Losing It with Valerie Bertinelli
Award-winning actress Valerie Bertinelli joins The Doctors to talk about her extraordinary 40-pound weight loss, and how she has kept it off for over a year. “It’s the first time I’ve kept it off this long, ever,” she says. “Losing weight, I think, is a common problem in this country, and I was just doing something that almost every other person in this country is doing. And it wasn’t any easier for me than it is for anybody else. You have to know that you’re worth it, and you deserve to have the body that will bring you out in this world in the best way.”
Valerie explains that the hardest part of her weight loss has been keeping it off. “No one talks about maintenance,” she says. “When you start on a diet, and you want to lose weight, you have a goal. For me it was, I want to lose 40 pounds. And then when I got to the goal, it’s like, ‘Wahoo! I got the 40 pounds off. Oh, now I have to keep it off.’ It’s a whole other challenge that you really don’t talk about when you’re in the midst of a diet.
“My consultant, Kathy, and I were talking, and she goes, ‘Really, maintenance starts with the first pound lost.’ But we don’t really realize that because we have this goal in mind and when we’ve hit it, we don’t realize we have another goal, and that’s to keep it off.”
Eighty-five percent of people who lose weight eventually gain it back. To keep her weight off, Valerie stays active and exercises by surfing and running. She also keeps a daily food journal to help her stay aware of what she’s eaten throughout the day.
Healthy Junk Food?
Can chocolate cake and pizza actually be good for you? Some nutrition experts say that because of the foods’ low glycemic index, they may just be. Glycemic index ranks foods based on the impact they have on your blood sugar, and the higher the index, the higher it elevates the amount of glucose coursing through your veins. This can lead to swings in blood sugar and can cause you to crave more carbohydrates.
While the junk foods have a low glycemic index, Dr. Travis stresses that they are not healthy options. “There are healthy snacks,” he says while pointing to the cake. “But you know, this is not going to be good for you ever!”
“One slice of pizza isn’t going to kill you,” Valerie says. “It’s the whole pie that’ll kill you!”
Both Valerie, 48, and her son, Wolfgang, suffer from asthma. “I’ve had it since my mid-20s, and it’s been a real pain in the butt,” she says. “Although, since I lost the 40 pounds, my asthma is way under control.”
Before she lost her weight, Valerie’s asthma made exercising difficult, and she would use her rescue inhaler up to six times a day. Now, she is learning to run and only uses the inhaler three times a year! Wolfgang was diagnosed with asthma a couple of years ago and still uses his inhaler often. “I would like him to not use the rescue inhaler as much as he is doing,” she says.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, restricting airflow to the lungs. “You basically can’t breathe,” Dr. Jim says. “It’s almost like trying to breathe through a straw.”
Symptoms can include wheezing and chronic coughing. “I had a chronic cough as a kid, went in and got my lung-function test done, and I had asthma,” Dr. Travis says. “It presents itself in many different ways, and to this day I have a rescue inhaler that I’ll use, and it’s so common.”
Asthma flare-ups are caused by triggers such as the cold and flu viruses, allergies and even exercise. Often, however, asthma is not treated as seriously as other disorders. “Asthma gets no respect,” says allergy specialist, Dr. Warner Carr. “It’s one of the Rodney Dangerfield diseases.”
Lexi, 13, has suffered from asthma since she was 3 and has trouble living a normal life because of the disease. “My asthma affects me during sports and running,” she says in a video. “One day I had a basketball game, and I missed it because of my asthma. I think I could have helped our team. It’s unfair that I can’t do a lot of the stuff that I want to.”
Lexi takes an exhaled nitric oxide (ENO) test, which measures airway inflammation. Nitric oxide is a byproduct of the inflammation. “With this, we can control her asthma,” Dr. Carr says. “By knowing if they have inflammation, we can decide whether we should increase their medicines, we can help predict what their likelihood of having an attack is, and hopefully prevent these attacks, prevent these kids from going into the emergency room in distress.”
Dr. Carr discusses a new medicine, Xolair, which is an injection treatment that targets the allergic antibody in asthma and decreases inflammation. He explains that it will hopefully eliminate the need for steroids as a treatment for allergy-induced asthma. “It basically squashes the body’s allergic response and just extinguishes it” he says. “Allergies and asthma go hand-in-hand, but you have to have allergies in order to get this medicine.”
Nancy Sanders, president and founder of Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics, presents Lexi with her very own, portable ENO tester!
Help with Arthritis
Valerie’s mother has struggled with rheumatoid arthritis since her mid-40s, and Valerie asks The Doctors if there are any new treatments available for the painful problem.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the lining of your joints, and is an autoimmune disease. It affects 1.3 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is caused by simple wear and tear, typically in the knees and hips, and is related to aging and injuries. It affects 27 million people in America.
“The problem is that rheumatoid arthritis starts so early, and if you don’t treat it early, you’re going to have a lot of ill effects by the time you’re 30, 40, 50 years of age,” Dr. Travis says.
In the past, rheumatoid arthritis had been treated with gold and steroids. New drugs such as cyclosporine and Enbrel, however, can be injected and target the inflammation directly. “[Rheumatoid arthritis] destroys your joints,” Dr. Travis explains. “And once your joints are destroyed, you can’t get that back. There is hope, though!”
Are you looking for non-surgical ways to make your face look younger? Valerie is, and Dr. Ordon introduces her to an oxygen facial, a treatment that puts moisture and volume back in the face without needles!
A serum infused with hyaluronic acid, vitamins and green tea is sprayed on the face and then pressurized oxygen helps calm and cool the face. The serum penetrates the skin to help plump up wrinkles.
“I see a difference in my skin,” Valerie says. “It may not be obvious to a lot of other people who don’t look at your skin every day, but I see a difference, and it makes me feel good.”