Friday, August 12, 2016

Dominique Lanoise - an American Tragedy



Recently, I watched the Dominique Lanoise story...this was a lady, bed fast from her weight (over 600 lbs). The doctors kept saying about how she "needed" a gastric bypass. How modern physicians could buy into the myth that there is anything lifesaving about a surgery which interferes with the digestion of the many nutrients we need on a daily basis, I will never understand.  Understandably Dominique's life (she was in her 40's when the show was made) would have been cut somewhat short by her weight and inactivity, but it's significant to point out that she died, only a couple of weeks after what the TV show called, the "lifesaving" surgery. 

How sad that ignorance, hers and perhaps the medical providers who had bought into the myths told about this surgery, ended up killing her prematurely. As her daughters, who missed her after she died, said, "even in bed, she sang songs with us and talked to us."  The medical profession denied Dominique's children, the few years they would have had with their mother. How sad. :(

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Eating Coleus for weight loss? Not a good idea! :)



Coleus is a lovely plant. I used to have Coleus plants years ago.  But there is one thing to remember about Coleus. It's highly poisonous.  Best to keep it away from kids (I had a toddler in those days) and pets, and handle it carefully.  It also likes showers about once a week.

Imagine my surprise this AM when I was flooded with ads for coleus extract claiming it causes weight loss. I've heard of a lot of crazy schemes to lose weight but this one seems one of the more insane variety! I found out about this product because they put a bunch of ad links in the comments of one of my blogs (and since I have moderated comments - these never saw the light of day!).  But curious because I was familiar with this plant and it's poisonous aspects, I visited their website.

Not sure what this group is about but you might receive mail from them (or comments on your blogs). If you have a blog, I highly suggest moderating comments - that way, comments which are inappropriate never see the light of day.

I suppose if you eat poison (like Coleus), you might lose weight but ... isn't that getting a bit uh...over the top?  My suggestion is that you enjoy the beauty of the Coleus plant but keep it out of reach of animals and kids and please - don't eat it or "coleus extract". Losing weight eating something poisonous, just isn't worth the trouble.  Just saying! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Latest questionable study on obesity



Obesity signifies a lessor brain, states the latest - shall I say - questionable study.  The cohort was 32 people both men and women and claimed to not included people with known brain damage.  The researchers concluded that (after imaging the brains of the cohort) that people who are overweight have "less gray matter" in their brains and thus lack the mental capability to make good food choices.

Now true, the study was reported in the UK Telegraph (which is the UK equivalent of the US "National Enquirer") i.e. not a real reliable source, but it appears to be a real study.

I really don't have to say much about this study because it is so inane. But I will remind, that some of the greatest brains of this and former centuries, happened to be very overweight i.e. GK Chesterton is one example.  President Taft was so overweight, he got stuck in the bathtub one day. And there are numerous other examples.  Attend a meeting of the high IQ group, MENSA, and you will see many overweight folks, suggesting the opposite of this study i.e. that overweight people might have more powerful brains on the average.  This would be a no brainer (pun intended) - overweight folks are often better nourished than slim folks.  But I would also, know this from experience - there is a lot of obesity in my family.  Mother had a Master's degree, Dad, a PhD and so forth.

Whether a person was obese was decided by BMI (in this study) and we all know BMI isn't an accurate measurement anyway - because it fails to take in consideration, bone structure, musculature and several other factors.

So, where did the researchers go wrong?  Ironically, intelligence cannot be judged by brain imaging - the brain turns out to be one of the last frontiers in medicine and can be a real fooler.

For example, when David Snowden reported on his famous "nun's study" (he actually forensically examined the brains of several Catholic nuns after they died - he had permission, of course), he found rather surprisingly, that nuns with dementia might have large good looking brains. But his greatest surprise came when he dissected the brain of a nun who lived into her 90's.  She was mentally sharp and functional until the date of death and Dr. Snowden was anxious to examine her brain.

To his surprise, her brain was small, less convoluted and more shriveled up than some of the nuns suffering dementia.  

Enough said.  Obviously, one cannot judge intelligence from what a person's brain looks like.  (Photo is of Cheryl Hayworth, gold medalist Olympic weight lifter).


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Misleading study finds that gastric bypass is a good idea?



Most people only read the first paragraph of a news article and the media takes advantage of that fact, assuming most folks will not read the rest of the article and only a very small percentage will research the article.  Therefore, the news media can inform the public of anything they want to sell, pretty much assuring that their disinformation will hit the target audience.

The first paragraph of a recent Reuters news service article reads: 

"Ten years after gastric-bypass weight-loss surgery, patients in a recent study had managed to keep off much of the weight they'd lost."

That sounds impressive but even reading the rest of the article raises rather large doubts - for example they were only able to contact a little more than half the original patients who got RNY between 1985 and 2004.  The cohort was 1087 patients and they were able to contact 651 of them.  That raises the big question of how hard did they try to contact the cohort - did they, for example, check and see which ones had died?  (Obituaries are public domain and easily searchable on the internet).

And despite the impressive sounding first paragraph, 10 years after an invasive surgery which is known to cause malnutrition etc, patients contacted had only kept off 25% of their excess weight.  That is, if the excess weight was 100 lbs, then at the 10 year point, they only were 25 lbs lighter than when they had the surgery - hardly worth an invasive surgery which has a higher mortality rate than open heart surgery.

Another questionable thing, is, this was a contact by phone - in other words, the patients they did contact, self reported the results and it's common knowledge that patients when self reporting, especially after elective surgical procedures, can be extremely inaccurate or leave out very pertinent facts - like for example, it appears non of the patients were asked if they had metabolic bone disease, a common repercussion of gastric bypass surgery.

At the time of their surgeries, 59% had high blood pressure... but 10 years later, that percentage had only gone down a few points i.e. 47% still had high blood pressure, a risk factor for many things including stroke.

It appears that many surgeons are, for some reason, not learning the newer procedures like gastric sleeve which are safer than gastric bypass.

And one might question whether surgery is any longer a viable option since newer research suggests that the appetite centers are in the brain and not in the GI tract.  It should be noted that Dr Nowzaradan of TLC TV fame, admitted in an honest moment, that 5 years after a gastric bypass the surgery is no longer effective as far as weight loss.

Sadly most folks who read the Reuters article will only read the first paragraph and thus be impressed, perhaps making a life changing decision which while a questionable treatment for obesity, might endanger their health for life.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Losing and regaining weight



So there is this lady I know on the internet. She lost over 200 lbs and attributed it to Weight Watchers and dancing.  I followed her as she posted a video of her getting her lifetime membership award at Weight Watchers and as she started to lead a dance class at a local gym.  She was a real inspiration in my own weight loss journey. And she was even featured in a TV story.

That was in 2009 and I saw a recent video of her - she's still dancing and is fit, but she seems to have regained at least 100 lbs or more.  I starred at her, astonished,  because somehow, I guess I thought she would never again, regain.  I do admire her for still getting out there and teaching dancing though.

In truth, damaged metabolisms can happen for all reasons, including too much dieting. Experts have said that, with every diet, our metabolism shrinks down a few hundred calories a day. And those like me, who had tonsillectomies in the 1950's and 1960's often, got damage to the pituitary gland which tends to greatly lower the metabolism. Bottom line, many of us do not have to really overeat, to gain back the weight.  In fact, if we eat the "normal American diet", even on a moderate basis, we can easily regain the weight and then some, as I found out in my numerous attempts to diet.

This time, I have kept off the 106 lbs for over 6 years. How?  I count every calorie that goes into my mouth.  (we joke that "if it goes internal, it goes in the journal").

What is sad, is that no medical provider has ever told me that I might have to count calories for the rest of my life if I wanted to keep off the weight.  Neither did they tell me that some folks become overweight just by eating normally.  (Society's image is, that if a person is fat, it means they do nothing but sit on the couch eating bon-bons and medical providers, many of them, seem to agree with this image).

Is it worth it to me, to count my calories to keep off the weight?  Yes it is to me,  because I am healthier at a BMI of 27 than I was at a BMI of over 40 and I fit in auditorium chairs and other places better and I don't have to have a wardrobe in 3 sizes and I do not get any negative feedback from medical providers... but it's a matter of preference and lifestyle and anyway, I think we should all accept each other for the beautiful humans we are and not quibble about weight or other superficial things.

That being said, I think that medical providers should give better advice on how to lose weight and keep it off (I suspect it usually requires counting calories, measuring and journaling food intake for those of us with pituitary damage or "those genetics") instead of blaming us for being overweight.  Experts say that our size is 60% genetic and there may be some 40 genes involved  (Dr Rudy Leibel, obesity expert for example).  Bottom line - who we are should not be determined by our size!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Fit to Fat to Fit on TV?

There is a series on "A & E" TV called "Fit to Fat to Fit".  The show has two protagonists.  One of them is an overweight person (usually quite overweight like over 300 or 400 lbs) and a personal trainer.  The personal trainer is usually very slim and fit and decides to put on some weight so he or she can "understand" how it "feels to be fat" (as the show states).

One of the shows I saw, had a lady who really did usually, watch her weight and was able to gain 40 lbs rather easily. But two of the shows had a male personal trainer who obviously was naturally slim (while eating healthy but having "cheat food" every so often).  When the male personal trainers tried to gain weight, they had to work very hard at it, eating 5000 calories or more a day and even at that, they could not gain much more than 20 or 30 lbs and didn't look overweight at all.  They too, however, at that point, said they now could understand how it felt to be "fat".

What annoys me, especially about the latter two shows, is that everyone I've known who is able to gain large amounts of weight (including me!), has genetic and metabolic issues which TV shows like the A&E programs do not take into consideration at all. Science does acknowledge this. For example, obesity scientist, Dr Rudy Leibel states that 60% or more of our size is genetic and/or physical rather than what we eat.

TV star, Al Roker, who had a gastric bypass, has told his audience that he does count his calories and also does 45 minutes of running several times a week.  He's not the exception - he's the rule.  Surprisingly, a study which included members of NAAFA, a social club for people of size as well as average size people, found that NAAFA members actually consumed considerably less food at meetings and banquets than did those of average size.

But sadly, TV which is the informing source of most folks who do not have the time to read, is telling a fairy tale.  People on TV asked how they got so fat, invariably say they eat too much but their "too much" is often less than the amounts that average size folks eat - those who do not become overweight.

I get very weary of TV shows blaming overweight people for their size.  Surely true that an overweight person can keep to a so called average size but it takes lots of work, including saying "no" to any type of fast food, in addition to counting caloric intake (and I mean writing it down or keeping it in the computer - the latter is made more pleasant by great clients such as "My Fitness Pal" etc).

I feel shows like "Fit to Fat to Fit" do a great deal of damage to folks who do have genetic factors and physical factors contributing to their size.  I know about this on a personal basis.  I was very active as a child and kept slim...until I had a tonsillectomy and right after that, I started gaining quickly despite not changing my level of activity (in fact, after, I was more active after surgery, because I wasn't sick in bed all the time like I was before surgery).

Later on, much later on, like when I was in my 40's, still pondering why I gained weight after my tonsillectomy, I read that 50-60% of kids who had tonsillectomies in the 1950's and 1960's, sustained damage to the pituitary gland which of course, would adversely, affect the metabolism.

So, after blaming myself for so many years for my "weight problem", I realized I had a medical reason why I gain weight so easily and since then, I, ironically, have been able to compensate for my lower metabolism through mild calorie restriction and have managed to lose and keep off 106 lbs since 2010.

Shows like "Fit to Fat to Fit" should be balanced out by a more realistic portrayal of obesity, and the genetic and physical factors involved, instead of intimating that all fat people do nothing but sit on the couch "eating bon bons".  Society as a whole would be better off.  Because the truth makes everyone free.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Diet Pills?

pillz, pillz, pillz don't work for losing weight!

A blog reader (who probably didn't bother reading either my blog or the blog she was advertising) left a message in the comments here, advertising a new weight loss pill.  When I looked at the ingredients of this medication, it was old home week - a couple of nutrients (which don't promote weight loss) and other chemicals I had encountered previously, many times, Ad nauseam...which have been well proven as ineffective for long term weight loss and some of which pose a risk to the heart etc.

Listed first was a form of Phentermine.  Perhaps older readers may remember this drug,  as a part of a weight loss combination, "PhenFen" which was taken off the market because it was not only, ineffective on the long term but more importantly, risked the health of those who took the medication. Phentermine speeds up the heart because years ago, it was thought that would cause weight loss but actually, it more endangers the heart than what it's supposed to do.  And as the wife of a spouse experiencing heart problems (he recently got heart bypass surgery), I would definitely state you don't want to mess up your heart for anything and especially, an ineffective weight loss drug.

Calcium and L-Carnitine are nutrients, Caffeine is totally ineffective as a weight loss drug (or else all the coffee drinkers would be slim!) and again, it's hard on the heart, and finally Chromium Picolinate, a substance that was thought to be effective for weight loss in the 1990's (I had a friend who desperately did not want to do Weight Watchers so she tried every new diet pill) but I have never seen it work as a good weight loss drug and several studies greatly questioned its effectiveness.

The blog this individual linked, supposedly an informational about this drug, was full of misinformation and included a photo of one of the Biggest Loser TV show winners (who, of course, did NOT use weight loss pills to lose her weight).  Although there was a passing mention that pregnant ladies and anyone on medication should consult a medical provider before taking this medication, the blog claimed the drug is "totally safe" etc etc. And by the way, this medication is not inexpensive - for a bottle of 30 pills, they want $69 bucks.

Bottom line - if you see an ad for a weight loss drug, run the other way.  It's likely healthier to remain "of size" than take drugs to lose weight - drugs don't work on the long run and as you can see above, many ingredients are likely to be, risky to your health.

Like the singer stated "There is no easy road to a place worth going."  And the time folks spend on ineffective (and risky) practices for weight loss, would be much better used on programs like Weight Watchers (i.e. sensible programs), or just getting healthy by making healthy food choices and starting a regular cardio exercise program.