This summer, Chris Gomez is taking his students to Six Flags and the first thing he’s going to do is ride a roller coaster. In fact, the kids may have a hard time getting him to do anything else. For Chris, a special education teacher from New York, being able to fit in to a coaster car again means another triumph on his weight loss journey.
At age 34, Chris admits to being slightly overweight most of his life with a few periods of weight loss in between, but due to emotional eating, late-night snacking and lack of portion control (eating multiple desserts), he could never keep the extra pounds off for very long. As a die-hard Mets fan and sports enthusiast, Chris knew as his weight continued to climb, his energy plummeted and his ability to participate in the activities he once enjoyed like softball, were beginning to decline.
Chris describes his a-ha weight loss moment, saying, “I was sitting at a friends’ house and ordered 20 chicken wings for lunch and half way through I realized that I couldn’t continue to do this to myself. One day a doctor would tell me that I was running myself into the ground and I would have nothing to do about it. So I decided enough was enough.”
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Summer is in full swing, meaning baseball stadiums around the country are packed with fans, especially this week at the All Star Game. It wouldn’t be an all-American baseball game without chowing down on some ballpark food, like stadium staples hot dogs, nachos, and peanuts. But what about those who want to enjoy a night at the old ball game without feeling bloated from the grease and sodium afterward?
Don’t fret my friends! Ballparks around the country are adding healthier choices to their menus! Some baseball stadiums added pistachios as an alternative to peanuts. Pistachios have more fiber and less saturated fat than peanuts, are a good source of vitamin B6 (15% DV), and you get almost 50 pieces for a single serving. That’s good stuff.
“There aren’t many healthy options at ballparks, so it’s exciting that consumers will be able to get in the game with pistachios this summer,” said Patricia Bannan, registered dietitian for Wonderful Pistachios. “Nutrient-packed pistachios have a lot to offer without sacrificing taste, so you can snack on them guilt-free as you enjoy watching your favorite teams.”
There is no doubt that the tasty healthy snacks are giving peanuts a run for their money.
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Evan Longoria used yoga to rehab his left foot
Major League baseball players are coining the phrase “flexibility is the new strength” and adding yoga, stretching, and Pilates to their off season and spring training regimes. Baseball manager Joe Maddon said in 2007, when yoga was first introduced as an official part of the training program, that he expected yoga and stretching to soon be as mainstream as weight lifting for strength, and his assumption is now a reality.
The Devil Rays’ third basemen Evan Longoria is one player who first took yoga seriously as a way to find a little peace and contentment through the stressful baseball season. Needing to rehab his left foot, Longoria focused on functional movements and stability therapy, adding that doing yoga in a hot room for over an hour was no easy task, but also provided many benefits beyond peace of mind.
Many other baseball players have followed the lead of Longoria and used yoga or Pilates as part of their offseason training. Jimmy Rollins practiced yoga following an injury and went on to playing 142 more games after making a strong comeback. Jim Thome practiced both yoga and Pilates to better prepare his 41-year-old body for playing first base, and Alex Rodriquez, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson have also reportedly added more flexibility to their training.
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Although Major League Baseball players need to be in top shape, their fans have a new reason not to be. Nineteen of 30 major league teams now have an “all-you-can-eat section,” where spectators can fill up on ballpark staples like peanuts, hot dogs, soda, lemonade, nachos and ice cream.
Although there is a salad bar at the buffet-style section at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, the message is not a healthy one. The $40 ticket may seem like a steal, but the real cost is paid in unhealthy calories. “Teams say the intention is not for fans to gorge themselves on the food, but many fans say it often comes with the culture of being at the ballpark,” writes Sports Illustrated. “Even as Orioles fan Michele Sparklin ate a salad and said she yearned for choices like a grilled chicken wrap, she admitted to overindulging in hot dogs — and food in general — while sitting in the section. ‘When there’s a hot dog in your face, you have to take it,’ she said.”
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The first lady asked Major League Baseball players to join her in creating a new public service campaign against childhood obesity. The New York Times reports that the campaign will consist of 30 TV ads and 30 radio ads, each one customized to one of the league’s teams. Another version of the public service announcement features Curtis Granderson and is being distributed nationally. Yankee center fielder Granderson is the campaign’s national spokesman.
The new PSAs are part of Ms. Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. Each TV spot begins a message from the first lady: “There are so many fun things we all can do to be healthier, no matter who you are or where you are. So let’s move.” The following sequence is illustrated with footage of the local team. The ad should have local distribution by mid-August, and will also be appearing on the big screen in many ballparks.
Other sports leagues may soon also get involved with “Let’s Move,” but have yet to be scheduled.
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