Friday, October 07, 2005

Harper Says Americans 'Extremely Addicted' To Sugar, Fast Food 'Killing Us'

"The Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper talks about a variety of subjects, including weight loss surgery, making permanent lifestyle changes, and even livin' la vida low-carb in this exclusive interview with the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog:

1. Hey Bob. My name is Jimmy Moore and I was a big loser in 2004 having lost 180 pounds thanks to a healthy diet and exercise program. Your role on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" is not an easy one, but you seem to enjoy helping people not only achieve but exceed their own expectations when it comes to losing weight and getting into shape. What made you want to play this role for the television show and is it everything you expected it to be?

"I don't consider myself playing a role at all. What you see is what you get. I absolutely love what I do and have a tremendous passion for it. When someone basically hands themselves over to me and asks for my help, I'm going to give them all of me. It is the only way I know how to work. To get up every morning and know that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing is the greatest gift I have ever been given."

2. When "The Biggest Loser" was just an idea that NBC had for a new reality show, you admit in the book that you were "naturally skeptical" of the concept because of the morass of other "extreme" shows that pervade this genre of television programming. But you said you were pleased when you found out the premise of this show would be based on diet and exercise. Why is losing weight naturally a better option for people than weight loss surgery? Does diet and exercise really work for everyone if they are 100% committed to it?

"I am all about the real change of life mentality and not a quick fix type of guy. I believe that you must take care and nurture this vessel that we have and carry through this life and try not to abuse it. For me that mentality of, 'I have to lose weight, let me cut my stomach out' is crazy to me. I want to teach people to take charge of their lives again and get back in the driver's's a great place to sit. I believe that when someone is 100% committed to doing something positive for themselves, there is nothing that they can't do."

3. I have personally seen that overcoming a lifelong struggle with weight is indeed a monumental transformational experience that can have an effect on many other areas of your life besides the physical. But how do you get someone to take that all-important first step so they can eventually make it to that point where their life can be changed forever?

"I get people to realize that no matter how much weight they want to lose, be it 10lbs or over 100lbs, they can start today. 'Today is the first day of the rest of your life,' is my mantra. It's all about getting that first day under your belt and look at it from day to day instead of the final outcome. Focus on the here and now and before you know it, that belt has gotten looser."

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4. Fans of "The Biggest Loser" admire your ability to provide encouragement and support while working the contestants on the show very hard during their workouts. What can people do to stay motivated in their own weight loss routine without Bob Harper there to lift them up and hold them accountable on a daily basis?

"Find a support group that works for you. It can be your neighbor, co-worker, partner or relative. When you have someone else relying on you during the crucial first month, it is a big help. You have someone in the same boat that you are in and it makes it easier. Use each other to get into your new life rhythm."

5. You write in the foreword to "The Biggest Loser" book that "this experience -- working on the show and with this book -- has been like no other that I've ever had" and that "it has reignited the passion" in you and has even "forever changed" you. How has befriending and working with these 26 contestants on "The Biggest Loser" changed you personally?

"I believe that working so closely with the contestants that I was so fortunate enough to work with reenergized me and strengthened my soul. When you are able to help people they way I got to, it can't help but change you. I know how difficult it is to make big changes in life and I take it very seriously when people want to make a big change. To say you want to make a lifestyle change and to actually change your life is two very different things and the friends I made on this show did just that and I have such admiration for them.....I love them."

6. Losing weight is one thing, but keeping it off and transitioning it into a lifestyle change is what too many people fail to do after shedding pounds off their body. I personally experienced this back in 1999 when I lost 170 pounds and subsequently gained it all back and then some in less than a year. This time, though, I have kept my 180 pounds off successfully. What do you think is the key to permanent weight loss success?

"I get people to realize that there is no finish line. That is a big pill to swallow but when you make that realization, it almost makes it easier. It is all about making a new way of life and not reverting to your old ways. I get people to make that shift early on so there are no surprises. Unfortunately, there is a certain comfort in the phrase, 'ignorance is bliss.' The people I work with don't have that luxury any more. It is up to me to inform them and educate them as much as possible and then they realize that if they gain their weight back, it is a conscious decision on their part. Don't focus on the goal of a wedding dress or summer bikini, focus on the shift of change."

7. What is your philosophy regarding the low-carb lifestyle and do you believe it is a viable lifetime option for people who are looking for a way to control their weight?

"If you cut out all carbs, you will DEFINITELY lose weight. Unfortunately, you will gain it all back because I don't believe that it is a 'way of life. I am all about changing your way of life and having you incorporate the right amounts of protein, carbs and fats."

8. Obesity statistics are still on the rise in the United States and around the world at alarming rates. Shockingly, some health experts are predicting obesity rates will approach 100 percent in America over the next 50 years. What can we do to turn the tide of this trend?

"Like I said before, TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE!!! This is your body and your life, respect and take care of it and your options are boundless. Fast food is killing us as a nation and we have to find healthier, inexpensive options to help fight this battle."

9. What role do you believe sugar, including high fructose corn syrup and table sugar, plays in the obesity epidemic?

"Is this a trick question? It has most everything to do with our problem with obesity. I believe that sugar is a very powerful and strong drug that people are extremely addicted to. I test my clients when I first start working with them by getting them off sugar completely for 2 weeks. It is almost like there body is de-toxing off of the drug and when they get over that hump, their insulin levels balance out. They make better choices of food and their cravings stop."

10. I get a lot of people who are searching for answers and advice about what to do about their weight problem at my blog on a daily basis. What final words of advice and inspiration would you like to give to someone who is overweight or obese and desperately wanting to do something about their weight problem?

"I understand that it is very difficult but once you really set your mind to it and put yourself at the top of your list, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Don't look so far down the road of what you need to lose or what need's to change. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. If you are reading this than you have already taken the first step. You want to change, you need to change....let's get started. There is a whole life out there waiting for you.....GRAB IT!!!"

THANK YOU SO MUCH, Bob, for answering these questions for me and my readers! I appreciate your time and wish you continued success with "The Biggest Loser." Be sure to pick up a copy of "The Biggest Loser" book to read more about what he does to help "The Biggest Loser" contestants lose all of their weight.

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Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

Is Bob some kind of doofus or something? Atkins is NOT "no carb"! Other than that, I pretty much liked what he had to say.

10/07/2005 7:46 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Jeff,

Yeah, I just shook my head when I read that part of the interview. It seems Bob is among those misinformed health and fitness experts who hasn't educated himself fully on what the low-carb lifestyle is all about. While I didn't appreciate him mocking low-carb, I agree with you that the rest of his comments were dead-on, especially regarding sugar and fast food.


10/07/2005 7:51 PM  

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