Sex is a workout, and other weight loss myths

The estimated annual health care costs related to obesity are over $210 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States. Americans spend $60 billion on weight loss products each year, trying everything from expensive meal replacement products to do-it-yourself programs on the latest cell phone apps. We gather weight loss advice, voluntarily or involuntarily, from news outlets, social media and just about everyone.

Americans have known for 15 years that obesity is an epidemic; the surgeon general declared it so in 2001 (PDF). Despite intense efforts to prevent and treat obesity, however, studies published June 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 35 percent of men, 40 percent of women, and 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Even more worrisome, the rates continue to rise among women and adolescents.
    In fact, experts predict that this generation of children may be the first in 200 years to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, likely due to obesity.
    So what is our society doing wrong? Clearly, what doctors and policy makers have been doing for the last 15 years to address this epidemic is not working.

    Weight loss myths have broad appeal

    An article from 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) identified common myths surrounding obesity from popular media and scientific literature. The authors defined myths as ideas that are commonly held, but go against scientific data. Could these myths be keeping us from treating obesity effectively? As family physicians who treat overweight patients every day, we believe they do. Not only can these myths discourage people, they also provide misinformation that can prevent people from reaching their weight loss goals.
    Finally, to our favorite one:
    Myth 4: Having sex one time burns about as many calories as walking a mile.
    Sorry to disappoint, but for an average sexual encounter (lasting 6 minutes!), an average man in his 30s burns just 20 calories. And as the NEJM articles further explains, this is just 14 more calories than just sitting and watching TV. So if the thought went through your head that sex may be your exercise for the day, you should think again.

    Myths take hold

    As family physicians, we were curious to know if our own patients in clinic might believe in these myths. Maybe in the few short years since the NEJM paper was published, this information has permeated through popular media, and corrected itself. Everyone must know these basic facts about obesity, right?

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    To figure this out, we conducted a study of over 300 people in the waiting room of our diverse academic family medicine clinic. People who participated in our survey had an average age of 37, were mostly female (76 percent), had at least some college education (76 percent), and were a mix of non-Hispanic black (38 percent) and non-Hispanic white (47 percent).
    The grand majority of people we surveyed still believed these myths (Myth 1: 85 percent, Myth 2: 94 percent, Myth 3: 85 percent, Myth 4: 61 percent)! Even more interestingly, there were no differences in what people believed across gender, age, or educational levels. These myths were pervasive.
    How can we expect people to lose weight if most do not know the basics of weight loss? We didn’t need to go far before we realized that these myths are still found in popular media. In some cases, physicians themselves may fall victim to these myths.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Of course, healthcare providers should only give evidence-based advice to patients about weight loss in order to optimize their chance of success. Studies have shown that when primary care doctors provide advice on weight loss, patients are more likely to attempt to change their behaviors related to weight. However, even giving better and more advice may not be enough.
    The first step is to acknowledge that patients are likely influenced by the myths that are so easily found online and among the advice given by friends and family. This means patients must be particularly savvy consumers of health information and to seek out information from reputable sources. This also means that educating and empowering overweight patients is only one part of the solution. Informing those – friends, family, and also the media – who influence overweight patients is also important if we want to change the trajectory of obesity in the U.S.
    If we don’t translate the research on obesity into practice, we cannot expect this problem to improve in our lifetime. We will only have a chance if we use what we know about weight loss and drop these myths.

    Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

    David Hernandez

    Fat people, rise up! We could swing this election | Lindy West

    Its time white supremacist whoopee cushion Donald Trump was hurled back into obscurity by a coalition of women, Muslims, veterans, LGBT people and fat people

    Midway through the first presidential debate, just before snivelling racist air horn Donald Trump assured the US that hes the only candidate whos up and ready to cyber, the Republican nominee made this remarkable statement: Nobody knows that it was Russia that broke into the DNC shes saying Russia, Russia, Russia but I dont, maybe it was! I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You dont know who broke into DNC.

    While I do want to congratulate Trump on one of his few successful deployments of the English language last night buddy put words in an order that conveyed a vaguely decipherable meaning, much like Franklin Delano Roosevelt! the phrase somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds raises a vital question.

    Fat people, are we going to stand for this shit?

    We already knew that Trump hates fat women. He hates Rosie ODonnell so much for being fat and gay (Rosie is just disgusting, Trump said in 2006. Shes fat, shes a loser, shes a farm animal pig, shes a beast, OK) that he shoehorned his irrelevant, decade-old grudge into the most precious and tightly regimented 90 minutes of his political career thus far. As the Clinton campaign masterfully publicised last night, the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado has claimed Trump drove her to an eating disorder by calling her Miss Piggy and publicly threatening her crown if she didnt lose weight. Trump epitomises the type of man who sees no value in women other than their smallness, compliance, conventional attractiveness and sexual availability.

    But by pointing a wee alabaster doll finger at fat nerds for the DNC hack, Trump didnt just express the standard disgust for fat bodies, he positioned fat people as dangers to national security. The implications are familiar, even if the context is outlandish: fat people are lazy, bedridden, unscrupulous, untrustworthy, antisocial, gluttonous (for secrets!) and worthless as anything but a punchline. Trump could have said, simply, a person sitting on their bed, but he chose to specify the fictional hackers fictional weight, because it evokes destructive stereotypes about fat people and antique ones about nerds. Because it milks harsh, cheap laughs out of the bullies who make up Trumps base. Because Americans do not like or trust fat people nor, really, consider them fully human and neither does Trump.

    Thats the same dislike and distrust that makes fat people less likely to be hired for jobs, take home equal pay or receive adequate medical care under their insurance. Its that dislike and distrust that make it socially acceptable (a public service, even!) to harass and verbally abuse fat people. Its the reason why most clothing labels refuse to make garments in larger sizes because we fat people are so worthless that they do not even want our money.

    Four hundred pounds (181kg; 28st 8lb) is not a punchline; it is not an absurd, shameful, astronomical number; it accurately describes a body that many, many Americans are living in right now Americans with fulfilling jobs and vibrant families, who pay their taxes (its this thing regular people do every year ask your gardener) and treat the people around them with humanity and respect. Americans who vote.

    Now, my dear fellow fat people. I know that you have been taught not to think of yourselves as a group, because the diet industry makes billions of dollars from the notion that each of you is just an individual who has temporarily failed to be thin. But, believe me, the rest of the country employers, jurors, neighbours, voters thinks of you collectively and treats you accordingly. And, well, if were going to be oppressed as a class, we might as well start using our clout as a class.

    Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

    David Hernandez

    Alicia Machado, Miss Universe weight-shamed by Trump, speaks out for Hillary Clinton

    Clinton made the former Miss Universe turned actor and activist a talking point of the first debate, criticizing Trumps public comments about her weight

    Alicia Machado became an American citizen just in time to vote against Donald Trump. Its a vote that has been a long time coming.

    In May 1996, the Venezuelan beauty queen was just 19 years old when she was crowned the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, which had recently been bought by the Manhattan business mogul. That year should have been one of sheer happiness and possibility for Machado, and for a moment it was. I remember I hug my mom and I tell her, now our lives is going to be changed forever, she told the Guardian in an interview in her adopted hometown of Los Angeles.

    But when she put on weight soon after winning, Trump turned what should have been a golden year into the most traumatizing one of her life. It wasnt just that Trump shamed her about about gaining weight, calling her things like Miss Piggy and an eating machine. It wasnt even that he did so publicly. It was that he did it with the biggest audience he could find, in an attempt to sear her weight fluctuation into the public consciousness, forever changing how she would be remembered.

    Then on Monday night, in a twist of cosmic justice, Trump now the Republican nominee for president was presented with a bigger audience for his comments about Machados weight than he ever could have imagined, or wanted.

    In what has been billed as the most-watched debate in presidential history, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton made Trumps remarks to Machado a centerpiece of their first televised clash, citing the name-calling in particular, Trump calling her Miss Housekeeping in reference to her Latina origins as a prime example of her opponents demeaning views about women.

    Trumps treatment of Machado reached its nadir in January 1997 when, having put the recently crowned Miss Universe on a stringent diet and exercise regime, he scheduled a trip with her to a New York City gym. There he blindsided her with dozens of cameramen, who gathered to film her jumping rope, lifting weights and pedaling a stationary bike. Trump cast himself in the role of disapproving dad, leaning over Machado as she hid her mortification behind a show of charms only the worlds top beauty queen could have mustered, laughing along with reporters and even once planting a kiss on Trumps cheek.

    Alicia
    Alicia Machado of Venezuela reacts as she is crowned Miss Universe on 17 May 1996. Photograph: Eric Draper/AP

    Although she appeared happy, smiling for the crowd of cameras as she dutifully skipped rope, she tells the Guardian she felt like a mouse in a cage, running endlessly on her fixed wheel for the entertainment of others. I was in some gym in New York like a mouse, she said. Look at that mouse: how she run, how she jump, how she make exercise. Like that. In that moment is when problems come to me and start.

    The media loved the spectacle, and so did Trump, who didnt hesitate to pass out some memorable if fallacious tidbits himself. She weighed 118 pounds or 117 pounds and she went up to 170, so this is somebody who likes to eat, he said in an interview at the time. In fact Machado says she gained only a fraction of that weight but she didnt dare correct him; she was already frightened hed make good on a threat to strip her of her crown if she didnt follow through on the performance at the gym. (Trumps campaign did not return a request for comment.)

    Machado never did lose her crown, but she lost her health for a time. Though she had never suffered from eating disorders previously, in the years that followed the ordeal at the gym, she struggled with anorexia and bulimia. It took five years before she was fully recovered, and longer before she could talk about what she went through. Now she hopes to use the insights gleaned to help teenagers struggling to love their bodies.

    No matter what, no matter who tells you that you dont look good, that is only outside, she said, speaking partly, perhaps, to her younger self. You are more than some weight. You are more than some phase. You are more than if you are short or tall, or you are black or you are white, or you are skinny or fat or whatever. Your value is how you can work, how you can feel for the people around you.

    She added: In this moment 20 years later, the only thing I need to say is Im a really happy person. Im a very successful person. I have my family, my daughter, my career, my dreams, my ideas. Referring to Trumps character, she said: And he cant be a president of the United States of America.

    That Machado is thriving these days was readily apparent from where she sat in her publicists fourth-floor office in West Hollywood, and apparent in many different realms. She has traded pageants for success as an actor, starring in a string of telenovelas a childhood dream come true. She is also a successful businesswoman, with a line of products bearing her name. And she is the proud mother of a seven-year-old girl, whose privacy she fiercely protects; a question about whether she would encourage her daughter to compete in beauty pageants was met with stern disapproval.

    More recently, she has added another title to her list of identities: activist. In June, Machado teamed up with civil rights icon Dolores Huerta in Virginia to join immigrant advocacy groups in encouraging Latinos to register and to vote for Clinton. She took her own advice to heart, too. On 19 August she became a registered US citizen, pledging in a post on Instagram to cast her ballot for Clinton. Later that month she traveled to Florida to lend her star power to a Clinton campaign drive to register Latino voters, posting video excerpts from the trip to social media accounts.

    Her celebrity is at the nexus of two very important voter groups this election cycle, and they are groups overwhelmingly supportive of Clinton: women and Latinos. Both have been broadly insulted by Trump, who has called Mexican immigrants rapists and regularly refers to women as animals; Machado has the dubious distinction of being the recipient of both racial and gender-specific slurs, a powerful reference point that certainly isnt lost on the Clinton campaign.

    Alicia Machado has seen first hand the dangerous impact Trumps hateful and divisive rhetoric can have on people, a Clinton spokesperson said of Machados involvement with the campaign. As a Latina, as a first-time voter and as a respected leader in the Latino community, Alicia has become an invaluable voice of our campaign to help mobilize Latinos against Trumps bigoted agenda and to educate the community about Hillarys plans to build a better future for them.

    In the first presidential debate on Monday, Machados value could scarcely have been more evident. Clintons strongest moment in an already impressive debate performance arguably her strongest moment in the cycle came near the end when she seized on a question about what Trump had meant when he had said she didnt look presidential. Trump tried to deflect the damaging line of inquiry, saying he had actually been questioning her stamina. Clinton wasnt having it; and she used the concrete details of Machados story to pull him back in the ring of fire.

    Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

    David Hernandez

    Donald Trump’s major fat-shaming problem was on full display at the debate.

    Another day, another group belittled by presidential candidate Donald Trump.

    Women. People with disabilities. Muslims. Jewish people. Black people. Mexicans. Gay people. Prisoners of war. Transgender people. (Did I miss any?)

    There’s one group, though, that Trump has repeatedly, consistently mocked time and time again throughout his entire career, long before he got into politics and it’s one not enough people are talking about.

    Trump has great disdain for fat* people. And it was on full display during and immediately after the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, 2016.

    *Note: I will use the term “fat” to describe people in this article. Unlike Trump’s usage, I am using “fat” as an adjective, not an insult.

    Let’s break down the three fat-phobic things Trump promoted at (and shortly after) the debate with some classic, cold, hard fact-checking.

    Trump’s two cents: After Hillary Clinton pointed out that Trump has called women “pigs, slobs, and dogs,” Trump resurrected and defended his offensive, decade-old remarks against Rosie O’Donnell, claiming “she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her.”

    Fact-check: Calling O’Donnell a “slob” is a play right out of the Fat-Phobic’s Handbook of Fallacies. Although our society pushes this narrative, the truth is that being fat does not mean a person is inherently lazy, unhygienic, incompetent, or any of the other negative stereotypes often ascribed to people with bigger bodies including being a so-called “slob.”

    Trump’s two cents: In a mind-bogglingly random aside, Trump suggested during the debate that “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” could have been the one who broke into the Democratic National Committee’s email server a not-so-subtle suggestion that any know-nothing, inept person could do so.

    Fact-check: Again, Trump perpetuated a seemingly inconsequential but actually pretty dangerous connection between undesirable traits and having a body that happens to be fat.

    “Trump didnt just express the standard disgust for fat bodies,” writer Lindy West penned in The Guardian. “He positioned fat people as dangers to national security. The implications are familiar, even if the context is outlandish: fat people are lazy, bedridden, unscrupulous, untrustworthy, antisocial, gluttonous (for secrets!) and worthless as anything but a punchline.”

    West wasn’t the only one unimpressed. Former Republican rival and Trump supporter Rick Santorumwas seemingly just as perplexed as many of us watching at home:

    Trump’s two cents: During the debate, Clinton said Trump allegedly once called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy.” He doubled-down on his attacks against Machado the following morning as though her weight would ever be a legitimate reason to condemn her as a pageant winner explaining in an interview with “Fox and Friends” that Machado had gained “a massive amount of weight” and it had become “a real problem.”

    Fact-check: In his follow-up interview, Trump didn’t even try to deny that Machado’s weight had become an underlying issue for him. And that’s … an issue. Instead of using his platform to help change a sexist, fat-phobic industry standard, Trump allegedly threatened to take her crown away after she’d gained weight, and, astoundingly, invited reporters to film her exercising without telling her beforehand in order to show the public she was on a weight-loss regimen.

    “It was very humiliating,” Machado said years later of Trump’s treatment. “I felt really bad, like a lab rat.”

    Of course, none of this is probably all that surprising to you even if you’re a Trump supporter. Voters have come to expect he’ll spout whatever’s on his mind, for better or worse. If that means saying something fat-phobic like bullying overweight people at his rallies, demanding Chris Christie stop eating Oreos, or body-shaming Diet Coke drinkers so be it.

    But really, this isn’t about Trump or whether his fat-phobic remarks will change the presidential race. It’s about how those remarks hurt us everyone watching at home.

    Fat-shaming is often overlooked, sometimes because it becomes so frequent and so subtle that we get used to it. But we shouldn’t.

    Many of us have rallied together in defense of other groups women, Muslims, military families after Trump has insulted them, and rightly so. We should be doing the same right now for fat people.

    Again, it bears repeating: “Fat” should not be an insult. It is an adjective. The problem isn’t just that Donald Trump is calling people fat it’s that he uses “fat” as a catch-all term that implies a whole host of other negative, undesirable qualities.

    The prevalence of fat-phobia continues to promote real-world discrimination, and comments like Trump’s only add fuel to the fire.

    Fat-phobic biases by medical professionals means fat people are more likely to receive poor health care services. Being fat means you look more guilty in jurors’ eyes. If you’re fat, you’re more likely to be seen as unhealthy despite the fact you can’t actually tell much about a person’s health just by looking at their waistline. And because workplace discrimination is a thing, fat women are more likely to get smaller paychecks than their skinnier counterparts. (Isn’t it fun when sexism and fat-phobia collide?)

    To be clear, Trump’s certainly not the only politician who’s made fat-phobic remarks although maybe he’s the worst offender? and expecting him to change his tune before Nov. 8 is unlikely.

    I’m not holding my breath, hoping Trump transforms into a body-positivity champion but I am hoping his fat-shaming will spur some backlash from all of us and the way we treat fat people as a society.

    I’m hoping Trump’s blunt, non-P.C. style will actually shed a light on how hurtful, ignorant, and dangerous this “tell it like it is” mentality can be when it comes to fat-shaming.

    When reality TV show hosts make fat-phobic remarks, it’s a problem but when those remarks are coming from someone who wants to be the leader of the free world, it’s an utterly unacceptable show of disrespect and discrimination.

    Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/donald-trumps-major-fat-shaming-problem-was-on-full-display-at-the-debate?c=tpstream

    David Hernandez

    Jim Henson’s legacy throws its weight behind digital puppetry

    The cast of ‘Word Party’.
    Image: jim henson’s creature shop

    Very little onscreen kids’ entertainment these days escapes computer enhancement. From green-screen set backgrounds to full-blown animated graphics, the technology has reached the point where we can often no longer tell the difference between real life and CGI.

    Except where the Muppets are concerned, right?

    The iconic puppets created by the late, legendary puppeteer Jim Henson have been around for more than six decades and are often held up as the last bastion of the analog fight against digital.

    But the Jim Henson Company, with Henson’s daughter Lisa Henson at the helm as CEO, is also throwing its weight behind digital animation. At its Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, actors fitted with motion-graphics trackers act out their puppet characters, which are later rendered by a computer.

    Henson told Mashable that it is good storytelling, not realism, that’s needed to breathe life into a character.

    After all, the Muppets themselves were a gangly, cartoony bunch that charmed their way into millions of children’s hearts through the way their characters expressed themselves on screen.

    “To look ‘puppety’ or ‘Hensony’, it’s really an animation technique, not a digital one. When Lulu Bear kisses the screen, children do too…they believe she’s real,” said Henson, referring to one of the main characters on the company’s Netflix exclusive, Word Party.

    The Jim Henson Company sold the rights to the Muppets to the Walt Disney Company 12 years ago. Non-profit organisation Sesame Workshop owns the Muppet characters that appear on Sesame Street.

    Lisa Henson

    Image: The jim henson company

    Still, Jim Henson’s company, and his children, are still recognised as the guardians of his puppetry legacy. Despite what the analog purists say, Lisa Henson insists that digital technology doesn’t detract from the traditional craft.

    “A lot of adults love hand puppets from childhood. Kids like the look of CG animation.”

    “The (motion capture) puppeteers are trained in traditional hand puppetry. They’re very closely connected to their characters and that’s what makes their (portrayal) very ‘Hensony’,” she said.

    Behind the scenes, the demands on the actors are just as high as for traditional puppeteers, she added. Bodily motions are captured at the same time as the actor’s expressions and voice.

    This spontaneous ‘live’ acting gives the portrayal of characters on shows such as Word Play a more TV-like feel, she believes.

    Capturing an actor in one take also offers one pragmatic advantage: it’s cheaper. Simply put, motion-capture puppetry allows the company to produce sufficiently high-quality, life-like characters “on the budget of kids’ animation.”

    For bigger-budget stuff, the Jim Henson Company’s traditional craft remains its trademark. A cast of new puppets has been produced for a new series starring Julie Andrews. The show, Julie’s Greenroom, is slated for 2017.

    Henson said: “A lot of adults love hand puppets from childhood. Kids like the look of CG animation.”

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/09/27/lisa-henson-digital-puppetry/

    David Hernandez

    Hollywood Made Lindsey Vonn Wonder If She Should Lose Weight

    While many people look at Lindsey Vonn’s body in awe, the Olympic skier admits there were times when she felt insecure about her figure.

    Vonn writes in her upcoming book “Strong Is the New Beautiful” that attending Hollywood parties made her question her athletic build.

    “The more time I spent at these events, the more I began to feel that I didn’t quite fit in,” Vonn writes according to the New York Post.

    “It seemed like everyone was model-thin, with tiny waists and long willowy legs…I thought: ‘Should I not wear this dress? Do I need to lose weight if I want to stay socially relevant as an athlete?'”

    Vonn seems to have moved past her insecurities, often-wearing revealing outfits at red carpet events.

    Pull-ups work. Fact. Hard work pays off. Fact. #strongisthenewbeautiful

    A photo posted by Lindsey Vonn (@lindseyvonn) on

    She also shares a variety of workout pictures of videos on her Instagram.

    Getting stronger 🙂

    A video posted by Lindsey Vonn (@lindseyvonn) on

    Vonn’s new book hits stores October 4.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/09/28/hollywood-made-lindsey-vonn-wonder-if-should-lose-weight.html

    David Hernandez