Charles Barkley (seen here providing basketball analysis on TNT with Kenny… (TNT )
NBA Hall of Famer and TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley will soon be adding a new job title to his resume: Weight Watchers pitchman.
The former power forward weighed about 250 pounds when he played for the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers. But after retiring from the league in 2000, he added another 100 pounds to his 6-foot-6 frame.
This year, Barkley's doctor told him it was time to shed those extra pounds, according to this account at the Game On! blog. "The doctor said, 'Hey dude, if you don't lose some weight you're either going to get diabetes, have a stroke or drop dead,' " the 48-year-old retired player recalled. "It's either A, B or C."
Barkley told ESPN that he didn't think it was "realistic" to lose all 100 of those extra pounds. "I just need to get healthier and hopefully help others get healthier," he said. "That's my real goal."
To that end, he's been eating cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and asparagus -- and enjoying them for the first time in his life, according to People magazine. Before Weight Watchers, he said, "I thought vegetables were all nasty."
Sir Charles told interviewers that he lost the first 14 pounds on his own, then shed another 27 pounds with the help of Weight Watchers to get down to a mere 309 pounds. He will be featured in the company's "Lose Like a Man" beginning on Christmas Day.
In teaming up with Weight Watchers, Barkley appears to have made a wise choice. A study published in September by the journal The Lancet found that people who followed Weight Watchers lost twice as much weight over the course of a year than people who got weight-loss advice from their doctors. In the randomized trial, those assigned to Weight Watchers dropped 11.16 pounds, on average, while their counterparts lost an average of only 4.96 pounds.
What's more, the people who used the Weight Watchers program -- which combines regular weigh-ins with a support group and advice on diet and exercise -- lost more fat and saw bigger drops in waist circumference. Those gains -- er, losses -- could reduce dieters' risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the researchers wrote. You can read more about the study here.
Now if only Weight Watchers could help Barkley with his golf swing !
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