Wednesday, June 25, 2008

JUNE 25, 2008

Remember when sending email forwards was totally in vogue and not at all annoying? It was about, oh, 1999 or so, and you and your friends would send each other chain letter forwards, quizzes about yourself that you filled out, inspirational poems about girlfriends and sisters, warnings to each other about deodorant causing cancer, and how to save a kid dying of a life-threatening disease you've never heard of.

However, some people haven't really gotten that memo and if you're afraid to tell them straightforwardly, the website will send an anonymous message on your behalf with a gentle but firmly-worded cease-and-desist email. Really, you're doing all of their email contacts a favor.

We talked about it yesterday, and then what do you know, CNN did a whole segment on it. Here's what they said...

1) SCHEDULE YOUR FLIGHT AROUND THEIR "NAP TIMES". Some kids sleep on planes... and others CRY the entire time. Try to schedule your flight around the time your kid usually takes naps, so there's a better chance that they'll sleep.

2) PACK A LOT OF TOYS. You have to keep your kid occupied on the plane ride... or else they'll get bored. And what happens when they get bored? They become OBNOXIOUS. So pack a lot of toys to keep them busy.

3) BOARD EARLY. This is especially true if it's only YOU and your kid. Take the time to get your kid comfortable on the plane, and set up all the supplies you'll need to keep them entertained.

4) GET YOUR KID A SEPARATE SEAT. Don't make your kid sit on your lap the entire time... they'll get really fussy. Shell out the extra cash to get them their own seat. Just don't let them kick the seat of the person in front of them.

Health experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) have weighed in on a weight-loss story in the headlines, warning that the "McDonald's Diet" adopted by one man is little more than a crash diet, not the kind of behavior change that results in safe, permanent weight loss.

Chris Coleson, a 42-year old Quinton, Virginia man who shed 80 pounds in six months by eating most of his meals at McDonalds, has attracted much media attention. Last December, at 278 pounds, the 5-foot-8 Coleson started eating two meals a day at the fast food chain (he skips breakfast.) Coleson spurned burgers and fries for salads and wraps and now weighs 199 pounds. According to AICR Nutritionist Sarah Wally, RD, "We applaud Mr. Coleson's resolve, and his recognition that it was time to take action. Being overweight increases risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, and a recent AICR Expert Report concluded that excess body fat is a major cause of many cancers as well."

But Wally was less enthusiastic about Coleson's chosen method. "Mr. Coleson's weight loss was the result of extreme calorie deprivation. His reported daily intake - between 1200 and 1400 calories - was far below his body's needs. "Rapid weight loss like Mr. Colson experienced is inevitable when calorie intake is cut so drastically, regardless of what - or where - you are eating. But it doesn't lead to sustainable, long-term weight loss and it can be dangerous," Wally said.

The chain offers wraps and salads, which can be healthful options - but which ones you choose, and how many extras you add, can drive up the calorie count quickly.

The bottom line: Mr. Coleson's experience doesn't make McDonald's a haven for dieters. While some of the chain's offerings can fit into a healthful diet, the majority of menu options are calorie-dense choices that have been shown to promote weight gain.