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You don’t have to skip parties just because you have diabetes. Learn how to navigate high-calorie party foods without ruining your diet.
More people are avoiding foods that contain gluten, a protein in wheat, barley and rye. But is gluten really bad for most of us? Our Healthy Skeptic has the facts.
Time for a pop quiz. How many pounds should the average woman gain during pregnancy?
I wish there was a GPS system for navigating food choices. Let's say you plan to consume 2000 calories including breakfast, lunch, dinner and a couple of snacks. But, then you decided to veer off course and grab a couple of mid-morning donuts and a cappuccino. The GPS voice would loudly announce, "Recalculating! Recalculating!"
All of a sudden, your edible journey is re-routed to skip the afternoon snack and dessert at dinnertime might disappear, too. This kind of a GPS system--I'll call it Good Plate Sense-could also reward you for sensible shortcut like skipping cheese on your lunch burger. "Recalculating! When you arrive at the dinner destination, you can add a glass of wine."
Keeping track of how much you eat and drink can be a hassle. But spending a little time self-monitoring can help you control your weight, according to a review of 15 studies on dietary self-monitoring. The results published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association found associations in all 15 studies between journaling and weight loss.
Some weight-loss subjects used paper diaries to write down their food intake and some used electronic or internet-based diaries; but the review found no difference in the amount of weight lost between groups. Researchers found that dieters with electronic diaries were more likely to keep up with what they ate daily, but it didn't affect the weight loss overall--good to know if don't have a fancy iPhone app and have to track your eating habits on the back of an envelope.
Keeping track of what you eat helps you know when to stop. Even if it's not printed on the menu, most chain restaurants share nutrition information on their websites, which you can access from a smart phone when dining out. For instance, if you know your daily calorie cap is 2000, then it's easy pretty easy to figure out that ordering the full rack of baby back ribs at Outback Steakhouse (1,500 calories) doesn't leave you much room for other meals. But if chose a 9-ounce steak with a side of green beans (500 calories), there will plenty of room left.
A recent study by the New York City Department of Health showed that 15 percent of fast-food patrons in the city who use nutrition information posted in restaurants eat an average of 106 fewer calories than those who ignore the calorie content.
Other studies have shown mixed results, but I believe access to nutrition information helps us plan our health journey. Just remember to write that data down so you can plot a map to weight control success. That makes good plate sense.
About a year ago, I hit a weight milestone. At 215 pounds, I was the heaviest I had been in more than 12 years. I knew I was there without looking at a scale. None of my dress shirts or suits fit anymore and I was getting winded walking the hills on my farm. It was time to lose weight.
As an active person, I have always been able to take off weight through exercise without really dieting. Of course, in previous attempts I was in better shape and I was younger. I began slogging unenthusiastically through three or four 30-minute jogs a week. I ran my worst personal time in a 5k and generally saw the needle on my scale remain fixed at 215.
Dissatisfied with my progress, I began considering past weight-loss attempts. What was different besides my age and general physical condition? In short, I used to devote a lot more time to exercise.
Ten years ago, I had gotten back to my high school weight by working our four days a week for an hour at a time--and frequently burned additional calories by playing sports. I was working out six or seven hours a week.
But now I was only working out two hours a week. I assumed that adding some exercise would help me lose weight. All I really did was stop the weight gain.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, most people need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity just to prevent weight gain. That's 30 minutes a day, seven days a week.
If you want to lose weight, you'll need to do a lot more--at least 250 minutes a week of activity. It doesn't all have to be done in a gym or on a track. Here are five ways to squeeze in extra activities.
With that in mind, I began focusing less on the activity and more on the amount of time doing it. For example, instead of trying to jog through a three-mile route, I started running and walking for an hour or more at a time. I also started cycling, riding up to eight hours a week. And any time I get 30 additional minutes, I try to hit the elliptical in our basement.
I've seen modest improvement. I weigh a little over 200 pounds and I'm no longer winded climbing the driveway. Plus, I can see my goal--185 pounds--approaching.
With two small kids, it's not easy to devote this much time to exercise. But losing weight and getting exercise will help insure I'm around to spend time with them.
If you've packed on a few extra pounds and don't know why, take a look in your medicine cabinet. Pharmacist Doug White explains which drugs can cause you to gain weight.
Is your dog more Rotund than Rover? Is Fluffy's poofy coat camouflaging a few extra pounds? If so, you may be killing your pet with kibble kindness: Overweight pets are affected by many of the health issues humans are.
According to a new study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), in collaboration with the veterinary clinic chain Banfield, approximately 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. The percentage of pets that are obese (at least 30 percent above normal body weight) has increased over the last four years.
You might look into your beloved pet's eyes, shrug your shoulders and think "I love you just the way you are." But believe me, you are not doing your pet any favors. As with humans, being overweight leads to a host of ills, including osteoarthritis, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease and many forms of cancer. This all translates into a decreased life expectancy.
How do pets become overweight? Just like humans, they eat more calories than they need. And since Fido can't take himself to the drive-thru window of the local fast food joint, the excess weight is the owner's doing. The good news: The solution also lies within the owner's power.
According to PetMD.com, there are four typical scenarios:
The Nibbler: He "hardly eats a thing" but in reality picks at all the choicest morsels all day long.
The Beggar: She "won't keep quiet unless she gets her treats."
The Good Dog: Her owners "don't want her to go hungry."
The Gourmet Dog: He "refuses to eat dog food" and feasts instead on fattening human delicacies.
How can you tell if your pet is overweight? Just as it's sometimes hard for a parent of a chubby child to see the truth, it's often hard for a pet owner to acknowledge a problem. After all, where exactly do you draw the line?
According to APOP, your pet is overweight if:
It's difficult to feel your pet's ribs.
Your pet's stomach sags.
Your pet has a broad back with no visible waist (when viewed from above).
APOP has a more precise listing of ideal weight ranges for different breeds of dogs and cats.
You can help your pet lose weight by taking the common sense approach: Reduce calories and increase exercise. PetMD.com and APOP both recommend that you talk strategy with your vet before embarking on a weight-loss regimen.
Also, your pet should be checked out first to make sure that a heart, thyroid or other metabolic disorder isn't causing or contributing to the weight problem. And get everyone in the family is on board with the game plan to avoid any unintended sabotage induced by those irresistible puppy-eyes or that convincing purrrrrr-leg wrap combo.Can pets help you with road rage? Our comedian investigates.
Having trouble keeping those New Year's health resolutions? Simplify your aims with these tips, and you just might see results.
Drop the diet.
About 95 percent of dieters eventually regain lost weight. Instead of counting calories or carbs, just shoot for eating more healthfully.
Don't chase after the latest "superfoods" like acai berries. Instead, focus on broad categories-fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, legumes-that constitute a healthful diet.
Forget those buns of steel.
Changing your physique requires hours a day in a gym. But don't let that deter you from getting moderate exercise on most days, which can provide an array of benefits.
Hitting a plateau happens to even the most dedicated exercisers. Here are five ways to stay motivated:
Change your goals.
If your goals are too ambitious -- like completing a triathlon -- then aim for something more achievable.
Make it fun.
Change up your routine; adding variety to your workouts can improve results, according to studies. Take a belly dancing class or go hiking.
Work out with friends.
Studies show exercising with a friend or colleague can help you stay motivated.
Buy yourself a reward.
A trip, a new gadget, a day at the spa -- rewards can keep you moving toward a workout milestone.
Create a virtual support group.
Reach out to other people on Facebook, Twitter or message boards who are trying to achieve the same exercise goals.
Do your New Year's resolutions include losing weight? If so, consider adding these proven strategies to your weight-loss toolkit in 2011:
Studies have shown sleep deprivation can cause you to eat more.
Be picky about whom you eat with
Women who dine with men consume fewer calories than those who eat with other women, one study found.
If you're trying to lose weight, counting calories is more important than adding up fat and carbs.
Eat salads, broth soups and fruits and vegetables
These foods are relatively high in water and fiber, and low in calories.
Get 60 minutes to 90 minutes of exercise a day
For most people, an hour of activity daily is necessary to maintain weight. You may need
more exercise to lose weight.
Happy New Year from Everwell.com!
"Eat out less if you want to weigh less."
You may have heard someone spout this weight-loss tip as conventional wisdom. While restaurant portion sizes can tip the scales and dishes are often gussied up with more cheese, fat and salt than you might use in home cooking, you don't have to give up dining out to maintain your weight.
It's like telling people leave their cars in the garage if they want to avoid getting into an automobile accident.
To improve highway safety we need driver's education. The same goes for safely navigating a restaurant menu. We need more diners' education. Here are some rules for the road ... ahem ... menu:
Map Out Menu Choices
Read the menu and listen carefully when servers list the specials. Check out the menu online to help you plan a safe route. That's what Nicole Jones, who founded a dinner club group that eats out in Atlanta once a month, does.
"I'm a planner and if I want to splurge on a dessert I pick my appetizer more carefully," Jones says. "I even ask the waiter to bring the dessert menu before I order my entrée!"
I met Jones and her group of foodie friends at an Atlanta restaurant where she enjoyed the mussels and tiramisu. Here are their tips for eating out without gaining weight.
Signal Your Intentions
Be specific about what you want or don't want. For example, "Can you lightly brush the fish with butter?" or "Ask the chef not to salt my food."
"Every restaurant we've been to has diet friendly recommendations which are just as tasty," Jones says.
Be Aware of Surroundings
Remember where you are. Ask for balsamic vinegar in an Italian place and rice wine vinegar in a Japanese place to add non-fat flavor to foods. Béarnaise sauce at steak houses often arrives in a huge gravy boat, best kept way on the side.
Be honest when the waiter asks you how you like your meal. Don't suffer in silence. They want to work fast to make you happy.
Use Your Mirrors
Check out the room. Look around and see what other diners are eating so you get a visual on portion sizes. Way too large? Split the entrée or plan to box up half for carry-out. Spying on other tables will also let you see if an entrée "served with spring greens" is either a sizable serving of salad or a disappointing wisp of lettuce garnish. Take special note of road hazards. Jones admits the freshly baked bread served with marinara and warm goat cheese is hard to resist.
Oh Waiter! Make eye contact, smile and appreciate your server. It's just human nature--waiters are likely to spend more time at friendly tables. Tip for good service when the server goes to the mat for your special order request. They're not doing it for their health-even if you are! Let them know they'll be rewarded ahead of time by saying, "If you help us eat a little less, we'll tip you a little more." Smaller hips, bigger tips!!
Enjoy the Ride
Make dining out a special occasion and enjoy the conversation as much as the cuisine. That's what Jones and her dining companions do. Good conversation can help distract you from the dessert menu.
When you meet Stephen Vinsonand I hope you doyou won't meet an advocate for fad diets or get-thin-quick schemes. Been there, done that. And though he tried out for NBC's The Biggest Loser (and a similar show coming out on ABC), he's not a fan of reality shows, boot camps or extreme weight-loss interventions.
Stephen Vinson is a fan of the processthe idea that changing your diet and exercise habits is more important and ultimately more rewarding than dieting or intense exercise alone.
Vinson would know: In the last 18 months, he's lost more than 200 pounds focusing not on specific weight goals but on the steps it takes to reach those goals. The former yo-yo dieter has struggled his entire life with weight but says his new approach is finally paying big dividends. He's not just losing weight, he's living a healthier life.
"A buddyKevin Barberiohelped me a lot," says Vinson, a small business owner and blogger in Birmingham, Ala. "He showed me how to cut back on food. Instead of doing a hardcore weight-loss regimen, he told me to eat the things I liked but to cut back portions," Vinson says. "This wasn't as restrictive as other diets. I was still eating things I enjoy."
In previous attempts to lose weight, Vinson had completely changed his diet, cutting out foods he liked and introducing foods he wasn't familiar with. He lost weight, but the diet never lasted very long. "Maybe a week," he says.
But eating the foods he likes in smaller portions and slowly adding new foods, became stepping stones to healthier eating and weight loss. "Now I enjoy eating vegetables and fruit. I used to hate tomatoes. Now I can't eat enough of them."
He also doesn't set firm short-term goals for weight loss, a trick he learned from registered dietitian Sonthe Burge. Instead, he sets firm goals for how many calories he'll eat and how many miles he'll walk.
"It's too much pressure. It's more important that I accomplish goals for eating and exercise than losing 5 pounds. Doing those things is what makes it possible to lose 5 pounds."
Studies show that unrealistic goal-setting in weight loss has a tendency to backfire. They also show that having the support of others helps. When he began his most recent weight-loss adventure, Vinson launched WhoAteMyBlog.com to chronicle his efforts. Coupled with outreach on Twitter and Facebook, the blog has put Vinson in touch with others trying to lose weightand created a fan base from which he draws support.
"I totally did not expect that when I started the blog," Vinson says. "It's really helped me to be more around peopleto know that people are supportive. For a while I had gotten to be afraid being around people. People used to make fun of me."
The support and the focus on the process of losing weight is helping Vinson reach his long-term goals: Dropping another 200 pounds, and, more importantly, living a healthy lifestyle.
Who’s coming to dinner? Dr. Bruce Dan shows you that what’s on your plate could have a lot to do with who’s sitting at your table.
Doing the occasional Sun Salutation doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay thin as you age. But researchers think yoga practitioners may have an extra weapon against fat. Here’s why.
Can you be overweight and still in good shape? Our Healthy Skeptic shows you how a few extra pounds don’t have to get in the way of good health.