Forever Fat?

I understand that maintaining a healthy weight following a successful weightless diet is difficult but this seems overly pessimistic:

Researchers claim that fat people, who lose weight either by dieting or exercising, will put it all back on again within a year.

The article does back off from the overarching generalization but claims that those of us who lose weight don’t have a chance to keep it off long term. Something tells me there is a great opportunity for a service industry to help dieters meet this daunting challenge. Anyone interested?

How to begin and enjoy an exercise program

Begin and enjoy and exercise programOver the past six months I’ve adopted an exercise routine that has helped me reach a few but very significant health related goals, not the least of which is weight loss.  This time around I’ve been more consistent and actually look forward to my (almost) daily workout.

Exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery to burn calories, improve cardiovascular health and stamina and provide a much need outlet for stress.

I’m not a fitness guru or a health provide but I do have a few tips that helped me:

  • Join a convenient health club close to home – this was a significant reason why I’ve been able to succeed.  In this demanding age of overtime and activity, convenience saves driving time and encourages greater consistency.
  • Starting out, avoid over-exertion – nothing kills an exercise program like soreness and exhaustion.  You may be enthusiastic and anxious to get in shape but be patient and take it easy (at first)
  • Design an exercise routine that is enjoyable – I picked the treadmill instead of a stair master for interval training and use free weights in preference to machines.  Returning to the gym is so important that I prioritized those activities that I preferred above some that came highly recommended.
  • Keep a journal of exercises, weights, distances, times, etc. which enables weekly progress to be seen - even though I was out of shape, seeing regular gains in strength and stamina were motivational.  Later, looking back over months, I’ve been able to see significant improvement which would not have been remembered to the same degree
  • Set realistic and practical goals – I decided not to dream of becoming an olympic pole vaulter but instead strive to burn fat, improve stamina and gain strength in specific ways.  My goals were not tied to how I look but rather were aimed at improving health, managing blood sugar (and stress) and gaining energy so that I could be there for my family.
  • During aerobic training, listening to book-on-tape or watching movies – the time simply slips away when I have something engaging to watch of listen to.
  • Take guilt-free time off when needed – when you’re tired don’t feel guilty about resting – you need it.

On days in which motivation has been low, I went anyway and come back feeling refreshed and more energetic then when I left.   Exercise is key to managing diabetes and good health in general – it improves both physical and mental performance.  Further, discipline now provides freedom and opportunity to engage more activities later.

My Top Reasons for Eating Breakfast – and why you should too

Late last year I had a rough visit with the doctor. Rough because he pointed out the blatant health risks in the bluntest of terms associated with my eating habits and resulting BMI. Needless to say, he made an impact and I changed, lost weight and have adopted a new lifestyle.

breakfast is esstentialAmong several modifications to my daily habits is a return to breakfast. My fast pace and stress filled lifestyle gave rise to the coffee-on-the-go morning meal which inevitably made me irritable and starved by noon.

Doc told me to eat a large breakfast and I’ve followed his advice.

Having thought, read and acted upon doc’s advice, I’d like to share with you my top reasons for eating breakfast:

  • Stops impulse binging and overeating as a result of hunger and craving – no more mid-morning hypo, fast food cravings. Instead I eat an equally healthy lunch
  • Enables normal metabolic rate and activity – the body needs fuel and when it doesn’t it begins to slow down calorie consumption. Breakfast gets the metabolism up and running and burning calories at a normal rate.
  • Maintains a normal insulin response — studies indicate that skipping meals leads to hyper insulin response when calories are later consumed, which in turn encourages fat accumulation
  • Provides energy when you first need it — I need energy first thing in the morning and am now able to hit the ground running
  • Gives clarity of thought – I’ve experienced a noticeable difference and an improvement in concentration and efficiency
  • Gives Essential nutrients — the nutrients that are bypassed by skipping breakfast are essential to good health
  • Lower cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease as suggested by researchers
  • Satisfies hunger- I always said I’m not hungry in the morning – well, now that I’ve adopted healthy eating habits I am. No more late night snacking leads to a healthy appetite in the morning
  • Time for Morning Contemplation – taking time out first thing in the morning is enjoyable and provides an opportunity to think, pray and prepare for the rest of the day
  • Family time – breakfast has increase the time I spend with my family

As I mentioned above, this has made a big difference in my health and daily routing, not the least of which is weight loss.  I’ll detail some of my other changes in future posts but hope that this one will encourage my friends to consider breakfast as an essential to the start of each day.

Three Approaches to Eating with Diabetes

I saw this article cited in an About.com editorial suggesting that the American Diabetes Association may be changing its stand on carbohydrates.  Note that the ADA has been relatively stand-off-ish regarding lower carb diets.

Here are the three diets that appeared the the Diabetes Forecast:

Low-Carb Diet:  less than 10% Carbohydrates

Moderate-Carb Diet:  40-50% Carbohydrates

Vegan/High-Carb Diet:  75% Carbohydrates

I didn’t see any particular recommendation, just that three “styles” of diet listed so I’m not sure this is evidence for a coming change/shift in ADA recommendations.

That said, I know which of the three has worked best for me and enabled significant weight-loss (I’ll detail in a coming post).

Thanks for reading!

Go Lo-Carb?

A diet low in carbohydrates but high in animal fat and protein doesn’t seem to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women, a new study of 85,059 women claims.

The House Diet: Weight Loss for Life

This is a book about change. I don’t mean just change in your weight–losing the pounds you want to lose. Weight loss is important, but it’s not really the change that is most important. Rather, The Structure House Weigh Loss Plan focuses on changing yourself in deeper, more significant, more durable ways than what you can measure simply by standing on your bathroom scale. I’m talking about changing how you view yourself. Changing your relationship with food. Changing your choices about how to live your life. Changing your attitude about change itself. Gerard J. Musante
Gerard J. Musante, Ph.D. has published a book about his acclaimed weight loss program called “The Structure House”. The approach is unique in that it focuses on psychology and behavioral modification to achieve long-term weight loss.
“We work with people to expose unhealthy eating behaviors such as boredom, habit and stress and I address this in the book,” said Dr. Musante. “The plan supports sensible exercise and eating nutritious food, in appropriate portions, three times a day.
Dr. Musante’s new book provides positive ways to understand dysfunctional eating patterns, while simultaneously providing resources and coping strategies for each one. He outlines a proactive plan for each environment (home, workplace, restaurants) and for each emotion that will lead readers to regain a sense of balance and develop a positive relationship with food. The end result is an all-encompassing lifestyle change for weight loss and healthy living.

The Return of the Atkins Diet

So you want to lose weight? Zone, GI Ornish, LEARN, or Atkins – which diet plan to choose?
A recent study among women suggests that the Atkins diet resulted in the greatest weight loss — with no indication of undesirable side-effects.
Among fad diets, Atkins stands out for its carbohydrate reducing and ketonic state inducing. Most nutritionalists just shake their heads but I can tell you it has worked for me. However, the problem with most fad diets is long-term commitment and a return to old habits. Atkins for life just doesn’t seem reaonsable.
A person that would no doubt disagree is Dr. Mary Venon, the author of the Atkins Diabetes Revolution. In an interview last month she expressed that she has been greatly “saddened” because the low-carb approach is being widely ignored despite being shown to be extremely effective for treating diabetics:

“If you control the carbohydrates that go in your mouth…then you will control your blood sugar and your blood sugar hormones (insulin),” Dr. Vernon said in her interview, reiterating her belief that diabetes can be controlled naturally through the diet without the necessity of medication in many instances.
She added that the proof is in the massive improvements her patients have seen in their weight and health when they start livin’ la vida low-carb.
“Giving them control over their diabetes by giving them the tools to eat in such a way that they require less medication” is an important advancement, Dr. Vernon contends in the interview.

I’ll have to pick up her book.

The Hacker’s Diet

It’s probably not a surprise to our readers that computer geeks tend to more sedentary and overweight than the average population. So what are they we doing about it? Check out Diet hacking: Internet entrepreneurs seek weight-loss solutions for an interesting view of the approaches computer nerds are using to fight the battle of the bulge.
One of the most geeky approaches is the the Hacker’s Diet, which is really a set of tools and a manual that enables weight loss to be controlled through an engineering and management approach. The body, the “rubber bag”, is viewed as a control system with weight as an output and diet and exercises as an input.
dietman.GIFThe general philosophy is:

If people didn’t eat except when their bodies needed food, nobody would be overweight. What a wonderful world it would be!
Hunger is supposed to tell us when it’s time to eat, but in the modern world, we rarely rely on this message from our bodies. We eat certain meals on a given schedule, with family and friends. And, while hunger tells us when to eat, there isn’t a corresponding signal that says we’ve had enough. Only when the scale begins to rack up extra pounds and the belt seems to need another notch do we realise the cumulative effect of a little too much food every day.

But here’s the key:

To control your weight, you need only eat the right amount. To eat the right amount, not just this month or next month, but for the rest of your life, you need not only the information–the display on the face of the eat watch–to know what’s the “right amount”; you need an incentive to follow that guidance. Wearing a watch doesn’t make you a punctual person, but it provides the information you need to be one, if that’s your wish.

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