Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Kick in the Tush Club: Lightening Up by Lightening Up

One of the advantages of being a Google queen is you find weird s#$@ on the Internet that normal people never discover. Since I am always looking for unique insights and angles on dieting, melting fat and achieving optimal health, my randomly methodical searching today led me to an adorable website called Our Lady of Weight Loss. Which is how I found out about the Kick in the Tush Club.

Looks more fun than a Weight Watchers meeting, right?
Courtesy of Our Lady of Weight Loss

The Kick in the Tush Club is the brainstorm of artist and anti-gravity coach Janice Taylor who has kept 50 pounds off for more than five years by not taking herself too seriously. She is the ring leader of a band of losers called Tushkateers who take the following oath:

I _____(your name here)_____,
pledge that I will do my best
to say no to the devil’s food,
to shop green markets,
to embrace my quirky, clever and creative side, and
to be ME in all my glory!

So despite the photo above, there is nothing really kinky about this club. It's a place where people (mainly women, I suspect) can let their hair down and relax about this whole weight loss thing. You've got to love a group whose slogan is "Spread the Word, NOT the icing!"

I've already subscribed to Janice's newsletter and I can't wait to start digging into some of the blog posts. Here's an excerpt from her August 13, 2014, entry on dealing with cravings:
Cravings are Thoughts.  Instead of experiencing cravings as cravings, see them for what they really are. They are just thoughts.
Cravings are just one of the many thousands of thoughts that we have each day. They are not “concrete” in nature. They are like the clouds rolling in and out.  They are simply suggestions.  A thought is a suggestion, which means that not every thought needs to be acted upon.

Wave hello to the “craving thought,” and say, “Hi Craving … Nice to see you.  Here’s your hat.  What’s your hurry?!” Send the craving thought on its way!

Make “I do not have to act on my thoughts. I have a choice!” your mantra.
I love the image of handing Mr. Craving his hat and telling him to be on his merry way, especially since I tend to anthropomorphise everything from my cats to my feelings.

I truly believe that diet and exercise are only half the battle to shedding pounds. To win the war, you must have a mindset that can sustain you through difficult times and powerful mental tricks to defeat temptation.

And when all else fails, sometimes you just need a good kick in the tush. Subscribe to Janice's newsletter here.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Food Addiction: Why Move-More-Eat-Less Does Not Work for Everyone

If you've ever read the comments section of a blog post about diets, you've noticed there are always a few smugsters who write, "You don't need to diet. Just move more and eat less. Works for me."

That's nice. You probably floss your teeth every day and clean behind your refrigerator, too.

But if moving more and eating less worked for everyone, we would not have a multi-billion-dollar diet industry and enough diet books published each year to fill a motor home.

What these wise guys fail to realize is that some people are food addicts, or more specifically, they are addicted to certain types of foods. Some people call them junk foods. Some people call them bad foods. Some people call them trigger foods. Some people call them addictive foods. Some people just call them crap (as in "I can't believe how much crap I ate today").

No matter what you call them, these foods are different for different people.

To its credit, Frito-Lay
was totally overt about its
serpentine marketing strategy
You can put a package of Oreos in every room of my house and I would never be tempted to rip open the plastic, but lock up fresh-baked cookies in a metal safe and I'd turn into the Cookie Monster trying to figure out how to get inside. Ditto for chips with guacamole or cheese dip. Which explains why Lay's Potato Chips' "Betcha can't eat just one" advertising slogan resonated so strongly with chip junkies.

In recent years several books, such as Michael Moss's "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us," have revealed that food processors purposely add just the right amount of salt, sugar and fat to our foods to make them addictive.

What chance do we have against a conspiracy designed to pad food companies' bottom lines while padding our bottoms with extra pounds?



As with all addictive behaviors, there are chemicals involved that turn us into invertebrates in the presence of certain foods. Just the thought of eating an addictive food activates our brain's pleasure center (a.k.a. nucleus accumbens), which causes it to release dopamine. This in turn creates a strong compulsion to find and consume that food.

Our bodies further betray us big time by releasing the hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes us think we're famished even if we just ate a perfectly filling meal.

Adding to this perfect storm, the more we eat the bad foods, the fewer dopamine receptors we have, and the more of that food we need to eat to attain the same level of pleasure. It's a wonder we don't all weigh three hundred pounds.

Trigger foods, such as sandwich buns,
activate the pleasure center in our brain
For me, the best weapon for battling my addiction to junk food was finding a diet plan that helped me sublimate my cravings by eating something similar that did not trigger me to eat crap. A year ago I started the Take Shape for Life program and lost 35 pounds in less than four months by substituting Medifast bars, soft bakes and cheesy puffs for analogous snacky foods.

Of course, I couldn't subsist on space food forever; so what happened when I stopped doing the Medifast 5&1 Plan and had to maintain my weight? Why didn't I just balloon right back up like most yo-yo dieters who no longer have the crutch of their diet program to keep the bad foods at bay?

That is a question I have asked myself many times in these past eight months. I've had a few instances of quasi-binge-eating trigger foods, but overall these instances have been rare. It's possible that by doing Medifast I have found permanent substitute snacks that satisfy me and make my trigger foods less compelling. The fruit and vegetable green blast I drink mid-day, for instance, makes me forget about eating again for many hours.

I will probably always be a food addict. And if I were to stock my cupboards with trigger foods, I would likely indulge my cravings and get back on the diet merry-go-round.

Instead, I focus on finding healthier foods I enjoy that will not make me over-consume empty calorie foods and regain all the weight I have lost. So far it is working.


You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon


Similar posts:

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast?


How Medifast Helped Me Develop Better Habits

Medifast Centers Vs. DIY Medifast


Irrational Numbers: Doing the Math on Medifast Popcorn

Medifast Vs. Lean Cuisine Diet

Visit my other blogs:

Fit Kitty

Food Trends 


Bookish

Dictionary Woman

Follow Nancy's board Medifast on Pinterest.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Whole Milk Makes You Fat and the Earth is Really Flat

True or false:
1. The earth is flat
2. Whole milk makes you fat

Both are false, but when you hear something repeated over and over again you begin to assimilate it as a fact. We now know the earth is round and it's skim milk -- not whole milk -- that makes you round-er.

I won't get into the geography earth thing right now, but needless to say Columbus and his men did not fall off the edge of the planet as predicted back in 1492.

But when it comes to milk, the news that nutritionists were wrong about nixing whole milk from our diets has been slower to surface in popular culture. Even the school lunch program, run by the federal government, serves only reduced- and non-fat fat milk for children based on the mistaken notion that consuming less fat will make America's children less fat.

Sure it sounds intuitive. Just like looking at a horizon and assuming you will fall off the edge of the earth. But things are not always as they seem.

Open-minded nutritionists have challenged the myth that whole milk makes people fatter, citing more recent studies such as the one published last year in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Healthcare:

"We found that a low intake of dairy fat was associated with a higher risk of developing central obesity and that a high intake of dairy fat was associated with a lower risk of central obesity among men without central obesity at baseline," concluded Swedish researcher Sara Holmberg.

Meanwhile, The Salt reported last year on several studies of American children suggesting consumption of lower- or non-fat milks was not associated with lower body weight. One study found, "the relationship between skim-milk drinkers and higher body weights held up across all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups," surprising the researchers who hypothesized the opposite.

What scientists and doctors had "logically" deduced was that consuming less saturated fat would result in leaner bodies. But they forgot about the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Fat provides satiety, and drinking skim milk is not very satisfying. So children and adults are more likely to keep eating to feel full. In other words, they compensate by consuming extra calories of less nutritious foods, according to the five-star general of nutritionists, Dr. Walter Willett, who chairs the department of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

There are flaws and limitations to virtually every study, but anyone who is in touch with the effect of food on their body can feel the difference in satiety when drinking whole vs skim milk a.k.a. white water. Turns out skim milk is as fake as the designer knock off that pretends to be as good or better than the real thing.



You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon

Similar posts:

How Medifast Helped Me Develop Better Habits

Medifast Centers Vs. DIY Medifast



Irrational Numbers: Doing the Math on Medifast Popcorn

Medifast Vs. Lean Cuisine Diet


Visit my other blogs:

Fit Kitty

Food Trends 


Bookish

Dictionary Woman

Follow Nancy's board Medifast on Pinterest.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me: Reflections on My First Year of Medifasting

Sorry AA, but your birthday idea is so cute I had to steal it. People who belong to Alcoholics Anonymous refer to their real birthday as their belly button birthday and their anniversary since starting the program as their birthday.

Vegetable birthday cake courtesy of beautyandbedlam.com
Medifast has no such lingo, but maybe that should change. Participating in the Medifast Take Shape for Life program can be as equally life altering as AA and its various offshoots.

So, my story in a low carb nutshell is that one year ago I could no longer squeeze into a fitted dress for a job interview -- even with Spanx, which just redistributed my fat. I had officially reached my personal bottom. My labs were also not so hot, though if I have to be honest it was the vanity issue that splashed the bucket of cold water over my head. I said to myself, "Self, even though you don't believe in diets, you are going to try Medifast." One of the side kicks on my morning radio show and a distant cousin had lost a bunch of weight on this program; so I thought maybe it could work for me, too.

Right around the time I ordered my first shipment of Medifast replacement meals, I had a fortuitous bicycle accident that broke one of my front teeth, which made Medifast shakes and other soft meals the easiest foods to consume. The fates were clearly rooting for me to be successful at this Medifast thing.

It took me just under four months to lose my 35 pounds of excess baggage. That's about a suitcase worth of vacation clothes or seven sacks of potatoes. I was pretty religious about the program in a secular sense, rarely deviating since doing so would throw me out of ketosis and stall my weight loss.

Since then I have maintained my ideal weight within a five pound range, weighing myself daily and eating accordingly. When I get to my high range I eat really clean for a while until the extra pounds melt off. I also judge my weight by my clothes. Since I have given away all my "fat" clothes (anything larger than a size 10), I am forced to stay within a certain weight zone or my clothes feel snug and uncomfortable. My wedding ring is another litmus test. If it's hard to take off, I need to watch my carb intake more.

Since going off the Medifast 5&1 Plan I am basically limiting my carbs and eating more vegetables, fruits and protein than before I started Medifast. I also enjoy such higher fat foods as avocados and almond butter because I have learned they make me feel full and less likely to crave junk food. And don't even mention skim milk to me -- it's a scam, people. Farmers feed it to pigs to make them fatter.



When I visited my doctor in May -- on my belly button birthday -- she was totally thrilled by my labs and told me not to lose any more weight. Now those are doctors orders I can follow.

I have also discovered a great body of literature that dispels the old low-fat high-carb myth of healthy eating and am reading books like Denise Minger's  "Death By Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health" that reinforce my thinking about the fallacies of low-fat diets.

And as frosting on the cake, I have met a wonderful community of TSFL health coaches and others who follow the Take Shake for Life program through several Facebooks groups to which I belong. I am encouraged by their positive attitudes and dramatic weight loss stories (one woman lost 348 pounds on Medifast and has kept it off for five years). They also share wonderful recipes for healthy meals like cauliflower pizza and chile relleno casserole, and ingeniously turn Medifast replacement meals into everything from donuts to waffles. They have also turned me on to some great grocery store finds, like the to-die-for OPA salad dressings from Litehouse Foods made from high-protein Greek yogurt (my current fave is the jalapeno ranch).


I realize that one year does not mean much in the scheme of things, but I am optimistic that I have made some genuine changes in not only how I eat, but also what I consider healthy. Some days I completely blow it and eat chips and sugary foods, but I can feel the effects in my body and become even more motivated not to indulge in these foods afterward. I give myself license to be bad just to assure my inner James Dean that I can eat whatever I want; I just choose not to.


You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon

Similar posts:

The Link Between Hoarding and Overeating


How Medifast Helped Me Develop Better Habits

Medifast Centers Vs. DIY Medifast


Irrational Numbers: Doing the Math on Medifast Popcorn

Medifast Vs. Lean Cuisine Diet

Visit my other blogs:

Player

Fit Kitty

Food Trends 


Bookish

Dictionary Woman

Best Parenting Tips Ever

Follow Nancy's board Medifast on Pinterest.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Having a Blast with My NutriBullet

One of the best rewards for reaching my ideal weight after Medifast was adding fruit back into my diet. I have blogged about this before so will not bore you again with my blueberries tasted amazing story. But after not eating melon or berries or peaches for several months, I realized why some people call fruit "nature's candy."
If you want to be really trendy,
serve your blast in a mason jar.

After transitioning off Medifast, I started eating fruit as a snack with Greek yogurt, cheese and/or nuts, as well as in my salads; but now I have a new favorite way to consume it -- in a NutriBullet blast.

For those who have been on Neptune the past few years, the NutriBullet is an extractor machine that is neither a blender nor juicer. What it does is break down fruits and vegetables to the cellular level so they are virtually predigested; thus, more nutrients are absorbed into the body.

You can make pretty much anything in a NutriBullet you can in a blender or juicer, including shakes and smoothies; but the company recommends a mixture of half greens and half fruit, along with some kind of liquid. You can also add nuts, chia seeds and various vitamin potions to these beverages, which the company cutely calls a "blast."

I have experimented a bit with my NutriBullet since purchasing it a month ago from Target, and my favorite combination so far is kale, honeydew and frozen pineapple.  Although the drink is green in color, it does not have that kaley taste; yet I derive all the amazing benefits from kale, including cancer preventing compounds, such as glucosinolates and kaempferol, which also protect the heart, lower blood sugar, strengthen bones, and reduce inflammation. (Kale also has a lot of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are great for the eyesight.)

Sometimes I'll throw in a chunk of potassium rich frozen banana, which makes my NutriBlast more creamy. Cashews do this as well. I also keep a bag of frozen spinach in the fridge in case I run out of kale.

Here's what I love most about my NutriBlasts:

1. After drinking them, I feel full and do not crave junk food.

2. They are a great way to consume a variety of healthy vegetables and fruits.

3. They are portable. I can make one in less than five minutes and drink it in the car.

4. The NutriBullet is super easy to clean -- just rinse the container and blades under cold water. I have a Vitamix I hardly used because it such a pain to clean.

5. Um, let me think about this. I just don't like lists that have an even number of items.

And, if you're still on Medifast, the NutriBullet makes awesome Medifast replacement meal shakes (which I still drink on occasion). You can even add some of your greens to the mixture if you didn't get enough at your Lean & Green meal. Or coffee (for a faux Starbucks drink).

As I said, I bought my NutriBullet from Target but you can also order one on Amazon:


You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon


Similar posts:

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast?


How Medifast Helped Me Develop Better Habits

Medifast Centers Vs. DIY Medifast


Irrational Numbers: Doing the Math on Medifast Popcorn

Medifast Vs. Lean Cuisine Diet

Visit my other blogs:

Fit Kitty

Food Trends 


Bookish

Dictionary Woman

Follow Nancy's board Medifast on Pinterest.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

These Healthy Food Posters from America's Past Are Hysterically Funny

Why Uncle Sam Needs to Stay Out of Our Stomachs

If Mad magazine were to create a poster of what children should eat for dinner, it might look like this:
Bread, milk and cookies? Really?
The poster above was published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1919, the same friendly folks who have since given us the Four Food Groups, the Food Pyramid and, now, some weird thing called MyPlate.The whole ideas was to make sure kids consumed enough calories to put in a good day's work  at the factory.

A couple of decades later the feds starting touting Vitamin Donuts after determining that people were not getting enough thiamine a.k.a. vitamin B1. So manufacturers patriotically added this deficient vitamin to a bunch of random foods like donuts, kind of like the vitamin enriched Pop Tarts and Froot Loops of today. Surely this poster had to be designed by one of the bureaucrat's kids let loose in some historic version of Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

And did you know that before there were four food groups, there were seven? And butter and margarine comprised one of them? Paula Deen's grandma must have been on that committee.
I kind of like the advice, "In addition to the basic 7, eat any other foods you want."
Like maybe some vitamin donuts?
In the past decade, critics of the government's nutrition advice have exposed all the faulty studies, political corruption and other hidden agendas that culminate in the feds' official advice on what Americans should eat. In MyPlate, for instance, corn and broccoli both belong in the vegetable quadrant, though they have remarkable different effects on insulin metabolism.

So you could theoretically serve your family the proper proportions of  french fried potatoes, bananas, wheat bread and glazed ham for dinner and think you did them a big favor.

I recently started reading "Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health" by Denise Minger and am thoroughly enjoying her skewering of government's role in determining what we should eat. For instance, the decision to overload the old food pyramid with carbs had more to do with the government cheaping out on free school lunches than concern for our health.



All I'm saying is the government may be good at building highways, but when it comes to our diets, the feds should mind their own business and stick to monitoring our cell phone conversations.




You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon

Similar posts:

The Link Between Hoarding and Overeating


How Medifast Helped Me Develop Better Habits

Medifast Centers Vs. DIY Medifast


Irrational Numbers: Doing the Math on Medifast Popcorn

Medifast Vs. Lean Cuisine Diet

Visit my other blogs:

Player

Fit Kitty

Food Trends 


Bookish

Dictionary Woman

Best Parenting Tips Ever

Follow Nancy's board Medifast on Pinterest.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Medifast Before and After Pictures: TSFL Health Coaches Success Photos

Do hamsters like pizza?
Does Medifast work? Do hamsters like pizza?

Medifast is one of the most easy and effective ways to lose weight for people who have anywhere from several hundred pounds of fat to melt to that last "vanity" 10.

What's more, with Medifast's Take Shape for Life Program, you get the services of a free health coach who can guide you every step of the way and motivate you to stay on plan. From my perspective, that is one of the key factors that separates Medifast from other replacement meal programs and makes it a superior choice compared to Nutrisystem, Wonder Slim and the like.

Since starting Medifast almost a year ago and maintaining my weight loss for the past six months, I have been awed and inspired by the success stories of the people I have met through the several Medifast Facebook groups to which I belong. Many of these social media buddies either were or have since become TSFL Health Coaches as a way to pay it forward to those just beginning their Medifast journey or who were doing the program solo and wanted to be more successful.

If you are looking for a TSFL Health Coach, you can't go wrong choosing one of these caring and knowledgeable people below. Take a look at their pictures before starting Medifast and after losing all or most of their extra pounds; then visit their TSFL Health Coach pages. Feel free to call or email any of them to learn more about their unique personality and coaching style.

Some like to be in touch every day; others, less often. Some are by the book; others allow some wiggle room. Some nag and nudge; others not so much.

You know what you need to succeed; so find the TSFL Health Coach who fits you best.

Leah (a.k.a. FitAndFab By40)

If you are feeling desperate, frustrated, beaten down, and don't believe that you can ever reach your goals...I can help. I know the exhaustion...the impatience…. I know the cries for help. I understand because I've been exactly where you are. Exactly.

Whether you need full accountability or just a shoulder to lean upon, I will help you navigate the path to your new healthy lifestyle. I'm here to help you break the cycle, get out of your rut, and see the light. Together, we can make it happen.





Stacie Scheet

I offer individual accountability and support in a straight forward manor. Not sure what to eat? Standing at the carb ledge and need a lifeline? Call or text me anytime. I understand the challenges first hand and can support you through the journey of optimal health.

Debbie Schussler Bodenhorn

57 pounds lighter
Maintained for two years

If I can do this so can you! I was a very picky eater and tried so many other plans, but this was the only program that, not only was I able to lose my weight on, but even more importantly, I have learned to keep it off for almost 2 years now and I feel wonderful! I want to help others on their journey to losing weight and getting healthy so they too can experience this amazing feeling of accomplishment and pride in knowing they took important steps to living a healthier life.




Mary DiPalma

348 weight loss maintained for more than five years
Now working on losing more

One day, one meal and one thought at a time will lead to long term success in obtaining optimal health and learning to live a healthier lifestyle! I am always available to all my clients via phone, text, e-mail, whatever is best for them and I work on giving you the tools you need to succeed in weight loss and maintenance.







Heidi Joanne Gore

This husband and wife team lost 48 pounds apiece in six months

I'm here to help you make healthy habits become a lasting part of your life as you invest in yourself: LEARN them, DO them, REVIEW them, CORRECT them and REPEAT them. This is the cycle of success I want to help you achieve to regain your optimal health one choice at a time to lose it for good.

Karen Pfau Lane


Jennifer Lauren

  56 pounds shed
Maintained for two years

One meal at a time, one day at a time! This is YOUR time and you are SO worth it! I'm here 24/7 for my clients for anything they need. After all -- I've been through it!


Barbi Brown

54 pounds missing; search party called off

My coaching style is 'Perfectly Imperfect all the way to goal; knowing none of us are perfect but linking enough of Perfectly on plan days together and striving for that we will be successful at gaining optimal health and losing weight. I strive to be the type of coach each client needs me to be to achieve their goals. Everyone needs something different.


Jeanette Camacho-de Moulpied


Chrystal Bernard

Dropped 115 pounds since December 2013


Nancy Gentile Strauss

Lost 54 pounds in five months
Dropped six clothing sizes

I didn't fit on a roller coaster 2 1/2 yrs ago... and that was my AHA moment after years and years of searching for the magic pill. I fell in love with TSFL and started coaching right away! I personally lost 54 lbs in 5 months (results not typical). From a size 20 down to an 8/10 from April to August! What a life changer... and to help others with something that I've always struggled with myself? PRICELESS!

Lori Smith

Are you ready to start the New Year on a plan to change your life? Not just another diet, Medifast can change your life. If you are ready and need a health coach who has lost 100 pounds and gained a ton of energy and self esteem to boot, please contact me. I'll help you as little or as much as you want. I've been where you are now.
 

Ashley Chanel Gonzales

In October of 2013, I started Take Shape for Life, a weight loss program fueled by Medifast. As of today I have lost over 100 pounds. My husband John started the program and has lost 20 pounds. Together we are living a healthy lifestyle. Now we are helping others, by providing coaching services through the Take Shape for Life (TSFL) program. Do you want motivation, support or information to obtain your optimal health? We would love to help you! Contact us today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Could Being Called Chubby as a Child Lead to an Eating Disorder?

When President Obama used the word "chubby" to refer to his older daughter Malia six years ago, he may as well have offered her one of his cigarettes. Just as smoking cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, heart disease and other life threatening diseases, being called "chubby" as a child can put a child at greater risk for developing life threatening eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
Despite the "chubby" label, we could not find
even one remotely chubby picture of Malia Obama
(shown above with sister Sasha and below with her parents)

In an interview with Parents magazine, Barack Obama naively told a reporter, "A couple of years ago -- you'd never know it by looking at her now -- Malia was getting a little chubby." No doubt Obama thought he was giving Malia a compliment, but the first daughter received the subtle message that, to her dad, size mattered.

Later First Lady Michelle Obama was roundly criticized when she launched her anti-childhood obesity campaign, Let's Move, with a seemingly harmless anecdote on The Today Show concerning her daughters' visit to their pediatrician. Obama said the doctor advised her to keep close tabs on Malia and Sasha's BMI (body mass index), especially in light of the growing obesity trend in the African American community.

"We went to our pediatrician all the time," the FLOTUS told Today Show host Matt Lauer. "I thought my kids were perfect... but the doctor warned that he was concerned that something was getting off balance."

Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist and author who specializes in mindful eating, wrote in HuffPo, "Michelle may not have considered or been familiar with the delicate balance between preventing obesity and triggering eating disorders. She mentioned that she put her children on a diet after her pediatrician and their father felt they were getting 'chubby.'

Words like 'chubby' don't cause eating disorders but they are often a trigger to disordered eating behavior."

Once upon a time it was perfectly acceptable
to label children as chubby
Eating disorder experts tend to agree with Albers that while there may not be a proven cause-and-effect relationship between being called "chubby" and developing an eating disorder, there is likely a correlation. Being teased about one's weight or called "chubby" can be a large factor in becoming pathologically obsessed with one's body size.

Celebrities from Princess Diana to singer Karen Carpenter are among the well-known victims of being called "chubby" and later suffering from eating disorders. In a secretly recorded audiotape Princess Diana made concerning her dissatisfaction with her royal marriage to Prince Charles, the model-thin princess cited Prince Charles calling her "chubby" as one of the impetuses that led to her developing anorexia.

Though Princess Diana did not die as a result of her self-acknowledged eating disorder, the death of talented songbird Karen Carpenter from cardiac arrest was linked to the strain that years of battling anorexia had placed on her heart.
Karen Carpenter went overboard to combat her chubby label

Although Michelle Obama undoubtedly means well in her anti-obesity quest and is trying to couch her Let's Move campaign in terms of good health vs. good looks, some critics such as Rachel Richardson, a blogger who has personally recovered from an eating disorder, observe a worrisome subtext in the First Lady's concern with childhood obesity.

"I'm sure that Michelle Obama equates fat with unhealthy, especially since the family doctor seems hypervigilant on these kinds of issues, so it's possible that the First Lady's concern was for the health of her child and family," wrote Richardson on her blog, The-F-Word: Food, Fat and Feminism. "Nonetheless it strikes me as odd that these so-called health concerns and nutrition advice did not arise until OMG, MALIA IS GETTING FAT!! If you eat a steady diet of fast-, junk- and processed foods and yet are genetically blessed to remain thin, does this mean you're healthy?"

Child psychologists recommend focusing on behaviors
vs. labels like "chubby" or "fat"
Most reasonable people would agree that all children should lean toward healthier food choices and increased physical activity. Even those who oppose our society's obsession with being skinny would acknowledge that obese children are at greater risk for developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

Rather than focusing on children's weight or "chubbiness," however, eating disorder experts advise parents and teachers to encourage all children to practice healthy behaviors, such as eating apples or riding bicycles. The Academy for Eating Disorders, for instance, recommends that "interventions... be weight-neutral" and not related to a child's size. In its official guidelines published on the group's website, the Academy for Eating Disorders cautions, "Weight is not a behavior and therefore not an appropriate target for behavior modification. Children across the weight spectrum benefit from limiting time spent watching television and eating a healthy diet."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Words Matter When You're 'Trying' to Lose Weight

Someone from one of my Medifast Facebook groups posted an interesting comment this morning describing herself as a food drunk when she eats to excess.
"People who drink too much alcohol are alcoholics....some call them drunks. I refuse to be a food drunk any more. The thought might not speak to anyone else, but it has done amazing things for me...if I think of eating something not on plan, I just say to myself, 'You are not a food drunk!'"
I loved the metaphor because there is nothing cool or glamorous about being drunk. Pigging out used to have a similar connotation and may still work for some people as a deterrent, but somehow it has become cute to be a little food pig. Maybe it has something to do with the recent popularity of bacon.

The point is, we have to find words that speak to us on what to do or not to do in the presence of food. Unlike alcohol, we cannot avoid being around food throughout the day; so we need to have word weapons to help us fend off the bad guys.

Health professionals have long known it is important to use the right words when discussing their patients' weight status. For instance, a 2011 British study found that women are turned off when a doctor tells them they are "obese," but they're motivated to lose weight if the doctor tells them they are "clinically obese." Being called obese may sound like a MYOB insult, but modifying it with the word "clinically" makes it a medical thing and, therefore, kosher for the doc to discuss.


And you don't need a study to know that calling a patient "fat" means she may never come back. In fact, some overweight friends have told me they avoid going to the doctor because they don't want to be told they are fat.

"Trying" is another word that can affect weight loss, as in "trying to lose weight." I know, because before doing Medifast I had "tried" to lose weight for five years. But then I found a plan I could easily follow and stopped trying. I just did it. As much as I may sometimes disagree with Dr. Laura, I love that she shuts callers down when they say they're going to "try" something because it means they will turn into a bowl of mush at the first obstacle. Conversely, when you commit to something, you don't let challenges and obstacles deter you from your goal. As my hypnotherapy instructor Katherine Zimmerman used to say, "Trying is lying."

Even the phrase "losing weight" is problematic since it implies you will find it again. Shedding pounds and melting fat seem more permanent.

A positive way to use words is to repeat mantras that remind you to stick to your plan. Though Kate Moss got in a lot of hot water for saying "Nothing tastes as great as skinny feels" (some people thought this encouraged eating disorders), many dieters and healthy weight maintainers find strength in these words. I have used this motivational quote myself when cupcakes or other treats were passed around at a meeting, and -- more often than not -- it has helped me tap into my will power and not partake.


You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for less cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

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Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Paint Your Kitchen Yellow and Other Color Psychology Tricks for Dieters

Think twice before you paint your kitchen walls sunshine yellow. Not only could yellow walls spark more family quarrels, they could also cause you to eat more and gain weight. That's because psychologically and physiologically, yellow is a stimulating color, causing tempers -- and appetites -- to flare.
This kitchen could make you hungry and angry

Restaurants have long been savvy about using color to increase profits. You may have noticed most fast food restaurants are decorated in appetite stimulating yellow (think McDonald's golden arches and Subway's bright yellow benches). The same stimulating quality of yellow that revs up the appetite also causes diners to feel rushed, ensuring tables are turned faster to make room for more hungry customers.

These red and yellow
fast food logos
are not a random coincidence
In addition to the strategic use of color in d├ęcor and signage, most fast food restaurants garb their employees in yellow, red or orange uniforms because appetite stimulating colors subliminally influence customers to buy more food. When a misguided fast food fashionista changed Burger King employees' uniforms to blue and green -- colors that suppress the appetite -- the burger giant experienced a predictable downturn in sales. Not only is green an appetite suppressant, it is also subconsciously linked to mold and spoiled food.

Food just looks less appetizing on a blue plate
The same appetite suppressing qualities of green and blue that make them poor color choices for fast food restaurants make them ideal colors for your kitchen and dining room walls, as well as your dinner plates. The color of trees and grass in nature, green is a very relaxing color. That's why television talk shows house their guests in green rooms before they come out on stage. Soothing blue, the color of the sky and ocean, also calms down the appetite.

When I practiced hypnotherapy, I used to encourage my clients to be more consciously aware of their environment when they ate to avoid wolfing down their food. They found that surrounding themselves with soothing colors like blue and green suppressed their appetite so they could eat less food and still feel satisfied. These cool, calming colors also made my clients feel more relaxed so they didn't have as strong a desire to numb themselves with food.
Stare at this Baker-Miller Pink square
for 30 seconds
throughout the day

An intriguing color-based appetite suppressing technique from the past that is gaining renewed attention involves the use of bubble-gum pink colored squares. A researcher who studied the appetite suppressing effects of bubble-gum pink narrowed down the color to the exact hue of bubble-gum pink that best suppresses appetite and named it Baker-Miller Pink. Patients in a Johns Hopkins University weight loss program carried the squares of Baker-Miller pink around with them throughout the day to suppress their appetite.

Try it yourself by staring at this square for 30-second increments throughout the day and see if you achieve a similar effect. You could also try painting your kitchen this color.

As an interesting side note, Baker-Miller Pink was used to paint prison cells at a correctional facility in Washington State and curbed the incidents of hostile and violent behavior among prisoners; so it might work with squabbling siblings, too.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for less cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

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More from Diet Skeptic:


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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is Diet the New Religion?

Remember those two things you're not supposed to discuss at a dinner party -- politics and religion? Maybe we should add diet to that list.

Some people are so emotionally attached to the foods they eat they act morally offended if you dare to eat differently.

Instead of Protestants, Muslims and Jews, we have the low carbers, the low fatters and the portion controllers. Even among the low carbers, we have the high fatters vs the low fatters. And let's not even get started with the Paleos and vegans.
Whether we're eating for pleasure, eating to lose weight, eating to be healthy or any combination thereof, there is a belief system behind our dietary choices. And any time we believe something, we get an irrational emotional attachment to it.

In a former life I was a low-fat vegan and thought that was a morally superior choice from both a health and planetary perspective. I had the typical missionary zeal that comes with being a self-righteous extremist of any sort.

More recently, I lost 35 pounds on the Medifast diet and was pretty quiet about it. If someone asked me how I lost my weight, I told them (and then waited for the inevitable eye roll because I was eating processed replacement meals instead of whole foods in moderation).

Not to mention I was going against the official United States government diet du jour, which preaches low fat and high carb. The feds now force schools to provide children with low- or non-fat  milk -- including chocolate milk -- despite the fact that so-called healthy non-fat chocolate milk contains 26g of sugar compared to only 12g of sugar in whole-fat white milk (which is now "sinful").

But is all that added sugar really healthier than the natural fat in milk that helps you feel satisfied so you won't be jonesing for a Twix bar an hour later? My bible says "no."

So you can imagine how excited I was to read a New York Times article yesterday that turns conventional wisdom on its head. "A Call for a Low-Carb Diet" reports on a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that comes down squarely in favor of low carb vs low fat. 

Times writer Anahad O'Connor put it right out there in the lede: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows."

Since I now try to eat a relatively low-carb diet and don't worry too much about the fats in my food, I feel somewhat (okay, a lot) vindicated. But I will try not to be all holy roller about this.

My belief system is always subject to change as new scientific evidence emerges on what is healthy, and I rely on my body to tell me what feels right for me. So if I pass on the potatoes at dinner it's not a religious statement. It's just how I'm eating right now.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Diet Psychology: Focus on the Food That's Already in Your Mouth

I was reading one of my old articles on mindful eating guru Geneen Roth's reaction to losing her life's savings after investing in Bernie Madoff's pyramid scheme; and one of Roth's insights really resounded with me:

"My relationship to money was no different from my relationship to food, to love, to fabulous sweaters: I never felt as if I had enough. I was always focused on the bite that was yet to come, not the one in my mouth."

So true.

I sometimes catch myself chewing my food really fast just so I can take the next bite and re-experience the high that comes from the fresh burst of flavors hitting my taste buds. The partially chewed food in my mouth becomes the proverbial "chopped liver" -- no longer meriting my respect or attention. Like the way you feel when the person you're talking to at the party looks around for someone more interesting.

Author Geneen Roth writes brilliantly
about our dysfunctional relationship
with food
As Roth so profoundly implies, unless we focus on the experience we are having in the present moment, we are never going to feel satisfied. How can we have "enough" when we are forever preoccupied with the promise of something better?

The whole idea of mindful eating is really a metaphor for focusing on what is good about our life in the present. The more we plan ahead or pine for more, the less we enjoy the people and things that comprise our world.

I may not have a wardrobe of fabulous sweaters, but I own more black tops than a roomful of mourners. Each one I find is far better than the ones already sitting neatly folded on my shelf (okay, may not so neatly folded). Or so I tell myself.


Whether it's an over-stuffed closet or an over-stuffed body, the result is the same. Too much. But never enough.

So today I'm going to take the time to savor each bite of food and wear a forgotten article of clothing in my closet I once thought I could not live without.

How about you?

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon

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Follow Nancy's board Medifast on Pinterest.