DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Weight gain tends to happen to Americans over the holidays, Dr. Mehmet Oz said Monday, two weeks before launching the "11 Weeks to Move It and Lose It" fitness campaign connected to his health information-based TV program.
Oz -- the Emmy Award-winning host of "The Dr. Oz Show" (airing at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on KTVK, Channel 3 ) -- announced what he called a "revolutionary" approach that will include a team of 11 experts to help participants reach their weight-loss goal, all via his website, doctoroz.com.
"You can't starve yourself, but you'll be able to figure out where you are today and where you need to be, and we'll help you," he said during a telephone conference call Monday morning.
The experts will provide individual guidance and motivation, results-focused webcasts, exercise videos, behavior modification tips, and answers to health and fitness questions. Participants will be able to track their own progress and keep a food log, as well as sign up for free giveaways and benefits.
Here's what Oz had to say about weight loss in the United States in general as well as several more specific topics:
-- Most Americans realize they have gained weight over the holidays and try to take it off in January. Many will stay on a diet for about a month. The new program aims to allow two to three pounds of weight loss per week at first, depending upon a person's weight at the start.
It's designed as an 11-week plan because it takes about three months to make a lifestyle change, Oz said. While 11 is considered a lucky number and his birthday falls on the 11th, "there's nothing magical about that number per se," he added.
-- He doesn't suggest that a person seek a doctor's advice before starting a weight-loss program, citing the time, trouble and cost involved. His new program starts out slowly and offers advances as needed.
-- A heart surgeon with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a professor at Columbia University who is of Turkish descent, Oz admits to his own holiday food vices. He loves baklava, for instance, so he breaks it into little pieces, eats one, washes that down with water and walks away. "I could eat a pound at a time, easily," he said.
-- His three best health habits -- 1. Physical activity. 2. Avoid white foods such as rice and bread. 3. Find a community to help with weight loss.
-- Three ways to prepare for weight loss -- 1. Meditate (Deepak Chopra, an alternative health expert, will lead a five-minute mass meditation exercise on the Jan. 6 "Dr. Oz" show). 2. Partner with someone else. 3. Practice assertiveness when faced with temptations.
-- Oz has not spoken with Oprah Winfrey about the weight-loss initiative, he said. He has served as an on-air health expert for her syndicated daily television show since 2004 and said they are friends.
Oz added that he ultimately wants to put himself out of business by improving Americans' health.
"Almost all the surgeries I and others do are avoidable," he said. "Ultimately, I hope this conversation is so comfortable and common (that) people don't need interventions like the program.
"You need to get to your ultimate health and enjoy life as it is."
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