Archive for the ‘Weight Goal’ Category

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High Sugar Diet Halts Weight Loss Efforts

October 19, 2010

(Article first published as Study Shows Source of Calories Important to Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)

Is it true that a calorie is just a calorie, regardless of whether it comes from a fat, protein or carbohydrate source? A basic physics class will demonstrate that in a laboratory setting, all calories require the same amount of energy to burn regardless of type.

Our body uses a highly evolved energy management system that takes cues from the total number of calories consumed, as well as the calorie source to adjust our metabolic rate and determine fat storage patterns. A successful weight loss plan must include the right balance of nutrients to ensure weight loss success.
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
Our body regulates our genes based on the food we eat. Long standing research has shown that the quantity of foods we consume influences special genes that regulate longevity and the onset of disease. In the same fashion, the type of food we eat affects our metabolism and the effectiveness of insulin to control blood sugar. A diet high in refined carbohydrates that quickly convert to glucose results in insulin resistance and a host of metabolically mediated diseases.
Excess Carb Calories Stored as Fat

In his book Living Low Carb, nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden explains the results of a Swedish study where volunteers were given 20 extra calories from candy or peanuts each day for each half pound of body weight. That amounts to an extra 18,200 calories for a 150 pound individual over the course of 2 weeks or slightly over 5 pounds of additional weight from a simple calorie conversion. The group eating high protein peanuts gained a slight amount of weight, but the candy eating subjects packed on 3 times as much weight from the extra sugar calories.

Simple Carbs Raise Blood Sugar, Fuel Fat Storage
Calories from processed carbohydrate foods including candy, bread, pasta and baked goods cause blood sugar levels to surge after every meal. Eventually this leads to insulin resistance as glucose is not efficiently used for energy and remains in the blood. The body responds by converting the sugar into triglycerides or blood fats which are then easily stored in your fat cells.
Eating Protein Increases Base Metabolism

Protein has a much different effect on metabolism than simple carbohydrates. Proteins such as lean meats, nuts, seeds and whey do not stimulate blood sugar and help to maintain ideal insulin levels. Protein calories are converted to energy as long as total calories from all sources are not extreme. The body is much less likely store calories as fat since triglycerides are not formed in excess and insulin remains effective in managing blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that protein consumption increases metabolic rate at rest which burns more calories throughout the day.

Successful weight loss remains out of reach for the vast number of people who begin the journey. Many more people would be able to achieve their goal by eliminating refined carbohydrates and substituting healthy protein choices in addition to calorie restriction. By working to control blood sugar levels, you’ll improve your health and ensure your weight loss success.
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Improving Mood to Assist Weight Loss Goals

October 1, 2010

(Article first published as Depression Linked to Obesity on Technorati.)

One of the many detrimental side effects of being overweight or obese is a dramatic rise in clinical depression. Researchers aren’t sure whether depression leads to obesity or if excess body weight results in the mood altering behavior diagnosed as depression, but the impact on the lives of those afflicted can be devastating. The reciprocal relationship between these two conditions can increase the risk of suicide and many potentially lethal diseases as well.

Nearly 25% of Obese People Diagnosed With Depression
There’s no mistaking the link between obesity and depression, as 23.2% of those individuals falling into the obese range indicate they have been diagnosed with clinical depression. This is according to a Gallup-Heathway’s Well-Being Index poll of more than 250,000 respondents. The rate of depression was 14.9% for those considered overweight and 14.3% for normal weight people. An analysis found that obesity creates negative feelings of stress, worry, anger and sadness.
Depression Increases with Weight

Information from the Gallup study revealed that the depth of depression increased in a linear fashion to the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the individual. Both overweight and obese people tend to have lower self esteem and body dissatisfaction because of the Western ideal that being thin is more beautiful and desirable. These feelings foster the internal conflict caused by excess weight in many people which is psychologically manifested as depression.

Taking Small Steps to Improve Body Image

It can be difficult to improve the perception of the person you see every day in the mirror but taking small steps toward this goals can have an immediate and lasting effect on your outlook. Begin by setting your sight on an immediate weight loss goal, such as 5 or 10 pounds. It’s much easier to feel better about yourself when you successfully complete small steps on your way to a final destination. As you pass each benchmark, be sure to reward yourself with something special to reinforce your progress.

Improving Diet to Affect Depression
Some people are particularly sensitive to the effects of a high sugar diet which help to promote mood instability and depression. Elimination of sugar and refined carbohydrates not only boosts mood, but is a powerful trigger to release body fat from storage. Slowly cut sugary foods from your diet and be sure to eliminate sweetened beverages and fruit juice which are a significant source of nutrition-less calories. Slowly back sugar out of your diet over the course a month to avoid sugar withdrawal which some people experience.
Natural Support for Depression
Targeted nutritional supplements have been shown to be effective in improving the symptoms associated with depression. As with any natural agent, supplements should be used in combination with diet, exercise and therapeutic support to improve self esteem. The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA, St. John’s Wart, Gingko Biloba and SAMe are all helpful in improving mood, a necessary step toward your successful weight loss goal.
It’s not surprising that obesity and depression are closely linked. People tend to pre-judge others based on body weight before intelligence and personality. Lowered self esteem and increased stress are cofactors which contribute to the relationship between obesity and clinical depression. You can begin to take small steps to improve mood which will ultimately lead to improved body image and healthy weight loss.
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Establishing Weight Loss Goals

September 28, 2010

(Article first published as Setting Goals for Weight Loss Success, Tracking Your Progress on Technorati.)

Many people embark on a weight loss program without a firm understanding of their realistic goal or the exact plan that will help them cross the finish line to weight loss success. Similar to any journey through uncharted territory you may make, the key to your weight loss success is to establish a realistic goal which you can maintain as part of your new healthy lifestyle. The power of positive thinking combined with the reinforcement you receive from tracking your progress each day provide the fuel you need to accomplish your goal.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Regardless of the task you wish to accomplish in life a positive attitude is critical to achieve the desired result. You must begin by believing that the weight loss task you are about the begin will have a significant impact on your health and longevity, as research has shown that losing just 5 – 10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of disease. You should only begin your journey when you feel fully committed to finish, regardless of the inevitable bumps you’ll encounter along the way.

Defining a Realistic Goal
Once your mind is set you’ll need to put together a realistic plan and goal that will successfully lead you to the finish line and monitor your progress for encouragement along the way. The most important part of goal setting is to make sure that your target weight is attainable. Don’t feel you need to weigh the same as when you were 18. Many things change in your body over the years, and often people find they feel great and experience optimal health at a weight which about 10% higher than the lowest weight from your college years.
Monitoring Your Progress
Of equal importance to setting a realistic goal and positive attitude is tracking your daily progress with nutritional software or a food journal. The positive reinforcement you receive from monitoring your weight, exercise and food will help you to get by an occasional rough day where you stray from your diet or when you hit a weight plateau.
The results of a study published in the eHealth Journal of Medical Internet Research found that participants who recorded and tracked their progress using an online software interface were significantly more likely to stay with a weight loss plan and maintain their weight loss compared to those who didn’t monitor their progress. By nature, we’re goal oriented and a journal helps keep us focused on reaching a pre-established goal.
Write Your Plan on Paper

Before you start on your weight loss journey, write down the steps you’ll need to follow to hit your goal and the benefits to your health from meeting your target weight. Include diet, menus, exercise and how you will fit work, family and friends into your program. Make a list of the numerous health benefits such as improving heart health, improving immunity, increasing brain power, feeling great and the knowledge that you are lowering your risk of an early death.

The only way to successfully lose weight is to properly plan the steps you’ll need to hit your target goal and track your progress. Without these commitments, you’ll quickly veer off course the first time you reach a weight plateau or succumb to a sugary treat. By having your whole plan detailed in writing ahead of time, you can easily continue to reinforce your new lifestyle which will lead to vibrant health and your ideal weight.