July 16th, 2009
12:58 PM ET

How is Dr. Gupta doing in his quest to get fit?

As a regular feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Barbara, Chicago:

"I’ve lost 5 pounds since jumping on board with your fitness forum. How are you doing so far? Have you noticed changes in the last month?”


Barbara, thanks for joining the forum and congratulations on losing 5 pounds! Keep up the great work.

It’s been three weeks since we started the #1023 trending topic group on Twitter. (Read the tips, join the conversation, by typing in #1023 Twitter's search browser) People are already starting to write in about their own progress. I really encourage you to read all the comments coming in – witty, inspiring, proactive and most of all, helpful.

@melmcd99: started morning with a yummy smoothie-2cup-stawberries, 1-banana,1cup-soymilk, 1scoop protein powder and tsp-almond butter! #1023

@JackRyan53: Rotated 10 min walks with 10 minutes of hard labor on the Elliptical. Not a bad routine. Feeling the effects!! #1023

@nhPNP: got up to 4.5 mph on the treadmill- could only sustain it for about 3 min, but it's a start. Love the interval training prgrm. #1023

@claudiasiegel: Friends gave me consequences for skipping exercise. So far it is working. Haven't missed a day since challenge started. #1023

@melmcd99: Walk to your next meeting instead of driving or riding the bus! #1023

As I mentioned in my initial blog, this isn’t about losing weight or inches, but about health and fitness. For my part, I am finally on a strict routine. Since I started three weeks ago, I have been able to work out 15 times (five times per week). I have not missed breakfast once and I have started to meditate almost every afternoon for about 10 minutes.

Without question, it hasn’t always been easy. For example, I had a day when I started work at 6 a.m., finished at 7 p.m., and then jumped on a plane that landed around midnight. As hard as it was, I woke up an hour early on that day – and got in a 4-mile run, followed by push-ups and sit-ups. I immediately look for a hotel gym or any other place to exercise when I am on the road.

In Haiti, I asked our cameraman if I could carry the tripod during our long hikes up hills, and I did curls with the tripod on the way. One of the best pieces of advice about diet that I received:  “don’t eat anything that is not worth eating…”

My biggest concern now is that I am becoming too lean. My producer Danielle pointed out that I was looking skinny after a recent shoot down in Texas. There is no doubt that I am losing weight, but I have to be careful to maintain muscle mass. After all, it is the muscle that is the metabolic engine for your body.

So, I plan on sticking with the program but adding on more strength training with some free weights. Look for more updates soon!

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. George

    Dr. Deepak Chopra says that "the mind is not in the body, the body is in the mind." This a belief rooted in the ancient Vedas. A deeper more basic place to begin the quest for perfect health is in mind as opposed to beginning only with the body. Meditation is a vital technique to achieve perfect health in mind and body. Sanjay is currently practicing meditation using the word "gentle" which he repeats silently to himself as he sits comfortably, relaxing and breathing deeply. Sanjay is finding this to be beneficial to his state of being and no doubt. Even more powerful and transformative is using a technique to transcend the waking, everyday mind. Going beyond mind to the most basic level of conciousness which is the source of our being, both mind and body. Perfect health actually begins at that level of being. The Chopra Center offers training in this technique called Primordial Sound Meditation. This technique found in the Vedas is the ancient teaching of Sanjay's ancestors. Vedic mantras, "seed" sounds which have no meaning to the waking mind have the power to bring one's conciousness to the basic level of being. These seed sounds originate in vibrations emanating from the heart of the universe, the Source of all life. The most well known seed sound is "OM" Meditating on this sound and its variants aligns our conciousness with the Source of all life, the source of perfect health. This is where the quest for perfect health begins, at the root of being.

    July 17, 2009 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Joel

    Its great to see people taking action. I believe our biggest problem is not understanding the balance between calories-in vs calories-out. The calories-in is easy, look on the package or look online. The calorie-out side is tougher to figure out and I have found that most exercise equipment, heart rate monitors and pedometers are extremely inaccurate. I have been using a product from Mayo Clinic that can accurately measure calorie burn. Its called the Gruve and it really helps balance the in/out equation.

    July 17, 2009 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Krista Frank

    With travel and long days, you might consider using resistance bands instead of free weights for muscle toning. They provide great resistance, are lightweight and portable and can be done just about anywhere. They are surprisingly effective – especially when combined with a good cardio program.

    July 19, 2009 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Koffi

    I think it is great that African American churches will begin to addess mental health. After all, the natural comes before the spiritual.

    I think Maslow's Hierarchy is an example of how to become all one can be to acheive sound mental health.

    July 20, 2009 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ellen Williams

    I used to love walking 3 miles almost every day. In the last year I've gained a lot of weight and lost muscle due to my inability to walk because of hip pain (I am seeing a doctor). Is there a cardio exercise that is as good as walking that doesn't involve weight bearing on the hip?

    July 21, 2009 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Damian

    Ellen – Find a swimming pool nearby and use the benefits of buoyancy to exercise without pain. I ran competitively for almost 25 years before having to quit due to multiple injuries. Now I use a floatation belt and "run" in the water (use the deep end) for 1/2 to an hour daily. It feels great, and for anyone carrying a few extra pounds...it is absolutely the most comfortable way to exercise and stay cool during the hot weather. You can work on rebuilding muscle in the gym. Any good instructor should be able to help show you some simple non-weight bearing exercises. Good luck.

    July 23, 2009 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Kelley

    This morning Dr. Gupta said that it is important to get the right amount of protein for weight loss. How do I know how much protein I need?

    July 23, 2009 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. sharadaamble

    hey would like to get things going

    July 23, 2009 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Alex R. Perea

    The question of Diet Drinks and aspartme just won't go away. I have researched this and the FDA says its ok, but the Europeans apparently think otherwise...what is the truth?

    August 1, 2009 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. JB Stringer


    Similar to you I will be celebrating a milestone birthday this October. On October 31, 2009, I will turn 30 years old a week . Similar to you I have also embarked on a quest to get fit. I started my quest or lifestyle change as I like to call it a year ago. I decided to make this lifestyle change because diabetes runs in both sides of my family and I wanted to take a proactive approach to preventing this disease by implementing healthier nutrition habits furthermore, being an black female I don’t want to be another statistic plagued with diabetes, hypertension and/or obesity during my lifetime. Additionally, I needed to loose a few pounds and because I am a little vain I decided that I was going look GREAT in a bikini on my 30th Birthday this year! (Side note: I’m having a destination birthday party that I’m calling Jasmine’s Party in Paradise)

    So I began my quest by signing up for Jenny Craig after seeing the progress a girlfriend made on her quest to loose weigh last summer I thought I would have the same success. I thought Jenny Craig would be a good solution because it was a nutritional based program. Unfortunately, Jenny Craig was not the program for me. It was a constant yo-yo, down two pounds, up one pound for about 6 weeks, plus I didn’t enjoy not being able to eat home cooked meals and I hated having to bring my food to all the summer BBQs I was attending.

    In August 2008, I rejoined the gym, Lifetime Fitness. I started my reintroduction to the gym by participating in their group fitness classes. Then in October 2008 I joined a Team Weight Loss Program at my gym that incorporated small group cardio classes three times and a weekly session with a nutritionist that lasted fore three months. My team weight loss program lasted until the end of 2008 and I had a little success from the program. I didn’t reach my weight loss goal during my time in Team Weight Loss however, I learned from the nutritionist through weekly check-ins and by keeping track of my daily food intake how to eat healthier and to make healthier/better for me food choices at home and dinning out (something I do a lot).

    When I returned back to Minneapolis in January of 2009 from spending 2 weeks in Atlanta with my family over the holidays I was resolved that I would continue on my current path. I implemented a weekly Pilates reformer class to aid flexibility and toning and in February after seeing Gwyneth Paltrow on the Oprah Winfrey show it dawned on me that I might need to increase my workouts from 3 times a week to 4 -5 times a week. In February 2009 I committed to a personal stewardship program for Lent. I would be a better steward of my mind (daily mediation time), steward of my body (a minimum for four workouts a week) and a better steward of my finances (debt elimination). I’m still following my stewardship program.

    In March 2009 I added bi-monthly personal training sessions. I firmly believe the strength training was the missing component in my routine. Since January 2009 I have lost 23 pounds and over 15 inches (combined: Abs, thighs, hips, gluteus maximums, chest and arms). In addition to the weight loss I feel like a new person. Although I didn’t see immediate physical changes when I started working out in August 2008 I know the workouts and diet changes made an improvement in my overall quality of life. I’m a lot less tightly wound now. I handle stress much better. Furthermore, I haven’t been sick with a cold, the flu or stress headaches since I started my quest and began to make my lifestyle changes.

    Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with tendonitis in my right foot 2 weeks of ago so that has put a damper on my workout regiment. However, I’ve continued to do floor work and arm work at home and in the gym in my building. My trainer also put together a pool workout that I am able to do and follow doctor’s orders to stay of my feet and limit physical activity. We’ve also decided to increase my sessions with her to weekly sessions for the next six weeks after I’m released from the doctor to make sure I don’t plateau. I’m extremely confident that I’ll reach my goal. The other day I was so surprised when I put on the dress I wore to my college graduation over 8 years ago and it fit! I wish you the best with you quest to get fit, Sanjay. I’ll keep you updated on my progress too (you should see my before and now pictures). Remember it’s not about a temporary quest, but a permanent lifestyle change.

    Carpe Diem,

    August 3, 2009 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. stella baba

    I am trying not to get discouraged. I weigh 147 and am 5' 5". I went up 5 lbs over the last 3 months when my Dr decided I needed to take birth control pills consecutively without a break in between (no placebos). I am 52.
    So, I cut way back on the meat-and replaced my diet with beans and soy products. I started biking 5 miles a night weekdays and on the weekend I speedwalk 6 miles on the beach.....
    I weigh myself in the am and I weigh 147 and 34% body fat. In the evening after working out I weigh 150 (ugh) and am down to 31% body fat. I do not eat anything after my workout as it is 8:30 at night when I am done. How come in the am my body fat jumps back to 34%??? Very disheartening......

    August 6, 2009 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jacqueline Daniels

    Is there any HELP for shift workers?

    I have not heard any thoughts on how to aid persons who work a 12 hour shift, sit at the computer 90% of the time-type of job where the stress level is high approximately 50 to 60% of the time, and how to fit a "consistent" daily exercise regimen into the work week and maintain good eating habits. Though the 12 hours is not every day, they do add up to 80 hours a pay period, somebody has to do it. I do manage to use my low-pound free weights once in a while and I will dance for a minute or two when alone. I will also try to stand and type and do bends n stretches. We won't mention daily sleep habits! I just want to get toned and have my stomach stop doing it's lap dance on my thighs when I sit down!

    August 8, 2009 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Raddoc

    Stella baba, the body fat measurements are affected by hydration/water content of the tissues. That is why your body fat changes throughout the day. If I may, you are sounding a little bit obsessive with weighing yourself so often multiple times a day. Give yourself a little break and you'll feel better overall with yourself and your progress.

    August 10, 2009 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sophia Harrison

    i always use my pedometer whenever i go out for jogging..'.

    July 27, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Headboard Light

    well, i bought some digital pedometer on the local walmart and it is great for monitoring your performance when walking .~.

    December 21, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.

July 2009
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