I received this letter from a reader, and was given permission to post it as long as I didn’t reveal a name.
Hey Ko, I just wanted to share this with you since you are blackgirlfit and all lol. I haven’t shared it with anyone else because, I dont know, I think its way too soon to be throwing out there. 4 days ago I woke up and just decided I was gonna do at least a little better. I thought about my “weak” foods, and I decided I wasn’t going have any of them for the whole day (I can only commit to 1 day at a time, Sweet Jesus lol). There are 5 things I said no to and I wrote them on a post it note and stuck it on my computer at eye level: no chocolate, no soda, no cookies, no chips/fries, and no gummy bears (lol sad but true). Thats it, I didn’t say no to anything else, because I don’t really crave other stuff very often, and BABY STEPS! I know me, I can’t jump into anything more restrictive than that this soon. Anyway, suffice it to say I’m halfway through day 4 (no pressure on myself, just making the decision every day). 2 1/2 pounds down! I’m really surprised, considering I’ve not been starving myself at all. Just avoiding the 5 no-nos. Anyway just wanted to share that with ya lol. I’m 41, I don’t want to drop dead out here! ….
My response to her and others reading this is below:
I’m so glad you shared this w/me!!! It really is day to day. Even now, I don’t ‘enjoy’ working out, I don’t completely deprive myself of anything either. But what does happen, is the closer you get to your goals, the more disinterested you become in the excess.
You just have to really stay strong and determined and *never* be too hard on yourself. None of us are perfect!
I’m really rooting for you, and I know you can do this!!
Keep me updated!!!
I’m about to head to Groupon to search for deals on fitness classes, but here are some articles to occupy you in the meantime:
How Exercise Can Strengthen the Brain [NYT]
How to Fend off Food Cravings [EH]
11 Foods for Healthy Bones [Health]
Train Better: 10 Exercise Machines to Avoid [WH]
Looking for a Fitness Buddy? Get a Dog [Reuters]
Diet and Depression: Can Food Help Fight the Blues? [ABC.au]
A new study shows that if you reach for snacks with your weaker, less dominant hand, you’ll snack up to 30% less. “But I’m ambidextrous!” you say. Then this study isn’t for you!
The researchers conducted the study using fresh and week-old (ew) popcorn. The purpose was to measure how automatic snacking is for some people. Unfortunately, they found that some people need to snack so badly, they’ll even eat something stale or nasty to satisfy their cravings for—anything??
Check the rest out:
People who snacked using their nondominant hands reduced about 30% of their total intake, compared with those using their dominant hands, according to the study, which was published online in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“If people disrupt the physical sequence of action that is in automatic eating, that’s one way to gain some control,” said David Neal, who had been an assistant professor in psychology at USC at the time of the study. Since then, he has left to start his own company, Empirica Research.
More on the popcorn…
For the study, Neal and his colleagues gave each participant a bag of popcorn – some were stale popcorn (popped a week ago), and others were fresh (popped less than an hour ago).
They sat in a dark movie theater and watched several trailers while they were within convenient reach of their popcorn bags. In questionnaires, they indicated whether they habitually ate popcorn in the movie theaters or not.
After the participants left, researchers weighed the popcorn bags. They found that the people who indicated that they regularly ate popcorn during a movie screening ate about 63% of the popcorn bag – regardless of whether it was stale or fresh.
“If you are the sort of person who bought and ate popcorn a lot in the past, as long as you’re in the environment, you continue to eat the food even when it’s stale and horrible,” Neil said.
Being in the dark movie theater environment with popcorn at easy access seemed to trigger an automatic eating habit, he said.
“People believe their eating is controlled by internal preferences,” he said. “We think how much we eat is guided by how hungry we are or taste of the food options. But in reality, that’s not the case. The environment plays a big role.”
So the researchers altered the environment. Instead of a movie theater, they set up a dark meeting room with music videos projected on a screen with popcorn at the ready. The participants didn’t eat as much popcorn when their environment changed.
For the final study, they asked participants to use their nondominant hand if they chose to eat the popcorn inside a movie theater.
The amount of stale popcorn eaten by habitual popcorn lovers dropped about 30%. The amount of fresh popcorn eaten also dropped, but the difference was slight.
“It’s inconvenient and disruptive to eat with the nondominant hand, but that effect is much stronger when the food is horrible,” Neil said. “It suggests it’s not just inconvenience. It makes you think, ‘Is there a value of what I’m doing? Does this taste good? Am I hungry?’ If the answer is no, you stop eating.”
The researchers borrowed this trick from neuroimaging studies that have shown that people’s habits are disrupted when they’re asked to perform tasks using their nondominant hand. [SOURCE]
I stumbled upon a rant by a Yahoo contributor who seemed very upset at the prospect of KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, etc. accepting food stamps. He’s not alone. There are folks out there ready to (keyboard) protest if McDonald’s lets poor people use their benefit cards to get a happy meal—with a toy even! These are the same people who seem to think being poor is a sentence, rather than a circumstance. Or that it’s somehow enjoyable to not know where your next meal is coming from. Maybe the feds should bring back powdered milk and government cheese. While we’re at it, why don’t we produce Soylent Greens (including the special ingredient)?
Sure there’s gross abuse of the system, and allowing KFC to accept food stamps seems like one of them, but if you are at a poverty level where you don’t have access to maybe even a hot plate, why can’t you get a 2 piece dinner?
Perhaps they should limit it to ‘healthier’ selections if it’s that much of an issue, but if you qualify for the benefits, I say you eat what you want.
If that means you run out of your food stamps in 2 weeks, then next month you’ll be wiser, and cop that hero and free soda from the bodega instead.
I’d much rather eat Hamburger Helper in my middle class apartment with middle class comforts, than eat a bucket of chicken and have to find a vacant bedbug infested subway bench.
Here’s the opposing perspective:
“Welcome to Taco Bell, will this be cash, charge or food stamps?”
Just when I thought I’d heard it all, now fast food restaurants want Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to be eligible to use their food stamp benefit at selected restaurants. Restaurants such as Taco Bell, KFC and Subway believe that there are certain types of SNAP recipients who are homeless or living in conditions that do not allow them hot meals and these people would benefit from being able to use their food benefit at fast food restaurants.
Fresno, Calif., officials are considering legislation that would permit SNAP benefits to be used at fast food restaurants in their area. Arizona, Michigan and other parts of California already allow the practice and Kentucky is currently considering it.
I already object to the many things that can be purchased with SNAP benefits. Junk food, soft drinks, pre-packaged frozen foods and candy are all permitted under current law. This is really a no-brainer. The law should restrict use of those taxpayer-provided funds to the basic staples: meat, starches, bread, milk, vegetables and cheese. Maybe there should be even an allowance for toiletries. But, it’s a moral crime to have public aid recipients eating better then the very taxpayers who pay for their benefit and a sad reflection of just how far this sense of entitlement has penetrated into our society.
There have been too many times that I watch someone in front of me at the checkout lane pile steaks, roasts and even lamb chops into their cart and then pay for it with a food stamp card. They’re eating better than me, and I work two jobs just to keep my head above water. And, the last time I went grocery shopping, the person even had a birthday cake from the bakery in the cart as well. All paid for with food stamps.
Soon middle class workers will find themselves driving home from work to eat a box of Hamburger Helper because payday is still a week away and the money is gone. Meanwhile, Joe Homeless person is standing in line at KFC waiting for his bucket of original recipe chicken, hot biscuits and two sides. Oh, and he can super size his soft drink too. [SOURCE]
Whenever I watch those episodes of Maury where these morbidly obese children are rolling around the stage chewing on Fruit Loops and furniture, I wonder where these parents lost their power. Since when can two and three-year-olds tell you what they are and aren’t going to eat? As a parent, it’s your responsibility to introduce the appropriate foods to your children.
Is having an obese kid child abuse though? Should these children be taken away from their parents? It’s a slippery slope. Removing them from their homes and forcing them to eat better foods could also lead them to associate healthy eating with separation from their families.
The only reasonable solution in my opinion would be to educate the parents of the obese about the benefits of a healthy diet, and how to prepare tasty, yet nutritious meals. Snatching those big ol’ kids out of their custody and stuffing carrots in their mouths, though? I don’t think so.
Should parents of extremely obese children lose custody for not controlling their kids’ weight? A provocative commentary in one of the nation’s most distinguished medical journals argues yes, and its authors are joining a quiet chorus of advocates who say the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.
It has happened a few times in the U.S., and the opinion piece in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association says putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.
Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, said the point isn’t to blame parents, but rather to act in children’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide.
State intervention “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting,” said Ludwig, who wrote the article with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
“Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,” Murtagh said.
But University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan said he worries that the debate risks putting too much blame on parents. Obese children are victims of advertising, marketing, peer pressure and bullying — things a parent can’t control, he said.
“If you’re going to change a child’s weight, you’re going to have to change all of them,” Caplan said.
Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese. Most are not in imminent danger, Ludwig said. But some have obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems that could kill them by age 30. It is these kids for whom state intervention, including education, parent training, and temporary protective custody in the most extreme cases, should be considered, Ludwig said.
While some doctors promote weight-loss surgery for severely obese teens, Ludwig said it hasn’t been used for very long in adolescents and can have serious, sometimes life-threatening complications.
“We don’t know the long-term safety and effectiveness of these procedures done at an early age,” he said.
Ludwig said he starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic several years ago. Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
“Out of medical concern, the state placed this girl in foster care, where she simply received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate physical activity,” he said. After a year, she lost 130 pounds. Though she is still obese, her diabetes and apnea disappeared; she remains in foster care, he said.
In a commentary in the medical journal BMJ last year, London pediatrician Dr. Russell Viner and colleagues said obesity was a factor in several child protection cases in Britain. They argued that child protection services should be considered if parents are neglectful or actively reject efforts to control an extremely obese child’s weight. [SOURCE]
So you’ve finally hit your goal weight, and you look amazing! What now?
While you’re well aware of what type of commitment it takes to reach your goal, it also takes a huge commitment to stay there.
A new study shows that using “rewards” and “reminders” can help you maintain your weight loss.
The researchers found two techniques that helped with weight maintenance (but not necessarily weight loss): reminding yourself why you need to control your weight, and rewarding yourself for sticking to a diet and exercise plan. [SOURCE]
Here are some excellent tips via FitSugar:
Reward yourself. Scheduling rewards when you are maintaining weight loss is different than when you are losing weight. Going shopping for a cute outfit once you’ve reached a weight-loss milestone, for example, is easy to justify, but how do you reward yourself for just following your normal lifestyle routine? Don’t forget that regularly rewarding yourself for maintaining your fitness regimen is important. Find a way to reward yourself if you hit your target number of workouts for the week or tie in something you love with your exercise plan. Try only allowing yourself to watch mindless TV during or after a workout, for example, or scheduling a fun weekend activity after a long week of gym sessions to help keep you motivated.
Remind yourself. Once you hit your goal weight, it can be easy to think that a splurge is in order. But the study found that those who reminded themselves about why they needed to control their weight were more successful in keeping it off. While you shouldn’t have to forgo all indulgences in order to stay at your goal weight, try reminding yourself of the consequences of straying off track before ordering the most unhealthy thing on the menu or skipping a run in favor of couch time.
In a previous post, my heart sunk mighty low as it’d been brought to my attention that diet soda has been linked to heart attack and stroke. Since then, I’ve curbed my consumption, and now “only” drink one diet soda a day. I’ve managed to stop drinking caffeinated sodas completely, but if heart attacks and strokes couldn’t stop me, this latest news will!!
More bad news, diet soda drinkers: data presented recently at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Scientific Sessions suggest that diet drinks may actually contribute to weight gain and that the artificial sweeteners in them could potentially contribute Type 2 diabetes.
In one study, researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, looked at aggregate data from 474 older adults in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, or SALSA. At the time of enrollment and at three follow-up exams thereafter, all participants reported their diet soda intake and were measured for height, weight and waist circumference. The researchers wanted to track any association between diet soda drinking and body fat over time.
What they found was that all participants saw their waistlines expand, but those who reported drinking diet soda had 70% greater increases in waistline growth than non-drinkers 9.5 years later. Among frequent drinkers — those who consumed two or more diet sodas a day — waistline growth was 500% greater than among non-drinkers. Researchers said their results were adjusted for other contributing factors like diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level and age. [SOURCE]
Americans have gotten a lot of flack over the years for being supersized, but our high rates of obesity may not be for the reasons we thought after all.
Sure we eat too much, but it’s not how much we’re eating in one sitting, it’s what we’re eating throughout the day.
According to a new study published by Health.com, portion control isn’t the main reason Americans are overweight. Much of our weight gain can be blamed on snacking.
Within the timeframe the study was conducted, there was a 12% increase in portion size, versus a 29% increase in the number of snacks we consume.
In the mid-2000s, government surveys show, the average American adult ate about 2,375 calories per day, nearly one-third more than he (or she) did in the late 1970s. What accounts for all those added calories?
According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day. Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average — a 29% increase. [SOURCE]
Doctors interviewed blame advertisements and the increased availability of snack foods for the problem.
For clarity, the snacks the doctors are talking about aren’t fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s the potato chips, candy bars, cookies, etc. that are doing us in. I’ve never really been a fan of chocolate or potato chips, so this has never been my issue. But there’s a reason I don’t keep Golden Oreos and Spree candies in the house!
A recent study has shown that life expectancy in hundreds of counties, mostly in the South, has decreased. Obesity and smoking have proven to be contributing factors.
The study found that life expectancy for women fell significantly in 702 of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties. The largest declines – by nearly 2 years – were in Mississippi’s Madison County, near Jackson, and the adjacent Hughes and Okfuskee counties in eastern Oklahoma.
Life expectancy dropped for men in 251 counties, by more than 2 years in Kentucky’s Perry County in Appalachia and Mississippi’s Madison.
In 158 counties, it dropped for both men and women. In some cases, counties with plummeting life expectancy were next to or very near counties with rising longevity.
There is some debate about why life expectancy estimates rose and fell more in some counties than others.
Murray and his colleagues said they checked issues like poverty or racial makeup, and those didn’t explain the difference. They believe high rates of obesity, smoking and other preventable health problems may be main reasons. [SOURCE]
Take care of yourselves people! What you choose to put in your body may slowly be killing you!