Archive for August, 2013

So I’m making my way to the beautiful city of Plymouth, MI after work today to visit one of my besties and her husband and little one. Seeing my friend = super fun, but 5+ hour drive from Chicago in Friday rush hour traffic = super not-so-much fun. My other friend is coming with me and she promised tunes from the new Backstreet Boys CD so I mean, I guess we’ll be fine.

In other news: I came across an entirely disturbing, yet not surprising article this week. It’s from this new blog I found, which is awesome, and I’m so sad it took me so long to come across it! The blog is called Weighty Matters, and it’s written by an obesity doc out of Ottawa. Anywho, this article details how the American College of Cardiology is promoting a number of initiatives backed by Coca-Cola. Yep, the company responsible for a ridiculous amount of obesity in this country (the No. 4 source of calories in the standard American diet, in fact).

diabetes: it's a family affair.

diabetes: it’s a family affair.

One of these initiatives that they are pushing is a Coca-Cola family field day. Yay! Fun! Ha not quite. Essentially it’s a huge marketing gimmick designed to reach families and younger audiences by trying to associate Coke products to exercise, sports and family togetherness. Gross.

But what’s worse is the banner at the bottom of the page: “Balancing Calories with Physical Activity. What is Weighing Us Down? Calorie Imbalance Impacts Us All”. This links to an infographic that can only be deemed hilarious and ludicrous. The infographic was designed by the Coca-Cola Company, “from government data and third-party researchers to promote understanding of calorie (energy) balance and active, healthy living.” Aw, aren’t they sweet (pun intended), helping us understand calorie consumption and learning to live a healthier lifestyle?

In this incredibly enlightening and non-biased infographic, we learn things like:

1. The three most common calorie contributors are: grain-based desserts, chicken dishes and breads.

2. Weight management is simply calories in, calories out.

3. Sugar consumption is actually decreasing among Americans.

4. If you do a TON of physical activity, you can eat basically anything you want!

This infographic seriously makes me want to punch someone in the face. I mean, seriously?

Number one blames obesity on chicken dishes, grain-based desserts and breads. Okay, even if I don’t agree with the chicken dish part (probably because people are adding sugars and breads to the chicken dishes), why omit #4? Oh RIGHT, because that’s you. Convenient. And what food is responsible for one-third of calories from added sugars in adult diets? Yep – sugary drinks. (PS: the number is even higher with children and adolescents.)

Two, I’m pretty sure the idea of calories in, calories out went out of date around the same time my scrunchies and Jnco jeans did [read: 1990’s]. 300 calories in a large Coke = 300 calories of grilled chicken and veggies? I think not. Idiots.

And the icing on the cake, or should I say, HFCS in the Coke, is number 3. If you actually pull up the study they are referencing, this is the actual conclusion to the study: “Although the consumption of added sugars in the United States decreased between 1999–2000 and 2007–2008, primarily because of a reduction in soda consumption, mean intakes continue to exceed recommended limits.”

Sugar consumption went down because people STOPPED DRINKING AS MUCH SODA. And even more, intakes STILL continue to exceed recommended limits. Agh.

And four is just annoying: do a bunch of physical activity everyday. Here’s tons of examples. But here’s no help whatsoever for how to maintain healthy eating. Here is all that they say: Calories come from many sources and they all count. Start by focusing on the whole diet. Pay attention to everything you eat and drink. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!?! And how does that help anyone struggling with their weight?

Oh, okay, Coke. Thanks for all the help! You guys sure are great. And leadership at ACC? I hope that big paycheck from Coke helps you sleep better at night on your yacht in the Maldives.

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So it’s been a while. I feel like I’ve been starting off every post with this. I can definitely say this is my craziest summer yet. My weekends are packed to the brim and I’m traveling 9 out of 11 of them through the summer. My friends need to stop getting engaged and pregnant! But seriously, it is so easy for us to pack our calendars and be on the go – and I have seriously missed my blogging, my city, my friends, and I have not picked up my Bible for over a month now. I’ve made a conscious effort to tone things back and give myself at least one weeknight where I don’t schedule SOMETHING. We’ll see how THAT goes.

Anyways, during a minute of downtime at work today, I came across this article. Seems it was originally posted a month ago, but was a really great read. It’s definitely REAL and gives some extremely practical and simple advice for losing weight and getting healthier.

In a nutshell, this guy lost about 100 pounds over the course of about a year, and provides a few really useful (and surprisingly uncomplicated!) steps he took to shed that weight. And by “uncomplicated,” I’m not saying they are easy or stress-free to implement; as with any big lifestyle change comes some strong commitment. But what they are is simple in principle – no rocket science or crazy tricks. I think the biggest takeaway is that he has become more MINDFUL of what he’s putting in his mouth, how he’s treating his body and how he’s even thinking about food.

NoBigMacHe started with what he was eating. There is a statistic floating around that I always quote (not sure where I found it), but around 80% of your body comp is what you put in your mouth. A lot of times people justify their dinner of pizza and beer because they ran a mile, but really that dinner is VASTLY more important to how your body looks than the mile you ran. I love his quote, “You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.” Essentially, if you are downing Big Mac’s all day, no amount of exercise is going to help make that not impact your body (and you’re also entirely missing the point!). So what did he do to lose the weight? He ate clean (protein/veggies), stayed away from wheat & gluten & sugar, and drank more water.

Also, he gave all this “health” stuff a chance and changed his mindset. After reading some books on quality nutrition (read: anti-sugar), he decided that it was worth trying. I think this is what holds up a lot of people – not giving an idea a chance or being immediately defensive towards it. What I always tell my friends when it comes to the way I eat (or who complain about migraines or bloating or other gluten-related effects on their bodies): GIVE IT TWO WEEKS. You can do anything for two weeks. But he also makes a good point that you have to WANT it. Even if your friends, your family and your spouse want you to do it, the desire for change has to come within yourself as well.

Then he added exercise. Small amounts at first and tried to find activities that were enjoyable that included exercise (think sports, games, etc). He also got enough sleep. This is something I think a lot of us pass over: sleep is so critical to staying healthy. Also – shut down the TVs and smart phones and electronics way before you crawl into bed. The blue lights messes with your melatonin levels and you seriously see such a difference if you say, READ A BOOK (I know, mind blown, right?), instead of Facebooking for an hour before bedtime.

Lastly: support from your friends and family is CRUCIAL! Give yourself a good support system and avoid those friends that chastise you or try to make you keep your unhealthy habits (PS: what kinds of friends are those anyways?!). I think it helps to think of your change as a lifestyle adjustment, not a diet. “Diet” is a word I think we associate with feelings of being temporary and this should be a permanent change (it’s a marathon, not a sprint!).

That’s all for now! Hopefully I’m back to blogging more regularly (although not holding my breath!).

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