Achieving Your Ideal Weight Naturally - Part 1

Achieving Your Ideal Weight Naturally - Part 1

The Set Up

Brenda did not intend to be a bother. Her mother thought she wanted children, but her career was also very important to her. Her time with Brenda was sweet but short. Then she sought peace and quiet alone. Though Brenda cried from time to time, a bottle always seemed sufficient to quell the tears. Now when Brenda feels troubled, food always seems sufficient to ease the pain. It’s almost as though mother was near.

Obesity is up in food-quieted infants. Babies are often fed to keep them quiet, when their real need may not be hunger. This can become a life long habit, often tied to emotional eating.1

Overweight girls are at increased risk of premature puberty. Since 1963 the number of 6 to 19 year olds carrying excess weight has risen by 275%.2 Eighty percent of obese 10 to 14 year olds, from obese families, end up as obese adults.3

Consequently, childhood diabetes,4 osteoarthritis5 and premature puberty6 are at an all time high.

Obesity runs in families. Even the family dog is fat.7 They say, the apple never falls far from the tree – you may be genetically “wired” for obesity. However it is your choices that determine you weight.8 It has been said, genetics loads the gun— lifestyle pulls the trigger.9

Statistics: Who Has Edge In Latest Polls?

Everyday in the United States 67% of adults are overweight or obese, and 19% of adults smoke. Everyday in the United States smoking is the #1 cause of preventable deaths while obesity is #2 and gaining.10 The most prominent contributors to mortality in the United States in 1990 were tobacco (an estimated 400,000 deaths), diet and activity patterns (300,000), alcohol (100,000), microbial agents (90,000), toxic agents (60,000), firearms (35,000), sexual behavior (30,000), motor vehicles (25,000), and illicit use of drugs (20,000).11

Obesity is now at an all time high. In the US 67% men and 57% women are overweight or obese. Why? Because of a sedentary lifestyle, poor food choices, obsession with dieting, lack of time, etc.12

Poverty drains nutrition from family diet. Low energy dense food cost increased 20% in two years (2004-2006). High-energy dense food prices actually dropped 2%.13 It’s relatively inexpensive to get obese.

Looking at yearly maps of the United States from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) with states color coded for the levels of obesity, it becomes very clear that we have an epidemic of obesity in full swing. For example, Mississippi, in 1990 reported that 10%-14% of its population were obese; by 1995 that number had risen to 15%-19%; and by 2005, over 30%.

Dieting is up, but weight loss is down. At any one time, more than two- thirds of US adults are trying to lose weight or are avoiding weight gain.14 Most of them regain the weight within five years.15

Obesity costs have soared to $150 billion. Obesity-related health care costs in 2000 were $117 billion.16 The U.S. diet industry coups $33 billion per year in diet books, diet foods, diet programs and weight-loss gimmicks.17

Obesity: What Is It?

Obesity is based on Body Mass Index (BMI). The formula for BMI is weight (kg)/(height in cm)2 or 703 x pounds/inches2. A BMI of 18.5 or less is considered underweight; 18.5 < BMI < 25 ideal weight; 25 < BMI < 30 overweight; 30 > BMI < 35, obese (mild); 35 < BMI < 40, obese (moderate); and 40 < BMI obese (severe). There are charts available that make determining you BMI easier. Another useful way to access obesity is waist circumference. For men a waist circumference of greater than 40 inches and for woman a waist circumference of greater than 35 inches indicates obesity.18 A large waist circumference is more dangerous than a high BMI for many of the diseases we will discuss.

Is It Really Worth It?

Why lose weight? You may be wondering, “If everyone is gaining, why fight the current?” There are a number of good reasons to choose weight loss :

A clearer mind; a healthier body image; the avoidance of pain and depression; to reduce financial burden (health costs); to be around for your children and grandchildren; and to avoid disability and needing to be cared for by others, just to name a few. Life expectancy for the morbidly obese is reduced by 8 years in women and 20 years for men.19 Shedding a few pounds can diminish the threat. Men participating in successful weight loss programs can reduce their risk of dying by 41%.20 By dropping 20 to 29 pounds, diabetics can reduce their risk of dying by 33%.21 It would be well to make weight loss a way of life. Continuous weight loss, approaching ideal body weight, can reduce the risk of diabetes by 30-50%.22 If your health is failing, weight loss just may be the key to recovery. A five percent weight loss in obese individuals can result in improved blood sugar control, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.23

The Bad News

Those tenacious extra pounds can be a little recognized source of disease. Eleven percent of cancer, 14% osteoarthritis, 17% heart disease and hypertension, 30% gallbladder disease and 57% of diabetes can be attributed to obesity.24

To put it another way, the hidden cost of abundant fat can be calculated in the increased risk of other diseases. The risk of diabetes increases 244%- 600%;25 gallstones 400%-500%;26 depression 400%;27 sleep apnea risk increases 77%;28 asthma risk is up 190%;29 reflux 94%;30 deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) 140%;31 coronary heart disease 81%;32 gout 200%;33 female infertility 200%;34 male infertility due to low sperm count 300%;35 premenstrual syndrome (PMS) 180%.36 Being very obese can increase the risk of dying by 140%;37 stroke 70%;38 stool and urine incontinence risk increases 45% and 150% respectively;39 and risk of cirrhosis from fatty liver due to obesity is up 120%.40

Increasing body weight is a strong risk factor for diabetes. Eighty percent of patients with Type 2 Diabetes are overweight or obese.41 To further examine the diabetes risk, it is important to realize that for each 5 pounds of weight gained, the risk of diabetes goes up 10%.42 The risk of getting diabetes sometime during a person’s life is 7% for underweight people, 15% for normal weight people, 26% for overweight people, 44% for obese people, and 57% for the very obese.43 The fat most implicated in diabetes and its complications is what is called central, visceral or organ fat.44 This is fat that is inside the body surrounding the abdominal organs. This fat is always kept at the higher body core temperature. This fat is the source of oxidized free radicals of fat and cholesterol.45 Diabetics tend to have more of this type of fat.46 Visceral obesity also leads to elevated triglycerides and reduced HDL levels substantially increasing the risk of coronary heart disease.47

The link between higher body fat and cancer risk is also related to the fat cells’ involvement in hormone production. It is very hard to have breast cancer in the absence of estrogen. Excess estrogen production in obese women gives them a poorer prognosis with breast cancer.48 Obesity increases the risk of other cancers too:
ovarian cancer14%; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 17%; pancreatic cancer 24%; multiple myeloma 31%; breast cancer in postmenopausal women 40%; leukaemia 50%; kidney cancer 53%; colorectal cancer 61%; adenocarcinoma of the esophagus 138%; and endometrial cancer 189%.49

Blood pressure also increases with rising obesity. A 13 lb weight gain increases the risk of hypertension by 36%; 24 lbs by 64%; 35 lbs by 132%; 46 lbs by 191%; and 55 lbs or more by 265%. On the other hand, weight loss can decrease the risk.

A 14 lb weight loss can reduce the risk by 24% and weight loss of 22 lbs or more can reduce the risk by 53%.50

Weight gain increases the risk of back pain and arthritis. Back pain increases significantly with weight gain.51 Pressure from excess weight flattens the inter-vertebral discs causing them to deteriorate and resist rejuvenation.52 An excessive waist with its increased visceral fat may swell the risk of arthritis more than absolute BMI.53 Normal weight people have a risk of arthritis of only 17%; for the very obese the risk climbs to 44%.54

Extra large clothes accompany extra large skin problems.55 If you find yourself buying those extra large clothes sizes you can be sure you also have a lot more skin that you were born with. Skin diseases increase in the obese from altered skin blood flow and physiology.56

Remember Alzheimer’s disease? Diabetes and obesity quadruple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.57 Aggressive weight loss may ease hypothyroidism. About 10% of obese subjects are hypothyroid. Weight gain has been associated with hypothyroidism while weight loss has normalized it.58

Depression stalks the obese. Depression doubles the risk of obesity. Depressed people eat about 20% more calories than their non-obese counterparts.59 And it works both ways. Obesity quadruples the risk of depression.60

Social isolation increases with obesity. Obesity in women is associated with: lower individual earnings, few friends outside the family circle, and long-term unemployment.61

Illness related work absenteeism is increased in the obese. Obese employees are 80% more likely to experience work absences and are absent 3.7 more days per year than non-obese people.62

The obese population may be living longer with better-controlled risk factors, but are paradoxically experiencing more disability. Obesity increases the risk of serious disability by 175%. Obese individuals have twice the risk of being unable to perform the activities of daily living.63

Conquering Obesity Naturally

You choose! You are a reflection of the choices you’ve committed to. Your life and health habits are yours alone. Be the best you can be. The choice is yours.

Health: healthy weight, not lowest weight. The ultimate goal is health and healthy weight for your entire lifetime. With the right focus you will have increased energy, better self-esteem, more personal control, and a positive attitude. Eat for the long haul; choose a life-long plan.

Are you ready to change? Internal motivation is better than external. What you choose to do for yourself is more lasting and satisfying than what someone else pressures you to do.

Only a fool has to learn everything by his own experience. Be realistic— make small changes over time. Be adventurous—expand your tastes, try new dishes. Be flexible—balance your food and activity over several days. Be sensible—enjoy food in moderation. Be active—walk the dog, ride a bike, push a stroller.

Exercise Can Be Great Fun

Physical activity predicts success. Choose something you enjoy, preferably out doors in the open air and sunshine. Get at least sixty minutes, combined total, most days, and you will enjoy the benefits: healthy weight, healthy heart, strong bones, great sleep, stress relief, increased energy, and a positive and confident outlook!

Why exercise? Weight will reduce with diet alone, but muscle mass and bone density will disappear too. Exercise maintains muscle mass64 and bone density65 while fat is lost. It also increases aerobic capacity for better cardiovascular fitness.66

As already mentioned, sedentary lifestyle accelerates risk of obesity. In fact, an 8-hour sedentary job increases the risk of obesity by 20%, and of diabetes by 28%.67

Get your beauty rest. Children sleeping less than 9 hours are at increased risk of obesity.68

You can tip the balance in the battle of the bulge. Obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Environmental factors, such as the increased availability of high caloric food or the decreased need for physical activity, contribute to its development.69 A delicate balance exists within the human body. Weight depends upon the balance of energy input from diet, against energy expenditure through exercise. The balance is also affected by basal metabolic rate. When the total energy input exceeds expenditure, weight gain occurs. Many people eat as though they were going to be doing hard physical labor when if fact they are not. This creates an environment for obesity. You will find success then your eating matches your energy and weight loss needs.70

Weight gain is often the result of biological and cultural mismatches to the modern environment where there are strong signals to eat; weak signals to stop eating; increased availability of high calorie dense food; eating is rewarded; there are no viable alternatives at times; and overeating is considered of high status.

On the other hand activity is associated with weak signals to continue and strong signals to stop; reduced availability; inactivity is applauded; inactivity I made a viable alternative and given a high social status.. This plays into the concept of eating to live, versus living to eat. Many people eat as though they were preparing for a long day of heavy physical labor when in reality their lives are pretty sedentary. If we eat to live, we match our energy intake to our expected energy expenditures and this helps keep our weight stable. If we live to eat, our energy intake exceeds our energy needs and obesity ensues. The wise man commented on this principle in this way, “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!”71

Do something you like and enjoy. Exercises shown to be beneficial include: walking, running, aerobics (both in water and in the gym),72 and intermittent exercise especially on accessible home equipment.73

How much do I need to exercise? You may have limitation that will need to be overcome, but we suggest at least sixty minutes daily. The best times are before breakfast,74 and after meals. Exercising after meals results in greater energy expenditure,75 while decreasing blood sugar and insulin levels in diabetics.76 Moderate exercise is as beneficial as
intense, and short bouts are as effective as long (meaning you don’t have to do all sixty minutes at one time).77

Walking is a little appreciated health booster. Each hour of brisk walking per day reduces the risk of obesity by 24% and diabetes by 34%.78

A ten year exercise study was conducted which revealed that an active lifestyle prevents weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle with little recreational activity increases the risk of weight gain by 200% for men and 300% for women.79

Knee Pain Cripples Weight Loss: Not So According to New Studies

“But I can’t exercise, I have a knee with arthritis and it hurts to walk”, you may be saying, like so many others.

In a study of people with knee arthritis, six months of weight loss and exercise actually improved knee pain, disability,80 walking gait and the performance of a six-minute walk distance test, and a timed stair-climbing test.81 Samples of knee fluid actually showed decreased inflammatory markers.82 You “rust” out before you wear out. Most arthritis pain will improve with exercise. Weight loss helps too; a 10% weight reduction improves knee function by 28% in patients with osteoarthritis.83

The Weight Of The Benefits

Exercise yields great dividends in weight loss. Exercise increases: muscle strength and bulk; bone mineral density; insulin sensitivity;84 the immune system;85 self-control around food;86 87 HDL “good” cholesterol88 and maintains weight loss over the long term.89 Exercise decreases: visceral or central fat90 91 and waist-hip ratio;92 the body’s physiological response to stress;93 high blood pressure;94 cholesterol and triglycerides;95 cardiac risk factors;96 oxidative stress;97 and the risk of gallstones.98 Of particular importance is the way aerobic fitness curbs cardiac deaths. Being cardio- vascularly fit can reduce the risk of mortality from obesity by 75%.99

Need slow motion? Eat a western diet. The western diet slows people down physically and makes them sedentary, reducing energy expenditure and increasing weight gain.100

Bring Out The Fork: We’re Going To Talk Diet Now!

Top diets boast whole plant foods.101 People adopting a whole plant food diet can lose almost three times as much weight in a year as those choosing other diet methods. And people choosing a whole plant food diet as a means of weight loss are four times more likely to stick with their chosen diet.102

By the way, a word of caution: when you go on a whole plant food diet, and your health problems start to resolve, you may need to have you medications adjusted. This is especially true for diabetic medications and blood pressure medications.

Avoid Wearisome Diets

It’s not just a diet; it’s a lifestyle change! Be aware of fad diets. Steer clear of these claims: fast, easy weight loss; breakthrough miracle; banish fat; secret formula; new discovery; cure; balances hormones; enzymatic process. Is the author credible? Be cautious about diets that advocate magic or miracle foods; rapid weight loss or quick fixes; no exercise; rigid menus; specific food combinations; recommendations based on a single study or studies published without a peer review; and promises that sound too good to be true.

New research shows that using artificially sweetened foods and drinks to manage weight could backfire. Artificial sweeteners confuse the mind’s ability to judge calorie content, making people who use diet drinks or diet foods crave more calories.103 People who use diet drinks have been shown to eat more calories, especially carbohydrates.104

Some fad diets are especially worrisome. Colorectal cancer risk increased four fold with consumption of high-fat, high-protein, and low-carbohydrate diets.105 By contrast, low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets of whole plant foods increase intake of: fiber, bio-available calcium; vitamins; minerals; cancer preventing antioxidants and phytochemicals which lower risk for heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Continued in Achieving Your Ideal Weight Naturally – Part 2


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