Weight management is a key component of a healthy lifestyle although keeping oneâ€™s weight on track is often a frustrating and perplexing task. To get the whole family involved in the weight management effort may seem almost impossible.
Simply identifying a younger member of the family as overweight can be a challenge.
A 2015 study from the U.K. found that 31% of parents underestimated their childâ€™s weight status. For a child who is â€œvery overweightâ€ per government guidelines there was an 80% chance the parent would classify the child as healthy weight. Teens themselves are not very good at identifying themselves as overweight as 80% of overweight teenaged boys and 71% of overweight teenaged girls perceived themselves as normal weight. Recognizing that a child is overweight is crucial to preventing the progression to adult obesity. 72% of overweight kindergartners were obese by the time they reached 8th grade. (more…)
In this emotional blog posted to metabolism.com, Greg (from Tampa) shares insights from his personal struggle to stop smoking and deal with the weight fluctuations that accompanied those efforts. Not everyone can achieve this kind of success but, according to Greg, by keeping your eye on the prize you can get through the worst of it.
I hope what I am about to write will be an inspiration for those who are truly serious about quitting AND losing weight. I have now been almost five months without a cigarette (the longest I have EVER lasted) and unlike every other time I tried quitting, this time I FEEL its for good. Truthfully, no temptations other than a quick subconscious glance (like noticing cleavage on a woman)!
Every time I quit in the past, I gained at least five pounds, then lost it as soon as I started smoking again. This time I tried a different strategy overall and it has made a world of difference. Instead of making my goal â€œquitting smoking and holding weightâ€, I made my goal far more ambitious: â€œquitting smoking and losing weight..gaining muscle, and looking 100% better overall.â€
I am now 42. About ten years ago (while I was still smoking), before I met my wife, I lost about 20 lbs (and 12% bodyfat) in four months by simply using a bodybuilderâ€™s type workout (3-5 set pyramid, every five days upper body and lower alternating), light-medium cardio two to three days per week, plus eating on the â€œZone Dietâ€ (40 Protein/40 Carb/20 Fat) and five time per day. The results were so dramatic and so fast that one of my teachers at college thought I was sick or on drugs.
When I quit smoking in October, I started the same routine. At first, my goal was to hold weight onlyâ€¦not to gain. But now, four and a half months later, I went from 200 lbs to 184 lbs and over 29% bodyfat to under 22% bodyfat. Now thatâ€™s not nearly as dramatic as the last transformation when I was 32 and smoking, but hell, at 42 and no longer smoking I am beating the monster and looking and feeling better every day.
Truth be told, if I was smoking and my metabolism was up, Iâ€™d probably be losing faster. But who cares, the fact is Iâ€™m clean of smokes and feeling and looking better than I did this time last year.
This isnâ€™t a pitch for supplements, a workout program, or any other BS. I am just saying, if you truly want to quit AND lose weight, it is possible even at 42. Just be smart about it AND totally committed. I think this time what made the big diffrence was making my mind up that I will settle for nothing less. Now, four and a half months into my quit, my goal is 170 lbs and 12% bodyfat. F#@k smoking! F$#k gaining weight! I want to breathe a full breath of air and see a six pack of abs in the mirror!
Anyone who tells you that gaining weight is the price of quitting is lying or, more likely, just doesnâ€™t know otherwise yet. Keep the faith!
Metabolism.com is pleased to share the following article provided by our guest contributor, Tom Hines.
In some ways, your body is like a machine — it works best when itâ€™s properly maintained and tuned up. Food is your fuel and when you fill your tank with lousy fuel, your engine sputters and stalls. If your bodyâ€™s engine is sluggish and needs a jumpstart, spirulina and other green superfoods can help deliver the energy necessary to keep the machine running smoothly, avoiding a breakdown.
Spirulina is a â€˜green superfood,â€™ a term used to describe various nutrient-rich natural supplements, which include Chlorella, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Alfalfa and Kelp. Unlike most store-bought supplements, the concentrated vitamins and minerals they provide are not synthetic. Green superfoods are whole foods harvested directly from nature and are exactly what your body needs to offset stress and to clear away toxins.
SAD is very sad indeed
S.A.D. stands for Standard American Diet â€“ there was never a more apt acronym. The majority of U.S. citizens today subsist on processed fast food laden with refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Meats are frequently tainted with growth hormones, antibiotics and pathogens. For people who manage to work the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruit and vegetables into their diet, modern agricultural techniques have stripped crops of many vitamins and minerals.
Processed and cooked foods, which are the cornerstones of the S.A.D, and beverages such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol create an acidic blood pH, encouraging the growth of bacteria, fungus and mold. In an overly acidic environment, the body literally begins to compost. Illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are often the result of the composting process. Green superfoods have an alkalizing effect, counteracting the acidity caused by poor diet, stress and toxic overload and setting the stage for a return to good health.
Spirulina and Chlorella, the most super of the green superfoods
Spirulina is a blue-green algae whose name comes from its spiral coil shape. High quality spirulina thrives in both salt and fresh water in tropical climates and it is known to have nourished the Aztecs, who harvested the algae from Lake Texcoco. Some of the benefits of Spirulina are:
- Contains all of the essential amino acids vital to human health
- An excellent protein source for all vegetarians, including vegans
- Balances blood sugar by boosting glycogen, which offsets insulin
- Rich in GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and other essential fatty acids Delivers an array of vitamins, including the all-important folic acid
- High in potassium and a dozen other minerals
- Improves focus and mental clarity
Chlorella is a single-celled green algae whose name is derived from Greek and Latin words that translate to â€œlittle green.â€ In the 1940â€™s and 1950â€™s, intensive research was done on little green algaeâ€™s potential role in solving world hunger, due to its high protein content and its bounty of beneficial vitamins and minerals. The natural health community, meanwhile, has always touted Chlorellaâ€™s health-imparting properties, particularly in the area of detoxification. In addition to being the very best source of chlorophyll, here are some more of Chlorella supplement benefits:
- Rids the body of toxins and stored waste
- Tones and cleanses the blood
- Reduces body odor, acting as an internal deodorant
- Improves bowel health and reduces flatulence
- Naturally freshens the breath
- Clears the skin
Cereal grasses and seaweed
Wheat grass is a popular juicing ingredient due to its superior nutrition, which it delivers without raising blood sugar. It also helps to lower blood pressure.
Barley grass alkalizes the blood and strengthens the digestive system.
Alfalfa helps reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, without affecting levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol and studies are underway to determine its effectiveness at lowering blood sugar levels and its ability to invigorate the immune system.
Kelp is a brown-algae seaweed, which grows in abundant kelp forests in shallow oceans all around the world. Kelp is rich in iodine and therefore beneficial to overall thyroid health. Its high vitamin and mineral content promotes pituitary and adrenal gland health as well. Itâ€™s renowned for its contribution to lustrous hair and skin. Taken shortly after exposure, it can also mitigate the negative ramifications of heavy metals and irradiation.
Making the most of green superfoods
Incorporating Spirulina, Chlorella and other green superfoods into the diet is easy, since they are all available in powdered form. Simply mix the desired amount into salad dressing, or add it to soup, juice or water. The taste is fresh and green and the active enzymes of living food add a healthy dimension even to a less than healthy meal. Of course, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people taking medications should consult with their doctors before incorporating any new food into their diets.
Many people who regularly incorporate green superfoods into their daily regimen have reported increased energy, mental clarity and an overall healthy glow. When stress, toxic thoughts and an imperfect diet have left your bodyâ€™s engine sluggish, green superfoods are a quick and easy way to put yourself back on the road to health. Long may you run!
About the Author
Tom Hines, co-owner of NutritionGeeks.com (MN #1 Now Foods herbal provider), has been working in the nutrition industry since 1997, is a competitive powerlifter, lives with his wife Netti and three boys TJ, Grady and Brock on the prairie in west central Minnesota, spends his leisure time coaching youth wrestling, working with his horses and being play toy #1 for his boys.
Vitamin E May Be of Help in Common Liver Disease:
Over the years the medicinal qualities of vitamin E have been both praised and criticized. For decades there has been a debate whether this vitamin could prevent cancer or heart disease. Large studies have pretty much determined that cancer and heart disease don’t respond to vitamin E supplementation. For that reason many physicians believe that vitamin E treatment is worthless for any purpose. This assumption is incorrect. For example, a recent study in the New England of Medicine has shown vitamin E to be of great use in the treatment of a common liver disease resulting from fat accumulation in the liver (steatosis).
The liver normally store some fat but in excess it can lead to inflammation of the liver, a condition called steatohepatitis. In up to 15% of those with steatohepatitis, cirrhosis and liver failure can result. Steatohepatitis itself is relatively common. In my endocrinology practice several patients per day show evidence of this liver disease, manifested as abnormalities on routine liver blood tests. Patients most likely to show characteristic abnormalities on liver blood tests are those with high cholesterol (particularly if taking the cholesterol lowering medications known as statins), diabetes, and obesity. If the blood tests are particularly abnormal an ultrasound of the liver is usually obtained to be sure nothing else is occurring, such as liver cancer or cirrhosis. Simple steatosis itself is generally easy to diagnose on the ultrasound.
A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 362, No. 18) demonstrates that vitamin E is beneficial for treating steatohepatitis. 247 subjects with evidence of steatohepatitis not due to alcohol use or diabetes were given various treatments. The group getting 800 IU vitamin E per day showed a 43% improvement in measures of steatohepatitis. Also examined as a possible treatment for steatohepatitis was Actos (pioglitazone), a popular diabetes drug. Although the results with Actos were promising they weren’t as good as the results with Vitamin E.
As always, the researchers conclude that further studies will be needed to confirm this benefit. Before using vitamin E in your own program be sure to check with your physician first. Vitamin E can act like a blood thinner, so its use in people who have bleeding abnormalities or on drugs that influence blood clotting, is of particular concern.
This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. The disclaimer for metabolism.com applies to this and all my posts.
Gary Pepper, M.D., Editor-in-Chief, metabolism.com
Carol, a member of metabolism.com, recently posted her approach to healthy weight gain. I thought it was interesting enought to post on the main blog. My major concern with her advice is that some people are lactose intolerant and a diet high in dairy products as Carol outlines, could cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Many people are unaware they are lactose intolerant since this problem can develop later in life (20’s, 30’s 40’s). As a kid they could eat ice cream, cheese, drink milk without a problem but slowly they develop frequent heart burn, diarrhea, gas etc and fail to attribute it to dairy intake.
Anyway, here is Carol’s secret to weight gain:
Ok, I found something that helps me to maintain what I have, but as yet I havenâ€™t been able to actually gain any weight: Dairy products, lots of them, and donâ€™t go for the lite or skim version â€“ go for the gold. I have been going through about a gallon to a gallon and a half of soymilk (the one with the extra vanilla in it. Has about 190 calories per serving. Also I make sure to have yogurt every day and I put honey in and granola on top. Cheese and cracker snacks are good too. I have also find that if I do anything physical (walk the dog, work in the yard etc) I need to have a large heavy (but healthy) snack right after and sit quietly for a good 20 or 30 minutes. The key seems to be stay away from the junk foodâ€¦.for most it packs the calories on but for us it burns right through and you just end up not feeling good as your body doesnâ€™t get what it needs.
Take heart â€“ most of you that I am hearing from are much younger (I am 52, 5â€²5â€³ and 103 pounds) I have been battling this since I was a kid. I was always told after kids, age 40 etc it would get better â€“ it didnâ€™t for me, but maybe it will for you.