Author Archives: Carmen

About Carmen

A busy mom of six who's maintained an 80 pound weight loss, Carmen helps moms and families navigate a realistic healthy lifestyle. She's also training for a Muay Thai black belt.

Inspirational New Year’s Weight Loss Resolution Successes Do Happen

It’s probably the most often made New Year’s Resolution: lose weight and get into shape. The gyms are packed, the sports stores sell out of equipment, and the streets are cluttered with new joggers. People make this promise year after year, and typically, by the end of January, most of them have given up.

However, some don’t. Sometimes, that New Year’s resolution becomes attainable and do-able. Sometimes, people really do succeed when they vow, on January 1, to lose weight and get into shape. I did it, and I asked several other successful dieters to share their successes with us.

Kelly Guy, of the blog, No Thanks to Cake, says, “If I were to look back at my New Year’s resolutions for the past 10 years, weight loss was always on the list. Sometimes I actually resolved to lose the extra weight, and even when I didn’t it was in the front of my mind.” She’s lost 74 pounds so far and is close to reaching her goal, although she shares, “I didn’t hit my goal in 2011. I still have 17 lbs remaining before I hit my weight loss goal; however, I don’t believe weight loss will be on my to-do list this year. Healthy living has become a way of life; it’s no longer something that I’m desperately trying to achieve and that I will maintain. ”


As Charles Barkley Represents Weight Watchers He’s Poised to Become a Role Model

“Lose weight like a man,” says Charles Barkley, the newest spokesperson for Weight Watchers. The former NBA superstar, who has been nicknamed “Round Mound of Rebound,” has gotten tired of his weight and pledged to drop it, once and for all. At his highest weight, the 48-year-old retired basketball star weighed more than 350 pounds.

Famous for a 1993 Nike ad in which he says “I am not a role model. I’m not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models,” Barkley has changed his tune.

In the Weight Watchers ads, slated to run most often during sporting events, Barkley says “I am still not a role model. But maybe I can change that. Maybe if I tell you I’m losing weight and getting healthy, you’d see that you can too.” Nowhere in the advertisements does he mention black men specifically, but the message of “health first” is one that is very often overlooked by men, especially men of color. They are often underrepresented in the weight loss field, often to the gross extremes of encouraging heaviness with the popularity of such men as “The Notorious B.I.G.”, and the recent passing of comedian Patrice O’Neal. (more…)

Qnexa Resubmits for FDA Approval with a New Clinical Trial

UPDATE [1/10/12]: The FDA announced this week that a major contraindication has been lifted from the weight loss drug Qnexa, broadening the potential market for the drug. Previously, the FDA was concerned that women of childbearing age who ingested one of the drug’s ingredients might have children with a higher rate of birth defects, but further research has shown the danger is only present for women who took the drug during pregnancy. Some experts expect the drug will be approved by the spring.

There is a new weight loss drug on the horizon. Qnexa, from parent company Vivus, Inc., consists of a combination of two prescription drugs – Phentermine and Topiramate. It has been effective in clinical studies at helping those who take it lose up to 15 percent of their body weight. There have also been indicators of increasing some cardiovascular actions. In addition, Qnexa also appears to improve sleep apnea, a condition in which those who suffer can stop breathing during their sleep cycles.

Phentermine is well known by dieters, but Topiramate has not been used in the weight loss field. It is prescribed as an anti-convulsant, but patients who have used it have reported weight loss as a side effect. It is also prescribed under the name Topamax for migraine use. Combining the two medications together has shown to increase the weight loss results of either drug when it was taken singly. Multiple levels of each drug have been combined in field testing, and the company feels that they have found the “magic” levels.

Qnexa works as an appetite suppressant, allowing a patient to eat markedly less and still feel full. It’s been hailed as the most effective weight loss medication since Fen-Phen. (more…)

Poor American Nutrition Scores for This Year Have Us Looking Ahead to 2012

The newest yearly score for the nutrition of United States citizens confirms what we’ve all known but most of us love to ignore – the American way of eating leaves much to be desired in terms of nutrition. According the the CDC, we are not eating enough green vegetables or whole grains, but going overboard on the sweets. This validates what we’ve all suspected, especially with the proliferation of fast food restaurants and super size combos available with nary a spinach salad in sight. Maybe calling attention to this will help us brush up on our nutrition needs for 2012.

Our scores over the past several years have remained dismally low and this year was no exception. The average American overall diet score did not top 60 points out of 100 on the Healthy Eating Index. This index, created in 2005 to determine how nutritiously America ate and to look for ways to improve diets. The Index rates us on our ingestion of specific food groups, including whole fruits, dark green and orange vegetables, whole grains, milk, meat and beans, oils, fats, sodium, alcohol, and added sugar. In the most recent reporting, women tended to score significantly higher than their male counterparts, particularly in the areas of fruits and vegetables. Older people, as well as those who completed higher education levels, also had better scores.

Bethene Ervin, PhD, RD, reported these facts in a National Health Statistics Report and says that the scores indicate that most Americans’ diets need improvement. At the conclusion of her report, Ervin said that most Americans need to add whole grains, leafy dark greens and fruits to their diet and reduce the intake of sugars and alcohol.


Drew Barrymore Gives Up Vegetarianism for Love

Actress Drew Barrymore has been on our radar for years, ever since she starred in the movie E.T. as a small child. She’s been known for many things, among them her on and off vegetarian lifestyle. In 2002, she gave up on being a vegetarian in order to wear fun clothes, telling IMDB “…Dressing is like an art form – it’s so much fun.” She was back on the vegetarian bandwagon in 2010 and then blamed the diet for making her a picky eater.

Now that she’s dating Will Kopelman, she’s back to eating meat. She says that she finds vegetarianism simply too difficult to do on her own. She loves to cook for her boyfriend and finds it easier to make the same foods for both of them. Barrymore follows a list of celebrities who are “on again, off again” with vegetarianism, including Natalie Portman, who famously gave up her vegan lifestyle during her pregnancy.

People choose to become vegetarians for many reasons, but more choose it for the health benefits than any other reason. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians tend to weigh less, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as reduced rates of cancer and type 2 diabetes compared to meat eaters. Despite these benefits, many people who try to follow a vegetarian lifestyle don’t stay with it long term.


Jay-Z Supports Beyonce’s Vegan Pregnancy Diet

Beyonce is pregnant with her first baby, and she’s determined to keep her bootylicious figure. The 30-year old pop singer is due with her first baby in February, and she’s chosen to eat a mostly vegan diet to keep her weight in check. Her husband, 42-year old rapper Jay-Z, has decided to support her by following the same diet. She’s made this choice after hearing from friends who’ve counseled her to not make the same mistakes that they did during pregnancy.

In the past, the singer has been known to struggle with her weight. In 2006, she lost 20 pounds in 14 days using Master Cleanse, although it’s not a diet she’d recommend. Reportedly, she gained back all of the weight that she lost, plus extra.

Husband Jay-Z isn’t feeling any negative affects from following his wife’s dietary choice, and both have reported to have experienced an increase in energy. It’s not clear how the megastars classify a diet as “partially vegan”, but it appears that they are taking a great step towards beginning healthy choices for their growing family!


AminoSweet Announced as the New Name for Aspartame

It’s still Aspartame. Reminiscent of the recent High Fructose Corn Syrup name change, possibly in an effort to change our opinions, Aspartame will now be referred to as AminoSweet. Don’t fall for a more “natural” name – this stuff is still bad news. Hopes are that by using a more natural sounding name, consumers will feel more at ease with its pervasive use in more than 6,000 products.

Originally introduced more than 25 years ago, this “accidental discovery” has quickly taken over the food industry.  Two naturally-occurring amino acids (aspartic acid and phenylalanine) were first combined in an effort to produce an anti-ulcer drug. Pharmacist James Schlatter discovered that the new compound had a very sweet taste. The company was granted a change on its FDA approval application from drug to food additive. Thus, aspartame was born.


15 Holiday Apps to Help You Get Through the Season Stress Free

It’s holiday time, and you all know what that means: a long list of stuff to do and all of the relevant stress. Instead of getting overwhelmed, let your smart phone do the work for you and enjoy a very h”app”y holiday season!

Here are 15 of my favorite holiday smartphone apps in the categories of gifting, travel, entertaining, and even exercise to help you get through the season with ease.

Santa Tracker ($.99) – My kids have always been enormous fans of the NORAD Santa tracker – but using the computer site tends to tie you to the house. Use this app to track Santa, send a letter, or even visit his blog.

Christmas Gifts List (free) – We’ve all done it. You bought a gift for someone and then realized that you spent more on her sister. This app will help you avoid that sticky situation. You can track gift giving by amount, note individual preferences and add wish list items. (free)- The pinnacle of budgeting, now conveniently located on your phone. Manage your money, budgets, expenses and bills  in the palm of your hand. Add categories, and never lose money again.


We Love FILA

Trying to find great workout clothes can be an impossible task. Sure, you could work out in an oversized t-shirt and baggy basketball shorts, but let’s face it – stylish exercise clothes can be practical and inspiring. The workout gear of the 70’s and 80’s has thankfully gone the way of the 8 track player and many companies use technology to create clothing that wicks, breathes and does everything except the super set, all while incorporating style and keeping you looking good! One such company is FILA.

Since it got its start in Italy in 1911, FILA has been well known for creating comfortable, functional exercise clothing that is both beautiful and high quality.

This fall, FILA announced two new product lines: Supplex and Body Toning System. Offered in bright jewel tones and modeled by real women in their advertisements, these workout clothes have quickly become my own personal favorites.

I was sent a pair of Supplex yoga pants, a BTS tank and capri pants for running. All three items fit well and made for comfortable exercise, with a bonus that they helped me look good while exercising. If I look good, I feel good. Silly and vain, but I’ll bet you nodded as you read it, didn’t you? But, you might ask – what’s so special about these new clothing lines?


Throw a Fun and Festive Holiday Office Party Your Employees Will Love

Tired of throwing a traditional holiday party for your employees? You know, those that involve appetizers, drinks, and standing around conversing? If you are the boss or in charge of your office’s party planning committee, now is the perfect time to flex your authority muscle and throw an “outside the box” holiday party this year.

Most work places are notorious for unhealthy eating and offer little in the way of physical activity. By being innovative and creative and offering healthier alternatives for employees, you can cut down on company costs for sick and absent days and improve the health of your employees. It’s just one day, one party, but by helping them to create good habits, you can make for more efficient employees.

Here are some interesting and exciting ways to ring in the holiday season, help your employees have a good time, and encourage healthy movement.