The Cleanse

Weight is a progressive disorder.

By that I mean, if you are overweight and you’re not doing something to lose weight, you’re going to gain it; there’s no middle ground. People who battle obesity consistently fool themselves into thinking they can “take a break” and “maintain for awhile.” They can’t. After all, if they could, why would they not have “maintained” ten or twenty pounds lower? That’s not meant to be snarky; it’s just truth.

Eventually the reality, “I’ve let it get out of control” sets in, closely tailed by panic. When that occurs, logic beats a hasty exit and all sorts of strange get-thin-quick behaviors show up on the front porch.

man-looking-at-empty-refrigeratorOne of which is “The Cleanse.”

To lay all my cards on the table, I’m not a fan. One reason is that so many “cleanses” are bizarre at best, even downright unhealthy — not to mention unsustainable.

To that point, I relay a recent conversation with a friend. “I’m on day four of a seven-day cleanse,” he said. “I need advice. I’m starving. I can’t think. I’m ready to bite someone’s head off and all I can think of is eating. What do I do?”

Curious, I asked, “Why are you doing this? Why not a more balanced approach like cutting back a little here and there and adding in some exercise? That would work much better — without the side effects.”

“My girlfriend and I wanted to kick start the weight loss. We found this on line.”

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Captain Obvious Goes on a Diet

I wonder if my dog Willie gets bored walking the same route every day.

dog-formerly-known-as-willie

My inclination is that he doesn’t, but what do I know? Maybe he gets as tired of peeing on the same bushes as I do as walking the same sidewalks. Anyway, bottom line is I take him out on a long walk every morning and, to be honest, can sometimes find it dulling. The solution? I plug in my always-falling-out-of-my-ear-buds and listen to radio.

That backstory in itself is a long walk to explain how I came about hearing an ad for yet another “miracle weight loss product.”

I’ve been writing this column for more than a decade and if you’ve followed it more than, oh, about three weeks, you know that “miracle weight loss products” are one of my prime bugaboos, causing me to become very curmudgeonly and my head to explode. This was no exception; especially because the first words in the advert — even before I knew what was being promoted — were,

“A healthy diet and exercise plan should be part of any weight reduction routine.”

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Dieter beware; it’s the Season

I was prompted to write this because I heard an advertisement proclaiming easy weight loss by simply putting drops on one’s tongue.

Snake-Oil-Diet

This always irks me because I hate it that so many people lie about weight loss; taking advantage of the desperate (and unthinking). The only drops one can put in one’s mouth to cause rapid weight loss would be super glue (and I’m not saying to do that of course). Yet, ‘tis the silly season; that yearly ritual where anyone with a megaphone can make false claims about how one can lose weight overnight, without adjusting any behaviors.

Why do so many buy into this time and time again?

Well, let’s start with some facts: According to surveys, the top New Year’s resolutions are: Number One, “spend more time with family and friends;” and number two is “get fit.” “Losing weight” rounds out the top three.

So, it’s obvious that it’s important to many people.

Paradoxically 80 percent of resolutions find their way into the trash heap by January 20, and 92 percent collapse before year’s end. Bottom line? Only eight percent of resolutions survive the year. Why the low success rate? The reality is that so many people are so desperate to shed that weight — and to do it quickly — that they put their brains into neutral, falling for schemes that they’d never accept if they slowed down long enough to think.

Putting on my consumer advocate hat, I therefore did some research to find out what to avoid, should you wish to be one of the successful eight percent instead of the sad 92. Webmd.com listed several diet types to avoid if you wish to successfully lose weight. [Read more…]

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Birthday Cake Ban

I hate being one of those crotchety old people who hears a story, shakes his head in disgust, and says, “When I was a kid…”

grumpy-old-man-with-caneYet, I find myself in that position (hopefully I am not crotchety however).

“When I was a kid…” I don’t remember parents bringing birthday cakes or cupcakes to classrooms. I just don’t think it was done way back then; maybe they melted on the stagecoach ride over. Who knows? Yet, times change and it appears to be standard operating behavior for parents to do so nowadays — that is, unless you reside in Northern Kentucky.

Burlington Elementary School in the Bluegrass State revised its wellness policy.

The end result is a ban on food for school birthday celebrations. We’re not just talking about cakes; rather — in the interest of promoting healthier food choices — ALL other snacks are now verboten. Non-food “treats” such as pencils, balloons, erasers and book-marks are suggested. (“Happy birthday Johnny, now blow out your bookmark!”)

The intention is laudable; they’re actually doing some-thing to combat the ever-burgeoning obesity crisis and attempting to shift the focus of celebrations away from food. Good on them for that. And there are indeed health concerns involving food allergies; not to mention, I imagine it’s purt’ near impossible to school a child redlining on a sugar buzz.

Yet I have concerns.

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Double Standards Anyone?

Recently, a male “news” commentator on a national “news” network was referencing Michelle Obama’s cause about better childhood nutrition and made a rather insulting remark — while sitting on a couch surrounded by four women no less. One of the female panelists berated Mrs. Obama’s initiative saying, we don’t need “the federal government projecting these standards upon us.”

The man augmented her opinion with,

“How well could she be eating? She needs to drop a few.” After a shocked reaction from the women, he went on, “No, let’s be honest…who are we taking nutrition advice from? There’s no french fries happening? That’s all kale and carrots? I don’t buy it.”

 

Okay, where to begin? Step one; reassemble my exploded head.

I’ve said before, and will most likely have opportunity to say again, that I don’t get the thing about putting down the First Lady’s attempt to make our next generation healthier. Sugar is still as aplenty as sand in the desert and shadowy men wearing trench coats do not yet sell chocolate candy in dark alleys. Can we have a reality check? Our kids are getting fatter; it’s undeniable. Something has to be done and whether your like her or not, the First Lady has propelled the conversation into the spotlight so that unto its own is already a success. You don’t like her ideas? That’s fine. Step to the plate and come up with something else, but we need to adjust the vector of this country’s future health, and we need to do it yesterday. All hands on deck.

Additionally, if hypocrisy were water, he’d drown.

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