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Weight Off with the Early Show, Part 10

As we continue our Weight-Off series, we take a look at 55-year-old participant Biff Henderson from New York. Biff weighed 207 pounds at the start of the program, and he's lost 10 pounds. His goal is to lose 20 pounds.

Biff Henderson has been playing catch-up because he had only just started on the plan 3 or 4 days after the other five participants when we saw him last. Since April, Biff says he's lost about 10 pounds and feels quite good about it. "When I get on the scale at home in the morning, I'm about 197 pounds and then when I come home in the evening, I'm about 198 pounds, so that's about a 10-pound loss. I feel different."

Biff says he still gets bouts with a little bit of hunger now and then. "I still feel like I need to get something to eat."

As David Letterman's stage manager, Biff's job can take him far from the old Ed Sullivan Theater where the Letterman show is taped. He often finds himself in small towns where healthy foods are not exactly prominent on the menu.

"I was in Maine and dining out on the road. Well, you can't always find something healthy," says Biff. "I tried to work around the diet. What I found was I didn't lose any additional weight. I maintained, instead of gained. I did and do what I can to avoid the worrisome eating situations these days. Being out of town when you don't have control of your eating situations can be hard."

The simple fact that Biff even thought twice about working around the diet while dining out says a lot. Biff is a man who loves food, who before this weight-loss plan rarely turned anything down. "At restaurants I ate anything I felt like--Chinese food, Indian food, and coffee-shop stuff. If I was in the mood for meat loaf or potatoes then that would be what I would have."

A glass or two of wine (if not more at times) was also standard fare. Biff hasn't given up the wine, but he has altered his frequency of consumption.

In general, Biff says he has found that his mind is now in control of his eating in a way that it hasn't been before.

Our expert, Dr. Louis Aronne, an obesity specialist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and director of the comprehensive weight control program there, says that mind control is one tool he would like to see all weight-loss participants learning to use. When the mind helps to regulate food choices and consumption, navigating the world of restaurant eating--where one does not have total control over food preparation--becomes a little easier.

"There are no limits to any cuisine," says Aronne. "It's just important to make some conscious decisions before you arrive at dinner."

Aronne says the Weight-Off plan is not about deprivation: It's a lifestyle change that requires some thought. Preparation is key, especially with restaurant dining. "What happens often is, people who want to eat out at restaurants starve themselves all day and then arrive at the restaurant famished," says Aronne. "They then consume all their daily caories in one late meal. And that's not good. Starving the body all day forces a slowing of the metabolism and puts the body in conservation mode."

It is far better not to skip meals. What is even better is to have a healthy snack before dining out so hunger is curbed while the meal is being prepared.

Dr. Aronne offers this game plan:

  1. Don't skip meals on the day you plan to dine out.
  2. Have a small healthy snack before leaving for the restaurant so as to curb your hunger and not overeat.
  3. Avoid at all cost the bread and butter. Every slice of Italian bread is about 100 calories. You easily cut out 300 to 500 calories by forgoing this table staple.
  4. Exercise portion control. Leave some food on the plate or take the extra home in a "doggie bag."
  5. Limit alcohol. Alcohol derails a healthy eating plan by making you hungrier and adds unnecessary calories. If you must drink, eat first and then order the wine. Here's another note: Dry wie and dry champagne have fewer calories than the sweeter varieties.
  6. Have dessert if you must, but share it with a friend. One scoop of vanilla ice cream is just 150 calories. Apple pie contains three times as many calories. Sorbet can be high in calories (yet low in fat) so eat less than what you are served.
  7. Choose fish, chicken, or turkey for a main entree. Order special sauces on the side. Order salad dressings on the side as well.
  8. There are books on the market that provide comparative information to assist people in their quest to dine out healthfully. One such book that will be listed on the CBS Web site is The Restaurant Companion: A Guide to Healthier Eating Out by Hope S. Warshaw, MMSc, RD.

Tip of the Day



"Limit alcohol Intake when dining out":
Alcohol derails your healthy eating plan by making you hungrier and adding unnecessary calories.

The average weight loss so far is 15.33 pounds among our six participants, and here is a breakdown:


  • Fort Worth, Texas: Rita Clinkscales, 17 pounds; Vonne Velez, 13 pounds
  • Los Angeles, California: Aishia Mester, 10 pounds
  • New York City, New York: Biff Henderson, 10 pounds
  • Orlando, Florida: Jake White, 19 pounds
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: Greg Shipp, 23 pounds

Biff Henderson says his clothing has really begun to fit differently and people have commented that they've noticed he's dropped a few pounds. He gets nothing but support from his colleagues at the Late Show. "Why would they want to give me a hard time?" Biff says. "They know who they're dealing with."
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