Weight Management

January 1, 2008

By johnmac

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Happy New Year!

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2008 – and that it’s that time of year again for making resolutions.

Not surprisingly, most New Year’s resolutions are health-related, with losing weight being one of the most popular. Unfortunately, many individuals do not achieve this resolution for a number of reasons, including setting unrealistic expectations or not following a practical plan.

Successful, long-term weight management is more likely to be achieved when our long-term goals are broken down into modest and realistic short-term goals, which are then met by adopting practices that are reasonable to incorporate into our daily lifestyle. Losing weight does not have to be about misery and deprivation!

It is estimated that approximately one third of North American adults are currently dieting. Over the decades, many weight loss diets have come and gone, with various levels of popularity and reported success.

It is well documented that following many of these diets on a short-term basis, especially those that restrict or deprive the body of certain foods (and therefore, nutrients), often leads to hunger and cravings and does not produce healthy, long-term results. There is a growing body of documentation which suggests that some of these popular diets are actually detrimental to our health if followed on a long-term basis.

Surveys of individuals who have successfully lost weight and have kept it off, conducted by the National Weight Control Registry and Consumer Reports, reveal that most did it on their own, without resorting to commercial weight loss products and/or programs. For the most part, they attributed their success to eating less, making better food choices and exercising more.

There is no magic weight loss strategy that will work for everyone due to unique variations in metabolism, food sensitivities and other physiological factors; however, for many of us, weight loss most often comes down to a case of not consuming more calories than our body needs. So the next time you indulge yourself with that second helping or decadent treat, make sure you plan on some extra exercise to burn off those extra calories!  Keep in mind that it takes approximately one hour of brisk walking to burn off 400 calories – about the amount of calories you’d get from eating a muffin purchased from a very popular coffee shop!

While there are certain supplements that make fat-burning claims, most lack confirming human clinical results – and the majority of these supplements stimulate the central nervous system (which is already exhausted in many individuals), often causing jitters and/or sleep loss. I am aware of only one natural, whole food product that has clinical results to confirm its thermogenic effects (the process by which the body increases its metabolic rate, requiring the use of internal stores of energy, such as fat). Unlike other fat-burning products, it boosts metabolism, specifically of visceral fat (the kind around the belly), without stimulating the central nervous system.

Coconut oil has recently been receiving some attention for its many health benefits – one of which is promoting weight loss by boosting metabolism. Studies show that after eating a single meal containing MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), which are prominent in coconut oil, metabolism remains elevated for at least 24 hours.

Researchers at McGill University in Canada have found that if an individual replaces all the oils in their diet that are made of LCTs (long-chain triglycerides) – e.g. soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil – with oils that contain MCTs, such as coconut oil, up to 36 pounds of excess fat can be shed per year.

In their book “Eat Fat, Loose Fat”, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon present a revolutionary, science-based food program which explains why the consumption of healthy, saturated fats – especially coconut oil – is essential to achieving weight loss and good health.

As the popularity of coconut oil grows, numerous brands are appearing on store shelves, with various levels of quality and taste. Look for brands which are biologically pure, made with fresh, organic coconuts and minimal processing. As with most products, you get what you pay for. For more information on the many health benefits of coconut oil, visit: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/  or read the book “The Coconut Oil Miracle”, by Dr. Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D.

The best “diet” to adopt is based on moderation, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, some whole grains, healthy fat and protein choices, avoiding certain foods and following proper food combining guidelines.

If weight loss is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, I would be happy to assist you in developing a food plan that will help you reach your goal. Sometimes even small changes can make a significant difference. Never underestimate the power of nutrition!

Happy New Year and here’s to a healthier, more vibrant you in 2008!

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