Friday, February 3, 2012

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Nope. Still haven’t been on the scale. Don’t feel bad about it, either.

Okay, big bold BRAVE step: I’m posting pictures (no snickering at the quality, please. It’s the best I can do on my own).  

I have two long-sleeved T shirts from the Sanitary Fish Market in Morehead City, NC (No, I don’t eat fish, but I know quality hush puppies and chicken when I find them). For years, they were too tight. I am pleased to be swimming in them today.

I cop to watching Dr. Oz at least 2-3 days per week. If you don’t know this guy, Mehmet Oz is the co-author of the “You: The Owner’s Manual, You: On a Diet, You: Staying Young, Me and You: And A Dog Named Boo” (okay, so that was a radio hit in the 70s, but it’s a fun song). Dr. Oz is a cardiac surgeon.  He, like Dr. Phil and Nate Berkus, is a protégé of Oprah, so his career had a turbo boost. And like Dr. Phil and Nate Berkus, Dr. Oz has a syndicated afternoon talk/information show that is supposed to be about health. Okay.

“The Dr. Oz Show” has been on the air since September 14,2009. According to Wikipedia, as of November 18,2011, he has recorded 400 episodes. (I haven’t done the math on how many since then). I’ve been tuning in since September 2011, usually with a notebook in hand.

Using his training and experience as a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Oz talks about a range of health issues and comes across as quite the authority.

He is Oz, the Great and Powerful.

Yesterday, I watched him, iron fist in velvet glove, beat up on Rosie O’Donnell about her weight. I have liked Rosie since I knew who she was. I loved her Stand-Up Spotlight on VH-1, her afternoon talk show was a lot of fun and she had some great stand-up. I made the mistake of paying to see “Exit to Eden” (and Rosie? I want a damned refund), but she was great in two of my favorites: “Sleepless in Seattle” and “A League of Their Own.” Even after the dust-ups over the Rosie magazine, the end of her show, the nasty comment by Donald Trump (because, apparently, he left his sense of humor in one of his international hotels), I still like Rosie. And she can still kill it with the Betty Rubble laugh.  Rosie has a new show on the OWN network and must have made a deal with the devil to come onto Oz’s show to promote it. I didn’t take notes, but there were leading questions, twisted answers and everything was geared toward making Rosie confess her “sins” of eating and how she’s changed everything due to her new girlfriend (after all the crap she went through to adopt kids and marry her first wife, it was a shame to see that the union didn’t stand).

He did something similar to Paula Deen last week, when she revealed that she has Type 2 diabetes.

A couple of months ago, he was high-fiving and encouraging Jennifer Hudson who has dropped a significant amount of weight and is happy as hell about it. She is the face of Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers is a “partner” with Dr. Oz. Interesting.

According to the good doctor today, he has done over 400 shows about weight loss. Also interesting. Probably includes his appearances on Oprah’s show.

And today’s magnum opus (“Great Work.” Not what you get when you cross Tom Selleck with a penguin): “Fat-urday: Cheat On Your Diet.”

Okay, I tuned in because I’d heard from him on the Mark & Brian radio program on this topic. The conventional wisdom is that reducing calorie intake causes your body to go into famine mode and slow down the metabolism. A couple of months ago, he’d said that a cheat day every now and then caused the body to get out of survivalist mode and turn the engines back on. Since I hadn’t taken notes while listening to the radio show (mostly because I’m working my day job during Mark & Brian), I figured I’d get some good info to share in this space.

What I got was pissed.

Right off the bat, he walks on stage and says “I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO CHEAT.”

Say what, Turkey?  I am American, 21 and nobody’s property, particularly yours. This is MY body and I don’t need NOBODY’S permission to do what I want with it; including abortions (for now).  

We have crossed the line from informational talk show to propaganda platform. Had he come out and said, “Good news: cheating on your diet can actually be good for you,” that would be a different matter. But nope, HE’S giving PERMISSION.

He had three women that cameras followed on their cheat day and their only guideline was “This day. Eat up and focus on your favorite stuff.” However, as they were indulging in their cheats, there was a calorie counter recording what they ate. This is your basic mixed message: eat what you want, but we’re going to keep track.

Apparently, their cheating wasn’t within the rules because he laid out a whole day’s worth of “appropriate” cheats with turkey bacon and other pale substitutes that only added up to 1400 calories and were consumed in a particular order. Really? On a day where the rules are supposed to be suspended, this seems particularly anal.  If I had been watching on my own TV set, I might have gone Elvis on his smug mug (The King was notorious for shooting TV sets).

Okay, fine, have a cheat day, but be smart about it and don’t binge.  And don’t have more than 1 per week.  There is a way to provide this information without granting permission or approval.

When he’s not talking about how overweight will kill you and therefore, Dr. Oz won’t love you anymore, he’s hawking anti-aging treatments. One of them today was for Argiriline cream as an alternative to Botox. He never mentioned the side effects: it reduces the movement of the muscles in your face and causes sagging. Even a link on his website (a Q & A section with input from other doctors) contradicted his endorsement of the cream.

Dr. Oz is as bad as any women’s magazine at increasing and exploiting female self-loathing for purposes of sales. In his case, Weight Watchers, various exercise gizmos and cosmetic dermatological procedures (not covered by insurance).  To me, this is bolstered that he was taking a “deprivation” approach to dieting. Suffer and sacrifice for the big man’s approval.
You're a mean one, Dr. Oz.

About a month ago, the advertising for a show was “the most under-performed surgical procedure” and “it cures Type II diabetes overnight.” Yes, I tuned in. I was curious. I thought it might be some kind of cutting edge (surgical pun) procedure involving the pancreas. No.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiac surgeon, was pushing gastric bypass surgery. With both hands. Again, nothing about side effects and risks, which you can find pretty easily on the Web. Again, not so much an informational show about health as it is promoting an agenda. Neutrality: he would have presented some of the risks as well.

I suppose it would behoove myself to stop watching the show (and if there’s a particularly good “Law & Order” repeat, I don’t watch him) because it is dawning on me that he’s promoting an agenda, selling books and products and fronting for Weight Watchers. He does provide some useful information: I’ve added some supplements to my diet that I believe have helped me feel better (argenine to promote the body’s production of Human Growth Hormone) and started using a sleep mask at night (So has my friend, Star and she’s told me it has made a great difference for her. We have the same day job, different companies and need good sleep so our brains can function properly).

Okay, so I have gotten SOME good from him, but I’m getting better info from

This Oz is actually about as great and powerful as the Wizard turned out to be.


  1. Amen to this one! I refuse to watch that man's show. All he does is make a (very lucrative) living off of convincing people they're about to drop dead at any moment if they are even slightly overweight or they poop wrong. He's a fear monger and a sell-out. No thanks.

  2. He bothers the Hell out of me, and that's a lot of Hell.

    But you had me at Magnum Opus. Superior.


Keep it civil.