Posts Tagged ‘Weight Loss’

What Are The Healthiest Holiday Foods?

November 25th, 2015

Making Healthy Holiday Food Choices

It’s estimated that Americans gain at least one pound, and up to five pounds of weight, between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Repeat that for a few years and we look less and less like our high school yearbook photo.

But that doesn’t have to be the case, if we learn what foods to embrace and what foods to avoid.  Here’s a list of both:
Healthy Holiday Foods

Cranberries
The phytochemicals that impart the red color to cranberries are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. They also reduce the ability of bacteria to stick to our cells thereby reducing the risk of urinary infections.

Apples and Applesauce
Contain heart healthy fiber and compounds like quercetin and ellagic acid that are powerful antioxidants and protect against cardiovascular disease and inflammation which is involved in almost all chronic disease.

Dark Chocolate
Seventy percent or more cocoa content contains the most flavonols — helpful plant substances that help protect the heart and arteries.

Green Beans
Naturally low in calories, string beans are loaded with vitamin K, which helps protect your bones. Also, a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. But skip heavy sauces with this vegetable. Try beans lightly tossed with olive oil and lemon.

Nuts
Nuts are chock-full of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. 

Pumpkin Pie
This rich orange vegetable contains carotenoids for making Vitamin A in the body and fighting free radicals. Pumpkin is also a good source of potassium and fiber.  Beware: most pies are loaded with sugar – use artificial sweetener instead of sugar for a lower calorie dessert.

Yams & Sweet Potatoes
Yams offer carotenoids, potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber. Candied yams are high in sugar. Bake with a bit of brown sugar, or with artificial sweetener, for the taste without the calories. 

And some additional choices that are health and weight friendlier:

  • Whole grains, such as whole-wheat rolls, wild rice, and quinoa
  • Shrimp, lobster, and other steamed seafood
  • Plain or lightly dressed vegetables
  • Meat and poultry without the gravy
  • Salad greens (lightly dressed)
  • Fresh fruit

Foods to Avoid During the Holidays With Possible Substitutes

Swedish meatballs – instead, try some cold cuts like ham or turkey

EggNog – instead, try a cinnamon or other spiced tea

Stuffed potatoes – instead, eat a regular baked potatoe or red potatoes

Creamed spinach – instead, spinach without the cream or broccoli

Pot Roast – instead, breast of turkey or sliced steak

Fruitcake – instead, a fruit tart

Pecan Pie – instead, a fruit tart

Cheese Cake – instead, a slice of pound cake

Croissant – instead, some whole grain bread

Hot Buttered Rum – just leave out the butter, and then spice with nutmeg

Cinnamon Rolls – instead, a slice of toasted whole grain bread with a bit of jelly

Ice Cream – instead, sorbet

Making sensible diet choices is easier than it seems and there’s no time like the present to start.

Here’s to a fun, tasty holiday.

Making healthy diet choices is easier than it seems and there’s no time like the present to start.

Here’s to a fun, tasty and healthy holiday season!

 

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

 

Prevent Menstrual Migraine While Avoiding Middle Age Weight Gain

August 18th, 2012

MigreLief +M Menstrual Migraine ControlLONG TERM MENSTRUAL MIGRAINE RELIEF

Prevent menstrual migraine headaches by addressing the underlying causes leading to more than just migraines.

THE MIGRAINE – WEIGHT GAIN CONNECTION

90% of women gain weight between the ages of 35-55. The average weight gain is about 15-20 pounds, with a disproportionate amount of this weight being an increase in body fat.

What is unfair about this, is the fact that much of this weight gain and/or body fat increase, can occur without, increasing caloric intake. This is different than the weight you gain because you eat too much of the wrong foods and don’t exercise enough. It’s the stubborn, difficult weight gain or increases in body fat percentage (without weight gain) that occur in middle-aged and beyond women.

Why does this phenomenon occur in so many women in this age range, and what can you do to prevent or reduce the good chance this may happen to you?

There are specific techniques and natural supplements that can help balance a female body that is desperately trying (and in many cases with limited success) to balance many physiological processes, that by design, change with age. These changes can cause uncontrolled and undeserved weight or body fat percentage gains.

Much of this new weight will NOT be gained as much around the hips and thighs but in the stomach and waist area. Shifting/fluctuating hormones, stress and insulin resistance are the guilty parties.

Women who suffer from migraines will also be glad to learn that controlling these same issues of fluctuating hormones, stress and blood sugar due to insulin resistance will reduce their migraine frequency and intensity as well.

Why does this weight gain occur when hormones fluctuate and stress and blood sugar are poorly controlled?

Some women can start experiencing the symptoms of early menopause (perimenopause) as soon as their mid 30’s. The hormonal fluctuations of perimenopuase and the few years after menopause (one full year with no period) can strongly influence your metabolism, appetite and increase your storage of fat.

Though your hormones will fluctuate during perimenopause, the general trend is for your estrogen levels to diminish with ultimately the cessation of ovulation.

The body is aware of decreasing levels of estrogen from the ovaries and searches for new sources of estrogen production. Unfortunately, fat cells are a source of estrogen and the body may convert more calories into fat.

Though progesterone levels also tend to decrease during this period, decreasing progesterone levels don’t cause weight gain but they may cause water retention making you feel puffy or bloated.

Testosterone levels may also decrease during perimenopause (and menopause). This could result in decreased muscle mass (as well as other things like decreased libido). Less muscle mass would lead to decreased metabolic rate and additional possible weight gain.

INSULIN RESISTANCE

As if dealing with fluctuating hormones isn’t enough of a challenge during these years of a woman’s life, both men and women (in ever increasing numbers, mostly due to diet) are becoming “insulin resistant”.

This is a condition where your body is no longer as responsive to the hormone insulin, as it was when you were younger. Our bodies require increasing amounts of insulin to be released to maintain blood sugar at healthy, non-diabetic levels. Insulin resistance can occur whether you are over-weight or thin.

When our bodies don’t respond in a sensitive way to insulin, the sugar in our blood, is not absorbed efficiently by our cells and they don’t get the source of energy that they need. The cells can feel deprived and appetites increase and fat accumulation and weight gain can occur.

In the case of women suffering from PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome), the insulin resistance that accompanies this condition leads to weight gain as well. But in the case of PCOS the women often have too much testosterone and this causes the weight gain to occur around the stomach and waist much like it does it men. Also hair at the crown of the head can thin, and hair may grown on the face and back.

In fact, because estrogen and progesterone levels drop more than testosterone levels do during perimenopause and menopause, women may also tend to gain more around the middle than the hips and thighs. Some women tend to lose their waistline.

The fat that you can grab around your belly is NOT the problem. This is just sub-cutaneous fat, and though cosmetically not desirable, it is not the fat that increases cardiovascular and cancer risk.

It is the fat beneath your abdominal muscles that surrounds your internal organs that is of greater health concern. This fat is called abdominal or visceral adiposity.

It is the fat that protrudes out some men’s stomach to the point where they look like they swallowed a beach ball but yet they continue to say………. “Feel how hard my stomach is!” Of course it’s hard, there is so much fat underneath the abdominal muscles, pushing them outwards, that or course the abdomen feels hard.

Insulin resistance as well as stress and hormonal fluctuations can successfully be controlled and reversed and your body, self-image, emotional status, energy levels, cognition, health and over-all life will improve dramatically.

How do you know if you are insulin resistant?

One measurement is to measure yourself around the smaller part of your waist (but do NOT suck your stomach in when taking this measurement). Then measure your hips around their widest part.

Divide the waist measurement in inches by the hip measurement in inches. If the resulting number is .8 or larger (for women, 1 for men), then you have disproportionate weight in the waist and are at greater risk of having insulin resistance.

Your risk further increases if you have hypertension, low HDL levels (below 45 if you are a woman), or high triglyceride levels (above 150).

If you have darkened skin patches around the neck or armpits, it is extremely likely that you are insulin resistant. This is a condition known as acanthosis nigricans.

Stress The effects of long-term stress on our over-all health is very significant. One of the most important hormones that is released by our adrenal glands when under-stress is cortisol. This is necessary and helps us to deal with short-term stressful events or stimuli.

But, when stress is chronic, and cortisol is being released in excessive and lasting amounts, it can also lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Like insulin resistance and hormonal fluctuations, stress must also be dealt with.

Bringing It All Together

Because stress, hormonal fluctuations and blood sugar fluctuation due to insulin resistance are also major contributors to chronic migraine headaches as well as weight gain, several of the key “natural medicines” that help to resolve these issues are in MigreLief+M. This is a very effective natural medicine that helps to prevent migraine headaches and coincidentally helps women with the related weight gain issues we have been discussing.

Chasteberry – A specific extract of Vitex Agnus Castus, otherwise known as Chasteberry extract has been shown in numerous human studies to naturally balance the hormonal fluctuation discussed above.

Biotin – Doses of biotin, (a B-vitamin) much higher than normally found in multi-vitamin products, has been clinically proven to help regulate blood sugar irregularities that can be caused by insulin resistance.

B-6 – High doses of Vitamin B-6 have been shown to decrease or eliminate the symptoms of PMS (including bloating and related weight gain) caused by fluctuating estrogen levels. This vitamin is also involved in the processing of sugar and can help protect against the effects of blood sugar fluctuations caused by insulin resistance.

L-Theanine – an amino acid derived from green tea, has been shown to be very calming and help to reduce stress levels.

All four of the ingredients are found in the correct, therapeutic doses in MigreLief+M. For those of you who don’t suffer from chronic migraine headaches but do want to benefit from their weight gain/loss/body fat benefits, I suggest that you purchase these ingredients separately at your health food store.

For those of you who fear that they are insulin resistant, I suggest taking these other ingredients as well (which also can be purchase at any well stocked health food store):

800 mcg per day of chromium picolinate for blood sugar control 600 mg per day of R-Lipoic acid for blood sugar control

Consumption of a least 50 grams of dietary fiber spread out throughout the day with meals. Fiber helps to slow the body’s absorption of sugar and prevents the fluctuations that we have been talking about. You can choose psyllium as a supplement or, ground flax seed as your fiber source.

Moderate aerobic exercise of 20-30 minutes a day can also help to correct insulin resistance.

A daily B vitamin complex of 50 mg of B-1,2,3,5 plus folic acid and B-12 can also help with sugar metabolism and stress.

Diet-wise, lean meats, high fiber whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruit will help reestablish normal insulin levels. Until you see weight and or body fat starting to drop, keep carbohydrates in the form of pasta, bread and sugar to a minimum.

What to expect?

By following this advice over the course of 3-6 months (3 months or less for migraines) your:

1- Weight or body fat percentages should start to meaningfully drop

2- Your hair, at the front and crown of your head, if it was thinning, should start to thicken

3- Any discolored patches of skin around the neck and armpits should start to lighten or disappear

4- Migraine frequency and intensity (if you were a sufferer) should noticeably improve

5- Energy levels should noticeably improve

6- If you are still menstruating, your periods should be much more regular

7- If you were experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, they should improve

8- If you had unwanted hair on the face or back, it should lighten and thin, if not completely go away.

To read more about some of the natural medicine ingredients written about above and to discover how yo can prevent migraines and lose weight at the same time visit: http://migrelief.wpengine.com/migreliefm/active-ingredients

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S

 

MIGRELIEF ACTIVE COUPON CODE:  $5 OR $3 OFF MIGRELIEF

We are so confident that MigreLief will work for you, we are offering a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your results for any reason after trying MigreLief for 90 days.  (each bottle is a 1 month supply)

You have nothing to lose but your migraines! 

Let MigreLief make a difference in your life as it has for tens of thousands of users for the past 15 years. 

Note:  MigreLief can be used by itself or safely in conjunction with other migraine medications and prescription drugs.

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ww.migrelief.com 

THE MAN BEHIND MIGREIEF

Curt Hendrix, M.S, C.C.N, C.N.S, is the Chief Science Officer for Akeso Health Sciences, the manufacturer of the highly successful, comprehensive migraine prevention supplement “MigreLief Triple Therapy with Puracol,” for which he is best known.  Curt formulated MigreLief in 1996 and is dedicated to the research and development of natural medicines for specific medical conditions and innovative, leading edge solutions for migraine sufferers worldwide.

He has been named  Principal Scientific Investigator in multiple National Institutes of Health (NIH) governmental grants studying the benefits of natural medicines on disease.

He is currently working under an NIH grant and principal investigator for research and development of  his all natural combination drug for arresting the development of Alzheimers disease.

WHY THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY EATEN!

May 13th, 2012

Many, many, years ago, I asked my little daughter who was 5 or 6 at the time, why she couldn’t finish her vegetables but still very much wanted her dessert.  She told me, “Poppy don’t you know that desserts go into a different stomach?”

Well, as it turns out, she wasn’t far from wrong.  No, we don’t have two different stomachs, but researchers from Italy propose that our brains do react differently to foods that we love.

We have all eaten many meals where we are completely full, maybe even stuffed, and we can’t eat another bite of the main course, but still find room to eat some tempting treat or dessert.

These researchers explored how our bodies react when aroused by irresistible treats. They suggest that regardless of how full we are, our bodies are chemically predisposed to seek gratification from foods that we love.

They studied “hedonic hunger” (hunger that comes about due to the need for gratification as opposed to caloric deficit).

The study which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism was small only involving 8 people, so therefore is preliminary but still very interesting and suggestive.

In the early history of man, a consistent source of food was not guaranteed and depending upon hunting conditions and weather, one could go for days without eating.  So the need to overload on food when it was available, to protect against those times when it wasn’t, made sense.  This is referred to as “homeostatic” hunger. (hunger that comes about when we need to protect and sustain our basic life functions.)

That is certainly not the case, in modern times, so why do we still overeat despite the fact that we are full and usually don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from?  Is it possible that many of us eat “just for fun” (hedonistic hunger) and is this hunger caused by biochemical signals that are hard to resist?

The eight people studied were between the ages of 21-33. They were all healthy, not over-weight and free of any eating or dieting disorders.

The participants were fed healthy breakfasts. After an hour, they were asked how hungry they felt and were then presented with what they had previously told the researchers were their favorite food.  They were not allowed to eat the food, just see and smell it.  Later on, they were allowed to eat it.

The participants were then asked how hungry they were now, after being exposed to their favorite treat.

A month later, they went through the same test. They were fed the same breakfast. After an hour passed, the researchers asked them how hungry they were and then exposed them to a bland food combination that they were only allowed to see and smell. Later on, they were allowed to eat it.

Although the participants felt equally full after eating each of the two breakfasts, their desire, urge to eat and appetites were significantly higher after being exposed to their favorite treat as opposed to the bland food offering.

In addition, after eating their favorite food as compared to eating the bland food choice,  the blood tests of each of these people revealed, that ghrelin, a hormone made in the stomach that is a signal of hunger, jumped significantly and remained high for 2 hours, but decreased after eating the bland food option.

In other words, seeing, smelling and eventually eating the “tempting treat” actually caused significant increases in hunger that continued for 2 hours.

The take-away from this study is:  The mere presence of your favorite treats in your home can lead you to thinking about them and artificially increase your appetite and sense of hunger, even though you have previously eaten and consumed enough calories for your health and homeostatic hunger needs.

The solution is clear.

  • DON’T STOCK YOUR SHELVES WITH YOUR FAVORITE TREATS!  IF THEY ARE EASILY AVAILABLE YOU WILL THINK ABOUT THEM, EAT THEM, RAISE YOUR HUNGER LEVELS AND EAT MORE OF EVERYTHING ELSE…..CHANGE YOUR FOOD SHOPPING HABITS!
  • DON’T USE THE EXCUSE I BUY THEM FOR THE KIDS OR YOUR HUSBAND, BECAUSE YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT DOING THEM ANY FAVORS BY DOING SO!
  • INDULGE IN YOUR FAVORITE TREATS OCCASSIONALLY AT A RESTAURANT NOT AT HOME!

If you want to lose weight, avoid developing type II diabetes, heart disease and possibly even cancer, follow this simple advice.

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE ALL KNOW OBESITY IS ON THE RISE, A LARGER PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN MAY BE OBESE THAN THE NUMBERS INDICATE

April 21st, 2012

I apologize for starting off the weekend with “not the best of news” but if it helps to call attention to the problem and gets women to take the necessary steps to protect their health and lives, than I guess it’s worth it.

A recent study published in the journal PLOS One, stated that reliance on BMI (Body Mass Index) to determine if someone is obese, is unreliable and significantly understates the true number of people who are obese.  This understatement particularly applies to women because they tend to lose both bone and muscle as they age causing their body fat percentage to be much higher.

The BMI is a ratio of your weight to height (your weight in pounds divided by your height in inches squared multiplied by 703). People with BMI’s above 30 are considered obese.  When women with a BMI below 30 were measured for their percentage of body fat it was found that 50% of the women not considered obese by using BMI as the sole determinant, were in fact, obese when body fat was measured as a percentage of total weight.  The percentage was about 30% for men.

The researches stated some rather eye opening statistics:  Using BMI alone, 30% of Americans are obese, when using other methods like measuring body fat, a shocking 60% of Americans are obese.

Short spurts of high intensity training may both increase insulin sensitivity and therefore help with blood sugar control and may also increase leptin sensitivity (leptin is a hormone released by fat cells that signals when you have enough energy reserves and can stop eating.  Many over-weight people are leptin resistant and don’t get that signal to stop eating).

Walking, jogging bicycling, using a flex belt, treadmills, and recumbent bikes can be used to introduce short spurt high intensity exercise in to your daily activities.   Basically you initially go at a pace that is moderate (not too easy, not too hard) for a minute and a half.

Then for the next 20-30 seconds you increase the intensity to your personal maximum. At this point you will be gasping for air and can’t really speak very easily.  Then drop back to the more moderate pace for 90 seconds and do the high intensity spurt again for 20-30 seconds.

Initially, unless you are in really good shape, you probably won’t be able to do much more than 2-3 cycles of high intensity spurts, but try to work your way up, over time, to being able to doing 6-8.

Please confirm with your physician that there is nothing in your health history that would contraindicate doing this type of high intensity spurt exercise.

 

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

 

 

 

DIET SODA – A Serious Drinking Problem?

December 31st, 2011

Not only does diet soda not help you to lose weight, it can harm brain cells. And if that’s not scary enough, it can increase the risk of heart attack, vascular disease and stroke.

There is NO benefit to drinking diet soda.

A ten year study at the University of Texas, found that women who drank diet soda, gained instead of lost weight, and the weight gained tended to occur in the stomach area.

The researchers proposed that the artificial sweeteners used in diet soda might actually increase cravings for real sweets. The waistline of those who consumed 2 cans or more of diet soda grew 70 times faster than those who drank other beverages. Another study on mice suggested that Equal (aspartame) damaged the pancreas in the same way that happens in diabetics.

Well known neurosurgeon, Russell Blaylock M.D. an on-going researcher demonstrates that the chemical in the artificial sweetener, Equal (aspartame), actually are toxic and kill brain cells.

And most recently, a study at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that diet soda drinkers had a 61% higher risk of vascular events.

Try replacing your diet soda with sparkling water. You still get the carbonation, but without the dangerous chemicals.

If you want a sweeter taste, find those drinks in the supermarket that are sweetened with erythritol or stevia. These are healthy, natural sweeteners with little or no calories.
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

LOOK YOUNGER, MORE ATTRACTIVE AND 10 POUNDS THINNER IN LESS THAN 30 SECONDS

December 17th, 2011

A group of men and women were asked to examine photographs of two different women who were the same age and height.  One of the women weighed 105 lbs. and the other woman weight 120 lbs.

When questioned which women looked thinner and younger, the group of men and women examining the photos, consistently said the 120 lb. woman looked thinner and younger.

Interestingly enough, when the group was showed just the faces of the two women in the photos, they thought both women were of similar age.

So why would the heavier of the two women look younger and thinner in a full length photo?

Believe it or not, the factor that made the heavier woman look both younger and thinner was her POSTURE!

It’s not surprising that between hunching over computers, watching TV, picking up kids and packages, poor mattresses, standing in line and stress, (tightening our shoulders, neck and back muscles) that our posture suffers.

When it suffers, your gut looks wider and can actually create a pot-belly look. This clearly affects others perception of you. It is very important to remember that poor posture during sitting is of crucial importance because it can eventually negatively affect your standing posture.

Posture expert, Jane Novak, suggests that the worst culprit is the constant hunching we do when working on computers.  She says that negative permanent structural change in our vertebrae and back pain can occur if we don’t do something about it.

What I have found to be the fastest and easiest way to correct both sitting and standing posture and instantly make you look 10-15 pounds thinner, taller and appear, generally more attractive, is a quick adjustment that Novak recommends and I call it a “sternum lift”.

The “sternum lift” will immediately begin to realign your joints, muscles and bones to keep you upright and prevent your ribcage from pushing down on your mid-section, preventing you from looking fatter and pot-bellied.

The “sternum lift” literally takes just a few seconds and you should remind yourself to do it many times during the day when sitting or standing.

The sternum is the bone in the middle part of your chest. By raising it up an inch or two, it prevents your rib-cage from collapsing on your abdomen which prevents it from bulging and looking wider, while at the same time prevents rounding out of your lower back.

By lifting your sternum upwards, you will make your waist and belly look many inches smaller and create a longer, leaner and more youthful looking figure.

Now that you are aware of it, notice how many times during the day your sternum is lowered, your shoulders are hunched forward, your lower back is rounded and your rib-cage is pressing or resting on your stomach.

The “sternum lift” is simply the fastest, easiest and most effective adjustment you can make to dramatically improve your posture and look thinner, healthier, more attractive and younger.

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

We could learn from gorillas how to avoid obesity and have bodies with more muscle and less fat.

June 24th, 2011

Too many carbs can lead to diabetes. Too much of the wrong kind of fats may lead to heart disease. Could gorilla eating habits (which nutritionally, in many ways are similar to human needs) be the answer to the obesity epidemic we are experiencing.

Could shifting your dietary intake of nutrient sources be the answer to not only having the body/figure you want but avoiding the diseases associated with being over-weight or obese?

Please read :  Gorilla Diet Could Explain Human Obesity Study

Obesity is Changing the World We Live In!

June 22nd, 2011

I’m trying to bite my tongue and not say what I truly feel about the executives who run most of our countries fast food chains.

Shareholders and eyes fixed on bottom line profits are determining the quality and size of meals that we are being offered, certainly NOT health considerations and our long-term wellness.

It’s sort of ironic that in the 1950’s the size of our cars was huge and our restaurant food portions, as you will see, were much smaller.  Now, our cars are smaller and our restaurant food portions are insanely, larger.

As you will learn in the following article, the alarming rate at which American waistlines are expanding, is affecting us in ways that we may not be aware of  (and few, if any of them, are good).

Overweight is the new normal

Products adapt to accommodate the super-sized generation

Sun Sentinel June 12, 2011

Overweight has become the new normal, and society is straining to accommodate our ever-expanding waistlines. We plant plush bottoms on wider seats in theaters and toilet stalls, drape ourselves in plus-sized clothing, even go to our eternal rest in broader coffins.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and a third, some 72 million people, are considered obese. From 1980 to 2008, obesity rates doubled for adults and tripled for children, with 17 percent, or 9 million children over 6, classified as obese.

The average American is 23 pounds heavier than the ideal body weight. Experts blame the usual bugaboos: lack of exercise and side-splitting food consumption.

“There’s definitely a new norm,” said Dr. Robert Kushner, clinical director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity at Northwestern University in Illinois. “It’s a norm that, ‘My entire family and my community is overweight, and that’s what I am.’ ”

Businesses, eyes on the bottom line, are adapting to the physical requirements of the heftier among us.

Revolving doors, for example, have widened from 10 feet to 12 feet in recent years. Scales, which seldom went over 300 pounds, now go up to 400 or 500 pounds.

Here are a few other areas in which the super-sized generation is changing our culture.

Feeding frenzy

Food portions, ever bigger, continue to grow to meet yawning appetites. New York nutritionist Lisa R. Young estimates fast-food servings are two to five times what they were in the 1950s. When it debuted 40 years ago, the Big Mac was but a wee patty of 3-ounce meat. Today, fast-food chains serve up 12-ounce burgers loaded with 1,000 calories.
When it first opened, a McDonald’s soda was 7 ounces. Now a small soft drink is 16 ounces, and convenience stores pitch a 64-ounce bucket of soda — a full half-gallon. The result: In the 1970s, an American gulped down an average of 27 gallons of soda a year. Today that figure is 44 gallons.

And sweets? Cookies today, Young says, are 700 percent larger than USDA standards. A brownie recipe from the 1960s called for 30 servings. The same recipe today calls for 16.

Garbing the girth

Clothing outlets have expanded plus-sized inventories. Bulky clothes are available for children as young as 3, and Target and Forever 21 offer plus-sized fashions for teens. Quadruple-extra-large shirts are on the rack for men with 60-inch waists.

“Vanity sizing,” in which manufacturers adjust apparel size downward so it’s more palatable for women, is spreading. A size 4 today was, 20 years ago, a size 8. Some 62 percent of American women wear a size 14 or larger.

But full-size fashion has its price: Plus-sized clothing, which uses more material, costs 10 to 15 percent more than regular apparel.

High-volume cargo

Federal officials have increased the average passenger weight for buses and commercial boats, from 150 pounds to 175 pounds for bus passengers and from 160 pounds to 185 pounds for boat passengers. Buses must be stronger and bigger to handle folks of amplitude, and boats must trim their passenger lists.

Government regulations for car seat belts, set in the 1960s, require them to fit a 215-pound man with a hip circumference of 47 inches. In 2003, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that more than 38 million people, or 19 percent of Americans, were too large for their seat belts. To accommodate heftier drivers, some car manufacturers include seat belts that are 18 to 20 inches longer, or offer seat belt extenders.

FAT! LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION IS WHAT MATTERS

May 13th, 2011

WHERE FAT IS LOCATED MAY BE MORE LIFE THREATENING THAN TOTAL BODY FAT

For many years you may have been reading about the importance of keeping your BMI (Body Mass Index) below 25.   Above 25 is considered over-weight and over 30 is considered obese.

But there have been many critics of using BMI to determine health and mortality (likelihood of dying) risks.  I have been one of those who questioned the true value of BMI.   BMI is a ratio comparing your weight to your height.

If one were to think about it, this is a rather general statistic and makes NO allowance for the fact that some people are just broader than others.  Some people are just more naturally muscular than others. So it is not surprising that researchers have recently confirmed that at least for patients with clogged arteries (and it’s my guess , for everyone else too) that the location of your body fat presents a much higher risk of premature death,  than an elevated BMI.

Research just recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that for people with clogged arteries, (most of us have no idea if our arteries are clogged or not, until it’s too late) that abdominal fat (belly fat) is a far superior indicator of risk of death than BMI.

The study collected data from 15,000 patients and determined that where the fat is located is more important than carrying a little extra fat throughout the body.

To put it in terms of what your figure might look like, it is better to be pear-shaped (carrying the extra weight in the hips and thighs) than it is to be apple-shaped (carrying the weight around your middle).

The double whammy would be to be apple shaped (excess belly-fat) and also have a high BMI.

So how do you know when you might be at risk, if you can’t use BMI as a measuring device?  The answer is that you can use two other measurements that are thought to be better predictors of mortality.

1-     Waist Circumference – Just take out a tape measure, make sure you measure at the belly button level and if you are a woman with a waist over 35 inches or a man with a waist over 40 inches, you are at increased risk.

2-     Waist to Hip Ratio – This time measure both your waist and your hips (measure the hips around the hip bone which protrudes from the side of the very top of your leg).  Then divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement.  For women the number should be .80 or less (that is, point eighty, less than one) and for men it should be .95 or less.

This in very important to keep in mind when considering your over all health regimen.

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N, C.N.S

CAUSES OF MIDDLE-AGE WEIGHT GAIN: The “Bad News” and the “Good News”!

February 10th, 2011

This article address the underlying causes to alleviate or prevent middle-aged weight gain along with other symptoms commonly experienced by middle- aged women.


90% of women gain weight between the ages of 35-55. The average weight gain is about 15-20 pounds, with a disproportionate amount of this weight being an increase in body fat.

What is unfair about this, is the fact that much of this weight gain and/or body fat increase, can occur without, increasing caloric intake.  This is different than the weight you gain because you eat too much of the wrong foods and don’t exercise enough.  It’s the stubborn, difficult weight gain or increases in body fat percentage (without weight gain) that occur in middle-aged and beyond women.

Why does this phenomenon occur in so many women in this age range, and what  can you do to prevent or reduce the good chance this may happen to you?

There are specific techniques and natural supplements that can help balance a female body that is desperately trying (and in many cases with limited success) to balance many physiological processes, that by design, change with age. These changes can cause uncontrolled and undeserved weight or body fat percentage gains.

Much of this new weight will NOT be gained as much around the hips and thighs but in the stomach and waist area.  Shifting/fluctuating hormones, stress and insulin resistance are the guilty parties.

Women who suffer from migraines will also be glad to learn that controlling these same issues of fluctuating hormones, stress and blood sugar due to insulin resistance will reduce their migraine frequency and intensity as well.

Why does this weight gain occur when hormones fluctuate and stress and blood sugar are poorly controlled?

Some women can start experiencing the symptoms of early menopause (perimenopause) as soon as their mid 30’s. The hormonal fluctuations of perimenopuase  and the few years after menopause (one full year with no period)  can strongly influence your metabolism, appetite and increase your storage of fat.

Though your hormones will fluctuate during perimenopause, the general trend is for your estrogen levels to diminish with ultimately the cessation of ovulation.

The body is aware of decreasing levels of estrogen from the ovaries and searches for new sources of estrogen production.  Unfortunately, fat cells are a source of estrogen and the body may convert more calories into fat.

Though progesterone levels also tend to decrease during this period, decreasing progesterone levels don’t cause weight gain but they may cause water retention making you feel puffy or bloated.

Testosterone levels may also decrease during perimenopause (and menopause). This could result in decreased muscle mass (as well as other things like decreased libido). Less muscle mass would lead to decreased metabolic rate and additional possible weight gain.

INSULIN RESISTANCE

As if dealing with fluctuating hormones isn’t enough of a challenge during these years of a woman’s life, both men and women (in ever increasing numbers, mostly due to diet) are becoming “insulin resistant”.

This is a condition where your body is no longer as responsive to the hormone insulin, as it was when you were younger. Our bodies require increasing amounts of insulin to be released to maintain blood sugar at healthy, non-diabetic levels. Insulin resistance can occur whether you are over-weight or thin.

When our bodies don’t respond in a sensitive way to insulin, the sugar in our blood, is not absorbed efficiently by our cells and they don’t get the source of energy that they need. The cells can feel deprived and appetites increase and fat accumulation and weight gain can occur.

In the case of women suffering from PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome), the insulin resistance that accompanies this condition leads to weight gain as well.  But in the case of PCOS the women often have too much testosterone and this causes the weight gain to occur around the stomach and waist much like it does it men.  Also hair at the crown of the head can thin, and hair may grown on the face and back.

In fact, because estrogen and progesterone levels drop more than testosterone levels do during perimenopause and menopause, women may also tend to gain more around the middle than the hips and thighs.  Some women tend to lose their waistline.

The fat that you can grab around your belly is NOT the problem.  This is just sub-cutaneous fat, and though cosmetically not desirable, it is not the fat that increases cardiovascular and cancer risk.

It is the fat beneath your abdominal muscles that surrounds your internal organs that is of greater health concern.   This fat is called abdominal or visceral adiposity.

It is the fat that protrudes out some men’s stomach to the point where they look like they swallowed a beach ball but yet they continue to say………. “Feel how hard my stomach is!”   Of course it’s hard, there is so much fat underneath the abdominal muscles, pushing them outwards, that or course the abdomen feels hard.

Insulin resistance as well as stress and hormonal fluctuations can successfully be controlled and reversed and your body, self-image, emotional status, energy levels, cognition, health and over-all life will improve dramatically.

How do you know if you are insulin resistant?

One measurement is to measure yourself around the smaller part of your waist (but do NOT suck your stomach in when taking this measurement).  Then measure your hips around their widest part.

Divide the waist measurement in inches by the hip measurement in inches. If the resulting number is .8 or larger (for women,  1 for men), then you have disproportionate weight in the waist and are at greater risk of having insulin resistance.

Your risk further increases if you have hypertension, low HDL levels (below 45 if you are a woman), or high triglyceride levels (above 150).

If you have darkened skin patches around the neck or armpits, it is extremely likely that you are insulin resistant.  This is a condition known as acanthosis nigricans.

Stress

The effects of long-term stress on our over-all health is very significant.  One of the most important hormones that is released by our adrenal glands when under-stress is cortisol.  This is necessary and helps us to deal with short-term stressful events or stimuli.

But, when stress is chronic, and cortisol is being released in excessive and lasting amounts, it can also lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Like insulin resistance and hormonal fluctuations, stress must also be dealt with.

Bringing It All Together

Because stress, hormonal fluctuations and blood sugar fluctuation due to insulin resistance are also major contributors to chronic migraine headaches as well as weight gain, several of the key “natural medicines” that help to resolve these issues are in MigreLief+M. This is a very effective natural medicine that helps to prevent migraine headaches and coincidentally helps women with the related weight gain issues we have been discussing.

Chasteberry – A specific extract of Vitex Agnus Castus, otherwise known as Chasteberry extract has been shown in numerous human studies to naturally balance the hormonal fluctuation discussed above.

Biotin – Doses of biotin, (a B-vitamin) much higher than normally found in multi-vitamin products, has been clinically proven to help regulate blood sugar irregularities that can be caused by insulin resistance.

B-6 – High doses of Vitamin B-6 have been shown to decrease or eliminate the symptoms of PMS (including bloating and related weight gain) caused by fluctuating estrogen levels.  This vitamin is also involved in the processing of sugar and can help protect against the effects of blood sugar fluctuations caused by insulin resistance.

L-Theanine – an amino acid derived from green tea, has been shown to be very calming and help to reduce stress levels.

All four of the ingredients are found in the correct, therapeutic doses in MigreLief+M.  For those of you who don’t  suffer from chronic migraine headaches but do want to benefit from their weight gain/loss/body fat benefits, I suggest that you purchase these ingredients separately at your health food store.

For those of you who fear that they are insulin resistant, I suggest taking these other ingredients as well (which also can be purchase at any well stocked health food store):

800 mcg per day of chromium picolinate for blood sugar control
600 mg per day of R-Lipoic acid for blood sugar control

Consumption of a least 50 grams of dietary fiber spread out throughout the day  with meals.  Fiber helps to slow the body’s absorption of sugar and prevents the fluctuations that we have been talking about. You can choose psyllium as a supplement or, ground flax seed as your fiber source.

Moderate aerobic exercise of 20-30 minutes a day can also help to correct insulin resistance.

A daily B vitamin complex of 50 mg of B-1,2,3,5 plus folic acid and B-12 can also help with sugar metabolism and stress.

Diet-wise, lean meats, high fiber whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruit will help reestablish normal insulin levels.  Until you see weight and or body fat starting to drop, keep carbohydrates in the form of pasta, bread and sugar to a minimum.

What to expect?

By following this advice over the course of 3-6 months (3 months or less for migraines) your:

1-     Weight or body fat percentages should start to meaningfully drop

2-     Your hair, at the front and crown of your head, if it was thinning, should start to thicken

3-     Any discolored patches of skin around the neck and armpits should start to lighten or disappear 

4-     Migraine frequency and intensity (if you were a sufferer) should noticeably improve

5-     Energy levels should noticeably improve

6-     If you are still menstruating, your periods should be much more regular

7-     If you were experiencing  perimenopausal symptoms, they should improve

8-     If you had unwanted hair on the face or back, it should lighten and thin, if not completely go away.

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S.  C.C.N.  C.N.S

 

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