Monday, September 29, 2008

The Leptin Connection

New research on the science of weight focuses on leptin, a hormone associated with regulating food intake. If your leptin levels are sufficient, when you eat, they signal satiety to the brain. "You've had enough" or "You're full," the leptin communicates. So, what effect does dieting have on leptin levels and what happens when leptin levels are insufficient?

A new study by Columbia University Medical Center, published in July's Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggests that obese participants who dieted down to lower weights experienced significant reductions in leptin. . . related to increased food intake. Implications for weight loss? When you diet, your body works overtime to help you re-gain the weight, explaining why over 95% of all diets fall.

The Columbia Medical Center Record quotes Dr. Rudolph Leibel, an investigator on the project:
Weight gain is unfortunately very common following otherwise successful weight reduction. . . . Brain images confirm that the body is subject to powerful biological forces that regulate food intake--forces that are beyond an individual's conscious control. Obese people who may have struggled to shed 20 pounds will have lower blood levels of leptin that will cause persistent hunger. Combined with reduced energy expenditure--also caused by lower leptin--that's the perfect storm for re-gaining the weight.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just Not Fat

Eva Longoria insists she's not pregnant. In order to quell the pregnancy rumors, inspired by photos like the one above, she announced: "I'm just fat!" Costar Felicity Huffman reiterated Longoria's announcement, telling People: "She's just fat, that’s all there is to it!"

Longoria might be pregnant, or she may have gained a few pounds. Whatever it is, she's just not fat. Calling her so dilutes our struggle for fat acceptance, akin to the tongue-in-cheek acceptance of a blackface person of color.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy is the New Thin

There's this book I'd like to read, Thin is the New Happy. Have you read it? Then, there's this post (yes, this one) I'd like to write, and when I think of a launching point, somehow, that book title comes to mind. Except in this case, I unconsciously flip flop the terms.

Happy is the new thin.

Out with the thin, in with the happy (or in with both, if that's just the way you are). But, out with trying so hard to be thin. Out with depriving ourselves of what we want, of abusing our bodies, both with actions and with words. In with happy. . . in with good coffee. . . and in with the remnants of summer sun, peaking in my office window, warming my shoulders as if to say farewell.

As fall arrives, I'm acutely aware that we're supposed to be doing something about our weight. Yes, I realize that bikini season is closing its doors, but still, there is something, right? Are we supposed to be "shaping up for fall?" With "back to school," do we go back to our diets? Enough lollygagging about, what with flirty drinks and sand-crusted beach chairs and lengthy summer reads. . . . or, maybe it was a particularly active summer, in which case, it's going to take a lot to keep that up. . . not enough time in the day. . . better start cutting back, watching what we eat.

There's always something.

How about nothing?

Happy is the new thin.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Have a Minute?

Want equal coverage for e.d.'s and other psychiatric matters? If you have a free moment today, please contact your local Representative, using the instructions below, provided by the American Psychological Association. We're getting awfully close to mental health parity, but insurance companies are still taking advantage of certain loopholes (e.g., providing session limits that bypass out-of-pocket maximum allowances), creating a significant mental/physical health discrepancy. For mental health parity, act now!

APA Practice Organization Action Alert

Date: September 9, 2008

Re: National Call-in Day for Parity

Congress has just returned from the August recess and has three short weeks to pass the historic bipartisan agreement on parity before adjourning for the year. Your Senators and Representative need to hear from you on Wednesday, September 10 that Congress must finish its work and send parity to the President’s desk this month.

Targets: All U.S. Senators and Representatives


Call your Senators and Representative on Wednesday, September 10 using the toll-free Parity Hotline: 1-866-PARITY-4 (1-866-727-4894).

The Parity Hotline reaches the Capitol Hill Switchboard, which can connect callers to their legislators when specifically requested by name or their ZIP code is provided.


I am a constituent calling to ask Senator/Representative __________ to urge the congressional leadership to pass the historic bipartisan agreement on mental health parity this month before Congress adjourns.