Excerpt: 'How the Rich Get Thin'

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you need my plan. And the more affirmative answers you gave, then the more likely the plan will be successful for you, because of your drive. The positive aspects of these traits focus you on your work; the negative aspects cause you to neglect your health.

Since knowledge is power, I suggest that you use this behavior pattern to improve your health and to identify what you are doing wrong. Your strong determination can actually be an asset in correcting the negative health patterns. When these people see that something is broken, they fix it!

How the Park Avenue Mind-Set Could Work for You

Sandra is a forty-five-year-old single woman who is a senior portfolio manager at an investment bank. Since becoming a senior executive, Sandra had allowed her weight to gradually creep upward, due to long hours at the office, little or no time for exercise, and eating out frequently, choosing rich foods. Sandra camouflaged her extra weight with expensive couture suits. While her overall health was good, her total cholesterol was just over 250 mg/dl. Her waistline had increased to 37 inches. Both of these are independent risk factors for disease. Sandra was accustomed to being "in charge" and informed me that she "knew all about eating and how to lose weight," but clearly she needed help with this. Sandra's work required her to entertain clients for dinner five nights of the week. Her business dinners were usually at four-star restaurants and always included fine wines. Sandra had an active social life that also included alcohol. If an average drink accounts for 200 kcal, then Sandra was consuming about 4,000 kcal per week just in the form of alcohol! One pound is equivalent to 3,500 kcal, so theoretically just by eliminating alcohol it would be possible for her to lose approximately one pound per week.

These are the changes I suggested for Sandra:

1. Eliminate alcohol. Drink only mineral water at business dinners. Initially, like all of my patients, she resisted this idea but, once she agreed to it, she was amazed at how easy it was. She ordered a large bottle of San Pellegrino and lime slices for the table. Her clients did not seem to mind her abstinence, and she also became more efficient at these meetings.

2. Stay away from the bread basket and order a crudités platter to be served prior to dinner. Sandra saved calories by eliminating simple carbohydrates and was a big hit with her clients. They loved the elegantly presented, chilled vegetables and thought this was a gracious gesture by their hostess. (After all, they were trying to control their weight, too!)

3. Order two appetizers as your dinner or cut the main course in half. Restaurant portions are just too big.

4. Make daily aerobic exercise a priority. No more excuses!

Because Sandra enjoyed being in control and saw the program was working for her, she focused her energy on this. After six months, Sandra had lost 35 pounds and normalized her cholesterol. She realized that simply being in a fancy restaurant is not a green light for passively overeating but rather another opportunity to control a situation. I was able to make her Park Avenue mind-set work to her advantage!

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