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Posts Tagged ‘weight management’

At the beginning of the pandemic, while many of us were under lockdown and shelter in place orders, the hashtag #Quarantine15 started to circulate the internet to describe the weight gain some were experiencing while at home in isolation. Initially, the hashtag received backlash; some health professionals spoke up and advised the public not to worry about this weight gain, acknowledging that baking and eating “comfort food” can serve as a coping strategy in difficult times. However, while most health experts would agree that a preoccupation with dieting or obsession over body image is not good for one’s mental or physical health, there is reason to be concerned about #Quarantine15.

One reason maintaining healthy weight is important is that obesity is associated with serious complications in those infected with COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having obesity increases risk for many serious chronic diseases – not just COVID-19 – and also increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in those infected. Obesity is also linked to impaired immune function, which can impact one’s ability to avoid infection in the first place. Eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains not only helps one maintain a healthy weight, it also provides the body with important nutrients that strengthen immune function.

a spread of fruits, vegetables and nuts

Unfortunately, the ultra-processed and carbohydrate-heavy foods and sweets that many turn to for comfort in stressful times tend to be high in calories and low in nutritional value. Alcoholic beverages also contain calories and can contribute to weight gain.

If you slipped into less healthy eating habits during the pandemic and are ready to make some changes, here are a few tips from health experts:

  • Adopt a positive perspective. Rather than giving in to #Quarantine15 and accepting weight gain as inevitable, look at the pandemic as an opportunity to change your routine and establish new healthy habits.
bowl of raspberries
  • Adjust your setup. If you are still spending the bulk of your time at home, try not to hang out in or around the kitchen all day. Set designated times for meals and snacks. Keep sweets and processed foods out of sight or out of the house altogether, and make sure healthy snacks like fresh fruit, chopped veggies, cheese cubes or whole grain crackers are readily available.
hummus plate with celery sticks and crackers
  • Plan ahead.  Take time to plan meals, and then prepare or pack food as needed so you’re not tempted to grab something “easier” when you get hungry.
  • Focus on easy meals. Planning, preparing and cleaning up meals can be exhausting! See these tips for coping with cooking fatigue, and keep your pantry well-stocked with staples items so you can throw together an easy meal in a pinch if plans go astray.

Finally, be kind to yourself and set realistic expectations. Remember that nourishing your body with nutritious food is a form of self-care. Getting adequate sleep, coping with stress, and exercising regularly are also important components of self-care. Decide today to adopt one new healthy habit, and then build on that habit until you reach your ultimate goal!

Written by: Jenny Lobb, MPH, RDN, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Reviewed by: Melisa J. Rupp, M.Ed., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fulton County

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Obesity, Race/Ethnicity, and COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/obesity-and-covid-19.html

Finch, S.D. (2020). 7 reasons why you don’t need to lose your “quarantine 15”. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/7-reasons-why-you-dont-need-to-lose-your-quarantine-15

Katella, K. (2020). Quarantine 15? What to do about weight gain during the pandemic. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/quarantine-15-weight-gain-pandemic

Koenig, D. (2020). The “Quarantine 15”: Weight gain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicine Net. https://www.medicinenet.com/the_quarantine_15_weight_gain_during_covid-19-news.htm

Markey, C. (2020). Obsessing over #Quarantine15. Rutgers-University Camden. https://www.rutgers.edu/news/obsessing-over-quarantine15

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For better and for worse, we all inherit particular characteristics from our parents. Maybe it’s our mother’s eyes, or maybe our father’s temper. Some of that is directly the result of the DNA we’ve received, and some of it comes from the influence they exerted in our environment. When it comes to our health and wellness, it can be challenging to determine whether nature or nuture has more of an impact. In some cases, it may not really matter. But when it causes you to feel powerless or apathetic about how much you can change your condition, it definitely matters.

Results of a long-term study were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology. The study tracked data on more than 2,500 Americans who were followed from young adulthood in 1985 to 2010. One of their findings is that body mass index (BMI) as a young adult appears to be the best predictor of long-term obesity risk.

There have been other studies that have identified certain genes that have been shown to contribute to a person becoming overweight and obese. There are rare inherited causes of obesity, but this is not the case for most of the population. This recent study suggests that knowing our BMI is more beneficial than purchasing a genetic test.

Hopefully, this research can empower people to know that being obese doesn’t have to be someone’s destiny. Their healthy lifestyle choices – the foods they eat, their portion sizes, and physical activity – can result in a better quality of life.

As I reflect on my childhood, I watched my mother struggle with her weight. At one point in my early adolescence years, she lost a significant percentage of her body weight. This was mainly the result of strict dieting with little change to physical activity. Within a few years she had gained it all back and even more. She was obese for most of the years that I remember her.

My mom had a massive heart attack when she was 59-years-old. It forever changed my life and my brother’s life. She enjoyed being a grandmother to my son for 18 months, but her three granddaughters were born after her death.

None of us  know what the future may bring. We do know that research shows being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers. The healthy steps we take to reduce and maintain our weight can mean a better quality of life for us and for our families. May this be an encouragement today that you can make changes in your life, even if you need a little help.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013) Genes and obesity. at https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/resources/diseases/obesity/obesedit.htm

HealthDay: News for Healthier Living (2020) What matters more for obesity risk, genes of lifestyle? at https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/obesity-health-news-505/what-matters-more-for-obesity-risk-genes-or-lifestyle-753678.html

Live Healthy Live Well Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (2019) Make healthy fast food choices. at https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/10/03/make-healthy-fast-food-choices/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2020) Aim for a healthy weight. at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/

“Polygenic Risk, Fitness, and Obesity in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study,” JAMA Cardiology. DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2019.5220

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (2020) Nonsurgical weight management. at https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/weight-management/weight-management-nonsurgical

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/push-ups-exercise-fitness-workout-888024/

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

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1017151259gThere are many things I love about the holiday season: the lights, cheer, traditions, time with family and friends, just to name a few. At the same time, there is one thing I dread: baked goods and sweet treats seem to be everywhere, and avoiding them takes significant planning and effort!

I have many friends who enjoy baking, either as a tradition during the holiday season or as a hobby throughout the year. Most of these individuals will tell you that they like to give away the treats they make because they don’t want to keep them in the house. This statement leads me to wonder, if bakers themselves don’t want to be tempted by baked goods in their homes, what leads them to think that others will appreciate the temptation if given these items as a gift?

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the average American adult gains about a pound between mid-November and early January each year. Although a pound might not seem like a big deal, those pounds add up when they’re not burned off in the spring, summer and fall months, which is the case for many Americans. A study published in the same journal concluded that at least half the weight gained during the holiday season remains into the summer months and beyond. With this information in mind, giving baked goods to people who are trying to watch their weight, cut back on sugar consumption, count calories or generally make more healthful food choices is hardly a gift. Presenting well-intentioned people with tempting sweet treats can sabotage even the best of efforts!

cookies-1314196_640

If you like to bake during the holiday season, consider trying an alternative hobby or starting a new tradition that supports health. If you are a regular recipient of holiday baked goods, don’t be afraid to suggest the following ideas to the bakers in your life:

  • Make and exchange ornaments, small gifts or hand-written cards in place of cookies and candies
  • Create fruit santas (such as those pictured above) or other holiday fruit treats instead of baked goods
  • Give fruit baskets as gifts in place of cookie trays, cakes and pies
  • Play board or card games with children when you would typically spend time baking together
  • Take a family trip to a park, museum, theater production or holiday lights display
  • In the workplace, suggest a “no dumping” policy to discourage coworkers from bringing cakes, cookies or other desserts from home. Bring healthy snacks and pack healthy lunches throughout the holiday season so you’ll be less tempted to fill up on sweet treats that you do encounter.
  • Write thank you letters to firemen, policemen and members of the armed forces to express your gratitude for their service instead of donating baked goods.

What will you do this year to make your holiday season healthier? Share a comment with your plans!

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Chieh, Helander & Wansink (2016). Weight Gain over the Holidays in Three Countries. New England Journal of Medicine; 375:1200-1202. Available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1602012.

Yanovski et al. (2000). A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. New England Journal of Medicine; 342: 861-867. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4336296/.

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Whether you are in the checkout line at the local supermarket, discount store or local library or listening to the radio or TV, you have seen or heard the “claims” . . .  “look slimmer without dieting”, “stay-slim secrets”, “drop 10 lbs. or more”, “boost energy”, “look and feel younger”, “10-minute tummy tighteners” and “new rules of healthy eating”.  The list goes on and on.

The annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries is a conservative $20 billion according to an ABC News 20/20 report from May 2012.  The report continues citing 108 million individuals in the United States are dieting annually.

Unfortunately, there are no “quick fixes” to weight loss.  It requires lifestyle changes.  Ohio State University Extension wants to help you make those necessary lifestyle changes for improved health and well-being.

Live Healthy, Live Well is a free six-week online email challenge designed to help participants improve their health.

Each week participants will receive two e-communications containing research-based nutrition, health and fitness tips.  Additional a food and activity log will be available for download to help participants track their progress.  A pre-and post-assessment online survey will be used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.  All participant information will be kept confidential.

Interested in participating in this online challenge?  Send an e-mail to Cindy Shuster at shuster.24@osu.edu with Live Healthy, Live Well in the subject line and subscribe in the body of the email no later than Friday, April 4th.  You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting April 8th.   The Challenge runs from April 8 to May 20, 2013. Additional information is available on the Ohio State University Extension, Perry County website at http://perry.osu.edu.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, OSU Extension

Reviewed by:  Jeannie Allen, Ohio State University Extension Office Assistant, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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