Life After Cigarettes One Year Out: A Few Updates

Now that Life After Cigarettes has been out for a year and some change, I thought it might be an opportune moment to sift through my follow-up file and provide a few updates: In Chapter 4, I mentioned evidence that in addition to increasing physical activity, it’s important to reduce sedentary time.  A new study by Em­man­u­el Sta­matakis and colleagues in the American Journal of...

Ring In the New Year with “Gain-Framed” Resolutions

Ending a blogging drought to wish you a happy and a healthy 2011. Yes, it’s that time again, a time that many see as an occasion to set goals for the coming year – goals we hope will make our lives richer in some way, so that when next December 31 rolls around, we can say, “I’m a better and a happier person than I was last year at this time.” Alas, we all know New Year’s...

Selling Cigarettes by Selling Thinness

You might think the tobacco industry was in serious trouble. Public health campaigns to reduce smoking have resulted in cutting smoking rates in the U.S. from a peak over 60% in men and 40% in women to the current rate of around 20% (where, incidentally, it’s been stalled for several years). Government intervention has resulted in exposing deceitful practices designed to produce a more...

“I Love My Hair”

Over the past few days a totally charming Sesame Street video, “I Love My Hair,” has gone viral. It was written by a White man named Joey Mazzarino for his 5-year-old Black daughter and depicts a little Black muppet girl singing a rousing paean to her curly hair. Never mind that a Black woman named Natasha Anastasia Tarpley wrote an equally charming children’s book of the same name more...

French Women DO Get Fat

I marvel at how exportable American culture is.  What is so seductive about our way of life?  Why do others so readily adopt – and sometimes even improve on – our gadgets, our language, our clothing, our food, our habits both good and bad? Having just spent two weeks in the U.K., I’m here to report that we Americans have no hammerlock on overweight and obesity.  Clearly the British...

Exercise and Music

The aerobics classes at my gym encompass a wide range of ages, so one of the instructors focuses each of her sessions on a different decade’s music.  And when she plays the oldies, the music of the fifties and sixties that I grew up with, I’m convinced my body thinks it’s in junior high school again.  Just a few bars of “Dancing in the Street” and I’m as energized as I was when I...

Still Smoking After All These Years

Today’s New York Times ran a story by reporter Lizette Alvarez on “The Holdouts” – professionals who, in defiance of increasingly menacing health warnings, spend their breaks dashing to an elevator, descending to the concrete canyon below, trudging to an area that meets the minimum requirement of being at least 25 feet from the skyscraper where they work, however inclement the weather, in...

Reunion Anxiety

I recently had an e-mail from my old friend Lynn about our upcoming high school reunion (okay, I’ll ‘fess up, it’s our 50th):  “Now if I could just drop 15 lbs without giving anything up…  And the reunion is a few days after we get back from our September vacation so I don’t see dropping a few last minute pounds then.  MOST of the time I’m very accepting of...

Okay, What If You Gain Ten Pounds?

In Life After Cigarettes, I mentioned my one-time wish to create a website to which a woman smoker could upload a current photograph.  The idea was to use age-progression software—what the police use to visualize how someone who has been missing for several years might look now—to project two different outcomes: how she would look in ten or twenty years if she continued to smoke, vs how she...

Your Dinner Plate as a Weight Management Tool

I recently noticed that my son-in-law had lost the “baby weight” he’d put on a few years ago when my daughter was pregnant and regained his sleek rock musician physique.  So when I saw him serving his own meals on the salad-size plates used by their nine-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter, I suspected there might be a connection.  Sure enough, he told me he was on the “small...
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