For three decades, cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish has been educating people about healthy eating. Dr. Ornish talks with Dr. Oz about his book The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health and shares his insight into healthy living through eating, exercising and enjoying life.
Dr. Ornish says restrictive diets and ambitious exercise routines are usually a waste of time. Most people follow the regimen for three or four weeks and then stop—even though they may have a life-threatening condition, he says. "Efforts to try to motivate people to change based on fear of dying don't work that well because people don't want to think … they're going to die or have a heart attack or lung cancer," he says. "Fear of dying doesn't work, but joy of living does—it is a powerful motivator."
In The Spectrum, Dr. Ornish offers people a "spectrum" of changes they can incorporate into their lifestyle that, over time, will improve their health and quality of life in ways that can be measured through medical tests. "Even small changes make big impacts, particularly if you do them consistently over time," he says. From informing people about the best food choices they can make to offering helpful suggestions on exercise and meditation, Dr. Ornish says the book can help people personalize the information to fit their lifestyles.
While he doesn't guarantee that you will live longer by following his advice, Dr. Ornish says you may find more joy in living. "It's not just how long we live, but how well we live, and I think if we can live at our full, peak capacity, up to the point where we are about to die—as opposed to kind of dwindling down over a period of decades—to me, that is as important as how long we live," he says.