Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Lipo-suck-tion

June 7, 2011

To those of you pinching pennies in hopes of paying for liposuction, listen up. 

A recent study found that a year after getting the fat sucked out of their hips and thighs, women who underwent the procedure gained all the fat back.  Butt But the fat didn’t reappear where it once was.  Instead, the lost flab returned to the belly, back and triceps. 

So what gives?  Here’s what doctors tell the New York Times:

The body, they say “defends” its fat. If you lose weight, even by dieting, it comes back. And, the study showed, if you suck out the fat with liposuction, even if it’s only a few pounds — it was about 5.8 pounds for subjects in the study — it still comes back.

“It’s another chapter in the ‘You can’t fool Mother Nature’ story,’ ” said Dr. Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia University.

That lipo-SUCKS!

So in the end you stay fat, but so does your wallet.  Only one of those is a good thing.

SOURCE: Liposuction Study Finds That Lost Fat Returns

 

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The food pyramid becomes dust

June 1, 2011
The Egyptian pyramids will always endure, the food pyramid, not so much.

The old, new food pyramid -- confusing!

The triangular-shaped guide to healthy eating with its levels for each basic food group is being ditched in favor of a plate-shaped symbol sliced into wedges.

Half of the “plate” is taken up by fruits and vegetables, the rest of the wedges filled out with grains and protein.  It also apparently features a small circle for a serving of dairy.

The idea is to have your real dinner plate mimic the 2-D guide — a move many nutritionists are praising.  One tells The New York Times the plate will be better than the pyramid because the current model “basically conveys no useful information”.

I’d have to agree.

I get that the smaller the pyramid level, the less you should eat something, but they put fats at the top!  I don’t know about you, but putting something  atop of everything else has always suggested it’s better than the rest and in this case, it’s not.

So bring on the plate.  It’ll be officially unveiled tomorrow.  I wonder how long it’ll take before actual dishes printed with the eating recommendations hit the market…

Equal Opportunity Eating Disorders

March 29, 2011

Pop quiz: When you think of a person who has an eating disorder what image comes to mind?

If you said a teenage girl, then you’re like most people, including myself.  Sure we’ve all heard the stats that teenage boys also suffer from eating disorders, but often it’s young girls who are the face of the disease.

But this is changing.

More and more, women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond are being diagnosed and treated for eating disorders.  And we’re not just talking about women who have relapsed.  Many have developed the disorders midlife.

When I first found this out it seemed strange because I’ve always thought of older women as people who are very secure in their lives and at peace with the way they look.  But it turns out they’re just as insecure as the rest of us.  They’re also not immune to the psychological stressors that lead to an eating disorder.  Where a young girl turns toward obsessive exercising and control over her diet as a way to deal with her parents’ divorce, an older women turns toward the same behaviors as a way to deal with her own divorce.

The reason why not much attention has been paid to this group until now is because the normal symptoms of an eating disorder are easier to conceal in older women.  If a teenage girl stops getting her period, it’s a big deal.  If a woman in her 50s stops getting hers, it’s chalked up to menopause.  Osteoporosis is a warning sign in a young girl, but women tend to lose bone density as they age, so once again a symptom is overlooked as just being a normal part of the aging process.

So what can be done?  The answer is as simple as getting the word out that eating disorders don’t just affect the young.  Like many illnesses, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder can afflict any person no matter their age.  The next step would be to get these people the help they deserve.  Here are some resources:

Columbia Center for Eating Disorders at Columbia University

National Eating Disorder Association

Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

Writing that takes the gold

February 17, 2011

As someone who writes for a living (both here and at my job) I have a great appreciation for the clever use of words.  While browsing the New York Times yesterday, I came across one of the best metaphors I’ve ever read and because it’s exercise related, I thought I’d share it with you.

The sentence is from an article about the failure of the 2012 Olympic organizers in London to follow through on their promise to get more people involved in sports and exercise.  They had a goal to get two million people to be more active by 2012, but at the current rate, they won’t reach that number until 2023-24.  (A little behind pace, no?)

Anyway, here’s how the reporter describes the failure:

“…with the Games in less than 18 months, that commitment now resembles a wheezing jogger, bent over and winded from a New Year’s resolution whose ambition could not be matched by exertion.”

Not only do I know exactly what that looks like, I know exactly what that feels like.

Here’s the link to the rest of the article.

Why losing weight is so hard

February 3, 2011

Fat Cells

Stumbled across something interesting today regarding how the body stores (and loses) fat.

Apparently the body doesn’t store fat in layers.  That’s to say if you were to take a cross-section of your stomach the fat stored there wouldn’t look like the rings of a tree trunk.  Instead, our body has fat cells which expand to hold more of the stuff when we need them to.  (which for a lot of people is always)

As for losing fat, it’s doable, but our bodies make it hard to.  (Not that I had to tell you that).  But get this, the fat hormone produced when fat cells shrink is produced more rapidly than the actual shrinkage rate.  This means our brains are getting the message that we’ve lost more weight than we actually have.  Talk about sabotaging yourself!

And here’s one more sobering morsel to chew on…like all cells, fat cells shrivel up and die, BUT the number of them in our bodies at any given time always remains constant.

Obviously, evolution is the reason our bodies are hardwired to hold onto fat.  Food wasn’t so plentiful back in our hunter/gatherer days and our bodies had to develop a way to store energy for those times when a meal wasn’t forthcoming.

Who knows…maybe millennia from now getting rid of that excess fat won’t be as hard as it is now!

The Chia Pet Diet

January 25, 2011

Consider me floored after reading that chia seeds are good for you and considered a viable food source.  You know…chia…as in the chia pet!  I always thought those tiny little seeds that you soak and then spread on that little terra cotta figure were just a weed.  Apparently not. 

One serving of the seeds (about 28 ounces) packs 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber.  Who knew?!

Turns out, a lot of people.  Health food stores do a brisk business in selling those mighty little chia seeds as a weight-loss supplement.  But before you go out and stock up on Chia Hippos and Chia Obamas…is there any truth to these claims?

Sadly, like all good things…it’s too good to be true.  Check out this New York Times article that debunks the chia myth.

Still…those little guys are cute!

Ch-Ch-Chia!

Age is just a number

December 2, 2010

I just finished reading up a great (and inspiring) article in this past weekend’s New York Times Magazine.  (Yes, it’s taken me until Thursday, but it’s been a busy week).  Anyways, they profile a 91 year old female athlete who’s been breaking record after record in track and field events at Master competitions around the world.  For those of you who don’t know what those are, they are competitive sporting events for athletes over the age of 35.  Athletes compete with others their age, with some sports featuring athletes in the 91-99 age range (like this woman).

Scientists are studying her (and other athletes like her) to try and figure out the link between exercise and getting old.  The article goes into  much more detail than I will here, but there are a few things that stand out about this woman.

First, contrary to what you may think, she hasn’t been an athlete all her life.  She came to competition later in life after all her children were grown.  Just goes to show you it’s never too late to start.

Second, at 91, this woman tells the reporter she has the energy of a 50 year old…50!  That’s 41 years!  She credits that to her exercise routine.   I don’t know about you, but that’s all the motivation I need to keep dragging my butt to the gym.

You know what?  Maybe there is a fountain of youth and we’ve just been looking for it in the wrong place.  Maybe it’s already within us.

Take it easy ladies!

November 30, 2010

If you exercise regularly and you use your heart rate to monitor how intense you’re working out, get ready to have your mind blown.

Turns out the normal formula of 220 minus your age is often inaccurate when calculating a women’s maximum heart rate.  Researchers at Northwestern Medical in Chicago say that approach results in a heart rate that’s too high.  Instead, they suggest another way of calculating your maximum heart.  And you’re going to need the calculator for this: 206 minus 88 percent of a women’s age.

Let’s use me as an example.  Under the old system, my max heart rate would be 191.  Calculated with the “women’s only” formula, my new max heart rate goal is 180.  Now consider this: When training for a major race, I try to exercise within the 65%-85% of my max heart rate.  With the old math, my range is 124-162bpm.  With the new math, it’s 117-153bpm.  Obviously, this means I can now workout with less intensity to gain the results I want.  A win, except that I never stay below 153 or even 162 during my most intense workouts.  But that’s ok too.

The author of the study tells the New York Times that there’s nothing wrong with exercising at a higher level if you can maintain it.  He also points out that the study is based on averages, so that for some women the numbers will be too low, for others too high.

The people who this new way of calculating things will directly affect are those who live and die by the heart rate calculators on the treadmills.  Now instead of killing themselves to achieve that elusive heart rate number, they can workout a little less intensely, but still get the same results. 

And please remember, if you’re working out to the point of utter exhaustion, you’re doing something wrong.  You should be walking out of the gym exhilerated, not frustrated.

SOURCE: Recalibrated Formula Eases Women’s Workouts

The latest food craze that might surprise you

October 15, 2010

So I’m a little late to the spaghetti taco bandwagon.  Wait.  What?  You mean you’ve never heard of the delicacy known as spaghetti tacos?  Where have you been?!

It's spaghetti! It's a taco! It's a spaghetti taco!

According to the New York Times, the odd mix is apparently the latest food craze among tweens.  (and you know they only report the news that’s fit to print, so it must be true).  Anyways, here’s the meal’s epicurean history:

“It started as a gag: spaghetti tacos.

On an episode of the hit Nickelodeon series “iCarly,” the lead character’s eccentric older brother, Spencer, makes dinner one night.  Glimpsed on screen, the dish consists of red-sauce-coated pasta stuffed into hard taco shells.”

But apparently the kiddie viewers didn’t get the joke.  Instead, the paper reports kids began pestering their moms for spaghetti taco dinners.  A quick Google search for “spaghetti taco recipe” yields 383 thousand hits.  And there’s even a Facebook page with more than a thousand fans devoted to the dish.

Now, I haven’t tried the dish, but I think that in addition to the under 5 feet tall fan set, spaghetti tacos will probably catch on with a certain group of adults who partake in certain recreational activities (if you catch my drift).

Spaghetti Tacos: Silly Enough for Young Eaters

Ella, ella, hey, hey

August 17, 2010

In case you missed the news last week, the FDA approved a new form of emergency contraception that prevents pregnancies as many as five days after unprotected sex.

The pill, called ella, is already available in Europe and is said to be more effective than the morning after pill Plan B.

Some anti-abortion advocates are crying foul and say men might slip ella to unsuspecting women.  Those on the opposite side of the issue point to statistics that they say prove emergency contraception has no effect on pregnancy or abortion rates.

According to the New York Times…

“Much of the debate over the drug springs from an argument over how it works, which despite considerable research remains something of a mystery. It blocks the effects of progesterone, a female hormone that spurs ovulation. It is, however, a chemical relative to RU-486, the abortion pill, and there is some evidence that ella makes the womb less hospitable to a fertilized egg by reducing the lining of the uterus.

To the scientists on the advisory committee, whether the pill works by preventing ovulation or implantation was mostly immaterial to the decision about whether it is safe and effective. But to religious groups, the distinction is crucial, since they consider that preventing implantation of a fertilized egg is akin to abortion.”

No matter what you think…remember this:  women who have unprotected sex have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming pregnant.