Shopping Cart


We’re with you from thick to thin        



Would Raising Taxes on Soft Drinks help in the Worldwide Fight Against Obesity?

Have you heard? Apparently there’s an election soon.

And while politicians generally don’t win elections by recommending that taxes increase, the World Health Organization (WHO) this month did just that: calling on countries worldwide to increase the prices of soft drinks 20% through taxation.

The WHO, the United Nations agency responsible for monitoring and improving global health, says that the tax is needed to fight childhood obesity.

Obesity has skyrocketed in recent years, doubling worldwide since 1980. As countries like China, Brazil, Mexico and India have seen their standards of living increase, they have also begun to struggle with obesity and other health conditions related to drinking soft drinks--such as as diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.

Over 1.9 billion adults worldwide are obese. Even worse, childhood obesity is up. Over 42 million children under five are obese, and these aren’t kids in wealthy countries like the United States, where a national campaign has shown promise in reducing childhood obesity. Forty-eight percent of obese kids are in Asia. Another 25% are growing up in Africa.

Studies of a soda tax in Berkeley, California, showed a 20% reduction in soft drink consumption compared with nearby cities. Philadelphia passed a tax last year, and in two weeks three more California cities (San Francisco, Oakland and Albany) as well as Boulder, Colorado, will vote on a soda tax.

The beverage industry isn’t pleased. “The discriminatory taxation solely of certain beverages [is no] ‘solution’ to the very real and complex challenge of obesity,” the International Council of Beverage Associations announced.

Beyond a tax on soft drinks, the WHO also recommends that governments use funds from the tax to make healthier foods cheaper for families to buy.

New Figures this TV Season reflect Reality

One of the great things about fall is watching new and returning TV shows. Summer months of waiting for the results of season-ending cliffhangers give way to new episodes--and a few new shows to root for.

One of the season’s most talked about new shows is This is Us (NBC), which follows the lives of three siblings born on the same day 36 years ago. Flashbacks provide insights into the hardships of their parents.

One of the plot lines follows Kate (played by Chrissy Metz of American Horror Story) who struggles with her weight, even as her twin, Kevin, is an actor frustrated by the fact that he is paid more to take his shirt off than to do any real acting. Kate’s plot is about more than trying to lose weight--although scenes at a weight-loss group are among the series’s funniest. She is finding love, exploring her talents, and learning to live apart from her glamorous brother.

Another new series that touches on weight issues is the ABC comedy, American Housewife. The conceit here is that plus-sized Katie (Katy Mixon of Mike & Molly) has moved with her husband and three kids to a wealthy suburb full of yoga-pants-wearing moms known as “skinnies.” Will hilarity ensue? Stay tuned.

One show that hasn’t yet returned is NBC’s The Biggest Loser, a reality show that has aired at least once every year since 2004. Last year controversy erupted after an investigation by the New York Times showed that past contestants failed to keep the weight off long-term.  

What does the Fall TV Season look like so far? Instead of watching overweight people exercise and starve themselves, viewers see people falling in love, adjusting to change, and experiencing family drama in more shapes and sizes than ever.

What are the Year’s Thinnest Days? Research suggests Early October

There are many reasons why October is one of the year’s finest months: cooler temperatures, World Series baseball, college football games, hiking outdoors through falling leaves.

It is also, apparently, National Pizza Month.

Here is one more reason to love October. It is the month of every year at which Americans are their thinnest.

In a Cornell University study, published last month as a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, researches tracked the weight of 1,800 adults in the United States, Japan and Germany over the course of one year, gauging the highs and lows of their weights. The tool for the research was the Withings scale, a high-tech body measurement device.

Typically weights vary over the course of a year by 0.7%--between 10 and 15 pounds for those who weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. The data showed that weights peaked right after the New Year in America and Germany, rising dramatically during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Weight trends downward from New Years through October with rises that correspond with Easter, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July.

The year’s thinnest weeks, then, fell in early October, right before the candy binge of Halloween and the holiday parties of November and December.

This might all seem like common sense. Of course we gain weight during the holiday season. But it’s also a reminder that now--during our thin weeks--is the best time to plan strategies that will keep us fit through the fat times just a few weeks away.

“Anything that happens in these next 10 weeks, on average, takes about five months to come off,” Cornell professor Brian Wansink told the New York Times. Conversely, any pounds we can keep off these next ten weeks, means that we will be even better when the year’s thinnest times come around next October.​

​Using your Head, then your Muscles, might be good for your Tummy

Our brains run on energy--lots of it.

In the typical human body, normal resting activities like breathing and heartbeat burn about 1,300 calories a day. About 20% of this calorie burn, or 300 calories, takes place in the brain.

Hard thinking--taking a test, stressing over a major decision--can increase the mind’s calorie burn to as high as a calorie a half per minute. (This is no reason to put down the dumbbells and pick up a MENSA magazine, however. The most high-minded thinkers burn only 20 to 50 more calories a day than the rest of us.)
Our bodies typically respond to hard thinking by seeking ways to replace the lost calories. Hunger heats up. Cravings can kick in. A recent study at the University of Alabama Birmingham, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, tried to identify the link between thinking and craving.

The study gave two groups of college students a challenging question from graduate-school entrance exams. A break of 15 minutes followed the testing, during which time one group rested while the other exercised on treadmills. Afterwards, students were given all the pizza they wished to eat.

There were significant differences. Students who had exercised between brain activity and eating consumed 125 fewer calories than those who had rested following the test. Adding in the calories burned by exercise, there was a 200-calorie gap!

Exercise is an excellent form of appetite suppression, whether you’ve been thinking or resting. It stimulates hormones that help our bodies to feel full. It increases metabolism and provides positive calorie-burning benefits for up to a day after the workout.

Think about the types of exercise you might pursue after a stressful meeting or a test. See? You have already burned an extra calorie or two just thinking about it. Now plan ways to balance exercise with stress for long-term, brain-improving good health.​

Is Cheese among Life’s Most Addictive Substances?

The mind-curdling news broke last year: “Cheese is as Addictive as Crack Cocaine,”
“Cheese triggers same part of the brain as hard drugs.”

For a moment, Americans took a break from bingeing on pizzas, patty melts, and quesadillas to consider the question. Is cheese addictive?

The headlines came from a University of Michigan study that had asked groups of college students and online participants to rank the foods that most often triggered their binges. Comparing these results with the Yale Food Addiction Scale, researchers found correlations between cheesy foods and addictive cravings.

Moreover, science shows that cheese is high in casomorphines, a byproduct of milk fat that acts upon the brain in a similar way to opiate drugs. Cheese has higher levels of casein proteins than other fatty products, which might explain its addictive presence in popular foods.

But while Americans typically eat 35 pounds of cheese a year, we don’t need to open any “cheese treatment facilities” right away. The author of the study thinks the cocaine correlation is, well, full of holes. “Just because something activates your opioid system doesn’t make it addictive,” says Ashley Gearhardt, the scientist who led the Michigan study told Science News.

There are lots of elements of pizza that make it yummy--and, for some, addictive: processed flours, additives and salt in the tomato sauce. Sure, cheesecake is addictive, but what about the syrupy topping or chocolate crumbles.

Anyway you slice it, cheese tastes good. But the conflicting interpretations of the Michigan study agree on one thing: we need to use our brains for more than getting a “high” from fatty, processed foods. Brains that are aware to temptation--and seek to manage it--will result in healthier bodies for each one of us.

NFL Player blames “Pregnancy” for Weight Gain

The offseason is an important time for football players. After four or five months of jarring tackles and bone-crushing blocks, these guys deserve time to rest their injuries and take a break from the mayhem.

This summer, Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams returned to training camp looking a little, well, heavier than when the season had ended in December.

Asked if he was hurt, he retorted, “The injury of pregnancy, I would say."

The Bills listed Williams’s weight as 230 last year, which is pretty big for a running back. The NFL average for that position is 210 pounds. In his first year out of Florida State University, he averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2015, one of the highest rates in the league.

While Williams wouldn’t be the first football player to ever gain weight during the offseason, he would certainly have become the first player to ever be pregnant.

What was really going on?

Williams’s fiancée, Savannah Hall, was the one who was pregnant over the offseason. The couple had a baby in May. Williams gained weight because he shared Hall’s cravings, he explained in June, “I like to eat and then her being pregnant gave me an excuse to eat, so [we were] eating anything and everything," he said. "She'd wake up, one or two o'clock, 'I want a snack.' Well I'm not going to sit here and watch [her] eat because I don't want [her] to feel bad.”

Williams tried to play himself back into shape in training camp, but he received more bad news as the summer went on. In July the NFL suspended him the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the league’s drug policy. Then, last month the Bills cut him from their roster prior to the final preseason game.

With a new baby and three other children to support, Williams needs another chance--and here at MyDietSolutions, we’re hoping he gets one with another NFL team.

What Williams doesn’t need is another excuse--like pregnancy--to let himself get out of shape again.

Math Scores and Body Image: Surprising Connections

​Kids across America are going back to school.

Entering new grades, students engage in lessons that lead to classwork which leads to tests--and nobody likes tests, especially math tests.

In a famous 1998 study, researchers concocted one of the most bizarre math tests MyDietSolutions has ever encountered. Students were sent to changing rooms to try on a bathing suit. After they tried on the suit--a bikini for young women, swim shorts for young men--they were asked to take a quick math test.

The students’ results were compared with another group who had taken similar changing-room math tests, only the control group had tried on sweaters.

The study found that bikini-clad teenage girls scored significantly lower on the math tests than the girls who had tried on sweaters. There was no significant difference between the two male groups. After trying a follow-up test--on concentration skills, not math--which showed similar results, researchers came to an interesting conclusion: teenage girls lose focus on tests and in school when their physical appearance is likely to be judged.

Think about this. There was no one in the changing rooms during the tests: just a girl, a mirror, and a bikini. Yet the test results were different. The authors of the study blamed “the psychological costs of raising girls in a culture that persistently objectifies the female body.”

Other studies have looked at social media use. They have found that high social media consumption of image sites like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram have had negative effects on school performance--for girls and boys.

American kids are going back to school, learning every day about math, English and science. If we want them to learn tools for a successful future, we need to find ways to minimize exposure to influences that will objectify their bodies. We know now how much these influences can also harm students’ minds.

Chain Restaurants cited for Gut-busting Menu Items

Get a load of this hamburger: a pound of ground beef, topped by bacon and four kinds of cheese, garlic mayo and pickles.

For a side, there is no need to choose: you get french fries AND onion rings.

It’s the Whole Hog Burger from the restaurant chain, Pizzeria Uno. What’s not to love? One thing. It’s the 2850 calories found in the sandwich. Add the fries, onion rings and one or two refills of sugary soda, and you have almost twice the recommended daily diet of 2,000 calories.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) named the Whole Hog Burger as one of the winners of its “Extreme Eating Awards” this month, pointing out that the single meal also contains a three-day supply of saturated fat (62 grams), and a six-day amount of salt (9,790 milligrams).

There were plenty of other familiar chain restaurants on CSPI’s list. A disastrous dessert to grab on the way home might be Sonic’s RT 44 Grape Slush, a conventional slushie with rainbow candies mixed in, tipping the scales at 970 calories (almost half a day’s total). CPSI quoted Nutrition Action, stating, “America’s Drive-In does its part to expand America’s waistline.”

Other restaurants awarded by CSPI were Applebee’s, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Dave & Busters, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s Cremini Pork Shank. In full “snark mode,” CPSI commented on the latter: “Romano’s is proud of serving ‘unforgettable meals that leave a lasting impression.’ Look for it on your bathroom scale.

Along with the awards, CPSI also recommends several healthy choices that diners can make in chain restaurants:

Skip the bun and ask for the burger to be wrapped in lettuce or served as a salad. Many restaurants also offer healthier, whole-grain buns on request.

Substitute chicken or veggie burger for the higher-calorie ground beef

Ensure that half of the plate is vegetables and skip the fries

For calorie-conscious consumers, help is on the way. By May of next year, all restaurants with 20 or more outlets will be required to post calorie counts for all items on their menus.

Could a Juice Cleanse be the ticket to Rapid Weight Loss?

The appeal of a juice cleanse seems obvious: in return for limiting your diet to juice, water and tea for a week or a month, participants lose a lot of weight. Some cleanses even promise to “detoxify” the body over the time of the cleanse.

Surveys show that about 20% of the population has tried a juice cleanse, and they spend over $200 million a year on the products.

Still, juice cleanses have their pros and cons. Participants lose weight primarily because they consume fewer calories on a juice cleanse than on a normal diet. However, participants also lose muscle mass, bone, and water weight. They deprive their bodies of fiber and important vitamins.  Participants are likely to suffer effects similar to total fasts: cravings, boredom, and tiredness.

The biggest problem is long-term weight loss. “You’re likely to gain the weight right back,” states Web MD.

"I would just lie in my bed, grinding my teeth, waiting for dawn to break," wrote actress Mindy Kaling, describing a juice cleanse she did to prepare for a bikini scene opposite James Franco.

But Kaling enjoyed some of the results: "Costume fittings were, of course, the best. My jeans hung on me and everything looked so good. I could wear things I had long ruled out for myself, like jeans shorts and midriff-showing tops. Basically I could dress like a slutty teenage hitchhiker and it felt great."

Cleanses are quick and effective, but you’re better off making long-term changes in diet and exercise to keep the weight off.

U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnasts ignore Body-Shaming for Gold-medal Greatness

Here’s the latest story to prove the phrase, “No body’s perfect.”

Gabby Douglas who won the all-around gold medal in women’s gymnastics at the 2012 London Olympic Games, faced online bullying and body-shaming when she returned.

Body shaming? She had a gold medal to prove that she had one of the fittest bodies in the world.

Her mother, Natalie Hawkins remembers, “I remember when everyone was talking about her arms, and she became very self-conscious about how muscular they were.”

“It was very tough. Sometimes I would be in the bathroom, bawling my eyes out, wanting to quit. I felt like I was all alone,” she told TeenVogue magazine. Douglas relied on the example of tennis star Serena Williams to reclaim pride in her body. Next week, in Rio de Janiero, she will defend her gold medal.

Douglas isn’t the favorite in this year’s event. At 20 years of age, she is considered “old” for the sport where gymnasts typically peak in their middle teens. The favorite is another American, three-time world champion Simone Biles. The web site, Bleacher Report, said of her chances: “With apologies to women around the world that have dedicated their lives to gymnastics, as long as Biles is healthy, everyone else is just fighting for silver.”

Biles is a year younger than Douglas and almost six inches shorter. She’s tiny, but she soars through the floor routine and is among the world’s best in balance beam and vault. She is proud of her body, stating in People magazine, "I was built this way for a reason, so I'm going to use it."

Researchers have found that typical height and weight for gold medalists in women’s gymnastics is 5’1”, 103 pounds, putting them in the 10th percentile for American women. At MyDietSolutions, we’re rooting for these little women to produce big results in Rio.


Could Obese Passengers Soon Pay Higher Airline Fares for More Space?

There are few places more crowded--or uncomfortable--than a seat on an airline.

Since 1960 the size of the typical American male has increased from 166 pounds to 190. In that same time the width of airline seats has shrunk from 18 inches to 16.5, and legroom has shrunk from 35 inches to 31.

A patent application filed by aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, could indicate that more discomfort is on its way. The application calls for a “re-configurable passenger bench seat,” which would differ from the standard aircraft seat by having adjustable-sized seats to fit more skinny passengers or fewer obese ones.

Airlines vary in the way they treat obese passengers. Federal regulations require that all passengers fit into seat belts, so airplanes have seatbelt extenders for some heavy travelers, others may be required to purchase an additional seat or upgrade to a wider seat in first class. (A list of requirements for obese travelers on specific airlines can be found here.) Most airlines reserve the right to deplane passengers who don’t fit--or charge them for an extra seat at the gate.

A study by Boeing, the world’s largest maker of airliners, claimed that 95% of air passengers fit comfortably in the current seat dimensions (described above), adding that discomfort came more often from shoulders that were too wide than waistlines. Some travelers may disagree.

The days when passengers will ride on benches with adjustable-width seatbelts is still a long way off, but the idea of paying for airfare by the pound--as is done in air freight--instead of by the seat could be more realistic.

The best way to make travel more comfortable and less expensive is to fly the friendly skies at a healthy weight. We hope MyDietSolutions can help your dreams take flight.


When Rebel Wilson prepares for a role, she tends to gain weight.

The Australian actress, 36, isn’t an action-movie star. She’s a comedienne and star of movies like Bridesmaids, Night at the Museum 3, and the Pitch Perfect series. Still, she wants to gain weight to play a heavy-set character in her roles.

It all began early in her career, when she lost a desired to another actress. “And I remember distinctly thinking: 'I think it's because she's fatter,'" she told London’s Sunday Telegraph. "And then, I don't know if it was mega-conscious, but I thought: 'How can I get more laughs? Maybe if I was a bit fatter...' And then suddenly I was fatter, and doing comedy."

There certainly are plenty of actresses getting laughs despite the lack of a Barbie-doll-waist. And those actresses can make even workouts seem funny.

Last month, Mindy Kaling posted a health milestone on Instagram: “"Big news! Today I ran a 9.5 minute mile, something I've been trying to do for 8 years. I would like to thank my sneakers... my alarm clock, my 4 day old blueberry muffin I ate, and my sense of panic at being out of shape."

What makes heavy girls so hilarious? British radio personality, Susanne Courtney, has a theory: “There is a theory of the late bloomer, or ugly duckling,” she wrote in The Telegraph. “Those not blessed with beauty or cool at school, end up spending more time on their own and quickly realize that funny – as well as being kind, loyal and smart – is a way of making and keeping friends.”

Fat or thin, let’s let the chubby girls make us grin at the multiplex and keep ourselves focused on a healthy weight.




These Ballpark Foods Look Yummy, but Oh Say Can You See all Those Calories?

Here at MyDietSolutions we spend plenty of summer hours at the ballpark watching baseball.

Occasionally, we get a little hungry, especially when we sing during the 7th-inning stretch to “buy...some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” But major league stadiums have a few more offerings on the menu these days.

Last month USAToday ran a contest for the 10 Best Ballpark Foods. Let’s take a look at the top four--and figure out a way to incorporate them into a day’s allocation of 2,000 calories. (Calorie estimates are courtesy of MyFitnessPal.)

Winner. The “Parmageddon” sandwich, Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field. USA Today describes it as “a grilled cheese made with sharp cheddar and stuffed with a potato and onion pirogi, sauteed onions and Napa vodka kraut.” This is about 525 calories. MyDietSolutions recommends: skip the fries.

Campo’s Philly Cheesesteak, Philadelphia Phillies, Citizens Bank Ballpark.Can one make a visit to Philadelphia without the city’s signature sandwich? This comes with a choice of American, Provolone, or Cheez Wiz. Either way, it’s about 530 calories. MyDietSolutions recommends: run the bases 20 times, or run all the way around the park three times.

Ceviche, Miami Marlins, Marlins Park. This fish salad includes “a mixture of fresh tilapia, yellow corn, red onions, lime juice and chips for dipping.” That’s a fit 240 calories (not including the chips). MyDietSolutions recommends:  you might have room on the diet for ice cream a few innings later.

Crazy Crab’z Sandwich, San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park. It’s dungeness crab served with tomato on a buttered, grilled sourdough bread. That’s just over 500 calories. MyDietSolutions recommends: ‘wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care’ the full duration of the ballgame.

Whether you’re at the ballgame this summer or at the beach, we hope that it’s a fun and healthy experience.



Millennials May be more disposed to Weight Gain than parents, study shows

America’s “millennial generation,” those born between 1980 and 2000, has grown up with a lot of advantages. They have never known a time without computers, VCRs and cell phones.

This new generation of Americans brings with it new attitudes about health as well as technology. For example, millennials are 10 to 15% more likely to define “wellness” as including exercise and healthy eating than Americans in Generation X (1960-1980) or Baby Boomers (1940-1960).

And millennials are more likely to use technology or friendships to help them with wellness.The 2015 Food and Wellness Survey found that they were more likely to use a mobile app to track diet and exercise than other Americans (36% to 22%), more likely to look for information online (33% to 24%), and more likely to partner with family and friends on losing weight (41% to 34%).

With all this technology to help them, we might expect millennials to have an advantage over their parents’ and grandparents’ generations when it comes to keeping the weight off.

That would be wrong

A study this year showed  that millennials now face a significant disadvantage over the elders when it comes to keeping weight off.

Reporting in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, scientists from York University in Canada found that millennials who followed the same exercise and eating regimens as other generations were still ten percent heavier, with a Body-mass Index that was 2.3 points higher.

The lead author of the article, York University professor Jennifer Kuk, identified three possible factors as reasons why weight loss has become more challenging for millennials. Environmental factors, such as chemicals in pesticides and household products, may be one reason. Prescription drugs and changes in Americans’ intestinal bacteria may also offer some explanation.

This is troubling news for Americans of all ages, particularly young adults. There is more hard work ahead for those committed to healthy lifestyles--more work than their parents or grandparents faced.



What would a Game of Thrones Diet Look Like?

The sixth season of America’s most talked-about series, HBO’s Game of Thrones, wraps this weekend.

The event leaves everyone at MyDietSolutions wondering: what was it like to eat in Europe’s Dark Ages? Would a “medieval diet” ever catch on like a diet from a far more ancient era--the Paleo Diet--did?

Turns out a lot of people have been wondering. Game of Thrones already has its own dedicated food blog, and recipes for Direwolf Bread and Pork Pie abound on the Internet. A review of the literature shows three facets of the medieval diet worth knowing today.

Europeans consumed far more calories in those days. Studies of medieval Europeans estimate that they consumed about 3,500 calories per day (almost twice the current recommended daily intake of 2,000), which included two pounds of bread and half a pound of meat or beans for protein. Of course, daily life included nonstop exertion, burning hundreds of extra calories laboring on farms, hauling water, and chopping wood for fuel.

There was a lot of alcohol. Europeans drank two to three cups of ale or wine every day (600 calories). Of course this was often safer than drinking the contaminated water. Maybe that’s why “to your health” is such a popular toast.

Spice was not as nice. Undiscovered American foods like chili peppers and tomatoes were not yet part of the diet. The hottest spices were mustard, horseradish, and black pepper. We’d all eat fewer chicken wings if we had to dip them in horseradish sauce.

“[The Medieval Diet] recommends, very specifically, red wine, fresh eggs, figs and grapes,” writes Sarah Laskow of Atlas Obscura, who followed the diet for ten days. “In many ways, it’s the antithesis of today’s health fads—it celebrates wheat, emphasizes meat, and involves two significant meals, with no mention of snacking. Water is looked on with suspicion, and juice is nowhere to be found.”

Hard work, whole-grain breads, ales, and lots of proteins. It’s an old-school diet that is positively medieval!



Meet the Man who Ate and Exercised like The Rock for One Month

America’s favorite professional wrestler often asks, “Do you smell what The Rock is cooking?”

It’s a phrase that usually means that an opponent is about to get smacked down.

But Mark Webster, 37, a tech startup founder from New York City, decided to mimic The Rock’s lifestyle last February, matching the actor and pro wrestler calorie for calorie in the kitchen, and minute for minute in the gym. He shared the experience on his blog, Rocking for 30 Days.

It takes a lot of cooking to create the muscular physique of The Rock, 44. He consumes more than 5,000 calories a day, balancing that consumption with an hour of cardio workouts and ninety minutes of weight-training six days a week.

The Rock’s diet, heavy on protein and vegetables, calls for seven meals eaten during the day, including two pounds of cod fish. Webster ate two meals before work, packed three meals to eat at the office, and followed supper with his family with a protein shake 15 minutes before bed. Not surprisingly, he spent $1,262 on food over his 30 days on The Rock’s meal plan, about $42 a day--$18 on cod alone.

Webster gained one pound over the 30-day experiment, but his body saw significant changes. “My arms have gotten a little bigger, the upper parts of my legs have gotten bigger, and I’ve gotten leaner, “ he told the blog, FiveThirtyEight.com. “My resting heart rate has dropped by like four beats per minute over the past month. I feel fantastic.”

While we might not have the money or the time to mimic The Rock’s diet and workout regimen, there is one healthy diet principle that costs nothing for hard-core fans to copy: The Rock hasn’t eaten candy since 1989.



Mutant Powers include Weight Loss, Apparently, for X-Men Star

The mutant hero she plays has the power of telepathy, but Olivia Munn found another secret power as she prepared to play Psylocke in this month’s X-Men Apocalypse--the power to lose weight without trying.

Talk about mutant powers!

Munn, 35, took the role because she wanted to perform in action scenes. “I thought Psylocke was always one of the most lethal characters," she told the magazine, American Way, "and I said, [I’ll play the role], as long as you're not using her to be the eye candy. She has really powerful abilities.'”

Preparing for the role, Munn and her stuntwoman trained in martial arts and swordplay. “" I wanted the fans to see Psylocke and get a good fight scene,” she told People magazine. “I knew I had to go do it myself.”

Daily training in taekwondo, sword-fighting, and stunts--it’s no surprise that Munn lost weight, 12 pounds in total. “It was not intentional,” she said. “I was trying to learn how to do all of the stunts.”

She stayed slim as long as she stayed in character. But she admits that some of the weight came back after filming ended and she returned to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where she lives with her boyfriend, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"As soon as I finished, I literally just ate chips and salsa," she said. "I ordered massive chips and salsa and just ate that all day long until I fell asleep.”




Biggest Loser contestants’ struggles with weight are lesson for all of us

Last week we looked at the results of a surprising study that had explained the struggles of contestants on the NBC reality show, Biggest Loser, to keep weight off after they left the program, even for those who continued healthy habits they had started on the show.

Despite the contestants’ best efforts to keep the weight off, their own bodies had conspired to gain the weight back.

“It is frightening and amazing,” Dr. Kevin Hall, author of the study and a researcher with the National Institutes of Health, told the New York Times.

The reasons lie in two processes that the body has in place to ensure self-preservation.

The first is the body’s Resting Metabolic Rate (BMR). The body burns calories throughout the day as it manages normal processes like breathing and heart rate. Men’s bodies burn around 1,600 calories a day; women burn just over 1,500 (to find the number of calories you burn every day, use a simple BMR calculator). Exercise increases the number of calories burned. Weight loss--or weight maintenance--becomes a process of burning more calories than we consume.

But Dr. Hall found that the Biggest Loser contestants’ bodies had changed after their dramatic weight loss. Danny Cahill, the Season 8 winner, lost 239 pounds on the program, dropping from 430 to 191. Now 295, Cahill’s body actually burns 800 fewer calories a day than normal.

No wonder he can’t lose weight--or maintain the slim physique that made him a season winner. Other contestants have had similar results--weight gains paired with dramatically lower BMRs.

Another way the body challenges weight loss is with the hormone leptin, which tells the body that it is full. In cases of extreme weight loss, the body will reduce amount of leptin in the system, feelings of hunger increase, making it harder to stick to a reduced-calorie diet. If the body thinks it needs food, it will take measures to ensure that the body gains weight.

The bottom line is this: the body fights change--even when the change is for the better. Dramatic weight loss provides Hollywood-style endings for reality shows, but the better long-term strategy is slow, consistent change brought about by deliberate, long-term lifestyle changes.




The reasons why “Biggest Loser” Winners are struggling to keep the weight off

Televisions “thinnest” hit reality show in recent years has been NBC’s Biggest Loser.

The premise is simple--and inspiring. Put twelve heavy people in a residential program with hard-driving personal trainers, nutritious meals, and medical supervision, then watch the pounds fall away.

And they have lots weight. Tons of weight, literally.

But a show that is designed to entertain viewers over the course of a single season isn’t responsible for tracking the long-term success of contestants’ weight loss. A new season arrives, new contestants come to the ranch, and temptations, reward challenges and weigh-ins continue

Now scientists are taking a look at the effects of Biggest Loser-style rapid weight loss,thanks to research by Dr. Kevin Hall, a researcher with the National Institutes of Health, reported in the New York Times last month.

Hall tracked contestants on Season 8 (aired September-December 2009) of Biggest Loser, looking at weight along with many other health factors. For example, Danny Cahill had won the season, dropping 239 pounds along the way to a final weight of 191. Today Cahill weights 295. Other contestants had suffered similar weight gains.

What Hall found surprised many. Participants hadn’t gained weight because of a return to unhealthy eating habits. Many had continued to eat a reduced-calorie diet and exercised regularly. Instead, Hall learned that the bodies of the contestants had worked against them.

“The key point is that you can be on TV, you can lose enormous amounts of weight, you can go on for six years, but you can’t get away from a basic biological reality,” Dr. Schwartz, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, told the Times. “As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try to get you back.”

How does the body fight against weight loss? Look for the answer in next week’s MyDietSolutions newsletter.



Short Sprints may be as effective as Long Runs in Weight Loss

Time. It’s everyone’s favorite excuse--why we eat unhealthy food, why we do without sleep, why we don’t exercise regularly.

Time’s up, then. Some of the most effective exercise for weight loss comes from short-term bursts of exercise--known as “interval training”--rather than from long sessions of running, swimming or biking.

Studies have shown that interval training can help the body to burn more calories and increase the resting metabolism, burning more calories throughout the normal activities of the day. Interval runs effectively burn fat while leaving calorie-burning muscle in place.

In interval training, people warm up with three to ten minutes of light exercise, then push themselves to the limit for bursts of anywhere from 30 seconds to four minutes. Think of it like this: runners may jog four times around a track, then sprint for 100 or 400 meters before returning to a jogging pace. (For an interval training program that is best for you, seek the help of a personal trainer.)

A recent study of interval training at McMaster’s University in Ontario, Canada, showed remarkable results. Researchers followed two groups of 25 overweight men. The control group rode exercise bikes for 45 minutes per session at a moderate pace over the course of 12 weeks. The second group rode bikes at intervals of 30 seconds of intense riding, broken up by two-minute stretches of moderate pedaling--for a workout total of 10 minutes per session.

The results were similar for both groups, even though the control group had exercised more than four times as long as the interval-training group--27 hours of exercise compared to six (of which only 36 minutes was strenuous)!

“The upshot of these results is that three months of concerted endurance or interval exercise can notably — and almost identically — improve someone’s fitness and health,” The Times observed.



Britain is No Place for Body-shaming

In London, England, the subway is a below-ground passage that lets pedestrians get to the other side of a busy street. The Underground is London’s way of taking the subway from stop to stop.

London’s Underground is a busy place. Over 77 million people ride “The Tube” every day. Quite a few of them take exception to ads that highlight body differences.

A ruckus--the British term, “row,” might be a better description--began a year ago with an ad by Protein World. The ad, in bright yellow, features a model in a swimsuit and asks, “Are you Beach Body ready?” Considering that Britain, with an obesity rate of 25%, is the fattest country in Europe, the response was sure--and swift.

Londoners defaced many of the signs. One was changed to read, “Each body’s ready,” which became a Twitter hashtag. Another read “Your body is beautiful.”

The ads later crossed the Atlantic to Times Square in New York City. “It’s hard to miss the building-size yellow poster,” Yahoo scoffed at the time.  “And the message it’s relaying: Unless your boobs are perky, your waist is tiny, and your thighs don’t touch, your body isn’t “ready” for the beach. Here, now take some diet pills!”

This year, the site Match.com drew the ire of Underground riders. Featuring images of people with freckles or with eyes of different colors, the ads say, “If you don’t like your imperfections, someone else will.”

Twitter is ablaze. The hashtag, #freckesarehot, is trending. People are trying to “fix” the ads to decry the use of pigmentation to differentiate and shame people.

London’s Underground is boiling. Here’s hoping that positive body images--not negative or unrealistic ones--will be part of subway rides in America and England in the future.




British Advertising Authority steps in to protect healthy body image

Last month, the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) demanded that the luxury clothing brand, Gucci, remove an advertisement from circulation.

The reason might surprise you.

It wasn’t because of violence, or pornography. It wasn’t because of misleading information or offensive language.

The ad featured a model who was simply too thin. The ASA, an industry group independent of the government, called the image “irresponsible” and criticized the thin, gaunt features of her face.

The ad featured the profile of a model leaning against a wall. From the angle she looks very thin, indeed. Gucci complied with the request, removing the image from print, and even from an online video--which still features the model, but in poses that look healthier than the still image of the ad.

More and more, governments and regulatory agencies are stepping in to stop the fashion industry from glorifying figures that are unrealistically thin. France passed a law at the end of last year requiring models who work in the country to have a medical release showing that they are working at a healthy weight. It also requires that images be labeled if they have been touched up to make a model appear thinner.

Unrealistic images in advertising and catalogues contribute to confusion--particularly on the part of girls and young women. They can contribute to eating disorders such as anorexia among both the models themselves and the women influenced by their pictures.

While these developments are quite new in Europe, it would be good to see similar restrictions in place here in the United States soon.



Multiple Breakfasts shown to reduce childhood obesity, not increase it



Breakfast is a pretty important meal--even for those trying to cut down on how much they eat.

It is especially important for kids, as a study published this month in the journal, Pediatric Obesity, just revealed.

Researchers at Yale followed almost 600 middle-school students at Connecticut schools that provided free breakfast and lunch meals to students, looking for the effects of eating breakfast on obesity. About one in three American kids is obese.

They found that students who skipped breakfast at the schools were more than twice as likely to be obese as those who ate the breakfasts.

But that wasn’t all.

Some students ate breakfast at home, then ate a second breakfast through the school program.

The study showed that they gained weight at the same rate as students who only ate breakfast at school! They were not more obese. They were healthy.

The quote of 2016 goes to researcher Marlene Schwartz, who said of the results, “When it comes to the relationship between school breakfast and body weight, our study suggests that two breakfasts are better than none.”




Women’s magazine bans body-shaming terms from cover in 2016

Think of the headlines that scream from the magazines we see in the supermarket check-out line: “Feel More Pleasure,” “Look Leaner Naked,” or “the 5-minute Flat Abs Workout” (taken from recent issues of Cosmopolitan magazine).

These covers offer a definition of womanhood that is skinnier, sexier, far more idealized than reality.

That is beginning to change.

This year Women’s Health magazine banned the terms, “Bikini Body” and “Lose Two Sizes” from its cover.

Executive editor, Amy Keller Laird, dismissed both terms in the form of break-up letters in the magazine’s January issue. “[‘Bikini body’ implies] that a body must be a certain size in order to wear a two-piece. [It’s] got a shaming, negative undertone that’s become more than annoying. Listen, rocking a bikini does require confidence, but we’d rather focus on the greater benefits of getting a strong-as-hell core: running, surfing, dancing, climbing, being able to carry a 2-year-old up and down the stairs 10 times a day.”

The move followed a survey of Women’s Health readers that also eliminated the words “shrink” and “diet,” while encouraging the magazine to use “toned,” “strong,” “sexy,” and “lean” to its headlines.

“We want to always empower women, not make them feel bad about themselves,” Laird said in an interview with Newsweek. “[It’s about] getting the focus back on health and not always just about being thin.”

If the changes work, Laird hopes, the magazine will see an increase in subscriptions and sales at newsstands. It looks like Women’s Health has stuck a nerve with these changes. Posts on the magazine’s Instagram page included comments like “Finally! I might resubscribe now! I had to take 3 years off because it was becoming toxic,” and “Things like this make a difference…. I'd given up [on] women's health mags. Thanks for reviving my faith.”




Rick Ross raps about losing 100lbs

Could the writer of the rap hit, “Every Day I’m Hustlin’” have once weight over 300 pounds?

He did, but no longer. The rapper, 40, has dropped over 100 pounds the last four years.


Hustlin’ of course.

Ross shared some of his methods last month in GQ magazine’s “How I Got My Body” issue.

He lived large following “Hustlin’,” a 2009 hit. “I was just a proud, fat boss my whole life, you dig?” He told Maxim magazine. “I always enjoyed that. That's just always been who I am.”

Ross had two wake-up calls, which came in the form of seizures--on the same day in 2011. Friends used CPR to revive him.  He turned to exercise--”RossFit” is his term for the popular CrossFit program he adopted. He also turned away from soft drinks and fried rice, which had been his temptations. “I just had to remove a few elements like that and remain consistent, and I saw results,” he said.

He has replaced his previous, supersized diet with an insatiable appetite for creating newer, more interesting music. “My music just comes … from the heart,” he told ABCNews. “You know, every day I wake up, there's something new for me to feed on, or I see something new that's going' on around me that I could make not just a punch line, but an actual topic for an incredible record."

Feeding on life, not on food, means that Rick Ross plans to stick around for a long time and for many, many more rap hits. Best wishes to him.




How Fasting may Further Weight Loss

The rule of weight loss is simple: consume fewer calories than you burn in a normal day’s activity.

Every weight loss program can be broken down to a program for practicing this basic fact: either cutting the calories we consume through specialized foods or smaller meals, burning more calories through intense exercise, or some combination of both.

In reality, as Bob Harper, for many years a featured trainer on Biggest Loser says, “It is all about your nutrition," he says. "It is 80 percent your nutrition; it is 20 percent fitness."

Researchers are learning more and more about one of the oldest and most-practiced forms of calorie reduction: fasting. These studies are leading to exciting new forms of fasting in ways that are more sustainable and healthier than ever.

The New York Times reported this month about a study by the Longevity Institute in California. Researchers put mice on a fast for two to five days a month and checked them for signs of other diseases. They found a significant decrease in biomarkers for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. These studies have now been extended to human subjects, and early results indicate similar results.

Many cannot fast because of the discomfort and distress of low blood sugar. At best, fasting may leave some moody after missed meals, at worst it could yield worse health problems. This is why significant changes in diet or exercise should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.

Krista Varady, a nutritional scientist at the University of Illinois, has been looking at a modified fast where participants cut calorie intake to 1/4th of normal (about 500 calories) on irregular fasting days. She has found healthy weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds per week in obese patients who fasted irregularly (it is important, when fasting, to mix things up so the body doesn’t adapt to a new schedule). Other diet plans, like the 5:2 Diet, have taken on this 500-calorie limit as a way to sustain subjects on Fast Days.

Three square meals a day have led many Americans into obesity. Fasting from individual meals--or for entire days two to five days a month--might be the ticket to a lighter, healthier lifestyle.






Penguin Problems: how weight is good and bad for Nature’s cutest bird

Let’s celebrate one of the last weeks of winter with a look at the Antarctic’s best-dressed birds. In looking at the way fat impacts the lives of King Penguins we can learn about the importance of balance in our own lives.

Researchers at the University of London recently looked into the impact of penguins’ weight on their parenting and survival rates. They wanted to find penguins’ ideal weights and gauge the impact of the penguins’ extreme lifestyles.

King penguins thrive in extreme parts of the world, living in large colonies on islands between the southern tips of South America, Africa, or New Zealand and Antarctica. Their lives revolve around mating and raising chicks, a process that can take 14 to 16 months. The male and female of each pair take turns caring for eggs--and the chicks once the eggs hatch.

This means that they must fast for 6-18 days at a time while caring for the egg, before handing off parenting duties to a spouse and waddling across rocky beaches to the ocean, where they gorge on fish and squid. King penguins have many predators to avoid, including Leopard seals, sharks and killer whales. King penguins store extra calories the same way humans do: with fat around their midsections, which their bodies burn away during long days of fasting.

To find the impact of fat on the penguins, the researchers put the penguins on treadmills, training the penguins to walk at about 1 mile an hour. They also tracked their health as they fasted.

Penguins that were skinny performed well in the water, but struggled during the fast--moreover, research shows that female penguins like their men to be fat. “However, being too fat make them less stable and thus easily spotted and eaten by predators,” Astrid Willener, head of the study, said.

The bottom line for penguins is similar to what it is for humans: balance is key. Extra weight makes penguins wobble and exposes them to risk. Eating a well-balanced diet--and staying on their feet to exercise--will help every human live a long, happy life, too.




Body-building at 70? Now THAT’s good health!

Aged 73, Barbara Goldman has long, grey hair, a pretty smile, and 23 gold medals.

Her medals came in a surprising sport for someone of Goldman’s gender and age--weight lifting.

“I'm in the best shape I've ever been in right now,” she told People Magazine this month.

Since she was in her fifties, Goldman has kept in shape with the help of a personal trainer. Recently they moved into lifting weights on the bench press, working to increase her strength. Last year, at the IPF World Bench-Press Championships in Prague, Goldman lifted her age--72 pounds. Taking home the gold medal for tops in her class.

It can be harder to build muscle and gain strength as people grow older. People tend to lose muscle as natural hormones begin to diminish. This doesn’t have to be the case. “Adding lean muscle mass to your frame at this point in your life could be even more beneficial than someone who is in their early 20s or 30s,” says BodyBuilding.com. “That muscle is going to help you maintain an active lifestyle into the latter years.”

One key to increasing muscle mass without injury is working with a professional trainer, who can recommend exercises that will stimulate muscle growth appropriate to one’s age and health level.

Sam “Sonny” Bryant, Jr., is a body-builder who dead-lifts 405 pounds and weighs 176 (a dead-lift is lifting the weights up from the ground and raising them over your head). Sonny is 70.

“People have the misconception that age makes you old, but I realize that it’s a state of mind that makes you old,” Bryant says. He emphasizes that he feels the same at 70 that he did at 44.

If seventy-year-olds are lifting weights and winning medals, what’s the excuse for the rest of us?




Protein: It makes a body stronger AND slimmer

Losing weight is about reducing the calories we eat.

But the types of calories still matter, and they may have more to do with how quickly we lose the weight than we earlier thought.

Calories come in three distinct packages: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. A “balanced diet” tries to get the combination of these three sources--along with fiber, salt and other minerals--just right. Typically, carbohydrates should make up about 50% of the calories we consume, while fats (25-35%) and Proteins (10-35%) make up the rest.

The balance of fats and proteins has come under close study recently. While fats, which pack about twice the number of calories per gram as proteins or carbohydrates, are tied more closely to the production of fat in the body. Proteins contribute to muscle-building.

Yet many people, when  they cut calories, find that they are losing muscle, not fat. And this can bring its own challenges to weight loss. Slowing down the rate of weight loss.

Last month, the New York Times reported on a study that could have a big impact on the way we lose weight in the future.  Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, took groups of men and put them on a diet. Both groups got 50% of their calories from carbohydrates. One group consumed 15% of calories from proteins, and 35% from fats. The other group consumed proteins and fats in the opposite ratio, with a daily dose of protein that was more than twice the recommended amount.

Researchers cut the men’s daily calorie by 40% and put them on a heavy exercise regimen for four weeks.. At the end of the study, men in both groups had lost 11 to 12 pounds. But the men in the higher fat group had lost some muscle, while men in the high-protein group had lost 11 to 12 pounds of fat, exactly the type of weight loss everybody wants.

One tip that we can take from the study is to examine how much protein we consume. If it’s less than 15% of our calories, an increase may be in order. In fact, twenty to thirty percent of women between the ages of 20 and 40 get less than the recommended daily allowance of protein.




A Bigger Barbie? An Iconic American Toy Gets a Makeover

Usually American celebrities make news for losing weight, but Mattel Inc. announced last month that its iconic Barbie dolls would roll out in shapes that were much more, well, realistic than the traditional doll.

Barbie’s body has been a source of debate for many years now. The measurements of the doll are seen as unrealistic when compared with real women, and the effects of the doll have been tied to lower self-esteem and body image by young girls.

Three new Barbie dolls will have tall, petite and curvy bodies, reflecting a broader swath of the female population.”We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty," Evelyn Mazzocco, senior vice president and global general manager of Barbie, wrote in a statement announcing the new dolls.

When expanded to life size, Barbie would seem to have a 16-inch waist to go along with a 32-inch bust and 29-inch hips, quite different from the normal American proportions of 35-35-40.

A 2014 study of girls ages 4 to 7 looked at how the Barbie, the Dr. Barbie, and Mrs. Potato Head affected the subjects’ views of themselves. The girls were then interviewed about jobs that boys or girls could do. The girls who had played with Mrs. Potato Head saw themselves as working more jobs than either of the Barbie groups.

Here at MyDietSolutions, we understand that people come in all shapes, none of which are Barbie’s. We want to help you get into your best shape.




Celebrities’ wallets get fatter as their tummies get tinier

Last October, Oprah Winfrey announced that she was investing in Weight Watchers and joining the program as a member.

The next day, Winfrey was $70 million richer--not from sponsorship fees. Winfrey had bought 10% of the company, and the value of shares had doubled after her announcement. Her scales might have shown a small, one-day weight loss, but her wallet was a lot heavier.

Winfrey sounds like she’s convinced that Weight Watchers will help her lose weight. “Weight Watchers has given me the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for,” Winfrey said in a statement. “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution.”

We at MyDietSolutions support Oprah’s pursuit of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. But it’s important to understand that celebrity-endorsed plans may not benefit you as much as they benefit the given spokesperson.

Former NBA all-star Charles Barkley is a popular broadcaster. After he lost 60 pounds on a Weight Watchers plan in 2012, a live mic caught him bragging about the money. “I thought this was the greatest scam going -- getting paid for watching sports.  This Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam."

If the money seems unbelievable, keep in mind that companies like Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig--not to mention companies like Subway marketing to weight-conscious customers--are competing for a part of a huge weight-loss market worth more than $20 billion a year.

So when Jessica Simpson earns $3 million to drop baby weight or Marie Osmond earns $1.65 million to drop weight, this is great for them--in quite a number of ways.

The fact is that long-term weight loss relies on smart, daily food & exercise choices, not expensive products. Expensive weight-loss programs are right for some--especially with million-dollar endorsement deals--but they may not be best for you.




Reduce Salt, Sugar says new USDA Diet Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released new federal nutrition guidelines earlier this month.

The recommendations seek to “improve how [Americans] eat, [and] to reduce obesity and prevent chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.”

The primary focus of the new guidelines, which are released every five years and will cover 2015-2020, is to encourage Americans--particularly men and teenaged boys--to eat more vegetables. Studies tied to the guidelines found that men were getting too many of their recommended 2,000 daily calories from proteins (meat, poultry and eggs) and not enough from vegetables.

For the first time, the guidelines recommended that Americans limit use of sugar to only 10% of a daily supply (150-200). Considering that just one 12-ounce can of soft drink contains 120-150 sugar-based calories, this should change the way Americans’ eat--at least that is our hope here at MyDietSolutions

"Today, about half of all American adults—117 million people—have one or more preventable, chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity," the report states in its introduction, written by Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and Health & Human Services Secretary, Sylvia Burwell.

There were also specific recommendations for salt intake. While most Americans eat around 3,400 mg of salt each day, the guidelines recommend consuming only 2,300. The Centers for Disease Control said in a report this month that 90% of children and 89% of adults eat too much sodium.

It is hard to measure the effect the USDA guidelines will have for ordinary Americans, but they carry a lot of weight because they are used in federal food programs such as school lunches, and Women Infants and Children food subsidies.



Star Wars Ingenue Awakens to Fight Body Shaming

More than thirty years after starring in Return of the Jedi, the final movie in the original Star Wars trilogy, Carrie Fisher returned to the franchise last month to play Princess Leia in The Force Awakens.

Apparently some viewers were disappointed by the fact that Leia had aged--that she wasn’t shapely enough to wear the bikini costume she wore her last time out  in Return.

Fortunately for the rest of us, Fisher, 59, is one of the most outspoken--and funniest--women in Hollywood.

She tweeted one critic last month, “Please stop debating about whetherOR not [👁] aged well.unfortunately it hurts all3 of my feelings.My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have.Blow us [👌🏼] ”

In another interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Fisher swatted away a question about whether she had lost weight as a condition of returning to the role of Leia. Instead she turned the question around and focused it on the interviewer, Amy Robach.

“I think it’s a stupid conversation, but you’re so thin, so let’s talk about it,” she told Robach, a perky blonde who looks much younger than her own 42 years. “How do you keep that going on? Do you exercise every day? Isn’t it boring?”

The Force is strong in this one!

Fisher is ageless. And she’s been making fun of Hollywood’s unreasonable body expectations for years. All the way back in 1987, she wrote, “Actually, I am a failed anorexic. I have anorexic thinking, but I can't seem to muster the behavior,” in her best-selling memoir, Postcards from the Edge.

Moviegoers around the world just can’t get enough of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, driving ticket sales to record-breaking highs. Here at MyDietSolutions, we can’t get enough of Carrie Fisher, either.



Party Smartly this New Year


The idea that alcohol kills brain cells has been proven to be a myth.

That means that you can be smart about drinking on New Year’s Eve both before and during the party.

Keep the following tips in mind to bring 2015 to a joyous end and pave the way for a healthy 2016.

Champagne may be even better than you think. Calorie-wise, champagne is one of the best alcoholic drinks. A four-ounce serving contains only 84 calories. Compare that with other drinks like beer (153 calories/12 ounces), red wine (125 calories/5 ounces), white wine (121 calories/5 ounces) and hard liquor like whiskey or rum (97 calories/1.5 ounces).

Be moderate. The purpose of New Year’s parties is to have fun, and while alcohol can certainly enable that, drinking too much may lead to unsafe walking or driving, and it may lead to an uncomfortable hangover. Two drinks for men and one drink for women is recommended as a moderate amount to consume.

Balance alcohol with food and other drinks. Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink to dilute the bad effects of drinking and prevent a hangover. Also, plan to snack at the party to minimize the adverse effects of drinking.

Here at MyDietSolutions, we want to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year, and we hope to do our part to ensure good health for you in 2016.



Twas The Month After Christmas

Twas the month after Christmas and all through the house

Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste.

All the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!

When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).

I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;

The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese

And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt

And prepared once again to do battle with dirt --

I said to myself, as I only can

"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"

So--away with the last of the sour cream dip,

Get rid of the fruitcake, every cracker and chip

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished

Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie--not even a lick.

I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.

I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,

I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore --

But isn't that what January is for?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.

Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!



Modern Family star draws focus to Body Dysmorphia

On the hit TV show, Modern Family, Reid Ewing plays a hunky, dim-witted love interest to Haley Dunphy.

In real life, Ewing, 27, was never sure if his looks were good enough. Seven years ago, soon after he’d landed the TV role, he turned to plastic surgery.

"I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt," he wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post.

Each face-changing procedure led to more procedures. Ewing only grew more uncomfortable with his looks. Finally he sought help from a counselor. His problem wasn’t with his face--it was with his anxiety.

"My history with eating disorders and the cases of obsessive compulsive disorder in my family never came up," he said. "None of the doctors suggested I consult a psychologist for what was clearly a psychological issue rather than a cosmetic one, or warn me about the potential for addiction."

The clinical name for Ewing’s psychological condition is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), a condition under which people see themselves as ugly or misshapen. Many other celebrities have suffered from obsession with imperfections including American poet, Sylvia Plath and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

BDD can be treated through counseling  and medication--not plastic surgery.

Here at MyDietSolutions we want to help you look your best. But if feelings of ugliness appear overwhelming--or drive you to consider multiple plastic surgeries--it might be time to focus upon what’s in your head, not around your waist.



Tyler Perry on Losing Weight after 40

Tyler Perry is often seen wearing a dress and a white wig, portraying the character, Medea.

That’s when he isn’t writing or producing a hit movie or a TV show like The Haves and The Have Nots or If Loving You Is Wrong (both on the Oprah Winfrey Network).

Last month he posted a picture of himself on Facebook wearing quite a bit less: blue swimming shorts and a white baseball hat. A pair of biceps rose from his toned arms, and his abs had some definition. “18 pounds to go,” he wrote (he did not specify a weight loss goal).

The 46-year-old actor/writer/producer is also a father who has a lot to live for. His son, Aman, will turn 1 this month. Perry’s own mother was diagnosed with diabetes at age 40, and she died at age 64.

"I hope I don't blow it this holiday season,” he wrote in his Facebook post. “Gonna try to stay on [my diet]."

There are no specifics about how Perry lost the weight, although he thanked a personal trainer on his Instagram feed.

Hoping to inspire others who want to make lifestyle changes later in life, he added, “It's hard as heck to lose weight after 40, but it's so worth it. It keeps the doctor away. Don't let anything keep you from being healthy and strong.”

Holidays or no holidays, here at MyDietSolutions, we’re rooting for Perry to complete his quest to reach a healthy weight--and to live a long life!



Five Tips for a Thanksgiving that won’t leave you Stuffed

It’s the holiday season, the most challenging time of year for those counting calories and watching their weight. From now through New Year’s, temptation will be everywhere amid the spirit of the season and the fellowship of family and friends.

This season, keep these five tips in mind to maintain your healthy goals.

Plan Ahead. You know when the big celebrations will be--Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, Christmas dinner. Eat a big meal at those times, but fit them into your daily and weekly calorie goals, cutting back before and after the big meal--or budgeting extra exercise to compensate.

Go for proteins and avoid carbs. Proteins will fill you up faster than potatoes and stuffing will. Don’t overdose, but plan ahead (those words again) and know when you will stop eating.

Be careful with beverages. There are lots of calories hiding in alcohol--and egg nog and hot chocolate, too. If you’re planning to do a lot of drinking, try to balance that with lighter meals later.

Don’t skip meals. This could be a recipe for over-indulging, as over-eating often follows bits of hunger. Eat lighter meals, but don’t skip any.

Limit the variety. WebMD recommends taking only two foods at a time instead of piling the plate with multiple foods. Variety enhances appetite, so you will feel fuller sooner if you limit selections, plus you’ll get that little bit of extra exercise going back to try new foods.

We here are MyDietSolutions are very thankful for your business, and we wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving!



It’s what Inside the Gut, Not Outside that May Lead to Weight Loss

Our bodies aren’t really our bodies.

They’re partially ours, but research over the past decade has shown that human bodies are hosts to billions of bacteria that coat the skin and line the digestive system. In fact the number of foreign bacterial cells may outnumber the number of human cells in the body by a scale of ten to one!

This has led to medical advances in many areas, but of particular note to MyDietSolutions and its customers is the role that bacteria play in the digestive process. Could bacteria explain some people gain weight and why others don’t?

Studies of identical twins have shown that obesity isn’t necessarily genetic. Instead different colonies of intestinal bacteria may explain why one twin is obese and the other slender, despite similar diets. A group in Amsterdam is going so far as to consider fecal transplants as a means to transferring thinning bacteria from healthy patients to obese ones.

In the future, a visit to the weight-loss doctor may involve a prescription for probiotics (if not feces) to tackle weight loss by introducing good bacteria to the system.

Right now the best way to introduce good bacteria isn’t through a pill--even though many products may make that promise. It’s actually through yogurt and foods like honey, vegetables, beans and fruits. It’s also good to stay away from meats and from artificial sweeteners, which may harm the very bacteria in the gut that help with weight loss.

This is a very new field, with discoveries being made every year. Still, it’s good to keep in mind that caring for the inside of your tummy may just be the key to making the outside look better, too.



Plus-size Models Battle to Define Beauty

Some of America’s most beautiful women have been engaged in plus-sized battles over beauty recently.

In the war of dueling Twitter hashtags, there have been no reported deaths--and all parties hope that positive body image will come out on top.

Hashtag 1: #girlgang.  Plus-sized model, Katie Willcox, began her career at age 17, but it really took off when her weight rose to 200 pound her freshman year of college. At a size 14, she was getting more modeling jobs than at any time in her career.

"I started working well, but I still didn't like the way I felt,” she told People Magazine. “I felt really unhealthy and depressed. But I was getting rewarded for it." Willcox lost weight, eventually getting down to a size 6, which proved to be a tight fit on her large, 5’9” frame.

Frustrated, Willcox grew back into a comfortable size 10. She set up her own modeling agency, called Natural Model Management. She also runs a lifestyle brand called Healthy is the New Skinny which promotes healthy attitudes toward weight.

Hashtag 2: #droptheplus. Apparently some models dislike the plus-sized tag that comes with their industry, while other models embrace the moniker.

"Sometimes I'm embarrassed to add the 'plus' in front of 'model.' Like I'm second class to skinny models," ran one tweet.

Plus-sized model Tess Holliday retorted: “There are plenty of models that are visibly plus size & would happily be the face of a brand, or company. No shame with being PLUS.”

“No shame.” That’s probably the message that unites these dueling hashtags. Good health is the focus for all of us at MyDietSolutions. Let us help you reach the weight where you feel your greatest.



It’s No Scandal: Shonda Rhimes is Skinnier!

Super-producer Shonda Rhimes shows television viewers How to Get Away with Murder every week, but how she got away from 117 pounds is the story of her own life.

The creator of popular television dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal told the tabloid, Extra, that she had made lifestyle changes to reach her new weight.

"I just decided I was gonna get it together and get healthy;” she said. “I have some little kids and I want to be around for them." There isn’t any trick or fad to Rhimes’s diet. She has cut the portions of food that she eats, and she exercises regularly.  Rhimes has three young daughters to keep up with, when she isn’t writing her blockbuster television series.

Rhimes chronicles her changes in a book coming out next month, Year of Yes, about how she took a year to come out of her introvert shell, get healthy, and take on terrifying public opportunities like appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. After years of being one of Hollywood’s hardest-working and most successful writers & producers, Rhimes wanted to ensure that other, young American women could see what it takes to successfully achieve their dreams.

“It literally has never occurred to me that I couldn’t achieve whatever I wanted to,” she told InStyle Magazine. “I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’m not going to be an Olympic figure skater.”

OK. Maybe that’s one dream that Rhimes won’t realize. But she’s 117 pounds lighter now. Twirling upon the ice and soaring above it sure seems more likely now.



Studies Show Huge Shift away from Soft Drinks for American Consumers

America is in the middle of a diet revolution.

It’s not what we’re eating, but what we’re drinking that seems to be changing.

The New York Times reported last month that consumption of sugary and artificially sweetened soft drinks had fallen 25% in the past twenty years.

The results for America’s waistlines are beginning to show. Recent studies show that we consume 74 fewer calories a day (equivalent to about ½ a can of Coke), a 4% drop in consumption. A Gallup poll last year revealed that 63% of Americans try to avoid soft drinks in their diets.

Consumers appear to be shifting their focus to bottled water and non-carbonated drinks like iced tea, lemonade and flavored water. This doesn’t always ensure a drop in calories, as juice and iced tea can be sugary, but overall the trend is for the better.

Public health advocates see soft drinks succumbing to the same forces that crippled tobacco in the 1980s and 1990s as the health effects of smoking and second-hand smoke turned the public against smoking and access was restricted.

“There will always be soda, but I think the era of it being acceptable for kids to drink soda all day long is passing, slowly,” Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, told the Times. “In some socioeconomic groups, it’s over.”

Adding to the trend, lawmakers have sought to tax soft drinks, both to deter use and to help pay the costs of the obesity epidemic.

Mexico, which recently passed the United States as the world’s most obese country, recently passed a national tax on soft drinks in 2013. A study last December showed that consumption of sugary drinks had fallen 12% in the year since the tax passed.

The decline of soft drinks is a good sign--one that indicates that Americans are making choices that will make them both thinner and healthier.




Millennials face more trouble with weight than Earlier Generations

America’s Millennial Generation (born between 1980 and 2000) has a number of advantages over previous generations. They have never known a time when there wasn’t an Internet. They have used mobile phones almost all their lives.

But a recent study shows that they are entering adulthood with one significant strike against them.

A recent study in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice looked at two surveys taken in 2006 and in 1988 (when the previous American generation--Generation X--was entering the workforce). They compared subjects who reported the same levels of eating and exercise in the surveys and found that Millennials had a BMI that was 2.3%--or about ten pounds--higher than similar Gen Xers.

"If you are 25, you'd have to eat even less and exercise more than those older to prevent gaining weight," the author of the study, Jennifer Kuk of York University in Toronto, wrote.

This doesn’t seem possible. How could young people living in the same country a generation apart have such different results from the same level of eating and exercise?

Scientists point to three factors that might affect Millennials.  The first reason is an exposure to chemicals in synthetic materials, which is greater than in previous generations. Medications could be another factor, as more Americans than ever are treated with anti-depressants. Finally, synthetic hormones meat and artificial sweeteners may be interfering with the body’s normal metabolic functions.

Don’t worry, Millennials, no connection was made with all that time you all spend on your cell phones.

This means it may take more exercise and less unhealthy eating to keep young people in shape. It will be a challenge, but this could be the American generation that turns the tide on obesity anyway.





Sam Smith, multi-Grammy winner, describes 50-pound weight loss

There isn’t a singer in the world who is hotter than British crooner, Sam Smith, right now.

Last February, Smith took home two Grammy awards, including one for Best New Artist, and two more for his chart-topping song, “Stay with Me.”

Smith told NBC’s Today that he had put on weight producing In the Lonely Hour, the album that led to his breakthrough success. This summer, he took a break from singing to have vocal chord surgery. He also focused on his weight.

Smith was bullied as a child for two reasons: his weight and his effeminate nature. "When someone calls you gay, there's not much you can do about that because I am,” he told interviewer Natalie Morales. “Whereas, if someone calls you fat, there is something you can do about that."

Smith certainly has accomplished something on this latter front.

"My relationship with food has just completely changed," he said. “It’s not even about weight loss, it’s about feeling happy in yourself.”

Smith focused on healthy eating to lose 50 pounds, using recipes that stress foods that are high in quality and low in calories.

That’s not to say that Smith has broken free of his old food addictions. Smith, who is currently at work writing the theme song for the next James Bond movie, told Morales, “ "I went to bed last night dreaming of tuna melts. I love food."

Could there be a love song about tuna melts coming to a radio station soon? At MyDietSolutions we hope not. We’re rooting for more great songs for many years to come from Sam Smith.





Multi-tasking may not lead to Weight-loss

We’re busy, very busy. Every second counts.

Multitasking is one solution for our busy lives. Exercise and watch TV, drive and talk on the phone, eat and run errands--that’s what drive-thru windows are for, right?

The term actually comes from the computer industry. Initially, “multitasking” referred to a processor that could switch back and forth between programs to seemingly accomplish two things at once.

A recent study looked at a unique kind of multitasking: eating while exercising. Researchers split 60 women into three groups, all of which ate a cereal bar. One group ate while exercising, another ate while watching TV from a seat, and the third group ate while talking with a friend.

After eating the bar, participants were given access to a table full of food, and researchers measured how much they ate. They found that women who had eaten in front of the TV ate less food afterwards than those who had eaten while exercising.

Far from helping to cut calories, those who exercised ate more. This is a sign that we need to be more intentional about what we eat.

“The trick is to try and eat in a conscious and focused way — mindfully,” said Jane Ogden, one of the authors of the study, which was published in the Journal of Health & Physiology.

Put another way, eating should be about eating--and not a lot of other busy-ness. “Vow not to multitask while eating,” dietician Cynthia Sass said in Shape Magazine. “When you're distracted, you can't really pay attention to the taste and textures of your meal, so you rob yourself of the eating experience, which can leave you feeling both overly full and unsatisfied.”




Tennis Star focused on Wins not Weight-Shaming

It has been a great year for female American athletes: the women’s soccer team won the World Cup, Ronda Rousey won a series of UFC fights in less than a minute.

But the greatest female athlete of them all, Serena Williams, competes this week to win the U.S. Open tennis tournament. If she wins, she will complete a “grand slam,” winning all four major tennis tournaments in one year: a circuit which also includes the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon.

Even though Williams is on the verge of tying German tennis star Steffi Graff for the most major victories in the Open Era, she still has a fair share of detractors. Earlier this year, a Twitter user claimed that the “main reason for [Williams’s] success is that she is built like a man.”

Williams is 5’9”, muscular, and weighs 150 pounds.

The recipient of the insulting tweet was none other than British author, J.K. Rowling. Her response left no doubt about her admiration for Williams. She tweeted a picture of the tennis star in a sexy red dress and wrote, “"Yeah, my husband looks just like this in a dress. You're an idiot,"

Williams is a winner because of her relentless focus. "I love that I'm a full woman,” she told People Magazine last month, “I am strong, and I'm powerful, and I'm beautiful at the same time, and there's nothing wrong like that. It's so important to look at the positives, if I get caught up looking at the negatives it can really bring you down."

We here at MyDietSolutions will certainly be rooting for her.




This Bikini Model won’t be Bullied

Did you hear the one about the woman who gained 15 pounds before she put on a swimsuit?

Ronda Rousey isn’t known for her modeling. She is the best female fighter in the world, sporting a 12-0 record in the mixed martial arts (MMA) UFC syndicate. But her record in the ring has led to many other successes. This summer she won an ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete. She starred in two films as well, Entourage (playing herself), and Fast & Furious 7.

But before these star turns, last February she was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. Before putting on a swimsuit, Rousey prepared by gaining 15 pounds from her normal fighting weight. Rousey, who is 5’7”, normally fights at 135 pounds.

“I grew up as an athlete doing judo, so I didn't really have a conventional, feminine body type,” Rousey, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, told Cosmopolitan magazine. “I grew up thinking that because my body type was uncommon [i.e., athletic], it was a bad thing.”

Preparing for a swimsuit photo shoot, apparently, took a different kind of preparation than Rousey is used to. “I wanted to be at my most feminine shape, and I don't feel my most attractive at [my fighting weight. At 150 pounds, I feel like I'm at my healthiest and my strongest and my most beautiful.”

For many women of Rousey’s height and shorter, 150 pounds seems hardly beautiful. Her photos speak for themselves, however. And with Rousey’s record of pummeling her opposition (she won her last two fights in 28 and 34 seconds, respectively), there is little chance of anyone--male or female--calling her fat--to her face or her fists.




America Making Steady Gains on Weight Loss

Americans are eating less. That’s very good news, indeed.

The New York Times reported last month that a key indicator of the nation’s health, the number of calories we consume, had fallen. In fact we haven’t had an increase in calorie consumption since 2003, the year that Americans consumed a record number of calories.

Government researchers got the data from several different sources. Americans kept food diaries tracking their eating. These numbers were compared with grocery store sales and the production numbers of certain foods.

While the numbers have fallen, Americans still have a long way to go. Adults eat about 14 fewer calories a day. More significantly, Children consume 34 fewer calories. To return to the level of calories Americans ate in 1978, before the obesity epidemic took hold, they would need to eat 220 fewer calories.

The decrease in calories is tied to a 25% reduction in the use of sugary soft drinks since 2003. But there has been a change of attitudes towards food, too. In 2003, 65% of Americans said they hoped to lose weight, double the rate that was reported in the 1950s.

Government pressures have also been effective. The Obama Administration has focused on making school lunches healthier, and, while there has been a backlash in some communities, this has turned the tide. City governments have also taken action, from passing out fresh fruits and vegetables to poor families (Philadelphia) to taxing sugary drinks (Berkeley, California).

Dr. Marion Nestle, a food and nutrition researcher at New York University urges Americans to give up 350 calories a day to spur weight loss. "This is a step in the right direction,” she told the Wall Street Journal, “but it's not nearly enough."

America has cut its calories. As long as we’re celebrating with a glass of water or low-calorie drink, MyDietSolutions is here to say, “Cheers!”




Manifest Destiny: Can a Ride Across America Re-shape a 500-pound Man?

Forrest Gump did it--five times, apparently.

He ran across the United States, trying to shake the heartbreak of losing his beloved Jenny.

Barclay Oudersluys is doing it. Currently 3/4ths of the way across the country, he began May 9 in Los Angeles and hopes to finish August 16. The 23-year-old isn’t running for love. His “Project Gump” hopes to raise money for the Hall Steps Foundation, a charity that organizes runners to fight poverty around the world.

Eric Hites wants to do it. By bike.

The Danville, Indiana, resident started last month in Falmouth, Massachusetts, hoping to make it all the way across the country--and to drop from a starting weight of 560 pounds to below 300.

He’s calling his quest “Fat Guy Across America.” Just like Gump, he’s riding to restore a rocky relationship--and he’s hoping to develop a book about his experience. (He is already an author, having published a recipé book called Everybody Loves Ramen.)

“I hit 40 and I said, ‘I’ve got to change this,’” Hites told the Newport (RI) Daily News. Two weeks into the ride, he found that he had already lost 60 pounds.

The trip has not been without its challenges. Hites got stuck in Rhode Island after the back wheel of his bike bent in an accident. A local bike shop owner didn’t merely replace the wheel, he built Hites a new bike with bigger wheels that would support his weight the rest of the way across the country.

Do you want to get into shape? Do it. Running and biking are excellent ways to get there. MyDietSolutions recommends starting with a run around the neighborhood, though, not across the country.




Firefighters Fight Weight Gain with Unique Functional Fitness Program

Firefighting is a dangerous job.

Last year 64 American firefighters lost their lives carrying out their duties, down from 97 the previous year.

Among those tragic deaths, the number one killer may be surprising. It isn’t burns, explosions or collapsing structures. The number one cause of death is heart attacks, which struck 56% of those who died in the line of work last year.

With four out of five firefighters overweight today, this high rate of mortality from heart disease seems likely to continue. Firefighters at New Brunswick FD in New Jersey, have begun a style of at-work workout called “functional fitness,” a movement that is catching on in workplaces throughout the country.

Functional fitness uses the materials at hand to create a workout. In New Brunswick, this means carrying 70-pound packs up and down stairs, shaking hoses up and down in the style of heavy rope workouts, carrying heavy pails, and jumping onto the back of a truck and back. These exercises work out the muscles that firefighters already use on the job, and they contribute to overall health.

Functional fitness focuses on everyday movements and tries to strengthen the body through them. “This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life,” the Mayo Clinic reports. It could also save your life.

What are some activities around your workplace that might make for functional fitness?




Bikers Will Burn 100,000 Calories in this Year’s Tour de France

Roadways around France are bustling with bicyclists this month at the 102nd running of the world’s greatest race, the Tour de France.

In 21 stages crammed into a mere 23 days, riders from all around the world will pedal their way over 2,277 miles.

The first three stages of this year’s race were staged in England, winding from Leeds to London. The race includes grueling stages in the mountain ranges that border France: the Alps in the east, and the Pyrenees in the South.

Over the three-week race, racers will burn an average of 100,000 calories each--almost 20 million total calories among all riders. This means that riders must consume over 8,300 calories a day, just to keep their stocks of energy replenished.

Men’s Journal posted a list of the meals for a typical day of a Tour rider for those who’d like to see what an 8,000-calorie daily diet might look like. It’s not a diet MyDietSolutions would recommend. One of the funniest viral videos we saw this summer, though, was Norwegian journalist, Nicolay Ramm’s attempt to consume 8,000 calories in one day. Spoiler alert: the food didn’t stay in his stomach long enough to make him fat.

Bicycling is a great sport for calorie-burning, whether you’re pedaling around France or working out for 30 to 45 minutes a day. The sport burns as many as 500 calories an hour, and it provides a heart-strengthening aerobic workout.

Whether you’re touring France or just riding around the neighborhood, biking and calorie management can do wonders for your waistline.




It takes more than Magic to get abs like Joe Mangiello’s

People are watching Magic Mike XXL star, Joe Mangiello.

Plenty of ladies can’t keep their eyes off him.

In one of the sillier news items to cross the MyDietSolutions news desk this summer, the New York Post’s “Page 6” gossip column reported that Mangiello had been spotted at a gym in Miami where he worked a solid hour on his ab muscles. “Joe Manganiello is abs-olutely obsessed with his physique,” the paper jeered.

It’s safe to say that it probably wasn’t the only hour Mangiello spent in the gym that day.

The Pittsburgh native, 38, is the author of a body-building book entitled Evolution. He feels that the barrier to muscle-building and weight-loss is mental, not physical. “I’m not asking people to work as hard as they can,” he told the New York Daily News. “I’m asking you to go beyond what you thought was possible for yourself. That’s how you get in the best shape you’ve ever been, instead of just okay shape.”

Mangiello caught his first break with roles in two Spider-Man movies about ten years ago. But roles dried up soon after, and he found himself shoveling sand and rock for a masonry company. The hard work built his muscles. “I didn’t fill out till age 28, when I was working on the back of that construction truck,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “There was something about that type of work that just removed some sort of genetic block in me.” Eventually, his return to acting included a movie with Hollywood’s most famous bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzeneggar in the movie, Sabotage.

Mangiello has a lot more going for him than abs. Besides two Magic Mike films, Mangiello has starred in the TV series, True Blood. Since December he has been engaged to TV star Sofia Vergara, 42, of Modern Family.



Five Fit Tips for Managing the Weight this 4th of July

Independence will be on the menu at cookouts everywhere this Fourth of July.

While independence from Britain should come to mind as we watch the “rockets’ red glare” of fireworks shows, there is no reason anyone need return to unhealthy habits.

Try these tips to manage calories without sacrificing holiday fun.

Drink lots of water.There will be plenty of ice-cold sodas and adult beverages on hand. Stick to one or two calorie-packed beverages and rely on water to get through the hot, summer day.

Watch those carbs. Potato salad, chips, and hot dog buns are packed with refined sugars. Skip the chips and consider cutting the bread by eating open-faced hamburgers on half a bun. Remember that low-fat beef, vegan, and turkey burgers come with half the calories of traditional burger patties.

Bring low-calorie snacks & desserts. Let others bring the ice cream. Berries are way more patriotic--they come in a variety of shades of red and blue, after all.

Manage portion sizes. Use a smaller plate to help excess calories stay on the picnic table. Smaller cups help to limit calories for those who choose to drink soda, beer, or alcohol.

Plan ahead. If a cookout is planned, try to eat a lighter breakfast to balance the calorie count for the day.

Happy Independence Day!  On America’s 239th birthday, MyDietSolutions wishes you and all those you love a very wonderful holiday.




Moms Celebrate their Post-Pregnancy Bodies

Bringing a baby into the world is the greatest thing any person could do.

So why do women, looking into the mirror a few days after giving birth, feel guilty about their new bodies? Should the emphasis be on becoming a mother...or “getting your body back”?

A growing movement seeks to point out how beautiful new mothers can be.

Uniting behind the Twitter hashtag #takebackpostpartum and the Instagram page, @takebackpostpartum, new moms are redefining beauty in their first months as new moms. Photographers and bloggers offer encouragement to go along with the adjustment to a new body--and the new responsibilities of motherhood.

"The #takebackpostpartum feed is encouraging mothers to not be so hard on themselves," Jenna Hobbs a 30-year-old mother of four from Canada told the Today Show. "It's OK to be a mother, to look like a mother. If hashtagging my images that way encourages others then that's very good."

Bloggers are leading the way. Bonnie, a single mother of two, started the blog, The Shape of a Mother, nine years ago, and she posts regularly about body issues. January Harshe, an Austin, Texas mother of six children, runs the blog, Birth Without Fear. “What I've learned is that every woman struggles one way or another,” she told NBC. “Every woman struggles differently. I'm trying to show all the variations of normal for postpartum and motherhood."

Talented photographers are lending their perspectives as well. Georgia-based photographer, Neely Ker-Fox, has a series of photos called “Perfect Imperfections” that feature the bodies of new mothers with their infants and older children.

“I wanted [new mothers] to feel that they are perfect and beautiful the way they are," Ker-Fox told People Magazine. "I wanted to show that imperfections are not who they are, but they are part of their story.”




Hollywood Hunks Building a Body of Work


There are many ways that stars can “make it big” in Hollywood. Many apprentice at a very young age, moving from small appearances on TV and commercials into bigger roles then on into the Big Time. Others go to drama school.

Yet for some of Hollywood’s hottest hunks, their journey to success actually began in the gym.

Matt McGorry is one young star on the rise these days, appearing on not one but two popular TV shows: ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Prior to getting his big break, McGorry was a bodybuilder and trainer at an exclusive New York City gym.

He likes his new job a lot better. "When I did bodybuilding, I had five-and-a-half percent body fat, and was exhausted all the time," McGorry said in Us Weekly, "I didn't really enjoy it too much."

While orange may be the new black for his character, corrections officer, John Bennett, McGorry follows a path to stardom blazed by many before him. The 1975 documentary, Pumping Iron, traced the battle between Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger for international bodybuilding titles. Both would go onto Hollywood fame: Ferrigno as The Hulk on CBS from 1977 to 1982, Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator among other movie roles.

Another 80s action star, Sylvester Stallone got into bodybuilding, but he was too poor to join a gym, so he worked out with concrete blocks attached to poles and heavy objects taken from a junkyard. Jean Claude van Damme prepared for Hollywood as a world-class karate black belt, but he also won Mr. Belgium as a bodybuilder.

Looking even further back in history, third place in the 1953 Mr. Universe competition went to a man who would later be known by a different number--007, Sean Connery.

At MyDietSolutions, we’re not trying to turn our patients into the next Hollywood action star or bodybuilding champion. The fact remains, though, that good things come to those who get into great shape, and we can help you get there.




We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher...

Summertime means a lot of baseball here at MyDietSolutions, watching kids and pros play a lot of games, and taking a few swings of our own.

This summer, the sports pages have featured a new definition of the baseball phrase, “pitcher’s mound.”

As most baseball fans know, the pitcher’s mound can be found in the middle of the baseball diamond. But stories this summer have us wondering if pitchers’ mounds are showing up between the belt and the letters of their jerseys!

The focus begins in Cincinnati, where the Reds’ Dominican pitcher, Jumbo Diaz, came to spring training this year at a svelte 280 pounds, down from 330, his highest weight in the minor leagues

Diaz reports that his strength has increased following the 50-pound weight loss. A relief pitcher, he’s not usually called on to pitch a lot of innings, but he can work more innings on the mound and pitch in back-to-back days now that he has lost some weight. At the time he was called up by the Reds last summer, Diaz had pitched for 12 years in the minor leagues.

At last month’s NAIA College World Series, St. Thomas University pitcher, Brent Ancheff, got his fifteen pitches of fame appearing in a game weighing well over 300 pounds.

“He’s the rare pitcher who really just works the middle of the plate,” one Internet commenter opined.

Baseball isn’t a game that is often played by heavy guys. Only 46 players in history have played at a weight of 260 or more pounds. A sign of the times, however, is that only two of these players played the game before 2000, the other 44 have appeared over the last 15 years.

Unfortunately for their teams, the earned run averages of both Diaz (6.43) and Ancheff (5.40) are just as XXL as their jersey sizes. And while Ancheff pitched in the college World Series, the hopes of a World Series appearance for Diaz’s Reds are, alas, very, very slim indeed.




World Growing Fatter, Statistics Show

This country’s obesity rate is growing at a rate so steep that statisticians predict that nearly the entire country will be overweight by 2030.

The country is not America. Nor is it Mexico, which passed the United States as the world’s most obese country in 2013.

It is tiny Ireland. Apparently the luck of the Irish doesn’t extend to the waistline.

Obesity is a worldwide health crisis, a European Congress on Obesity was told recently. As the world has grown wealthier since 1980, obesity has grown with it, with over 600 million people worldwide qualifying as obese (having a Body Mass Index of more than 30), with another 1.9 billion overweight (BMI 25-30). That’s 39% of humanity tipping the scales at overweight or worse.

Ireland faces an obesity crisis. By 2030 89% of Irish men will be overweight, 48% obese. Among Irish lassies, trends point toward 85% becoming overweight and 57% obese.

The latest statistics estimate that 3.4 million people died worldwide in 2010 due to problems related to obesity.

The costs of obesity were estimated in a recent McKinsey Report as costing $2 trillion worldwide in medical care and lost productivity. This would make it the third-worst health risk after smoking and gun violence, which cost $2.1 trillion annually, and well ahead of the fourth-place health threat, alcoholism, which costs $1.6 trillion.

More global health organizations are calling on governments to take steps to battle obesity within their countries. While no one “magic bullet” exists to fight obesity worldwide, suggestions include regulating portions, education programs, taxing high-sugar foods, and encouraging more active means of transportation. The one country in Europe with shrinking waistlines is bike-crazy Holland.

If you’re struggling with your weight, you are not alone. Statistics show that. But getting thin has a bigger meaning, too. It isn’t just making you better, it is making your country and our world a healthier, happier place.




The Dad Bod

It is pretty easy to imagine what a “Dad Bod” looks like: not obese, per se, but definitely a few pizzas removed from a man with six-pack abs.

In previous generations, the “Dad Bod” has gone by other identities. “Furniture Disease” (when the man’s chest falls down to his drawers), “spare tire,” or the more technical “abdominal obesity.”

This year the “Dad Bod” seems to be a good thing. And its promotion comes from a surprising source: college girls.

In her March 30 essay, “Why Girls Love the Dad Bod,” Clemson University sophomore, Mackenzie Pearson endorsed the look among college guys her age. The post has since gone viral, with counter-commentators claiming a double standard of beauty that doesn’t apply to overweight young women.

Pearson described the Dad Bod this way: “The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’ It's not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either.”

As with any body trend, there are celebrities who exemplify the Dad Bod. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jason Segel, and Chris Pratt are among those who have a little extra around the waist.

There’s no telling how long the Dad Bod trend will last. One thing that will last is that MyDietSolutions help getting your Bod into the best shape possible.




Everyone has to watch what they eat

There are 18 months to go before the next presidential election, but that hasn’t stopped a few candidates from throwing their hat into the ring.

One sign that others might be considering a run for president: they are trying to lose weight.

“If you see me losing 40 pounds,” former Mississippi governor,Haley Barbour, said in 2010, “I’m either running [for president], or I have cancer.”

The New York Times reported last month that former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, is on the Paleo Diet, trying to lose weight ahead of what seems like an almost certain campaign for president.

The Times reported that Bush was turning aside pancakes and garlic bread, eating proteins and vegetables, and snacking on almonds. There was no report on how much weight he had lost, but Bush admitted feeling the way most of us feel when we’re on a diet. “I’m always hungry,” he said.

Another probably presidential candidate, Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindahl, is actually trying to add weight--about 13 pounds--to his slender frame in an effort to meet the rigors of the campaign trail.  Former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, who once lost over 100 pounds, may be packing on pounds of either butter or lead if the title of his latest book--God, Guns, Grits and Gravy--is any indication.

Besides dieting on the campaign trail, candidates are known to exercise. In 2012, Mitt Romney ran three miles every day. Former Texas governor, Rick Perry, was a runner in 2012, but he has moved to the stationary bike ahead of 2016. Reportedly the running hampered his bad back in the last campaign. Joining him on the stationary bike is New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, who may have already lost over 100 pounds after lap-band surgery in 2013.

Before we know if someone is “fit” to be president, they have to “run” for office. Literally it seems.