Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Share Your Calories With A Friend

The other day my husband and I were meeting a large group of friends for lunch. We arrived at our destination early and killed some time wandering through a local market and then a used bookstore. While at the market I succumbed to an urge for something to nibble on to tide me over for the next 45 minutes and bought a bag of marshmallows.
First I read the ingredients and the serving size and the calories per serving, of course. The fact that four marshmallows had 100 calories did not prevent me from purchasing the bag. I did keep in mind, though, that there were 15 servings in the package and that eventually, if ate the entire bag it would provide me with nearly half a pound's worth of calories.
I had two and put the bag away. After lunch we went with all our friends for a hike in a local park. I brought the bag of marshmallows out with me, hoping I would have some help emptying it and be left with only a few for later. Just three or four interested people came forth and helped themselves to one or two. One of the men came back soon for another, and later for another, and during our walk came by a third time and was by then a bit apologetic. "It looks like I'm eating more of these than you are," he said.

"Oh, I appreciate someone to share my calories with--please help yourself," I encouraged him. "You see," I went on, "I read the label and there are 1500 Calories in this bag!"
"Well, for heaven's sake," he exclaimed, "Whatever you do, don't eat the bag!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

How To Eat Healthy and Conveniently

Click this link for an article on how to choose and use frozen meals for a fast alternative you can feel good about!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Does Having An Obese Child Constitute Criminal Neglect?

A South Carolina woman is being charged with criminal neglect because her 14 year old son weighs 555 pounds. He is currently in foster care, and she is at a loss as to how to explain his condition. "I worked two jobs so I had to buy fast food once in a while" is the only explanation she has to offer as to how this child came to be 400 pounds above his ideal weight.

A person this size must ingest over 4000 calories on a daily basis (nearly double the average intake that is used to calculate "daily value" needs on United States food labels). How was he even getting access to all this food? The woman's lawyers affirm that she was, indeed, on a limited budget so neither of them were able to buy limitless supplies of food. The boy's mother claims she kept no soda in the house and the child didn't even like sweets!

The lawyers defend her by asking how she could possibly be overseeing his eating habits 24 hours a day. "She worked; he went to school; he couldn't be in her sight every minute" [paraphrased]. Their final statement in her favor was "She loved her child; maybe she didn't say 'no' often enough".

What do you think? Are parents responsible for their child's weight? Could this child have suddenly gained 400 pounds without her noticing he was overweight while he was 10 years old or 5 years old? Should parents be forced to keep their children under (and over) a certain unhealthy weight or have their children taken away from them, given the health risks the child is certain to face in his life now?

Monday, July 20, 2009

There Are No Bad Foods!

A lot of people start out their next diet by making a list of "forbidden foods". What qualifies a food as being "bad" anyway? For most people's definition, they are referring to foods that are high in fat, calories, and/or sodium but provide little nutrition. The list goes from sodas to candy bars to bacon and sausage, to pies and cakes and cookies and ice cream. But if you try to cut all these foods out of your diet forever--and most of them happen to taste very good--you aren't likely to succeed in sticking with it.

Dietitians have a saying, "There are no bad foods; only bad diets". There isn't anything wrong with having a slice of pie once in a while, or 2 strips of bacon with breakfast once in a while. The problem is, many people in our culture treat themselves constantly to chocolates and cookies and high-fat pastries and coffee drinks and ice cream all day, every day, to make themselves feel better in some way. Maybe you get a burst of energy from one of these treats, or one of these foods calms you down; maybe a snack distracts you from the stress at the office or soothes you before you go to sleep. Whatever the reason, ingesting a large amount of these so-called "junk foods" on a nearly-daily basis doesn't really do you any good, and certainly makes the battle to lose weight a whole lot tougher.

Instead of putting these on a list of Never Eat Again foods, change the heading to "one-a-day treats" and be sure that you only have a total of one of them each day: if you have a cinnamon roll for breakfast, don't add a mid-morning donut, a piece of cake with lunch, a candy bar in the afternoon, a soda with dinner, and ice cream in the evening! All these foods will add up to a very bad diet overall.

Having a treat once in a while is not a bad thing. Indulging occasionally can help keep you motivated to make lifestyle changes that will get your weight to where you want it, and have a healthy and balanced diet.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New TV Shows Center Around The Pleasantly Plump

The latest TV lineups feature some shows about everyday people who are a bit overweight. Some focus on their lives as normal people and others are about the struggle to lose weight. As reported in USA today recently, here are three good looking picks.

Dance Your Ass Off
Yes, that's actually the name of the show! Airing on the Oxygen network at 10 pm eastern time on Mondays, 12 overweight men and women are coupled with professional dancers who teach them new dances each week. If you've ever watched the hit series "Dancing With The Stars" you recall how the celebrities are always shocked at the amount of physical work they are doing and never hesitate to happily tell us how many pounds they've lost during the time they spend on the show.
On this show the contestants are judged not just on how well they dance, but also on how many pounds they lose each week. The show does not emphasize any dieting, letting viewers and contestants alike watch as the dancers whittle their weight off through the joy of dancing.

More To Love
Another "bachelor"-type show, this reality TV program features a husky single man looking for love with 20 pleasantly plump ladies from which to choose. Premiering July 28 at 9 pm Eastern time on the Fox network, it should be interesting to see if the personalities of what the programming director calls "regular people" can be as entertaining to watch as the model-type ladies who are usually featured on The Bachelor .

This show is entering its second season on Sundays on Style at 8 pm Eastern time. Ruby is a real woman from Savannah, Georgia who has been losing from her starting weight of nearly 500 pounds. She lost nearly 100 pounds last season and has changed her focus on what it's all about. "It used to be 'let me lose weight so I can start eating pizza and ice cream' [now it's about] the rest of my life". We see her life struggles and successes and meet her supportive friends. Her actual weight by the end of season two is not revealed, but it looks like she loses another hundred pounds! Congratulations Ruby--We'll be cheering you on.

Let us know which show YOU become addicted to and we'll have a chat here!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Having a Happy Life

My sister in law is here visiting and shared a great story with me this morning that I want to pass along. We were talking about how wonderfully happy life is when you surround yourself with positive and happy people. Likewise, you may not realize what a downer it is when some of your friends and family are negative, pessimistic, whiny, and even make a regular habit of insulting you. Some days we just know we are in a bad mood after being in certain company, or we aren't looking forward to spending time with a particular person, but can't put our finger on why. Maybe we know a person makes us miserable but feel obligated to spend time with them because they are a friend or family member.

I mentioned to my sister-in-law how coaching teaches us to identify toxic relationships and remove these people from our lives, or at least let them know that we will not tolerate certain behavior from them. So she told me the story of The Black Walnut Tree.

"Several years back I had a little garden I tended in my back yard," she told me. "I wanted to grow some herbs and vegetables, but I was not successful with the plants. Every year the plants wouldn't survive. Every new year I resolved to try again; to figure out what I was doing wrong and find new ways to be successful in my gardening endeavors. But it never worked. I was frustrated year after year at my failure to grow these plants and see them through the season.

"One day someone pointed out to me that above the garden plot there was a large black walnut tree. 'Did you know that nothing will grow under a black walnut tree?' they asked me. 'There are toxins from the tree that will kill the plants'.

"All these years I wondered why I couldn't get the herbs to grow. I thought it was something I was doing, some way that I had failed them. But it was the black walnut tree that was poisoning their environment.
[this is really true: see more info at

"I had an epiphany then: The same thing was going on in some of the relationships I was trying to cultivate. I didn't enjoy how I felt around certain people and kept wondering what I was doing wrong and what I could do differently. I suddenly realized that in many of these cases there was a toxic environment and it was not coming from me. I was putting forth an effort to nourish and tend and give love, but without the proper atmosphere and climate, my efforts would not matter.

"Now my friends and I recognize there are people we come across who are negative forces in our lives. We call them Black Walnuts and we realize they are literally toxic to us. If people in our lives bring us down despite our attempts to communicate positively with them, it is time to free ourselves from the relationship".

This holiday weekend, take an assessment of the friends and family your are spending time with. Are you having a fabulous weekend like I am with my loving friends and family? Or are you dreading having to go through with your dinner plans this evening because of the people in whose company you will be? Consider that you are not obligated to be in the presence of people who are offensive and insulting. Think about how pleasant your life might be if you decided to avoid certain people (after letting them know what behaviors you are not willing to tolerate).

Know how happy your life can be if you make a conscious effort to seek the company of those who are positive, optimistic, giving, and caring. Please share with us your stories about someone in your life who makes you happy, or how much better your life is after having cut off a toxic relationship.
And be sure to stop by my sister-in-law's great blog Sophie, seriously; she's really smart and introspective and you can spend all day reading her stuff!

Friday, July 3, 2009

More News On the State of Obesity in America

Thanks to Rosa Sow for forwarding this video with more details on the state of obesity in America!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The American Annual Obesity Report Results

The nation's annual obesity rankings are in, and the report does not bode well for either the health of many Americans, or the purse of medicare.

Over the past year obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states. The rates did not decline in any state. This report does not even count how many adults are merely overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30, but focuses on those who are obese which means having a BMI greater than 30. An example of a person with a BMI over 30 would be someone who is 5 feet 7 inches tall weighing over 190 pounds.

The results: Mississippi wins again (or loses) as the state with the most obese adults having 32.5% in this category. Other states with more than 30% of the residents obese include West Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee. The states with the fewest obese population are Colorado , Massachusetts, and Connecticut coming in with 20%, 21.2% and 21.3%, respectively.

The connection to medicare is the fact that the rate of obesity continues to rise in the 55-64 year old population group. Health economists once believed that obese seniors would weed themselves out of the high medical costs by dying younger of obesity-related illnesses. Now, however, it appears they are living as long as non-obese adults, living sicker, and costing a lot in healthcare dollars. The average obese older adult spends an average of $1400-$6000 more in healthcare per year than other adults.

Is there any good news? Well, last year the incidence of obesity rose in 37 states. Maybe we are starting to see a slower gain and this would be a welcome trend.