Health/Nutrition

Obesity: In Black and White

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So here’s a gut kicker that happened to me today. Regularly, I go to my general practitioner for a med check and I for the most part I request that they don’t check my weight.  As much as I talk about how the number on the scale isn’t necessarily an accurate indicator of one’s health and definitely not a definition of one’s worth – there are times when that number grabs a hold of my self esteem and drags it down a few notches.

BMI Issues I received an invitation to my GP’s medical website that has all of my health information and records. As I logged in, guess what was the first thing I saw? My weight. The second thing? That it was classified as obese. My files show one of my diagnosis is Obesity. I know I have gained some weight in the past year –and it hasn’t been from strength training. The past year definitely knocked me on my butt emotionally and I am no different than many others out there — I wasn’t interested in being diligent in what I was eating and eating crap made me feel better – at least at that moment in time.  But.. even with that – there is no way I am obese. Intellectually I know this — even with my admission that I could stand to lose some poundage-I am not obese.

Even that pod test I did earlier this year didn’t put me at obese.

As I work to beat down the blow to my self esteem, it bears repeating that BMI is not a good indicator of health or a healthy weight — “We’re battering a ram into a brick wall trying to measure success through people’s BMI.

What Everyone Is Afraid to Say About Obesity 

Seeing that word OBESITY in black and white has added to the blah feelings that have been hovering over me lately. I’m exercising just as usual –maybe even at a higher intensity so I know that I have to put the focus on my nutrition. But knowing what I need to do – and doing it are two different things.  I have to figure out what’s going on my head first — and I know it will click.

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Have you ever eaten Pomegranate Seeds? 

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pomPomegranate seeds are antioxidant rich, and have shown to aid in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. One pomegranate contains approximately 50 percent of your daily vitamin C, as well as pantothenic acid (B5), which may help with muscle cramping and prevent insulin resistance.

I find them to be very refreshing but not in the same way a grape is. They are less sweet than a grape, akin to a cranberry but not as tart in my opinion.

Looking for a new twist on a Thanksgiving side meal?  Try making a Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

How to Deseed a Pomegranate

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Obesity: What Can You Do

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I’ve shared a few interesting links the past few days about health and nutrition in case you missed them…

A few posts ago, I shared how the fact that people are getting fatter and sicker became crystal clear after my recent trip to Disney. Seeing the reality of how fat people are outside of my microcosm is still on my mind.

“People are fatter and sicker than ever before.

Obesity rates have tripled since 1980 and have increased particularly fast in children.

The reason why this has happened is still debated among scientists, but it must be due to changes in the environment because our genes don’t change this quickly.” 

I ask myself regularly “what can be done?” There is no one solution that will fix the issue, there are things we can all do on the regular to take control of our own health and wellness.

Fatter-People-Slimmer-Gadgets

Take a Sensible Approach to What You Eat

I personally have experienced how eating a “Paleo” diet does work but I do not believe that it’s a one size fits all solution.  It doesn’t work for everyone – although there is sound research behind the idea that if you eat real, natural, fresh food, the less processed or handled the better, you will see clear health benefits.

Does that mean you should never, ever, ever eat say Pizza? No. Life should be about having fun and enjoying a great meal or treat. Does that mean you should eat it all the time or huge portions? No.  Use common sense. I am not a hard fast follower of the Paleo diet –and in the past few years, even less so. I do know that I feel better when I stop eating crap. My digestive system, my sleep, my skin, my mood and more– improve when I focus on the quality of food and not the quantity.

But I do enjoy ice cream, pizza and caramel and think that a weekly indulgence is important too. Be sensible and aware of what you eat and how it makes you feel.

Exercise

Its Never Too Late To Start Over Find something you like to do and do it – regularly. If that means walking, then walk. You like Zumba? Dance your ass off. Just MOVE YOUR BODY. 2015 is around the corner, but why wait to make a change in your life.  Do 100 squats, 100 push ups, and 100 sit ups every day. Whatever – I am not a fitness snob. The key is to find something you like to do and do it. Don’t pick an exercise you hate. Guess what will happen? You will stop doing it before too long. If you like working out in a group setting, find one. Don’t set yourself up to fail and start slow. You don’t feel like you can keep up in a class? Then don’t. Go at your pace.

The other day in my boxing class, I noticed one new lady was struggling to figure out the combos and getting frustrated. At the end, I just went over as a fellow boxer and reminded her that the point is to keep moving, so if she couldn’t keep up with the combos, just punch. She will get it eventually. You don’t have to be better than anyone else next to you – do the best you can. And be open to trying new things. Who knows you may find you like it.

Think and Focus on Moving Forward

No one is perfect. We have off days and slip and slide all over the place. The important point to remember is it’s NEVER too late to get back on track. And don’t let fear hold you back.

 

Take Care Of Your Teeth: It’s Important

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Dental HygieneI spent the good part of this morning in a dentist chair getting drilled, polished and thoroughly entertained. Entertained you ask? Yes – I found a new dentist who is quite friendly and funny and also has the coolest most updated dental technology I have ever seen.

I have been lax in getting my butt to the dentist the past year and as I am reflecting upon how fast the year has gone by, I knew it was time to start addressing my long to do list of medical appointments that I have put off.

A friend recently said that he likens visiting the dentist to bringing your car in for service. You know once they lift the hood or in my case, once I open my mouth, it’s going to be expensive!

I have a few silver fillings which are starting to deteriorate, so those needed to be replaced.  And I have a cracked tooth which needed a crown on it pronto.  So that was what I was dealing with this morning – good times.

Did you know that poor oral hygiene is a contributor to many systematic diseases?

“There is strong connection between oral diseases and NCDs, namely, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have linked periodontal disease, which is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Patients with diabetes who have periodontal disease have two chronic conditions, each of which may affect the other. The treatment of periodontal disease contributes positively to blood glucose control. Oral cancer is among the world’s most common cancers and tobacco use and excessive alcohol intake are the two major risk factors associated with the life threatening disease.”

Do dirty teeth cause Alzheimers and other disease?

“A study carried out at the University of Central Lancashire suggests that dirty teeth could be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.  A study of brain samples from deceased patients with dementia showed an unusually high level of porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria commonly associated with gum disease.”

So, while we are all so busy whitening our teeth and making sure they enhance our beauty, there are more important reasons to ensure you take care of your teeth!

Obesity at Disney: A Snapshot of Our World

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It was changeconfront6 years ago, during my last trip to Disney,  I started to get my ass in gear and began taking care of myself. Having just gotten back a few days ago from my family’s latest trip there, it became clear to me how many people in the world need to do the same.

Before I go off on a rant about my observations, I want to preface it with the following: Everyone, no matter who they are, what size they are, where they come from, how much money they make, deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.

It seemed to me that something like 80% of the visitors to Disney were overweight. Every park, every hotel; There was an exorbitant amount of seriously obese people everywhere I went. And 9 out of 10 people who were using scooters, were obese.

I guess I live somewhat of a sheltered life in that my social circles – it’s not the norm. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of people who could stand to lose some weight and/or get moving but that’s not what I am talking about. The shock was how many out of control obese people were there.  Before someone points out that it’s an economic thing – these were people visiting Disney! It’s not exactly the definition of affordable.

There are a few things that upset me about seeing this microcosm of our world:

  1. For a majority of the morbidly obese, something in their lives is out of control. It’s not about the food, it’s about what’s going on in their head. To see how many people are so out of control in their lives was shocking.
  2. I understand that everyone has a story and you can’t tell what’s going on in someone else’s world by looking, but it appeared that many of them seem resigned to accept their circumstances. They are obese, it is what it is and they ‘live’ with it. They eat the processed, crap, junk food as if that’s how you should eat.
  3. To add on to my second point above, renting scooters instead of walking isn’t going to help anyone’s situation. I pointed out to my daughter that the average human skeleton isn’t designed to carry a ton of extra weight. It’s hard on the knees, feet – joints in general so I understand the reasons for renting a scooter but there were so many of them in the parks during my visit. So many of the obese people I saw were also in scooters.
  4. They are passing bad habits on to their children. Obviously, being at Disney, there are a ton of parents. It was clear that children are growing up learning their parents’ bad habits. Many of the obese adults I saw had children who were also dealing with their own obesity issues.
  5. While everyone is free to live the way they want, it’s a fact that obesity costs everyone. “The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs.”  PhitAmerica compiled 10 Flabbergasting Costs of America’s Obesity Epidemic that really highlights how obesity isn’t just a personal issue.

While I am totally for splurging while on vacation and Disney is a great place to do that – it is possible to eat healthy there…

The resort we stayed at Port Orleans: French Quarter had a fridge that had containers of fresh fruit and veggies available during all hours in their restaurant. I also noticed that each ‘quick snack’ store also had some options available. Also, if you have any special dietary needs, you simply ask for the Chef. The Chef will come out to discuss your needs and try his/her best to accommodate what you need. We tested it each and every morning with my son’s gluten allergy. I also brought some single serve Justin’s Almond Butter with me so I could dip fresh apples or celery in it for a quick, healthy breakfast or snack during the trip.

So, what’s my point? It was shock to me to see how many people are so out of control in their lives that they let themselves go to that extent. It was shocking, sad and made me angry too. We all have to take personal responsibility for who we are in this world.

Is the obesity epidemic caused by lack of education? is it because of economics?  Is it generational? Yes, yes and yes but does that make it right? No.

We need to participate in the discussion and come up with innovative, strong ways to address it – together.

Body Image: Let’s Take a Stand

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We are headed out on a much needed family vacation for the next few days. The kids are out of school and we figured what the heck. We haven’t had a long family holiday in a while. I’ve been super stressed out and not feeling myself, so hopefully it will be just what I need to bounce back.

Before I go offline for a few days – I wanted to mention something that has been in the news the past few weeks. Body Image…

Girls LEarn to Hate Their BodiesRecently a bit fuss was made over the change in looks of actress Renee Zellweger and of course there are countless gossip columns that live to ‘report’ on the fading youth of some of America’s beloved celebs. Just a few weeks ago, I highlighted the photoshopping of Camille Leblanc Bazient and what message it sends to young women who look up to her.  A fellow CrossFit athlete/blogger explained the harm it can do in a recent post:

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet: Strong, Real, and Less-Than-Perfect

It’s ingrained in our culture and it has taken a toll on everyone.  We all need to take note and push back as much as we can when we see examples of this.  It’s true that little ripples make big waves… 

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Rule Your Mind or It Will Rule You

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Tell Your Story and Let It Go

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I regularly read the musings of an entrepreneur, writer James Altucher. He seems to have a really good perspective and gives good advice.

 Here’s a short excerpt from the Post by James Altucher.

How do you prepare for a good death?

I think we live in four dimensions at the same time.

The physical world, where we can get stabbed in the heart and bleed. The emotional world, where we can get stabbed in the heart and cry.

The mental world, where we can get stabbed in the head and get demented. And the spiritual world where we get stuck living in the past, filled with regret and anxiety.

Stress is the knife of the emotional world. Stress leads to inflammation of the cells (again, I’m a doctor).

The major causes of death in the US: heart attacks, cancer, strokes, Alzheimers – all caused by inflammation. And then diseases caused by smoking. Don’t smoke.

If all you do is work on ways to reduce stress, avoid time travel (obsessing on past and future), and of course, don’t smoke, then you will start preparing for a good death.

Everyone wraps themselves in their dramas: their friends, their family, their divorces, their failures. We build up a mythology of our misery. The pantheon of people who “did this to us”.

Can you take a break from that for today? Just today please. And then maybe tomorrow. If you can’t, then text me why.

Because the truth is:

Nobody did anything to you.

Except your mother.

One of the comments left really spoke to me and it’s something I am going to put into practice…

I did a workshop with a great life coach more than a decade ago, which focused on how people create their personal narratives, and she said she had a rule that she would only tell a story to other people 3 times and after that she’d let it go because to keep re-telling gave it far too much weight and life and kept her from moving on. I try to remember that rule when there is drama in my life; it really does minimize stress, regret and anxiety.

Exercise Can Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis

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Abs of SteelMy company held a health and wellness fair yesterday and offered free 10 minute massages- a regular seated massage and also a shiatsu. I opted for both because a free massage is a good massage in my book. The regular seated massage didn’t do much for me- the women did not go hard enough for me to feel any benefit even after I asked her too. So while I am not going to complain about someone rubbing my back – it wasn’t the most fulfilling 10 mins of my life. But the shiatsu massage was amazing! I didn’t really know what a shiatsu massage was beforehand but I am sold on it.  According to Google:

It’s a form of therapeutic massage in which pressure is applied with the thumbs and palms to those areas of the body used in acupuncture. Also called acupressure. Shiatsu, a Japanese form of acupressure involving finger pressure at specific points on the body, mainly for the purpose of balancing energy in the body.

As the massage therapist worked her magic, she told me how smart I was to do strength training. My bones will be strong and carry me for a while. Which brings me to why I chose

Today’s reason to exercise: to help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

And while osteoporosis is mostly talked about in relation to pre-menopausal women – we need to pay attention to men and children as well.  And the fact is osteoporosis is affecting women younger and younger...

  • 200 million women worldwide have osteoporosis; 10 million live in the United States. (1)
  • 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis are women. (3)
  • A woman’s risk of breaking a hip due to osteoporosis is as high as her combined risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. (3)

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No Negative Thoughts

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014

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A former co-worker at AOL of mine recently shared that she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She moved away quite a few years ago but with the help of social media, we have kept in touch. We weren’t super close, but I had many conversations with her while we worked and have always liked her. The news has struck a chord and I can’t get it out of my mind. Maybe that’s what’s causing my funky mood. Scotty and I both have some post traumatic stress from his cancer treatment. I never know when and what will cause the feelings to come rushing back to me…

Even though the cancer is gone, the CANCER never goes away…

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that one in eight women receives a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime?

breast cancer awareness month

Like with most cancers, we can all do our part in prevention that revolves around living healthier…

  • maintain a healthy weight
  • eating healthy including lots of fruit and veggies
  • exercise
  • limiting alcohol
  • no smoking
  • practice acts of kindness
  • decrease stress in your life

Here are some resources for information and support:

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Kindness

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  • 6A Boxing – 1 hour

 

Know your Audience: Photoshopping Camille LeBlanc Bazinet

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The Box Mag CrossFit  Let me take a minute to talk about the latest ramblings in the CrossFit community that relate to body image. Many folks are upset because The Box Magazine published an altered version of Camille LeBlanc Bazinet on their cover.  Since body image is already a very sensitive issue in this community to begin with, I believe it was poor judgement by the magazine’s editors for photoshopping Camille. Does this magazine not know its audience??

And many folks are like who cares –if she is ok with it, then who are we to be upset?

I get that point but disagree with it because they are contributing to much bigger problem with body image and women. The community around CrossFit are some of the biggest proponents of changing body image misconceptions with showing real, strong women. So, to see this is just another example of how much work still needs to be done for the sake of the younger girl’s growing up. They see enough altered images and I would just have expected higher standards from a magazine that caters to women who are breaking the stereotypes – that’s all. The multitude of images that misrepresent women over and over and over again, contributes to a really f’d up  women’s sense of self. It’s disappointing to see them join the crowd.  I will show them my feelings by no longer supporting their magazine –as I have done with other mainstream mags as well and I encourage you to do that as well. I truly believe in being the change you wish to see in the world…

As a social media professional, their handling of the situation was so bad and added more fire to the fury: 5 Lessons to be Learned From the Camille Photo Controversy

In other matters…

I’m not sure it’s the changing of the season, the weather or the settling in of my new routine, but I have begun to feel unsettled and antsy. There is nothing ‘wrong’ in my life, but I don’t feel as if everything is ‘right’ either.  As I start to try to figure out what’s going on,  it’s also amazing to think about how much change has gone on in my life the past few years. Change in jobs, change in friendships and social circles, change in goals and perceptions. My kids and family have changed – Don’t you wish sometimes that you can make time stop??!!  I know it’s a lot of deep thinking for a Monday morning for sure…

I know that change in general should be welcomed with open arms – it makes it easier to deal with but sometimes, it hits me hard and I go down with a thud – no worries, I get back up again.

Here is some information about Seasonal Mood changes: 10 Tips For Getting Through Seasonal Depression

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Change is Inevitable
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