With Guests Brian Stelter and George Dejohn
When it comes to which gender carries more added pounds, the guys win. Or rather lose. In this week’s Wellness for the Real World, two men offer their fitness prescription to Dr. Veronica: New York Times reporter Brian Stelter, who is healthier thanks to his “Twitter Diet,” and radio host/author George DeJohn, whose bluntness matches our always candid host.
The straightforward Dr. Veronica, back on the dating scene after a recent divorce, is turned off by the hordes of out-of-shape men in her age range. And no wonder. She tells listeners that 75 percent of Americans over the age of 25 are overweight and 67 percent of the males in this country are fat compared to 62 percent of females. One third of the U.S. population is obese – a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more – and the majority of those are men.
in heavier days
Stelter, with a BMI of 35, was one of those. He tipped the scales at 200 when he was 16 and ballooned past 270. But it took rejection by a female he was interested in for the 5-foot-10 television and digital media reporter to take action.
“The message that was sent to me loud and clear was ‘You need to take care of yourself,’ which to me was code for ‘You’re fat. You’re overweight. You’re unhealthy,’ ” Stelter tells Dr. Veronica. “I had 20 other better reasons, such as my father dying of heart disease at a young age, being angry at the way these foods are marketed. But that was the final straw.”
75 lbs. lighter
Like many others in his 20s, he turned to Twitter. Not to blast his rejecter but instead for support in his quest to lead a healthier life. In March he began posting updates on everything he ate. “Old fashioned calorie counting but using technology to hold me accountable,” is how he describes it. He aims for 1,500 calories a day and never wants to exceed 2,000. He’s always cognizant of the proportion of fats, carbs and protein he intakes. A sweet is fine if need be, but not the four cookies he used to stuff in his mouth. The hardest part was joining a gym. Eventually he started to enjoy it though, like many of us, struggles to find the time to go.
Detailing his journey on Twitter paid off. Urged on by his cyberspace cheerleaders, his weight decreased as his following increased. As his 26,700 plus followers know: On Sept. 3, his 25th birthday and six-month anniversary of @brianstelter25, he had lost 75 pounds and weighed 194.6.
“I knew I couldn’t do it unless I told everybody I knew about it,” Stelter tells Dr. Veronica. “I knew I wouldn’t follow through if I didn’t have that pressure from my friends my family and on Twitter from some strangers.”
Others are motivated by the no-nonsense approach of DeJohn, host of the Train Station Fitness Show on Dallas/Ft. Worth’s top sports station, The Ticket (KTCK 1310 AM/104.1 FM), and author of Three Minutes to a Strong Mind and a Fit Body.
“I’m known on the radio as the Dr. Phil and Howard Stern of fitness because I tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear,” says DeJohn, a former personal trainer whose past clients include Dennis Rodman, Mark Cuban and Michael Dell, and creator of the 21 Day Body Makeover. “I’m going to give you answers that work and what’s been proven.”
Getting in shape isn’t just physical. He takes one’s mental state into account and looks at why someone let themselves go.
“It’s important to empower people and find out who they are and what they are,” he says.
For the person who suddenly wakes up and finds themselves 15-25 pounds heavier after picking up weight post-college, joining the work force and focusing on career and family, it could just be a matter of changing priorities and making health and fitness one’s main concern.
“The person who has 100 pounds to lose usually has emotional issues that they’re dealing with from many years ago,” DeJohn notes. “When you go beyond 15, 20, 25 pounds, you know you’re getting way overweight. Something else is a factor that makes you gain that much weight. There are other people who are enabling you. There are friends that you’re hanging with that support you. And usually when you’re that fat, you have fat friends.”
Dr. Veronica points out that a pitfall to people who start to lose weight or want to change their lifestyle is feeling abandoned by friends and family who don’t have the same mindset.
“If someone feels abandoned because they’ve made themselves healthier, good for them,”
DeJohn tells her. “Go get another family. Do we need people that need to keep us down in the dumps? That want us to be unhealthy like them?”
Yet getting someone to eat better isn’t that easy, he explains, because people who eat poorly don’t crave healthier options. Americans are sicker today and crave bad foods because we intake too much fat and not enough minerals, DeJohn says. Part of the problem could be adrenal fatigue.
“If you’re a person who has trouble sleeping at night, if you have to watch TV or read a book to fall asleep, you toss and turn, you’re not completely knocked out, you wake up tired and reach for a cup of coffee you most likely have adrenal fatigue,” he says.
He recommends a few things to help remedy this condition: “Stress No-More” supplements sold on his website, drinking only mineral water and adding fat such as virgin coconut oil (he recommends two melted tablespoons a day in or on food), cod liver oil or olive oil.
“People don’t appreciate or they don’t know that fat will make you lose fat,” he tells Dr. Veronica. “Carbohydrates make you fat. You don’t need fruit. People say, ‘Well, I’ll have fruit because I’ll be healthy.’ And they wonder why not only are they not losing weight but they’re gaining weight.
“If you have energy to lose, which is fat, and you add energy, which is a carbohydrate from pasta to fruit, regardless of whether it came from the ground or not, by adding energy you’re going to have trouble losing energy. So we want to stick with vegetables, fat and protein.”
While Dr. Veronica isn’t a huge proponent of supplements, DeJohn swears by them. He says that for someone to receive the same amount of iron contained in a cup of spinach in 1950, one would need 16 cups of spinach today because the soil has gone from 16 inches in depth of very high dense nutrients to six inches.
“It is impossible to get all of the nutrients you need without supplementation,” he says. “There are some very, very good multi-vitamins. They do work. They are good for you. However, if they’re not professional grade, bio-available supplements then they don’t do a darn thing. As a matter of fact, if they’re the cheap ones, throw them out because they’re actually creating harm.”
There are many methods in the quest for ultimate fitness and no cookie-cutter approach. What works for one may not for another. Whether you’re for or against supplements, into calorie counting and food journals, a slave to the scale or prefer to go by how your clothes fit isn’t as important as taking some sort of action against the battle of the bulge.
“Whatever you do, do something,” Dr. Veronica urges. “What plan you go on doesn’t matter. What matters is you go on a plan and then you try to stick to that plan.”