Chicago Personal Training

Dr. Phil - The Ultimate Weight Loss Solution by Cincinnati Personal Trainer Brian Calkins

Brian Calkins is Cincinnati's top Personal Trainer. In June of 2004 Brian was honored as one of the nation's top personal Trainers by the American Association of Personal Trainers. He is the author of many publications, and has his own radio show.

Cincinnati Certified Personal Fitness Trainer

Recently, Dr. Phil was on the Katie Couric show. It was the pre-launch of his new book entitled, Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys To Weight Loss Freedom.

The event received quite a bit of publicity before hand and I'm assuming many of you watched it. I decided to watch it too because I like to stay on top of the latest trends in our nation's battle to fight obesity.

This is a quick review in regards to the Dr. Phil McGraw/Katie Couric special, Survival of the Fittest, that aired on NBC Friday, September 12, 2003 at 8pm for two hours.

I'm sure in the coming months, that Dr. Phil will sell many copies of his new book, The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom, so I've decided to address the foundation of his program as the questions have started coming in about it.

First, let me say that I appreciated the many behavioral strategies that Dr. Phil suggests for successful weight management. During the program, he listed his seven keys to follow for weight management. I'll list each individually and give you my thoughts on each key:

#1. The Right Thinking: His idea is that you have to believe you can achieve results and that you can't always blame others.

My two cents: Wow! This is a critical component of weight management programs that is rarely addressed. In exercise psychology, we use the term 'self-efficacy' to describe someone's belief that they will be able to achieve successful behavior change. Simply put, if someone doesn't believe they can change, they won't try hard to change. The person who doesn't believe in themselves will not succeed in their weight loss efforts in the long-term.

#2. The Healing Feelings: His idea is that people too often eat for emotional reasons and that is a large cause of gradual weight gain over time.

My two cents: This aspect is vitally important to take into consideration. I believe that being aware of emotional eating is the first step to creating dietary change. His next law helps solve this issue.

#3. Create a 'no-fail environment': Simply put, if you get rid of the junk food in your house, you can't be tempted to eat it.

My two cents: This is common sense and I've experienced this in my own eating habits. In America, we have the constant urge to snack. If we don't have a lot of snack food around, this will add up to many calories not eaten each month. In the end, this leads to longer and healthier lives.

#4. Mastery over food and overeating: His idea is that you need to be aware of the time during the day when you are likely to binge on food, and then to make sure you are doing something during that time so you can't over-eat.

My two cents: This is another good point that I've rarely seen discussed. It's one more strategy to use for achievement. Take a walk, call a support buddy, or simply engage in a random act of kindness. Do something positive during your "challenging" moments, rather than indulge in those weaker moments.

#5. Eat high-response, high-nutrition foods: His idea is that you should focus on eating foods that take longer to prepare and longer to eat. The idea behind this is that most of these foods are more natural and are less likely to be binged on.

My two cents: This is another way of supporting the consumption of healthier foods. If you think about it, the truly unhealthy foods are usually the ones that we can scarf down and then want another. These are usually highly-processed foods. He's right on! Eating less processed (and refined) foods as he recommends is one of my first recommendations to clients.

#6. Intentional exercise: Dr. Phil believes that you have to plan your exercise. If you don't, it probably won't happen. He also believes you should do it even if it's not fun because you are doing it not only for yourself, but also for your family.

My two cents: While I was happy to hear him discuss exercise, I believe it should have played a more significant role in his long-term strategy. However, I liked his general philosophy that some exercise is better than none. I would encourage people to try to find some type of physical activity that they can enjoy because that will drastically increase the chances of creating a successful exercise habit. However, I appreciated his viewpoint that if you don't currently like the exercise, tough it out for a little bit. You may find that it just takes a while to learn to enjoy the exercise.

#7. Have supportive friends: Have friends that will support your weight management goals, rather than detract from them. If you have friends that are constantly living an unhealthy lifestyle, what are the chances that you will be able to make healthy choices when you are around them?

My two cents: This is another golden-nugget. Research in exercise behavior shows that our friends, family, and significant others play a large role in our chances for successful lifestyle change. I encourage my own clients to discuss their goals with friends that will be supportive. Sometimes they will need to stop spending as much time with friends that will not support their efforts. You really need a team of supporters when trying to make big changes in lifestyle and health.

Other points that were brought up during the program:

Quotes from Dr. Phil and my thoughts:

Dr. Phil: "Program your life to support your weight control".

Brian: You want to put yourself in an environment so you can be successful, but don't get overly obsessed with it.

Dr. Phil: "It's not your fault. You've been on bad (diet) programs."

Brian: I truly believe this. American's beat themselves up because they have not been successful with diets. That's a shame because they should be blaming the trendy diets and weight loss industry. People go on a calorie restricted diet and it works for a while and then at some point, they almost assuredly gain the weight back and blame themselves. Any diet that is restrictive will cause a temporary weight loss, and then as the dieter's metabolism decreases at some point due to the calorie restriction, they plateau and eventually gain the weight back. And most of the time they gain back more than they have lost. It's not lack of will power, it's a flawed science!

Dr. Phil on body image and celebrities: 'These extremely thin actresses usually aren't healthy!'

Brian: Great point that people forget! It's unfortunate that we hold Hollywood stars up as the pinnacle of great fitness. We should aim to be like people that are truly healthy.

Not to mention, half the time they look 'good' because of cosmetic surgeries and the other half of the time, their photos have been airbrushed!

My final thoughts: I believe Dr. Phil's book will sell well and I believe it will help people. I look for Dr. Phil’s weight loss plan to be the big fitness trend of 2004! Stay tuned to see what happens!


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