Weight Management A Holistic Approach
Its estimated that 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. Shari Lieberman, Ph.D. is a well known expert on nutrition and weight loss. She summarized some very interesting statistics related to obesity in a publication in Alternative and Complementary Therapies (December 2005, p. 307). Eighty percent of type II diabetes is related to obesity. Seventy percent of cardiovascular disease is related to obesity. Twenty-six percent of obese people have high blood pressure. Obesity costs overwhelm the US healthcare industry, costing $63 billion dollars each year.
There are many reasons for the ever-increasing obesity epidemic. First, weve changed our eating and exercise habits dramatically over the past 20 years. We eat fewer fruits and vegetables, more food higher in fat and sugar, and we eat much less fiber. We consume highly processed foods and far too much white bread. We also super-size our servings, consuming far too much food.
Have you ever heard someone say they have a bad metabolism? Is that possible? The answer is yes. People who have followed severe calorie restricted diets (e.g. liquid meal replacements) can actually damage their metabolism, decreasing its efficiency by as much as 15%. When these individuals return to eating normal foods and increase their caloric intake, they routinely gain weight and increase their amount of body fat. This is due in large part to the fact that severe calorie restriction can lead to muscle loss rather than fat loss. Since muscle dictates metabolism, muscle loss should be avoided at all costs. No wonder experts form the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of NIH do not recommend the use of very-low-calorie diets.
Its true that some individuals are metabolically challenged. It may be the result of yo-yo dieting or it may be a function of age. Some people are born with a sluggish metabolism. It doesnt matter what the reason is. If you want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight it is possible without gastric bypass, liquid protein meal replacements or joining the cast of Biggest Losers on television. If youve not been successful in the past its completely understandable. Most diets fail people and for those who do succeed, 95% of them gain back any weight lost within one year. Its no wonder we have an obesity epidemic.
The answer is a holistic approach to weight management. Success comes from a lifestyle change incorporating low glycemic impact (GI) foods, stress reduction techniques, appropriate nutritional supplements, and exercise.
Low GI foods avoid a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels avoiding a metabolic switch being thrown signaling the body to store fat. Low GI foods help you to burn calories more efficiently. These foods include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and protein and represent a healthy way of eating, which will lead to improved body composition. This way of eating helps you feel full faster and longer. Adding a combination of aerobic and weight training exercises allows you to reach your goal more quickly and ensures continued health for the future.
Forget diets and make a lifestyle changewhat have you got to lose but excess weight?