Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Rocker" Shoes Put to the Test...Do They Really Promote Weight Loss?

I've been waiting a long time for this...USA Today recently published an article on "Rocker" shoes. These are the shoes you've seen everywhere lately that have a large sole and claim to promote weight loss, strengthen muscles, and improve posture. I had my doubts when I first saw them advertised and thought they looked like a stylish orthopedic shoe. Turns out, I was right. According to the article, "in the past they were sold as therapeutic footwear for people with medical problems, including arthritis in their feet."

How does it work? The heavily cushioned rocker sole forces wearers to work harder to maintain balance and stand erect, engaging muscles that are otherwise less active. More active muscles burn more calories. The shoes also enforce a rolling heel-to-toe gait that makers say simulates walking barefoot in the sand.

Can anyone wear them? The shoes might help people who stand for long hours or need to improve posture. However, they do limit normal motion in the foot. So you may be under-using some muscles and overusing others. Also, shoes that require good balance might make some people fall.

What do the experts say? So far, the only two published studies are by MBT and Skechers, two companies that sell the rocker shoe, and even their findings are mixed. An exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (my certifying body, also called ACE), says, "Any added effect on weight or muscle tone may be negligible. If you are walking, you are walking."

You can read more on this topic at

It's a quick read and then you can decide for yourself if you think it's a wise investment. I believe everyone is going to have different results depending on personal fitness levels. However, know that this is not a shoe to wear to a fitness class or in inclement weather. (Read the author's notes on her own self-conducted study regarding walking downhill).

If you have bought these shoes, please let me and the Body by Kelly community know by commenting on this post below. Let us know your results. Or, if you've had a particularly good or bad experience with any workout shoe, I encourage you to post that too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Diet Pill, "Alli"

My certifying body, American Council on Exercise (ACE), recently came out with a very short, yet informative article on the FDA approved over-the-counter weight-loss pill, Alli.

Facts: Alli is is the half-strength version of the prescription weight-loss drug Xenical (Orlistat). It works by decreasing the amount of fat absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract during the digestive process and should be taken before every meal that contains fat. Research has shown that when individuals used Alli in combination with diet and exercise they lost up to 50 percent more weight on average than if they had only dieted and exercised.

Sounds great. What's the catch? Well, the side effects aren't pretty. Alli has several documented side-effects including excessive flatulence with an oily discharge, frequent and difficult-to-control bowel movements, and loose stools. However, these side effects are related to your diet. The more fat you consume, the more you increase your risk of getting these side effects.

The most important part: Simply taking the pill without altering one's lifestyle (i.e., exercising regularly and adhering to a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet) will produce little or no noticeable results. Most weight-loss experts contend that without the contributory effects of diet and exercise, Alli's beneficial weight-loss effects will be very limited.

The bottom line is while Alli may aid in the weight loss effort, diet and exercise are still key to long-term weight loss success. I guess the old saying is right- if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Now it's your turn. Have you used Alli or another OTC drug that claimed to help you lose weight? Share your stories, successful or not, by commenting below. Remember, you can leave your comment anonymously if you wish.

I hope that your experience will help another member of the Body by Kelly community.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When The "Experts" Are Wrong

The lazy days of late August has given me time to catch up on reading. There are two articles that I've recently read that I feel are important to share with you.

The first one was sent to me by my certifying body, American Council on Exercise (ACE).

This article is a rebuttal to the cover story of the August 9, 2009 issue of Time magazine, which featured an article entitled, “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin.” ACE's chief science officer, Dr. Cedric A. Bryant, writes up summary of some of the most misleading assertions made in this highly publicized article, as well as the American Council on Exercise’s response to these assertions. What I found even more interesting is the link on the sidebar to the follow-up statement written by the executive director at Pennington Biomedical Research Center: Here he writes, "...I feel compelled to offer a correction to a story that drifted off course to the conclusion that exercise is not useful for weight loss and weight management."

I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did.

The second article I read was from the Science Times, which comes in the NY Times every Tuesday. This is one of my favorite sources of health and wellness updates. The article entitled, "Weight Lifting May Help To Avert Lymph Problem" comes from August 18, 2009 and can also be found here:

[Side note: Judy V.-your healthy cookie rocked! You'll love the article on this site entitled "Let Them Eat (Healthier) Cake." This includes recipes too!

Olivia F. and my other friends who love to run: check out the Run Well Training Tool.]

This article reports that just last week The New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study of 141 breast cancer patients who had lympedema (painful swelling that can occur near the site where lymph nodes have been removed or damaged by radiation). After years of telling women after breast cancer surgery not to lift anything heavier than 15 pounds, the researchers found that women in their study who started a slow, progressive program of weight lifting actually had significantly fewer flare-ups than the women who restricted their activity. Doctors are now reevaluating everything they tell their clients about lymphedema.

Bottom line is that you know your body best. You know when something doesn't feel right. This doesn't mean to ignore doctors' orders, but perhaps if you're not happy with what the doctor is prescribing, a second opinion is in order.

I want to hear what you think on this topic. Tell me and the Body by Kelly community about your experiences with misinformation from a health professional.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Much Sugar is in Your Cereal? You Might Be Surprised!

We all want to get in and out of the grocery store. We have our list, we know what's in each aisle, and we scout the lines looking for the shortest one. Unfortunately all of this rushing around means we're probably not spending any time reading the nutrition labels on the back of the boxes we're purchasing. Here are some reasons to make you want to start!

Consumer Reports' nutrition ratings report (November 2008 issue) found that some popular cereals marketed to children are 40-50% sugar, comparable to a glazed doughnut. Considering that most children eat more than the standard serving size (1 cup), your child may be consuming much more than you've bargained for.

The report compares the nutrition information of 27 leading cereals, giving each cereal a rating of "very good," "good" or "fair." Only four of the 27 cereals were rated "very good" – General Mills' Cheerios (at the top of the list), Kix and Honey Nut Cheerios, and Quaker Oats' Life. With regard to sugar content, Post's Golden Crisp and Kellogg's Honey Smacks were rated "fair," with more than 50 percent sugar by weight per serving, and nine other cereals were determined to have at least 40 percent sugar. Kellogg's Rice Krispies, long considered a relatively healthy cereal with little sugar, rated only "fair" due to high sodium content and zero grams of dietary fiber. The report suggests parents look for cereals high in fiber (5 grams or more), low in sodium (140 milligrams or less) and low in sugar (1 teaspoon or less per serving).

On a related note, a friend of mine who is a registered dietician told me that she sprinkles milled flax seed on her cereal every morning. The benefits? Flax seed is known for its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as both soluble and insoluble fiber. Also, flax seeds have been proven to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, decrease inflammatory processes in the body, and promote well being in the intestines. Flax seed is perhaps our best source of lignans, which balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

We need milled flax seed because only then can your body absorb its nutrients. An actual flax seed will pass right through our digestive tract. Of course, if you have any food allergies please consult your doctor before consuming. The upside is that Hodgson Mill (the brand I buy) is gluten free and wheat free!

The biggest benefit I've found from adding milled flax seed to my cereal and eating cereals high in fiber (and low in sugar and sodium) is a decrease in bloating in my belly. I know many of you ask me how to get rid of that and, combined with our favorite abs exercises, proper nutrition is key to decrease the belly pouch.

Now it's your turn! What are your favorite cereals? This is your time to share with the Body by Kelly community and check back for comments to get ideas for new cereals to try!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Navigating the Supermarket

Winter is winding down and spring is approaching. For many of us this means it's time to get back into a routine of healthy eating and regular exercise so we're ready to wear our favorite halter tops and sundresses when the warm weather finally gets here.
So have you made a plan yet? Have you decided how you will increase your exercise and improve your habits when it comes to nutrition?
Now is the time to act if we want to reach our goals!
I recently read an article which I wanted to share with all of you entitled, "“Navigating the Supermarket: A Nutritious Guide to Shopping Well." Here is the link: I especially like the example of a planned week of meals (preview page 8). I can't stress how important planning ahead is!
This is also a great time to try a new way of working out. I recently tried Bikram Yoga (yes, the hot yoga). I really loved how I felt after the class and it inspired me to try other kinds of yoga. I teach Zumba and I can't tell you how many people tell me they prefer doing their cardio through an hour of dancing as opposed to walking on a treadmill. Perhaps you've always wondered what it's like to work out in the Pilates Studio. Now is the time to do it! Erase from your mind the thoughts of treadmills and machines and replace those thoughts with something that interests you. We all have something we enjoy doing that makes time fly and allows us to feel stronger and prouder of ourselves when we are done. I hope all of you will use this time to find what motivates you and use that to reach your goals this spring.
Now it's your turn: what are your favorite ways to exercise? Let us know and inspire other members of the Body by Kelly community!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What DOUBLES Weight Loss?

Happy New Year friends! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays!
Many clients have told me they feel they've put on a few pounds this past month and now feel it's time to get to work. Now we all know to exercise frequently and eat healthy foods, but do you know the one thing we can do to double our weight loss?
According to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, people who kept food diaries lost twice as much weight or more as those who didn't keep a tally of their meals. One participant in the study, who dropped 55 pounds, says it was easier to maintain the weight loss using the food diary than her past efforts using Slim-Fast, the Atkins high-protein regime, or other fad diets. The difference was a slower, stable lifestyle change.
Not only does keeping a food diary allow you to see what you're eating, it also allows you to see how often you're eating. Many find that they're snacking through the day due to running errands or attending meetings and calls at work. When they get home, they're starving and have a large dinner to make up for the food they've missed all day. Seeing our daily food patterns encourages us to plan out our meals more efficiently.
Now it's your turn! What is your experience with food and exercise diaries? Have you tried them before? If you have, did you find success? If you haven't, what stopped you?