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November 24, 2008

Diabetes: Can Genetic Screening Help Identify Type 2 Diabetes Risk?

Although genetic screening does seem to help identify people at risk for type 2 diabetes, current methods are just as effective.

In a couple of new studies, researchers looked at newly discovered "genetic variants" for  an associated increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Results for both studies showed that the risk for type 2 diabetes increased with the more genetic variants found in the volunteers.

However, the screeening did little to outweight the benefit of traditional screening methods, which include family history, obesity and impaired glucose tolerance, according to diabetes researcher James B. Meigs, MD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

"The genomic revolution is here, and it is possible to predict risk for diseases like diabetes by assessing genetic risk factors," says Meigs. "But this field is in its infancy. The message here is, 'stay tuned.'"

Read full article at WebMD

Posted by Laura on November 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2008

Preventing Holiday Weight Gain: 10 Tips to Guarantee Holiday Weight Gain

The annual holiday food fight is about to begin.  You know, the one where conflicted women nationwide (even worldwide) face down rich-food eating traditions.

This year, to help women understand what doesn’t work when it comes to happy holidays, the healthy-weight experts at Green Mountain at Fox Run have come up with some sure-fire tips to take the guesswork out of gaining those holiday pounds.  We counter them with sensible advice for emerging from the holidays feeling great.

For Guaranteed Holiday Weight Gain

Before the Holidays

·      Diet! Diet! Diet!  Let’s face it, you expect to overeat during the holidays so why not get a jump on weight loss now?  If you’re feeling truly ambitious, try dieting during the holidays, too; the deprivation will be highly effective at driving you to overeat.  Our real advice:  Learn to eat what you want now in a way that leaves you feeling great.  Then the holidays won’t pose any special challenge, and you can enjoy them fully.

·      Work out extra hard and long every day.  You can make up for those times during the holidays when you won’t want or have the time to do anything.  Our real advice:  When we overdo on exercise, we’re more likely to burn out, or worse yet, injure ourselves, and guarantee we don’t want to do anything.  Slow and steady wins the race.

·      Start weighing yourself daily.  You’ll be able to follow your weight up and down the scale, and cut back even more when you’ve gained an ounce.  Then you’ll heighten your feelings of deprivation even more, further guaranteeing holiday overindulgenceOur real advice:  Toss out the scale now and for always.  It generally doesn’t give the instant gratification we seek, and often negatively impacts our motivation to take care of ourselves.

During the Holidays

·      Take on as much work as you can.  If you don’t do it, who will?  The holidays just aren’t the holidays without all the fuss!  Our real advice:  Choose wisely in what you commit to.  You may end up with fewer or simpler celebrations but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more.

·      Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel guilty about eating.  It’s easier to say ‘no’ when your spouse, mother, sister, daughter, friend looks disapprovingly at you as you reach for that wonderful holiday sprinkled cookie.  Our real advice:  Educate family and friends about the real impact of their attempts to control what you eat.  If they won’t listen, minimize your time around them when you’re eating.  It may mean missing a party or meal, but you might feel much better as a result.

·      Forget about stress management for now.  You’re too busy!! Just focus on getting what you need to get done.  And be sure to really have too much to do before big parties.  If you can pick a fight with your spouse on the way to a party, all the better to guarantee extra emotional overeatingOur real advice:  Take care of yourself physically and mentally to help keep a balanced view on what’s important during busy times.  Maybe the easiest thing to do:  Get some exercise! Physical activity refreshes, relaxes, revitalizes and will add energy and enthusiasm to your life.  Make it a regular part of your day during the holidays and after.

Before & During Parties

·      Make sure every social event revolves around food.  If you throw the party yourself, make too much food, especially desserts!  Set up nuts and other goodies early so you can pick at them all day long while you skip meals.  You do eat fewer calories that way, right?  Our real advice:  Traditional foods are a big part of festivities, but holidays don’t have to be all about food.  Plan fun activities such as pumpkin bowling (knock down gourd ‘pins’ with small pumpkins), a pine cone toss (count how many pine cones you can land inside a hula hoop) or just fun and refreshing walks through the woods, around the neighborhood talking to friends you pass.

·      Set a ‘hands-off’ rule for all the rich foods you’ll encounter.  If you just say ‘no,’ you’ll be able to nip any weight gain in the bud!  Our real advice:  When we forbid foods or label them ‘bad,’ we set ourselves up for overeating them.  Again, learn to eat foods you love – even those rich in calories, fat, sugar – in a manner that makes you feel well.  That way, you’ll enjoy them and, if you’re following a healthy lifestyle, you’ll enjoy a healthy weight, too.

·      Go ahead and buy all those goodies on sale in jumbo packages.  They’re for your guests; they won’t create any problem for you having them around.  Our real advice:  Good intentions aside, mere exposure to food often sets us up for wanting to at least taste it, especially if we’ve got the idea we shouldn’t.  Help yourself by buying only as much as you really need, and even then, it might help to keep goodies tucked out of sight in the pantry until party time. 

·      Bank calories whenever possible.  Skip breakfast and lunch to make sure you’ll overeat at the party.  Our real advice: Feeding yourself well all the time leaves you better nourished and able to choose wisely whether at parties or the food court at the mall.

Posted by Marsha on November 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 17, 2008

Type 2 Diabetes May Increase Your Risk for Tuberculosis

A study from the University of Texas School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus (UTSPH) indicates that Type 2 diabetes patients may be more likely to contract tuberculosis (TB).

From the diabetes blog at About.com:

  • Type 2 diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes involving chronic high blood sugar, is associated with altered immune response to TB, and this was particularly marked in patients with chronically high blood sugar.

  • Patients with diabetes and TB take longer to respond to anti-TB treatment.

  • Patients with active tuberculosis and Type 2 diabetes are more likely to have multi-drug resistant TB.

Joseph B. McCormick, M.D., UTSPH regional dean, believes that that these results herald new avenues of treatment.

"It opens a door to doing something about it," said McCormick, the university's James H. Steele Professor. "We can educate physicians and offer more TB screenings. We have an opportunity to make sure patients are diagnosed correctly and that there is no delay in diagnosis."

It can be hard to avoid an airborne illness like TB, but if you have if you have Type 2 diabetes, it's extremelymaintain your blood sugar.  If it's out of control, you're more at risk for TB.

Posted by Laura on November 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2008

Most Who Have Prediabetes Don’t Know It

Although a quarter of American adults have prediabetes, most aren't aware they have it, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Only 4% of Americans report having prediabetes. It is a condition marked by impaired fasting glucose (blood sugar), impaired glucose tolerance, or both. People with prediabetes are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, if people are aware that they have the condition and make the appropriate lifestyle changes, those changes can prevent or delay the development of diabetes.

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from the 2006 National Health Interview Survey, which is a nationally representative survey of adults conducted through face-to-face interviews. In 2006, participants were asked for the first time about prediabetes. There were 24,275 adult participants 18 or older.

Of the 4% of people who had been told they had prediabetes, 68% had tried to lose or control weight, 55% had increased physical activity or exercise, 60% had reduced fat or calories in their diet, and 42% had done all three.

The prevalence of self-reported prediabetes increased with older age, being overweight or obese, and being female.

Though only 4% of participants reported having prediabetes, researchers believe that 26% of adults have it, a figure based on laboratory test results in the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

(from Medical News Today)

Posted by Laura on November 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 27, 2008

Diabetes: Denial and Depression

Debbie Hendrick, from DiabetesMine, brings up a good point about what she calles the 3 D's: diabetes, denial and depression.

Writing women with type 2 diabetes she's come to know, Blogger Hendrick writes that she is "shocked how so many...strong, beautiful ladies talk about denial and depression. One women voiced, ironically, that "she had a hard time getting out of bed that morning to make [her] way to a Saturday’s motivational luncheon."

Other diabetes community sites, like DiabeticConnect community, are also filled with women outpouring story after story of trying to cope with the emotional stress, depression, and denial of Type 1 and type 2 diabetes .

But new programs that come to aid 3D sufferers are beginning to crop up. Doctors Polonsky and Guzman from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI), located in San Diego, California, are emphasizing that depression and diabetes are a "documented pair" and anti-depressants aren't always effective in diabeics.  BDI, instead, offers "down-to-earth strategies for intervention," one of which is called DiaBudies - a mentorship program.

DiaBuddies is a mentor program for children and adults of all ages with type I and type 2 diabetes . This program matches up clients with a DiaBuddy that can best relate to their needs, based on age, gender, type of diabetes and other considerations.

DiaBuddies provides personal support to help adjust to a new diagnosis, address ongoing issues with diabetes, and/or offer understanding and motivation towards a more successful life with diabetes. All mentors are certified through a training workshop led by DiaBuddies/BDI staff. Supervision meetings are held with the DiaBuddies and BDI clinical psychologists to ensure that the mentorship is successful and progressive.

Although the program is not yet nationwide, there are other online communities sites that offer support, such as TuDiabetes, a social network site.

Women who can travel to the east coast can join Green Mountain at Fox Run's Living Well Program, which is a community supported weekly retreat located in Ludlow, Vermont.  It's a  healthy lifestyle program, run jointly by Green Mountain and Joslin Diabetes Center, that couples  their renowned weight loss program with diabetes management, which includes strategies for coping with stress, emotional issues as well as behavior modification.

For more information, read more about the Living Well diabetes management program online.

Posted by Laura on October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

More on Healthy Weights & Reading

51ilyzv1gwl_sl500_aa240__3A couple weeks ago, I posted about research that showed reading books that young girls could identify with helped improve self esteem and might be a good way to reach them with helpful fitness and health information. Emphasis on the helpful, which to us at Green Mountain means health at every size [HAES] messages.

For anyone who can use a primer on what HAES is all about, I'm thrilled to report that Linda Bacon has published her long-awaited book (long-awaited in HAES circles at least) "Health at Every Size, The Surprising Truth about your Weight." Excerpts from the website:

Fat isn't the problem. Dieting is the problem.

A society that rejects anyone whose size or body shape doesn't meet an impossible ideal is the problem.

A medical establishment that equates "thin" with "healthy" is the problem.

The solution? Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size is not a diet book. Read it and you will be convinced that the best way to win the war against fat is the give up the fight.

This is a book with helpful messages that anyone concerned about womens healthy living -- or anyone else's, for that matter -- can really use.

Posted by Marsha on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 20, 2008

Diabetes: Halloween Treats Are Tricky for Diabetic Kids

Kids love Halloween, but for children with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, trick or treating pose a challenge. Tempting candy is hard to resist when all the other kids get to partake, so what can parents do to encourage healthy eating and good blood glucose management during the holiday?

  • Place the emphasis on having fun in other ways.
  • Celebrate the festivities with creative crafts, costume making, and decorations.
  • Let your child to host his or her own party and plan a healthy menu.
  • Consult with your child's physician on how to factor in some candy into an overall healthy eating plan.
  • Trade some of the sweets for an alternative 'treat' such as a much desired toy, sporting equipment, video game, or special outing.
  • Help your child sort through the candy so that they can decide which items to enjoy in the short and or to store for another occasion.
  • Use the Joslin Diabetes Center's Pediatric and Adolescent Services website to review a list of 15 gram Halloween treats.

With a little planning and assistance, your child will find it easier to manage their Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and still enjoy this fun time!

Posted by Laura on October 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 15, 2008

For Healthy Eating & Healthy Weights, Eat Fat

I just finished a breakfast of a bagel and sausage. Okay, it was half a small bagel and sausage made from a pig grown down the road from me, but still, it was sausage in all its high-fat goodness. Yes, goodness.

We've long encouraged women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run to give up the fear of fat. Yet we see it continue among the calorie-conscious -- fat does have more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrate. And too much of it probably has a negative effect on health independent of the calories it contains, especially saturated fat, an excess of which is linked to heart disease and maybe other diseases.

But many of us went to the extreme many years ago in reducing fat -- jumping on the fat-free bandwagon that many experts now suspect created more healthy eating problems than it solved (if it solved any at all). One thing that I am sure of is that going fat-free took much of the joy out of eating. A fat-free version of a yummy food just isn't yummy anymore. In many cases, too, the lowfat version isn't any good either. My solution is to eat the real thing, but be conscious of how much we eat of it.

In particular, many of us have become very turned off to animal fat, such as that in the yummy sausage breakfast I just enjoyed. When we're looking for healthy weight loss, or to keep our weight at a healthy level, animal fat is often the last thing we'll really consider putting in our mouths. In a recent article on salon.com, Monica Bhide, who has written for the Washington Post and New York Times among other publications, interviewed Jennifer McLagan on in her new book, "Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes." Jennifer says, and I agree [except with the blanket 'blame' about obesity; sometimes it not a question of blame; some of us are genetically destined to be larger, and we don't suffer any negative health effects from it],

It's difficult to blame obesity on one thing. But it is definitely not consumption of animal fats. I think there are many causes -- the way we eat, alone, in the car, walking down the street, the constant snacking. Increased consumption of low-fat, fat-free "foods" results in us eating more sugars and carbohydrates. These products don't satisfy our hunger and leave us wanting to eat more. Eating good animal fat does, so you eat less.

I haven't read Jennifer's book so can't vouch for the veracity of any claims made in it or about it. But I do appreciate her vote for moderation, one of the three basic principles of healthy eating, whether it's to lose weight or just stay healthy and feel good. What are the other two principles? Variety and balance. Key principles for mindful eating, and words to live by, indeed.

Posted by Marsha on October 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 08, 2008

For Healthy Weight Loss, Read a Book?

According to a women's health website, Duke University researchers this week released results of a study that showed young girls (age 9 to 13) who were part of a weight loss program fared better after reading a novel that featured a story line about a young large size girl who worries about going on an outdoor school trip but ends up doing well on the trip, improving self-esteem and physical activity levels along the way. The researchers said that the study shows a novel way (pun intended) to reach young girls with positive weight loss information.

In my book (pun intended again), it sounds like this is all about identifying with others, finding others that deal with similar issues and seeing how they successfully navigate their way to taking care of themselves. We see that all the time at Green Mountain. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of taking part in our healthy weight loss program is bonding with other women who are here, learning that we are not alone in our search for how to take care of ourselves and gaining the powerful support of like-minded women who can help us see our options.

Peggy Elam, PhD, clinical psychologist, is founder and president of Pearlsong Press in Nashville, Tennessee. It's a wonderful source for fiction that features story lines starring large size women that may be able to help provide inspiration, insight and support for other large size women. At the least, they're entertaining reads.

Posted by Marsha on October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 06, 2008

Diabetes: Get in the K.N.O.W. with Randy Jackson

Get in the K.N.O.W.!  Randy Jackson, TV personality and well-known figure in the music industry, will be airing a diabetes webcast on October 14th at 1 p.m. (EST).  Joining him is Daniel Jones, M.D., from the American Heart Association.  Together, they hope to bring more awareness about the disease to the public through the Heart of Diabetes campaign. The webcast is for those with - or affected by - type 2 diabetes.

What does the K.N.O.W. stand for?

  • K - Keep active and maintain a healthy body weight
  • N - Normalize your critical health numbers
  • O - Opt for a healthy lifestyle
  • W - Work with a healthcare provider

Jones and Jackson will offer tips and information on how best to improve the  management of type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Information on type 2 diabetes and how it's related to cardiovascular disease
  • Randy Jackson’s personal type 2 diabetes journey
  • The Heart of Diabetes campaign
  • Tips on optimal management of type 2 diabetes
  • Educational information and tools made available through The Heart of Diabetes program

For more information and registration...

Posted by Laura on October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack