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Meet the incredible shrinking family who went from fat to fit and lost 18st dieting together –

Apr 24th, 2017
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The buffet table was buckling under the weight of sausage rolls, stodgy sandwiches, crisps , chocolates and jelly as Claire Schofield sidled over and stole a slice of quiche, wolfing it down before anyone noticed.

The table at her home in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was laid out ready for a family get-together.

The Schofields were known for their love of parties almost as much as they were known for their love of eating.

It was Claires fondness for all things both sweet and savoury which had seen her get bigger and bigger. She didnt dare weigh herself, but knew that at 5ft 5in, being a size 24 wasnt healthy.

But while she wasnt proud of her expanding waistline, she was proud of how close her family were. Her mum, Margaret, 66, and sister Sharon, 49, lived nearby and along with Sharons daughter Laura, 28, the Schofields were always getting together to eat.

Whatever the occasion, Claire, 43, would ensure there were always chocolates and pastries. Shopping trips inevitably involved coffee and cake stops.

We didnt need an excuse for a gathering and food was always involved, says Claire.

Huge weight on hospitals as anti-obesity operations rise six-fold in a decade

The self-confessed chocoholic admits she could easily demolish a family-sized bar in one sitting.

Shed always been curvy but after the birth of each of her three daughters, her weight steadily rose.

Attempting fad diets over the years, shed announce to husband Neil, 48, and daughters Molly-Mae, 20, Georgia, 18, and Daisy, 13, that she was only eating apples for a week or that bananas were strictly off the menu. While she might lose a few pounds, the unsustainable diets only led to further weight gain in the long run.

There was rarely anyone bigger than me, she says. At work in a hairdressers training college, on holiday with the family wherever I went, I was the biggest.

I pretended I was happy but the truth was I felt insecure and miserable, as well as exhausted.

My family could talk about anything, but we never talked about weight. I knew I wasnt setting a good example for my daughters.

Thankfully, my girls didnt copy my extreme diets, but they did copy when I ate pudding or chocolate.

Claire admits the idea of eating in moderation was lost on her.

In late 2012, the Schofields threw a party and Claire noticed her mum Margaret wasnt piling her plate high with all the usual processed party foods.

Mum explained she was making an effort to watch what she ate and had lost a stone, says Claire. Her skin was glowing and she seemed happy. I was envious.

Then in January 2013, Margaret signed up to her local Slimming World class. Soon she started inviting her family over for a new kind of meal. Out went the stodge, in came colourful curries and healthy stir-fries.

Claire could suddenly see that losing weight didnt have to mean going hungry or missing out and she could still eat some chocolate.

Over that year, Margaret lost 3st.

Mum had set a great example and I wanted to do the same for my daughters, says Claire. I didnt want them to end up in the position I was in a lifetime of weight gain and several stone to lose.

After Christmas 2013, she join Slimming World too. She asked sister Sharon, a size 18, if she fancied joining her.

We booked a holiday in Spain for August 2014 as an incentive and signed up for our first weigh-in, says Claire. When I told my girls, Georgia said she wanted to come too.

At the class, Claire asked her consultant to write down her weight so she could look at it later in private. She says: Back home, I stared in horror. I was 20st 2lbs. My BMI was 47 morbidly obese. I was devastated, but determined. I threw out all the chocolate in the house and stocked up with fruit and veg.

Using Slimming World recipes, I made chilli from scratch and made salads to take to work.

In the first week, Claire lost 7lbs 7oz.

The wonderful thing about losing weight with the family was that we all changed our habits together, she says.

Instead of meeting at coffee shops for cake, we ate salad and shared delicious new recipes.

In January 2016, Sharons daughter Laura signed up too and the Schofields joked that they were fast becoming the incredible shrinking family.

Margaret lost 4st 4lbs, Sharon dropped 3st 2lbs, Georgia shed 1st 7.5lbs and Laura lost 1st 8.5lbs. With Claires astonishing 7st 7lb loss, the family have slimmed by 18st between them.

Were now all in a WhatsApp chat group so we can share weigh-in results we keep each other motivated, Claire says. Our health was the one thing we never talked about. Now its all we talk about.

Claire and her daughters now share trendy high street clothes in a size 12 and have taken part in a 5k race.

I used to think eating healthily would make me miserable, says Claire. But being healthy makes me happier than chocolate ever did. My family has been on such a great journey together.

Height: 5ft 5in

Weight before: 20st 2lbs

Now: 12st 9lb

Claires diet before:

Breakfast: Toast with butter and jam

Lunch: White bread sandwich, crisps, chocolate bar

Snack: Packet of biscuits, iced fingers

Dinner: Lasagne, garlic bread

Snack: Chocolates


Breakfast: Muesli, yoghurt and fruit

Lunch: Pasta salad

Snack: fruit

Dinner: Homemade chilli with kale and rice

Occasional snack: Low-cal trifle

Height: 5ft 4in

Weight before: 12st 12lb

Now: 11st 5lbs

Im so proud of Mum its great to see her so happy and confident. She always struggled with her weight and we grew up watching her try all sorts of silly diets.

Shes found something she can stick to and that clearly works. Im proud of myself too. I have made some big changes to the way I eat and its made such a difference.

I used to go out with my friends and wed always end up in a fast food restaurant where Id order a double cheeseburger and chips with a litre of cola. Now I have a home-cooked meal before I go out instead.

Height: 5ft 4in

Weight before: 17st 4lbs

Now: 13st

I still cry when I recall finding out I was 17st 4lbs. Id always been slim and my weight had crept up in my fifties. I ran a light haulage company and drove long distances, eating sandwiches, chocolates, crisps and fizzy drinks nothing nutritious. Huge slabs of Galaxy chocolate bars were my downfall.

I couldnt stop getting older but I could stop getting fatter and never let myself go back there.

These days I snack on fruit and yoghurt instead of family-sized chocolate bars. Im so proud of the whole family weve done brilliantly together.

Height: 5ft 5in

Weight before: 14st 7lbs

Now: 11st 5lbs

I was so unhappy with my appearance I used to end up in tears getting ready for a night out. I never felt good in anything.

Claire suggested joining forces at just the right time. Ive never looked back losing weight as a family made it so much easier as we spurred each other on and its wonderful to see each other achieve so much.

I was so proud of Claire when she reached her target she is my inspiration.

My downfall was definitely cheese, but now I opt for fruit.

Height: 5ft 7in

Weight before: 12st 1.5lbs

Now: 10st 7lbs

Seeing the progress the others were making inspired me. I was so proud of everything theyd achieved and knew with their support I could stop yo-yo dieting for good.

I was the same as my mum Sharon cheese was my kryptonite. I have replaced it with crab sticks and pickles. We share our successes and reach out to each other when were struggling. I couldnt have done it without my family.

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Meet the incredible shrinking family who went from fat to fit and lost 18st dieting together –



Burn More Calories and Lose Weight Faster With These Tabata Workouts – POPSUGAR Australia

Apr 24th, 2017
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Chat with us on Facebook Messenger. Learn what’s trending across POPSUGAR.

What’s not to love about high-intensity interval training? Not only does HIIT save you time, but it also burns tons of calories, both while you work out and after (even if you’re doing nothing at all!). One of our favourite ways to HIIT is Tabata, a type of workout that combines 20 seconds of intense bursts of workouts with 10 seconds of rest in four-minute rounds. Does a short and effective workout sound good to you? Get started here.

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Burn More Calories and Lose Weight Faster With These Tabata Workouts – POPSUGAR Australia



Fresh and Fit: Side effects shouldn’t prevent you from trying new medications –

Apr 24th, 2017
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Are you scared to take medicine because of the side effects? (Photo: Michal Jarmoluk, StockSnap)

If youve ever taken any medication in your life, you have personal experience with some level of side effects related to that drugs use. The degree of side effects varies from drug to drug and person to person on a massive scale. When Ive been outside all day and my allergies are bothering me, Benadryl does manage to stop my runny nose, but it also makes me drowsy. So I end up going to bed earlier than usual, but by the next morning, Im back to normal. I once took a drug for depression that made me consistently sleep 1418 hours a day, and even when I was awake, I was almost always drowsy.

Plenty of people avoid medications entirely because of the fear of potential side effects like the ones I’ve had, but Im here to tell you to not give up. I understand your reasoning and your fears, but the potential benefits, for me, always outweigh the potential side effects.

I dont begrudge anyones hesitations, especially since part of it can also be related to religious beliefs. Keeping your body pure means saying no to any foreign pollutants, be they alcohol, tobacco or even medications. I cant tell you whats best for you, but I can give you my personal experience. Id ask you to keep an open mind, because “possible side effects” is a scary phrasebut it doesnt mean every medication is going to come anywhere close to ruining your life.

Basically any medication can come with side effects, but sometimes, they’re so minor that you don’t even notice them. The most common side effects people generally see include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, dehydration and dry mouth. Antidepressants or mood stabilizers can cause dizziness, drowsiness, an increase in depression or irritability. It’s more likely that you’ll gain weight on these drugs, but some of them will actually cause you to lose weight. They can also disrupt sleep and have sexual side effects.

However, in my personal experience, the majority of drugs Ive taken have resulted in no side effects serious enough to stop taking them. Ive experienced two of the side effects together with a single medication only twice. Even though Ive changed medications (with my doctors supervision) several times, the primary reason has not been side effects. Its been that the drug simply wasnt helping me effectively, so we tried to find a better option.

Im not going to deny that sleeping 1418 hours a day was awful. I absolutely hated it, and I hope I never have to deal with that again. However, as bad as it was, I stopped taking that particular medication within two or three weeks. I called my doctor, explained the problem, and we switched to something else. The result? Ive been taking the second drug for six years with (as far as I can tell) no noticeable side effects.

Now, it did take time for the drug to actually help, as it required starting at a small dosage, working my way up and then eventually going back down slightly to find the right amount. However, now that Im at the right dosage, my mood swings are under much better control, and my doctor says (if Im lucky) I may never have to change what Im taking again. In the grand scheme of my life, I can now safely look back and say those few weeks of constant sleep didnt hurt me in the long run.

Were all capable of being hypochondriacs when it comes to our personal health. So although I do recommend you be aware of potential side effects of any medication, I dont recommend you go online and memorize the entire list of potential side effects of any particular drug. Why? Because then youre just as likely to have a placebo effect and confirm your worst fears as you are to actually suffer any real problems.

Its a difficult line to toe, but the best thing you can do is keep talking to your doctor about what you may be facing. Once you start taking your new medicine, keep a daily journal of as much information as you likesleep schedules, eating habits, energy levels and your overall mood. If some strange new physical effects or behaviors start to emerge, its probably time to call your doctor and research as much information as you can find.

One day, I may wake up and need a stronger dose of the medicine Im currently taking. I might wake up and realize the drug has stopped working altogether and must be replaced. Finally, even after decades of no serious problems, I could eventually have a severe reaction to the drug. Unfortunately, none of this can be predicted, because our body chemistry changes as we age, and we simply dont know what the result of that will be.

Yes, its scary, but I know the risks. I still believe that my mood and depression symptoms are greatly improved because of my medication and my doctors help. At some point, we all have to make these very personal decisions, but we shouldnt feel helpless or alone. I cant tell you whats best for you, but again, I ask you to keep an open mind. Weigh all your options individually, because its not just your own health at stake: How you feel and function help determine the quality of life for your friends and family as well.

Jay McKenzie loves soccer, history and feeling great. He’s on a quest to eat better and exercise more, and he wants to share his experiences along the way. You can email him at with comments or questions. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.

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Fresh and Fit: Side effects shouldn’t prevent you from trying new medications –



Diet Doc Releases Top Weight Loss Program to Reduce Blood Sugar and Lose Weight Fast With Ketogenic Diet – Marketwired (press release)

Apr 24th, 2017
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ANCHORAGE, AK–(Marketwired – April 24, 2017) – The U.S. market is saturated with fad diets, weight loss supplements, and “easy fixes” that promise to deliver rapid weight loss with no consequences. In reality, weight loss is far more challenging and obesity is a vast, continuously increasing problem. More than 30% of all Americans are overweight or obese individuals, regularly dealing with issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. With obesity comes higher body mass index (BMI) levels and increased health problems. For this reason, reducing excess body fat and pursuing healthier lifestyles is vital. A long-term weight loss solution, ideally monitored by a doctor and customized to the dieter’s nutritional needs, is important for consistent weight loss progress. A regular fitness routine and a balanced diet with calorie monitoring are also important.

According to Dr. Nishant Rao, the resident medical expert at Diet Doc, a nationally recognized top weight loss program, regulating blood sugar is also crucial to the weight loss and weight maintenance process. When regulated, blood sugar levels have virtually no negative impact on weight loss. However, when blood sugar levels elevate too much, the body’s ability to process glucose is obstructed. As a result, the body stores the extra glucose as fat, which can ultimately lead to worse issues like diabetes, heart disease, or even obesity.

According to Dr. Rao, “Diet Doc uses low carb dietary principles along with the Ketogenic diet to facilitate sizable drops in blood sugar, which can allow for fat loss to occur more effectively.” In severe cases, variations of intermittent fasting, or IF, may also be employed in order to “create extended fasting windows which further reduce blood sugar, allowing for fat to get used without storing sugar.” At Diet Doc, a top weight loss program is offered for all patients. The unique dietary needs of each individual are considered in order to maximize efficiency, safety and maximal results. For this reason, all patients receive custom-designed weight loss programs and diet consulting. With a safe, doctor-supervised diet plan and guidance for life, Diet Doc patients gain the following benefits within the very first month:

For patients who struggle with portion control or emotional eating, Diet Doc offers solutions like Metwell, which helps balance metabolism and reduce appetite without harmful side effects. Medical weight loss solutions like these, especially in combination with popular diets like the Ketogenic Diet, have been shown to be effective when doctor-supervised and customized to an individual’s dietary needs, according to Dr. Rao.

With a team of doctors, nurses, nutritionists and motivational coaches, Diet Doc products help individuals lose weight fast and keep it off. Patients can get started immediately, with materials shipped directly to their home or office. They can also maintain weight loss in the long-term through weekly consultations, customized diet plans, motivational coaches and a powerful prescription program. With Diet Doc, the doctor is only a short phone call away and a fully dedicated team of qualified professionals is available 6 days per week to answer questions, address concerns and support patients.

Getting started with Diet Doc is very simple and affordable. New patients can easily visit to quickly complete a health questionnaire and schedule an immediate, free online consultation.

About the Company:

Diet Doc Weight Loss is the nation’s leader in medical, weight loss offering a full line of prescription medication, doctor, nurse and nutritional coaching support. For over a decade, Diet Doc has produced a sophisticated, doctor designed weight loss program that addresses each individual specific health need to promote fast, safe and long term weight loss.




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Diet Doc Releases Top Weight Loss Program to Reduce Blood Sugar and Lose Weight Fast With Ketogenic Diet – Marketwired (press release)



No stress. How to cut inflammation in your body for a healthier life – DailyO

Apr 24th, 2017
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Whether it’s fatigue, body ache, joint pain, chronic headache, unexplained weight gain, low immunity leading to frequent colds and flu, gastric issues like bloating, indigestion; heart burn, or skin troubles like unexplained rashes, most of them can be traced to a high level of inflammation in our body.

What is worse is that, slowly, chronic inflammation may even lead to arthritis, metabolic syndrome, brain health, liver disease, osteoporosis, cancer, asthma, autoimmune diseases, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and early aging. Now that’s a long list of maladies!

And inflammation in turn is fuelled by our overly acidic bodies thanks to our poor eating habits (acidic foods like caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, sugars, refined flours and excess animal products), pollution and stress.

Be tea-smart

So to reverse the process, it is important to cut stress, exercise regularly and, most importantly, follow an alkalising diet, plating foods that help cut inflammation effectively.

Below is a list of broad rules to follow and the anti-inflammation super foods to add to our grocery lists ASAP.

The first foolproof rule is to eat a diet loaded with fibre (fruits, vegetables, whole grains). Research clearly shows that people who choose diets high in fibre have lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in their blood. CRP is a marker of inflammation that has been linked to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), heart disease and diabetes.

High-fibre foods also feed good bacteria in our gut, which then help promote lower levels of inflammation all through the body. In fact, adding more plant-based whole foods to the diet helps flood the body with vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting phytochemicals, antioxidants, and the fibre it needs to cut and prevent chronic inflammation effectively.

Sip right. Green tea has very potent anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the loads of antioxidants it contains, particularly catechins.

But not many know that even black tea is beneficial as while it has low levels of catechins, it has the highest levels of theaflavins and thearubinins, which are just as effective as the catechins in keeping inflam-mation down, and improving insulin sensitivity – thus preventing diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Don’t forget antioxidants

So green or black, make tea an important part of your everyday sip-ping menu.

Consciously eat alkalising foods; here eggplant (baigan) tops the list.

It is, in fact, a perfect antidote to all the acidic foods we eat. That’s not all, it also delivers a lot of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanin, which is a proven inflammation cutter, and chlorogenic acid, a wonder pigment which fights free radicals and multiple viruses.

For this compound alone, it makes sense to eat more of this spongy textured vegetable.

Inflammation can be tricky

Change your sugar. Avoid refined sugars as much as possible and ar-tificial sweeteners altogether. In fact, maple syrup is a good option to consider as a strong body of research has revealed the presence of inulin in it, a type of complex carbohydrate (natural dietary fiber) that acts as a prebiotic (feeds the probiotics) and works to encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

Add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger and cin-namon to the diet to boost the antioxidant capacity.

Curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, and polyphenols in cinnamon have shown clear anti-inflammatory action.

Load up on omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids work by suppressing the production of the inflammatory chemicals that the body makes, and thereby help lower the risk of many chronic diseases that have a high inflammatory process at their root.

Fatty fish, flax seeds and walnuts are the foods to add to the diet. Al-though it is equally important to lower your intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation, primarily by cooking less in refined oil, eating less meat, and processed foods.

Coconut oil is another highly anti-inflammatory fat that is made up of mostly medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and antimicrobial and anti-fungal caprylic, lauric, and capric acids that aid reduction in inflammation.

Steer clear of anything with hydrogenated oils

Finally, it is important to cut to size processed foods, particularly those containing high-fructose corn syrup or those high in sodium – both fester inflammation in the body.

Also look out for foods high in trans fats, as those who eat more trans fats have higher levels of C-reactive protein, (a biomarker for inflammation in the body).

A good rule of thumb is to always read labels and steer clear of products that contain the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated oils, and restrict the intake of fried foods.

Inflammation can be tricky, and it plays a part in so many diseases and symptoms that it is best kept in strict control.

And as I have mentioned, overhauling our diet is the best way to do this. So do it consciously, every day of your life.

Is too much caffeine making you anxious and jittery?

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No stress. How to cut inflammation in your body for a healthier life – DailyO



In Defense of Obesity – The Commentator

Apr 24th, 2017
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Weve all been there sitting around the dinner table with family and friends and, when the dessert plate finally arrives, the conversation begins. Uncle Peter is convinced the carbs are to blame. Cousin Sarah begs to differ, as she understood fats to be the culprit if you eat fat, you get fat. Brother Andrew asserts the importance of protein for proper nutrition. Mom, after having recently read an article about the probiotics in fermented foods such as kombucha, claims it’s all about the bacteria. Dad, skeptical as always, proposes the supremacy of exercise in losing weight.

Calories in, calories out thats what weve all been taught. As a personal fitness trainer, I, too, emphasize this idea to my clients. However, according to current research, this view is proving far more complicated than initially thought more on this later. Then theres the willpower argument. If we could just put the fork down, the pounds would melt away. Again, it’s not that simple.

The etiology, or cause of obesity is complicated considerably beyond what people realize. The obese population are often stigmatized as lazy or simply lacking this so called willpower. In this article, Id like to describe just a few of the many etiological theories surrounding the obesity epidemic some of which may surprise you. In doing so, Id like you to re-evaluate your assumptions regarding obese individuals, and the conscious, or subconscious biases, termed fat biases, you may have towards them. Moreover, I intend to provide general advice for those who may be struggling with their weight. Therefore, If you are among the more than two-thirds of Americans who are either overweight or obese, I urge you read closely; and if you are among the one-third who are not, you should read even closer.

When presented with a disease or a condition, doctors and scientists tend to look to our genes and for good reason. After all, the three billion letter sequence inscribed in our cells, to a large extent, codes for the type of individual we will become. Ideally, a diseased gene would be located and repaired. Unfortunately, more often than not, a multitude of genes are implicated in a condition; it is therefore a matter of solving the genetic puzzle to obtain the cure a task which is easier said than done. Regardless, progress has been made in this area of research.

The most commonly implicated gene in obesity is the MC4R gene, which codes for the melanocortin 4 receptor a deficiency of which has been highly associated with overeating. Nevertheless, this cannot account for the steep statistics on obesity. More likely, several genes acting in synchrony contribute to the phenotype, or visible characteristics, of an obese individual. Furthermore, even if the specific genes connected to obesity were discovered, how would that help? Arent we stuck with our genes? This previously held notion has become obsolete due to advances in the exciting field of biotechnology, in which gene-editing is a real possibility take out the broken, put in the fixed. However, our genes cannot take all the credit for the obesity epidemic.

Neuroscientists, particularly neurophysiologists, have brought their fascinating discipline to bear on the issue of obesity and overeating. Why do people overeat? It seems like a simple enough question. Alas the answer is multifaceted, to say the least. In accordance with darwinian evolution, humans have evolved, through natural selection, to live and eat in a certain way. In theory, our current health may depend on the development of a lifestyle resembling that of our ancestors. While the implications of this theory have yet to be concluded among experts, we can still do our best to extrapolate.

In the hunter-gatherer era, food was scarce. Our bodies, therefore, developed adaptations that allowed us to get the most out of a potential encounter with food. Let us say, for example, that one of our ancestors came into contact with a delicious looking blueberry bush, which would inevitably result in overindulgence. In order to take full advantage of the fruit, the signals that make us hungry, which work through a hormone called ghrelin, are extremely powerful. If we dont eat, ghrelin runs rampant, and has us soon scavenging for food, whether it be miles away on a berry bush, or next-door in the fridge. On the other hand, the hormone leptin, along with others, signals to our brains that we are full. When we eat a big meal, leptin skyrockets, and we feel satiated. Heres the kicker: the signals to stop us from eating are much weaker than those forcing us to eat. Who knows when the next food encounter would be? Through this mechanism, our ancestor at the blueberry bush is able to stock up on plenty of energy, overindulging for a kind of hibernation, so to speak similar to a grizzly bear consuming salmon before winter.

Furthermore, our brains have developed in a way that reinforces the act of eating. When we eat, the brain releases dopamine the famous feel good neurotransmitter similar to a heroin injection, albeit to a significantly smaller extent. And people wonder why food is addictive! Parallel with our ancestor at the blueberry bush, this dopaminergic response allowed our ancestors to continue eating and not die out survival of the fittest at its best. In modern times, however, when food is so readily available (i.e fast food), these mechanisms have backfired. In essence, what was once a live-saving adaptation, is now killing us.

But even with modern food availability, wouldnt we still be able to regulate our appetites? Sure so long as we are eating the right foods. The human stomach was designed to signal satiety to our brains in specific, although complicated, ways. One of the simplest manners in which this is done is through stretch receptors. When we eat, the stomach expands, and stretch receptors tell our brain that were full. Note that the effectiveness of this system is dependent on food volume. Fruits and vegetables are high volume, low calorie foods; that is to say, you get more nutrition and satiety for your caloric buck. Sociologically, however, many societies, especially those of Americans, have decided to compress foods, increasing their density effectively decreasing your caloric buck per unit of satiety.

An example I like to give to my clients: in front of you lies a single donut or a table lined to the brim with broccoli each contains the exact same amount of calories. Which is going to make you more full? The correct answer, of course, is the broccoli. However, if you thought to yourself, but I want the donut! you were looking for the immediate dopaminergic response that accompanies a densely packed container of fat, sugar, and salt stripped of vitamins, minerals, and fiber thereby falling right into the food industrys trap. Accordingly, my advice to someone who complains of chronic hunger (all other variables being equal), is to take a look at the density of their foods. Yes orange juice is healthy but whole oranges are even healthier.

While exercise and proper nutrition are currently the most powerful tools available as a means for fat loss, certain individuals may benefit from alternative perspectives on the issue. With that, Id like to turn to more recent theories which attempt to reconcile our environment with our genes the so called nature versus nurture debate.

On the forefront of this reconciliation is the field of epigenetics. Essentially, we previously believed that gene transcription was set in stone. However, research has uncovered the ability of our genes to turn on and off, like a light switch, in order to regulate certain bodily processes. While the topic of epigenetics requires a separate article in and of itself (or perhaps a book, of which there are several published), the basics can be applied to obesity. Have you ever heard that sitting is the new smoking? This is in accordance with epigenetic research, in which sitting has been found to turn off fat loss genes, while standing and walking turned them back on. Incredibly, some of these changes could be permanent a person may be able to assign an on tag to their genes which could be passed on to their children. Your current lifestyle could affect your future offspring on a genetic level, predisposing them to start their journey off on the right, or perhaps wrong foot. Furthermore, what we eat may also be able to turn and tag genes off and on a truly exciting concept for the field of nutritional science.

Additionally, the study of the human microbiome has taken hold of the public. While estimates vary, it seems as though we have more bacterial cells than human cells inside of us in a way, we are more bacteria than we are human. Besides being an interesting fact, why should we care? While research into the human microbiome is vast and ongoing, its implications for obesity are already apparent.

In several studies, scientists have given the same diet to regular mice and germ free mice (mice born without any bacteria inside of them), and watched as the germ free mice became exponentially fatter than the regular mice their caloric intake remaining constant. Moreover, when the microbes of a fat mouse were transferred to the colon of a skinny mouse, the skinny mouse began to gain weight; again, this was done with a consistent diet. How does this work? Science simply isn’t sure yet, although progress is being made everyday. The fact of the matter is, that fields such as epigenetics and the human microbiome (and several others not mentioned) highlight the vast complexity of obesity. The cause of the issue clearly extends far beyond what we currently know; calories in, calories out may not be the whole story.

The obesity statistics, as previously highlighted, are startling. Simply being even 20% overweight exponentially increases a person’s odds of receiving a diagnosis of heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes, to name a few. Yet, as we have seen, the cause of obesity is complex. Accordingly, it is vital to account for these variables when deciding how one should perceive obese or overweight individuals. Moreover, how exactly do we place, or even define fault? Are we to blame an obese child for the way she was raised by her parents? What about her genetics? Epigenetics? What if she is still obese into adulthood? Can we blame her then? Her brain is now wired to crave fat, sugar, and salt, from a point in her life in which free will was limited. These philosophical questions regarding the place of fault, or blame, if you will, demonstrate further nuances into the stigmatization of obese individuals.

It is possible to perceive that the only difference between medical conditions such as obesity and heart disease is the external expression of the former, in that obesity is plain to see. You might never know about the hidden medical conditions of your friends, family, and colleagues. Obesity, however, is out for everyone to see perhaps a duly unjust circumstance. Therefore, the selective stigma attached to obese individuals can be irrational and may even perpetuate comorbidities such as anxiety and depression. Instead, we should seek to evaluate obesity in a more understanding, yet scientific manner to question our assumptions when assigning blame to any medical condition. Ultimately, by acting in this way, we can create an atmosphere conducive to prevention and healing.

A Note on the Author: Jonah Stavsky is a pre-medical student at YU completing a major in biology and a double minor in psychology and public health. Jonah is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer with dual speciality certifications in behavior change psychology and fitness nutrition.

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In Defense of Obesity – The Commentator



Reversing diabetes before it takes hold – Times of India

Apr 24th, 2017
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Arun is a bubbly 29 year old chartered accountant. Last year much to his distress, he was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. He knew he always had weight issues, and both his parents were diabetic, but the fact that it could affect him too was not something he had ever expected! Diabetes happened to elder people, not young people like him!! He loved his food- colas and fast foods were his everyday friends and he lived a carefree life. He enjoyed his cigarettes, they were his stress-busters, and believed in the motto “Live Life- King size”!

This diagnosis was a shocker, waking him up from slumber- and he decided to take stock of his life !! He resolved to reverse his pre-diabetes and set things in order. He vowed to adopt a better and healthier lifestyle. Getting discipline into his lifestyle and eating habits was of prime importance to him. With rigorous daily exercise and a balanced, healthy diet he was able to reverse his condition and leads a much better life now.

In 2011 the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimated that 62.4 million Indians were already living with diabetes and what was more disturbing was that there were 77.2 million people who were pre-diabetic. So these are the so-called “healthy” people who would eventually turn into diabetics over a period of time adding on to the already exploding numbers in our country. Pre-diabetes indicates a blood sugar level that is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes technically is defined as a fasting blood glucose level between 100-125mg/dl, or a random blood glucose level between 141-199 mg/dl or an HbA1c between 5.7-6.4%.

If not kept in check, pre-diabetes will progress to Type 2 diabetes in less than 10 years. Not just that, the long-term damage to your organs associated with diabetes, especially to your heart and circulatory system may already have started at the level of pre-diabetes itself. The good news is – it’s still reversible. Pre-diabetes is a golden window of opportunity for you not only to prevent diabetes but also to improve your overall health and lifestyle. It is like an alarm bell warning you that the bomb is ticking- you can diffuse it before it explodes!!!

How can you reverse pre-diabetes? The condition can be easily reversed with some simple lifestyle changes such as:

1. Get active – Move more! While you’re watching TV, keep the remote away so you have to get up to reach for it. Pace around while talking on the phone or do some stretching in between commercials, like they say “walk the talk!” Try to fit in 30-45 minutes of exercise or walk for at least five days a week; staying active will get rid of lethargy and give you more energy for other activities.

2. Shed the kilos – If you’re overweight, exercise to lose the excess weight. Maintaining a healthy weight range or even shedding a few kilos has shown that it can cut your chances of getting diabetes. Even a 7-10% weight loss from baseline significantly reduces your insulin resistance and improves your blood glucose levels. If you’re not one for conventional exercises try something offbeat such as aerobics, dancing or swimming. Play a sport like badminton or football or cricket!!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the Doctors are their independent professional judgment and we do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of their views. This should not be considered as a substitute for Physician’s advice. Please consult your treating Physician for more details.

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Reversing diabetes before it takes hold – Times of India



The MAX Challenge launches program in Davis – Davis Enterprise

Apr 24th, 2017
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The MAX Challenge, one of the nations fastest growing fitness concepts, recently opened a new location in Davis, at 912 Fifth St., Suite 100.

A comprehensive 10-week body and mind renewal program, The MAX Challenge combines a structured workout regimen with an easy-to-follow nutritional guide to help achieve and sustain optimal health and fitness.

The program promotes a slow and systematic approach toward attaining physical success by educating members on the impact a balanced nutritional diet and positive mental attitude have on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

All participants are provided with a certified MAX instructor who ensures that members execute each exercise safely and efficiently.

Additionally, instructors alternate exercise routines daily to avoid monotony and to ensure that members remain fully engaged, and most importantly, enjoy the time they spend reaching the peak of their physical abilities.

Our goal is to make our members not only healthier people, but happier people, said Marie Baciarini, owner of The MAX in Davis and Woodland. We are elated to open our newest location, and look forward to changing lives with our unique body renewal system.

To learn more about The MAX Challenge in Davis, call 530-207-0377, email [emailprotected] or visit

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The MAX Challenge launches program in Davis – Davis Enterprise



The Monday Extract: The ballerina who was hospitalised with anorexia – The Spinoff

Apr 24th, 2017
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Massey University creative writing graduate Sacha Joneswas a principal dancer in the Sydney City Ballet after surviving a teenage diet of cake and laxatives on Saturdays. Her memoir takes a tragi-comic look back at her early dance career.

Kelly Barden, a fledgling young dancer, was lithe and lovely and very much built for ballet, as I was not. But her technique was weak and undeveloped where mine was strong. When she was awarded first prize in the Stuyvesant, Australias premier ballet competition, against every prediction of the teachers and other dancers at the Opera House on the night, and I was awarded runner-up for the second time, I thought it was the end of my world, and in a way it was. It was the end of my childhood, and the beginning of the end of my dance career, though I didnt know that then. I planned to go to London to win the top ballet competition there, the Adeline Gene. That would show them.

The company returned from Tasmania a few days later and I make myself go in to meet them in the studio. They are buzzing with the success of the tour; the best ever, they all agreed, which doesnt exactly help. But it does help to have the studio alive again. You dont look too good, someone tells me, and I shrug. I dont feel too good. The SeptemberNovember edition of Dance Australia comes out with a full-page article and photo of Kelly, still wearing that stolen golden smile, her arms laden with her winners bounty of flowers, trophy and $4000 cheque. There are a few words dedicated to the runner-up.

Another production of The Nutcracker to be performed for schools by day and the general public by night is planned for late November, early December, to finish a few days before I leave. I am going to London despite the Stuyvesant loss and because of it, in a way.

I have enough saved in my little blue bank book for a one-way ticket and after the Stuyvesant I have no more doubts about leaving, possibly never to return.

Between rehearsals for The Nutcracker, for which I am dancing the part of Clara, I must learn the two Gene variations from a video and manual. This is a gruelling process undertaken awkwardly with Mrs Ps help in the smaller studio next to the one in which Hassan runs rehearsals of the second act, which doesnt involve Clara much. The piano accompaniment for the Gene dances is clunky and uninspiring next to Tchaikovskys passionate Nutcracker score, and the steps are so technical that I cant muster much enthusiasm for them.

The truth of the matter is thatIm not as fit as I was for the Stuyvesant. In just a few weeks I have lost condition, returning to abusing laxatives on an ever more regular basis, and extending my binges beyond a few spoonfuls of pie. On my way home from the studio one evening, the custard cannoli in the window of the Italian bakery at Central Station that I have successfully resisted for approximately 700 days finally wins out and I dont stop there.

That night the laxatives dont work, possibly because my body is getting used to them, or perhaps laxatives dont work on custard cannoli. Whatever the case, waking up with all those cloying calories weighing me down the next morning is more depressing than losing the Stuyvesant almost. I starve myself the next day, not even eating breakfast, and again the following day, then break out with another binge the day after that.

And so the vicious cycle begins and continues until one day Mrs P, taking me through my Gene variations, tells me I have put on weight and need to lose it before the Gene. She leads me to the mirror and says: Here, pinching the fat on my upper arm, and here, pinching my upper inner thigh, which is not the first time she has touched that part of me ballet teachers have a free pass to the whole body but it is the first time she has done it for the purpose of finding fat. I have finally failed the pinch test.

Sacha Jones as a teenage ballerina, Sydney,1982 (Image: Supplied)

Im a miserable wreck. I charge headlong into a carrot-and- TAB-only diet that I intend to stay on for the remaining weeks till I leave for London. It lasts precisely three long days; not quite long enough for Mrs P to notice any improvement or say anything if she does, but long enough that Im so ravenous I could eat an entire Italian bakery and almost do. My battalion of laxatives comes out in full force that night and this time they do work. By the time I get into the studio the next morning, I am light-headed and dizzy from a very draining night. And its not over yet. After another visit to the studio bathrooms I collapse unconscious on the floor fortunately just beyond the toilet cubicle.

When I come to, I am being carried through the streets of Sydney in Daryns arms. Later on I find out that he insisted on being the one to carry me to the hospital, although Hassan, a much bigger man, offered.

I spent that day after collapsing in the museum bathrooms in intensive care at Sydney Hospital being tested for drugs and diseases, questioned by a psychiatrist (I admitted nothing), given a sedative and finally diagnosed with anorexia in its early stages. I was deeply ashamed of those early stages. I had always taken inspiration from Karen Carpenters battle with anorexia, even if she had just died of the disease earlier in the year, but early stages anorexia feels like being runner-up in the Stuyvesant.

But the show must go on. I was out of intensive care and onto the stage dancing the role of Clara quicker than you could say Nutcracker. Three days after my collapse, we opened at the Capitol Theatre (the Regent being prepared for demolition by that stage), with the dress rehearsal the very next day.

Three weeks later I am on the plane to London. And it is this goal that saves me, I think, as well as my brief stay in intensive care, which was a bit of a wake-up call. After that, I put away the laxatives and got back to my much more balanced breakfast-only, no-cannoli diet. By the end of those three weeks I was down to 41kilograms, roughly my goal weight, and felt more or less recovered. I could lose those last two kilos in London.

More cautious parents may well have wanted to keep their slightly unstable, recently hospitalised teen at home for a while longer before sending her off to the other side of the world unsupervised. So it was just as well that my parents were not the cautious type. In fact, in those three weeks Mum and Dad had taken themselves off to their favourite guesthouse in Bowral where Mum, according to her diary, sank a 20-foot putt, and Dad bought her an eternity ring to celebrate twenty years of marriage while waiting to hear back from Oxford University Press who had sent him some encouraging letters on his book.

As soon as I take my seat on the flight to London, I plug in The Man from Snowy River (in my ears) for a bit of premature nostalgia as the plane clears that vast brown continent of fake forests and improbable fruits, heading north over the bright, blushing blue sea. A box of Colon Care is tucked safely in the hold just in case. They might not have laxatives in Narnia.

From The Grass Was Always Browner, a memoir by Sacha Jones (Finch Publishing,$32.99),available at Unity Books. Sacha will compete tonight (Monday) at the Classic Comedy Club in Auckland for a place in the semi-finals of the Raw Quest. All the best Sacha!

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The Monday Extract: The ballerina who was hospitalised with anorexia – The Spinoff



Yoga mum exercises flexibility in schedule – The New Paper

Apr 24th, 2017
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Ms Dawn Sim

The 37-year-old founder of local yoga studio Trium Fitness and aerial yoga guru is a mother of four daughters aged one, five, eight and 10.

Having to juggle her career and family, Ms Dawn Sim would sometimes take her children to work in order to be close to them.

Ms Sim told The New Paper: “I always make spending quality time with my kids and exercising daily a priority.”

She recalled how after her two older girls were born in France, where they lived for four years, it took “creativity and a lot of self-motivation” to settle the kids and head out for a jog.

Most of the time, she involved them in her workouts to make things simpler.

Motherhood challenged Ms Sim’s body right from the beginning – her girls were all born via Caesarean section.

She said: “I knew that the journey to recovery would be a challenge. Especially with multiple surgeries, it did get harder, but I also became better educated and prepared along the way.

“My first response was to find out how I could safely and surely build up my core strength again and breastfeed my babies during recuperation.”

Today, Ms Sim exercises on a daily basis even with her busy schedule, varying the intensity and type of workout depending on how she feels.

She usually runs and does yoga and pilates as well as circuit training.

Ms Sim credited her father for being a positive influence on her active lifestyle since she was in primary school, during which she competed in swimming, track and field and endurance sports.

She said: “Sometimes, all I can manage is 20 to 30 minutes of working out, but it still makes me feel amazing and full of energy by the end of it…

“I have my lazy days, when all I want to do is just laze in bed. But I am someone with a positive attitude, and I usually cheer myself on to try and complete at least five minutes of a workout. That little bit of exercise is enough to get me pumped up and energised to do so much more.”

According to her, the benefits of keeping fit go beyond the physical results.

She said: “I am honoured to be a part of the Anlene campaign as I feel strongly about being responsible for your own health and well-being…

“You have to make time to take care of yourself because it helps you be a better parent for sure. And of course, you will be setting an example for your kids to follow too.”

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Yoga mum exercises flexibility in schedule – The New Paper