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Some Important Tips on Suppressing Your Appetite in the New Year

The purpose of this Blog is to share with my cyberspace audience some important tips on foods or substances that may help to suppress your appetite. As everyone who has ever dieted knows, there are certain times of the day when your power to resist food is hard, especially when hunger pangs give a signal to your brain that you feel empty.

Three Important Concepts to Remember

There are three basic concepts I want you to remember before I discuss the specifics of appetite suppressants:

  • Causes of Hunger
  • The Stability of Blood Sugar Levels and Degrees of Hunger
  • Observations about Types of Food and Recommended Appetite Suppressants

Causes of Hunger

When your stomach is empty, it produces a hormone called ghrelin that causes hunger. Think of ghrelin like the gremlin that is sabotaging your weight loss efforts. If you let yourself go hungry, your cravings will be too intense to resist!

The trick is to stay full. The way to get rid of the “ghrelin gremlin” is to eat wholesome foods that suppress your appetite. No gimmicks, no crash diets, just consistent tools to help you stay full and satisfied. By reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories a day, you could lose 50 pounds in a year. This can be as easy as cutting back on 3 ounces of potato chips or one cheeseburger a day.

The Stability of Blood Sugar Levels and Degrees of Hunger

 

It is important to know that your blood sugar levels (whether you are a diabetic person or not) play an important role concerning hunger. It’s as simple as this: when your blood sugar is more stable so is your hunger!

Observations about Types of Food and Recommended Appetite Suppressants

     One of the basic observations I made during my search for appetite suppressants was more often than not, foods and spices that were recommended as being good appetite suppressants, were quite simply foods that were already considered healthy based on today’s research.

It is almost ironic that the very healthy foods that comprise a healthy lifestyle are the very ones with the greatest natural ability to suppress one’s appetite. What that tells me is, if you transition away from a lifestyle of “fast foods” to a lifestyle that orients eating around healthy foods, you will be on your way toward suppressing all those empty feelings throughout the day or evening that tend to sabotage dieting efforts and the ability to lose weight.

Personal Recommendations

One way to control appetite better is to just eat 5-6 meals a day which consists of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but also 2-3 small snacks around late morning, late afternoon, and late evening. For me personally, the way to add to this approach to eating is to reinforce it with a reasonable amount of protein grams with some carbohydrates at breakfast (e.g. Greek yogurt (8 grams of protein per serving) and cottage cheese (13 grams of protein per serving). The protein will keep you satiated a lot longer, particularly much longer before you feel hungry for lunch. You might want to add berries on top of your Greek yogurt and cottage cheese (e.g., blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries) to add a little sweetness; it will also provide Vitamin C and Omega3’s.

Because of this type of breakfast, many times I don’t desire to eat lunch until 2-3 p.m. In addition, I have found that drinking green tea (as a replacement for my usual coffee) works well as an appetite suppressant, at least for me.

A third idea that works well to curb the appetite is to drink (you should already be doing this) at least 8 ten ounce glasses of water a day to help with hydration of the body; hydration is essential for your health.

These ideas are solid and should help to control your appetite.

A Little Caution

Because of the way the commercial media is allowed to work its magic on unsuspecting members of the public, I ask that you proceed with caution. It is important that you look and evaluate carefully any suggestions for taking appetite suppressants. Do not unwittingly trust everything you read or see demonstrated, or otherwise promoted on television, online, or elsewhere.

Nevertheless, after searching the internet and elsewhere, here are some suggestions for curbing your appetite without getting a doctor’s prescription. Some may work for you while others may not. It is up to you to do a little experimenting with these ideas. If you need professional help from your doctor or nutritionist, then by all means consult with them before embarking on any use of appetite suppressants. In fact, it is best you do consult your primary care physician first because any medications you may currently be taking might be affected by certain foods, substances or drugs in your particular situation.

 

Appetite Suppressants

Here is a list of 29 foods that can act as an appetite suppressant. These are all natural sources (basic foods, spices and certain substances in liquid form).

Almonds

Just a handful of almonds is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin E, and magnesium. Almonds have also been shown to increase feelings of fullness in people and help with weight management, according to a study presented at The 2006 Obesity Society Annual Scientific Meeting. So what are you waiting for? Nosh on almonds for your next healthy snack!

 

Apples

Apples of all varieties and types help suppress hunger for a number of reasons. First, apples are filled with soluble fiber and pectin, which help you feel full. Apples also regulate your glucose and boost your energy level. Finally, apples require lots of chewing time, which helps slow you down and gives your body more time to realize that you’re no longer hungry. Plus, they just taste good!

Avocado

Full of fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, avocados suppress appetite when eaten in moderation. In fact, the fats in these little guys send signals to your brain that tell your stomach that it’s full!

Bran

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate you can’t digest. This is great news for weight loss because it means fiber has no calories. One of the richest sources of insoluble fiber is wheat bran.

Fill up your stomach with a large glass of water and 1 or 2 tablespoons of bran and you will stop the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin for approximately an hour (results will vary depending on the person). Bran absorbs water and moisture in the stomach, becoming a sponge. It physically expands in the stomach and makes you feel full, so you will eat less. Start off taking small amounts and gradually increase the dose depending on how your body responds. Take bran with meals. Make sure to consume enough fluid to create the sponge effect. Bran is great in shakes or apple sauce, where the liquid is built into the food. Drink lots of liquid because if you don’t, then the fiber can become like cork in your digestive tract and cause painful cramps or constipation. The best time to have wheat bran would be at breakfast, after dinner or before bed. If you’re going to have fiber alone between meals, then accompany it with at least 12 ounces of water.

Note: Wheat allergies are becoming more common. Rice bran will work as effectively as wheat bran.

 

Cayenne Pepper

Get spicy! According to recent research published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, just half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can boost metabolism and cause the body to burn an extra 10 calories on its own. Not to mention that for those who don’t regularly eat spicy meals, adding cayenne pepper cuts an average of 60 calories from their next meal. Do that at two meals a day for a month and you’ll lose 4 pounds without even trying!

Cinnamon

Next time you have cereal, oatmeal, fruit, or even coffee, sprinkle some cinnamon on it. Cinnamon, like other ground spices such as cloves and ginger, helps lower your blood sugar levels, which—you guessed it—helps to control your appetite!

Coffee

While drinking more than one to two cups of Joe a day can leave you feeling jittery and nervous, a moderate amount of coffee can help boost metabolism and suppress your appetite. Coffee’s secret: Caffeine, along with antioxidants from the coffee beans. Just don’t cancel out those good effects with too much sugar or cream!

Dark Chocolate

Love chocolate but have no self – control with it? Try slowly savoring a piece or two of dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa the next time you crave it. Just a little dark chocolate helps to lower your cravings because the bitter taste signals the body to decrease your appetite.

Not to mention that the steric acid in dark chocolate helps slow digestion to help you feel fuller longer. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, try having a piece with a cup of black coffee—it’ll bring out the sweetness!

Eggs

Studies have shown that eating an egg or two for breakfast can help dieters feel more full over 24 hours than if they eat a bagel with the same amount of calories. In the same study, those who ate eggs ingested an average of 330 fewer calories over the course of a day than the bagel-eaters. Food for thought, no?

Fennel Tea

To get a jumpstart on warding off morning hunger, drink fennel tea before bed. Fennel is known for its cleansing, clarifying flavor that helps reset taste buds and reduce cravings. It also boosts digestion, facilitating the absorption of nutrients, and reducing fat storage in the body.

Flax Seeds

With a nutritional mix of soluble fiber and essential fatty acids, flax seeds are the perfect addition to your yogurt, smoothie, or salad. In fact, ground or whole, flax seeds help you to stay satiated and fueled!

Ginger

For centuries, many cultures have used ginger root for its amazing digestive powers. Whether it’s in a smoothie or in an Indian dish (sorry, ginger ale doesn’t count!), ginger works as a stimulant that energizes the body and improves digestion, thereby making you less hungry.

Green Leafy Vegetables

If you’re really looking for a highly nutritious food that will fill you up for hours, you can’t beat green leafy vegetables. From kale to spinach to Swiss chard, these fibrous greens (eaten raw or gently sautéed with a little olive oil) are delicious and definitely keep hunger at bay.

Green Tea

If you’re not a coffee drinker and get sick of water easily, try sipping on a cup of hot green tea. Green tea can help you to stop mindlessly snacking, and nutritionists say that the catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells, which slows the rise of blood sugar and prevents high insulin and subsequent fat storage. And when your blood sugar is more stable so is your hunger!

Hot Sauce

When it comes to hot sauce and appetite suppression, the hotter you can go the better. So get some Tabasco and sprinkle some heat on your burrito, scrambled eggs, or even soup! The spiciness keeps you from overeating and helps you to stay full longer!

Oatmeal

Did this one surprise you? While high in carbs, the type of carbs in oatmeal is slow-digesting and keep you feeling full for hours after breakfast. Why? Because they suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin. In fact, oatmeal is pretty low on the glycemic index—just be sure to make steel cut oats to get the most benefit!

Pine Nuts

Many diets say that fats are to be avoided because they are high in calories, but not all fat is created equal. The omega-6 fatty acid found in pine nuts called pinolenic acid has been shown to increase the release of satiety hormones. This type of fat can actually promote weight loss and reduce food intake. Pinolenic acid appears to be particularly effective at stimulating the release of CCK (cholecystokinin), the hormone that works as a hunger suppressant. Additionally, pine nuts effectively improved satiety and increased CCK in overweight, post-menopausal women.

The satiety effects of pine nut oil lasts at least 30 minutes, but may not carry over into next meal. Some people may experience a longer feeling of satiety as pinolenic acid affects hormone release. In some cases, the sensation of fullness could last up to 2 hours.

Potatoes

According to food scientists, potatoes contain a special type of starch that resists digestive enzymes, making them stay in your stomach longer and therefore keep you full. Plus, they’re full of vitamin A and vitamin C!

Red Vinegar Wine

Many people have heard about the health benefits of red wine. When you ferment red wine long enough, it becomes red wine vinegar. And while you wouldn’t want to drink a glass of red wine vinegar, it’s still a healthy, appetite-suppressing addition to your meal. Acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar, helps keep food in the stomach for a longer period of time, so release of the hunger hormone ghrelin is delayed. Vinegar also improves digestion, and it helps you feel full faster and for a longer period of time. Acetic acid also helps prevent spikes in blood sugar following and will lower the glycemic index of many foods. Red wine vinegar contains nutrients such the antioxidant resveratrol that has been shown to protect the heart.

A dose of approximately 2 tablespoons will provide the best results, and blood levels of sugar and insulin remained normalized for at least 45 minutes after women and men ate a meal of vinegar and white bread. If vinegar can help people cope with high glycemic foods like white bread, then imagine how effective it would be if you ate healthy whole grains. You can expect it to fight cravings for 1-1.5 hours, depending on the contents of the meal consumed, but the effects of increased fat metabolism in the liver can extend more than 3 hours after a meal!

One tablespoon of red wine vinegar mixed with sparkling water makes a great cocktail. Drink this with meals to support digestion and regulate your blood sugar. Another study showed that taking vinegar at bedtime helps regulate blood sugar levels the next morning.

Salad

If you want to keep the hunger monster from rearing its food-devouring head, eat a small salad before you sit down for a meal. Just a cup or two of veggies is all it takes to signal to your brain that you’re getting calories and nutrition.

Since it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’re full, starting with a small salad before your meal, is a perfect way to get a head-start on that hunger signal.

Salmon

When you eat fish like salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, your body increases the amount of the hormone leptin in your system. Leptin is known for suppressing hunger. Don’t like salmon? Try tuna and herring, which are also high in omega-3s! If fish really doesn’t do it for you, get your omega -3s in supplement form.

Skim Milk

If PMS cravings have your hunger all out of whack during that time of the month, try drinking skim milk. Studies show that women who have at least one serving of dairy a day about two weeks before menstruation significantly decrease their cravings for unhealthy junk foods and processed carbs.

Tofu

A rich plant-based protein source, tofu isn’t just for vegetarians! Tofu is high in an isoflavone called genistein, which has been shown to suppress appetite and lower food intake. For an easy way to introduce tofu in your diet, try adding it to your next healthy stir-fry.

Umeboshi Plums

Have a sweet craving you just can’t shake? Sometimes the best thing to do is to shock it with something sour. Umeboshi plums are basically pickled plums and can be fantastic for squashing sugar cravings. Find them at your local specialty store or Asian grocer.

Vegetable Juice

You probably think that vegetable juice is just a way to get more veggies in your diet, right? That’s true, but veggie juice has also been shown to fill you up. In fact, when people drank vegetable juice before a meal, they ended up eating 135 fewer calories. Now that’s some appetite suppression! Just be sure to drink the low-sodium varieties, which are less likely to make you bloat.

Vegetable Soup

A hot, broth-based vegetable soup can fill you up in a hurry and take the edge off of your hunger with minimal calories. Try having a cup before your next meal or simply have a big bowl as your main course!

Wasabi

Ever notice how when you eat sushi it doesn’t seem to take as much food to fill you up? Well, part of that is because of the healthy fish in sushi, but the other part is due to that spicy green stuff: wasabi! The spiciness in wasabi suppresses appetite and is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Water

Could taming your appetite be as easy as drinking an extra glass or two of water? Science says yes! In one August 2010 study, people who drank two glasses of water before a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories at the meal than those who didn’t drink water. Love that H2O!

Whey Protein

Protein is known for suppressing appetite, but it seems that whey protein is especially good at it. New research shows that after people have a liquid meal with whey protein they consume significantly fewer calories at their next meal than those who had a liquid meal with casein

Final Comments on Appetite Suppressants

   While finding ways to curb one’s appetite is a good thing and should help everyone over the tough spots in dieting, it should nonetheless be combined with a sensible overall exercise and diet plan.

Two previous blogs are available right here on WordPress from yours truly. They were posted last November 12th (Part I) and December 11th (Part II). They are titled, “2015: Losing Weight and Getting into Shape in the New Year [A Two Part Series].

If you haven’t read these articles before, please give them a read through. If you are interested in a comprehensive program to lose weight and get into shape than your time will be well spent.

Read Full Post »

 

 

Introduction

 

It won’t be long before 2015 is upon us when people tend to make all sorts of resolutions for the New Year. Two popular resolutions are to lose weight and get into shape. Six weeks after the midnight clock turns twelve, most New Year’s resolutions are usually forgotten, or people simply give up making the effort.

 

Part I of this blog series will include: (1) an honest discussion of why a joint simultaneous program of diet and exercise is needed in order to really succeed at losing weight and get into shape, (2) discussion of the aging process and health, (3) self-evaluation and preparation, and (4) dieting basics.

 

Part II of this blog series will include: (1) cardio and warm-up exercises, (2) weight-training, (3) flexibility, stretching, and core exercises, (4) cool-down exercises, and (5) supplementation. This will be followed by a summary of the entire program.

 

 

     As always please see your primary care physician before undertaking such a program. For your health there may be certain foods or exercises that your doctor may find inappropriate for your particular set of medical circumstances or conditions. Once you get the “green light” from your physician, by all means you are welcome to start a program like mine.

 

 

Honest Discussion

 

Most people fail because of a lack of motivation, or because they do not develop a feasible and workable plan. The purpose of this Blog is to help my cyberspace audience develop a feasible and workable plan. This will include combining an effective diet plan along with a very effective cardio, warm-up, weight-training and cool down program.

 

Combining diet and exercise together is the only sensible approach to achieving the above goals to lose weight and get into shape. It’s important not to take short cuts or sidestep difficult moments in any endeavor in life, especially where your health is concerned.

 

A Word about Motivation

 

     People who become knowledgeable and learn about what’s going on in their environment usually develop the proper motivation and the proper skills to succeed in diet and exercise. Knowledge they say “is power.” I say usually, but not always. Knowledge alone is not enough. That is, our defense mechanisms also come into play as well.

 

One huge defense mechanism that often works against taking action of any kind—is denial. Denial occurs most often by creating obstacles that will forgo having to do something. What underlies the creation of such obstacles is rationalization (reasons, however plausible they might appear). In simplest language, people often try to avoid doing difficult things because difficulty implies effort and sometimes sacrifice, and even pain.

 

Can any blog, book, or expert make you do something you really don’t want to do? Probably not! All experts, personal trainers, doctors, and nutritionists can really do is point you in the right direction. You have to be motivated enough to make the required changes to your life.

To follow my plan will require effort and perseverance. Hopefully I can get you on the right path. But first everyone will need to conduct their own personal assessment. I’ll help you with this after the following section.

 

Everyone can talk about their own personal health in the abstract, but it’s really specificity that lures one to take personal action. When I was looking for motivational help, I didn’t have to look very far. I started by looking at myself in the mirror. I wasn’t a train wreck but certainly was kind of an accident waiting to happen.

 

Back in November 2013 I joined a gym. I had dieted on and off for many years but this was the turning point for me—combining dieting and exercise to achieve my personal goals; to lose weight, build lean body mass (muscle), and to increase my strength and vitality.

 

But like all good goal-setting, it needed to be combined with an underlying purpose. That underlying purpose (for me) was to no longer be a Category 1 obese person (in my case 32.5% BMI). I’m 6 feet, three inches tall so, for many years, I was able to hide this obese category 1 from my friends. My underlying purpose was a good reason for shedding the pounds and getting into shape. Old myths about aging die hard. I assumed because I was 70 years old I was “too” old to do bodybuilding. Man, was I wrong! There are men over the age of 90 (and a few over 100) who compete in bodybuilding contests in the United States and throughout the world.

 

After one year on my program, I am now at 14-16% BMI and have lost 16 lbs. (which is the result of both gaining lean muscle mass and losing non-essential body fat at the same time). The more muscle you build the easier it is to lose non-essential body fat. I started with a 47 inch waist and now it is 42 inches measured across the belly button; don’t measure your waist at the belt line. That type of measurement is two inches below the belly button. If one has got quite a bulge, perhaps one inch above the belly button might be a better way to measure the waist for that individual.

 

The protective fat that surrounds your bodily organs is known as essential fat—you don’t want to lose that fat. My ultimate goal is to be below 10% body fat. As a former social researcher I’m very data-driven in the way I perceive the world and how I come to make decisions in my life. What has influenced me the most is knowledge that being obese increases your chances of getting heart disease, certain types of cancer, stroke, and type 2 Diabetes?

 

Here are some important statistics (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) regarding the obesity epidemic in this country:

 

Overview

  • More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. [Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) ]
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

 

Obesity affects some groups more than others

[Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)]

  • Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (32.6%), and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8%)
  • Obesity is higher among middle age adults, 40-59 years old (39.5%) than among younger adults, age 20-39 (30.3%) or adults over 60 or above (35.4%) adults.

 

Obesity and socioeconomic status

[Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief DF-1.07Mb]

  • Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to have obesity than those with low income.
  • Higher income women are less likely to have obesity than low-income women.
  • There is no significant relationship between obesity and education among men. Among women, however, there is a trend—those with college degrees are less likely to have obesity compared with less educated women.

The Medical and Social Significance of Obesity

     It is important to know that “whether you are seven or 70 lbs. overweight, those extra pounds of fat can spell trouble for your health and your sex life. First, maintaining a healthy weight now will reduce cognitive decline later on.

A study in the March 2009 issue of Archives of Neurology investigated whether total and/or regional body fat levels influence cognitive decline. Researchers found that in men, worsening cognitive function correlated with the highest levels of all adiposity measures. The fatter you are, the more likely you will experience cognitive decline later in life.”[i]

Another topic related to all this is known as Metabolic Syndrome. According to Dr. Jeffry S. Life, “what’s more, your weight affects every aspect of how your body functions. Obesity is such an enormous epidemic that we’ve created a new name for an old problem: Metabolic Syndrome, also known as Syndrome X. As many as 75 million Americans are now believed to be affected. Simply put, Metabolic Syndrome occurs when excess weight affects your health, particularly your heart, as well as your body’s ability to process sugar, leading to diabetes.

The four components of Metabolic Syndrome are obesity (especially abdominal obesity), diabetes or insulin resistance, elevated triglyceride levels (one of the fats in the blood), high blood pressure, and increased silent inflammation. There can also be other abnormalities as part of this syndrome, including elevated total cholesterol levels, elevated LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels, low levels of HDL (the good cholesterol), and elevated levels of fibrinogen ( a protein that promotes dangerous blood clot formation). Each of these components can also be linked to sexual dysfunction.”[ii]

The Good News

“Now for the good news—Metabolic Syndrome is completely and totally preventable and reversible. Weight loss, exercise, and correcting hormone deficiencies are the keys to preventing this disease. And, if you already have the syndrome, exercise will also correct the abnormalities that characterize the disease by improving receptor sensitivity. The key is to lose body fat—especially abdominal fat.”[iii]

The Aging Process and Health

     According to Dr. Jeffry S. Life (M.D. and Ph.D.), “We are all going to age, but we don’t have to get old. Getting old means the deterioration of health, declining energy levels, loss of sexual function, and loss of your zest for life. I don’t want any part of that, and I’ll bet you don’t either.”[iv]

   Because of the new knowledge that has been generated by research in the last 100+ years, there is now a changing paradigm shift (affecting both the medical community and the individual) in how our medical community thinks about health issues and disease. The traditional way of medicine was to define health as the absence of symptoms or disease. Doctors prescribed medicine and the patient simply played a passive role in his or her own health.

Today that notion of defining health as simply the absence of disease has given way to a new idea that the patient is primarily responsible for his or her own health. Within that idea of responsibility for one’s own health is the concept of prevention. And prevention requires a very pro-active approach to prevention of disease and long term deterioration (Use it or lose it!).

The paradigm shift I’m talking about within medicine itself is a shift that includes not only better technology in the treatment of disease, but now recognizes the vast importance of prevention and lifestyle changes. When I was growing up in the 1940s and 50s I was told the doctor was responsible for my health. That is no longer realistic in today’s world of health and disease.

Today, all of us need to take responsibility for our own health. What does this mean? Taking responsibility for one’s own health means becoming more knowledgeable, taking an active (not passive) role in one’s own health care decisions, and maintaining a normal weight, and exercising. Going to the doctor when you are sick just isn’t enough; you need to take positive, proactive steps to keep yourself healthy.

Lifestyle changes are the key.

At any age it is imperative that you take inventory of your choices: how/what you eat, how much or how little you exercise, drugs and alcohol, stress, and interpersonal relations. If you haven’t thought about these things, you’re probably in good company.

But, now the time has arrived for you to go into second gear where your health is concerned. What follows from this point is a workable plan you can use to help you lose weight and get into shape in the New Year. As said earlier, Part I will cover initial preparation and self- evaluation followed by dieting basics. Part II will cover cardio, warm-up exercises, weight training, flexibility, stretching, and core exercises, cool-down exercises and supplementation.

Initial Preparation and Self Evaluation

     Besides checking with your doctor as to the advisability of starting a new diet and exercise program, you’ll need to do some preparation and a self-evaluation. You can start by taking some initial measurements such as your waist in inches, weight in pounds and your height in inches.

     Use a tape measure and measure your waist circumference. Make sure the taped circumference is measured about I inch above the belly button. Why? It is because that measurement is simply more accurate than where one wears a belt, which is usually two inches below the belly button. Many experts think a person’s circumference should be 40 inches or less.

     However, because 40 inches is a rather arbitrary standard, it won’t apply to all people i.e., some people are short, tall, male, female, skinny, fat, young or old. What is needed is a “Waist to Height Ratio.”

     Although many people use the Body Mass Index (BMI), that measurement doesn’t account for the fact that people with very large muscles (muscles also weigh more than fat) are often miscalculated with BMI to be more (because of body weight) fat than people with less lean body mass but lots of visceral fat.

     The waist to height ratio (expressed as a decimal) is a simple measurement for assessment of lifestyle risk and being overweight. Compared to just measuring waist circumference, waist to height ratio is equally fair for short and tall persons. This calculation is also valid for children and adults. For example, a man with a 42 inch waist and 75 inches tall would have a ratio of .56 (Overweight).

MEN

  • Ratio less than .35: Abnormally Slim to Underweight
  • Ratio .35 to .43: Extremely slim
  • Ratio .43 to .46: Slender and Healthy
  • Ratio .46 to .53: Healthy, Normal, Attractive Weight
  • Ratio .54 to .58: Overweight
  • Ratio .59 to .63: Extremely Overweight/Obese
  • Ratio over .63: Highly Obese

WOMEN

  • Ratio less than .35: Abnormally Slim to Underweight
  • Ratio .35 – .42: Extremely Slim
  • Ratio .43 to .46: Slender and Healthy
  • Ratio .47 to .49: Healthy and Attractive
  • Ratio .50 to .54: Overweight
  • Ratio .55 to .58: Seriously Overweight
  • Ratio over .58: Highly Obese

 

Waist to height ratio ‘more accurate than BMI’

Your waist should be no more than half the length of your height, according to experts who claim that having too large a trouser size can dramatically shorten your lifespan.

According to an article written (May 14, 2013) by Nick Collins, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, United Kingdom:

“Measuring the ratio of someone’s waist to their height is a better way of predicting their life expectancy than body mass index (BMI), the method widely used by doctors when judging overall health and risk of disease, researchers said. BMI is calculated as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters, but a study found that the simpler measurement of waistline against height produced a more accurate prediction of lifespan. People with the highest waist-to-height ratio, whose waistlines measured 80 per cent of their height, lived 17 years fewer than average. Keeping your waist circumference to less than half of your height can help prevent the onset of conditions like stroke, heart disease and diabetes and add years to life, researchers said. For a 6ft man, this would mean having a waistline smaller than 36in, while a 5ft 4in woman should have a waist size no larger than 32in.”[v]

 Summary of Preparations

It is essential to follow a healthy diet and to exercise. I recommend to write and record what you eat in a daily food diary (plenty of apps on the computer these days (e.g., Lose It! MyFittnessPal, etc.) Regardless of where you fall on the Waist to Height ratio, a healthy diet and regular exercise is still very important to your personal health and your long-term longevity.

   A healthy diet and exercise program can help the skinny man or woman as well as those who are obese. Aging affects everyone, not just the obese.

Dieting Basics

The most important thing about dieting is to keep it simple. Please remember—calories do count. The first thing you need to know is how many calories you normally consume in a single day. If it exceeds your metabolic rate you are going to gain weight; conversely, if it falls below your metabolic rate you are going to lose weight. It’s that simple!

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of keeping a food journal. I know it’s tedious but it also is absolutely essential. You’d be surprised how much guessing we all make about how many calories we are consuming. Our errors tend always to be underestimates.

Getting started

Record every calorie you consume for one week. Then divide by seven to derive your average daily intake. This gives you an approximate idea (your actual biological metabolic rate may vary from this average but, for dieting purposes, is close enough) of how many calories you need on a daily basis to maintain your present weight. “Since your goal is to lose weight, you need to decrease this number by 20 percent. Multiply your current daily average by 20 percent, and then subtract this result from your present daily average to get your new daily calorie limit.”[vi]

In everyone’s diet one always needs three basic macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein) every day (Fat—15%, Carbohydrates—50%, Protein—35%). But how do we derive the right amount of calories for each macronutrient each day? Also, one needs to individualize the calculations.

For example, if your new daily calorie limit is 1800 calories a day, your daily calories for each macronutrient group would be:

Fat (15%)-270 calories

Then, divide this number by nine to convert fat calories into grams of fat. That would be 270/9 or 30 grams of fat per day. For carbohydrates and protein one would divide by four.

Then you need to calculate the number of calories of protein you will need to maximize your muscle-building efforts. Simply take in 1 gram per pound of your body weight and multiply this number by four (4 calories per gram of protein), and this will give you the number of protein calories you should need each day. If your body weight is 150 lbs. you’ll need 150 grams of protein per day. So the number of protein calories you need each day is 600.

Add your protein calories (600) to your fat calories (270) and subtract that number from your new daily calorie limit. In this case, the calculation is 1800 – 870 (270+600) or 930 carbohydrate calories per day. To summarize, based on an 1800 calorie per day diet, the number of calories from fat should be 270, protein 600, and 930 from carbohydrates. For this 150 lb. individual the percentage of daily macronutrients equals:

Fat—15%

Protein—33.3%

Carbohydrates—51.6%

These percentages and the macronutrient calculations will all vary by an individual’s own body weight. Two people, with different body weights, on a diet of 1800 calories a day, will each have different percentages of fat, carbohydrate, or protein needed every day.

Now, I have suggestions on how to eat and what to eat as your diet program. I’ll explain the how first then the what.

How to Eat

It is best to eat 5-6 small meals a day. This approach will help stave off that empty feeling many people experience from a diet with just 3 meals a day. Three of my meals are small snacks of no more than 200 calories each in late morning, late afternoon, and late evening. The other three meals are, of course, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What to Eat (and drink)

When it comes to deciding what to eat, people have very different ideas. What you really need is, first and foremost, a healthy diet. You should stay away, as much as possible, from white breads, white rice, French fries, ice cream, all kinds of sweets, lots of red meat, and all fried foods. Limit your intake of starches, fats, and sugar, and drinking too much alcohol. If something is sold in a can, please be sure to read the label.

I highly recommend each person obtain a master listing of all foods on the glycemic index. What is the glycemic index?  

     The glycemic index measures how fast and how much a food raises blood glucose levels. Foods with higher index values raise blood sugar more rapidly than foods with lower glycemic index values do.

Explanation:

The body breaks down most carbohydrates from the foods we eat and converts them to a type of sugar called glucose. Glucose is the main source of fuel for our cells. After eating, the time it takes for the body to convert carbohydrates and release glucose into the bloodstream varies, depending on the type of carbohydrate and the food that contains it. Some carbohydrate-containing foods cause the blood glucose level to rise rapidly; others have a more gradual effect.     Emphasize using the index to choose fruits and vegetables, beans, grains, lentils, and leaner, better sources of protein.

For almost four years I’ve been a vegan. However, since starting an intense program of exercise in November 2013, I modified my diet to include good sources of protein such as salmon, eggs, tuna, and soy milk. I needed to increase goods sources of Omega3s as well. But the primary reason for wanting more protein is so that I could build more muscle mass in my body. The more muscle mass the more quickly fat can be burned off.

     It is best to use lower glycemic foods in your diet. Once you know what your fat-reducing limit is on the number of calories you should take in daily (2200, 2000, 1800, 1600, etc.). I suggest you prepare your own diet plan based on your own medical situation. I think you should emphasize giving yourself some protein at breakfast, as it will help you feel better throughout the day. Above all, check with your doctor and nutritionist before you launch into dieting. Both the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association (check out their websites) can also be very helpful in developing diet plans, recipes, etc.

Hydration is important for all of us, but especially when one undertakes a vigorous training program and is dieting as well. “Water is your most important nutrient. You can only live three days without it, and it is involved in every metabolic reaction in your body.Yet most of us don’t drink enough liquids during the day. When we are properly hydrated, we feel better, our heart and blood vessels work much better, along with all of our other bodily functions—we think better, our strength and endurance are better, we are healthier, and we live longer.[vii]

     “If you drink 5 glasses of water per day, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that you reduce the chances of a fatal heart attack by 50 percent.[viii]” Extra water means your metabolism will increase and you will burn more fat. Over the course of a year, if you can increase your water consumption to 1.5 liters a day, you will burn an extra 17, 400 calories, for a weight loss of approximately five pounds. [ix]”    

In Part II of this Blog I will describe a sound exercise program you can do to meet and exceed your “getting into shape goals” for the New Year. Don’t wait; start your planning now.

 

[i] Jeffry S. Life, The Life Plan, (Atria Books, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, May 2011 hardcover edition) p.32

[ii] Ibid, p. 32-33.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid. ,p.15

[v] Nick Collins, Science Correspondent (UK, The Telegraph), May 14, 2013

[vi] Jeffry S. Life, p. 40

[vii] Ibid., p.64

[viii] Ibid., p.65

[ix] Ibid.

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