Many stores and commercials are filled with weight loss pills and diet tips, many of which can be risky and unhealthy. The most recent weight loss trend to hit the market is a supplement that contains human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). HCG is a hormone found in many pregnant women, typically in human placentas, and is usually prescribed as an injection meant to help trigger ovulation while women are undergoing fertility treatments. Many companies are using it for dieting because it allows pregnant women’s bodies to access fat stores to provide nutrients for a growing fetus.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued several warnings to companies marking over-the-counter HCG products for weight loss because it has yet to be approved for that purpose, and may harm your health. The CDC has reported that one-third of U.S. adults are obese; however, there are many healthier ways for you to maintain a healthy weight without the use of hormone supplements.
Several diets will encourage people to limit the number of calories they intake each day, however, the opposite is true. The old adage is true that it isn’t how much you eat, but what you eat that affects your weight and health the most. Choosing healthy options and making your own food at home will help you control what foods you eat and how much.
Diet also does not have to mean giving up tasty food and only eating bland foods or no food at all – a very dangerous scenario that is ultimately counterproductive. Depriving the body of food or going to extremes with a few recommended foods goes against our natural metabolism. Even if your diet has you losing weight, the results generally don't last, and you will miss out on valuable nutrients, which will have a negative impact on your body in the long run.
What should you eat to stay healthy and keep from gaining weight? The formula is simple:
• 25 percent of your diet should be protein: seafood, eggs, chicken, turkey, and lamb. Eat three 4-ounce portions, about the size of a deck of cards, per day.
• 50 percent of your diet should be made up of fruits and vegetables, for their beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Especially favorable for weight loss are chlorophyll-rich foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, and dandelion greens.
• 25 percent of your diet should be divided among raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains, especially brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum, and buckwheat.
Be sure to cut back on rich, fatty foods, dairy, and carbohydrates, including sugar, white flour, pasta, white rice, and alcohol. While you many initially miss the taste of rich foods, within two or three weeks, your taste palate will adjust and become more refined, allowing you to enjoy food just as nature intended – and reach the weight you would prefer.
Choosing the right foods is just as important as how and when you eat your food. Try not to eat when you are feeling agitated or are in a rush. The tendency to overeat is higher when you are distracted and unaware of what and how much you are eating. Also, always eat breakfast, a large lunch, and be sure to eat dinner before 6 pm. Studies have shown a link between eating larger evening meals and an increase in triglycerides levels, which is essentially fat in your bloodstream. Plus, it gives your body a chance to digest your food before it tries to relax for the night.
Move Your Body
Exercise is very important to your overall health and also weight loss. If exercise is a chore for you, maybe try to find a different regime that piques your interest so that your body and your mind do not get bored. Shop around until you find an activity that you like, whether it is dancing, rollerblading, jumping on a trampoline, golfing, or riding a bike. When you enjoy the activity you are more likely to do it on a regular basis, and consistency in exercise is the key.
If you feel like you do not have the time in your daily schedule to add an extra exercise regime, try to incorporate it into your daily life. At work try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther away from the building, or walk to lunch. These smaller changes to your daily routine can add up over time.
If you set aside time on the weekend to spend with your family or friends, why not add physical activity into the agenda? Take a hike, schedule a soccer game, go out dancing, swim in the ocean, or other activities that can be made for social gatherings. This is a healthy and fun way to spend time with your family and friends to relax and increase everyone’s longevity and health.
Relax Your Body
Like exercise, maintaining a healthy stress or relaxation levels in your daily life will also help with your weight loss. Stress triggers a natural fight or flight mechanism in the body as protection to physical danger. When this happens, chemicals like cortisol are released into the system and leads to increased fat storage in your midsection. In today’s life stress is often unavoidable, but it can be managed and decreased over time.
Meditation is also a time honored tradition to decrease stress in your life and it can take as little as ten minutes per day. Try this stress release meditation from Meditations for Stress Release.
The Stress-Release Relaxation: Lie down on your back while slowing your respiration to deep, abdominal breathing. Inhale deeply and say the word “calm” in your mind with every exhalation. Envision the muscles around the crown of your head relaxing. Follow this sequence with each body part as you move down through your entire body: face, throat, chest, shoulders, arms, stomach, lower belly, hips, thighs, knees, lower legs, ankles, and all the way down to your toes. Visualize all the tension leaving your body through your toes in the form of black smoke. Try to practice this for at least 10 minutes every night before bed -- you may begin to notice that you have deeper sleep, a less worried mind, a higher capacity to cope with stress, and an increased energy level.
Other stress relievers can include taking a warm bath, getting a massage or acupuncture, and simple ideas such as fresh flowers or laughter. A bouquet of flowers can conjure up images of love, uplift a patient’s mood, and combat stress. A study showed that people who sat near a bouquet of colorful flowers were able to relax better during a five-minute typing assignment than those who sat near a foliage-only plant. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, take a walk through a garden or get a bouquet of flowers for your desk.
May you Live Long, Live Strong and Live Happy!
--Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on Dr. Oz, the Doctors and EXTRA. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness over 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310-917-2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at firstname.lastname@example.org.