Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Super-Sized Nation

And the Winner is: Ta Da. . . Mississippi. Alabamians have a saying, "Thank God for Mississippi." Well, this time we can all point to Mississippi as the state with the fattest residents, but I wouldn't be so smug. More states, especially Southern ones, aren't far behind. I admire Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. While serving Arkansas as governor, he fought the battle of the bulge and won. It’s a battle a lot of us are fighting. The latest study from the Trust for America's Health shows we aren’t getting any thinner as a society, and in fact we are increasing our girths to the point of danger.

A year ago I embarked on my own battle when I hopped on the South Beach Diet bandwagon. One year later, I am over 20 pounds lighter. In January, my doctor told me I was hypoglycemic and at risk for developing diabetes. Add to this the fact that I had birthed two nine-pound-plus babies, and this risk is real. I was scared. Scared enough to get serious about exercising more for a while. Then came the stress of moving, and I fell out of my healthier routine and it’s only now that I’m resuming my workouts at the gym.

And now I’m again thinking about the glycemic index, carbs, sugars and prediabetes. I highly recommend reading Dr. Arthur Agatston's book, The South Beach Diet, even if you don’t plan to get whole hog into this particular plan of eating. Go to a bookstore and turn to page 75 in the paperback edition. That’s where you’ll find the chapter entitled, “Is It Diabetes Yet?” Only 10 pages in length, it’s a great introduction to why you should take action now while you still can.

And finally before I step off of the soapbox, I leave you with:

Sheila’s Top 11 Reasons We Are Fat and Getting More So Every Day
1. “L.A.S.” aka not enough exercise
2. Large portions
3. McDonald’s
4. Fried chicken, French fries, etc.
5. Soda pop and other sweet drinks
6. Pre-sweetened cereals
7. Overly processed food
8. Too many sweets
9. White bread, potatoes, corn
10. Snacks like chips and crackers
11. TV and passive pursuits

Top 10 Things You Can Do Today
1. “G.O.Y.A.” and exercise
2. Drink water, plain tea or coffee instead of sodas or other sweet drinks
3. Cook and eat at home more
4. Eat whole grains
5. Snack on nuts or grab an apple
6. Eat less meat and don’t fry it
7. Try more salads and veggies
8. Use multi-grain pasta and eat less of it
9. Half an entrée and share or make it another meal
10. Don’t skip meals but skip the potatoes and corn


Dirty Butter said...

Ooops. I had a handful of ginger snaps while I was reading your post. But they are all gone now ;)

We have worked on improving our nutrition ever since my DH had cancer, and it seems to be paying off. Well, except for my sweet tooth, hanging my head in shame.

Marsha said...

Thanks for the great advice, I am working on it.

Marion said...

I have Type 2 diabetes, Sheila, which I control by diet and exercise. I have not had to take medication for it for years. I now become quite nauseous at even the smell of something very sweet, like ice cream.

After awhile, I couldn't imagine how I used to eat the way I did...all those sugars and carbs. I sure couldn't do that now. My taste buds have changed entirely, lol!

It sounds as if you are very aware of what you have to do. Kudos for being so proactive!

This is a great post...thank you!

Sheila said...

I'm fighting the sweet tooth also. I wish I could be more strict, but I figure I have made progress and if I allow myself a "treat" here and there, so be it.

If you are working on it, that's wonderful for many never get beyond the "I should" stage.

Thanks so much for commenting. You give me hope that I can stave off the illness. You are right about not wanting certain foods after you wean yourself from them. That is why I think I'm so big on the South Beach Diet. The first two weeks on it you are not allowed any bread, potatoes or corn. After you get over this, you can gradually reintroduce bread, whole grain please.

So many of our food choices are habits and influenced by social situations and stress. It is not easy to change old modes of behavior and thinking. We need to be serious about trying.

KJ said...

Hi Sheila! Preach it sister! With my body going through the change, you would think collecting fat cells was my new hobby. I am really having to make adjustments and generate more movement in my life.

I have been shifting gears into the whole foods, low glycemic diet for some time now. One of my new favorites is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). It looks like a grain, fluffs up like couscous, and belongs to the fruit family. It is a complete protein food. It is a wonderful replacement for the wheat bulgur in tabbouleh salad. It mixes amazingly well with meat and vegetables. I enjoy it as a hot cereal with a drizzle of honey or agave syrup.

Agave syrup is another natural, low glycemic sweetener. It is a product of the agave plant-- the same plant that tequila is derived from.

My mother was just diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and her father had full on Diabetes. So, the flags are waving. It's time to be on the offensive.

Thanks for you post and the nudge to pursue what I already love: whole foods!


Sheila said...

Oh you do have a way with words--collecting fat cells as a hobby. Too much! I bought a bag of Harvest Grains at Trader Joe's and can't wait to try it after reading about the quinoa, which is in the mix. I'll also have to try the agave because for the life of me I can't divorce myself of the sweet tooth.

You are so encouraging to me. Good luck yourself and the "change." Is your thyroid ok? I found that I had gained weight and ended up finding out that was another issue of mine.

Hope your mom can adjust and return to a more healthful condition. Thanks for stopping in.

KJ said...

Hi Sheila... You made a comment about Orange Julius and gelato at my site and I wanted to share my comments with you. If you're like me, unless something notifies me that someone has commented on my comment, I "fergit". So, here goes...

...Here in So. Cal., we had Orange Julius stands that were not connected with malls. In fact, they they didn't move into malls until much later. So, a typical drive through town could easily place several Orange Julius stands in my path.

And, I'm with you on gelato! Now hear this Americans: ENJOY IT, BUT LEAVE IT ALONE!

As a matter of fact, I am going to the International Street Festival in downtown Orange today. They have a gelato place that puts me into orbit!

Hugs, kj

Palm Springs Savant said...

AMEN. I am guilty of enjoying fine meals and desserts, but I do avoid fried foods, fast foods and I try to exercise regularly. Good post Sheila!

Sheila said...

That's interesting about the Orange Julius in California, but now I get it. Oranges. California. Duh. Yes, I'm afraid if some Americans get their hands on gelato it will become just another ice cream. When we go to Italy, instead of one flavor, we get a mixture of several and some kind of chocolate and hazelnut has to be in my cup. International Street Festival--now that sounds fun.

You have great photos of food on your blog and so I know you eat well and smart.

Naomi said...

Good advice Sheila. Unfortunately obesity is a big problem over here in England too. Lifestyle cancers, heart disease and diabetes are on the rise here, not just with adults but with children too. It's frightening. Too many people nowadys don't get enought exercise and rely more and more on convenience food.

Sheila said...

What's up with us? I know you write a lot about food and we just can't seem to take all of the warnings to heart. I am trying and my blood sugar was quite a bit better at my checkup. Something I'm going is working. I don't want diabetes. Diabetes end lives too soon and robs people of their limbs and eyesight. How do you tell young people this? They believe they are invincible.