If you haven’t made a resolution yet to keep your weight in check, there’s still time! Jan. 19-25 is Healthy Weight Week, celebrating healthy lifestyles for life. This annual celebration is a time for everyone to be active, eat well and feel good.
Menopausal women may be more cognizant of their weight than other age groups. Our reduced metabolism is tipping the scales — and not in our favor! Women don’t have a monopoly on this; middle-aged men also suffer from the shrinking-pants syndrome.
Expanding middles are more than about appearances. They are about your health, and can put you at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.
Francie Berg, MS, is chair of Healthy Weight Week. She is a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. In 1986 she created the Healthy Weight Network, which sponsors Healthy Weight Week.
As national coordinator of the Task Force on Weight Loss Abuse for the National Council Against Health Fraud, she maintains an extensive collection of questionable products and bizarre gadgets that Americans use in their battle of the bulge.
Tuesday of Healthy Weight Week marks Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day. That’s when the Slim Chance Awards are given for the worst diet products of the year. Last year, the Cotton Ball Diet (I’m not kidding!) was dubbed Most Outrageous Diet. On this plan, dieters dip cotton balls in juice and ingest them. The objective is to feel full without actually consuming real food. Risks include a blockage in the digestive system, which could necessitate surgery.
The Tongue Patch Diet won the award for Worst Gimmick. This reversible procedure fits a plastic mesh patch to the patient’s tongue. The result? Chewing is extremely painful, thus limiting the dieter to only liquid.
While these awards may be rather tongue in cheek (pun intended), the concept of Healthy Weight Week is a serious one. The Healthy Weight Network links research and practical application. Berg said the network is committed to compiling scientific information from many sources and reporting controversial issues in a clear, objective manner. The network is also committed to exposing deception, reshaping detrimental social attitudes and promoting health at any size.
Following are a few of the things to beware of when evaluating a diet program:
- a large, fast weight loss
- getting rid of “cellulite”
- fewer than 1000 calories per day
- requiring special foods be purchased
- failing to state risks or recommend a medical exam
- demanding large advance payments or long-term contracts
- offering a money-back guarantee
Berg has been a guest on national television, including Oprah, Leeza and Inside Edition. Her books on weight and eating include Women Afraid to Eat, Children and Teens Afraid to Eat and Underage and Overweight: Our Childhood Obesity Crisis—What Every Family Needs to Know.
If you really want to lose weight (and not just money), stick with the tried-and-true method: diet and exercise. Otherwise, you could negatively impact your health. Go with your gut, and use common sense. Before starting
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!