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February 29, 2008

Weight Loss: Valerie Bertinelli's Tips for Successful Weight Loss Beyond Jenny Craig

Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a TimeE!news aired an interview last night with Valerie Bertinelli, who has just published her inspirational memoir, "Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time." Bertnielli replaced Kirstie Alley as Jenny Craig spokeswoman, and has now passed the torch to Queen Latifah.

In the interview, Bertinelli revealed tips that help her maintain a successful weight loss of 40-pounds. These healthy weight loss tips share common principles that our own permanent weight loss experts espouse.

Valerie Bertinelli's Five Tips for Successful Weight Loss

1. Curb Emotional Eating

"Emotional eating ranks as one of the top reasons women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run, a residential weight loss program and sister site of this blog. Repeatedly eating when we’re not hungry, or eating until we’re stuffed, often reflects difficulties with low self-esteem, feelings of emptiness, perfectionism, the desire to be special, respected and admired, a need for control or power, and/or trouble expressing feelings." (Read full article Stopping Emotional Eating: Finding the Help We Need)

2. Portion Control

"If you've been reading this blog for any length of time at all, you've heard us talk a lot about normal eating, appropriate portion sizes (the plate model) and making healthy choices. But, if you've really been listening, you know we don't believe there's any such thing as a perfect eater. In fact, the more relaxed you are about making choices and opting to take into consideration your wants and needs around food and eating, the more effective you'll be managing your weight."  (Read full article Mindful Eating: Portion Control and Enjoying Dessert)

3. Avoid Midnight Snacking

This tip falls under the category 'Curb Emotional Eating.' Snacking in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but it's more important to learn how to differentiate between real hunger cues, appetite, and emotional hunger.  According to a recent study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, that looked at the relationship of eating patterns to weight, those who consumed four or more meals and snacks a day were 45% less likely to be obese. In addition, skipping breakfast was definitively associated with a higher risk of obesity. (Read full article The Art and Science of Snacking)

4. Use Healthy Meals Prepared in Advance

Bertinelli finds planning ahead and having a healthy meal prepared and available helps her to stay on track. When women talk about their biggest obstacles to successful weight and health management, we often hear about hurdles like not enough time or knowledge to prepare healthy meals. Using the plate model can make it easier to prepare meals, avoid overeating, and ensure healthy eating.

5. Acknowledge your success

It’s difficult for many of us to challenge and move beyond negative thoughts and comments. Even those who, like Valerie Bertinelli, who have lost weight may find that these thoughts, feelings and beliefs do not change – the ‘fat feelings’ persist. To change our bodies, we also need to change how we think about our bodies. Learning to treat ourselves well and how to stop negative self talk can help to cement healthy lifestyle changes. (Read full article Stopping the Negative Self Talk: "I Feel Fat")

In the end, regardless of how you lose weight, women who can maintain a successful weight loss find that a healthy eating lifestyle is essential for lasting change.

Posted by Laura on February 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 28, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Genuine Northern Thai Style Papaya Salad with Peanuts

thai papya salad with peanutsAfter one bite of this spicy papaya salad, Paris Hilton would definitely say, 'That's hot!'

Today's healthy recipe uses chili peppers to kick this nutrient rich dish into high gear. Known as a “nutritional masterpiece,” papayas are rich in vitamin C, folate, and potassium and also aid digestion. They are also good sources of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, the eye-saving carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and lycopene. Peanuts are a protein powerhouse and also provide 13 different vitamins (including A, the B group, C and E) along with 26 essential trace minerals, including calcium and iron.

So, pump up the volume with a Red Hot Chili Peppers tune and enjoy the papaya party in your mouth!

4-5 small hot red chili peppers
2 small or 1 large garlic bulb
Tamarind paste (inexpensive and available in small can or jar at most Asian or Thai markets, and at      Asian/Oriental food sections of some supermarkets)
Thai-style fish sauce (also inexpensive and available in bottles at most Asian or Thai markets and at      Asian/Oriental food sections of some supermarkets)
2 small or medium ripe firm tomatoes
A handful (1/4 – 1/3 cup) cocktail-style shelled peanuts, salted or not to taste
1 fresh lime
1 medium-sized green papaya or prepared julienned green papaya from a Thai or Asian market
A few fresh French-cut long garden beans, and/or ½ a sliced carrot (for garnish)

Chop chilis fine or pulverize with mortar and pestle. Add finely chopped garlic or pulverize with chili peppers in mortar and pestle. Add 1 tablespoon tamarind paste to mixture; blend. Add 1 tablespoon Thai-style fish sauce to mixture; blend. Squeeze juice of 1 fresh lime into mixture; blend. Peel and julienne the green papaya; the slivers should be crisp and not limp. Chop tomatoes medium (peel first if preferred); lightly mix in bowl with julienned papaya.

Spoon sauce/spice mixture into bowl with papaya and tomatoes; gently blend mixture until uniform. Serve alone or on lettuce garnish on individual plates. Sprinkle whole or chopped cocktail peanuts as garnish on top. Add washed uncooked beans and/or sliced carrots as garnish.

(healthy recipe from America's Heartland)

Posted by Laura on February 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 27, 2008

Mindful Eating/Intuitive Eating Case Studies

I just have to share this post and comments about mindful eating or intuitive eating from the blog Shapely Prose, which I recently learned about. It's one of the best real-life discussions of mindful eating or intuitive eating that I've seen. I don't want to take away from its thunder by excerpting it because it's really valuable to spend the time reading the whole thing, including all the comments. One note: The person who let me know about it felt compelled to say that it does contain some [email protected]# language, so I guess I should also notify you about it.

Becoming a mindful eater/intuitive eater is a major step in eating well to be healthy. For some of us, it paves the way to healthy weight loss -- that is weight loss that occurs because we've gotten our bodies to higher than healthy weights because of all the unmindful/non-intuitive eating that we've done, largely the result of dieting or the diet mentality. At the very least, mindful eating can lead the way to peaceful eating, which is a huge step forward in achieving the goal of health and happiness.

After you've read the post on mindful eating/intuitive eating, bookmark the blog so you can read other entries, too. It's a great place to spend some time!

Posted by Marsha on February 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2008

Weight Loss: Kimkins Controversy and Women's World Apology

It's not every day that a major publication apologizes for exposing readers to new diets, even if they are fads.  However, Women's World has done just that because the Kimkins diet they highlighted in their June 2007 issue is now involved in a class action suit.  See apology below:

Please accept our apology

We at Woman’s World pride ourselves on finding inspiring diet successes to share with our readers every week. That’s why we were so distressed to learn that Kim Drake, the founder of Kimkins.com, gave us inaccurate information about herself and her weight loss. Though the article appeared several months ago, in our June 12, 2007 issue, and nutritionists assure us the diet information we provided was accurate, we deeply regret having shared with you a story we can’t stand behind. Your trust means everything to us, and we want to bring you the very best magazine we can, each and every week.

What is Kimkins?

Kimkins is a very low carb, very low calorie, very low fat diet plan introduced by a bulletin board commenter. Going by the nickname Kimmer, Heidi Kimberly Diaz claimed to be a modified Atkins plan that enabled her to lose weight (nearly 200 pounds) in a very short period of time. However, her website 'after' photo has been proven to be fake; she was actually using a photo from a Russian mail order bride catalog! In reality, Diaz is obese.

"The cover of Women's World Magazine shouted "Better than Gastric Bypass!" to advertise the Kimkins diet. Kimmer justified the low calorie plan by comparing it to the diets followed by Weight Loss Surgery patients, who also consume around 500 calories. Kimmer failed to note that those patients follow special diets which do NOT resemble Kimkins, and they are also carefully monitored by physicians as they progress. " (Read full article Kimkins: Anatomy of a Diet Scam)

The Kimkins Controversy

Critics of the Kimkins weight loss diet call it an outright scam, a diet fraud that promotes eating disorders by encouraging laxative use, extremely low daily caloric intakes, and recklessly eliminating carbohydrates. There are now several blogs and websites devoted to exposing Kimkins, following the class action suit, and providing support to 'survivors' (Kimkins has even been compared to a cult).

"Many Kimkins followers have been complaining of serious side effects from the plan including hair loss, heart palpitations, fainting, confusion, and more. When approached about these problems, they claim Kimmer brushed them off, saying they were not the result of the plan and the member must be cheating. Go lower in calories and you'll be fine. In the published email exchange between Kimmer and one of her staff, Kimmer stated that she couldn't help it if the members were "too stupid" to go to a doctor." (Read full article 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet)

Kimkins Fallout

Is it too little, too late for Women's World? Some say yes. Many women and teenagers may have fallen victim to this dangerous diet scam (dubbed 'Kimorexia'), in part due to favorable publicity of the magazine. 

Complaints against the Kimkins diet plan can be filed the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/cmplanding.shtm. For more information on the Kimkins scam, exposure, and class action suit, go to the Kimkins Exposed blog.

Posted by Laura on February 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 25, 2008

Weight Loss: Eating Out Options Where You Live Can Negatively Impact Your Weight and Weight Loss Efforts

As restaurant chains expand, so do some of the waistlines of Americans. Eating out can have negatively impact obesity and the ability to lose weight, but is there a difference between types of dining options?

Fast Food vs. Full Service Restaurants

In a new study published in the February issue of in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers found that the availability of more "fast food" restaurants compared to "full service" restaurants can contribute to higher levels of obesity.

Drawing on data from 5 years of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an annual telephone health survey of the adult population of the US and the 2002 U.S. Economic Census, the researchers examined the relationship between restaurant availability and weight status in 544 US counties. This resulted in over 700,000 BRFSS respondents, representative of approximately 75% of the 2002 US population.

The researchers found that a higher total restaurant density is significantly associated with lower weight status. However, once the restaurants are split into components: fast food and full service, a higher full-service restaurant density is significantly associated with lower weight status while, in contrast, a higher fast-food density is associated with higher weights.

Where You Live Can Impact Your Weight

"Individuals residing in areas with a high density of total and full-service restaurants exhibit lower weight status, possibly indicating that these areas possess a more advantageous, [relatively healthy eating] environment...Those who reside in areas possessing a higher relative number of fast-food to full-service restaurants have a higher weight status," states Neil Mehta, MSc, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania and Virginia W. Chang, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Personally, living in a town where I can give directions based on donut shops and fast food joints, I can understand the problem.  Yeah, there are healthy eating choices at some of fast food restaurants, but sometimes I just want a burger and fries (and there's nothing wrong with that!) Moderation, as this study demonstrates, is the key.  If you have a lot of quick temptations around you, it may take a little more conscious effort to strike a balance.  The important thing is to not to tell yourself to steer clear fast food, but just make sure you're also taking advantage of other healthy eating options when you dine out.

(Read full article at ScienceDaily.com)

Posted by Laura on February 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 22, 2008

Diabetes: Link Found Between Excessive Nutrient Levels And Insulin Resistance

A missing link in how the insulin system is triggered and halted has now been found, which may lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes patients.

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered how the enzyme OGT (short for O-linked ß-N-acetylglucosamine transferase), is the last link in a chain of enzymes that are responsible for transport sugars in and out of cells.

OGT and Fat Storage

OGT apparently shuts down insulin signaling soon after the body begins to pull glucose from the blood stream, causing the sugars to be stored in fat pads on in the liver.

"For the first time we have a real understanding of how the insulin signaling system is turned on and off," says Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., a professor in the Salk Institute's Gene Expression Laboratory, who led the study that appears in the Feb. 21 issue of Nature.

With abundant food, excessive quantities of nutrients increase these enzyme levels, resulting in a dampened insuling response and a progresion of insulin resistance.

Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

Most people with insulin resistance will eventualy have type 2 diabetes within a decade, unless they lose 5-7 percent of their body weight with healthy eating and fitness. Successful permanent weight loss can be difficult; these new findings may lead to drugs that make it easier to control blood sugar, lose weight, and help type 2 diabetes to go into remission.

Evans hopes that "this [discovery] could lead to a new class of insulin-sensitizing drugs that loosen the brake and let insulin work a little bit longer."

Posted by Laura on February 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Asparagus and Walnut Puffs

Get fancy with walnuts and asparagus, and enjoy healthy eating at the same time!  These asparagus and walnut hors d’overes make a wonderful presentation and are packed with nutrients. Walnuts, which contain omega-3s, exert a number of positive effects on arteries, including decreasing inflammation and reducing levels of substances that promote clogged arteries. Eating walnuts may also reduce risk of developing diabetes, and may help people who already have type 2 diabetes improve their cholesterol levels. Not to be outdone, asparagus is a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, B6 and rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls. These may be puffs, but they're heavy weights when it comes to delicious nutrition!

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
3/4 cup California English walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 - 18 asparagus spears, trimmed and cleaned (For variety use white asparagus or a combination of green and white)
1 Tablespoon walnut oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Roll pastry into a 10 x 4-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into six (6) 5 x 2-inch rectangles. Place rectangles on prepared baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the basil, the walnuts, the salt and the pepper. Mix well. Leaving a 1/2-inch boarder on each side spread 1/6 of the walnut mixture on each pastry. Place 2 - 3 asparagus spears on each dressed pastry rectangle (the thickness of the asparagus will determine how many spears are needed for each pastry.).

Bake until pastry is puffed and golden and asparagus is soft, about 12 - 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

(Contest winning healthy recipe by Carole Resnick, California Walnut Growers)

Posted by Laura on February 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2008

Loving Our Bodies for Healthy Weight Loss Success

Bodyimage2_3In this week after Valentine's Day, the topic of loving our bodies seems appropriate. Our last FitBriefing, Loving Our Bodies for Healthy Weight Loss Success, presents a good review of just how important this attitude is, even though it's very difficult for many of us to embrace.

The bottom line is that our attitudes/thoughts dictate our behaviors. To quote the FitBriefing:

"...how we think about ourselves and our body image has a decisive impact on our behaviors. For example,

When we’re negative about ourselves, we’re less likely to feed ourselves well.
We rarely have the motivation or energy to get off the couch (or out of bed) and move to make our bodies feel better.
If we’re emotional eaters, negative thinking about ourselves can be a trigger to eat when we’re not hungry, or even binge.
Bingeing and isolating ourselves can represent forms of self-punishment that make us feel even more discouraged and depressed."

Mimi and Teri, our behaviorists at Green Mountain, recently attended a conference at which much of the discussion centered around the significant effect our thinking has on who we become. Neural pathways get established with repeated thoughts, and those repeated thoughts become habits that dictate our behaviors.

The first step in changing thoughts and behaviors is to become aware of them. Because our habit of disliking our bodies can be so established, we don't even notice when we disparage ourselves. The attitudes of mindfulness go a long way towards helping us become aware.

If you're caught up in not liking your body, read the complete FitBriefing "Loving our Bodies." It has some useful techniques for starting to change these thoughts and, ultimately, even move towards a healthier place that may find us actually liking our bodies. Positive thoughts can work just like negative ones, by taking us to the places we're thinking about!

Posted by Marsha on February 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 19, 2008

What Type Of Ride Are You?

875066___old_car__"Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?"

Mercedes Benz - Janis Joplin

I love that song. So funny and poignant. The lyrics got me thinking today about my own body, and the fact that for the last 50 years it's been my main source of transportation. Regardless of how I've treated it, it has taken me where I wanted to go. Even if I haven't always kept it tuned up or in good shape along the way, it plugged along, spitting and sputtering only on the rarest occasion. Every now and then letting out a loud 'k-bang', just to be heard, but reliable and trustworthy just the same. What a magnificent machine.

I took the analogy one step further and began to wonder, what kind of ride am I? Today, in this moment. A Benz, an old Studebaker or a 1967 Pinto? What I realized was, regardless of what I am today, I'd rather travel down the road of life in a Mercedes Benz than a broken down Chevy! (A 'classic' Mercedes Benz to be exact).

The greater message is not about who has the best looking chassis, but what kind of ride do you get? I don't necessarily need to be a Porsche (maybe that's for you!), but if given the choice, I'd sure choose a high performance, sleek, comfortable, yet quiet ride, with plenty of agility on the road to get me where I've got to go - especially considering I'm not getting any younger.

Well, until I'm being chauffeured around, that is. Then it's Lincoln - all the way!

880650_yellow_1959_cadillac_1 Happy Motoring!

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Posted by Cindy on February 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2008

Diabetes: Hispanics Have More Difficulty Controlling Type 2 Diabetes/Diabetes Than Non Hispanic Whites

Results of an analysis of multiple studies show type 2 diabetes and diabetes control is more challenging for Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites, according to researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.

The results revealed that Hispanic patients with type 2 diabetes have approximately 0.5 percent higher levels on a test that measures blood sugar control, called the A1C test, than non-Hispanic white patients. The researchers noted the consistency of these findings across the studies.

An A1C test measures hemoglobin linked with glucose, or blood sugar, over a time period of two to three months. Higher A1C values indicate type 2 diabetes patients have difficulty controlling their blood sugar.

The results of the "meta-analysis" are reported in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

"A high percentage of Hispanics in this country have low incomes, no health insurance, and limited access to health care," said Kirk. "The Hispanic population has a high prevalence of [type 2 diabetes] and higher A1C than non-Hispanic whites. This further elucidates the health disparities that characterize the Hispanic population."

Read full article in Medical News Today. More information for Hispanics with diabetes may want to read "Prevengamos la diabetes tipo 2. Paso a Paso" ("Let's prevent type 2 diabetes. Step by Step") - a campaign from the National Diabetes Education Program.

Posted by Laura on February 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack