Category Archives: Health

Weight Loss Radio Podcast

The big splash last week about Australia being a gold-medal contender in the Obesity Olympics ain’t true.

The official stats from the OECD that came out at the start of 2008 (as pointed out to me by an observant patient of mine) show the US is 1st, Mexico 2nd, UK 3rd and Greece 4th.

Australia was a measly 5th.

Even if the new study I mentioned in “The Fat Bomb Cometh” found a new figure that is higher for Australia, it still lags behind US and Mexico.

However all is not lost. Australia is catching up. Obesity rates have tripled in the last 20 years, whereas in the US they’ve only doubled.

Seriously, no matter where in the world you are weight and eating are still important issues, and the most popular talk-back radio station in my local town caught up on the idea and one of their presenters, 5AA’s Amanda Blair, invited me in for a chat.

Weight loss. The myths, facts, and what you can really do to make it happen.

Listen in on the podcast here (or Right Click and Save it)…

http://podcast.fiveaa.com.au/afternoon080623.mp3

[NOTE: Unfortunately 5AA has taken down this podcast. For full details about what I was discussing on that program enter your details here.]

-Dr Martin Russell

The ‘Fat Bomb’ Cometh

In the world Olympic event for obesity, apparently the US has been dethroned.

Turns out in the “Australia’s Future Fat Bomb” Report as splashed across The Age newspaper that Aussies have put in a gold medal winning performance. This report finds that 26% of Australians are obese (BMI >30 ie significantly overweight) just pipping the US at 25%.

And Aussies haven’t even got the same extent of Super-Super-Size me options yet.

Australia, we can do better!

Seriously, if we are to believe the “eat less, exercise more” mantra then this result is a fluke.

In terms of eating Australia seems to still be behind the US in oversized meals, take-away lifestyle, and the plethora of “diet” food alternatives to help us out.

And in exercise terms most of Australia has a much more favorable climate for participating in sport and getting out and being active than much of the US. Not much snow to keep most Australians stuck indoors for a winter.

I even understand that the levels of exercise activity and participation in sport in Australia have slightly increased over the past decade, so the trend is that Aussies should be getting thinner, shouldn’t they?

But no.

When 7 out of 10 middle-aged men, and 6 out of 10 middle aged women are overweight or worse (ie BMI >25) then epidemic is a reasonable word.

So what is really going on?

My suggestion is that the seemingly obvious idea of “eat less, exercise more” idea is actually deeply flawed.

The calories in, calories out model of human bodies is incorrect. We are not machines.

Just take the most obvious example – calories out with exercise.

How much weight do you lose by exercising?

What do gyms tell you? What do “health experts” make you believe? What are you hoping for when you start on an exercise program?

Forget theoretical calorie counting, what’s the reality?

Well fortunately this is an easy piece of scientific research, and the studies have been done many times and the collated results over many good quality studies show a consistent result…

You will lose, on average, 1 kilogram or about 2-3 pounds.

That’s all.

And that’s not per week or per month, that’s forever.

This comes from the most well-reputed body for summarizing medical research, and the studies are consistent all the way from 3 month programs out to a full year…
http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003817.html

But there is a slight ray of hope.

If you increase to really vigorous exercise you can make it 1.5 kilograms or almost 4 pounds of weight loss. Yeah, go kill yourself for that extra pound!

Exercise is great for improving fitness, living longer, toning up and improving mood, but it’s yet another disappointment for most people in trying to lose weight.

Once gyms face up to this fact, they will stop having the reputation of churn and burn, and will start realistically informing people of what results to expect. The first gym that seriously does this will remove much of the “buyer’s remorse” in gym memberships, and also build a lasting trust with their clients. It’s a slower dollar, but more repeat business.

That’s just the “calories out” side of the equation.

I have been taking the last couple of months to do free public talks about the “Myths and Facts of Weight Loss”.

Exercise for weight loss is one of the most pervasive myths around, and yet it is one of the easiest to answer in the literature.

If you are current taking advice about your weight, does your health expert know these facts about exercise?

Most either overstate the weight loss you can expect, or they give vague and “it depends” answers. The results however are clear. The “exercise myth” is my test for whether someone is advising based on the research, or based on beliefs.

If you want to know what to do instead of exercise and “eating less”, then follow the 4 habits/rules from this book I reviewed.

If you are in Australia, I can send you a book direct rather than from Amazon in the US. Just email or phone me.

If you are even closer to home for me in Adelaide, and want to be notified of future public talks, events and more, then you can enter your details here…

http://www.drmartinrussell.com/adelaide/

Either way, you’ll be hearing more about this.

-Dr Martin Russell

“I Can Make You Thin” by Paul McKenna – A Review

This is the first full book review I have ever done on this blog. I am delighted that it is a review for this book, because “I Can Make You Thin” makes an historic contribution to weight loss and being naturally thin, and also to the entire field of self-help.

“I Can Make You Thin” - Paul McKennaFor almost 2 years now I have been handing this “I Can Make You Thin” book and ‘mind-reprogramming’ CD to every patient who comes to me to lose weight, or who is caught up in the mentality of diets, scales, cravings, or overeating.

At the risk of making this book seem overly simple, here are Paul McKenna’s 4 golden rules…
1. When you are hungry, eat.
2. Eat what you want (not what you think you “should”.)
3. Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
4. When you are full stop.

I’ve seen other reviews that dismiss the 4 rules as just obvious common sense. I’m not sure what common sense they really mean since the rules conflict with the majority of weight loss approaches around. Rule 2 in particular certainly disagrees with the ‘common sense’ that I was taught as a medical doctor.

Even if the rules are common sense, McKenna needs to be given great credit for showing people HOW to live these habits. Hopefully you are buying this for the results, not just to have a fun read and a relaxing, new-wavy listen.

Yes, the title of “I Can Make You Thin”, the pose McKenna has on the front, and the text on the back are bit over the top, but the inside is less so. The book is refreshingly thin :), jargon-free, and entertaining.

McKenna’s style also incorporates techniques such as tapping (TFT), hypnosis and NLP . Hypnosis is what first made Paul famous, and I’ve seen NLP Practitioners review this and say they knew all of these tricks before. In NLP terms Paul is saying that the Golden Rules are the “model” for being “naturally thin”. Just knowing all the techniques won’t help if you have the wrong model.

Importantly, you don’t need any of these techniques to apply the 4 golden rules and lose weight.

Most people can go the book & CD, discover the Aha moments, and get started on transforming their relationship with food and their weight straight away.

There might be a group of people that could eat according to the 4 rules and not be thin, but I agree with what Paul says. For myself, I’m yet to meet such a person.

I have counseled people who thought it didn’t work for them, but it turned out they hadn’t gotten the rules into their behavior, so here are some extra pointers…

  • Just listening to the CD over and over doesn’t seem to be enough. The book plays a big part too. Expect to re-read the book at least once. You can succeed without the CD, so if it doesn’t suit you, no sweat.
  • Don’t add more rules. Extra rules almost always conflict with the four golden rules. Must eat breakfast? No. Just eat when you are hungry. Have to eat only fresh food? Check you really want to eat it, and whether you might want to eat anything else a bit more. Etc, etc.
  • Having trouble visualizing? Just act ‘as if’ you are visualizing, or on the CD just leave it to Paul.
  • Don’t make exercise the focus. Improved fitness will improve your chances of living longer, but unfortunately the best research evidence is that exercise doesn’t help much in losing weight. Keep to the four rules, which are all about food and getting back in control.
  • If you have a question or a difficulty, the answer is somewhere in the book. The information truly is comprehensive (unlike watching YouTube videos or reading this review.) Indeed this updated version covered the two or three remaining gaps I had found before, including the extra chapter which covers self-sabotage.

In summary, McKenna is not the only person to propose this way of eating, but his is the most accessible version I know about. His is also the most likely to reach out from the page and permanently change your thinking and your behavior, and thereby your weight.

You can buy his measly book just to prove Paul wrong 🙂

——————————–

So that is my review of “I Can Make You Thin” by Paul McKenna.

Here’s what I would like you to do.

—> Do you think this review is helpful?

– Please go to the copy of this I have put up at Amazon, find the bottom of the review where it says “Was this review helpful to you?”, and click YES.

Rate this review on Amazon here.

—> Want to buy this book?

– It’s finally available on Amazon.com here!

– If you’re in Australia I have copies of this book for Aust$30 + $5 postage and handling (includes GST) or, as I mention in the review I supply them for free to people who come to see me.

You can phone my office on 08-8362 5500 for more details, or send $35 direct to PayPal@-you know the drill to take this bit out-DrMartinRussell.com with name, address and the name of the book.

Obesity, weight and food is an incredibly important self-help area. I cannot recommend Paul McKenna’s “I Can Make You Thin” strongly enough.

As with all self help, it’s now over to you.

-Dr Martin Russell

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Lily The Pink

People say that your adult life is shaped by your childhood experiences.

Now I have my own young children I begin to recall all sorts of nursery rhymes, songs and tunes I haven’t heard for ages. What effect did they have on me I wonder?

I’m not sure that my mum singing “The Purple People-Eater” greatly influenced my future development, but just recently I’ve been getting a song stuck in my head called “Lily The Pink”.

So with a bit of hunting in Wikipedia I find that “Lily The Pink” is an English drinking song based on “Lydia Estes Pinkham (February 9, 1819 – May 17, 1883) who was an iconic concocter and shrewd marketer of a commercially successful herbal-alcoholic “women’s tonic” meant to relieve menstrual and menopausal pains.”

The traditional “Lily The Pink” has verses like these two…

Peter Whelan
He was sad
Because he only had one nut
Till he took some of Lydia’s compound
Now they grow in clusters ’round his butt.

And Uncle Paul
He was terribly small.
He was the shortest man in town.
So on his body he rubbed medicinal compound,
And now he’s six foot, underground.

I have a sanitized version stuck in my head, and this was a hit in the UK just before I was born.

Maybe this was the start of my upbringing to becoming a medical sceptic?

All I can say is that anytime someone tells me they have found a medicine or natural cure that seems to work on anything and everything, then this song pops into my head (the full original lyrics are below the video)


Chorus:
We’ll drink a drink a drink
To Lily the Pink the Pink the Pink
The saviour of the human race
For she invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case.

Verses:
Mr. Frears
had sticky-out ears
and it made him awful shy
and so they gave him medicinal compound
and now he’s learning how to fly.

Brother Tony
Was notably bony
He would never eat his meals
And so they gave him medicinal compound
Now they move him round on wheels.

Old Ebeneezer
Thought he was Julius Caesar
And so they put him in a Home
where they gave him medicinal compound
and now he’s Emperor of Rome.

Johnny Hammer
Had a t-t-terrible s-s-stammer.
He could b-barely speak a word.
So they gave him medicinal compound,
And now he’s seen, but never heard.

Auntie Millie
Ran willy-nilly
When her legs, they did recede
And so they rubbed on medicinal compound
And now they call her Millipede.

Jennifer Eccles
had terrible freckles
and the boys all called her names
but she changed with medicinal compound
and now he joins in all their games.

Lily the Pink, she
Turned to drink, she
Filled up with paraffin inside
and despite her medicinal compound
Sadly Picca-Lily died.

Up to Heaven
Her soul ascended
All the church bells they did ring
She took with her medicinal compound
Hark the herald angels sing.

Oooooooooooooooo Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’ll drink a drink a drink
To Lily the Pink the Pink the Pink
The saviour of the human race
For she invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case.

The original and complete vinyl recording is here;

http://www.youtube.com/embed/6ETDp6xzJko

-Dr Martin Russell

Following Up

Last year in September I wrote about a 47-year old professor, Randy Pausch, and his inspirational “Last Lecture” following his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.

If you want to know why death is such an important part of being human, then view the video on my previous post.

Back then he had wide publicity, from Good Morning America to Oprah, from ABC World News to The Wall Street Journal.

So now for an update.

Just two weeks ago on February 15th Randy passed a special milestone…

“It was August 15th, 2007, when I was told I likely had “three to six months of good health left.”

Today is six months from that day.

….

The doctors weren’t wrong; they always said that if the palliative chemo worked, I’d buy more time, but that it was a long shot. And the doctors have done a brilliant job of tweaking my regimen to help my odds. How much longer this will work is hard to know, but I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left, no matter how many or how few of them I get.”

Randy had planned to give the lecture and then move interstate with his wife and family to spend his remaining time creating memories for them.

It didn’t work out as planned.

Yes he has moved, and yes he has taken his family, and yes he has also created some great memories with them. His website has the pictures to prove it.

But he also hit upon a nerve with his “Last Lecture”. The video was viewed over a million times in the first month, and currently on Google video has 4994 comments, and almost a 5 star rating.

This has given Randy a different addition to his plan for living and dying.

In January a book that fleshes out details from The Last Lecture came out and you can find it here:

www.TheLastLecture.com

What next with this?

I don’t know.

But when I spent 3 months working in palliative care I liked the medical term for when cancer goes away.

Remission.

Or, put another way, Re – Mission. Finding once again a purpose for life.

Who knows how much of what has happened with Randy is from the various treatments he has been trialed with, how much is his own personal health and fitness work, and how much is just sheer luck.

But if Randy does live on for a long time, then re-mission will be a very apt term.

Even more so because of Randy’s passion for Star Trek, and his childhood dream to be like Commander Kirk leading all those missions!

Could it really be that it is cancer will help him to achieve a childhood dream?

-Dr Martin Russell

Smoking Can Reduce Your Ability To…

Last year in the city where I live they outlawed smoking indoors in public places.

Actually they did this quite a while back, but they had made an exception for hotels, pubs and bars. Now they’ve extended it to these places too. You have to have an outdoors area now if you want to have a place to smoke.

Australia is one of quite a few countries around the world that has got really excited about images on cigarette packets.

Someone showed me a cigarette packet that they bought off the street.

Presumably it was an illegal import because it didn’t have the local warning label or the gruesome pictures on it.

2006 Cigarette Health Warnings From AustraliaThis graphic type of warning label is meant to produce a nemotional/physical reaction, but does it do this for everyone?

I couldn’t find a picture of the most recent ones in Australia that get even more in your face.

You’ve probably heard the one about the man who avoids the packets that say smoking causes impotency, and instead only smokes the cigarettes from packets that warns about smoking when you are pregnant, because he knows that he’s safe with that one.

Well unfortunately it’s true.

People can do amazing things with their minds.

Our bodies can also do much more than we think they can.

It is almost universal to cough if you smoke a cigarette for the first time, but our bodies compensate and overcome this.

These mind and body adaptations are amazing.

Maybe people who smoke are rebels in the first place, but maybe it is a learned ability as well.

If so, I propose a new label on cigarette packets:

WARNING: Smoking can reduce your ability to heed warnings.

What do you think?

-Dr Martin Russell

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