Obesity and Weight Management

scale.Obesity is a serious health condition and is on the rise according to the U.S. Center For Disease Control and Prevention. At least one third of Americans are 20% overweight. Even though this country is experiencing a fitness craze, Americans are heavier, over-stressed, and less likely to exercise on a regular basis.  Although Americans spend more than $34 billion a year on weight loss programs, 95% of those that lose weight, gain it back within one year. This is why losing weight has to involve a major lifestyle change. This article will deal with some of these changes.

Obesity has been implicated in numerous health conditions from high blood pressure, heart disease, gallbladder disease, respiratory conditions, kidney disease, diabetes, and structural stress due to more pressure on the back, legs, and internal organs. Other factors that can contribute to obesity are glandular malfunctions (adrenals, pancreatic, thyroid), hypoglycemia, food allergies, emotional tension, boredom, and the love of food.

The most common causes of obesity are poor diet, poor eating habits, and lack of exercise. Sluggish metabolism, chemical toxicity, and impaired thermogenesis (the ability of the body to produce heat) are the results of these dietary imbalances and organ malfunctions.

The truths and fallacies about obesity according to Dr. Gus Prosch, an obesity specialist, are designed to help you save time, money, effort and disappointment. They are as follows:

Truths:     

  • If obese, you have a lifetime disease.
  • Your metabolic processes will always tend to be abnormal.
  • You cannot eat what others eat and stay thin.
  • Anyone can lose weight and stay slim provided the causes are determined, addressed and corrected.
  • Understanding that insulin metabolism is the key to intelligently losing weight.
  • There is absolutely no physiological requirement for sugar or processed foods in your diet.
  • You must address all the contributing factors causing obesity.

Fallacies:

  • Fad diets can successfully make you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Most physicians can make you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Today’s many weight loss programs and weight clinics can successfully make you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Past experience shows that counting calories is a good way to help lose weight.
  • Your weight problem is caused from overeating and/or lack of exercise.
  • If you could only lose enough weight to get slim, you could keep the weight of continuously.
  • There is no way that you can lose your weight and keep it off.

Traditionally, there are three basics when approaching weight loss management through nutritional supplements.  The first is reducing water retention by using nutrients and herbs that work as diuretics.  Remember that when we do not get enough water, the body tends to retain it. Second, the use of lipotropic supplements which have the ability to reduce fat and cholesterol; and thirdly, the use of natural appetite suppressants. And now establishing glandular balance has been added.

Because the typical American diet includes refined and processed foods with high fat and sugar intake, diet becomes the most important factor when dealing with weight loss. A whole foods, whole grain, high complex carbohydrate, low fat, high fiber diet appears to be the most beneficial.

The following guidelines have been determined to be helpful:

  • Don’t worry about calories. Pay more attention to the type of calorie. Do they come from digestible fat, protein or carbohydrate?
  • Eat more complex carbohydrates (tofu, beans, seeds, whole grains). Poultry and fish provide adequate protein and improve metabolism.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporate a balance between raw and cooked foods. Vegetarians have less problems with obesity.
  • Drink at least six to eight glasses of clean water daily.  Diuretic herbal teas can be beneficial in eliminating water weight. Teas of red raspberry, alfalfa and oat straw taste good, too.  Don’t drink too much with meals though.  It can weaken the digestive process.
  • Watch fat grams in the foods you select. Eat digestible oils like extra virgin olive oil, canola, sesame and flax.  Remember it is the liver that has to metabolize fats.
  • Restrict white flour products and refined sweets in the form of soda, pastries, pies, cakes, etc. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase weight gain by increasing appetite and slowing down digestion.
  • Eat more fiber.  It creates fullness, decreases hunger, and regulates blood sugar.

Many people believe that not eating regular meals is going to help them lose weight quicker.  This is a fallacy.  Do not skip meals; this only intensifies hunger and slows metabolism down. Make your main meal lunch, not dinner. This helps you to burn off what you have eaten.  At meal times put less on your plate, chew your food slowly, and stop when you feel full.  The body needs food to be able to maintain thermogenesis, which is the heat generated by the breakdown of food. It is like a wood fire, you need to keep feeding in wood or the fire goes out. You need to keep your metabolic fire burning.

Of course, exercise needs to be factored into this profile. Without exercise weight loss comes from burning of lean tissue and water loss. With exercise weight loss comes from burning of fat. Walking regularly is a good way to go.

The basic arithmetic of weight loss is that each pound of body fat is worth 3,500 calories. Thus, to lose one pound a week (a safe and reasonable goal), you must tip the calorie consumption/expenditure balance in your favor by 500 calories a day.

Some essential nutrients that can aid weight loss are:

  • Chromium Picolinate — Helps to maintain better sugar balance and reduces cravings.  It helps the pancreas/liver conversion of fat to energy.
  • Essential Fatty Acids — Flax seed, evening primrose and/or salmon oil help liver functions and cellular energy.  They work with hormonal balance also.
  • Kelp — Contains trace mineral important for proper thyroid function.
  • Spirulina — This is a good source of protein and helps to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Digestive Enzymes — Aid the breakdown of your foods. They breakdown protein, fat, dairy, fiber, etc.
  • Phenylalanine — Has shown benefits with appetite suppression but one must use with caution if blood pressure problems exist.
  • Garcinia Cambogia — Contains a substance called HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid). It helps suppress hunger but also keeps the body from turning carbohydrate calories into fat.

I want readers to be aware of numerous products on the market that work to increase the process of thermogenesis.  These products contain ephedra/ma huang (ephedrine), kola nut (caffeine), guarana (caffeine) and a mix of other herbs like diuretics and laxatives. These products can be helpful but must be used with guidance due to problems associated with heart palpitations, elevated blood pressure and overworking of the adrenals.  Use common sense and do some research on your own.  Consult with a holistic practitioner.

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