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Interview With Ed Victor

Aired September 15, 2002 - 11:45   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It's no secret we live in a weight-conscious society, and there's every kind of diet and gimmick imaginable to make you thinner, or at least make you think you're getting thinner. But now, literary agent turned author Ed Victor says the way to lose weight is obvious. He's even written a book about it. And here it goes, "The Obvious Diet." In a foreword to the book, CNN's own Larry King wrote, "forget all the rules you've heard about what to eat and get inspired for a whole new you."
Well, Ed Victor is here now with us to explain all that. You know what, that's all we need to hear. Larry King has endorsed it, and so it must work.

ED VICTOR, AUTHOR: Well, it was very kind of Larry to endorse it.

WHITFIELD: Oh, I'm just kidding. Now, Ed, you know, everyone who has gone on a diet says nothing seems to be obvious about a diet. That's why they kind of go and get some kind of, you know, instruction or guidance on what to do to make a successful diet. So what is it that makes this so much an obvious diet, in your words?

VICTOR: Well, I think what's obvious about it is that all other diets I've tried -- and I've tried them all -- they're like hop-on, hop-off things, like buses. You get on them, you do them. You lose some pounds, and then you decide, you know, after all life is not worth living without what it is you like, your particular poison, so you go back to your old way of living.

What I've evolved is something that retrains you, and what is obvious to me is that anybody who wants to lose weight over a certain age -- and I'm certainly over that age -- knows how to do it. You're hard-wired with that information. You know if you're given a goal of losing 15 or 20 pounds in a month, and prohibited from consulting any kind of book or article, you'd know how to do it.

WHITFIELD: So since you said yourself you've done a lot of diets, did you kind of borrow from an awful lot of diets to say, OK, this kind of worked for me, this didn't. And you know, my approach might be a little different, because you know, I'm a guy, versus a lot of the diets that seem to be kind of catered toward women.

VICTOR: Well, first of all, yes, I did incorporate some elements from other diets, and I put in my book an alphabetical list of all the other diets, because you can mix and match. My point is that everyone is different. And the most important thing is to evolve the diet that's good for you and it works for you, and the first thing you should do is to go to a nutritionist.

I went to a nutritionist and found out something that I hadn't found out in my 60 years of life, which was that I was averse to wheat. That was an interesting thing to find out. I mean, it didn't mean I would fall down and froth at the mouth if I ate a piece of bread, but certainly taking bread and carbohydrates out of my own personal diet did wonders for me. I lost about 50 pounds on this diet. I also cut out animal fat, which was my particular predilection.

WHITFIELD: And among those things, other things that you kind of cut out -- mushrooms you consider a banned food. Mushrooms, lemon, other citrus.

VICTOR: Well, I consulted a guru in London, a man called Dr. Ali (ph), who had particular views about mushrooms and citrus. He thinks that citrus promotes hunger. If you eat enough citrus, you get hungry, and mushrooms ferment in your stomach. So he cut them out. I took a lot of advice, because I wanted to tailor it for me. So I went to the medical fraternity to do that. It was not just, you know, my own guesses about what to eat and what not to eat.

WHITFIELD: And other things that you discourage, among those red meat?

VICTOR: Well, I discourage red meat for myself. As I said, everyone needs to design their own diet. There are a lot of people who do the Atkins diet very successfully, and Nigela Lawson (ph), who wrote the foreword for the book, is a complete Atkins fanatic. I cut out meat because I wanted to cut out fat. You know, I was a fat fanatic. Give me chocolate and I'll refuse it. I don't like chocolate. But I've never met a salami I didn't like, you know, and so I wanted to cut fat out, and therefore, fish and chicken seemed to me to be the way to do it. And that's what I did, basically eat grilled fish, grilled chicken, lots of vegetables, fruit.

WHITFIELD: So these all do seem to be pretty obvious things. We've heard them before from nutritionists or doctors, et cetera, but what makes this unique too is you're really coming from the male point of view and you really are inspiring an awful lot of other pretty high-profile stylish men. Karl Lagerfeld, designer, he's coming out with a book; former "GQ" editor also coming out with a book on dieting for men. Was it your discovery that there just weren't enough, I guess, guides for men who, you know, need some sort of help on learning how to eat all over again?

VICTOR: Well, I didn't write it specifically for men, although it's interesting that a lot of men have come to me and said how much they like the book. Real closet dieters, too. You know, women are the creatures who always are complaining about, you know, an ounce of fat. Am I too fat?

But we too are obsessed. And I just got fed up with having this great paunch. And in fact, I began my diet because one night I simply couldn't button the trousers of my favorite suit. I couldn't do it. And I think a lot of men have this problem. You know, we stick out in front. That's where we get our weight, around our waist and our bellies. And for a long time, I made the excuse that having a paunch was a sign of success, and, you know, I live a high life in the literary world; we all do. We all tend to function more on our stomach than our brains. We eat a lot of lunches and go to a lot of parties, and I put on all this weight and I decided to take it off, and I've never felt better since I have. I lost 50 pounds on this diet, and it makes me feel me feel lighter not just in body but in spirit.

WHITFIELD: All right, Ed Victor, "The Obvious Diet," your book is going to be in book stores this week here in America. It's already done very well in Great Britain. And we appreciate you for joining us, and sharing this book with us.

VICTOR: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.




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