Eating Well: Weight Loss - #107

BURT WOLF: Weight control. It's a serious concern for 60 percent of the people in North America. So let's visit the world's largest health spa, and discover the techniques that really work. We'll play along with legendary tennis champion, Pancho Segura, and let him serve up his recipe for good health, and we'll get the word on sensible weight control from Brooke Shields.

Join me, Burt Wolf, Eating Well for Weight Control.


These days about 150 million Americans are on some kind of a weight control program, including me. There's a theory that all of these programs can be divided into two groups. The first is usually directed towards men. There's a kind of a heroic and romantic quality to it. It calls for a rediscovery of your youth, an ability to find your original strength, in terms of self-control. 

The guy who first put this pitch forward was an Italian who lived in Venice during the 1500's. He wrote a book about what he ate and drank, and claimed that it helped him rediscover the strength of his youth. It was a best-seller of the time, and he kept on telling his story over and over again, until he died at the ripe old age of 91. He was kind of the Jack LaLanne of the 1500's. His name was Luigi Cornado of Venice, and here he is trying to look reawakened and rejuvenated.

The second approach to weight control was for many years directed primarily towards women. It's much more scientific. It's about weighing and measuring, recording and control. It's the basis of many of our most successful weight loss programs today. It was also introduced by an Italian of the 15th century. He lived in Padua, and appears to have spent much of his life sitting on a giant scale recording his weight, as well as the weight of everything he ate and drank. And his name was Santorio Santorio. 

Something very special must have been going on in Italy in those days, because that place and that time produced the two original weight watchers.


During the past few years, however, the reawakening school for men, and the measuring school for women have blended together into a well-rounded comprehensive approach. Men are now equally involved in measuring and weighing, and women are reawakening and rediscovering their youth. This new approach to weight control is at the center of the programs of many of America's spas.

The idea of the spa, a place to relax, get your body and mind into shape, and cleanse yourself of the pollutants of society has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Romans had mineral springs, and they loved them. They were fascinated by the idea that the waters came up hot out of the center of the earth. And because the water contains so much salt, you were more buoyant when you sat in them. You felt lighter, and that contributed to the idea of rejuvenation The ancient Roman soldiers loved the spas. They thought that after a good battle there was nothing like coming home and sitting in the bathtub for a couple of days.

The word "spa" goes back about 2000 years, and there are spas that actually go back over 3000 years. At one point in time, a Roman legion was marching home from northern Europe, came to small Belgian village for the night, and while they were there, discovered that the village had the same kind of mineral springs that they had back in Rome. 


The word was passed along, and the town became a common resting place for Roman troops who needed to recover their strength after a battle. The name of the Belgian town was Spa. 

Eventually the world's mineral springs became valuable commercial properties with magnificent resorts built around them. But the basic objective has not changed. People still come to a spa to be restored between battles.


During the 1880's, a man named John Frasier discovered a mineral spring just outside of San Diego, California, and began to develop the area as a spa. Today it's the home of one of the world's most famous spas, LaCosta.


It's an amazing facility with a 36-hole championship golf course, eight restaurants, a complete collection of exercise equipment, and the people to help you decide which program is best for you. And 23 tennis courts, with the world-famous Pancho Segura as the pro.

Pancho Segura is one of the great superstars in the history of tennis. He was born in Ecuador, and began his tennis career in the early 40's. He's won two world professional championships, and three U.S. pro doubles championships. Besides being a legendary player, Pancho is also a top coach, as evidenced by his prize pupil, Jimmy Connors.

Now in his 70's, he presides over the tennis program at the LaCosta resort. He's a man of such awesome compassion and understanding that he's taking time to teach me how to play tennis.

I don't know if I have the strength.


PANCHO SEGURA: Beautiful. All right, one more, there. All right!

BURT WOLF: (LAUGHS) For a man who only associates nets with fish and thought that tennis elbow was a new shape for macaroni, Pancho says I did okay. 


When you were a kid, what food did you like?

PANCHO SEGURA: Oh, in my day, you know, that goes back a few years, I was a steak eater, meat eater, in those days because if you ate meat, you... you... God, you'd be stronger, that's what you were told. And I did... I was... I ate a lot of meat. You know, I was lucky, I used to go to Argentina, and they had great steaks there.'s different, you know, as you know, so I'm eating more fish and a lot of chicken. And... and my wife likes a lot of vegetable, and she... luckily she's a great cook.

BURT WOLF: Have you ever had trouble controlling your weight?

PANCHO SEGURA: Oh, yes. And as you grow older, it seems to be, like ... we don't exercise as ... as much, as you eat just as much, your obligations, and you eat the wrong foods. Consequently you put on weight.

BURT WOLF: What's your favorite meal? If you could have anything you wanted.

PANCHO SEGURA: Well, I like Italian food. I like a lot of Italian food. I like pasta very much. I'm crazy about it, in fact. We got a... good chef here at LaCosta, he's preparing a great dish, the pasta and scallops, and it's got ...that... this is delicious.

BURT WOLF: I'm ready to eat.




BURT WOLF: A key part of Pancho staying in great shape is physical activity. Keep moving, especially if it's into the kitchen to get Chef Helmut Lueck's recipe for Pancho's favorite dish of pasta and scallops.

A little canola oil goes into a saute pan to heat up. Then four scallops are cooked for a minute or two on each side. As soon as they're done, they're removed and held aside in a warm spot. A couple of cloves of chopped garlic go back into the original pan, plus a few tablespoons of chopped shallots or onion. A tomato gets chopped and added to the pan, plus a half cup of canned tomatoes, and two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil. Then the zest of an orange is removed.

The zest of any citrus fruit is the thin outside skin. It's filled with oils that give the fruit its characteristic smell. It's a great way to add flavor to a dish without adding any calories. But make sure you just use that thin outside skin. Right underneath is white connective tissue that's very bitter. You just want to add the zest to your life.

Then the juice of half an orange goes in. Everything cooks for a few minutes, during which time a quarter pound of angel hair pasta is cooked, drained and added to the tomatoes. The pasta goes onto a serving plate, the scallops go into the center, and there's a garnish of fresh basil and mushrooms. 

That's just the kind of good tasting, nutritionally balanced recipe that's giving spa food a good reputation . And these days, much of the credit is due to members of the American Dietetic Association, like Kathy Hall.

Kathy Hall is the head dietician at LaCosta. She's developed the nutritional programs, recipes and menus that have put thousands of people on the road to eating well. She shows you how to use your head when it comes to controlling your weight, and that's why she's the head dietician.

KATHY HALL: One thing I tell everybody is that diet is a four-letter word. And the minute I tell someone you're on a diet, they are waiting for the day to be off that diet. So don't ever think about being on a diet, it's lifestyle changes. The best tip that I can give you is if you're a breakfast skipper, you need to start eating breakfast. There are some studies that show that if you're skipping breakfast to hold the calories back for lunch and dinner, you're setting yourself up to gain seven to ten pounds in the next year.


KATHY HALL: Surprise, surprise. So, breakfast is the fire that gets your metabolic furnace going for the whole day, so that you can burn up the calories from lunch and dinner more efficiently if you're eating breakfast than if you're skipping breakfast.

BURT WOLF: What should I include in my breakfast when I'm on a weight loss diet?

KATHY HALL: Well, it's not coffee and grilled Danish, and it's not donuts. It's... something that's a complex carbohydrate, and a real simple definition for complex carbohydrate is something that comes from a plant. So it would be cereal, that's whole grain. It could be wholewheat toast, a bran muffin. It could be fruit, like we have beautiful fresh fruit Complex carbohydrate. You also need low-fat protein. So that would be non-fat milk, maybe skim milk on your cereal. Non-fat yogurt. Maybe some low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, something that's a protein. And then you need vitamin C. Vitamin C comes from fruits, comes from grapefruit, orange juice, strawberries. Any of those types of things. So it's complex carbohydrate, low-fat protein, and vitamin C.

Another thing is counting the grams of fat rather than counting calories. So ... if you.. .if you're a woman and you're trying to lose weight, we would recommend 20 to 30 grams of fat per day. If you're a man, it should be 30 to 40 grams of fat per day.

So now if I gave you the choice of a banana and said it's 100 calories with no grams of fat, or two chocolate chip cookies for 40 calories, but seven grams of fat, it makes a difference. You would choose the banana, even though it's 100 calories. It doesn't have any grams of fat, and it would be burned up immediately. Whereas the chocolate chip cookies have five or six grams of fat in them, and they would stay with your system for a longer time. 



BURT WOLF: Fat goes right to the fat spots.

KATHY HALL: That's right.

BURT WOLF: Other helpful hints.

KATHY HALL: Believe it or not, the simplest thing is drinking more water. People run around in a dehydrated state all day long, and your body needs water in order to increase those fat-burning enzymes. So if you're not drinking eight glasses of water a day, and those are eight ounce glasses, so that's 64 ounces a day, you're in a dehydrated state, and you're not burning up the fat as efficiently as if you were be hydrated with the extra water. 

BURT WOLF: Tell me about the benefits of exercise.

KATHY HALL: Exercise is one of the most wonderful things for weight loss. It's the first thing that I tell people to do when they're trying to lose weight, even though I'm a dietician, and I talk about diet. Exercise is really the number one thing. It helps to increase the fat-burning enzymes. When it's aerobic exercise, you're taking in oxygen, and the fat-burning enzymes need the oxygen. And it's fun.

BURT WOLF: What can I do to keep exercise interesting? I'm always hearing about the excitement of exercise, and this energy high that everybody reaches. It does not happen for me. Sometimes this is painful and boring.

KATHY HALL: Mmm. Well, you know, I like to tell a story about when we were kids, and exercise was so fun because we'd wait all day for recess. And then when we had recess, that was the best part of the day. Somewhere along the line as we be... have become adults, it's not fun any more. You don't see people running with a smile on their face and whistling a tune. One of the things that I find that helps is if you can do it with a friend. Find somebody who appreciates exercise, or maybe someone who you don't have time to talk to during the day, and you can go and exercise together, and you've got 30 minutes of talking with that friend. That really seems to help.

The other thing that I have really found is that it increases your sense of well-being. If you're a person who tends to really drop down in your energy level in the afternoon, maybe around three or four in the afternoon, and someone tells you grab a Snickers bar. If instead you would go out for a brisk walk, or maybe jump on a... a bike or start on your rowing machine, or jump some rope, something like that, your energy level will pick up, and you'll have a lot more energy for the rest of the tasks in the afternoon.

BURT WOLF: We're going to go in the kitchen and cook the spa vegetarian chili with brown rice.

KATHY HALL: Vegetarian chili is one of the best items. People are always asking for the recipe for our vegetarian chili. And one of the side benefits is that it's very full of fiber. It's low in fat, it has a protein source that's not from an animal, so there's no cholesterol in it, and it makes you feel full when you're done eating it.

BURT WOLF: And here's how it's prepared by Spa chef Christopher Wood. 

An empty saucepan is set over medium to high heat. No oil in it, nothing. Then in goes a half cup each of diced onion, diced celery, carrots, red and green bell peppers, and a tablespoon of chopped garlic. All of that is dry-sauteed, just stir everything around. The moisture being released from the vegetables will be enough. After about five minutes, a cup of low sodium tomato juice goes in. Then the heat goes up to bring everything to a boil. The ingredients cook down for another five minutes. A half cup of diced tomato goes in, skin on, which increases the fiber of the dish. Then a little white pepper, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, and a tablespoon of chili powder. Then a cup of pre-cooked kidney beans, and cup of pre-cooked garbanzo beans, or any other bean that you like. Heat everything through, spoon the chili into a soup plate, strips of tofu, a little cilantro, and it's served with brown rice.

Brown rice is brown because the bran layer on the outside has not been polished off, exposing the white layer underneath. The bran layer gives it a tan color, a nice chewy texture, and a pleasant nutty flavor. Brown rice has about 90 calories in a half cup serving. It's low in fat and low in sodium. Like all grains it's totally free of cholesterol, but it's a good source of vitamin E, protein, phosphorus and riboflavin, and it has more fiber than white rice.

Research has shown that rice bran can help reduce your cholesterol levels, which is a good reason to get brown rice into your diet on a regular basis.

Brooke Shields is one of the world's most sought-after models. Because her physical well-being has been at the center of her occupation, she has spent a considerable amount of time studying the relationships among good food, good health and exercise.

 BROOKE SHIELDS: It's either innate, or maybe it's just... by osmosis or something from society, that you always want to be better, so it's... I'm constantly wanting to be ... leaner or stronger, or... and it's...on a daily basis. So... but it's not just one area, it doesn't mean just exercising, or just eating a certain way, it's a... sort of a total mind frame that you have to keep yourself in.

BURT WOLF: What do you do to keep your weight in line?

BROOKE SHIELDS: If I feel like I want to lose, say, a few pounds, I will cut...cut the meals and... cut meals in half, say. So eat three meals a day, but don't snack in between meals. Eat smaller meals. 

I would never go crazy and eat just... pineapple for a week, or... or do something like that. I mean, there's... you have to keep... I find that I'm much better off keeping a nutritional... nutritionally balanced meal.

And....and just couple it with a great deal of exercise.

BURT WOLF: Vegetables are Brooke's favorite food. Accordingly, Chef Adam Odogard of New York's Peninsula Hotel has prepared a mold of marinated vegetables. The vegetables were sliced and marinated in a lemon vinaigrette dressing for 24 hours. A serving plate gets a decoration of pesto sauce, and a sauce made by pureeing cooked yellow peppers. A circular mold sits in the center of the dish. If you don't have a mold, a coffee can will do just as well. And in goes slices of green zucchini, mushrooms, yellow zucchini, spinach, red and yellow peppers, and tomatoes. Finally there's a decoration of zucchini, carrot and cucumber balls. The mold is removed and it's ready to go.

BROOKE: All right, it stayed.

CHEF ODEGARD: It stays quite well.

BURT WOLF: Low in fat, but high in complex carbohydrates, and good taste.


Specialists at the LaCosta Lifestyle Center feel that the way to deal with many diseases is to prevent them, and they feel that diet and exercise are the key techniques.

Dr. Gordon Reynolds is a leading authority on the subject, and the medical director of LaCosta.

DR. GORDON REYNOLDS: The majority of people in the United States have a real problem with their weight.

BURT WOLF: How did we get into this spot?

DR. REYNOLDS: Well, it's true, we have become the fattest nation in the world, and I think it has developed more in the last decade or two. We actually know statistically that people are eating less but gaining more, so that should tell us something. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released figures that support that. So we need to look at our lifestyle. For one thing, we have decreased our activity for the most part. We no longer labor vis... vigorously. Only about eight percent of people over age 65 exercise regularly. That means at least three days a week. Only about 36 percent of people in general exercise regularly. If we look at our P.E. programs in the schools, they aren't anything like they used to be. So I think that's a factor.

From a nutritional standpoint ... we have done many things to our diet since, say, the turn of the century. We've increased our fat intake, and that's probably the most sig...significant thing, from about 20 to 25 percent up to 40 to 45 percent of our diet. We have decreased our fiber intake. We have decreased our complex carbohydrate intake remarkably. We've increased the refined foods, particularly sugar, which has a direct cause of..of obesity as well. So I think these are the things that we can actually identify that account for this. 

BURT WOLF: What about stress and its role in overweight?

DR. REYNOLDS: We live with stress. That's part of ... of all of us, so we...we..we... we deal with stress daily. And as long as we manage stress, that's no real problem. People thrive on it. It's when we either suppress it, deny it, mismanage it, then we get into troubles. Then the... then it's distress, it's no longer stress. It's distress which causes disease. So it''s how we look at it, and too often we find ... For instance, the executives that come here on.. on our program to change their risk factors, they're in a state of denial because it's not very macho in a CEO's position to say, hey, I've got stress. Better to put it down and...and deny it, even though I can see them sitting around in the classroom drumming their fingers on the side of the... (LAUGHS) of the chair, or they're tapping their foot, or you can see their jaw clenching. And you know they're not... they're not recognizing that. If you point it out, they don't know they're even doing that. 

So we're in a's.. it's like an alcoholic, it's sort of a denial. So we need to get it out and say, let's be a little more introspective. Let's look at ourselves a little bit and see... are we...are we managing this stuff at work or at home, or wherever the stress is. And it's no big deal to recognize it, because it's not that hard to get rid of, but you have to be honest with yourself.

BURT WOLF: Are you finding that stress leads to overeating?

DR. REYNOLDS: Indeed. You know, we're taught as children to satisfy all our... all our moods or needs with food. If you cry you get fed. You know, you do this, get your tonsils out, you're going to get ice cream. You know (LAUGHS), everything is...relates to rewards food. So I think when we're stressed, when we got a feeling we don't really know what to do with, the best thing to do with that feeling is go and op.. open the refrigerator, find some fast foods, stuff it. And then, of course, that lasts for 30 seconds or a few minutes at the most, but nonetheless, we're doing something for it, because we really aren't recognizing the real cause.

BURT WOLF: In general, what are the most successful techniques for weight control?

DR. REYNOLDS: Exercise and discipline. That's the most important thing is to know what kind of exercise you need, what aerobic exercise really is, how you burn fat, and then you go from there and build the other things.

The second thing is, you don't have to really deny yourself anything. It's eating smart. It's being intelligent. Know what foods are going to cause you to get fat. Because it isn't calories. I think that's the most important thing and the most difficult thing we have to get rid of is the idea that calories are the important thing. It isn't. It's the kind of food. We know that fat grams, or fat calories, and..and refined food is the name of the game. I don't care if they have 2000 or 2500 calories, if they're complex carbohydrates, if they eat the more carrots and the celery and the potatoes and all those things, and don't put bad things on them, you're not going to gain weight, because the body has a very... difficult time converting complex carbohydrates into fat. They prefer just... if you got excess, it's going to burn it off in heat, not really going to put it into fat. It's fat that goes into fat. Very efficiently.

BURT WOLF: So true. The fat that you eat heads for the fat in your body, and just makes itself to home.


Following the instructions of Dr. Reynolds, I will move briskly across the grounds to the kitchen, and whip up a recipe that is low in fat, high in protein, and packed with complex carbohydrates. Fish with bell peppers.

A boneless, skinless piece of sea bass halibut, or other white, firm-fleshed fish, is given a light seasoning of pepper, flour, and set into a pan of hot vegetable oil. Two minutes of cooking, a gentle flip, and two minutes more. Then into a bowl of seasoned bread crumbs to give one side of the fish a complete coating. The fish goes into a new pan, breaded side up, and into a 375 degree oven for eight to ten minutes to finish off the cooking. While the fish is cooking, a vegetable sauce is prepared A little vegetable oil goes into a pan, some chopped garlic, a sliced onion, strips of red, green and yellow peppers, slices of black olives, and a teaspoon of capers. Capers are actually the flower buds of a plant that grows in countries around the Mediterranean Sea. The best flavor comes from the teeniest variety. Finally some chopped tomato, a little parsley, cover and cook for a few minutes. Then the vegetable sauce goes onto the plate, and the fish on top.

We want this spiced apple cake for dessert. There's 50 calories in a slice. But I can’t eat just one.


 So we're on the road again. I need to cover three miles in 45 minutes, which is the speed I'm walking right now. That'll burn up about 200 calories, which will let me eat about four slices of the cake. And that doesn't even count the calories that I've burned up cooking the cake

Sixteen ounces of unsweetened applesauce is mixed together with a red apple and a green apple that have been chopped up into small pieces. A teaspoon of vanilla extract goes in, four egg whites, and a half cup of raisins. A second bowl is used to mix the dry ingredients together. Two cups of wholewheat flour, a cup of fructose sugar, or regular white sugar, if you don't have fructose, and a tablespoon of baking powder. Then the wet ingredients are combined with the dry ingredients. Finally two teaspoons of cinnamon, and one of nutmeg. A jelly roll pan, or other baking pan, is given a light coating of vegetable spray. The batter is spread out into the pan, and then the pan goes into a 325 degree fahrenheit oven for 30 to 35 minutes. But how do the pros know when a cake is done?

CHEF: The first way is just insert a toothpick in the middle, and when you pull it out and there's no crumbs on the end, then it's done. The second way is when you press firmly on the middle of the cake, and the cake springs back. That's another way to tell when it's finished cooking.

The third way is when you look around the edges of the pan and the cake has pulled in from the sides of the pan, that means all the moisture has baked out of the cake.

BURT WOLF: There's a fourth way that's also very dependable. When it's all been eaten.

The recipe is very low in fat and totally free of ingredients that contain cholesterol. There are about 50 calories in a two by two piece, along with the rich and sweet taste.


Back on the move again. Keep that body in motion. Try not to let the comforts of a sedentary lifestyle stand in your way. And remember what we have seen and heard here about good food, good health and a good lifestyle.


Breakfast. It's very important. It starts your body's furnace and prepares your system so it burns up the calories that you take in during the rest of the day. If you start skipping breakfast to lose weight, research shows that you will probably gain ten pounds during the next year. A proper breakfast includes whole grain breads or cereals, low-fat dairy products, and fresh fruit or juice. 

Exercise. It's critical to weight loss. Without a regular exercise program, at least three times each week, safe and permanent weight loss is almost impossible.

Watch your intake of fat. How much fat you eat or don't eat is more important for your health and your weight control than your total calories. You're better off eating a banana with 100 calories and no fat than two chocolate chip cookies with 50 calories and five grams of fat. It's the fat that does you in, not the calories.

And get in that exercise. Drink lots of water. Ideally eight cups each day. And exercise. Small changes can give big results. Cutting out a little pat of margarine every day can reduce your weight by five pounds in a year. And don't forget to exercise

If you're overweight you probably took plenty of time to put it on. Give yourself plenty of time to take it off. A two-pound loss each week is the proper goal.

And exercise. 

That's Eating Well for Weight Control. Please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for something that tastes good and is good for you, too. I'm Burt Wolf.