New ways to lose weight

If your New Year’s resolution to drop pounds is nothing more than a distant memory and the weight-loss ads with slimmed-down stars like Jennifer Hudson are just making you depressed, read on! Below are the seven smart dieting strategies from the latest scientific research. According to 3,201 adults who participated in a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey, 58 percent daydreamed about the clothes they’d like to fit into, and that helped motivate them to lose weight. The happiest dieters were the ones who found a plan they could stick with long-term, and their perseverance paid off on the scale: More than half still on the diet after three months had lost at least 20 pounds. Below are seven other tips that might work.

Eat at your favorite restaurants. Just practice “mindful eating”. In a January 2012 study of 35 women who ate out an average of six times a week, those who were educated with info on portion sizes, hunger cues, and staying aware while eating were able to eat out and still lose weight. After six weeks they lost almost 4 pounds more than the control group.

Buy some colored plates if you have only white ones. In a new study based on 60 people at a college reunion, lunchgoers put more pasta with red tomato sauce on a red plate than they did on a white plate. And they piled on more pasta with white Alfredo sauce on white plates than they did on red plates. Conclusion: Contrast is key. Eat light food on darker-colored plates and dark food on white plates. Another tip: Smaller plates can also help you cut down on portion sizes.

Spice it up. A new study suggest that capsaicin, the main ingredient in hot peppers, might help with weight loss. Researchers found that the spicy stuff might help thinner people slowly lose a pound or two over a long stretch of time – but the jury is still out for overweight and obese people.

Fight cravings with a walk. Chocolate lovers who took a brisk 15-minute walk on a treadmill before working at a computer ate less candy than people who sat quietly first, according to a February 2012 study in the journal Appetite. The inactive group ate almost twice as much as the walkers.

Write off your love handles. Women who wrote for 15 minutes about something very important to them, such as a close relationship, lose weight over 2 ½ months compared with women who wrote about something less important, according to a study of 45 normal-weight and overweight young women. The first group lost more than 3 pounds, while the other gained almost 3 pounds.

Catch up on the news. A recent Italian study suggests that, in the right circumstances, watching TV (and other media) might not be so bad. Viewers who reported following the news closely were more likely to eat a healthy Mediterranean style diet than non-news junkies. One possible explanation is that Italian news is increasingly more focused on nutrition and well-being.

Weight your choice of doctors. Don’t be shy about bringing up weight issues with your doc. In a new Harvard survey of 500 physicians, a majority said they didn’t bring up weight unless their patients were obese. But docs who aren’t overweight themselves were more likely to talk about weight loss with patients than overweight or obese ones. That doesn’t mean you should drop your doc if she’s overweight, but it’s something to consider if your weight is going up and she’s staying mum about it. Thinner docs also felt more comfortable giving diet and exercise advice. On the other hand, more overweight and obese docs felt confident prescribing weight-loss drugs.

Source: ShopSmartMag

Dangerous Dieting: Fad Diets

Have you tried to lose weight cutting carbohydrates, protein or fat? With America in the throes of an obesity crisis, the diet industry has taken off. But fad diets can hurt your health.

If you’re like most women, you’ve tried at least one of the fad diets to hit the market. Two years ago Mariana Morris went on a high protein diet. “It was a thing that would make you lose all the weight you wanted in one week, and I was in a hurry,” she says.

She lost weight, but that’s not all. “I looked at my hand and the ring that’s usually very big on me was so tight it was almost cutting into my skin.” Morris’s kidneys were being taxed from eating too much protein, causing her body to store water. Many fad diets rob the body of the nutrients it needs and can cause kidney stones, osteoperosis, low blood sugar, heart disease and muscle loss.

Dietician Helen Battisti says eating is actually the body’s best defense against weight gain. “If you find you’re an individual who gets up in the morning and goes all day without eating — trying to either curb your calories for the day, or just so busy that you forget to eat — then you’re pretty much guaranteed that come night time you’re going to start eating and not be able to finish. That’s not the time to fuel your body.”

That’s why diets that starve the body are dangerous. The Atkins Diet calls for serious restriction of carbohydrates, which Battisti says can cause kidney problems and fatigue. She says The Zone Diet is low in carbohydrates as well, robbing your body of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Battisti says The Three-Day Diet, which restricts calorie intake to 1,000 for 72 hours, tends to just loose water — it’s not a long term solution.

Morris says, “I will not try another fad diet that focuses on just one food group. There obviously is something unnatural about it.” Medication fixed Mariana’s kidney problem, and now she knows quick fixes don’t work. A balanced diet and exercise do.

A quick fix diet is just that; 95 percent of dieters regain the weight they’ve lost. Some healthy weight loss tips from Battisti are to stay active, eat breakfast, and never take diet pills, even ones sold over the counter. Never eliminate entire food groups from your diet, unless you have an allergy.

Choosing a physical activity

What is the best type of activity to help me lose weight?

Aerobic activities are the best way to burn calories and lose weight. This includes anything that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. Activities such as walking, gardening, cleaning, and climbing stars are all aerobic activities; so too are dancing, swimming, cycling, and aerobics classes. The more aerobic activity you do, and the longer you do it, the more calories you will burn.

I get out of breath when I walk upstairs. What can I do to develop more stamina?

Increasing your activity level gradually is a good way to develop your stamina. For example, going for a 10-minute walk or gardening for a little longer than usual, or doing extra housework, will all build stamina. As you become fitter, you will soon notice that you can keep going for longer and are less likely to be breathless after minor exertion. Monitoring your fitness level by keeping a record of your progress may motivate you to stay active.

What type of activity is good for stress relief?

Almost any type of activity is good for combating stress because activity causes the release of brain chemicals known as endorphins and serotonin, which have a positive effect on your mood and sense of well-being. You might find that taking part in gentle, non-competitive, or meditative activities such as yoga, tai chi, or swimming helps you deal with stress.

What physical activities can I do with my partner?

Finding activities you both enjoy will make it easier to keep motivated. Walking, biking, or hiking together, playing badminton or tennis indoors or outdoors, or going to dancing classes together might all be options for you.

I enjoy physical activity with a group but don’t want to go to an aerobics class. What else can I do?

Other group activities include joining a rambling group, playing golf, softball, or bowling or going to a stretching or yoga class. You might like to try aqua-aerobics, which is a more gentle and low-impact alternative to conventional aerobics.

I have high blood pressure. Are there any activities that I should avoid?

If you have high blood pressure, becoming or staying physically active is very important. The only activities to avoid are weight-lifting, and sports such as squash, which are quite vigorous and demand intense activity. If you are very overweight, have heart or breathing problems, have been inactive for a long time, or your blood pressure is very high, talk with your health professional before you take up a new activity. Relaxation exercises can be helpful if you have high blood pressure.

How can I find a physical activity that I enjoy?

A god starting point for creating your activity plan is to think about activities you have enjoyed in the past. Is activity a way of getting some time to yourself, or is it a way to meet people and be sociable? Do you enjoy being outdoors or indoors? Do you like being at home or going out? Do you enjoy competing with others, wither individually or in teams? The answers to these questions will help you choose an activity that you enjoy.

How can I best take care of myself while being physically active?

Drinking plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated will help. Monitoring the effect of your activity on your blood glucose by testing it frequently and taking action to avoid a hypoglycemic attack if you need to will help keep your blood glucose well balanced. Your health professional will give you specific information about an activity program that will fit in with you diabetes.

My health professional told me that I should look after my feet more when I go hiking. Why?

Long periods of walking can make you vulnerable to foot injuries. For example, a stone in your shoe or friction from a shoe or boot can lead to cuts, blisters, and inflammation. If you have reduced blood flow or nerve damage to your feet, you may not be able to feel this kind of damage and it may quickly become worse. Consequently, minor foot problems can develop into ulcers. Making sure that your socks and hiking shoes or boots fit your feet perfectly and don’t rub will help prevent this.

Should I avid hiking and jogging if I have blisters on my feet?

Yes, waiting until the blisters on your feet have completely healed will ensure that they do not become worse or infected through added pressure or rubbing.

My 16-year-old son has Type 2 diabetes and is very inactive. What activities could he do?

If your son is overweight, he may not feel confident about participating in team sports, but he might be happier doing other types of activity. For example, if he frequently travels short distances by car or public transportation, he could start walking or cycling instead. At home, he could help you with household jobs, such as washing the car or mowing the lawn; offering him a reward might act as an incentive for doing these things. You might also want to set a good example by being more active yourself or as a family, with trips to your favorite leisure spots or walking in the park. As your son becomes fitter and loses weight, he may feel more confident and want to take up an activity that he has expressed an interest in – such as skateboarding, working out in the gym, or soccer.

High-Fat, No-Starch Diet

New research sheds more light on high fat, no starch diets. The study shows these diets are effective in helping patients lose weight without adverse effects on their lipid levels.

Obesity affects more than 30 percent of the adult population in the United States. As Americans search for which diet will work for them, researchers from Christiana Care Health Services in Delaware conducted a study looking at the effect of a high fat, no-starch diet on different patients.

Included in the study were 23 obese patients with cardiovascular disease. The patients had been treated with statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) before the start of the study. These patients were followed for six weeks. The study also included 15 obese patients who had polycystic ovary syndrome and eight obese patients who suffered from low blood sugar or reactive hypoglycemia. The patients in the latter two groups were followed for 24 and 52 weeks, respectively.

Researchers found the patients with cardiovascular disease decreased their total body weight by 5 percent. Researchers also found there was no adverse effect on their lipid levels. Patients with polycystic ovary syndrome lost 14 percent of their total body weight and those with low blood sugar lost nearly 20 percent of their total body weight.

Researchers conclude a high fat, low-starch diet results in weight loss after six weeks without having adverse effects on lipid levels. The study also shows further weight loss can happen up to 52 weeks later.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinical Proceedings, 2003;78:1331-1336

Low calorie, low carbohydrate diets

I’m always reading about new weight loss diets. Should I avoid them because I have diabetes?

It depends on the eating plan that is being recommended. The most effective ways to lose weight healthily are to reduce the number of calories that you can and/or to burn calories through extra physical activity. Diets that provide extremely different amounts of the main food groups may not be suitable for you. If you think a particular eating plan might be for you, it may help to discuss it with your health professional.

Is it true that you can lose weight quickly by cutting out carbohydrates?

Diets such as the Atkin’s diet work by forcing your body to burn fat and muscle for energy. You can lose weight quickly but your body will replace the fat and muscle it has lost when you start casting normally again. This type of diet can be a “quick start” to losing weight, but cutting out carbohydrates deprives your body of its main energy source.

Is it safe for me to follow a very low carbohydrate diet?

If you take insulin or insulin-stimulating pills, a very low-carbohydrate diet may cause hypoglycemic attacks. Choosing healthy food options and generally reducing your calorie intake is the safest way to lose weight.

Can I replace one of my meals with a commercially prepared shake designed for dieters?

Although these shakes are designed to help you lose weight, changing your eating habits in the longer term is a more successful approach to weight loss. If you look at what foods you normally eat and then see where you can reduce excess calories, you can gradually adjust your food intake and maintain your lower weight more easily without the need for commercial products.

Is it safe to lose weight by missing a whole meal?

Eating regularly provides the energy that your body needs and helps keep your blood glucose within the recommended range. If you skip meals, you are likely to be hungrier by the time you do eat, and this may lead you to overeat and have an erratic blood glucose level.

If I eat more calories than I mean to, can I burn them off through physical activity?

Yes, although the exact amount of calories you burn depends on the intensity and duration of the activity you choose. Physical activity benefits you in two ways: it burns calories while you are doing the activity, and it raises your metabolic rate, so that your body burns more calories even when you are resting.

If I eat the same number of calories but am more active, will I lose weight?

Whether you lose weight or put it on depends on how well your energy intake (in other words, calories) is matched to how much energy you use. You may find that if you are more active than you were in the past, you can lose weight without altering your food intake. Whether you choose to count calories or not, your weight-loss plan will be more successful if you find a method that you are likely to be able to continue over the longer term.

Some diet plans suggest a number of portions of different types of foods. How does that relate to calories?

All weight-loss plans are based on a combination of food types and how many calories they contain. So a food plan based on portions means that the authors have already converted the calories for you, while trying to include foods that might help you feel less deprived. Choosing an eating plan that you can live with comfortably and therefore stick to in the long term is the most important factor for success.

Should I cut out carbohydrate or protein foods?

Even if you are eating less, you will need a variety of food types; excluding an entire type of food is not good for your health. Cutting out carbohydrate, your main source of energy, is particularly unhealthy because your body will deplete its own energy stores to compensate. You also need protein in order to stay healthy.

What is meant by “hidden calories” in food?

Some foods can be deceiving. For example, fruit juice is high in sugar, alcohol contains a lot of calories; and some sauces that accompany meals are high in fat.

How important is the size of the portions I eat at each meal?

A large portion of lower-calorie food may contain the same number of calories as a small amount of high-fat food. If you enjoy eating larger portions, lower-calorie foods will suit you. If you still want to eat higher-fat foods, you may need to reduce your portion size.

Cutting down on calories – you can make simple choices on an everyday basis that will cut calories and help you lose weight without denying yourself the foods you like.

Physical Activities for Diabetes

Myth “You have to spend a lot of time being active to get any benefit”

Truth The recommended amount of activity is 30 minutes five times a week. But you don’t’ necessarily have to dedicate specific times to this – you can feel the benefits just by being more active in your day-to-day life. Everyday things such as climbing stairs, going shopping, gardening, and housework all count as activity.

Will I still need to take my diabetes medication if I become more active?

Yes, but you may need a lower dose to achieve the same effect. If you are on insulin-stimulating pills, you may be more at risk of a hypoglycemic attack when you become more active, so you may need a reduction in the dose of your pills or a change to a different type of pill. Also, if you are more active, you may find that you lose weight. If you lose more than a few pounds you are likely to need a lower dose of pills or insulin.

I’ve been told I have impaired glucose tolerance. Will being more physically active help me?

Yes, people who have impaired glucose tolerance are more likely to go on to develop Type 2 diabetes. Becoming more active, especially if you also lose weight, will help your natural insulin work as effectively as possible to regulate your blood glucose level. You will always be at risk of developing diabetes, but the more active you are, the longer it may take to develop.

How does being more active help prevent the long-term complications of diabetes?

Regular physical activity helps the insulin you have produced or injected work more efficiently, which in turn contributes toward keeping your blood glucose and your blood pressure in the recommended ranges. These two benefits make the long-term complications of diabetes less likely.

How will being active help my heart?

Regular activity helps lower your blood pressure and your blood cholesterol levels, and consequently, you have less chance of having a heart attack or a stroke. It also makes your heart stronger and more efficient so that it can pump more blood with every heartbeat, and it reduces your risk of having a heart attack from clots forming in your coronary arteries. The more active you are, the less likely you are to have a heart attack, and the greater your chance of surviving a heart attack if you have one.

I’m prone to depression. Will being active help me?

Yes, activity raises your levels of endorphins and serotonin. These brain chemicals influence your mood and sense of well-being and have a strong antidepressant effect. Some types of activity, for example, playing golf or tennis, also entail spending time with other people, and this can help lift your spirits, too.

I don’t’ take pills or insulin yet. Will staying active allow me to continue without medication?

Because of the progressive nature of diabetes, you will probably need pills or insulin eventually, but with an active lifestyle, you may delay the need for medication because regular activity reduces your insulin resistance. Activity can help at any stage. If you already take tablets, increasing your activity levels may help delay the need to start injecting insulin and reduce the dose you need.