“FED UP” Opens My Eyes to What’s Been Sabotaging My Diet & and My Health

Over the past year, I’ve put on a few extra pounds and have been a bit depressed. After trying every diet on the planet — from Jenny Craig, to Weight Watchers, to a juice cleanse, I really never understood why I couldn’t just exercise and eat sensible meals and stay at a weight where I feel comfortable about my arms, my legs and everything in between. But alas, no matter what I do, I typically lose weight, keep it off for a few months and then I return right back where I started from with a few extra pounds added to my 5 foot 1 frame.
After my latest diet and exercise debacle, I watched the documentary “FED UP.” The film, by Stephanie Soechtig, is narrated by television news and talk veteran Katie Couric who serves as one of the executive producers. Opening nationwide May 9, “FED UP” shares the stories of several children and their families who are grossly overweight. The reason? They’ve been eating processed foods at home gorging on calorie laden meals at school and snacking on items that are just plain bad for them. “FED UP” also shares how the low-fat craze that started in the early 1980’s has pretty much sabotaged our eating habits. Personally, I have fallen victim to low-fat eating, purchasing low fat or no fat items for more than three decades and it has not helped in my quest to remain at a normal weight. In fact, after a certain point, I’ve struggled to lose weight because I had been clogging up my system with foods that are just not real. When you are young, you don’t think these foods will do anything to you, but lately, I’m concerned. I’ve been having lots of leg and knee issues and even see a build up of fluid in my calves. I’m seeking medical attention to make sure it’s nothing serious, but for now, I’ve decided to take my life back by finally eating right.
In “FED UP,” you will learn a great deal about what foods are doing us in and the #1 culprit is sugar. Something I never realized is that as a woman, I’m only supposed to have 4 teaspoons of sugar per day. There are 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon — which means that if you have low fat salad dressing or coffee with sugar, you can easily hit your allotment of sugar instantly. And if you start your morning cereal – like Honey Nut Cheerios, you will instantly sabotage your sugar goal for the day. If you decide to throw in a sweetener, well, that’s not good for you either. That will only make you want to crave sweets even more.
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While attending a press session and for the film, I listened in as Katie Couric shared her personal experience with the food industry and admitted that she too fell for the low fat craze and remembers being excited that she could finally eat Snack Wells since they promised to be lower in fat. Unfortunately, it was high in sugar. Today, Katie says she still has trouble ditching her sweetener for good but she has switched to Shredded Wheat (which has no sugar) and tries to eat all natural foods but still uses sweetener from time to time.
Laurie David, who is also an executive producer of the film also shared her family’s transition to natural foods and cooking and said she wishes she could take back every chicken nugget and french fry she fed her kids as they were growing up. She also talked about how the subjects in the film have found it so hard to lose weight because they live in a “Fast Food Desert,” the food in their homes is processed and the food in their school cafeteria is high in calories and doesn’t offer nutritious alternatives.
“Fed Up” recently opened in theaters and I highly recommend you go see it with your family. Meanwhile check out my “Fed Up” confession below…

Make sure you follow @FedUpMovie on Twitter and to find a theater near you playing the film, visit their official website.

Where You Live Could Be Making You Fat

imgres.jpegI just came across this interesting pitch from Chef2Chef.net, a leading culinary web portal, recently released “Supermarket Secrets,” an infographic exploring the role supermarkets play in healthy eating decisions. The infographic suggests that grocery shopping habits are influenced by lifestyle, income and education, all of which play an important role when it comes to making healthy choices.
Living near a supermarket may play a significant role in healthy eating, according to a French study that found a correlation between higher body mass index (BMI), larger waist circumference and living far away from a supermarket. This is especially concerning because a 2009 U.S. Department of Agriculture study reported that 23 million Americans do not live within one mile of a grocery store. The same study found that people with high incomes are twice as likely to live near a supermarket as people with low incomes.
“One health benefit that is sometimes overlooked is how close one is to a supermarket,” said Heidi Agustin, spokesperson for Chef2Chef.net. “Access to stores that offer fresh produce and high-quality brands is an important factor in the development of good eating habits for individuals and their families.”
I never even considered that proximity to a supermarket would have anything to do with obesity, but depending upon where you live, you could be setting yourself and your family up for a lifetime of weight issues. Even though I do binge from time to time, I have to say that this year, I’ve made a conscious decision to cut out ice cream at night, have not eaten any frozen dinners and included greek yogurt in my daily diet. And I have to say, I feel so much better and dropped two sizes. Losing weight can be difficult – especially if you are obese, but all it takes is making smart decisions about what you’re putting in your mouth. Take a look at the Chef2Chef infographic for some more interesting facts about the obesity rate in our country and how supermarkets or lack of them play a role in sabotaging many Americans who don’t have access to healthy options.
Supermarket Secrets
Courtesy of: Chef2Chef.net

40 Pounds Ago

images.jpegSince my daughter is now 10 and I can’t blog about the specifics of what goes on in her daily life, what I can share is an earth shattering observation about her weight…and mine. You see, my daughter is now in 5th grade – the same year my weight started spiraling out of control and my parents contemplated signing me up for Weight Watchers.
My daughter, who is now 4 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 65 pounds. When I was her height and was 11, I weighed 106 pounds. Yes, you heard me the first time. Four feet, seven inches tall and one hundred and six pounds. I was forty one pounds heavier than my daughter is today.
When I turned 12 and the teasing at school became incessant, I did finally step inside that Weight Watchers Center and while I initially had to lose at least 30 pounds, I grew four inches and reduced the weight loss goal by 10 pounds. And so, while I managed to lose 20 pounds, I have to say that in hindsight, I was very fortunate that my parents decided to take the bull by the horns and guide me along my weight loss journey.
Today, when I think about kids who are struggling with obesity issues, it often takes me back to the days when I was standing in their shoes. And trust me, it was not fun. It was not fun to be teased, to be out of breath when I walked up a flight of stairs, and to feel completely self conscious since I was one of the few kids who couldn’t fit into a pair of Jordache jeans or Sergio Valentes – and back in the early eighties, if you didn’t own a pair, you were deemed uncool for school. With the help of supportive parents, I managed to reach my goal and while I’ve always struggled with weight as an adult, I’ve never let the scales tip too far over the line.
If you’re a mom with a child struggling to lose weight, let me offer this word of advice. Take them by the hand and join a program where you can shed the pounds together. Start exercising with them – go bike riding, ice skating, play the Wii or just take a long walk. If you help your own child achieve their weight loss goals, they will never forget you for it. Just ask me. I’m forever indebted to my parents who realized I had a problem and helped me confront it head on!
So while those 40 pounds may be a thing of the past, they are a constant reminder that staying fit and healthy is truly a family affair.