From fad diets to self-acceptance

It seems like every day there’s a new miracle diet being promoted. I used to jump on every bandwagon. If you told me I would lose weight, I would be totally willing to eat nothing but grapefruits, or cut out all carbohydrates and exist on egg whites alone (the vegetarian version of the Atkin’s diet). And the funny thing is, I have never really been overweight! But I am the product of a fat-phobic society. And to further enhance the struggle that is created by our society’s negative attitude towards being overweight, advertisers also send us the opposing message, encouraging overindulgence and marketing junk food.

As I got older, I found that fad diets are generally unnatural and unhealthy, and I couldn’t keep up the extreme habits up for very long. So, I devoted a lot of my spare time to learning about health and fitness, and what a healthy body needs to actively do, consume, and avoid in order to stay healthy.

One of the areas which I have struggled with for years is battling my own natural inclination to skip breakfast, have a light lunch, and eat most of my food at night. Despite all of the expert opinions out there that recommend a big breakfast and a small dinner, I could never get the hang of it. I’d feel sleepy after a big breakfast, and hungry if I didn’t have a big dinner.

So of course, ever searching for knowledge to fix any dilemma, I diagnosed myself with NES (night-eating syndrome). I decided I must have a problem because my natural inclinations were not “normal” according to health experts. I would beat myself up and try to correct my behavior, to no avail.

Recently, I read about a new trend, the “Warrior Diet”. This diet, marketed by former Isreali Defense Force member Ori Hofmekler, suggests that according to the human circadian cycle, eating little by day and ending with a large meal is actually the natural way for a human to stay fit and healthy. This “fad diet” describes my natural tendencies completely! Immediately I came to a realization about self acceptance. What’s right for others will not always be right for me, and vice-versa. I don’t think “fad” diets are begun as scams, but instead are one person’s idea that just doesn’t work for everyone. I think we all would be well advised to trust ourselves, stop criticizing ourselves for not fitting a particular mold, and design our diets as well as our lives in a manner that is true for us as individuals.

Soda Machines Fight Obesity AND Government Over-regulation

News media outlets and comedians alike had a field day following the proposal and passage of a mandate in New York which put a cap on the serving size of sodas and sugary drinks that could be sold in restaurants and movie theaters. While many argue that this government regulation is overly parental, if not unconstitutional, we cannot argue that the rise of obesity and the threat to health and quality of life is a real and pressing issues in U.S. Society.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also includes a mandate about required nutritional content labeling for all foods in chain restaurants and franchises with more than 20 outlets, and politicians nationwide are pushing for a so called “sin” tax on empty calorie products like sodas.

In response to all the commotion, Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have announced that they will producing new vending machines which make calorie content available on the button for each drink. The machine  will also have more diet and low cal beverages, as well as offer smaller serving sizes. These new machines will appear first in Chicago and San Antonio before being rolled out nationwide. Some people are mocking the, again, parental nature of the machines; rumor has it that a “bad” selection will trigger the machine to question the consumer and suggest a healthier option! However, I think that the problem of obesity is real, and it’s better that the producers of junk food make such changes than the government overstep its bounds and try to control how people eat.

As much as I promote healthy eating in my own lie and encourage others to consider what they are putting in their bodies, I am wholeheartedly against the government telling someone they cannot order a certain serving size. It just goes against the “pursuit of happiness” that lies at the heart of our constitution. Part of what makes the United States so outstanding is our right to personal choice; we can mess up our lives and make all the bad choices we want in pursuit of our pleasures, as long as it does not infringe on any one else’s rights.

By taking an active roll in the fight against obesity and informing consumers, these soda giants are avoiding government over-regulation, and actually empowering consumers with knowledge about the choices that they have the right to make.

So, drink up!

Tips On How To Focus On The Task At Hand

I am the worst when it comes to good time management. I procrastinate so badly, I have paid visits to therapists over the years to learn different techniques to improve my organizational skills. What ends up happening to me is that I rush to do a lot of work in a short amount of time. Of course, the end result is almost always negatively affected, and I know I need to change my ways, but trust me when I say it’s hella difficult.

Entrepreneur.com posted a list Monday of five things people can do to get the most out of their brains. And no, waiting until the last minute to do things and then hastily doing a week’s worth of work in one night isn’t on the list. They have listed five tips people can use to learn how to focus better and use their brain more efficiently.

1. Start your day with mind-calming activities

I do this. I watch some TV in the morning or do a crossword puzzle. You just need to give your brain some time to get revved up; you can’t just start the engine as soon as you open your eyes and go 100 MPH. My problem is I spend too much time doing this and don’t get my work fast enough. That leads into the next tip … .

2. Schedule “do not disturb” time

I read this as don’t schedule a specific hour to do work and then only do work for that hour. It’s more about how you should set a time to work on a task and stick to it. Do what needs to be done, but make sure you take it one task at a time or else you will be putting way too much stress on your brain.

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FDA Warns Of Risks With Decorative Contact Lenses

Probably my second-most favorite decorative contact lenses look

Some people probably think that decorative contact lenses are stupid, and rightfully so. Some of them are just ridiculous (that person looks like they have a LifeSaver in their eye). But I guess beauty is literally in the eye of the beholder, and with Halloween right around the corner, I am definitely not against those who want to dress up with some spooky eyes. I’ve never worn any, but I’ve imagined that I would look pretty cool with a pair of those pitch black contacts (Oh, yeah. That’s the stuff).

While these lenses can be fun, what can go overlooked, according to the Food and Drug Administration, is that people should get a prescription for all contacts, including the decorative ones even though they don’t improve your vision. These decorative contacts are not “one size fits all” and buying a pair that are a poor fit for your eyes can cause long-lasting or permanent damage, such as scratches to the cornea, corneal infection, conjunctivitis, decreased vision, and even blindness.

“The problem isn’t with the decorative contacts themselves,” said Bernard Lepri, an optometrist at the FDA.  “It’s the way people use them improperly — without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care.”

The FDA recommends that each person interested in buying decorative contacts first get an eye exam from a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist, no matter if you think your vision is perfect. Get a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. Take the proper steps when it comes to cleaning and wearing the lenses, and get a hold of your doctor right away if you see or feel signs of an eye infection.

So before the fun starts and you let your inhibitions go out the window on Halloween night, make sure to play it safe when it comes to decorative contact lenses.

More Than 300 People Now Ill, 23 Dead, Due To Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

The New England Compounding Center packaged and marketed the tainted steroids and other drugs that have contributed to more than 20 deaths. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Presented without comment.

According to NBC News, the total number of people who have become ill after injecting tainted steroids that came from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts topped 300 on Tuesday. Specifically, 308 people have been infected, 304 of which have contracted meningitis, stroke or other nervous system problems. Twenty-three people have died.

People in 17 states have now been infected, and that list of states could grow since, according to the Food and Drug Administration, nearly 14,000 patients may have received contaminated steroid injections since May 21 produced by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass.

On Monday, the FDA posted on its website a list of more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics that had purchased steroids and other drugs from the compounding center that, if contaminated, would be especially dangerous for patients.

Although the death toll has held steady for the last few days, a Centers for Disease Control spokesman told NBC News that it was “Too early to say” if that is a sign that the outbreak is becoming more and more under control.

As of Tuesday, 70 of the cases have come out of Tennessee, according to the CDC. Michigan has had the second-most cases with 68.

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