Thursday, August 20, 2009

Readers Digest not Bankrupt on Ideas for Losing Weight

Journal Entry: Weight = 172.8; Coinage = $1.05, 35 pennies, 3 nickels, 2 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 6; Ground scores = 4 (3 recyclable shirts, the last shirt as referenced earlier lasted less than an hour on the recycle pole); Best coinage find = a nickel and penny scatter on a stingy discount service station/convenience store parking lot.

Feature Entry: The On-line Readers Digest magazine features a healthy living section. This week the editors present 50+ easy ideas for losing weight. The MoneyWalker will summarize four of them with a brief critique.

Number 8 is to walk for 45 minutes a day. This is 15 minutes more than recommended from the often quoted Duke University study which found that 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat lost. Readers Digest suggest that by walking briskly for 45 minutes a day will help relatively sedentary people lose 30 a pounds in a year without changing how much you’re eating. The Moneywalker does not place much faith in this conclusion. He is all for brisk walking and the overweight sedentary person will lose several lbs rather quickly. But as the first several lbs drop off and as the walker begins to approach the ideal body weight, those last several lbs are dropped much more slowly. I recommend an hour walk and a reduced consumption of food, especially white food and sweet food.

Speaking of white foods, number 18 on their list was “avoid white foods.” They cite scientific studies that have found that large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar negatively effects our blood sugar and leads to weight gain. However, while avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, walkers will want to eat ample amounts of whole grain breads and brown rice. RD reported findings from a “..Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff.” But be careful with correlation findings, correlation is not the same as cause and effect. It could be that the nutritious prudent were also prudent in other facets of their life including not overeating. Still the data are clear, overeating white starchy and sweet foods leads to overweight.

Another healthy habit of people that lose weight is to eat cereal for breakfast five days a week (#21.). Again, be careful with correlation studies, but the RD authors quoted studies that concluded that people who eat cereal for breakfast every day are significantly less likely to be obese and have diabetes than those who don't. Also, these breakfast diets lead to the consumption of more fiber and calcium -- and less fat -- than those who eat other breakfast foods. Ms. MoneyWalker mixes Fiber One (Bran) with Shredded Wheat (Wheat’n Bran) while I prefer Cheerios mixed with Crispex. We both use .02 milk without sugar.

Number 22 is to “pare your portions.” We totally agree with their concept, but not their method. They state at home or in a restaurant, “immediately remove one-third of the food on your plate.” We go further, eat only one-half at a restaurant and take the remainder home for another meal. For home, we like their idea of the restaurant serving, that is fill the plate from the containers before the meal reaches the table. While filling the plate, serve small portions. Mrs. MoneyWalker fills my plate and do I get mad, but smaller portions mean smaller clothes sizes.

Again, the MoneyWalker’s big four behaviors to take off weight and keep it off:
Weight each day at the same time each day and record in a journal.
Walk a brisk walk each day for one hour utilizing an external reward device.
Eat a whole grain breakfast each morning using 2% or lower milk.
Practice portion control and radically reduce white flour, sugary foods, white carbohydrates from your meals.

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