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March 27, 2009

It Happened This Week: In Praise of Beets

Almost fit has 44 Ways to Lose Weight without dieting, including eating real, high quality fats.

CNN Health lists the 10 best foods for your heart.

If you have diabetes or are at risk for it, Consumer Reports has 8 ways to live longer.

Body Love Wellness blog has tips on how to "thoughtfully indulge" at parties and special occasions.

FOX News asks: What's the Difference between Yoga and Pilates and Which Is Best For You?

Nutrition and Food Web Archive has the lowdown on fitness after 50.

After President Obama expresses his distaste for beets, the blogosphere comes out in defense of the little root veggie that could. The New York Times' Well blog has the scoop.

Posted by Emily on March 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2009

What to Eat...& What Not To

546230_working_3 Joining Twitter has certainly put me in touch with the world at large.  I've been able to get an overview of popular thoughts about healthy weight, weight loss, diet, fitness...all those subjects that interest the women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run. (Of course, I don't have any time to do anything else anymore, but that's a different story.)

This is a lead-up to the fact that today's post features my thoughts on a few items that came across my desk computer in the last week, most of them courtesy of those I follow on Twitter. (Thanks, Twitter friends!)

So if you're interested in...

  • whether we have to eat organic to eat healthy (& a great recipe)
  • whether we need to eat things we don't like if we want to eat healthy
  • how to eat like a French woman
  • the latest on weight loss supplements

...read on.

Do we have to eat organic to eat healthy?

I've loved Mark Bittman's recipes for a long time; recently, he has been bitten by the health bug, and he's doing some wonderful work on lighter recipes that taste fabulous. (Check out his great mixture of dandelion greens and potatoes; I made it last week for company, and we were all transfixed. Really, we did like it that much.  I left off the bread crumbs because I am gluten sensitive, and it's still very yummy.)

His recent New York Times article "Eating Food that's Better for You, Organic or Not" is a good brief on some of the issues surrounding organic foods, which he summed up like this, "...when Americans have had their fill of “value-added” and overprocessed food, perhaps they can begin producing and consuming more food that treats animals and the land as if they mattered. Some of that food will be organic, and hooray for that. Meanwhile, they should remember that the word itself is not synonymous with “safe,” “healthy,” “fair” or even necessarily “good.”" 

Bottom line: Good doesn't always have to be organic, and organic isn't always good. 

Do I have to eat foods I don't like if I want to eat healthy?

A recent survey showed one in three Britons eat foods they don't like because they think it's good for them.  The article quotes a nutritionist saying she is astonished that so many people don't realize there are other choices for nutrients than foods they don't like.  For example, abhor spinach?  Try beef or dried apricots to get iron.  Bonus: iron from beef is even better absorbed than that from spinach so you might end up better off for it, at least as far as iron goes. 

Bottom line:  We don't have to eat what we don't like to be healthy.  (Caveat:  If we think we don't like anything but highly-processed food that's devoid of much in terms of good nutrition, we may need to work on changing our tastes.  It's worth it!)

French women do get fat but fewer of them do than Americans.

I love to read someone who is talking about really appreciating good-tasting food; this wasn't about that. :)  But it's where we can get to when we start paying attention to enjoying our food. Psychology Today featured an article with a title referring to the  French paradox; it was a discussion of mindful eating comparing French and American eating habits.  Has some useful tips for helping yourself slow down and start paying attention. So does our FitBriefing we wrote a while ago looking at the book French Women Don't Get Fat.

Bottom line:  Enjoyment is not just in the taste of what we eat, but also in how we eat it and how we feel after doing so.

One more reason not to use weight-loss supplements.

To end this discussion about what we eat I thought I'd focus on what a lot of folks do to help them not eat: diet supplements.  The Food and Drug Administration last week expanded its list of weight loss supplements that are tainted with drugs such as antidepressants, amphetamine, diuretics and experimental obesity drugs.

Bottom line:  Not only do weight loss products represent quick weight-loss efforts that don't work for most (any?) folks, now they come with additional risks.  Or maybe they did all along....

Have you recently read any interesting info about food and weight that's worth sharing?

Posted by Marsha on March 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 20, 2009

It Happened This Week: Fish, Milk and 'Skinny Clothes'

CNN has a primer on How To Buy the freshest, healthiest fish.

Nutrition Data blog answers the question "What kind of milk is best for blood sugar control?"

Bacon is My Enemy weighs in on hoarding "skinny clothes." You know you do it, too.

Workout Mommy has a great list entitled "Things I have learned about Diet and Fitness."

The New York Times' Well blog asks "What's Your Cooking Personality?"

Glamour magazine's "Never Say Diet" blog is asking women to write in about "How I learned to Love my Body."

About.com wonders if there is a connection between Fibromyalgia and Binge Eating Disorder.

Posted by Emily on March 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 13, 2009

It Happened This Week: Happiness is a Size 14 Figure

The Daily Mail explains why "Happiness is Having a Size 14 Figure."

Utah, Hawaii and Wyoming top the list in American "happiness" poll, reports the AP.

This month's issue of Health magazine lists "America's Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants." Panera Bread gets top rank.

Reader's Digest says Healthy Eating Begins at the Supermarket.

As a follow-up to our latest FitBriefing on eating healthy during the recession, check out this guide to saving money by growing your own produce, via The Daily Tiffin.

Marsha found a neat blog called How To Cook Like Your Grandmother.

Posted by Emily on March 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 06, 2009

It Happened This Week: Treadmill While You Work

A new study finds that quick bursts beat steady exercise in blood glucose control, via Diabetes Health.

This is from last week, but I love this post by Workout Mommy comparing skinny versus strong.

If you're trying to curb your drinking, don't watch boozy movies, says Diet Blog.

"One-third of cancer cases could be eliminated if people ate less fat and sugar, exercised more and reduced obesity," reported Canada's CBC News.

U.S. News explains why women in strained marriages are more likely than their male counterparts to have health problems.

Hotel Chatter has the scoop on Marriott's new work stations for business travelers that include treadmills. Do you really want to jog while you're checking your e-mail?

The New York Times reports that the FDA "does not have enough authority to ensure that dietary supplements are safe, and it should seek more oversight power.

Also from the Times, an interesting article: "What's Eating our Kids? Fears About 'Bad' Foods."

Posted by Emily on March 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 04, 2009

Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs: Helping, Not Harming

563727_playing-1 As children around the world have gotten fatter, adults have watched with concern.  And sometimes acted on their worry by launching school-based programs that have concerned eating disorder professionals even more. Programs such as sending home 'weight report cards,' banning 'junk food' in cafeterias and even classroom birthday parties, limiting vending machines in school, and launching campaigns emphasizing the dangers of excess weight.  The problem? Not only do these efforts likely not work, they may inadvertently cause kids to focus inappropriately on weight and shape and begin unhealthy weight control practices.

The reason for concern among eating disorder professionals is based on a large body of evidence that shows an emphasis on appearance or weight control can foster disordered eating.  Example: 

  • When peers or parents make it clear that being thin is their preference, and encourage dieting or other practices whose sole aim is weight control, body dissatisfaction, dieting, low self-esteem and weight bias is the result among children and adolescents. 
  • What's more, weight control practices reliably predict greater weight gain than that of adolescents who do not engage in such practices.

So how are we supposed to help our children stay healthy?  The same way that's recommended for adults.  Focus on health, not weight.

To help schools and communities who want to really help their children, the Academy for Eating Disorders has just issued guidelines for childhood obesity prevention programs.   The guidelines make a number of important points that anyone working to establish effective childhood obesity prevention programs should consider.  They describe the ideal program:  "...an integrated approach that addresses risk factors for the spectrum of weight-related problems, including screening for unhealthy weight control behaviors; and promotes protective behaviors such as decreasing dieting, increasing balanced nutrition, encouraging mindful eating, increasing activity, promoting positive body image and decreasing weight-related teasing and harassment." 

Take the time to read the whole document; it's important. 

While we're talking about studies, a word about the latest diet study that 'showed' calories, not carbs, fat, or protein content, is what matters when it comes to losing weight.  Headlines were abuzz with the 'news,' but somehow failed to mention the fact that all the study participants were slowly regaining lost weight, regardless of the type of diet they had followed.  My point is obvious (I hope): I agree that carbs, fat, protein, etc., is not an accurate predictor of healthy weights.  But then again, neither are diets.  Healthy lifestyles are, and accepting the fact that there is a wide range of healthy weights that goes beyond that generally accepted.

Posted by Marsha on March 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 20, 2009

This Week on the Web: Barbie to Bollywood

Babble.com discusses a controversial ad campaign uses Barbie to teach kids about obesity.

The International Herald Tribune ponders: "Does the consumption of artificial sweeteners lead to weight problems?"

The Nutrition and Food Web Archive blog says "Constantly analyzing food choices doesn't help women lose weight."

Msnbc.com has the latest on the Bollywood dance fitness craze.

The New York Times on the sport of extreme stair climbing.

Time magazine examines whether veggies are as nutritious today than they were 50 years ago.

Diabetes self Management has an interesting video regarding the proposed "obesity tax," comparing soda and milk.

Diet-blog asks: "Is your diet too restrictive for long-term health?"

Posted by Emily on February 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2009

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be an Old Woman

Some things are just too good not to share.  This video is one of them.  It encourages us to get mammograms.  That's good, too, although not why I posted the video.  Watch it; I'm sure you'll understand my why.

One other good thing I want to share:  a blog called The Gimpy Girls: Solutions for Baby Boomers, the Disabled and the Just Plain Lazy.  That's where I found this video.  Now I'm looking for time to read more of the blog.

Have a great weekend!!

Posted by Marsha on January 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 21, 2009

Tomorrow is Women's Healthy Weight Day!

470286_behind_the_shutter Each year, the Thursday of Healthy Weight Week (third week in January) is devoted to women, to honor size diversity and "confirm that beauty, health and strength come in all sizes, and that talent, love and compassion cannot be weighed." Awards this year go to two winners.

Developed at Trinity University in San Antonio, this research-based program combats media images of female beauty.  As part of its national launch, Fat Talk Free Week was created, featuring a viral video email to raise consciousness about Fat Talk and body dissatisfaction among women.  Research shows it's seeing success: 48% of women at one college who said they "felt fat almost every day" reported eight months later they felt that way never or less than half the time).

Best website: Love Your Body
Sponsored by the National Organization for Women Foundation, this website provides encouragement, and perhaps more importantly, tools to help girls and women "just say no" to destructive media images. It also raises awareness about women's health.  Its message: "...be healthy and love yourself regardless of what the scale says."  In 2009, it will collaborate with the Reflections program to sponsor Fat Talk Free Week in October, the month that NOW promotes its own Love Your Body Day.

Check out both these websites for great information on what you can do to promote size acceptance and good health among women tomorrow and every day.  While you're at it, also consider signing the HAES (Health at Every Size) pledge on Linda Bacon's website Health at Every Size. She's also developing a registry to help folks find HAES resources throughout the country.

Another subject entirely:  For a good laugh, check out The FitBottomed Girls blog post on the Celine Dion Workout!

Posted by Marsha on January 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 31, 2008

If It Looks Like a Duck: Worst Weight Loss Promises of 2008

Duck The Healthy Weight Network recently released its 20th annual Slim Chance Awards, highlighting both the hidden dangers of diets and supplements that often contain unknown ingredients and sometimes potent drugs, and the merely ridiculous. 

"To call 2008 a typical year in the weight loss field would be too easy," cites their press release. "This year’s awards go to an infamous huckster of diet infomercials, known for his outrageous disregard of injunctions against him; $139 body-shaping jeans impregnated with substances that supposedly reduce cellulite; a pill that’s “proven” to make your belly fat vanish; and a dangerous starvation diet launched recklessly on the Internet with false promises of safe, fast and permanent weight loss."

MOST OUTRAGEOUS CLAIM: Kevin Trudeau infomercials. It’s rare that regulatoryagencies look at books, given our free speech laws, but the infomercials for Kevin Trudeau’s weight loss book and his repeated violations were just too much for the Federal Trade Commission, and this past August he was fined over $5 million and banned from infomercials for three years. 

WORST GIMMICK: Skineez jeans ($139). A new item in the fight against cellulite, Skineez jeans are impregnated with a so-called “medication” of retinol and chitosan, a shellfish product once claimed to cut fat absorption in the stomach (see 1999 Slim Chance Awards). Friction between the jeans and skin supposedly triggers release of the substance, which goes to work on fat when absorbed through the skin. Reportedly a big hit in Europe, the “smart fabric” is also used in lingerie. Ironically, the creators of Skineez, Clothes for a Cause, profess to raise funds for breast cancer and “a wide range of other socially conscious charities.” So while the company exploits and deceives women with an expensive pair of jeans, it assures them they can “do good with every purchase … As our sales grow, so will our ability to help others.” FTC, however, is clear about such gimmicks, emphasizing that products worn or rubbed on the skin do not cause weight loss or fat loss.

WORST CLAIM: AbGONE. Throughout 2008 full page ads assaulted the eye in daily newspapers across the country touting AbGONE as “proven to promote pot belly loss.” Claims are that AbGONE increases “fat metabolism” and calorie burn, promotes appetite suppression and inhibits future abdominal fat deposits. These are drug claims that, if true, would alter the body’s regulation, but unlike drugs, the pills are sold as food supplements not requiring FDA approval. The bold ads feature the obligatory before and after shots of models, cut-away sketches of the abdomen with and without belly fat, and a white-coated researcher with chart purportedly confirming success of 5 times reduction in fat mass, 4 times lower BMI, 4 times greater weight loss than placebo. No added diet and exercise needed – well, except, you may want to heed the fine print disclaimer at the bottom that reminds us “diet and exercise are essential.”

WORST PRODUCT: Kimkins diet. It must have seemed an easy way to get rich quick. Founder Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz set up a website and charged members a fee to access the Kimkins diet, boasting they could lose up to 5 percent of their body weight in 10 days. “Better than gastric bypass,” there was “no faster diet,” and in fact she herself had lost 198# in 11 months. Stunning “after” photos were displayed. In June 2007 Women’s World ran it as a cover story, and that month alone PayPal records show the Kimkins site took in over $1.2 million. Then users began complaining of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. This was not surprising since Kimkins is essentially a starvation diet, down to 500 calories per day and deficient in many nutrients (shockingly, laxatives are advised to replace the missing fiber). In a lawsuit, 11 former members are uncovering a vast record of Diez’s alleged fraud. They found that the stunning “after” photos, including one of Kimmer herself, had been lifted from a Russian mail order bride site. According to a deposition reported by Los Angeles TV station KTLA, Diaz admitted using fake pictures, fake stories and fake IDs, and a judge has allowed the litigants to freeze some of her assets. 

“Today’s economic downturn can remind us how foolish it is to waste money on unsafe, ineffective and energy-draining weight loss efforts,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, whose organization Healthy Weight Network started the Slim Chance Awards 20 years ago.

With the New Year upon us, resolutions freshly on our minds, Berg is advising people to skip dieting and move ahead with healthy habits that last a lifetime.  She recommends:

  • Record your dieting history (weight lost, weight regained, favorable and ill effects,time frame of each). Reflect on what you have written.

  • Resolve to follow a diet-free healthy lifestyle through 2009, adapting guidelines that work for you. (Handouts available at www.healthyweight.net/handouts.htm).

It’s a way to get your life on track, improve your health and move on with what’s really importantin your life, Berg explained.  

Here's to a diet-free 2009.  Happy New Year from all of us at Green Mountain at Fox Run, going on our 38th year promoting non-diet healthy lifestyles to help women achieve healthy weights!

Posted by Marsha on December 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack