Bad Foods That Are Good for Weight Loss

February 21st, 2011

More Fat-Fighting Food ideas from Medicine.Net

Seductive foods seem to lurk at every turn, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. But many foods that have gotten a bad rap aren’t so terrible after all. Learn which tempting treats can actually help you lose weight and keep it off.

Weight loss Pictures Slideshow: Bad Foods That Are Good for Weight Loss

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Success Story

February 16th, 2011

Learn How Bill Botcher Lost 110 Pounds and How His Weight Loss Success Has Changed His Life.

What was really killing me: At 55 years old, I smoked, was overweight (235 pounds), suffered from sleep apnea, and had high blood pressure (150/100), high cholesterol (250), and type 2 diabetes. My eyesight was declining, and I generally did not feel well.

My wake-up call: Hearing the emergency room doctors say, “With your blood sugar level, we’re amazed that you’re not in a coma — or dead!” That was in March 2008, when I was hospitalized with a blood sugar level of 1247 (normal levels are between 70 and 150 milligrams). The hospitalization and subsequent diabetes diagnosis scared me into making major life changes.

What I changed: Everything!

  • I quit smoking.
  • I stopped eating cake, cookies, and fast food.
  • I added fruit, vegetables, whole wheat, and lean protein to my diet.
  • I started exercising daily at the gym, using the elliptical and doing some weight training (if I don’t make it to the gym, I walk for an hour).

How my life has changed: Since taking control of my health, I’ve lost weight (current weight: 152 pounds) and conquered my sleep apnea, so I no longer need to use a machine while I sleep. I’ve been taken off of my blood pressure medication and am almost free of my cholesterol medication. My eyesight has greatly improved because my diabetes is under control, and I’ve been taken off all insulin.

What keeps me motivated and on track: My grandchild. I want to be around for a while and watch him grow up.

What I really love about the new me: People usually think I am younger than I am. [I've lost 110 pounds] and have abs and the whole bit. Don’t have a gray hair in my head!

Originally posted on Real

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Tangled Up in Food

February 9th, 2011

So let’s say that over the last month or so you’ve made a really valiant effort at sticking to your New Year’s resolutions – this year was going to be different!

And you can honestly say that you’ve tried to consistently make it to the gym or workout at home. You’ve tried to make better food choices and refrain from eating as many “not as healthy” foods and you’ve even experimented with some new “healthy” recipes.

And yet, you haven’t made as much progress as you would have liked and you’re wondering why?

Why don’t you feel better?

Why haven’t you lost more weight?

Why does it seem as if you’re eating more than ever?

Could it be that you’re unconsciously sabotaging your efforts, or that you’ve been unwilling or unable to let go of some of your old habits?

According to you might be “Tangled Up in Food.”

Even the healthiest eaters are prone to occasional food transgressions — a dinner downed in front of the TV, a lunch wolfed down on the way to an appointment, a snack attack that sneaks up on us. As long as such lackluster eating experiences are the exception, and not the rule, they’re probably no cause for worry. But what about when the occasional “whoops!” becomes part of a more persistent pattern?

Over time, such patterns can become ingrained tendencies — unconscious ways of interacting with food so automatic, and so subtly destructive, we don’t fully recognize the damage they’re doing to our bodies and minds, or just how habitual they’ve become.

The first step in disentangling ourselves from such tendencies is identifying where problem-eating patterns may have taken root in our own lives. The next step is deciding which of those patterns we want to take on first — and how.

Read More…

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27 Fat-Fighting Foods

February 4th, 2011

Over the past number of weeks: you’ve gotten to “Know your Food” better, you’ve been practicing “Mindful Eating,” and you’ve started to “Cook Your Food” instead of ordering take out or picking something up on the way home, or just grabbing anything that you find in your refrigerator. And best of all, Uncle Sam has finally come out with clear and concise guidelines (well not really!) of what you should eat, how much you should eat and where the staples of your diet should come from.

And yet with all of this information, you still feel as if you’re stuck in a fog, you still aren’t sure what foods to incorporate into your diet to make it healthier, nutritious and satisfying, and you’re running out of your own ideas quickly!

So what are you to do?

Well, Medicine.Net has some ideas for you… 27 to be exact!

Anyone and everyone who is serious about improving their overall diet should consider incorporating this wonderful list of foods into their everyday meals.

Healthy Eating Pictures Slideshow: 27 Fat-Fighting Foods

And here are some Books to Consider: The 10 Things You Need to Eat, Recipes for Health, The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life

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Better Late Than Never

February 2nd, 2011

It is mindboggling to me that our government is just now embracing the recommendation to “eat less,” when for decades (see Jack LaLanne), if not for over a century (see Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters) many in the medical community and the fitness industry have been recommending just that… But I guess it’s better late than never.

Government’s Dietary Advice: Eat Less

As the nation’s obesity crisis continues unabated, federal regulators on Monday issued their bluntest nutrition advice to date: drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed foods filled with sodium, fat or sugar.

More important, perhaps, the government told Americans, “Enjoy your food, but eat less.” Many Americans eat too many calories every day, expanding their waistlines and imperiling their health.

While the recommendations may seem obvious, it is nonetheless considered major progress for federal regulators, who have long skirted the issue, wary of the powerful food lobby. (The 112-page report even subtly suggests that people eat less pizza and dessert.)

Previous guidelines urged Americans to curb sugar, solid fats and salt, but avoided naming specific foods, let alone urging consumers to eat less food over all.

“For them to have said ‘eat less’ is really new. Who would have thought?” said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “We should have been saying ‘eat less’ for a decade.”

Ms. Wootan said she was nonetheless pleased that the guidelines provided “understandable and actionable” advice rather than the “big vague messages” of the past.

For instance, she applauded the advice to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

“Before, the dietary guidelines said, ‘Eat more fruits and vegetables,’ but that could mean add a slice of tomato to your hamburger,” she said.

Robert C. Post, deputy director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the Agriculture Department, said regulators hoped simple messages would resonate better than the more technical prose of the past.

“Maybe that is what will help this time to get the consumer’s attention,” he said.

While the guidelines are ostensibly for consumers and federal nutrition programs, they will undoubtedly put additional pressure on the food industry to reformulate processed foods, particularly to reduce the amount of sodium, which was emphasized in the report.

Similarly, the guidelines’ advice to reduce portion size could put pressure on restaurants, many of which continue to serve portions so large that they could easily serve two people under the government’s guidelines.

“If companies don’t change their practices and reformulate their products, people don’t have a chance of following the dietary guidelines,” Ms. Wootan said.

Just two weeks ago, Wal-Mart Stores announced a five-year plan to reformulate its store-brand packaged foods and drop the price on fruits and vegetables. Wal-Mart said it would pressure its major suppliers to do the same.

In addition, the first lady, Michelle Obama, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York have pushed for manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of trans fat and sodium in their products.

Several food manufacturers noted that they had already taken major steps to reduce the amount of sodium in their products, though some critics say they have not gone far enough.

“We feel great about the progress we are making,” said Susan Davison, a spokeswoman for Kraft Foods, one of the largest food makers in the world. The company has vowed to reduce sodium in its North American portfolio by an average of 10 percent by 2012, and Ms. Davison said it had already met that goal in 350 products and would eventually reformulate more than 1,000 products.

“We know that our consumers are interested in monitoring their sodium intake,” she said. “We are looking for ways to help them without giving up the foods they love.”

David S. Smith, a vice president at Campbell Soup who oversees research and development, said his company was offering reduced-sodium versions of hundreds of its products, in some cases replacing regular salt with smaller amounts of sea salt. He said the company was continuing to look for ways to cut sodium even further.

Salt is not an easy thing to replace, he said. “It is very challenging.”

The specific recommendations on various nutrients were largely unchanged in this year’s guidelines, compared to the last version in 2005, though reductions in sodium were given much greater emphasis.

Under the guidelines released Monday, about half of the populace should consume 1,500 milligrams of sodium or less each day. That includes children, African-Americans and anyone who is older than 50 or has hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Everyone else may consume up to 2,300 milligrams, about a teaspoon.

Now, Americans on average consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day.

In addition, the guidelines recommend consuming less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids, replacing them with so-called good fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The guidelines suggest making fruits and vegetables cover half of the plate at a meal, choosing fat-free and low-fat dairy products and eating more whole grains and seafood.

August Schumacher Jr., a former agriculture under secretary, said government farm policies needed to be revised to provide incentives for farmers across the country to plant more fruits and vegetables.

In addition, Mr. Schumacher, now executive vice president of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit group that promotes access to healthy foods, said the government needed to help consumers, particularly those on food stamps, get access to fruits, vegetables and other foods recommended in the guidelines.

The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services revise the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a thick booklet that lays out an ideal diet to maintain health, every five years. The panel produces a draft that is reviewed and tweaked by regulators and eventually made public.

In 2005, the last time the guidelines were revised, the government urged Americans to eat more whole grains and less sugar. It was the first time the guidelines recommended replacing refined grains with whole grains, and it prompted major changes in the ingredients used by food manufacturers.

General Mills, for instance, replaced refined grains with whole grains in its breakfast cereals, and many bread makers did the same.

While the guidelines urge Americans to eat less, they do not change the suggested daily caloric levels for most Americans, which vary depending on age and activity level.

But many Americans already eat more calories each day than they are supposed to eat by ignoring the dietary guidance.

Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer at Weight Watchers, said she was particularly pleased that the advice was so simple. The two overarching themes of the report are: maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, and focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages.

“The last many guidelines have focused on process, this many milligrams of sodium, that much fat. I think what these do is lay out the basics,” Ms. Miller-Kovach said. “If you cut calories and you make those calories count in terms of those nutrients, what happens? All those numbers fall into place.”

By Andrew Martin, with contributions from Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The New York Times

Related story: New U.S. Dietary Guidelines Emphasize Plant-based Foods, By Neal Barnard M.D., and New Dietary Guidelines: A Physician’s Perspective, By David Katz, M.D. / The Huffington Post

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Prescription: Lifestyle Change

January 31st, 2011

Wellness: Does Your Doc Know What To Look For?

Has your doctor ever given you an Rx for exercise? June Chapman got one last summer, a first for the 87-year-old retiree in San Marcos, Calif. “You sit on a chair, arms at your side,” she says of the exercise her internist prescribed, “then rise up and sit back down on it. Every day. Repeat as often as you can.”

Chapman’s doctor was a little ahead of the curve in recommending this kind of chairobic activity. Starting Jan. 1, all 46.6 million Medicare beneficiaries become eligible for wellness visits. Unlike a physical, in which a doctor is mainly looking for big-time problems — and may spend only a minute or two scolding you for not eating right or exercising more — a wellness visit is designed to promote health and include lessons in how to make better lifestyle choices so you can avoid or reduce the effects of conditions like hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Medicare recipients will be able to get this kind of coaching free once a year. And if the health care reform law kicks in as scheduled, many private health plans will be required — or, in some cases, given incentives — to offer expanded wellness benefits by 2014.

“For the first time, doctors will be reimbursed by Medicare for talking to patients on an ongoing basis about healthy behaviors,” says Dr. Edward Phillips, director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine (ILM), an education and advocacy group co-founded in 2007 by Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. The only downside: the current crop of physicians isn’t nearly as good at improving patients’ routines as it is at treating sickness. “The average doctor is hamstrung by lack of time, training and interest,” says Dr. Alex Lickerman, former director of primary care at the University of Chicago. “How many sit down with patients and talk about the barriers to losing weight? Most doctors are not there [yet].”

The new wellness benefit tasks doctors with creating “personalized prevention plans,” which ideally will be tailored to each patient’s daily routine, psyche and family life. And if that sounds more like a nanny-state mandate than medicine, consider that some 75% of the $2.47 trillion in annual U.S. health care costs stems from chronic diseases, many of which can be prevented or delayed by lifestyle choices.

There’s no question Americans need to stop smoking, eat less junk food and get more exercise. But can physicians — many of whom have little training in nutrition or exercise coaching — succeed in altering behaviors? “We are working our buns off trying to get these people to change their lifestyle,” says Dr. Ann Sheffels, a family physician in a Minneapolis suburb. “But the public hasn’t bought into it yet.” Literally. Private insurers and corporate wellness initiatives have even resorted, with limited success, to offering cash, gifts and reductions in insurance premiums in an effort to motivate people to change their ways.

Some firms, in trying to bring down health care costs, have hired health coaches to reach out to the sedentary or overweight to get them moving more. Others use interactive voice-response systems to keep tabs on participants’ progress. In a study, Aetna set out to see whether it could reduce hypertension — and the attendant risks of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure — among its Medicare Advantage members. More than 1,100 participants were given automated blood-pressure cuffs and told to call in with readings at least monthly. They also got quarterly reminders to dial in. When they did so, an automated system run by Silverlink Communications provided immediate feedback, explaining what the readings meant and where to call for further advice. Alerts were also sent to nurse managers when readings were dangerously high. The result: of the 217 people who started out with uncontrolled hypertension and stuck with the program for a year or so, nearly 57% got their blood pressure under control.

This kind of prodding is too labor-intensive for physicians to take on alone. And if they’re going to lead a team of dietitians, exercise physiotherapists and other health professionals, many doctors will need more training. That’s where the nascent field of lifestyle medicine comes in. For example, in 2009, Chapman’s internist, Dr. Brian Meyerhoff, took an ILM course called Active Doctors, Active Patients: the Science and Experience of Exercise, which not only teaches physicians to be better role models by increasing their own fitness level but also helps them prescribe exercise regimens tailored to a patient’s age and health. Nutrition is on the medical menu too: Harvard’s upcoming continuing-education course Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives: Caring for Our Patients and Ourselves sold out five months in advance.

The key to getting doctors to bone up on these kinds of topics is reimbursement, says Dr. Dean Ornish, the California-based physician who has spent three decades showing how altering patients’ habits can reverse heart disease. “Doctors don’t learn this in medical school because they’re not paid for it,” he says. But that is beginning to change. In August, Medicare doubled coverage of Ornish’s cardiac rehab programs, to 72 one-hour sessions with a hospital-based team whose specialties include exercise, yoga and psychology. The catch is that all the sessions have to be completed within 18 weeks.

Intensive lifestyle interventions are not easy, but they can have big payoffs. In 1985, when San Francisco restaurateur Mel Lefer had a massive heart attack at age 53, he could barely walk a block and was not expected to live out the year. After enrolling in one of Ornish’s team-based programs, he started doing yoga and eating a low-fat, vegetarian diet. He lost weight and strengthened his heart along the way. Now 78, Lefer says, “I can toss my grandchildren in the air. I have a wonderful life.” But it took a lot of coaching — and lifestyle changes — to get him there.

By Francine Russo

Related posts: Physician’s Personal Habits Matter in Diet, Exercise Counseling, More Reason to “Be In Charge of Your Own Health and Wellness”

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150 Years of Dieting Fads and still No Quick Fix

January 26th, 2011

Before there was Dr. Atkins, there was William Banting. He invented the low-carb diet of 1863. Even then Americans were trying out advice that urged fish, mutton or “any meat except pork” for breakfast, lunch and dinner – hold the potatoes, please.

It turns out our obsession with weight and how to lose it dates back at least 150 years. And while now we say “overweight” instead of “corpulent” – and obesity has become epidemic – a look back at dieting history shows what hasn’t changed is the quest for an easy fix.

Read More…


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Long Live Jack LaLanne…

January 24th, 2011

Rest In Peace… Jack LaLanne
Sept. 26, 1914 – Jan. 23, 2011

A Tribute to a Fitness Icon and Real Life Superhero!
By Nick Tumminello

Jack LaLanne, Founder of Modern Fitness Movement, Dies at 96
The New York Times

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Cook Your Food – To Know Your Food

January 12th, 2011

As we recently discovered from the Consumer Reports Diet Survey, many of us over estimate how healthful our diets and eating habits really are, we under estimate how much we weigh, we’re busier than we’ve ever been and yet not nearly active enough. And only about 50% of us limit the amounts of fat and sugar we eat on a daily basis – in the face of overwhelming evidence that eating too much unhealthy fat and consuming foods and beverages loaded with sugar are major contributors to certain diseases and weight gain.

Most of us are not doctors, dietitians or nutritionists… But we still know that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables, replacing high-fat foods with low-fat or fat-free, consuming less sugar and getting more exercise.

The truth of it is, is that it can be overwhelming to constantly be reading food labels, asking about ingredients at your local restaurants or trying to add-up the total number of calories in the food that you intend to eat, or try to figure out how much exercise you must do in order to burn-off the calories you’ve had throughout your day. And that’s why it’s no surprise that most of us don’t even try!

But… Do not despair.

One of the most effective, easy to implement and cost effective ways that you can take charge of the amount of fat, sugar and the number of calories you eat…

Is to cook your own food.

Mark Bittman, food columnist for The New York Times has written a wonderful piece about the importance of cooking your own food (including recipes), and how by cooking your own food you not only improve your diet and eating habits, but by cooking your own food you might even be helping the environment.

“Revolutionary” diet books flood the market this time of year, promising a life changed permanently and for the better — yes, in just 10 to 30 days! — but, as everyone knows, the key to eating better begins with a diet of real food.

The problem is, real food is cooked by real people — you! — and real people are cooking less than ever before.We know why people don’t cook, or at least we think we do: they’re busy; they find “convenience” and restaurant foods more accessible than foods they cook themselves; they (incorrectly) believe that ready-to-eat foods are less expensive than those they cook themselves; they live in so-called food deserts and lack access to real food; and they were never taught to cook by their parents, making the trend self-perpetuating.

Read More…

Love to Cook? If you do, share some of your favorite healthy recipes with Motivated And Fit and I’ll share them with my readers.

Related post: To Cook is to Eat Well

Related Article: 10 New Diet Books for 2011

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Be Mindful

January 10th, 2011

One of the most effective ways to “Know Your FOOD” is to be Mindful of what you eat, when you eat, how you eat, how much you eat, and most importantly – WHY YOU EAT.

Practicing Mindful Eating will help you answer those questions, assist you in gaining a better understanding of your relationship to food and the kind of food choices you make, and fine-tune your senses so that eating becomes a pleasurable and satisfying experience.

What is Mindful Eating?

It is a positive and nurturing awareness,
accomplished through respecting inner wisdom.

Mindful Eating is about choosing foods that are pleasing
and nourishing by using all of your senses.

Mindful Eating acknowledges likes
and dislikes of food without judgment.

Finally, by increasing awareness of physical and emotional cues
individuals are able to use this wisdom to guide eating and food choices.

Excerpted from The Principles of Mindful Eating by The Center for Mindful Eating

To Learn more about Mindful Eating, Read: Responding & Reacting – Part’s 1, 2, 3,

By Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD., CDE,
and Co- Founder of The Center for Mindful Eating

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