Archive for category weight loss/overweight

Future Benefits For Healthy Eaters?

Was talking to the owner of the B&B I stayed at in Newport. A slightly overweight guy who cooks and serves guests Eggs Benedict and pancakes with fruit in them made with strange flours. He admits that he loves to eat (“look at all the great food here”) and that he can’t stop himself. His stomach seems to have no “I’m Full” feeling. And there I was eating leftovers for breakfast I couldn’t finish from my dinner the night before.

As long as we were talking about eating, I brought up all the people we’d been seeing in the streets and tennis stands who were grossly overweight. I’d been talking with friends about how people should take some responsibility for their obesity, especially when they don’t buy health insurance, use the emergency rooms for free, and raise the premiums of those who do buy insurance.

The innkeeper was reasonable. “People like me should pay higher taxes or premiums. We need new laws. Even constitutional amendments.” But that will take decades, I told him. He said it’s in the new health care law. Not sure he is right. But one good thing about going bankrupt…it forces you to change your spending habits for sure. If you are a good driver, you get a premium discount. Same if you don’t smoke. So shouldn’t fit and healthy people pay less than those who abuse their bodies and ignore good health?

Food for thought!

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J. Roundtree Loses 200 Pounds

He lost 200 pounds in 19 months

Here is a really inspiring story about a kid who weighed 405 and finally decided to lose some weight. I always wonder what clicks to get someone to overcome their inertia—whether weight loss, healthy living, starting a new career—and choose a new routine. His father had died of a heart attack, but that didn’t prevent the son from gaining all that weight.

J. Roundtree, 21, from Lancaster, Ohio, lost 200 pounds in 19 months in order to join the Army, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reports. In November, he will begin basic training at Ft. Benning in Georgia, and he eventually wants to become a police officer.

So how’d he go from 405 pounds to 205? Roundtree started with P90X and then stuck to a strict 1,500 calorie-a-day diet and adopted an active lifestyle—spending his time jogging, playing basketball, swimming and using home workout DVDs. When hand and foot injuries threatened to hinder his progress, Roundtree persevered.

“There’s going to be days where you’re like, ‘Oh I don’t want to do it’, but you gotta keep doing it,” Roundtree told the station.

As a child, Roundtree played football, baseball and basketball, but eventually picked up video games as a hobby and began to gain weight due to lack of exercise. He went on to play in gaming tournaments when he was in high school.

Roundtree comes from a family of servicemen and women. His father, mother, and sister all served in the Army, according to the news outlet. But while he always had his sights set on serving himself, Roundtree found his poor health seemed to pose an insurmountable problem.

“I never would have imagined that he would do that,” Roundtree’s mother explained. “But when J. sets his mind to something, don’t tell him he can’t do it…because he’ll prove you wrong.”

And this attitude is exactly what has led him to where he is today. “I want to be better than I was today,” he said. “I wanna look the best I can. I wanna feel the best I can. I wanna run the farthest or the fastest.”

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Newport’s Colors, Contrasts and Confounding Surprises

Newport Casino has the world's oldest competition grass courts since 1880

Just spent four days in Newport, RI watching an ATP tennis tournament and the people there. You are greeted as you cross the bridge to town by the bay’s deep blue waters supporting hundreds of slim white sails. At the Newport Casino, one enjoys the green of grass courts played on generally by fit athletes in thin tennis whites.

But the fans and tourists are more diverse. The affluents who live in the costly houses and condos for a month or two each summer are there for the social scene and to be seen. They are also thin as a species and wear intense, solid colors from the animal kingdom: flamingo pinks, hot canary yellows, and startling-salmon-flavored rusty-oranges.

There are other visitors who prowl the T-shirt shops and other touristy stores on Thames Street in paler, less eye-attracting costumes that drape enormous bodies enlarged by years of over eating. We watched a huge woman down a large apple crisp with two scoops of vanilla BEFORE starting to eat her dinner! Breathtaking.

My visit there stimulates numerous stories that I will recount over the next few days. Just let me tease you with wondering how I ended up unexpectedly on center court at the conclusion of the sold-out final in front of 3700 fans shaking the hand of the winner, John Isner, whom I have written about earlier.

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Fitness Trainer Drew Manning Gained 70 Pounds On Purpose

Fitness Trainer Drew Manning gained weight (middle) and then lost it (right) to better understand his clients

Here are excerpts from a story about a fitness trainer who gained 70 pounds on purpose (then lost it) to better understand what his clients go through. His journey allowed him to empathize more with his clients and suggest new ways to become fit.

Always a fitness junkie, staying in shape comes naturally for Drew Manning. He’s that guy at the gym the rest of us love to hate. But his wife says he was a “judgmental” trainer who would look at someone who was overweight and say, ‘They must really be lazy.’ ”

In order to better understand the struggles his clients were facing, he had to face them himself. He gave up the gym and started consuming junk food, fast food and soda. In just six months, he went from 193 pounds with a 34-inch waist to 265 pounds with a 48-inch waist.

Manning says he didn’t realize the effects of his weight gain would be more than physical. It altered his relationships and his self-confidence. The fact that he had to do push-ups on his knees was almost humiliating.

Manning suffered through soda deprivation headaches and food cravings on his way back to fit. The journey was easier for him than for most, he’ll admit, but he’s eager now to provide tips for others to follow in his footsteps.

“The biggest thing [I learned] is that it’s not just about the physical. It’s not just about the meal plan and the workouts and those things. The key is the mental and the emotional issues. I realized those issues are real.”

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Exercise Program For People With Almost No Time To Exercise

Here is a NYTimes video about HIIT (high intensity interval training), which suggests that a 20-minute workout at a time for three days a week can be very efficient for improving cardio and building muscles. You go really fast on a stationary bike for one minute and then slow down for another minute. Or do the same with swimming, stair climbing, etc.

I can relate to this, because I have two abs workouts that are short: a 5-minute DVD and an 8-minute video that are definitely developing some abs muscles. It was just too much to spend 30 minutes or so at a time doing crunches, even though I wasn’t taking long breaks.

If you are like me, with little time or interest in exercise, try the HIIT program…by the way, there is also the reminder that it’s easier to lose weight by limiting what goes into your mouth than by burning calories once the fat is part of your body.

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Why Some Black Women Are Fat

Fitness instructor, Michelle Gibson

There was an interesting article the other day explaining why so many black women are overweight or just plain fat: they want to be. It’s a cultural thing. White girls want to be skinny. Many black women never want to go below 200 pounds, partly because their husbands and boy friends won’t like it. Or so claims Alice Randall as she states candidly, “My goal is to be the last fat black woman in my family.”

She is hoping for a revolution against this desirable large-bodied stereotype, because one in four middle-aged black women has diabetes, which with obesity are causing more cancer deaths in America than smoking. And blacks have 51 percent higher obesity rates than whites do.

A few days later, the Times quoted a Washington Post study that concluded heavier black women have much higher self-esteem than average-sized white women. Fitness instructor, Michelle Gibson, who teaches 10 aerobics classes a week, says “I’m a full-figured woman who would run circles around the average person, and I know it.”

The Times also printed eight short opinions about this whole issue of overweight black women. Here are some excerpts:

“We are all dealt various hands in life through our genes. Some may be more fit than others, and some may have an inherently better self-image. I would suggest it’s how we play the hand we’re dealt that’s important.”

“While there is a greater acceptance of a curvaceous body in the black community, that holds true for other cultures as well — Latino, Armenian, Italian and Greek, to name a few.”

Josephine Baker

“To say that “black women are fat” because they “choose to be,” as Alice Randall says in her Op-Ed, could not be further from the truth…I agree with Randall that Josephine Baker “embodied a curvier form of an ideal black woman.” Similar to Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, Josephine Baker is considered “thick.” But there’s a difference between thick and fat.”

“According to Alice Randall, not dieting is a bad idea. But here’s what current data show:
· Pretty much everyone who loses weight gains it back within a few years. Some regain more.
· Yo-yo dieting is linked to poor health and shortened life.
· Exercise is good for health, not for weight loss. (Fat people who exercise regularly are healthier than thin people who don’t.)
· Nutrition is good for health.”

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How Many Teaspoons Of Sugar In One Can Of Coke?

I recently heard that the average American eats 150 pounds of sugar a year, which is 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. In just one can of coke, there are NINE TEASPOONS OF SUGAR. And sugar is one of the major causes of obesity, which leads to diabetes. In fact more people globally are dying of diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes than from infectious diseases.

There have been quite a few articles and broadcasts recently about how harmful—even poisonous—sugar is for our bodies. I bumped into this article by Mark Bittman this week, and then heard him on the radio being interviewed along with Dr. Robert Lustig, an expert on causes of obesity who has been called the number one enemy of the sugar lobby. Lustig and others just published an article in Nature magazine that the media are picking up on. I can’t link to it, but you can read it by downloading it from this site . It’s titled Nature: the Toxic Truth About Sugar, and it is just above the video.

Anyway there is now talk of sugar being regulated like tobacco, alcohol and drugs. The illness from too much sugar is not only making people obese, it is also costing our societies billions of dollars in hospital and health care treatments. Watch the video above (seen by 3 1/2 million people) for startling facts about how even one-year-olds are being given soft drinks by uninformed parents.

The 15-minute video interview below of Lustig explains in very complex, medical jargon why people gain weight EVEN if they eat less and exercise more. Basically too much insulin promotes further food intake and converts sugar into fat. To reduce insulin, you have to have a low carb diet and one that avoids sugar AND JUICES as much as possible. If you go right to 13:30, you can understand a little of what Lustig is saying.

Here are excerpts from a webMD article :

Some people eat so much sugar that it adds up to half their daily calorie limit for maintaining weight.

A good first step for anyone trying to reduce sugar is to cut back on or cut out sugary drinks.

Models used to regulate alcohol and tobacco could work for sugar, Lustig says.

His suggestions:

* Tax sugary foods. (The soda tax is already being considered, he notes. To work, he says the tax must be hefty, such as a $1 tax on a $1 can of soda.)
* Limit availability. Licensing requirements on vending machines could be stricter.
* Set an age limit for the purchase of sugary drinks and foods.

Reminds me of seat belts, how the government has to help people save themselves from death and illness…otherwise society pays the costs. What do you think?

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What Are Your Attitudes About Overweight People?

I know this site is mainly about athletic achievements and challenges. But without good health and fitness, you can’t perform at top level. If you’re overweight, you may not even function at bottom level. You may not be able to do anything. So I include weight and diet discussions on the site. Especially when two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese! I know someone who can’t stand being around fat people. She thinks they are disgusting to be near, that they are slobs for not caring about their appearance, and that they should just be better disciplined and stop eating so much.

As someone who has never had to lose significant weight to stay fit, it’s hard for me to appreciate the strain and frustration of people who must constantly watch what they eat to stay slim or not-fat. On the other hand, when friends and family brought food for the holiday celebrations, I felt that I shouldn’t be eating the delicious cheeses, salamis, cakes, pies, cream dishes, meats, quiches, etc, and was not comfortable drinking all the wines offered as pathways to relaxedness and joviality. Jeez. There was almost nothing I could eat (without feeling a tad guilty) as everyone told me that I should not be so strict during the holidays). But I ate their offerings anyway…to enjoy the tastes and put my guests at ease. I am now happily back to my normal, healthier diet and routine.

The NY Times columnist of an article about fat people who either can’t lose weight or gain back the weight they lost had an interesting follow up interview today.

Tara Parker-Pope wrote that “Of all the issues I have written about during my past 12 years as a health writer, I think the topic of weight consistently generates the most interest among readers.

“I think most of the time we talk about weight, the focus is on what the individual is eating or not eating. I think the more important discussion is about how biology and heredity influence why people get fat in the first place, the widespread variation in how individuals respond to food and why pretty much EVERY DIET PLAN HAS VIRTUALLY THE SAME FAILURE RATE (my caps). People who have been unsuccessful at permanent weight loss are very hard on themselves, and I think it’s important to tell people that while it’s certainly possible to lose weight, a number of biological factors that have nothing to do with character or willpower can make it extraordinarily difficult.

“I get so tired of people who say, ‘‘It’s simple, just eat less and move more.” It may be technically true, but it’s not simple, and the point is that some people need to eat a lot less and move a lot more than most people just to maintain a normal weight.”

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Your Body May WANT You To Stay Fat

Janice Bridge before losing 165 pounds. Husband Adam lost 110 pounds—2001

Ahh the joys of the holiday season: food, fun, drinking, friends, family…and lots of stuffing and desserts and cookies and Christmas candy. Sometimes I eat three or four different slices of cake and pies at a time—very thin slices, of course. And with all the company in the house and tennis buddies taking off for warm climes or out-of-state relatives, my tennis games—and all that calorie-burning cardio—evaporate. So I gain my usual 3-5 pounds in a week.

But this year I had already put on five pounds to not look too thin and gaunt and old. So when the scale started to approach 180 pounds, up from 170 a few months ago, I freaked out. That’s just over the top for me. As soon as the visitors let up, I stopped eating those desserts and all the carbohydrates. And the pounds are starting to melt away. I am down to 175-176 again. A real relief.

Then I read this long article in the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope that describes really fat people who might lose weight, but then regain it all back over time. It suggests from a very limited study of just 34 obese people that their bodies just want to be fat, and almost nothing can prevent it. It’s in their genes. So they have a great and rational excuse…if they want to use it.

But a few have been able to keep off the shed pounds…through intense calorie-counting, hours of daily exercise 5-6 days a week, and defying their body’s constant craving for, and focus on, food. Here are some excerpts.

Anyone who has ever dieted knows that lost pounds often return, and most of us assume the reason is a lack of discipline or a failure of willpower.

The Bridges after weight loss—12/2011

For years, the advice to the overweight and obese has been that we simply need to eat less and exercise more. While there is truth to this guidance, it fails to take into account that the human body continues to fight against weight loss long after dieting has stopped. This translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.

The National Weight Control Registry tracks 10,000 people who have lost weight and have kept it off…Anyone who has lost 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year is eligible to join the study, though the average member has lost 70 pounds and remained at that weight for six years.

Wing says that she agrees that physiological changes probably do occur that make permanent weight loss difficult, but she says the larger problem is environmental, and that people struggle to keep weight off because they are surrounded by food, inundated with food messages and constantly presented with opportunities to eat. “We live in an environment with food cues all the time,” Wing says. “We’ve taught ourselves over the years that one of the ways to reward yourself is with food. It’s hard to change the environment and the behavior.”

There is no consistent pattern to how people in the registry lost weight — some did it on Weight Watchers, others with Jenny Craig, some by cutting carbs on the Atkins diet and a very small number lost weight through surgery. But their eating and exercise habits appear to reflect what researchers find in the lab: to lose weight and keep it off, a person must eat fewer calories and exercise far more than a person who maintains the same weight naturally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Surprising Reason Why Fat People Don’t Generally Lose Weight

I spoke with a marketing expert who specializes in social psychology after my dinner with the overweight pu pu platter eaters (See December 3rd article ). “How come,” I asked, “heavy people aren’t influenced or inspired to shed pounds by all the models in the ads, actors in the movies, and cable infomercials selling weight loss and fitness products?”

After all, in addition to thin models and actors, heavy people see that some other overweight people do lose weight—you see their before and after photos in the TV and print promotional ads for zumba, diet programs and exercise equipment.

Now I realize that a lot of poor people have to eat cheap carbs in fast food restaurants, because they can’t afford healthier protein.

I accept that some large folks aren’t aware that certain foods are full of calories (soft drinks, ice cream sundaes, etc), so they have no idea why they have gained weight.

And I also know that many people don’t care if they gain pounds that might mess up their health in the future, because they are living in the moment, can’t worry about tomorrow, and don’t mind if they die earlier after many years of pigging out on tasty foods and feeling good from too many beers.

I also suspect that some cultures (even in America) may subconsciously associate overweight with survival from future food shortages, or that heaviness in earlier times indicated enough affluence to be able to overeat. Or that all their friends are overweight, and that body type is more common. Maybe heaviness is even desirable to be accepted as one of that group.

But my social psychologist friend has an explanation I hadn’t considered: some fat people don’t even think it is possible for them to ever look like the thinner/fitter people the media is constantly holding up as the ideal shape. Whether it be a model’s super svelteness or a normal person’s size. These overweight or obese individuals regard themselves as outside the society’s norms and are often surrounded by others in the same weight class. They accept that they are in the heavy end of the human weight range and don’t relate at all to those humans who are thin. It’s as if they regard themselves as part of another species. Who’d of thunk it? Not me…

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Calorie Counters And Pu Pu Platter Eaters

I drove a friend to a dog show and fell in love with the afghans. Elegant dogs that reminded me of fashion models on the runway or in hair ads. You can compare how the hair moves on the afghan and then the women. Just check out a few seconds of the models’ hair moving in the runway video below to see what I am talking about. And then you can watch the hair product ad below it.

thin and thin

Next I noticed how thin the dogs’ heads are underneath all their long hair. I learned that these show dogs are bred that way, because it supposedly looks good, wins prizes, is what the judges want to see in champions.

Then I flashed back to all the models I ever knew or heard about who are supposed to be ultra thin to make the clothes hang just right…how those models watch every calorie they eat, count them, are always hungry, because their livelihoods depend on it.

Karlie Kloss at 19: too thin

I had just bumped into a photo of a 19-year-old model who has been in the biz for eight years. One article said she is too thin now. Another fashion critic was having difficulty adjusting to seeing a formerly cute teenager posing nude. Karlie Kloss says she is “numb to the nudity. It’s just part of the job.” Do you think she is too thin, just right, or overweight (for a model of course)?

I also thought of three affluent, up-scale women I know who all thought they became a little heavy, started counting calories and lost 10-35 pounds. Thin is good. Thin is desirable. Thin is beautiful. To lose weight, they weigh everything they eat, look up how many calories are in each food item. Make sure they don’t consume more than a predetermined number of total calories per day. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline. Especially if you love to eat.

Then my friend and I went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant near the dog show in upstate Massachusetts in a town of 40,000. The people were heavy…fat…obese. Even many of the kids. The contrast with the afghans and models was mindblowing. It was incredibly upsetting. As we sat down, I saw two people just starting to eat a pu pu platter for two. They also had a big bowl of fried rice. Hopefully it was the whole meal, and not just the starter. Did you ever eat a pu pu platter? It might include an egg roll, spare ribs, chicken wings, chicken fingers, beef teriyaki, skewered beef, fried wontons, crab rangoon, fried shrimp, among other items, accompanied with a small hibachi grill. Here is what it looks like for two people. Can you believe this is just the appetizer for many hungry eaters?

pu pu platter for two

So two people eat all of this as a warm up. But then I saw a huge man walk by the table. He was like a walrus. On the way I out, I noticed that he was sitting by himself beginning his own pu pu for two…plus the bowl of fried rice. HOW CAN THESE PEOPLE EAT SO MUCH! No wonder there is an overweight/obesity epidemic.

What I couldn’t figure out is why so many people are ok about being fat, when all the ads and movies show thin models, TV commercials promote fitness and thinness, and it appears clearly that thin—or at least not being fat—is a desired body type in American culture. What am I missing?

I will tell you in another post what one marketing expert told me recently.

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Too Many Decisions Can Lead To Weight Gain

Here is a very insightful article about decision fatigue. Too many choices wear out your brain. Difficulties in compromising—like shopping among many possibilities, when you have limited money to buy your preferred item—also make you punchy. So guess what happens next? Your brain craves sugar, the real thing, glucose…no artificial sweetener. The result is additional calories. Who’d have thought it? And there are many other consequences as well, unrelated to diet, but affecting judicial sentences, your lack of willpower to keep exercising or reject other temptations (your neighbor’s wife?), your ability to keep on working. Check it out after looking over some of these excerpts.

No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue—you’re not consciously aware of being tired—but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain…

These experiments demonstrated that there is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control. When people fended off the temptation to scarf down M&M’s or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they were then less able to resist other temptations. Willpower really was a form of mental energy that could be exhausted. The experiments confirmed the 19th-century notion of willpower being like a muscle that was fatigued with use, a force that could be conserved by avoiding temptation. When you shop till you drop, your willpower drops, too.

The brain, like the rest of the body, derives energy from glucose, the simple sugar manufactured from all kinds of foods. The sugar restored willpower, but the artificial sweetener had no effect. The restored willpower improved people’s self-control as well as the quality of their decisions:

Your brain does not stop working when glucose is low. It stops doing some things and starts doing others. It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to long-term prospects.

The discoveries about glucose help explain why dieting is a uniquely difficult test of self-control—and why even people with phenomenally strong willpower in the rest of their lives can have such a hard time losing weight. They start out the day with virtuous intentions, resisting croissants at breakfast and dessert at lunch, but each act of resistance further lowers their willpower. As their willpower weakens late in the day, they need to replenish it. But to resupply that energy, they need to give the body glucose. They’re trapped in a nutritional catch-22:

1. In order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower.

2. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.

As the body uses up glucose, it looks for a quick way to replenish the fuel, leading to a craving for sugar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kirstie Alley Can Somehow Lose Weight—Like 100 Pounds!

young thin Kirstie—1979

a lot heavier

slimmed down—9/2011

My “large women” story yesterday led me to Kirstie Alley, a very famous sit com star who I knew almost nothing about and have never seen on TV (can you believe it?). So I learned a few amazing things about this formerly overweight personality who had a show called “Fat Actress” and still has a reality series documenting her weight loss called “Big Life.”

In a year she has lost 100 pounds. Some people have trouble losing 10 pounds, but Kirstie’s weight goes up and down like a yo-yo.

In a February 2010 trailer for her weight loss reality show, she said:

“I was thin my whole life, til I gained 75 pounds,” she says. “Then I lost 75 pounds, then I gained 75 pounds.”

The point of the show is to lose it again, and cameras will be there every step of the way along with her kids and staff. She says she hopes that this is the last time she goes through the process and is looking forward to being the skinny booty call instead of the fat booty call.

“I think it’s stupid to say you’re full figured,” she says. “Fuck you, you’re fucking fat!”

heavier days

The actress and former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, 60, revealed to “Entertainment Tonight” this week that she had bought the same dress in a variety of sizes, from 14 to 4, and made a deal with herself to keep shedding pounds until she fit into the smallest size.

Early in 2010 Kirstie admitted she recently tipped the scales at 230 pounds. She weighed just 143 when she appeared on Oprah in a bikini in 2006.

thin Kirstie

For years I have noticed that people gain weight over time, but just a couple of pounds a year…that adds up to 40 pounds after two decades. And more after 30 years! There is now an epidemic in America: one third of people are overweight, and another third are obese. Leads to all kinds of health issues.

Too bad everyone doesn’t have Kirstie’s ability to be on TV and have the world watching your weight-loss success (or failure) for reinforcement. All that peer pressure. But maybe just telling your friends what you aim to do—and putting yourself on the spot—might be enough. Of course most people are afraid to fail, and certainly not publicly. So we keep our goals to ourselves, especially when it comes to losing weight. Plus…who wants to give up all that good-tasting food, alcohol and milk shakes!

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Nancy Upton’s Plus-Sized Photo Protest

Nancy Upton pigs out to protest contest for overweight women

Here’s a cute story. A clothing company called American Apparel starts selling large-sized clothes for plus-sized women. The company invites big women to submit pictures of themselves that will be voted on by the public. Whoever gets the most votes will be given a free trip to Los Angeles and a professional photo shoot. But AA does it in such a demeaning, obnoxious way that one large woman, actress Nancy Upton gets real annoyed. She has pictures of herself taken bathing in salad dressing, overeating sloppily, food all over her face, posing like a stuffed pig with an apple in her mouth, dressed like a gluttonous trollop etc.

She does this as a protest. BUT SHE WINS THE CONTEST. Of course AA rejects the popular vote and chooses another “winner.” Nevertheless, in a culture that worships thinness, these photos are worth showing.

Now here are some excerpts from the Village Voice article and the Daily Beast article by Nancy about this hilarious and unlikely episode.

can you see why she won the popular vote?

Nancy in salad dressing

It was kind of fun but also kind of gross. I totally threw up afterwards. In the process of eating all that different food—a lot of the stuff I really was eating, you know. I had all this ranch dressing in my mouth, Hershey’s syrup all over me. There was definitely artistic intent as well…

But this contest—I read it and two nights later I’m lying in bed, like, “Those assholes.” I finally put my finger on why I couldn’t get this “contest” out of my head: American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products…

I’m lambasting:

What they probably think of fat women. It comes from American Apparel’s history of treating women like a piece of meat.

The blatant, sloppy attempt to lazily win over the hearts of women who, because of their size, already face daily struggles to defend their looks and physical behavior.

The insinuation that the only way a fat girl could win a “beauty contest” was if a company with American Apparel’s street cred deemed it hip or fashionable.

The idea that someone must be a “fan of full-sized fannies” to even recognize a redeeming quality in women size 12 or above.

The unstated yet apparent belief that fat women can’t be noticed on their own merits.

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Major Causes Of Non-Infectious Deaths Worldwide

Here is an article reinforcing the effects of overeating and limited exercise. No surprise. So obvious. On the other hand, we don’t even know the cause of many cancers. Any one have some ideas?

What’s killing us? For decades, global health leaders have focused on diseases that can spread – AIDS, tuberculosis, new flu bugs. They pushed for vaccines, better treatments and other ways to control germs that were only a plane ride away from seeding outbreaks anywhere in the world.

Now they are turning to a new set of culprits causing what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls “a public health emergency in slow motion.” This time, germs aren’t the target: We are, along with our bad habits like smoking, overeating and too little exercise.

Next week, the U.N. General Assembly will hold its first summit on chronic diseases – cancer, diabetes and heart and lung disease. Those account for nearly two-thirds of deaths worldwide, or about 36 million. In the United States, they kill nearly 9 out of 10 people. They have common risk factors, such as smoking and sedentary lifestyles, and many are preventable…

Europe and North America. These regions are paying the price of too much eating, too little exercise and smoking: heart disease and diabetes dominate. Cancers that are more prevalent with age – breast and prostate – reflect long life spans in these regions where treatment is widely available. In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, lung cancer is the dominant cancer in men. Europe has the highest smoking prevalence in the world: 29 percent.

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Humorous Thoughts From An Overweight Senior

1. Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can’t even get into my own pants.

2. I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose fitting clothing.
If I HAD any loose fitting clothing, I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place!

3. Wouldn’t you know it….Brain cells come and brain cells go, but FAT cells live forever.

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Gerard Butler Regains His Abs

Gerard Butler

Gerard Butler has been in the news for losing a considerable amount of weight.

pudgy Gerard

But after revealing his ripped abs on Tuesday, it’s obvious he’s back to his tightly sculpted, King Leonidas-like form from the movie “300” (see below).

Like many actors prepping for a role, Butler, 41, has recently undergone a physical transformation. He dyed his curly locks blond and packed on the muscle to star in director Curtis Hanson’s upcoming surfing flick, Mavericks.

But it wasn’t a set photo that showed off Butler’s sexy new body. It was a casual snapshot of the Scottish actor changing before playing in a charity soccer match in Glasgow. Butler was spotted in the Celtic Football Club’s locker room, where he was about to don a team jersey before heading out to the pitch. He playfully posed for the photo by sticking his tongue out and making a silly face.

The “300” actor’s tip-top shape apparently helped his skills on the field, because his team, which included other British athletes and celebs, won 5-2 in a game benefiting the anti-poverty organization, Oxfam International.

Gerard mimics this famous 1951 photo of Albert Einstein

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How Djokovic Lost Pounds And Improved His Game

another victory for Novak—Wimbledon 7/2011

a healthier diet for Djokovic

a healthier diet for Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has gone from number three in tennis rankings to number one in a very short time. How did he do this?

He overcame the mental hurdle, he lost weight by removing wine and pizza from his diet, and he tweaked his service motion to result in 69 more aces and 125 fewer double faults than at the same point last season.

This from Tom Perrotta’s article in The Wall Street Journal: How did Novak Djokovic conquer the tennis world?

Maybe the answer is as simple as this: Since last year, he’s swearing off pasta, pizza, beer, French bread, Corn Flakes, pretzels, empanadas, Mallomars and Twizzlers—anything with gluten…

David Levitsky (a professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University) said a gluten-free diet might have benefits for those with mild allergies, or even no allergy at all. “The other part of the story is, if you believe in a cause of your disorder, it becomes the cause,” he said. “We see this in many different studies. If you believe it, you change your behavior in the direction of being cured.”

In tennis, something small often leads to a big boost in confidence.

Another article by Dr. Barbara Berkeley reports that Andy Murray has adopted the same no carbohydrate diet:

“Is it possible that, in fact, cutting out carbohydrates made Djokovic into a better athlete? Is it possible that everything we’ve believed about the importance of loading our muscles with tons of starches is untrue? Is it possible that we can play endlessly taxing endurance sports without jamming ourselves full of pasta and potatoes? And is it possible that we might be better off for it?

It seems that world number 4 Andy Murray thought so. He has adopted the Djokovic diet. How much do you want to bet that others follow…

I have held a consistent view on diet and it is a view that I believe holds up when one examines Djokovic’s transformation. Rather than worry about individual dietary elements, we should attempt to eat foods that are most like the ones are bodies understand genetically. Since our genes are thousands of generations old, we need to look at the foods that were prevalent in those times: lean proteins, fats that come from natural sources (and thus have higher omega 3-6 ratios), vegetable and fruit matter, seafood, nuts and other naturally occurring plant foods. Suars and starches (including grain) were not a part of that original diet and are processed poorly or even cause overt harm in those of us who are more “original” genetically. In addition, our body has certain fuel expectations. Large amounts of carbohydrate as fuel seem to me to be inconsistent with what our body was fine-tuned to expect.

In my own practice I treat many tennis players and runners who are significantly overweight despite many hours of intense exercise. When they change their diet to one that is primarily Primarian, they not only lose weight but they become more efficient at their sports.”

The new diet has definitely paid off for Djokovic who said, “I have lost some weight but it’s only helped me because my movement is much sharper now and I feel great physically.”

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Former “Fatso” Ed Koch Writes Kid’s Book Promoting Healthy Eating

fat Eddie Koch book character

This article by former NY City Mayor Ed Koch is based on his growing up as a chubby kid called “fatso.” Ed describes his early years as painful and resigned, but lost 30 pounds to run for Mayor. Now he has co-written a children’s book about good diet and exercise. It’s all very basic, the kind of suggestions this site believes in completely, and it’s nice to hear the mayor joining in with a message sent out by Michelle Obama’s program and hundreds of well-meaning fitness and fat-loss groups promoting wellness.

I also relate to the caption of one illustration that says: “These pants must have shrunk in the wash,” young Eddie thought. It’s exactly what I said in high school, when my pants were tight. But I never made this funny statement: “I still believe, as I said when I was mayor, that a qualifying Fire Department test for men and women should be, can you carry a 210-pound mayor out of a second-story building?”

“What I hope they walk away with is that it’s possible to avoid being the subject of derision or being an outcast simply by leading a healthy life with a healthy diet. It will cause you enormous pain if you let yourself get obese,” added Mr. Koch, whose childhood photos show him as a bit stocky, if not flat-out fat by today’s standards. “You’re not going to worry about it when you’re young, but if it continues, it can shorten your life. You want to have a family, you don’t want to leave them prematurely, and while it’s very unfair, many people in deciding who they’re going to hire will make a decision which includes weight.”

Eddie Shapes Up tells the story of an overweight young boy who hates recess because he is an easy target in dodge ball, tosses the carrot sticks and apple his mother packed for lunch in favor of a classmate’s potato chips, and declares, “I know I’ll never be thin, so I might as well eat what I like and as much as I like.”

But a friend advises Eddie: “Everybody has a different kind of body. What’s important is being healthy and in good shape.”

“Another tip for kids who want to eat between meals,” Mr. Koch added. “I eat sugar snap peas kept in the fridge. I also eat a lot more fish than I did and rarely, but occasionally as a treat, have a big rib steak. Everything else in moderation.

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Jason Segel Loses 30 Pounds After Seeing Photo Of His Fat Stomach

Here is another case history of a celebrity—this time Jason Segel—who loses 30 pounds after seeing a picture of how bad and fat he looked. He was so upset that he started exercising and eating less. “It was horrible,” he admits.

Although I never heard of him before I saw this video, I had seen him in two of his movies. Jason Jordan Segel (born January 18, 1980) is an American television and film actor, screenwriter, musician, known for his work with producer Judd Apatow on the short-lived television series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, the movies Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, I Love You, Man, Gulliver’s Travels, and Despicable Me, and also for his role as Marshall Eriksen in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

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Time Lapse Pictures of Muscle Building Transformations

That was a long writing break. Too jammed up with business and family matters. Even X-rays for a sore foot that isn’t broken, but I may have to skip tennis playing for a while and rest the injury. It was caused by way too many games and pounding on hard courts during this past winter.

Also stopped exercising. So this video sent to me by Josh Sobel is very inspirational. It shows a guy’s body changes EVERY DAY FOR ONE YEAR as he whipped himself into shape. Notice his underpants too. Quite aesthetic choices. When I have to avoid tasty, but unhealthy, food, I have no trouble being disciplined. Wish I had that same stick-to-it-iveness or perseverance when it comes to making muscles like this guy:

After watching this video, I discovered more similar stories. Other inspirations:

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Peter Jackson’s Method For Losing Weight

Peter Jackson lost 70 pounds

December 7, 2005—Peter Jackson has gone from a giant gorilla to a hunky monkey. The “King Kong” and “Lord of the Rings” director shed 70 pounds while shooting the monster movie remake by eating a strict diet of yogurt and muesli, getting little sleep and working around the clock, sometimes putting in 21-hour days.

“It’s already been dubbed the “Skull Island Diet” by the diet Web site obesitycures.com, named after the, tortuous jungle where King Kong was born.”

You can read more details about his weight loss at this site .

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Natalie Portman Loses 20 Pounds For Movie Role

thin Natalie Portman as ballerina in Black Swan

Here is another actor who can lose weight at will. How do these people do it so easily, when normal humans struggle unsuccessfully most of the time just to lose 10 pounds?

The 5-foot-3-inch starlet worked out between five and eight hours a day to shed 20 pounds from her already tiny frame so she could play a prima ballerina. “At a certain point, I looked at [Natalie’s] back, and she was so skinny and so cut … I was like, ‘Natalie, start eating,’” says Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky. “I made sure she had a bunch of food in her trailer.”

2010 Natalie in movie

2007 Natalie

“It was really extreme,” Portman said of her physical commitment to the role. “And I definitely felt both physical and mental aftershocks from the experience, because it was the first thing I’ve ever done that was this physically demanding on top of an emotionally demanding part,” she said.

Portman also said that, although she and Aronofsky first discussed the project nearly a decade ago, she needed more age and experience to tap into certain aspects of her character.

“For me, it’s really about someone going from a position, an artistry where you’re trying to please other people, to a position where you’re finding pleasure yourself,” she said. “And Vincent [Cassel]‘s character, though it seems that he’s sort of puppeteering this character, he is really guiding her towards becoming an artist and is really teaching her how to find her own pleasure and make a true expression of herself, that it’s about her.”

The 29-year-old went on to say that she related to her character finally realizing that it’s not her job to make others happy. “It’s about breaking out of a system where you’re easily replaceable by the next girl who looks like you…But the older you get, the less you care about what other people think and the more you just want to be your true self and express your true self.”

After posting this story, I just read another that only has to do with the movie, nothing to do with Natalie.

This is more sad than ridiculous. Call it sadly ridiculous.

The Guardian of London reports that a man in Latvia was shot and killed in a Riga movie theater after a dispute over popcorn during a screening of Black Swan. The victim, a 43-year old man, accused the assailant of chewing his popcorn too loudly, the papers report, something the accused did not take kindly.

The alleged shooter, a 27-year old police academy graduate who holds a law degree and has the legal right to carry a pistol, waited until the lights came back on to fire the gun. Possibly a questionable decision. Fellow moviegoers called the police, who cuffed the accused.

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How Christian Bale Gains And Loses 50-100 Pounds For Movie Roles

Bale's range of change

Batman Bale

Yo-yo dieting is a way of life for some, but for Hollywood actors, gaining and losing lots of weight is part of the job. When it is so hard for many ordinary people to lose weight or even to gain it, what kind of discipline do actors have that allows them to succeed at this challenge?

For Christian Bale’s performance in the new boxing film, The Fighter, the actor dramatically “transformed” himself from Batman buff to “rail thin” for his role as drug addict and former boxer Dicky Eklund.

Bale in The Fighter

The 6-foot-tall actor dropped 63 pounds to play a chronic insomniac in The Machinist in 2003. (see “skinny Bale” above left) His secret to dropping all the way down to 122 pounds? Starvation, vitamins, and lots of gym time. As part of the process, Bale consulted a nutritionist who advised him about how much weight he could safely lose — but the actor kept going past that point. “I lost another 20 pounds below what she said I should stop at,” he told the BBC.

Amazingly after the Machinist, Bale hired a personal trainer to help him gain 100 pounds (45 kg) in the span of only a couple of months to help him physically prepare for the role of Batman in 2005. He first went well over the weight required and created concern over whether he would look right for the part. Bale recognized that his large physique was not appropriate for Batman, who relies on speed and strategy. He lost the excess weight by the time filming began.

It can’t be healthy or good for your heart to create these huge fluctuations. But how does he make it happen so easily, when normal people can’t gain or lose just 5-10 pounds?

I’ll show more examples in other posts of actors who alter their weight for the screen. Maybe we can learn what the secret is that makes it possible…

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Great Weight-Gaining Diet Is Ding Dongs And Vodka

Had stomach-hurting laughs with a friend who admitted that when he is in his pressured moments working like a draft horse, he drinks 6-8 cups of coffee to get his caffeine high, eats junk foods like McDonalds burgers and shakes, then drinks wine and liquor at night to calm down when he is finally home. The biggest laugh was that he sometimes eats Ding Dongs with vodka. A very classy combination. But it helped him gain 20 (unwanted) pounds over the last six months.

I’ve always regarded Ding Dongs as complete crap. Haven’t had one since elementary school. I really appreciate my friend’s true confession. Here is a nutritional chart: note 368 calories and a D- nutrition grade.

the perfect food for gaining weight—Ding Dongs

Each Ding Dong provides 11 grams of saturated fat...yum

By the way, a Ding Dong Ditch involves knocking on the front door (or ringing the doorbell of) a “victim,” then running away before the door can be answered. Wonder what prank or trick the homeowner is enduring

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