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Archive for the ‘Diet and Nutrition’ Category

Well, my co-workers are having quite a bit of success on their diet. Apparently their clothes are fitting better. I am happy for them but I’m not sure how healthy the diet portion is (one of them had bad diarrhea on one of their cheat days). I am tempted to tell them that quite a bit of their success is probably due to exercising but I’m going to stay quiet.

Paulette and I are continuing to eat in and really make some great meals. We’re saving money and really getting good nutrients. I really want to include a wider variety of vegetables in my diet but I will need to find some recipes for that.

I have also been watching my alcohol consumption. All in all I’m smoke free for 3 weeks and binge alcohol free for 2 weeks. I need to up my mileage (as far as running is concerned) but other than that things are moving along smoothly.

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Two of my co-workers have been talking about a diet they are going on for the next month or so. I explained my views on dieting (and how ineffective I feel it is), but that’s about as far as I’m going. One of the two is morbidly obese while the other is overweight.

The overweight co-worker’s boyfriend has apparently lost 24 lbs in three weeks. It breaks down to a low sugar diet where one has oatmeal for breakfast and lunch along with 2 fruit or yogurt snacks throughout the day, diner consists of a low fat meal of meat and vegetables.

It should be interesting to observe most of this unfolding as I have never really seen this first hand. They have already been discussing what to do when… situations where friends bring over sugar loaded foods etc. One good thing that is coming of this is that they are both going to start exercising (since that is apparently also part of the diet). I also decided to have them break down the diet for me it it came to a ~800 calorie diet. *sigh* The humorous thing is that they are quick to criticize one of their friends for going on a 500 calorie diet (apparently the 300 calories makes all the difference).

I honestly can’t understand the need for immediate results at the risk of health. Work around life and try your best to live healthy. Make choices that your body will appreciate and get exercise. Be conscious of what you are eating and enjoy it. Don’t just shovel food into yourself. Look at it and appreciate it as it will sustain you. I guess I have an odd way of looking at things but I feel if people truly did that they would be able to live healthier.

I’ll probably update this as things progress. I’m probably more excited than they are. ūüėÄ

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Scanning through blog after blog, a common theme floods the month of August. Several entries appear to cite this article or some other article that follows the same story. I read through the article and the wording throughout struck me to be quite odd.

In the study, about 51 percent of overweight adults, or roughly 36 million people nationwide, had mostly normal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood fats called triglycerides and blood sugar.

Almost one-third of obese adults, or nearly 20 million people, also were in this healthy range, meaning that none or only one of those measures was abnormal.

Yet about a fourth of adults in the recommended-weight range had unhealthy levels of at least two of these measures. That means 16 million of them are at risk for heart problems.

The wording appears to compare healthy to unhealthy. Most comparisons make a clear point by showing the contrast between like things. In any case, I later found this to be how the original journal article was also worded. I decided to stop reading journalists’ take on the paper and decided to show the data from it directly.

 

The following chart shows the percentage of people that have risk factors associated with heart disease.
  Normal Weight Overweight Obese
20-34 years old 10.3% 52.3%
35-49 years old 16.9%  Р68.9%
50-64 years old 41.7%  Р79.6%
65-79 years old 54.7%  Р85.7%
80+ years old 56.2%  Р77.1%
20+ years old 23.5% 48.7% 68.3%

Unfortunately the journal article did not mention age specific percents for the overweight category.

Looking at the data in that form one does not see obesity as equaling unhealthiness, just significantly MORE unhealthy than being a normal weight. Also the risk factors affect the obese at a very young age. This should have been what most of the news sources were reporting. Instead we saw headlines like “Some Obese Individuals Appear ‘Metabolically Healthy,’ Without Increased Cardiovascular Risk,” “Half of overweight adults may be heart-healthy,” or “Overweight doesn’t always mean heart risks.”

The news spread like mad into blogs and with that came several entries like this. Browsing through the comments one quickly sees how the majority feels that they fall into the obese but HEALTHY category (statistics from the study shows otherwise). The sad fact remains that this study only focused on ONE aspect of health. Who knows what other diseases follow similar trends. 

In any case, the study shows that not everyone lives a healthy lifestyle (regardless of size). BMI remains an archaic method of determining health. Childhood obesity needs to be addressed, as potential risk factors are significantly higher for obese children.

Living a high quality life free from disease may be impossible, but cutting risk factors can aid you in the goal. This study shows that losing weight can help.

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Dunkin’ Donuts has a new menu for customers watching their health and weight.¬†The “DD Smart” menu, which will debut in stores Aug. 6,¬†will feature new flatbread sandwiches. Customers will be able to choose either a turkey sausage egg-white sandwich or a vegetable egg-white sandwich. Both will be under 300 calories with 9 grams of fat or less, the company said.

“We just felt it was important to provide some choice in our menu,” said Will Kussell, president and chief brand officer.

The new menu will also include current menu items that have 25 percent fewer calories, sugar, fat or sodium or are made with more “nutritional ingredients”.¬†Current products that will join the new sandwiches on the menu include a multigrain bagel, Cofee Coolatta with skim milk, Iced Latte Lite, a reduced-fat blueberry muffin, and more.

The entire DDSmart menu can be found here.

Hopefully in the future, success of this ‘smart’ menu over their old offerings should drive them to make this their ‘regular’ menu. I am strong proponent of fast food joints offering smarter choices not in special menus but making those choices the norm. It’s all about small steps and this decision by Dunkin’ Donuts provides a step in the right direction.

 

7/30/08 – 4.66 miles in 47:37 (slow run with Sparky)

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Chili’s, Outback, T.G.I. Fridays… Sit down full-service restaurants remain a hot spot for anyone looking for good filling meal. As great as the food and atmosphere might be, a lot of damage (as far as goals to get fit) can happen here.¬†Most of the entr√©es at these establishments contain well over 1000 calories, couple that with a drink and you might end up consuming over 1500 calories in one meal!

While many might argue that self control issues need to be addressed to prevent over-eating.¬†The easiest way I have found to control this bingeing involves taking a ‘to-go’ container with you. As soon as your food arrives, simply place a good portion of it into your container.

The reasons I promote taking your own container is one can pack away the food as SOON as it arrives not after one is already stuffed and because of the environmental impact of the styrofoam boxes. Styrofoam is not a part of most curbside residential recycling programs, even though it is labeled with the recycling number 6. Styrofoam is made from polystyrene and is extremely bulky and lightweight, which makes it costly to recycle polystyrene in small quantities.

The second important step involves limiting/eliminating the amount of soda you consume at the establishment. Free refills often urge people to down several cups. These cups often hold 22-32 ounces, that’s more than enough. Limiting oneself to water might be the safest way to avoid any possible urges to order a refill.

These little changes in habits might seem pointless but everything adds up. The weight loss you might not see now will arrive 6 months later. I by no means am a pinnacle of human fitness, verbalizing these goals just helps me keep with it.  Just enjoy the journey and try to keep everything moderate.

7/24/08 – 4.6 miles in 42:34

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A new rule requiring chain restaurants in New York to post calorie information on their menus took effect this past Friday. The regulation defines a chain restaurant as one that has 15 or more outlets across the country. ¬†In New York, the rule affected 2,000 restaurants or 10 percent of the total in the city. Among them are such restaurants as McDonald’s, Burger King, Applebee’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and Subway.

The rule also states that caloric information must be presented in the same font and format as the price and name of the food item. Health inspectors may issue fines from $200 to $2,000 for establishments not in compliance. 

I hope the rule makes it nationwide. This will prevent people claiming ignorance about the unhealthy nature of meals they consume. It will also serve as reality checks for people consistently consuming fast food. Several customers have claimed to be unaffected by the advent of the rule, if it changes a few decisions a week, I think it’s well worth it.¬†

The enforcement of this rule would definitely affect the way I sometimes attack the dollar menu at fast food restaurants. 

7/22/08 – 4.6 miles in 41:42 (8:56 per mile pace)

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A report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the overweight populations of 45 U.S. states increased last year. The percentage between 2005 and 2007 grew about 1.7 percent to a record 25.6 percent, or about 54 million people. That pretty much means 1 in every 4 American is obese!

Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee are the states with the biggest percentage in obesity. 30 percent of the adults are considered obese, that’s nearing 1 out of 3 people! Colorado sported the lowest rate at 18.7 percent.

By U.S. regions obesity was most prevalent in the South, with 27 percent of residents classified as obese. In the Midwest, the number was 25.3 percent; in the Northeast, 23.3 percent; and in the West, 22.1 percent, according to the report.

Breaking the numbers down by race/ethnicity and sex, obesity prevalence was highest for non-Hispanic black women (39.0 percent), followed by non-Hispanic black men (32.1 percent).

Education levels play a role, too. For men, obesity prevalence was lowest among college graduates (22.1 percent) and highest among those with some college (29.5 percent) and a high school diploma (29.1 percent). For women, obesity prevalence was lowest among college graduates (17.9 percent) and highest among those with less than a high school diploma (32.6 percent).

The CDC defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) of 30 or above. An adult who is 5-feet, 10-inches tall is considered obese if he or she weighs 209 pounds. I know many people remain opposed to using BMI for anything but when one looks at just how much leeway has been given, it’s very scary.

The report contained data about adults but children do not show any immunity to the obesity epidemic. Obesity remains an issue that must be addressed. People have to start being held accountable instead of making silly references to genetics, physiological problems, or fast food companies. Take initiative and make some small changes, it’s not too late or the wrong time. Let’s help each other get healthy!

7/20/08 – 4.1 miles in 36:47

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