Posts Tagged ‘cnn’

July 17, 2013

Sickly sweet

11:40 am - Posted by Gregg

Finally, a few media outlets (including The Huffington Post) are giving attention to what seems to the major hypocrisy surrounding Beyonce Knowles Carter signing a $50 million deal to promote Pepsi while having also been a significant part of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move fitness campaign.

As reported in The Huffington Post, “Like Coca-Cola, Pepsi has long been criticized for targeting children (and adults) with sugary drinks that, when consumed in excess, have negative effects on long-term health.” Readers of this blog will not be surprised to know that I consider soda (both sugar-drenched and so-called “diet”) to potentially be one of the leading factors that contribute to obesity — not to mention poor health in general.

In a recent interview with Flaunt, Beyonce responds to the few critics who’ve called her to task on what seems like a major conflict of interest. Asks Flaunt, “Some were critical at your participating in a Pepsi campaign after you moved your body for childhood obesity. Where is the balance between your career objectives and your philanthropy?”

To which Beyond responds, “Pepsi is a brand I’ve grown up seeing my heroes collaborate with. The company respects musicians and artistry. I wouldn’t encourage any person, especially a child, to live life without balance.”


Some reporters, including The New York TimesMark Bittman, aren’t letting Beyonce off quite so easily. He writes, “Knowles is renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in” and even goes onto note, “From saying, as she once did in referring to Let’s Move, that she was ‘excited to be part of this effort that addresses a public health crisis,’ she’s become part of an effort that promotes a public health crisis.”

I, for one, applaud Mr. Bittman for taking Beyonce to task. It’s this kind of hypocrisy that undermines the efforts being made to fight childhood obesity. CNN’s diet and fitness expert, Melina Jampolis, shares more on the dangers of drinking soda in her column, Is Drinking Soda Really That Bad for You?, which you can check out by clicking here.

As for Beyonce, I imagine the $50 million she’s supposedly earned from Pepsi will help contribute a lot to the overall health and well-being of her and her family. But what about the health and well-being of everyone who idolizes her and drinks Pepsi as a result of seeing her constant promotion for the company?

Kind of hard to swallow, isn’t it?

Photo Source: ONTD

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April 24, 2013

Pure inspiration

1:20 pm - Posted by Gregg

Who can turn the world on with her smile? Turns out it’s not just Mary Tyler Moore, but also Valerie Harper, who has bravely come forward with her brain cancer diagnosis and is inspiring all of us with her brave and positive attitude.

After recently catching Ms. Harper (appearing with others from the original Mary Tyler Moore show) on Katie, I was moved by her joy, her courage and her refusal to stop living life even after being told by her doctors that she may have just months to live. Instead, Ms. Harper gracefully cautioned us all to “Not go to the funeral before the actual funeral.”

I realized in that moment (while watching her speak) that despite what I thought was a stressful day (the kind of day that made me want to reach for the nearest package of cookies and eat them all), that I actually had nothing to complain about. After all, if Ms. Harper could smile even when facing her current circumstances, then why couldn’t I?

Ms. Harper is a great reminder for us all to live in the moment. As she recently told CNN, “I just want folks to see me, that I’m OK, that I’m not suffering so far. There may be pain. There may be a lot of things ahead, but whatever they are, they’re ahead. They’re not now.”

She went onto tell interviewer Piers Morgan that she is trying to live in the moment and then offered this advice for others: “Keep your chin up and don’t go to the funeral, mine or yours or your loved ones, until the day of the funeral because then you miss the life that you have left.”

“Death is out there for all of us,” she told Mr. Morgan. “There’s other ways to handle it than just sit on the couch and accept.”

I always find it very inspirational when people facing odds we can’t even imagine share their courage and inspiration with the rest of us. It helps make whatever we’re facing seem tolerable — while also reminding us to count our blessings and be thankful for every little thing in our lives (cookies and otherwise).

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July 23, 2012

Don’t be a pill

9:24 am - Posted by Gregg

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Big news in the world of dieting… The U. S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new prescription diet pill named Qsymia. Note that I refer to this as “Big news,” as opposed to “Good news.” And this is because, personally, I don’t think anything out of a jar or bottle (whether prescription strength or over-the-counter) can ultimately provide what we really need to take off the excess weight.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the desire for a “Cure all” that’s as easy to incorporate into our lives as taking a pill or waving a magic wand. When people find out I used to tip the scales at over 450 pounds, they excitedly ask me how I lost the excess weight. When I tell them I did it by eating less and working out more, people often register dissapointment — as if I’ve given them unsettling news that they would have rather not heard. These same folks usually never stick around long enough to hear that by using common sense I not only took off all that excess weight (over 250 pounds!) within a year’s time period, but also have kept it off for over a decade.

Nope. People are too busy wondering about elective surgery (“I know! I’ll have a foreign object inserted into my body and wrapped around my stomach!”) or some kind of diet aid (“Guess I shouldn’t wear white underwear while taking Alli because of the anal leakage“). The list goes on. People want the “magic pill” — in its various incarnations (including surgery). And they’re willing to pay big bucks for it — not to mention potentially sacrifice their health as a result of ingesting it and/or undergoing it.

As for Qsymia, yes — patients did lose weight during clinical trials (going down from an average of 227 pounds to an average of 204 pounds) according to CNN. But some consumer advocates are worried because some patients involved in the clinical trial suffered from an increased heart rate as well as metabolic acidosis (a condition which can lead to hyperventilation, fatigue and anorexia). There are additional concerns about birth defects since one of Qsymia’s ingredients is topiramate (an anti-convulsant that has been linked to cleft lip and cleft palate in babies born to women who took topiramate for migraines and/or seizures). And who knows what other potential side effects might be found out as a result of taking a drug like Qsymia for a lengthy period of time? Anyone remember Fen-Phen and its harmful side effects?

While “curing” being overweight through anorexia (one of Qsymia’s potential side effects) might initially read as ironic, it’s a reminder that anything that can potentially harm our health deserves serious consideration. The whole point of losing weight and getting healthier is to avoid having to take pills for other ailments (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.). So why take an additional pill to help the other ailments we already take pills for?

Fact is, at the end of the day, it’s all about willpower. And this willpower can work in both directions. Just ask people who’ve undergone gastric bypass surgery who spend the first weeks after the procedure throwing up violently because they insist on eating the same amounts they did before the surgery, even though their stomach has been made smaller and can’t handle the same amount of food.

The good news is that willpower can also work for you, rather than against you. And this means you’re already armed with everything you need to conquer the battle of the bulge. No pills or magic wands necessary. Just start cutting back your portion sizes, choosing healthier foods (at least during some of your meals) and begin a simple exercise program like walking three to five days a week. Add drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep to the mix and you just might be surprised how quickly you’ll go from feeling ‘so fat’ to ‘all that’. We’re all supermodels after all. And the path to realizing that is simpler than anything you might find in a jar, bottle or on the shelf.

Remember in The Wizard of Oz, when Glinda the Good Witch told Dorothy, “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas?” Well, much like Glinda (sans the glitter), I’m here to tell you “You’ve always had the power to lose the excess weight.” It really can be as easy as ‘flipping the mental switch’ and deciding today’s the day you’re going to begin your journey to true and lasting health. No diet pill (new or otherwise) required.

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