Takes time, effort to get into shape, Bob Greene says
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When talk show host and entrepreneur extraordinaire Oprah Winfrey met personal trainer and nutritionist Bob Greene roughly 14 years ago, she was on an admittedly endless cycle of yo-yo dieting.
As she explains in the foreword to Greene’s new book, The Best Life Diet, "I didn’t love food. I used food to numb my negative feelings."
One of the richest and most powerful women in the United States was unhappy with her work-life balance and when she either felt joy or pain, she celebrated or agonized over countless wasted calories.
Greene not only managed to win the attention of the overworked Winfrey, but turned her life around with the Best Life approach he details in his new book.
The plan, in a nut shell, is relatively simple: phase out unhealthy foods, phase in better, more nutritious replacements over time, and boost exercise levels.
But Greene also asked Oprah to analyze the reasons why she was over-eating and eating poorly. It was that emotional-nutritional roller-coaster that Oprah and so many other North American women were riding, he opined, which was preventing them from achieving their weight-loss goals — not only the foods they were consuming.
"That tells you that most of the unnecessary calories, in my opinion, come from eating when you’re not hungry, eating for some other reason, eating out of habit because you’re watching a certain program on TV," Greene says.
"I think it’s really important from a health standpoint what you’re actually eating, but I think the damage is done when you’re eating outside your nutrition and more for your emotional needs."
Under Greene’s watch, Oprah dropped a total of about 90 pounds and has, for the most part, kept the weight off with relatively minor fluctuations.
Despite her enormous wealth and access, Greene says Oprah really isn’t different from the average woman who uses food as a coping mechanism, but he stresses that power and success aside, Oprah still needs to work to keep those creeping inches around the waistline at bay.
"She doesn’t have the most favourable metabolism on top of that. She has to work really hard at it and I think that’s why she is a really good example," Greene says.
He also dismisses quick, too-good-to-be-true weight-loss schemes as a disservice to overweight people and the weight-loss industry.
For Greene, the only effective way for a person to lose weight — be it a celebrity such as Oprah or someone who works nine-to-five in an office environment — is to slowly change eating habits and the way the body processes calories.
"A lot of people who review the book say people are going to want to change their eating more aggressively in the beginning," he says. "I just know physiologically that doesn’t work as well. It’s not as easy as just don’t eat this or that. It’s really about revving up your metabolism."
- The Best Life Diet is in stores now.