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Giving Blood: Was it Good for You??

Friday, June 01, 2012


Maybe so.

New research indicated that blood donors benefit. Particularly if they are obese or have diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Giving blood reduces blood pressure, glucose and fats in the blood . . . and the effects are persistent.

I used to give blood regularly . . . DH also, a trip to the blood donor clinic regularly constituting a lunch time date . . . but haven't for a while. I was often turned down because of borderline anemia. And then blood donors are rejected for awhile after surgery/radiation therapy.

But the old medieval concept of "blood letting" seems to have some scientific validity!

And yes, of course -- great for those who need a blood donation (I've been there several times).

Win win for sure. I'm thinking it's time to give blood again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYFUL711 6/7/2012 5:02PM

    I cannot give blood...wish I could that would be a win-win if I could get rid of some of the fat in my blood, that would be great.

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SLENDERELLA61 6/5/2012 7:04AM

    Very interesting. I used to give fairly often, but then I fainted twice, so I quit. Maybe after my marathon in November I'll think about trying again. It is a very good thing to do. My stepmom gave gallons in her lifetime. It was something she felt really good about. -Marsha

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MRE1956 6/3/2012 11:48AM

    I gotta donate soon - haven't done so in a while and, sadly, the next opportunity at a location I prefer is not feasible due to prior commitments that I can't bail out from......oh, well.....

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NOLAZYBUTT110 6/3/2012 10:58AM

    Interesting, but I think before you one gives blood you should ask your Dr. I for one am not sure if I can give blood, but I know I had thin blood is, and I generally take cayenne pepper and tumeric plus drink grapefruit juice just to keep mine thin. I am not a red or pink meat eater but do have a tendancy to have a high evel of certain antibodies in my blood and its THICK. I was rejected when I was young for giving blood, because I had low blood preesure and I was anemic then. I wonder if I am still. But I have been told I have THICK blood. What does that mean? My daughter has this blood issue where her count is very high (higher than normal, but it happened after she was on aspirin regimen for 6 months and went off and had a stroke. ) Now she takes blood thinners. But she wonders if she "caught" this blood issue from one of us. I am borderline diabetic but was hyperglycemic in my youth. I have never been able to give blood. So many issues for one thing. I would be afraid to give blood. (I hate rejection, but wish I could lose weight that easily by just giving blood! ) Have to look into that. Asking my Dr. Thanks for the article! susana

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_LINDA 6/2/2012 4:54PM

    One of my Spark friends had problems with high iron in her blood and had to be drained once in a while so to speak. She died under mysterious circumstances -they couldn't figure out why she was ailing, there seemed to be no reason for it :(
In spite of all my surgeries, I never once needed a transfusion, not even during the complicated 5 hour one.. I did have anemia once, a side effect attributed to the combination of my disease and stress. So now I try to be careful about not having too much stress in my life.
I never thought I would be a good candidate for a blood donor, if for no other reason then all the drugs floating around in my system, and also because I tend to have low blood pressure, though being a universal donor, O which would be welcomed.
As their campaign says, "its in you to give."

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PHEBESS 6/2/2012 2:28PM

    I have to laugh - my parents always did, so as a young adult I tried donating blood - while sitting there, apparently I turned white and people rushed over to slow the blood, give me cold compresses, elevate my feet - and all the while, I felt just FINE! Apparently I have low enough blood pressure that giving blood makes it super low. (They asked me not to return.)

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TBANMAN 6/2/2012 1:56PM

    What a coincidence - CBS just called me yesterday. Apparently my type - A neg - is needed right now. I was also a long-time donor but was also rejected at least half the time after my daughter was born for low iron. But I booked some appointments - I'm glad to hear it's good for me.

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KALIGIRL 6/2/2012 8:05AM

    Used to give before treatments and hope to give again after - took an iron supplement before - so will be interested what the count is in two weeks...
Giving is not only good for the body, but the soul....

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LISALGB 6/1/2012 7:55PM

    I used to give blood when I lived in Virginia - but haven't since moving to Tennessee 16 years ago. I don't have a good reason for not giving. You have convinced me that I should do so again.
Thanks for the great information!!

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MEADSBAY 6/1/2012 3:50PM

    I've been giving for 35 years and never realized all these side benefits.
The last five yrs or so they talked me into being a plasma donor-which takes a lot longer. I bet it doesn't provide nearly as many benefits as the blood is returned after harvesting the platelets. I don't even get the guilt free cookies and juice any more!
tnx for sharing the importance of blood donations, my friend.

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TRAVELGRRL 6/1/2012 2:30PM

    Wow, it's great to find out that in doing something good for others there are side bennies for you too!

I'm a universal donor so am on the Red Cross's frequent call list. If I drink a lot of water the day before and day I donate, it's fast and easy!


Thanks for the great info!

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ONEWEIGH 6/1/2012 12:14PM

    I was surprised the last time I donated blood (1st time in 30 years)that I was really wiped out for a few days afterwards. I clearly don't have as much to spare as I did when I weighed 20 lbs more!

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NANCY- 6/1/2012 9:44AM

    Wow you have found a quick fix for dropping in systolic blood pressure; heart rate and reducing blood glucose levels; and improving cholesterol levels.

I like that it was stated he prefer that people would adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.

Happy Herbivores give blood. I should check out to see if I can give blood again.
Thanks for sharing this.

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SWAZY33 6/1/2012 9:29AM

    I can barely fill up a tube for a blood test...my veins are so small they just collapse so no blood donations for me :(
but....Thanks for the interesting info :)

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From Oatmeal to Beer? Exhausted Willpower!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This article from today's Globe and Mail draws on recent research to help explain why so many of us start out with good intentions every morning . . . and pig out most every night!

Will power is a muscle that gets exhausted by the end of the day.

Worse than that, "being good" early on in the day results in "moral licensing" to be . . . not so good by supper time and afterwards.

So what can we do? Plan our eating in advance when our willpower is strongest: in the morning for the rest of the day, on Sunday night for the rest of the week.

And deliberately create new habits (carrots instead of chips) to replace old habits . . . because temptation is less tested when operating from basal ganglia habit rather than from prefrontal cortex will power.

I found this really helpful . . . hope you do too.

And gotta say, for me it's more likely to be wine than beer!!

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/12/2012 4:06PM

    Excellent article.

And I think one of the things that almost no one mentions is that eating sparsely early in the day (which many equate with being 'good') can actually sabotage the plan later, because it sets you up to be very hungry when your judgement and resources are lower.

I find that if I front-load my day with lean protein in the morning and at lunch I am more successful grappling with the inner Cookie Monster later in the day. Not having quick snacks available also helps me avoid eating them.

It's about strategy, not willpower, as one of the guests in the Fitcast I listen to said recently.

Comment edited on: 6/12/2012 4:07:25 PM

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SLENDERELLA61 6/5/2012 7:11AM

    I will definitely read this article, because if I mess up it is almost always after supper. I had read that the hunger/fullness hormones (ghrelin/leptin) function best in the morning and least in the evening. I haven't been doing much pre-planning and that is something I'm going to get back to; have a plan and stick to it.

Somehow I missed several of your blogs. You have so much wisdom. I also commit to miss no more!! -Marsha

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NANCY- 5/31/2012 9:25AM

    “Decision fatigue” is a new one on me. Planning ahead does help. That app would be great here on SP wouldn't it?
Hmmm,,,, I wonder what other questionable choices I have made!

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KALIGIRL 5/31/2012 7:59AM

    Here's to new habits!

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    Huh. Definitely hit a chord with me. Yup, that's my MO. Off to read the article! THANK YOU!

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/31/2012 6:42AM

    I'm definitely with you there. emoticon

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_LINDA 5/31/2012 1:48AM

    Thanks for providing this link -very interesting (but not a big surprise) I am very familiar with this phenomenon as that was the pattern I was stuck in. I ate very healthy during the day, then snacked my face off during the evening watching TV.
The biggest help is, of course, not having less than healthy choices around the house to tempt you in those evening hours..

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ROOSTER72 5/31/2012 1:22AM

    This has given me something to think about.

I tend to leave myself 100 to 200 spare for an after dinner snack - but seem to end up exceeding this. Probably because I did not think about what the snack would be - and track it in advance.

It seems so simple, but sometimes you need the obvious pointed out to you!


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CRYSTALJEM 5/30/2012 11:04PM

    I saw the headline this morning but never got to the article. I'm glad you posted this to remind me to go back. Very interesting. emoticon

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M77355 5/30/2012 10:53PM

    Thank you for posting this!

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Portion Sizes/People Sizes

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Read a recent short article summarizing info from the US Centre (spelled differently!) for Disease Control comparing fast food portion sizes in the 1950s to today's portion sizes.

Average "soda" (what we call a soft drink, or a pop) then 7 ounces, now 42 ounces. (Forty-two!!)

Average hamburger then 3.9 ounces, now 12 ounces.

Average French fries then 2.4 ounces now 6.7 ounces.

No comment on average people sizes then and now: but I know my vintage size 14s are about the same waist size as my current size 8s and 6s. And I'm pretty sure that airplane seating has become smaller as portions and people have become larger!

Do you suppose there's a connection??

Remember those big boat cars with fins? It's a bit ironic that average car sizes have shrunk so dramatically over the past 50 years. People not so much!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOLAZYBUTT110 5/29/2012 3:54PM

    I think its all due to advertisement because I know when Tv first came out (telling my age) there was no commercials for food to make you hungry while you watching the boob tube! Blame the advertisers, and TV was free to watch, you did not have to pay for the service, now we do, and were still bombarded with advertisement on the TV! I resent having to pay twice, or should I say three times! They make you hungry for all that junk food.

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KALIGIRL 5/29/2012 3:06PM

    Definitely a connection! emoticon

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ID_VANDAL 5/29/2012 2:38PM

    Great information. As these portion sizes increase we just continue to eat them. I think some of that gets back to our upbringing (us older folks anyway). Things like "there are people starving in the world so you better clean that plate!!!"

In my psychic anyway it is hard for me to throw food away even if I am full. That's where the Beck's program has helped me - I just need to work it a little harder!!

I liked your last couple of blogs as well - where do you find this stuff?

Thanks for sharing it.



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_LINDA 5/29/2012 2:16PM

    Like Veronica, my Mom also eats like a bird, according to today's plentiful portions. She never had a weight problem, unlike her kids, brought up on McDonald's with extra large sizes..
If we all ate normal portion sizes in all the prosperous countries, and gave all that extra food left over to starving countries, I bet no one would go hungry. Its mind boggling how gluttonous modern society has become..

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NANCY- 5/29/2012 1:38PM

    "It's a bit ironic that average car sizes have shrunk so dramatically over the past 50 years. People not so much! "

So True!!! And to think it is all profit driven.

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CRYSTALJEM 5/29/2012 1:00PM

    Doesn't that just explain a lot right there! Thanks for posting - I'm always partial to comparative numbers.

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VERONICAVW_140 5/29/2012 10:40AM

    This is so true. My mom will be 68 this year. She is soooo good at portion control. I think it is bc growing up people didn't have the crazy portion sizes that we do now. Now we think that eating half the meal we order is really cutting back when in reality since the portions are so large, even eating only half of our meals can still account for lots of calories.

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MEADSBAY 5/29/2012 9:59AM


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LISALGB 5/29/2012 8:30AM

    I have thought of this quite often. The idea that bigger is better in everything except our clothing sizes has gotten terribly out of control. My Mom and aunts were teenagers in the 1950's. They were thin and shapely and according the them about a size 8-10, not a 2-4. Yet, they appear to be the same size as what is considered a 2-4 in todays sizing.
I suppose knowing this, we shouldn't pay attention to the size label inside our clothes, but concentrate on being healthy. Afterall, the number on the label does NOT define who we are.

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PHEBESS 5/29/2012 8:12AM

    And we wonder why people gain weight without knowing it..........

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/29/2012 7:43AM

    Every time I read something like this, I remember how hopeless I felt when I was that "large" human. Why portion sizes or historic comparisons do that for me, I don't know. But it helps me appreciate being "normal" sized.

Yes, size inflation is a real deal. The size 16 that was my mom's wedding dress would have been an 8-10 in the 1995 world. Today, I'm pretty sure it would be a 6. The dress hasn't change... the measurement has.

The real important thing for me is to know what my body needs, give it just that, not a whole lot more... and then enjoy being able to function oh so much more easily. It takes a long time to get from both the body size and the mindset of 225 to that of 125... but it is so worth the journey, even though it may be fighting an uphill battle against societal trends!

Spark on! emoticon

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Vitamin N

Monday, May 28, 2012


Being outside in nature: yes, it's a measurably good thing!

I love walks in the woods, what the Japanese call 'forest bathing".

Swinging a golf club is as far as I'm concerned somewhat optional. Although excursions with a golf club work better if I stay out of the woods and stick to the fairway as much as possible.

Gardening as an Xtreme sport? I engaged in some of that yesterday. About three steady hours, hacking away. And I have the scratches and aching muscles to prove it!

Numerous overhanging branches sawn down (some too high up for me with assistance of DH) and hauled to the compost heap. I was staggering like an ant carrying a burden many times its size.

And I finally cleared out some flower beds and pruned out some old rose canes . . . clipped back spent tulip and hyacinth foliage, removed leaves . . . . weeded a bit too. Enjoying my iris now in bloom as I did that. Nothing else smells exactly like iris, and the shape of the petals is so elegant.

Also planted a few of the geraniums and other annuals I'd picked up at the nursery near the back door. But there's more to be done there, including my flower boxes for the verandah and high back deck. After work I'll try to pick up a new sprinkler head for my hose since the old one is cracked and showering mostly me.

If that article is right, all that exposure to nature means that my cognitive focus ought to be vastly improved today!! We'll see . . . I'm thinking that the distraction of the muscle soreness (hey, I thought I was in shape!!) may reduce any mental sharpness induced by that massive dose of Vitamin N!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRYINGHARD1948 5/29/2012 6:08AM

    Vitamin N and vitamin D, definitely the way to go.

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M77355 5/28/2012 10:57PM

    Sounds heavenly to me! I love the idea of 'forest bathing' and will pass that on ... that's just what I love about some hikes.
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful writing style and life with us - which lets us relive happy memories :-)

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NOLAZYBUTT110 5/28/2012 6:22PM

    done that and more...lost a pound doing it too! ( Ya jealous?) But I do know about those sore muscles... I worked yesterday for 2 hours and in the heat and got a sunburn on top of a sunburn yesterday; and today (I was samrter) I took advantage of the cool morning and worked from 8 am until 1:30pm when I started to feel a little sick from the heat (and Hubby brought me water) ! I only ate two meals today. Hoping I lost another pound by going without and exercising in my garden. It will be a real joy if I lose another pound today! lol we shall see. But I do love a good workout in my garden! It gives me twice the rewards! Dont you just love the flowers? susana

Comment edited on: 5/28/2012 6:30:27 PM

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_LINDA 5/28/2012 3:29PM

    LOVE that term -forest bathing -I would be doing it every day if I could! Sounds like someone should have been following Spark's pre-gardening conditioning exercises ;) For sure, we don't do sawing, cutting and digging in the gym! A long hot bath, followed by a soothing massage might help with those muscles..
Your garden sounds awesome! In bloom here now -bleeding hearts, tulips and some of the ground cover. Very few people are putting annuals out -too risky the way our weather has been so cold and wet. Some won't even plant until June. We have had snow at the end of May, although this year its supposed to be nice -keeping fingers crossed so my sister can come in from the farm for my 50th on Thursday!
Hope you can make it through work!!

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PHEBESS 5/28/2012 9:55AM

    Forest bathing - I love the concept! Very Thoreau!

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CRYSTALJEM 5/28/2012 9:12AM

    Forrest bathing - now that's a new term for me and I love it! I intend to add that to my vocabulary since forrest bathing is definitely one of my most favourite activities. Sounds like you got so much done - and included in the process was exercises, nature, fresh air and a "shower" to boot - now what more could you ask for. Have a great day. Here's to vitamin N!

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NANCY- 5/28/2012 8:58AM

    You are in shape, used just put little used muscles through their paces.
Hmmm... fractal patterns for my walls... now there's a thought. For me that article rings true. I find nature walks restorative.
All that gardening you did will help restore you.

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MEADSBAY 5/28/2012 8:41AM

    Interesting article.
My DH, a long time former smoker, adores walking in the woods.
I prefer sitting at the beach, myself, communing with nature (but not when it's crowded).
Great blog- nice way to start my day.

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/28/2012 7:50AM

    There is something about outdoor exercise. One of the reasons I love the bike paths when they go through green space or out into the countryside. I'll be in cornfields and woods today, but somehow I don't think it will have quite the punch of a quiet walk! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 5/28/2012 7:48AM

    Agreed - nothing better for th body, mind or soul!

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Obesity School

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Would you pay $50,000 a year to help your obese teen drop weight? This video link to a school for overweight kids really brought tears to my eyes. Can't agree with everything taught there (for example 0 fat grams) but it's hard to argue with success.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOUTHPONDCAMP 5/29/2012 10:06AM

    They have televised some of these kids joureys...not sure if they are doing any more seasons but it was on TLC or MTV..."reality TV" called "too fat for 15". It was interesting because, while heavily edited, you saw the kids struggle and learn over a period of months. Some did great...some....not so much. Just like the rest of us.

Comment edited on: 5/29/2012 10:07:25 AM

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TEENY_BIKINI 5/28/2012 6:58PM

    Hm.... I see it as no different than parents choosing to pay for a private school - and I think it's kind of neat to instill life skills of any kind in any child. I am sure there are plenty of skinny kids with poor eating habits - and great metabolism - who could also benefit from these skills as well [and they might need them when they get older :)] My friend, Chloe's son, was overeating - she says he gets it from his dad's side of the family - his family just keep eating til "all of the food is gone." She said if it wasn't for the fact that he plays soccer all day long he would be overweight too. So she starting making him more aware of "eating consciously" and portion sizes and it seems to be working. In essence, she is re-training him and how he thinks about food, but she is a VERY involved parent, whatever that means. He is 8 so I'd say he's got a good head start :)

So I guess I am saying - all learning is good learning - and sometimes people need help attaining/learning/teaching good habits. As long as the help is attained, I don't think it matters much "where" it comes from.

Anyway, thanks for the post. Very provocative. You post the coolest stuff. I almost cried when I saw that sweet little girl running. How friggin' cool is that?!!

PS - Zero fat cals - ain't right for me. It is so bad for my hair and skin. I guess that it is one of things you learn along the way .... Cheers.

Comment edited on: 5/28/2012 7:02:14 PM

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LISALGB 5/26/2012 10:40PM

    I saw that on the news the other morning. I agree with all that has already been posted on this subject. I just think it is terribly sad that so many children are obese and unhealthy.

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DDOORN 5/26/2012 8:48PM

    How tragic it is that enough isn't already done and provided for through existing means...family, schools, etc. But even more: that we cannot harness the power of our media for GOOD rather than EVIL! Our kids could grow up salivating over the thought of munching on a broccoli floret rather than a bag of chips or fries!


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_LINDA 5/26/2012 7:15PM

    Great for well-to-do parents I suppose, but the average majority could never afford this. Its nice to know there is some intervention for some of these obese teens. But they are really missing the point. Its how they got there in the first place. If they go back to the same environment they got fat in in the first place, of course they will put it all back on. Change has to happen where you live. This is not much different then that Biggest Loser show everyone is so interested in.
Here is to families waking up and realizing they have to all live a healthy lifestyle together.

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NOLAZYBUTT110 5/26/2012 2:09PM

    I cant believe a child would lose all the weight they gained over night or even in a summer camp. I remember when I was a kid when my brother and I were both sent to a summercamp/health camp. Neither of us put the weight on and in fact they even served what today would not be considered healthy food...like what you get at McDonalds! The first day we went to McDonalds. Kids dont lose as fast as they think or gain as fast as one thinks, it takes years to get like that and years to undo the damage. Its a struggle for a person with any weight issues and its an all your life worry and work in their lives. It never stops! I cant see spending money for someone else to help you lose weight! Money cant buy you love nor weight loss without the desire to lose. And Kids dont know how to desire weight loss without a mother and father supporting them, and I dont believe any child should be sent away to do that! I cant see separating kids form their parents for helping a child lose weight ... when they go back home the parents are still the same; cooking and eating the same as they did before. Kids need parents to take control chaneg their eating habits and ways of living and have to care and learn how to change those bad habits before kids will change their weight goals. Better for the parents to spend time learning how to eat and cope with frustrations so they can help their children. That would be a better investment!

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NANCY- 5/26/2012 11:46AM

    50K for school to help learn healthy habits vs. surgery and possible death, I'd opt for the school. It's a lot of money. I think we all need a better education when it comes to our health.
Personally I'm still trying to teach myself.

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CRYSTALJEM 5/26/2012 10:31AM

    The key for me would have to be intervention before my child got to this point. I'm not trying to be mean, but we all know we don't become obese over night. When I see people, especially children, this obese, it seems to me that they ignored the "obvious" for a long time before taking action. I'm not judging, I realize just how hard it is to take that action. Having said that, if you find yourself in that situation, I can see how it could be a life saver, and if I had no other way you bet I would do whatever I could to help my child. After all, tuition for any private school is usually steep and that's what this basically is.

Thanks for sharing, it's been a real eye opener.

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NELLJONES 5/26/2012 10:14AM

    No. Any weight loss, or any other task that requires 100% willingness to change everything they think they love, 100% commitment 100% of the time, can't be bought. It's a good deal for those selling the camp for $50,000.

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/26/2012 9:20AM

    Actually, I did lay out quite a bit of cash to help my desperately hurting teen (19 back then) get in shape. When his dad left, he practically dragged me and the checkbook to the gym to make this investment. It was the beginning of "no turning back" for him. Gym membership, personal trainer... with the trainer's nutritional advice as well as the workout plan, he dropped weight, got fit, earned back his confidence... went on to acquire GED, driver's license and start college. Which eventually led to his current service and his marriage.

No way the majority of us can afford that $50,000 a year, but I'm pretty sure most of us here on Spark *want* that healthy life for our kids, and will do what we can, to whatever extent we can.

Thanks for sharing the link!

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