Weight-loss, Grief, and the Gridiron

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Eagles right guard Shawn Andrews is on a mission this off-season: beat the battle of the bulge. Staff writer Ashley Fox explains Andrews wouldn't let himself to hit the four hundreds despite some terrible news:

After the Eagles' season ended in January, Andrews gained 10 pounds, pushing perilously close to a weight that began with the number four. He made a decision. Enough was enough. He had to stop.

In April, weeks into a diet that was showing results, Andrews went to a park near his Arkansas home with a childhood buddy named Willie. The two had ridden the bus together to third grade, had pigged out in home economics class, had played hoops. Like Andrews, Willie was a big man, but unlike Andrews, he had stopped working out years ago.

That day, Andrews and Willie sat at the park watching the cars go by, talking about their lives and winking at girls. Afterward, Andrews went to Subway, ordering a chicken teriyaki sandwich on whole wheat bread, Sun chips, and a bottle of water. Two hours later, he got the call. Willie was dead, apparently of a heart attack brought on by high blood pressure. He was 23.

Ten Minutes a Day to Fight Childhood Obesity

HealthDay News reports Wellness, Academics and You (WAY) a new program designed to help schoolchildren lose weight resulted in a two percent reduction in the number of overweight kids. Appearing in the Journal of Obesity Research the pilot study appears promising:

The study also found that students who took part in the Wellness, Academics and You (WAY) program for a semester ate more fruits and vegetables and increased their levels of physical activity--from an average of just under 12 minutes during the school day to 20.5 minutes, and from about 22 minutes a day outside of school to over 37 minutes.

Under the WAY program, students take 10-minute daily classroom breaks to exercise along with a video. Lessons on nutrition, calories, goal setting and stress management are also incorporated into core subjects--math, language arts, science, and social studies.

Check out the WAY homepage.

The Obesity Myth?

The other day I found this video clip of The Obesity Myth author Paul Campos (via ZestyPing) giving a speech at a conference in Massachusetts.

Campos contends that the obesity epidemic in this country is a media construct and not based in fact. Here are some more of his points:

  • The correlations between obesity and illness/mortality are weak
  • Weight cycling is bad
  • Good diet and exercise = health at any size
  • Weight loss programs don't inspire health or improved mortality

Intrigued by the video, I passed it along to Dr. Fuhrman. Here's what he had to say:

Since almost all typical diets fail and result in regain of the weight anyway, Mr. Campos is correct that weight cycling is bad and weight loss programs don't work. A truly good diet and exercise are the key points; the main problem with his reasoning is that he doesn't know what a good diet is. If he did he would find that people who follow a good diet stop being overweight and are no longer overweight. He is also wrong about the correlation between obesity and mortality.

So the difference is that Eat to Live was designed first as the healthiest way to eat. The side effect is that people gravitate pretty rapidly to their ideal weight and furthermore, it is a knowledge-based approach that makes the client the nutritional expert, so they gain back control of their health destiny and their weight. It is not a diet, if a diet means restricting calories, portions or trying to lose weight.

Your health and weight are governed by the law of cause and effect. Most people don't fail because of lack of effort. The most common mistake that prevents people from achieving their goals is that they do the same thing over and over expecting a different result. They get locked into a single way of looking at things. Taking a different approach requires us to think differently. The standard diet is so nutrient-poor that it leads to a tremendous drive to over eat calories and causes withdrawal symptoms leading to cravings and food addictions (toxic hunger).

Eat to LiveStandard American Diet (SAD)
Lots of beans, nuts and seedsLots of dairy and meats
5 - 10 fresh fruits dailyLots of refined sweeteners
Oil used sparinglyOils supply a major caloric load
Animal products 2 - 5 times a weekAnimal products 2- 5 times a day
Focused on nutrient-dense calories Focused on nutrient-poor calories

The thought process behind the diet-style described in my book entitled, Eat to Live differs from conventional diets. When I first developed the Eat to Live approach, I started by asking: what is the healthiest way to eat? The fact that it is also the most effective way to lose weight is a great bonus. Other diets seem to be based on the premise: How can we make a popular diet and what type of gimmick or hook will sell books? My primary goal was not popularity or economic success. I have a duty to patients who rely on me for life saving advice. My goal was to be scientifically accurate and the most effective for both weight loss and disease reversal, bar none.

My book, Eat to Live has succeeded beyond my expectations. The people who have adopted this plan have achieved remarkable success, reversed their chronic diseases, and achieved a consistent healthy weight. The book has been translated into many foreign languages and has become a best seller. However, Eat to Live was written to speak to people who could not lose weight, no matter what they tried. It was not written for the masses and has limitations for wide acceptance by our society. Most people are looking for magic and are not interested in what the healthiest way to eat is, or the healthiest way to lose weight.

And lastly, taste is learned and food preferences can change and the myth that healthy eating has to take a second seat regarding taste or pleasure in life is simply incorrect. When people realize they can eat as much as they desire, not be hungry and uncomfortable, lose lots of weight and have the food taste as good or better than their prior diet, it is a no-brainer and they keep the weight off for life. But it takes time for food preferences to change, to learn the recipes and science that supports it.

Health News Bits and Pieces

On any given day you'll find hundreds of health-related news stories circulating throughout the web. Here are a few Associated Press stories that caught my eye:

Washington Post: Social Attitude Towards Fat

Eat to Live is a scientifically devised system. Dr. Fuhrman's claims about weight loss, nutritional excellence, and protection against disease, are stringently backed up by respected research and studies. But today's obesity epidemic isn't all about logic; there are also social and emotional complications to consider. Dr. Fuhrman explains:

It's not easy to change: eating has emotional and social overtones. It is especially difficult to break an addiction. Our American diet style is addicting, as you will learn, but not as addictive as smoking cigarettes. Stopping smoking is very hard, but many still succeed. I have heard many excuses over the years, from smokers aiming to quit and sometimes even from failed dieters. Making any change is not easy. Obviously, most people know if they change their diet enough and exercise, they can lose weight—but they still can't do it.

Surely someone who is overweight would prefer not to be, and for good reason. An article in The Washington Post explains negative attitudes about fatness can play a big part in inspiring people to lose weight. Sally Squires reports:

A number of studies have documented a pervasive bias against fat people, who often earn less income than their thinner counterparts. Research points to discrimination against corpulent men and women in a variety of places, including health care. Public opinion polls find that those who weigh too much are routinely stereotyped as lazy, slow and unmotivated compared with people at a healthier weight, who are more likely to be described as smart, competent and attractive.

The surprise? Overweight and obese people share many of the same negative views about their hefty counterparts. "It is another hurdle to weight loss," says Marlene B. Schwartz, associate director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and co-author of a recent study examining the effect of one's own weight on fat bias.

The study, which involved 4,286 people, was one of the first to examine attitudes about obesity in people of all body weights. Like previous research, it found that a large proportion of lean people have negative views about the obese. The lower the body mass index of participants, the more likely they were to hold strong anti-fat opinions.

According to the study the anti-fat sentiment in this country is so strong that 4 percent of the participants would trade blindness for obesity and 5 percent would sacrifice a limb to be thin. In the Washington Post, Yale's Schwartz suggests that ingrained hatred of fat can actually sabotage weight-loss efforts:

"Hating yourself is not a good way to motivate yourself to engage in healthier behaviors," Schwartz says, noting that "if you have been so conditioned to see yourself as lazy, that has to get in your way when you are trying to go outside to take a walk or take the stairs instead of the elevator."

That's why Dr. Fuhrman is careful to describe Eat to Live as a long-term life change, not a quick fix diet (and you don't have to give up an arm and a leg):

Eat to Live will allow everyone who stays on the program to become slimmer, healthier, and younger looking. You will embark on an adventure that will transform your entire life. Not only will you lose weight, you will sleep better, feel better physically, have more energy, and feel better emotionally. And you will lower your chances of developing serious diseases in the future. You will learn why diets haven't worked for you in the past and why so many popular weight-loss plans simply do not meet the scientific criteria for effectiveness and safety.

Everyone Else Is Fat!

Last month The New York Times reported on survey results from PewResearch.org. Apparently 90% of Americans consider others fat, 70% consider acquaintances fat, and just 40% consider themselves overweight. Confused? Eric Nagourney reports:

The numbers may not seem to add up, but that is what a study from the Pew Research Center found in surveying more than 2,250 adults about the worsening obesity problem.

"People tend to see the weight problem of the nation as a whole as being greater than the weight problems of their friends and acquaintances," said the report, online at pewresearch.org.

The survey respondents are certainly right when it comes to the big picture. Federal studies, the report noted, estimate that about 31 percent of American adults are obese, and that an additional third are overweight.

"But when they think about weight," the researchers wrote of the people surveyed, "they appear to use different scales for different people."

I'm not a doctor, but a telephone survey seems to a horrible way of determining if a person is fat or not. Dr. Fuhrman determines healthy body weight by checking a person's percentage of body fat and measuring their periumbilical fat. What's that? He explains it's as simple as pinching near a person's umbilicus (navel) and measuring the distance between two fingers.

Dr. Fuhrman mentions that a lot of his patients on Eat to Live claim to be "so thin," but once he measures them, they realize they've still got work to do.

For more on this issue check out this previous post: I'm Not Fat

Cross-Country Fat Man

In March DiseaseProof learned about Steve Vaught--an obese man from San Diego--and his mission to walk across the country. Two months later Steve is more than 100 pounds lighter and nearing his destination the George Washington Bridge in New York. Matthew Verrinder of the Associated Press reports:

Vaught set out on his journey on April 10, 2005, hoping to complete the trip in six months. By early November, he had reached the halfway point after walking 1,400 miles. After taking a break for the holidays, he resumed walking in January.

He has kept a running log of his trek on his Web site, TheFatManWalking.com, which has gotten hundreds of thousands of hits, while others have watched him on Oprah Winfrey's TV show.

"People try to make this about calories and scales, but this is about living your life," he said Monday, walking briskly along Route 46—about 25 miles from his goal—as cars hummed past and beeped, a large paunch still part of his 305 pounds. "I spent 15 years either regretting the past or fearing the future. Now I'm living in the present."

He says he's gone through 15 pair of shoes, 12 pairs of pants, three shirts, 30 pairs of socks and his own sanity—twice.

Big Portions, Small Waistlines

The driving force behind permanent weight control is not eating less, it's eating more! No, not more chips, cookies, and cheeseburgers (staples of the standard American diet), but rather large quantities of nutrient-dense appetite-blunting foods like fruits and vegetables. Dr. Fuhrman elaborates in Eat to Live:

Eating large quantities of high-nutrient foods is the secret to optimal health and permanent weight control. In fact, eating much larger portions of food is one of the beauties of the Eat to Live diet. You eat more, which effectively blunts your appetite, and you lose weight—permanently.

Once you being to learn which foods make the grade—by having a high proportion of nutrients to calories—you are on your way to lifelong weight control and improved health.

A recent report on MSNBC.com discusses a new Penn State University study uncovering similar findings to Dr. Fuhrman's claim. Karen Collins, R.D. reports:

In the second half of the Penn State study, when portion sizes were kept the same and subtle changes were made to the foods so that they were 25 percent lower in calories, the women ate virtually the same portion as before. Since they did not eat more food to compensate for the lower calorie content, their calorie consumption dropped by 24 percent, or about 575 calories a day. The women's calorie intakes were slightly below what they needed to maintain their weight. If they continued eating this way for a longer period, they could expect to see weight loss of about one pound a week.

While the first round of research only decreased the amount of food eaten by participants (without focus on nutrient density), the next phase did the opposite; portion size remained the same, but the participants were supplied better nutrition. Collins' report closes with the following recommendations:

When you prepare your own meals and snacks, it's easy to make them less concentrated in calories by substituting ingredients with less fat or calories and increasing the proportion of vegetables and fruits. However, when you eat foods prepared by others, it's harder to judge the number of calories.

In these studies, despite dramatic differences in calorie content, the women thought the foods were equal in calories. Although they could usually tell when foods were lower in fat, lowfat foods are not always low-calorie. When you do eat foods prepared by others, watch your portions and choose plenty of vegetables and fruits.

Click here to read the skinny on nutrient density--and the thinking behind Dr. Fuhrman's approach. And a few parting words of inspiration from Dr. Fuhrman:

The Eat to Live diet does not require any deprivation. In fact, you do not have to give up any foods completely. However, as you consume larger and larger portions of health-supporting, high-nutrient foods, your appetite for low-nutrient foods decreases and you gradually lose your addiction to them. You will be able to make a complete commitment to this diet for the rest of your life.

All Children Exercise Simultaneously

Yesterday children from all fifty states exercised in unison for fifteen minutes. The program called All Children Exercise Simultaneously (ACES) hopes to encourage kids to incorporate regular exercise into their lives and adopt healthy diets. Matthew Verrinder of the Associated Press reports:

Len Saunders, a grinning New Jersey elementary school gym teacher started Project ACES in 1989. Students in all 50 states and at least 50 other countries were urged to exercise en masse for 15 minutes Wednesday, all to curb alarming rates of childhood obesity. ACES stands for All Children Exercise Simultaneously.

"Now we just have to get them to do it every day, and we'll be fine," said Saunders, 45, who teaches at Valley View Elementary School, about 25 miles west of Manhattan. "The obesity epidemic is crazy in our country right now. This is not going to change their lives for the 15 minutes today, but it may motivate them to exercise in the future."

Stephanie Saul on Weight Loss Drugs

In this audio clip New York Times reporter Stephanie Saul discusses the drug industry's attempt to combat obesity—with pills. The report declares the desperately obese as "a large market going forward." I'm not sure if this is a pun, a marketing strategy, or both.

The report mentions two drugs, Xenical and Meridia. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains why these drugs are poor alternatives to nutritional excellence:

Remember: for anything to be effective, you have to be on it forever. Even if the drugs were remarkably effective, you would have to be prepared to stay on them forever, the minute you stopped, the benefits would slowly be lost. In the long run, it is still your diet that determines your health and your weight. The amphetamine-related appetite suppressants have received much press, and they were quite popular until their dangers became more well known. They were never approved for long-term use, so it wasn't very wise for people to use them.

The two FDA-approved drugs for weight reduction are Meridia (sibutramine) and Xenical (orlistate). Meridia can cause headache, insomnia, constipation, dry mouth, and hypertension and is only slightly helpful.1 Xenical, the fat inhibitor, can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea, and reduces absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins such as D, E, and K. It may help those who consume an unhealthful, fatty diet, but even then it is hardly worth the side effects. Overall, drugs are drugs—they are a poor substitute for healthy living.

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