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Weight Off With the Early Show, Part 5

In part 5 of our "Weight Off" series with the Early Show, today is the last day in a week of profiles introducing six people who have agreed to allow our experts to monitor their weight-loss progress in our series.

Our sixth subject is 55-year-old Biff Henderson from New York, who many people may know from his job at the Late Show with David Letterman. Over the years, Biff's job as stage manager at the Late Show has expanded to regular on-air appearances. His current weight is 207 pounds. His weight-loss goal is to drop 20 pounds.

"I would be more than satisfied with that," says Biff regarding his weight-loss goal and adds, "I feel a little overweight--180 to 190 would feel better." Although Biff knows that at 5 foot 8 inches tall he should be at about 155 to 165, he has serious reservations about keeping to any weight-loss plan and concedes he might not necessarily be able to stick to the plan for the entire 8 weeks.

"It [the menu plan] looks kind of boring," confesses Biff. He also cites certain obligations or events he'll be attending, in the weeks to come, that potentially could interfere with the weight program.

In the past, Biff has had no concerns or issues with his weight. He claims a recent physical shows everything to be okay health-wise, although he admits he still has to have his cholesterol checked and is currently on blood pressure medication. As far as dieting, he's never been on a strict or regular diet -- explaining, "maybe I should lose weight, but I've never had any discomfort and never pursued it. I simply cut back on eating when I feel stuffed to lose 5 or 10 pounds."

Typically, Biff eats two meals a day, whether it's breakfast and dinner or lunch and dinner. Most often Biff eats out either for breakfast and lunch, and occasionally for dinner. A full breakfast includes foods like grits, potatoes, bacon, eggs, and milk. For lunch it's either a full sit-down meal or a super sandwich. Because of his work schedule, dinner is often eaten late--around 9:30 PM. His favorite dish is spaghetti. He also admits to snacking. "Whatever hits me," he says, and he continues, "sometimes a bag of chips, maybe a sandwich or fruit."

Regarding his worst eating habits, Biff claims, "I don't think I have any," but, "there's nothing I don't like to eat." And he adds, "I eat in chunks . . . whatever is there. I don't watch the portions--the more the merrier."

On exercise, Biff considers working on his feet as being active, as well as walking back and forth from the train station to work every day. He also plays sports like tennis and basketball, but not since he dislocated his shoulder.

In closing, according to Biff, the toughest part in keeping to the meal plan and achieving some results is his schedule. Biff reiterates, "I don't know if I'm ready for the diet itself . . . but I'll do my best."

Dr. Louis Aronne is director of the comprehensive weight control prograat New York Presbyterian Hospital and is our weight-loss expert for the series.

Aronne emphasizes a weight-loss plan is not about perfection and suggests some flexibility: "You want to bend, not break." In the case of Biff and others, who dine out often, Aronne says learning how to problem solve is key. In other words, look at the menu and make the best choices you can. They may not be perfect, but they will be better. For instance, avoid the bread, limit the alcohol, order a la carte, stay away from the super-size dinners, have a salad right away (with the dressing on the side), and do not become a member of the "Clean Off Your Plate Club."

For those volume eaters like Biff, fill yourself first with a soup, a salad, and vegetables. You'll feel fuller. Then have your protein and starches. According to Aronne, Biff would most certainly lose weight by eating low-fat meat or fish and simply cutting out bread, the starchy stuff, and desserts.

As for health issues, Aronne sas he believes Biff's weight and high blood pressure puts him at risk for diabetes. In fact, he has a 20-times-greater chance of getting diabetes. Biff's body mass index of 32 also means he's not just overweight but in the obese category.

And as we go into the weekend, the tip of the day is: "Have a small indulgence." That, explains Aronne, "is to have a little treat, not to binge," adding, "that means a little yogurt bar and not a big ice cream sundae . . . a Dixie cup instead of a pint."

The "Weight Off with the Early Show weight-loss plan is not a diet. Diets are short-term fixes. This plan is designed to stress long-term, reasonable weight loss through lifestyle adjustments (eating habits and exercise) that can be maintained over time. Over the 8 weeks our experts will provide the necessary tools needed to achieve that goal.

Meals on this plan are based on a nutrient breakdown of 29% protein, 26% fat, and 45% carbohydrates. Eating specific combinations of these three at every meal is what helps to curb the hunger that "dieters" often complain about. For men, there is an 1,800-calories-a-day plan. For women the recommended level is 1,200 calories.

The participants of our series have had physicals at the show's request. Aronne has studied the results of their blood work and electrocardiogram. Several, including Jake White, either exhibit present-day weight-related health issues or are at risk for future complications if current eating habits and lifestyle continue.

Click here to find out more about the "Weight-Off" program.
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