Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Celebrity Weight Loss Claims May Not Carry Much Weight After All

Why is it that so many in our society are so totally enamored with celebrities that they will blindly follow them right over the edge of a cliff.  Can't people think for themselves anymore? 

I get so frustrated when I see "So And So Celebrity Has Incredible Weight Loss" in the headlines, like that means something. 

Lets face it, most of them live a life that is all about being in the headlines and getting paid endorsements to sell a product.  But when it comes to weight loss, how many of them really lost the weight they claimed using the product they swore was the be all to end all?? 
Who's to say they weren't doing something totally different on the side, while promoting a product (for a handsome fee) in front of the cameras.  That seems to be the case with Kirstie Alley according to Reality TV Magazine.  As per their reports, she is being sued for promoting Organic Liaison while on Dancing With The Stars by claiming " “I am proof of its success; I lost one hundred pounds on Organic Liaison.”
The lawsuit alleges that her weight loss was a result of her extreme exercise regimen while on the show rather than the weight loss product, thus making her product claims fraudulent.
So I wonder how many other people bought into this product solely based on the celebrity claims?

There is another celebrity spokesperson who pops up almost daily in TV ads who is rumored to have secretly had bariatric surgery during the time she was supposedly dropping pounds using a product line that was paying big bucks for an endorsement.  No names here, because its only an allegation that hasn't been proven, but it wouldn't surprise me.
Sorry, but this kind of stuff makes my blood boil.  My brain gets fried from an endless bombardment of incredible product claims and marketing messages when I know full well that you can lose weight without any of these miracle programs.  For the life of me, I can't understand why people are so oblivious!!!!!!!
And beyond the hype, even if some product really does live up to its claims, what are you going to do to make sure the weight doesn't come back?  Why don't you go back and ask some of those celebrities who USED to be in the spotlight, but who have mysteriously disappeared from the public stage, at least in the weight loss arena. 
Personally, I don't care what means you employ to drop pounds.  But in the real world of weight management its not how much you lose or how quick you do it, rather its how long you are able to keep it off. What good is losing 50 pounds if you gain it all back? Nothing - big waste of time.
I never used any celebrity-endorsed product and not only lost 70 pounds, but have kept it off for 5 years.  
If you really want to lose weight, do yourself a favor and run as fast as you can away from celebrity endorsements - that alone might burn off a couple of pounds.  Instead do some research into what ordinary people are doing everyday to lose weight successfully.  You can start with some of the national statistics on my Long Term Weight Loss Tips page.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not Another Magic Pill For Weight Loss

The FDA has approved the drug Qsymia which supposedly helps patients lose weight by suppressing their appetite while giving them a feeling of fullness.  Reports say its expected to help obese individuals lose about 10% of their weight. 

Sadly, this will probably result in a large number of couch potatoes heading to their Physician to get a prescription, so they can go back home and continue their sedentary ways while believing that the weight will magically disappear without any effort on their part, other than swallowing it.  NOT!

Read the fine print from the drug manufacturer - when used with a diet and exercise plan.  So there!  My concern with any of these products is that the masses put all their faith in yet another drug, rather than focusing on the core element of weight loss - a balance between eating and activity. 

In addition, some Scientists have expressed safety concerns, as reported by Nancy Hellmich's article on 7/18/12 in USA Today ...anyone remember Fen Phen?????

The reality is that its a tool for people who are unwilling to take on the task of managing their food input on their own.  And on top of that, its only effective for up to a 10% drop in overall weight.  So for someone weighing in at 300 pounds (that was me) the most they could expect is 30 pounds, and that is only if they are on a realistic weight loss plan.  Of course, it would be hoped that with the right diet and exercise such an individual would lose more than just 10% - I lost 70 pounds without any drugs.

So hopefully this will be used in the right way, but I'm willing to bet money that the average user will treat it as a magic pill and "weight" for results that likely will never materialize.  I might sound pretty negative here, but I have seen too many people fail in the weight loss game because of their blind allegiance to a drug or surgical procedure. 

Yes I know people who have had gastric bypass and are now gaining the weight back slowly but surely because they refuse to adopt a meaningful lifestyle change that would ensure the weight stayed off.  In addition, I have a close friend who has gone through extreme weight swings depending on drugs to lose it, then gaining it all back and more after dropping the drug. Sadly, she has been enabled by Doctors and always manages to find someone who will prescribe what she wants when its time to drop some pounds again.

Reality check, most drugs aren't meant to be taken for a lifetime, thus if your weight loss is the result of a drug, what happens when you quit taking it?????

Do yourself a favor if you are anxious to lose weight - adopt a lifestyle change you can live with forever and get started today.  There is plenty of useful information on my website to help you with this endeavor.  And feel free to email me directly, as I will be glad to share what I have learned over the last six years - the time that I have managed to KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Share A Meal - Kill Some Calories

OK, so the picture is a bit scary and that is not exactly the method of sharing I have in mind... But in the real world, my wife and I do like to eat out a couple of times a week and its a well known fact that most restaurants focus on taste over health when it comes to creating their offerings.   However, you can't live your life locked away in your house eating rabbit food if you expect to be able to maintain a weight management program for the long term. 

I still eat most of what I want, but in much smaller portions than in the past, and a great technique for doing that successfully is sharing meals with someone else.  Now I don't mean ordering two meals and then eating off each others plates, I'm talking about splitting ONE meal between two people.

My wife and I do this every time we eat lunch out and many of our dinners as well.  It really cuts down on how much each of us eats, thereby reducing calories as well. (And saves some money too.)  One drawback is that some restaurants have anti-sharing policies, but most do not. 

Eating in smaller portions routinely has made our stomachs shrink, such that it seems quite normal to eat half of a half sub, rather than half of a whole sub - did you follow that math????  One of our favorite meals is the Baja Chicken Wrap at Tower 7 in Wrightsville Beach, NC.  We cut it in half and though it looks pretty small, when eaten slowly it fills us right up. 

Considering that just a few years ago I could have wolfed down the entire wrap by myself and still wanted more, I have definitely come a long way.  And its not nearly has hard as it seems.  The key is to eat extremely slowly and listen to your body.  When it starts to signal FULL, quite eating.  You can help this along by taking baby-sized bites and engaging your meal companion in plenty of conversation between each bite, so as to really stretch out the eating process.

The method works, but it will take some practice in the beginning, especially if you are one who tends to shovel the food in at the speed of light.  Been there done that, but no more and 70 pounds lighter as a result...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weight Loss Tips - Don't Let The Vacation Manage You, Manage The Vacation

Vacation! Great idea, unless you are trying to watch your weight.  Unfortunately, going on a nice relaxing retreat from the daily grind of modern life can easily lead to complacency in terms of food and exercise.  I mean, what the heck, most of us are already spending too much money on the experience and have adapted by casually saying "I will worry about it later".  Thus, the same becomes true of taking in and burning off calories..."I'm not going to worry about it right now - on vacation!"

But a wonderful break from reality, can quickly become a nightmare of realization if you come home with a bank account void of dollars and a body full of fat.  Trust me, you can gain 10 pounds really quick if you let your habits get out of whack.  And you certainly can't lose it as fast as you put it on.  So the trick is to avoid an extended situation where you are piling on the calories which leads to you know what...

The first step to avoiding a pound-heavy vacation is to plan it with food and exercise in mind.  I know, that sounds like you are taking the fun out of everything, but that's not necessarily true.  Fun on a vacation (or daily life for that matter) shouldn't revolve around food, but rather experiences.  Don't make every meal a gluttonous occasion by overeating.  Stick to the same amounts and types of food you eat at home!

Also keep in mind how quickly calories can add up over the day, even when taken in small doses.  If you a hearty breakfast to prepare for the day's activities, you have probably already brought in 800 calories or more. (See the calorie apps on this site for more info). Then a lunch on the go at a fast food restaurant for convenience adds another 600-1500 calories. Grab some snacks along the way, soft drinks, beer, whatever, and you easily chalk up another 500 calories or more.  And its not even dinnertime yet...

Because you are away from a controlled environment such as your home and work, you have limited choices when it comes to eating, especially if you are on a very rigid diet. That's one of the reasons I focused on portion control, more than specialized foods when I started my weight loss journey because the concept works everywhere.

Sooooo, you must find ways to burn off all those calories, which isn't likely to happen if you stay on that kind of consumption track.  Thus, you will have to focus on controlling that input as your first means of defense, followed by adequate calories burning activities that blend in with your vacation.

For example, if you are a golfer walk the courses instead of renting a cart, and keep a close eye on how much food and alcohol you consume.

If you like history and museums, choose a route that involves as much walking as possible, rather than driving from place-to-place.  Washington, DC is a great example.  There is a lot to see and when you take a first glance, the tendency is to drive.  But its really very walkable.  Same with New York City.

When we vacationed in Seattle, we drove a car into the city from our hotel in Redmond, then parked (and abandoned) it for the rest of the day, using our feet for transportation instead.

Another simple thing that you can do is stay on an upper floor in a hotel and take the stairs.  OK, 30 floors could be excessive, but I have no problem walking to the 10th floor and most people can easily handle 4 to 5 stories.

If you have a tendency to overeat, stay away from buffet meals or all-you-can-eat specials.  Cruises can be dangerous that way, as well as a lot of resorts.  You can't put your "blinders" on when you head out for vacation, unless you don't care about your weight.

I just got back from a great vacation at Carolina Beach, NC where we rented a house with another family.  Due to the number of people we were bringing it had to be pretty big, plus we wanted to be near the town center and have a dock for our boats.  We ended up with a house called King's Latitude which was four stories, plus had a deck on the roof which added another level.  The importance of this is that there was NOT an elevator, which meant lots of steps and lots of opportunity for burning off calories.  And since I am the guy who does all the daily walking, I suddenly became everyone's personal servant as they sought ways to avoid all those steps. 

It was interesting to see the attitudes about walking in general.  We had decided for simplicity that we would eat out every night instead of cooking.  So at mealtime on the first night I was ready to walk to a restaurant, only to discover that several of the others were ready to pile into cars.  "Hey guys, its only a couple of blocks no need to drive." They stared back at me with blank facial expressions, as the idea of walking a few blocks didn't go over to well.  I then pointed out that there were no parking spots anyway, so they could walk or drive in circles all night.  Eventually everyone got the idea that walking wasn't such a bad thing and the rest of the week, all involved pretty much stayed on their feet and left the car keys behind.

It should be noted that this was not a crowd of lazy overweight people, it just so happened that it was more of a mindset than anything else.  Why walk when you can drive.

Over the course of seven days, I ate a lot of restaurant food and countered it with a lot of walking, averaging 12 miles per day.  I had a great time and gained no weight.  And yes, I did come home with an empty wallet...

Weight management is all about long term lifestyle.  You have to choose methods that you can live with forever and apply every day, whether at home or on the road.  And vacation is no exception...