How to Lose Weight, Enhance Your Health and Find Well-Being by Nurturing Your Mind and Body
© 2023 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
We all inherently know (but like to forget or choose to ignore) that losing weight is really more about simple mathematics than it is about adhering to the latest dietary craze.
Eat more calories than your body burns off, and you'll start to gain weight. The equation is really just that simple: Too many calories + not enough activity = excess pounds.
As the American Academy of Family Physicians puts it, "To lose weight, you have to cut down on the number of calories you consume and start burning more calories each day."
It sounds simple enough … but it if were really that easy, why would 66 percent of U.S. adults be overweight or obese?
Obesity is currently a top health threat for many Americans, increasing the risk of hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease, among other chronic illnesses. In fact, obesity is becoming so prevalent that it is sometimes referred to as the “Great American Disease.”
So why, then, if losing weight is simply about mastering a game of mathematics, do so many people struggle to reach their ideal weight (which means they also often struggle with reaching optimal health and wellness)? Because there’s more to losing weight than just cutting calories and exercising.
Yes, these two components are certainly an essential part of the plan, but another factor, and a major one at that, is your MIND.
Why You Must Nurture Your Mind Before You Can Nurture Your Body
If you are currently in a state of mental unrest, be due to it financial worries, overworking, relationship troubles or any other negative emotional pattern, it will be very difficult to make your health a priority.
For starters, being stressed out can cause you to gain weight in and of itself, according to the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.
"Under stress, people conserve more fat, and we think that may be what's going on here," says psychologist and study co-author Tené Lewis of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Even after taking into account other factors that could affect weight gain (exercise habits, diet, smoking, etc.) it was found that the more bad things women reported, the more weight they gained!
So the link between stress and weight gain is not just the tendency to overeat when stressed, but the fact that your body produces a hormone called cortisol in response to stress, and increased cortisol causes your body to store fat. So, even if you are watching your diet, stress can cause you to gain weight!
This is why getting into a positive state of mind and having proper relaxation are two of the most important keys to good health. They can help lower cortisol levels, effectively help you reduce stress and also contribute to weight loss at the same time.
Your Weight Loss Program Must Address Both Mind and Body
Because your body and mind are so closely linked, a weight loss program that only focuses on your physical being will miss out on the incredibly important mental and emotional aspects of health.
In fact, if you're looking to achieve long-term health improvements, behavioral changes and self-acceptance are more effective than dieting any day of the week, according to a two-year study published in issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
To start making positive behavioral changes, focus on making small changes in your lifestyle, not on losing weight. For instance, rather than thinking, "I have to lose 30 pounds," think, "Today I'm going to take a pass on the bread and butter and go for a walk after dinner."
By adding just one or two healthy behaviors to your routine each day, such as swapping your soda for a glass of mineral water, you’re subtly changing your old, weight-sabotaging habits into new healthier ones.
You will also want to include a form of physical activity that addresses your mind-body connection since a fitness program is ideal for your weight loss journey.
For the 30 percent of U.S. adults (that's over 60 million people) who suffer from the "Great American Disease" - obesity - there are multiple health risks that are of serious concern. It's commonly known that being overweight and obese increases the risks of numerous health problems, such as, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
High total cholesterol
Type 2 diabetes
Coronary heart disease
Aside from the physical health risks, obesity can also take a huge emotional toll. Many obese people report feeling discriminated against, having low self-esteem and feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable in social situations adding to stress levels overall that may exist at work and or in home relationships.
Obesity's Hidden Burdens
For those who are in this growing population, those at risk of joining it, or those who love someone who is obese, knowing that there are other, much less commonly known, but still very serious risks to this increasingly common condition is of utmost importance.
Obesity Raises Risk of Dying in a Car Accident
Research from the Medical College of Wisconsin Injury Research Center in Milwaukee, published in the American Journal of Public Health, analyzed data from over 22,000 drivers over the age of 16. They found that being obese increases a man's risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident including a Checklist everyone should print out.
Male drivers with a body-mass index (BMI) greater than 35 were significantly more likely to die after a front-end or left-side collision than men with intermediate BMIs, researchers said. (Those who were very thin, with BMIs lower than 22, were also more likely to die).
"The increased risk of dying in motor vehicle collisions associated with a high BMI may be due to some combination of momentum effects, co-morbidities of obesity, and emergency and postoperative treatment problems in the obese," the authors said.
More Sensitive to Pain
Obese people also seem to be more sensitive to pain than people of a normal weight, according to Ohio State University researchers. They conducted a study of 62 older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee.
They were given a mild electrical shock on their ankle both before and after receiving a 45-minute training session on how to cope with pain.
Obese participants, who made up about one-third of the group, had a greater physical response to the electric shock than did normal-weight patients -- both before and after the pain-management training session. This indicates the obese patients had a lower tolerance for pain, researchers pointed out, even though they said they had a high pain tolerance.
Getting the Wrong Blood Pressure Readings
Because arm cuffs used for blood pressure readings must be the proper size to give an accurate reading, obese people may receive incorrect results. A study in the British Medical Journal found that 8 percent of obese patients were wrongly diagnosed as hypertensive because a standard size cuff, as opposed to a large size adult cuff, was used.
This misdiagnosis could mean that the patient would be prescribed drugs or antihypertensive treatments unnecessarily.
"Our findings show that blood pressure readings taken by the auscultatory method using a standard cuff instead of a large cuff in subjects with obese arms will be significantly higher in many individuals. Limited availability of different cuff sizes makes the improper usage of a standard cuff a frequent practice. Such circumstance potentially becomes a source of biased blood pressure readings," the authors said.
Increased Chances of Being Bullied for Children
A study of over 8,000 7-year-olds in the UK found that obese children were about 50 percent more likely to be bullied than their normal-weight peers. The study found that:
36 percent of obese boys, and 34 percent of obese girls, were victims of "overt" bullying, which included physical harm, intimidation and name-calling
- Children as young as 4 display negative feelings toward overweight children their age
How to Overcome Obesity
If you or someone you love is obese, you should begin a weight-loss program under the supervision of a health care professional. The Surgeon General's Healthy Weight Advice for Consumers recommends the following general tips:
Scientists have found that green coffee bean extract can work in the intestinal tract to inhibit the absorption of calories and reduce body fat fast which can help halt obesity weight gain by reducing blood glucose levels, decreasing fat and even improving the digestion of protein by limiting digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.
What about abdominal fat? Vitamin B5, pantethine, the activated form of pantothenic acid, has been shown to reduce intra abdominal fat by supporting healthy fat metabolism as it transports fatty acids into the cells and accelerates the use of that fat as an energy source.
If you seek ways to not only lose fat but also optimize muscle growth conjugated linoleic acid, helps to improve body shape in two ways. First, it inhibits the transport mechanism of fat into fat cells causing a reduction in the size of those fat cells and second, it enhances the activity of a particular enzyme that is present in muscle, making it easy for the body to build muscle. Ask at your next appointment if this could be an appropriate consideration for your health conditions and objectives, as there are prescribed supplements that may be beneficial. For more detailed and customized weight loss advice, please call to make an appointment to discuss your specific health conditions, risks and concerns.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Obese promoting-weight loss glycemic management type 2 diabetes t2d transforming
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Obesity-Pain Sensitivity Measured
British Medical Journal;327:468
CDC: Overweight and Obesity
Archives of Disease in Childhood, Vol. 91, No. 2: 121-125