Chaz Bono: The Doctors’ Exclusive
Chaz Bono grew up as the only child of legendary musical duo Sonny and Cher. His extraordinary story of overcoming personal trials and tribulations in the Hollywood spotlight is highlighted in his new book, Transition: Becoming Who I Was Always Meant to Be, which recounts his groundbreaking and candid account of a 40-year struggle to match gender identity with the physical transformation from female to male.
In addition to being an accomplished author, Chaz is an active advocate for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community, and serves as Entertainment Director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) organization. Chaz also recently competed in Season 13 of ABC’s hit show, Dancing with the Stars, and was the subject of an Emmy-nominated documentary about his life and gender reassignment called Becoming Chaz.
Chaz joins E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork for an exclusive one-on-one interview about a very sensitive issue that not only affects him, but many other Americans – his weight.
“This is really hard for me, and this is an issue that I don’t talk about with people because it’s so personal,” Chaz explains. “I think it just really hits at some of those core issues from my childhood that I haven’t really dealt with.”
Growing up, Chaz recalls being put on many diets, even though they were not recommended by his family physician.
“Because I’m transgender, I was always completely disconnected from my body,” Chaz says. “I really lived in my head and just kind of tried to ignore everything from the neck down. I didn’t have the incentive that a lot of people have of wanting to look better because I hated the way I looked. I could’ve been thin as a rail; I was going to still hate the way I looked.”
Chaz is now ready to overcome his longstanding history with his weight troubles and body image, and is prepared to make a permanent change for better health. "I also kind of hope that the pressure of doing something publicly will give me a little bit more incentive,” he adds.
Chaz is displeased with the excess fat that deposits around his midsection. “I’m just eating too much. My portion control is just not where it should be,” he says.
“The reason that men and women are different is hormones; that’s really what it comes down to,” Dr. Travis explains. “The way these hormones act in the body do help dictate how much weight you carry, how fast your metabolism is and where you actually store fat.”
“My feeling with Chaz is that he has to lose between 50 and 80 pounds,” Dr. Cwynar explains. Chaz’s physical exam revealed that has both high blood pressure and high cholesterol. His blood analysis also showed insulin resistance, indicating an elevated risk for diabetes.
“Chaz is just one big risk factor waiting to get into a bad situation,” Dr. Cwynar says. “Chaz’s hormones are not perfectly balanced, so that’s something we have to work on, as well,” she adds. “Hormones are very, very powerful and they control our body and our mind.”
The Doctors enlist the help of several weight loss specialists to assist Chaz in his journey to better health. Clinical nutritionist Samantha F. Grant will provide Chaz with a high-protein, low-carb diet courtesy of Freshology food delivery. In addition, physical trainer Frank Colcher and dance instructor Oksana Dmytrenko will be in Chaz’s corner to lead him through high-intensity mixed martial arts and cardiovascular dance classes. Will Chaz face the challenge and meet his weight loss goals?
Overcoming Cancer… Twice
When Brazilian singer and songwriter Fabiana Passoni was 23, she set forth a personal goal to eat healthy and exercise, and lost more than 120 pounds over the course of two years. Over the next seven years, she spent time between Brazil and New York and Los Angeles, promoting her budding musical career. Six months after releasing her first album in 2007, Fabiana was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fabiana underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, putting her music career on hold for three years. After being declared cancer-free, Fabiana focused on having children through in-vitro fertilization. Fabiana and her husband were shocked to discover they were going to have triplets!
During the pregnancy, Fabiana not only regained much of the weight she had lost years ago, but another lump was found in her breast. Doctors speculated it was just a benign cyst, but they could not perform a biopsy because of Fabiana’s pregnancy. Labor was induced at 32 weeks, and Fabiana delivered her three babies, twin girls and a fraternal boy.
Shortly after the birth of her children, doctors confirmed that the lump in Fabiana’s breast was, in fact, cancer. The cancer was believed to be triggered by hormones, and Fabiana’s triple pregnancy had caused it to come back more aggressively than before. She underwent more chemotherapy and another mastectomy, where cancerous tissue was removed from her breast muscle wall. Despite the health obstacles, Fabiana managed to overcome her cancer and lose more than 120 pounds for the second time.
Reboot Your Body as You Age
Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall joins The Doctors to provide health tips on how to embrace aging and increase your longevity. Learn the many health benefits of quitting smoking. Plus get tips to enhance and prolong your physical and mental health with exercises and a wholesome diet.
“Inevitably, we all get old. How we get old is really up to us,” Dr. Lewis Hall says.
“One of the most important things that you can do is, if you smoke, stop. If you quit smoking, within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease has decreased to half of what it was when you were smoking,” Dr. Lewis-Hall explains. “Within five years, your risk of stroke decreases to that of a non-smoker. Plus, your risk of smoking-related cancers begins to decline,” she adds.
“Everyone should at least try to do 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular activity. That helps to greatly reduce your risk of heart disease as well as stroke,” Dr. Travis says. “Studies suggest that for every hour of walking you do, you may increase your lifespan by two hours. That’s a good investment to me,” he adds.
“The other thing is that exercise really helps improve bone health. You can increase your bone density with 20 minutes of weight-bearing exercise a day. Most of us peak our bone mass at age 30,” Dr. Lewis-Hall explains. “Your bones not only need exercise, but they need healthy nutrition.”
Dr. Travis explains how brain cells die and connections may be lost during the aging process. Dr. Lewis-Hall emphasizes how mental exercises and simple tasks, such as performing everyday activities with your non-dominant hand, can help prevent the onset of age-related dementia.
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