Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Healthy foods help in weight loss
Stress for Success
October 27, 2009

Since being over-weight or obese makes you more vulnerable to several medical conditions including diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, asthma, and some cancers, here are some foods that can help you lose some of your excess baggage.

Apples are great because they help prevent “metabolic syndrome” and the accompanying blood-fat disorders (plaque buildup in arteries, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and the risk of heart attack or stroke.) Apples also reduce cholesterol in your blood and liver.

Red grapes and wine
Royalty in diet foods includes red grapes and wine, which contain resveratrol. Resveratrol reduces the number of fat cells in your body and may someday be used to prevent or treat obesity. Grapes stop young fat cells from maturing and impede their ability to store fat. They also reduce production of inflammatory substances that contribute to obesity-related disorders like diabetes. But limit yourself to one glass of wine since two glasses erase the benefits by pushing blood pressure and stress above where they were in the first place (darn.)

Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief recommends several foods that are filling and nutrient-packed to help you take off more pounds.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Women on a diet that included red meat lost more weight than those eating equal calories but little beef. The protein in lean cuts of steak help you keep muscle mass during weight loss, which is important since muscle burns more calories than fat, promoting additional weight loss.

Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge research: Women on a low-calorie diet who ate an egg with toast and jelly each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories. Egg protein is so fulfilling that you’ll crave less food the rest of your day.

These beans, which are full of protein and soluble fiber, can help reduce your belt size since they balance blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.

Low in calories with great taste and high nutrition;

The capsaicin in spicy chiles increases your metabolism for 20 minutes after you’ve eaten them, which helps your body burn extra calories. Since it’s uncomfortable to eat them quickly they promote slower eating, which gives your brain time to register that it’s full, discouraging overeating.

Quinoa (KEEN-wah)
This grain is full of fiber and protein to keep you hunger-free for hours, also diminishing craving.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Women who daily had one serving of whole milk or cheese were less likely to gain weight over time. Those who ate low-fat dairy didn’t experience the same benefit possibly because whole-dairy may contain more conjugated linoleic acid, which seems to facilitate fat-burning. Plus, it’s so flavorful you only need a few sprinkles.

You constantly make on-going choices about what to eat. If you choose healthier alternatives more often than not your body will thank you for each excess pound you shed.
Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is a speaker and a Stress Coach. Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Obesity adds weight to health costs
Stress for Success
October 20, 2009

With the health care debate raging around the country little attention has been paid to the obesity epidemic, which costs an estimated one out of every six health care dollars. Consider:
* The Mayo Clinic reports that two-thirds of Americans are over-weight, one-third are obese;
* Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health projects 86% of Americans could be overweight or obese by 2030 if present trends continue!
* The Center for Disease Control: in 2008 obesity-related medical bills cost the country approximately $147 billion. An obese person annually had approximately $1,400 more in medical bills compared to a healthy-weight patient;

Beyond the cost savings, losing weight helps you feel better in several ways, like decreased joint pain, increased flexibility and more energy. It may also save you money. As I wrote last week an increasing number of government agencies and corporations are charging obese employees more for health coverage.

You’ve been inundated with weight-loss advice (exercise and a healthy diet), but did you know that sleeping better can help, too?

Bad diets and bad sleep enable each other:
* University of Pennsylvania study: after a four-hour night’s sleep, people are more likely to choose handy junk food;
* Other studies show that we devour more calories after a few consecutive nights of poor sleep because of changes in appetite-regulating hormones. Ghrelin, which signals hunger, increases, while leptin, which suppresses appetite, decreases;
* May issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology: chronic insomniacs experience a significant disruption in nighttime ghrelin levels therefore have an increase in appetite during the day, leading to weight gain over time;
* Inadequate sleep causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which increases cravings for high-carb, high-calorie “comfort foods;”
* The brain secretes growth hormones during deep-sleep, necessary for helping the body convert fat to fuel. Without enough deep sleep, fat accumulates;
* Sleep-deprived people exercise less, so burn fewer calories;
* The journal Cell Metabolism: mice fed a high-fat diet stayed up nibbling, while mice on a normal diet slept soundly. So:
o Avoid food high in protein or fat within three hours of bedtime since your body has to work harder to digest them;
o Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach, munch on complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables;

Sleep expert Michael Breus, clinical director of the sleep division at Southwest Spine and Sports in Scottsdale, Arizona says that there is no magic number of hours people should sleep but that the average adult needs about five 90-minute sleep cycles per night, so 7.5 hours seems optimal as a minimum. Getting enough sleep probably isn’t enough to achieve long-term weight loss but Breus says, “What these findings suggest is that there’s a new triad to achieving a healthy weight: diet, exercise and enough sleep.”

The comfort of doing nothing about weight loss today isn’t worth the potential negative consequences tomorrow. At least by getting more regular sleep you’ll not just discourage weight gain, you’ll also function better physically, emotionally and mentally.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is a speaker and a Stress Coach. Order her newly published book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.