News from Shape Up America
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September 2005
 
 
Shape Up America! Newsletter

Greetings!

Weight Loss – How to get there from here
When you diet, have you noticed the first thing you lose is your temper? Well let me tell you a little story. Audrey was in her 30s when her marriage “blew up” and the emotional distress caused her to lose a great deal of weight over a period of several months while the separation and divorce agreements were being hammered out. At that stressful time in her life, Audrey felt that her weight loss was the only good thing that happened to her and she crowed about how happy she was to be able to “eat whatever she wanted” yet still be thin. A few years later, she was back to her pre-divorce weight and suffering from high cholesterol levels to boot! She is now taking expensive medications to bring down her cholesterol levels and continues to search for quick diet fixes. Despite the advice of medical professionals, she spent six months on the now discredited high fat Atkins Diet, despite her high cholesterol levels.

It is true that determined dieters who ultimately succeed in taking weight off and keeping it off can not “eat whatever they want.” They have to remain vigilant about what they eat – choosing foods wisely and eating smaller portions. To keep the weight off they have to pay careful attention to diet and to how much they exercise. To maintain the weight loss, they will have to do this for the rest of their lives. Some people argue that the need for constant discipline “proves” that diets don’t work. On the contrary, we would argue that diets do work as long as you are willing to work at them. Dieting is like a good marriage – it takes work and it takes a daily investment of care and thoughtfulness. If you are not ready to make the commitment to your own healthy diet and lifestyle, then don’t waste your time. Wait until you are ready and resolved to make a healthy weight and lifestyle a top priority in your life.

“Get Hip and Get Fit” – a program to help families be more active
When they are very young, children learn first and foremost by watching the behavior of their parents. Recent research shows that children are very sensitive to the emotional context of their parents’ behavior; they absorb unspoken messages about how parents feel about food and eating. So it should be no surprise that parents play a primary role in shaping their children’s eating and exercise preferences and patterns.

The 2005 Institute of Medicine report, Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, discusses the fact that large portion sizes contribute to overeating in both adults and young children. Also, if a bowl of fruit or cut up veggies is available for snacking, that is what children will choose to eat. As for physical activity, it is clear that reducing access to TV, DVDs , gameboys and videos to a maximum of two hours a day (and moving the TV out of the bedroom) is a helpful obesity prevention strategy – especially if you can tell a child to turn off the TV and send him or her outside to play.

There are many things parents can do to influence and encourage their children to engage in recreational activities and sports. But busy parents can use a little help planning activities to influence their children to make better lifestyle choices. That is why Shape Up America! teamed with Cumberland Packing Corporation, the manufacturer and marketer of Sweet’N Low zero calorie sweetener, to design a new national program called “Get Hip & Get Fit.” The program aims to help parents make healthy choices for the family, choosing activities that promote physical activity. To assist parents, a “top of mind” poster entitled “20 Tips For Getting Your Family On Track” is available for free, while supplies last. Ordering information is available online (see below) If poster supplies run out, or if you want still more ideas, not to worry. You can access the same poster, plus two others (providing a total of 50 tips in all) in a pdf format, suitable for downloading and printing.

So go online, print ‘em out and hang ‘em in the kitchen, bathroom, classroom or clinic—wherever family activity ideas are needed. Parents, teachers and health care professionals can find these helpful tools online at www.shapeup.org/fittips and www.sweetnlow.com/fittips. As parents, we can do more to reverse the trend of obesity in America, and we will! Together, let’s promote a healthy lifestyle for our children – one that balances food intake with plenty of vigorous physical activity.

What’s in the foods you eat ??
Have you ever wondered what exactly is in the food you eat? If the answer is yes, and you want a FREE way to find out, check out the latest product from the Food Surveys Research Group at the USDA. "What's In The Foods You Eat--Search Tool"— is located at http://www.ars.usda.gov/foodsearch

This new search tool provides easy online access to nutritional information about typical foods that Americans eat every day. You can easily search a database of 13,000 foods, view and select portions and weights for a particular food you are interested in, and then view the nutrient values for the portion size you selected. Each result can be printed if you wish.

phone: 240-715-3900

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