Friday, September 30, 2011

Should a fat governor run for president?

It's all over the Internet. The women of The View can't stop chattering about it. Does it matter that Governor Christie is fat--really fat, visibly fat, overly fat. I am not a supporter of his politics but I keep wondering about all the hoopla over his weight. Our present president was an admitted smoker when he was elected. Is this outcry and interest over Christie's weight just a fat acceptance issue? Is his life (health) more in jeopardy than Obama's was when he was a smoker (Obama says he's conquered his habit). Even I'm not so sure how I feel about this! Health seems to be an important issue for a president. The electorate wondered about McCain's age. Obama's smoking. I wondered about Bush's substance abuse issues way back when. Well, as far as we know, Bush didn't relapse, McCain is still hanging in there and Obama has stopped smoking without any apparent ill effects. So, does it matter that Christie is fat? Shouldn't we be focusing on his politics????

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fast Food and Calories

I don't eat fast food. I've never tasted Wendy's or Burger King or Taco Bell. Have only had McD's a few times because that was my kids' favorite when they were young. Never been to Arby's or Carl's Jr. Can't say that I don't like the food because I've never sampled it. Just never liked the way the food smelled so was never tempted.
A new fast food burger restaurant from California opened up near our house this past week. I knew my husband wanted to try it. Since I was busy watching the Emmys, I suggested he bring some food home from the place. Before he left, I checked the web site for the menu and also clicked on the nutrition info tab.
Whoa. Burger, 470 calories. French fries, 440 calories. Chocolate shake, 820 calories. What! So one meal could add up to more calories than I should have in a day. And, honestly, wasn't that much food in quantity. Holy #*%.
I know. I'm a dietitian. I should know how many calories are in these foods but when it comes to restaurants (whether fast food or traditional), I have no idea how they prepared the food so I can't guess how many calories are in the dish. Take the burger from this new place: thin, didn't look like it weighed more than 3 ounces. The bun? Just an ordinary white bun, a little too large for the burger. A smear of mayo, some lettuce, one slice of tomato and two pickle slices. The fries. Well, okay. Fried in oil. I get it. The shake? What do they put in the shake? I didn't have one so I don't know how thick it was or how big but that's a lot of calories for one drink!
Pretty shocking.
A while back when NYC was getting ready to start posting nutrition information in fast food restaurants, I gave an interview to a journalist about the impending posting. I didn't think it would make any difference to the ordinary consumer who was making choices based solely on taste (and maybe also price). I thought  an informed consumer (like I am), might, however, be swayed by calorie counts. I never would have been a repeat offender at this place because I'm not a fan of the food but the calorie information certainly did keep me from ordering that shake!
I gotta admit, though, that right now I could use some thick and creamy and cold like a chocolate shake.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 minutes a day

There's an ad on my google home page: Tone your butt and abs in just 10 minutes a day. Okay. Sounds good. So why aren't my butt and abs toned when I do about 2 hours of exercise a day? I should be like steel. Like iron. My abs should be like cement.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Parental Responsibility

My mother loved chocolate and cheesecake and french fries. She kept a monster-sized Hershey's milk chocolate bar on the kitchen counter. Every once in a while (and I do not mean every five minutes) she would break off a tiny piece-one even smaller than the marked squares on the bar-to slowly savor while she did her chores.
My mother baked the creamiest most delicious cheesecakes. She would give my father one slice with his evening coffee. Her portion was what was stuck to the knife.
We had homemade french fries probably five nights a week (the other nights we might have pasta or mashed potatoes). I don't ever remember seeing my mother eat more than four or five slender fries.
So, no, my mother was not fat. Not even close. But her likes did influence mine. The difference is that I don't exercise the control that she did. One monster size chocolate bar might last me one day. And even though I don't like cheesecake that much, I would never be satisfied with what was left on the knife after slicing.
Fries. I have a strong feeling about french fries--I love them! A few slender fries would be a tease and definitely lead to many more.
So since my mother introduced me to these foods, is she responsible for my obesity? Because that's what's being debated right now. Should parents be punished for their kids' weight?
On the flip side, if a child suffers from anorexia is there a punishment for that, too? And drug addiction? Poor grades in school?
If you believe that parents of a toddler are responsibile since they are fully in control of what is fed to the child, then what about an obese teen? Should parents be held responsible for how much and what a teenager eats?
This is a sticky issue. According to child feeding expert Ellen Satler, parents decide what is brought into the house and what is served and the kids should decide how much they eat (very simplistic explanation for her recommendations). If parents buy and serve sweetened beverages, fried foods and desserts with every meal, that makes it pretty hard for a kid to avoid obesity even if she is very active and even if she eats only until satisfied. So parents do have some responsibility-especially for very young children who cannot fend for themselves.
I'm just not sure the present discussion about punishing parents for their kids' weight issues is a fair one. That implies that there's only one cause for obesity: eating too much (of the "wrong" foods). If you believe that, then you've not kept up with the research.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beauty Queen Weight Loss

Just saw Miss South Carolina on Today Show. She lost over 100 pounds by eating well and exercising. Shocking! I'm thinking she's particularly "lean" in her swimsuit or so she looks on my TV screen but she looks fit and, dare I say, buff! Her legs look great. And not just because she's wearing those stilt high heels but because she's got muscle there.
She didn't talk about following any particular diet plan or counting calories. She said, "Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats and exercise." Goodness. Is that some sort of fad diet?
She denies having had plastic surgery and I'll believe her because to lie about it might jeopardize her entry into Miss America contest.
She admits to exercising three hours a day before a competition but less than that when she is not competing which tells me that she knows three hours a day is excessive for the average person. Good.
Healthy foods and exercise. Who knew!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guilt Free and other damaging phrases

I might have written about this before but I'm not going to take the time to go back thru all the posts to find out. If it sounds familiar, forgive me and move on.
In the last week I've read a few blog posts about "guilt free" desserts and "guilt free" BBQ options for July 4th. Really? I should be guilty if I eat something that tastes good on a holiday?
Sure. I understand. A 500 calorie slice of cheesecake is probably not a good idea if I'm eating it nightly while lounging on the couch, remote in hand, after a dinner of ribs, fries and soda. But it's the 4th of July, folks. A day to celebrate. Not a day to worry about guilt.
A burger. Maybe some potato salad made with real mayonnaise. Pie topped with ice cream for dessert. Just on Monday. For the holiday. And not a turkey or veggie burger on a whole wheat bun accompanied by potato salad made with fat free yogurt and a plate of fresh berries (delicious though they might be) topped with fat free yogurt mixed with vanilla and Splenda.
You can have that food on Tuesday, July 5th.
Implying that eating something "fattening" should fill me with guilt is a pretty sick idea. Eating shouldn't make a person feel guilty--regardless of what or how much they've eaten or where or how they've eaten it.
Guilt is for murder, rape and other violence against people and animals. Remorse. But not for eating something that perhaps is forbidden on your "diet".
I know. Articles like that grab your attention. You're thinking--I can have my cake and eat it, too. Yes, you can. You can have your "real" cake. Not your ersatz cake. Just this one time. Go for it. Enjoy it. Savor it. Because on Monday you're going to have to go back to deprivation.
End of rant.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Secrets that aren't secrets

From my facebook page today: Articles on the "secret" to maintaining weight loss and the 5 (or 10 or 20) diet foods that are sure to help you lose weight.
Secret? Really? Is it a secret that you should eat less than you did when you were fat if you want to maintain weight loss? Is there really some secret that no one knows about that will ensure no weight gain? These are just the buzz words that catch your eye and get you excited. Then you read the article and discover that the secret tips are just to eat less and exercise more. Or maybe don't buy trigger foods. Or stock your fridge with healthy (whatever that means) snacks. Or the best, eat lots of vegetables. Ooooh. The secret is revealed.
As for the top whatever number of diet foods to help you lose weight--let me guess: Vegetables (volume) are one (or all). Lean protein, of course. Stay hydrated. Puleeze. Heard it all before.
If you don't have something new to say, then please don't rehash and regurgitate. There is no secret. We fatties know what has to be done. There are no magic diet foods. So, stop. Just stop promising me something that you cannot deliver.