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NBC4 Team Losing Weight In Biggest Loser Challenge

The NBC4 team is hitting the treadmill and shedding the pounds in the NBC4 Biggest Loser Challenge inspired by the hit NBC show The Biggest Loser.

Twenty-eight NBC4 staffers are participating in the 12-week challenge to lose weight, get in shape and boost our health. 

We track our steps with pedometers and have weekly weigh-ins that keep us honest in documenting our weight loss. 

“I track my weight. I actually have an app that I track all my meals,” said Karen Gorsky, a staffer who lost 30 pounds before the competition even started and is aiming to taking off more weight. 

Assignment Editor Andy Long says he is moving more and focusing on his diet.

“Cutting down a lot on the sugar and sweet stuff. I cut out soda all together,” said Long who has taken off 60 pounds since he started his weight-loss journey and is aiming to be a healthy father to his baby girl.

We all have our goals, and this is a competition with money and prizes on the line, but this is also for our health. The NBC4 family is a pretty tight team. We have watched our own Mike Jackson face heart disease.

“A lot of people think I signed up, Ellie, so I’d look cute in my Speedo this summer, but in reality I just want to be alive to try to put on a Speedo this summer,”  joked NBC4 Today Anchor Mike Jackson. He has been in and out of the hospital this past year, facing numerous procedures.

“I had a major blockage in my heart that required three stents. I also had a blockage in my kidneys and in my legs,” said Jackson who is well on the road to recovery now. He works out between newscasts in our gym, walking and lifting weights, and pays close attention to his diet.

Like any weight-loss challenge, the NBC4 team is facing ups and downs. 

Darlene Montgomery is in the middle of a plateau as she tries to whittle away 30 pounds.

“I’m walking more, exercising more, eating right and not losing weight. I just want to lose enough to get into a dress for my son’s wedding,” said Montgomery who produces NBC4 at 6.

So far during the first four weeks of the challenge, our team has taken off 114 pounds, and our boss is a big loser, too.

“I started in September, and since then I’ve lost over 35 pounds, and I’ve done it with Weight Watchers for men. I try to get in between five and seven miles a week, and I do the stationary bike,” said Dan Bradley, NBC4 President and General Manager.

We have eight more weeks to go, and we’ll let you know who wins the NBC4 Biggest Loser Challenge.

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When diets divide relationships

Food brings people together. A great deal of bonding can happen over a pot of soup, but when one person wants chicken noodle while the other wants vegetable, it can turn into a food fight – and not of the John Belushi variety.

Couples expect the normal relationship woes – sex, money, respect – but with the growing prevalence of dietary restrictions and interfaith marriages, the kitchen is increasingly turning into an all out turf war.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, says psychotherapist Karen Koenig – food is an “anything-but-simple subject.”

“How we feed ourselves and each other says a great deal about how we feel about ourselves and our loved ones,” says Koenig, who has written four books on eating and weight.

Dean Thompson, 41, of Austin, Texas, and his girlfriend, Amanda Abbott, 39, know the anything-but-simple nature of food all too well. Thompson is a vegan; Abbott is not.

“The first time I brought Dean over to my family’s home for a meal and he just put salad on his plate, passing up most of the huge gourmet meal my father had cooked, I remember thinking this might be a problem,” says Abbott.

“At first, I knew it was an issue, but did not notice or think of it as such a big issue,” says Thompson. “Most people I was around did not eat like me, so it was not so ‘weird’ for me to be different in that way.”

While the couple says there were always moments of contention, Abbott and Thompson said their culinary contingencies reached boiling point when their now 2-year-old daughter was born. They have since started counseling.

At the time, Abbott was struggling to produce enough breast milk for the baby and Thompson suggested they feed their daughter vegan-friendly almond milk.

“Dean did his due diligence in showing me some studies, and after a long discussion with our pediatrician, I surrendered,” says Abbott, who admits she is a cheese lover and grew up on cow’s milk. “This was extremely hard for me since most of our friends and family were in my ear with their opinions on how crazy it was to only give a growing child almond milk.”

While neither says they will change from omnivore to vegan or vice versa for the other, Abbott says she does find herself cooking more vegetables and eating more healthily.

“I had done the ‘regular American diet’ for more than 30 years previously. I know what it is like and I have no desire to go back to it,” says Thompson.

Lindsey Rosenberg, 27, and Daniel Weisinger, 31, an engaged couple who live in Berkeley, California, say they also argue about how their child will eat, even though that child doesn’t exist yet.

Both are Jewish – they met on the Jewish dating Web site JDate.com – but Weisinger keeps mostly kosher, avoiding pork and shellfish products. When they started dating, Rosenberg confesses she just thought he was picky and that her home cooking would change his ways.

“I was dearly wrong,” she says.

“If I ever bring bacon or shrimp into the house to cook for myself, it’s like I may as well have brought in rotting fish guts,” says Rosenberg. “You know how a small child reacts to broccoli on their plate? That’s how he reacts to those foods in our home. He insists on turning the stovetop fan on full blast, opening all the windows. It’s a hilarious reaction.”

Like Abbott and Thompson, it came down to compromise. When they started dating, Rosenberg refrained from cooking any pork or shellfish and changed her ordering style at restaurants so they could share dishes.

To reciprocate, Weisinger always made an effort to eat whatever Rosenberg cooked that was within his dietary restrictions.

“In our early months together, I made a quinoa dish with turkey sausage (instead of pork sausage) and kale. Quinoa and kale were totally foreign to this picky eater, but he didn’t make a peep, even though I could tell it was a stretch for his more conservative palate.”

Relationships, like gravy, aren’t always smooth, and couples must learn how to whisk through the bumps, says Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor of psychology. Here a few of her tips:

Respect: Regardless the reason for the choice – religion, ethical conviction, medical – it is critical that one person not mock or otherwise ridicule or put down the choices of another partner. That runs both ways:  If one person is a committed vegan, he or she may need to get off his/her high horse and not make it a moral indictment of the partner who does not choose to eat that way, because that is a choice that may not be amenable to that partner. Find ways to voice preferences that are not disrespectful.

Communicate: Such different choices only work if there is clear communication about grocery shopping (perhaps one person will not buy meat for the other), meal planning, restaurant choices etc.

Compromise: If the person with more restrictions also does the bulk of the cooking, then there may need to be a way to meet halfway so one doesn’t feel there is no choice but vegetarian, etc. It may also require both parties to step up to the plate and cook together.

Meet halfway: Cook together or surprise each other with a restaurant choice that suits the preferences of the other.

Be an opportunist: If the husband is a card-carrying vegetarian and finds it hard to go to places where steaks are the “thing” on the menu, but the wife loves her steaks, then a great time for the wife to eat her beloved steak is on a girls’ night or at lunch.

Create space: In some dietary restrictions (like kashruth), there should not even be proximity of one food to utensils, pans, etc. Create zones in the kitchen that respect those choices.

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5 Experts Answer: Could Qnexa Help You Lose Weight?


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CREDIT: Maska82 | Dreamstime

The weight loss drug Qnexa is likely to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the next month, experts say.

Last week, an FDA panel voted in favor of the drug’s approval, and the agency usually follows the advice of its panels. The decision is a turn-around from a string of recent disapprovals for similar drugs, including the weight-loss drug Contrave, which was rejected by the FDA last year.

But is Qnexa a practical way to lose weight? Here’s what five weight-loss experts had to say.



Dr. Pieter Cohen, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance:

“It’s likely that the FDA will soon approve Qnexa for weight loss. This is unfortunate. Qnexa does help some people lose a modest amount of weight, but to keep the weight off, one has to take Qnexa for a lifetime. But we have no idea if Qnexa is safe to use for a lifetime. In fact, there are many early findings that suggest it might lead to serious health problems such as seizures, birth defects, kidney stones, confusion and heart disease.

“In my opinion, it is likely that Qnexa will follow in the footsteps of Meridia. Meridia was touted as a magic bullet for safe weight loss only to be withdrawn from the U.S. after careful studies revealed that it actually increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“Assuming Qnexa is approved, what do I recommend? It will be very tempting to try a new diet pill once the FDA gives it their blessing, but in the case of Qnexa: just say no. Stick with the hard work of increasing exercise, modestly decreasing calories and selecting healthy foods.

“For certain people, gastric bypass might be the right answer, but there’s not a pill around that’s worth its weight.”

Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, chief of general medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine:

“Qnexa, like other such agents, can definitely achieve short-term weight loss. The big question is whether that short-term weight loss is permanent… over several years. In fact, periodically going up and down in weight is probably more dangerous than maintaining a stable weight.

Further, what I would need to know is if the weight [stays] off over several years. Then, does it also result in improved health outcomes over the long term — less diabetes, less hypertension, improved health and functional status and lower mortality rates over several years.

“If the drug does not lead to long-term lifestyle changes, I am doubtful of any such long-term benefits.

“Like many other doctors, I do my best to avoid prescribing any new mediations for the first few years after approval, unless they are critical. This allows time to have better post marketing data on long-term side effects.

“Also, I would be extremely leery of using this drug in any woman of child-bearing age.”

Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine:

Yes, [Quenexa] can help you lose weight. But that doesn’t mean it will, or even that it should.

Qnexa combines a stimulant drug with an anti-epilepsy drug. The first can drive up blood pressure, and can [cause] jitteriness. The second can cause fatigue, nausea and brain fog. It’s not a great drug by any means, and likely only works as long as people keep taking it.

For those facing bariatric surgery, it is an option worth considering, although not as effective. For most others, better use of feet and forks is the far better option.

Dr. Michael Aziz, internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City:

“Qnexa combines phentermine (the other half of fen-phen) and topiramate (sold as Topamax). When Qnexa was compared with a placebo pill, weight loss patients that were treated with Qnexa for two years showed reductions in blood pressure, in addition to positive improvement in lipid levels following reductions in weight loss. However, there are other concerns, such as psychiatric problems, as well as issues with birth defects.

“Phentermine is known to cause elevation in blood pressure. Topamax has [more] serious side effects which are described in drug safety inserts and they include: paresthesia or “pins and needles,” most often in the arms or legs, fatigue, taste change, difficulty with concentration and weight loss. Now we can understand how weight loss became a desirable side effect to combine this Topamax with phentermine.

“Yes, Qnexa may help many, but lifestyle and the right diet should be the first focus and primary targets to address for those who are struggling with weight and need a real, and a permanent solution.”

Dr. Sunil Bhoyrul, bariatric surgeon at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif.

“Any strategies to help people lose weight should be seriously considered. [But] it’s oversimplifying to say give everyone Qnexa.

“For the day to day reality of taking care of patients, we know that you need a whole array of treatment options.”

Follow MyHealthNewsDaily staff writer Rachael Rettner on Twitter @RachaelRettner. Find us on Facebook.

Kardashians Sued For "Bogus" Diet Pills


Kardashians Quick TrimThe Kardashian clan are in a bit of a pinch. Kim and company are being sued to the tune of $5 million for promoting diet pill Quick Trim, reports TMZ.

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Kim, Khloe, and Courtney Kardashian have been attributing their fantastic figures to diet pill Quick Trim since 2009. Kim, in particular, has been known to use social media, such as Twitter, to rave about its effectiveness. Recently, she tweeted, “Our QuickTrim cleanse will be massive! Khloe has already lost so much weight.”

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But some consumers are no longer buying it. A New York group of former users of the pill have banded together to dispute the Kardashians claims that the pill has actually worked for them, because of its main ingredient.

According to TMZ:

The point of the suit — a bunch of people in NY claim there’s no POSSIBLE way QuickTrim could’ve helped Kim, Khloe and Kourtney lose weight … because the main ingredient is caffeine. According to the suit, “The FDA has determined [caffeine] is not a safe or effective treatment for weight control.

While the Kardashians are yet to respond to the suit, how is this different from any other celebrity that marries their brand to an advertising campaign? Are we really to believe that Janet Jackson is really losing weight with Nutrisystem? Or even better, is Weight Watchers really the only reason Jennifer Hudson has experienced dramatic weight loss?

Going off of the countless celebrities that endorse products across the globe, it isn’t a far stretch to imagine that this group won’t be collecting that $5 million anytime soon.

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Tags: Kardashian Sisters, Kim Kardashian

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Diet Coke brings The Heart Truth to fashion show at OSU

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Diet Coke brought its heart health awareness program The Heart Truth to The Ohio State University for a fashion show.

First Lady of Ohio Karen Kasich joined Diet Coke, OSU student leaders and community representatives at the event, which provided a platform for the community to “show their heart” while demonstrating a personal commitment to heart health education.

At the conclusion of the show, Diet Coke presented a $5,000 check to the Columbus Black Nurses’ Association in support of community heart health programs.

“At The Coca-Cola Co., our operating philosophy is to Live Positively and The Heart Truth campaign very much embodies that idea,” Diet Coke leadership ambassador Lisa Field said. “We are dedicated to encouraging people of all generations to be active, stay extraordinary and become advocates for heart health education programs.”

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