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Ask the experts: Dr. John Gore

DR. JOHN GORE , a Family Medicine Hospitalist at McDuffie Regional Medical Center

What do you tell patients who say they want to lose weight?

Most people go to their doctor and ask for pills or medicine to counteract their bad eating habits. But 95 percent of them get their pills, and then they gain all their weight back. ... I know I can't just tell them to stop eating. There's emotional, psychological problems and bad habits to deal with. Thirty percent of folks who go to weight-reduction programs have clinical depression. If they don't address that, they're going to regain weight.

You sound experienced in that area. Please explain.

I've always had an interest in nutrition and exercise. I used to be fat. I was raised on the classic Southern diet ... I never understood about fats/carbs/proteins. About 15 years ago, I got tired of it and I cut out fats and lifted weights at the gym. I lost 40-50 pounds. ... I love it, now. I even entered a body building contest when I was 40. ... Another physician and I started a weight loss clinic at Medical College of Georgia 10 years ago. There were no pills or medicines involved, just exercise and diet.

What type of diet do you recommend to patients?

The South Beach Diet is an expensive diet, but it's a very good diet. There's no big, evil corporate purpose behind it. It's expensive because it has a lot of cold fish, such as salmon. But I just tell them to substitute chicken and take Omega 3 supplements. The principals involved in that book are very good. Weight Watchers also is a good program, but I don't like counting calories. I think anything that does not imply diet, but rather a lifetime change of eating habits and exercise, is good.

From the sound of it, you think exercise is the most important.

Men and women are different. Men go to the gym and then to McDonald's. Women change what they eat and tend to not exercise, or to just walk. I believe everybody should go to the gym, no matter what their age or physical condition.

Do you believe that because you are a man, or because you are a doctor?

Both. Records and research show that working out increases muscle mass. It's hard to maintain one's body and keep muscle tone as you get old.

What else do you tell patients?

I recommend people to watch The Biggest Loser on TV. I don't watch a lot of TV, but that's a good thing to watch. It's ridiculously unreal because no one can really exercise that much or have that much accountability. But, it's very motivating to watch it.

What's your No. 1 piece of advice for those who want to lose weight?

(Laughs) Ask God to help you change your habits and exercise regularly.

Web posted on Thursday, January 07, 2010

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