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Your Health & Wellness, Issue #001 -- A Weight Loss Mind Makeover
July 06, 2007

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)

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Week of July 8, 2007

Table of Contents

* Weight Loss Mind Makeover *

* Are the Health Claims of Soy Overblown? *

Weight Loss Mind Makeover

America's rising obesity crisis and subsequent increase in medical problems related to it are providing a 'wake-up' call for many. As a result, record numbers are taking advantage of one of many weight loss programs and systems available. There are several things I would caution anyone who wants to begin a weight loss program to be aware of.

One thing you should keep in mind, and never, ever forget. Weight loss is a result of a healthy lifestyle. Therefore your objective is not a certain diet or a weight loss program. Your objective is a complete 'mind makeover.' This 'mind makeover' is called a healthy lifestyle. When you adopt a healthy lifestyle you will 'naturally' lose unhealthy body fat.

I am using the word 'naturally' in two different contexts. First context

is 'certainly,' as in 'you will certainly lose...'; or 'of course,' as in 'you will of course lose...' The second context is 'naturally' in contrast to 'artificially' or against 'nature.' A healthy lifestyle includes natural, whole foods--the kind found in nature.

There are many freebies that come along with a healthy lifestyle. The one that most people are concerned with is weight loss. Every individual has a certain body weight set point. This is the weight that your body naturally seeks to achieve. A healthy lifestyle will give you that. Another benefit is a fit body. It's like an automobile which has been given a tune-up, an oil change, and driven regularly.

Doctors and health professionals now realize that skinny people can be 'fat' and very unhealthy. A 'slim and trim' physique isn't necessarily indicative of a healthy physical specimen. A number on a bathroom scale can be very misleading. Taken out of context, it is meaningless.

There are three things anyone considering a weight loss regimen should be aware of. Unreasonable expectations or promises will only bring frustration and a loss of commitment.

First of all be suspicious of programs promising that you can lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. You didn't put on your extra weight in a matter of days or weeks and, done correctly, you won't take it off in that period of time. Look to lose no more than 2 pounds of weight per week.

Your personal health must always take priority over numbers. Your body still needs vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fat, as well as the phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables, to lose excess body fat and to function optimally.

You don't suspend health concerns and body requirements just to lose 50 pounds. Nothing supercedes physical health. Focusing only on 'diet' or 'weight loss' will cause you to lose weight, but you health will suffer, and your weight loss will be temporary.

Weight loss is not a race against the clock. There are no healthy shortcuts and no compromises. Don't look at it as merely achieving a certain weight. Of course you will get to your target weight, but you also want to reduce risk factors for chronic disease and achieve physical fitness. A 'mind makeover' will have you work in harmony with your body, and not fight an uphill battle working against it. That, by the way, is a battle that you will never win!

Second of all be suspicious of any program promising weight loss without exercise. Why? Because you are guaranteed a loss of lean body mass (muscle) while the body holds on to its fat stores. Muscle constantly feeds on calories daily. That means you are burning calories just to keep your muscles functioning.

What it boils down to is the fact that it is much easier to lose muscle than body fat. When the body senses a reduction of calories--your efforts at losing weight for instance--it stubbornly holds onto body fat, and sacrifices muscle instead. So while the scale will indicate a weight loss, that loss consists of muscle, not fat. Not exactly what you had in mind was it?

Patience is the name of the game. At two pounds of fat loss per week, you will lose 8 pounds in a month. This works out to a whopping 96 pounds in a year! And you are guaranteed that loss will be mainly fat.

When I prepared for a bodybuilding competition, I would begin months in advance of my show. That provided enough time for me to lose the weight I needed to lose. That typically would be 30 or so pounds.

The third thing I would caution you about is related to my second 'caution.' Be suspicious of any weight loss system or program which implies you will lose weight just by following their eating plan. Many programs will not come right out and say that you don't need to exercise. However their advertisements say it by just talking about their eating plan. What it comes down to is misleading advertising.

A healthy lifestyle does not require 'special' food. What it does require is whole, natural food in place of refined and chemically processed food. Whole, natural food is defiined as food as you would find it in nature. It should be minimally processed.

Are the Health Claims of Soy Overblown?

Warnings are again being heard about soy products. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it legal for food manufacturers to claim that soy protein may help lower heart disease risk, many studies have found danger in excessive soy consumption.

Laboratory studies conducted in the 1950s found that rats who were fed soy protein had reduced fertility, smaller litters, and an increased mortality rate. As late as 1999, two scientists from the FDA had this to say, "there is abundant evidence that the isoflavones in soy demonstrate toxicity in estrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid. Eating as little as 30 grams of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism, with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue."

Here is what science has found out about some of the chemicals in soy:

(1) Phytates- are phosorphous compounds found in cereal grains, legumes and nuts. These compounds interfere with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron. Excess phytates disrupts the normal growth of children.

(2) Phytoestrogens (isoflavones)- these chemicals mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen. They could cause infertility in women and lead to breast cancer. Infants should not be given soy-based formulae.

(3) Enzyme inhibitors- interfere with the digestion of protein and can cause pancreatic problems.

(4) Haemaggluttin- cause red blood cells to clot.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, "soy infant feeding floods the bloodstream with female hormones that inhibit testosterone..." A Swedish study reveals that 100 grams of infant formula has the same amount of estrogen as a contraceptive pill.

With a greater number of people becoming vegetarian, or including more vegetarian products in their diet, food manufacturers are placing more soy-based products on the market. Soy can be found in cereals, cakes, breads, sausages and cheese. Like monosodium glutamate, it goes by many different names. Some of these aliases are vegetable oil, protein concentrate, textured plant protein or lecithin, and soy protein isolate.

I used to eat veggie burgers which are soy based but I have since stopped. I also replaced soy milk with almond milk. I have substituted whey based protein powders for soy protein isolate. Since soy is almost universal, reducing the amount in the diet may be wise.

The dangers of soy don't apply to soy which has been fermented. However, modern production methods don't utilize this procedure.

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