Dr. Oz still humbled by unexpected TV fame
When Dr. Mehmet Oz first began practicing medicine, he had no idea he would someday become a Emmy Award-winning talk show host and a beloved health expert trusted by people all over the world.
“It never crossed my mind,” Dr. Oz tells CTV.ca during a promotional stop in Toronto on Monday.
“If I had thought about it and that had been the goal, I don’t think it would’ve happened. I don’t think Oprah would’ve done what she did for me. It partly worked because I was so naïve in the process and she said, ‘I’m just going to help this guy a little bit.’”
Dr. Oz became a featured health expert on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2004 and it wasn’t long before he was a household name. After five seasons on Oprah’s show, Dr. Oz branched out and started his own.
With “The Dr. Oz Show” now an international hit that is broadcast in 112 countries worldwide, Dr. Oz, who has also co-authored six New York Times best-sellers, says it still amazes him just how big all of this has become.
“I was giving a talk yesterday at the Sony Centre and I actually stopped talking for about five seconds just to make sure it was real.”
He says it was his wife, Lisa, who encouraged him to become a TV expert because it was an opportunity to help people in ways that went far beyond the operating room.
Millions of people now turn to Dr. Oz every day (by way of turning on their television sets) for advice on how they can live a happier and healthier life.
It sounds like a lot of pressure, but Dr. Oz says he sees it more as a responsibility.
"I think people are more interested in the intent of the conversation than the actual facts so if I bring the right energy to the conversation . . . and you try to deal with the emotions around the problem (and not just give them) a laundry list of things to do, they’ll be appreciative,” he says.
“We try to give the best advice we can. It’s very difficult to help everybody. Sometimes the problems are pretty complex. But I think it becomes a healing experience no matter what.”
Dr. Oz says he’s seen a lot more people interested in their own health since he started doing the show in 2009.
“I think we’ve changed the way people think about and talk about health, which really was the big goal.”
The show has also made people more interested in him as a person.
“It’s always funny when I go to a restaurant. People are always like, ‘What is he eating?’” he says with a laugh.
With all the demands of the show, Dr. Oz still has time to direct the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, perform 100 heart operations a year and have time for his wife and four children.
So when does he have time for himself?
“I don’t get many days off,” he says. “On the weekends I’m a hermit. I don’t leave the house at all. I’m usually working. That’s when I write the magazine articles and I prepare for next week’s show so I do work a lot.”
Dr. Oz says he is very diligent about working out every day (he does seven minutes of yoga every morning) and is very conscious of managing his energy.
“I’m very active all day, I run around and then at night time if I feel like I’ve got some energy, I’ll work out. I’m very careful about what I eat.”
He also tries to practice daily meditation and has devoted an upcoming show to the ancient practice.
“I care so much about it I give (classes) to every member of my staff. They all do it. When you’re really lost and you just can’t put the pieces together it lets you connect dots that otherwise don’t seem connectable.”
As well as yoga and meditation, Dr. Oz has some advice on how busy people like himself can stay healthy: don’t run from stress.
“Life’s goal should be to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And if you can embrace the stress as you’re feeling it and grow through it, you’re better off for it.”
And while taking a multivitamin and getting enough sleep are also really important, Dr. Oz says one other key thing you can do to be healthy is to do what you love.
“Forget about money. Forget about everything else. If you love it, you’ll be good at it and if you’re good at it you’ll make money at it.”
While the latter advice doesn’t seem like something you’d hear from one of the most famous medical doctors in the world, Dr. Oz insists everything is related – something he tries to convey on his hit talk show.
“This is not a show about health. This is a show about life.”
“The Dr. Oz Show” airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!