Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jenny Craig and weight loss...

Its almost January so of course we're about to be deluged with ads for dieting companies like Jenny Craig, LA Weight Loss as well as all sorts of 'miracle' supplements that will magically melt away all the holidays pounds (and all the other pounds accumulated throughout the year too!).

Last night I watched the new Jenny Craig ad with Kirstie Alley-their spokesperson who we've all been watching lose weight using their system. Two things jumped out at me as I watched:

1. Its important for everyone to remember that losing weight isn't the hard part of dieting--keeping it off is. While Kirstie Alley is still in the weight loss side of things--what will be most important is if she's able to maintain this for the rest of her life.

2. Throughout the ad, Kirstie is talking to a friend, telling her that she's eating french toast and brownies and all sorts of 'yummy' foods that we aren't supposed to be eating while we're dieting because those foods are fattening. But of course, by buying Jenny Craig's foods you can have all these foods AND lose weight. Thus, using Jenny Craig's plan requires little or no change from 'regular' eating.

What bothered me about the 'foods' they're providing is that by and large this is 'junk food'--somehow they've taken high calorie, low nutrition foods and turned them into low calorie, low nutrition foods that are highly processed, low in fiber and in general mimics the national diet that has led to a population that is 30% obese!

I watched this and thought--this is genius! This guarantees Jenny Craig a perpetual population of people on the dieting roller coaster! First, you decide to 'diet' with Jenny Craig--eating the very same foods that got you into the weight problems in the first place--only these foods are slightly smaller in portion and lower in calorie content. So, you lose your 20 lbs. over the course of 6 months--and then you go off your diet. Now you return to eating 'regular' foods--over-processed, high calorie, low fiber--and little by little the weight returns...until you go back to Jenny Craig and buy their food and lose the weight again. It's a revolving door and funding the $35 billion weight loss industry!

What is missing in all this is the reality that eating a high calorie, over-processed food diet inevitably produces weight and health problems. If we want our health back and our weight to be within a healthy range for life--there is no substitute for eating a high fiber, nutrition dense diet that is packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and small portions of meat and dairy products. That's the only way off the dieting rollercoaster and the only way into empowering your Life Puzzle with good nutrition!

Sadly, millions will be signing up for one of the Rollercoaster dieting programs. Many will lose weight and 90% will put it right back on!

I can't support it, but it is why I created the BodyMine! Life Puzzle program for life-long weight management. To give people another option--end the dieting rollercoaster forever and switch instead to building a whole Life Puzzle that builds a healthy, lifestyle diet that will support you for a lifetime! (learn more at

And we're surprised...why?

Today's headlines discuss the recent study showing 'digestive aid products' like Prilosec, PepcidAC, and other acid blockers (Tums, Maalox etc.), have been shown to be connected to an increase in hip fractures in those over 50 years of age. The reason? As a result of neutralizing acid in our stomachs due to heartburn, gas and other digestive discomforts, the secondary result is that calcium's absorption is decreased--making for weaker bones. The recommendation, according to the study, is that doctors become much more judicious in prescribing these medications and individuals reduce their over the counter purchase of these as well.

You may not be aware of this...but 'digestive aids' are the number two non-prescription drug purchased in this country! After the aspirin/pain killer category, we're popping digestive aids like candy! Watch television for more than one hour and you are almost guaranteed to see some commercial suggesting that you can eat anything you want, no matter how discomforting and then pop a pill for immediate relief. And so, we do! Like lambs to the slaughter, we just go
nonchalantly along, taking these products--all the while assuming all is fine!

But its not fine! This cycle of eating junk food in massive quantities not only has led to a huge obesity epidemic in this country (and let's be real...when 30% of the population is obese--this is an epidemic! If 30% of the population had pneumonia--we'd call that an epidemic, right? Well, then obesity is one too--even if it is one that we create ourselves!), but also a huge increase in diabetes, and a host of other health issues. Parallel this with the rise in health insurance costs (someone has to pay for this!!!!) and you'll see that we have set ourselves up as fools! We've relinquished our bodies as we've allowed ourselves to be conned into lethargy through our diets!

All of you who read this blog and know about Life Puzzle making, know how passionate I am about nutrition and healthy eating! Good nutrition is the cornerstone for the energy you'll need to create a whole and dynamic life! For years I've taught a session called, "In one end and out the other"--a class on what happens after you swallow food and it travels through your digestive track. In that session, I show you how detrimental those 'acid blockers' are to your digestive system and your body. Today's report by these researchers completely validates what I've said for years--that if you disrupt the digestive system by neutralizing acid in the stomach, you'll end up disturbing the whole system--because nutrients that are not broken down in the stomach can't be absorbed later through the small intestine! At the same time, this undigested food ends up in the large intestine and now must be eliminated through bowel movements. But because of what we did up at the top by neutralizing acid--things don't work right at the bottom--so we pop another pill for laxatives!

These drug companies are laughing all the way to the bank on your poor health! They supposedly 'solve' one problem for you at the top of the digestive system but then create another one at the bottom--talk about a fabulous marketing program! Get them coming and going!

Bottom line is, if you're going to have good health you're going to have to stop popping those pills and begin eating a healthy, nutritious diet. I know this is true--I was once a junk food junkie myself--with all the inherent digestive problems that go with that. And I can tell you, no amount of pills can equal the joy of living when you're eating a healthy diet! So, if you're popping these acid blockers...pick up the bottle, throw it away forever and vow instead to make 2007 a year of healthy eating!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Doing good …Finding meaning

In the previous writing I mentioned Deirdre Sullivan’s writing in the book, “This I Believe” from the NPR sponsored program of the same name. As a child she was taught to ‘always go to the funeral’…which translated into doing what she really didn’t want to do—but she did it anyway. A line her father always said to her, “You can’t come in without going out, kids. Always go to the funeral.”

I think going to funerals though is more than just doing the right thing—it is honoring the finding meaning area of your life—because you are honoring the place that ‘death’ has in your life—in all of our lives. Going to a funeral is acknowledging someone was here—and one day someone will come to your funeral and honor that you were here too.

Do you ever read the obituary column? I do most every day! It is a joy to read about people’s lives—total strangers on one level—but really so similar to me and everyone else on this planet at the same time. They all have families who love and care for them. They did good deeds, created art, left a variety of legacies, etc. Even when I read the obit of a very young baby—who maybe only lived 3 weeks or so—I’m privileged to see the love this child brought to his parents/family. As they describe their love in this short column, I say a silent prayer of thanks for allowing me to be reminded how much love circulates around us on this planet.

Finding meaning—no one here gets out alive! Whether you work your butt off or sit on your butt and watch life go by—you will die. Thus, living consciously with this awareness is a powerful way to approach building your Life Puzzle. You only have a short time on this planet—make the most of it as you put together the 16 core areas, 5 edges that create the SELF—and a joyous, vibrant life.

Doing good vs.doing evil…OR, Doing good vs.doing nothing…

I was listening to the CD that accompanies the book, “This I believe”
The book is based on the NPR segments, This I Believe—a renewal of the program from the 1950’s hosted by Edward R. Murrow. Put together by independent producers Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, in 2005 they revived the series hoping to encourage people to hear and discover respect for beliefs different than one’s own. Reading the book and/or listening to the CD is a fascinating experience that really forces you to think about the many different ways that people come to their beliefs, perceptions and ultimately how they live their lives.

One that stood out particularly for me was by Deirdre Sullivan, titled, “Always go to the funeral”. In it she shares how her father taught her to always attend funerals. As she explains, it’s not really about going to funerals—what it really means is “I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it…….In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.”

As she said that, it made me reflect on this relative to Life Puzzle making and I found myself shaking my head in agreement. Because in Life Puzzle making, we talk often about the 0-5 reactive, unconscious side of the Choosing Continuum vs. the 6-10 proactive, conscious side. The status quo—the 0-5 humdrum life—it isn’t a battle between good and evil—its the battle of doing good versus doing nothing. And to me, it’s the daily battle of being proactive—making that effort to create a dynamic life vs. sliding by—or as Deirdre says, missing the funeral—and all the others hundreds of little actions that are the difference between doing good vs. doing nothing. It’s the difference between a Life Puzzle maker and a Life Puzzle jammer.

It is so easy to get swept up in the “doing nothing”, but as a Life Puzzle-maker, really checking in with this concept is a great way to explore your 16 core areas. It’s worth stopping your SELF and asking …. “In which of the 16 core areas am I truly “doing nothing”? It could be your nutrition piece—where you eat on the run, eat too much processed foods while skipping the veggies—knowing full well you want to make changes but you “do nothing”. It could be your financial responsibility area—where you overspend, run up credit card debt—knowing full well you have to get a handle on your budget but you “do nothing”. It could be your spiritual area—where you long to have a clarity of your beliefs but you “do nothing” to create this.

I think all of us at some point during the journey of our lives find ourselves right in the middle of this “doing good” vs. “doing nothing”. For Life Puzzle makers, it is the jump over the 5 on the Choosing Continuum and your move to the 6 and beyond—taking full responsibility for consciously creating a whole life—where each day you do good vs. doing nothing! I hope as you read this today, you’ll pat your SELF on the back and continue “doing good” and discovering a wonderful vibrant life as a result.