A new study yields that multivitamins for men lowered their cancer risk, but failed to prevent heart problems. It’s important to remember no vitamin can make up for not exercising and not eating well!!
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum
Posts tagged ‘diet’
by Barbara Berkeley, MD
AUGUST 30, 2012
More on Weight and Politics
This post written last year is getting an enormous number of hits from online searches during the Republican Convention. I thought I’d recycle it here for other readers. It seems like a great many people are paying close attention to the weight sagas of our politicians. The struggles of men like Huckabee and Christie should be more than just tabloid fodder because they illustrate the extreme difficulty of weight control in the modern environment….even for closely observed public figures.
Huckabee: Eating His Words, Unfortunately Pancakes Too
by Barbara Berkeley, MD
Ah, the addictive power of modern food. Never underestimate it.
On a recent trip to New York I happened to be flipping through the channels on my in-flight TV when I ran across Mike Huckabee doing an interview on Fox News. I was surprised to see that he had gained his weight back. The former governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate had staked quite a bit on the success of his 100 pound reduction in 2003. He ran marathons, wrote a book about diet and made obesity and healthy living a central issue in his political portfolio. He was appointed to expert panels and interviewed endlessly about his success. Yet even this very public and seemingly committed person could not avoid regain right in front of our eyes. In other words, he did an Oprah.
Huckabee’s weight loss was motivated by a doctor who told the Governor that he would likely die in less than 10 years if he remained obese. To his credit, Huckabee took this message seriously, lost the weight and became a flag bearer for the healthy living movement. What could have caused him to put it all back on?
I have worked with enough maintainers over the years to know that even long term, successful POWs(previously overweight persons) fear that they are just one wrong spoonful from total regain. Huckabee’s weight saga and the many other cautionary tales that play out in the public arena validate this concern.
Did anything that Huckabee said during his lean years foreshadow his return to obesity? I believe he left some clues.
1. In an interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta , Mr. Huckabee said this about his weight loss:
“I had to learn that it was a change of lifestyle. And my goal wasn’t to lose weight. And that’s why this time I was successful, as opposed to previous times in my life. And I would lose weight, but then gain it back and add some to it.”
Whether it’s Huckabee speaking or someone else, there is rarely a discussion about weight loss that doesn’t include the words “change of lifestyle”. For me, this phrase is a red flag, a shorthand for nothing. Governor Huckabee’s words sound very reasonable because they restate the conventional wisdom. But conventiona wisdom can often be just that: conventional. Few realize that it is crucial to delve into the details of “lifestyle change”. The assumption is that it means fewer calories and more exercise. But truly successful maintainers would tell you that a maintenance life is something quite different. It is a well-reasoned, controlled existence that is structured around a healthy avoidance of specific trigger foods. It involves a specifically designed and executed eating style, a reliance on supported environments, specific and consistent exercise routines, and the maintenance of extreme vigilance. This is because modern food is addictive, and it takes several layers of planning to oppose it.
2. In 2010, when Huckabee’s weight regain was already apparent, he wrote an opinion piece for Fox called, In Praise of McDonald’s. It was written after efforts by the Center for Science in the Public Interest to eliminate toys from Happy Meals. Here are some exerpts:
“Blaming the packaging of a toy for overeating and under-exercising of kids makes silly what ought to be a serious issue: Obesity is a serious problem that has stunning health consequences and staggering economic consequences. But it hasn’t been caused by toys and won’t be resolved by getting rid of toys.
When a person is overfed and then under-exercised so that more calories are consumed than used, there will be weight gain. A 3-year-old probably isn’t counting calories, but parents can. The 3-year-old probably isn’t measuring activity levels and aerobic activity, but parents should.
Unless you take your kids to McDonald’s and drop them off to be parented, it’s stupid to blame McDonald’s because they put a toy in a Happy Meal. When I was a kid, there was a prize in the Cracker Jack box, but I really can’t blame my own weight challenges throughout my life to overdosing on Cracker Jack because I was digging for the prize. A person would have to be addicted to crack, not Cracker Jack, to blame the toys in the box for eating too much stuff in the box.
What makes my Happy Meal happy is that as a corporation, McDonald’s didn’t cave to the pin-headed pressure to political correctness, but pushed back to the loons on the left who seem to forget that Americans not only have personal freedom, but personal responsibility.”
This also sounds logical. Parents should protect kids. Toys don’t cause obesity. But it reflects a crucial misperception of the larger problem. Toys in Happy Meals are just one of the many marketing ploys used to lure buyers to an addictive drug: modern, processed food. And the practice is a particularly heinous example as it plays on the vulnerabilities of kids. It also sets up an unneccessary situation which pits the child’s desires against those of a concerned parent.
The misperception is in play when we shift the argument to personal responsibility. If we believe that a lack of personal fortitude causes obesity, we can hoist Huckabee on his own petard. He talked the talk, led the charge, and failed. By his reasoning, he must be weak…just like all those parents who give in to the Happy Meal. I don’t believe that.
Karen Tumulty, who interviewed Huckabee in February for the Washingotn Post observed this scene:
“Huckabee was tucking into a breakfast of eggs and butter-slathered pancakes at a trendy New York hotel overlooking Times Square. His much-discussed diet – he famously lost more than 100 pounds after a diabetes diagnosis in 2003 and wrote a book about eating right – is apparently on hiatus.”
What are we to make of a man who has been told he has a possible death sentence if he’s over-fat,who writes books about the importance of avoiding obesity, who stakes a political career on advocacy for better habits and then goes ahead and chows down in front of a reporter for a major newspaper? Unlike Huckabee, I wouldn’t call him irresponsible. I’d say he’s acting like someone with an addiction. An addiction that has re-established itself.
What else but a powerful, powerful urge could motivate someone to behave in a way that makes him look foolish? To betray an entire belief system once espoused? To perhaps give rivals a powerful wedge against future political ambitions?
The key to successful, permanent maintenance lies in a healthy respect for the damaging effects of the food that got you fat. To avoid being overwhelmed again, each maintainer needs to build many walls of defense. Otherwise, and sadly, he might easily find himself eating more than his words.
Check out Piers Morgan tonight at 9 pm est on CNN when Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Michelle Pfeiffer. After having what she thought was a healthy diet, she discovered she had high cholesterol.
Michelle Pfeiffer admits in a new interview that vanity played a part in her decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle, but she adds that more than anything it was because of a desire to live a healthier life.
The 54-year-old actress tells Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Monday’s edition of “Piers Morgan Tonight” that watching his documentary, “The Last Heart Attack,” gave her plenty of food for thought.
“I was finishing up working on, I think it was ‘Dark Shadows,'” she says. “And I was watching CNN, and ‘The Last Heart Attack’ came on.”
As she was watching the documentary, which explores preventative measures for heart disease, it was former President Bill Clinton’s story that really hit home.
Pfeiffer, who considers herself to also be a “foodie,” watched Clinton and said, “OK, Bill Clinton loves food, so there must be something to [veganism] that’s making him stick to it. And also, he’s smart, so he’s not going to do something unless he really thinks there’s some science behind it.”
After reading the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” which advocates for a plant-based, oil-free diet, Pfeiffer says her mind was made up.
“I just felt like…there was science behind it,” she says. “And, you know, it was sort of irrefutable. … I couldn’t not listen to it. My father died from cancer, and the older you get, there’s a lot of disease around you. And you see people struggling with chronic disease. You see people dying with terminal illnesses. And if in any way …. this is true, then you kind of have to listen to it.”
As someone who loves carbs, Pfeiffer says she’s enjoying the vegan diet, and has her husband of 19 years, David E. Kelley, trying to make the switch.
The older she gets, Pfeiffer says of her views on diet, the more her focus and intent is geared toward living a longer life.
“Vanity is right under there,” she admits, “but I have to say that it’s a close second with wanting to live long.”
Watch the full interview with Michelle Pfeiffer when she stops by “Piers Morgan Tonight” at 9 p.m. ET.
Watch Piers Morgan Tonight weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morganclick here.
Want to lose weight for summer but can’t find the motivation to start making healthier choices? How about reducing your Breast Cancer Risk?
CLEVELAND – Need a reason to drop a few pounds? A new study finds that even a moderate decrease in weight could help reduce breast cancer risks.
Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle compiled date from sedentary post-menopausal women who were overweight or obese.
They found even a five percent, weight loss can reduce the levels of circulating estrogens. Those hormones are linked with an increased breast cancer risk.
Researchers said a healthy diet is also key and that it’s never too late to make lifestyle changes.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.