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Weight Management

Wednesday, November 11th 2009

How appetite control, clean filters and exercise will do it for you

There are many facets to weight management. Each individual manifests an array of reasons from psychological to physiological causes, most often a combination of both, which hinder or speed success with weight loss. Hypnotherapy, acupuncture and homeopathy are only some of the modalities that people have turned to in order to find answers to weight issues. While venturing high and low for answers, sometimes, success will be determined simply by getting the basics right.

Whatever the cause of the excess weight or the inability to lose it, options and choices are two key words that lie at the root of the solution. What dietary and lifestyle choices are being made? What options are being created to help improve your ability to make better choices?

"According to the Ministry of Health about 17% of New Zealand adults are obese and 35% are overweight. Being overweight is a known risk factor for developing syndrome X which is the pathway to diabetes, liver disease, cardiovascular problems and cancer."

Part of getting the basics under control is setting yourself up with options that lead to making better choices. Make sure there are only healthy, nutritious snack foods and meals at home, or at work. Eat sensibly and regularly to prevent cravings and impulsive or binge eating. If any medication is causing weight gain - find out if there are alternatives that won't have the same side effect. Program yourself to make things you do everyday into exercise, it doesn't have to be hard.

Cravings

Overeating is a common problem. We do live in the "super size" era after all! Both portion size and meal frequency are important factors in getting the balance right. According to many nutrition specialists, eating smaller meals more often is better for weight loss and weight maintenance than eating two to three large meals a day.

This means reducing the portion size of your main meals and eating bite size healthy snacks in between - a piece of fruit for example.

Many people, not just those on a "diet", struggle with cravings that develop towards the late afternoon. Symptoms may include feeling peckish, tired or sleepy or experiencing the irresistible urge to eat "something sweet". These cravings occur due to a drop in blood sugar levels a few hours after eating lunch. An unbalanced lunch high in carbohydrates (including pasta, bread and rice) and low in protein (such as meat, eggs, poultry, lentils, beans) will cause a spike in insulin levels. Blood sugar levels drop rapidly after all the simple carbohydrates have been digested, so the body has the need to "refuel" to keep the energy levels up. This spike-drop-refuel situation becomes a vicious cycle known as "hormonal hunger". For many, getting these hormonal cravings under control is the hardest part of successful weight management.

Don't say "give me sweets", say "give me Hoodia"

Hoodia gordonii, a succulent plant native to the Kalahari Desert in Africa, has been used for centuries by the San Bushmen to reduce appetite and thirst when on long hunting trips. Studies have shown that this plant "tricks" the brain into thinking blood sugar levels are high, thereby helping break the hormonal hunger cycle, reducing cravings and giving a feeling of energised fullness. Worldwide, Hoodia has gained notoriety for its safety and effectiveness in reducing appetite. Controlling your appetite and reducing cravings will help you make good choices that promote healthy eating patterns. Combining together with a nutritionally sensible diet that has an appropriate balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and high fibre foods may offer a good resolution to this challenging aspect of weight management.

Give me back my liver

In the last few years, the liver has been in the limelight of many health publications. The importance of this amazing organ is finally shining through. There is a growing understanding of the importance of the liver and the hundreds of functions it must perform every minute of every day. Our overburdened liver is constantly exposed to an ever increasing array of ingested synthetic and natural food substances, chemicals, drugs, and toxins, more so now than ever before in the history of human kind. Our liver is involved in numerous metabolic and eliminative processes that are absolutely essential to life, including cleansing and filtering the blood of unwanted substances and helping maintain hormonal balance.

As important as the liver is, it does not work alone. Open elimination channels, which include the bowels, kidneys, lymphatic system and skin are just as important as having a healthy liver. Even though the liver carries out the filtering and cleansing, the elimination channels work as pipes to transfer unwanted substances out of the body. If we can make the analogy of our elimination channels being the body's waste disposal or sewer system, we can begin to understand the importance of maintaining "free flow" through these organs. Imagine what would happen in your house if the sewer system got plugged up.

Many people who have done a cleansing program have reported weight loss and an increased ability to maintain their weight even long after completing the cleanse. Other reported positive effects of cleansing include increased energy and vitality, improved bowel motions, feeling of "lightness" and healthy glowing skin.

Nature's Way Thisilyn Cleanse combines three carefully formulated herbal products for a comprehensive three phase cleansing, whilst supporting the liver and opening the elimination channels. This 15 day program is accompanied by a diet and lifestyle recommendation booklet that provides further information on what to expect while cleansing. This is another great research-based product from the internationally recognised herbal specialists, Nature's Way.

Exercise

Regular exercise reduces visible fat storage sites and favours the production of lean muscle mass. It also turns up the metabolic rate and helps improve thyroid function. Studies have shown that physically active individuals live longer than those who are sedentary. Exercise helps tip the scale towards increased energy expenditure and easier weight management.

Small doses of exercise daily can be just as beneficial as an hour of hard work once a week at the gym - opting to walk instead of drive; taking the stairs instead of the elevator; going for a walk or a run during lunch breaks instead of reading a magazine; are a few examples of how to "dose up" on exercise.

Losing the spare tyre with CLA

For fat burning effects and increased muscle mass while training, research has shown supplements such as Radiance TummyTone - CLA can be helpful. Conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) has been shown to help tone and define the body, particularly in high fat storage sites like the upper leg and abdominal area.

Daily skin moisturising with Jason Vitamin E Oil, bod Amazonian nut body butter or bod hydrating blend body oil can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and skin lesions that tend to develop following weight loss. These nourishing oils are sensitive to light and heat, so it is recommended these be applied at night before bed instead of in the morning.

As mentioned before, weight management, like everything else in life, is a matter of knowing your options and making the right choices. Options, choices, getting the basics right and a lot of persistence - sounds like a good recipe for improved weight management, doesn't it?

Reproduced unabridged from the January - March 2007 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for weight management:

Clean Lean Protein
Cell Food Weight Management
Chitosan
Choc Fudge Protein Cookie
IsoWhey Weight Management - Madagascan Vanilla®
Raw Fermented Paleo Protein Powder
L-Carnitine Plus
Starch-Carbo Blocker
Oxytherm
Garcinia Cambogia
Super African Mango
Svetol 2800
Oxytherm

Related health information can be found here:

Acid and alkaline forming foods
Beware of Aspartame or NutraSweet - it's not as sweet as it sounds!
Carbohydrate and protein content of foods
Chitosan, the fat & cholesterol binder that helps to promote weight loss and control blood pressure
Energy
Good nutrition for positive weight control
Need a performance boost? Try Carnitine to improve fat burning and reduce muscle fatigue
Protein - a macronutrient so often overlooked
Water, the elixir of life
Weight loss naturally

Related articles can be found here:

Reduce Abdominal Fat With CLA
Researchers push high fat diet for weight loss
Rhodiola - helps fight obesity and depression
Sluggish thyroid function = low energy & weight gain
The mood food connection

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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