Once we're through with all the basics, I'm going to talk to you about how to follow the diet. I can't wait to show you all of its wonderful components and start you on your way to looking fit and fabulous. Take it one step at a time so that you don't get overwhelmed.
I might as well take a moment here to introduce myself. I'm a family practice doctor. Under America's health insurance system, most people go first to a doctor like me for all complaints, from infections to chronic illnesses. I love the diversity of family practice. One moment, I'm treating an 18-year-old guy with the flu; the next, a 90-year-old woman with joint pain.
I became a doctor for the reasons most people do—because I wanted to save lives, pure and simple. In my heart of hearts, I believe a doctor is so much more than a person who dispenses medication or marks off symptoms like a checklist at a sushi bar. He or she should treat the whole person. I make it a point to get to know each patient as a person before I put a stethoscope to his or her chest.
I run my office a little differently than most places. Nowadays, you spend more time waiting in the examining room than you did in the waiting room. In fact, you spend more time in the examining room than the person who decorated it. It's almost like going to a restaurant and being told that, even though you have a reservation, you have to sit at the bar for a while. The only difference is that in the doctor's office, no one offers you a cocktail, and you have to wear a boxy blue paper exam gown that opens in the front.
The next time you have to wait in the examining room, do some fun things to pass the time. Glue the tongue depressors together into coasters and sell them to other patients. Or peel off all the wallpaper without disturbing any of the diplomas.
I do things differently in my office. My patients don't wait forever. My patients oftentimes don't even sit on the examining table when I talk to them. I sit on the examining table and they get the comfortable chair. The butcher paper upholstering the examining table is wonderful to draw on. Sometimes I hop off the table and start drawing pictures of organs to explain things to patients.
I'm responsible for 2,000 patients, though not all in one day. Many of them are women, and 80 percent of my new patients are overweight. Most know it. One of the things I've always found interesting is that my patients often come in with a complaint of back pain, or knee pain or just plain old fatigue. Before I can get a word out, they say, "I know it's because I'm fat." Patients are smart.
Ever since I became a doctor, I've always been concerned with prevention. Prevention is the doorway to longevity. I hate shoving medications at problems that can be fixed with simple changes in lifestyle. A good example is a patient I'll call Sharon, age 60. Sharon has type 2 diabetes. When I first started seeing her, she was taking oral diabetes medication. Once she changed to a healthier diet and started walking regularly with a friend, she was able to get off all her meds. What a triumph that was!
Then about a year ago, Sharon came in for her regular appointment. We reviewed the results of her latest blood work. Her sugars were through the roof. Her A1C test, which reflects a patient's blood sugar over the past 90 days, was suddenly out of range.
What on earth had happened?