HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
Jumping Past a Weight Loss Plateau
"What's the best way to jumpstart a stalled weight loss? I know that to lose weight you have to eat... but I have stalled out and my exercise regimen isn't working because of health and mobility issues."
I would need more information to be able to tell you exactly what you can do to jump past your weight loss plateau. So here are a few suggestions that could help.
- Keep a food journal: Record and analyze everything you eat - you may not realize it but it could be you're not eating enough or that there are some empty calorie foods or beverages sneaking in.
- Be starch-wise: Instead of wheat based products and flours, try rolled oats, sweet potatoes, beans, pulses, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet or barley.
- Steer clear from low-fat foods: these usually have lots of added sugar or sweeteners that may actually worsen food cravings.
- Have a lean protein at each meal: Try to avoid anything that's covered with batter or covered with fatty sauces.
- Limit fruits to 2 a day: Go for fresh fruits instead of juices and load on veggies (especially green leafy ones).
- Loose the booze: You'll get way much more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from veggies and fruits but without as many calories.
- Drink up: Studies show that being only 1% dehydrated can lower your metabolism - this would hamper your weight loss progress.
- Try natural metabolic boosters: For instance, add some raw cinnamon to your oatmeal or green smoothie and some cayenne pepper in your salads. They're no 'magic weight loss' ingredients but they can help raise your metabolism a bit.
I'm sorry to hear about your mobility and health issues. Here's what I suggest you try after you get medical clearance.
- Water based activities: You could enrol in a gym that has a pool and participate in aqua jogging, water aerobics or any other similar activities that place less stress on your joints and can allow you to work all muscles. Plus these are fun!
- Resistance bands: These can be attached to furniture or a doorknob for resistance training exercise such as shoulder rotations, pull-downs, arm and leg extensions.
- Portable pedal exerciser: This is a simple device you can use while sitting in a comfy chair. Keep it under your desk and exercise while at work or while watching TV.
- Lift weights: If you're not used to lifting weights, a personal trainer can show you the proper way to lift.
In the meantime, hang in there; stick to your health goals and desires and believe in yourself.
How Food Companies Stretch the Truth
"What are some of the lies food companies get away with on their labels. How to tell a genuinely healthy food from hype?"
Many food companies try to persuade you to buy their products by bragging about a special property or super-healthy ingredient they use in their products. Here are some of their disturbing tricks:
- Fat free: Sure the product may contain no more than a trace of fat (less than 0.5g/serving) but to improve its palatability, manufacturers dump in loads of sugar, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup or sodium.
Take Yoplait's 99% Fat-Free Cherry Orchard for instance -this yogurt contains a whopping 27g of sugar (almost 2 tablespoons!) all in one "99% fat-free" snack!
- 0 % trans fat: Based on the FDA's regulations, a product can legally claim to be 'trans-fat free' as long as it contains no more than 0.5g of trans fat.
So, if a company decides that half a chocolate muffin is one serving (who eats half a muffin?!?), it could claim that the muffin is trans-fat free if half of that muffin contains 0.49g of trans fat. So, if you ate the whole thing, you'd actually be getting almost 1g of trans fat!
- Reduced sugar: Who has never been tempted to buy a product that claimed to have less sugar than the original version? Here's the thing with these 'reduced sugar', or 'less sugar' products - the sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners. Like Heinz reduced sugar tomato ketchup which contains 'sucralose'.
- Contains antioxidants or superfoods: Adding whatever superfood you may think of to a chocolate cookie does not make it any healthier - that's just a marketing strategy.
Or take cherry 7up 'with antioxidants' for example. Seriously? Should we drink that for its antioxidant benefits? 7up doesn't claim it's healthy but it sure uses the power of suggestion to make consumers think 'I'm buying soda so might as well buy one with antioxidants!' Well, any antioxidants that could be present as a result of the cherry flavoring are totally annulled by the rest of the ingredients.
- Made with vegetables: Have you heard about the new Kraft dinner with cauliflower? If yes, do you know how the vegetable makes it into the box? The cauliflower is freeze-dried and pulverized into a powder which Kraft then uses to substitute some of the flour in the pasta.
Some veggies are better than not at all? True. But nutrients are destroyed in the above process and you also lose the satiety effect of fresh veggies. And last time I checked, anytime you put veggies and cheese in a box with a distant expiration date, that implies lots of processing and preservatives. And that "creamy, cheesy flavor" doesn't happen without the help of tons of added fat, salt, and sugars! Why not have some fresh salad on the side or throw in some sautéed frozen mixed veggies? That would be healthier and tastier.
Food companies have way more tricks in their bag so here's how you can tell if a food is really healthy. It should:
- Not list sugar, fat, salt or any sodium-derived products among its first three ingredients.
- Not contain any trans fat (no hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list), high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, artificial sweeteners and any ingredient that you can hardly pronounce.
- Come with at least 3 grams of fiber.
Try to eat 'unlabelled' fresh foods as much as you can.
Submitted by: Shari