August 2014 | Dr. Stephen Gullo

Monthly Archives: August 2014

Should We Take Supermodel Food Chatter with a Grain of Salt?

By | Junk Food | No Comments


From Alessandra Ambrosio presiding over a plate of French fries to Chrissy Teigen scarfing tacos and pizza, there’s been a recent spate of social media spreads featuring supermodels sharing their gastronomic excesses. The popular magazine Life and Style posted a compilation of the world’s most beautiful women chowing down on their favorite guilty pleasures. Of course, these photos leave the rest of us wondering how it’s possible these gorgeous gals, whose livelihoods depend on their looks, manages to stay trim and stunning despite gobbling mounds of unhealthy, high-calorie food. The more cynical among us might dare to ask: Are they really subsisting on a steady diet of pizza, French fries, and ice cream, or are they pulling the wool over our eyes and being less than upfront about what they really eat.



Model and actress Kate Upton, who’s gone from the pages of the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition” to modeling for Victoria’s Secret, has made no secret of her love of fattening food. In one fast food commercial, Upton sweats over her spicy jalapeno burger while daintily removing her clothing to reveal a near perfect physique. Upton told Vogue Magazine that she only eats “anything that flies or swims.” In fact, it’s been rumored that some of her friends had to stage an intervention because the Minnesota-born beauty had gained too much weight to model. In a 2012 video posted by the blog Pop 2 It, Upton visibly has a little extra flesh under the chin.

On the other hand, it’s also been reported that Upton follows a strict “low-carb, sugar-free diet,” eschews processed foods and typically works out for an hour every day with a personal trainer. When she isn’t posing with mega burgers, Kate might eat some oatmeal for breakfast and salad for lunch, paired with lean protein like fish, chicken, or turkey. Aside from her favorite spicy burgers, Upton typically avoids red meat. For dinner, she often selects sushi.

Upton credits this strict regimen for helping get her body camera ready for a bikini scene in the big screen romantic-comedy “The Other Woman.”


Upton’s supermodel colleague Giselle Bundchen, who was discovered at a McDonald’s in her native Brazil and was recently photographed slurping Coke and munching on pizza, is also known to follow a strict 1600-a-day diet program and strenuous exercise regimen to keep her 5’ 11,” body model trim. Bundchen, who has two children with her Canton-bound QB husband Tom Brady, once famously derided legions of women who “get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals.” In all likelihood the coke-swilling, pizza munching Gisele is an anomaly (or a staged photo for you cynics) since it would be awfully hard to stay slim and sexy, particularly after two children, while loading up on a steady diet of sugary soft drinks and high calorie food.


One supermodel who seems to buck the low calorie, rigorous exercise trend is Sport Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Chrissy Teigen. The 28-year-old Utah native regularly takes to social media to post pictures of food porn and has confessed to a weakness for tacos and pizza. “I have a fryer on both coasts. I really couldn’t live without them,” she said in an interview with Business Insider. In fact, the bikini-baring beauty, who runs the popular food blog So Delushious, and has her own Cooking Channel show, Chrissy Teigen’s Hungry, answered one Reddit user’s question about her slim physique by saying “I work out very hard for a very brief period of time before a shoot. Maybe a week before and then never again until the next one.”


Chrissy Teigen Talks Model Diets, Thai Food and Travel | Potluck Video



A Big Universe Or A Small Village?

By | Behavioral Nutrition, How To Lose Weight, Smart Strategy, What The Winners Do | No Comments


You can’t avoid food situations. They’re a part of everyday life, even if you’re living the life of a hermetic monk in uninhabited stretch of desert. In restaurants, family gatherings, sporting events, holiday parties, holidays, business meetings, shopping, commuting to work–there’s no way to avoid them. Yet, for all the different situations we’re likely to encounter, there’s an amazing amount of predictably in what we can expect to encounter.

What do I mean by this? Most people, even the heaviest among us, rely on the same assortment of foods. It sound strange, but it’s true. Even in our 24-hour food environment, where we can buy almost anything at any time, the great majority of people eat the same meats, the same vegetables, the same fruits, and the same snack foods. Look at you own life. Take a moment and write down what you eat everyday. You’ll see that you seldom stray outside the limits of our favorite foods. Marital infidelity may be a problem in this country but food fidelity is not, apparently. If only we could marry turnip or head of broccoli.


Perhaps not coincidentally, most eating occurs in just a few situations, even with the advent of secondary eating: the home, in the workplace, at restaurants, in other people’s homes, when traveling, on vacation, and at celebratory or recreational events.

Clearly, the realm of food is not a world, but a small village.


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As such, the scenarios come up again and again. You’ll face the same temptations, and be vexed by the same cravings. But no matter how outmanned or overwhelmed you may feel, you’ll see that there is another, powerful truth at work: You’ve seen it all, and probably tasted it all. But there is very little new you’ll encounter today or any day in the world of food. This why it’s always a bit amusing to hear someone tell me they feel deprived if they can’t have a certain food. I remind patients that there are billions of people who’ve never even tasted the food you can’t live without.

But if our food choices and food situations seldom vary, why are we heavier now that at anytime in our nation’s history? Simply, we ignore the distinct and predictable food patterns and behaviors that keep leading us down the road to dietary perdition. Indeed, the diet a person follows is secondary to success at weight control. How else to explain how people can keep switching from diet to diet, year after year, not to mention the success, albeit brief, of the great majority of diet programs? The most important variable for success isn’t the diet you follow but the strategies you employ. This is what the entire diet field is missing. It’s not the food, but how you behave in the presence of food that determines success or failure. Perhaps this is why the esteemed health journalist Tara Parker Pope commented that “if sticking with a diet were so easy, so many of us wouldn’t be fat.”

To overcome the powerful biological, environmental and physiological forces that chip away at our commitment, even among the most obdurate dieters, determination and an iron will are not enough. What we need is strategy. Strategy is stronger than willpower.


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Fortunately, there’s literally a strategy for each and food situation we’re likely to encounter. And just like a piano player masters the skill of his craft, we can develop our skills so our responses become automatic instead of constant, demoralizing struggle that drains our resolve. Strategy will not only help you achieve diet success but more importantly, can help you keep that weight off for years to come.

Though strategies vary person to person, and situation to situation,my program of behavioral nutrition shares the following seven underlying core principles:

• Food History-If it’s true that the key to a “lean” future can be found in your dietary past, then food history, the “GPS” of weight control, is proof that even in a world of millions of foods, there are only a handful that are at the root of most weight problems. Thus, food history is a true crystal ball that can predict which foods and food situations will lead to cravings, loses of control and weight gain. But food history isn’t about deprivation. On the contrary, it liberates people from the belief that they must give up their favorite foods to achieve their weight loss goals. Want proof? Hundreds of patients dine nightly at the finest restaurants, lose weight and most importantly, keep it off.

• Food Desensitization-By using techniques culled from the world of advertising, I’ve been privileged to help thousands anesthetize themselves to the foods that undo the efforts at weight control. With food desensitization you can learn how to fortify yourself against any food temptation.

• Containment-A sure fire wire to turn your slip ups into successes and do with the feelings of guilt and shame that plague the majority of dieters

• Keeping the Taste and Pleasure Without the Calories-If a food doesn’t taste good, you won’t stick with it, no matter how much weight you lose over the long run. Thus, enjoying your favorite food (s) is critical for success. Fortunately, there are now thousands of great tasting low calorie alternatives to most people’s favorite foods, and an equal number of recipes and food preparation techniques, many of which you’ll discover as a subscriber to, that will help preserve the joy and pleasure of eating with guilt and excess calories. Remember, if you don’t enjoy what you’re eating you’ve al but guaranteed that you will fail.

• Breaking Through Food Baby Talk-The food talk we learned as children no longer serves us as adults. The winners at weight control replace their “food baby talk” with new phrases, thoughts,values and ideas that work in world of food and can help anyone overcome the feeling that they’re being deprived–the number #1 cause of failure on all diets.

• The New Scale for Dieting-Anyone can measure his or her weight. But how do you measure the thinking, behavior, and attitudes that ultimately determine success or failure at weight control? You use the New Scale for Dieting, the only surefire way to predict in advance whether you’ll gain weight and best tool for helping avoid the critical mistakes that lead to weight gain.

• Junking the “junk” science of “all foods in moderation”-This ubiquitous diet mantra hasn’t just tanked, it’s but led tens of millions to failure. How, as an example, is it possible that thousands of ‘diet experts’ can teach “all foods in moderation” when in matters of pleasure and passion all of human history is a testimony to human excess? It’s an obvious but often overlooked fact: Those who could live by “all foods in moderation” would have no need of the diet field! It’s not that you can’t have a certain food. You can have anything you want. But you may never have the life you want if you constantly return to foods you have a long history of abusing.







Fattening Summer Treats to Avoid

By | Food List | No Comments
Woman Eating Ice Cream Bar

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As summers go, 2014 has been mild, especially in the Northeast U.S., which just two years ago experienced the hottest year on record, and a historic drought that wrecked havoc on hundreds of counties across the country.

The comparatively cool temperatures haven’t had much effect on our summer appetites however, as millions still reach for tasty frozen treats. But before you head for the ice cream parlor, or even your favorite frozen yogurt shop, check out the frightening calorie and fat counts listed below. While it’s common knowledge that ice cream isn’t exactly health food, neither are many heavily marketed alternatives such as frozen yogurt. Indeed, the amount of fat and calories in your favorite summer treats might shock you. Fortunately, there are alternative. The winners at weight control know that dieting is not about deprivation, but substitution. Unless your food history says otherwise, you don’t need to deprive yourself of dessert. Below are some frozen treats to avoid and food smart alternatives.

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By | Celebrity Best and Worst, Celebrity Diet, Starvation | No Comments


Untitled Christian Bale Blog Collage


He shed a frightening 121 pounds to play a insomniac machinist by adhering to a four-month long, 275-calorie a day diet that consisted of only coffee, an apple, and an occasional can of tuna. It took him just two months to pack on 60 pounds of muscle via a high-carb bread and pasta diet. He later added an additional 39 pounds on a strict diet of chicken, tuna, and steamed vegetables, coupled with daily three-hour workouts for his role as the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins. Most recently, he gained a 42 pounds—and even herniated a disc in his back—for an Oscar nominated turn as notorious New York con man Irving Rosenfeld.

If recent history is any indication, “American Hustle” won’t be the last time A-list actor Christian Bale transforms his body for a role. Bale isn’t the first actor to remake his physique for a movie—Robert De Niro reportedly gained 60 pounds before filming the later sequences in Raging Bull—but he seems to have taken the craft to a whole other level. In fact, Bale had put on so much weight that De Niro—who also had a feature role in the film—didn’t even know who he was when they first met.

Clearly, the English actor is in a class by himself in the insane weight gain and loss category, but he’s by no means the only actor who’s undergone a miraculous transformation for a movie role.

Here are five other A-list actors who have done the ultimate in film preparation.



To be fair, Natalie Portman has never been heavy, but to lose 20 pounds for her role as ballet dancer Nina Sayers in “Black Swan” she reportedly worked out for five for five hours a day using a combination of ballet, swimming and weight training while subsisting on a 1200 calorie-a-day diet (not a lot when you’re burning thousands of calories exercising). Predictably, the film drew its share of dance world criticism.


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Though the perils of yo-yo dieting or weight cycling are well documented, it hasn’t stopped Academy Award winning actress Renée Zellweger from remaking her body on multiple occasions.

Zellweger gained 25 pounds to play zophtic Bridget Jones in the eponymous film and less than a year later, shed over 30 to play

Just a year later, the actress dropped the weight and a few extra pounds to play murderess temptress Roxie Hart in the movei version of the musical hit “Chicago.” She gained back the weight for her roles in “Cold Mountain” and “Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason.”


Image Source: Miramax Films / Evan Agostini/Getty Images




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He earned an Academy Award for his role as a transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers Club” and received critical acclaim for his portrayal of heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in “Requiem For A Dream,” but Jared Leto gained 67 pounds and reportedly put his health in serious jeopardy to play John Lennon’s killer Mark David Chapman in “Chapter 27.” (He reportedly contracted gout and he even confined to a wheelchair for a time due to the excess weight).



Tom Hanks hasn’t gone to the extremes of his colleague Bale, but the two-time Oscar winner did drop 50 pounds (and grew a scary beard) from his 6’2” frame to play a stranded FedEx employee Chuck Noland in 2001’s “Cast Away.”
Hanks also shed 30 pounds to play AIDS-afflicted lawyer Andrew Beckett in “Philadelphia.”


Image Source: Whitby, Merritt/Getty)


He’s run the gamut from Calvin Klein underwear model to down-on-his-luck fisherman, but Bale’s “The Fighter” co-star Mark Wahlberg is another in a long line of Hollywood A-listers willing to suffer, so to speak, for his art. He dropped 40 pounds for his role as professor Alex Feed in his latest movie, a remake of 1974 film, The Gambler.


What these, and dozens more big screen stars share in common is method acting, more or less a technique used to create the real thoughts and feelings of the character being portrayed. Whereas traditional acting is dependent on imagination, script analysis, and external stimuli, method acting is developed internally via an emotional or physical connection to the character.

Though the method seems to work, at least if we’re to judge by the number of award winning performances that result, role, it can seem over the top, particularly in the case of extreme loss. And going through such radical physical changes comes with serious drawbacks, as we saw from the example of Jared Leto. Even Bale, for the moment the undisputed king of method acting, has spoken of the challenges of gaining and losing weight for roles.

Would such an extreme diet, at least in the short term, work for the average Joe or Jane carrying an extra 20-25 pounds? The answer is an emphatic “no.” For the majority of people, it’s difficult to maintain more than a 1-2 pounds weight loss per week (remember that’s 3500-7000 calories!). Extreme weight loss—or even extreme weight gain—can wreck havoc with our body’s metabolism. Though some people like Mark Wahlberg, who’s consistently maintained a high level of fitness throughout his professional life, might be in a better position to manage great weight fluctuations, extreme dieting can lead to headaches, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, menstrual irregularities, and hair and/or muscle loss. More potentially serious side effects include dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, low blood pressure and high uric acid, which could lead to gout or kidney stones, loss of bone density and even heart arrhythmias and organ failure.

If extreme weight fluctuations are bad then it’s reasonable to ask why there’s so much interest? Most likely, it has much to do with our societal obsession with the body image and the lives of celebrities themselves. Many so called “celebrity diets” are done under medical supervision for a short amount of time and specific purpose. Actors are also being paid handsomely to sacrifice for their work. They know the score going in. A final point to remember is that these are “diets.” All diets have a beginning, middle and end. But there is no end to weight control. To lose weight and most importantly, keep it off for a lifetime, we should focus less on our plates, and more on our heads. Ultimately, it’s less about the food, and more about how we behave in the presence of food determines success or failure.