I mentioned it yesterday in passing but apparently, I am behind the trend: how is it that Camel has to retire Joe Camel because of the ill effects he has on children, but McD’s can pitch fast food with Ronald McDonald? Corporate Accountability International, a watchdog group that helped retire Joe Camel, has now set its sights on Ronny. “For nearly 50 years, Ronald McDonald has hooked kids on unhealthy foods spurring a deadly epidemic of diet-related diseases,” said Deborah Lapidus, the senior organizer at Corporate Accountability International, as reported to CNN. “Ultimately the report makes the case that it’s time that McDonald’s stop directing fast food to kids. Really, Ronald deserves a break and so do we.”
McDonald’s counters that, not only does Ronald give talks to children about the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity, but he is also the ambassador for many of the company’s charities.
But therein lies the problem: though Ronald may make appearances at all these functions, his presence also drives kids (and their parents) to fast food outlets. And, in an age of increasing childhood obesity and related problems, that creates a paradox. It’s not unlike the tobacco companies spending billions on anti-smoking campaigns.
…….though the tobacco companies have been forced to do that by the courts…….and almost always choose to keep their names out of the campaigns.
Corporate Accountability International will be holding a mock retirement luncheon for the clown. No word yet on what they will be serving.
Finally. In an online preview of the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers have discovered that the compulsive eating behavior in obese rats is similar to the behavior found in cocaine and heroin addicts. The doctors would give one group of rats an unlimited supply of chocolate, bacon and other assorted “junk” food. As the rats became heavier and heavier, they were far less likely to stop eating, even when knowing that going for the calorie-laden foods would result in an electrical shock to the paw. The doctors post a theory that the over-consumption of these ultra-palatable foods causes a addiction -like neuroadaptive response in the brain which then drives compulsive eating.
What does that mean?
It means that eating junk food is as addictive as any drug. I am so tired of hearing the high-and-mighty complain of a about the nation’s heavy population. But I am equally as fed up with the heavy lobby pushing the idea that being heavy is just fine. If you are addicted to these foods, there is only one way out: you have to admit your addiction and deal with it accordingly. But understand: its not personal weakness; its biochemical.
Junk food, sweets and the like are as addictive as tobacco, cocaine or any other substance that causes this sort of reaction in the receptors of the brain. I’ve been telling this to my clients for years. Though the resulting weight gain is frowned upon, for whatever reason the culprits, the horrible foods themselves, get away relatively free. Until this behavior is accepted as addictive and as dangerous as drugs or alcohol, the behavior will forever repeat itself.
But honestly……can you see the FDA restricting your access to Twinkies?
The only way out of the cycle?
The same way you’d have to quit drugs or alcohol. Go cold turkey. You’re going to go through a serious transition phase– the “sugar crankies” I call ‘em: you’ll be depressed, sluggish, irritable (I always recommend that you tell friends and family what you are up to because the mood changes can be intense) and you are going to crave a sweet– chocolates, orange juice, even baked goods.
It is especially important to keep in mind that, like any addiction, you are going to be prone to relapse. This behavior is one reason why people can lose a lot of weight and then put it back on. When an alcoholic quits drinking, that’s it. He or she knows that one drink can start the cycle all over again. And the same would be true of all the garbage that is out in the market place to gorge on. Companies can spend millions and millions of dollars designing foods that will specifically appeal to those cravings, and even more millions figuring out ways to get you to buy them.
And the percentage of the population most likely to feel the brunt of this “food science” and accompanying marketing genius? Our children.
We didn’t allow Joe Camel to pitch cigarettes to kids. How is it we’re okay with Ronald McDonald?
There ain’t no such thing as a healthy muffin top. And there ain’t no such thing as “just a little drink” when you’re alcoholic. Period.
Watch the video. Pass it on.
A group of doctors from the Harvard Medical School released a study in the upcoming issue of the The Journal of the American Medical Association. By studying a group of 34,000 women over 15 years, they established that, in order to maintain body weight, these women had to participate in “moderate intensity” exercise for 60 minutes every day. But, par for the course on these studies, that tells a little less than half the story. And, no doubt, some of you are going to hear “60 minutes of exercise EVERY day just to MAINTAIN?!?!” and dissolve into a pool of tears. Not necessary. Don’t do it. Seriously……
Let me explain…..
The doctors used a system of tracking work load known as METs (not the baseball team from Queens, this stands for “Metabolic Energy Equivalent Tasks). Just as “calorie” is the term for “raising the temperature of water 1 liter of water 1 degree celsius”, 1 MET is the amount of energy expended and caloric requirment at rest. The doctors found that, over the course of their 15 year study, women who were active 21.5 MET hours per week were the ones who didn’t gain weight. Some quick division and that comes out to 3 MET/hours per day. 3 METs is the equivalent of moderate intensity exercise.
Here is where people start freaking out…….
That doesn’t mean that you go into the gym and crush yourself for an hour seven days a week. Here is a list of exercises that equal 2.5-3 MET/hours of activity:
- Walking at an average pace (2-2.5 mi/hr)
- Dancing (slow)
- Golf, using power cart
- Walking at a brisk pace (1 mi every 20 min)
- Weight lifting, water aerobics
- Golf, not carrying clubs
- Leisurely canoeing or kayaking
Nowhere on the list does it “hog tie yourself to an elliptical machine for an hour of grinding work.” Quite the opposite: if you look at the list, all the exercises are relatively low-key BUT the suggestion is that you have to go out and get some degree of activity every day.
So what should you do?
I always recommend to my clients that they start to track their daily activity levels using a Pedometer. They are wonderful, cheap tools that you use to track the number of steps you take in any given day. The studies of yesteryear have told us that we need to take 12,000 steps per day in order to maintain our weight. 12,000. Does that seem like a lot? In this day and age of internet and cell phones, we are far less likely to get up and go as much as we think we do. So my advice: get the Pedometer and start tracking how much you walk every day. Get that number up to 12,000. That will take care of you 3 MET/hours. Then when you go to the gym, it is not simply to maintain, but to progress. Pretty good deal, right? Thanks, Harvard.
I have also included this training video from the Harvard Medical School. It was originally titled “Moderate Intensity Exercise.” Honestly, I think you should write your own titles….. lemme know……
One of my favorite writers, Brian Wansink, has just released a new study. Brian is the author of author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, a wonderfully funny and informative book that takes a look at just how much we eat on a day-to-day basis without even realizing it.
Well, it seems that Brian’s brother Craig is a theologian. They decided to take a look at paintings of the Last Supper created over the last millennium. Using an interesting measurement, plate/food size relative to the size of the figures’ heads, the brothers have concluded that the food portions being served are getting larger and larger through the years. Though the Bible only makes reference to wine and bread being served, the meals depicted seem to grow over the years to include lamb, fish and meat. The size of the main dish grew 69%; the size of the plate, 66%, and the bread, 23%, between the years 1000 and 2000. No verdict yet on the increase in calories, but, honestly, do they really need all that starch?
Is life imitating art, or vice versa?
The study, published in April’s International Journal of Obesity, has not been met with nods of approval. “ (It’s) not very meaningful science,” said Martin Binks, a behavioral health psychologist and a consultant at Duke University Medical Center. “We have real life examples of the increase in portion size—all you have to do is look at what’s being sold at fast-food restaurants.”
That’s very true, Dr. Binks. But its always fun to see where the Wansink Boys are wandering next. Jesus and Supersizing? Kinda reminds me of……
Posted by Guru
So I am sitting backstage in the Green Room in Phoenix, waiting for my opportunity to go on and talk about how healthy food choices can help energize you throughout the day, and, right before me, they run this segment.
Not since last summer, when one Midwestern morning show couldn’t wait to get through my healthy kids’ meal segment so that they could discuss chocolate covered bacon with Chef Bob, have I been so shocked. Apparently, using this infra-red machine, you can burn 1400 calories with even moving. It’s that easy! The woman in this clip actually says “spot reducing”. I wanted to eat my own head.
Then I remembered this clip I’ve posted below. Watch this one all the way through. The kid is great and he tells a great story, his story. His name is Taylor LeBaron, author of his autobiography, Cutting Myself in Half: 150 Pounds Lost, One Byte at a Time, the story of his weight loss.
Grown ups, take note: he didn’t lie perfectly still and let the magic rays melt the fat off his body.
- 60% of adults are alcohol drinkers, while 25% are lifetime abstainers. 14% are former drinkers. Of all adults, one in five had 5 or more drinks in one day over the past year.
- 20% of adults are smokers and 21% are former smokers. Almost 60% have never tried a cigarette.
- Among all adults, 16% smoked daily and 4% smoked less than daily.
- Approximately 3 in 10 current smokers (31.8%) started smoking
before the age of 16 years and about 1 in 5 current smokers (17.1%)
started smoking at age 21 years or over.
- Overall, nearly 6 in 10 adults (60.4%) were overweight (including
- About 25.4% of adults were obese, 35% were overweight but not obese,
37.7% were in the healthy weight range, and 1.9% of adults were underweight
- Overall, about 6 in 10 adults (63.5%) usually slept 7 to 8 hours in
a 24-hour period. Almost 3 in 10 adults (28.0%) averaged 6 hours of sleep or less in a 24-hour period—20.3% of adults slept 6 hours and 7.7% slept less
than 6 hours.
- Overall, 60.3% of adults engaged in at least some leisure-time physical
activity, with 30.7% engaging in activity sufficient in frequency and
duration to be classified as ‘‘regular’’
- Almost 4 in 10 adults (39.7%) engaged in no leisure-time physical activity
Personally, I was shocked so many people are getting enough sleep. I’m not sure where the CDC is getting their numbers but they can’t be hanging out in New York. And though I wasn’t surprised by the percentage of overweight adults in the population, I was surprised by the declaration that 40% of adults engaged in NO leisure-time physical activity. Hmmmmm……..
What surprised you? Or did it all seem right on the money?
The good folks at the Wall Street Journal finally caught up with the hottest trend in fitness, Core Training. Its all the rage. Really.
“I worked my core!”
“Oooh felt that in my core!”
“Yeah, its a core-intensive workout!”
The word “core” has emerged like cicadas during a Midwest summer. Did you know cicadas are the among the few insects that sweat? Its true! And core training can make you sweat! Did you know that cicadas are relatively benign. True enough. Except that they can also do a great deal of damage to certain crops and trees. And did you know this “core training” is relatively benign– except for the incidents where it can do damage to various individuals who are leaping at it with eager feet?
“Core” is simply the latest in terms that have been latched onto by the industry in an attempt to capture the public imagination. And, because of that, it leads us down many wonderful paths– and many paths that are equally as dangerous. For many people, it has become a catch-all phrase for an abdominal-intense workout, in much the same way that “guns” would refer to anything having to do with the arms. But the “core” is made up of numerous muscles including but not limited to the muscles of the abdomen and back. And what a great deal of “core training” completely ignores is the need for stability and alignment in the skeletal structure underneath those muscles.
I have a new client: great guy, eager student, 49-years old. This guy has been training for his whole life. He has an abdominal wall that many 19-year old surfers would give their eye teeth to have: ripped, powerful six-pack sitting on a narrow waist, not the slightest hint of a “middle aged paunch.” He started coming to me because of intense pain in his hip. He was confused and irritated, primarily because he felt he was getting old and he couldn’t simply “train the pain away”. What we discovered was that, as he was training his “core” he was holding himself out of proper alignment and all that power he was generating was serving to build greater and greater imbalances in his joints– for him that meant stabbing pain in his hips when he would try to run. As we set about realigning his body, the pressure dissipated. He still had an amazing abdominal workout, but all the pressure that he had created was gone. And that story is repeated over and over and over again.
Ask any engineer: if you build a bridge with tons and tons of steel, and the pressure is only slightly off on one of the joints, it is only a matter of time before that bridge falls. That’s physics.
Many trainers understand this and will work their clients to get them to understand form and alignment before they increase the intensity of the workout. But many trainers simply increase the intensity on the core– greater repetitions, greater weight, greater use of gravity– in order to make their clients “feel the burn.”
The immediate result for the exerciser is fantastic. “Oh Nelly, I worked my core so good!” But, depending on the joints thresholds for pressure, it can just be a trap waiting to be sprung.
The Journal suggests that all this “core training” is something that can be done on one’s own. But, just as you probably wouldn’t try to do your business’ taxes or fix the transmission in your car on your own, I would strongly suggest getting some professional advice. Find a trainer who has some knowledge and understanding of alignment. Sign up for a couple of sessions to find out, not simply what to do, but how to do it properly. It is money very well invested, particularly if you are interested in both results and longevity. My 49-year old is going to be running better, stronger and faster in the next decade than he has at any other point in his life. That’s how it works. It’s not a miracle. It’s exercise science.
Here’s a video where Lawson discusses proper alignment and how to achieve it while exercising. She is aided by Michael (different Michael). The video is from our upcoming DVD, “Everyday Pilates”. For those of you wary of the word “Pilates” (as the word was yesterday’s “core”), fear not: it is simply a science of alignment and balance. Watch and learn, my friends.
As a parent, I want what’s best for my kids. And I am pretty sure that almost all parents would agree with me. The idea of our children becoming unhealthy is, at best, terrifying. But, as the percentage of children battling weight-related problems continues to increase, weight itself is a harbinger of problems that can occur later in life. And, according to new studies and reported in the LA Times, major factors in children’s weight-related issues may be in place prior to birth.
According to a study from 2008 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the odds of a 7-year old being overweight were 48% higher if his or her mother exceeded recommended weight gain guidelines during pregnancy. Another more recent study found that obesity risks rose with a weight to length ratio in the first year of life: if a child was in the 75% for length but 95% for weight, the risks for later weight-related problems increased. The reasoning is that as the brain is developing, it may be programmed to expect more food in order to feel sated. And the study team found that obese children as young as three had higher levels of a protein marker for the inflammation that leads to heart disease.
We have many women pass through the Guru during pregnancy. Without question, they take the idea of health and nutrition very seriously and, with the help of their doctors, seek to maintain balance in their food choices. Yet there is always temptation and many women might choose to go crazy with “cravings”, reaching for the Snickers bar instead of a piece of fruit.
I recall about ten years ago, I had a wonderful woman, then in her 70′s, who used to come to my aerobics classes. Blanche. Blanche would casually regail us with stories of the three children she had and her wonderful pregnancies. She was able to keep her weight down by using speed. Hey, she would say, it worked, and the kids were alright. This was the same period that expectant moms could also be found lighting up their ciggies if they were stressed out. It took a little time, but both speed and tobacco fell out of favor with expectant mothers.
I hope that the new trend will be the development of healthy eating habits, throughout pregnancy and infancy, allowing kids the opportunity to start off on the right foot.
More info on the recent FDA recall of certain products that contain HVP, a flavor enhancing additive linked to a 40-state wide Salmonella outbreak. Apparently, the company that was processing the tainted additive continued shipping the product and it has been linked to certain flavors of Pringles. Oh, and salami……
Check out this video. The info is a bit more of the same, but the phrase “salami outbreak” has never been used with such seriousness.
Posted by Guru
Tomorrow, Friday, March 12th at 4pm Eastern I will be hosting Tea with the Guru. This will be our very first video Town Meeting. Thanks to my buddy Harris (thanks, Harris), I have set up a little meeting room on Dimdim.com and can host up to 50 people! Pretty extreme, I’d say……
Now, I have no idea what to expect or anticipate. It may turn out to be as interesting as Chatroullette (honestly, have you tried it? You’ll never get those minutes of your life back), but I wanted to offer a forum for your questions that’s a little more immediate than the blog.
If its successful, then we’ll make it a regular occurrence. If its unsuccessful, well, then, its really just me sitting alone in a chat room sipping tea.
So prepare your questions, tell your friends and come and join me tomorrow.
Oh……here is where you’re going:
Tea with the Guru (Chat room)