Archive for » March 21st, 2012«

Doctor, Weigh Thyself

This summary in the New York Times highlights the key points of the study, in which nearly 500 primary care doctors were surveyed about their attitudes and behavior regarding patients’ weight. Overweight and obese physicians were less confident in their ability to counsel obese patients about diet and exercise and less sure that such counseling had a beneficial effect than thinner doctors were.

I think that perhaps the most interesting finding in this study, though, is that more than half of the physicians surveyed were overweight or obese–in other words, at the same rate as the general population.

Does this statistic surprise you? That depends on your view of excess body weight.

If you see it as a medical condition, partially inherited, possibly related to addictive behavior, you’d expect doctors to be no less likely to be overweight or obese than anyone else. In fact, given the pressures of medical practice, and a prevalence of addiction to alcohol and drugs among physicians no less and possibly higher than in the general population, you might expect even more physicians to struggle with weight issues.

On the other hand, if you see weight as purely a result of lifestyle choices, you might think that doctors, who are more familiar than most people with the health consequences of obesity, would choose to follow a diet and exercise regimen that would help them maintain normal weight.

The truth, of course, lies somewhere between these two views. Doctors battle the same unfortunate genetics, sedentary hours staring at screens, and endless temptations to eat high-calorie foods as everyone else–and our knowledge about the unhealthy effects of excess weight doesn’t always translate into action when it comes to our own diets and exercise.

But can a doctor who’s overweight or obese effectively counsel patients about weight?

This recent study suggests that doctors themselves don’t think so. Embarrassment or denial of their own weight issues or concern that they are poor role models may be inhibiting overweight and obese doctors from addressing diet and exercise with their patients.

I wonder, though, if these heavier doctors are missing an opportunity. Studies show that dietary counseling by physicians as it’s currently practiced isn’t particularly effective. Maybe doctors who are overweight or obese–a condition that’s obvious to their patients anyway–should acknowledge how hard it is to lose weight–and how worthwhile the effort still is.

A little more frankness about what apparently feels like a taboo topic might help both doctor and patient.

Weight Loss Success: Nancy Pettit Found A Diet Plan She Could Stick To And …

Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at and you could be featured on the site!

Name: Nancy Pettit
Age: I’m a sizzling 63-years-old!
Height: 5’6″
Before Weight: 275 to 280 pounds

How I Gained It: It’s not like I woke up one morning to suddenly find myself fat, frumpy and frazzled; I’d been like that for a lifetime. As a kid, family meals were large and included home-baked bread, cookies and pie. I was a chubby grade-schooler with an insatiable appetite and seemed drawn to carbohydrates and fat.

Weight was a frequent topic with my mom and grandma. They talked about dieting regularly and yet all family members except my father were overweight or obese. My dieting career began in sixth grade when my mom and I started using candy-like caramels to be eaten with a cup of hot water or tea about half an hour before meals for appetite-suppression. I counted calories and spent summers at fat camp; once school resumed, I spent money earned babysitting on corn nuts or shoestring potatoes from the school vending machine and made frequent stops at the drug store for candy bars or a chocolate sundae from the Dairy Queen on my walk home from school.

I was mortified to be the heaviest girl in the classroom and was frequently nagged by my mom about my weight. She said things like “Fat girls don’t dance…Boys don’t ask fat girls out on dates…You’re going to have your picture taken so stand up straight and suck it in…Get on the scale and let’s see how much damage you’ve done.”

Dieting and binging became my pattern; I’d be “good” for a while by skipping meals or only having liquid shakes, and then reward myself with candy and ice cream.

I did all kinds of fad diets. In anticipation of my wedding and the ensuing photographs, my mother told me about a clinic in town that offered diet shots with a 500 calorie diet plan. I was accustomed to dieting for special occasions and looked great in my size 12 wedding dress. After the honeymoon, I blew out of my trousseau and went right back to construction worker-sized servings!

Then I heard about a diet doctor who had a program using “rainbow pills” and started his regime. Each week I got four envelopes containing red, yellow, blue and green pills, each to be taken at various times of the day along with a very low calorie diet. I didn’t feel well, but behaved around food and lost weight. When I was unable to continue to afford the pills, my weight rapidly returned.

Over the next two decades, my aunt and grandma paid for me to go to several dieting centers, but my pattern was predictable: get on a diet for a special occasion, get off the diet, repeat. We spent thousands of dollars for program fees, medication and diet food. In 1991, I talked my husband into enrolling in a diet program but once I reached my goal weight of 140 pounds, I celebrated by porking-out and couldn’t get back in the diet groove.

For the next few years, I half-heartedly dieted with always the same results: I’d lose weight initially, then feel hungry and moody and become unable to sustain the diet long enough to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

As my life went by, I began to view my weight as a kind of life-long punishment I was doomed to endure. I thought there was something very wrong with me.

Since I had escalating blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, my physician warned me that it was a matter of time before I developed full-blown diabetes. Plantar fasciitis in my feet, arthritis in my hips and knees and an auto-immune disorder chipped away at my health. The quality of my life was lousy, and my poor example and meal preparations contributed to the health and weight problems of my husband and daughter; they were obese, too.

I was referred by my family physician for bariatric surgery, but without the support of my husband or family, I resigned myself to living out my days forever fat and frumpy.

Breaking Point: One morning I had a meltdown in my closet while scrounging for something to wear that would fit and cried out, “Lord! Anybody! Make me thinner!”

It dawned on me that no one can make anyone else get healthier; that is a decision each of us must make ourselves. In the recesses of the closet, I had a heart-to-heart with myself and asked, “Who’s running your life, Nancy? You or your food?”

I made a decision to dump diets and get on with making the best of the rest of my life.

How I Lost It: Providentially, at church that weekend I heard about the Take Shape For Life Program from a friend who’d quickly lost 35 pounds. I decided to begin the program with my family’s blessing, determined to follow through to the best of my ability.

Working with a health coach and eating small meals at regular intervals seemed to be the ticket for me; I felt clear-headed, my moodiness waned and my energy-level remained consistent throughout the day. The program utilizes portion-controlled meal replacements and specific vegetable and protein selections that require minimal preparation. I felt “safe” when it came to meal preparation, because I knew which vegetables and lean protein portions would keep me feeling fuller, longer.

The first couple of weeks I was on the program, I went to bed really early because I couldn’t hack the food commercials! To avoid driving by the gauntlet of the fast-food restaurants, I took a different route to work. We pared down the pantry, kept nothing but program-friendly food in the house and avoided restaurants for anything other than occasionally meeting a friend for a pot of tea or a cup of coffee. I planned meals for the week, made a grocery list and kept a journal with the rule “If I bite it, I write it.” Each night before bed, I planned out my food for the next day.

Within a couple weeks, my face, hands and ankles were less puffy and I felt good. When I was six weeks into the program I had an appointment to see my doctor. At that check-up I weighed 267 pounds, my clothes were looser and I felt great, better than I had for months. From that day on, I felt very hopeful and confident that I would be able to continue forward on my health path. I took my measurements and began to record my weight in my journal.

By October 2002 I was in “one-derland” — I weighed 199! I had not been in the 100-pound range for years. I knew I would be able to sustain the program because I did not want to ever go back to feeling the way I used to feel. It felt good to be me and to be in charge of my life! I sailed through the holidays and on into the healthy New Year. I was hungry for health and it tasted so very good!

The weight-loss phase gave me the opportunity to appreciate and practice a new way to approach food. Rather than holding onto the mindset I was on a short-term diet, I determined in my closet that spring day that food would no longer run my life; this was the last time I would be on a diet or weight-loss program ever again. I was on a quest for health. I wanted to feel better, to move better, to look better and to be better!

Half the woman I used to be, I’d shed 135 pounds and reached a healthy weight. I slowly reintroduced various food groups that I’d temporarily set aside during the weight-loss phase and gradually increased calories and my physical activities during transition and maintenance.

While weight loss may be the entry point for many people, Take Shape for Life offers so much more; it is a lifestyle program with a complete array of support, including one-on-one personal guidance by a health coach experienced with the program and meals. I am deeply thankful for Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, co-founder of Take Shape for Life. From this caring physician I learned the structure of eating every three hours and developed skills that formed healthy habits and behaviors that resulted in permanent weight management.

Every aspect of my life has changed, from how I look and where I shop, to what I can physically do and how I feel about myself. I went from flabby to fabulous! I can wear my wedding ring, I can fit in the bathtub, I can bend over and tie my own shoes, I can walk through a turnstile without standing sideways, I can fit into an airplane seat with no extenders and fit into the bathroom compartment on a plane. No more pull-on elastic stretchy waist plus-size jeans for me — I can wear real zip-up jeans and a cool belt!

Now, I like having my picture taken and don’t have to suck it in. I am physically active and actually enjoy it. I can walk to neighborhood shops and use the elliptical machine daily, attend step-aerobics and strength-training classes at the local YMCA and participate in 5K walk/runs.

I learned how to manage a healthy weight by incorporating daily habits of health. Because I’ve managed a lower weight and active lifestyle for over nine years, my doctor said I lowered my risk for disease.

Charles M. Schultz said, “Life is like a 10 speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”

Now that I am in my sizzlin’ sixties, I feel like I am finally coming into my own; I am riding the path of my own destiny and using new gears I never knew existed.

After Weight: 135 pounds

Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:


Spring Allergy Hotspots

Astrology Now: Thursday’s New Moon Signals New Beginnings

Sleep Better To Get Your Energy Back

How To Kick The Coffee Habit

St. Patrick’s Day And Green Food: Is That Dye A Health Risk?

Dental Phobia: Women In 40s Most Likely To Be Afraid Of The Dentist, Study Finds

For more on weight loss, click here.

var coords = [-5, -72];
// display fb-bubble
FloatingPrompt.embed(this, html, undefined, ‘top’, {fp_intersects:1, timeout_remove:2000,ignore_arrow: true, width:236, add_xy:coords, class_name: ‘clear-overlay’});

Practical Nutrition: Websites can help you track food intake and exercise

So how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? Since it’s already March and National Nutrition Month, it’s a good time to check in.

If you’re like some people, resolutions have been long forgotten.

That’s the problem with resolutions. We make vague goals but fail to back them with a plan.

That missed weight-loss goal might be a cause of stress right now, especially with swimsuits already showing up in the stores. A healthy goal is losing 1 to 2 pounds per week. Start executing a plan now, and you’ll see some weight loss before summer.

First, visit to learn how many calories you need to lose weight. Make your profile, and then click on “My Plan” to determine calories. The site also shows the recommended servings of each food group to consume each day. From there you can track your meals and snacks in the site’s new “SuperTracker,” searching the “Food-A-Pedia” database of more than 8,000 foods.

Two other popular websites include and They also calculate calorie needs and allow you to track your daily food intake. But they have larger food databases, including brand name and restaurant foods. The duo offers other tracking tools, too, plus interaction among site members.

Both websites have free smartphone apps, making it even easier to track your progress. There are plenty of other nutrition apps available, although some may charge a fee. Try them out to see which one you find easiest to use.

If you’re more old school, pick up a calorie-count book and write down what you eat. There are many good books available to meet your specific needs.

Books such as “The Complete Book of Food Counts, 9th Edition: The Book That Counts It All,” by Corinne T. Netzer, show calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat, cholesterol, sodium, and fiber content of foods.

Sodium content is helpful for limiting intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, which can help lower blood pressure. Fiber can help your feel fuller, so you’ll eat fewer calories overall. Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber daily, adding it to your diet gradually to avoid any digestive discomfort.

“The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat Carbohydrate Counter 2012,” by Alan Borushek, is limited to calories, fat and carbohydrate. It’s a great resource if you’re just looking at those nutrients to help lower your weight, cholesterol or blood sugars.

Food labels are great resources. They show nutrition information for the product.

If you need a personal touch for nutrition planning, contact a registered dietitian. They’re trained to devise individual eating plans to implement your nutrition goals.


Baked Halibut Bristol Bay

Use this quick and easy National Nutrition Month recipe to help you reach your goals.

Makes 2 servings

2 halibut steaks, each 5 to 6 ounces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup finely chopped celery leaves
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, allowing enough extra on each end to fold and seal into a pouch.

Place the halibut steaks in the foil.

Combine the oil, lemon juice, celery leaves, onion, pepper and salt in a small bowl; spoon evenly over the halibut. Seal the foil.

Bake at 400 degrees or on a heated grill for approximately 15 minutes.

Nutrient facts per serving: 160 calories, 17 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 25 milligrams cholesterol, less than 1 gram fiber, 350 milligrams sodium.

From American Dietetic Association Cooking Healthy Across America

Healthy diet does not have to break the bank

HEALTHY, good quality meals are not always easy on a budget so loveLIFE is looking at how to keep the cost down.

Whether it’s making your own meals from scratch or planning ahead, there are options available to make sure you don’t break the bank in what you put on your plate.

TV celebrity chef, Chris Tanner, said: “A good meal doesn’t have to be expensive, you can still have good quality food at a good price. Try not to over complicate it, just keep each dish nice and simple and strip it back to the basics.”

Chris advised sticking to local produce to keep costs down.

“The cheap way to do it is take note of the seasons and what food is available and at its prime. It’s cheaper to buy something local than something that’s come from half way across the world. It’s also better quality, it wouldn’t have been cooped up in an aircraft for hours.

“Farmers markets are a great place to buy locally sourced, quality products. You can buy good food in abundance that’s not over priced.”

From the change in lifestyles and faster pace of life, people can often struggle with the time they have.

By buying cheaper cuts of meat and types of fish this can also help with keeping the cost down.

“Try experimenting with different things, and put some time aside to make it,” Chris added.

Another key tip is to avoid wasting food, if too much was cooked originally there is a lot that could be kept and used again.

Growing your own is another cheap way to get your fruit and vegetables that can reduce the food bill and you can get some exercise at the same time.

Chris added: “This part of the world is a great larder so I’d advise people to find out what’s available to keep the cost down and enjoy it.”

Children will lose weight if parents do

SAN DIEGO, March 20 (UPI) — U.S. researchers said if a parent is worried about the weight of their child, the parents should lose weight themselves and their children will too.

Kerri N. Boutelle, an associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, and colleagues said 31 percent of U.S. children were overweight or obese — between 4 and 5 million children.

“We looked at things such as parenting skills and styles, or changing the home food environment, and how they impacted a child’s weight,” Boutelle said in a statement. “The No. 1 way in which parents can help an obese child lose weight? Lose weight themselves. In this study, it was the most important predictor of child weight loss.”

The study involved 80 parent-child groups with an overweight obese child ages 8-12, who participated in a parent-only or parent plus child treatment program for five months.

The study focused on evaluating the impact of three types of parenting skills taught in family-based behavioral treatment for childhood obesity: The parent modeling behaviors to promote their own weight loss, changes in home food environment and parenting style and techniques — for example, a parent’s ability to help limit the child’s eating behavior, encouraging the child and participating in program activities.

The study published in the journal Obesity found, consistent with previously published research, parent body mass index change was the only significant predictor of child’s weight loss.

How to enjoy vegetarian options with less sodium

this morning on joy’s diet s.o.s., here to discuss everything from the best vegetarian foods to the skinny on
white bread
, today’s nutritionist joy bauer.

hey, al.

we’re going to skype
in collegeville, pennsylvania, joining us. good morning,
. what’s your question?

good morning. i have a daughter with crohn’s disease, and as a result of the inflammation she’s prone to bowel obstructions. so she’s limited on the foods she can digest such as fruit and vegetables. any idea how to incorporate these foods into her diet?

, produce tends to be easier to digest when it’s either cooked, pureed, juiced or peeled, if that’s aplikal. so i suggest that you first start with small portions of the low fiber cooked vegetables, carrots, mushrooms,
green beans
, asparagus. even potatoes, mashed or baked, sweet or
white potatoes
. make sure you remove the fiber rich skin. you can also try canned peeled fruits, pears and peaches and also natural applesauce because they heat that during processing so it’s going to break down the fiber and make it gentler on her system. whip up a big batch of pureed soup, carrot ginger or
butter nut
squash and also invest in a juicer. because when you juice your produce you’re going to remove a lot of that harsh fiber components, and you’re going to maintain a lot of the beneficial nutrients. experiment around. and also overly ripe ban mas and avocados tend to be well tolerated during flare-ups. i hope she feels better.

thank you.

in dallas, texas, she’s joining us on the phone with her question. good morning,

hey joy.


for ians you’ve been telling us to say away from processed grains. but i was wondering if the artisan bakeries in my area and not the national chain bakeries in the
big box
bakers, but the real artisan ones, if those are a better alternative or we should
stay away
from those as well.

you’re going to hate me the way — you know what it is? all
white bread
whether it’s the smushy white sandwich bread in the grocery store or the
crusty bread
is made with
refined white flour
. the whole grain flour that’s stripped of all the good stuff. ask your local bakery if they have any whole grain varieties. maybe request that they master a few loefshs. i’m betting that they’ll probably do that and your neighbors will enjoy it, as well. sorry,

we’ve got to go to your e-mail. this one from washington, d.c. she writes not a vegetarian but i don’t cook or eat meat at home to help me stay healthy. i’ve noticed a lot of quick, healthy options are loaded with sodium. are they truly healthy?

she’s exactly right. because a lot of these vegetarian options are loaded with sodium. so when it comes to vegetarian burgers, you want to look for brands that have less than 400 milligrams of sodium per burger and that incorporate whole soy versus
soy protein
? whole soy seems to be the healthier way to go. and check out they’ve got fabulous vegetarian recipes and meal ideas and you can master the real vegetarian superstars, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, soy, and you don’t have to rely on the
frozen foods

night after night

and cheaper probably.

yes, absolutely.

one more viewer e-mail from hackensack, new jersey. how many calories are there in a six-piece
california roll

210 calories in a
california roll
. that’s rice, autograph caught dough, crab and cucumber. so it’s fabulous. japanese feast for under 600 calories. one to two orders of
california roll
, some
miso soup
and edamame.

and if you request
brown rice

if you can get
brown rice
that is a huge bone oubs.