Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Be A Happy Loser! – Healthy Lifestyle Living

You don’t have to bring back the past just to be happy with your weight. So, what if you no longer look the way you did when you were in high school or the same size as you were on your wedding day? For goodness sake, it’s been five or ten years since you last looked like how you exactly wanted to look like.

There’s no need to get down to the size when you were in your teens or prior to giving birth. Even if you’re overweight, losing just 10% of your body weight is already associated with a lot of health benefits, which include a lowering of blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar, as well as reducing your risk for heart disease.

In addition to the health benefits, this kind of weight loss is easier to attain and maintain. It also helps set you up for success in the long run.

According to Dr. Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight and Eating
Disorders at University of Pennsylvania Medical School, just as the body temperature is programmed to stay around 98.6 degrees, body weight is naturally regulated to stay within a range of 10%-20. This weight range is known as the “set point.”

Aside from genetics, it’s the eating habits and exercise habits that also help to determine the set point. The complex set of hormones, chemicals, and hunger signals help the body naturally maintain the weight within this range.

Wadden said that overeating swamps the internal regulatory system, and, as a result, the set point increases, “which is much easier to do than it is to lower it. The body adjusts to the higher weight and ‘resets’ the set point to defend the new weight.”

It may be difficult to set a lower range but not impossible. Changes in healthy eating and exercise can help lower your set point. Maintaining a 10% loss for six months to a year helps your body adjust to the lower weight and thus reset the set point.

When you lose large amounts of weight at once, you set up an internal struggle and hormones like ghrelin spike to make you hungrier as your body tries to defend its comfortable range.

Instead, experts recommend that you try losing 10% the old-fashioned way, gradually changing eating and exercise behaviors, then maintain this new weight for a few months before trying to lose more. This will signal your body to lower its “set point” and allow yourself a chance to get used to new food choices, smaller portions, and regular exercise.

Patients who lose 10% start to realize how a little weight loss impacts their health in very positive ways. It makes them feel better, sleep better, have more energy or less joint pain. Some are even able to reduce medications.

However, when people overestimate how much weight they can realistically lose, they become frustrated. Forget trying to fit in to your prom dress or wedding gown. Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale, set some behavioral goals: Eat breakfast every day, go for daily walks, eat more fruits and vegetables. These are easier to accomplish and they will make you feel good. Stick with these behaviors for 3-6 months and they will become part of your life.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails