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    Big waist-short life?
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD posted:
    There is a rather shocking study that has just been published in the Archives of Internal Medical about the size of our waists and our life expectency. Men with a 47" or larger waist and women with a 43" or larger waist were more likely to die from all causes than men with a 36" or smaller waist and women with a 29" or smaller waist.

    Big waists have been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes .But this report seems to say that having a lot of fat around the middle of the body makes us more likely to die sooner from other causes such as cancer.

    Does this mean that the health risks from being obese may really depend on where the fat seeems to be situated?Perhaps so.

    Meanwhile, I am going to look for my tape measure.
    wernerboom responded:
    I completely agree with this article. I used to be a 30 inch waist in my teen and early 20's. I then let go a little bit and went to 36 by the time I was 28. I was tired, I had poor stamina. It was just not the same body I had when I was younger.

    I had a 36 inch waist and didn't mind it that much because I have a tall frame but this problematic area definitely slowed me down in more ways that one. I am now down to a 34 and already feel quite a lot of difference in energy levels. I am sort of obsessed with bringing it back to a 30 inch waist to feel good again.
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to wernerboom's response:
    Dear Wernerboom, You are doing absolutely the right thing. I am not sure that we can extend our lives if we go from a 34 to a 30 " waist but you are certainly preventing a shortening of it.
    This scientific report did not get the attention it should have received and that is why I wanted to write about it. So if you know others whose waists are creeping up , please share this information.
    evilnala responded:
    Interesting. Am I missing a cite?

    There definitely seems to be growing evidence that body fat distribution matters. What I would really like to see, if possible, is more information about whether obesity causes disease, or disease causes obesity.

    While I am well aware that anecdotes do not make science, I find it interesting that so many people with certain health problems have similar stories about unusual weight gain, especially around the waist, immediately preceding diagnosis.
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to evilnala's response:
    According to the report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the people they surveyed had larger waist sizes for a while, certainly years before they died. Of course a large waist could be due to weak abdominal muscles or some underlying condition causing bloating or in a awful case situation,something growing in the abdominal cavity. But what this report measured among the 100,000.00 people taking part in this study was wider waists due to fat deposits. It is interesting that men who gauge their weight gain or weight loss by the waist size of their pants really do notice a change in their energy and overall health when their waist size decreases. I wonder if women are quite so conscious of our waist sizes. So many clothes come with expandable waists that sometimes we may not be aware of whether we are growing larger or smaller in that area.
    justmejust replied to Judith J Wurtman, PhD's response:
    I am female and my waist measures 39". Hearing this makes me want to shoot for a 29" waist instead of just a 35" waist. But it sure seems like a lofty goal. I am 49 and 5'4" and 214 lbs and have had 3 kids and have 69 lbs to lose!
    What would be a significant diet and exercise plan for me?
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to justmejust's response:
    Dear justmejust, Sorry about the late reply to your question but I was away this past week. I am sure you are really busy with your kids but try to make the time to change little by little what you are eating and what you are feeding your family. You can check out my web site ( www. to get some ideas of a healthy eating and exercise plan . But don't do anything drastic. Make sure you are eating three meals a day rather than skipping meals and nibbling. Watch portion sizes: this is where we all have problems. Cut out as much fat as you can. Increase your consumption of vegetables ( we should all be doing this). Make sure you have enough fat free dairy in your life for its calcium. And most important, try to get as much exercise as you can. If you can use your car less and walk more, that will start the pounds coming off. It is really important to do diminish your waist size because there are so many serious health issues related to a too large waist. And make sure you take on a healthy eating style that you can maintain ; fast weight loss usually means fast regain after the diet is over.
    justmejust replied to Judith J Wurtman, PhD's response:
    Thank you. I have already cut out dairy and switched to all lean meat and fish. I think I need to cut back more on the occasional home made chocolate chip cookies with whole wheat flour and cut back on the occasional cup of ice cream.

    Sounds like I definitely need to increase my exercise amount and intensity then too. Currently my 30 min. walk each day must not be enough to reach my goal.

    My knees probably have a little osteoarthritis (dr. diagnosed it in some finger joints recently), so I use that as an excuse not to do more, when truthfully some days I just try to avoid the sweat! My neighborhood is hilly, but I do okay.

    I used to bike ride, play tennis, softball, etc.! After kids, I just got away from it all, sadly. Now my good health habits are all but by the wayside.
    Tomato05 replied to justmejust's response:
    Is there any particular reason why you are cutting out all dairy? It is easy to become very deficient in calcium if you omit dairy.

    And ones your bones lose density because of a lack of calcium, you have damaged them permanently (ask me - I have osteoporosis).

    Dairy from skim milk (e.g. fat-free yogurt) is low in calories, and is a good source of protein, calcium and many other nutrients.
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to justmejust's response:
    Dear Justmejust, I am amazed at how motivated you are and it sounds as if inserting some exercise in your routine will be extremely helpful. However please don't cut out fat free dairy products. Your bones need the calcium and these foods are also a good source of protein. Also you should realize that , as I have written elsewhere, healthy carbohydrates will take away your appetite if you eat a specific amount, on an empty stomach, before meals. Eating carbohydrates ( and not chocolate chip cookies but oatmeal, whole grain cereal, rice, potatoes etc) in a certain amount , without protein, raises brain serotonin levels. Serotonin stops us from eating too much and also takes the edge off our appetite so we eat less at meals. This has been known for decades and people have been trying to find a weight loss pill that will do this, but so far, nothing has been developed.
    Back to exercise again. Try to increase your muscle mass because that will burn up more calories. There are lots of DVD's that you can watch at home which strengthen your core and increase arm , shoulder and back muscles.
    Tell us how you are doing.
    justmejust replied to Tomato05's response:
    Hi! Yes it's a typo! I meant to say I already have only fat free dairy products! :0
    aebooher replied to justmejust's response:
    Hi! Sorry, but I have to disagree with keeping dairy. Yes, skim milk has 488g of calcium, but for 137 calories. Consider adding as many veggies (unprocessed / from the earth) as possible. Kale = 33 calories, 90 calcium. Keep in mind that if you had 33 calories of skim milk it would only be 117g of calcium. I'll be glad to send you a list of the 50 healthiest foods & milk is not one. I replaced milk with Almond milk & yogurt with soy yogurt. Look deeper into the benefits!

    per 8 oz
    Almond milk-40cal, 180g calcium,10% vit A, 0 sug, 25% vit D
    Skim milk-137cal, 488g calcium,0% vit A, 19 sug, 0% vit D

    Vitamin D is essential to "carrying" calcium so make sure your getting both. Choose all around healthy & not one-sided!
    KKisMe replied to justmejust's response:
    Congratulations on the efforts you're making; they will not only benefit you, but your children as well, by your exemplary role modeling! I was glad to see your subsequent correction about cutting out all but fat free dairy. Personally, I drink 1% milk because there is a benefit from milk that's lost if you go skim.

    While you're increasing the intensity and amount of your exercise: 1) be sure you're walking at a fast enough pace & mix in some intervals (1 minute at your fastest gate/1 minute slower) - "strolling" doesn't do much for us; 2) definitely get some strength building workouts - muscle burns fat and increases bone strength; 3) stretch gently afterwards & drink a glass of milk, both of which will decrease or even eliminate soreness :D)

    In addition to my (near) daily cardio, I've been working out with Margaret Richard's Body Electric videos for years (I'm 53) and her methods are exceptional. This isn't a "commercial," rather a personal testament, so I hope it's ok for me to mention. Her website is (her show has been aired by PBS stations for somewhere around 30 years).

    You have my best wishes for continued success!!
    justmejust replied to Judith J Wurtman, PhD's response:
    Judith, thank you so much. I increased the intensity of my mile walk and my hour bike ride, slightly. I am going to keep this up and try to move more in general during the day.

    I am trying to remember when I have an appetite to eat healthy carbs including oatmeal, whole grain rice, potatoes. If I eat low fat mozarella with tomatoes and baby spinach on top of a baked potato would that protein in the mozarella wreck the raising of serotonin?

    I am very interested in raising my seratonin throughout the day.

    Oh, I do have all fat free dairy, somehow I typed previously that I had no dairy! Of course I have fat free yogurt and skim milk 3 times each day!!!
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to justmejust's response:
    Dear Justmejust, The baked potato recipe you mentioned sounds delicious. Don't worry about the cheese interferring with the carbs in the potato in raising brain serotonin. There isn't enough protein in the cheese to do this unless the proportions of cheese to potato are l to l. If you want the cheese to melt on the potato and give it a robust taste, you might try grating some really good Parmasan ( I can't spell)or robust cheedar or Swiss cheese on the potato. The stronger the cheese flavor, the less you need to add a 'zing' to the potato.
    The time when almost every one needs to eat carbs in late in the afternoon, around 4 pm. Serotonin levels dip at that time. In my book, the Serotonin Power Diet, we refer to this as the universal carbohydrate craving time. So make sure that you have some carbohydrates then, even if it is just a piece of multigrain bread.
    I am very impressed with your exercise regimen. Will you be able to keep it up when the weather turns cold ( or do you live someplace warm?)

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