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Those Diet Drinks!

This past week I watched a lot of basketball including the ACC tournament and games that featured University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth. As a sports fan, this is a great time of year.

While watching these games, you start to see the same commercials repeated over and over. So much so, that on occasion I have found myself thinking that I will never buy that car or that product being advertised. Maybe they really are just trying to irritate me into an angry purchase. Is that a marketing ploy?

There is one ad that I just cannot get enough of it. In fact, I’ve even mentioned it in a previous blog. It’s really a spokesman/animal. It’s the Food Lion lion. Here he’s even at a tailgating party:



Seriously, I know that a lion cannot talk and dispense wisdom on budgets and shopping. Although, lions might enjoy picnics and tailgating. So there’s that!  There’s even one where he enjoys getting his hair/mane blown back like a “hair band member” from an 80’s rock band.

The Food Lion lion is a figment of our imagination and fancy televison editing. Another figment of our imagination… diet soft drinks.

According to WebMD, after eight years of collecting research data,  researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center have reported findings that a person’s risk for being overweight increases by 41 percent, for every can or bottle of diet soft drink that they drink per day.

Also in the book A Lighter You! Train Your Brain to Slim Your Body, author  Holly Stokes, a certified Hypnotherapist and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, writes that drinking diet drinks are more likely to cause weight gain than non-diet soda and may lead to health problems including diabetes and heart disease.

When we take the concept of diet soda as being part of losing weight, it is true that it saves approximately 140 calories versus other sugary drinks. Unfortunately, it is linked to causing tooth decay, depression, loss of bone density and has been linked by some researchers to heart problems. Not to mention the fact that diet drinks have no nutrional value.

The above reported study followed over 9500 people to arrive at these research findings. Unfortunately, diet drinks are like the Food Lion lion.

Of course, I still am waiting to hear the Food Lion lion say the diet drinks are healthy. I might then be persuaded!

And for pic o’ day


The Adkins Diet Campaign

An old advertising principle that is still followed today states the following: To make your message believed; Simplify it and then continually repeat it.

Do you remember when you could look at tables around you at a restaurant and notice that there would be plates of meat and bacon and cheese. All of a sudden, no one was ordering potatoes or bread. It became a national obsession to “lose weight by eating as much fat as you want”. Maybe not quite that bold.

Dr Robert Atkins first released his book in 1972 titled Dr Atkins Diet Revolution.  In 2002 it was revised, but the new version relied on the same original concepts that you just needed to limit your intake of carbohydrates. I would even see Dr Atkins give the opinion on how healthy this meat intake was for the body because it was principled that a low carb diet produced a metabolic advantage  “because burning fat takes more calories so you expend more calories”

When I read that last sentence, it takes me to the principle of advertising, first mentioned in the blog. It was the message that was simplified and then continually repeated until believed.

The Medical community attacked the diet and Dr. Atkins. Even the FDA took offense to it. Despite that, Dr Atkins personal net worth reportedly soared past $100 million.

In a Dateline interview with the Dr. and his wife, Veronica Atkins bemoaned that the media, FDA and medical community were “tearing him apart. And all he has done, he has helped people. He never wavered. For 30 years, he never wavered once he discovered the truth”.

In 2003, it was reported that Dr Atkins had slipped on an icy sidewalk while taking a walk and died. Then, an official confidential document from the New York Medical Examiner’s Office was sent to the media and Atkin’s critics. It indicated that Dr. Atkins had weighed a robust 258 pounds on his six foot frame, at the time of his death.

The notes also showed a surprising medical history. He had a prior heart attack; suffered and been treated for congestive heart failure and hypertension.

The Atkins Diet company went bankrupt and was widely based on a public who believed that the diet had killed him. A campaign that was no longer believed.

DID YOU KNOW that fourteen years before the Titanic sank, novelist Morgan Robertson published a novel called Futility. The story was about an ocean liner that struck an iceberg on an April night. The name of that ship… The Titan

And for pic o’ day:

Dog on seat

“The End of Overeating”

Personal responsiblity is an every day discussion in the injury law world. Let me sidestep all that to describe a book that I am reading on personal responsibility… at the dinner table!

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite is a long title for the short thought of eating less. For our monthly digital newsletter (yes, a shameless plug) the social media staff asks me to list a book for that I am currently reading.

If you grabbed my kindle right now, you would see that I have several books in “mid-book”. Usually, I only have one fiction and the rest are study, motiviation or leadership books.

Personal responsibility on the highways; Personal responsibility on the food intake.

Here is a teaser from the book. I turn to a couple chapter titles: “Sugar, Fat, and Salt Make Us Eat More Sugar, Fat and Salt”.  Now that makes sense.  Another chapter is titled “Pushing Up Our Settling Points”.  That chapter also discusses Robert De Niro’s method for gaining and losing weight  for a movie role.

Finally, this book discusses one study that required a group to keep track of weekly calories. Invariably, people underestimate calorie intake by roughly 400 calories per day. According to the book, that’s why people don’t lose weight.

See, you come to a legal blog for some legal stuff… you arrive to find a weight loss book recommendation.  Like Yogi Berra put it best, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there”.

DID YOU KNOW that Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words? Yep, that knowledge is about as usual as knowing that Cleveland spelled backwards is “DNA level C”.

And for pic o’ day I went with some food:


Law and the Starbucks Diet

This is my official diet request. Isn’t there someone out there who can develop the ice cream diet and have it approved by nutritionists everywhere. I would like it to include the soft cone ice cream from Dairy Queen. Having the cone dipped in chocolate would be helpful. OK, maybe even a peanut butter topping.

I am getting carried away here because a librarian from George Mason law school has come close to this plan. CNN reports that Christine Hall has lost over 80 pounds after she started almost exclusively eating at Starbucks about two years ago.

Hall says that she is eating a healthy variety of foods and has become so familiar with their menu that she knows the calories in everything that she orders. She initially became concerned about her weight after being rejected as a possible kidney donor. She eventually lost enough weight to allow her to be part of a 32-person kidney swap (video here) that was performed in November 2010.

She reports that she typically ate oatmeal and coffee for breakfast; a bistro box with fruit and cheese for lunch; and a Panini for dinner. This 66-year-old now weighs 114 pounds. She’s not afraid to discuss her age or her weight!

I’m not sure if we will start to see Subway’s Jared switch diet teams. I’m guessing that there’s no hope for my ice cream diet. How about the all mashed and baked potato diet. Now we are talking!

For pic o’ day, I went with a dog who must be on the Starbucks plan too:

Two Sided, Where Do You Side?

     I love the offshore drilling debate. Those for it tell us that we need to drill off our US coasts, to help us be less dependent on foreign oil sources. And, don’t forget that offshore drilling provides jobs.

     Those against offshore drilling recite statistics that, at best, the US sits on 3% of the world’s oil reserves. Meanwhile, as a nation, we use 25%. Oh, and that stuff about the creation of jobs; The real creation of jobs is because of the expected clean-up, when the oil erupts into our waters.

     At our firm, we have a structured hiring system. Depending on the position, you might interview with 4-5 people. Then, you might have to take an online typing test. All that is pretty defined.

     In the last few years, I’ve also added a psychological test to the hiring process. It’s not an exact science, and here’s why.  If you read the test results, the interpreter usually puts paragraphs that seem a bit contradictory. A person might be very detailed. However, the report then goes on to say that they are under a bit of stress.

     Sometimes, a person who likes people, might talk too much to their co-workers. Someone who is so focused on their task at hand, may seem to “not be a team player”. I always feel like the person who provides the report is hedging the results. Or, maybe it really comes down to the fact that people can be good workers, if they put effort into it.

     The two sides to everything brings me to the main topic of the blog. You know that I enjoy the journey rather than the destination, but we ultimately arrive at the legal topic.

     The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a set of proposed rules that would put certain requirements on restaurants, fast-food chains, coffee shops, convenience stores and other grocery stores.

     As reported by, this is the governments’ latest effort to fight obesity. The rules would require that these locations “post the calorie content of standard items on their menus.” The agency would only require chains with 20 or more stores to be required to post such information.

     Now, here’s the two sides. Either you are all in, on the fight against obesity and the associated health costs and risks involved;  Or, you believe that such government rules are nothing more than another intrusion into our lives. Plus, it is another  expense on businesses.  Is it personal responsibility in your choices of food, or that you need such information to make personal choices.  That’s what makes it interesting for me to blog about!

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