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February 28, 2007

Fat Actresses & Size Acceptance

Actress_1 Gina’s post about fat actors yesterday is a perfect prelude to mine today about fat actresses.  Actually, I’m not saying who’s fat and who’s not, but just remarking on who thinks she is and probably doesn’t like it, and who seems to revel in her size.

In the first case, I’m specifically referring to Meryl Streep, who at the Academy Awards show remarked that her dress size matches the number of times she’s been nominated for an Oscar.  I was so dismayed when I heard that.  To me, it sounded like this wonderfully accomplished actress is hung up about her size, something that we rarely see actors get caught up in as they age and, much of the time, naturally grow larger.  Then top that comment off with Meryl’s outfit, which looked like she was trying to hide her body.  Sort of speaks for itself, at least in this day and age.

Contrast that to newcomer Jennifer Hudson, who said in this week’s Parade magazine that although she looks slimmer that she used to, she’s not trying to lose weight, that she really wants to keep her ‘jelly.’  Clearly a different attitude about weight and weight loss than the usual. (Be sure to check out the link on Jennifer above -- it's a story about how Vogue magazine is putting her on the cover without asking her to lose weight -- a milestone!)

I vote for Jennifer’s attitude – size and self acceptance at its best.  She’s not wasting her time and considerable talents trying to get to a size that’s probably not in her genes. 

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Posted by Marsha on February 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack


February 27, 2007

Fat Actors

Actor Yes, that is a title of an article in Wikepedia (for those of you that aren’t familiar with Wikipedia, it is a free content, multilingual encyclopedia written collaboratively by contributors around the world. The site is a Wiki - anybody can edit and add to an article. Offers quick understanding on controversial issues. Strong in current affairs.).

I’m a little shocked that someone would think of the topic – Fat Actors – then actually research and write about it. Who has made the list is fascinating too! There is even a lengthy discussion section, where the political correctness of the term “fat” is pondered, as well as using BMI as a measure as to gauge what (or should I say who?) is fat.

As far as using BMI as a measure of fatness goes, that really gives me a chuckle - Sylvestor Stallone, Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are all considered obese by BMI measurements! I suggest this article – A Diet of Hysteria by Rob Lyons – as a superb primer on the real issues of "fatness".

Have a "fat" day :-)

Gina

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Posted by Gina V. on February 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


February 26, 2007

Living Well - Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Gmsm_1Time moves quickly and we never seem to have enough to plan anything. So, I’ve decided to give you fair warning about one of Green Mountain’s most renowned and popular special programs over the last 35 years.

Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes: A Program for Mastering Diabetes Through Lifestyle Change, will be running for a consecutive 7th time this year from April 15th through April 21st, presented in partnership with Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School.

Our Living Well week blends our healthy lifestyle “how-to” program that’s been helping women at Green Mountain seek healthier and happier lives since 1973. With the diabetes expertise of leaders from the renowned Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School this is truly an amazing program.

“I first came to Green Mountain many years ago; I have never been healthier and in better control of my weight and diabetes. I couldn't imagine they could make the program better, but with Joslin, they did!”
Patricia Green
Sikeston, Missouri

“Before the Green Mountain-Joslin program, I was experiencing severe burnout from 17 years of coping with diabetes. The week recharged my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. This old dog even learned some new tricks. Months later, my activity level is still up, and my doctor has eliminated some of my medications.”
Judith Waldrop
Edgewater, Maryland

The week also features in-depth contact with Dr. Barry Wayler, our board certified endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes. Availability is limited and each year we seem to fill up earlier and earlier. If you’d like more information about our nationally recognized Diabetes Program especially for women, please call one our program consultants at 800.448.8106.

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Posted by Cindy on February 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


February 23, 2007

To Work Out Or Not To Work Out - The Flu And Cold Season

Winter is winding down. In fact, in my neck of the woods, the daffodils are out and the birdies are tweet tweeting - it really feels like spring! However, that doesn’t mean cold and flu season is over and that begs the question, should a few sniffles keep you from exercising

Whether you have a slight cold or the nasty flu, there are certain fairly common physiological issues that effect most people when they get sick. First of all, your resting heart rate, BMR and respiratory rate become elevated. When this occurs your body loses fluid. This is one of the primary reasons we’re always being told to sip soup and drink lots of water. Obviously, if you perspire during exercise, this will only increase the level of dehydration. If you’re unlucky enough to have a fever, not only will you not feel like working out, your dehydration will be even more exaggerated.

Combine all that good stuff with your general sense of blah, weakness and lethargy and you’ll recognize very quickly what your body needs from you. More than likely, it's telling you to just lay low for a while.

It’s good to listen to your body. Whenever possible, we highly recommend it!

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Posted by Cindy on February 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack


February 22, 2007

Fennel Parmesan Salad

fennel-parmesan-salad.jpg

Salads are one simple way of maintaining a healthy living lifestyle. What's not so simple is finding a variety of salad recipes. If you find yourself in a rut, try this flavorful and healthy recipe from the blog Simply Recipes. Their description alone is appetizing: "the cheese perfectly complements the slight licorice hint of the fennel. Thyme and parsley provide the accents along with a simple olive oil and lemon dressing."  If you're a parmesan-lover, this one's a no-brainer!

Makes 2-3

  1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin with a mandoline or meat slicer
  2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1/8 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
  1 Tbsp chopped flat-leafed parsley
  2 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients together. It's that simple.

For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites.

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Posted by Laura on February 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


February 21, 2007

Healthy Weight Loss: Portion Size Examined

Nhlbi_quiz_1 Anyone reading this blog for very long (or who has read the articles on the Green Mountain website) probably knows I’m not a big fan of calorie counting, or of trying to figure out how many calories we burn with physical activities.  This way of living (if you can call it that) just isn’t intuitive.  It takes too much of our attention away from the important things in life, and if we learn to support and listen to our bodies, e.g. mindful eating and living, we can know intuitively  when we’ve eaten as many calories as we need, or when we need to go burn a few.

Even so, when the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) introduced a new online tool to help people realize how much food portions have grown in recent years, I thought it worth letting folks know about it.  It’s all focused on calories, but if we can step back and look at calories as an indicator of portion size (not some inherent goodness or ‘badness’ in a food or some other distorted way we tend to use calorie information), they can tell us a lot about an important topic.  The tool is called the Portion Distortion Interactive Quiz

Unfortunately, research shows that if we don’t pay attention to our internal cues, we tend to mindlessly eat what’s set in front of us.  So whether it’s a 1980’s cheeseburger that contained about 300 calories, or today’s cheeseburger that contains closer to 600, we down it without stopping to assess whether we’ve had enough before it’s all gone.  Regular eating like that can mean regular overeating, which can mean body weights that are higher than might be good for us.  And for many of us, just cutting back portions to the 1980 size can be enough to help us lose weight, returning us to our natural healthy weight without a lot of effort. 

So take a moment to check out NHLBI’s new quiz.  At the least, you’ll probably have a little fun with it.  And you might learn something!

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Posted by Marsha on February 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


February 20, 2007

Screaming (Louder) to be Heard

MunchThere is a book that we carry here at Green Mountain called “Screaming to be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect, and Doctors Still Ignore” by Elizabeth Vliet, MD.  The title pretty much says it all, and it’s for those women that have repeatedly heard “it’s all in your head” from their doctors.

One of those syndromes that are often not recognized is called “polycystic ovarian syndrome” with a couple of aka’s – PCOS, metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X, which is the name for the collection of symptoms that is caused by insulin resistance.

While I know personally the desire to have your doctor listen and help you, I’ve also come the realization that the help that they can provide can be limited, especially with lifestyle related issues. Let me explain.

Since a car accident a number of years ago, I’ve suffered with soft tissue pain and a bulging spinal disc that has hindered my ability to maintain the level of exercise I need to manage my diabetes and general health. I finally got a referral to a “back specialist” who had me bend over and touch my toes – which I could easily do, but as I did it I told him that he wouldn’t be around at midnight when I would be writhing on the floor in pain (classic bulging disc behavior, the pain comes much after the action). He told me that at “my age” (I was 36 at the time) I had to expect some “aches and pains.”

So I had to figure this thing out on my own, especially after I realized that this fellow couldn’t offer me any kind of solution that was acceptable to me anyway! I’ve limped along (pun intended) for several years now, having to “baby” my back, and never being able to get to the fitness level that I wanted. Part of “babying” was to go to the chiropractor whenever I had some aches and pains, and to cut back on any movement. As I’ve learned to listen more to my body, I realized that moving – even if there was some soreness – was more helpful to me than a chiropractic adjustment or therapeutic massage.

In the same way, when I got Pcos  diagnosis – after 25 years of problems – I kept wanting someone to listen and help…then I figured out that the best help would come from me. I found that small changes make a big difference in my quality of life – and there are studies that say I’m right.

From Green Mountain’s PCOS information page,
“According to many studies, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome can improve their insulin resistance just with moderate activity. Even if you exercise and don't lose weight, you are still reaping very important health benefits. Exercise has been shown to improve use of insulin and can support dietary interventions to promote weight loss; it is important that the exercise program chosen is enjoyable.”

If you think you may have PCO, take a look at this remarkable video that aired on the Discovery Channel about a woman’s quest to have her symptoms be taken seriously.

Mystery Diagnosis – PCOS – 1
Mystery Diagnosis – PCOS – 2
Mystery Diagnosis – PCOS – 3

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Posted by Gina V. on February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack


February 19, 2007

Exercise Your Options - Workin' Up A Sweat

Women_exercisingI've posted before about how I hate paying too much attention to all the buttons, knobs and digital readings on exercise machines and the like. Just because I think it’s more important for me to try and get in touch with my own perceived exertion, rather than allowing my competitive tendencies to take over. If I’m left to my own devices, I will push exercise to the point where I’ve squeezed every bloody drop of enjoyment out of it. Until one morning I wake up and decide I just don’t want to do whatever it is any more. Big surprise.

All that being said, I still have to pay attention to my inner voice. At times that may mean pushing myself to get the kind of workout that’s necessary for me to get a desired outcome. In my case, a little weight loss. Even with a healthy, balanced, portion controlled eating plan, I will have to do more than just move my body.

So how do you determine if you’re working out enough without getting all crazy about the numbers? I was given some really good advice once from my doctor (yes, a doctor!). She asked me, 'are you breaking a sweat?" Are you kidding? I'm all about sweat.  "Well, that's all you need to worry about." You know what? She was on to something. The common denominator in all this figuring out what’s right, is sweat!

And how long should you exercise? Again, it depends on the individual. Where are you starting from? If you’ve been sitting on the couch, a brisk walk around the neighborhood will provide you benefit. If you aren’t exerting yourself enough, you’ll know. Simply pick up the pace, move your arms. How does it feel? If you can do that for 15 minutes then maybe next week it’s 20 and in a couple weeks it’s 30 and in a month or two you’re exercising for 45 minutes and you still feel great. Before you know it you’ll find you want to take your walk. You’ll need to take your walk. You’ll be sad if your life gets in the way of your walk. That’s how I want to feel about fitness.

I just think it's important to get what you want out of the experience. You’ll get to where you want to go.

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Posted by Cindy on February 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


February 16, 2007

From time to time it's nice to revisit some of our favorite quotes, poems or stories. I like to use them as affirmations - they bring me joy and strength. The following is a poem, of sorts, written by Sam Levenson. It's entitled, 'Time Tested Beauty'. It's a favorite and I thought I'd share it with you on this beautiful Friday morning.

Time Tested Beauty

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through
it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk
alone ...
People, even more than things, have to be restored,
renewed, revived, reclaimed
and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed.
Never throw out anybody.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you'll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older you will discover that you have two

hands.
One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

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Posted by Cindy on February 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


February 15, 2007

Healthy Bean and Pasta Soup Recipe

BRRRR! Unless you're one of the lucky snowbirds to have escaped the recent winter storms, you could probably use a nice hot soothing soup to help you brave the elements. Fill up on this healthy bean and pasta soup from The Recipe Circus and you'll be laughing at the snow! Enjoy it in front of the fire or take a thermus to work.

Makes 8 servings

6 slices bacon (or turkey bacon), cut up
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (15-16 ounce) can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup elbow macaroni or other small pasta (try whole wheat pasta for extra fiber)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon in 4 quart Dutch oven until limp. Stir in onion, celery, carrot, garlic and red pepper. Cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes. Cook 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and broth. Heat to boiling. Stir in macaroni. Cook about 15 minutes or until pasta is tender, but still firm. Sprinkle with cheese.

For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites.

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Posted by Laura on February 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack