Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Fit buddies/We want to hear from you!
The fit buddies "after" picture
It's been four months since you've heard from the Fit Buddies - Ed Lavandera, Stacia Deshishku and me -- so here's an update on how everyone's doing. I also wanted to give you a chance to make your voices heard about obesity and Fit Nation.

Stacia says

The premise of the Fit Buddies experiment was that if you do something for 12 weeks, it becomes a habit, but unfortunately habits are too easily broken!

I wish I could say that I'm working out as hard and watching my diet as closely as I did when I was on the Fit Buddy program - but that wouldn't be true. I'm a journalist, and the facts do matter.

So here goes the confessional.

I'm still going to the gym, though not as regularly. I took off a few weeks - unintentionally – because of vacation and an illness. Going "off course" allowed me to slip back into my bad habits. Getting back in the gym has been harder and harder each time I'm away. It always feels as if I'm starting over from scratch. Depressing.

But don't fear. I'm NOT giving up. This is a commitment by me -- to me - not to or for anyone else. I'm only cheating myself by staying out of the gym and eating all that Halloween candy! I'm committed to changing my lifestyle for the better.

Though I haven't been in the gym as consistently as before, I have spent more time walking/hiking - and reconnecting with friends. What a great way to get my heartbeat going. I'm also realizing that exercise isn't one size fits all. Some is better than none, and I get bored easily. So my new mantra is: Mix it up. Spend time outdoors. Combine catch-up time with friends - which is good for my mental health, with time exercising, which is good for my physical health.

Ed's take

In the four months since we ended the formal Fit Buddies program, I've kept off all the weight I lost between April and July. That's a great feeling and a big accomplishment.

But I want to keep going and I definitely miss not having someone like Robert working on my exercise routine.

I have found that when I work out regularly I want to eat better.

My travel schedule has been incredibly intense the last few months so my routine is out of whack. I'll work out well for a week and then miss the gym for a week. That's frustrating. I'm not giving up and I look forward to losing more weight.

And finally, Matt

I'm doing pretty well too! I've managed to keep all of the weight off, but I've gotten busy again at work and have let that derail my exercise plan. (I know, more excuses). My fiancee and I have started running, but admittedly, we don't do it often enough. The thing that's really stuck with me are my eating habits. We're cooking dinner more, eating out much less. Eating is now more a chore than a treat! (I never thought I'd say that!)

Speaking of work getting busier, we're gearing up for the First Annual Fit Nation Solution Summit next Wednesday in New York City. CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, will be joined by former President Bill Clinton, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden and many of our other Fit Nation friends to discuss solutions. We'd love to hear from you!

If you have a question for President Clinton, Dr. Gupta or any of our obesity experts, submit them on tape by clicking here for our I-Report page, or even leave your question on the blog. I'll make sure to take them to New York with me next week.

Thanks for all of your support throughout Fit Buddies! Make sure to stop by CNN.com/Fitnation in the coming weeks to check out our plans for 2008 and to take the Fit Nation Challenge!
Ed, Stacia, and Matt, you guys look so cute up there smile'in in that picture. I just want to say you guys look gorgeous. I'm very happy for health successes. I used to be a tub of lard myself, and I kinda cheated and had gastric bypass surgery...I'm more proud of you guys for doing it the old fashioned way. Good Job
Dear Matt,

Having an exercise partner, a friend or loved one even better has shown succes in to adapting to a more active life style and healthy eating habits.

Emotional eaters do better if they are open up socially and share their feelings(in church or community

Home cooked meals -in which one can control ones own calorie/fat/sodium intake and midafternoon cat-naps and stress-free breaks are also good stepping stones in weightloss.

So far I haven't mentioned the gym.

Good luck!
Hi Matt, Stacia & Ed

Love the blog! Bravo! I hadn’t heard of Fitness Buddies until today. I searched and found your June blog too. And I read Dr. Gupta’s webpage on it – and awhile ago we watched his fantastic special on obesity too.

Stacia, you are so right. Time seems to fly when you are out enjoying the outdoors, and the fresh air is wonderful. I find that dogs are even more THRILLED about going for a walk that we are, so that is added incentive. They can even make you feel guilty! Thank you for your cheerful words Stacia.

Ed, it’s great to know you have kept the weight off -- keep up the good work.

Matt I loved reading about how you and your fiancée are running partners. Sweet. Time must fly when you are running together! I agree that it does seem to take a lot more time to cook and eat healthy. Salads are not fast food but they can become addictive! It sure is worth it. The fresher and simpler the ingredients the better!

I spent last year bedridden many days in complete agony until I was properly diagnosed earlier this year with damaged discs from a car accident and told I had DDD. Now I have the right medications, referred for physiotherapy again, and have to gain my strength back with walking and hiking. Something I always loved. I am careful about what I eat when I crave sweets I have fresh fruit. Or plain yogurt with frozen unsweetened berries. Yummy. And if I am really craving something sweet then I’ll have some dried fruit. Natures Candy. And for snacks a few raw sunflower seeds are great too. Plus drinking lots of water. I found that once you are eating healthy its almost impossible to eat anything else.

Thank you for sharing your cheerful update. Keep up the good work guys & gal!

Happy thoughts, GT

If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise.
~Author Unknown
Group exercise at the gym is an option not a lot of people consider. There's such a large variety of classes from Cardio Kickboxing, Dance Step, Yoga, etc. that it's impossible to get bored with exercise as long as you're mixing it up. I myself have gotten addicted to an Advanced Dance Step Class for the past 5 years now. If I had to only exercise on machines, I'd be bored out of my mind too!
Question for Mr President/Dr Sanjay

Why fat friendly food chains like Wendy's are a part of the food court inside the hospital? Why the Govt/FDA allows food chains like Mcdy's Taco's to sell triple layered beef(with extras!)for 99 cents? In India, if one is slim, it's a sign of poverty,fatness is a sign of prosperity. In US, it's exactly the opposite.

It's a simple common sense that whenever something is very cheap,that means it lacks quality.

When the US Govt. is really going to take proper care & measures towards its people wrt food,drug,health insurance? Because the scenario, at present, doesn't look good.

Gita from Florida
I greatly appreciate all those who are making the efforts to lose weight or have already seen some results.

Whatever lbs one wants to lose weight, one has to keep in mind that he/she has to create a deficit of 3500 calories multipied by the desired amount of lb loss.

Some tips for losing weight:

1)Walking is the first thing we learn in our childhood. Walking is the best excercise to start with for those who want to lose weight. Jogging or running requires slightly more discipline. Otherwise a person does it for onlyone day. For the "same" distance, whether one walks,jogs or runs, burn the "same" calories but the "rate" at which it is burnt is differnt. Walking has an advantage over other two wrt mind. One can walk alone or walk with a friend. Whatever be the case, it relaxes the mind(therapy)as you pay more attention(apart from walking)to the nature. We can't recycle our nagative thoughts;of course one can give negative thoughts to another person but one may feel guilty. That person now has got negativity in his/her system and should get it out! Nature absorbs negativity and she can recycle and we don't have to feel guilty.Walking also conditions the entire cardio vascular system(a muscle)

2) Many people don't realize the power of push-ups. One can burn or exhaust oneself by doing 25-40 push-ups without taking a break. It's very tough. It targets the upper body. It strengthens the arms, shoulder joints and also the wrist. Plus it has a great advantage for especially women by keeping the pectoral muscles firm and tight(instead of sagging down the bust). It's ultimate. I can not live without push-ups and Stallone is my inspiration as I do on one hand like him, but he does it cool on knuckles and that too on a hard surface. I do it on palms and carpet. Please try it and see if you can do 10 counts non-stop. You can slowly increase the count but don't over do it as you may damage yourself.

3)get free weights(like dumb-bells). It gives more flexibility and stability than the gym oriented bench press and weights.
A woman's body is different from a man's wrt muscle mass. After forty, the growth rate of muscle mass stops. Also most of the auto-immune diseases affect more women than men. Reasonable free weight(check with doctor)for those who have osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis greatly helps the disease from further deterioration.

Above excercises come under resistance and strengthening excercises. One can also include some stretching and balancing excercises. One doesn't have to spend 1 hr. For example one can do dumb-bells twice a week. I take 15mnts to do 12lbs of 25 count for each hand for biceps.Push-ups can be done everyday also.It takes hardly 3-4 mnts as i do non-stop. So is walking for atleast 15-20 mnts. Once we get the hang of it, we easily master it. I sprained the back of my shoulder trying to do 12 lb for triceps. That was too mcuh. I felt the pain and I stopped. Just for triceps, i lift slightly a smaller weight.

One can get $3 skipping rope from Wal-Mart. It will warm up the body and also puts the heart into motion.

Losing weight is so easy and i feel sad when people struggle. All they have to do is join hands with a person who does excercise regularly. When they join people who have wavering mind, they come to a conclusion that it can not be done. Initially for couple of days, it's slighly difficult but slowly the body gets tuned.

When we do excercise regularly, we can avoid flare-ups of IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome)and we can notice that our bowel movement is perfectly functioning. Whatever we put into our mouth, first it is received by our Stomach which is very acidic. Our body protects us from getting infected by the power of our stomach acid to kill germs/microorganisms.

Little bit of understanding shows the right direction. Only when we understand, be it anything in life, we appreciate and also we value it. Those who want to lose weight should realize that their body is precious and can not be tampered with. I am sure they can achieve their desired target(10/20/80 pounds)and they can guide others too in doing the same.

Wrt food,we all look for variety in everything.Why food should be different? We feel bored to eat the same thing. Wrt vegetarianism, nothing can beat the Indian food. It's a popular misconception that vegetarian food lacks protein, and omega-3. All the indian lentils are very rich in protein,iron, folate. One particular lentil(called moong dal) is rich in omega-3. One needs a very small amount of B12 and that is supplied by milk/yogurt.

Have friends from different circles. That way one can learn to prepare different food items. Cooking takes less time when one learns the technique. Otherwise even if one spends hours in the kitchen, the outcome is still unpalatable. One needs to have interest first,right ingredients and heart(more than the mind).

Once in a while one can eat outside, or treat oneself with sweets/ice cream and make sure one burns those extra calories. Even a true athlete burns a maximum of roughly 3000 calories a day. Based on one's body weight and health issues, and comfortablility, one can incorporate right excercises. In some gyms(I don't go to gym), the trainers offer some free help/ideas. Those who don't know how to use equipments or how it works on the body should not hesitate to seek their help. Definitely someone can guide if one is interested.

I hope people take care of their health and lead a fulfilling life.
In response to Gita, it's not the responsibility of the government to regulate what types of fast food is being served by McDonald's, Taco Bell etc. We the people need to take rsponsibility for our health and what we put in our mouths. I grew up very poor but I certainly wasn't overweight. Just because one is poor does not mean that person is destined to be obese.
Dr Gupta,
In Sept. I had a total hip replacement. Since the surgery I have noticed that at various times I am forgetting things. I was talking to my roommate who had knee surgery and she expressed the same concern in that she is forgetting things since the operation. We both had the same surgeon. Can this be attributed to the anesthesia? Any help would certainly ease my mind. Is this something that will go away?
Thank you.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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