Work-It Wednesday: Christine Quinn’s Mac Attack Bann

7 04 2010

The great thing about fast-food is that it’s quick, inexpensive and you can “have it your way.”  Well, at least for the time being.

With the obesity epidemic at an all-time high, New York City Council President Christine Quinn is aiming her sights on changing the city’s zoning laws to help minimize the number of fast-food joints in neighborhoods with high obesity rates; a.k.a. poor neighborhoods.

While it would seem that Ms. Quinn is trying to take a proactive approach to curbing fast-food-related obesity, she is overlooking two very important factors.  For starters, residents in these areas depend on these companies for jobs to help support their families.  Second, banning fast food isn’t addressing the larger issue.

If you think about it, there is a very good reason for the correlation between neighborhoods with high obesity rates and low income residents.  With the way the food industry is setup, it is cheaper to feed a family junk food than fresh produce.

For instance, you can walk into almost any grocery or retail store and get two large bags of cookies for about five dollars.  Take the same five dollars to the fruit aisle and you’ll be lucky to come out with a small bag of apples.  When you’re trying to feed a family, it’s not always about getting the right food into their mouths, but more important that they are getting enough so that they’re not hungry.  It’s as simple as that.

So sure, you can ban fast-food in these neighborhoods Ms. Quinn, but until we make reform in our food system, you’re only skimming the surface on a much larger issue.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree with Ms. Quinn?

Photo Credit: whatyoureallyget.com

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New Year’s Weight Loss Tips with Kai Hibbard

5 01 2010

2009 was a yo-yo year for celebrities and average Joe’s alike.  Everyone from Jessica Simpson to Valerie Bertinelli – even that Subway guy Jared – has battled the bulge and the glaring eyes of the public as they take control of their cravings and waist lines. But for us mere mortals, who lack the convenience (and money) of a celebrity chef, pre-packaged meal plan and high-priced personal trainer, we need a little extra support to help jump start our fitness and nutrition plans in the New Year.
I recently sat down with Kai Hibbard from season three of NBC’s The Biggest Loser®.  After losing an amazing 118 pounds on the show, Kai – now an AFAA certified aerobics instructor and spokesperson for Livea, a doctor-developed, non-prescription patent-pending appetite control supplement – found it hard to keep the weight off after the show ended. Since then, Kai has discovered a new approach to weight loss, one she considers more balanced and healthy than her pre-show routine.  Kai’s S.M.A.R.T. plan is as follows:


  • Snack: Have a snack before you head to a holiday party.  Try an apple with some cottage cheese or some whole wheat pita pieces and hummus. A snack that mixes healthy carbs and proteins (along with fiber!) will keep you feeling full, making you less likely to overindulge on sweets. Also, studies show that eating smaller meals, or healthy snacks, throughout the day helps speed up your metabolism.
  • Make Time: There is no excuse for not working out, even if it’s a quick walk around the block.  Many people think that if they can’t make it to the gym for an official workout that this means they can avoid physical activity all together.  If you find yourself rushing from one activity to the next, fit your workouts into that day’s routine.  Try squats while you brush your teach, leg raises while you type at your desk or bicep curls while you carry your groceries inside the house.  Being creative means you’ll always have time to squeeze in a quick exercise or two.
  • Avoid Overtraining: Whether you’re just starting out or you already know your way around the gym, overtraining is a serious issue, especially for the beginner.  Doing too much too soon is a sure fire recipe for fatigue, injury and feeling “burnt out.” This can leave many newbies with a sense of failure, which causes them to completely dismiss their New Year’s resolution to get into better shape.
  • Rest: As mentioned before, it is important to give your body enough time to recover between workouts, not just to avoid fatigue, but also to give your muscles a chance to repair and grow.  For every pound of muscle, the average man or woman will burn 40-50 calories daily, as muscle helps increase your metabolism. And when you sleep, your body can burn several hundred calories.  If you lift weights on day one, try taking a brisk walk for 30-minutes on day two.  This will allow you to get in a great cardio workout without straining the muscles you worked the day prior.
  • Think Ahead: One of the best ways to stay on track is by planning your workout and meals ahead of time.  If you know you’re going to be busy with a late meeting or chauffeuring around the kids, workout when you first wake up.  If you’re taking a road trip, pickup some healthier snack options at the grocery store the day before.  Nothing is worse than stopping for gas and filling up on sugar instead.  Mapping out your day will help maintain and reinforce all the healthy habits you’re working so hard to build.