Monthly Archives: May 2012

Women’s waists – six inches added thereto since the 1950s

If you want a laugh, even if a wry one, then check out this amusing article about one woman’s solution to women’s waists moving up six inches since the 1950s:–cleaning-house-YOU-Fifties-wasp-waist.html


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Amazing data on the obesity epidemic, from UCSF Med Center

I’m attending a series of health lectures at the UC Med Center. Last night Jonathan Carter, M.D., discussed his surgery practice in bariatric surgery (bypass and banding), and current research regarding the obesity epidemic. He first displayed a 1990 map of the US  and then a map for every year up to 2010. The map for 1990 identified each state as falling  into only three percentage categories of  “prevalence of obesity” including none, under 10%, and 10 to 14% which was the most percentage of obesity. For 1990 California had an under 10% prevalence of obesity, while not surprisingly, many southern states had 10-14%. A few states had none.

As succeeding years’ charts up to 2010 popped up on the screen, along the way additional higher percentage categories were added.  By 2004, California had jumped up to having a 20-24% obesity prevalence, and in 2010 Colorado, the last state to have an under 20% prevalence,  jumped up to that  same level. Once more, southern states with Mississippi at the top, had an even higher prevalence of obesity.

Dr. Carter defines obesity as having a BMI of 40 plus, and sometimes 35 plus for certain at risk patients. He will not operate and shrink a stomach surgically without those numbers showing for his patients. I think it behooves us all to keep a close eye on our BMI, though we all know that our former “Guvenator” Arnold S., has a very high BMI yet is considered extremely healthy and buff. So you can’t always go by BMI alone.

More to the point was research proving that diet results are short-termed and that dieters almost always gain back almost all the weight. Education seems to matter little. The 811 subjects in one study were highly educated Harvard folks, and received all kinds of supportive medical advice, nutrition services, classes, counseling and guidance, and diets, yet they too, failed ultimately to keep the weight off.  By two years they had all gained about half the weight back, and were still moving up. Intelligence matters little when it comes to obesity, but socio-economic class may contribute: Dr. Carter noted that poorer people tended to eat cheaper fast foods, which are ubiquitous;  restaurants and the food industry pack calories into meals and into making and serving larger and larger size portions to tempt us to overeat (and overpay).

Further, the Atkins high protein high fat diet is no better or worse than the South Beach diet or the no carb diet — all of which try to manipulate the content of what we eat.  Dr. Carter himself tried is pre-operation regime he puts his clients on: three cans of Ensure liquid drink each day for a total of 750 calories (plus a small salad for him!) for two weeks prior to surgery; he lost 8 pounds. But changing up what we eat, makes no real difference says Dr. Carter, because the only thing that counts is ‘calories in calories out.’ If we eat more than we burn off, we gain weight. But then, we knew that, right?

Fat control medicines that block certain receptors related to weight, are not promising, he says, because of side effects. Two of the ones on the market are basically speed, while others raise the specter of depression, nausea, and headaches.

Part of the problem is lifestyle choices. Dr. Carter reminded us that the average American walks just 170 yards per day!

I was curious about hunger, so I asked why and how the stomach bypass surgery or the gastric band surgery might affect it or be affected by it? Hunger is said to be one of two major things that defeat a diet (the other is stress). Apparently hunger is reduced. The effect of stomach bypass, is that stimulus is reduced from the stomach to the hypothalmus in the brain, the place that controls secretion of ghrelin that causes or is related to hunger. Ghrelin levels go way down after bariatric surgery (from 500 units to about 100 units in one study he discussed) and they remain stable at the lower level. However, Dr. Carter says there is no answer as to why this happens.

Many of my clients and I have noted that hunger goes way down when we corset, which is similar to gastric banding surgery. It seems there may be no easy answer as to why that happens, but it does.

Note that the first operation costs about $20,000 in hospital bills an insurance company will pay, plus $5000 for the surgeon and a like amount for the anesthesiologist, while the second operation costs about $10,000 and $2500 each doctor.

A final fascinating fact is that bariatric surgery reduces colon cancer and disappears  diabetes. Getting rid of diabetes entirely in his patients, leaves an open question that the medical establishment is current wrestling with: can it be performed safely on thin individuals, to also disappear their diabetes?

While corset waist training can demonstrate amazing results within a few short months, more to the point is the question, does it help change bad habits and instill healthy new ones that maintain most of the weight/waistline inch loss? That is an important focus for our further coaching program, to do longitudinal studies of our students. So far I know four who have gained it all back thru excess stress and falling back into bad habits. Most everyone has gained some back but not all, so it seems fair from this data, to consider the ‘corset diet’ a moderate success.

I have heard of cases where patients have gained a substantial amount of weight back after bariatric surgery. In April Carney Wilson (singer) publicized that she as having a second bariatic procedure, her bypass having not worked well for her in the long run. We welcome further information, personal experience, and data from our readers in order to keep informing our opinion that corsets work just as well as diets with a lot more fun in the process, and perhaps work as well as surgery with much less trauma, risky side effects, and at a hugely cheaper cost!

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$50,000 boot camp for overweight teens plus pod weight reduction? What’s next?

Ya just gotta laugh at how much money some folks have, to spend on teenagers who can’t push back from the table from parents who don’t know how to help. GMA today covered a boot camp where the year’s tuition is only $6000 per month — “not that much considering the cost of obesity” said the reporter.

Let’s see. For $50,000 you could purchase our three-month waist training program times ten (that’s over a year), five $600 top quality waist-training corsets  in increasingly smaller waist sizes, purchase a gym membership, purchase all organic foods and hire a personal chef three days per week for dinner each year. Why is it this society loves to throw money at problems? To be sure, the teen has to put out maximum physical and emotional effort because it isn’t easy according to the story, so more power to those who enroll. But I often wonder why corset waist training (at least for the girls and at least with informed medical supervision by forward-thinking doctors) hasn’t been tried? It’s not promoted by the medical establishment as one friend speculated and I surmise, rather accurately so, because of lawyers only too willing to take on too-willing plaintiffs who might do something foolish and be injured. However, I’ve never heard of any injury much more serious that a few sore ribs from wearing a stiff, new corset for too long a period of time. Overdoing the corset wearing can result in dizziness and I suppose, increase the risk of falling and injury–but so can starving oneself to reach model-thin proportions, or choosing five-inch stilettos in which to run (and contestants really RUN!) Kelly Ripa’s silly but entertaining Central Park contest each year.

So what about the new fad of saran-wrapping a body and being inserted into a pod where lasers are used to “address wrinkles, acne, and weight reduction” according to another news story? I didn’t catch the cost of each treatment, but did catch that there is no proof this works in weight reduction or figure-shaping.

Leaves one wondering; what will be next? I chatted recently with a lady who started with a 28″ waist and on her own, coupled with proper nutrition and moderate exercise, wore a corset for two years and dropped to a 20″ natural waist. While that’s an incredibly rare result lying on the outer edges and requiring patience and dedication beyond the norm, more moderate but noteworthy waist trimming is typical of most anyone who gives corset waist training a serious try.

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One Pot Meals Reduce Calories – research from Cornell University

On “The Chew” tv show today. I learned that one pot meals may reduce our calorie intake.  I checked out and recommend the source, a report (published January 28 in Journal of Eating Behaviors) from Cornell University:

“Soup, pasta, stew or stir-fry, will cut down on the amount of food and calories consumed.” As we know, our environment plays a powerful role in determining how much we eat, and I would add, our food choices.

But then,  — I knew that! Buffets are lethal, and even worse are the huge assortment of foods prepared and served by my partner’s Chinese family at family gatherings. Before I started participating in those, I had never seen three meats, three vegetables, three starches, two types of bread, and three desserts offered at a home meal! My mom prepared one meat, one starch, and one veggie, and never served bread.  I soon understood why all three Chinese-American  children suffer from being overweight, one being a pre-diabetic. Their typical family meal choices were, and are just overwhelmingly tempting. And of course, the family always chooses those fatty Chinese buffet restaurants for going out to dinner, never a Salad Bar or even a Vietnamese restaurant. Each family member fills his or her plate two to three times, but I do my best to choose only 1/2 a plateful of food and one dessert, and most times I am successful.

To the contrary, at home  one of my favorite meals is a simple-to-prepare one-pot meal of non-fatty seared pork roast plus water and a bit of white wine to cover the roast. You can use a round cut (less fat) beef roast or chicken.  I simmer it for 30 minutes. Then I add in potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, and simmer for an hour, but for the last 10 minutes, add chopped cauliflower.

Almost every weekend I make a large pot of home-made soup using left-over roasted chicken bones, a ham hock, or even pork spare rib bones. Sometimes but rarely, I purchase beef soup bones.  In my home, I don’t waste any bone and always make a soup.

Learned from my mom, the three items that make soups particularly tasty are (1) a turnip,  (2) brussel sprouts or (3) cabbage.  On occasion I indulge and toss in a small handful of wild rice (but it’s expensive!). I then add almost anything in my kitchen, including dried split peas, lentils, rice, barley, and after a couple of hours of simmering, I add a sliced carrot, chopped brocolli, can of green beans or peas, or mixed veggies. In the meantime I boil a pot of water, drop in 1 cup of dried beans (cannelloni are great tasting), cover it and let it sit for 20 min. Then I drain and rinse the beans, cover them with water plus 1″, add a chopped half onion, salt and pepper, and gently simmer those one hour. At that time I simply add the boiling juice and beans to my simmering soup and let that go for another hour. Sometimes if I want a minnestroni taste, I add a can of diced Italian seasoned tomatoes, and 1/4 c. of white wine and simmer one more hour. By that time, it’s ready to eat.

The next day your soup will be even better, and the  day after better than that! If the quantity exceeds the size of your tummy as my soup does, simply put the excess in a plastic storage container and freeze, or gift a large jar to your lucky neighbor or family!

Do you have any great, low fat health 0ne-pot, or soup, meal recipes to share?



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New body scanner to I.D. visceral vs. subcutaneous fat

Several weeks ago I was fascinated to watch on the March 26 “The Doctors” tv talk show,  an interview with Mary K. Oates, MD, a Santa Monica, CA doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. (I thought all doctors were doctors of physical medicine excepting psychiatrists, of course.)  Dr. Oates has developed a new scanner to identify visceral vs. subcutaneous fat. She has been doing “observational research study comparing body composition by DXA technology using the GE Prodigy system to older methods for estimating body fat, muscle mass and bone mineral content. Resting Metabolic Rate was also correlated to body composition measurements. The first portion of this research was presented at the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research in 2006.  See

Why should corset enthusiasts care? Most likely those considering permanent figure reshaping thru corsetry vs. the more drastic step of liposuction, tummy tuck, or gastric banding, should be aware of these fat measurements in order to fairly evaluate options and choose the best solution to a concern about weight or shape. In addition, knowing these facts can provide an early warning system as to when one’s body is approaching obesity, and remedial action is indicated.

How soon this technology will be available to the common person and family doctor, remains to be seen. Sadly, I’ve read that many doctors don’t even bother to weigh their patients, or comment upon expanding waistlines. Don’t forget this fact learned from Dr. Oz: women with waistlines 35″ and over, and men with waistlines 39” and over, should attend to their weight and move below those figures. A tape measure one easy way to keep a focus on your health, and might indicates time to try corset waist-training before going under the knife!

Lipo sucks out subcutaneous fat; but it is the deep or visceral fat surrounding organs such as the heart and liver that cause the most risk of poor health. I’ve read about research that even suggests that having lipo might encourage the growth of visceral fat thereafter! It behooves us all to do our research carefully before beginning to tinker temporarily or permanently with our body.

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