Dr Robert Huizenga
Better known as Dr. H, Dr Robert Huizenga has done lots of influential weight-loss work on film and TV shows such as “Extreme Makeover,” “Work Out” and most notably NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” The Internist and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCLA, who is an author, has been repeatedly interviewed and contributes as a health expert on major TV programmes like “Nightline” “The Today Show” and “The Dr. Oz Show,” and has being regularly featured in American print media.
As well as giving advice on how to change nutritional and lifestyle habits and achieve optimal fitness, Dr. H talks about his Californian state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary fat loss facility to Roula Allam.
Can you give us your top guidelines for staying in shape?
To be in shape, or fit, you have to spend time - at least five to six hours per week - moving/tiring out the major muscles in the body. There are many tricks to getting into a good exercise routine, like writing down concrete fitness goals, exercising at precisely the same time each day and/ or exercising with friends. But you have to spend time; there aren’t any shortcuts!
There’s a high percentage of people in the UAE who have weight issues or suffer from diabetes. Why are the figures so alarming?
These numbers are unbelievably high because over the last 50 years especially, our caloric intake and the percentage of simple carbs in our diet have increased, while our physical exertion has dropped.
Enjoying late dinners and leading a sedentary lifestyle are quite the norm here. They must have a negative affect on health too.
Late dinners are an invitation for heartburn (reflux of stomach contents), insomnia, lack of motivation to exercise in the morning, as well as lack of hunger for breakfast. All these potentially increase the risk of fat gain.
What’s the best way to get children to start eating properly and living actively?
Without a doubt, getting kids to eat healthily is challenging. However, it always begins with the parents setting the example with their own eating habits and making sure the food choices at home are delicious and healthy. Junk food doesn’t have a place in your child's home! For kids to live actively, they must play outside or exercise an hour for every hour they are allowed to play on the computer or passively watch TV.
The hot and humid weather in the region often makes it hard to feel energised. What are some of the best ways to get motivated to exercise?
Less than ideal hot and humid weather conditions are not an excuse to avoid exercise - because if you are not fit and gain excess fat - heat and humidity are even LESS tolerated by the human body.
Can you name some of the worst things to eat on a daily basis?
They include trans fats, nitrosamines in lunch meat and simple carbs (sugar filled foods plus plain pasta/white rice/white bread/potatoes).
So what kinds of foods are always on your plate?
First off, I try to use a small plate. Secondly, I try to "eat the rainbow", in other words, at least five different colours from my vegetables /salad/fruit choices.
It must feel so good to see people attain their weight and fitness goals. But how can they create a lifestyle to avoid weight gain again?
Health gains can be lost unless regular habits are established, reinforced and repeatedly "renewed". New lifestyles have to be sustainable, that means the exercise sessions need to be energy inducing and fun!
Tell us a bit about your world-renowned weight-loss facility, Clinic by Dr. H, and what patients can expect.
At the Clinic by Dr. H I do something revolutionary - I don’t tell people how to lose fat - I show them! It turns out telling patients to eat less and move more is universally ineffective. What works is getting people in a spa setting for two straight weeks and showing them every day:
- How hard to work out
- How long to work out
- How much to eat
- How often to eat
- Talking to a dietician
- Talking to a psychologist
- Planning an AT HOME schedule to facilitate proper nutrition and time for exercise
Not surprisingly, it takes weeks of practise to establish truly lasting lifestyle changes. Considering the increased quality - and quantity - of life, it's well worth the time.
You are well known for your surgical-free, drug free approach. Can you elaborate about it?
When clients begin to exercise and eat according to the Clinic by Dr. H formula, excess fat is lost, especially fat marbled around and inside their abdominal organs. Within days, a number of magic health transformations begin.
Without surgery and without drugs, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, oedema, fatty liver sleep apnoea, depression, asthma and low testosterone levels improve dramatically.