Sunday, December 11, 2011

Odds and Ends

Spandex:  I heard part of a story and some interviews on the radio show, Weekend Edition, this morning.  You can actually listen yourselves, and may I suggest that you do.  It is only six minutes long and can be accessed here.  The main point was that with so many women overweight, comfort was more important than style. (the statistic offered on the percent of women who are now wearing plus size clothing, was shocking)  The overwhelming use of spandex in women's fashion was highlighted in the story.  I found it disheartening.  Of course, I had my years of wearing stretchy clothes - in the 1980s.  I wish I had written down some of the comments that were made this morning, but suffice it to say, spandex might allow you to wear more clothing styles than your body type implies, but it doesn't do anything to reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  The only spandex to be found in my current wardrobe is in my exercise attire! As an added bonus to hearing the story today, I became aware of this informative website as well. 

Diet Fallacy:  I am reading an article that was published in the Lancet in August of this year (my studies have winded down and now I can catch up!)  I only want to make one or two points here.  It is a complicated article on mathematical simulation for weight loss interventions.  The citation is :
Hall, K. D., Sacks, G., Chandramohan, D., Chow, C. C., Wang, Y. C., Gortmaker, S. L., & Swinburn, B. A. (2011). Quantification of the effect of energy imbalance on bodyweight. The Lancet, 378(9793), 826-837. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(11)60812-x 
 If you can access the article, I would give it a read. I know I just said it was complicated, but there are pieces that most would understand and find illuminating. The most important take away from this research is the proclamation that the 3500 kcal = 1 pound, weight loss rule is incorrect. The authors call it the diet myth and hold it responsible for unrealistic expectations and disappointment.  Several factors fail to be considered in the erroneous message.  First, individuals are different.  Second, when a person loses weight, metabolism and energy needs change.  Also, the less you weigh, the less calories you burn in any of the activities that you do.  Third, lean tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. Initially, a person loses fat tissue. A heavy person loses weight faster than a person with a higher ratio of lean to fat mass.
Either way, the body composition changes during weight loss and this also impacts energy expenditure.  One of the examples in the article refers to a man who weighs 220 pounds.  His baseline intake is 3000 calories a day.  He is initially put on a 1200 calorie deficit, so he is consuming 1800 calories a day.  He loses weight over six months (44 pounds) using that 1800 calorie plan.  Then he maintains that new weight with 2600 calories a day. He does not and you can NOT return to your usual caloric intake.  What happens in weight loss programs is that 1) baseline caloric intake is not accurately captured, 2) adherence to the caloric and or exercise recommendations is not 100%, 3) patients return to their baseline caloric amounts and regain their weight.  It is also worth noting that in a simulation example, the scientists state that after a certain change in intake, half the goal weight will be lost in the first year and 95% of the goal will be achieved in 3 years.  Read that again - 1 year and 3 years - not overnight.  Fast does NOT work.

Return on Investment:  Exercise.  I had a couple of challenges to work around this week - rain one day and 30 degree weather on another.  I am not one that enjoys changing my "plans," but on Wednesday when we had a cold heavy rain, I swam (yup) and did my weight training and then on Thursday I did the run.  If you cannot do what you intended, it is still important to do something.  Today it was quite cold, but I knew that the return on my investment - running - would be immeasurable and lead to a productive and balanced day.  You must believe this.  It is true.

Party Favors:  I also did a little cooking and baking for the week.  I have a couple of potlucks to attend.  First, I made a nice vegetarian chili.  As I graded papers, the house filled with a heart warming, comforting aroma.  I also made some new fruit wantons and a pumpkin cake.  It is nice to bring sweet but low calorie items to gatherings.  In fact, my wantons are coming out so good that I am going to make little treat bags for my sweet nieces in Florida.  Here is a picture. They taste like little pies.  The recipe will be posted to You Tube in the future.
Not the best photo, the wantons are in the back, YUM - I promise


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