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Weight Management


Introduction

It should come as no surprise that obesity is an epidemic in our country. In fact, one out of every two Americans is overweight. This does not include children who are rapidly becoming an overweight generation. Right now, two-thirds of Americans are trying to lose weight. Next to smoking, obesity is the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States, contributing to an excess of 300,000 deaths each year.

The desire to lose weight has become one of the primary driving forces behind people changing their diets. However, due to the cultural media and dieting trends, individuals not only have a skewed perspective and unrealistic expectations for weight loss, but the results are often short lived because the means of getting there are completely unsustainable.

One of the reasons why so many people fail diets is because the diet fails to be individualized for that person. While a large number of individuals are overweight because of eating more and exercising less, there is a growing population of those who have other underlying reasons for the weight gain. In fact, there are many individuals who eat less and exercise more but do not see results. The key to successfully losing weight and keeping it off is to determine the root cause of how the weight gain was initiated. For those who are struggling with overeating, the key is to figure out why. The reason may psychological or biochemical. Until the root cause of weight is addressed, the goal of losing weight will be very difficult to obtain and ultimately sustain for life.

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The Ten Most Common Weight Loss Blockers

The key to successful, long-term weight loss is to first identify the root cause. This may be difficult to do on one's own as it is often challenging to assess ourselves and see how all of the pieces fit. However, with proper education and awareness, you can help to recognize the area that you may need to focus on to achieve successful, long-term weight loss.

Identify your most prominent weight control problem, especially if there seems to be more than one. As improvement is realized in the primary area, secondary problems are often overcome in the process.

1. Sluggish Metabolism and Thyroid Imbalance. If you have experienced weight gain after 40 or after menopause, thyroid malfunction and lowered metabolism may be to blame. New studies reveal that as many as 1 in 10 women over 65 have the early stages of hypothyroidism! If you are having trouble losing weight despite dieting and exercise and also experience one or more of the following: unexplained fatigue, extreme heat intolerance, hair loss, high cholesterol, lowered immunity, allergies; you may want to explore the function of your thyroid gland. In severe cases of hypothyroid, a thyroid hormone medication will be administered and improvements in symptoms as well as weight loss should follow suit. There are also cases of subclinical hypothyroidism when the labs may appear "normal", but a sluggish thyroid may still be present. In such cases, more in depth thyroid panels are suggested to include TSH as well as Free T3 and Free T4 to better determine how the body is converting thyroid hormone to its active form. Natural support for thyroid function begins with individual dietary modifications (consultations link) to ensure metabolic function as well as supplementation to promote optimal thyroid health.

2. Emotional Factors. Toxic emotions such as anger, negative self-talk, depression and emotional trauma have become increasingly significant to address when trying to lose body weight. When the body is harboring repressed emotions, the fatty tissues may become containers for holding on to these feelings. Over time, these emotions cause blockages in the body and prevent the system from being able to achieve optimal metabolic function. The body may also become "programmed" to react to the internalization of negatives emotions, self-talk or subconscious signaling. In fact, we may be so programmed that it becomes a habit to circulate negative emotions throughout our bodies. The end result of harboring these negative emotions is a physical and a biochemical shift that wreaks havoc on the brain, metabolism, adrenal glands and the immune system. Working on the emotional system is imperative in achieving long-term weight loss success.

3. Overeating Fat and Calories. Overeating or eating too much saturated fat and sugar are certainly factors as to why it is so hard for people to lose weight. Men and women alike tend to overeat when they are under stress, fatigued, or on-the-run... circumstances that many Americans experience today! Our lifestyles do not help. 45% of every food dollar is spent eating outside the home, and restaurant portions are bigger than ever as consumers demand more food for their money.

4. Poor Sleep. Lack of quantity and/or quality sleep will have a direct impact on weight. Metabolic and stress hormones will take a downward shift to compensate for the lack of restoration to the body. In addition, blood glucose levels will rise in response to the stress caused by lack of sleep. As a result, these blood sugar fluctuations will often cause hunger and fatigue, which may lead to a dependence on caffeine, sweets and other stimulants to stay alert.

5. Eating Too Few Calories. Under eating may also prevent weight loss as the body switches to starvation mode to conserve energy. This extreme caloric deficit may be caused by over exercise, low calorie dieting and/or an eating disorder behavior.

6. Oxidation Rate and Body Type. A person's oxidation rate and weight distribution may suggest the way in which they use food for energy. This explains why some people lose weight on certain diets and others gain. A fast oxidizer is someone who burns fuel quickly. For example, someone who feels unsatiated after just eating a piece of fruit alone may be metabolizing the fruit very quickly because it is quick burning carbohydrate. While the idea of metabolizing food quickly may sound inviting, the end result may lead to hunger and overeating if not properly regulated. On the other hand, if someone is a slow oxidizer, they will metabolize foods at a slower rate, which means they will feel satisfied on eating just the fruit itself and will not be as likely to overeat as a result of unsatisfied hunger. To determine the eating plan that would best suit your oxidation rate and body type, consult with the EB Nutrition Dietitians online or in person!

7. Abnormal Resting Metabolic Rate. The Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the number of calories that the body burns at rest in a 24 hour period. If a person is burning significantly more or less than the average amount of calories, then their ability to lose weight successfully may be hindered. Contact EB Nutrition to learn how your metabolism is functioning!

8. Sugar Craving and Blood Sugar Imbalances. Sweets may be your weight loss block. If you are on a very low fat diet, you may leave meals feeling hungry and unsatisfied, leading you to crave more starches and sugar. In addition, eating a high glycemic (sugar raising) diet will result in blood sugar imbalance which will cause the body to crave sugar. Furthermore, meal timing and appropriate combination of protein, fat and carbohydrate for your specific needs will be essential in promoting efficient metabolic function.

9. Liver Malfunction and Cellulite Formation. Your liver is responsible for fat metabolism. Most of us have a liver that is overloaded with toxic build-up, which makes weight control difficult. Cellulite is a body shape problem related to liver malfunction. Women are hardest hit by cellulite because their skin fibers are thinner and more delicate than a man's. Fatty wastes can become lodged beneath the skin's surface more easily in a woman when the liver or lymphatic system is sluggish.

10. Poor Elimination. If your colon is sluggish (chronic constipation), your body will absorb toxins and wastes that would normally be removed through elimination channels. This build-up of waste materials in your blood and bowel slows down all systems and causes you to hold on to fat. Insufficient water intake also prevents metabolized waste, including fat, from exiting the body.

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Weight Control For Kids

Today's children are becoming an overweight generation. America's adults may be paying more attention to their diets, but statistics show that U.S. kids are the fattest they have ever been. An estimated 14% of children over the age of 6 are obese. Until the 1960's, weight control was not much of a problem for kids. But the fifties ushered in the fast food era - refined, chemical-laden foods that changed people's metabolism and cell structure. As the fifties kids became parents, they passed on immune defense depletions and digestion problems to their kids who are now the parents of the overweight, undernourished kids of today. This is only the beginning. Television food advertising often targets kids who are eating an ever widening array of chemical-laced, genetically altered foods, and junky foods with too much fat, salt, sugar and calories.

U.S. schools have dropped the ball for children's health, offering kids fattier, nutrient-starved meals and less physical exercise. The telecommunications age has brought kids computers, T.V.'s, and video games - and a lot less active playtime. Today's kids get less exercise and outdoor play than any previous generation. Physical education classes in U.S. schools, most sports and many extra-curricular activities have been dropped, and our kids are paying the price. Most kids attend only 1 or 2 physical education classes a week. Forty percent of boys 6-12 can't touch their toes; American girls actually run slower today than they did 10 years ago. Physical education teachers have been reassigned to other classes in three-quarters of U.S. schools.

Overweight children face early diseases, low self-esteem, depression and rejection by peers. Getting weight problems under control at an early age is the best choice for achieving optimal health as an adult. As an obese child grows older, he or she doubles the likelihood of adult obesity. But, crash diets are not the solution for kids (or adults). Changing the focus to health, to having a fit body instead of a thin body can make all the difference in a weight management program. Kids need mineral-rich building foods, fiber-rich energy foods, and protein-rich growth foods.

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Weight Control After 40

There's no doubt about it. Weight loss gets more difficult after 40. The latest figures show that body fat typically doubles between the ages of 20 and 50. Everybody goes through a change of life, and those middle years affect our body shapes, too...for both men and women.

Women's hormone levels change balance, contributing to weight gain focused in the middle of the body. Estrogen production declines during menopause so the body starts to look for other resources to keep estrogen levels balanced. Fat cells actually produce estrogen, so the body will convert more calories into fat. A decline in the hormone, progesterone is usually responsible for bloating and water retention. Increases in androgen production send fat cells directly to the mid-section. Metabolism is slowed as fat accumulates and testosterone, the muscle building hormone, decreases. This occurs in both men and women as we age.

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Natural Treatment

Weight gain usually occurs due to a combination of reasons, therefore it requires management of several different aspects. These approaches may include exercise and supplement recommendations, sleep and stress management, and diet and behavior modification through online or in person nutrition consultations.

Dietary modification focuses on timing and quality of the food. The key to weight loss and weight management is hormonal balance, which directly relates to combining the right types and amounts of food as well as stress reduction. Clean, whole foods, free of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones are the mainstay of a hormonally balanced, low stress diet. EB Nutrition can guide you on the path to weight loss by finding the diet that fits you - your body shape, blood type, age, hormone levels, family and medical history, lifestyle, culture, and activity level.

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References

Ross, Julia R. The Diet Cure. Penguin, 2000.

Goldberg, Burton. Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide: Weight Loss. 1st Ed. California: Alternativemedicine.com books, 2000.

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