June 24, 2014

Thoughts on Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz has been in the spotlight quite a bit this week, after being criticized at a Senate hearing for his "health claims" about a lot of weight loss products he's recommended on his show. I honestly didn't read much about the whole thing, because I formed my opinion of his claims a while ago. I'm no longer a viewer of The Dr. Oz Show, and haven't been for quite some time. I wrote a post in February 2013 about my thoughts on the direction the show has taken.

With all the hype about it this week, I thought that today I'd write an updated post to the one I wrote in 2013. But when I re-read what I wrote last year, I realized that I still feel exactly the same way. I don't normally repost things from the past, but because my thoughts haven't changed on this, I decided to go ahead and share (again) my thoughts on Dr. Oz's claims of "losing weight without diet or exercise". 

Repost from February 5, 2013:

Jerry and I had a bit of a lazy morning. Since he was off work, we sat around and chatted once the boys went to school. I turned on The Dr. Oz Show from the DVR, and was immediately annoyed with the theme he's had going on for while now with this shows: "Lose weight without diet or exercise!"

This annoys me for a couple of reasons:

1) Exercise is good for our bodies--particularly, our hearts. Dr. Oz is a cardiologist, who knows that fact better than anyone, but he still does these shows where he makes it sound like exercise is something to dread (or avoid, in this case).

2) This gives people unrealistic expectations. "Take this supplement, and you don't have to diet or exercise, but you'll lose weight!"

I used to love Dr. Oz when he was on Oprah, because you could really tell that he was passionate about telling people about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He always got very excited when talking about it. The first time I met him, in October 2009, I still got that same vibe from him (his show was pretty new at the time).

When I met him again in November 2011, I didn't get that impression so much. He didn't seem to have that passion, and he just went through the motions on the show as it was written. I think I mentioned this before, but I wasn't allowed to talk about running while I was on the show. When I asked the producers about it, I was told that it was discouraging for the target audience to hear that I run, because that is unrealistic for them.

Um, I NEVER thought I could be a runner. When I was morbidly obese, becoming a runner was what I would label as "impossible". I like to write about running on my blog because I want other people to feel like they, too, can do what they once thought was impossible--whether it's running, or walking a race, reaching goal weight, cycling, competing in triathlons, or just being an active parent. Those are things that may feel impossible, but they most definitely are possible for most people.

Did I have any clue that I would run a marathon just a few
years after this photo was taken? Um, heck no!!

But anyways, back to the show--I watched for about 15 minutes before I turned it off. I think that there are people out there looking for a solution to their weight problem, and when Dr. Oz says it can be done without diet or exercise, it's like telling these people that they should look for an easy way out. Exercise shouldn't be looked at like a punishment, but more as a solution.

Yes, I'm the first to admit that I hate exercise--but I'm also the first to admit that I LOVE what it does for my body and how it makes me feel. I can't imagine my life without it, now that I know how much good it's doing me!

If there is one thing that I've learned while losing weight, and maintaining weight (and even gaining here and there) it is this: Exercise is crucial to losing weight and keeping it off. Period.

I've lost weight lots of times in the past through diet alone; but I always gained it back, because I wasn't exercising. Now that I'm at goal, I'm no longer working toward a specific weight--so I need other goals to focus on, and running gives me that focus. I am setting goals of getting faster, and running farther, and pushing myself. If I wasn't doing this, there would be nothing stopping me from slipping back into old habits--which did not include goal setting. 

Exercise doesn't have to be as challenging as running, either. Dr. Oz could talk about the benefits of walking, which is something that most people can do. My friend Stephanie wasn't remotely interested in running, so she walked while she was losing weight. She set goals just like you would as a runner--first, to work up to walking 5K; then to walk it faster; and even though it wasn't originally part of her plan, she is now running. I started out by walking for exercise, as well:

This was in Jan. 2010, after my first walk while losing weight
On to the "diet" part... the word "diet" has different meanings, and people interpret it in different ways. Most of us think of it as a way of eating in order to lose weight. When I talk about my diet on the blog, I'm referring to the foods I eat on a daily basis--"my daily diet". Others despise the word, and prefer "lifestyle change" in regards to eating for health or weight loss. But obviously, The Dr. Oz Show was referring to what you eat in order to lose weight.

I also am a firm believer that people have to change their diets (what they eat on a daily basis) in order to lose weight. When Dr. Oz says that you can take a certain supplement and lose weight without diet or exercise, that immediately makes it sound like people can eat the same stuff they are eating as an overweight person and still lose weight. Again, very unrealistic!

I didn't mean to turn this into a rant about the show, or Dr. Oz--I still greatly respect him as a doctor and health advocate. I just wish that he would go back to teaching people about a healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy diet and exercise, rather than doing shows like this.

I'd been meaning to swap out the photo of me with Dr. Oz that's been on the home page of my blog for a long time, so I finally got around to doing it today :)


  1. He is a shill. Although he never mentions/plugs specific brands of the snake oil supplements he pushes, it is no secret that some of the larger manufacturers (the ones most readily available in drugstores, health food stores, Amazon, etc) compensate him financially to hype up their "miracle weight loss" pill. I shop frequently at a small, local store whose core clientele is gym rats, competitive bodybuilders, and semi-pro athletes. The staff often jokes about how in the ensuing days after Oz touts some "lose weight by taking this pill - no diet! no exercise!" they are visited by dozens of fat housewives willing to pay anything for that pill! One week it's green coffee beans...the next, mango extract...then, raspberry ketones...last week it was some weird syrup they all wanted. I've watched his show occasionally and when he shows the "results" of people who take the magic pills, it's usually a loss of like 3 pounds in 30 days...which anyone can do on his or her own by drinking more water and ditching junk food. I agree that he is irresponsible in continuing to feed our collective hatred of exercise and de-emphasizing the fitness benefits of regular, meaningful activity (exercise is NOT for weight loss and should never be used to earn more food/junk food or to "burn off" overeating/junk food), especially cardiovascular health. He does a great disservice to his idiotic fan base and I am glad he's being called out on it.

  2. Good for you, Katie! You are such an inspiration. I completely agree that treating exercise as something to avoid is just plain unhealthy, no matter what size you are.

  3. The new photo was the first thing I noticed and I LOVE IT! So cute!
    I have honestly never thought much of Dr. OZ, but he certainly has become a household name. I think it's good that things get shaken up like this every once in while, everyone's human, he obviously got pulled into wealth over health as some point. About time for the viewers to realize he's not a God and no one's perfect :)

  4. I love that you write about running. It's super inspirational and 'relevant' for tons of people. Even though I don't relate as much for a weight loss perspective, just substitute 'weight loss' for any number of hurdles people have to overcome. For me it was a bad hip. I had stopped reading for a while because until I had surgery I really couldn't do much exercise, period. Almost immediately after surgery (in January) I started reading your blog again and it really helped me get excited about running again. I love when you write about all the ups AND downs of exercising because it helps motivate me when I have an off day. I remember that it's just one day and surely it will be better tomorrow. It seems silly that they thought people wouldn't be able to relate to you, anyone who has ever struggled with exercise or motivation for any reason would TOTALLY relate. :)

  5. I agree about Dr. Oz. I remember watching Dr. Oz way back in the day on Oprah with my Mom (okay, embarrassing). At that time he was actually giving out some pretty good information and not selling the shit he does now. It seems like when he got his own show he began to shill for people. I've only seen a couple episodes of his show but each time it was pure crap. It's a shame he decided to go that way.

  6. I love your new photo Katie!

    Not sure about Dr Oz, I don't think he's big here in NZ - but I agree, exercise is super important. Makes you feel good to get out and about too, I think it's good for mental health as well as physical.

  7. love your new photo...I don't know much about Dr Oz other than when he was on Oprah...I don't agree with anybody who says you can lose weight or get fit without exercising or eating healthy...

  8. It's frustrating because he really could make a positive impact on his "target audience" if he wasn't afraid of losing his spot in the ratings. I recently started using essential oils (for a lot of reasons) and they have been mentioned on his show. Now I'm not sure that's a good thing!

  9. I liked him on Oprah too but when he got his own show, it all went downhill. (Much like Dr Phil who now is about a step above Jerry Springer in topics and then is all about peddling his son's publishing company and/or his wife's makeup the last 10 minutes of the show) I read some interview with him a few months ago asking him his thoughts on certain mainstream buzz conditions right now and he said that most of the conditions the person asked about were bunk. The same conditions he tries to convince you you may have show after show. It just confirmed that he did not deserve to even be on in the background in my home. Sad when fame ruins the passion.

  10. Yep, even Dr. Oz has become a sell-out. Like Anele (above), I never had much respect for Dr. Phil. He presumes to know exactly what is wrong with the world and how to fix it, one person at a time. I don't think answers are always so simple and Dr. Phil's all-knowing attitude just really annoys me. Dr. Oz's producers know the miracle losing weight methods (no diet...no exercise) will get people to watch and that's all they care about. I think at first Dr. Oz actually cared about people, and perhaps he does care about those few real heart patients he still sees, but like Dr. Phil, fame and fortune are terrific lures, and they have both been sucked in by it all. Very sad. Perhaps this scolding by Congress will be an eye-opener for Dr. Oz. Remember when Oprah's show started sliding into Jerry Springer-ville? She turned it around and it become respectable again. Part of the problem with the hour they have to fill five days every week, they have to keep coming up with new ideas, new products, new methods, so people will watch. We both know losing weight and keeping it off is hard work, all those supplements, vitamins and miracle foods aren't going to make you lose weight without that hard work either. I think we may see a turn-around for Dr. Oz's show too--at least I hope so. I also hope somebody tells me when it occurs, cause I have quit watching as well.

  11. And this is why your blog is so awesome, Katie. You present a real version of what it's like to lose weight and keep it off in the long term. It involves eating well, exercising, nipping regain in the bud when it starts to creep up (and it does for just about all of us from time to time no matter how successful we seem) and sometimes making sacrifices. Good for you for calling out Dr. Oz for making it seem like we can just take a magic supplement that will solve all of our weight an health problems. It's dishonest and will only lead to greater discouragement for people when they realize it doesn't work.

  12. Just to reiterate what some other have already said - it's posts like this that represent why I have been a faithful reader of YOUR blog through the years over others that have come and gone. As someone who tried to dip my toe in to the world of "mommy blogging," I was amazed by the fact that there was a huge sell out factor. I think most people want the fame (or $$) more than they genuinely want to help people.

    I've never seen that from you or your blog. I get the sense that even if Dr Oz called you tomorrow and asked you to write a lovely review of him and his show and offered you some sort of crazy compensation, you'd stick by your honest opinions. I can always get the sense that Katie = no bullshit, lol! :)

  13. I remember watching you on the Dr. Oz show and thinking "this girl seems nothing like the Katie I've come to know through her blog." I was surprised you were not encouraged to talk about running!

    I was super excited about the Dr. Oz show but it hasn't quite lived up to the hype for me.

  14. Completely agree about Dr. Oz. He has morphed into a complete quack. LOVE your new photo! Very cute!

  15. I completely agree! Everytime I see his show, Dr. Oz gives me the vibe of someone who is always shouting about the newest weight loss gimmick. Weight loss, to me, boils down to eating well and exercising. Simple as that. No pill or doohickey will make the weight magically disappear!

    Now if someone could give me tips for the losing the last couple of pounds I would be eternally grateful! I am about 7 pounds away from hitting my WW goal and becoming lifetime!

  16. AnonymousJune 25, 2014

    Dr. Oz is a quack and needs to go back to being a cardiothoracic surgeon! I must say I like him better on NY Med.
    In order to lose weight one must exercise at least 45 minutes a day, you do not need a membership at a gym and modify their food intake. Losing weight is a lifestyle change not a diet and it is a commitment.

    1. I agree that you have to use both diet AND exercise but 45 minutes isn't always necessary. It's a problem when you get into the mindset that you MUST do AT LEAST 45 minutes...then you get into the problem of "well, if I can't do that, it's not worth it to do anything..." 5 minutes is ALWAYS better than zero minutes. Sure, more might lead to faster results but those who can't manage as much should still do what they can, when they can. Just my two cents, of course.

  17. I am a scientist, and I'm glad to see you pointing out how fake Dr. Oz's advice is these days. it's so frustrating to me to see people being taken in by the stuff that he promotes without stopping to think critically about it. You provide such a good example of "real" weight loss and maintenance. Thank you.

  18. I'm with you on Dr. Oz. My parents are in their 80's and watch him everyday, the only good thing is that they aren't going to go out and buy anything he sells.

    I never thought I'd run at all but am on week 5 of a Cto5K podcast, it's fun so far. Not sure I will ever race, but as a form of exercise, I like it.

  19. It is also very much about ratings and ratings show that people dont actually want to hear the truth they want the instant fix instead.

  20. Totally with you on Dr. Oz and love love love your new picture!

  21. Like Oprah always said "If there was a magic pill, I would have shared it with the world!"

  22. Ever since I saw Dr.Oz advocating coffee bean extract and HCG droplets on his show I new that he was using his credentials as a Doctor to essentially sell snake oil. It became obvious that he was just in it for the money. I told people to stop watching his show. But I would still have co-workers and friends listening to his advice only to be having roller coaster effects from the "miracle diets". But most people do not want to hear moderate eating, meal planning, and exercise. Those people are in denial and if people like Dr.Oz are willing to take advantage and shell out non-reputable "facts" then people are going to listen to that wishful thinking. I find the whole thing really disappointing. I'm glad there is people like you Katie advocating healthy living. You are coming from a place of unconditional love and I can tell that you genuinely care about your actions and how people are treated.

  23. That's frustrating that you couldn't talk about running on the show. Your blog inspired me to run a half marathon even though I couldn't even run a full mile when I started training! I love the new picture that you replaced the Dr. Oz one with. It fits the blog so well :)

  24. He is a total sell out, he is paid to promote the crap he does on his show. Me might be a good Dr but he doesn't come across as one.

    Yes you can lose weight without exercise, after all exercise is really about the fitness side of things, but you can't lose weight without knowing what you are eating. It's all about calories in v calories out.


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

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