Monday, March 31, 2008

You can do it. Together!

Losing weight is the lesson plan for Ind. school staff -

Great article and what an inspiring bunch of folks.

Losing weight is contagious. just look at me, my twin sister and my mother. You do have to have the proper environment, but it can happen. Just like fat people have fat friends, healthy people like to be surrounded with other healthy people. I know I do anyways.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

If I had an extra 200 bucks...

I would go to this fund raiser. It's been a year since Type II took Gram and I miss her terribly.

Stressing fare and care for diabetics - The Boston Globe

There was an article recently in the NYT about Foodies facing the facts when it came to their gastronomical choices... good for Jasper White shedding 75 pounds and getting his Diabetes under control. I love the Summer Shack-- I've had many memorable evenings there. My rehearsal dinner with the whole family and oysters with the boss. I love how easy it is to eat well there or really bad if you are so inclined.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Need a Campus?

Weight-loss boarding school helps teens shed bad habits
Wellspring Academy, just outside Fresno,California opens its doors to people ages 13 to 24. Currently scouting locations in the Northeast for a sister school to open in June, the academy teaches kids to change their entire lifestyle, rather than just put them on a diet.
I know of one. Unfortunately it is in the middle of nowhere. The article talks about taking kids out to restaurants teach them how to eat healthy along with teaching them good eating habits on campus. The program looks pretty sound, founded by a guy disillusioned by the diet industry. Consists of the following 3 tenets.
Eat less than 20 grams of fat a day (the average American eats about 75 grams), walk 10,000 steps a day (the average is about 3,000), monitor all eating and exercise by keeping a journal - and find the root causes of overeating.
My high school tried to teach me how to lose weight. It didn't work-- but not because it wasn't sound. But because I wasn't ready. I wish I had been like the kid in the article.

Still looking for the Next Biggest Loser

800 audition for weight-loss TV show

They came through Boston last month as well. Apparently reality shows love casting the accent. Of all places they held the auditions at Felt. Home of nightlife in Boston for the beautiful people.

Friday, March 21, 2008

President's Challenge

This is a six week challenge that started on the 20th (Ooops) encouraging Americans to be more active. The president had a little shindig in the Rose Garden and they got Eli Manning as their celebrity endorser. It's put on by the same people who conduct the dreaded Presidents Physical Fitness test in elementary school.

I have no love for Bush. And even less for the Mannings. Peyton will shill just about anything and his "Priceless Peptalks" last season made me want to throw things at the screen. Especially the one below. And Eli? Well, let's just say I am a Patriots fan.

But good for Eli. This is a positive thing to attach his name too.

Too much choice?

Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Down in New Haven at Yale University they are actively studying the obesity problem.
Click the link above to be taken to a summary of their publications. It's the most recent one that caught my eye. Basically they conducted a scientific study to see if prompted, would kids be more likely to choose fruit or fruit juice. The results? With prompting most kids choose the fruit. That's good news. More fiber less added sugars.

But what surprised me is the choice involved. School food is honestly something I know little about these days. I'm getting the feeling that it has changed since I graduated from high school almost 15 years ago now. In elementary school we ate what was put on our trays, there was no choice involved except for red or blue milk. (whole vs low fat I can only assume.) Looking back on it now, that stuff probably wasn't the healthiest for me, but I didn't have a choice, I had to eat it. Packing our own lunch always involved more stress than it was worth I think for my poor Mom. Those days were subs and a bag of chips from the mini-mart before we went to school. No doubt far less good for me than what the school was serving.

My high school years were spent at a boarding school. Again, there was little choice about what you ate. Breakfast was either cereal or whatever was hot that am. Lunch and dinner had a salad bar that went with the entree choice (there was always a vegetarian option too) but other than that.... Not much choice. When I eat there now during alumni events I marvel at the choice these kids get. Now they have cereal all day, a sandwich bar, a fro yo machine, several different entree choices and always a make your own waffle machine!!! Granted-- it's lot easier to offer more choice now that they have consolidated into one main dinning facility, but still. It's open all day and the kids are welcome to graze. That would have been death for me back then. To much choice and without any education no doubt I would have have made the wrong ones.

So back to the study. Why give kids the choice? Just give them the healthier foods and they will eat it. Kids in grade school can't be expected to make their own healthy choices.

PS. In case you are curious here is a link to what the Rudd Center is all about at Yale University.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Grocery stores get in on the Health claim making game

Food retailers hope to inspire loyalty, increase sales with their own nutritional labels Supermarket chains ready their own nutrition labels Food..

Full-fledged rating systems so far have caught on only at regional supermarket chains such as Hy-Vee. The only up-and-running system was rolled out in 2006 by a New England chain, Hannaford. But the industry's giants, the companies that own Chicago's biggest chains, Jewel and Dominick's, will keep a close eye on the Hy-Vees and Hannafords of the world. The growing importance of health in marketing food will force them to. "We know that close to 60 percent of shoppers are actively incorporating health and wellness into their food-purchasing decisions," said Jim Hertel of Willard Bishop, a supermarket consulting firm. "This is a fairly significant number of shoppers. It's not just the Birkenstock crowd."

Yet shoppers are bewildered by competing health claims; that's what Hannaford found when it surveyed consumers before launching its rating system, developed by independent academic nutritionists. Katz, an internal medicine specialist, said he found the same thing with his own patients and blamed part of the problem on food packaging. "A lot of what is on the package is about marketing, not about informing people." For instance, breads can sport the appellation "multigrain" and still be made with processed flour, not whole grains. Meanwhile, breakfast cereals, while touting high fiber, sometimes contain more salt than items in the salty snack aisle, Katz said. And to make claims like "one-third" less sugar in a breakfast cereal, foodmakers, in order to maintain taste, sometimes have boosted salt or saturated fats, he said.

Fascinating article. We have Hannafords around here but I have never bought groceries there. This makes me want to check them out. I'm curious about numbers on the 100 calorie packs.

I'm not sure that another layer of information is going to inspire some brand loyalty as the tittle suggests however. The grocery store still comes down to price and convenience for me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Miz Jackson

If you're nasty. Sorry couldn't help myself.

Janet Jackson is co-writing a book with her Nutritionist. I hope he is not a quack-- as you have to admit, she's had her fair share of ups and downs. I think she gets it. But when not in the spotlight she let's herself go. Pity. She's fabulous.

The book is due out at the end of the year.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fake Food or Junk Food Dieting

I'll admit to losing a lot of weight eating some of the listed foods-- especially the Baked Lays and the Diet Coke. Fake food doesn't really have any nutritional value. And the 100 calorie packs, besides lacking redeeming nutritional value. I'm not down with them. People are capable of learning portion control. This is just another way for companies to sell you less for more. And also, wafer thin "Oreo flavored" cookies... I can't really put my finger on it, but I'm wanting my food less tinkered with.

It's not even food any more. As I learned today, in 1973 the FDA repealed a law that food had to be labeled imitation if it contained fake parts-- like today's Splenda or Olestra. As long as it has the same nutritional value then you can modify food however you want and you can call it whatever you want. And since cookies don't really have any nutritional value you can fill them with fake fat and fake sugar and still call them cookies. Ew.

I'm reading a new book. The above factoid comes from Michael Pollan's follow up to the Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, An Eaters Manifesto. I am only 30 pages into it so I am interested to read further about his recommendations- which he says, "will produce as many different menus as there are people using them."

No doubt they don't include fake food.

Has she not learned?

I don't always get it right, but man... Carnie Wilson is starting to irritate me. I understand my aggravation with her to be irrational and a little on the unnecessarily mean side, but this woman had gained and lost more weight since I was fat than I could possibly imagine. It makes me sad. In 1999 when she had WLS she was just about 300 pounds. I was 330ish and distinctly remember the twinge of jealousy at her having that procedure. Especially as she dropped the weight quickly and her follow up cosmetic procedures were so well documented by the tabloids.

But here we are 8 years later (and granted she has had kids) but she clearly has not learned how to live with food. Her stint on Celebrity Fit Club was a surprise to me-- I thought she had it figured out. She seemingly had conquered her drinking demons, speaking out about her addictions and how she had replaced food with alcohol on the Oprah Winfrey show. (Click here for an interesting WSJ article about the possible connection between WLS and alcoholism.) So when she popped up on VH1 I remember feeling a smug satisfaction mixed with disappointment and also relief. Finally-- I was hoping she would get it right now that she had to lose weight on her own. But as you can see-- she is still struggling. (WENN photo)

I Can Make You Thin. Really?

With Paul McKenna on TLC. He makes the show about the audience. Instead of watching others lose weight he brings you along on a 5 week program, (Sunday at 9pm), giving you weekly tasks to complete along with advice and suggestions for following his program.

He has 4 Golden Rules
Eat what you want,
when you are hungry,
consciously eating,
until you are full.

That will work for losing weight-- but I fear the gimmick does set people up for failure. Eat what you want? Perhaps in a future show he will include some pointers on good nutrition. Not all calories are created equal.

He does talk a lot about the mental battle of eating and food. He encourages people to throw out foods that don't inspire you. I've done some refrigerator purging myself recently and it felt great. He also speaks about the need to savor food. My favorite line of the night. “People who are overweight, think about food all the time, except for when they are actually eating it.” I couldn’t agree more. That has been one of the hardest of behaviors to modify-- the reminder was good. There is nothing wrong with getting in touch with your hunger.