Living Lite

Women: Does Marriage Make You Fat?

February 15, 2017

A recently published study found married women are fatter than unmarried women. I'm been warning my clients of the fairer sex for years: "Ladies... He's going to 'plump you up'!" (using my best "Saturday Night Live" Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation) if you're not careful. And I have a whole chapter of tips and strategies to help in my book, Diet Simple

My client, Linda, who successfuly lost  thirty pounds and kept it off for years, is in the public eye almost daily. When she married her German husband about ten years ago, who insisted on drinking whole milk instead of skim, dining regularly on sausages and wienerschnitzel, and who did most of the cooking in the house, I could see it coming. And weight yo-yo'ing has been a problem for her ever since. But Linda's fate was easy to predict, given the circumstances. 

There are other not-so-obvious examples of my married clients who often gained weight immediately after the wedding and who have a harder time losing weight than their unmarried counterparts - whether they've been divorced, widowed, or never married - makes no difference. And this study, published in the Journal of Women's Health, backs up my own observations during my 25+ years in private practice. The study showed that not only were married women more overweight, they drank more alcohol and had higher blood pressure, too. Could marriage be bad for your health? Well, I wouldn't go that far... But, here are some tips and strategies to prevent you from gaining marriage girth:

1) Keep in mind that your husband may be 50% heavier or even twice your size and need twice your calories (so you may only need to eat two-thirds or only half of what he eats),

2) Cook veggie-centric meals and soups so that both you and your husband are naturally eating fewer calories; he can always get seconds and eat more of the fattening parts of the meal,

3) If you get home earlier from work, don't wait for your husband to eat a full meal together. Eat a snack when you're hungry, and perhaps save the salad or the veggies you prepared and a little protein to eat with him, while he eats the full meal,

4) Take turns exercising. My client, Vickie, was too busy with her children before and after school to exercise. But then she and her husband decided they should trade duties. Her husband agreed to take care of the kids in the morning so that Vickie could exercise then, and he agreed to exercise in the evening, which helped him reduce work stress anyway.

Of course, all kidding aside, marriage doesn't have to have these negative health consequences. But caveat emptor! 


Click here to share your thoughts.

Nuts and Seeds Reduce Aging by Increasing Telomere Length

February 5, 2017

Nuts and seeds improve signs of biological aging by increasing telomere length. Telomeres, proteins found at the end of each chromosome, preserve information in our genome and prevent cell death; they serve as a biological clock to determine the lifespan of a cell and an organism. Telomere length shortens with age and can be affected by various lifestyle factors. Shorter telomeres are associated with lower rates of survival and higher rates of disease such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.


"Older people with shorter telomeres have three and eight times increased risk to die from heart and infectious diseases, respectively. Rate of telomere shortening is therefore critical to an individual’s health and pace of aging. Smoking, exposure to pollution, a lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, and an unhealthy diet increase oxidative burden and the rate of telomere shortening" according to a National Institutes of Health Review.


A new study found that "nuts and seeds intake was positively and linearly associated with telomere length... Adults of the same age had more than 1.5 years of reduced cell aging if they consumed 5% of their [calories] from nuts and seeds," according to the study in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.


What does that mean for you? If your calories needs are average, and about 2,000 per day, and you would like 5% of your calories to come from nuts and/or seeds, eat about 1/2 ounce or 1/2 a handful per day - or more. I generally recommend an ounce a day for those of us watching our weight and at least 2 ounces a days for those who get to eat unlimited calories (2 ounces daily is associated with a significantly reduced risk for heart disease).


I sprinkle them on my oatmeal each morning! My recipe ...


Click here to share your thoughts.

A New Diet Strategy for the New Year: Semi-Fasting

January 29, 2017

When it comes to dieting, I've heard everything, tried everything and studied everything. The challenge is always: How do you eat fewer calories than you need to lose weight and avoid starving? I've discovered in my 25+ years of practice that for weight loss to last, the diet must be enjoyable, flexible, healthy, and fit into busy lifestyles. That means fad diets or extremely strict or punishing diets are best avoided. The results just can't last. And the studies back me up.

Instead, I've found certain personalized "strategies," can really work for lasting results. One of my favorites right now is what I call a "semi-fast." How it's done depends on my clients' lifestyle, abilities and preferences. 

I used to believe that fasting was to be avoided as it lowers metabolism and could lead to bingeing. But new studies and my clients' experiences have changed my opinion - 180 degrees. Nutrition and solving weight problems is a constantly evolving science and I'm always looking for easy ways for people to manage being at their ideal weight and be happy - and healthy, of course.

I first heard about the success of the "semi-fast" at an American Institute for Cancer Research conference. Cancer researchers are always looking for successful weight loss techniques since body fat is one of the most potent cancer risk factors. A British study divided women into two groups: One group was on a consistently low calorie plan. That is, they ate the same amount of calories daily, about 1,200. The other group ate more daily calories - say, 1,500 -  but they cut their calorie intake in half twice a week. The study results were amazing. The group that fasted twice a week were more successful. They enjoyed their diet more, were more likely to stick with it, and achieve lasting results. 

I always give my clients the option and we decide the best way to go about it together. One of the most successful ways is to fast in the evening. The way I recommend doing it is to eat about 2/3 of your calorie needs before the evening and then skip dinner, or stick with something very low calorie such as a veggies, yogurt or fruit. The two nights of fasting allows you to eat a more enjoyable diet, it can undo damage done during the week, and a growing body of evidence shows calorie restricting reduces disease and extends life. There are many theories to explain this and one is that a lower metabolism causes less oxidation, cell proliferation (cancer), and decreases harmful chemicals and hormones in your body.

There have also been studies showing that eating most of your calories during the day and less at night is more likely to aid weight loss. One of the keys to the semi-fast is to find two nights when fasting would be easier. One of my clients fasts on nights her husband is traveling, when she isn't faced with eating a full meal with him. Another has just decided that every Monday and Tuesday night she doesn't eat - and she lost 50 pounds before her wedding and has kept it off.

I personally have used this strategy most of my adult life, before knowing about the studies. My motto since the 1980s has been "Light at Night," and it works!

Click here to share your thoughts.