Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
I return after a two month work sabbatical spent in development of a 12 day residential weight management program for a hospital based health center in Northern California. The hospital, which already has a residential tobacco addiction program and pain management program, brought together the best the medical weight management world has to offer including the former medical director and staff from the renowned Pritikin program and the former dietitian from the McDougal program. The project has been a daunting challenge and exceedingly rewarding experience not to mention an unprecedented opportunity to put years of eclectic practical experience to use. I've expanded professional and personal horizons, learned even more about the behaviors that support lifestyle change and oh-do I know more than I dreamed my brain could absorb about the research related to nutrition and weight management. There's still much to be done before the Pilot program at the end of this month and the formal launch March 28, 2004. When something had to go to make time for these new responsibilities this newsletter got set aside. I'm now ready to share much of what I learned in hopes it will make support decisions about your own health behaviors.
Despite the hype about low carb diets the research continues to bear long held beliefs that in the long term it's a balanced and varied, lower in fat and sugar (especially added fat and sugar), higher in fiber, calorie sufficient diet that sets the stage for living an active long as possible life. Chicken is a wiser choice than "red meat" and fish is a better choice than chicken. In fact, the closer you go to a plant based diet the better chance you have to avoid the silent progression of diseases that can kill you-especially if exercise and healthy fueling of this fabulous human machinery are ignored. I remain stunned at the statistics about the increase in obesity and incipient diabetes in the U. S. Our children, especially those exposed to the fast foods and lack of PE in schools, are certain to lose eyesight and limbs to this disease in their 30's and 40's and they will die younger than our parents from this same inactivity and unhealthy eating. If you care about your health and the health of your children put down the SOUTH BEACH DIET and pick up FOOD FIGHT. I agree with author Kelly Brownell-it doesn't matter what diet you use to lose weight. It's what you do in the long term that makes the difference in whether you keep it off and what the quality of your life will be after the short term gratification has come and gone. Changing our culture is what will change our lifespan. I've no desire to be a food policewoman but I also believe that if the money the food companies spend to promote foods that have little in the way of vitamins and minerals was spent on health education, we could significantly improve the quality as well as the quantity of our lives and the lives of future generations. Too many of us who feel rotten on a day to day basis have no one but ourselves to blame.
Overcoming self-defeating behaviors not only improves your health, it improves your life. Whether you like Dr. Phil or not he's got a point when he says, "How's that workin' for you?" then suggests simple cognitive behavior to get you where you want to go. We say we want to lose weight and be healthy but we don't want it bad enough to stick to a commitment to change. If you want to eat healthy, go beyond the hype about glycemic index and look at the glycemic load of carbohydrates, the fat content of all foods (stick to 25 percent or less) and whether or not you are exercising. The human body is the only machine I know of that tunes itself up. It takes 6000 steps a day to keep it healthy and 10,000 steps a day to make it thinner. Wrap those few concepts in a package and you've won more than half the health battle. Meantime, stay tuned for more in future issues.
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