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Newsletter 4 - December 12, 2011

Dear Patients,

Thank you to everyone that has already sent in their enrollment information for 2012. If you have not yet responded, please do so prior to December 15, even, regrettably, if you don't plan to re-enroll. This will allow me to address requests from new patients.

The holidays are a time when many reflect on the past and plan for the coming year. First and foremost, I want all of my patients to put your health first. Doing so makes you feel better. It gives you more vitality and energy to be there for your family, friends and job.

The biggest health problem in our country is our lifestyle, which leads to obesity. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, gall bladder disease, degenerative joint disease, sleep apnea and even certain types of cancer are tied to obesity. Two out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese; 70% think about making a change in their lifestyle daily. If you are challenged by this problem take some time to think about what you can do to improve your health for 2012.

One pound of fat is burned with a 3,500 calorie deficit. If you can increase your exercise level by 250 calories per day and cut back just 250 calories per day (i.e., a slice of cheese and a slice of bread), you will create a daily deficit of 500 calories. So with this simple change, you can lose one pound per week!

Complex and refined carbohydrates are the enemy. We are literally hard-wired to eat; our genes have programmed our metabolic system to efficiently store excess calories as fat very easily. So when you over-consume high glycemic foods ("the whites" and "the sweets" - see below for examples) we quickly gain weight. Moreover, the more we eat of these, the more our brain's pleasure center demands them. It's very common, particularly during the holidays, to crave these foods and therefore gain weight. It takes discipline and exercise to hold this off. Indeed, we must earn those special foods that the holidays bring with attention to quantity, cutting back a bit earlier in the day, and increasing our activity. Take a look at my Columbia Matters health segment for some more tips and make a resolution for 2012 to put your health first!


Wishing you good health and a happy new year,

Harry A. Oken, MD

High glycemic foods
the whites: white bread, white pasta, white rice, pretzels, chips, pancakes, waffles,
the sweets: candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, pudding