Monday, October 30, 2006

Ten Commandments of Buying Infomercial Fitness Gadgets

  1. If the advertisement claims that you can tone up while lying in bed watching the tube, save your money for the Miracle Mop. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "THE NO SWEAT WORKOUT THAT WORKS."
  2. Beware of the phrase "guaranteed or your money back." READ THE FINE PRINT. The manufacturers may promise that you'll lose 4 inches in one month - IF you stick to THEIR recommendations of a low-fat diet and a more vigorous exercise program.
  3. Don't be impressed by expert endorsements. Don't think for one second that some 3-time Mr./Ms. Universe built his/her biceps with some plastic contraption that looks like something from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  4. Don't whip out your credit card just because a product is not sold in stores. Matter of fact, most of these gizmos are sold in stores -- or they will be in 1-2 months. The product is most generally cheaper in the store, and you can test the product first to see if you like it.
  5. Beware of phrases like "three easy payments." One gadget claims to cost "Not $60! Not $50!" but "just 2 easy payments of $19.95." Add the shipping & handling, and it costs $46.85.
  6. Don't be impressed that a product was "awarded a U.S. Patent." You could patent a nose-hair clipper for mice if you wanted to. To get patent, all you need is an ORIGINAL idea, not necessarily a GOOD one.
  7. Don't believe that a gadget will enable you to build strength and lose fat simultaneously. Consider the Thigh Master commercials: a drop-dead gorgeous model zips up her pants and says, "Thank you, Thigh Master. I never thought I'd fit into these jeans again."
  8. Don't be persuaded by scientific mumbo jumbo. Product manufacturers love to throw around big words. Many of these terms, such as omnikinetics, are not even accepted by the medical community.
  9. Don't believe that some new contraption is better than free weights or machines. One manufacturer claims that "with free weights or machines, getting the right form is impossible," but with its gizmo, "there's no way to use the gadget improperly."
  10. HIDE YOUR CREDIT CARD between 12 am - 4 am. At that hour, everything looks good. Just go to bed.

10 shocking Facts About So-Called "Trustworthy" Fitness Solution Sellers

  1. There are more fat-free/low fat foods, health clubs, diet centers, exercise equipment options, and "miracle drugs" than ever.
  2. Millions of dollars are spent on research to isolate the "fat gene" without any significant outcome.
  3. Some "sugar-free" foods are, in fact, loaded with sugar.
  4. Not enough emphasis on bone-building, metabolism-boosting, body shaping, lean muscle mass.
  5. Over-promising and under-delivering.
  6. Chromium Picolinate.
  7. The FDA.
  8. If something is sold in a health food store, shouldn't it be healthy?
  9. Lack of integrity
  10. Some programs still advocate dramatically restricting calories.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Start Losing Weight

Here are strategies from health experts for taking off ten pounds -- and keeping them off:
  • Cut 500 calories a day. Registered dietitian Paul R. Thomas, co-editor of Eat for life, says, "In general, if you cut 500 calories a day every day, that's a pound a week."
  • Stay in motion, Independent of weight loss, exercise strengthens joints and bones, lowers blood pressure and improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. Walking or jogging a mile burns about 100 calories. Certain ordinary activities burn about 150 calories: gardening for 30 to 45 minutes, raking leaves for 30 minutes.
  • Get high-tech help -- free. Visit the Shape Up America! "cyberkitchen" at enter your age, height, weight, normal activity level and gender, and you'll be told what changes to make in your diet and physical activity in order to lose the recommended pound a week.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Millions of people have Type 2, or non-insulin-dependent, diabetes, and most of them are overweight. "If you have adult-onset Type 2 diabetes," says Rena Wing, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine," your blood sugar comes down immediately when you start losing weight." When Jim Copeland, a 54-year-old hairdresser, was told he had diabetes, his doctor prescribed medication and advised him to take off some of his 236 pounds. Copeland switched to a low-fat, low-calorie diet and began walking six miles a day. "The first ten pounds I lost made a tremendous difference," he says. "My doctor started reducing my medication at that point, and by the time I'd lost 15 pounds I was off it entirely." copeland continues to lose weight -- he's down to 203 pounds -- and has kept his blood sugar under control for 2 1/2 years. People with Type 2 diabetes are often so overweight that they feel discouraged, notes Marion Franz, registered Dietitian with the International Diabetes Center in Minneapolis. "They think they have to lose so much that they just don't try at all. In fact, research has shown that a significant improvement in blood-glucose levels can occur with a weight loss of as little as ten pounds."

Sleep Problems

Obesity takes a toll on your body even when you're resting. "Excess fat in the abdomen, in particular, forces your lungs to work harder while your're sleeping," says Dr. Kingman Strohl, a pulmonologist at Case Western Reserve University. "Fatty tissue in the throat area also decreases the size of your airway when you're lying down." Nighttime breathing difficulties can take the form of snoring. Just a small weight loss, however, could help the 40 percent of adults who have this problem. In a Florida study of 19 male snorers, a seven-pound loss cut their snoring in half, while a 16-pound loss eliminated it entirely.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Five years ago Jean Gott, then 67, fell off a ladder, breaking her left leg. "Even after the fracture healed, I was in pain for two years," she remembers. "It hurts even to stand to do housework. I'd developed osteoarthritis in my knees." At 195 pounds, Gott had been trying to lose weight for years. Determined to take some pressure off her knees, she began a low-calorie diet and lost ten pounds. At this point, she says, "My pain was gone." The change enabled Gott to walk a mile a day. Over the next year and a half, she took off another 17 pounds. She says her knees remain pain-free. Doctors confirm that being even moderately overweight increases the pain of arthritis in weight-bearing joints, especially the hip and knees. Says Dr. Roland Moskowitz, professor of medicine at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, "For every pound you are overweight, you put three to five pounds of extra weight on each knee as you walk." A ten-pound loss, therefore, takes 30 to 50 pounds of extra pressure off your knees. Studies also suggest that heavier people are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Most convincing is research on osteoarthritis of the knee -- a condition six times than in lean people, and particularly common in overweight women. Dr. David Felson, professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, studied nearly 800 women over a decade, tracking their weight and the onset of osteoarthritis in their knees. He found that those who lost weight -- an average of 11 pounds -- were 50 percent less likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knees.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Low Energy Levels

“Imagine carrying around a ten – pound sack of groceries all day,” says Dr. Susan Yanovski of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Extra weight on your body tires you the same way.” Four years ago Scott Talbot, a 36-year-old businessman, weighed 195 pounds, felt sluggish and wanted to slim down. His energy level went up after he started dieting and exercising. “I began to feel good about the way my clothes fit and the way I looked,” Talbot says. “Once I saw some improvement, it psyched me up. I wanted to keep going.” Ultimately Talbot lost 45 pounds, and he’s kept that off for three years. “We find that as people’s body images get better, they walk and act with more confidence,” says Kelly Brownell, professor of psychology at Yale University. “And if they have more weight to lose, they approach that next goal with confidence.”

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is among the top reasons people go to the doctor. Overweight adults are two to three times more likely to be hypertensive. Fortunately, the condition is as sensitive to weight loss as it is to weight gain. A ten-pound loss tends to lower blood pressure by about four points, that's significant. Several studies offer evidence that even moderate amounts of weight loss can prevent hypertension, and can help hypertensive patients lower their risk for stroke. One group of researchers, working with 975 hypertensive patients, found that 37 percent of the subjects who lost an average of ten to 12 pounds were able to safely go off their blood-pressure medication. In this unpublished study and in other trials, weight loss proved to be more effective short-term treatment than stress management or reduction of salt intake

High Cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol levels are more likely to be present in overweight people. But a number of studies indicate that for most people, moderate weight loss decreases the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" kind that clogs your arteries; conversely, it may raise the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" kind that cleans out your cardiovascular system. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, LDL cholesterol levels above 160 (under 130 is desirable) put you at high risk for suffering heart disease, heart attack or, indirectly, stroke. At the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Dr. Harold Seim, professor of family medicine, studied 41 overweight adults in a six-week program diet and exercise. These people were still about 20 percent above their ideal weight after the program. Yet among those who lost around ten pounds, total cholesterol came down 16 percent, on average, and LDL cholesterol dropped 12 percent.