which partners with the non-profit cancer foundation LIVESTRONG, where I sit on the board of directors. After surveying lots of different ways of tracking diets, I think this is one of the best. I will introduce you to Joe and the Web site.
There are also sites out there that will start to help you heart rate train. After doing lots of research, I believe this is one of the most effective and efficient ways of training. Ironically, my friends who listened to this recommendation from me say they work out less intensely and still increase their fitness more than before.
Speaking of LIVESTRONG, I hope to get my pal @LanceArmstrong to weigh in. Admittedly, he is a professional athlete who will be pretty busy training for a big race in July. After that, though, I hope he will share with you some of the great tips he has given me over the years.
Also well-known trainer, and friend of mine, @JillianMichaels who can provide logical, useful suggestions that can be applied to lots of different situations. I also hope to get tips from @RichRoll. We have met only via twitter, but he is living proof that you can go from being a 38-year-old who hardly ever works out to someone who is in fantastic shape, an ultraman in fact, and is biologically younger than he was 10 years ago.
Most of all, this will be a four-month forum dedicated to getting people in terrific shape.
While smaller waists and less weight are things that will inevitably occur as you start incorporating these tips into your life, the real goal is a longer, more functional and exceptional life – free of disease and dysfunction.
I am a neurosurgeon and a reporter for CNN, who has three kids. I have a fairly active travel schedule. I tell you all that, because, like most people, I am busy. Yet, it can still be done.
So join me right here and on my Twitter page. Also, let's keep track of each other’s tips under the hashtag #1023 - which just so happens to be the date of a very big birthday for me.
Four months from now, I hope, we can all celebrate what we have done for our bodies and for our health.
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About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
I run 3 miles every day to stay fit and I eat healthy foods. My employer has an on site fitness center, so I usually work out after work. Any suggestions, on how I can take off 15 pounds on top of my current routine?
I want to sign up! I'd like to lose the 30 pounds I gained since I quit smoking and went through menopause. I need all the support I can get!
How much exercise is enough? I'm a cleaning lady. Aleady I spend eight hours five days a week running up a good sweat. If I vaccuum 15 hours a week, and mop another 6-10, how much more must I exercise to be healthy. Since March, when I started this job, I lost 23 pounds quickly, mostly due to eating platefuls of broccoli, carrots, radishes, and cottage cheese at first, but the weight loss has slowed substantially because I am truly too sore (and too poor) to be shopping for fresh veggies every week,on public transportation. My arms hurt so much from all my cleaning that carrying big bags scares me. I've considered trying a gym, do a treadmill or weights to make my arms stronger etc but I wanted your advice. By the way I am currently 168 lbs,. and 5'2" tall, and would like to get to 130 pounds. Cholesterol and tri-glycerides elevated (as of June 08), but normal readings for all else. Thanks!
The following is a sure fire way to reduce health insurance costs to the public.
Health insurance costs started rising in 1976 when the legal profession here in the United States was allowed to start advertising. Attorneys will only file a law suit against parties that have the ability to pay, or against those who have an insurance company that's most likely to settle out of court. Because of this the Medical profession is a prime target for lawsuits, primarily because of the money to be had from the medical facilities malpractice insurance company.
After a law suit has been filed against a medical facility, the attorney will seek and out of court settlement from the facilities malpractice insurance company, regardless of the strength of the case. The malpractice insurance company has two options: (1) Settle out of court or: (2) Go to court and face the cost of a very expensive jury trial. Why a jury trial? As per the 7th Amendment of the US Constitution that reads:
“In Suits at Common Law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried to a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the Common Law”.
Due to the 7th Amendment, either party to a CIVIL law suit can request a jury trial, the other party to the law suit has no LEGAL right to object, this is where the Medical profession gets had! Here's a hypothetical example: The dollar amount stated in the law suit could be for any amount of money, the cost of a jury trial could be in the area of perhaps $250,000. The attorney would offer to settle out of court for perhaps $100,000, an amount far less than the cost of a jury trial, the insurance company would most likely take the offer without the case going to trial. This is why as much as 50% of the medical facilities income is paid out for malpractice insurance! This cost is then passed on to the public in the form of higher medical insurance premiums.
One sure way to avoid this legalized EXTORSION and reduce the cost of medical coverage is amend the US Constitution. The amendment would state that both the plaintiff(s) and the defendant(s) in a CIVIL law suit are to BOTH agree to a jury trial, otherwise the case would go in front of a judge to be tried. If the case is tried by a judge the case would either be thrown out, or a REASONABLE judgment entered.
With this NEW amendment in place lawsuits across the nation would drop off drastically! The only real problem with getting the NEW amendment passed is a good percentage of our congressional members are attorneys who will fight this NEW amendment to the very end, because it would make it far more difficult for them to extort the public.
Let's chase the FOX out of the hen house once and for all, and give the working class back the affordable health coverage that they once had!
Please forward this email to everyone you know, especially your congressman.
Looks like this is a "Self-Motivation" process, stimulated by each readers comments. My advise is to exercise every day, gradually change your eating habits and perhaps invest in a heart-rate monitor. You've got to want to loose weight bad enough, then it will happen. It's a desire straight from the heart. I, too, quit smoking 18 years ago, am in the menopausal years, (55), but through my exercise habits I haven't even had any symptoms. Just Do It!!
I hope I can participate here. Need to lose 50 Lbs. and get serious about exercise. I keep letting anxiety rule my eating habits and squash my motivation.
I am just returning to a desire to live from deep depression and attempted suicide. I know how important activit (mental, physical, and spiritual) are to my health at age 62. I also have Type 2 Diabetes and need to lose 40 lbs. Thank you for positive place to turn to. I'm in.
I'm against water fasting as a weight loss tool. Some people I know believe that fasting with water( greater than 18 hrs a day, twice a week ) is a great way to lose weight. I think it's unhealthy and I'm very bothered by this method. What's your opinion on water fasting. Thank you.
I'm not a doctor but I've learned from experience that our body's metabolism will adjust accordingly to our nutrition intake. It's my belief that exercise and the proper balance in our diet is the best and safest way to develop a lean and healthy body. (Also, it looks like the only answers to our questions are within the group). Good luck!!
I'm in. I am very excited to join the program....
Does anyone working out weigh themselves only to see their fat content (by scale measurement) decrease, then by am. see it increase again without eating during the night ? I am perplexed and discouraged as I am cycling 6 miles each weekday and on the weekend I am speedwalking 6 miles both Saturday and Sunday. Then 3 days a week I am doing strength training for 30 min......I'm trying to lose 10 lbs-but get rid of the fat
I lost 20 lbs by not eating meat/cheese/oil. 2 months.
My daughter is 16 and 100 pounds over weight. We need this program. I am a okay weight. When I say we I mean our family for our girl. I worry about her future. She is shy but does have a couple of friends. I wish I could control her eating but I can't and I want to get her to do more activities. I cannot wait for this program to start. She loves Jillian Michaels, we watch Biggest Loser every season. My daughter wants to go on the show but, she is not old enough.
So what do we do anyway to follow the program?
I am not sure if there is an actual program. I wish Dr. Gupta would say so. But one way to help you daughter is to encourage her to read the food ingredients in all store products and to avoid anything in the list of food ingredients that begins with the letter "s" as in sugar, sorbital, corn Syrup. Avoiding all convenience foods and those that have fats calories as more than 1/2 of total calories is a great way to start. AND AVOID ANY SODA, xcept maybe diet soda. Drink lots of water. These are my suggestions.
Janet I understand how you feel about your daughter. I was an overweight kid and I had such a tough time. I was ridiculed and had few friends. At least you as her parent recognize she has an issue with food and want to help her. My parents were all overweight, ate poorly, etc. and it did not matter to them I was grossly overweight
Help her set goals for herself- small ones for a start. Maybe it's a new dress or pair of jeans .....You sound like you will be so encouraging for her!. That is a huge + for her.
Help her choose fruits, veggies, and healthy foods. They go a long way for energy as well as weight loss. As I got older now I am size 8 but I had to adopt a life of eating right and exercise because I have those Polish genes.
Janet, I just finished a book that may be worth your time to read. It is call The End of Over Eating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, written by David Kessler. It may help you better understand some of what is driving your daughters behavior, as well as give you ideas on how to change some of the behaviors as a family. It points out a few important things. First, sugar, salt and fat are the enemy. Second, the food companies want us all to eat more of all three. Hope it helps.....
Clearly, you're a conscious and conscientious parent. Of course you're worried – you want her to be healthy and happy. You're right to recognize that you can't control her eating. Only your daughter can control what she puts in her mouth – and that might even be part of the reason for her overeating – because it's the one thing in her life she *can* control.
What you can do is help her capitalize on what she does like. If she's totally into Jillian Michaels, maybe you and your daughter can go on her website and follow some of the plans there, or even get the Jillian Michaels workout DVD (I have it and it's great!). Maybe it's helping your daughter explore what she might like to do and then helping her do that.
Modeling healthy eating and exercise yourself is another step. Are you willing to get in shape and shift your eating to help your daughter? Because young people really do pay attention to their parents' habits.
Finally, recognizing that the best way to accomplish things like weight loss and lifestyle changes, is in "munchable chunks" – small objectives. Setting a goal of one less soda or a tablespoon less salad dressing a day, can be enough when combined with other small, slow changes, over time to make a real difference in your daughter's weight and self-esteem. Helping her figure out what she can do right now, instead of waiting until she's old enough for The Biggest Loser, can be a great first step.
Good luck! And if you're interested in more ideas, feel free to email me at http://www.livestrong.com/experts/daniasacksmarch.
I'm on board too! Need to lose about 30 lbs.
How about taping my mouth shut!?!? Nothing else seems to work for me.
I don't want to tweet either. Can't it be done on a web site somewhere?
I am 40 and a three year breast cancer survivor. I am also a raw food vegan (since overcoming cancer). My daily diet consists of 4 to 5 pounds of leafy green vegetables, (some juiced), other vegetables including sea vegetables, spirulina, blue-green algae(not too many root vegetables) sweet and non-sweet fruits, some raw nuts and seeds including raw cocao beans (a must for dark chocolate lovers!) I work out 6 to 7 days a week, run between 20-30 miles a week. I was never one who was concerned with my health before. In fact I loathed exercising. Now I'm addicted. I've never been more than 10-15 pounds over weight, but I believe I am healthier now than I have ever been before! It's too bad it took a disease like cancer to wake me up. I hope others will be more proactive and not wait until some life altering medical event happens. By then it may be too late!
A reminder: The body has its own monitor relative to weight loss. It will reprogram a response to a dieting and a weight loss by gearing up metabolism to compensate. One should expect to encounter something like a 10 to 20 lb barrier to weight loss with normal diet.
Over a few months from achieving this loss, the body again will allow more adjustment downward in weight. I found that coming down from 230lbs to 184lbs met 4 or five such intermediary platforms. I continued my daily walks, pilates etc. maintained steady healthy diet and was patient during those intervals. I truly believe that concentrating on diet will produce only a binge like return or at the least will result in a metabolism that seems to convert air into fat.
My sense is that we inherit something from our hominid ancestors roaming the savannah. Starvation or extreme dieting will not work.
I counter what I consider to be the hominid response by treating myself to a Hersey Bar every 2 1/2 to three weeks. I, mistakingly or not, find that such practice convinces the body that I have access to riches and that a shift to a metabolic response to starvation is not called for.
Along those lines, we modern couch potatoes, riders in cars, buses and trains really do need to recapture what came naturally hunting on foot.
I think it's a great idea and I can personally say that I was 220lbs. size 18/19 but now I'm a size 8/9! All i want to do now is get some muscles and if I may recommend martial arts
I am already in pretty good shape.I just want some more
Fitness ideas to stay that way,
I am in..great idea
hi Dr. Gupta
For all the soft drink addicts -I have a compromising solution.
what you,ll need-–
1-only clear sodas–7up,sprite,cream soda–etc...
3-a fruit juice combo of your choice-–[no sugar added]-i-like pomagranit/blueberry.–or plain cranberry –whatever--
a little more than 1/2 -the cup or bottle you,re using filled with water-
–add just enough soda for twang and fizz-then add the the fruit juice to round it off to your tastes.----
after a month or so , the taste of straight soda will seem toxic to you?
I've always been an athlete and very in to my health. At 46 I'm as determined as ever to stay in shape. I've weighed the same for years, still 5'8' and a size 7/ 8, but I want to make sure I stay toned/fit. I do pilates, yoga, and walk my 2 dogs, but sometimes I'm so tired from teaching 33 6th graders/taking care of my family that I could use some extra inspirational motivation! So I'm in!!!
I desperately need to lose weight. I have set that goal today, as it is a New Year (Jewish New Year), and since I didn't act on this goal on January 1, why not now??? So here I am, looking forward to whatever tips you and your readers can offer. Good luck to all of us.
I have lost 80 pounds in the last year and a half, but have about 40 more pounds to go to get where I want to be. I want to get it all off by my 40th birthday in May. I even gave my goal a catchy name to keep me motivated. I really think I can get those last pounds off and feel and look even better than I do now. Good luck everybody!
I am 82 and enjoying good health. I started on a personal wellness progam when in my teens and while I have had some ups and downs I have stayed with it through life's challenges. It pays off, big time.
I need to lose no less than 55lbs. I am in dire need of help. I don't want to have surgery and I want to live to see, play with and enjoy the adult lives of my grand children (should it be in the cards of me to have some). I've been fighting a long time (about 20 years) and am just about done with trying.
It's 80% EATING RIGHT and 20% exercise.
The results have been great after 3 1/2 months... patience is so important. The big changes have come at the end. You have to watch what you eat all the time. OK I do have one day a week I can sorta eat whatever... Judge results by how your clothes fit not the scale.
The secret to great ABS: Eating Right!! While Pilates and yoga are great for stress, AEROBICS * 30 minutes at least 5 times a week is goin to get the results. Do it first thing in the morning and get a double benefit is higher metabolism all day.
Whatever you are thinking and felling today is creating your future. Be aware and prevent emotional eating – look it up. Probably kills more getting in shape plans/lifestyle changes then anything else.
I'm going to try this. I am sick of being sick..literally. I need to lose 50+ lbs. My health is in jeopardy and I am finally at a point I need and want a healthy body more than an amazing desert.
I am a fit 43 year old woman who unfortunately has MS. I am fit, 5'4" 114 pounds, eat lots of fruit, including berries, eat nuts..no alcohol, drink lots of water, NO soda, a little black coffee. Lots of veggies only chicken and fish.....I spent my 20s and thirties dedicating myself to maintaining a fit body. My youth was spent wishing I was one of my thin friends, although I always ate next to nothing! It was very frustrating but that is past.
Now I battle the challenges from MS, exttreme fatigue etc. I am an attorney for the government and the workplace itself is a challenge to deal with but I continue. I always read abbout new ways to incorporate strength bearing exercise as well as arobic where I do not have to jump around b/c I cant do that well anymore. Any advice or suggestion of what I should read or do would be appreciated greatly.
I fell off the band wagon and the weight crept up on me, I always found an excuse, today will be the begining I will bike again and hopefully hit the gym, its making time for myself with my busy schedule.......
am so interested !!!! four months can be a start of life long quest of staying healthy!!! let go and press forward!
Karen (who wrote in June),
I am one of those older people you referred to (64 years) and have learned that healthy eating, smaller portions and regular exercise is what is needed to take off the weight. I have lost 80 pounds over a 13-month period and plan to lose about 8 more. Persistence and consistency is vital (as well as checking the scales on a regular basis). I have learned that for me salt/sodium is an issue; you have to discover your own issues. Weight Watchers has been he key for me.
I am so in. I have been reading "Younger Next Year" and this is exactly what it is talking about. But I have been alone in my endeavor. It would be nice to see others struggle, win, struggle, win bigger, and ultimately become a better version of who they were and along with all that new discipline gain a great body that will take them into the next 10 years of life while being biologically younger and looking great!
Hooah! Dr. Gupta, I am turning 40 in December 2009 and I knew I was not in great physical health so after seeing and hearing of your challenge I took it on. I am a Soldier by choice I had just returned back from Iraq and feeling bumped out and let my weight go to 162 pounds and at only 5 feet tall I knew I had to do something; well today because of your challenge I am at 142 pounds and eating better so now when I turn 40 I will feel awesome! by the way congrats on your weight lost and health and Happy 40th!!
SGT Mejia, Francisco
I have thyroid disease and has been a struggling to lose 15 pound. Any suggestions
I have totally fallen off the wagon. The weight has more than slowly increased.
For my self esteem I need to lose the weight.
Aany suggestions, I go to gym and either do too much and hurt for days or get depressed with no visible changes.
Looking forward to my next big one (72) and need help on appropriate weight training to improve upper body strength. Former casual runner who completed Marine Corps marathon in respectable time at age 62. Now wlk regularly to avoid back pain which brought running to an abrupt halt.
Hey, Dr. G – Very glad to see you're promoting DailyPlate - stumbled across it Spring 2008 and it helped me (55 year old female, 5'4") go from 186 lbs to 131 pounds. Unfortunately - I've put back on 12 pounds in the last 8 months so ... need to get disciplined again so I'm going to join you on your Four Months to Fitness - which will take me through my 56th B-Day next Feb!
looking forward to a healthy life style change food habits and exercise . I currently am being treated by a Chiropractor for low back paing causing extreme pain in my upper legs and hip area. very confused about an exercise plan. I used to do step aerobics, aerobics, resistance training and reallly do some hard workouts. slowly very slowly have done less and less. Now at 57 , 5' 4 1/2 weigh 178. all blood work good, xrays show know arthritis, in pain would like to loose weight and exercise. confused where to start .
can't wait to start! my husband and i work out at least 5 days a week- i do cadio and weight training and he swims, bikes and walks. we are on a great eating plan our son sent us and my husband has lost 10 lbs. – i have lost zip, nada, – i need help!
Dr. Gupta – This is my story to get fit. I am a 53 year old female professional from Michigan. This past March I weighed 240 lbs. I began the diet of protein shakes and many fruits and vegetables initially. Decided I needed to do something to get fit and was always a natural athlete in younger days. Being a swimmer on a team during my teen years, I joined the local college health club and began swimming in April. My first night I swam 16 pool lengths and was exhausted and spent. I kept it up swimming 4-5 days a week. I have lost 60 lbs with an additional 40 to go. I now swim 8-9 miles every week and average each night a two mile swim which is 142 pool lengths.... an hour and 20 minute swim for me and I do that without stopping ..... and with no shortness of breath. I also include other means of exercise in my weekly routine.. It can be done! Gone from 0 to fit! in this short time.
Patricia, OMG your first time back in the pool and you swam 16 laps??? Fantastic, what do you eat to keep up your energy? By the end of the day, I am done! Help
My husband and I began working out again in April. Our goal was to "firm up" before going back home for a 30-year class reunion and a family reunion. After about three months we saw noticeable differences in our body fat composition and became addicted to the exercise! I joined a small, personal-training gym which offered a Boot Camp and we set personal goals for ourselves. This is what helps keep us motivated. We have run at least a 5k race every month since September and are training for our first 1/2 marathon this January! Having a goal and sticking to it is important. We also watch our carbohydrate intake which helps. Thanks for beginning such an important blog where people can find support. Anyone can get in shape! They just have to want it and make the commitment to do it!
I am a personal trainer and spinning instructor, I am 5'4 and weight 120 lbs. I run, swim, lift weights and watch what I eat. I do everything in moderation and believe in balance!
For weight loss I recommend cardio 5 x week and toning/weight lift exercises 2 x week. How many hours? Well it depends. I believe you should work on a calorie intake x burn. Do the math.
Work on a treadmill or elliptical (or bike, swimming, cycling class) until you reach 500 calories and watch your calorie intake, no more than 1200 calories a day. Make a good daily plan for your diet and exercise:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and 1 protein snack in between meals.
What time will you exercise everyday?
Hiring a trainer can be one of your best health investments.
Use saturday and sunday to make up for any missed workout.
Green tea capsules 1 x day before cardio- fantastic fat burner and give extra energy!
If you want to see results, you got to DO IT. Work HARD and see the results of your work, you'll be thrilled (such a good feeling)!
Yes! Just got back from the doctor. 47 y/o cholesterol 252 – up from 190 less than a year ago. LDL 144 ( up from 90) HDL 80( remained the same) What changed since these tests were done last February? Stress and eating to nurture myself through the stress – and gaining about 13 lbs. Thanks for starting this blog/program. I am in and will sign up for tweets, too. As a nurse and mom of 3 – there are so many reasons why I need to change this pattern. Thanks Sanjay!