How to Lose Weight with the HAPIfork

How often has someone harped on you for eating too fast? Studies show that shoveling food in too quickly is actually detrimental to your weight. From the time we are little, we’re taught to take time between bites and chew a specific number of times. While the HAPIfork won’t monitor how many times your teeth clamp down on your food, it will help you change your habits when it comes to how fast the morsels hit your mouth.

Before you scoff at this invention, think about this: according to a study published this summer, more than 1/3 of adult Americans are considered obese. I am definitely not one to talk — you’ve all seen me on Chris’ stream, videos, and pictures through the years. I have health problems that cause serious weight gain no matter how fast I eat or drink. However, I’m also someone who doesn’t stop and take the time to truly enjoy my meals. I’m always rushing — there’s always more work to be done, a house to clean, meals to cook, and laundry to do. I admit it: I rush through every single meal. Perhaps I need one of these forks?

There are hundreds of gadgets on the market that promise to help you track what you’re eating. Great! Being healthy, though, isn’t only about what you consume or even how much. We also need to start being more aware of how quickly we’re inhaling every bite.

How to Lose Weight with the HAPIforkThe HAPIfork is here to help. Let’s say you want to make sure you have 10 seconds in between every bite. Set the parameters and then begin to eat. The HAPIfork will vibrate if the utensil touches your lips before the ten seconds are up. Your brain will automagically start conditioning itself to take more time in between bites. Once you’ve retrained your arm-to-mouth process, you can increase the length of time in between stuffing the goodness into your pie hole. How cool is that?

This gadget doesn’t only track how quickly you eat. Once your meal is finished, it will sync up with a smartphone app (of course!) to give you information such as how many bites per serving of food you had, the length of the overall meal, and more. This technology helps you to lose weight in a very simple way: it’s allows you to recognize your limits. When we eat quickly, we don’t always recognize when we’re getting full. As soon as we slow our roll and take a bit more time, that fact becomes apparent and we can then push away our plates.

The application is simple to use. Once you’re done eating, sync up the fork with the app via USB connection or Bluetooth and upload your data. You can keep it to yourself or choose to share it with the world. Either way, you’re doing yourself a huge favor by taking yet another step toward a healthy life.

If it weren’t for the awesome team at AMD, Chris wouldn’t have been at CES to witness this awesome little gadget. Thanks for sending Diana and Chris to Vegas, guys!

Positive Social Traits Trump Bad Health Habits

There should be an image here!Many studies have documented the dangers of the traditional negative physical risk factors on health — excessive smoking, drinking, and being overweight. But far less research has focused on less-tangible, positive influences — the protective role of psychological and social supports.

New research by Margie E. Lachman Ph.D. and Stefan Agrigoroaei Ph.D. of the Brandeis Psychology Department explores the psychological roots of health. Lachman is Director of the Lifespan Developmental Psychological Laboratory in the Department of Psychology, and Agrigoroaei is a postdoctoral researcher at the lab.

What Lachman and Agrigoroaei found in The Midlife in the U.S. (MIDUS) study, involving 3,626 adults aged 32 to 84 who were assessed over two periods about 10 years apart, was that with proper protective elements in place, declines in health could be delayed by up to a decade. Their findings indicate that specific psychological, social, and physical protective factors are associated with better health in later life.

The research identified physical exercise, social support and control beliefs, individually and in combination, as significant predictors of change in functional health, above and beyond the negative effects of the traditional risk factors.

“Control beliefs” refer to a person’s sense of how much they can influence important life outcomes. Those who have a greater sense of control are more likely to engage in health-promoting behaviors, such as getting exercise and eating right. Suppotive social relationships can promote health by reducing stress and encouraging healthy behaviors.

The research is reported in an article “Promoting Functional Health in Midlife and Old Age: Long-Term Protective Effects of Control Beliefs, Social Support, and Physical Exercise,” just published in PlosOne.

The researchers note that the results are encouraging for the prospect of developing interventions to promote functional health, and for reducing public health costs for disabilities later in life.

[Photo above by D. Sharon Pruitt / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Barbara Howard @ Brandeis University

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Obese Workers Cost Workplace More Than Insurance, Absenteeism

There should be an image here!The cost of obesity among U.S. full-time employees is estimated to be $73.1 billion, according to a new study by a Duke University obesity researcher, published today in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

This is the first study to quantify the total value of lost job productivity as a result of health problems, which it finds is more costly than medical expenditures.

Led by Eric Finkelstein, deputy director for health services and systems research at Duke-National University of Singapore, the study quantified the per capita cost of obesity among full-time workers by considering three factors: employee medical expenditures, lost productivity on the job due to health problems (presenteeism), and absence from work (absenteeism).

Collectively, the per capita costs of obesity are as high as $16,900 for obese women with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 (roughly 100 pounds overweight) and $15,500 for obese men in the same BMI class. Presenteeism makes up the largest share of those costs. Finkelstein found that presenteeism accounted for as much as 56 percent of the total cost of obesity for women, and 68 percent for men. Even among those in the normal weight range, the value of lost productivity due to health problems far exceeded the medical costs.

As part of this secondary analysis of the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2008 US National Health and Wellness Survey, presenteeism was measured and monetized as the lost time between arriving at work and starting work on days when the employee is not feeling well, and the average frequency of losing concentration, repeating a job, working more slowly than usual, feeling fatigued at work, and doing nothing at work. The study included data on individuals who are normal weight, overweight and obese, with sub-groupings based on BMI.

“Much work has already shown the high costs of obesity in medical expenditures and absenteeism, but our findings are the first to measure the incremental costs of presenteeism for obese individuals separately by BMI class and gender among full time employees,” said Finkelstein, also associate research professor of global health at the Duke Global Health Institute. “Given that employers shoulder much of the costs of obesity among employees, these findings point to the need to identify cost-effective strategies that employers can offer to reduce obesity rates and costs for employees and families.”

When all costs of obesity are combined, individuals with a body mass index greater than 35 (grades II and III obese) disproportionately account for 61 percent of the costs, yet they only represent 37 percent of the obese population. “The disproportionately high per capita and total cost of grade II and grade III obesity is particularly concerning given that these BMI ranges are the fastest-growing subset of the obese population,” said Marco daCosta DiBonaventura of Kantar Health, a co-author of the study.

With a burgeoning obese population in the U.S., the study has important implications for employers, as they are faced with increasing costs to insure full-time workers.

“Our study provides evidence of yet another cost of obesity,” said Finkelstein. “Employers should consider both the medical and productivity costs of obesity when thinking about investments in weight management or other wellness programs.”

Finkelstein recommends that employers promote healthy foods in the workplace, encourage a culture of wellness from the CEO on down, and provide economic and other incentives to those employees who show clear signs of improving their health via weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight, and/or participation in health behavior activities that have a strong correlation with health improvements, such as walk-a-thons or gym attendance.

[Photo above by Colin Rose / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Geelea Seaford @ Duke University

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Fat Cells Not Just Dormant Storage Depots For Calories

There should be an image here!Scientists are reporting new evidence that the fat tissue in those spare tires and lower belly pooches — far from being a dormant storage depot for surplus calories — is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, perhaps increasing the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases. They are reporting discovery of 20 new hormones and other substances not previously known to be secreted into the blood by human fat cells and verification that fat secretes dozens of hormones and other chemical messengers. Their study appears in ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

Anja Rosenow and colleagues note that excess body fat can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Many people once thought that fat cells were inert storage depots for surplus calories. But studies have established that fat cells can secrete certain hormones and other substances much like other organs in the body. Among those hormones is leptin, which controls appetite, and adiponectin, which makes the body more sensitive to insulin and controls blood sugar levels. However, little is known about most of the proteins produced by the billions of fat cells in the adult body.

The scientists identified 80 different proteins produced by the fat cells. These include six new proteins and 20 proteins that have not been previously detected in human fat cells. The findings could pave the way for a better understanding of the role that hormone-secreting fat cells play in heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.

[Photo above by joanna8555 / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Michael Bernstein @ American Chemical Society

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Experimental Obesity Drug Avoids Troubling Side Effects

There should be an image here!A second-generation experimental anti-obesity and diabetes drug has shown promise in reducing body weight in rodents just as effectively as the predecessor rimonabant while avoiding the risk of psychiatric side effects that led to the withdrawal of rimonabant from the market and stopped further development of other brain-penetrating drugs of its type.

The first generation of anti-obesity drugs that targeted the cannabinoid receptor CB1 — such as rimonabant — showed great promise as a therapy for obesity and related diseases such as diabetes. However, they were troubled by risk of psychiatric side effects. Rimonabant was withdrawn from the European market following a recommendation by the European Medicines Agency in late 2008, while further development of other similar products was halted.

However, in a study presented today (Monday) at the International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm, Sweden, Danish researchers demonstrated in rodents that a new first-in-class, second-generation CB1 receptor blocker induced the same degree of weight loss as rimonabant while not exposing the brain to significant levels of the drug. The drug was designed to act selectively in peripheral tissues and organs, in contrast with the first generation of CB1 receptor blockers, which also significantly affected the brain.

“These findings, together with what we have seen in our first human study regarding the safety and tolerability, make this drug candidate a promising therapy for obesity and diabetes. The lack of significant exposure in the brain seen in our preclinical experiments provides optimism that blockade of the CB1 receptor may still be an effective and safe approach to treat obesity and related diseases,” said Christian E. Elling, Vice President at 7TM Pharma A/S in Hoersholm, Denmark, who presented the findings at the conference. “This is, to our knowledge, the first peripheral CB1 drug candidate being tested in humans and these results indicate its development as a potential new treatment should be advanced.”

In the rodent studies, the researchers conducted an extensive panel of studies with mice and rats to assess the weight-loss and anti-diabetic potential of the as-yet unnamed drug, TM38837, and to demonstrate the lack of exposure in the brain.

The researchers treated obese rats and mice with rimonabant, the new drug, or a placebo drug once a day for five weeks and measured their body weight and food intake daily. Animals lost an equal amount of body weight when treated with similar doses of rimonabant and TM38837. At the end of the treatment period, drug treated mice had 22-26% lower body weights than placebo treated mice while drug treated rats had 14% lower body weights than placebo treated rats.

Other animal studies provided substantial evidence that the drug has a markedly lower propensity than rimonabant to cross the blood-brain barrier. These studies included brain tissue examination, behavioural tests and other studies to demonstrate where in the body the drug was distributed.

For their human study of the drug, the researchers reported that in a phase 1 clinical trial of 48 healthy normal-weight adults, the drug was well tolerated even at the highest dose, with seven of the volunteers experiencing brief, mild drug-related side effects such as abdominal discomfort, nausea and diarrhoea.

On the basis of these results, development of the drug is continuing. The researchers expect to report the results of further animal and human studies this autumn.

Emma Ross @ International Association for the Study of Obesity

[Photo above by magnetbox / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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High BMI Linked To Proximity To Convenience Stores

There should be an image here!Researchers at the University at Buffalo conducting a neighborhood-scaled exploratory study that tested the association between the food environment, the built environment and women’s body mass index (BMI) have found that women with homes closer to a supermarket, relative to a convenience store, had lower BMIs, and that the greater the number of restaurants within a five minute walk of a woman’s home, the higher her BMI.

The study, “Food Environment, Built Environment and Women’s BMI: Evidence from Erie County, New York,” involved 172 participants and was published in the April issue of the Journal of Planning Education and Research. It was led by Samina Raja, PhD, UB professor of urban and regional planning.

The study team comprised several UB researchers: Li Yin, PhD, assistant professor of urban and regional planning; James Roemmich, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics; Leonard Epstein, PhD, professor of pediatrics; Changxing Ma, PhD, assistant professor of biostatistics; and graduate students Pavan Yadav and Alex Brian Ticoalu.

“In particular, three findings are significant,” says Raja.

“First, a greater number of restaurants within a five-minute walk of a subject’s house was associated with a greater BMI, holding other factors constant,” she says.

“Second,” she says, “on average, women who live within relative proximity to supermarkets and grocery stores (as opposed to convenience stores) tend to have lower BMIs.

“Third, and perhaps most important,” Raja says, “the interaction of the food environment and the built environment in a neighborhood carries significant consequences for obesity. For example, a diverse land-use mix, while beneficial for promoting physical activity, is tied to a net increase in BMI when that land is dominated by restaurants.”

She says future research on the built environment and health must take into account the role of the food environment on women’s health, and the study offers suggestions for how food environments may be improved using planning strategies.

Raja is a nationally regarded community-based scholar in the fields of food security planning and community health whose work supports and is supported by UB’s Civic Engagement and Public Policy research initiative.

She points out that more than one-third of U.S. adults were reported to be obese in 2006, with the prevalence of obesity slightly greater among women than men.

“The prevalence of obesity is a significant public health concern because it places indi¬viduals at a risk for a variety of diseases,” she says, “and the role of environmental factors in contributing to obesity has received a lot of attention. We have attempted here to explain the paradox of high BMI rates among women living in highly walkable inner city neighborhoods.

Raja says the study has several limitations, among them, the fact that the researchers did not know where their subjects shopped for food, only what outlets were closest geographically. The also were not able to classify restaurants based on their quality — fast-food and sit-down restaurants were treated as a single category, even though they know that quality varies widely across different types of restaurants.

“The study raises several questions to be addressed in future research,” she says, “and suggests that innovative research designs will be necessary to develop greater evidence of causality — perhaps longitudinal studies that look at how moving one’s residence (thus changing exposure to a particular food, food type or built environment) affects physical activity, eating behavior and health outcomes.”

The study identifies planning strategies and tools available to improve community food and built environments to support healthy eating behavior.

“Comprehensive plans, regulatory mechanisms and financial incentives can be used individually or in concert to improve food environments,” the study says, and cites recent efforts in Madison and Dane County, Wis.; Marin County, Calif.; Harrison County, Miss.; special regulations adopted in New York City that offer zoning incentives (e.g. allowing denser development and reduction in parking requirements) for development projects that dedicate a greater store floor area to fresh foods in underserved neighborhoods; and Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Patricia Donovan @ University at Buffalo

[Photo above by Nick J. Webb / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Gene That Ties Stress To Obesity And Diabetes Discovered

There should be an image here!The constant stress that many are exposed to in our modern society may be taking a heavy toll: Anxiety disorders and depression, as well as metabolic (substance exchange) disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and arteriosclerosis, have all been linked to stress. These problems are reaching epidemic proportions: Diabetes, alone, is expected to affect some 360 million people worldwide by the year 2030. While anyone who has ever gorged on chocolate before an important exam understands, instinctively, the tie between stress, changes in appetite and anxiety-related behavior, the connection has lately been borne out by science, though the exact reasons for this haven’t been crystal clear. Dr. Alon Chen of the Weizmann Institute’s Neurobiology Department and his research team have now discovered that changes in the activity of a single gene in the brain not only cause mice to exhibit anxious behavior, but also lead to metabolic changes that cause the mice to develop symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes. These findings were published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

All of the body’s systems are involved in the stress response, which evolved to deal with threats and danger. Behavioral changes tied to stress include heightened anxiety and concentration, while other changes in the body include heat-generation, changes the metabolism of various substances and even changes in food preferences. What ties all of these things together? The Weizmann team suspected that a protein known as Urocortin-3 (Ucn3) was involved. This protein is produced in certain brain cells — especially in times of stress — and it’s known to play a role in regulating the body’s stress response. These nerve cells have extensions that act as ‘highways’ that speed Ucn3 on to two other sites in the brain: One, in the hypothalamus — the brain’s center for hormonal regulation of basic bodily functions — oversees, among other things, substance exchange and feelings of hunger and satiety; the other is involved in regulating behavior, including levels of anxiety. Nerve cells in both these areas have special receptors for Ucn3 on their surfaces, and the protein binds to these receptors to initiate the stress response.

The researchers developed a new, finely-tuned method for influencing the activity of a single gene in one area in the brain, using it to increase the amounts of Ucn3 produced in just that location. They found that heightened levels of the protein produced two different effects: The mice’s anxiety-related behavior increased, and their bodies underwent metabolic changes, as well. With excess Ucn3, their bodies burned more sugar and fewer fatty acids, and their metabolic rate sped up. These mice began to show signs of the first stages of type 2 diabetes: A drop in muscle sensitivity to insulin delayed sugar uptake by the cells, resulting in raised sugar levels in the blood. Their pancreas then produced extra insulin to make up for the perceived ‘deficit.’

‘We showed that the actions of single gene in just one part of the brain can have profound effects on the metabolism of the whole body,’ says Chen. This mechanism, which appears to be a ‘smoking gun’ tying stress levels to metabolic disease, might, in the future, point the way toward the treatment or prevention of a number of stress-related diseases.

Yivsam Azgad @ Weizmann Institute of Science

[Photo above by David Friel / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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The Largest Last Supper

There should be an image here!Were the twelve apostles guilty of overeating at the Last Supper? Two brothers—an eating behavior expert and a religious studies scholar—are publishing findings that might make you think twice at your Easter dinner.

Brian and Craig Wansink teamed up to analyze the amount of food depicted in 52 of the best-known paintings of the Last Supper. After indexing the sizes of the foods by the sizes of the average disciple’s head, they found that portion size, plate size, and bread size increased dramatically over the last one thousand years. Overall, the main courses depicted in the paintings grew by 69%, plate size by 66%, and bread size by 23%.

The study’s findings will be published in the April 2010 issue of the International Journal of Obesity and released in the online version of the journal.

“I think people assume that increased serving sizes, or ‘portion distortion,’ is a recent phenomenon,” said Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. “But this research indicates that it’s a general trend for at least the last millennium.”

“As the most famously depicted dinner of all time, the Last Supper is ideally suited for review,” said Craig Wansink, professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College.

“The method we used created a natural crossroads between our two divergent fields and a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with my brother,” he added.

Portion size and spatial relationships are familiar topics in Brian Wansink’s work in food and eating behavior. In his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, he explores the hidden cues that determine what, when, and how much we eat.

Tom Rushmer @ Cornell Food and Brand Lab

[Photo above by Eric Coulston / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Childhood Obesity Alone May Increase Risk Of Later Cardiovascular Disease

There should be an image here!By as early as 7 years of age, being obese may raise a child’s risk of future heart disease and stroke, even in the absence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

“This new study demonstrates that the unhealthy consequences of excess body fat start very early,” said Nelly Mauras, MD, of Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and senior author of the study. “Our study shows that obesity alone is linked to certain abnormalities in the blood that can predispose individuals to developing cardiovascular disease early in adulthood.

These findings suggest that we need more aggressive interventions for weight control in obese children, even those who do not have the co-morbidities of the metabolic syndrome.”

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is being increasingly diagnosed in children as being overweight becomes a greater problem. Although debate exists as to its exact definition, to receive a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, one must have at least three of the following characteristics: increased waist circumference (abdominal fat), low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, high triglycerides (fats in the blood), high blood pressure and high blood glucose (blood sugar).

Mauras and her colleagues wanted to know if obesity could raise cardiovascular disease risk prior to the onset of the metabolic syndrome. Researchers therefore screened more than 300 individuals ages 7 to 18 years and included only those without features of the metabolic syndrome. They included 202 participants in the study: 115 obese children and 87 lean children as controls. Half of the children were prepubertal and the other half were in late puberty. Obese children had a body mass index (a measure of body fat) above the 95th percentile for their sex, age and height.

To be eligible to participate in the study, the children and adolescents had to have normal fasting blood sugar levels, normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol and triglycerides. Lean controls also could not have a close relative with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or obesity. The latter group proved very difficult to find.

All study participants underwent blood testing for known markers for predicting the development of cardiovascular disease. These included elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, and abnormally high fibrinogen, a clotting factor, among others. Obese children had a 10 fold higher CRP and significantly higher fibrinogen concentrations, compared with age- and sex-matched lean children, the authors reported. These abnormalities occurred in obese children as young as age 7, long before the onset of puberty.

The results were striking Mauras stated, as the children were entirely healthy otherwise. Although it is not yet known whether early therapeutic interventions can reverse high CRP and fibrinogen, she said it would be prudent for health care providers to advise more aggressive interventions to limit calories and increase activity in “healthy” overweight children, even before the onset of puberty.

“Doctors often do not treat obesity in children now unless they have other features of the metabolic syndrome,” Mauras said. “This practice should be reconsidered. Further studies are needed to offer more insight into the effects of therapeutic interventions in these children.

Aaron Lohr @ The Endocrine Society

[Photo above by Shalawesome / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Obesity Now Poses As Great A Threat To Quality Of Life As Smoking

There should be an image here!As the US population becomes increasingly obese while smoking rates continue to decline, obesity has become an equal, if not greater, contributor to the burden of disease and shortening of healthy life in comparison to smoking. In an article published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from Columbia University and The City College of New York calculate that the Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) lost due to obesity is now equal to, if not greater than, those lost due to smoking, both modifiable risk factors.

QALYs use preference-based measurements of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) which allow a person to state a relative preference for a given health outcome. Since one person may value a particular outcome differently than another person, these measures capture how each respondent views his or her own quality of life.

The 1993-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the largest ongoing state-based health survey of US adults, has conducted interviews of more than 3,500,000 individuals; annual interviews started with 102,263 in 1993 and culminated with 406,749 in 2008. This survey includes a set of questions that measures HRQOL, asking about recent poor health days and tracking overall physical and mental health of the population. The authors analyzed these data and converted the measures to QALYs lost due to smoking and obesity.

From 1993 to 2008, when the proportion of smokers among US adults declined 18.5%, smoking-related QALYs lost were relatively stable at 0.0438 QALYs lost per population. During the same period, the proportion of obese people increased 85% and this resulted in 0.0464 QALYs lost. Smoking had a bigger impact on deaths while obesity had a bigger impact on illness.

Investigators Haomiao Jia, PhD and Erica I. Lubetkin, MD, MPH, state, “Although life expectancy and QALE have increased over time, the increase in the contribution of mortality to QALYs lost from obesity may result in a decline in future life expectancy. Such data are essential in setting targets for reducing modifiable health risks and eliminating health disparities.”

AJPM Editorial Office @ Elsevier Health Sciences

[Photo above by Adrian Tritschler / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Lose Weight with Video Games

According to my bathroom scale, I have a BMI of 25 – which is borderline overweight/normal. It sends a small electrical signal through my body when I stand barefoot atop the sensors and does all the math for me (after I’ve programmed my height and age). Not a perfect measurement, but I’d say it’s pretty accurate. I don’t feel normal yet – and won’t feel that way until I’ve gone the distance.

In less than a month, I’ve gone from ~175lbs down to 160. This brings me to the halfway point of my initial weight loss goal (145, if you do the math). I can’t say that this lifestyle adjustment has been simple, but I will say that it’s been far easier than previously anticipated. I’m using my geek skills to get me through, including a sweat-inducing workout on my Gazelle both last night and this morning. How is that geeky?

I pulled a 90-minute exercise session (without blinking) last night while I was playing Feeding Frenzy on the Xbox 360 – racking up a few achievements. I pulled an hour on it this morning, getting even more Feeding Frenzy achievements. I tell ya, the only way to work out is with a video game controller in your hand. I’ve tried it with television shows, but plain ol’ TV just doesn’t enable me to work up a sweat like a good PSP game or Xbox 360 diversion does. It’s not just forcing my mind to do something else, it’s keeping my controller steady, applying dexterity to the buttons, keeping my balance on the glider, etc.
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Green Tea for Me

I have officially quit coffee (not just once, but thrice over). Since doing so, I’ve struggled to find a suitable replacement for the strong flavor of a perfectly brewed cup of Peet’s. I’ve had no such luck, and have pretty much given up on any and all coffee substitutes. It’s time to turn my attention to tea – the coffee wannabe. Green tea is now my drink of choice – having sipped gallons of it in all my trips to sushi restaraunts. I wouldn’t choose green tea for it’s flavor, though; green tea is quite a healthy substance (as I’ve come to discover). According to the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, green tea helps folks lose weight. Their official conclusions: “Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se. The green tea extract may play a role in the control of body composition via sympathetic activation of thermogenesis, fat oxidation, or both.” And what the hell does that mean? It boils down (no pun intended) to helping with weight loss. If you want all the specifics, you’re more than welcome to wade through a metric ton of mumbo-jumbo. I’m sold.
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