I am living proof of this medical theory. When I began my makeover, I was in the 90th percentile for risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke. After changing what I ate and incorporating regular exercise into my routine (and losing 62 pounds in the process), my risk for those same diseases dropped to the normal range.
Another idea Dr. Ornish proposes, however, adds an additional dimension to getting fit. Perhaps like you, when I focus on losing weight, I typically review the food that I should avoid eating to keep from gaining weight--for example, chocolate cake and ice cream.
But Dr. Ornish encourages us to move beyond that mentality. Instead, he wants us to eat affirmatively--that is, eat food that nourishes our bodies:
"It's not just about what you exclude from your diet that's harmful, but also what you include that's beneficial. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and soy products are rich in substances that, in my opinion, can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease as well as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer."
The idea that we need to eat affirmatively for health purposes (and not just limit caloric intake) is a solid one that those of us who seek to lose weight need to incorporate into our approach to eating. Instead of grim dieting, we can adopt affirmative eating.
Photo courtesy of Rob Owen-Wahl