Category: Health

Hormones, Mental Health and Obesity

See that fat guy in the picture above?

Yes, that is me. Yes, I have had my own struggles with weight in the past.

Do I have personal experience with mental health and hormonal issues?

You better believe I have had these issues, and without being diligent to keep them at bay, I could have them again during my life despite the shape I am in now.

Women often assume that men have an easier time taking off weight than they do.

Do we?

I can’t say for sure, men struggle too. I will say from my own personal experience, I believe we gain weight just as easy as the ladies. I’m not so sure we are as different when it comes to weight loss as some might believe, our mental health status can certainly have an effect on us and our body chemistry can get just as out of whack. This, I know from the course of my own life. I also know from my own experience that it all can be turned around once we become fully committed to making changes that must be adhered to for the rest of our lives.

I used to be quite the chow hound when it came to junk food and anything with sugar and simple carbs. One of my favorite snacks would be two packages of Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts with a large Starbucks Double Shot Espresso Mocha to wash them down with. I could stop at a convenience store on my way home from work while knowing that there would be dinner ready as soon as I got there. I used to get those hunger pains, those cravings for junk foods that are often referred to as being “hangry” multiple times a day. I could eat a five gallon bucket full of salad and not be satisfied until I had something that was loaded with simple carbs, fat and salt. I have had cravings so bad when stressed, that on more than a few occasions I have found myself sitting on the kitchen floor with a package of Oreo cookies, a can of cake frosting and a knife. I was loading those cookies up with big dollops of that sugary frosting in an attempt to quell the stress that was eating me from the inside, harming my health, and leaving me with a sense of shame for being such an out of control glutton. The cravings were no different than that of a junkie looking for a dope fix. Actually, the craving is almost identical as that of an alcoholic craving their next sip of alcohol.

It is a sickness that is driven by multiple factors that drive us to this point!

In my personal case, it has been driven largely by a major depressive disorder coupled with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To anyone who may think there is no way I can relate to their obesity, you need to know I can, I understand what is happening with mental health and the hormonal issues that often accompany obesity. I also know that even if you feel as if you have no hope, there can be hope for you, but you will have to commit to a lifetime of healthy habits and never allow yourself to return to those which got you fat in the first place. Case in point, I am severely carb addicted, therefore I know that it is not okay for me to even indulge in a slice of cake and scoop of ice cream at birthday parties because like and alcoholic, I will be binging on more in pretty short order. Want to know how I know that I can eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting? It’s because I have consumed an entire half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. I cannot and will not risk ever returning to that life again. It is not just because I do not like how I look when fat, it is because I value and treasure my good health. I do not want to end up prematurely in a nursing home because I can no longer take care of my basic life functions. This thought was cemented into my mind even further over the last year as I cared for my morbidly obese brother in law in my home as he was terminally ill. Towards the end, on several occasions, I had to help the man with getting dressed, caring for his weeping legs from lymphedema, and assisting him with bathing and personal hygiene when he could not do this for himself.

Have you ever tried to help a sick and weakened four hundred pound man off the toilet and helped clean him because he could not do it himself? It is an eye opening experience and can happen to any one of us when we allow ourselves to get to that point. Never, ever think it cannot happen to you. It most certainly can.

Pictured below is my departed brother in law of 34 years, and my best friend. We lost Howard February 23, 2020 and I miss him dearly.  He was a good man, but a large part of his obesity was driven by mental health issues. When he first moved in with us, I began working with him on nutrition and got him down to 364 pounds from 587 pounds. He was on a transplant list for a new liver if we could get his BMI down to under 40. Just as we were making good progress with his weight, and was gaining hope he might have had a chance to live, he began his old habits of eating junk food again while knowing it was going to bring about his demise. I’m pretty sure I have a full and clear understanding that for many people, their obesity is a mental health issue as well as a physical one. I have lived as one with issues too, and then I was a caretaker for one who had severe issues.

Feel Good Hormones and the Brain

Have you ever noticed that when you bite into sugary foods that your mouth seems to come alive and you instantly feel good for a moment? That is because eating prompts the brain to release “feel good” hormones we know as endorphins. The regulation of these naturally occurring opioids, which can produce a sense of pleasure or euphoria, may help the body know when it’s satisfied. On the flip side, overeating associated with the over-stimulation of this system can damn sure contribute to obesity. Face it, we all know it feels good to eat foods full of added sugar and or simple carbs. Have you ever been one to binge on a bowl of Brussels Sprouts? Probably not, they do not contain the added sugar or simple carbs to release your endorphins. While you might enjoy the taste of those little morsels. they will never bring the joy which comes from a slice of cake or a couple of chocolate chip cookies. There is no denying this fact.

There was a Finnish study where the brains of 10 male volunteers  were scanned by positron emission tomography (PET). The participants were instructed to fast overnight and were injected with a radioactive compound, which binds to opioid receptors in the brain. Using the PET scans, the scientists measured the radioactivity in the men’s brains after they broke their fast and ate a pizza. The scans were repeated after the volunteers consumed a less mouth-watering liquid meal that contained the same amount of calories as the pizza. The investigators found that both meals triggered a significant release of endogenous opioids in the brain. However, only the pizza led to a notable increase in pleasant feelings. (1)

Another integral part of the equation with how food affects our mood is Dopamine which is released during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out the pleasurable activities such as eating. Sex, and several drugs of abuse are stimulants of dopamine release in the brain as well as many of the foods we eat! Dopamine is a so-called messenger neurotransmitter that conveys signals between neurons. It not only controls mental and emotional responses but also motor reactions. Dopamine is particularly known as being the “happy hormone.” It is responsible for our experiencing happiness. The downside to all this feeling good is little different from that which comes from doing drugs.  Certain foods, particularly those rich in sugars and fat, are potent rewards that promote eating even when we are not truly hungry and trigger learned associations between a stimulus and conditioning reward. We eat a glazed doughnut, we feel good in the moment. In evolutionary terms, this property of palatable foods used to be advantageous because it ensured that food was eaten when available, enabling energy to be stored in the body as fat for future need in environments where food sources were scarce and or unreliable. However, in modern societies, where food is widely available, this adaptation has become a liability. We are getting fatter than ever as a society. (2)

When we consume an unsound diet of calorie dense, low nutrition foods we throw our body chemistry out of balance. While some of us may have conditions to leave us more prone to being out of balance than others, we can still largely control this through our diets. Our endocrine system is greatly affected by our nutritional habits whether good or bad. Our endocrine systems are a complex network of glands and organs. It uses hormones to control and coordinate your body’s metabolism, energy level, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and mood. While playing a central role in a healthy, functioning human body, the endocrine system unfortunately receives relatively little attention. The system of hormones works by carrying healthy levels of hormones into the circulatory system to be distributed to organs throughout the body. Proper endocrine health begins where all healthy habits do—eat right and exercise! You are never going to keep your hormonal balance in order as long as your habits keep it out of balance. This is a simple truth for everyone, and this is a point of contention I have with weight loss businesses such as Weight Watchers where they tell their clients they can still eat the same crap that got them fat and out of shape in the first place – so long as they track it. This is like telling a drug addict a little hit of heroin once in a while is not going to throw them off the rails in their health initiative. This does not work!

The endocrine system consists of:

  • Pineal gland (modulating sleep)
  • Pituitary gland (Known primarily for affecting growth, but also plays a role in blood pressure, management of energy, metabolism, and some aspects of sexual reproduction)
  • Pancreas (digestion)
  • Ovaries and testes (sexual reproduction)
  • Thyroid/hypothyroid (mood, metabolic rate)

Your skeletal structure, kidneys, liver, and heart are organs with secondary endocrine functions. Accordingly, the entire body is affected by the health—or lack thereof—of this particular system. A healthy diet helps to ensure proper, long-term function.

The list of foods to add and to avoid for proper endocrine health looks a lot like most similar lists—with a few interesting additions or subtractions:

Pineal Gland: Anyone who is an insomniac recently or experiences any unexpected disruption to their schedule can tell you all you’d ever want to know about the effects of disturbances to the sleep cycle. Foods rich in vitamins B5 and B6 will help to regulate the pineal gland, while aiding in the production and distribution of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the all-important circadian rhythms. These foods include: lentil beans, avocados, sweet potatoes, tuna and turkey.

Generally speaking, you’re looking to cereals, fish, grains, and beans in this category.

Pituitary Gland: It’s kind of ironic that such a small gland—approximately the size of a pea—is primarily responsible for regulating growth in living organisms. But this small-but-mighty engine runs primarily on vitamins D and E, which means your basic group of high-protein meats, fish, eggs, and nuts. Manganese is naturally stored in the bones, but the pituitary gland craves the mineral for added function, meaning leafy green vegetables, beans and whole grains can only help the cause.

Pancreas: For proper pancreas function, the list of ‘don’t eat’ foods is much longer than the advisable foods. Olive oil, in particular, is cited as being good for the pancreas, in addition to many of the food groups covered in the pineal and pituitary sections.

The list of foods to avoid is a long one, but not one that requires much thinking. It’s basically populated with every type of food you’d expect to be advised to avoid. Red meats, fried foods, butter, mayonnaise, and pastries all find their ways onto this list.

People with inflammation or conditions affecting the pancreas may benefit in particular from increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Ovaries and Testes: Remember, we’re talking about foods that revitalize health here, not necessarily aphrodisiacs. So you won’t find anything as enjoyable as strawberries and whip cream on this list. But there are some dietary considerations for proper sexual health, which is primarily about proper blood flow.

For males, zinc has received a great deal of positive attention lately—leading to a great deal of discussion around oysters. When seafood isn’t available, zinc is readily available as a supplement. More generally speaking, foods rich in amino acids such as walnuts, almonds and whey proteins are advisable for this category.

Most attention on healthy foods for female reproduction focuses on boosting fertility, which may or may not be a goal at any particular time. In any case, these tips include adding non-animal proteins (nuts and beans rather than chicken and beef), vitamins and supplements, and perhaps surprisingly, high-fat dairy products. You read that right, high-fat dairy products because low-fat dairy products have a link to ovulatory infertility.

Thyroid: Stop me if you’ve heard this one—eat lots of nuts and vegetables. Hey, there’s a reason they’re called “health foods”—they have a positive effect on most, if not all, parts of the body .

Hypothyroidism!

Yes, this condition can cause one to gain a lot of weight. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain crucial hormones. Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. But, over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. This is a serious condition that cannot be taken lightly, but you should know that not being able to control your weight does not necessarily mean you have a thyroid problem.

Hypothyroidism signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

Accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually simple, safe and effective once you and your doctor find the right dose for you.

Foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism:

  1. Foods With Soy, Including Edamame, Tofu, and Miso. There’s long been concern over the potential negative effects that certain compounds in soy — called isoflavones — may have on the thyroid. Some researchers believe that too much soy may increase a person’s risk for hypothyroidism.
  2. Cruciferous Vegetables Like Broccoli and Cauliflower. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, are full of fiber and other nutrients, but they may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone if you have an iodine deficiency. So if you do, it’s a good idea to limit your intake of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy, because research suggests digesting these vegetables may block the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, you would need to consume a significant amount of cruciferous vegetables for it to truly impact iodine uptake.
  3. Gluten, Found in Bread, Pasta, and Rice. Those with hypothyroidism may want to consider minimizing their intake of gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. If you do choose to eat gluten, be sure to choose whole-grain varieties of bread, pasta, and rice, which are high in fiber and other nutrients and can help improve bowel irregularity, a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Also be sure to take your hypothyroidism medication several hours before or after eating high-fiber foods, to prevent them from interfering with the absorption of your synthetic thyroid hormone.
  4. Fatty Foods Such as Butter, Meat, and All Things Fried. Fats have been found to disrupt the body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medicines.Fats may also interfere with the thyroid’s ability to produce hormone as well. Some healthcare professionals recommend that you cut out all fried foods and reduce your intake of fats from sources such as butter, mayonnaise, margarine, and fatty cuts of meat.
  5. Sugary Foods.Hypothyroidism can cause the body’s metabolism to slow down. That means it’s easy to put on pounds if you aren’t careful. “You want to avoid foods with added sugar because they contain a lot of calories with no nutrients. It’s best to greatly reduce the amount of sugar you eat or try to eliminate it completely from your diet.
  6. Processed Foods in Packages and the Frozen Aisle. Processed foods tend to have a lot of sodium, and people with hypothyroidism should avoid sodium. Having an underactive thyroid increases a person’s risk for high blood pressure, and too much sodium further increases this risk. Read the “Nutrition Facts” label on the packaging of processed foods to find options lowest in sodium. People with an increased risk for high blood pressure should restrict their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day, according to the American Heart Association.
  7. Excess Fiber From Beans, Legumes, and Vegetables. Getting enough fiber is good for you, but too much can complicate your hypothyroidism treatment. The government’s Daily Guidelines for Americans currently recommends that adults up to age 50 should take in 25 to 38 grams of fiber a day. Amounts of dietary fiber from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes that go above that level affect your digestive system and can interfere with absorption of thyroid hormone replacement drugs.
  8. Coffee. According to a study in the journal Thyroid, caffeine has been found to block absorption of thyroid hormone replacement. People who take their thyroid medication with their morning coffee can experience uncontrollable thyroid levels. Only take your medication with water. You should wait at least 30 minutes after taking your medication before having a cup of Joe.
  9. Alcohol. Alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on both thyroid hormone levels in the body and the ability of the thyroid to produce hormone.  Alcohol appears to have a toxic effect on the thyroid gland and suppresses the ability of the body to use thyroid hormone. Ideally, people with hypothyroidism should cut out alcohol completely.

As with many health conditions, some factors are out of your control, including your family history and the environment around you. But diet also plays  quite a prominent role — and since you’re the one in charge of your plate, you can decide which foods you choose to eat.

Choose smart, be well!

 

(1) https://www.WebMD.com

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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Understanding Obesity

Back when I was much younger it seemed the reason behind obesity was quite obvious – people ate too much. Now days, it seems with the ever growing epidemic of obesity, many people either do not understand how it is caused, or have just accepted it as a normal part of life and do not even consider doing anything about it. As a result, our cost for health care and the burden placed on the system is growing daily too. By one estimate, the U.S. spent $190 billion on obesity-related health care expenses in 2005-double previous estimates. Just think, that was fifteen years ago. Obesity greatly increases our risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and some cancers, to name just a few. Yet few understand or do not care that their obesity can and will reduce their life span. Treating obesity and obesity-related conditions costs billions of dollars a year, yet far too many do not care to do anything about it. Sadly, obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one in three Americans is obese. The prevalence of obesity in children has increased markedly as well. Can we continue to kick this can down the road?

What is obesity?

Depending on what you read, you might find a variety of definitions. In general, overweight and obesity indicate a weight greater than what is healthy. Obesity is a chronic condition defined by an excess amount of body fat. Of course we all need a certain amount of body fat for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions. But, this is not a license to believe there is anything healthy about being a body fat hoarder.

What are the health risks associated with obesity?

Forget all the vanity reasons why obesity is not desirable. The concern for obesity needs to go far beyond the cosmetic considerations, it is harmful to one’s health as it is a risk factor for many conditions. In the United States, roughly 112,000 deaths per year are directly related to obesity, and most of these deaths are in patients with a BMI over 30. Patients with a BMI over 40 have a reduced life expectancy. Just think, we have had the entire nation in a panic over the Covid-19 Corona virus because it may kill an equal number of people as obesity actually does each year. Yet no one blinks an eye when it comes to the many problem associated with being fat.It is perfectly acceptable for me to load a grocery cart with sugary sweet treats and unhealthy foods, so long as I am wearing a face mask while doing so…

Obesity increases the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases, including the following:

  • Insulin resistance. The hormone Insulin is required for the transport of blood glucose (sugar) into the cells of muscle and fat (which your body uses for energy). By transporting glucose into cells, insulin keeps the blood glucose levels in the normal range. But, you cannot keep hammering the pancreas for more by eating large carbohydrate meals and snacks before you develop Insulin resistance (IR) which is the condition where your body now has a diminished effectiveness of your insulin transporting glucose into your cells. Fat cells are more insulin resistant than muscle cells; therefore, one important cause of insulin resistance is obesity. The pancreas initially responds to insulin resistance by producing more insulin. As long as the pancreas can produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance, blood glucose levels remain normal. This insulin resistance state (characterized by normal blood glucose levels and high insulin levels) can last for years. Once the pancreas can no longer keep up with producing high levels of insulin, blood glucose levels begin to rise, resulting in type 2 diabetes, thus insulin resistance is a pre-diabetes condition. A couple good analogies for how too many carbohydrates affect your pancreas is to think about how many cigarettes can one smoke before they have developed COPD and can no longer breath. How much alcohol can one consume before they have trashed their liver with cirrhosis? Just the same, the damage to your pancreas is most often also self inflicted!
  • Type 2 diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with the degree and duration of obesity. Type 2 diabetes is associated with central obesity; a person with central obesity has excess fat around their waist. Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, the development of type 2 diabetes and its complications can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage. In recent years, it has been discovered that many people with type 2 diabetes are actually able to reverse their diabetes through methods including low-carb diets, medically supervised very-low-calorie diets and exercise. Yet, you will find a great many who will go on about their nutritional habits as they always have, the habits that lead them to having type 2 diabetes in the first place. Seriously, I find this to be utterly stupid when one does not even attempt to manage their disease through a change of lifestyle. It is pure selfishness when one with type 2 diabetes does nothing about making a positive change for the better – these types will eventually become a burden for their loved ones when they have to become caretakers or to plan a funeral and disposition of an estate.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is common among obese adults. Ladies, you need to know that weight gain also tends to increase blood pressure in women more significantly than in men.
  • High Cholesterol.
  • Stroke risk rises with obesity.
  • Heart attack. A prospective study found that the risk of developing coronary artery disease increased three to four times in women who had a BMI greater than 29. A Finnish study showed that for every 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) increase in body weight, the risk of death from coronary artery disease increased by 1%.  In patients who have already had a heart attack, obesity is associated with an increased likelihood of a second heart attack. Think about the implications for one who is 50 to 100 plus pounds over weight.
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cancer. Obesity is a risk factor for cancer of the colon in men and women, cancer of the rectum and prostate in men, and cancer of the gallbladder and uterus in women. Obesity may also be associated with breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. Fat tissue is important in the production of estrogen, and prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Gallstones
  • Gout and gouty arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the knees, hips, and the lower back
  • Sleep apnea

9 Most common causes of obesity

The balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure determines a person’s weight. If a person eats more calories than he or she burns (metabolizes), the person gains weight (the body will store the excess energy as fat). If a person eats fewer calories than he or she metabolizes, he or she will lose weight. Therefore, the most common causes of obesity are overeating and physical inactivity. However, we do recognize that body weight can also be a result of genetics, metabolism, environment, and culture.

  • Physical inactivity. It is not rocket science that lazy, sedentary people burn fewer calories than people who are physically active. This is a truth for both men and women.
  • Overeating. Overeating leads to weight gain, especially if the diet is high in simple carbs and bad fats. Foods high in sugar and  bad fats such as fast foods, fried food, and sweets) have high energy density (foods that have a lot of calories in a small amount of food). With these poor food choices you can easily consume your daily needs of calories in just one sitting.
  • Genetics. A person is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese. Genetics also affect hormones involved in fat regulation. For example, one genetic cause of obesity is leptin deficiency. Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells and in the placenta. Leptin controls weight by signaling the brain to eat less when body fat stores are too high. If, for some reason, the body cannot produce enough leptin or leptin cannot signal the brain to eat less, this control is lost, and obesity occurs. The role of leptin replacement as a treatment for obesity is under exploration. However, you cannot just assume you are leptin deficient when you are quite possibly just carb addicted. Your parents and everyone in your family might actually be carb addicted instead of being leptin deficient.
  •  A diet high in simple carbohydrates. The role of simple carbohydrates in weight gain is quite clear. Carbohydrates increase blood glucose levels, which in turn stimulate insulin release by the pancreas, and insulin promotes the growth of fat tissue and can cause weight gain. Simple carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, desserts, soft drinks, beer, wine, etc.) contribute to weight gain because they are more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates (pasta, brown rice, grains, vegetables, raw fruits, etc.) and thus cause a more pronounced insulin release after meals than complex carbohydrates. This higher insulin release contributes to weight gain. Weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers who tell their carb addicted patrons they can continue to eat simple carbs know this, these people are an easy source for a perpetual income stream. By telling their carb addicted patrons they can still eat sugary foods as long as they track it is no different than if Alcoholics Anonymous told their members they could still have the occasional drink.
  • Frequency of eating. The relationship between frequency of eating (how often you eat) and weight is somewhat controversial. There are many reports of overweight people eating less often than people with normal weight. Scientists have observed that people who eat small meals four or five times daily, have lower cholesterol levels and lower and/or more stable blood sugar levels than people who eat less frequently (two or three large meals daily). One possible explanation is that small frequent meals produce stable insulin levels, whereas large meals cause large spikes of insulin after meals. One huge problem that cannot be ignored is those who eat less frequently are also more prone to eat excessively when they do. Binge eating is a common issue with the obese.
  • Medications. Medications associated with weight gain include certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants used in controlling seizures such as Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol, Depacon, and Depakene. Other medications such as for  diabetes used for lowering blood sugar such as insulin, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones along with certain hormones such as oral contraceptives, and most corticosteroids such as prednisone can cause weight gain. Weight gain can also come from some high blood pressure medications and antihistamines. The cause of weight gain from medications are multiple and differ for each medication. If this is a concern for you, you should discuss your medications with your physician rather than discontinuing the medication, as this could have serious effects. You may have little control over the effect of medicines on your body, but you do have control over what you put in your mouth. If you are on medicines that might cause weight gain, it is paramount that you remain disciplined with your dietary habits.
  • Psychological factors. For some people, emotions influence eating habits. Many people eat excessively in response to emotions such as boredom, sadness, stress, or anger. While most overweight people have no more psychological disturbances than normal weight people, about 30% of the people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulties with binge eating.
  • Diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Cushing’s syndrome are also contributors to obesity. Some diseases, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, can lead to obesity.
  • Social issues: There is a link between social issues and obesity. Lack of money to purchase healthy foods or lack of safe places to walk or exercise can increase the risk of obesity.

Childhood obesity.

A person’s weight during childhood, the teenage years, and early adulthood can and will influence the development of adult obesity. With each passing year we see more and more children with weight issues and the ailments associated with them. Therefore, decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity is one of the areas Brenda Sue and I try to focus on in the fight against obesity. For example,

  • being mildly overweight in the early 20’s was linked to a substantial incidence of obesity by age 35.
  • being overweight during older childhood is highly predictive of adult obesity, especially if a parent is also obese.
  • being overweight during the teenage years is even a greater predictor of adult obesity.

While we obviously want to give our children and grandchildren the best lives we can, pampering them with poor nutritional choices and not encouraging them to be physically active only serves to hurt them in the long term while we make them only feel a little better in the very short term.

As a society and a culture, we must do better by our children.

Their future health depends on us to do them right, not what is comfortable in the moment..

How to Navigate Summer Parties

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The Dilemma

Wow! We can finally get out of the house and socialize in the summer sun! We can visit friends and family, go to birthday parties, enjoy the water and party til we just can’t party no more! It’s wonderful, right? Everyone has joked and made memes about their weight gain during quarantine, but the true challenge is here now, getting through a “normal” summer without gaining weight.

“Well-Meaning” Friends and Family

You know the ones, Aunt Mabel with the Lemon Supreme Pound Cake, Uncle Bob with the special barbecue sauce and the aged bourbon that he saved just for this occasion, your Mom, your sister, your dog and your best friend. They ALL have something “just for you”! You just HAVE to have a “little bit”. The problem is, if you do, you will ingest about 5,000 calories, 500 grams of sugar and revive your sugar addiction and be off track all summer. There are ways to avoid this pitfall.

Pre-Load

If you show up ravenous at an event where there is a lot of food, and food-pushers, you will cave and eat everything that they are offering you plus a full menu of your own. Before you leave home, have a serving of high-quality protein and fiber. A couple of cheese sticks and an apple will fill the empty space in your stomach and stick with you for a couple of hours. Two boiled eggs and some berries will work. The idea is to have some fiber with your protein so that the fiber binds with the protein and stays iin your stomach for a while. A protein bar and an ounce of your favorite nuts will work great. You know what you like, so decide on your protein first and then pair some fiber with it. When the food pushers come around, it will be much easier to stand your ground and stick to your healthy program.

Hydrate!

Make sure that you drink water all day, not in excess, but regularly. You might want to read David’s article How Much Water Do I Need? to learn about hydration. Beng hydrated will fill you up and just make you feel better. If you have less space in your stomach to over eat, you are less likely to give in to the party mentality and over-indulge. While I don’t necessarily agree with the statement that sometimes we think that we’re hungry and we’re only thirsty, a lot of people do believe that to be true. Either way, being well hydrated will keep you from feeling empty and dull your hunger a bit, so drink up.

Get Active!

I remember hovering around the food at parties. You know, you get a seat at the end of the dessert table and just hang out talking to whomever comes to get dessert. The problem is, you can all too easily reload your plate, and you do. If you’re at a pool party, swim. If you’re at a picnic, play with the kids. If you’re just hanging around in someone’s house, leave the food behind and mingle with the crowd. Other people may not notice your uncontrolled, nonstop munching at the buffet but believe me, you and everyone else will notice when you can’t fit into your jeans. Do what a party was meant to do and socialize. Free food is not free when it raises your medical bills due to the complications of obesity. If it’s your party, or you have any input into planning the event, focus on keeping the party active. A barbecue at a trailhead with hiking on the schedule is much better than a lone grill master outside and everyone else inside mixing margaritas. If you say that you’re trying to get healthy, live it. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. So much of our lives is up to us to decide. Make healthy decisions and reap the benefits.

But, What Do I Eat?!?

Whenever I go to any event with food, the first thing that I do is find my protein. I look for the richest source of protein on the menu. This will usually be meat, fish or chicken, without breading, grilled, baked, boiled or broiled. Steamed or grilled shrimp is a wonderful summer treat! If someone is grilling hamburgers, I eat the ground beef with everything except the bun. If you really want that bun, go ahead. Limit it to one and avoid any other refined or simple carbs like desserts or sugar-laden drinks. Baked beans are a fine food if they’re made with sugar free ketchup and a 0 calorie sugar substitute and they’re just as good or better than the ones that are full of sugar. You might also add some ground beef to those beans to up their protein. Cole slaw without added sugar is fine. If you like it sweet, make it with that same 0 calorie sugar substitute.  It works good, I’ve made it many times and I live in the Deep South where cole slaw is a staple. I don’t eat hot dogs because they are a processed food that does not stave off hunger for very long. Steak is wonderful, full of muscle-building protein. Once you have nailed down your protein, decide what you would like to have with it. Sometimes I just eat the protein but if you’re going to be at the event for very long, you might need to add some complex carbs like beans, potatoes or whole grain bread. A piece of fresh fruit will satisfy a sweet tooth and give you a bit of fiber. These same tactics work for eating in a restaurant. Always focus on protein first. It is going to satisfy you more than any other food group. Avoid desserts unless there is a “no sugar added” option. You can search on the Home Page in the search box for a recipe for almost any dessert that you would like to make and carry to the event. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact us through comments or the “Contact” button, and we’ll help you find a recipe that will work. You can also buy “No Sugar Added” ice cream in practically every Walmart on Earth and many varieties are good. If you like ice cream, try a few until you find one that you like. You can look in our “Product Reviews” and find more than one review on various “No Sugar Added” ice cream. Don’t drink alcohol. It’s sugar-based garbage.

STAND YOUR GROUND

The old saying, “Misery loves company.” is all too true. Even if the people who are trying to sway you to abandon your healthy initiatives are loved ones, they very well may be miserable, unhealthy people who really don’t want you to prove that being healthy is usually based on the decisions that you make every day. If you prove that, then they are accountable and most people don’t want to be accountable. They want to drift along, making bad decisions every day and blame genetics on their plight. While bad things do happen to very good people and health freaks do sometimes get sick, a lifetime of good decisions usually results in optimum health, just as bad decisions do the opposite. Regardless of their status in your life, don’t let other people sway you. You are the one who has to live, or die, with your decisions. Make good ones.

 

 

 

10 Tips to Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau

screenshot_20200604-194035353685265998776960.pngWHAT?!?

We all know the feeling. We’re chugging along, committed to getting healthy and looking good doing it, and BAM! Suddenly, the scale stops measuring our progress. If you are committed to a good nutritional program and tracking your food intake religiously, you are making progress. The scale won’t always be the only indication of your success, but it is still an important tool. If it has stopped in it’s tracks, here’s a few ways to get it going again.

1-If you have managed to lose some weight but you are still eating simple carbohydrates, stop it! Simple carbs cause fluid retention and even the carbs that do not contain sugar as an ingredient, will degrade into sugar in your body. Our bodies hold onto extra water to dilute sugar in our bloodstream. Cut out all simple carbohydrates to see a little drop on the scale.

2-Increase your exercise intensity, with your doctor’s permission. Always consult your medical doctor before beginning, or intensifying, any weight loss program. As you lose weight, the number of calories that you need to stay alive drops, and you can’t eat as many calories and still lose weight. If you increase the intensity of your exercise, you can offset this change.

3-TRACK EVERY BITE THAT GOES INTO YOUR MOUTH. I heard a saying years ago that sums this up, “If you bite it, write it.” Don’t think for one minute that you will remember what you ate and “keep track of it in your head”. You won’t. Be accountable and honest with yourself. You are the beneficiary of accurate record keeping and you are doing this for YOU.

4-Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is not your friend. It will lower your inhibitions and increase your appetite. It will also keep you from accurate record keeping. Once you get buzzed, all of your good intentions will fly out the window. It is also a source of empty calories and sugar. If you are serious about getting to a healthy weight just leave it alone.

5-Make sure to get enough fiber when you eat. Fiber will slow the absorption of your food, giving you a feeling of fullness much longer.

6-Stay well hydrated. Water is a catalyst and jumpstarts metabolic processes in your body. If you are well hydrated, your metabolism will perform smoother and better. You will get more benefit from your food and stay full and satisfied longer. One study showed that people who drink a serving of water before meals lost 44% more weight. (1)

7-Get your sleep! One study found that sleeping only 4-5 hours for 5 nights in a row caused a 2.6% decrease in the resting metabolic rate. (2) This drop was rectified by 12 hours of good restorative sleep. Less sleep also means an increase in cortisol, your stress hormone. This hormone will cause an increase in hunger and fat storage, and cause major problems for your weight control program.

8-Make sure to get protein at every meal and snack. Protein increases your metabolism because it’s harder to digest than carbs or fat. It will keep you from being hungry longer than carbs or fat also, and help to preserve and build muscle. You need muscle to be slim, toned, strong and healthy.

9-“Make your world small.” (David Yochim) Remove negative people and circumstances from your life. Cut out the dead wood. These situations raise cortisol levels just like lack of sleep and can make you stress eat and store more fat. Walk away from stress and you may see the benefit at the scale.

10-Plan your work and work your plan. Always have healthy food available and never skip meals. If you allow yourself to get too hungry, you will almost always overeat the first chance you get. By planning your meals and snacks, you can even pretrack your calories, carbs and protein and have more control of your nutrition throughout the day.

Never Give Up!

The only difference in a winner and a loser is that the winner got up, one more time. Don’t quit and you will win.

(1) (2) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/weight-loss-plateau

The HCG Diet

HOLY COW, IS THIS A SPOOF OR SOMETHING?

I wish this was not actually something that exists in our world. I wish this was only an Aprils Fools Day prank, but it is not just a prank. This is something that exists because there are nefarious people out there who are looking to take total advantage of vulnerable men and women who have become desperate to lose weight.

OBESITY IS A SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUE!

I do not want to belittle anyone in any form or fashion, but if we are being honest, anyone with at least average intelligence knows and understands that it is not healthy for our bodies to carry too much body fat. Even those who are a part of the “Self Lovely” crowd  who are defiant about their weight secretly know this, even if they will not not publicly admit it.

Obesity requires a long term fix. Controlling obesity requires a lifelong commitment!

If the roof on your home was leaking, you might place a piece of duct tape over the hole for a temporary repair, but did you fix the damage long term? No.

If the tire on your car is leaking air, does it do any good to just keep putting air in it? Or, do you get the tire repaired or replaced for a permanent fix?

Placing duct tape over a hole in your roof, or airing up your tire when it goes low might help in the moment, but are nothing that is going to last for life.

Obesity requires serious, lifelong solutions. You cannot hack your way to a healthy, trim and fit body. There are hacks that will help you to lose weight rapidly, but you can bet these hacks are not long lasting, nor will you be happy with the way your body looks when you complete the hack. Rapid weight loss results in unsightly, saggy skin and only serves to further display how unhealthy and unfit your body may be. You can take these words to the bank.

What is HCG?

HCG is the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin.

Have you ever wondered how at-home pregnancy tests are able to detect if you are pregnant? The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is important in the early stages of pregnancy. It is produced by cells that are surrounding a growing embryo, which eventually forms the placenta. hCG can be detected in your body as early as 1 week after an egg is fertilized, which forms the basis of most over the counter pregnancy tests

What does nuimagemedical promise with HCG?

From their ebook:

We are aware that dieting is very frustrating; even more so when, after all the sacrifice, you end up gaining back all the weight you lost, and in some cases, even more. You DO NOT need to struggle with this anymore. The advantage of the HCG diet, and what sets it apart from other low-calorie diets, is that the HCG program improves your metabolism, helping your body to shed abnormal fat while retaining muscle. The HCG diet is not a starvation diet; it is a well-balanced program that will help your body get rid of weight that is not needed while conserving essential muscles.

These charlatans are bold faced liars!

While following the HCG diet, your body will be supplied with up to 2000 calories of energy each day, while shrinking your fat cells. You will not experience hunger or weakness. In fact patients state they feel more energetic while on our program.

Notice, they say you will be supplied with 2000 calories of energy per day day. Did you notice the vials and syringes in their pictured ad at the top of this article? Hell, amphetamines will give you 2000 calories of energy too, but you are not going to take them if you are half way intelligent or have a medical need.

It is highly recommended for patients with any pre-existing conditions or taking any type of medication to talk to their health care provider before starting the program. In some cases, prescriptions may need to be modified.

Our medical staff, doctors, PA’s, and nurses have extensive experience and knowledge of weight loss safety. The HCG is a prescribed medication, and in order to provide a proper program and guidance, the following is required:
Medical history information from the patient, submitted when the order is placed and as detailed as possible. Approval from our Medical Staff, once the medical information has been reviewed with the patient.

The patient will inject a daily dose of the HCG medication into the fatty tissue (belly area preferred). A tiny insulin needle (1/4 inch) is used daily and a very small amount of HCG medication is injected.

If you consult your physician about this diet, they are going to advise against doing this. The so-called medical staff who are going to approve you for this plan are never going to see you in person and will never know your true health status. They are going to take your word, and prescribe you injectable garbage after taking your money. If you lie about your underlying health conditions out of desperation to receive this garbage, you are taking a huge gamble on your very own life.

From Mayo Clinic!

Has the HCG diet been shown to be safe and effective?

No on both counts.

In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised consumers to steer clear of over-the-counter weight-loss products that contain HCG. HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy.

As a prescription medication, HCG is used mainly to treat fertility issues. HCG is not approved for over-the-counter use, nor has it been proved to work for weight loss. HCG medications are required to carry a label from the FDA noting that the medication is not effective for weight loss. Some over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are labeled “homeopathic” — but the FDA says they’re still not safe. Companies that sell over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are breaking the law.

 This so-called diet recommends severe calorie restriction — typically just 500 to 800 calories a day. People who follow diets so low in calories are likely to lose weight in the short term, but this must be done under the supervision of your personal physician! Diets that so severely limit calories have risks, such as gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, limited intake of vitamins and minerals, and an imbalance of electrolytes.

Some research has linked HCG weight-loss products to a possible increase in cancer risk. HCG might encourage the production of androgen cells, which could result in the growth of certain types of cancers. Side effects have also been reported with the HCG diet and include fatigue, irritability, restlessness, depression, fluid buildup (edema), and swelling of the breasts in boys and men (gynecomastia). Another serious concern is the risk of blood clots forming and blocking blood vessels (thromboembolism).

Please, just don’t try this one!

Multiple studies have concluded that weight loss achieved by the HCG diet is due to ultra-low-calorie intake alone and has nothing to do with the HCG hormone. These studies compared the effects of HCG and placebo injections given to individuals on a calorie-restricted diet. Weight loss was identical or nearly identical between the two groups. Furthermore, these studies determined that the HCG hormone did not significantly reduce hunger.

One common side effect of weight loss is decreased muscle mass.This is especially common in diets that severely restrict caloric intake. Your body will think it’s starving and reduce the number of calories it burns in order to conserve energy.

Proponents of the HCG diet claim that it only causes fat loss, not muscle loss. They also claim that HCG elevates other hormones, boosts metabolism and leads to a growth-promoting, or anabolic, state. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. If you’re on a low-calorie diet, there are much better ways to prevent muscle loss and metabolic slowdown than taking HCG. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, our plan can be found here at this link.

Subscription is free and easy, our mission is to help as many people as we can to live healthier lives while never charging a single penny to anyone as the major weight loss businesses will.

 

 

The Military Diet, Hooah!

As one who is a retired veteran of the US military, having served in two separate branches, I want to state very emphatically, this diet is not used by the US military!

Nor was it created by the US military!

The origin of the three-day military diet is unclear. According to some sources, the diet was allegedly created by nutritionists working for the United States military as a fast way to help soldiers slim down. It is also widely speculated, however, that the diet was created by a marketing specialist and not a dietitian. For the life of me, I cannot see any legitimate nutritionist or dietician creating something so flawed and nutritionally unsound. The truth is, this diet isn’t affiliated with any military or governmental institution no matter what the hell Ol’ Joey Bagofdonuts might tell you.

But do military members ever try to use this diet?

Sadly the answer is in the affirmative, some do try this out of desperation when their semi-annual physical fitness test is coming up and they are sweating out making the weight standards. This is more common than those who have never served realize, especially in some fields where physical fitness can take a backseat to other tasks such as maintenance of ground and aviation assets that require multiple man hours of maintenance for each hour of actual equipment operation. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into maintaining a units operational readiness, and it is not uncommon for the responsibility of the military members physical fitness  to be handled on their own time away from work, which from my experience can amount to 24 hour work days even in peacetime. If one has never served, it is difficult to understand how hard our service members work and what they go through to always be  either deployed, preparing to deploy or returning from deployment. We are human and can break down over time the same as the over used equipment we operate and maintain.

Picture of me in the early 90’s while assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Special Squadron Four. The Red Wolves
Red Wolf helicopter on Special Operations training with a Navy SEAL squad.

Why the Military Diet is foolish!

The Military Diet is simply foolish in that even if you do manage to lose ten pounds of weight in three days, it will be almost exclusively nothing more than water weight. If a service member cannot weigh more than a certain weight for their age, gender and height, they might resort to this when they exceed their weight limit, especially since the next step is being measured by tape to ensure they also do not exceed the maximum allowed body fat percentage. For instance, at my height and age, I am not supposed to weigh over 165 pounds and my body fat limit is not to exceed 22 percent. If I were still serving, when I stepped on the scale I would automatically be measured because I am 15 pounds over my max weight at 180 pounds. However, since I maintain my body fat at 9%, I am well within my limits and have nothing to worry about. If I were to measure out at greater than 22%, my career would then be in jeopardy. Once a service member exceeds their body fat standard three times in four years, they are involuntarily separated from military service. When one is facing the loss of their career under these circumstances, they will try desperate measures to not fail the standard. This diet would be a desperate measure to say the least. It is also a very temporary bandage to cover a serious problem. As soon as you quit this diet, the water weight will swiftly return.

Doomed to failure before you even begin!

The military diet is a “combination of low-calorie, chemically compatible foods designed to work together and jump-start your weight loss,” according to the Military Diet website. However, there is no science to back up these claims.

The program requires you to eat a very strict list of food for three days (these are referred to as your “on” days). Then you take four days off from the strict diet. I am not going to get into how to follow the plan because it is not a healthy diet and it relies on too large of a caloric restriction. For short-term weight loss, the three-day military diet is reportedly effective, but weight lost on the plan will be regained once you resume a normal diet. This very stupid diet is  not a long-term weight loss solution or a healthy eating plan, nor does it teach skills, like healthy meal planning and preparing, needed for sustained weight loss.

Advocates of this diet falsely proclaim that it has a certain weight loss advantage due to the “food combinations” in the meal plan. These combinations are said to increase your metabolism and burn fat, but there is no truth behind these claims. There are no known combinations of food able to do this no matter what proponents of fad diets might spout off about.

Foods high in protein boost metabolism more than other foods. But most of the meals in the military diet are low in protein and high in carbs, which is a bad combination for weight loss. If you look at the overall foods included in the meal plan, it simply is not a sustainable fat-burning diet. I recently wrote about the difference between fat loss and weight loss here.

Some people also claim this diet has similar health benefits to intermittent fasting. However, there is no fasting involved in the diet, so this is false. Look if you truly want to lose body fat and to be fit and trim, then follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. You can find our simple to follow plan by clicking on this link. I am so confident that you will lose body fat in a healthy manner and then keep it off by following us that I will give a money back guarantee!

I will return every penny you spend to follow us if you can not lose body fat in a healthy manner and then keep it off. I can make you this promise because my site has been, is, and will always be free to our readers and subscribers. I charge nothing to help others as the large weight loss businesses do. My goal is to simply pay the benefits of my good life forward by helping others around the world.

 

Fat Loss Versus Weight Loss

One of the things we see as a huge problem in the weight loss industry is the focus is almost always placed exclusively  on weight loss alone. You can join one of the largest weight loss groups in the country, pay your monthly fees and still not find true success in achieving a healthy body, specifically because they only concentrate on helping you in getting to a goal weight instead of a goal body fat percentage. At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we want you to concentrate on achieving a healthy body fat level over reaching a random weight. You might reach your goal weight when following any of the popular programs, yet still have an entirely too high percentage of body fat. What you weigh is meaningless when you are what we refer to as being “skinny fat”. Being skinny fat is when by outward appearances you are at an ideal body weight, yet you are still soft and pudgy from still carrying too much fat. In fact, being skinny fat is worse than just being obese simply because most skinny fat people do not recognize they have a problem.  After all, if you are over the age of thirty and weigh what you did as a senior in high school, all is well, right?

Not necessarily!

Here in lies a humongous problem, nutrition is similar to religion in that it is visceral. People can get too caught up in what feels good over using intelligence and common sense. It feels good to lose weight, and many take it as a matter of faith that a pound lost is a pound lost, while not caring where the pound lost came from. They do not care, or do not understand, there is a huge difference in a pound of water being lost over a pound of actual fat being lost. All they want to see is the number on their scale dropping which makes them feel good. These people will always find themselves let down when that pound of water weight is replaced as soon as they begin consuming and retaining fluids. Water weight loss is meaningless when it comes to what is important. What is important is losing your body fat to a healthy level for your body.

To get at a healthy level of body fat and remain there, we need to first understand something. Obesity is not just a matter of simple weight gain.

Obesity is an accumulation of excess body fat!

If you want your weight loss to mean anything, then you must understand that your priority must be focused on achieving a healthy level of body fat over a random weight number that just “seems” to be right. Some of the major weight loss groups will help you to get to a weight that places you in a healthy range within the Body Mass Index scale, yet you might still be “skinny fat” and unhealthy. To be healthy, you have to concentrate on losing body fat, not just weight.

Through interactions with our own followers at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, and through the study of several weight loss programs, it is astounding that there are so many people who have little grasp of what makes up their weight and what to do about it. Your body weight is comprised of more than one factor; water content, fat content, muscle content and your structural components  such as bones, tendons and ligaments. If you want to simplify this, look at your body as two parts, pure body fat and lean body mass for the rest.

If you are trying to figure out your ideal weight, quit looking for a mystical number you believe is going to make you look and feel good about yourself. Concentrate on getting to and maintaining a healthy body fat percentage. You can refer to our Pictorial Body Fat Estimator  here to see where you need to be. Fifteen percent is a good goal for men, while twenty two percent is a good percentage for women.

In today’s America, the average man has 23% or higher levels of body fat, while the average woman’s body fat is 32% or higher. This means the average male is 53% fatter than he should be while the average woman is 50% fatter than what is healthy. Somewhere along the way, we Americans have become some of the fattest people on the face of the earth.  And why would this be?

This is simply because too many people, including so-called experts, have no true understanding of the relationship between diet and fat loss!

Losing “Friends” Because You Want To Be Healthy

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Bullied?

I think that we all know the drill by now. We seem to be getting along just fine with a group, or an individual, and then they offer you a food that you simply won’t eat and suddenly, you’re “that health freak”. Sometimes it comes when we have gone out to eat with them and they want to load up on alcohol or sugary desserts. Sometimes it’s doughnuts at the office, but when people who want everyone around them to be as unhealthy as they are,  they can be prone to target you as a problem. Guess what. I beat them to the punch and announce early on that “yes, I am a health freak”, and I’m proud of it. Over time, as they realize that I religiously stick to my guns with my nutritional habits, they back off. True, I’m not the one that they want to party with but then, that’s okay. I can assure you, they don’t want to party with me either at the bar that I patronize late at night. It’s heavy and I pick it up repeatedly. It makes me a royal badass and I love it. All their habits do is make them soft.

I have been ostracized from family groups, church groups and other small (minded) gatherings because of my healthy nutritional habits. I once worked for a large weight loss company and sadly remember how every week, members would often show up in tears talking about how they had lost a lifetime “friend” over their healthy habits. Trust me, no matter how long you have known these types who do not respect your healthy way of life,  you must realize they do not have your best interests in mind and they are probably not your  true “friends”.

Don’t Allow It

The fear of being ostracized, or left out, is such a strongly negative emotion for some people that they had rather remain stuck in mediocrity, never growing into their full potential, than risk being the odd man out. The question that I present to you is this. Do you really want to be a member of a group that specializes in mediocrity? If those people don’t want you to realize your maximum potential then they are attempting to control you on a micro-management level. The very fact that you might be successful in your weight management program and health initiative proves that it can be done, so, if it can be done, why aren’t they doing it? Your good habits shed light on the fact that they are just not that commited to their health, so they try to drag you down. Let’s face it. If everyone was morbidly obese and unhealthy then there would be no pressure to be anything else. That’s what they are after, a “dumbing down” of society as a whole where health is concerned. Resist this forced ignorance with all your heart.

Scared Stiff

While the fear of public speaking is sometimes feared more than death, many psychiatrists believe that this fear is based on the fear of ostracism. (1) This morbid fear of being an outcast can prevent you from seeking out answers to your problems. People fear being criticized so they tend to merely conform to their peers and environment. This causes us to live a life that is below what we have envisioned for ourselves. It causes us to resist change and accept the status quo. The problem is that when it comes to our health, the status quo is a life riddled with illness and disease that may have been prevented with a little backbone to stand up to these people who so desperately want to control us.

Conflict of The Ages

While we all want comfort, there is no comfort to be found when we are sick. We might always consider weight management as being strictly an issue of vanity, but vanity alone will not see you through the hard moments in your program. You must truly desire strength and health to be able to endure when the going gets tough. When your diabetic, alcoholic, obese “friends” try to pull you down into their pit of bad habits, remember what the outcome will be. If you live like them, you will become like them. If you are unhealthy now then remember, the definition of insanity has been considered to be doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you want change, you must change. Doing what appears to be easy does not give you an easy life. It causes you to fall short of your dreams and settle for mediocrity. Why would you allow people who you really don’t want to be like, to dictate the course of your life? Are they living the life of your dreams? If not, then why are you following their lead? I would guess that they are living at a level well below the desires of your heart.

Million Dollar Question

Is the life that you are living going to get you the life that you want? If not, then why are you living it? Analyze your behavior and see where you can make changes that are more in line with your goals. Notice that I said YOUR goals, not someone else’s.

How to Cope

If you find yourself in a restaurant with people who have different ideas about how to have a good time, instead of ordering the biggest, deep-fried entree on the menu, just look for simply prepared meats and vegetables. You can’t always ditch everyone that may have a negative influence on your behavior but you can take control of the situation. If they are ordering heavy appetizers, order simple salads and lean meats. Avoid cream sauces and fried entrees. Opt for broiled lean cuts of meat, chicken and un-breaded seafood. Don’t skimp on your protein. If you can order a larger portion of a good, clean and lean protein, do it. It will fill you up and make avoiding the tortilla chips, tortillas and bread basket all the easier. Many restaurants have fresh fruit on the menu. If you still want something after your main course, order fruit. Avoid alcohol. It will add empty calories and lower your inhibitions, it can easily steer you way off course, allowing you to fall back into old, destructive habits. Drink water or another zero calorie beverage such as unsweetened tea. Never resort to drinking your calories. Liquid calories don’t satisfy and go straight into your bloodstream to cause an imbalance in your blood sugar, which will send you into a vicious cycle of eating more and more before you feel satisfied.

If you find yourself with a group who want to sit endlessly, take the initiative to get up and go for a walk. As the rest of the group sits and goes brain dead in a high blood sugar fog, you can get outside and walk off some calories and refresh your mind and body with the invigorating effect of outside exercise. It will instantly lower stress and help you to refocus on your healthy initiatives.

On the job, always have healthy food with you. A co-worker actually left open bags of specialty pretzels around my computer. They went in the trash. I believe that they cost a lot of money so when she realized that I had trashed them, I was never bothered with that particular problem again. Stay full and energized and the doughnuts and cupcakes won’t be nearly as appealing. Let your lifestyle be known and stick to your guns. When people know that they can’t sway you, they are less likely to try, because they have to admit failure and nobody wants to do that. Accept that people will think you’re a bit crazy but when you look better than them and are not sick, they will rethink that issue.

Avoid the drive-thru. It’s not quicker than cooking at home. Get yourself some gadgets to assist your efforts in the kitchen and learn to use them. I recently bought a great griddle to make a huge batch of protein pancakes in a flash. Invest your money in your health program, not in fast food. When others try to influence you to stop at the drive-thru just keep going. Tell them that in the time that you sit in line, you can cook a healthy meal at home for a fraction of the cost.

When those people who try to ostracize you are planning a night out, begin to make your own plans. When they are planning a night at the buffet or the Tex-Mex restaurant, just start planning what you can eat there, if you want to go. A buffet has limitless healthy options. Skip the tortillas on the fajitas at the Tex-Mex place.

Plan your work and work your plan and be an example to the whole bunch. Before you know it, they will be asking you for pointers.

 

 

(1) https://medium.com/the-mission/the-fear-of-ostracism-keeps-people-stuck-in-mediocrity-20d26a1855f0

Are You Nutritionally Apathetic

Truth! If you are not happy with your life, your weight, your lack of success at anything you have a choice to make. You can choose to continue along the same tiresome and difficult path you are currently on, or you can choose to do all that you can in order to change your life for the better. Life is indeed all about the choices we make, you will never improve any aspect of your life when you are too apathetic to learn what it is you need to do in order to move forward for the life you might envy. People complain all the time about not being able to lose weight, but are totally apathetic towards understanding how their nutritional habits keep them fat. There are many who have never learned anything at all about nutrition, and there are others who do understand but just want to be able to eat what they want because it tastes good and gives them a temporary mental boost. The people in the latter category are typically willfully ignorant of how foods affect their bodies. They just do not care that much until they have to go out and buy larger size clothing to wear, or when they are too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit at the beach or pool.

If you are at a point where you truly want a healthier and leaner body, then you must come to understand how your nutrition affects your body. You can try all the gimmicks and fad diets in the world, but the bottom line is, you will not successfully keep off any of your lost weight if you do not adopt healthy nutritional habits for the rest of your life. A diet will typically have a stopping point when you achieve your desired weight, being lean, fit and healthy is a lifetime endeavor which requires a change of lifestyle. You have to work at it, and understand that being apathetic is not going to get or keep you there. You have to understand that as long as you eat crap foods, your hormonal balance will be out of kilter. As long as your nutritional habits keep your hormones out of balance, you are going to suffer from being overweight or obese.

The hormonal effects of your diet.

When you think of hormones does your mind automatically go to sex? Do you understand or know there is more to the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone than fueling your sex drive? Do you know these two hormones play a vital role in maintaining your health too? Are you aware of the other hormones in your body and how your nutrition, or lack thereof, affects your wellbeing?

As significant as they may be, testosterone and estrogen are but two hormones that come as standard issue to all living organisms. Through our work, we have discovered how ignorant a lot of people are when it comes to the crucial role hormones play in their bodies. Most never even give them even a brief consideration until their hormones have affected their health when they are out of balance. Your nutrition has a direct impact on your hormonal balances and these hormones have a direct impact on virtually everything your body does. Your hormones affect your blood sugar along with your basic survival mechanisms involved in stress, fear and even love.  Consume an out of balance diet, and you can expect your hormones to become out of balance, this a simple truth for all.

Your body has what is known as the endocrine system which could be thought of as a communication system for your hormonal responses to stress, fear, love and other emotions. Endocrine hormonal responses can be considered very similar to that of microwave towers or or a fiber optic network.  In your endocrine system, action begins when a secreting gland dispatches a message in the form of a hormone into your bloodstream, which is your body’s version of a fiber optic network. This hormonal message travels through the bloodstream to reach a distant target cell. The cell then receives the message and responds with the appropriate action that has been ordered. For example, insulin is a powerful hormone that your pancreas secretes into your bloodstream. The insulin goes to your liver along with the cells of your muscles. The insulin orders these cells and your liver to snatch glucose from your bloodstream and to store it for later use. As your insulin levels get greater, your blood-glucose levels begin to fall. Once this happens, your brain which requires glucose to function, calls out for more of it. If your brain does not get the glucose it requires, it begins to tune out. This is what we call hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. You will feel this as a mental fatigue. This is why you crash after eating foods full of simple carbs. You know, like when you have pasta for lunch and then are feeling a bad need for a nap a couple of hours later. If you are carb addicted, you know full well about these afternoon crashes. I can tell you that I know this too well myself as I am carb addicted too.

So, what is it that prevents the liver from replenishing the bloodstream with your body’s stored glucose when hypoglycemia strikes?

High levels of insulin prevent this!

Everyone it seems has heard of insulin, but insulin has a sidekick that is equally as important. Insulin and its sidekick keep each other in balance by having totally opposite physiological effects. Your body’s hormones are not lone Rambo’s, nope, they are almost always paired with with another. Balance is a must if you want to be healthy, fit and trim. You cannot have it any other way, no matter how much you might wish it to be. This balance is going to come from nutrition and exercise! Sitting on your couch eating doughnuts is not going to get nor keep you in balance.

The other hormone that is paired with insulin in glucagon. While insulin drives down your blood sugar level, glucagon has the opposite effect of increasing it. The balancing of these two opposing physiological effects allows your body to maintain a tight control of your blood sugar levels that keeps your brain functioning properly. When you allow the balance of insulin and glucagon to get out of kilter your blood sugar levels are going to be out of whack. If your insulin levels become too high, or your glucagon level too low, you end up with hypoglycemia.

Often, people who eat a calorie dense, low nutrition diet full of simple carbs and refined sugars, they become insulin resistant.  When you become insulin resistant, your blood sugar levels remain too high despite high levels of insulin because your target cells no longer respond to the insulin.  Insulin resistance and the resulting high insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) lead to the accumulation of excess body fat. Prolonged hyperinsulinemia can, and will, promote diabetes and speed up the development of heart disease.

Is this something you can afford to happen?

Is your life not worth more than the junk foods you consume?

If you cannot afford healthy foods, just how the hell are you going to afford high medical bills?

It is a fools game to consider this all to be just a academic discussion of hormonal biochemistry. This is a topic that should be understood by all, especially if you have brought children into this world. The foods we eat have an exceptionally powerful effect on all of our body’s hormonal responses. Once you understand this, it would be foolish to not consider the value of your nutritional habits.  Food is far more than calories to fuel your body or a mechanism to stop your stomach from grumbling. Food is one of the most powerful drugs you can ever encounter. If your diet is out of balance, your body is out of balance. If your body is out of balance, then your health and well being are going to suffer.  Because insulin drives down blood sugar and glucagon restores it, the ongoing critical balance between these two hormones are necessary for healthy survival. Bear in mind, the release of insulin is stimulated by carbohydrates, especially those like bread, pasta and foods with added sugars that are high on the glycemic index. The release of the insulin balancing hormone glucagon is stimulated by your consumption of protein. If your glucagon levels remain low, and you cannot replenish your blood sugar levels from the stored carbohydrates in the liver, your brain is going to tell you that bag of corn chips, that bowl of ice cream or candy bar looks very enticing. You are going to get that “hangry” craving for junk foods. While these crap junk foods provide immediate energy to your brain, they do nothing but restart the vicious cycle of raised insulin and low glucagon which places you into carbohydrate hell. These cravings are hormonally driven and have nothing to do with your will power, or lack thereof. As long as you are stuck in this diet related cycle, you will simply put, remain fat.

If you are of moderate intelligence, you are only being a fool if you remain apathetic about your nutritional needs.

Only because we have encountered this; you cannot tell me you care about losing weight if you are going to be willfully ignorant of what it takes to not only lose it, but to keep it off.

Apathy will get you nowhere, no matter how much you might protest to the contrary.

 

 

Are You Skinny-Fat?

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The Illusion

If you are one of those people who have never had to worry about the number on the scale and could almost always rock a swimsuit, you may consider your self very lucky indeed! The problem is, if you have never had to concern yourself with your weight, then you just might be skinny-fat, a condition that can make you as unhealthy as an obese person.

What?!?

This condition is sometimes called “normal-weight obesity” and it may affect up to 25% of normal weight individuals. These people look healthy but have bad health habits and when they were checked in a 2008 study, they were found to have high levels of body fat and inflammation. (1) These people are at high risk for diabetes and heart disease. We all know at least one or two of these people. They look good, but as time wears on, they become sick more often than others and just can’t seem to get well and stay well. In the South, we describe them as “sickly”. I have known many of these people and they are the most difficult to educate concerning good health habits because they don’t have that motivation of vanity. They look good.

Signs That You May Be Skinny-Fat

Muffin Top- I noticed many years ago that some of the women that I knew who had never had a weight problem had started wearing those loose, long tops with fitted pants or leggings. I have noticed that those tops quite often can cover a multitude of sins. If you are cleverly attempting to hide your muffin top, you just might be skinny fat. Fat around the middle is unhealthier than fat anywhere else. It is associated with earlier death, insulin resistance and inflammation. Inflammation is believed to be the source of most of the disease process in the human body.

Lack of physical strength- You can’t do a single push-up. Since these people have never had the incentive to work out that over weight people have, they tend to avoid it. As a result, over time, they begin to lose muscle mass earlier than others. As muscle declines, so does physical strength. Regular strength training of some type that is approved by your medical doctor can help to reverse this trend. Aerobic activity is necessary to maintain a healthy heart and lungs.

Family History- If you have family members who have developed diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease regardless of their size, you may be predisposed to these conditions. While a normal weight is to be desired, good nutrition and regular exercise can help you ward off what seems like a “generational curse”. You might want to read the article, The “Generational Curse”, What Is It? if you actually believe that you are doomed to get a disease or disorder just because someone in your family has it.

You Eat Poorly- Just because you can consume enough empty calories to fuel New York City, it does not mean that they are not hurting you. When you fill up on junk food you are robbing your body of the nutritionally dense foods that you need. You are also ingesting sugars that increase inflammation. Don’t think for a minute that just because the scale does not bear witness to your nutritional offences that you are getting away with it. I know a beautiful 40 year old woman, who is obviously skinny fat, who has had multiple brushes with death as she lay in a coma with her blood sugar around 1000, yes one thousand. There’s no explanation as to how she survived, and one day, she won’t. She is one of the sickliest people that I know and she is very attractive, at a lovely weight for her frame.

You are in an “at-risk” population- Older adults tend to pay less attention to their BMI’s. Because we lose muscle as we age, unless we actively do something to retain and build muscle, body fat percentages tend to be higher in older adults. We need to build muscle to offset this tendency. A 2011 study also revealed that those of South Asian descent are more likely to store fat around their internal organs, compared to Caucasian people who had the same BMI. (2)

What To Do?

The same thing that works for others, will work for you if you find yourself in this category. Eat a nutritionally sound diet, choosing foods that are nutritionally dense. Avoid empty calories, including added sugars. Talk to your physician about how you should get active. Get your rest. Sleep decreases cortisol levels in your body which lead to excessive belly fat. “Make your world small.” (David Yochim) by cutting out the negative influences in your life to decrease your stress. Stress will always raise cortisol levels, even if it comes from someone that you have known your whole life. Don’t be fooled by your good fortune of never having to weigh yourself or be concerned about how you look. If your inside gets unhealthy, it will show everywhere, including in the doctor’s office. Begin to reverse this trend today with your doctor’s help. You are never too young or too old to improve your health. All it takes is a desire and a bit of study. Make yourself a priority and begin to discover life in a healthier body.

(1) (2) https://www.health.com/condition/obesity/5-signs-you-might-be-skinny-fat