Our weight weighs heavily on our minds, and it should. Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese says the American Obesity Association. That means two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one-third are obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that obesity is responsible for more than 325,000 deaths annually?that?s more than 100 9/11?s every year. The National Institutes of Health estimates obesity costs this country between $75 and $125 billion every year. Obesity is the number one risk factor for many chronic diseases?heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis to name a few.
Americans are not overweight for lack of interest or effort. Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry, so Americans are certainly trying. With as much money as we spend on weight loss, why is the United States the most obese nation on Earth?
I wish there was a simple program or public policy that we could implement that would wipe out our weight problems; however, because everyone has their own unique body chemistry, the only way to really impact weight (and other chronic health issues) is for an individual to know:
* about his/her own body;
* what causes his/her body to become imbalanced; and
* what he/she can do to re-balance their body.
Here are the factors that I believe are key to helping you reduce or eliminate your weight problems:
1. Poor food choices ? whether you know it or not, our food supply has degraded massively over the last 50 years or so. While we have supermarkets and restaurants that are filled with food, the quality of that food has plummeted. I?m talking about the amount of food processing and the increasing use of additives, preservatives, sweeteners and colorings.
* Start reading food labels and understanding ingredients. A simple internet search on an ingredient can tell you if you should be ingesting it or not.
* Avoid foods that are irradiated, as lots of produce these days is exposed to a small amount of radiation to give it a longer shelf life. Avoid foods containing colorings, preservatives and excessive sugars like high fructose corn syrup.
* Avoid or eliminate foods that are highly processed like breakfast cereals, potato and corn chips (and the like), processed meats (processed deli meats, hot dogs and ?pressed? meat like chicken ?nuggets? and meat ?patties?).
* Eliminate all microwaved food and beverages. Microwave ovens may be deemed safe to stand in front of and watch the food turn, but what it?s turning into is no longer food (read my book for more information on microwaves and how they damage the nutrients in your food). You may want to ask your waiter/waitress if any part of the meal you are ordering will be microwaved; if it is, make another selection!
2. Portion control ? as a society, we live by the rule that more is better. We often gauge a restaurant by the size of the portions they offer. Need I mention the ?all you can eat? buffets? Did you know that a large soda now at most fast food restaurants is a full quart (32 oz.)? Even worse, many of the soda fountains at convenience stores have the 64 oz. soda cups; for those of you who are counting, that?s a half-gallon of soda full of sugars that will spike blood sugar and imbalance your body chemistry! The Bio-Logikal Diet recommends whole, natural, unprocessed foods.
Knowing how much fuel you need (caloric requirement) is critical. The number of calories a person needs is determined by the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This number is the number of calories one would need to consume in a day to maintain his/her current body weight. Caloric need, activity/exercise level and individual health goals (i.e. weight loss) are all considered as part of The Bio-Logikal Diet.
3. Metabolism ? Just as there are different kinds of gasoline, so too are there different types of fuels (foods) for the body, and everyone requires a unique blend. Fast metabolizers need to eat foods that burn more slowly (fats, meats and complex starches) while slow metabolizers must have foods that burn faster (fruits, grains and simple starches). Almost all metabolizers need a reasonable amount of vegetables in their diet. Most people have a good metabolism, but they do not know their metabolic type. When we do not eat for our metabolic type our metabolism is stunted, causing weight gain, fatigue and other symptoms. The Bio-Logikal Diet includes a metabolic type component that can be determined through the Body Terrain Test.
4. Food compatibility ? Learning what foods are compatible with your body chemistry can be invaluable in managing your weight. Foods that are incompatible may cause fatigue, gas, bloating, weight gain, premature aging and can even promote disease. The link between blood type (red blood cells) and diet provides a terrific way to get started with eating foods that are most compatible with your body. That?s right, your blood type can partly determine what foods are most compatible for you. Another factor to consider would be food allergy and intolerance testing to fine tune the blood type list for you. The Bio-Logikal Diet includes a complete blood type food list.
5. Exercise and activity ? The amount of movement you perform greatly affects your weight. Even walking, the simplest of exercises (see last post? January 4th, 2007) can have a tremendous impact on our health and weight by 1) improving food cravings; 2) burning more calories and stoking the fire of metabolism; and 3) increasing circulation of the body?s fluids.
By exercising on a regular basis (at least 3 times per week), you will normalize the overall number of food cravings you will have. Even more importantly, exercise also reduces cravings for the wrong types of foods (sweets, simple carbs, junk foods, etc).
Everyone should learn what their unique body chemistry requires in order to better fuel the engine that drives them. By learning what areas we are experiencing imbalances in, we can begin down the road of better health through more appropriate choices and a greater understanding of our own bodies.
Dr. Brett Saks