Methods of weight loss include dietary change, exercise, behavior modification, metabolic stimulants, appetite suppressants or a combination of these. Limitations on dietary intake, the most common method used for weight loss, can last several weeks to months, depending on individual need and motivation. Altering dietary proportions of fat, protein, carbohydrate, using macronutrient substitutes, and taking vitamins, diet supplements or meal replacements are all techniques to modify food intake.
Low calorie diets (1000-1500 calories per day) and very low calorie diets (800 or fewer calories per day) help patients lose weight rapidly. A physician’s supervision is recommended, however, to prevent adverse side effects, such as excessive loss of lean body mass, particularly in individuals with chronic health problems such as hypertension.
Eating and chewing food slowly will send nervous system signals to the stomach that it is “full” and will assist in weight loss and deter weight gain after dieting, especially if a healthy diet is selected. When hungry, consider drinking a glass of cold water before eating. Aside from doing you good, it can provide a sense of ‘fullness’ as well as shrink the stomach somewhat. NOTE: The cooler the water, the more calories your body must expend in order to bring it up to body temperature. Because of water’s high specific heat capacity, it takes a lot of energy to raise the temperature of water even a little.
Water is also necessary for the metabolism of your stored fat. Weight loss cannot occur without an active metabolism and that requires large quantities of water.
Exercising is another way to lose weight and although the average weight loss from exercise alone is 8.8-15.4lbs (4-7kgs), much greater weight loss is possible. Regular workouts are advantageous to increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lean body mass, and diminishing rapid weight gain. Exercise produces increased muscle mass, and muscles in turn burn calories at a much higher rate than other tissue – even when not exercising. Great weight loss can require at least an hour of aerobic-type exercise at least 5 days a week. However, the effective Sprint 8 type exercises should only be done twice a week.
Research shows that you burn more stored fat for energy when you do aerobic exercises on an empty stomach. You burn more stored fat when you exercise late in the day rather than in the morning. The best time to exercise for weight loss is in the late afternoon/early evening before dinner. Doing this will not only burn off stored fat but increase your metabolism for 2 to 3 more hours just when it was starting to slow down. This produces a significant increase in fat burning, even after the exercise is over. The next best time to exercise for weight loss is in the morning before breakfast. The minimum time for this effect to take place is 20 to 30 continuous minutes.
Behavior modification produces gradual change. Four steps to behavior modification include:
1) Identifying eating or related life-style behaviors to be modified
2) Setting specific behavioral goals
3) Modifying determinants of the behavior to be changed (make changes regarding things that result in overeating)
4) Reinforcing the desired behavior.
Sometimes dieters resort to the use of metabolic stimulants such as caffeine and ephedra (often from the herb ma huang) which are central nervous system stimulants that, when combined, may help people lose weight. Some, but not all, studies examining the effect of a caffeine-ephedra combination suggest that it does promote weight loss in some individuals, especially when combined with exercise. These stimulants should be used only under a physician’s supervision.
On the other hand, some people lose weight faster by reducing their intake of caffeine. Caffeine leads to an increase of insulin in your body which retards the burning of stored fat. This is a simple chemical reaction in your body that you can change. Reduce your caffeine intake by 50% and see what happens.
Ephedra has long been known for its stimulatory effects, which may assist weight loss, but involves risks, such as high blood pressure and over stimulation. As more people are taking products containing ephedrine, the evidence of these risks is growing. A review of FDA records showed that 42% of all “adverse event” reports for dietary supplements from January 1993 to February 2000 involved products containing Ephedra.
Synephrine has been shown to stimulate the receptors which selectively stimulate fat breakdown and increase the resting metabolic rate. Unlike ephedrine, synephrine has little effect on other receptors, which are responsible for elevating blood pressure, dry mouth, nervousness and other stimulant-like side-effects. Also, unlike Ephedra, Synephrine does not readily cross the blood-brain barrier. Synephrine is a compound prepared and standardized from an extract of Citrus aurantium and should become increasingly available.
On average, weight loss of 1-1.5 lbs per week (about 0.5-0.75kg) is a reasonable goal, which can be achieved by combining exercise, reduced dietary intake and behavioral changes. Successful weight loss involves a combination of these methods that are suited to the individual and applied in a manner which results in a slow and steady weight loss. It may be best to weigh yourself only once per week to monitor weight loss. Daily weighing may lead to misinterpretations and unnecessary concern or discouragement.
Phil Campbell has popularized a form of cardio exercise that is effective in achieving weight loss. He has coined the name Sprint 8.Here is an introduction to this form of aerobic exercise.
He also points out the importance of avoiding sugars, especially fructose for two hours after aerobic exercise. High intensity exercise increases growth hormone (HGH) levels. What most people do not realize is that your HGH levels do not cease operating immediately after a workout. For two hours after you have stopped a high intensity training session, your body continues to produce HGH. This is known as the two-hour recovery window. Phil Campbell states during this period, consuming foods that are high in sugar / carbohydrates should be avoided. Instead opt for lean protein (around 25 grams) during the two hour window.
Also refrain from fruit drinks that contain fructose as an ingredient. This is worse than plain refined sugar by blocking the HGH levels that are trying to work for you, helping with weight loss. Water is the best way to stay hydrated – especially during the 2 hour window period.
- Fat is a real and common problem. Over half of Americans are overweight, and one in four is obese.
- There is a cause of being fat. It is either consuming too many calories, burning too few or a combination of both. While there are treatable reasons causing a person to not exercise enough, it is very much about behavior (motivation and discipline), and less about genetics. You are not doomed by your parents’ DNA. It is more likely that you have merely adopted their eating habits.
- There is a way out. Change your behavior. Eat fewer calories and/or burn more – preferably both. This is entirely within your power, regardless of physical incapacity or pain. Where there is a will, there is a way: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
- It is not how much you consume, but what you consume a lot of. Water and vegetable juices are low-calorie and very low-fat. You can consume all the water and vegetables you desire, but not all the processed sugar and fat.
- Consider Sprint 8 type exercise
- Avoid sugars, especially fructose for 2 hours after any cardio type exercise.
Weight Loss can help with the following
At least a half dozen controlled studies of patients with hypertension concluded that short-term weight loss is usually associated with a reduction of blood pressure. In patients who experienced a weight loss of 11.7 kg ( about 25.7 lbs), an average blood pressure reduction of -20.7/-12.7mm Hg was recorded. A similar study found that a decrease in blood pressure of -2.5/-1.5mm Hg per kilogram of reduction of weight, and further demonstrated a significant correlation between weight change and blood pressure change.
It is important to keep your weight at your ideal level as extra body fat places strain on your legs and veins.
Obesity is known to be a cause of GERD.
As weight loss will improve insulin resistance, and insulin resistance can be measured by low SHBG, weight loss should help normalize low SHBG levels.
Obesity has been definitively linked to elevated levels of inflammatory blood markers such as C-reactive protein. Consuming lower-glycemic foods reduces the insulin surge that contributes to chronic inflammatory processes.
Even a modest weight loss of 10 pounds (4.5 Kg) is associated with a 16% decrease in total cholesterol, a 12% decrease in LDL cholesterol and an 18% increase in HDL cholesterol.
A modest weight loss, in addition to reduction in dietary fat, can have tremendous benefits on lipid profiles. A weight loss of just 10 pounds (4.5 Kg) has been associated with a 34% drop in triglyceride levels.
Weight loss is important, but dieting is not the answer. For those consuming a lot of fructose, either from fruit or hidden sources of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), reducing fructose consumption improves leptin sensitivity, which reduces cravings both for sweets and calories. Please see the link between Overweight and Fructose Avoidance.
US scientists conducting a comprehensive review of dieting research have concluded that dieting does not work.
The study is published in the April, 2007 edition of American Psychologist, the journal of the American Psychological Association. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), reviewed 31 long-term studies lasting between 2 to 5 years.
UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study, Traci Mann said: “You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back.” “We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more,” she added.
The researchers found a very small minority of study participants managed to sustain weight loss, while the majority put all the weight back on, and more in the longer term. “Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people,” said Dr Mann.
Dr Mann and colleagues sought to determine the long term effects of dieting and address the question “Would they have been better off to not go on a diet at all?”. So they analyzed every study they could find that followed people on diets for 2 to 5 years. Studies that take less than 2 years are “too short to show whether dieters have regained the weight they lost,” they said. They discovered that it would have been better for most of them if they had not gone on a diet at all. “Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back,” explained Dr Mann.
Their findings show that:
— People on diets typically lose 5 to 10 per cent of their weight in the first 6 months.
— But 33 to 66 per cent regain more than what they lose within 4 to 5 years.
Dr Mann and colleagues suspect the real situation is actually even worse; the figures do not really reflect reality, making diet studies look better than they are. They say there are a number of reasons for this:
— Many participants phone or mail their results in themselves, without an impartial assessor.
— A lot of studies have a below 50 per cent follow up rate; and the people who put on a lot of weight are less likely to stay in touch.
UCLA graduate student of psychology and co-author of the study, Janet Tomiyama said that “Several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain.”
One study in particular that they looked at found that men and women who took part in a weight reduction program gained significantly more weight than those who did not over the same period of time.
Tomiyama mentioned another study, this time looking at links between lifestyle and weight in 19,000 healthy older men over four years. This study found that, “One of the best predictors of weight gain over the four years was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started,” she said.
Also, in many studies with control groups, the people in the control group very often were better off than the participants who dieted.
Dr Mann suggests that eating in moderation and exercise do make a difference. Although they were not looking at exercise in particular, Dr Mann said that: “Exercise may well be the key factor leading to sustained weight loss. Studies consistently find that people who reported the most exercise also had the most weight loss.”
One study following obese patients discovered that:
— Among those followed for under 2 years, 23 per cent of patients had regained their weight loss.
— Among those followed for more than 2 years, 83 per cent had regained their weight loss.
Another study found that 50 per cent of dieters weighed 11 pounds (5 kilos) more than their starting weight 5 years after their diet.
Among the health hazards of repeated weight loss and regain are cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and altered immune function, said Dr Mann and colleagues. They said more research is needed on the effects of weight loss and regain on health, and say scientists do not fully understand the underlying factors involved in this complex relationship.
Dr Mann quoted her mother, who herself has tried to diet many times, without success. Dr Mann’s mother said her daughter’s findings were “obvious”.
Although this study reviewed 31 long term dieting projects, they did not look into specific diets. The researchers are of the opinion that weight loss programs are not good value for money in the treatment of obesity. “The benefits of dieting are too small and the potential harm is too large for dieting to be recommended as a safe, effective treatment for obesity,” said Dr Mann.
Between 1980 and 2000, the proportion of obese Americans has doubled, from 15 to 31 per cent of the population.
Prof. Martínez de Victoria (Head of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology at the University of Granada in Spain)
insists that the best way to control body weight is to combine a limited food intake with regular physical exercise. In this sense, he states that with a 500 to 700 calorie deficit, depending on body weight, age and physical exercise, a person can gradually lose 6.5 lbs a month, with the guarantee of not recovering double the weight they lost in half the time they lost it. In the same way, this researcher stresses the fact that a high-fibre diet helps control obesity, as fibre-rich foods facilitate a lower intake because their mastication time is longer and, due to their volume, produce the filling sensation more quickly. Furthermore, fibre speeds intestinal transit time while slowing food absorption.
Overweight people can lessen the shock to their joints by losing weight. Knees, for example, sustain an impact three to five times the body weight when descending stairs. Therefore a loss of five pounds can eliminate at least 15 pounds of stressful impact on the joint. The greater the weight loss, the greater the benefit.
Achieve normal body weight but avoid rapid weight loss diets, which may result in increased uric acid levels in the blood.
Very attainable weight loss goals are sufficient to reduce pain and therefore motivate overweight patients with knee osteoarthritis to keep that weight off, according to research presented (November 13, 2006) at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC.
Weight gain dramatically multiplies the pounds of pressure and loading forces on the knee structure. Because this pressure leads to more wear and tear over time, body weight is considered one of the significant contributors to the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Conversely, weight loss can relieve those realities.
Now, a long-term weight loss program has demonstrated that even modest weight loss contributed to improved quality of life in 30 mildly obese patients, and the resulting reduction in pain was so dramatic as to motivate their keeping the weight off.
80% of diabetics are overweight. Obesity is associated with cellular resistance to insulin, thus more insulin is required to maintain normal sugar levels. Weight loss in even the slightly overweight diabetic is essential, so regular exercise is an important part of the prescription. Both aerobic and weight training or Nautilus-type exercise should be done on a regular basis to keep a very high muscle-to-fat ratio in the body. The goal is to make the body “lean and mean.”
Being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Being overweight can keep your body from making and using insulin properly, and can also cause high blood pressure. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes, showed that moderate diet and exercise of about 30 minutes or more, 5 or more days per week, or of 150 or more minutes per week, resulting in a 5% to 7% weight loss can delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes.
Since being overweight is by far the most critical factor, weight loss is the key to ridding the liver of fat. This is especially necessary if damage to the liver is occurring, and early signs of scarring are present on biopsy. High blood triglycerides and diabetes are also worse with obesity. So, when steatohepatitis is present with these conditions, people gain even greater benefits from losing weight.
Weight loss should be slow, not the result of fasting or ultra-low caloric diets. This is because free fatty acids are mobilized during weight loss and too many can increase the deposition of fat in the liver. Gradual weight loss with reduced caloric intake and exercise is highly recommended. A major attempt should be made to lower body weight into the healthy range.
Other medical conditions often present, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol should be treated also.
During analysis of the data from a Yale study (see link between Increased Risk of Stomach Cancer and treatment Vegetarian/Vegan Diet) the research team found that obesity is strongly linked with risk of these cancers. “The increase in the prevalence of obesity in the United States certainly contributes to the time trends… Our results suggest that prevention strategies for these cancers should emphasize increased consumption of plant foods, decreased consumption of foods of animal origin with the possible exception of dairy products, and control of obesity.”
Being overweight can make psoriasis more likely. During WWII, people who were on protein-deficient, calorie-deficient diets lost their psoriasis, which they regained when they went back on a normal diet. You can starve the psoriasis before you yourself suffer from starvation.
An obese woman who has ovarian cancer is more likely to die from it than a woman of normal weight who also has ovarian cancer, say scientists from the The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA. They say that fat cells encourage tumour growth by excreting a hormone.
The scientists concluded that obesity (for women with ovarian cancer):
Undermines a woman’s survival rate.
Made recurrence after treatment more likely and earlier.
Made women die earlier. [Cancer DOI: 10.1002/cncr.22194 Aug 2006]
Weight reduction can not only reverse testosterone and luteinizing hormone abnormalities and infertility seen with PCOS, but also improve glucose, insulin and lipid profiles. Obesity is an important feature with regard to hirsutism because it is associated with decreased sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This results in increased levels of unbound testosterone and contributes to the acne and hair growth seen in PCOS.
A study looked at 38 obese PCOS patients and showed that weight loss could ease effects of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Losing weight appears to improve egg release and ovulation function in obese patients, leading to an increased chance of pregnancy. Nearly 70 percent of women diagnosed with PCOS are obese. Researchers note that dealing with PCOS becomes more complicated as the number of obese patients increases, which reflects a nationwide trend of obesity on the rise.
With a control group set aside for comparison, the remaining patients underwent a 24-week diet and exercise program. Those in the program were divided into two groups. Group one used the diabetes drug, metformin, during the study; Group two participants did not. Metformin makes the body’s tissues more sensitive to insulin and is one of the most common OHAs, or oral hypoglycemic agent, on the market.
At the conclusion of the 24 weeks, women in both diet and exercise groups showed significant reduction in body weight. Control group participants did not. Also, researchers determined patients using metformin more easily met their weight loss goals.
When it came to ovulation, women who lost weight were nine times more likely to experience regular cycles than those in the control group. Those that lost weight and used metformin were 16 times more likely to ovulate on a normal basis than women who did not lose weight.
Researchers concluded that ovulation restoration can be accomplished with modest weight loss, as well as metformin therapy. While researchers admitted that the data is preliminary and follow-up studies need to be done, they specifically added that physicians should take note of the study. [Yahoo! News August 26, 2004]
Lots of new moms regain their figure within 8-12 months. The best time to start exercising (again) is about 5-6 weeks after the birth. Set little goals, like doing 10-minutes of exercise each day and then gradually increase it. Ideally, aim to achieve a regular 30 minutes exercise per day. Exercise brings physical and psychological benefits.
If you gained no more than the recommended 22-30 pounds, it should take you about 4-6 months to lose it. For extra weight gained, aim to lose an average of 1 pound per week with exercise. Weight loss dieting, if necessary, should be avoided, especially if breastfeeding.
|May do some good|
|Likely to help|
|May have adverse consequences|
|Reasonably likely to cause problems|
The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.
Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.
The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.
Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
High blood pressure. Hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure because it adds to the workload of the heart, causing it to enlarge and, over time, to weaken; in addition, it may damage the walls of the arteries.
A system in the body that is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ganglia and parts of the receptor organs that receive and interpret stimuli and transmit impulses to effector organs.
A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.
454 grams, or about half a kilogram.
1000 grams, 2.2lbs.
(HDL): Also known as "good" cholesterol, HDLs are large, dense, protein-fat particles that circulate in the blood picking up already used and unused cholesterol and taking them back to the liver as part of a recycling process. Higher levels of HDLs are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease because the cholesterol is cleared more readily from the blood.
A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
Using oxygen. For example, aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, bicycling or playing tennis use up lots of oxygen and burn up lots of calories and fat.
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.
A hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood for use or storage.
The (American) Food and Drug Administration. It is the official government agency that is responsible for ensuring that what we put into our bodies - particularly food and drugs - is safe and effective.
Fructose is a monosaccharide (simple sugar), which the body can use for energy. It is found mostly in fruits, honey and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). HFCS is added to many prepared foods and drinks. It is addictive. A high intake of fructose results in craving for sweets and calories.
Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.
(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.
The term 'refined sugar' includes not only the “sugar” listed in ingredient listings, but also brown sugar, glucose, fructose and dextrose. Obvious sources include jams and jellies; hidden sources are often mayonnaise, ketchup, salad dressings and other condiments.
Deoxyribonucleic acid, the large molecule that is the main carrier of genetic information in cells. DNA is found mainly in the chromosomes of cells.