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Following Up On Pairs In "New You" Challenge

Aired March 18, 2006 - 08:30   ET


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to a special edition of HOUSE CALL. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Today, we're wrapping up our "New You" resolution challenge. It's all about living healthier lives in 2006. And this year, we've been following three sets of twosomes who let producers, cameras, doctors, and CNN viewers, most importantly, follow their every move for the past eight weeks.
So let's check in with our first pair. They're lobbyists who live, work, and go to school in D.C.


GUPTA (voice-over): The two D.C. lobbyists, Frank Purcell and Donna Brighthaupt, may be the yin and yang of their office.

DONNA BRIGHTHAUPT, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: I was so afraid. So I put the whole office in so that he wouldn't yell.

FRANK PURCELL, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: She didn't expect me to go along with it.

GUPTA: But Donna couldn't have picked a better "New You" partner.

BRIGHTHAUPT: Hopefully when I see him in here with a couple of sagging pants, I'll get upset and say, no, I can't let him win.

PURCELL: If I'm going to get to 184 pounds, that's going to take me a while, unless I lop off my left leg.

GUPTA: But by week one, Frank was already 20 pounds ahead of the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Frank started a whole two months earlier. Oh, and I actually waited until after New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, she started real late. So she's doing good.

GUPTA: How good?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Overall, you lost about 17 inches from head to toe.

GUPTA: And her bad habit?

PURCELL: One, smoking last time. That's good. And number two, the chin thing that you see, still on me, that was in that picture is gone.

GUPTA: And Frank cut out his candy addiction.

PURCELL: Well, the M&M guy's pretty empty.

BRIGHTHAUPT: If I see him losing more weight, I'll sneak more M&Ms in there.

PURCELL: Oh, you wouldn't do that.

BRIGHTHAUPT: Yes, I would.

GUPTA: And lost weight as a result.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 236. He started at 259. So he's doing really good.

GUPTA: So who won?

BRIGHTHAUPT: Oh, man. I'm not eating crow because I was successful, too. He just snuck up on me, that's all. I can still win.


GUPTA: All right, joining us now not to talk about politics, but to talk about their last eight weeks. You guys did great. You really did.

And Frank, I should point out that Thanksgiving is when you were selected. Since then, that inspired you, I guess, because you lost 35 pounds since then. A lot of people watched you. They say OK, you increase your exercise, you decrease your calories. What really worked for you?

PURCELL: The thing that worked for me is two things. One is making a plan and sticking to it. Because if you don't make a plan, then you just sort of lope along through life. And you're not going to get to whatever objective you see.

GUPTA: Why don't people do that, though? I mean, a lot of people -- that sounds like a pretty easy thing.

PURCELL: It takes a little bit of time to make a plan and to think it through. But if you treat healthy living like one more thing to do, frankly, you're not going to do it because everybody is way too busy.

Donna and I, you know, between our lives and our home, and our work and school, you know, we both have kids...

GUPTA: Sure.

PURCELL: ...and the whole thing. One more thing is too much. Healthy living has to be a part of your whole life. And you have to make time and deliberate effort to eat healthy and to live healthy.

GUPTA: And Donna, this "New You" resolution was never about a specific thing. It was never about smoking. It was never about losing weight or anything. It was about living a healthier lifestyle. What was the biggest thing you got out of it?

BRIGHTHAUPT: Knowing that I was living unconsciously. Running every morning, not thinking. Loving it. Now I have to think consciously about every muscle in my body and my core and really what I'm eating. I would forget what I ate in the morning and go full throttle at night.

GUPTA: That's great. That really is.


GUPTA: You know, we added the blogs this year as well. And I know you guys were blogging back and forth with the Rasch twins as well. I mean, how did that work? Did that really inspire you? How did that work for you?

BRIGHTHAUPT: It did. I really would like to thank all of the commentators, the people who participated because it helped a lot. And the other participants, I really enjoyed it.

GUPTA: Frank, has your family becoming healthier as a result of this?

PURCELL: In fact, they have. My wife has, you know, been more consistent about exercise and good health. And my sons, who have always been an encouragement with this, continue to be. My son Ian has been always able to go ahead and throw down a good long distance runs. He's 11 years old.


PURCELL: And he did confess to me the other day that since I'd started out on this, I had gotten faster, but still not as fast as him. And that's OK.

GUPTA: Well, I wish you both the best of luck. You've done so well already, Frank and Donna. Thank you so much.


GUPTA: One hundred percent success so far with these two.

We'll be talking to our three twosomes. We'll be back more with special edition of HOUSE CALL.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A family with no time to eat healthy food finds the time and the vegetables. We'll check in with the Rampollas next.

And later, double trouble with the Rasch twins, who took on each other and just about everyone else in their "New You" resolution lifestyle.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell you, Dr. Sanjay's not going away, fellows. He's going to be back to check on you guys.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you don't want to mess with the doctor.


GUPTA: Did you love that? He said uh-oh.

Chef Billy, thank you from "Cooking Light". You don't want to mess with the doctor. You're absolutely right.

Welcome back to HOUSE CALL. We're checking back with our "New You" participants today. So now let's take a look at Denise and Pedro. They're a military family who joined the "New You" to shape up themselves and their entire family.


GUPTA (voice-over): From day one, it was obvious that Denise and Pedro Rampolla attended to crazy schedules.

DENISE RAMPOLLA, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: Organized chaos, actually.

GUPTA: And that frenetic lifestyle made fitting in a new health plan difficult.

D. RAMPOLLA: I'm hoping it becomes fun.

GUPTA: But they would come to embrace the tips for eating better and the new workout. "New You" was never about weight loss for these two, but fighting family histories of heart disease.

D. RAMPOLLA: That's definitely going to decrease the chances that we will have issues. Or if we do have some issues, it's not going to be triple bypass.

GUPTA: It's also been about making the power of pairs. Being healthy together. Work for an otherwise frenzied life.

PEDRO RAMPOLLA, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: Denise and I are bouncing off each other. And then we're fine.

GUPTA: For this military couple, "New You" spells a new life.


GUPTA: Well, thanks a lot for joining us for sure. I just want to take a step backwards for a second. How did you first decide that you wanted to apply for this? Was this a discussion that you two had together?

D. RAMPOLLA: Actually, Pedro was stationed in Baghdad at the time. And I had been excited about the different times that I've seen this piece done over the course of the last couple of years. And I thought, wow, that would be a great opportunity.

So I took the initiative to go through the information and then just kind of emailed it to him in Baghdad and said, hey, what do you think? And he emailed me back very shortly and said, wow, that looks like that would be a lot of fun.

P. RAMPOLLA: I checked it out on the web to see what it was all about.

GUPTA: And are you happy you did it?

D. RAMPOLLA: Yes, we're thrilled.

GUPTA: How did the kids do with this, because Chef Bill was talking to them, obviously. Did -- have they changed?

D. RAMPOLLA: The kids have done very well. I'm very proud of each and every one of them, well, four of them. They're eating things that they never thought they would eat before. We're getting baked chips instead of fried things, edamame, which was something that Chef Billy introduced the kids to.


D. RAMPOLLA: A little bit of salt. So it's the soybeans.

GUPTA: Right.

D. RAMPOLLA: Vegetables. Even Lorenzo, who is our hardest vegetable eater, every once and a while will allow me to kick that salad on to his plate because he knows that even though it might not taste really well, it's going to do his body some great good.

GUPTA: Lots of fruit.

D. RAMPOLLA: Lots of fruit.

GUPTA: And I understand, you're doing 42 push-ups now.


GUPTA: That's pretty impressive. How many could you do before you started it?

D. RAMPOLLA: I actually did 19 when we started, but I've never really felt that I've ever had a very good grip on doing those types of exercises. So Mary Holte, our trainer, was thrilled when I pulled off the 42.

GUPTA: That is great.

Pedro, one of the hardest meals of the day is lunch. And I know you complained that when we first met about the fact that you weren't eating healthy lunches. It's time-consuming. It's easier to get to fast foods, things like that. What do you do differently now?

P. RAMPOLLA: I try to bring some food from home, but now I'm just making the conscious choice that if I don't bring it when everybody else goes for fast food, they're getting me a salad. And actually, they all know. Now they all basically say where are you going or what do you want? And I said I want a salad from wherever you're going. So I don't care what fast food place.

GUPTA: Now do you get teased about that? Are you starting to change some behaviors in your office as well?

P. RAMPOLLA: A little bit of both. They know. You know, every so often somebody will say, well, can I tempt you with a burger? No, that's OK.

D. RAMPOLLA: Yes, I believe they tell you I'm not around, so go ahead.

P. RAMPOLLA: Nobody's looking.

GUPTA: And you weren't eating at all at lunch?

D. RAMPOLLA: That's correct. And I'm very conscious now about having at least a breakfast meal and then working into lunch. And it has made a dynamic difference in my productivity through the day and even my mood. I've noticed has been a lot easier.

GUPTA: You guys are great. And you were the most inspirational...

D. RAMPOLLA: Thank you.

GUPTA: ...according to our CNN...

D. RAMPOLLA: Military family victory.

GUPTA: Military family. Lots of good stuff. Thank you for all the tips.

D. RAMPOLLA: Thank you.

GUPTA: And good luck to you as we continue on as well.

GUPTA: Don't touch that remote at home. There's much more to come still on HOUSE CALL.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going ahead head-to-head to get healthy. The most competitive pair in this year's "New You" program.

They talked the talk.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will have the weight loss. We will have the fitness. And we will be better.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But did they walk the walk? And some advice for your own personal "New You" resolution to define your derriere and look years younger.

But first, more of this week's medical headlines in "The Pulse".


CHRISTY FEIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The USDA announced that beef cattle from Alabama is the latest case of mad cow in the U.S. The agency says the cow was destroyed and none of its meat entered the food supply.

Good news for those with heart disease. A new study by the Cleveland Clinic shows that high doses of the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor can actually reverse plaque buildup. Previous trials have shown the slowing of heart disease, but never reversal. The study was funded by the makers of Crestor.

Christy Feig, CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It certainly was.


GUPTA: We're back with HOUSE CALL. Since double duty was the theme of this year's "New You", it was fitting to have twin brothers who kept an eye on each other and the competition. Here now, the Rasch twins.


GUPTA (voice-over): Before Mark started the "New You" program, his abs looked like this, and his breakfast looked like this.

MARK RASCH, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: I think I'll have 16 pancakes.

GUPTA: His only exercise, walking his kids to school, and on the road lifting cheeseburgers to his mouth. But he learned that good choices do abound and that the pain of exercising...

M. RASCH: Oh, I'm going to die.

GUPTA: ...fades away.

M. RASCH: This is the new me. This is -- these are 34 jeans.

GUPTA: Stuart went from running around in the ER, to running on the treadmill. His workouts meant less sleep, but...

STUART RASCH, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: I have lost two inches off my waist. I've lost two inches off my chest.

GUPTA: However, new eating habits are still the toughest challenge for Stuart.

S. RASCH: Seventeen.

GUPTA: Although sibling rivalry may have helped them progress...

S. RASCH: I'll whip his butt.

GUPTA: was the twins versus others that helped them win together.

M. RASCH: Stuart and I, of course, have kicked the lobbyists' butts.


GUPTA: You guys lost weight. You tried to beat the lobbyists as well. You both made amazing progress. And you're actually down to a 33 pant now, is that right?

M. RASCH: 33 pant. I've taken five inches off my waist.

GUPTA: That's really incredible. You know, Mark, one of the reasons - when we read your application, we said to ourselves, a lot of people travel. And it's just easy to get the fast food on the run. I flew in last night to New York. And I saw the fast food restaurants in the airports. They're easy. And they're there. How are you avoiding that?

M. RASCH: Well, it's not just that they're there, because lots of times you're eating the fast food when you're not even hungry because you know you're going to be a plane. And you say well, I better just grab something.

So what I do is I drink more water. And then I'll grab a salad and some fruit there. And that will make me feel full. And then I won't feel need to eat anything else.

GUPTA: Now water's good for the airplane rides as well because you get dehydrated there.

M. RASCH: You do get dehydrated. I also go to the rest room -- the bathroom and just splash water on my face too just to keep myself a little bit hydrated, too.

GUPTA: Eight weeks, five inches. That's pretty impressive.

M. RASCH: Twenty one pounds. GUPTA: That's great. And Stuart, you know, a couple things with you. First of all, you're doing chin-ups. That was not a part of your exercise regimen before.

S. RASCH: Well, nothing was part of my exercise regimen before. You know, getting from my house to the car, and the car to work was my exercise regimen.

Now I'm actually doing three days a week. I'm doing cardio on the treadmill. And I'm going to the gym the other days of the week, and doing strength and weight training.

GUPTA: Everybody knows that you're a doctor. And we also point out that you've lost 80 points in your cholesterol. You dropped your cholesterol by 80 points...

S. RASCH: Right.

GUPTA: ...without any medications. And a lot of people were really focused on that. We got a lot of emails about that. How did you do it?

S. RASCH: Basically, by changing what I ate and when I ate. If you basically eat 400 calories every three to four hours and watch what you're eating, avoid a lot of the fat and a lot of the sugar, you should be able to bring your cholesterol down. I've also increased the oats and the -- that sort of soluble fibers that really help in bringing down cholesterol.

GUPTA: Well, what is the - obviously, you talk about the weight, Mark. You talk about the inches and all that. How do you feel? I mean, what's the biggest difference in the way that you feel?

M. RASCH: Well, you feel like you have more energy. And also, the other thing is, you know, when you first start exercising, and I think everybody here would agree, you're in pain. I mean, you just feel...

S. RASCH: Yes.

M. RASCH: can't lift your arms and stuff, but it's the kind of pain that's a good pain. And it encourages you to continue to exercise. And I think that really helps a lot, too.

GUPTA: Well, congratulations to both of you. There was no competition here. You both won.

S. RASCH: We both won by losing.

GUPTA: You both won by losing. Thanks so much. And stay tuned. More "New You" coming up on HOUSE CALL.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What motivated and what maligned our "New You" participants? The inside scoop on what worked for them, coming up.

And why so many kids are missing P.E. on the latest stop of our fit nation tour.


GUPTA: We're back with HOUSE CALL. Well, we're in the midst of our Fit Nation tour to fight obesity. This week, we head to Michigan where, like many states, fitness and P.E. classes are slowly disappearing from our schools.


GUPTA (voice-over): Now here's an exercise you don't expect to see a P.E. teacher do. But you see it's taco day. And with resources tight in the Grand Rapids School District, the gym at Madison Park Elementary doubles as a lunchroom.

HELEN SMITH, TEACHER: Are you ready? So we need to walk in, go to our spot, and sit down quietly, OK? The floor may be wet.

GUPTA: Helen Smith, like many P.E. teachers here, goes above and beyond trying to help fight what their district labels a youth obesity crisis.

SMITH: You know if you need a big scooter or not. Get a big scooter if you need one.

GUPTA: But it is tough. Kids here get a mere 35 minutes of physical education not per day, but per week.

SMITH: Get the ball.

GUPTA: If quantity isn't part of the game plan, Smith hopes the quality of fitness her students get will encourage exercise outside of class.

SMITH: It's not all about athletics. It's about moving, getting them off the couch, getting them doing different things, getting them involved, having a good time while they're doing it. Not thinking it's work.

GUPTA: Seeing a gap in kids' fitness options, other groups in Grand Rapids step in to help. This is the YMCA's "Healthy You", a two-year-old program it hopes to bring to other communities.

The "Y" brings its trainers and equipment to the schools for it's after school programs two times a week. The other day, it picks them up after school and takes them to the Y's state-of-the-art facilities. That means these kids get about four and a half extra hours of fitness and nutrition activities a week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what? That is so good for your heart.

GUPTA: All for free thanks to grants and corporate sponsorships.

JAN WIERENGA, YMCA: We know that the program works. Obviously how we feel, it's great, but we also see that the need is much greater than what we're able to do. And so while we've been able to impact 3,000 kids, we see the need as 100,000 kids.

GUPTA: And our Phys. Ed teacher Helen Smith agrees.

SMITH: We have a lot of couch potatoes, I think. So hopefully we can get away from that.


GUPTA: Fit Nation may soon be coming to a college near you as well. Our next stop is Temple University in Philadelphia. That's home of the cheese steak sandwich. All right.

Our "New You" crew is here. And they're giving us their number one secret to success coming up. But first, the bod squad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you come out, Sarah's going to be using weight, but you can come out to a side lunge. Try it Sarah.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you want to look great from the rear, side lunges are key in an age-defying glute workout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lunge to effectively work them even harder. Let's do one more.

COHEN: Running stadium stairs are also great for lifting and toning the glutes, because the secret to a tight rear end is training all of the muscles that surround the gluteus maximus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you truly want to make your glutes age- defying, when you lunge out for stadium steps, you want to keep the back straight. The eyes are on the horizon. The eyes are up. And of course, that 90-degree angle.

COHEN: Lunges or leg presses are great substitutes when stairs aren't available. You can add resistance with a medicine ball or a body bar for maximum lower body results. A healthy mix of cardio and weight training incorporating squats, lunges, and leg presses can help you achieve great glutes.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's fried chicken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You giving all that up?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Want to make a bet?






GUPTA: All right, not much time left. Listen, everyone's been a winner here, among our "New You" group, for sure. A lot of people following along around the country. And you know, if you can give one piece of advice on how you did it, how you kept your resolutions and what you learned the most from this, I think they'd appreciate it.

How about you go first?

D. RAMPOLLA: Understanding that preventative health care cannot start too soon. It's important to start a good example for your children. And it's important to eat right and exercise and stay focused.

GUPTA: Good advice. Pedro?

P. RAMPOLLA: You need to roll it into the whole family. If you have one person that's not buying into it, it's not going to work.

GUPTA: I'm so glad you guys were a part of this. Thank you so much. Donna?

BRIGHTHAUPT: Write it down. If you don't know how to plan, start off writing it down. Eventually, you can wean off writing it down and you can remember. And then work on that -- the core and weights, not just one thing. The whole body is very important to work on.

GUPTA: Staying healthy, not just losing weight.

BRIGHTHAUPT: Yes, exactly.

GUPTA: And that's what is the focus here.

Now you have lost a lot of weight. What was the one thing for you?

PURCELL: I think for me it was the realization that I was going to fall off the wagon at some point or another. There are going to be times and days that I didn't do as well as others. And that's OK. The key thing is that the next day you wake up, that is a fresh new day to get started all over again. Take action today to make a healthy choice for tomorrow.

GUPTA: Great advice. Thanks to both of you as well. Mark?

M. RASCH: I would say the big thing to do is do something. You know?


M. RASCH: Just start walking, start exercising. A lot of people feel like they're not in enough shape to exercise. And I think just go out and walk.

And the second thing is really have a diet. Don't be on a diet. Make diet part of your lifestyle. A lot of people have all these different kind of diets. Just eat a little bit less. Probably the most important exercise is pushing yourself away from the table when you're not hungry.

GUPTA: Yes. Good advice. Stuart?

S. RASCH: I would say enlisting the help of friends, family, and your partners. By working together, you have a better chance of doing it.

GUPTA: Good advice from all of you. And I have to say to all of our "New You" participants, and all the "New You" participants that are surely watching from years past, they set the bar pretty high this year. So we'll have to see how next year's crew does as well.

I want to thank you so much again for joining us all here in New York. I hope you keep these life - these changes as lifelong changes, not just the eight weeks. So good luck to all of you.

And thanks for watching to everyone at home as well. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Stay tuned now for more news on CNN.


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