January 3, 2017
Studies are increasingly showing that the epidemic of obesity is rapidly growing, becoming not just a public health crisis for adults, but for entire families. In our recent blog post Childhood Obesity Predictors May Not Be What You Think (Part 1), we found that not only is childhood obesity rising (doubled in the past 30 years), but it has also been strongly linked to parental obesity.
Research on families and obesity reveals that children of overweight parents have an 80 percent chance of also being overweight. You might be tempted to think that the majority of this is due to the family’s genetic predisposition, but researchers have shown that the link between one’s genetics and one’s weight accounts for only a small part of this 80 percent chance. What seems to matter more is your family environment.
In fact, establishing healthy routines for your entire household can support you in staying on track in your own diet and weight loss journey. Being healthy has a reciprocal effect; what you do for your children will positively affect you and vice versa. The key is to identify the problem and work to slowly chip away at it. To get started, try a few of these tips to start implementing healthier routines in your household this week:
1. Enjoy meals together. When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much.
2. Explore mindful eating and introduce the idea to your family to prevent overeating. For more about mindful eating, read our blog post.
3. Get kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus. For easy meals that even the kids can help with, check out these recipes for a week’s worth of healthy meals.
4. Make physical activity a weekly goal with your family, and find ways to make it fun and help bring you all together. For some ideas on fun ways to stay active with your family, check out this slideshow.
5. Talk to your kids. If you struggle with your weight, it may be impacting your kids whether you know it or not. Strive to be open about your struggles and your journey with your children. Model for them the importance of making your health a priority so they can learn to do so for themselves as they grow older. Try daily affirmations for positive body image with your kids. Plus, we don’t have to keep these struggles to ourselves. When we have the support of our family, so many things are possible. You may find that achieving a healthier weight can be more enjoyable, in addition to bringing your family closer together.
Sources: American Heart Association, Obesity Action Coalition
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
December 26, 2016
Finding the motivation to pursue a healthy weight can be difficult sometimes. But a new study out of Stanford University may be able to add an increased sense of urgency and purpose, particularly for parents: Do it for the kids!
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. While many factors have contributed to this, including increased access to fast foods and higher birth weight, more evidence shows that the factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents.
“The findings of this study suggest that at-risk children may be identifiable in the first few years of life,” says W. Stewart Agras, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, whose team assessed both established and hypothesized risk factors in a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.
Agras says parental obesity represented the most potent risk factor, a finding that confirms previous observations, and the connection between overweight parents and overweight children is likely due to a combination of genetics and family environmental influences.
Childhood obesity can lead to many other health issues for children. According to the American Obesity Association, pediatricians are reporting more frequent cases of obesity-related diseases such as type-2 diabetes, asthma and hypertension — diseases that once were considered adult conditions.
It can be emotionally conflicting to think about the ways that one’s own health can negatively impact one’s children. But remember that the focus of this study and its findings is not about blame or shaming overweight parents, but rather about prevention. “It’s important to identify risk factors because they may provide a way to alter the child’s environment and reduce the chance of becoming overweight,” Agras says.
Remember: Good health is paramount for many reasons. The first reason is YOU. Obesity can prevent you from living a long, happy, and healthy life. The next reason is the people that you love. You play an integral role in building a healthy family. But while bad eating and exercise habits in children can be passed down from parents, the good news is that we have the power to change those unhealthy habits for ourselves, as well as for our children. Stay tuned for Part 2 for 5 tips for a healthier family….
Sources: American Heart Association, News Medical, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
December 23, 2016
In a society that continues to stigmatize obesity, many believe that overeating and obesity are the result of lack of motivation or self-control. However, for many that struggle with weight loss, the problem goes much deeper than sheer will power. In fact, there are a number of signs and symptoms that point to Binge Eating Disorder (or BED) as a potential cause for overeating which can lead to obesity.
Binge eating disorder is more than just eating too much food. “Insatiable cravings that lead to eating large amounts of food, often quickly and to the point of physical pain, and followed by intense shame and self-loathing, characterize binge eating disorder,” says Kathleen Murphy, M.A., LPC, and Executive Clinical Director at Breathe Life Healing Centers, where the Breakfree@Breathe program specializes in treating binge eating disorder. This overeating/guilt pattern is a vicious cycle; people who suffer from BED feel that they have lost total control.
While anorexia and bulimia are more commonly known, BED is actually the most common eating disorder in the United States, with 5 million sufferers nationwide. Additionally, two out of three people with BED are obese and 30 percent of people looking into weight loss treatments likely exhibit symptoms of the disorder.
How do you know if you have BED? People with binge eating disorder display a combination of symptoms. These include:
• Regularly eating more food than most people would in a single sitting
• Feeling out of control while you’re eating
• Having binge eating episodes at least once a week for three months or longer
In addition to the above, people with binge eating disorder must have at least three of the following symptoms:
• Eating really fast or past the point of feeling full
• Experiencing negative feelings of shame, guilt or remorse about binge eating
• Eating a lot — even when you’re not hungry
• Eating alone, particularly because you’re embarrassed about how much you’re eating
Although BED is a treatable disorder, it’s estimated that 57 percent of people with binge eating disorder never receive treatment. However, in 2013, binge eating disorder was finally categorized as a recognizable and treatable diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) produced by the American Psychiatric Association™. This was incredibly important to the treatment of the disease, since a diagnosis that can be documented leads to greater access to care for sufferers. Since BED is now listed as a disorder, many insurance plans cover treatment.
If you think you may have Binge Eating Disorder, getting support and treatment is paramount. If left untreated, BED can perpetuate the disease of obesity, in addition to a host of other health conditions and comorbidities. Treatment options are now more available than ever, and the prognosis for recovery is good. To find a treatment provider who specializes in binge eating disorder, please visit the National Eating Disorder Association’s Treatment Options database today. Once you are receiving proper treatment for your BED, you may find more success in a weight management program. To discuss starting a weight management program and starting the journey toward a healthier you, visit our Find a Clinic page.
Sources: National Eating Disorders Association, Healthline
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
December 14, 2016
There is an increasing problem in how healthcare providers are approaching obesity and no one is talking about it —because they don’t know how to.
Obesity and its related chronic conditions is one the biggest detrimental health issues in America, but medical schools fail to teach their students — future healthcare providers — how to interact with patients about their weight. This is unacceptable, as this leaves our future medical providers without the knowledge of basic conversational approaches to initiate treatment of one of our country’s leading epidemics.
In an effort to teach and improve providers’ interaction with their patients about obesity, Kognito, a New York City-based company that designs immersive learning experiences with virtual humans to bring about positive changes in health behaviors, created an application for the Apple App Store and Google Play called “Change Talk 2.0.” This application, which has a goal of changing the conversation about childhood obesity, has the user enter a “virtual scenario,” enter a question, and then get feedback from a “virtual family” about the encounter. It was created to offer a simulation-type experience in the hopes that it will make it easier for the provider to broach the sensitive subject of weight to their adolescent patient.
Since launching in 2014, the first iteration of the application boasted 30,000 users. Now that the second version has been released, one would anticipate additional growth and perhaps expansion into virtual simulations that focus on motivational interviewing approaches to obesity with the adult patient population. There’s certainly a market for it. In fact, a survey was conducted of providers that used the original application and a resounding 93 percent said that they would make changes to provide better healthcare to their patients. Eighty-eight percent of the providers made changes within a month after completing the survey.
Applications like “Change Talk” are proving to be indispensable tools for healthcare, and the market is only beginning to scratch the surface. Healthcare and technology will continue to merge, and the ultimate result will be improved healthcare and outcomes for patients. As app developers continue to dip into the healthcare market, healthcare providers will benefit from new technology as an extension of their services, allowing for broader and individualized attention on the patient. If you haven’t already, it’s best to get on board now.
Source: Fast Company
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
December 6, 2016
Yo-Yos go up and down… but your weight isn’t supposed to! Nonetheless, many dieters find themselves in an endless cycle of losing a portion of pounds, only to gain it back all over again — and then some. When you get stuck in what seems like an endless cycle of weight loss and regain, losing weight can become a frustrating and unachievable pursuit. How do you keep up the motivation to lose weight when you can’t seem to keep it off?
Don’t feel alone. Most dieters will experience weight regain at some point, and it is definitely frustrating. "People go on diets over and over again - and keep failing," says professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. "It's a very common problem. Up to 50 percent of obese people suffer this relapsing pattern.” Such a pattern can lead to a lot of mental and emotional anguish, making dieters more likely to give up on their dreams of achieving a healthy weight.
But in addition to being emotionally and mentally draining, Yo-Yo dieting can actually come with health risks. Due to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, consistently losing and gaining weight can increase your risk of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner claims that Yo-Yo dieting can also damage arteries and cause an increase in LDL cholesterol — both of which increase the risk of heart disease. And, there are many other health risks associated with being overweight and/or obese.
Additionally, Yo-Yo dieting is often associated with rapid weight loss in a short amount of time by limiting calorie intake. When you are undergoing low calorie diets without the supervision of a doctor or dietician, you can actually be depriving yourself of important nutrients and healthy calories. This type of dieting can slow your metabolism, lead to low energy levels, tiredness, fatigue and irritability. Not fun!
Step one of losing weight healthily and keeping it off in the long-term is to find support. Working with a weight loss professional who can provide you with proven tools and resources can be a far greater investment than any fad diet out there. Also consider these additional tips on how to avoid the endless cycle of Yo-Yo dieting:
Be realistic: A weight loss professional can help you set achievable goals. Make sure your goals come with a realistic time frame and can fit reasonably into your life, and that are aligned with health objectives. Having a goal to lose 20 pounds for a wedding two months from now can set you up for failure, and promote unhealthy habits. As a starting point, commit to goals that can be achieved with moderate effort.
Reward yourself: But not with food. When you reach a weight milestone, treat yourself to a massage. Or start a change jar and add the equivalent of what you would spend on junk food. At the end of every month, use the money accumulated to go on a shopping spree.
Identify your motivation: Motivation is key to success. “That is the number one most important thing,” says Judy Caplan, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. List out why you want to get healthy, and refer to those reasons during moments of weakness.
Don’t give up: “One of the most important tips for being a successful weight loser is not to let past failed attempts keep you from trying again,” says Michael Dansinger, M.D., weight loss and nutrition advisor for “The Biggest Loser” and assistant professor at Tufts School of Medicine in Boston. “Every time you fail, you get more insight about what to do differently next time.”
Sources: Livestrong, U.S. News
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
November 15, 2016
For at least the last three decades, a shadow has been cast over butter as the artery clogging scourge of all saturated fats to be avoided at all cost, lest we put ourselves at risk for obesity and heart disease. But new information is coming out that suggests that reducing one’s intake of butter and similar dietary fats does not necessarily make you healthier or less at risk for obesity and other comorbid conditions.
A recent paper published in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that butter actually has more of a neutral association with mortality; that is, it’s not really bad for you, but it’s not really good for you either. The researchers collected data on butter consumption and health risks from nine previous studies that, in total, included 636,151 participants, and found that “no significant associations were seen between butter consumption and heart health.”
To be clear, this does not mean that butter is healthy. Small amounts of butter is not an issue, but regular consumption, such as using butter on bread, cooking and frying, can contribute to health risks. The key is to not consume large amounts of butter regularly, and when possible, to substitute it with healthy alternatives. (PRO TIP for weight loss providers: between apple pies and cookies, this is the season when dieters over-consume butter! Download our free staff training guide for tools and strategies to keep your dieters on track.)
“It doesn’t matter that you’re eating it; what matters is what you’re eating it in place of and what else you’re eating,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy and senior author of the paper. “Butter is neither the villain it was made out to be, nor a health food,” he added. “So it’s about your other food choices, not about the butter.”
It’s also important to remember that not all fats are created equal. While limiting saturated fats is a good idea, the trans fats found in butter alternatives like margarine are even worse for you. Plus, there are actually “good” fats known as polyunsaturated fats, found in foods such as avocados, fatty fish like salmon, and olive oil. These fats help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. And oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.
So is butter back? Well… kinda sorta. Don’t stress over a little here and there, but pay attention to your food choices overall. Instead of emphasizing one nutrient, focus on food-based recommendations… whole, minimally processed, nutritious food that is as close to its natural form as possible. Need more help to get your diet on track? Find provider who can help you start a meal program that’s right for you.
Are you a provider dealing with retention challenges during holiday season? We’ve got you covered. Register for Robard’s upcoming free webcast “2017: Your Year to Retain and Regain Clients.”
Sources: CNN, Harvard Public Health, American Heart Association
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
November 8, 2016
The time between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be the most challenging for your staff and your patients. There’s temptation around every corner — saboteurs are everywhere and, as a result, many patients fall victim to the mentality that “no‐one can maintain a diet during this time of year.” This mindset causes a chain of negative events that result in lost retention, decreased program effectiveness, lost revenue and momentum within your business.
But facts confirm that it’s simply not true. It’s time for you to prepare and educate your staff so your patients can break through the obstacles of tempting delights so they can enjoy a January filled with weight loss achievement.
The belief that patients can’t be successful during the holidays is based on outdated assumptions. Years ago, before we had an obesity crisis — before over 65 percent of Americans were overweight — the diet industry largely catered to cosmetic and seasonal weight loss. From January to May and from September to Thanksgiving, consumers turned to weight loss programs and then dropped their program during the summer and holidays. Today, more people join weight loss programs for health and wellness and to eradicate medical issues. These reasons are impervious to seasons, but patients are still susceptible to sabotage and exposure to diminished expectations. It’s during these times that we need to increase our vigilance against excuses and sabotage.
Educate your staff to counter all of the excuses, uncover sneaky saboteurs and eliminate them.
9 Tried and True Strategies for Retaining Your Patients
1. Create a weekly calendar with each client for each week during the holiday season and include their upcoming social events. Let the patient see how many of the 42 weekly eating occasions don’t involve a social event. (Assuming a patient eats six meals/snacks daily).
2. Stock up on Robard snacks and protein bars. These are easy to take on-the-go and require no prep. Perfect for shopping!
3. Re‐do goals with every patient and give specifics to focus on. Remind them it’s a series of small daily choices, not all or nothing. Help them counter the, “Well, I had cake at lunch, so I will start again tomorrow” approach.
4. Help patients visualize January 1.
5. Have patients fill out their food log.
6. Go over socializing basics. For example, if there is a dinner? On that day, eat breakfast, a snack, and lunch (preferably products). Eat just before arriving. Consider trade‐offs. For example: wine vs appetizer/appetizer vs dessert/sharing dessert. At the event, relax and socialize. Keep high‐fat treats out of sight.
7. Eat regularly every 3–4 hours and sleep regularly.
8. Don’t buy or make holiday treats until the last possible moment. Buy or make things that are not your personal favorites.
9. Maintain and increase physical activity. Great walking opportunities can be had with shopping or taking the family for a stroll to view the holiday lights.
While we would all like our patients to be perfect throughout the holiday, many struggle. For the struggling patients, continue to encourage them by letting them know that moving forward, even without perfection, is a goal worth driving towards.
For more tips and information on helping your patients and your business succeed through the holidays, Robard customers can download one of Robard Corporation’s many resources that help patients successfully navigate through the season. We also invite non-customers to download a holiday staff training kit, titled Visualizing January, by clicking here. Good luck and have a wonderful holiday season!
Blog written by Lynda Lewis/Robard Corporation