I’m Fat and it’s No Laughing Matter

Posted 08/19/2012 | By HealthCorps

His name is Richie Byrne and he is synonymous with, “Are you guys ready for Dr. Oz?” because he warms up the audience daily for the Dr. Oz show tapings. He got the gig three years ago when the show was just starting, and yes, he did think to himself, “Is my large girth in direct contrast to the mantra of the show?” He even admits to feeling a bit embarrassed because he is a sort of steward of the show, the first person the audience sees once they are seated for a taping and, well…….he is anything but a walking ad for healthy living. He’s a typical comedian, with long hours of work, lots of travel and frankly, loads of stress – all a perfect formula for over-eating, eating late at night, eating fast food and eating to manage anxiety. Interestingly enough, he has always exercised, doing some form of a cardiovascular workout most days of the week. He admits to never committing to weight training and also acknowledges that the exercise has merely helped him to avoid extreme obesity, but has not prevented weight gain. He simply eats too much.

What was his most recent wake up call? When Richie went to a Health Expo in Chicago with Dr. Oz, about a year and a half ago. Richie was host of this extraordinary experience that provided screenings and other healthcare opportunities to individuals who had not been seen by doctors for years. Many were financially challenged, had lost jobs, had no insurance coverage for years, or had simply stopped taking care of themselves. Since Richie himself was overweight, show producers decided to let him participate in a “screening of five,” measuring 5 important health parameters – weight, waist size, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. The numbers were not good. In fact, Dr. Oz used the moment to strongly suggest (he did not yell) that Richie lose some weight. Richie decided it was time to face his size and face the associated health risks, and he proceeded to lost 20 pounds. Then he made the mistake that many dieters make. He thought, “I’ve got this – I am in control – I’ve got this excess weight conquered.” He proceeded to gain the 20 pounds back.

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