The Wizard of Oz

I got into a fight with my friend the other night at dinner. Here we were at a beautiful French restaurant,  one moment catching up on life and the next in a heated debate. The topic: Dr. Oz. Okay, more importantly, the topic was the fine line between preventative medicine and entertainment. Before Oz, preventative medicine and entertainment were worlds apart. My friend sees nothing wrong with people watching, devoting and dedicating their health to personalities like Dr. Oz. It may not surprise you that I do.

Let’s be honest: healthy living and disease prevention is not exciting. I mean, just the phrase “disease prevention” probably conjures up images in your mind of people in white lab coats, endless research and “pie in the sky” messages that you likely can’t follow through on. What if we shed those lab coats, added a state of the art studio, a full production staff and made it all sexy? What if those messages that seem so hard to follow were boiled down to “this is all you need, it will work…and you can buy it today and see results tomorrow.” There it is: that line between prevention and entertainment.

At least once a week, someone requests a product at the store or tells me they are beginning a new supplement because Dr. Oz told them to. They don’t know why they need the product; they just know that Dr. Oz wants them to have it. After all, they invite Dr. Oz into their living rooms daily. They know him far better than their own doctors, and I mean, come on…he’s on TV!! Why shouldn’t they do what he says?

Dr. Oz and other TV doctors offer medical advice in the name of wellness and prevention. Great. The problem that I see with this, however,  is that people blindly follow his advice without consulting with their own physician. They may, for example, start a new supplement he recommended before ensuring it is safe and appropriate for them.  This issue is made worse when you consider that many of the people watching are looking for a quick fix to serious health issues. Impersonal advice from a doctor who’s never met you or read your file is not an acceptable substitute for traditional preventative care or a healthy lifestyle.

My experience with typical Dr. Oz viewers is that they are not actively living a life of prevention, except for those moments when they slurp down a couple tablespoons of safflower oil. (Didn’t you hear? Dr. Oz said that safflower oil blasts belly fat and builds muscle…but I digress). If he was truly a responsible physician, he would tell people to shut off their TVs and go exercise. Maybe he would do the show on a treadmill to teach people how to actually meet the American Heart Association guideline of at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity. He is a cardiologist after all!

We are forever seeking the ultimate solution to losing weight. We are forever vulnerable to adopting the “next big thing,” because who doesn’t want to blast belly fat and build muscle? We will always have more exposure to TV, magazines and the internet than we will to our own physicians, dietitians and other health professionals. And even I can admit, the media will always be sexier than any of us.

Root vegetables
Root Vegetables / Alex Lomas / CC BY 2.0

But guess what? I know of something that I can ABSOLUTELY GUARANTY will help you lose weight, improve your energy and live your best life. Wish you knew what it was? You do. The question is: are you ready to do the work?