Tag Archives: obesity

Ready for an Overweight President?

30 Sep

Will America Vote for An Overweight President?

Yesterday I saw an article on ABC News about New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s possible run for president in 2012. The article was wondering if America would vote for an overweight man to become president and based on the article’s preliminary information, it sounded like no. Although I was appalled, I guess I can say that I really wasn’t that shocked. Or was I?

The world of politics has gotten more and more corrupt over the years and in the world of 24 hour news, nothing is a secret. Sex scandals, prejudice, faux-pas are all the norm now in politics. Yet those things are overlooked and accepted. Sure Clinton got into some trouble with the ladies and was impeached, but face it, he was an extremely popular president and considered very, very successful. Bush faced controversy by getting us into the Iraq war and the mess that led to, yet he was reelected.

To me, those seem like pretty big issues, but yet the thing America will hold against a potential candidate is their weight. Is it right that someone who could potentially be a fantastic leader of this nation (I know nothing about him or his political views so please take this theoretically) be held back from the position just because he weighs a lot? Are we really that shallow?

The article argues that Americans want a healthy president in office due to the fact it is such a high stress job and being in good health is key to handle it. Yet, one in three Americans is obese and the rate is expected to climb over the years. So isn’t that a little the pot calling the kettle black?

Entertainer Kelly Osbourne said she received far more flack in the press for her weight than she ever did for her numerous trips to rehab to battle drug and alcohol addiction. The first things tabloids point out once a star has had a baby is how fast they are back to their regular body and have lost the baby weight.

For a country with an obesity epidemic as high as ours, we sure are hypocritical to our leaders, entertainers and other public figures in expect rail thin, health freaks when we as a nation can’t seem to accomplish it.

I personally think that when choosing a president, I care more about his views on different global and national issues and whether or not he can help our country over his weight. I do agree that the president should be healthy, but I think all people should strive to be healthy. And I’m certainly not going to base my vote on a candidate’s weight.

Grazing Packs on the Pounds

26 Sep

ABC News: Grazing Packs on the Pounds

I came across this article from ABC News that discusses how grazing packs on pounds. To me, this seemed fairly obvious and seemed like an odd article choice. However, once I read it, I realized apparently this is not obvious. It is preached a lot by those in the health community to eat five or six small meals a day to prevent major blood sugar dips and prevent overeating at meals because too much time has passed.

Snacking between meals, apparently, is seen has following this advice. However, small snacks are supposed to be 150 – 200 calories, but most pack in snacks of 350 – 500 calories. Advertisers mislead consumers by naming their products things that sound healthy. The example used in the article was renaming “candy chews” to “fruit chews” and suddenly people bought and ate more of them, thinking they were healthy.

Snacking is important and can be healthy. If you go more than 4 hours without eating, your blood sugar drops and you tend to get ravenously hungry where you will start packing in junk food. The article suggests making up your own snack packs and taking them to work or with you in the car when you have a lot of errands. There are lots of healthy foods that are convenient to eat on the go, but are full of vitamins and low in calories.

Try packing an apple and some almonds for a snack. The protein and fiber will keep you feeling full longer plus the sugar in the apple will give you a little boost when the afternoon doldrums hit. Pack bags of dried fruit (caution: look for natural dried fruit, not packages full of sugar and preservatives) with some pretzel sticks (watch the sodium) and create your own trail mix. If you have access to a fridge at work, string cheese makes a great snack too.

If you bring your own snacks and have them easily available, you are much more likely to pass up vending machines and goodies left in the company break room.

Ninja Niblets: September 23, 2011

23 Sep

Just a few links and niblets to get your weekend started. Have a great weekend and try to incorporate some physical exercise into your time off. Take a nice walk, go for a run, go for a bike ride to enjoy fall weather!

High Intensity is Best for Burning Calories
FitSugar.com posted an article about a study recently done that has shown high intensity workouts are the best for burning calories. Some have theorized that long, slow workouts will get a good fat burn going, but in reality it’s high intensity workouts. So hop on the treadmill or elliptical and do some speed intervals for 30 minutes. Try 30 seconds high speed, 1 minute medium speed and do this on and off for 30 minutes. According to the study, your caloric burn will last for another 14 hours!

FitSugar: High Intensity Workouts Best

7 Exercise Machines to Skip
Not all exercise machines are created equal. Some cause more harm than good and others don’t do anything. Check out this list from Shape Magazine.

Shape Magazine: 7 Exercise Machines to Skip

Last Chance Workout
Have a race coming up? Runner’s World has come up with last chance workout plans to implement the week before a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon to help improve your speed for the race itself.

Runner\'s World: Last Chance Race Workout

Have a great weekend!

Weight Watchers a Success

8 Sep

ABC News: Weight Watchers Most Effective Diet

A recent study has shown that the popular diet Weight Watchers is the most effective weight loss plan. Over 700 obese adults in Australia, the UK and Germany were studied and given different diet plans. Those who did watchers as opposed to checking in with a regular nutritionist or doctor as well as other plans were the most successful.

Weight Watchers participants lost on average about 11 pounds while those on other plans lost only 5 pounds. The diet is basically calorie counting and portion control, but uses an easier, faster system with points. No food is off-limits in Weight Watchers and it is basically a lifestyle change as opposed to a weird, fad diet.

I can see how it would be the most successful. Not only is the food plan the most realistic, but the weekly group support can really do wonders for people in terms of sticking with it. It helps to have other people in your situation and share your highs and lows of the week.

I basically did Weight Watchers when I started losing weight, though I just counted calories and kept a food journal. No foods were off-limits as long as they fit within my daily allotment of calories. This is honestly the simplest method to losing weight and it is the most successful because people CAN stick to it. It is a lifestyle change of cutting portions and exercising. That can be done over a lifetime. Never eating carbs again or drinking liquid syrup with lemon juice cannot be maintained!

The only downside to Weight Watchers is that it’s somewhat expensive. Plans can cost as much as $40 a month, which is a lot of money depending on your income level. However, think of all the money you’ll save in medications and doctor visits if you can get your weight and health under control. You only get one life and it’s worth investing in. Try Weight Watchers or just try keeping an online food journal like I did. Small steps make the biggest change.

World’s Heaviest Woman

7 Sep

People Magazine: World\'s Heaviest Woman

People Magazine ran an article online yesterday about the world’s heaviest living woman, an American named Pauline. She will go in the Guinness Book of World Records for weighing 643 pounds in February 2011, though she now thinks she’s closer to 700 pounds. First of all, I find these types of stats for the Guinness Book as sad and degrading. I’m all for keeping track of world records for sport accomplishments or things like the fastest car, tallest building, but there are so many bizarre stats in that book like weight that are horrible.

Reading the article in People, I felt really sad. She obviously wants and needs help and is feeling so lost and desperate, that she thinks the only way she can get it is by putting herself in the Guinness Book. She is hoping a doctor or nutritionist will help her by seeing her story in this book. Meanwhile she’s enduring even more ridicule and judgement as a result.

Granted, one can argue she has no one to blame for her weight but herself, though obviously some genetics play a role here given her size. Not to mention she seems to have a food addiction problem to get to the size she is. No matter what, she definitely doesn’t want to be there and doesn’t know what to do. It’s obviously not as simple as “quit eating so much” with someone her size.

It’s interesting that you never hear about the thinnest woman or thinnest man in these books. I’m guessing it’s probably in there since everything else is, but it’s not a headline making statistic like the overweight people are. Biggest Loser gets quite a media buzz whenever they have the largest contestant on the show whether it’s the largest man, largest woman or largest person overall, their ratings skyrocket.

Overweight people are dealing with so much more than just simply eating too much. They have deeper issues that cause them to behave that way both mentally and probably a lot of genetics too. Yet, they are splashed all over the media to be laughed at and judged. I sincerely hope that someone in the health profession does help Pauline. She is asking for it and is willing to lose her pride and dignity with the Guinness Book to get it.

If you know someone who is overweight and has said they need help, help them. Don’t laugh or judge, but actually help them. Whether it’s being their workout buddy or ordering something healthy at a restaurant so they don’t feel left out when they do, it’s the small steps that lead to big changes.

Movie Review: Ultramarathon Man

6 Sep

The evening after my 20 mile training run, I decided to watch the documentary, “Ultramarathon Man” on Netflix. It was about ultra distance runner Dean Karnazes’s quest to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. I figured if I watched the film, suddenly running 1 marathon wouldn’t seem like such a huge ordeal.

It was an excellent, inspiring movie. Dean is a super human. He was literally being studied by scientists on his quest as no one has even come close to him in terms of endurance and ability in running. He finished almost all the marathons in about 4 hours, some were less and one was more (the Arizona Marathon where he ran in 104 degree temps).

He only ran about 5 official marathons on the days they were being held, including San Francisco (where he lives) and New York (the final marathon). On the other days, the race officials recreated the exact race route for him and he ran that with a select group of 20 – 30 people who wanted to run with him. At the start of each race, the DVD would pause so you could see the Dean’s stats for each race (pace, total time, calories burned, heart rate, etc) as well as his journal entry for the race.

It was a very well done movie, and I would highly recommend it for anyone to see. Whether you’re a runner or not, his drive, spirit and genuine down-to-earth personality will touch you for sure. It’s about overcoming obstacles and what seem like impossible challenges. Dean’s reason for running the “Endurance 50″ as he called it, was to encourage people, especially kids to get out and exercise. He was on a quest to raise awareness of America’s obesity problem. What a way to do it!

The movie is on Netflix or can be purchased from Amazon.com.

Dean Karnazes\'s Official Website

What’s in a Number

30 Aug

When I first started losing weight, I didn’t even set a goal number or size. I just wanted to see if I could stick with a diet and exercise plan. The more I got into it and stuck with it, I set a goal weight of: 145 lbs. I thought this was somewhere around a size 8 – 10. I was extremely surprised to discover that it put me into a size 6.

I was ecstatic. I was one of those “skinny girls” now who could wear a tiny size 6. I couldn’t believe it. Every store I went into had my size and it fit! This was such a new and novel concept to me. Two years later, I still get a thrill that I can go to my favorite stores and wear anything I want.

This past Saturday I went shopping with my mom for my birthday. I love getting clothes for my birthday, but I have to pick them out and try them on. So we typically make a day of it rather than exchanging money or gift cards. Much more fun! I went to The Limited, which is my favorite store and took a haul to the dressing room.

Everything was going great until I got to the pants. They were tight! The size 6 skirts and dresses I tried on were fine, but the pants were a mess. They fit, but if I even ate a big lunch, they’d be uncomfortable. My legs were the worst part. They were hugging every inch of them with no room to breathe. I was shocked. Then I got really upset. The scale has stayed steady. I lost the 5 lbs that I gained on my vacation, and I’ve been at my goal weight ever since. How could I have gone up a size without gaining weight?

Then I looked at my legs. They’ve gotten huge. Huge in a good way. Huge from miles and miles and miles of running and doing 50 lb squats and 24″ box jumps. My legs are full of strong muscles that I will need to carry me across the finish line of my marathon. My new size 8 legs were dying in my normal sized pants.

I was mopey about the size change for the day, but after coming home and verifying again that the scale had stayed the same, I was actually kind of proud of my legs. I now have one of those athletic bodies that I hear about all the time that are hard to find clothes for. Now I understand. I wear my normal size in tops, skirts and dresses, but pants are getting difficult. I get what the athletes go through when they go shopping.

So it’s like the Nike Women’s Ads said, “I have thunder thighs. And that’s a compliment because they are strong and toned and muscular and though they are unwelcome in the petite section they are cheered on in marathons.”

5 Steps to a Healthier Life

25 Aug

Starting a new diet or exercise plan can seem really overwhelming. Whether you’ve tried and failed on numerous occasions or have a lot of weight to lose, surmounting the weight demon can seem impossible. The way I achieved my weight loss success was through a series of small steps. I couldn’t imagine a drastic change in my life when I was going through recovery from surgery, so I made small changes. These are 5 simple steps that I feel will really help you make a change in your life for the better without being overwhelmed.

1. Keep a Food Journal
Start keeping a food journal. Use an online resource like My-Calorie-Counter.com or Livestrong.com and record everything you eat for a full week. Write down the good and the bad and see what you consume in a week. Let’s say you’re consuming 2700 calories a day, which is a pretty big number. Rather than doing something drastic like cutting it down to 1500, cut it by 500 calories a day. It’s a small amount you won’t probably notice, but this allows you to lose a pound a week at a healthy, safe rate. As you lose weight, adjust your caloric intake gradually.

2. Go the Distance
Start incorporating small forms of exercise into your daily life. Park your car in the furthest slot away from the door so you have to walk more. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a 20 minute walk after dinner. Start small. If you try to take on a huge exercise program right off the bat, chances are you’re going to get sore and give up. Try to move for 30 minutes a day. If you can keep that up for a month or so, join a gym.

3. It’s All Greek to Me
There’s a reason the Mediterranean Diet is worshipped by doctors for its health and nutritional benefits. One of the big staples is Greek yogurt. Use plain non-fat Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream or heavy cream in recipes. You can’t taste the difference and you cut hundreds of calories with this simple substitution.

4. Breakfast of Champions
Eat a good breakfast. A good breakfast is not a donut in your company’s break room nor is it an Egg McMuffin. And don’t go thinking you can skip out on this important meal. Eating a healthy, well-balanced breakfast will jump start your metabolism working right away. If you don’t eat in the morning, your metabolism slows because your body thinks it’s in starvation mode. You feel sluggish and irritated because you have no nutrients to get you fired up in the morning.

Try 1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt, 1/4 Cup Non-Fat Milk, 8 Blueberries, 4 – 5 Strawberries, and 1/4 TSP of Honey for a great morning smoothie. Eat with a slice of bread with 1 TBS of Peanut Butter. This 350 calorie breakfast will keep you full and get the metabolism going.

5. Be Strong
Lift weights. Cardio is an extremely important part of exercising. It burns calories and builds a very strong and healthy heart. However, you can reap far more benefits from your cardio workout if you incorporate a good strength training program as well. Lifting weights builds muscle which burns fat. You will burn more fat if you both strength train and do cardio. Ladies, you will not bulk up and look like a guy with strength training. It is healthy and especially necessary for women to prevent osteoporosis.

Remember, start small and work your way up. Don’t get discouraged. Know that making small steps towards a healthy life will result in a big payoff.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Produce Section

18 Aug

I went on vacation in June and indulged greatly in culinary delights. I was on a cruise through Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel, I was not about to eat healthy. I hit the gym and running track every other day, plus walked a lot. But when you eat gelato 4 times a day, it’s bound to catch up with you. I gained 5 lbs upon my return on June 28. Today I lost the last pound, so the mission has been accomplished.

Before I went on vacation, I was able to be a bit more lax with my food than I had been during my weight loss. I could splurge a little more and was playing roulette with the scale. I kept not gaining and was getting to sneak in a few extra treats——ice cream and fries. When I returned from my trip and saw the 5 lb weight gain, I got very strict with my food again. My splurge days turned into one day a week, but I was much more meticulous and anal about what I ate and writing it down.

A funny thing happened during all this. I actually feel better than I did before. I have an ulcer as a result of the medications I had to take during my surgical recovery, so I was downing Maalox most nights after I ate. Once I switched over to a 100% fresh, whole foods diet and didn’t veer away except once a week, the Maalox went back in the medicine cabinet. Could it be all those health experts and doctors are right? Does eating healthy make you feel better? Eeek! Who knew? The even funnier thing is that I don’t really want to go back to getting extra treats and splurges even if the scale did stay the same. I feel sick when I eat out at restaurants more than once. Fast food really tastes gross now for the most part.

I really am happier and feeling better just eating my fruit for a snack, carrot sticks, yogurt. I’m doing a lot better in the gym too with my running and stamina, and it’s probably because I’m fueling my body with the proper nutrition. Whodathunkit?

Don’t get me wrong—my once a week treat of pizza or some ice cream is really good. I still enjoy it. But I can’t eat more than that now. I actually crave fresh fruit and am not really tempted by fast food as much anymore. It just doesn’t taste very good and I usually feel pretty crappy by the end of the day.

I’ll keep these habits up for the long-term now even though I’m not trying to lose anymore weight. I love feeling so good and having more success with my workouts. Try it out. It may seem tedious at first and you may madly crave French fries, but if you eat really healthy for several weeks, suddenly a bowl of cherries may be the best snack ever.

What’s In YOUR Cart?

15 Aug

Today, I went grocery shopping after work. It’s funny, but in the last few months I’ve begun to really look at what is inside someone’s grocery cart. I constantly hear from people that they don’t understand why they’re overweight, but it never occurs to them to change what is being purchased at the grocery store. I don’t say this to sound sanctimonious now that I’ve figured out how to eat healthy, I say it because I think the ignorance is genuine. People don’t realize what is in food both in terms of fat and calories, but also preservatives, sugar and sodium.

Many foods advertised as low fat/low cal are often compensated by being sky high in sugar and sodium. If you buy anything within the interior aisles of the supermarket, chances are your food is loaded with preservatives and other unpleasant chemicals, fillers and calories.

When you go grocery shopping, really try to stick to the perimeter of the store. This is typically where fresh produce, meats and the bakery are located. Once you start venturing down the aisles, you will encounter foods that come in a box, can or frozen section which usually means chemicals, preservatives, extra fat/calories/sodium. Go grocery shopping with a clear list and a clear head. Don’t shop while you’re on the phone or otherwise distracted. This can cause you not to read labels and buy impulsively. Take the time to read labels—look not only for nutritional information but find out if the meat or produce is organic or where it’s from.

Shopping healthy is, unfortunately, fairly expensive. My grocery bill for me this week was nearly $65. The majority of the food I bought today will only last me one week, though some of it can be frozen and saved for a later date (i.e. chicken breast strips were buy one, get one free, so one went into the freezer). That’s a lot of money for a single person. Try to watch the mail for grocery store inserts to see who is having sales on lean meats and produce. This will help in your overall bill reduction.

For example today, I didn’t have time to stop at Sunflower Market, which is where I typically buy most of my produce and all of my meat. It’s usually all organic but incredibly cheap (a 6-pack of chicken drumsticks is as low as $1.50). So I had to hit the main supermarket for everything. Their organic chicken was $8 a package, which is crazy expensive. Non-organic chicken was $4.50 for a package, but this week with my shopper’s card, I could get two packages of the organic chicken for $8 since it was BOGO. Watch for these kind of deals and stock up.

Try shopping the perimeter for one week. Make all of your meals fresh at home. If you are working or busy with a family, make large quantities and freeze it for the week so you have more time. Although I still seriously heart my ice cream, I can guarantee you will feel so much better cooking with only fresh ingredients. So put the Hamburger Helper back on the shelf and give this challenge a try.

Share your grocery cart contents!

What I Bought at the Grocery Store Today
Blueberries, Strawberries, Plums, Cherries, Watermelon, Red/Green/Orange Peppers, Corn on the Cob, Sliced roast beef from deli, 93% lean ground beef, organic chicken breast strips, whole grain white Wonder bread (I can’t get on the whole wheat band wagon, just can’t do it!!!), fettucini noodles, egg noodles, 1 healthy request cream of mushroom soup, 2 quarts of Greek yogurt, low-fat string cheese, parmesan cheese, reduced fat cream cheese (for a recipe).

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