Art of the Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo dieting. It’s so prevalent and has been a part of many of our lives. Have you lost weight on a diet only to gain the pounds your shed, perhaps even more, down the road? And then you tried dieting again only to repeat the weight loss, weight gain cycle? Then welcome to the world of the yo-yo dieter. Why does this happen? Why can’t we keep the weight off? It’s often because we go on some restrictive fad diet that we can adhere to for some period of time, but not for the long-term. Or perhaps we’ve gone on a meal delivery program that works for us until we stop it and move on to preparing our own meals. Typically, in all of these type of diets we don’t learn how to eat for life. Some of us are looking for quick weight loss which often isn’t sustainable. No one wants to be a yo-yo dieter. It’s so frustrating and can be harmful to our health. Some studies suggest that it may affect blood pressure, cholesterol and gallbladder health among other things. And that’s important to know. But what can be a very prevalent side effect of yo-yo dieting has to do with our psyche. It’s a bummer to lose weight and enjoy our new bodies, only to see it all fall away as we pack the pounds on. It can be discouraging and depressing. Some of us just might throw our hands up in the air and give up. Let’s not do that. So what’s the answer here? It’s really just simple common sense. Fad diets don’t...

Carrots: The Misunderstood Vegetable

Carrots: The Misunderstood Vegetable I teach a lot of prediabetes and diabetes classes. I also counsel clients one-on-one about the disease and how to help manage it through diet and exercise. Why so many classes, attendees and clients? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2012, 29.1 million people in the U.S. had diabetes. This represents 9.3% of the population. Another staggering number is that there were 86 million prediabetics. These are people knocking on diabetes’ door. Americans aren’t the only people with the dubious distinction of having blood sugar issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2014 9% of Earth’s population age 18 and older had diabetes. Why is this a problem? Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in America. Complications from diabetes include kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, blindness and amputations. Not good. So what do these sobering statistics have to do with the much-maligned carrot? It’s about starchy versus non-starchy veggie. Non-starchy vegetables are lower in carbohydrate and should make up half the plate. A serving size of starchy veggies (corn, peas, beans, potato, winter squash, pumpkin, plantains and parsnips) have as much carbohydrate as a slice of sandwich bread. They should occupy one-quarter of the plate. (For the record, the other quarter of the plate should be lean protein. Fruit and low fat or nonfat dairy can be outside the plate.) When I talk about veggies in my classes, I always ask the group to call out the starchy ones. Invariably at least one attendee, usually more, yells out “carrot.” But they’re misinformed....

Barbecue Bash

Bathing suits, shorts and tank tops… Summer is in full swing. And I love it! I’m a warm weather girl through and through who enjoys kicking back at a barbecue grilling perhaps salmon, veggies and more. My mouth is watering just writing about it. Yummy. My hubby and I fired up the barbie last night. We chose to have turkey burgers with lettuce, tomato and onion on whole wheat buns accompanied by light ceasar salad and fresh fruit. It was so good. And it was healthy…for me. Often family members aren’t on the same page as far as nutrition basics are concerned. I often joke about my husband’s diet in my classes and books and he’s a good sport about it. But all kidding aside, he often eats differently than I. And not in a good way. At our barbecue, my husband, we’ll call him Potato Chip Man, ate almost an entire family-sized bag of Baked Lays as an appetizer. While the chips were lower in fat than the original version, he piled on the calories. And did I mention he had two burgers? Eating too much food, even healthy dishes, isn’t good. Calories matter and if we consume too much we can gain weight. Carrying too much weight on our frames can put us at risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension and more. That’s not good. But there are things we can do here to help our loved ones. Keeping only lower calorie, nutritious foods in the house is helpful. So is creating healthy meals. My hubby typically eats better than he realizes, as I hide ingredients from...

Weighty Matters

I recently discovered that my body scale at home was inaccurate. It’s a doctor’s scale like those our healthcare teams have us step on when we go in for check-ups. You know the type: it has two measuring bars, one in 10 pound increments (starting at 100 pounds) below a second measuring bar in 1 pound increments. We stand on it and first move the 10 pound measurement, then move the smaller 1 pound one until the scale balances at our weight. My recommendation is to weigh at the same time on the same day on the same scale in our birthday suits before we’ve eaten or had anything to drink. This way we’re comparing apples to apples. And it’s what I do. I weigh myself once a week at home. That’s reasonable and what I suggest to patients who are trying to lose weight. Weighing ourselves too often, unless there’s a medical reason to do so, can backfire a bit on us. We have daily fluctuations in our body weight that can make it seem like we’ve gained weight, when we really haven’t. If we see this on the scale, it can be defeating. It can also make us focus too much on this one indicator of healthy weight. Also note that muscle weighs more than fat, so if we are building muscle, we may not see the scale budge right away, but we will still be benefitting. So what went wrong for me? Well for about two months, the 1 pound increment measurement bar wasn’t set at pounds. Somehow it had been put on kilograms (kg). Why...

Judgment of the Jamboree

This year, for the very first time, The Boy Scouts of the America has decided to bar obese scouts from their annual Jamboree. It’s the organization’s biggest even of the year, so the announcement prompted a lot of discussion in the media. Agree or disagree, the decision wasn’t made in a vacuum. Obesity rates in the United States have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2010, 18% of children were considered to be obese. Adolescents also hit the 18% obesity mark. In this same year, it was found that one-third of children and adolescents in the U.S. were overweight or obese. What does this mean? What are the consequences? Obesity among young people carries with it potential health issues. They are more apt to have risk factors for heart disease like high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure. They can become prediabetic or diabetic. They can also develop bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and other physical disease states and conditions. These used to be adult problems. Not anymore. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. The risks of disease states and conditions will continue into adulthood. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, certain cancers, sleep apnea, and more, could be in their futures, some sooner than later. It’s a very real problem. Also at issue is the emotional toll felt by many children and adolescents who carry too much weight on their frames. Impaired social relationships, distressed psychological states and poor self esteem can result. Negative outcomes can run the gamut and can be severe. Like the physical issues, this too...

Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Bananas, Oh My!

Researchers in Sweden followed 71,706 adult individuals between the age of 45 and 83 over a 13-year period in an effort to determine the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables every day. They found that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day contributes to a longer life. And it seems that five servings is the right number. Those who ate more didn’t show any greater health benefit. But those who ate less showed less. The researchers found that those with limited fruit and vegetable consumption had “shorter survival and higher mortality rates.” This isn’t surprising. Fruits and vegetables are health. They can help ward off some chronic diseases and aid us in our weight management efforts. I tell my patients that fruits and veggies are like multi-vitamins and the more different-colored ones we eat, the better. But how many of us are actually partaking in these oh-so-giving edibles? Well, in the United States at least, not enough. The National Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recently reported that the average adult in the U.S. eats 1.1 servings of fruit and 1.6 serving of vegetables per day. Let’s do the math – 1.1 plus 1.6 doesn’t add up to 5. How do the different states compare? The ones with the lowest median fruit and vegetable consumption were North and South Dakota, Louisiana, Iowa and Mississippi. The states with the highest consumption were Oregon, California and New Hampshire. All the others were somewhere in between. None of them get a gold star. I’ve love fruits and veggies and enjoy at least five servings just about every day. And...