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September 2012

09/21/2012

Motivated for Life: Joseph

Welcome to WABC TV’s Reset Your Life: A Healthier You blog! It follows the popular show "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" on ABC as well as other timely health issues as they come up in the headlines. As a bonus, you will also find meal plans, exercise routines and music playlists throughout the different posts to help get you motivated to reset your life!

I wanted to start this blog, because like thousands of women in the tri-state, I too have struggles and triumphs with weight. I have had major weight losses and gains in the last 11 years. The highs and lows on the scale correspond with the highs and lows I've experienced through school and college, work and the challenges of adult life. I am on my own new journey once again to get healthy.

This week, I met Joseph Burden.  He shared with me he is also on his own journey to get healthy.  In the last four months, he's lost 60 pounds!!  The 31-year-old is originally from Texas (whoo!) and now lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.  This is not his first time to the rodeo.  Joseph lost 100 pounds two years ago! He said he worked with a trainer toward the dramatic weight loss because he wanted to have a huge reveal for his birthday. But after his party came and went, he went back to his old habits and gained back all of the weight. 

This is a look at Joseph before his latest journey toward better health.

Josephbefore2

Josephbefore3

Continue reading "Motivated for Life: Joseph" »

09/14/2012

New Efforts To Combat The Obesity Epidemic

Welcome to WABC TV’s Reset Your Life: A Healthier You blog!  It follows the popular show "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" on ABC as well as other timely health issues as they come up in the headlines.  As a bonus, you will also find meal plans, exercise routines and music playlists throughout the different posts to help get you motivated to reset your life! 

I wanted to start this blog, because like thousands of women in the tri-state, I too have struggles and triumphs with weight.  I have had major weight losses and gains in the last 11 years. The highs and lows on the scale correspond with the highs and lows I've experienced through school and college, work and the challenges of adult life. I am on my own new journey once again to get healthy.

Hot in the headlines this week, new efforts to combat the obesity epidemic in the United States and in the tri-state. Mayor Bloomberg's controversial plan to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (for most places) was easily approved by the city Board of Health. Also, McDonald's decided to post calorie totals on its menus across the nation, not just in New York City and Philadelphia where it is required by law.  What do you think?  Will these new steps prevent you from eating or drinking excessive calories?  Will it make you more aware of what you're putting in your body?  Or, do you see it as an unnecessary intrusion in your life?  Please share your thoughts below.

Eyewitness News Reporter Tim Fleischer spoke to concerned store owners who will have to soon make some changes. You can watch his story below.

 

NEW YORK (AP) - Over a decade, New York City has outlawed smoking in bars and offices, banned trans fats, and forced fast-food restaurants to list calorie counts on their menus.

Now, the Big Apple has set its sights on sugary beverages with a first-in-the-nation rule barring restaurants, cafeterias and concessions stands from selling soda and other calorie-rich drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.

Will it make a difference, or be just another health lifestyle initiative that people ignore?

Public health experts around the nation - and the restaurant and soft-drink industry - will be watching closely to see whether the new restrictions on supersized colas, adopted Thursday by the city's Board of Health, lead to changes in the way New Yorkers eat and drink.

No other U.S. city has tried to fight the obesity epidemic by restricting portion sizes at restaurants, but city officials said they were willing to take dramatic action as a way of getting a skeptical public to embrace the idea that empty-calorie foods are a menace.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't mince words Thursday in describing the role that sugary beverages have played in the obesity epidemic: He likened the restrictions on caloric soft drinks to banning lead paint, and cited the surge in young children being diagnosed with a type of diabetes more commonly found in overweight adults.

"We are dealing with a crisis ... we need to act on this," said Board of Health member Deepthiman Gowda, a professor of medicine at Columbia University.

So will New Yorkers listen, or simply get their next 20-ounce soda at the many thousands of convenience stores and supermarkets not covered by the rule?        

By nature, many are likely to see the restrictions as an infringement on personal liberty. A New York Times poll last month showed that six in 10 New Yorkers opposed the rule.

"It's a slippery slope. When does it stop? What comes next?" said Sebastian Lopez, a college student from Queens, adding that even though he isn't much of a soda drinker, "This is my life. I should be able to do what I want."

The regulations apply to any establishment with a food-service license, from the delis and theaters of Broadway, to the concession stands at Yankee Stadium and the pizzerias of Little Italy.

There are exceptions for beverages made mostly of milk or unsweetened fruit juice.

Complying might prove complicated for some establishments, and health officials said they would set up a process for restaurants to submit recipes if there was a question about what drinks were covered.

Starbucks is trying to figure out whether it will be barred from selling Frappuccinos in the 24-ounce size. The drink is loaded with calories, but is also made with a significant amount of milk. New York's new rule would exempt products that are at least 50 percent milk.

Another issue could be iced coffee, which many cafes sweeten with liquefied sugar. Customers might now have to add the sweetener themselves.

"We're looking at all of our beverages internally," said Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills. "I think there will be a lot of subtleties to work out."

Restaurants with self-serve soda fountains will be prohibited from giving out cups larger than 16 ounces, even for diet sodas, but people will still be allowed refills.

Pitchers of non-diet soda will become a thing of the past, even if they are being shared by many diners.

Barring any court action, the measure will take effect in March.

The restaurant and beverage industries complained that the city is exaggerating the role sugary beverages have played in making Americans fat. Soda, they said, is no more of a culprit than potato chips, or sweet deserts.

"This is a political solution and not a health solution," said Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for an industry-sponsored group called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, which claims to have gathered more than 250,000 signatures on petitions against the plan.

He said the group is considering suing to block the rule, but no immediate legal action was announced Thursday.

Asked whether he was concerned about "well-funded" opposition from an industry with deep pockets, Bloomberg, a billionaire emerging as a major philanthropist on public health issues, suggested he wouldn't be outgunned.

"I don't know it's well-funded. I've just spent roughly $650 million of my own money to try to stop the scourge of tobacco, and I'm looking for another cause. How much were they spending, again?" he said.

The Board of Health approved the big-soda ban 8-0, with one member, Dr. Sixto Caro, abstaining. Caro, a doctor of internal medicine, said the plan wasn't comprehensive enough.           

Others spoke forcefully of the need for action to deal with an obesity crisis.

"I feel to not act would really be criminal," said board member Susan Klitzman, director of the Urban Public Health Program at Hunter College.

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NEW YORK (AP) - McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. will soon get a new menu addition: The number of calories in the chain's burgers and fries.

The world's biggest hamburger chain said Wednesday that it will post calorie information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide starting Monday. The move comes ahead of a regulation that could require major chains to post the information as early as next year.

"We want to voluntarily do this," said Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA. "We believe it will help educate customers."

In cities such as New York and Philadelphia where posting calorie information is already required, however, Fields notes that the information has not changed what customers choose to order.

"When it's all said and done, the menu mix doesn't change," she said. "But I do think people feel better knowing this information."

The chain also plans to announce that its restaurants in Latin America, which are owned by a franchisee, will start providing calorie information on menus this spring.

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., already posts calorie information in Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

The decision to post calorie information in the U.S. follows the Supreme Court's decision this summer to uphold President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, which includes a regulation that would require restaurant chains with more than 20 locations to post calorie information. The timetable for carrying out that requirement is being worked out.

Corporate Accountability International, which has urged McDonald's to stop marketing its food to children, notes that the chain has fought efforts to institute menu labeling in local jurisdictions in the past and said its latest move was "certainly not voluntary."

Danya Proud, a spokeswoman for McDonald's, says the company didn't suport local efforts to reuqire menu labeling because it wanted a national standard.

The posting of calorie information isn't a magic bullet in fighting obesity but could have a big effect over time, says Margo Wootan, director of nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which advocates on nutrition and food safety issues.

"Obesity isn't the kind of thing where one day you wake up and you're fat. We gradually and slowly gain weight over time," she said.

So even if only some people are swayed to make slightly better choices, Wootan thinks there's a big benefit to providing calorie information.

Another upside is that companies tend to work harder to provide healthier options when they're forced to display calorie information."

It can be embarrassing, or shocking, so they end up changing the way the product is made," Wootan said.

Joe Finn, a sales manager from Oconomowoc, Wis., said he was surprised at the calorie information posted at a hamburger restaurant when he flew out to California earlier this year for the Rose Bowl.

"All the calories were up there, and I thought, well, I'm not going to order that," said Finn, 51, who's trying to watch what he eats. He ended up picking the most basic burger, without cheese. Back at home, he tries to stick to options where he knows the calorie information, such as Subway sandwiches.

"Otherwise you could be ordering a gut bomb," he said.

The move by McDonald's could spur other restaurant chains to move ahead of the federal regulation.

Representatives for Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum Brands Inc., and The Wendy's Co. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A representative for Burger King Worldwide Inc. said the chain is waiting for further guidance from regulators before updating its menus.

McDonald's is also testing healthier options for next year, such as an Egg McMuffin made with egg whites and a whole grain muffin. The sandwich has Canadian bacon and white cheddar cheese and clocks in at 260 calories. It will be called the Egg White Delight.

The chain is also testing versions of the McWrap, which is a bigger version of its chicken Snack Wrap that is already sold in Europe. The wraps have sliced cucumbers and range from 350 calories to 580 calories.

The moves reflect the pressures McDonald's and other fast-food chains are facing amid growing concerns about obesity. McDonald's is also facing competition from chains such as Subway, which positions itself as a healthy alternative to traditional hamburger chains.

McDonald's notes that it has already made strides in improving the nutrition of its food, such as the automatic inclusion of apple slices in its Happy Meals.

Sara Deon of Corporate Accountability said such offerings amount to a "PR scheme designed to drive traffic to stores to sell burgers and fries."

McDonald's menu staples have also been blamed by critics for fueling obesity rates.

A meal consisting of a Big Mac and medium fries, for example, has 920 calories. Add a 16-ounce Coca-Cola, and the count rises to 1,140 calories.

McDonald's, which has 14,000 locations in the U.S., doesn't plan to advertise the posting of the calorie information. Fields said it's something the chain is doing as a "customer convenience."

      

I'll see you here soon with more encouraging weight loss stories and health news.  

Follow me on twitter!  @carminmarie 

**This program is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor for treatment of any medical condition and before beginning any diet or exercise regimen.**

09/07/2012

New Routines To Get Your Workout On

Welcome to WABC TV’s Reset Your Life: A Healthier You blog!  It follows the popular show "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" on ABC as well as other timely health issues as they come up in the headlines.  As a bonus, you will also find meal plans, exercise routines and music playlists throughout the different posts to help get you motivated to reset your life! 

I wanted to start this blog, because like thousands of women in the tri-state, I too have struggles and triumphs with weight.  I have had major weight losses and gains in the last 11 years. The highs and lows on the scale correspond with the highs and lows I've experienced through school and college, work and the challenges of adult life. I am on my own new journey once again to get healthy.

As summer ends and fall begins, I can feel a change and excitement in the air. Football season is here, school is underway and the holidays are just ahead.  I'm looking to translate that renewed energy into new efforts to work out. This week, Eyewitness News reporters Lauren Glassberg and Dr. Sapna Parikh showed us some fun exercises.

Continue reading "New Routines To Get Your Workout On" »