Childhood Obesity and Bullying


I recently came across an article on Medscape concerning childhood obesity and bullying.

The opening line states; “Obese children are more likely to be bullied than their nonobese peers regardless of sex, race, socioeconomic status (SES), social skills, or academic achievement, according to a University of Michigan study published online May 3 in Pediatrics.”

My initial reaction was; I wonder if I could get some fool to hand me a bunch of  research money to study the possibility of  the ground getting wet when it rains?

In my mind, obesity and bullying  is just one of those topics that does not require any research. Ask any adult, me included, who was overweight as a child, if they experienced bullying.

I was picked on.

I was tormented.

I was mercilessly attacked, mostly verbally but sometimes physically,  for being overweight.

I am not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, but I understand what it is like to have been picked on as an overweight child. Hell, I wasn’t even that overweight.

I was always a “big-boned” youth. Growing up, I would get a hard time about it from my friends. Mostly it was harmless, but when I entered junior high school things changed.

It was in the seventh grade that good-natured ribbing changed over to malevolent, menacing, mean-spirited bullying.  Kids from different grade schools came together in one place. I was no longer solely with the children I spent the last seven years getting to know. There were new kids I had never met, kids from the tougher parts of Greater Pittston. I was with twelve year olds that cursed, smoked and would think nothing of punching you in the face for looking at them funny.

To quote a movie, “I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.”

My torment started on the very first day, walking to school.  In an alley were a gang of kids hanging out, smoking before we had to be in the building. It was from them I heard;

“Hey Fatso! Are you going to make it up the hill?!”

It was a mild taunt.

I just kept walking.

Each day it got worse.

I tried ignoring them, but that only fueled their need to hurl even more insults.

I tried walking faster, but I couldn’t escape their shouts.

I opted to walk a different way. That worked — until they found my new route.

After that, the insults became more vicious, punctuated by threatening profanities. Added to the comments about my weight, were affronts to my courage, or as they perceived, lack thereof.

I once tried to fight, but that was fruitless. I just got my ass kicked and gave the bullies more ammunition. These daily confrontations went on for all of seventh and eighth grade — for two long years, silently, I endured.

In ninth grade, things changed. I had been lifting weights with my best friend Francis for two years on and off, but that summer I became serious about it. I started to get more physically active. I even went out for football. The summer program of running and drills combined with weightlifting and better eating presented an unrecognizable person the following year.

I weighed more, but that weight was distributed differently. Though I still couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag, those that bullied me no longer took me for an easy mark. While I am not sure if they would have understood the meaning of the word respect, they treated me differently and no longer taunted me.

One of the conclusions of the article is that parents should not use bullying to coerce a child into losing weight. Even considering my childhood, it is a conclusion with which I whole-heartedly agree. Besides, often times parents, guardians and even teachers may not even be aware there is a situation. My parents never knew I was being bullied.  I never uttered a word. Even when it became physical, I would just shrug it off as a fight.   (When I was a kid getting into an occasional scuffle did not raise any alarms)

However, parents need to be aware that if their child is overweight or worse, obese, that child is more than likely, to some degree being picked on.

It is happening.

It may be as mild as being called names or it could be much worse. Though I 100% agree with the conclusion that any degree of bullying should not be used as motivation for the child, it could be used as motivation for the parent. As I have written before — obesity is not a complex problem, however when it comes to children, they must be properly guided. They must be handled with care. Their emotions and body image can be negatively influenced if they perceive that their own parents regard them as different.

They need direction.

They require affection and love.

They must have parental involvement.

In my youth my parents helped in both little and big ways. They purchased a weight set as a gift. My mom would prepare foods that would not adversely effect my weight. They allowed me to pursue my new passions. They supported and encouraged me.

I wasn’t any good at the sports I participated in, but my parents were in the stands for each and every game.

They came in the rain.

They came in the cold.

They came in the heat.

They sat for hours, just to watch me sit on the bench. It didn’t matter to them whether I played or not. They were proud and they showed it by being there. Most importantly —  I knew they were there.

It is time for all of us to not only start to do battle with the epidemic of childhood obesity, but to emerge victorious. The victims are too young, they are too precious and they are too important for us not to.

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Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to NaturallySavvy.com. He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet. His web site www.ObesityUndone.com is available to help you reach your goals.

He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, Bounce Back to Your Brilliance w/Angel Tyree, What’s Weighing You Downw/Dr. Marilyn Gansel on FTNS radio, Nurture and Nutrition on Blog Talk Radio, Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends, BlogTalk Radio’s Toni Harris Speaks, Internet Radio: Cathie’s Talking, TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast; and the one and only Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at docjoeleonardi@betterlifeseminars.com and check out his website www.betterlifeseminars.com.
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************The information in the videos is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting that I write do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.************

 

A Setback or A Greater Challenge


On January 8th I wrote a post entitled Let the Fun Begin. It was my first week into high intensity training. I was moving heavier weights and increasing both my run distance and speed. I was a man on a mission. How was I to know that one short week later my training would get a little off track. In the preceding  posts, A Minor Setback — Not a Roadblock and Three Weeks from the Day, I chronicled what I was looking at as a setback in my training.

This morning something happened to change that way of thinking.

I was in the gym talking with a friend of mine. I had previously told him about my recent procedure and expressed how I was grateful nothing was wrong with my heart. He asked me how getting back into the grove was going and if I was still taking it easy. I told him good, but I conveyed to him that with the half-marathon a mere twelve weeks away and the strongman only three weeks later, I was feeling a bit unsettled about how I had lost over a month of training.

That is when I got the look.

There is one thing about weightlifting and weightlifters, when you complain, and I was, as much as I hate to admit it, complaining, to another lifter words never need be spoken. Weight training is unto itself about one thing; overcoming the pull of gravity on cold, unyielding iron. It is, every single workout, a challenge.

It is a challenge to embrace.

It is a challenge to welcome.

It is a challenge to overcome.

So when my old friend gave me that look, I realized I was complaining and simultaneously we uttered, “It is just a greater challenge!”

I didn’t have to do battle with cancer. I didn’t have to deal with a traumatic accident. I didn’t have anything really bad happen to me. I had a surgical procedure to check out my heart and it showed all was good. I am blessed.

So what? I lost a few weeks training.

So what? I lost some strength.

So what? I got a little soft.

I am healthy. I am still relatively fit. I now have a greater challenge.

Life is fun.

Life is not fair.

Life is a challenge.

Bring it on!

Keep training and remember: being fit isn’t simply about living longer, it is about living better!

A Minor Setback — Not a Roadblock!


“I was asked recently that if now that I lost the weight, I thought I was going to live longer. For a moment I pondered the question then answered, I honestly don’t know, however I do know one thing, I am living better.”

The above paragraph was how I ended a column in the August 30, 2009 edition of the Dispatch. Those same words were quoted back to me when I appeared on WVIA’s “Call the Doctor” on January 12, 2010.

Three days later I was slapped in the face with the realization of those thoughts.

During a scheduled follow up with my cardiologist all appeared well. Good EKG, blood pressure, heart sounds and pulse rate. The doctor told me he would see me in a year. I advised my cardiologist of my plans to compete in the Leigh Valley Half Marathon in April, The Boyertown YMCA Strongman contest in May and the Wilkes-Barre Triathlon in the summer. I asked if it would be reasonable, considering my previous morbid obesity, to have a stress test. He agreed, so we set up an appointment for January. The stress test went fine. Compared to my previous test in March of 2008 I was on the treadmill nearly four times longer to get my heart rate up, I didn’t have any chest pains, my blood pressure didn’t rise to above the normal range, recovered quickly and the EKG looked good throughout. I finished up and was told I would receive a call in a day or two. I left the doctor’s office and went for a run. The next two mornings I arose at my usual time, ran 2 miles hit the weights and then ran another mile — I was full into training for my upcoming events, increasing my run distance and I hadn’t lifted such heavy weights since I was in my twenties. I went through my workouts at a fast pace, barely resting between each heavy set and finished up with sweat drenched workout attire. I arrived at my office on Friday morning in great spirits. Linda, my office manger, commented on my good mood. I told her the extra bulk I mistakenly and needlessly added for the strongman contest was coming off and I was getting stronger with each workout — nothing was going to ruin my day.

The proverbial famous last words. About an hour later my cardiologist called.

I answered the phone expecting good results. My jovial spirit was quickly gone. The voice on the other end told me there was an abnormality on my stress test, he didn’t understand it because everything else looked good. However, on the exercise portion there was a problem. I asked him my options and he told me that the best way to be sure was a cardiac catheterization. I said I would call him back. Those that saw me after the call tell me that my face was ashen. I could understand because I was quite shaken up.

“How could this be?” I asked myself. I just ran 3 miles and moved over one ton of weights. I had been having regular testing. My blood work showed improved cholesterol readings, a stress test, a coronary CT scan and an echo cardiogram were all good. I even had a test to look for calcium deposits in my coronary arteries which revealed the best reading of zero. After consulting with my medical doctor cousins I opted to have the procedure.

The test was scheduled for the following Thursday and I was not to exercise until we knew what was going on. My heart sunk and I went from being shaken to being down right scared. The health care provider in me knew that if it were very serious I would be going directly to the hospital, the human being in me suddenly felt like there was now a time bomb in my chest.

Pre-procedure testing revealed another baffling piece to the puzzle — my cholesterol levels had improved even more. According to the test results my risk factor ratio was 2.86; below 3.4 decreases your risk factor by one half. Anxiety filled days and nights passed until the morning of the procedure.

My skilled physician did his thing and told me that all looked good.

Relief!

Now I have to wait to heal from the procedure before I get back to exercise. I am chomping at the bit because, you see, I had been guilty of two of the seven deadly sins, gluttony and sloth. Now I am guilty of one; greed.

The greed to maintain my fitness, to spread the word and help as many of those who lost their way as I did.

Exercise is the fountain of youth and weight loss is a side effect of fitness. I want to help as many people as I can get fit.

The death of clanging and banging?


I have been lifting weights on and off since I was 12 years old. I will never forget the day my Mom and Dad purchased my first weightlifting set from Sears. I hurriedly opened the box containing the 110 pounds of plastic covered cement and the iron barbell with the plastic sleeves. I was in heaven, it was that day I began pumping plastic. A few years later,  I graduated to a commercial gym and it was there that I discovered the meaning of the phrase, “pumping iron.”

To me there is nothing quite as exhilarating as the smell, the noise and the energy of a true weightlifting gym. The clanging and banging of the iron, the grunts and groans as men and women try to blast out those last few muscle building reps really brings me to life.

So what has brought me to the title of this column?

Well, I was finishing up the other morning, it was chest and back day and I was doing my last of 36 sets, super-setting decline flyes with dead-lifts. I only had about 225 on the bar, but as we all know the dead-lift is a brutal exercise, more so when done last and even more so when done in a superset fashion. Well I was brining iron  down to the floor with some good old fashion banging. The sound of the weights against the floor ramped my adrenaline causing a release of energy to explode me upright.  At the top position my dead stop caused the weights to shake and there was the clanging.  I was really  moving, up and down like a piston. After my last set I re-racked the weight. I was soaked in sweat and my grip was almost completely shot thus the bar slipped and the weights came crashing down onto the rack.

I stood up tall, full of self-pride because I just completed three  more reps than I did last workout. Then it happened — the  person next to me muttered under their breath, “Jesus Christ.”

I paused, unable to believe what I just heard. I thought to myself you have to be kidding. I wanted to shout “THIS IS A GYM!”  Of course my parents raised me with manners so I walked over and apologized. This person did not even acknowldege my apology, so I edged a little closer and said it a bit louder. Finally, the person relunctantly accepted.

I was so ticked off that to calm down I did six more sets, three more supersets of machine benches and bent over rows. I noticed the mutterer was talking to someone else and when I was done with my sixth set the person finally went and did another set. I wanted to yell again, “MAYBE IF YOU WOULD ACTUALLY WORK OUT YOU MIGHT LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN YOU DID A YEAR AGO!” But dam my parents raising me to be polite. I just stripped the bar, looked over and said, “good-bye.”

Honestly, is it just me? When I go to workout I am there to workout. I don’t sit around for 10 minutes between sets, I place a towel down on the benches; I take my sweat with me,  I allow people to work in, I always lift under control,  I rarely drop a weight, I respect the equipment, I strip every bar and every machine, I replace the weights back to the stacks, I put the dumbells back in their apporpriate place on the rack, I even put them in order if someone else didn’t.

So, am I out of line to workout so hard that iron weights make noise?

Am I incorrect to push a set to failure that on occasion the weight slips?

Is old school clanging and banging dead?   Say it ain’t so!

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https://www.createspace.com/3903024

http://www.obesityundone.com/

Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to NaturallySavvy.com and CarbSmart.com. He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet.

He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, What’s Weighing You Down, w/Dr. Marilyn Gansel on FTNS radio, Nurture and Nutrition on Blog Talk Radio, Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends, BlogTalk Radio’s Toni Harris Speaks, Internet Radio: Cathie’s Talking, TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast; and the one and only Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at docjoeleonardi@betterlifeseminars.com and check out his website http://www.ObesityUndone.com.
———————————————————————————————————————
************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************

Obesity: A complex problem? I don’t think so!


Obesity: A complex problem? I don’t think so!

by: Joe Leonardi

www.FatThenFitNow.com

There has been much talk and debate about national health care. I am not going to discuss politics or the pros and cons of universal health care, that is in the control of the politicians.

I am going to discuss one of the major risk factors to our health, one major risk that we, ourselves, can actually control — Obesity.

I heard on the news that obesity  (I believe they stated specifically childhood obesity) was a complex problem that did not have a simple solution.

Okay, let’s examine this ludicrous statement. Generally speaking, unless a person has an underlying medical or hormonal condition, there is no reason for one to be overweight or obese. I’m sorry to burst many people’s excuse-seeking bubbles — but that is a fact.

We control our bodies.

We control what goes in.

We control the amount of exercise we put out.

The problem is not complex: it is too much sugar, too much high fructose corn syrup, too much processed fast foods, not enough lean proteins, not enough fresh raw vegetables and not enough getting from behind the computer and moving.

The solution itself is also simple: cut the sugar, cut out the  high fructose corn syrup, get rid of the highly processed refined garbage Americans are shoveling down their gullets and replace them with lean proteins, raw fresh vegetables, healthy fats, low glycemic fruits and get up and get moving.

Today we have more obese people in the United States than those who are simply overweight.

This is a real problem

This problem will lead to real diseases.

The morbidly obese are going to stress the U.S. health care system to a degree that not all the private or public health insurance money will be able to handle.

A local school district was given a grant from the State Education Department to fight childhood obesity. I don’t know why they needed $5,000. I will tell them how to do it for half that. Has anyone ever seen school menus today? While healthy options are available, there is still plenty of sugar laden and processed junk on the menu.
Side note: if your school still has soda machines — get ‘em out.

Physical education must be a five day a week class and a regimented exercise program is a necessity. We need to teach children fitness as a lifestyle from their earliest and most formative years. I will even come in and design it.

My good friend, the Yonk, at his highly influential blog The Lu Lac Political Letter, mentioned how a company had an incentive program for its employees. The employees were paid for taking steps to be responsible for their own wellness. Sounds like a good plan, but what passes for dietary guidelines and exercise plans really do very little  for the morbidly obese. Again, I will come in a design the program and then I will make sure people stick to it. If you want to pay people to take care of themselves okay, but give them the guidance and the accountability to stick to it.

I remember when HMO’s and PPO’s first started in the mid 1980’s. One of the great parts about my plan was that my gym membership was paid in full by the health insurance company. I used that membership; however, I knew many who joined but then were out of the gym within a month. The result was that the good intentions of helping their insured get fit, ended up just costing the insurance company more money than it saved and they changed the benefit to a discount and then eventually did away with it.

In the United States, we are focused on our health care crisis. We are trying to figure out how to pay for care. I am sure that there will be something in one form or another by the end of the year; however, we really need to stop focusing solely on the “care” part of  health care and start putting an emphasis on “health.” Unless we act today, for some, tomorrow may be very bleak.

Joe Leonardi

I am  a chiropractor who shed 140 pounds, reshaped my body and recaptured my health in one year. Today I counsel many people on how to change their lives and conquer obesity.  I am available to speak to your group and can be reached at 718-1500.

Dr. Joseph F. Leonardi

Lazy Limbaugh


I just listened to the part of another Rush Limbaugh anti-exercise rant. So either he is  lazy, or just plain afraid of getting hurt. Either way his excuses are pretty lame, kind of like a toddler.

Exercise, done properly, utilizing correct technique, pre and post warm up and warm down and appropriate care of the occasional minor injury is not going to cause an noticeable increase in injury.

Being out of shape, old reclining Rush would be more apt to injure himself golfing. If he would condition himself the risk of injury from his only athletic endeavor would decrease.

I will update this more later, but if Rush would like, I would be more than happy to show him how to exercise and turn his less weighty, yet equally flabby body.

Joe Leonardi

Pants that fit snug in March of 2008


Found these pants behind the door in my office. They fit snug back in March of 2008!

me and my old pants

me and my old pants 2

When to rest?


Today is Saturday May 30th and I decided to take a day off from working out. Why? Yesterday I ran three miles, time was 3 minutes slower than normal.  I got to the gym and could barely move 240 pounds in the shoulder press.  I put down the weights, showered and headed out.  One important factor about fitness is listening to your body. So how do you know it is time for a rest?

- if you are feeling fine and try to talk yourself out of going to the gym; you are proably just being lazy.

- if you are feeling tired and worn out and you are trying to talk yourself into going to the gym; you might be a little over trained. Take a day or two off and go back in with a vengence!

What is Body Remodeling


Progress/Observations


Progress/Observations

This morning for the first time in a long time I saw “Live with Regis and Kelly.” I was very impressed with the lean and fit physique Kelly Ripa has developed. It made me think back to the beginning of my journey earlier this year.

I stared my body remodeling odyssey back in March and yes that is this past March 2008.  I tipped the scale and an obscene 340 pounds, I wore a size 56 jacket and size 54 pants and barely fit into either.

As of today, December 18, 2008, I weigh 207 pounds,  wear a size 44 jacket and 36 pants. That is 133 pounds, 14 jacket sizes and 16 pants sizes gone.

Around the end of March I began running. I started with 2 laps around the high school track.  It was a difficult  1/2 mile jog, actually it was probably not even a trot. I was going so slow that I would get lapped by those who were walking.

Today I ran 2 miles, 8 laps in under 22 minutes. I’m not setting any land speed records, but I am almost down to a 10 minute mile and at age 44 and after almost 3 years of inactivity I think I am doing pretty good.

I have revised my goal from 185 pounds to 200 pounds. Since my ultimate goal is to remodel my body I had to take many things into consideration and 200 is a good weight for me. If I think I need to drop a few more once I get there I will.

Losing weight is easy, remodeling your body takes work. I could have simply lost the weight and still had a pear shape. It is more important for overall health and appearance to do it right. So, remember stay focused. I did you can do it. I am looking to start my new business venture either at the end of January or mid February at the latest. I will help you achieve your dream physique.

Joe