Healthy Living

Q. How do I fight my inner couch potato?

A. January is Learn a Snow Sport Month, and our own Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association is making it easier and more affordable to learn to ski and snowboard, both for adults and children. Log on to for information on registration, how to dress for winter sports and more.

Already a skier? Try telemark, free-heel skiing that combines the gliding of cross country with downhill slopes. Learn how with a trip to Seven Springs Mountain Resort Jan. 30-31 for its Telepalooza Weekend. We’re truly lucky in the ’Burgh to have several ski areas within about an hour’s drive!  A perfect winter day trip.

New Year, New You

If your New Year’s resolution is weight loss, then you’re not alone. It’s among the top choices in Pennsylvania and all across America as well. But “weight loss” is not the action term. We all know “what to do” but not “how to do it.” It’s all about building a toolbox that works for you.

If losing weight were so easy, everybody would be thin. It’s a combination of your Behavior, Eating, Activity and Medical (biology) needs—what I call building your BEAM box. To get started, check out the article based on my new book, The Real You Diet, beginning on page 46 in this month’s issue.

The Best Shoe in Town

Looking for another winter activity for you and your family that’s fun and economical and won’t take years of skill-building? How about snowshoeing? On Sat., Jan. 2, you can rent some shoes, learn the basics and go on a beginner hike in the woods at Roaring Run Natural Area in Westmoreland County. Kids (over 10 recommended) are half-price. Sign up online at

In the News – Truth in (Cereal) Advertising

If you’ve been strolling in the cereal aisle at your local supermarket, I’m sure you’ve noticed the health claims on the front of the box of many cereals. Is that what we should be reading for nutrition information? In a word: No.

One of the latest health claims relates to immunity. For example, Kellogg’s claims that both Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies “support a healthy immune system.” Current FDA rulings say a manufacturer must provide evidence for all health claims (a ruling that is now under revision). A public outcry from health officials resulted in Kellogg’s removing that health claim from the package.

Don’t be fooled by information on the box cover: Read the standard nutrition label for accurate advice. When it comes to those nutrition claims on packaged foods—if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Dr. Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., C.N.S., is the founder and director of UPMC’s Weight Management Center. She is the diet and nutrition editor for NBC’s “Today Show” and is the author of The Runner’s Diet. Also, visit “Health Journal with Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom,” a health and wellness blog at

Enter to win a copy of Dr. Fernstrom’s new book,
The Real You Diet: Your Personal Program for Lasting Weight Loss


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