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Category Archives: overweight

Hunger Hormones Hating On Your Weight? Set Them Straight

We tend to think that if we just shut our mouth, if we just eat less, if we just exercise more it will result in weight loss. If you haven’t heard yet, life is not so simple and neither is weight loss for many people. “Are Hunger Hormones Hating On Your Weight”, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/are-hunger-hormones-hating-on-your-weight/ explains how “out-of whack” hormones (leptin and ghrelin) can trigger a ravenous appetite and then of course uncontrolled eating; making it very difficult to simply just eat less.

What is important to understand is:

  • Hormones are effected by everything: age, medication, what you eat, how much you exercise and sleep.
  • The domino effect, when one hormone is not doing what it should it sets off a chain of events that affects everybody process: other hormones (insulin, estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, cortisol), communication signals, digestion/absorption of nutrients, sleep, mood…
  • Internal hormonal cues may make it impossible to quench appetite forcing you to eat more even when you are not hungry.
  • Hormones do not discriminate they affect thin people too that is why there are 30 million Americans who are normal weight according to BMI charts but obese when body fat is measured, http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/heart-and-cardiovascular/thin-on-the-outside-obese-on-the-inside-1#scpshrjmg. When hormones go haywire, thin people get diabetes, http://chriskresser.com/think-skinny-people-dont-get-type-2-diabetes-think-again, too; so thin or not, always get blood work checked based on family history not just if you look fit on the outside. It’s what is happening on the inside that counts.

It takes work, hard consistent work for as little as a few months and up to as long as a few years (depending on the depth of the issue) to undo the damage but re-setting hormones that hate on your weight and your health is not impossible.

NUTRITION

Diet and supplements are top on the list to harness hormones for balanced health and eating.  Consider minimizing foods that influence hormones. Carbohydrates influence hormones more than any other nutrients. Healthy fats will help provide satiety and should comprise about 70% of daily calories, ketosis was found to suppress ghrelin levels and therefore repress appetite.

Exchange typical convenience foods: bread, bagels, cereal, pretzels, granola, processed rice, potatoes, for real food: eggs, Greek yogurt/cottage cheese, fish, organic coconut, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds and a variety of meats.  Eat 3 filling meals and try to avoid snacks if possible.

SUPPLEMENTS

Nutritional supplements help repair overworked hormone secreting cells and organs.Always discuss supplements with your doctor before taking them. Supplements that support leptin include:

Melatonin is a hormone typically associated with sleep. Take this supplement before going to bed, not first thing in the morning, before you get behind the wheel or operate heavy machinery.  It also has been shown to lower leptin levels, use 1-3 mg. Melatonin interacts with blood-thinning medications, birth control pills, diabetes drugs, and immunosuppressants.

L-Carnitine, 1000mg, is an amino acid that helps convert fat to energy and acts as an antioxidant. It is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement and has been shown to reduce leptin levels by as much as 6%.

CLA  or Conjugated linoleic acid is fatty acid found primarily in meat and dairy products. It has been shown to lower body fat while preserving lean body mass and reduces insulin resistance (IR), take 1000mg. There is a connection between IR and leptin resistance. Higher levels of CLA in the blood have been shown to reduce leptin levels.

Omega 3 fats are essential (meaning we need to get them from the food we eat) fatty acids. They have been found to have many health benefits for: reducing  risks of heart disease, inflammation/arthritis, cancer while improving brain function, memory and behavior, 1000mg was shown to reduce leptin levels by 22%.

EXERCISE

Daily exercise is important if you want to control appetite signals everyday vs. if you exercise 3 times/week. daily Moderate intensity aerobic exercise (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-intensity/SM00113) build up to 30 minutes if you do not exercise at all but do not stop there shoot for an hour; even if you have to break it up into 3 twenty-minute bouts. There are also studies showing that strength training reduces leptin levels by 30%.

Set your hunger hormones straight with the right diet, supplement and exercise plan. If  leptin levels are normal, appetite will be controlled and weight loss will ensue.

 

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Hallelujah Hormones Linked to Stubborn Fat

Yes! Yes! Yes!

For the many people who are slim or those who have successfully lost weight you may not be able to relate but there are thousands of dieters that have lost weight for various amounts of time only to regain the weight and then have to start all over (“chronic dieters”).

In my experience there are too many people who follow diets and do not get the results they work so hard to achieve. My book, “The Stubborn Fat Fix” describes how fixing underlying medical conditions may be the first step in successful long-term weight loss.

Now there is research showing that hormones may have more to do with regaining weight than maintaining the behavior change of reducing calories because these hormones make you hungry. No matter how many times you avoid your favorite indulgence, your body says feed me, “I’m hungry”.

Here’s a little snip it, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20126146-10391704/willpower-not-at-fault-in-failed-diets-what-hormone-study-says/, to keep your mouth-watering until my next blog when I go into the details.

 

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What is the Difference Between 20g and 50g of Protein?

What is the difference between 50 and 20 grams of protein? The simple and obvious answer is 30 grams.

But Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Missouri University has a much more detailed and interesting answer.

Her study, “Neural Responses to Visual Food Stimuli After a Normal vs. Higher Protein Breakfast in Breakfast-Skipping Teens: A Pilot fMRI Study”, published in Obesity in May 2011, measured brain activity in response to skipping breakfast, consuming 20 grams (3 oz.) or 50 grams (7 oz.) of protein.

When calories and fat were the same, eating more protein (7oz.), similar to a low carb eating plan, as compared to eating less protein, helped:

1. increase feelings of fullness throughout the day because hunger control signals in the brain were activated

2. lower “reward-driven” eating behavior

3. lessen the frequency of meals consumed (3 vs. 6 meals) because 3 meals were filling; eating more frequently with lower amounts of protein did not affect appetite or satiety

FYI: If you do not want to read the science, this press release sums it up nicely, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-07/epr-hdc070811.php. They mention two other interesting studies:

1. “A study that showed men ate roughly 112 fewer calories at a buffet lunch and 400 fewer calories in the 24-hour period following a protein-rich egg breakfast compared to a bagel breakfast.”

2. “A study demonstrated that overweight dieters who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65 percent more weight and felt more energetic than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories and volume.”

This is enough for me to suggest that anyone who has followed a calorie restricted diet and has felt deprived and hungry may want to consider adding a few ounces of protein to meals to stave off hunger and help control other aspects of eating behavior.

 

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I’m Excited to Announce…

I’m excited to make a couple of announcements…both have to do with weight loss tools, a new podcast by Jimmy Moore and my book, “The Stubborn Fat Fix”.

For  any of you who need to lose weight or have family members that need to shed a few pounds, you may be interested in a new podcast from Jimmy Moore.  If you do not know who he is, you can Google his name and get bombarded with everything he has done to help people achieve the same weight loss success he has and believe me he has lost a lot of weight,  180 pounds! He has done it responsibly and goes beyond most people as he talks about all the ups and downs of his journey and brings in experts to talk about the nutrition information you will not typically get from other sources.

Here’s the link to check it out yourself:

www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/3141/become-a-charter-member-of-the-llvlc-show-fan-club-with-this-special-offer-by-october-31/

I highly recommend joining his discussion board too, www.livinlowcarbdiscussion.com/!

On another note, I am proud to say that “The Stubborn Fat Fix” has won The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards for its category, Health:Diet/Weight Loss!!!!

You can see “The Stubborn Fat Fix” and the other winners here: www.usabooknews.com/pressrelease2010.html

 

 

 

 

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Bethany Frankel vs. Valerie Berkowitz (part II)

I want all the hungry women who have gained more weight than Bethany Frankel did when she was pregnant to know that it’s not the end of the world. You can lose the excess weight but it may just take a little longer. Yes, when it comes to weight loss, we all want to lose more weight faster but if you can get over this attitude it will be a much easier journey.

Here’s my story:

I’m having my 4th and last child in 2 days! I have a lot of weight to lose, there is no disputing this. I’ll try to post a picture (I’m not the most technical tool in the shed so my picture posting is limited). I am not someone who has 30 pounds to lose and is complaining about how fat my butt looks.  My butt, belly and everything else is huge. Some people barely recognize me.

Why? How does this happen to a nutritionist, who is in pretty good shape? Quite frankly, I’m just not sure of the underlying reason, yet it’s likely due to hormones. Just after 4 weeks of being pregnant, my body demanded eating every couple of hours. Celery sticks did not work. I had to eat at least ½ a sandwich as a snack between meals to feel full. I could not tolerate water but wanted milk or juice (of course I diluted the juice with water). So without binging on high calorie, high fat foods (like cake cookies and ice cream) my calorie level rose quickly. I was nauseous if tried to cut the calories my body craved. I was so sick I could not get to the gym.

So my calorie level increased my activity level dropped and my weight skyrocketed.  Would I call this binging, well maybe but it certainly was not willful. If I have to gain so much weight, I would like to blame it on the enjoyment of sinful pleasures like Haagen Dazs and cheesecake (like Bethany explains) but I can’t. Through much of my first and second trimester, I struggled with a mix of internal hunger and insanity.

Here’s just a little peek of my pregnancy experience.  Let me just preface this by saying I am typically someone who does not crave or think that much about food. I can work through lunch without getting hungry. Yet, while pregnant and after eating all day (3 small meals and snacks), I fall asleep by 8-9 pm.  Sometime between midnight and 3 AM I wake-up hungry. I sit in bed trying to watch TV or read anything to ignore my body. After an hour or so I lose the battle. The nausea starts and within the half hour I get sick only to be alleviated by eating. Once I have eaten something, cottage cheese and fruit or a hard boiled egg, I fall back to sleep around 6 AM.

And Bethany, I love you and have enjoyed watching your growing success but before making these general statements please realize that there are a large (no pun intended) group of women, just like me, who need positive reinforcement because their weight gain during pregnancy was not similar to your experience.

I’d like to hear from anyone who has had similar experiences. But I will blog from, time to time, about what I do to shed the excess weight.

 

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For All The Soda Drinkers (Part II)

Both adults and children drink soda. Studies show that:
• over 60% of adults who drink at least one soda a day are overweight or obese.
• More children and adolescents drink soda than adults (41 percent of children, 62 percent of adolescents and 24 percent of adults).

So I thought you might find it interesting to understand how soda affects you.

WARNING: The material below may contain material that is alarming but definitely worth reading. The information gives you a better understanding of why it is important to understand the foods and ingredients you put into your body. You miss the boat if you only pay attention to calories, fat or carbohydrates.

How can soda affect your health and weight?

1. Both citric acid and phosphoric acid affects blood PH and natural stomach acid secretions interfering with digestion, increasing risk of kidney stones, yeast overgrowth and bowel disease and leaching calcium from bone (especially teeth, spine, pelvis) causing weak bones and mineral imbalances.

2. Caffeine is a diuretic that can facilitate vitamin/mineral depletion, dehydration, fertility issues, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

3. Excess sugar leads to excess calories, increased weight and blood sugar problems like diabetes. Research studies also support a link with the following health hazards:

a. Pancreatic cancer: University of Minnesota conducted a study with individuals who drank approximately two regular sodas/day. The conclusion was that there was an 87% higher chance of having cancer than those who drank beverages without sugar/corn syrup.

b. Diabetes and heart disease: At the American heart association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Cardiology Conference there was a presentation by a professor from the University of California, San Francisco who made the association of approximately 200,000 new cases of diabetes and heart disease/year with soda drinkers.

c. Immune system: sugar has also been shown to lower the immune system due to damage of white blood cells.

4. Artificial sweeteners can lead to eating more because they do not provide the calories to signal to your body that it is satisfying your hunger. They breakdown to methanol and formaldehyde affecting the immune and nervous system and may even be involved in destroying brain neurons leading to headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue with an inability to fall asleep. Other associated symptoms include vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness. Recently diet soda, like regular soda, was linked to a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

5. Sodium can throw off electrolyte balance. Sodium benzoate is a preservative in many foods. The combination of sodium benzoate and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in soda can react to form benzene. The major health effects of benzene include damage to bone marrow and decreases in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can cause damage to DNA. Damage to DNA will contribute to aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Benzene is known to lead to cancer in both animals and humans.

6. Caramel color may suppress the immune system and has been linked to increase blood pressure.

So you see with all the attention focused on calories, fat and carbs, all these other harmful ingredients fall under the radar. And while most experts insist on scratching the surface by focusing on calories, I will urge you to dig a little deeper and really get a handle on the big picture—all the elements of a food or beverage product that can affect your health.

If you have any questions about what you are really eating and drinking, let me know and we can share it to help make the world a healthier place.

 

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Fats: Essential Nutrients For You

Many of us have been brainwashed into thinking that eating fat automatically translates into a fat body. This is not true. And there are too many people who cut fat out of their diet and suffer consequences that they may not attribute to cutting fat from their diet.

1. Loss of motivation to lose weight because eating too many calories from carbohydrates can interfere with weight loss.

2. Inability to lose weight because fat helps keep you full. Cutting out fats and eating more carbohydrates can cause people to experience an increase in cravings/appetite.

3. Contribute to hormonal imbalances associated with a lack of fat and excess insulin production due to eating more carbohydrates(infertility, PCOS, yeast overgrowth).

4. Increase health concerns that have been associated with high triglycerides (heart disease), high insulin (diabetes, cancer, metabolic syndrome and many more).

5. Lower stores of fat soluble vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy skin, hair and nails. 

Fats are essential nutrients that enable our bodies to work efficiently. Here are just some of the benefits fat provides, healthnews.ediets.com/diet-weight-loss/the-facts-on-fat.html

So enjoy real food that provides healthy fat for a healthy you! My book , “The Stubborn Fat Fix” can guide you to make better food choices and help you bring balance to your way of eating.

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Smart Carb Eating

Eating the right food is not always easy, especially when there is so much controversy amongst the experts on which foods are actually better choices. All carbs are not created equal and all fats are not created equal. My hope is that clarifying which foods are healthy good tasting carb choices will enable you to make “smart carb” choices.

If you’re thinking pretzels and non-fat yogurt are healthy, here’s an article that will help put things into perspective: 

healthnews.ediets.com/diet-weight-loss/smart-carb-eating.html

BTW,  happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Diet Wars: Genetics May Be The Missing Link

You’d have to live in another galaxy to be unaware of the obesity epidemic and its health implications. Quite frankly with all the diets and weight loss products on the market, you’d think we’d all be in tip top shape. Last week I talked about the importance of your genes (coded instructions that determine our appearance and and how we function inside and outside our bodies) and new scientific links between weight, health and diet. I provided links to studies showing that for some people eating lower amounts of fat increase risk for heart disease,Weight Loss: It’s Not Just Your Jeans You Need To Worry About: valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/. Today, I’ll focus on diet.

Diet success or failure can be based on a person’s genetics and how one responds to different nutrients (fats, proteins, carbs). While I think the concept is interesting, we may have to wait a little while longer for a more fine tuned understanding of the science of nutrigenomics before someone wins the Nobel Prize.

Recently scientists found specific genes that were determined to be involved in:

1. Storing fat
2. Burning fat
3. An individual’s response to exercise

These genes may influence a persons risk for gaining weight and may help determine which type of diet (low carb, low fat or somewhere in the middle) works best for each person. If you want a more in depth description, Mark Young, markyoungtrainingsystems.com/tag/inherent-health/, gives a good description of the specific study that was featured on the Dr. Oz show.

Will this recent discovery linking genes to how well one responds to a particular diet put an end to the obesity epidemic or will the diet wars go on forever? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I do not believe rushing into anything is good for anyone. However if the science proves itself worthy, it may be smart to leave the diet and exercise decisions up to your genetics to determine how many carbs and how much fat you eat and just how intense your work out should be. Now how’s that for an individualized lifestyle plan?

 

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Weight Loss: It’s Not Just Your Jeans You Need To Worry About

Not fitting into your jeans is a tell tale sign that you need to start thinking about losing weight. However, it’s not just your jeans that you may want to consider. Cutting edge science has revealed that your genes (genetic material responsible for building, maintaining and regulating every process in your body) can be affected by what you eat. Scientists are just beginning to learn about how the food we eat affects our individual health. So for all of you who have said, “I eat just what she eats and she has lost lots of weight and I have not lost a pound”, you have an explanation. It’s all in the genes.

Although this new concept of nutrigenomics (the connection between nutrition and genetics) has recently received a lot of press, I have read research dating back over a decade that shows the ill effect of eating a low fat, high carbohydrate diet on heart health for people who are genetically susceptible.

Here are a few studies that I recommend you show your doctor. Reading this stuff by someone other than a healthcare professional could be hazardous to your brain health. So give a copy to your doctor and let him/her explain it to you. Each study uses a different group (men, women and children).

1. “A very low-fat diet is not associated with improved lipoprotein profiles in men with a predominance of large, low-density lipoproteins”, Fernstrom HA et al. Am J Clin Nutr 1999.

2. “LDL subclass patterns and lipoprotein response to a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet in women” Dreon DM, et al. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1997 Apr;17(4):707-14.

3. “Reduced LDL particle size in children consuming a very-low-fat diet is related to parental LDL-subclass patterns”, Dreon DM et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1611-6.

Bottom line: These studies show that using a low-fat diet increases the risk factors for heart disease.

Here’s a question for you, if this stuff has been out there for so long why are so many people still using general nutrition information for everyone? Why aren’t more people embracing various diet options for the diversity of each individual person?

More recently genes that influence your ability to lose and manage weight loss have been identified. I’ll talk about this next time but will leave you with more than just a word to the wise.

If you think you are going to lose weight because you watch a celebrity lose weight or because your friend tried the latest diet and you know it’s gonna work the same for you. Think again. Figure out how you can make your food work to help you lose weight successfully.

I will discuss weight loss specifics and various other nutrients that are associated with health promotion next week.

 

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