One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

INSIGHTS

Sharing the Skinny on Obesity

19 Comments 2935 views

I rarely talk about the “obesity epidemic.” I think it drives too much negative attention to the wrong issues, focusing on weight instead of overall health. I have no desire to argue with fat acceptance folks, throw statics around or rant about how fat we’ve become. I’d rather inspire people to live more consciously, show them that small changes equal big results and prove that it is possible to live a balanced life and reach weight loss goals.

All of that being said, I got completely sucked into The Skinny on Obesity series on YouTube from the University of California. It skews a little too much away from personal responsibility, in my opinion, but I’m not denying any of the science. I think we have a serious problem with the type of food that is readily available, cheap and around us all the time. However, I think we can start to fix this problem the more we educate ourselves and make conscious choices about what we put in our bodies.

I’m embedding the entire playlist here. There are 5 complete episodes plus a trailer for the 6th.

I’m shocked that life expectancy is actually starting to decrease (ep. 5). I want my kids to live a long, healthy, active life and I want to be around as long as posible to enjoy it with them.

Our diet is far from perfect but I feed myself and my family more unprocessed than processed foods. We eat fruits and vegetables with every meal, we don’t drink sugary drinks at home (except for the husband and his soda habit which I’ve tried to alleviate without success) and we enjoy treats (candy, cupcakes, etc) in moderation and without guilt. This series has validated all of these choices for me and made me feel even more justified in being the “mean mom” who doesn’t buy things like Fruity Pebbles, PopTarts, or Capri Suns. (I’m still trying to wean us off the Dorritos and Tasty Cakes, just give me a little more time. ;)

If you have time to watch the series, I’d love to hear your thoughts.



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Discussion

There are 19 comments so far.

    Staci

    May 16, 2012

    What is it about Doritos?! Ugh! LOL That is still a needed progress point in our house, too. LOL We used to have PopTarts every Sunday here because Sunday mornings are so busy rushing off to church. I told the kids I wasn’t buying them anymore, and I didn’t for the longest. I got some a couple weeks back as a treat for the kids. My 8 year old said “Mom, PopTarts are actually a treat now since we never have them!” I’m sure I shouldn’t have bought them at all, but I was happy with the fact that she can now differentiate between snack/meal and a treat. It’s getting better, far from perfect, but better!

    Cate

    May 16, 2012

    I watched part of the video you embedded… That doctor was recently featured in a 60 Minutes Story called, “Is Sugar Toxic?” It was fascinating. While I don’t agree with some of the political and policy statements that he made, he made excellent points regarding sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Basically it boils down to when the gov’t called for people to stop eating fat, they did. But the food companies knew food wouldn’t taste good without fat, so they put in sugar and that’s when the obesity rate started climbing exponentially.

    Reinado

    May 16, 2012

    OK, just watched episode 1. My jaw is in the floor right now. Nothing on it was new to me, but the fact that University of California is supporting this idea blew me off my seat. He actually said something like “the first thing they teach dietitians is wrong”. !!!!! People have been preaching this for quite sometime, but I had never seen a mainstream source talking about it.

    Well, it is. A calorie isn’t just a calorie. That’s why I always (secretly) thought that Weight Watchers is wrong. “I can eat anything, as long as I keep my points under my limits! (read in high pitch, sarcastic voice)” The sistem works, but not by counting points or calories. It FORCES you to eat real foods, low in points, otherway you’ll eat your cake for breakfast and hit your points for the day, and fast for the rest of it. You came up with a nice name to it, that mixed both their plans and the moment. What was it? (I remember it sounded like turboflex LOL).

    The things you eat also trigger stuff hormonally, insulin especifically. I haven’t watched the rest yet (and I might make a new comment after each episode) but what a didn’t like is the way they treated sugar.

    Because table sugar is glucose + fructose. But starch is also glucose + glucose (and + more glucoses sp?)Everything starchy breaks down to sugar eventually. It all rises insulin. It really doesn’t matter if it’s “healthy whole grain”, it’s still more and more glucose. In the video, they sort of blame cookies and fast food. How much sugar (carbs, any kind) are in 2 cookies? Who knows, but let’s say it’s bad. That huge bowl of pasta is supposed to be good, because you add healthy olive oil and grass-fed ground beef to it, and you cook it at home. It’s still loads of sugar! It will be broken down to glucose + glucose+ glucose anyway. Maybe just eat 2 cookies and have a side of veggies for your meal instead of that pasta will be healthier?

    The thing is, veggies are more expensive than pasta. All things starchy (therefore, sugary) are cheaper (cookies, pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, chips, doritos, soda, sugar itself, candy) are way way more cheaper than veggies and of course, protein. Poor people just have to deal with carby stuff (old donuts in the food bank, anyone?)

    OK, let’s go for episode 2…

    Reinado

    May 16, 2012

    Just finished episode 2… I didn’t like it. He said “Glucose is an uninteresting molecule” and then dives right into fructose as the bad guy. Really????

    He said fructose doesn’t get use by the body right away (true), it has to go through the liver in 100% (also true). Fructose doesn’r rise insulin, it just goes through the liver and get converted into fat (sadly, also true).

    OK, fructose in a banana or any other fruit won’t get you fat, unless you eat a bunch of them. This talk is really about HFCS, and how the stuff is added to everything right now.

    But really, glucose is irrelevant? The one sugar that raises insulin? The stuff diabetics need to inject themselves prior a meal, is irrelevant??? The excess glucose that leads you to insulin resistance is irrelevant??

    He made it clear: fructose doesn’t need or use insulin at any level. It’s all in the liver. Only glucose messes with insulin. So diabetics or insulin resistance people (or people trying to not get into those diseases or getting fat) should just not care about glucose intake, because is irrelevant??

    Reinado

    May 16, 2012

    I LOOOVED the 3rd eppy! Finally! Too much insulin blocks leptin (true), also insulin makes glucose go INTO cells (usually, fat cells, but might be muscle cells too if you eat after a workout or long walk/gardening session).

    The thing he didn’t say: insulin appears after you eat carbs!!! Sugar, bread, whole wheat bread, whole wheat wraps or pasta…. the “whole wheat” thing doesn’t protect you a bit against obesity. There’s still starch in those foods, it gets broke down to glucose and absorbed anyway (just compare carb content between white bread and whole wheat bread in the labels.

    Did you expect a bigger difference? Are you dissapointed now? It happened to me: in my country WW bread had even more carbs than white bread… sugar added for flavor, maybe?). He just said insulin breaks avoc. He didn’t say that healthy oatmeal rises insulin to the roof just like cookies. Just like pasta.

    His science is all right, but so far, he fails to point his finger to common, stample foods in our pantry filled with sugars. The corn. The pasta. The rice. He blames fructose and insulin, but haven’t mess with insulin-rising glucose. At least, not yet. I’ll keep watching tomorrow.

    PS: Don’t hate me for demonizing pasta, rice and potatoes. You can hate the message, but please don’t hate the messenger. I’m just calling the correlation betwen those foods and insulin. The guy in the videos is the one telling you about lots of insulin. Don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me.

    Amanda

    May 16, 2012

    OMG I just watched the first two esp. and I’m in shock. I don’t know much about health and there is so much info out there to follow and not what is true or not…but after only watching two esp. (I’m gonna watch the rest with the family)I feel like I have been slapped in the face with a wake up call. Having just been diagnosed with Diabetics and also having a fatty liver this really hits home for me. I want to get my health under control so me and my husband can start trying for a baby. When my baby comes I want to be healthy that way I can raise my baby to be healthy. It is scary what is going on in today’s world. It is hard to know where to start when you were NEVER raised on healthy foods. I love cooking and my family loves trying new things so I think I’ll start there. Now for me I’m an extreme picky eater and I know that I have to over come that. I check in on your blog almost everyday. Although I don’t comment a lot you have GREAT post. I even showed my whole family your blog. Thanks so much for posting this and also thanks for sharing all that you do. You are a role model to a lot of people. :)

    90 Day Challenge

    May 16, 2012

    Very good video! thanks!

    Jenn@slim-shoppin

    May 16, 2012

    I’m definitely going to check these out Roni. I’ve watched Fat, sick and nearly dead on HULU about 5x now. This guy Joe Cross lost 90 pounds juicing for 60 days. That’s extreme, but when he interviewed people around the US asking them why they ate a poor diet, people mostly said “because it tastes good!” He said if you knew that eating the way you are will make you die earlier, people didn’t seem to care enough to change.

    I just got a juicer for mother’s day and I’m on day 4 of adding fresh juices and veggies to my morning routine for me and my 3 kids – so far so good!

    Norma

    May 16, 2012

    WW worked for me years ago, then some thing changed and I couldn’t lose a lb eating 1200-1500 cals a day. Then my mom died of liver disease (mentioned in one of these videos) and I began researching the hows and whys.

    I stopped eating sugar, it took me about a month or so to get into a rhythm and I’ve now dropped almost 30 lbs thru diet alone. My only change was to limit the sugars. If I eat a banana, I do not eat an apple in the same day. I eat sugar free bread sprouted bread and drink almond milk (mostly because I love it). If I do eat candy, I only eat a square of dark chocolate. I do “cheat” on bad foods, but I keep it in moderation and make sure those bad food have little sugar. (ex: cheese its)

    I also don’t exercise. I like to, but the last few months have been busy, this is my only change (limiting sugars)

    I came across these videos the other day and it just makes me feel better about my choices to go without sugar. I still eat carbs btw. Probably too many ;) I have my pasta and potatoes.

    I did the math one day on my weight watcher plan.. I was eating way too many sugars even on plan. Once I switched, I started to drop the lbs. Now I don’t count fat at all, watch the cals (somewhat) and count every sugar gram.

    I am hardly ever hungry and often have to remember to eat. I have so much energy, it’s amazing. I do not ever want to go back to eating how I was a few months ago.

    I realize removing sugars isn’t for everyone, but this doctor is my hero for publicly coming out saying how bad sugar is for us.

    Rachel Pearson

    May 16, 2012

    We have more opportunity to eat junk food than wholesome food and we have more opportunity to sit than we do to move. The solution is more complex now days, but the reasons behind obesity are really simple. It now takes INTENTION and planning to maintain a healthy weight, when years ago, it was just a given due to limited, but healthy food… and limited recreation and work that involved sitting.

    chelsea

    May 16, 2012

    hey, roni, thanks for posting the video. as a uc-alum it’s always nice to see that the uc’s are doing more than just raising tuition fees!

    i think the video is nothing too new to many of us who read your site (though it’s always reassuring to know your facts are still considered “facts”), and it is highly informative for people who are otherwise clueless re: insulin, food, healthy eating, and being healthy in general. and it’s surprising how incorrect much of “common” knowledge about calories and food is in america. we need these types of programs!

    here are my two biggest issues with the program (of what they’ve posted thus far):

    1) there needs to be an explicit conversation about food scarcity and poverty. while responsibility and accountability may be important and applicable topics for some sections of the population, there is a distinct correlation between obesity and poverty: in general, the wealthier you are, the healthier you are. it is relatively unrealistic for a single parent working three jobs in a food desert to be able to adequately provide anything other than highly processed, unhealthy food for his/her children. yes, there is the argument that cooking bulk grains, etc, may be inexpensive and healthier than a pack of tostinos but, as we all know, poverty does not provide the luxury of time to prep such low cost, high nutrient foods. until we address policy issues surrounding poverty, food scarcity, and other forms of inequality that keep people unhealthy, such arguments for eating healthier are ineffective. it appears that the issue of time and stress will be addressed in the next episode and i hope that it is thorough. a few years ago pbs produced a similar series called ‘unnatural causes’ which more explicitly deals with the links between poverty, stress, food scarcity, and health issues. http://www.pbs.org/unnaturalcauses/hour_01.htm

    2) there seems to be quite a bit of blaming mothers/women in general. this relates a bit to my first point. yes, a child born to an obese mother who ate unhealthily during pregnancy will already crave high amounts of fats and sugars once born. but i still argue that this is symptomatic of the larger social issues i mentioned above. rather than looking at it as women’s fault for obese, fat-craving babies, we need to look at america in general and the ways that certain environments either support, or don’t, people’s abilities to eat healthily and provide better options for their children. women and mothers already get blamed enough in our society (thanks, freud), this needn’t be another social ill that falls singularly onto women’s shoulders.

    i apologize for my soapbox post here! there seems to be a slew of health-obesity-related webisodes going around right now (e.g., hungry for change) that make great points about health and biology in general but completely fail to look at the social issues behind obesity in america. so your site ended up being an inadvertent soapbox! well, it’s out there now!

    again, thanks for the post!

    roni

    May 16, 2012

    No need to apologize! THIS is why I posted. You make great points!

    RG

    May 16, 2012

    I think the cultural shifts in the last 40 years are dramatic and the video simplifies it. There’s too much sugar/ processed foods, but also too much fat, too little home cooking, too much stress and not enough sleep, too much (sorry) social media and not enough genuine interaction. I know how I need to eat/ exercise to feel my best, and it’s still a battle. Whether it’s a boss who gets angry that I’d rather exercise at (unpaid) lunch than eat junk food with coworkers, or it’s a friend who is too out of shape to walk to the metro so we have to take the bus, or the parties with nary a vegetable in sight. There was a time when most workplaces had a real cafeteria – with salads and side vegetables – and now they mostly have burger joints with a side of fries.

    roni

    May 16, 2012

    I totally agree it’s a cultural issue. Our culture supports all of it and unless we talk about it and change it from the inside it will only get worse, in my opinion.

    Sammy D

    May 16, 2012

    Thank you so much for posting the link to this series. I rarely comment, but read your blog daily as I have lost a similar amount of weight and am very much addicted to being healthy for the rest of my life. It is interesting this series is online right now at the same time that HBO is airing it’s documentary on obesity: “The Weight of the Nation.” They are geared toward different audiences. The HBO show does really examine the emotional side of eating addictions and maybe this series will as well. But out of the gate, the HBO series focuses on the notion that this series punks from the get go: HBO series: “A calorie is a calorie.” UCTV series: “A calorie is not a calorie.” I am struck by this because both series’ want to address the rise in obseity in our nation and the world, and allegedly help/educate people but “experts” cannot agree on this very basic bottom line. Wow. No wonder people are so confused. For years I did believe a calorie was a calorie and agree with the fact that if you are watching calories (or points) you naturally start eating healthier choices despite the fact you are operating from the notion that it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you limit calories. But, as I have gone more into maintaining my weight loss, through healthy diet and exercise I have become convinced that a calorie is not a calorie. And, sadly, it is true, eating healthier and choosing your calories is generally more expensive. Obesity is a societal problem without question. The HBO series does look at that as an issue to some degree when it examines the health crisis we face as a nation if the rise in obesity is not addressed. But that series just hits the tip of the iceberg. I am rambling so I will stop now and just say thanks for the link and love that you are now just “Roni.” You go girl.

    roni

    May 17, 2012

    Ramble away Sammy! I’m also slowly changing my position on “a calorie is a calorie” not as it realtes to weight loss as much as it relates to causing cravings. Not sure if that makes sense but a calories may be a calorie in the sense it gives us the same amount of energy but a calorie is not a calorie when it comes down to how it affects us as a whole.

    Mehgann

    May 17, 2012

    Wow, I love the comments that this video has brought up. I would just like to add that nutrition is so complex, and we will never be able to get it right, but companies who produce food could and SHOULD be spending the time and money they do attempting to convince us that their food is healthy on actually MAKING it healthy. Just a thought.

    Mehgann

    May 17, 2012

    When I say “we will never be able to get it right”, what I mean is that “we will never be perfect”. Because there is no perfect. :)

    Michael

    May 20, 2012

    I think, diet programs is just unnecessarily boosting to losing weight. I lost 11 kg in 5 months with just doing fitness at GYM. And the last 2 months were not regularly. I eat everything I want but the important thing is, I made a little changes with my eating. I stopped to use cube sugar from tea, stopped to use white bread, stopped to wheat products. Apart from these, I ate everything that I want. I was 88 kg and now 77 kg. I think, being obese is the hardest thing in the world. Really, with little changes in our daily life, We can stop to gain fat.