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Danville health organization pushes region to continue to lose weight


Danville’s largest weight loss challenge is over. Now organizers are encouraging people to stick with their new lifestyle change.

People who live, work, worship, or learn in Pittsylvania County, Danville, and Caswell County, North Carolina lost a total of six-thousand pounds in 90 days.

The goal was 50 thousand pounds. But the leaders of Get Fit Dan River aren’t discouraged.

They’re asking people to continue losing weight with hopes of reaching the 50 thousand pounds lost eventually.

“What we’re doing now is just trying to think of the 50,000 pounds as a continuum because it’s hard to hit 100,000 plus people in 100 days, basically is what we were trying to do. So we took a good stab at it, we got a great start, we have a lot of work to do,” said Stephanie Ferrugia, the program director Get Fit Dan River.

WDBJ7′s Danville Bureau Justin Ward was one of a dozen team captains. He lost 22 pounds during the challenge.

Fast Beach 5:2 diet: what do you want to know?

Mimi Spencer (left), pictured with Telegraph features writer Victoria

Mimi Spencer, the creator of the Fast Beach Diet, will be available to answer
all your questions in a live chat next Thursday, July 31, at noon.

We’re asking readers to send in their questions now: everything you’ve ever
wanted to know about the Fast Beach 5:2 diet but were afraid to ask.

Looking for tips on the best low calorie meals? Hit a slump in your diet? Want
to try the 5:2 but need motivation? Send us your queries and we’ll get them
answered by Mimi Spencer herself.

Email your questions to
or tweet us @TeleTweetures
any time between now and July 31. Or write them in the comments box below.

Then, tune in, on the Telegraph home page, at noon on Thurs 31 July to follow
Mimi Spencer’s live QA.

Duke Study: The Best Diet Plan and Diet Pill for the Money

Researchers from Duke University found that Weight Watchers and the diet drug Qsymia rate the best in cost-effectiveness.

The study was published in the journal Obesity, and the Duke researchers looked at 27 studies and compared three different diets and three different drugs.

Diets Studied:

Weight Watchers
Jenny Craig

Weight Loss Drugs Studied:

Belviq (Lorcaserin)
Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)

The study calculated the cost per kilogram of weight loss for each diet and drug. Weight Watchers came out on top with $155 per kg lost. For the diet drugs, Qsymia was on top at $232 per kg.

According to the study authors, they conducted the study since some insurance providers are looking into covering some weight loss plans and diet drugs to address the professional and financial burdens of obesity. Senior study author, Eric Finkelstein, Ph.D. and Professor at Duke University commented:

The obesity epidemic is raising serious health and cost consequences, so employers and third-party payers are beginning to consider how to provide some coverage for commercial weight loss programs… These results will help them make better purchasing decisions to maximize the health gains using available resources.

7 fad diets you shouldn’t try

Every day it seems a new diet is ready to make weight loss faster and easier than ever before. Or at least they say they are.

“Most fad diets go something like this: Take a few foods, give them ‘magic’ power, and set a plan to convince people that eating this way and only this way will promote weight loss,” said Alexandra Caspero, RD, a nutritionist based in Sacramento, Calif.

The following diets might spur short-term weight loss, but many are difficult to follow, have arbitrary rules, and a few could put your health in danger.

The raw food diet
Any weight-loss expert would agree that boosting your veggie and fruit intake while reducing the amount of junk you eat is a safe and effective way to lose weight, but this diet bans foods that have been cooked or processed in any way. Why? Raw foodies say cooking destroys nutrients. Though it’s true that cooking produce can sometimes reduce nutrient levels, cooked veggies still pack plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and in some instances cooking actually enhances nutrients while also killing bacteria. The biggest issue with this extreme form of veganism? Food prep—it’s totally impractical, said Christopher N. Ochner, director of research development and administration at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. Raw foodies spend hours upon hours juicing, blending, dehydrating, sprouting, germinating, cutting, chopping, and rehydrating. 12 Things You Need to Know Before Going Vegan 

Alkaline diets
The alkaline diet—also known as the alkaline ash diet and the alkaline acid diet—requires you cut out meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, artificial and processed foods, and consume more fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and seeds. The diet certainly has positive points; it’s heavy on fresh produce and other healthy, satisfying foods while eliminating processed fare, which in itself may spur weight loss. But your body is incredibly efficient at keeping your pH levels where they need to be, so cutting out these foods really won’t affect your body’s pH, Ochner said. Not to mention there’s no research proving that pH affects your weight in the first place. The bottom line: the diet is strict, complicated, and bans foods that can have a place in a healthy eating plan, such as meat, dairy, and alcohol. 11 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat 

The Blood-Type Diet
Developed by naturopathic physician Peter D’Adamo, the Blood Type Diet is based on the notion that the foods you eat react chemically with your blood type. For example, on the diet, those with type O blood are to eat lean meats, vegetables, and fruits, and avoid wheat and dairy. Meanwhile, type A dieters go vegetarian, and those with type B blood are supposed to avoid chicken, corn, wheat, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds. However, there’s no scientific proof that your blood type affects weight loss. And depending on your blood type, the diet can be extremely restrictive. 10 Bogus Health Trends That Waste Your Time 

The werewolf diet
Also called the lunar diet, this one is simply fasting according to the lunar calendar. Its quick-fix version involves a day of fasting allowing only water and juice during a full or new moon—and supposedly losing up to six pounds in water weight in a single day. The extended version starts with that daylong fast and continues with specific eating plans for each phase of the moon. While you’ll lose some weight from not eating, it has nothing to do with the moon, and it will come right back, Ochner said.

Cookie diets
Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, The Hollywood Cookie Diet, and the Smart for Life Cookie Diet all promise that eating cookies will help you drop pounds. Of course, you don’t get to chow down chocolate-chip cookies—you eat about 500 to 600 calories a day from high-protein and high-fiber weight-loss cookies (one cookie company even makes the cookies from egg and milk protein) for breakfast, lunch, and any snacks. Then you eat a normal dinner, for a total of 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day. If you stick to the diet, you will likely lose some weight, but by depriving yourself all day, you set yourself up for bingeing come dinnertime, Ochner said. 24 Food Swaps That Slash Calories 

The Five-Bite Diet
Eat whatever you want—but only five bites of it. On this diet, developed by obesity doctor Alwin Lewis, MD, you skip breakfast and eat only five bites of food for lunch and five more for dinner.

“I’m OK with the idea of eating whatever you want in smaller portions, but you need to round out the rest of your eating with nutrient-dense foods to give your body the fuel it needs,” Caspero said. “On this diet, even if you take giant bites of heavily caloric food, you’re still barely consuming 900 to 1,000 calories a day.”

The HCG diet
This edge-of-starvation diet limits you to about 500 calories a day while taking human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone that proponents tout as a powerful appetite suppressant. However, there’s no evidence that HCG does more than act as a placebo, Ochner said. Yes, you’ll lose weight, but only due to the extreme calorie restriction. Though a health care provider may legally give you HCG injections, they’re typically used to treat fertility issues in women and the FDA has not approved them for weight loss. As for over-the-counter homeopathic products that supposedly contain HCG? Those are illegal.

14 Fad Diets You Shouldn’t Try originally appeared on 

How Decluttering Can Help You Lose Weight And Relieve Anxiety

What is clutter?  According to Webster, clutter is a disorderly heap or assemblage; a state or condition of confusion; or to fill or litter with things in a disorderly matter.

Why is it that so many of us hold onto clutter—whether it be stuff in a junk drawer or a disorganized closet or pantry, friends who give off negative energy, bad memories, even fat stored in your body—when it’s taking up vital space that can energize and fulfill us? It’s often because we have an emotional attachment to clutter, whatever it is, and don’t want to let it go. The truth is, clutter traps us and hinders us from becoming what I call “YogaLean.”

We have the power to declutter, just like we have the power to say no to a side of French fries. Healthy living doesn’t just mean diet and exercise. It also means limiting stressors that enter our lives and stick around, like that unneeded stuff clogging space.

Space! You need it, I need it, and your family needs it.  We need space in our schedules to exercise, practice yoga, prepare healthy food, and meditate.  We need space to move around and not feel trapped.  We need space to breathe and step away from the hustle of our day-to-day.

Yoga gives us both physical and mental space and, guess what, our environment is also in need of this space. I have a theory that overeating is like hoarding but with food, cluttering our bodies with what we consume. I believe that many people who hoard are overweight, and when I asked one of our YogaFit trainers if she ever worked at an overweight client’s home who had a neat and orderly kitchen, she agreed: A certain level of disorganization is usually associated with someone who has a “disorganized body.”

There is a direct correlation between maintaining an orderly household and maintaining your ideal weight.  If you begin a weight loss journey, you need to start with a clean slate, clearing the clutter and taking back the energy that is buried under your stuff.  Many times we become a hostage to our possessions but remember that all matter takes up space and energy. If things are in disarray, we may spend more time rummaging through them than we do on developing ourselves as a person.

When our physical environment is simplified and organized, we have more mental and emotional space available to create and grow. When our kitchen reflects the same care and order we desire in our personal life, the time we spend there and the meals we produce become capable of nourishing us in new ways. Taking time to make our kitchen a “sacred space” is an integral part of being YogaLean.

I spend an enormous amount of time thinking about the benefits of a clear space—organizing, decluttering, and how it all relates to aspects of one’s life. And I’ve developed a little concept I like to call “zen-tervention,” meaning when we organize the physical applications of our life and our stuff, we are then able to better facilitate our fitness program, food program, financial program, and pretty much any other program that we want.

When you tackle your personal zen-tervention, you will go through three steps: assessment, visualization, and clearing the decks.  In each phase, you must embrace honesty and non-judgment.  No one, not even yourself, is judging you for the clutter. So don’t worry about that. But with each item, assess why you are holding onto it and if it is serving you.

Beth Shaw is the President of YogaFit, the world’s largest yoga training school. Her third book, YogaLean, will be released this fall, and offers a holistic approach to eating healthy, losing weight, and keeping it off.

Raising infants and toddlers on a vegetarian or vegan diet

Growing up in Omaha eating a vegetarian diet was a little tough on Danielle Kavan who now lives in Lincoln. She felt different from the other kids at school, especially at lunch time.

“I hated being the kid with the blue corn chips and lentils while everyone else had Lunchables and Capri Sun drinks,” she said.

As a college student, she began appreciating the food her parents had provided. The dollar pizzas and ramen she could afford filled her up but did nothing for her nutritional well-being or her general unease about eating meat and processed food. After college, she eliminated meat from her diet, and a few years ago, after watching the documentary, Food, Inc., she’s embraced a vegan diet.

“I love the vegan diet. I’ve never had so much energy, and it caused me to try a collection of new foods I had never even heard of like nutritional yeast, tempeh, baba ganoush, daiya, cheeseless pizza and sweet potato sushi rolls,”  Kavan said.

Food, Inc., also played a role in Kyla Miller’s decision more than two years ago to stop eating meat. She was 14 years old at the time and was helping out at the Haymarket farmers market at her aunt and uncle’s booth, Squeaky Green Organics.

Her parents, Steve and Jana Miller, took it in stride as their older daughter Hannah had embraced a vegetarian diet two years earlier.

“We supported Kyla just as we had Hannah,” Jana Miller said. “Our only stipulation: Kyla had to do her research and make sure she was getting the right nutrition combination.”

Because the Millers didn’t eat much meat anyway and had mostly stopped eating grain-based carbohydrates, many of their meals already relied on more fresh fruits and vegetables than meat, so there was usually something Kyla could eat. When chili was on the menu, Miller says it was easy enough to make two pots, one with meat and one without.

When Kyla transitioned to a vegan diet, it made it a little harder to partake in family meals. She’s now old enough to drive and shop for herself, and she does most of her own cooking.

Miller and her husband initially thought Kyla’s foray into vegetarianism wouldn’t last, but Kyla is now interested in pursuing a career in nutrition sciences and wants to go to a school with a pre-med program in the field.

“She has taken complete responsibility for her nutrition and has educated us, as well,” Miller said. “We have become much more aware of ingredients in the food we purchase, and we eat cleaner and healthier because of Kyla. Steve and I are extremely proud of Kyla for her passion and for educating herself about the food we consume.”

High school students and young adults who are vegetarians and vegans generally eat enough of a variety to meet their nutritional needs. Parents often wonder if it’s possible to provide the necessary nutrients to raise infants and toddlers on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatrics fully support vegetarian and vegan diets for infants and toddlers and have issued guidelines to help parents make sure their very young children consume a nutritionally sound diets.

Caitlynn Gillaspie, who has a bachelor’s degree in education and human sciences with an emphasis in dietetics and is a nutritionist at Good Life Fitness and a dietary aide at Lincoln Surgical Hospital, said as long as parents pay careful attention to what their children are eating, it’s entirely possible to raise healthy infants and children without meat and/or dairy.

“Getting the daily required amounts of vitamin B-12, calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and zinc, which are typically found in meat, seafood and dairy, is important for proper growth and development,” Gillaspie said. “With planning, parents raising ovo-lacto vegetarians, or those who eat eggs and dairy, will be less likely to experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, and B-12. Parents raising vegans will most likely need to supplement these nutrients with fortified soy and cereal products and dairy-free milk alternatives. All of those nutrients are available in leafy greens, broccoli and kale; in fortified cereal grains and/or vitamin and mineral supplements.”

Although local chef and restaurant owner Maggie Pleskac (Maggie’s Vegetarian Café) was raised on a meat-intensive diet, she embraced a vegetarian diet in high school after reading John Robbins, “Diet for a New America.” When her daughter Iris was born, she was milk and soy protein intolerant (MSPI). Pleskac was breastfeeding, so she switched to vegan diet, and Iris was a vegan for the first three years of her life.

As a 5-year-old now, Iris is developing her own tastes and expressing her likes and dislikes. “I am confident if she is eating the colors of a rainbow in a day, she is getting all the nutrition she needs,” says Pleskac. “She’s has been tested recently for her kindergarten entry requirements, and we tested her hemoglobin for iron levels. She came out on the highest end of the spectrum.”

Consuming this variety of foods, namely fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, is one of the benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet, Gillaspie said. It’s important, though, to make sure children who do not eat meat supplement their diets with soy products (tofu, tempeh and veggie burgers), beans, legumes, fortified cereals, nuts and seeds. Parents of children eating a vegan diet will have to pay special attention to their calcium and vitamin D intake.

Green leafy vegetables contain calcium, but some children balk at eating spinach, broccoli, and kale. When Kavan’s son, 2½-year-old Owen, started leaving spinach on his plate, she started blending it into his morning fruit smoothies or tossing it with pasta.

“Problem solved,” Kavan said. “If Owen doesn’t like a vegetable one way, we’ll prepare it a different way.”

Pleskac’s daughter Iris is not a picky eater, either, and among her favorite foods are chickpeas, lentils, peanut butter, all berries, broccoli, daikon, apples, noodles, tofu, pineapple, raisins, kale, black beans and most nuts — cashews, almonds and pistachios.

On the advice of her pediatrician, Kavan started feeding Owen solid foods when he was 6 months old, and the first thing he ate was an avocado. Now, she feeds him a variety of fruits and vegetables, and even though she adheres to a vegan diet, she prepares meat for him.

“I want to expose him to all foods so he has a well-balanced diet. I cut up the meat and let him cook it while I supervise. He loves to cook and seems to be much more interested in his food if he helps prepare it,” Kavan said. “While sticking to a vegan diet allows me to feel best about how I impact the world, as well as physically, I realize that’s not the best decision for everyone. As long as Owen is eating a well-balanced diet, he can choose to eat whatever he wants at any age.”

Pleskac and her husband also intend to let Iris make her own decisions regarding food when she gets older. In the meantime, they’ll continue with their mostly vegan diet, preparing every meal at home using whole, non-processed foods.

“We are a vegetarian household, and I feel we are laying a healthy foundation for her growth and development,”  Pleskac said.

Kavan and Owen’s father are divorced, and both parents share a desire to feed Owen nutritious meals. He may eat meat the entire time he’s with his father and veggie burgers at home with his mom. Kavan is philosophical about it, “As I’ve always said, it’s all about variety, moderation and fueling your body the best way you can.”