Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fear of regaining weight

Just read a post on a list serv from another dietitian about some clients who have lost and regained weight so many times that they are "afraid" to try again. Very interesting. I think I understand their fear. How many times can you try? How many times can you do the same thing, even if it's a different regimen, and end up gaining the weight back? It's discouraging. It's frustrating. It's disheartening. And it's embarrassing.
It might feel great when people start noticing that you've lost weight. But they're also going to notice when you've regained. That's when I want to put a bag over my head or hide in the house. Failed again. When it's happened enough times, you sort of expect it. So why try again?
There are some who say that eventually, if you keep trying, you will succeed. That is, they say that the statistics for "failure" (losing and regaining) are not as dire as they seem. It may take many tries before success (meaning, maintaining weight loss) but the belief is that eventually if you keep trying, you will lose and maintain the loss.
Then there's the research that says that each time you regain, you are "fatter" (meaning you've lost some muscle each time you diet but when you regain, you regain only fat making you "fatter" than before even if your weight is the same as your starting weight). Well, that's pretty scary. Why would I want to keep trying to lose weight when the cards are stacked against me for maintaining and then ending up fatter than when I started?
Let's not think about losing weight. Let's think about living a healthier life. Let's think about eating more vegetables (not so sure right now about eating more fruits.....), more whole grains, less fat. Let's keep moving as much as we can as vigorously as we can. Let's get enough sleep. Let's find ways to relax and enjoy life whether it's reading a book, contemplating the clouds or taking a yoga class.
Because eating better, exercising and relaxing will surely improve health even if weight loss is not realized. And that just might be enough.

Friday, September 18, 2009

More on The Biggest Loser

Thanks for the comments. Looks like we're all in agreement. I've been reading other dietitian blogs as well as articles online and it seems like everyone is wondering why the tough Marine tactics. Are you listening, Biggest Loser?
Each season, the contestants get bigger and bigger and reveal more of their personal stories. It was easier for me to relate at the beginning than it is now. I was crying, actually crying, when they revealed their trials and tribulations. I'm thinking that it's no wonder they turned to food for solace and I sure hope that heavy psychotherapy is included in the behind the scenes for these contestants because no amount of weight loss is going to erase the sadness the contestants have lived through.
I'll keep watching-it's a train wreck I cannot ignore. And maybe blogging about it will affect some changes in the show. Who knows. Maybe we'll learn more about the program than just the footage we get to see each week. They must shoot hundreds of hours each week but "treat" us to what they think America wants to see. I, for one, want to see them meeting with the dietitian. And how many hours (?) do they spend in the gym each day? What is a typical day? And I do want to know what happens to these people after they leave the show? Is there support from the show? Or are they abandoned?
Give me more realism in the reality show.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Biggest Loser Critique

I've written about The Biggest Loser in the past, usually positive comments. But last night's opening episode has left me feeling at loose ends. For several reasons. Yes, the people are huge. Not really sure if, as the trainers seemed to indicate, this is a reflection of our ever expanding waistlines or just a good way to get us reasonably fat people (ha!) to be scared that we might end up like them (!) if we don't do something now. And the "doing something" would be to buy all The Biggest Loser stuff that they now advertise on the show and on the web site.
Here are my issues (and I'd like to know if you agree or not)
1. I don't quite understand why the contestants, whom we know are very fat, have to expose their bodies. I know they are exposing themselves in many ways--by telling their stories, by letting us see them cry and sweat--but I'm not sure it's fair to ask them to dress down for us. That's so sensationalistic to me. It's not like we don't realize that someone who weighs 476 pounds is very fat! Or do the contestants not care? Because I keep myself covered up thinking no one will know how fat I am! So is it just me?
2. So little attention is paid to nutrition when we know from research that exercise helps more in weight maintenance than it does in weight loss. It's the calories, stupid.
3. How about a little on camera time for the dietitian? We see the doc talking to them about their health. Why not show the dietitian counseling them about their diets?
4. You know, I like Jillian. I do. Bob, not so much. But this berating has got to stop. If Jillian talked to me that way, I'd smack her across the face. I don't care what they agree to, the level of criticism (and the tone!) rivals Hell's Kitchen's Gordon Ramsey. And that's not a compliment!
5. I was appalled that they asked these unfit obese people to "run" one mile without giving them water to carry. No wonder one man was dehydrated and one woman passed out. That's no way to start an exercise program. I work out daily and I wouldn't attempt running in the sand for one mile.
6. I know it's a competition. I know people have to go home. I don't much like the partner thing. Maybe that's because I'm a loner. But I wouldn't want to depend on a stranger the way they've asked these contestants to do.
7. I'd like some discussion about why some weeks people don't lose as much and what the initial weight loss consists of. The heavier people will always lose more at the beginning. They burn more calories just getting out of bed. Most of these people have probably been eating a high sodium diet so switching to healthier foods and just the usual glycogen storage loss you'd see on the first few days of a diet are the reason for the big losses. Lots of water. Water is heavy. Lose water and you see big losses on the scale.
8. Women? They have to contend with hormones. Some weeks they are going to retain water regardless of how much they drink, how little sodium they consume and how much they exercise. Just one of the wonders of being a woman.
Instead of allowing the contestants to hate themselves on national TV for not losing tons of weight each week, how about some science to explain why not.
But, mostly, I want the trainers to stop shouting. Just stop. Please. A little Marine type counting and cajoling, maybe. But stop picking on these people or I won't be able to watch the show. And I'll miss the triumphs if I don't watch.

And lastly, bring back even the contestants who've gotten fat again. Let's talk about it. And does the "show" abandon them after it's over? Or do they continue to support them in some ways? Does 24 Hour Fitness (is that the one?) give the contestants free memberships in their home towns? And if not, why not? Wouldn't someone want to offer a meal delivery to help them stay focused? I mean, come on. Let's help these people who bared their souls (and their bellies) to help us.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another year and still healthy (and as big) as a horse

Had my yearly check up. Never used to do the yearly thing but, thank you Medicare, now I can because it's free (well, nothing is free). Doc was totally unimpressed with me. Guess if there's nothing wrong, there's nothing for her to do. Blood test was even better than last year's. Heart, lungs, all normal. No new aches and pains. Just the usual. So, I haven't lost any weight (in fact, I weigh 20 pounds more than when last I was checked out by her) and yet blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and all the rest are good--really good. Go explain that to the naysayers who say that my 36 inch waist and the extra almost 50 pounds on my short stout frame is probably killing me. Hah! Yes, I could keel over tomorrow but it won't be because I'm fat. I don't have genetics on my side--parents both died in their 60s. If I make it past 69 (that's when my father died), then I'll feel as though I accomplished something.
I exercise. I eat well. I try to enjoy my life with an occasional over indulgence of Chinese food or french fries or ice cream or pizza or Pepsi. I've never used drugs or drunk alcohol or smoked although my food vices are probably just as damaging. So let's see if the people who down bushels of blueberries do better than I do with just plain clean living.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Imitation is a form of flattery?

I wrote an article called Confessions of a Fat Dietitian. Then another dietitian started a blog called Confessions of a Fat Dietitian. I wrote to her and asked her if she would consider changing the name of her blog--even though I didn't "trademark" the title (my mistake!), I just didn't want people to think that she and I were the same person. She demurred and abandoned the blog. Then I found a blog called Fat Dietitian written by a student who in fact is not a dietitian. I contacted her. She was not as amenable and still publishes her blog and is still not a dietitian. Now I find a blog, quite by accident, called Dieting Dietitian. Of course, anyone can write a blog called whatever they want. "It's a free country" as we used to say when I was ten years old. But isn't there any integrity? Any creativity? Any originality? Each one came to the title innocently? None knew of the article or my blog? Well, the first one did know about the article and she was an honorable woman which is why she agreed to move on. The second, the NOT a dietitian woman, said she'd never heard of the article. I haven't contacted this last woman. I know I'm probably overreacing. Have no right to be upset. Free country. Right? But I've been writing this blog for about 18 months. And I use it in my signature for e-mail. It's been on "best of" lists.
Never mind.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Getting old and does it matter what I eat?

I've been writing this blog for so long that I'm not sure if I'm repeating myself but here goes anyway....
Now that I'm officially OLD (65), I'm beginning to wonder (again, I apologize if I wondered this in the blog before) if it really matters how I eat or how much I weigh. Here's the thing. Isn't the damage already done? Haven't I breathed in enough crap, eaten enough pesticide and deposited enough toxins to do me in? Does it really make a difference if I eat a bushel of blueberries right now? Will that improve my memory? If I lose 20 pounds (in my dreams), will I avoid breast cancer? I know that eating oatmeal might reduce my cholesterol but my arteries are already loaded with plaque both from years of abuse and because it's just a natural consequence of aging.
Speaking of which....I am getting old. Sure. I could live another 30 plus years. But most of my life is behind me. So far behind that I need my glasses to see it!
So, does it matter? Will I live one day longer if I have oatmeal AND blueberries for breakfast? I've eaten a pretty healthy diet my whole life...just way too much of it. I've always eaten fruits and veggies. Of course, they've often been topped with sugar and cooked in fat but that doesn't negate the antioxidants contained therein!
This is a serious concern for me. Something for me to ponder over the next few weeks. When, if at all, does it stop being important to eat a healthy diet? When, if at all, does it matter what you weigh?