Tag Archives: medicine

Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children?

14 Jul

ABC News: Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children?

Is letting your child become obese a form of child abuse? That is the hot debate right now in an article I read on ABC News’ website. Children with extreme obesity are being removed from their parents’ house and put into foster care so they can lose weight. In the article, the children came from low-income families where the parent either couldn’t afford to buy healthier food or they worked several jobs and didn’t have the time to cook. It was very sad to read as the parents were obviously trying to do what was best for their families by providing for them in the best way that they could. One parent worked several jobs so they wouldn’t have to live in an unsafe area, but unfortunately, that resulted in fast food dinners for her 400 lb child.

I’m not sure where I stand on this debate. I see both sides and there are definite pros and cons to both sides, but separating a child from their parent when it’s not a clear case of physical or sexual abuse seems wrong. So often times parents who do hit or molest their children get to keep them. Yet a parent who can’t watch their kid’s diet, but is otherwise a good parent loses their child. At the same time, a 13 year old child who is 400 lbs is far from healthy and is definitely in grave danger of an early death and a slew of health problems.

Ideally what needs to happen is there needs to be nutrition and exercise programs available to families in low income areas. Kids need to have a place they can go to get healthy meals and a chance to work out when they have busy parents. However, with our national debt growing by the second and no end in sight, a government run program like this will never happen. I wish local communities could raise money for that type of thing.

There is such a push to try to eat healthier, but it is much more expensive. Why can’t the prices on fruits and veggies be reduced somehow? Everyone could still make a profit, but if a carton of strawberries is priced like a McDonald’s hamburger, maybe more people will eat it. Local gyms make quite a bit of money, especially if they are a big chain like 24 Hour Fitness. Can’t they offer free classes to overweight kids from low income areas?

I would think there are a lot more solutions out there beyond taking the kids away. And so the kids have success in losing weight in the foster homes, but what is to say what would happen to them when they return home to the same situation? Does that mean they are never allowed to go home? On some level it is abuse to let your child weigh hundreds of pounds more than they should, but there are ways to fix it without separating the parents from them.


To Salt or Not to Salt

6 Jul

ABC News: Is Salt Really Bad For You?

The above article discusses a new study that says perhaps salt isn’t as damaging to your health as one thinks. For years we’ve been told if we decrease our salt intake it will help us live longer. The article points out that while salt does lower blood pressure, it doesn’t have any direct links to living longer or not dying from a heart attack. However, it does say that high blood pressure is most commonly associated with stroke and that by lowering your blood pressure, you do decrease your risk for having one. It was just inconclusive on cardiovascular disease.

I personally don’t use salt on anything about 99% of the time. Sometimes I use a dash of kosher rock salt on a steak that I’m marinating to help tenderize it, but other than that, I never add it to my food. I don’t like the taste of overly salted foods (i.e. foods you get in a restaurant) nor do I like the water retention that comes with it and bloats out my body. I feel better not using it. Strokes run in my family on my father’s side, so I do need to keep that in mind.

There are so many other seasonings out there that add wonderful flavor to food that have great health benefits and no health risks. Add garlic instead. It promotes a health immune system, good blood circulation and a healthy heart. Basil is good for your tummy and helps boost immunity. Onions inhibit tumor growth, are a great source of vitamin C and also boost the immune system.

While the article wants to conduct further studies on whether or not salt will cause a heart attack, it is known that too much of it isn’t good for you. If you have high blood pressure or a family history of stroke, try some of the above seasonings instead.

Scientists Discover Obesity Gene

19 May

ABC News: Scientists Discover Obesity Gene

This seems like a big discovery yet it was a buried story on the ABC News website. I guess when the Terminator has had illegitimate kids, that’s more important that finding a piece of the obesity puzzle that costs Americans $147 billion a year. But I think this could really lead somewhere. Like the article says, the gene isn’t everything. You still have control over your size with how you eat and how active you are, but discovering this gene and learning how it works may answer questions as to why some people are naturally skinny and why others diet endlessly but are always overweight. I’m curious to see in the next 10 years what can be developed to help people who have this gene lose weight and keep it off.

Do you think scientists will be able to discover a way to help people lose weight who have this gene or will it become just another excuse for people to use as a reason not to lose weight, i.e. I have the gene, I’m doomed, might as well eat a Big Mac. I think it’s going to help people tremendously, but I’m interested in your opinions!

To Block or Not To Block

13 May

About two years ago I went on beta blockers as a preventative against migraines. They worked wonders and took my migraine frequency and severity down. Being that I’m a graphic designer and not a science nerd, I was puzzled all this time as to why I was always so tired and why I seemed to hit the wall so early in my work outs. Once I started marathon training, I really became confused and frustrated with my lack of progress. Sure, I was completing the required distance, but at a horrible, horrible pace.

I wasn’t trying to be super fast, but I just couldn’t believe that given the shape I am in that I was actually that slow. I tried different things with my trainers to help build speed and endurance such as speed interval training and strength training. Nothing was working. Then I finally mentioned to my trainer I was on a beta blocker, and that I had heard they sometimes make it difficult to work out.

Apparently I had no idea just how difficult a beta blocker makes exercise. I figured it was a minor annoyance. My trainer was shocked I’d been training this whole time on this medication. It stops your heart rate from getting high, which in turn zaps your energy and endurance levels. He absolutely couldn’t believe I’d gotten as far in my training as I had with this medication.

I decided this week to see a new doctor to see if I could get off of the beta blockers, but find something else to combat my migraines. My doc was surprised I was on them in the first place given how young I am and the fact I only had 1 – 2 migraines a month. Beta blockers aren’t usually prescribed unless you get 1 – 2 migraines per week. And I was on too high of a dosage apparently too.

Unfortunately you can’t stop beta blockers cold turkey or else your heart rate can skyrocket to an unhealthy number. So I’ve spent this past week weaning myself off of them. Let me tell ya, I completely understand why drug addicts don’t get off drugs—withdrawal is a completely miserable experience. I’ve been wound up, jittery, shaky, unable to sleep all week. It has been awful. Every two days, I’ve had to cut down by a half pill.

I’m now down to just a half pill in the morning for today and tomorrow. By race day on Sunday, I will be beta blocker free. The interesting thing is that when I worked out on Tuesday, after only cutting a half pill for one day, I saw dramatic improvement. Yesterday, when I was down half of my total dosage, I saw an insane improvement. I set a new PR yesterday for the mile. Previously my mile was 12:40 (on beta blockers) and yesterday I breezed through at 11:40. Still a bit on the slow side for running standards, but for me that was insanely fast. I was able to do my run/walk intervals at 5.5mph for the full 4 minutes. Normally I die at 5.0mph.

So to block or not to block, that is the question. I say, not to block. There are million medications out there for migraine sufferers that don’t hinder your athletic ability, and for me, with all the time I’m devoting to training, it’s worth it.

I am going to rock the Colfax Half Marathon on Sunday!

Ninja Nibbles: Quick Tips

26 Apr

So there are a few things lately that I’ve been obsessed with in terms of my workouts and diet that I thought I’d share. I ate my bodyweight in chocolate eggs and bunnies on Easter, but I’m back on the straight and narrow now. 🙂 As I make little discoveries about good, new snacks or a great workout song or a new tip, I plan to share them!

• Workout songs: “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” by Scissor Sisters and “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine
Those songs seriously get me pumped and make me take off running like no other. Great, great stuff!

• Snacks: Yogurt covered raisins, Craisins Cherries
They both have a lot of sugar in them, but they are great for a pre-workout snack for a quick burst of energy or to use while on a long run for refueling. They do have fiber and other good nutrition in them, so it’s a good snack. I mix them with unsalted peanuts to get in a bit of protein for my long runs.

• Breakfast Booster: Greek Yogurt Smoothie
Mix: non-fat milk, Greek Yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries with a dash of Agave Nectar (for sweetening) and blend. This makes a great smoothie filled with tons of protein, fiber and vitamins to get you going in the day. I drink one for breakfast every morning in addition to eating a slice of toast with peanut butter on it. This combination keeps me full a really long time

A Milestone

20 Mar

After my foot surgery on November 16, 2007, my doctor told me I’d never run again. He had to reconstruct the arch of my right foot after a car accident caused it to collapse. I was 205 lbs and in excruciating pain, so I believed him at that moment. A year later, though still in pain, I was trying to get my life back together. I decided to start exercising and trying to lose weight. I kept at it for months and finally my pain went away in January 2008 so I was able to do more.

I tried and tried, but couldn’t even walk on a treadmill much less run. I stuck to low impact activities like the elliptical and stair stepper plus weight lifting. I was inspired by The Biggest Loser and how the final contestants run a full marathon at the end of each season. I was determined that one day I would be able to run again.

On August 2, 2010, I became a runner. I did 0.8 miles in 10 minutes, a tragically slow pace and pathetic amount. But I decided that on that day I was going to run a 5K on September 12. I ran the race (3.10 miles) in 40:06. I was a runner.

Today, I reached three milestones. The first two were that I ran the furthest and the fastest I’ve ever run. I ran 8 miles in 1:38:40, which is an average pace of 12:20. An average pace of 13:30 is required to finish a full marathon in the time limit of 6 hours. I beat that pace by 1:10. My third milestone is that I broke 200 total miles run today. I’ve run 206.15 miles since August 2.

Not bad for a former crippled fat girl. Not bad at all!

Eat Fresh!

12 Mar

It was announced this week that Subway is now the largest fast food chain in America, beating out McDonald’s by nearly 1000 more locations. I was really happy about the news as I’m a big fan of Subway (but hey, I don’t care how “healthy” I am, I HEART McDonald’s fries), and with the obesity problem in America we need more Subways.

Granted, Subway isn’t perfect in that their deli meats contain a lot of sodium and some of the sandwiches on the menu are higher in fat and calories (meatball sub with cheese), but it is definitely the best option we have for fast food that is nutritious. My personal favorite is the turkey breast with American cheese and piled high with lettuce, spinach, green pepper, cucumber and banana peppers. My “cheat” is the cheese, though it only adds about 70 calories to the sandwich. I don’t get any condiments on it to make up for the cheese.

Jared became a phenomenon when he decided to eat nothing but Subway and lost so much weight. I don’t think that’s the best idea as variety is the spice of life, but I think more Americans need to start going in that direction for their meals instead of turning to McDonald’s or another burger joint for their food. The obesity rate is so high here, that something has to be done. So if it’s a small step of healthy restaurants starting to outnumber the unhealthy ones, it’s a step in the right direction.