Weight Loss

Weight Loss and Toxins

On a physical level, toxins, which have always been in our environment in various quantities, but are much more prevalent today due to the many chemicals we use in our everyday lives, interfere with the normal workings of our bodies. (Whew, long sentence!)

They do everything from slow down our digestive processes to mess with our reproductive systems. (The many plastics we use, plus a number of pesticides, release 'hormone mimics' into the environment, which confuse our reproductive systems, and are one of the main causes of the tremendous increase in infertility in industrialized countries. You can read a much more detailed explanation of this phenomenon in Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?-A Scientific Detective Story by Theo Colburn et al.)

Molecules Of Emotion

On an emotional level, toxins interfere with neuropeptides, the powerful molecules that flow through our bodies, and affect the way we feel. They also affect our health, when we are stressed or in other ways having a 'negative experience'. An in-depth discussion of neuropeptides, health, and emotions can be found in Dr. Candace Pert's fascinating book Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine . Dr. Pert is one of a growing number of scientists studying the neuropeptides and other molecules that have a profound effect on our physical and emotional health. Here is what one reviewer says about her book:

"(Dr. Pert's) pioneering research on how the chemicals inside our bodies form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body, is not only provocative, it is revolutionary. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our emotions and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and accessible way, Pert empowers us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and the connection between our minds and our bodies -- body-minds -- in ways we could never possibly have imagined before."

Here's a quote from Dr. Pert regarding detoxifying:"I am well aware that the establishment mocks the concept of detoxification and makes no room in its offerings for nutritional and cleansing approaches. Where I come from, the biomedical research community, these modalities are seen as "fringe", or irrelevant, for there has been very little good research done on the subject. However, the results of several small but well-designed trials showing the ability of nutritional supplements to support the liver for well-being and health have impressed me enough to experiment on myself. I've used liver vitamin products... (and) the results have convinced me that the possibility of turning back the clock and increasing energy levels by removing years of accumulated toxins is not "pie in the sky"."

Detoxification has also become a more popular treatment as people become more aware of environmental pollution. It is estimated that one in every four North Americans suffers from some level of heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, are by-products of industry. Agriculture pesticides are also found in food, air, and water. In fact there is a new branch of medical research that focusses on health problems caused by pesticides. American agriculture uses nearly 10 pounds of pesticides per person on the food supply each year.

Suffice it to say we are subjected to toxins every day, and along with eating as much unprocessed (and preferably organic) food as possible (which means cooking our meals, rather than zapping processed and prepared meals), we need to detoxify from time to time.

A few standard detoxifying and weight-loss herbs and other substances are:Milk Thistle, dandelion root, choline, inositol, the amino acids L-Methionine, L-Cysteine and Taurine, biotin (vitamin-H), the enzyme lipase, Phosphatidylcholine, Picrorizha kurroa, Turmeric, Phyllanthus amarus, Schisandra, grape seed extract, chromium, zinc, aloe vera, Glutathione, green tea extract.

There are others, but these are some ingredients to look for in any detoxifying and weight-loss program you are researching. You could go to a health food store and get some or all of these substances, but the problem is, you have to take them in the right combinations, and that is kind of tricky. Its probably better to just use a pre-forulated program.

There are a number of approaches to detoxifying your body, and you can find many companies offering detoxifying programs and products on the internet. The only caution I would give is that you should do some research to find a company with a solid background in nutritional research and formulation.

Usana has a good reputation, and Elizabeth and I take Usana's "essentials" (multi-vitamins and minerals) regularly.

Weight Loss

I probably don't need to tell you much about the advantages of maintaining your 'ideal weight', or at least staying fairly close to it, so will keep this section short.

If you are considering a 'rapid weight loss' approach, a couple of products to avoid are Ma Haung, Caffeine, and Ephedrin. They have all been shown to cause serious health problems in a small percentage of the population (that could include you!).

The key to keeping weight off for the long term is to eat less and exercise more. And that takes a bit of discipline. But the results are worth it.

You already know there is an 'epidemic of obesity' in North America.

The Western Journal of Medicine, January 2002;176:23-28, reports that an estimated 97 million adults in the United States, 55% of the population, are overweight or obese (i.e. have a body mass index greater than 25% fat).

Health risks of being overweight are legion: type 2 diabetes mellitus (about 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese), gallbladder disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, sleep apnea, coronary artery disease, knee osteoarthritis, gout, endometrial or colon cancer, low back pain.

Obese people die five-to-ten years younger than their 'normal weight' counterparts as well.

In other words, its just not good to be overweight.

The experts say a diet low in grains and sugar is needed to lose weight, and that certainly jibes with my experience of eating in the Zone. The other part of course is not to take in any more calories than you burn up in a normal day. Again, experts say this usually means a diet of 1,000 to 1,200 kilocalories (kcal) per day for women and 1,200 to 1,500 kcal per day for men.

Elizabeth and I found the body-fat measuring method found in Dr. Sears book The OmegaRx Zone are easy to do with just a measuring tape, and the charts quickly show you how many 'exchanges' of carbohydrates, protein and fat you should be eating everyday. An extensive listing of everyday foods at the back of the book tells how many ounces of each food makes up an exchange, and after weighing everything for a week or so on a cheap little kitchen scale, we found we could eye-ball an exchange pretty accurately.

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