VENTURA, Calif. -- Anderson native Robert Ferguson’s weight loss plan is receiving attention nationally and from celebrities for a unique reason: You never have to give up your favorite foods.
Ferguson has worked with Julia Roberts, Bobby Bonilla, Fernando Vargas, Mariel Hemmingway and Chaka Chan, among others. In 2011, his book “Diet-Free for Life” was released and he’s recently introduced his new Carb Stepping Technique.
Ferguson,45, who attended Madison Heights High School, where he was known as Lawrence, is being touted as “America’s voice of wellness and weight loss.” He’s on the board of the president’s task force on obesity for the National Medical Association.
Having earned a masters of science and certification in nutrition, his roots remain firmly in Anderson. In December, he came home and spent a few days with his aunt and uncle, Anderson residents David and Barbara Lynch. Through email exchanges, Ferguson shared his business expertise from California where he lives with his wife of 12 years and their daughters, ages 6 and 3 ½.
Q. How does your new Carb Stepping Technique work? What are some celebrities who use it and is your plan available to the public?
Ferguson: First of all, I do not believe a blanket approach to weight loss is the answer. I believe we are all unique. We have a unique DNA and fingerprint. We also have a unique metabolism and we all metabolize foods differently. Secondly, calories are not created equal and our metabolism and body responds differently when we consume a protein calorie, carb calorie or fat calorie. The conventional way of thinking has been that weight loss is all about energy balance – calories in, calories out. This couldn’t be further from the truth and for this reason I created the carb stepping technique to help people customize carbs to their unique metabolism. Consider this; people aren’t gaining weight because they’re eating too much protein. It’s not fat either. Matter of fact, it’s become widely accepted to eat healthy fats as part of one’s daily intake.
The leading culprit for why people gain weight is the amount and type of carbs they’re consuming at a single time. Let’s face it, some people can eat a lot of carbs and not gain an ounce. Others seem to put on weight eating little to no carbs. This is where my carb stepping technique comes into play. It makes it possible for each person to know their carb threshold (the amount of carbs you can eat without gaining weight). Once you know your carb threshold you can eat in accordance to how your body responds to carbs and lose all the weight you want. Then, once you’re lost the weight you want you focus on increasing your carb threshold so that you can eat more food if you want without gaining the weight back.
With regard to celebrities, I have and continue to work with many to include La Toya Jackson, Ricki Lake, Toni Braxton, Bobby Bonilla and most recently the soap opera Days Of Our Lives. I was the lead nutrition consultant on their new book, Better Living.
Anyone can learn more about carb stepping and my methodology in the Diet Free Life System. Available primarily via infomercial, you can also learn more about my program at www.dietfreelife.com
Q. What would you say to consumers who have gotten mixed messages on carbs?
Ferguson: Most of the popular diet books point the finger at carbs as the food to avoid. It’s unfortunate but carbs continue to be demonized. Carbs aren’t bad. The key is to know how to eat them so that you maximize fat loss, energy and overall health. Take the glycemic index for instance. According to the Glycemic index, a potato ranks high on the list compared to glucose (pure sugar). Knowing this, most people would avoid potatoes because they’re demonized a high in sugar. On the other hand, potato chips, which come from a potato is given the number 55. The same amount of carbs in the potato as the chips, but the chips based on the Glycemic Index has a better impact on my blood sugar. You may be wondering how this can be. In short, the Glycemic Index is based on 50 grams of carbs in a single food. It’s not based on what you eat with it. See, the potato chips have fat woven into the chips and it’s this fat that slows down how quick the chip converts to sugar in the blood. With my Diet Free Life System I show people how to optimize blood sugar, which helps keep the insulin hormone from elevating and this equates to optimizing both the fat burning and the release of stored fat.
Q. What is it like for a guy from Anderson, Indiana to be a fitness guru to the stars? How do you spend your days ?
Ferguson: I am quick to share with people that I am from Anderson, Indiana. Great people come from Indiana. I’ve done work with Florence Henderson who is from Indiana. Most recently I teamed up with Tavis Smiley who is from Indiana. One of my favorite people I work with is LaToya Jackson who is also from Indiana. Whether they’re from Indiana or not, working with celebrities is no easy task. However, it is definitely quite fun and always interesting to say the least.
My days begin around 5 a.m. each and every day. This is the only time I have been able to consistently fit in my exercise. The goal is to exercise and return home before my daughters wake up. Having breakfast with them is my daily goal. After that, it’s non-stop. I’m either in my clinic in Ventura, Calif., on the phone or in meetings.
Q. With www.americashealthrankings.org reporting that more than a half million adults in Indiana have diabetes, and more than 1.5 million adults are obese, how would suggest someone begin to improve his or her health?
Ferguson: The first step is to acknowledge that your current situation is not your final situation. Then, focus on reversing the cause instead of chasing the effect. What I mean by this is to begin where you are. Make it your goal to educate yourself on how to improve your personal wellness eating foods you have access to. Not everyone can afford to grocery shop at high-end health stores. The reality is that you can eat fast food and lose weight and be healthier. You can eat food that’s subsidized and achieve your desired results. You can also eat organic if you choose. The point I am making is that when you learn how to eat foods that you believe may have contributed toward your weight gain and lose weight, you are less likely to gain it back.
Q. In closing, is there anything you would like to add?
Robert: I am currently filming a television pilot at the moment, writing a new book, and speaking and consulting around the country. I am in the final stages of launching a “Wellness Education” program for churches and community centers throughout North America. If anyone is interested in learning more about our “Wellness Education” program, visit www.dietfreelife.com or call our office at 805-642-8440.