weight control, fat loss, diet, activity, weight loss supplements

A Weight Management Strategy

A Weight Management Strategy

In the past two issues I addressed barriers to weight control. Some must be addressed by making lifestyle changes while others can only be removed by providing appropriate nutritional support to the body. In either case a successful weight management strategy must involve a commitment to make lifelong changes rather than intermittent short-term alterations.

The steps that can be taken include making wise food and beverage choices, eating less, exercising more, avoiding crash or fad diets, eliminating drugs whenever possible, correcting vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and avoiding foods that are associated with addictive behavior. If the specific challenges of insulin resistance, thyroid deficiencies, leptin resistance, and sleep disturbances are present they must be addressed appropriately. Finally, a stress management program must be put in place.

Wise Food & Beverage Choices

Anyone who is interested in weight management should make water their primary beverage. A typical soda contains ten teaspoons of sugar, but diet beverages also promote weight gain. Make water your primary beverage.

I first wrote about a wellness diet in 1999. The basic rules for healthy eating, including weight maintenance, are still valid. Keep the diet colorful (artificial color doesn’t count), stick to foods that remain edible at room temperature, limit intake of refined foods, avoid additives and preservatives, include whole grains, legumes, and oils, limit meat portions to 4 ounces per meal, and vary food choices.

Aids to Eating Less

Cutting back on food intake will improve weight maintenance, but doing so is often easier said than done. Several techniques for cutting intake have been used successfully. These include using smaller dishes, chewing food thoroughly, nibbling rather than sitting down to large meals, eating only when hungry, and keeping food out of sight between meals or snacks.

It can also be helpful to dish up food away from the table and stop eating when satisfied. This can eliminate the tendency to “clean up” remaining food at a meal, even if this means throwing out left over portions. Eating excess food is simply using the body as a garbage can. This practice is worse than “wasting food” as it adds unneeded and undesirable pounds and inches to the body over time.

When dining out consider sharing a meal. Serving sizes in many restaurants have increased substantially over the past few decades and are now larger than most people normally eat in a single meal. Other options are to get in the habit of leaving food behind or asking for a take-home box, but more will power is needed to carry out those choices.

Recommended Physical Activities

Regular physical activity is important to any weight control plan. Two types of activity provide weight control benefits. The first is aerobic exercise – getting the body moving for 20 to 30 minutes daily. Aerobic activities burn calories, but that is not the primary reason for performing them. The major benefit is that metabolism improves and remains higher for approximately 24 hours after the activity is completed. It is not necessary to become a marathon runner or triathlete to achieve results. Studies show that the weight loss aspect of activity maximizes when the body is kept moving for a total of 5 hours per week.

The second type of physical activity that promotes weight control is muscle building. Since energy is required to build muscle, calories are expended in the process. As in the case of aerobic activity, one need not spend hours at a gym to obtain results. Evidence now suggests that one weight lifting session per week is optimal for the building of any single muscle group. Excellent muscle growth is obtained by working the muscle using a weight that leads to complete fatigue within 6 to 8 repetitions. Up to six muscle groups can be worked per session using this technique. Therefore twelve muscle groups can be worked in two weekly sessions lasting less than fifteen minutes each. A more detailed explanation of this technique may be found in books such as The Power of Ten by Adam Zickerman.

Dietary Changes You Can Maintain Over the Long Term

Fad diets and crash diet programs are counterproductive to successful weight maintenance. Short one to three day fasts can be helpful to jump start weight loss efforts, but longer-term caloric restriction tends to adversely affect the body’s metabolic rate. A water fast may be performed, but many prefer to do a lemonade fast. A popular recipe is to add one lemon to twenty ounces of water and sweeten to taste with pure maple sugar. Apple slices may be eaten if desired.

For weight control to be successful only dietary changes that can be maintained over time should be made. I know individuals who have been able to successfully maintain their desired weight by substituting a liquid shake for one meal daily. If this method is chosen it should be viewed as a long-term habit rather than a short-term solution to weight loss.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress promotes weight gain by elevating levels of cortisol. Many stress reduction techniques exist. Taking a brisk walk or performing other aerobic activities can burn of some of the effects of stress while simultaneously improving the body’s metabolic rate. It is helpful to cultivate supportive relationships. Stress is always easier to handle when someone is available to share one’s burdens or provide an encouraging word.

Organizing and prioritizing activities can relieve the stress that is felt daily. The process is deceptively simple. Write down “to do” items and concerns in a pocket notebook as they come to mind. Once a day take time to separate the items into “can do” and “can’t do” categories. Prioritize the “can do” items and release the “can’t do” items by turning them over to God or symbolically tearing up the list and throwing it in a waste basket.

It is important to release pent-up emotions rather than allowing them to fester inside. This may mean screaming, shouting, doing something requiring physical exertion, or crying. There is, according to Solomon, a time to weep.

It is also important to retreat at appropriate intervals to relax and recharge. A cruise is generally not considered a weight-loss technique, but what is gained by stress reduction may to some degree counter the calories consumed at the buffet.

Supports that may be helpful in times of stress include AD Formula, which supports adrenal function and in so doing may ease the release of cortisol, and Serenity, a collection of B vitamins and calmative herbs.

Address Addiction as Addiction

I believe it is possible to become addicted to foods; in fact, I believe that food addiction is quite common. Just as ex-smokers can almost never “have just one”, people with a history of alcoholism generally fail at becoming casual “social drinkers”, and drug abusers cannot take an occasional “hit”, those with a history of addiction to chocolate or other sweets can’t tolerate an occasional treat. In each case the addict quickly returns to old habits and the accompanying consequences.

Nutritional Supplements

If food cravings are due to pica (a nutritional deficiency) a comprehensive support product such as Lifetime, New Generation, or Beyond Tangy Tangerine can significantly diminish the desire for the offending foods. Omega-3 fatty acids can also curb food cravings. Coconut oil, which is a rich source of fats called medium chain triglycerides, has also been reported to be helpful with weight maintenance.

When thyroid dysfunction is present a whole thyroid product such as Armour Thyroid or Westhroid often works better than levothyroxine, the T4 replacement that is most often prescribed. When whole thyroid cannot be obtained, THR Formula, a thyroid support product can be used. The amount required varies from 1 to 3 capsules with each meal.

Insulin resistance can be improved by taking 1 or 2 capsules of Chromium Plus or Sweet Eze with each meal.  Those products were specifically formulated for this purpose. For example, Chromium Plus contains chromium and vanadium, minerals that are critical to the use of insulin in the body, several herbs that have traditionally been used to control blood sugar levels, alpha lipoic acid, which helps overcome insulin resistance, and green-lipped mussel, a rich source of fatty acids needed for insulin utilization.

Sleep Well or Sleep Eze may be helpful in restoring a sound sleep pattern. One or two capsules are taken at bedtime. As sleep is restored levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin tend to move in the direction that promotes weight control rather than weight gain.

When age-related weight gain is present it is often due to leptin resistance. This can be countered by a West African wild mango extract, irvingia. Irvingia is found in a supplement called 4-Way Weight Loss. The effective amount is typically one capsule twice daily. Irvingia’s effect appears to be produced by lowering levels of C-reactive protein, and inflammatory substance that is known to be a risk factor for heart disease. People using 4-Way Weight Loss often report reaching a sensation of fullness or satiety more consistently during meals. Inch loss has been more impressive than pound loss, but this is not insignificant since a smaller waist circumference is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.

A number of "fat burner" supplements are on the market.  Most contain powerful stimulants and should be avoided.  One, however, is non-stimulatory and can be used safely.  It is called ASAP and is extremely effective in promoting weight loss by making fat stores available for energy.  

Winning the “Battle of the Bulge” is not easy, but it can be accomplished. To do so one must follow the advice of two famous world leaders. “Victory,” said Napoleon, “belongs to the most persevering.This sentiment was repeated approximately 150 years later by Winston Churchill who urged us to “Never, never, never give up.”


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