Interviews / August 16, 2012

Stuart Fischer, M.D.

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Diet Detective: Tell us how you got to where you are now.

Stuart: Progressively more fastidious attention to image issues, climaxing with an unprecedented 8 ½ year medical practice ‘apprenticeship’ with Dr. Robert Atkins

Diet Detective: Define and discuss failure.

Stuart: Failure is chronic inattention to personal health and appearance.

Diet Detective: Is there anything about yourself that you’ve changed your mind about in the last 20 years?

Stuart: Yes, you don’t have to be a movie star to look like one.

Diet Detective: What’s the next major item on your “to-do” list?

Stuart: Write, publish, and promote a “diet book” that will redefine the category.

Diet Detective: Define individual responsibility and how you react to adverse situations.

Stuart: Individual responsibility is accepting the fact that the government, medical establishment, and society have no stake in one’s health; I welcome challenging adverse situations, a sign of transcending stress.

Diet Detective: When do you have time to think about your mistakes, mishaps, achievements, and minor victories; in other words, do you have any reflective time for yourself of your career?

Stuart: Yes, but looking backwards rarely propels you forward.

Diet Detective: What is your most influential story, fiction or nonfiction, from a film, book, magazine, newspaper or parable? Explain its impact on your life? What’s your favorite saying?

Stuart: The story is the plot of Beethoven’s “Fidelio.” Favorite quote: “Honi soit qui mal y pense.” (I’ll explain it if asked)

Diet Detective: Was there a defining moment in your life when you made a decision that changed the course of the rest of your life forever?

Stuart: No, defining moments seem to occur every few months, if one looks carefully enough.

Diet Detective: What’s the most bodacious chance you’ve ever taken?

Stuart: Accepting Dr. Atkins’ job offer after turning him down for three months.

Diet Detective: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about yourself? What’s the biggest lesson you haven’t learned?

Stuart: I’ve got good medical instincts…haven’t learned how to drive yet.

Diet Detective: What keeps you going (your motivation)?

Stuart: Wanting to help others.

Diet Detective: How do you stick to your diet on days when you really don’t want to?

Stuart: I always want to because I always need to.

Diet Detective: If you could eat one forbidden food whenever you wanted without gaining weight, what would it be?

Stuart: I never think in these unrealistic and imaginary ways.

Diet Detective: What dessert do you dream about?

Stuart: None (see above).

Diet Detective: If there were one healthy food item that you had to eat every day, what would it be?

Stuart: Dover sole and asparagus.

Diet Detective: What do you think is the most important thing that makes or breaks a diet for someone?

Stuart: Their need to appear attractive to others.

Diet Detective: How did you come to your conclusions about weight loss and dieting?

Stuart: Through 25 years of immersion in the health care community as an internist, emergency room attending physician, and Dr. Atkins’ practice partner.

Diet Detective: Do you think that failed attempts have influenced your approach to dieting? How have past struggles helped you find a system that works for you?

Stuart: The system that works for me, and in fact for all successful cases, is a comprehensive one. Food choices are perhaps the least important factors.

Diet Detective: Have you dealt with weight issues personally?

Stuart: I took lots of fat and flab off after I graduated Yale University in 1972 and kept it off for 34 years.

Diet Detective: What’s the best book about health that you’ve read?

Stuart: Robbins’ Pathology.

Diet Detective: What are your two favorite health magazines?

Stuart: The Annals of Internal Medicine and The British Medical Journal.

Diet Detective: What do you consider the world’s most perfect food?

Stuart: The egg.

Diet Detective: What physical activity do you do to keep yourself in shape?

Stuart: Elliptical ski machine for one hour several times per week, plus weight training.

Diet Detective: Do you have a favorite healthy recipe or cooking tip?

Stuart: No.

Diet Detective: Do you have a Calorie Bargain?

Stuart: Counting calories this carefully has no place in my philo

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