Health Chats
Weight Loss for Life: Tips from cardiologist and author of "The Flex Diet".
Wednesday Jan 19, 2011, 08:00PM - 09:00PM (EST)
Author of The Flex Diet (January 2011)
Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, Portland, OR
Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in both women and men, and is also the most costly cause of hospitalizations in the United States.  But the good news is that heart disease is also the most preventable cause of death other than accidents.  It is estimated that we can prevent nearly 80% of heart disease with tobacco cessation, close attention to our diet and activity, and focus on our risk factors.  One of the most challenging risk factors to address is obesity, which unfortunately continues to increase in prevalence despite our best efforts at prevention and treatment.  As people start to recognize that there is no quick fix or magic diet, we need to think critically about solutions that can really work - solutions that fit your individual lifestyle.   Come join Dr. James Beckerman for a chat discussing obesity and its health complications, diet and exercise strategies, and how we can reduce our risk for heart disease with evidence-based solutions.<br><br> James Beckerman, M.D. is a cardiologist with the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute in Portland, Oregon.  The Providence Heart and Vascular Institute is the largest provider of cardiac services in the Pacific Northwest, with pioneers in the areas of heart surgery and cardiac interventions.  Dr. Beckerman specializes in the treatment and prevention of coronary artery disease, and he has a particular interest in helping patients achieve their lifestyle goals. In addition to his clinical practice, Beckerman serves on the Oregon Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and is the team cardiologist for the Portland Timbers Major League soccer team.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.<br><br> Dr. Beckerman believes in a personalized approach to wellness and recognizes that healthy lifestyles are composed of many small choices that that collectively can have a significant impact on quality of life and overall health.  He shares his approach with his new book, The Flex Diet: Design-Your-Own Weight Loss Plan.<br><br>  
Dr. Beckerman:
Kids tend to follow the role models we create for them.  It's actually fairly uncommon for kids to be significantly overweight if they are in a household where the parents are both in a more normal range.  Limited night time snacks, soda, and encouraging activity and limiting screen time are key.
With diet changes and exercise as part of your weigh-loss plan, does sleep also play a part when it comes to weight loss?  If so, what is the ideal number of hours of sleep per night?
Dr. Beckerman:
Absolutely!  Plenty of data to show that sleeping at least seven hours a night can result in weight loss - our sleep regulates our hunger and fullness hormones.  The more you sleep, the more full you are, and the less hungrier you will be!
Whats the best way to get rid the excessive belly fat?
Dr. Beckerman:
it's hard to target fat loss in a particular part of the body, whereas you can do so with muscle.  but if you are losing weight in general, many people see an impact on the belly first.
How much weight should be lost ideally per week?
Dr. Beckerman:
it will depend on the person - i.e. how much weight a person has to lose.  someone who is more significantly overweight will lose weight more quickly.  Generally, 1-3 pounds per week is a reasonable range.  the first 10% of your body weight comes off fastest though!
i want to know how to control high blood pressure and i am 18 years old my height is 5'7'' and my weight is 40 kg and its between 38 to 44 not increasing from this nor decreasing.
Dr. Beckerman:
It seems as though you are underweight.  This and your elevated blood pressure should definitely get a second look from your doctor - there could be a medical cause that you aren't aware of...
I have decreased function (20%) in the left side of my heart, what are the alternatives to beta blockers that can increase my heart function and return it to normal ranges ? I know I need to lose weight, diet and exercise is there anything else you could recommend ? I'm really skeptical to the med (carvedilol) I've read there are several adverse side effects. Thank you for this forum.
Dr. Beckerman:
It turns out that coreg (carvedilol) is one of the most effective medicines we have to help treat reduced heart function.  And while it's true that any medication can have side effects, I generally believe that the benefits outweigh the risks in this situation.
can breast cancer survivors who are on Arimidex for 5 years can start the "Flex diet safely"
Dr. Beckerman:
What's more important to focus on with weight loss: Eating healthy options or just low calorie options.
Dr. Beckerman:
Eating healthy!  Because if you are eating a balanced, healthy diet, you will be decreasing your intake of trans fats and processed foods and super-sweetened items and will start losing weight naturally in most cases!
Hypothyroid for several years, and the meds I'm on not working, weight is a (pardon the pun) a very big issue. Any suggestions as to how to lose weight when one's thyroid is not co-operating?
Dr. Beckerman:
Unclear why your meds are not working, per se if you are taking a thyroid replacement.  But having a low functioning thyroid is a common cause of weight gain b/c it slows your metabolism - appropriate treatment is key.
Why do those with hypothyroid conditions have a hard time losing weight?
Dr. Beckerman:
pls see above!
Hi, I was wondering what you think is a healthy amount of weight to loose in 6 months.
Dr. Beckerman:
As mentioned, I think it depend on your starting point.  Many people can lose thirty pounds or more in this timeframe, and people who have undergone bariatric surgery lose even more.
I have gained over 56 pounds since changing my psych meds.  I have joined a gym, but feel ugly.  I suffer from low self esteem am very unhappy and wish i could cut this fat off me.  I did weigh 114 pounds which is right for my height of 5ft 1 ins, please, please help.
Dr. Beckerman:
It's true that some psych meds can result in weight gain, but it seems very important to stay on them.  It might be a good idea to sit down with both your psychiatrist and general doctor to discuss strategies that might work for you, or even psych meds that could have fewer side effects.
I have been having dizziness and shortness of breath...just had a clear heart cath two days ago (had four stents two years ago). The Heart cath was clear...the ICU nurses suggested corotid artery clogging...would this cause shortness of breath? I know it causes dizziness.   Thanks and blessings- Ned
Dr. Beckerman:
Hi Ned, congrats on your normal heart cath!  Carotid artery blockages generally do not cause shortness of breath, but can be associated with dizziness or TIA/strokes in some situations.
What is the perfect number of calories bto9 diet on if byou are a 5'3" 208lb women age 50 that elipticles 45 min 5 days a week?
Dr. Beckerman:
there are calculators online that can help you determine your Basal Metabolic Rate for your height, weight, and sex, and will estimate how many your burn for various activities.  But I'm not a big fan of calorie counting.
I'm a 52-year-old,  50-year-Type 1 (NOT T2) diabetic, heart attack 2 years ago, 2 CABG & 6 TMR. Lost 64#, gained almost 20 back & can't take off an ounce. NEED to lose 50# yet for the heart. I follow the 40-60 Carb Count for Insulin Pump, do elliptical 40" a day or 20" weights & 60-count stairstepper on Sun. I don't know what else to do. I eat nothing if God didn't make it (no processed, minimal cooking). Thank you.
Dr. Beckerman:
There must be some kind of calorie in/out mismatch - don't you think?  Other than carbs, think about your intake of fats - b/c whether healthy (like almonds) or not (like butter) the calories do add up!
So much attention today is being given to what standards should be used for cholesterol levels. Some say the current numbers being used by the NCEP are understated and that the body needs higher cholesterol in order to maintain one's health. There are also many members of the anti-statin groups that feel statins lower cholesterol to an unhealthy level.
Dr. Beckerman:
You are right - lots of healthy debate on this question...
Dr. Beckerman:
...but I believe that the data does show that statins generally reduce risk.