Posts Tagged ‘good morning america’

July 15, 2014

Bite this, not that

12:47 pm - Posted by Gregg

I’m not one to vent. Or to rant. But every now and then I see something in the media that really burns my britches. This very thing happened recently one morning while watching Good Morning America. During the broadcast, they aired a story featuring “America’s get-real nutritionist” who was putting down healthier foods based solely on their calorie count. While giving her advice, Rachel Beller (author of the book Eat to Lose, Eat to Win) barely mentioned the nutrient content, fullness factor or overall wellness effects of the foods she was warning dieters about.

Sure, the message of the piece was portion control, which is always a great reminder for us all (myself included). But for Ms. Beller to insinuate her girlfriends were bad examples after seeing them at a party having two glasses of potentially beneficial red wine based on the “fact” that having two glasses of red wine the same as having two candy bars is just ridonkulous when you consider the nutritional value of the two and what your body can potentially do thanks to those “calories.” Luckily, one of the GMA anchors, Dan Harris, pointed this out at the end of the segment. But still…by then the damage was done to many of us with a dieter’s mentality.

Too often books like Eat This, Not That (also occasionally featured on Good Morning America), show off a large amount of donuts as being the calorie equivalent of something that’s healthier and better for you. I know the goal is to sell books and get into the news. But this is part of the reason that America is getting fatter and fatter. We’re being fed misleading messages that derail our efforts to not only look better on the outside, but feel better (and be healthier) on the inside.

Avocado, raw nuts and red wine can all be very good for us when consumed in moderation. Is there fat in the Avocado? Sure. Are there calories in the nuts? Of course. Should red wine be consumed in moderation if okayed by your doctor? Naturally. But to compare these foods to donuts and candy bars as being the same amount of calories is really misleading and even potentially dangerous.

There’s no rocket science required for losing weight and getting healthy. All together now: Eat less. Move more. Drink plenty of water. And get lots of sleep. And be sure to include delicious, natural and unprocessed treats from nature in your diet whenever possible. And P.S. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy a candy bar or even a donut every now and then — but I suggest not doing it at the expense of some of nature’s (key word) healthier choices.

Common sense. Sounds so crazy it just might work!

(Have there been any recent diet or health stories that have left you frustrated? If so, tell me all about in the comments section below. Together, we can take off a little steam!)

Photo Source: Good Morning America

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September 13, 2011

The kids are not all right

11:39 am - Posted by Gregg

Like me, many of you have likely heard of the children’s book Maggie Goes on a Diet, set for release this October. Given the amount of outrage over the title, the pictures and the message, one wonders if the author (who is self-publishing this book) has enrolled in the ‘even bad press is good press school for getting the word out.’ After all, bad press has worked wonders for guilty ‘pleasures’ like “The Jersey Shore” or anything having to do with a Kardashian. Thus, I had to give some thought to visiting this issue before blogging on it myself.

If you caught author Paul Kramer’s recent appearance on Good Morning America, you might have been surprised (as was I) to see that he’s obese himself, which calls to mind the phrase, “Physician, heal thyself.’

While I do not denounce Mr. Kramer’s talents or worthiness based on his girth, I must wonder about someone writing for kids (recommending the book for children as young as 8 and in Grades 1 and up) on the subjects of diet and health who hasn’t managed to embrace these concepts himself. And yeah, I know that might be perceived as a bit controversial. But I believe actions speak louder than words – especially when it comes to matters of health (be they physical or psychological). In other words, Mr. Kramer’s so-called ‘message’ might be more meaningful if he was leading by example.

The fact is, as well intentioned as Mr. Kramer might be, this book could do far much more harm than good when it comes to teaching children about health, happiness and self esteem.

As a former fat kid who was made to go on countless strict diets, I can assure you that a diet is the last thing Maggie should go on. I do not blame or resent my parents for forcing me to go on diets, for cutting me off from what I deemed to be ‘treat’ food and thereby illuminating the concept of being “on” or “off” a diet plan (thus essentially teaching me about ‘cheating’ and bingeing with food). My parents did the best they knew how to do. But that was then. This is now. And despite the frightening rate of increased childhood obesity in our country, we should really know better.

I also take offense to certain passages within the book, in which the author tells of Maggie being unpopular and unhappy because of her size. The message here is that fat is unpopular and seen as “bad” amongst peers. If this is the case, time to get some new peers, Maggie. Popularity is not a reason to get healthy.

I might have weighed close to 300 pounds in grade school, but along with my stories of persecution and being misunderstood, I can also point to lots of laughs and good memories. Children need to be encouraged to live in the present and make the best of it. It’s this kind of self esteem builder that can help them want to change some of their eating habits in order to get fit and trim in a natural way. Most kids do still have height growth (getting taller) ahead of them. The weight has a chance to even out as long as drastic steps aren’t taken and bad habits aren’t taught. Ultimately, a healthy weight isn’t achieved by kids through dieting, but through balance and moderation in all phases of their lives.

As is true with adults, kids learn from example. Therefore, a diet for kids isn’t the answer as much as showing them what healthy eating is all about. We can enjoy our favorite foods in moderation, put down the fork before we’re uncomfortably full and then go for a walk. Let’s remember that kids have not learned their bad habits by themselves. Whether through mimicking their parents’ or peers’ eating habits or getting the wrong message from eating too many fast or processed foods, they have been taught to make the choices they’re currently making.

So shame on Mr. Kramer for proclaiming that Maggie Goes on a Diet – or that Maggie even needs to do so in the first place. Fact is, Maggie is perfect as she is. And now it’s time for Maggie to be introduced to movement, healthy choices and self-esteem builders. Not to the concept of ‘being thin equals popularity.’

It’s these kinds of subversive messages that led a kid like me to believe that food was a forbidden fruit that offered my only real pleasure in life. Cut to me stealing money from my Dad’s wallet, buying bags full of groceries, smuggling them into my bedroom and then eating until I felt like I was going to burst. These are not messages we want to encourage – not to the children we care about and not through the purchase (or even attention to) potentially harmful books such as this.

Let’s all turn the page on childhood obesity together, shall we?

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