Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Wizard of Oz (Ounces, That Is)

So, it seems that someone has pulled back the curtain and revealed the bitter truth. There is no magic when it comes to weight loss.

On January 4, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had filed complaints in four separate cases alleging that weight-loss and weight-control claims were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Marketers of the four products – Xenadrine EFX, CortiSlim, TrimSpa, and One-A-Day WeightSmart –have settled with the FTC, surrendered cash and other assets worth at least $25 million, and agreed to limit their future advertising claims.

I, for one, was a little sad. I was kind of hoping that all of those things really did work even if I hadn't worked up the nerve to use them. I was disappointed in the One-A-Day people most of all. I am a believer in the products that are stocked on the shelves at my local CVS pharmacy. I don't want to accept that I can trust no one, no brand is immune to scrutiny, or fraud.

No matter how much science you throw at it, weight loss is an uphill battle. You can have surgery, you can take heart-palpitating pills, you can starve yourself. But, we have yet to create a substitution for physical activity and smart, healthy eating.

So, how do you make smart, healthy choices? How do you approach the supermarket so that you are armed for success? Advertisers would have you believe that everything out there is good for you. Whole wheat is the new black. Zero Trans Fats is all the rage. The cool are all drinking vitamin enhanced waters. NutraSweet will set us free.

If only it were that easy. When you discover that just because something says zero trans fats, doesn't actually mean that there are none, you start to get a little concerned. When the sweetener in the funky water gives you stomach cramps, you chalk it up to something you ate. When you find out that whole wheat doesn't mean whole grains, you start to look for the place you hid the cookies...baked with real sugar, no less.

Last week, I learned that most of the vegetables my kids like these days are actually carbs. So now, I have to go back to the frozen vegetable drawing board too. Is there no safe place to eat anymore? I think I am going to head to Dunkins and console myself with a lite latte and a jelly donut. Aaaah, comfort food and truth in advertising. ;)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Mothers and Daughters

There was a time when I told people that I wanted to have a daughter so that she could grow up to resent me. I felt that was the natural course of events. This year, I got the first half of my wish. I had a daughter. But now, things are different.

Before she even uttered Mama for the first time, I knew that I wanted to be her best friend forever. I want her to grow up and never leave home. I want to embody the souls of Lorelai and Rory on The Gilmore Girls. I want to have great girl talk over coffee, open conversations about life, a flurry of loving sarcasm and witty retorts.

I want to talk to her every day - a million times a day. I haven't slept in months but I miss her when she is sleeping peacefully in her own room and the house is too quiet.

My poor husband and son. Mostly, my poor son. He is my mama's boy through and through. And yet, he is evolving into quite the little man. He is becoming more interested in sports, super heroes and serious Daddy time. Not that we don't have a phenomenal relationship - trust me, I used to say that I hoped he grew up to be gay because I perceive gay men to have better relationships with their mothers. I have probably been watching a little too much Will and Grace to be objective or informed. But, he still wants to marry me and he still says I'm his favorite and I secretly (openly) celebrate his devotion to me.

I think that it is possible to not resent your parents. I don't resent mine, at least not anymore. I can't say that we liked each other very much when I was in high school but it was mutual and we can laugh about it now. (I think my parents were laughing about it back then too - but I digress.)

Mothers and daughters are a tricky combination. It can be the stuff that Lifetime movies are made of or it can be something else entirely. I hope that Syd and I have an unbreakable bond. I hope that we weather the storms of adolescence with grace and aplomb. I hope that we get to be as close as I am with my mom. I hope that she lets me be a part of her life and that I don't embarass her too much.

I guess I could fill a wishing well with my hopes for our future. In the end, I have some control over what happens, I suppose. But being the control freak that I am, my last hope is that I don't do anything to kill the very cool thing we have going on. We could be BFF yet.