: Shedding the Weight
With dedication and effort, results can be tremendous
It’s interesting to consider how much our nation’s obsession with weight loss is motivated by television, magazines and the Internet. Instead of striving to look like a fashion model or that hot actor from the movies, why not get excited about the real benefits of weight loss? Whether it’s pound by pound or inch by inch, weight loss increases energy level, lowers cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, reduces aches and pains, improves mobility, improves breathing, promotes better sleep, aids in the prevention of angina, decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevents type II diabetes, improves blood sugar levels, reduces stress, and, equally as important, increases self-confidence. In fact, it can help with the pocketbook too … analysts say the average 40+ male and female can save nearly a $1,000 a month with a healthy weight and lifestyle. The reasons may not be as glamorous, but as they say, they’ve got teeth!
Of course, there is the fear factor as well. Weight is a serious problem in the U.S. One out of every three Americans suffers from obesity, which is measured in terms of body mass index or BMI. Anyone with a BMI of 30 and above is considered to be obese and anyone with a BMI between 25-30 is overweight. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34 percent of U.S. consumers over age 20 are obese and 34 percent are overweight. Add to that some truly frightening statistics: 10 percent of U.S. toddlers age 2-5 years are obese; 20 percent of U.S. children age 6-11 are obese and 18 percent of adolescents age 12-19 are also considered obese. There is some good news though, the CDC reports that the trend seems to be leveling off as more and more Americans become aware of the importance of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and are taking action to change their eating habits and lifestyles.
The weight loss equation
We all have busy lives these days, and tend to eat on the run in a massive portion size culture, so weight loss can be a struggle. The key is to understand one simple rule: If you eat more calories than you burn, then you gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, then you lose weight. According to The Mayo Clinic, the leading resource in medical research and care, 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat, so you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose one pound. If you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you’d lose about one pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). A balanced diet of basic nutrients for energy is crucial. It’s also a good idea to familiarize oneself on the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates; complete and incomplete proteins; and saturated and non-saturated fats. The recommendation for permanent weight loss is one to two pounds per week. Regular exercise aids in burning additional calories, and varies depending on the exercise, intensity level and individual weight. High impact aerobics, backpacking, a basketball game, football, hiking, ice skating, jogging at five mph, racquetball, rope jumping, stationary rowing, swimming, tennis, Tae kwon do and other martial arts, as well as rollerblading and running at eight mph are some of the higher calories-burning activities. Guess what, some of them are actually fun!
Popular weight loss programs
A local success story in faster weight loss is that of Judy Nicholls, owner of Key To Health in Myrtle Beach. She tried every diet to achieve the skinny little body of her 20s, and finally found a protocol called “Ideal Protein” that worked for her. “I lost over 30 pounds of fat, lowered my cholesterol by 89 points and went from pouring out a size eight stretch pant to fitting nicely into a size two tailored slack,” says Nicholls. According to Nicholls, “Ideal Protein” is medically designed to lose fat instead of muscle mass without suffering from malnutrition. Most participants are losing roughly three to seven pounds per week. Visit www.keytohealthcenter.com for more information.
Other popular methods:
Weight Watchers®: Points system program with meetings, personal strategies, online tools, food and recipes, fitness and health recommendations, and more. www.weightwatchers.com
Nutrisystem®: Portion-controlled meals low in sodium, saturated and trans fats sent to your door in microwave-ready pouches. www.nutrisystem.com
Biggest Loser®: An online diet and fitness program used by contestants of the popular show. Receive customized menu and activity plan daily, including recipes, portion sizes and exercise routines. www.thebiggestloserclub.com
Medifast Diet®: Pre-packaged, low-fat, high-protein meals with low glycemic index designed to yield a loss of 2-5 pounds per week. Personalized plans are offered for those with type II diabetes. www.medifast1.com
Diet-to-Go: Quick-frozen, low-fat, low-carbohydrate and vegetarian meals packed in dry ice and shipped to your door. www.diettogo.com
Bistro MD® : Meal replacement plan founded by a board certified bariatric physician and executed by award-winning chefs and dietitians for the home delivery of low calorie gourmet food. www.bistromd.com
The South Beach Diet®: Three-phase plan to eliminate cravings and kick-start weight loss. www.southbeachdiet.com
The Duke Diet: Four-component online weight loss program consisting of a personalized diet, a fitness routine, behavioral strategies and medical expertise.
Joy Bauer’s LIFE Diet: Books, products, and nutrition advice with weight loss tools consisting of a weight tracker, recipes, meal planner, nutritionist support, calorie calculator, custom fitness plan, food log and message boards. www.joybauer.com
ZoneFast™: A “no-hunger” promise diet of packaged breakfast, lunch and dinner foods sent to your door with a combination of high-purity OmegaRx and Zone Polyphenols and access to a personal coach. www.zonediet.com
Jenny Craig®: A customized plan based on one’s profile with pre-packaged entrees and snacks sent to your door to supplement your own groceries. One-on-one coaching. www.jennycraig.com
This route can mean anything from an appetite suppressant to carbohydrate blockers to fat blockers or metabolism boosters. Many diet pills have been made with Ephedrine, and/or use a substitute called Synephrine. Brand names include Adiphen, Metabolife®, MeTrim®, Herbalife®, Hydroxy Cut™, Trim Spa®, and others. Both Ephedrine and Synephrine are stimulants. Some reports indicate serious adverse effects including cardiac and nervous system problems, and in some cases, death.
Phentermine is a prescription drug, which is sold under the brand names of Adipex-P, Atti Plex P, Ionamin, KraftobeseLonamine and Adipex. It suppresses appetite and stimulates the central nervous system. The caution here is that prescription drugs can become addicting and medical supervision is crucial.
HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
The HCG diet is the hottest and most controversial diet out there today. The protocol was first developed in the 1950s by Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons, an endocrinologist, who theorized that HCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy to make sure a fetus gets necessary nutrients, allows for rapid loss of fat if administered in low doses while eating a very strict low-calorie diet. Dr. Simeons reasoned that HCG triggers the hypothalamus (brain cells controlling metabolic processes like sleeping, eating, thirst, etc.) to mobilize the fat stores in one’s body for energy. Today, most HCG diet plans restrict dieters’ calorie-intake per day along with HCG injections or serum drops under the tongue. Thousands have given rave reviews on the program and are thrilled with their success. At the same time, many trusted medical sources from Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Oz, M.D. to the Mayo Clinic to the Journal of the American Medical Association have “weighed in” on the topic suggesting weight loss occurs with the severe calorie restriction instead of the HCG and cautions users. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize HCG for weight loss.
Editor’s note: Before starting any weight loss program, check with your physician to find the right diet for you.