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February 09, 2009

Weight Loss: Overweight Kids Benefit from Healthy Lifestyle Change and Family Involvement

University of Michigan Family Exercise Video It may seem obvious to you and me that overweight teens and children can benefit from healthy lifestyle change, but because there are a variety of treatments out there that focus on drug treatment for obesity, researchers wanted to study the specific benefits of behavioral change.

A new review, published in the Cochrane Library, examined the various intervention strategies for helping children and teens achieve healthy weight loss: increased activity, diet, behavioral treatment, and drug therapy.  Researchers did not conclude which method was most effective, but validated that kids who try healthy eating and adding exercise habits as part of their treatment are able to lose weight in more significant amounts than those who don't.

"Evidence from this review shows that family-based, lifestyle interventions with a behavioral program aimed at changing diet and physical activity thinking patterns provide significant and clinically meaningful decrease in overweight in both children and adolescents compared to standard care or self-help in the short- and the long-term," writes Dr. Hiltje Oude Luttikhuis, of the Beatrix Children's Hospital in Groningen, The Netherlands. She and her colleagues also believe it is very important for parents to get involved, especially for pre-adolescent children.

Drugs and diet may achieve weight loss in the short run, but a lifestyle change can help a child maintain a healthy weight for many years into adulthood - perhaps even a lifetime.

Watch a video from the University of Michigan on healthy activities the whole family can enjoy: video icon

Posted by Laura on February 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 06, 2009

Weight Loss: Arginine Rich Foods May Help Fight Obesity

Arginine Amino Acid A recent study the effect of arginine, an amino acid, on the reduction of fat in obese rats may hold some promise for helping people lose weight and fight obesity.

"Given the current epidemic of obesity in the U.S. and worldwide, our finding is very important," said Dr. Guoyao Wu, an AgriLife Research animal nutritionist in College Station and Senior Faculty Fellow in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. 

The Arginine Effect

Supplementing the rats' diet with arginine over a 12 week period apparently decreased body fat by nearly two-thirds of the rodents, and also promoted skeletal-muscle gain.

"This finding could be directly translated into fighting human obesity," Wu said. "At this time, arginine has not been incorporated into our food (but could in the future)." 

arginine-rich foods include seafood, watermelon juice, nuts, seeds, algae, meats, rice protein concentrate and soy protein isolate. 

Findings of this study were published recently in the Journal of Nutrition (http://jn.nutrition.org). 

Read the full article at Medical News Today.

Posted by Laura on February 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 04, 2009

Healthy Lifestyles: Staying Motivated to Move

I thought I'd entertain myself today and put up on our blog the first version of the FitBriefing Putting the Pizzazz Back into Your Exercise Routine that we posted this week on our women's healthy weight loss website.  Hope some of you enjoy (or even recognize) my attempts at humor.

21597721_38562709 It happens to the best of us.  One day, we’re lovin’ our physical activity routine; the next, frankly, we’re bored, bored, bored.  If we have to do that again (whatever that is), we’d rather not do anything at all.  What’s a fool for fitness to do?

Go to the pros.  Yeah, we know you’re good, but not that good.  We mean go check out instructors and personal trainers at the local health club. You’ll see them revamping cardio on the treadmill or elliptical with five minutes at a steady pace, bumped up for the next five to a challengingly intense level, then bringing it back down again.  Besides mixing it up, cardio interval training increases cardiovascular endurance, too. 

Or, they’re handing out Power Bars (no, not those; the weight lifting kind) and/or resistance tubing.  Bonus: More creativity in movements and more flexibility (ok, we know they’re rubber tubing; we mean you can adjust the degree of resistance just by moving your feet on the band wider or closer together.)

They’re shaking their booty a lot, too.  Kickboxing’s still fun, but sassy dance classes like Hip Hop Funk or Salsa Step get your hips moving like they haven’t since, well, Saturday night.  Do you work up a sweat?  Remember Saturday night?

Go Jane.  You know, Jane Fonda – the technology queen.  (No, we’re not stuck back in the 80s, just couldn’t think of any other way to creatively turn the subject to technology.  Jane was basically responsible for taking exercise videos, the technology of that time, mainstream.  This is sad having to explain all this.  I obviously need to think of another segue.)

All that is lead-up to the fact that there’s a whole new world waiting for us if we’re on to today’s technology.  Like iPods – from tiny ones you barely know are there to ones with touchpads that offer all kinds of extras — that put the beat back into working out.  Jam out to your favorite sounds by building playlists of warm-up, high-intensity and cool-down tunes.  Or, if you’re like me, you use them to listen books on tapes while exercising (maybe doesn’t sound very exciting but, hey, I like books a lot).

Nike+ shoes, along with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit or Sensor, tracks your runs to tell you time, distance, pace and calories burned (but you can forget that last part. We don’t count calories – either eaten or burned – at Green Mountain).  Also gives you that feedback both halfway and in the final approach to your goal.  (That sounds so focused; it was obviously written by someone who puts songs in her iPod instead of audiobooks.  I forgot to mention that Jennifer on our fitness staff provided the meat for this post.)  Then, ta da, you can even load the details into your computer!  So?  You can throw away that old exercise journal, that one over there in the corner.  See it?  The one all covered with dust.

Save money, too!
No, that wasn’t a ploy for your attention.  You really can save money by turning to YouTube to try different forms of exercise without a financial commitment.  YouTube is full of short ‘videos’ of aerobic or strength classes.  They’re not all worth watching, though; some give incorrect advice.  Look for those produced by a certified fitness professional.

The options are many for mixing it up to keep the fun in physical activity to reach your fitness and health goals.  Try something new today!


Posted by Marsha on February 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | 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 28, 2009

Healthy Weight Loss: Is It Harder for Women to Say No?

1055107_stop_spam_signThe headlines were abuzz last week with results of the latest study that 'proved' women are at some sort of biological disadvantage compared to men. This time, it's whether we're able to resist our favorite foods as easily as men can.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presented 13 women and 10 men with their favorite foods after a 20-hour fast.  They were allowed to smell and taste the foods but not eat them -- indeed, to try to inhibit their desire to eat -- while their brain activity was monitored through a PET scan.  The result: Both the women and men did appear to succeed in making themselves feel less hungry but the brain scans showed more activity on the part of women.  This was interpreted as the women's brains not being entirely in sync with what the women thought they were feeling. That they were actually feeling more hungry than they thought.  Or something like that.

Is there any truth to this?  
To answer that question, my BIG question is:  Was there any attempt to look at the women's previous history of restrained eating? You know, the typical (unfortunately) woman's approach to eating -- "I would love it, but I shouldn't."  "I need to lose X number of pounds, and if I eat my favorite food -- which is high in calories, fat, carbs, etc., etc., I'll be fat the rest of my life, be a bad person, etc., etc., etc."

According to one thoughtful expert in this area, who shall remain anonymous until I can get her permission to quote her (which I should have done before now but oh, well), "It is well-known that people who are trying to restrain [that is, diet] have different responses to 'external' stimuli about food [that is, exposure to food -- you know, like, walking through the mall smelling the Cinnabons], and it is well known that more women diet, and have dieted, than men."  

Simply put, if we have a history of dieting, which almost carves the diet mentality into our brains, it's gonna make it harder for us to say no to food, especially that which we think we shouldn't have.

A BIG caveat:  If we are successful at again adopting mindful eating (or intuitive eating or attuned eating or normal eating -- you choose the term) -- that is, eating like we were born to do -- I doubt we'd show any more brain activity than men when faced with our favorite foods and told we can't eat them. Because we are no longer restrained eaters.  So there is hope that we don't have to be forever victims of our previous folly of dieting.

Just my thoughts on the subject.  :-)  Have a great day!!

Photo by Mzacha

Posted by Marsha on January 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2009

Weighing In: Changing Behavior by Slowly Adding a New Habit or Modifying an Old One

Many of my friends have started off the year with the best intentions of following through with their New Year's resolutions.  A few have vowed to lose weight, others to stop a bad habit.  I checked in with them recently to ask what progress, if any, each of them had made.

The friends of mine who had started on fad diets were not doing so well and had mostly given up or had switched to a different 'quick' weight loss program.  The only woman who was being successful with her  weight loss goal had slowly adding new habits, or slightly changed old ones.

For example, she started walking a couple times a week, slowly increasing the duration and frequency.  Now she walks almost everyday for at least a half hour. "I couldn't have done it every day right off the bat," she related. "But my philosophy is taking baby steps and not setting the bar too high."

Another friend had decided to cut out going through fast food drive-thrus - not necessarily to shed unwanted pounds, but to start a more healthy eating lifestyle. He didn't stop eating fast food altogether, but simply modified his behavior.  "If I'm going to have a burger and fries, at least I'm going to walk for it!" he explained.  Now he finds that he makes healthier choices for his meals, even when going to a fast food joint.

I'll bet many of you reading this post can see yourselves or your own friends in these examples. Let us know how you're doing on your own resolutions (if you've made any).  How are you doing? Have your goals been realistic?  Are you struggling?  Tell us about your experience!

Posted by Laura on January 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | 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

January 19, 2009

Weighing In: Overcoming Fat Prejudice

Fat prejudice cuts across all races, socio-economic levels, and genders (although women face far more fat discrimination in general).  Overweight people are often subject to public ridicule, but there are more insidious, subtle, and illegal forms as well, especially when it occurs in the workplace.

"Body mass significantly decreases women's family income," a study by two researchers at New York University found. "However...men experience no negative effects of body mass on economic outcomes."

The Last "Accepted" Prejudice?

If you think that, in today's PC environment, state legislatures would have adequately addressed weight discrimination in the workplace by now, think again.

The BigFatBlog claims to have a 'complete' list of states/cities where this type of discrimination is illegal and, if accurate, is discouragingly short: Michigan, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Washington.

The Council on Size and Weight Discrimination's goal "is to end weight discrimination in health care, media, education, employment, social interactions, and many other areas of life."  Their website offers an excellent list of resources for victims of discrimination, or people looking to support their mission.

Be Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. to End All Forms of Prejudice

We've used a fitting quote for MLK day is our Beauty Tip for the week: 

"A man can't ride your back unless its bent."

Keep the dream alive for all people! Become empowered. If you feel you are the victim of weight discrimination, know your rights.  If you want to help end this pervasive prejudice in today's society, try changing your own attitudes and speaking up when you see examples of discrimination around you.

For more information, take a look at other weight neutral / fat acceptance websites and blogs such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance or Health At Every Size.

Posted by Laura on January 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 14, 2009

Healthy Weight vs. Normal Weight: Who's to Say?

1077713_scale_series_5 I had such a hard time deciding on a post topic this morning.  There are so many good/important things to post about. What finally won was another discussion of Oprah's weight.  

But no salacious comments here. 

The question at hand is not Oprah's up-and-down battle with serious weight loss but the measure by which many of us define success. Is it the government's definition of 'normal,' which is defined by the body mass index?  Or is it a weight at which we feel well, function well, and at which a variety of health parameters (such as blood glucose or cholesterol) tell us we're doing fine?

For a great discussion of this, check out the article by Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth, in Rocky Mountain News.

If you can get on board with this, I vote that we all give up talking about our weight (and weighing ourselves -- toss out that scale!).  If we want to talk, let's discuss our healthy lifestyle habits instead.   Positive = Forward.

Posted by Marsha on January 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

January 09, 2009

Weighing In: The Ruby Gettinger Show on Style Network

Admittedly, I'm late in coming to the the Sunday 8 pm (EST) Style network show called "Ruby," which began in November 2008.  The first episode I watched was this past Sunday, and I have to say I was  intrigued to learn more about Ruby Gettinger, her issues with obesity, weight discrimination, and healthy living program to lose weight.

The charismatic Gettinger was inspired to create a documentary based on her own personal journey towards permanent healthy weight loss. She has faced serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes and an enlarged heart, and had repeatedly - and unsuccessfully - tried over and over again to lose weight over the years.  Through the Style television program, Ruby Gettinger now works with a team of professionals to help her reach her goals, and has already lost 10 percent of her body weight, which greatly reduces risks associated with type 2 diabetes

On the whole I think the program is a hopeful, entertaining, and enlightening program, especially when confronting issues of obesity and weight discrimination and the difficulties in changing one's eating behavior. 

However, even with the support of her psychologist, trainer, nutritionists, physicians, and friends, I was saddened to hear Ruby speak in terms of "blowing" her diet, or eating "bad" foods, etc. This language reinforces black and white thinking, cycles of deprivation, and an adversarial relationship with food - all factors in why so many people regain weight after their weight loss program 'ends.' 

I'll keep watching - and hoping - that Ruby loses not only the pounds she wants, but also the 'diet mentality.'

Posted by Laura on January 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack