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NPR’s Living Large: Obesity in America Takes a Hard Look at Our Growing Crisis

Approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population and 17 percent of children are considered obese according to CDC statistics.

NPR’s special series “Living Large: Obesity in America” takes a  look at what it truly means to be obese in the United States, a country getting larger and unhealthier by the second.

Why are Americans obese? Blame it on the lifestyle. Americans are eating–everywhere. We eat in our cars on the way to kids’ soccer games, on the way to work, in-between meals, and after school. With our lackadaisical view of standard mealtimes, we are not only eating more, but are eating processed foods that are quick and adaptable to our on-the-go lifestyles and it’s rubbing off on other countries. The French are getting fatter, too, according to NPR.

Although France is typically viewed as a counterexample to America’s growing obesity problem, obesity in France is rising slightly. The French pride themselves on their love of food and traditional meal times. The French also know how to properly prepare a meal, something that is vastly disappearing in the age of globalization and urbanization.

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Computers May Make You Overeat

Most of us do it: eat a quick lunch while we attempt to catch up on the day’s work. While you may be doing your boss proud, it may also have some negative repercussions on how much you eat.

According to a small study, people who eat a meal in front of the computer may eat more dessert than those who eat their meal in a more traditional manner.

In the study of 44 men and women, the participants who played video games during lunch ended up eating more cookies than the others 30 minutes after their meal. The researchers attribute this to computer users having a foggier memory of their meal, which lead to them feeling less full.

The researchers found that those in the computer group ate roughly 250 calories worth of cookies 30 minutes after the meal. On the other hand, the other group ate only about half as many calories.
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Just Say No to Food Pushers (Nicely)

The time between Christmas and New Year’s is always the hardest time to eat healthy. Why is that? Is it because there’s temptation all around? Sometimes, yes. Is it because we have less time to work out and cook healthy meals? For sure. But what’s the No. 1 reason we all seem to struggle this time of year? Guilt.

We feel bad telling our grandmother that we have to forgo her famous mashed potatoes with lots of salt, butter and cream. Or that we can’t eat our aunt’s prized pecan pie. Or we even feel bad for not baking the family’s sugar cookie recipe that we always make. Change is hard, and in a lot of families, people’s feelings get hurt when you don’t act as though you have in the past. It’s a cliché, but in many ways it’s true: Food is love.

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Healthy Eating Strategies for Holiday Celebrations

Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, Director of Nutrition at Calorie Count has answered thousands of diet and nutrition questions from Calorie Count members. And that’s not counting the advice she has given countless others during her 30-year career as a professional dietitian. Mary provides accurate and wise diet advice in a no-nonsense way to address the physical and personal barriers to reaching and maintaining ideal weight.

Calorie Count Members find it challenging to maintain their new lifestyle changes during the holidays. Here are a few of our readers’ favorite “Ask Mary Q+As” about coping with holiday food.

Ask Mary: How do I handle eating at a party?

Handle all parties the same way. Don’t go to the party famished and don’t overdo the alcohol because both behaviors open the door to indiscriminate eating. Look over the entire table before joining the serving line. If you are eating a full meal, choose several items in reasonable portions to make up a balanced meal. Look for the vegetables and skip the foods that are breaded and fried or covered in sauce, cream, butter, or cheese. Leave the serving area to eat while seated where you can converse. At a cocktail party, choose only the offerings that you love the best. Take a small portion and think about how great you’ll look and feel at a healthy weight.

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Food for Thought: Imagining Food May Help With Weight Loss

With all those unhealthy treats around this time of year, temptation seems to be everywhere — from grandma’s cookies to your aunt’s egg nog to that tasty finger-food at your neighbor’s annual holiday party. But what if the secret to not overindulging wasn’t based on will power or self control, but rather a simple trick of the mind? It may seem like this type of Jedi-like behavior is right out of the Star Wars series, but research says that your brain can be a powerful ally in losing weight — if you use it the right way.

For many people who are trying to lose weight, visualizing yourself eating a not-so-healthy treat seems more like torture than a weight-loss strategy, but according to new research, scientists have found that imagining yourself eating a certain food may actually help you reduce your consumption of that food by decreasing your appetite for it. Talk about fascinating!

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