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Dr. Oz's 5 Secrets of "Waist Loss"
Mehmet Oz, MD, host of The Dr. Oz Show, has five rules to help you fight your body's cravings and stay slim for life.
Dr. Mehmet Oz
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
The unfortunate truth is that most diets do not succeed, and it's easy to blame that fact on a lack of willpower. But restricting food intake runs counter to the body's natural urges. Our ancestors needed extra calories to survive times of extreme stress (say, a famine), and today, when our stress hormones spike—whether due to job frustration or a fight with our spouse—it's as if we're stranded on the tundra of the last ice age.

The good news is that you can outwit your evolutionary biology by implementing these five rules of successful "waist loss" that I developed with Michael Roizen, MD, for our book YOU: On a Diet.

Rule #1: Spoil Your Dinner

Remember the plant from Little Shop of Horrors, with its demands to "Feed me"? The hormone ghrelin is your body's version of Audrey II, only it gets your attention with stomach growls instead of musical numbers. Once you've started eating, it takes about 30 minutes for ghrelin levels to fall and that "full" feeling to kick in. But if you eat a 100-calorie snack (like a handful of nuts) about a half hour before mealtime, your ghrelin levels will already be subsiding by the time you pick up your fork.

Rule #2: Nix Soft Drinks with Meals

Leptin is a hormone that signals the brain that you can stop eating once your body has stored enough energy from food. Yet fructose (a sugar found in soft drinks) interrupts the feedback loop, preventing your brain from getting the message. Quench your thirst with water instead.

Rule #3: Fill Up on Fiber

The ileum is a part of the small bowel that can squeeze, or "brake," to slow the transit of food through the intestines. When that happens, you get a slow but steady supply of fuel, which keeps you feeling satiated. A high-fiber breakfast triggers this mechanism, because the bowel needs more time to absorb nutrients from fiber. The result: No more 11 a.m. stops at the vending machine.

Rule #4: Eat with Awareness

That means eating at the table, not sprawled across the couch. It also means no zoning out in front of American Idol, checking your BlackBerry, or surfing the Web during meals. Not only will mindful eating increase the satisfaction you get from food but the extra time will allow your ghrelin levels to drop even further as you eat.

Rule #5: Build More Muscle

You may have heard that muscle burns more calories than fat, but did you know that it burns a dozen times more? Aim to walk 10,000 steps a day, and begin a muscle-strengthening program, which will help steel your skeleton as well. Trainer Joel Harper has an excellent 20-minute exercise routine.

More Advice From Dr. Oz
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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    4 Myths About Antidepressants
    Feeling down? Mehmet Oz, MD, explains why antidepressants aren't always the best answer.
    Dr. Mehmet Oz
    Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
    For years now, we've been led to believe that if we're falling behind in the joy department, we need only take a pill to feel calm and content. Yet, as many people are aware, antidepressants have been linked to significant side effects, including decreased sexual desire, weight gain, even an increased risk of suicide. Adding insult to injury, the drugs may not work as well as advertised; a 2008 study found that some can be no more effective than sugar pills. And according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine , many negative antidepressant study results have never been published. All in all, the prescription route to happiness may be less safe or effective than even doctors realize. To help cut through the confusion, I've identified four common misconceptions about happiness and depression. The truth just might surprise you.

    Myth #1: You Should Feel Happy All the Time

    Sadness is not necessarily a sign of illness—it's a normal part of being human and can even be beneficial. For example, grief is a natural and healthy response that helps us adapt to major losses (of a loved one, a marriage, a job). In the face of stressful challenges, unhappiness can also serve as a beacon to spur positive change. In fact, depression likely evolved to help us cope with environments that are unsatisfying or even harmful. Low moods can signal that it's time to reevaluate what's happening in our lives.

    Myth #2: It's All About Serotonin

    The most popular antidepressants are drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These work by increasing levels of a brain chemical called serotonin, which regulates mood. But newer research suggests that two areas of the brain called the hippocampus and Brodmann's area 25 can also influence how we experience despair. In addition, we know that depression is often closely linked to anxiety, against which stress-reducing practices like yoga or meditation can be powerful weapons.

    Myth #3: Pills Offer the Easiest Fix

    About 15 percent of adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives, but many others suffer from mild to moderate forms of the disease. In those cases, research has shown that lifestyle interventions, such as therapy and exercise, can be as effective as medication. And they're free of one of the most common antidepressant side effects: weight gain.

    Myth #4: Depression Looks the Same on Everyone

    Everyone experiences depression differently. Some patients eat too much and sleep too long, others find that they wake too early and have no appetite. The bottom line is that depression tends to magnify each sufferer's unique vulnerabilities, and as such, physicians often have trouble making a clear-cut diagnosis. If your doctor says that you're depressed and recommends antidepressants, consider seeing a mental health specialist for a second opinion. While untreated depression can be dangerous, taking medication when you don't need it can expose you to potentially harmful side effects.

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    As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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      What's in Dr. Oz's Medicine Cabinet?
      And What Should Be in Yours...
      Dr. Mehmet Oz
      Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
      It may not look as cluttered as your garage or basement, but of all the storage spaces in your home, your medicine cabinet probably needs a makeover the most. Once you've cleared out the expired bottles, restock with my medicine cabinet must-haves:

      Tea Tree Oil
      Applying this naturally antimicrobial oil straight to the skin can treat a range of fungal infections, including athlete's foot.

      Tiger Balm
      This nearly 100-year-old remedy contains active ingredients, including camphor, that create a heating effect and help ease pain.

      Band-Aids
      Protecting small wounds helps prevent infection—and discourages scabs from forming, which helps reduce the chance of scarring.

      Ibuprofen
      Take this drug a few days before menstrual cramps hit. It blocks the formation of compounds called prostaglandins, which cause your uterus to contract.

      Aspirin
      If you're over 40, ask your doctor about taking two low-dose aspirin daily to help prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.

      Pepto-Bismol
      This pink medicine can treat all manner of GI ailments, from nausea to diarrhea, by fighting inflammation and acid buildup.

      Toothbruth
      Keep it inside your medicine cabinet, not on the counter. Flushing the toilet can send tiny bacteria everywhere—including onto your bristles.

      Toothpaste
      Check the label. Sodium lauryl sulfate creates foam when you brush, but you don't need it for a clean mouth—and it can cause canker sores.

      Dental Floss
      Flossing is essential to help prevent gingivitis, a chronic infection of the gums that increases your risk for heart attack and stroke.

      Neti Pot
      Using a neti pot to cleanse your sinus cavity can help fight congestion—without the side effects of allergy pills and nasal sprays.

      Valerian Root
      This ancient insomnia remedy may affect the neurotransmitter GABA, the chemical targeted by many prescription sleep medications.

      More Health Advice
      As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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        Do Antibiotics Interfere with the Pill?
        Dr. Mehmet Oz
        Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
        Q: Do antibiotics interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills?
        — Susan Peterson, Jacksonville, Florida

        A: This association emerged in the early 1970s, when women taking oral contraceptives reported high rates of irregular bleeding and unwanted pregnancies while being treated with a specific antibiotic called rifampin. For the sake of caution, women are still warned against relying on the Pill while taking antibiotics. Yet there's very little evidence that any drug other than rifampin interferes with the efficacy of the Pill. If you're really worried, you can use a condom as a backup, but it's generally unnecessary.

        Ask Dr. Oz a question , plus get his 5 secrets of "waist loss"

        As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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          The Best of Dr. Oz
          Dr. Oz and Oprah
          Since Dr. Oz's first Oprah Show appearance in 2004, Oprah says he's been both a teacher and a healer for millions of viewers. Over the course of 55 shows, he's inspired smokers to kick their habit , dieters to drink green smoothies and children to eat their veggies …to name a few!

          Though he'll still join Oprah in Chicago from time to time, he's packing up his medical bag and heading to New York City to host his own show, The Dr. Oz Show !
          PAGE 1 of 20
          FROM: Embarrassing Questions, Lifesaving Updates: The Best of Dr. Oz
          Published on May 12, 2009

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            4 Treatments for Headaches
            Mehmet Oz, MD, host of The Dr. Oz Show, analyzes the different treatments for frequent headaches.
            Woman with headache
            Illustration: Kagan McLeod
            The feeling is familiar: a band cinching your skull, a dull ache in the back of your neck. It's a tension headache, and it's by far the most common type—about 90 percent of women and 70 percent of men will experience one during their lifetime. Neurologists don't completely understand the reason your head hurts, but they do know that many headaches are linked to stress, contraction of the neck muscles, poor sleep, and, in women, monthly hormonal fluctuations. Which is why most headache experts recommend relaxation techniques, exercise, limiting caffeine and alcohol (which interfere with sleep), and, for women, discussing birth control pills with a gynecologist. Here, four approaches to treating headaches.


            Neurology
            The first thing a neurologist would do is order a CT scan or MRI to rule out potentially serious causes such as a tumor, aneurysm, or stroke, says Marc Sharfman, MD, director of the Headache and Neurological Treatment Institute in Longwood, Florida. If those are ruled out, then, besides the nondrug treatments above, Sharfman might suggest biofeedback: He connects patients to devices that monitor muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate, then has them practice breathing patterns to identify what helps them relax. Drugs—over-the-counter and prescription—are part of a neurologist's arsenal, but Sharfman notes that patients do best by combining nondrug approaches with minimal medication use.

            Acupuncture
            A primary goal for an acupuncturist is to wean the patient off prescription and over-the-counter painkillers that can trigger rebound headaches (people who regularly take these medications can suffer a headache as soon as the pills wear off), says Daniel Hsu, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and founder of New York AcuHealth, an acupuncture clinic. Acupuncture can help patients relax as well as transition off medications; what's more, a recent review of research found that the technique could halve the number of days a month a person experiences head pain.

            Homeopathy
            Along with prescribing a remedy for the headache, a homeopath will typically offer advice on improving diet or, say, reducing exposure to chemicals in the environment, says Dana Ullman, who runs Homeopathic Educational Services in Berkeley. Because homeopaths believe the body's response to an illness is the correct one, they give heavily diluted substances—often the herbs nux vomica and belladonna for headaches—that are supposed to mimic the patient's symptoms, thereby helping the body defend and heal itself. (Though these two herbs are poisonous, the doses contain no toxins.) Often, the patient can begin to feel much better after one treatment, Ullman says.

            PAGE 1 of 2
            As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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