Venus Williams is taller than you would imagine, yet as elegant as a gazelle — but this gracefulness is what you would expect. The Amazon of the tennis courts stood over racks of clothing in a New York City hotel space when I first saw her, adjusting garments and making selections for models, as fashion editors from various publications filed in for a champagne brunch. At first I mistook her for a model getting ready for the exclusive preview for her EleVen by Venus Williams Spring/Summer 2014 collection. No. It was the woman in charge, making the final adjustments. “It’s always fun,” Williams said of previewing her line during a recent mid-week gathering before the U.S. Open. “It’s always good to see it in person. Pictures look good, but when I see it in person I think, ‘I want to wear this, I want to wear that!’ So, it’s fun. That’s what we hope people think when they see it.” An EleVen sneak peak Her latest offering of sportswear — ranging from cute tennis dresses to colorful tops — fits an interesting niche. Much like the popular line of yoga wear, Lululemon, EleVen by Venus is gearing up to be a lifestyle brand that draws upon chic trends to develop fashionable pieces fit for tough workouts and relaxing afternoons with friends. “I think we all wear active wear to hang out now,” Williams said of her designs. “That’s just how life is. You put on your capris, and you run to the grocery store.” While there are items suitable for a number of activities, ranging from sports to spectatorship, Williams, of course, is partial to the tennis looks. “There are different pieces for different things. People like me, I wear tennis skirts all over. I don’t know why. I can’t get out of character!” More than just a larger-than-life character in the world of international tennis, Williams’ roles as a clothier and business women shone through as she spoke quietly and humbly about the new direction of her brand and the secrets to her success. Helping people lead healthy lives “My goal for EleVen is to help people live healthy and happy lives, and you’re a lot happier when you feel healthy,” Williams told theGrio. “You feel good about you. When you take care of yourself inside, and feel good about how you look on the outside. EleVen is, ‘Look Good, Play Well.’ That’s what we always say is our motto.” This motto has served her well. Williams — who runs, bikes, swims, runs sprints and more to maintain her professional edge — wants women and men who wear EleVen to enjoy the journey of fitness as a process you can love even if growth is incremental. “It’s not like you can get in shape after six weeks, and go hard, and then for the rest of your life, you’re good — or else I wouldn’t have to go to practice anymore,” she said of her fitness philosophy. “It’s about the journey of being fit throughout your life, and how to take that step. It’s not about being perfect every single day, but just being consistent.” Venus: Fortunate, humble, humorous As Williams chatted easily about her professional accomplishments, eyeing the perfectly-cut tennis dresses that are almost fit for a cocktail party but for the length, she marveled at the fact that she is living her dreams. She was surrounded by pretty jackets in modern, floral prints, some with a lacing detail in the back that cinches the waist. There were cute shorts and tank tops that flattered with unique silhouettes. A gaggle of reporters were there to hear her muse on the creative process that led to these looks, which were inspired in part by high fashion runways. No small accomplishment for a 33-year-old originally from Compton. How does she do it all? “I feel very fortunate, so fortunate,” Williams said. “That pretty much sums it up, but, obviously there’s a lot of self-belief and a ton of hard work. And you have to believe in yourself. It’s not easy. Sometimes you don’t believe in yourself. You have to fake it ’til you make it sometimes, too!” she added, laughing. The will of a chic champion But it’s not all work and no play, even if her work consists of playing tennis and creating clothing, very fun pursuits. In her limited spare time, Williams likes to read fantasy. She listens to energetic music to prep for big tournaments. To complement her clothing selections, she loves to wear Milani eyeliner and lip gloss, which she absolutely gushed about for its perfect tones. These are all elements in the life of a powerful, yet surprisingly gentle woman, whose determination is evident as she sets off to make EleVen — which was previously available through a now-defunct retailer — an even bigger success. She may have just exited the U.S. Open, losing a match to Zheng Jie of China last week, but you can tell that — for this champion — it is the small set backs that provide the opportunity to continue to push forward. This is the fighting, yet feminine, spirit of Venus Williams. “No one’s perfect,” Williams concluded, unpretentiously. “I’ve choked matches. That’s just the way it is. I’ll be honest about that. It’s about getting up and believing in you. There’re going to be so many people who say that you can’t. You can’t believe that. Sometimes it’s hard to put out that negativity. You just have to surround yourself with people who tell you can, and actually believe them.”
It’s a scientifically-proven fact that the darker the food, the higher the antioxidant level.
Antioxidants have the ability to clean up free radicals and keep you looking younger, longer. Thus, purple foods are known for having amazing health benefits and healing powers. scientifically-proven fact that the darker the food, the higher the antioxidant level. The purple pigment in all of these fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, including resveratrol, which can help decrease blood pressure. Resveratrol helps relax the arterial walls, decreases the pressure in the arteries and allows better circulation. Produce with purple hues contain a variety of polyphenols that can reduce the inflammatory response in the body.
Studies have shown that anthocyanin-rich purple foods may have the potential to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. One USDA-funded study found that a couple of servings of purple potatoes a day helped lower blood pressure in obese and hypertensive adults. Other studies suggest anthocyanins may play a role in reducing the risk of certain cancers, diabetes and dementia.
Most people are familiar with some purple fruits and vegetables, such as grapes, plums, red onions, eggplants and purple cabbage. Now you can find a growing array of heirloom and specialty vegetables with a distinctive purple hue: purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, asparagus, artichokes, carrots, corn, tomatoes, peppers, wax beans, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and kale.
Let’s take a deeper look into these dark nutritional superheroes. Here are five reasons to eat more purple foods:
1. Purple foods kill cancer
The resveratrol found in purple grapes, cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, and, of course, red wine and grape juice can inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer in animal studies. Other promising studies also show that resveratrol can induce cancer cell death in cases of prostate, breast, skin, liver, lung and blood cancers. The curcumin in turmeric seems to boost its anti-cancer activity so have a glass of pinot noir (the type of wine highest in resveratrol) next time you have curry.
2. Purple foods are ulcer-fighters
A 2011 study found that anthocyanins from blackberries reduced stomach ulcer formation in rats. Researchers believe this is because the antioxidants in blackberries prevent oxidation and boost the activity of other important antioxidants, such as glutathione, that are naturally present in the body.
3. Purple foods are good for your liver
Black rice, which has more anthocyanins per gram than blueberries, is a delicious antioxidant grain that has been found to reduce damage to the liver incurred by excessive alcohol intake.
4. Purple foods are good for the heart
Black currants can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 13 percent while raising “good” HDL cholesterol. Black currants and bilberries have more anthocyanins than blueberries. Wild raw berries have higher antioxidant content than fresh raw berries or frozen varieties.
5. Purple foods prevent urinary tract infections
Vegetables such as purple cauliflower, purple carrots and purple cabbage contain the same plant pigment, anthocyanin, that is responsible for the UTI-fighting power of cranberries. Lab studies show that anthocyanin compounds fight H. pylori, the bacteria that promotes stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.
Look for purple produce in your local supermarket or specialty market. Or you may discover them at a nearby farmer’s market.
Here are some ways you can get your purple on:
- Make coleslaw with shredded purple cabbage, purple carrots and purple kohlrabi.
- Use purple potatoes instead of russet when making potato salad, or combine with red-skinned new potatoes and roast in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs.
- Slice purple grapes and add to chicken salad or a tossed green salad.
- Add purple carrots and purple kale to salads and stir-fries.
- Toss a plum in your bag for an afternoon snack.
- Drink a glass of grape juice at breakfast or for an afternoon snack.
- Make a chunky salsa with purple corn, purple tomatoes and purple onions.
- Bake a whole purple sweet potato and top with a teaspoon of butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
- Add a side of steamed purple asparagus or roasted cauliflower at dinner.
- Sprinkle blueberries or blackberries on your morning cereal or oatmeal.
- Puree a baked purple sweet potato and add to muffins, quick breads, pancakes and waffles.
- Steam baby purple artichokes and then cut in half and roast in the oven or finish on the grill.
“Don’t eat anything white.”
That was the advice Caroline Jhingory received from her doctor a little over ten years ago. At the time, Caroline was 22 years-old and weighed over 300-pounds, a weight beyond dangerous for her 5’2″ frame.
Caroline was also diagnosed as pre-diabetic due to her high blood sugar levels and the dark blotches on her face and neck. When asked, she says she considers this period her “rock bottom.” It was at this point that she decided that she would make the rest of her life the best of her life.
When beginning her weight loss journey, Caroline had no money for personal trainers or fancy weight loss programs. Being that she was allowed to stay on her parents’ medical insurance while in college, Caroline relied solely on the advice of her family physician to jump start her weight loss.
1. Caroline removed what her physician regarded as white foods completely from her diet – all products made with flour, sugar, rice, pasta and potatoes.
2. Instead of relying on the Metro subway system in her hometown of Washington, DC, Caroline began walking everywhere she went.
Within the first two months Caroline lost 30lbs, and within 18 months, she lost over 150lbs. Now over a decade later, at age 32, Caroline has maintained her weight loss via consistent exercise and disciplined eating.
What Caroline Learned…
Experience has taught Caroline that “losing weight and keeping it off is 85% healthy eating and 15% exercise. Healthy eating is washing the car and exercise is shining the rims.”
Caroline decided to share her weight loss journey, revelations and strategies in a book, called Half My Size: How I Ate To Lose 150lbs.
Caroline has been a guest on popular programs such as Good Morning America and Access Hollywood.
Additionally, she’s a dynamic public speaker that has provided weight loss tips and cooking and fitness demonstrations on a variety of TV shows and magazines. Beyond the television screen, she conducts innovative workshops at numerous hospitals, corporations and health organizations, as well as at a number of churches and schools in her hometown.
By Mellody Hobson
September means college for a lot of people, so today, Mellody Hobson addresses the financial issues around pursuing a higher education.
Where should people start?
Every financial issue should start with honest and open communication. For college, that means talking to your kids sooner rather than later about what you can afford and what you’re willing to contribute to their education—so you’ve managed expectations. Every parent wants to set their child up for success, and the best way to do that when it comes to managing finances is to model responsible behavior, teach your kids as much as you can about saving and investing and do your best to ensure they don’t take on a lot of debt for whatever reason—education among them.
How do people make the right choice for their child and their family?
First of all, it’s easy to envy the family who can just pay for their kids’ education outright, but studies show that those parents may not be doing their kids any favors. It turns out that students who foot part or all of their college bill focus less on socializing and more on academics, earning higher GPAs.
More time at the library and less time at the frat house?
Exactly. With grants or scholarships, students have earned them in some way and feel a sense of responsibility. Also, there’s a minimum GPA they have to meet, which keeps them involved in the ongoing funding of their education. It’s worth noting, Tom, that the higher GPAs are associated with grants and scholarships—NOT student loans. If checks come in without conditions, there’s still a disconnect that this is actual money—until of course, the time comes to pay back those loans.
And student loans are out of control, right?
We have over a trillion dollars in collective student loan debt. It’s a crisis, Tom. This should be your very last course of action when thinking about funding college. Go in this order:
Step One: If you’re trying to save for your child’s education, start by funding a 529 Plan after you’ve maxed out your retirement account. Why? Your child can apply for financial aid, but there is no assistance for retirement.
That brings me to Step Two: Apply for financial aid. Start by filling out a FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and should be filled out only at fafsa.ed.gov. Do not complete it at fafsa.com or any other commercial site that charges money–it’s called a free application for a reason.
Step Three: Pursue every other grant, scholarship and financial aid opportunity that you can. There are countless. Head online to find free services that help you look, like FastWeb, Scholarships.com, FindTuition.com, ScholarshipExperts.com and Sallie Mae’s The College Answer. Step Four: Don’t discount the value of a less expensive or community college option. In-state, subsidized colleges can have excellent reputations and present a tremendous opportunity to save. Think of it this way: Let’s say your child could be paid $10,000 more a year after graduating from a private school, but she’ll be paying $900 a month in student loan payments—that’s $10,800 a year and it negates the potentially higher salary. Another route is for your child to spend her first two years at an in-state or community college, saving and studying, and then transfer to her dream school to finish up her degree.
Step Five: As your child nears college-age, consider hiring a financial advisor to help you. Sure, friends and family will have endless advice, but they likely don’t know the specifics of your situation, and school counselors may or may not be competent to give you good financial advice. Step Six: Do the math. Remember to factor in extras like transportation to and from campus. After you’ve exhausted every other available funding option—scholarships, aid, work-study, then consider a student loan. Just because you qualify doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to take one—carefully examine terms and interest rates and figure out how long the loan will take to pay off with the graduate’s expected salary and what the monthly payment would be. Do not co-sign your child’s loan unless you can afford to pay it off if they can’t; co-signing isn’t just a sign of good faith—it means you can be held responsible for the debt. This is another example when saying “no” can be in everyone’s best interest. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, nearly a third of that 1.2 trillion dollars of student loan debt is either late or in default. That’s not setting anyone up for success.
By Danielle Young
It seems like only yesterday that we bid farewell to Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America,” but it’s been a full year. The beautiful and inspiring anchor is set to make her full time comeback! Roberts came back to the show earlier this year, but is now back five days a week!
“The day after Labor Day, I’ll be back to a five-day a week schedule,” Roberts explained. “I’m looking forward to it. I want to get back to my full life.”
Roberts revealed, “I’m really at peace now. I’m not as frightened. I feel 90 percent of myself again, and that’s a great feeling.” September 20th marks a full year since Roberts’ bone marrow transplant and she’s apparently feeling closer to her old self!
Recently getting back from a Maui vacation with a close group of friends, Roberts used that time to renew and reflect and called the trip meaningful. “To be able to feel stronger and a little more active, it’s great to feel that way again,” Roberts said of her trip.
Roberts kept a photo of Maui up in her hospital room as motivation to get well. And it did the trick because we get to see her beautiful face every weekday morning! Welcome back Robin!
Jaylen Bledsoe is a one of kind superstar. The 15-year old sophomore started his own tech company a few years ago, and has found entrepreneurship to be his calling. As a result, he is his own man, and a millionaire because of it.
Jaylen says that he started his firm when he was 12-years old, and plans to attend Harvard after he finishes high school. Jaylen’s company, Bledsoe Technologies, is now worth an estimated $3.5 million. This means that if he manages his wealth in the right way, he will be set for life.
Jaylen doesn’t spend his time memorizing lyrics from the rapper “2Chainz,” sippin “sizzurp” or chasing girls on Saturday nights. Instead, he spends his time chasing paper, pursuing his dreams and positioning himself for a truly empowered existence. Personally, I’m proud of him. I can also see that he is the beneficiary of good parents and role models. Our kids are like products off an assembly line: The outcomes we see in kids Jaylen’s age are direct products of what they’ve been exposed to on a daily basis.
Jason’s company does web design and other forms of IT consulting for companies located mainly in the Midwest. He actually reminds me of another young person I met recently, Emerson Spartz, the founder of Spartz Media. Spartz is not African American, but both of these young men serve as powerful templates for what our boys can become if given the right guidance.
When I spoke with Emerson, we both agreed that around the age of 12, we probably had ADHD. But we also both agreed that, while ADHD gets you in trouble in school, it can actually be beneficial to have a mind that races from one good idea to the next. Personally, my short attention span caused me to struggle in school until I gained my footing in college. High school felt like prison to me, and my horrible grades reflected that sentiment.
Emerson’s parents had a better idea: Take him out of the school system altogether. But not only were they going to home school their son, they also decided that they weren’t going to force him to learn any particular subject. Instead, Emerson’s parents focused on making sure that their child could read well, communicate in writing, and do math, which is pretty much what any person needs to know in order to succeed in life. I’ve rarely seen anyone struggle in their profession because they’ve never read old English literature or learned the Periodic Table in Chemistry.
So, basically, Emerson’s parents allowed him to study whatever he wanted, which sounds almost insane. They also required him to read a biography of a successful person every day to get a vision for his future. Before long, Emerson, like a lot of kids, gained a strong interest in Harry Potter. He then went on to found Mugglenet.com, the largest Harry Potter site in the world. So, just like Jaylen, Emerson was a 15-year old millionaire. He is now a 26-year old genius with a natural and burning desire to learn new things. Speaking to him was like talking to other college professors in academia.
Young men like Jaylen and Emerson define the vision of what we’re seeking to do with the group of educators we’ve gathered around the country for our homeschooling initiative at Your Black World. The public school system is failing our black boys, turning potential leaders into tiny men with low self-esteem. This has produced a state of emergency where, for every Jaylen Bledsoe, we produce a thousand wannabe rappers and basketball players. The next Martin Luther King is being killed every single day of the week.
Public school systems have become a virus, infecting millions of our boys with the disease of mediocrity. With each additional day of education, they become more deeply socialized into the mental health crisis that undermines their ability to be strong husbands and fathers. They then enter into an economic system that is not wired to give them employment, even when they’ve made good choices and obtained several years of post-secondary education. We must be honest and admit that this country is not designed for most black men to be successful.
My suggestion on this issue is simple: 1) Every black child in America should be home schooled, even if they go to school someplace else, and 2) Every black child in America should be taught the basics of how to run their own business.
Homeschooling may not mean taking your child out of school every day, but it does mean using the time that your child is not in school to teach him skills he will need to be a successful adult: The basics of black history, how to be a good parent, how to invest, etc. In other words, it means being a truly educated human being with adequate life skills and the ability to engage in critical thinking.
Secondly, being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean not working for anyone else, but it does mean having alternative streams of revenue so that you are not enslaved by a corporation that causes you to check your freedom and self-esteem at the door. That way, when situations call for you to stand up, you’re not faced with a corporate overseer telling you to sit right back down. Living paycheck-to-paycheck, deep in debt, on one stream of income is a surefire pathway to a lifetime of socioeconomic servitude.
When I come to Medgar Evers College in New York this month with Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill (Columbia University), Dr. Wilmer Leon (Howard University) and Dr. Christopher Emdin (Columbia University) for our next forum on Wealth, Education, Family and Community, our goal is to emphasize a new paradigm of thought as it pertains to how we go about developing our youth. They must be prepared to survive and compete in a world that doesn’t always love them, and have the skills necessary to overcome obstacles that they will most likely face in their path.
We MUST create more Jaylen Bledsoes and fewer Lil Waynes. The truth is that both of these young men are geniuses, and both of them know how to work hard. The difference is that one is a net asset to his community and the other is a blatant liability. One of these men is positioned for freedom and the other has been pre-assigned to psychological slavery. One of them is going to live long and prosper, while the other one might be d**d before the age of 35. Both of these men are prototypes, and every prototype can be replicated with the thoughtful design of pre-determined structural and environmental factors. Don’t believe me? Check out Rosz Akins and the Carter G. Woodson Academy in Kentucky, where she manufacturers extraordinary young black men who are equipped to become world leaders in politics, business, science and everything else. This DOES NOT happen with luck.
We live in a world where a prison cell and a casket are being built for every black boy on the day he is born. If we do not change the trajectory of that child’s life at an early age, then their fate is already sealed. Not only do our boys have the tools to survive all enemies foreign and domestic, they have the power to thrive and conquer when their energies are channeled in the right direction. Our community MUST regain control of this process.
Appearing on MSNBC on Monday, Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said he’s an Obama supporter but admitted that the president goofed when he drew a “red line”, calling it downright “embarrassing.” Rangel maintains that troops should not go to war because the president decided to draw a line in the sand.
Responding to a question from host Mara Schiavocampo about what message it will send the world if President Obama’s red line is crossed and America doesn’t respond, Rangel responded critically of Obama for even drawing the line in the first place:
“I love Obama, and you’ll never find a truer Democrat than me,” Rangel responded, “but this whole idea of any president of the United States drawing lines saying that if any country does something that he considers wrong that the nation is going to war, it’s unheard of, drawing a red line. So, of course, it’s embarrassing. I wish it didn’t happen. I guess Secretary [John] Kerry is even more embarrassed than me after making his emotional speech that this was urgent.”
Rangel says he is happy that the president slowed the rush to war.
“During those discussions, I hope that other people in the international community would come forward and take this great decision off of the Congress because we have to make it. Take it off of the Congress and provide some solution where we are not putting our kids in harm’s way to solve an international problem that we feel bounded, not by law, but because the president has drawn a red line,” Rangel said.
Article posted by yourblacknews writer
by Barry Burch Jr.
Last Friday, August 30, represents 30 years passed, since Guion “Guy” Bluford became the first African-American to travel through space. He launched into low-Earth orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, as reported by the Huffington Post. But he never intended on being a pioneer.
In a statement from NASA, Bluford said, “My desire was to make a contribution to the program.”
“People came from all over to watch this launch because I was flying,” he added. “I imagined them, all standing out there at one o’clock in the morning with their umbrellas, all asking the same question, ‘Why am I standing here?’”
Bluford comes from NASA’s history making class of 1978, which includes 35 spaceflyers; three of them African-American, and six women, including Sally Ride, according to the Huffington Post.
Bluford said that he and the other two black astronauts, Fred Gregory and Ron McNair were, indeed, aware that at least one of them would become a spaceflyer.
In a statement from NASA, Bluford recalled, “I probably told people that I would probably prefer not being in that role … because I figured being the number 2 guy would probably be a lot more fun.” Bluford has since accepted his true role.
“I wanted to set the standard, do the best job possible so that other people would be comfortable with African-Americans flying in space and African-Americans would be proud of being participants in the space program and… encourage others to do the same,” Bluford said.
In a video released by NASA this week, Bluford’s contributions are remembered by NASA chief Charles Bolden, who in 2009, became the agency’s first black administrator.
“What was so good about Sally and what was so good about Guy was the fact that they were good. They didn’t need to explain why they were there,” Bolden declared in the video.
A veteran of four space shuttle flights, Bolden added, “Guy was the first person of color to fly and that was absolutely incredible, but it was would have been empty had he been the first and only.”
…don’t go reaching for a greasy slice of pizza or loaded French fries after your cardio session.To put things into perspective, your typical buffet meal can run you about 1000 calories easily if you take in 2 courses plus a desert. To work off 1000 calories you would have to run for about 60 minutes or walk for 4 hours.
Some people might try and justify pigging out to this extent by going for a 30-40 minute walk in the afternoon or a 20 minute bike ride later once they have digested. This is hardly enough to make up for all the food that was eaten though the intent was positive.
Essentially, you want to create a balance with your food and exercise habits. In a perfect world, if you can exercise regularly and keep fit, you can afford to treat yourself once in a while to a little indulgence. Simply working out the day after an over sized meal will not suffice and leave you scratching your head on the scale.
So how do you deal with your crazy post-gym cravings? Use these dieting tips to avoid eating back all the calories you work off.
Eat Every 3 to 4 Hours
Giving your body a steady supply of calories keeps blood sugar normal during and after exercise, and it can prevent an excessively high insulin response the next time you eat that encourages excess body fat. To avoid taking in extra calories because you’re eating more often, keep meals to 500 calories or less and snacks under 200, limiting total calories to about 1,600 to 1,800 a day.
Have Protein at Every Meal
Protein increases satiety and helps keep your appetite under control by stimulating gut hormones that help you feel full. Options include eggs, milk, soy milk, yogurt, and oatmeal for breakfast. Include nuts, beans, whole grains, lowfat dairy, fish, lean meats, and poultry at other meals and snacks to ensure you get enough protein.
Load Up on Fiber
Bulky foods will fill you up on fewer calories. Aim for 25 to 30 g of fiber per day. Include at least 5 g in every meal and snack. At meals, try 1/2 cup of black beans, 1 cup of split-pea soup, or 1 cup of steamed spinach with 1/2 cup of raw carrot sticks. For snacks, try an apple plus a handful of nuts, or a rye crisp bread and a pear.
Pack A Snack
If you’ve worked up a sweat for an hour or more, have a little something within 30 minutes of finishing, even if you don’t feel like it. The ideal snack has carbs to refuel your energy stores and protein to help repair muscle tissue. Shoot for 150 to 200 calories, such as a smoothie or a stick of string cheese with a few whole-wheat crackers. If you exercise for more than 90 minutes, you’ll need a more substantial, 200- to 250-calorie snack, like a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.
Quench Your Thirst with Water
Exercise is more likely to increase your thirst, but many people mistake thirst for hunger. Next time you have the munchies, especially post workout, try to satisfy your desire with calorie-free H2O. Sipping sweetened drinks can quickly override any calorie deficit created by working out.
Eat Low GI Foods
Eating meals that are low on the glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly blood sugar spikes — can keep you from feeling ravenous. Low-GI foods elicit less of a blood sugar response, which can encourage the body to recruit its fat stores for fuel. They also tend to be high in fiber and protein, which can fend off hunger. On a daily basis, fill up on high-fiber grains and produce instead of more processed fare: steel-cut oats instead of instant and fresh peaches instead of the syrupy canned kind.
Telling overweight women to stay at their current weight was more effective than asking them to lose weight, according to a Duke study out today.
The study focused on nearly 200 overweight 25- to 44-year-old black women who received care from community health centers in North Carolina that serve predominately poor patients. Overweight is defined as body mass index, or BMI, of 25 to 29. Obese is BMI of 30 or higher.
One group was given the typical standard of care from their primary doctors, including suggestions to lose weight and healthy lifestyle. The women in the other group were encouraged to prevent weight gain and were provided individual goals for diet using registered dietitians along with a YMCA membership and physical activity goals.
At 12 months, more than half of those encouraged to lose weight actually gained weight, whereas only one-third of the other group did.
“This study demonstrates that weight maintenance is easier to achieve than weight loss,” says Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, an obesity medicine and nutrition fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “However, this is true in persons of all ethnic backgrounds, not just those of African descent.”
Historically, weight loss programs are not as effective among black women compared to white women and men, says Gary Bennett, lead author of the study and director of obesity prevention at Duke University. Therefore, he says, his findings are promising.
“There’s not the same social pressure for black women to lose weight in the black community,” he explains. “If 80 percent of the black female population is overweight, then that’s normal. So, being normal weight is abnormal.”
Stanford agrees. “Black women have higher weight misperception and more satisfaction with heavier weight than other groups. Even thought the women in the study were all classified as overweight or Class I obese, they were happy with maintaining their size than might be seen in a comparable group of Caucasian women.”
These perceptions, according to both, are the reason why the typical weight loss tactics may be less effective among black women. Instead of talking about health or weight loss, for example, Bennett says that his team used messages such as “getting Michelle Obama arms.”
A 2012 survey by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation found that despite having an overall higher self-esteem than white women, 65 percent of overweight or obese black women still felt that their weight had a negative effect on their health.
“I don’t particularly think it is harmful to tell overweight women not to lose weight, but I do think that it might be interpreted as a deceptive practice as it could lead to worse health outcomes,” says Stanford. “I believe that health care providers should inform patients of their weight status (whether normal, overweight, or obese) and provide guidance of how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.”
Bennett says that for those who are overweight and do not yet have health problems, weight maintenance is a promising tactic.Bl
“At the same body mass index of 31 to 32, the black woman is less likely to have early mortality, hypertension, cardiovascular mortality or high cholesterol than the white women,” Bennett says.
This suggests that letting black women remain overweight may not be as detrimental as previously thought.
“Black women do tend to have lower levels of certain chronic diseases at higher weight classes than persons of other ethnic backgrounds,” Stanford says.
Constance Brown-Riggs, registered dietitian and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that this study also points out the limitations of primary care doctors to address nutrition and weight loss.
“It validates the need for registered dietitians in facilitating behavior change strategies that can lead to weight loss or maintenance,” she explains. “Primary care doctors just don’t have the time or resources to adequately address the myriad of factors involved in moving an individual towards successful weight loss or maintenance.”
Brown-Riggs, who is also author of The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes, adds: “The ‘cookie cutter’ approach will not help individuals work through barriers such as purchasing and preparing healthier foods or incorporating physical activity into their day.”
Bennett says that his team plans to reexamine the weight gain or loss at the 18-month mark and consider these interventions as a first-line treatment intervention.
“We’re also going to look at this in men. Black men have a similar pattern of lower health risks with obesity. But, once men enter their mid to late 30s, they gain a lot of weight. We’re going to look at this strategy,” he says.
Dr. Tyeese Gaines is a physician-journalist with over 10 years of print and broadcast experience, now serving as health editor for MSNBC’s theGrio.com. Dr. Ty is a practicing emergency medicine physician in New Jersey and clinical instructor of emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Follow her on twitter at @doctorty.