Posts Tagged overweight

Of Course Sugar Is A Drug

Here is a very damning article about sugar. It’s an interview with Robert H Lustig, a medical expert at the University of California. Some of the excerpts below are scary.

The Wall Street Journal asked Americans what are the most dangerous of four substances in America: tobacco, 49 percent; alcohol, 24 percent; sugar, 15 percent; and then marijuana, 8 percent. Sugar was doubly worrisome to Americans than marijuana was. How about that?

Sugar is the alcohol of a child. You would never let a child drink a can of Budweiser, but you would never think twice about a can of Coke. Yet what it does to the liver, what it does to the arteries, what it does to the heart is all the same. And that’s why we have adolescents with type 2 diabetes.

There are three negative biochemical effects sugar has on the body:

One, fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar, is not metabolized like glucose. It’s metabolized in the mitochondria, and it is metabolized in the liver to liver fat. That liver fat mucks up the workings of the liver and leads to a process called insulin resistance. That raises your insulin levels because your pancreas has to make more insulin. That drives all the chronic metabolic diseases we know about, plus it burns out the pancreas, leading to diabetes.

Two, cellular aging. When bananas ripen, they brown. The sugar in the bananas binds to proteins in the bananas nonenzymatically, even in dead tissue. That’s called the cellular aging or Maillard reaction. That happens to everyone all the time, so we brown inside. You don’t want to brown very fast, but we’re all browning because that’s how we age. But sugar makes us brown seven times faster; it basically kills our organs quicker.

Three, sugar is addictive. So a little makes you want more, because of the effect of the reward center of the brain.

For other drugs of abuse, we limit them in various ways. If they’re legal drugs of abuse, we make them expensive and we have all sorts of restrictions on access. But for sugar we have nothing. We give it to newborns, we give it to two-year-olds, we have it at birthday parties and at school, etc. So we have a nation of childhood addicts; just walk into any supermarket and watch these kids nag their parents for the stuff. That’s why we should regulate it.

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Taryn Brumfitt’s Startling Admission About Creating a Perfect Body

not the usual before and after

not the usual before and after

Australian mom Taryn Brumfitt wants to make a documentary to help women love their bodies, even if they are not “perfect.” Especially after they have kids, and curves appear where they didn’t exist before. Or even if child-bearing had nothing to do with the lumps that she formerly viewed as unflattering. So she is raising money through kickstarter to make her film. You can read about it here.

Most impressive is that she originally did not like her body and the way she looked in the mirror, so she started changing her appearance by exercising, dieting and going to the gym. Then she became a bodybuilder who competed in contests. Surprisingly, she says in her video, this did NOT change the way she felt about her body!!! Nothing changed.

Once she had a child, she really became upset, posted the picture to the right, and it went viral. So she interviewed women, gives speeches, and now wants to make the documentary.

You can read more about her here .

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Why Americans Are So Fat

I lost weight in Mongolia and in the week or so before the trip: about five pounds. So now that I am back home, I am stuffing food down my gullet as though I were a goose being bred for pate…but fasting, attending parties that only offer red meat I won’t eat and skipping meals, because I am too busy catching up, definitely do not help gain weight. I still have almost three pounds to go!

So here is a NY Times article suggesting that the ONLY reason Americans are overweight is because we…they…eat too much. Pigs at the trough. What do you think?

Hard Truths About Our Soft Bodies
By FRANK BRUNI

I was steering my cart through Costco the other day, wondering whether to waddle to the aisle where they sell cashews by the quarter-ton or to the one with thousand-piece packs of chicken thighs, when an epiphany pierced the fog of my gluttony.

Actually, two epiphanies. The first? I needed to have kids, four or five or better yet a baker’s dozen. Only then could I take full advantage of the savings around me.

The second? Costco as much as anything else is why the land of the free and the home of the brave is also the trough of the tub o’ lard, our exceptionalism measurable by not only our G.D.P. but also our B.M.I. That’s body mass index, and our bodies are indeed massive.

I don’t blame Costco per se. I blame what it represents: an American obsession with size, with quantity, that manifests itself as surely in supermarkets and restaurants as it does on our highways. We drive minivans and sport utility vehicles; we rip into veritable feed bags of potato chips and wedge our steroidal Thanksgiving turkeys into refrigerators more capacious than some European cars. This doesn’t redound to our benefit.

And while the notion that we weigh too much because we buy, order and eat too much may be obvious, it’s increasingly obscured. Study after study and report upon report looks at more particular reasons for obesity and excess pounds, focusing on the edges and the aggravators of the problem instead of the flabby core. And the number and variety of these investigations, not to mention the prominent showcase we in the news media give them, create the impression that alchemy, not appetite, is our enemy, and that if we could just fine-tune our daily schedules, rejigger our protein-to-carbohydrate ratios or wallow sufficiently in fiber, all would be well.

It’s as if we’re micro-focusing on less daunting and less damning culprits to distract ourselves from the one that’s most fearsome and difficult to change, which is the sheer volume of food that many Americans are accustomed to consuming. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paula Dean Bamboozles Fat Fans

Paula Deen supporters are a tad overweight in this photo

Paula Deen supporters are a tad overweight in this photo

The food chef and drug spokesperson Paula Dean is in the news, so I wondered about her. Vaguely recall articles about how she recommended high fat-content food, suggesting that it wouldn’t hurt you. Of course it did affect her, and she admitted she had diabetes. But then she pushed an anti-diabetes drug. Unbelievable.

However she is so loved and admired that her fans are right there with her. Love is blind it seems to me. Above is a picture of her supporters, and they do NOT appear to mind being heavy. Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia that details some background on her hypocrisy.

It’s also clear that her business empire generates millions of dollars each year. But that doesn’t mean that she would say she has enough and stop taking advantage of the idiots who think it’s ok to eat thousands of extra fat-full calories and not suffer the consequences. An excellent example of greedy pigs in action.

Deen has faced extensive criticism for the high amounts of fat, salt, and sugar in her recipes. She faced particularly strong objections with the release of Lunch-Box Set, a cookbook aimed at children, with Barbara Walters saying of the book, “You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast. You tell them to have chocolate cake and meatloaf for lunch. And french fries. Doesn’t it bother you that you’re adding to this?” Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain commented in 2011 that he “would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it’s OK to eat food that is killing us.”

On January 17, 2012, Deen announced that she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years before. It was also disclosed that Deen is a paid spokesperson for the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, whose main export is insulin. She was called a hypocrite for continuing to promote her high-sugar diet while only disclosing her medical condition when it benefited her in representing the drug company to market their diabetes management program.

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Is Thin Better Than Fat If You Are The State Governor?

Today’s Gail Collins’ always-humorous essay, titled “Fitness for Office,” touches on the relationship between politicians’ weight, fitness and their governing record. Lots of smiles. Here are some of the best excerpts.

Governor Chris Christie (who is obese) says he’s very healthy and that “there is a plan” for losing weight. But there is also a plan for totally funding the state employee pension system. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

There’s a national accord that thin is generally better than fat. However, it’s hardly the biggest issue when you’re picking a governor. There are citizens all over the country who would trade their more compact leaders for Christie in a second. Just ask somebody in Pennsylvania. Or Illinois. The guy in Florida has the physique of a greyhound and the state is totally miserable.

In 2006, New Yorkers elected Eliot Spitzer, a man who could not possibly have looked fitter. We probably had the best B.M.I. in the National Governors Association. Just over a year later, he was gone in a sex scandal. You had to wonder if exceptional leanness might occasionally be accompanied by exceptional friskiness. As we all know, a governor in South Carolina once vanished for what his staff claimed were body-toning hikes on the Appalachian Trail when he was actually committing adultery in Argentina.

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Obesity, Cancer And Other Health Issues May Correlate With Childhood Traumas

David Brooks wrote a very upsetting column last week suggesting that if you had as a child many of 10 pretty common traumas, then you may be doomed for life to suffer bad stuff, including health and weight issues. Traumas like being abused, having divorced parents, or family members who’d been incarcerated or declared mentally ill. Coincidentally I saw a movie about Freud and Jung, in which the former just wanted to identify the source of the problems, while Jung also wanted to help heal or cure the problem. Hard for me to understand why Dr. Freud wouldn’t want to heal the patients as well. Here are some excerpts from the Brooks article.

They gave the 17000 adults interviewed what came to be known as ACE scores, depending on how many of the 10 experiences they had endured. The link between childhood trauma and adult outcomes was striking. People with an ACE score of 4 were seven times more likely to be alcoholics as adults than people with an ACE score of 0. They were six times more likely to have had sex before age 15, twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer, four times as likely to suffer emphysema. People with an ACE score above 6 were 30 times more likely to have attempted suicide.

Later research suggested that only 3 percent of students with an ACE score of 0 had learning or behavioral problems in school. Among students with an ACE score of 4 or higher, 51 percent had those problems.

Schools are now casting about, trying to find psychological programs that will help students work on resilience, equanimity and self-control. Some schools give two sets of grades—one for academic work and one for deportment.

And it’s not just schools that are veering deeper into the psychological realms. Health care systems are going the same way, tracing obesity and self-destructive habits back to social breakdown and stress.

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TV Anchor Jennifer Livingston’s Obesity Creates Ruckus

Here is a story about a woman who works out 2-3 times a week, runs in triathlons and 5k races, and is still overweight, called fat, and measures as obese. Her husband said it’s due to a thyroid condition.

But Jennifer Livingston is also a TV morning show news anchor who received a letter criticizing her as a poor role model for the community. She fought back by reading the letter on air and damning the writer’s insensitive bullying. Her actions went viral and national, so here is an ABC segment in which she is quoted and interviewed.

One person who commented on line and defended the letter writer had this to say: “…don’t hide behind bullying, this man is not bullying you, he is just asking you to do something about your excess weight. GIVE UP A FEW BURGERS AND CUT THE CHEESE. START MOVING JENNIFER!”

Oh how confusing life is. How it looks so different to people watching from various angles. I have to admit that I believe one can lose weight by eating less. Exercise can help burn off calories as well. But that doesn’t mean the exercise doesn’t also increase your appetite, and that for some people it’s seemingly impossible to not have the cheese and to skip the dessert. What do you think?

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44% Of Americans Will Be Obese In 2030

Shocking! This can’t bode well for health-care costs. A new report released by Trust for America’s Health projects that by 2030 more than half of the people in a majority of the United States will be obese. Mississippi, which is currently America’s fattest state, is expected to nearly double its obesity rate from 35 percent to 67 percent. The new report’s predictions of overall obesity even surpass government forecasts, estimating that every state will have rates of obesity above 44 percent by 2030. The numbers are reportedly based on state-by-state surveys taken by the Centers for Disease Control from 1999 to 2010.

So right now one-third of Americans are obese and another one-third are overweight. Does this mean that everyone in some states is going to be gigantic if the third of obese people doubles to two thirds and then there will be others who are “just” overweight people as well? There have to be some thinnies still holding out from becoming fatties, don’t you think? No wonder my ability to avoid fattening foods is so obnoxious to those who are heavy and resent my fitness. Maybe I need to avoid those “friends.”

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Death Row Inmate Too Fat To Execute

Attorneys for Ronald Post, a 480-pound death row inmate in Ohio, say their client is too overweight to be put to death. I can’t help wondering why a prisoner being fed by the government receives so much food that he can gain and retain all that poundage. Hell of a way to escape punishment. Smart!

“Indeed, given his unique physical and medical condition there is a substantial risk that any attempt to execute him will result in serious physical and psychological pain to him, as well as an execution involving a torturous and lingering death,” reads the filing made on behalf of Ronald Post, 53, who was convicted of shooting to death hotel clerk Helen Vantz 29 years ago.

Post, who is set to be executed by lethal injection on January 16, 2013, says that his executioners would encounter several problems, including difficulty finding a viable vein for injection and the likelihood that with his unusual weight he would break any gurney used in the process.

The Ohio prison system relies on lethal injection in cases resulting in execution.

Ohio is tied nationally with Kansas for the 13th highest obesity rate in the country, with 29.6 percent of its residents listed as overweight.

The Associated Press reports that this is not the first case in which a death row inmate has attempted to use his weight to escape execution.

In 1994, a federal judge in Washington State ruled that 400-pound Mitchell Rupe was too heavy to be hanged and instead was eventually sentenced to life in prison. Rupe died in confinement in 2006.

However, other heavyset inmates have not fared so well in their pleas, such as in the cases of Richard Cooey in 2008 and Christopher Newton in 2007. Still, both of those men each weighed 200 pounds less than Post.

Newton, who was also from Ohio, had his execution delayed for two hours while prison staff struggled to find a vein to administer his lethal injection.

The U.S. and 20 of the world’s 198 countries officially sanction the death penalty, according to Amnesty International. The group reports that the U.S. executed 43 individuals in 2011. Of those, five executions were carried out in Ohio.

China is believed to have executed the largest number of individuals, though exact figures are not known.

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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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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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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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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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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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Sweet Drinks Stink, Shout Out Mike Bloomberg & Mike Sorrentino

“Stop drinking sugar-sweetened beverages” is a message being pushed by two famous Mikes. Soda pop is bad for your health, your fitness, and your abs is their combined shout out.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg & Living Liberty

The mayor recently proposed a ban on people who receive food stamps being able to buy soft drinks with lots of calories and no nutrition. He wants to offset the rise in obesity and diabetes. One sixth of the average teenager’s calories come from sodas. Read more here .

Reality TV star of Jersey Shore, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, absolutely forbids coke and other soft drinks in his diet. You can hear him say it in the video.

He is all for fitness and a powerful six-pack. But in addition to going to the gym and working out 5-6 days a week, you have to watch your diet: “no candy, cakes, snacks, salt, sugar, cokes…drink water all the time.”

After you’re ripped, then you have the maintenance stage, when you CAN have a cookie or a coke here and there. Read more about The Situation right here .

Who would have thought these two Mikes had this much in common!

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Aging Doesn’t Have To Look Like This

A friend intended to make me laugh by sending me the three pictures below. He suggested that they are all the same females over a lifetime. The images actually make me angry that some folks let themselves fall apart so badly, increase their odds of sickness or even deadly health, and just lose any interest in being attractive, fit or toned.

The article I posted yesterday explains it all—people are lazy and won’t accept how unfit or fat they really are. And if they do notice, they are unwilling to do much about it. What I hear all the time is “Life is short, so why should I deprive myself of a little pleasure.” (…like some ice cream or tasty meat treat with loads of delicious fat). I have to keep reminding myself that my doctor says I just happen to be able to avoid the foods that are bad for me, while others who are overweight neither can nor want to.

On the other hand, one friend told me last night that he now weighs 189 for the first time in years, and that he has lost 30 to 40 pounds in the last few months. His secret: eat small meals and healthy snacks throughout the whole day instead of skipping breakfast and lunch and gorging himself at a late dinner that barely digests while he is sleeping.

young girls at the beach

teen-age girls at the beach

grandmothers at the beach

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Many Americans Don’t Even Know They’re Fat

First I read an article by Amanda Gardner suggesting that fat people don’t realize they are fat. Then a friend sent me some pictures of females at the beach over a 60 or 70 year period. You can see these above and wonder if aging has to lead to such blubberous decay.

I am including some snippets from the article. The biggest culprit suggested by this poll is that overweight comes from lack of exercise more than bad food. I can easily understand this resistance to exercise. These days I find it almost impossible to “exercise” by lifting weights or driving to the gym. That is boring and tedious. But I have no trouble making myself go to the tennis court—over 42 hours last month. That is fun, and I am eager to play. The article does point out, however, that just walking is considered exercise…you don’t have to make beautifully sculpted muscles.

(HealthDay News) — Many Americans have skewed perceptions when it comes to their weight, often believing they are thinner than they really are, even when the scales are shouting otherwise, a new poll finds.

Thirty percent of those in the “overweight” class believed they were actually normal size, while 70 percent of those classified as obese felt they were simply overweight. Among the heaviest group, the morbidly obese, almost 60 percent pegged themselves as obese, while another 39 percent considered themselves merely overweight.

These findings may help to explain why overweight and obesity rates in the United States continue to go up, experts say.

“While there are some people who have body images in line with their actual Body Mass Index, for many people they are not, and this may be where part of the problem lies,” said Regina Corso, vice president of Harris Poll Solutions. “If they do not recognize the problem or don’t recognize the severity of the problem, they are less likely to do something about it.”

And that means that obesity may be becoming the new norm, raising the specter of increasing rates of health threats such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

“I think too many people are unsure of what they should actually weigh,” said Keri Gans, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “For many, they have grown up in a culture were most people are overweight and that is the norm, or they have been surrounded by too many celebrities and fashion in the media and think very thin is the norm.”

Most respondents to the poll who felt they were heavier than they should be blamed sloth, rather than poor eating habits, for their predicament.

“We’re seeing the couch potato stigma [syndrome],” Corso said. “Three out of five Americans overall are saying they don’t exercise as much as they should.” Read the rest of this entry »

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New Army Training Program Eliminates The Situp

Just read a New York Times article about how the US Army has instituted a new training program for recruits, who are often overweight and can’t pass the physical tests at boot camp.

…That familiar standby, the situp, is gone, or almost gone. Exercises that look like pilates or yoga routines are in. And the traditional bane of the new private, the long run, has been downgraded.

…the program was created to help address one of the most pressing issues facing the military today: overweight and unfit recruits.

“What we were finding was that the soldiers we’re getting in today’s Army are not in as good shape as they used to be,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who oversees basic training for the Army. “This is not just an Army issue. This is a national issue.”

Excess weight is the leading reason the Army rejects potential recruits. And while that has been true for years, the problem has worsened as the waistlines of America’s youth have expanded. This year, a group of retired generals and admirals released a report titled “Too Fat to Fight.”

“Between 1995 and 2008, the proportion of potential recruits who failed their physicals each year because they were overweight rose nearly 70 percent,” the report concluded.

Though the Army screens out the seriously obese and completely unfit, it is still finding that many of the recruits who reach basic training have less strength and endurance than privates past. It is the legacy of junk food and video games, compounded by a reduction in gym classes in many high schools, Army officials assert.

As a result, it is harder for recruits to reach Army fitness standards, and more are getting injured along the way. General Hertling said that the percentage of male recruits who failed the most basic fitness test at one training center rose to more than one in five in 2006, up from just 4 percent in 2000. The percentages were higher for women.

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