What Does It Really Mean to Be Overweight?

Obesity is an ever increasing problem in the US now-a-days. Studies show that over 66 percent of Americans can be categorized as either fat or obese, and the medical community is even going so far as to call it an epidemic. However, with today’s aesthetic standards as portrayed by the media and the fashion community, it can be very tough to decipher what is actually a healthy weight. No doctor would recommend trying to be stick-thin, but we all know that obesity is dangerous to the health. So, where is that healthy midline? What, exactly, does it mean to the general public to be “overweight?” Here are the plain facts:

Overweight

Overweight (Photo credit: just.Luc)

The definition. Being overweight means weighing more than what is healthy. This amount varies from person to person, as it depends on factors that are unique to each person’s build. Therefore, what is overweight for you might not be overweight for someone else.

Overweight compared to being obese. It is important that you understand that overweight does not necessarily mean obese. Healthy (or unhealthy) body weight is graded on a scale, including the categories of “normal weight,” “overweight,” “obese,” and “morbidly obese.” Each level has its own set of qualifying factors and, of course, morbidly obese is the most dangerous. Being overweight means being one step above normal weight, one step below obese, and two steps below morbidly obese.

What factors are used to determine overweight? Your body mass index (BMI) is used to determine where you are categorized on the health/morbidly-obese scale. Your BMI is a measure of your body’s composition, accounting for how much you weigh in relation to your height. There are various different methods to calculate BMI. The simplest is to use an online BMI calculator, but for the most exact figure, it is a good idea to see a doctor or nutritionist. If your BMI falls between 25 and 30, you are generally considered overweight. However, it is important to keep in mind that BMI has no way of accounting for your muscle to fat ratio. This ratio can make a major difference in your overall health, and therefore can change your status as overweight. For example, if you are a serious athlete with a lot of muscle, you may weigh more than someone else your height who is at a “normal” weight, but that doesn’t mean you are overweight.

Overweight is a term that is used loosely, which makes it confusing when determining whether or not you fit into that category. Your best bet is to consult with your doctor to figure out if you are overweight, and if you could benefit from lowering your BMI.

About the Author: Tommye Lounder is a health and wellness specialist who specializes in educating people about their bodies. He enjoys researching common medical conditions, including candida expert opinions, heart health, addictions, and the body’s metabolism.

Is Paleo For You?

It seems like a new diet is hitting the marketplace every other day, and every new diet seems to be dubbed as the one that works. There are so many diets out there, that if you want to lose weight, it can be hard to decide where to begin.
The latest dieting craze to hit the marketplace is called Paleo, and many people are wondering if they should give it a try.

What is the Paleo diet?

The Paleo diet basically refers to only eating the foods that our historic ancestors ate, which includes fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and nuts. This means that you should cut out legumes, grains and dairy. Basically, you want to eat only those items that can be hunted or gathered and refrain from eating anything that has been processed or sealed (so no canned vegetables). Fresh foods contain more vitamins and nutrients than those that have been processed, and they’re more healthy for you than those that tell you they’re healthy.
What’s the point of the Paleo diet?

The Paleo diet doesn’t cut out fat or carbs. Instead, it relies on you eating a healthy amount of food in order to maintain a decent body weight. Eating these foods will increase your metabolism and give you more energy throughout the day. And since you tend to eat more fruits and vegetables than whole grains, you may actually cut out a good deal of the carbs you eat on a regular basis.
Along with keeping you at a healthy weight, the Paleo diet is also known to reduce the risk of major diseases, such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes. By keeping your food intake simple, you are not clogging your body full of supplements or processed foods.

What are the benefits of the Paleo diet?

The Paleo diet doesn’t require you to count points, read labels or consume a great deal of protein shakes. The foods used in the Paleo diet are simple and real, and you know exactly what you’re getting.
Preparing Paleo-approved meals is simple. Choose a meat, choose a vegetable and you’re done. There is no need to read a ton of cookbooks or think too long about what to prepare for dinner. This will also help you decide what to eat more quickly when dining out at restaurants. Rather than spend a great amount of time reading over the menu, you can choose the option that fits best with the Paleo diet.
Is the Paleo diet right for me?

The Paleo diet hasn’t hurt anyone, so as long as you’re okay with eating meat and vegetables and cutting out dairy, grains and  legumes, trying the Paleo diet shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish. And since there is not counting points or reading labels, you can choose Paleo-approved foods more easily than other diets. People have been using the Paleo diet for years. If you start the Paleo diet, you will see an increase in your energy levels, and you’ll start to look better too.

Physical Fitness for Senior Citizens

The baby boomers are the largest generation in our history.  As they start to turn to senior citizens, talking the important steps to maintain their health will become more and more important.

Doctor Parking (Photo credits: www.myparkingsign.com)

So to help those who are turning 65…or who have already done so…I wanted to put some simple to follow steps together so that those who wish can regain their strength and vitality.

Step 1: Get a thorough physical exam from your physician.  You need an honest appraisal of your health with your doctor to determine what your current condition is.  From this, you will learn not only what you current medical condition is [ie: if you are diabetic, high blood pressure, need to lose weight, etc…] but also have a conversation with your doctor to find out some of the weight loss tips you will need to follow in order to get in shape.

Step 2:  I am going to recommend the best overall exercise you can do…WALKING!  Why would I say so…because walking:

  • Can be done anywhere
  • Is free to do
  • Anyone can do it
  • No special equipment needed

And so long as you do it long enough…30 minutes at least…and strenuously enough…aiming to reach a 4.0 mph pace…this is one of the best workouts you could consider.

Step 3: Perhaps the biggest misnomer about exercise is that it has to involve ‘working out.’  Just because you are not sweating in a gym doesn’t mean that you aren’t exercising.  Here are a few ideas…

  • Playing with your grandchildren
  • Washing your car
  • Home remodeling
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Yard work

All of these will get your heartbeat up without you going to the gym.

Step 4: Strength training-The best way to build muscle, lose weight, maintain strong bones, ward off osteoporosis and fight off the effects of age is by strength training.  Now, men won’t have the problem that women will have with that.  But just think about things this way…

The key to losing weight and regaining your health is to increase your metabolism so that your burns more calories when you are not working out.  And the only way to effectively do, as I said, this is to speed up your metabolism.  To do this is a natural and holistic fashion; there is one way to accomplish this…to add muscle to your frame.

In addition, for women strength training has the added benefit of strengthening bones so that the effects of ailments such as osteoporosis can be lessened or eliminated.

Now, I am not suggesting to anyone here that they have to start lifting heavy weights or compete in the World’s Strongest Man competition.  Quite the contrary, I am suggesting that you develop the discipline to do 20-30 minutes of resistance band and body weight workouts…from home…2-3 days a week.  Done properly, if you do resistance band exercises from home you will be able to obtain the same workout without having to go to the gym.

Step 5: Yoga…this one the guys will resist, but don’t knock it until you have tried it.  Yoga increases strength, flexibility and endurance.  And because it is a very low impact workout it is great for people with joint problems.

Step 6: Explore other avenues of cardiovascular endurance.  If you are bored with walking…especially if you do it on the treadmill at the gym…here are a few alternatives for you.

  • Elliptical machine [cross country skiing]
  • Step machine
  • Swimming
  • Step aerobics
  • Kickboxing
  • Rowing machine, etc…

There are plenty of options for you to choose from to get your heartbeat up.  The choice is up to you.  Find something you enjoy to do and start moving.

Step 7: Eating right.  I will mention it here even though your doctor probably talked to you about changing your diet and adding less processed foods at your physical.  Make sure to listen to your doctor’s recommendations regarding your intake of sugar and salt, as well as saturated fat that can raise your cholesterol.

About the author:

Tony Rovere is an advocate for senior citizens and elder health issues having to deal with the complexities of the Medicaid process following his mother’s heart attack.

He now shares his insights on care giving and senior issues on his blog, StuffSeniorsNeed, which was created to help senior citizens and baby boomers who have become caregivers.

Tips to Help You Stay on Your Diet

Everyone knows, it’s easy to go on a diet. And that the hard part is sticking with it for a long period of time. Every year, millions of people resolve to eat differently. They want to shed some pounds, and reevaluating their eating habits is an essential way to achieve their goal. However, old habits die hard, and it can be tough to stay on a diet, no matter how well you do in the beginning. If you’re determined to eat differently, here are some tips that will help you stay on your diet and meet your goals.

weight-loss-tips

Enlist Some Support

Don’t go at your diet alone. If you live with other people, speak with them about your diet, and ask for their support. Maybe they’ll want to do it with you. If you’re accountable to more people than just yourself, it can really motivate you to stay on track. If you can’t find support within your friends or family, find a weight loss group in your area, like Weight Watchers, or an online community.

Define Your Diet

Figure out exactly what your diet is going to be, and set clear rules for yourself. Know exactly which foods you can eat and which you can’t. Determine the main purpose of your diet. Is it to stick to a certain number of calories? Is it to eat on a regular schedule? Is it to limit certain foods or food groups? Try to anticipate what breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will look like.

Set Realistic Goals

If you feel discouraged by your diet, it will be easier for you to stray. Do not set goals for yourself that are not realistic, because you may quit if you don’t feel you’re progressing enough. The trick is to set small, realistic goals. Once you reach a small goal, you should set another small goal that’s a little more difficult. Do not try to do it all at once.

Keep a Food Diary

When you write down the things you eat, you’re more likely to stay on track with your diet. A food diary will help you see how you’re doing and how you can improve. It will be tangible proof of your habits, and it’s a great way to evaluate your progress.

Reward Yourself

Your diet won’t work if it’s all work and no play. Understand that it’s alright to cheat on the diet every now and then. You should enjoy eating. You won’t derail all your progress if you have a small dessert now and then. Try to reward yourself with treats here and there. It will help you stay on your diet in the long run.

Rethink Success

Are you too preoccupied with the number on the scale? When you’re dieting, you’re going to see more results than just shedding the points. If you’re eating healthier, you should notice an increase in your energy level and self-esteem. You may notice some of your health problems have improved, such as having lower blood pressure. Anything can be a measure of your success. If you notice all the benefits of your diet, you’ll have more reason to stick with it than just losing weight.

Katherine Taylor is a therapist and avid writer who loves to spend what time she can traveling the world. She already has a wonderful summer trip booked at a beach hotel in Mauritius. She wants to mix with the locals, practice her french, and see as many beautiful beaches as possible while staying at her hotel in Mauritius.

How I Reversed My Own Heart Disease

How to reverse heart disease. Is it possible? It sounds a little like a dream…

But one of the most amazing things that I have learned on my weight loss journey is that it is possible to learn how to reverse heart disease. It sounds amazing…almost impossible, too good to be true. Especially if you consider that what we are talking about is reversing heart disease without surgery or even medication. I am just talking about someone making the correct lifestyle changes.

But it’s true. It’s been a scientific fact for about 25 years, and is finally getting mainstream approval in the medical community.

First of all, let me go over what the threat is, and then we will talk about the solution.

What is heart disease?

Whether you call it heart disease or coronary artery disease, it is caused by the buildup of fatty deposits along the insides of your arteries. These deposits start to grow, slowing the process of blood passing through your arteries. What happens next is that your blood pressure increases and you have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke as a result.

A high fat high cholesterol diet, lack of exercise and subjecting yourself to stress starts to impede the flow of blood throughout your body. It is especially dangerous when your brain or heart are near the blockages.  Ultimately, the buildup leads to high blood pressure and if not treated, a heart attack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 630,000 people in the United States alone die from heart disease each year. And this is just the toll in human loss of life.

The financial toll on our economy is staggering. It has been estimated between the cost of treatment plus the loss of economic productivity that in the United States alone, the cost of treating heart disease is $675,000,000,000.

Let’s put that currently into perspective. When we see what $675,000,000,000 buy us we begin to understand just how important it is to learn how to reverse heart disease ourselves.

  • In 2011, the current US federal deficit is $1.4 TRILLION. We could wipe out ½ of our budget deficit with the money that is spent on heart disease.
  • The US could almost fund the Defense Department at $701,000,000,000 or Social Security expenditures of $714,000,000,000 with the costs of heart disease on the economy.
  • Ranked against a sampling of countries listed by their Gross Domestic Product (the total amount of goods and services they produce as a nation in a given year), US spending on heart disease would rank as the 19 largest economy in the WORLD! We would beat out the economic output of entire nations such as Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Norway, Argentina, etc…

That’s a pretty sobering assessment, especially when you weigh these massive costs against the lifestyle changes that are necessary to learn how to reverse heart disease, which we are going to talk about right…

What are the steps to learning how to reverse heart disease?

I am going to relate this to my own personal story.  But when I was 36, I was at my worst physically, 252 pounds, never exercising and eating awfully.

And then I had my first health scare. I started getting stabbing pains in my chest, and I knew this wasn’t normal. I was in trouble and needed to change what I was doing quickly before I became one of those statistics I mentioned above.

I knew I needed to eat better and exercise, and set about trying to educate myself on all of the best nutritional ideas I could find.

And then I came across a book that truly changed my life.

It was “Eat More, Weigh Less” by Dr. Dean Ornish. I strolled past it on the shelf at the library and thought the title was interesting. Little did I know how this book would change my life, forever, and for the better.

Not only did it talk about how to eat more and weigh less, it chronicled Dr. Ornish’s 20-year journey to get the medical community to understand the body’s power to heal itself but also how to reverse heart disease.

After all, a typical doctor will either recommend a statin drug like Lipitor to lower cholesterol, an angioplasty (inserting a balloon into the diseased artery to open the path for blood) or a bypass operation to a heart disease patient. But take the time to learn how to reverse heart disease? Come on…

Instead, Dr. Ornish tapped the body’s ability to heal itself, if we will only allow it to. In the book, you will see pictures of his patient’s hearts and arteries where you can see the blockages. Then anywhere from 6-12 months later, you can see that the blockages DISAPPEAR on their own, proof that the body can heal itself, if we allow it to.

Dr. Ornish has a three step process to learning how to reverse heart disease, but before I go into this, please remember that if you are currently suffering from coronary artery disease that you should be under a doctor’s care and supervision. Take any medications your doctor recommends and follow any restrictions in terms of diet and exercise that your doctor may place on you:

  • Follow an EXTREMELY low fat diet.While there are no calorie restrictions in his program, you are limited to eating foods that contain no more than 2g of fat per serving and 2 g of sugar per serving. Granted, this eliminates about 95% of the foods out there, but remember, we are talking about how to reverse heart disease.If you are just looking to lose 10-20 pounds you don’t necessarily have to follow this to the letter. You can sneak in the occasional cheat meal on the weekends. But if you have blockages in your arteries and may be facing a bypass operation, then it would make sense to follow the program the letter. After all, what is the better option?

    a) Understand how to reverse heart disease and change your diet to allow your body to heal itself, or…b) A bypass operation, which is a surgery where the doctor cuts open your chest cavity and inserts a vein or an artery from your leg into your heart muscle to bypass the blockage that coronary artery disease has caused.

    Now, have you ever seen a picture of a heart bypass operation? Just check for an online picture of a bypass operation.  See that guy lying there with his chest wide open and his heart stopped by the doctor’s so they can perform the bypass. Now, is it really that tough to make that change and eat the Ornish way?

    No, I didn’t think so. Trust me. Making the right changes and studying how to reverse heart disease is the much easier choice. I did it and I will explain how when I finish with Dr. Ornish’s program.

 

  • The second phase of Dr. Ornish’s program is 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. In his book, Dr. Ornish describes this as walking at a quick enough pace where it is tough to carry on a conversation but you are not out of breath. Personally, when I made the commitment to lose weight I put in 45-60 minutes a day, and not only did cardiovascular exercises but also strength training exercises as well.But your goal should be to get that thirty minutes of walking in a day, no matter what. Walk the dog, skip a TV show, walk around the soccer field while the kids are at practice, do laps in the parking lot at work during lunch, park farther away at the shopping mall (3-10 minute power walks is acceptable).

 

  • The final part of Dr Ornish’s plan is stress management, and to combat this he recommends yoga and meditation. Now, I have to admit that the first time I saw this I had the typical ‘guy reaction’ to Yoga, something like…

That’s stuff the chicks do. Guys don’t do that. I’ll just head to gym one more time.

And that is the way I felt until I eventually tried it. After 10 minutes worth of poses, I was done. I couldn’t believe how much of a workout you could get without moving off of a 2’X6’ mat. So after eating a healthy dose of humble pie that first time, I started to look into yoga and what I found was that yoga is probably the best overall exercise on the world for you.

That’s right guys. You heard me right. The women were right on this one (certainly not on EVERYTHING but on this one they are dead on!). Yoga is the only exercise that combines all three aspects of physical fitness at the same time (other than gymnastics): strength training (when you do a Vinyasa correctly you get a major upper body workout), cardiovascular benefits (you can feel your heart pounding when you are holding those poses) AND flexibility.

So by combining all three elements Dr. Ornish was able to demonstrate how to reverse heart disease without pills, medications or surgery. Lifestyle changes were all that was needed in order to learn how to reverse heart disease.

But finally, I want to talk to you about the toughest of the three steps when it comes to learning how to reverse heart disease…Part 1. You remember the part where you were initially excited about no calorie restrictions but then groaned when you saw that you couldn’t eat anything with more than 2g of fat or sugar per serving. How do you pull that off?

 

Well, as Dr. Ornish says, it is all a matter of degrees. Meaning if you are just looking to lose weight you can have that cheat meal on the weekend. Go ahead and indulge. But…

If you are facing a triple-bypass the time has come to get some discipline in your life. Either that or face life-altering surgery. The choice is yours. So I wanted to talk to you about what I did so that you can see how to reverse heart disease. These are the steps I took:

  • Started looking for food swaps. I used to be a big red meat eater. Instead, I ate the same amount and at the time switched to being an all white meat eater. This meant consuming chicken and turkey. Now, I know what you are saying. Dr. Ornish advocates being a vegetarian why eat the chicken and the turkey?Because the chicken and turkey I was eating had less than 10% of the calories from fat, which is one of the benchmarks Dr. Ornish uses when you read was Eat More Weigh Less. These were lean meats and even though I wasn’t following his program to the letter, I was following it enough where I was typically eating a diet of 13%-15% of my calories from fat. This was good enough because within 60 days of eating like this and exercising, the chest pains disappeared and I haven’t had one in almost 4 years!
  • Load up on water.I quit the sugary drinks, alcohol and even the diets sodas. I don’t care if they are only 1 calorie and have ‘no sugar’. The manufacturer is putting something in there to make it sweet, and whatever that something is, it isn’t good for you.
  • Load up the fruits and veggies. The advantage to doing this is that fruits and vegetables are very nutrient-dense yet calorie-poor foods that are loaded with the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health. And there’s another advantage. You can eat a ton of them and not put on a pound. And that is very important when you are looking to change your lifestyle up.The reason that people fail on any diet, and it is particularly bad when you are learning how to reverse heart disease, is because you feel deprived.Think of it this way. You are used to having a nice 16-ounce steak for dinner. But when you go on your diet, you say that you are only going to eat an 8-ounce steak. You will immediately feel deprived and it isn’t going to take long, just a matter of days in all likelihood, for you to backslide and go off the diet.

    Instead, you need to replace that 16-ounce steak with at least 16 ounces worth of nutrient-dense but calorie-poor foods that will fill your stomach so that you don’t feel like you are missing something.

By taking all of these steps, I was able to lose 60 pounds in 6 months and completely regained my health.  It’s been four years now and I have never felt better.

About The Author:

Tony Rovere regained his health, strength and vitality by losing 60 pounds and managing to keep it off for over 4 years.

This is why he shares his weight loss tips at health-and-weight-loss-tips.com, where he shares his passion for health and fitness with others so that they can accomplish the same goals that he has achieved.

Emotional Overeating

Anytime you put food into your mouth when you are not hungry is called emotional eating. Rather than hunger fueling your desire to eat something, an emotion is driving you to binge on something you do not really want. Emotional eating is not something people only do when they are feeling down (think the newly single girl on television who indulges in a gallon of her favorite ice cream to feel better about her break up). It is something you do when an emotion drives you. That emotion could be sadness, such as when you are hurt by a loved one or lose your job. That emotion could also be simple boredom; the house is clean, the kids are in bed and you are wandering around trying to find something to do when you decide that eating cookies is the right choice. Emotional eating can lead to weight gain, depression and feelings of guilt, which is why you need to know the difference between being hungry and being emotional in the kitchen.

 

 Knowing the Difference

 

There are a number of ways to differentiate between emotional eating and actual hunger. By being in tune with your body, you will easily be able to tell the difference. The first difference between emotional eating and hunger is that hunger occurs gradually. You typically begin to feel hungry over time, becoming hungrier as time passes, whereas emotional eating is something that happens suddenly. Additionally, when you are truly hungry you are open to eating anything. When you are eating emotionally you crave something specific, because it is the only food that will satisfy that craving.

 

When you are hungry you don’t feel as if though you have to eat immediately. When you are eating because of an emotion you want to eat immediately. Finally, when you eat for emotional reasons instead of hunger, you often feel guilty afterward.

 

 Stop Emotional Eating

 

By recognizing when you are making a food decision based off of an emotion rather than hunger, you can avoid emotional eating and the subsequent feelings of guilt that come with it. The first thing you need to do when an emotional eating feeling strikes is to distract yourself. When you are craving a food because of an emotion, you are attempting to either remove or create a feeling in yourself that you are currently missing. Instead of feeding your emotions, find a healthier alternative. The next time you feel the need to eat emotionally, take a walk. Exercise helps to increase your mood and boost your level of happiness. By replacing emotional eating with exercise, you are making yourself healthier and happier.

 

You can also try making a list of things that always make you feel good. The next time you feel the need to eat something because of your emotions, refer to this list and try something on it instead. Keeping a food journal is another way to help you stop overeating due to emotional eating. This allows you to keep a tangible record of when you tend to feel the most emotional and are most likely going to overeat for the wrong reasons. By establishing this pattern, you will be able to help yourself to avoid emotional eating and maybe even figure out what the cause of your emotional eating is.

 

There is nothing wrong with indulging in something sweet from time to time. The key is not to go overboard and spend your time eating for emotions rather than hunger. Feeding your emotions has a very negative effect on your overall health, which is far more difficult to improve than your mood.

 

Richard Hasson. Finished psychology at Washington university, currently working for Long Island divorce attorneys as an consultant for people who are going through tough divorce. He also likes to write about self-help for depression and life in general.