When it comes to healthy weight, what's important is not so much the scale, but the percentage of lean body mass & body fat percentage. Do you know where you stand in this regard?... Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht
No matter where you look, it appears that everyone seems to have weight issues. There are those who want to lose pounds & others not wanting to gain pounds. It's not uncommon to live one's emotional life in relation to the dial on the bathroom or supermarket scale.
Truth be known, the scale is not the best determining factor of what is going on weight-wise. The scale only reports the total weight, not the lean body mass nor body fat percentage. In addition, there are people who do not appear over-weight, but do have an unhealthy body fat percentage & a low-weight lean body mass. For one reason or another theyare not burning fat & more than likely, they are building insulin resistance on their cell borders, leading down the path to the killer diseases. Keep in mind that here are also individuals who have a dense lean body mass & lower body fat percentage who will weigh more than they appear as muscle weighs more than fat. Athletes often fall into this category.
Here are some keys to attaining a healthy lean body mass,body fat percentage & weight:
1. FIRST....you must have a HOT DESIRE to not only REACH your goal but to ATTEND to it FOREVER !! It needs to be fed each & every day with powerful affirmations, loaded with positive emotion. All negative mind states that present themselves MUST BE diminished as soon as they are noticed. Then, you must re-educate those emotional states, not only with new behaviors, but with HOT DESIRE.
2. Next, it's important to take stock of where you are RIGHT NOW in regard to your lean body mass & body fat percentage. You scale weight is actually a secondary issue at this time. There are websites that will help you to figure this out & also give you an idea of a healthy body fat percentage for your age & level of health. If you would like to write to me, I will be happy to help you as well.
3. Once you know your lean body mass, you will need to find out how much protein your body needs in a total day in order to burn fat. Again, check the web or write to me. Depending on your body fat percentage, body weight & exercise levels, you may need even more. You will also need to know how to divide your required protein throughout your day. Protein is calculated in grams or units. 7 grams equals one protein unit, so if you are measuring tofu or nuts as a protein choice, be sure to estimate your serving. Don't eat out of the package. Place your serving on a plate. An ounce of meat or poultry, one ounce of cheese & 1.5 ounces of fish constitutes a protein unit. There is usually no need to measure, but one certainly needs to "eyeball" serving sizes. Do know that when the meals are properly designed, hunger levels will normalize. That means that "I could eat the wallpaper off the wall" hunger levels will be gone forever.
4. Meals must be scheduled every 3.5 to 4 hours to avoid "big bridges" that interfere with healthy blood sugar levels. "Walk-by" & "thought-less" eating patterns also need to be broken to preserve this healthy fat-burning physiological state. These negative eating habits over-produce insulin & since insulin stores fat, you can guess the outcome. Heightened awareness & interactive self-hypnosis will help with this. If "break-through" hunger occurs, the previous meals need to be reviewed. In most instances one will find insufficient nutrition or hidden insulin triggers. Common ones include coffee, caffeinated tea, diet soda, artificial sweeteners, gum or breath mints. Insufficient water causing dehydration is also a possibility.
5. Its important to learn the difference between low, SLOW & high glycemic carbohydrates. Certain high glycemics, such as refined foods containing white flour & high fructose sugars tend break down very rapidly,causing the hormone insulin to be over-produced. Although we need insulin to survive, when it is over-produced it leads to excess fat storing, as well as to a condition known as insulin resistance, the precursor to the killer diseases. In addition, if a person smokes or has alcohol dependency, cravings increase.
6. Low-glycemic carbohydrates include all varieties of lettuce, sprouts, cucumbers, peppers, radish, artichoke, kale, zucchini, snow peas, asparagus, brussel sprouts, okra, arugula, broccoli, endive, spinach, green beans, cabbage, mushrooms, eggplant, yellow squash, turnips, to name a few. Tomatoes can be acceptable in smaller amounts as they are actually a fruit. These vegetables help to balance the blood sugars, as well as containing lots of vitamins & minerals. You can eat them raw or cooked.
Most obese individuals under-eat low-glycemic vegetables & over-eat high-glycemics, especially the refined choices. They have a strong tendency towards disorderly eating, eating too little of what their body needs to burn fat & compensating with larger portions or overly-frequent eating of foods that raise their insulin levels & place their body into food stress. When the needed meals are not properly balanced & delivered when they are needed, the pancreas WILL over-produce insulin & the body will store fat. Keep in mind that the body NEEDS proper nutrition & cannot go & get it for itself. Believe me, if it could it would !! The body looks for homeostasis or balance & so if the nutrition is not DELIVERED, the body will break down the lean body mass & store it as fat.
7. High-glycemic vegetables include acorn squash, butternut, corn, lima beans, refried beans, artichokes, beets, kidney beans, parsnips, peas, white & sweet potatoes, chickpeas, lentils, carrots to name a few. All grains are high-glycemic carbohydrates. Choose whole grains & stay away from refined ones. Read the labels. Choose breads that are dense & have no sugar or sweeteners of any sort added to the dough. If you suspect a sensitivity to yeast, choose a yeast-free product. If you suspect a sensitivity to a particular grain, check it out & if necessary take it out & try a different grain. Other grains include rice, both white & brown, barley, quinoa, millet, rye, buckwheat & oats. Bulgur & couscous are both wheat.
8. All fruits are high-glycemic & need to managed properly. Stay away from juices & pretend juices. They stimulate insulin production & very quickly. As for whole fruits, much will depend on your already present level of insulin resistance & how sensitive you are to the particular fruit. If your body fat percentage is high, you may need to limit fruits & to choose those that have less tendency to drive the blood sugar up. Those include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries & strawberries. Dried fruits, bananas, guava, mangos, papayas & dates are very glycemic & should be avoided unless there is some very good reason to include them.
Most people I see in my office tend to over-eat fruit. They see it as a healthy food & therefore interpret that as an "ok" to eat it whenever they like & as often as they like. I have one patient who nibbles grapes throughout the day. Think about that for a moment. She is actually asking her pancreas to produce insulin each & every time she pops one into her mouth!
9. Breakfast should consist of protein, healthy fat & a slow or dense carbohydrate. The portions depend on the needs of the body in the front part of the day. Fruits are usually not a good choice here, especially if the body fat percentage is high. They are often responsible for break-through hunger in the middle of the morning, or in the early afternoon. Depending upon the time one starts the day, there may be a need for two small breakfasts. I find this occurring in nurses who wake up at 5 AM & start their work shift at 7 AM. They may not be scheduled for lunch until 12 or 1 PM. It's important to work with "the bridges" so as to manage the blood sugars properly. All caffeinated beverages stimulate insulin production !! One is still paying for 8 ounces of coffee ten hours later !
10. Lunch is time for protein, healthy fat & lots of low-glycemics. By lots I mean at least 3 cups. Depending on the individual, a serving of grain may also be needed here. When one is looking to lose body fat percentage, the amount of food needed during this time is often higher.
Obese individuals usually over-eat at lunch OR starve. Once again, disorderly eating is a big problem here. Those who are disorganized find themselves dealing with lack of planning & looking for the easy way out that usually means joining the "let's order out" group in the office. For those who are home, it's easy to join the children or to just open the refrigerator & let the hands do the walking instead of the head. Water is the beverage of choice. Decaffeinated green tea is acceptable. I'm not talking about the bottled variety, but that make from loose tea or a tea bag.
11. Mid afternoon is low blood sugar time for most people & an afternoon snack is often a must. Once again, count those hours & watch out for "big bridges." The size of the snack depends on the body needs. The choices fall into the categories of protein, healthy fat & low-glycemics. These foods balance out the blood sugars & form a healthy bridge to dinner.
To be continued....