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Natural Weight Control - by Jerry Ryan, Ph.D.

Since the topic is high on nearly everyone’s list, it seems only fitting that we discuss diets and weight loss.  It is very apparent in reading any magazines or newspapers that a vast majority of Americans are overweight.  Studies have shown that this trend is on the rise nationwide. 

 

A study released in October by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the number of Americans considered obese - defined as being more than 30 percent over their ideal body weight - soared from about one in eight in 1991 to nearly one in five in 2004.  Overall, the population of obese men and women in the United States increased from 12 percent in 1991 to 17.9 percent in 2004, according to the CDC survey, which said that figure might be conservative.

 

Gaining weight or to be more specific, gaining fat, is the result of several factors.  The most important of these are diet and exercise.  A diet deficient in essential nutrients, skipping meals, or just eating too much can cause the scales to tip.  Likewise, a lack of exercise gives the body no way to burn the calories that you're taking in every day.

 

Many people feel somewhat limited in the amount of exercise that they can do.  Therefore, it is vital that they monitor and control their eating habits to avoid weight gain.  Carrying extra pounds puts an incredible stress on the entire body.  Every system is affected to some extent.  The circulatory system must build more blood vessels to feed the extra fat.  The muscles and skeletal system wear out more rapidly from supporting the extra weight.  The respiratory system must work harder to bring more oxygen to a larger area.  In time, the additional weight begins to cause health problems.

 

High blood pressure, diabetes, heart and vascular disease all have very strong connections to obesity.  A change in nutritional habits at any stage in life allows the body to begin to correct the damage already done.  Increasing exercise or adding any physical activity to your daily routine assists your body in fighting weight gain.

 

These changes do not have to be the punishment or denial that we have come to believe that they are.  Dietary change doesn’t mean giving up all those foods that you love.  Likewise, exercise does not mean running marathons or spending two hours at the gym every day.  Moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

 

Exercise means simply moving more than you do now.  Bending, twisting, moving your arms, walking around the block -- all of these activities will burn calories, help build lean muscle mass and boost your metabolism.  Just adding a few minutes of movement each day will help but it is important to be consistent.  Try to do some of these activities at least three times a week, preferably in the sunshine and fresh air.

 

Diet changes should basically focus on reducing the intake of sugar and starches.  Recent studies have shown that America's sweet tooth is one of the key culprits of obesity.  The suggested amount of sugar for the daily diet is 10 teaspoons.  That equals one can of soda.  In addition, sugar is added to almost everything we eat.  It is seen in the ingredients as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrins and other names.  It is easy to see how we can be eating far more sugar than we know.

 

Starches are also to blame for packing on the weight.  Potatoes, pastas, white bread and white rice are all foods that are easily turned into fat when eaten in excess or in combination with dietary fats.  In addition, carrots, beets and corn can also be stored as fat when eaten in combination with other fats.

 

All the sugars and starches are considered high glycemic foods. It is preferable to eat low glycemic foods to maintain your ideal weight.  High glycemic foods cause the insulin level in your body to rise.  This results in an increase in fat production.  Any of the carbohydrates or fats that were eaten that are not burned as fuel for the body are then stored as fat.

 

This process was verified and documented by years of studies by the Glycemic Research Institute in Washington D.C. The initial research was begun to determine an acceptable diet for Type II diabetics. The Institute has tested hundreds of foods and compiled lists of the glycemic value of each.  If you would like more information on low glycemic foods for weight loss, contact me through my website.

 

This article gives you a small portion of an eight-week coaching program that I teach through the ‘Personal Coaching’ section of my website.  I hope this information leads you to positive choices for healthy lifestyle.



Jerry Ryan, Ph.D. is a Natural Health Coach who teaches individuals and group classes on the scientifically documented benefits of natural health techniques.  He is also an internationally published author and has been a guest speaker at such places as NIKE World Headquarters.  For more information, his website is http://www.JerryRyanPhD.com

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