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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #012 -- Now that you've lost that extra fat, find out how to keep it off
September 26, 2007

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)

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Week of September 30, 2007

Table of Contents

* Keep the Weight Off *

* Depression and Omega-3 Fatty Acids *

Keep the Weight Off

Just about anyone can lose weight on any one of the dozens of diets that are advertised in the media. The obstacle is in keeping the weight off. The inability of keeping the weight off shows the shortcomings of these fad diets. They only emphasize eating to lose weight--nothing more. This leads to yo-yo dieting which has proven disasterous for everyone who experienced it.

The only way to keep the weight off that you spent the last year or so removing is to start right. And just what do I mean by start right? If you spent the last year or so dieting, you did not start off right.

Dieting is a band-aid approach. It doesn't address the reason you are overweight. Hence it is temporary at best. The only way to tackle any weight loss issue is through a change in lifestyle. A lifestyle change practically guarantees a permanent loss in weight. A change in lifestyle begins in the mind.

As opposed to the mind, dieting is an emotional issue. And emotions tend to lose steam, and die.

Although it isn't impossible to keep the weight off having started off by dieting, it is a lot more difficult. You see, dieting doesn't condition and prepare the mind--a lifestyle change does. The mind is everything when it comes to a life-altering experience such as weight loss.

Successful and permanent weight loss consists of nutrition and exercise. It is a lot more doable when the mind has been prepared for that first. And in order for your nutrition and exercise program be something that you do the rest of your life, it must be enjoyable.

If you think of your weight loss and health promoting program as merely giving up your favorite foods, and/or you don't look forward to working out, you will fail at some point. It's just a matter of time.

So the nutritional phase of your program must be enjoyable. There are a great variety of foods and methods of preparation that will satisfy you. Although some foods such as the whites (rice, bread, potatoes, and sugar), sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit drinks, fast foods, etc. must be avoided, there are many whole food substitutes that will meet with your taste buds' approval.

Replace white rice with brown rice and white potatoes with yams or sweet potatoes. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.

Prepare your rice, potatoes and vegetables in a way that will excite your taste buds. Towards that end, there are dozens of herbs and spices that can be used to accomplish that culinary miracle.

By making these food substitutions, you are using the glycemic index of carbohydrates to your advantage. The 'whites' are high glycemic carbs. They promote unwanted weight gain. Brown rice, yams and sweet potatoes, and whole grain bread are low to medium glycemic foods. They promote healthy weight management and minimum loss of muscle tissue.

These food substitutions don't have to be put in place all at once either. Start substituting brown rice for white rice one week. And then the following week, replace white flour products with 100 percent whole grain products. Make your healthy food substitutions gradually.

You can also replace one high glycemic food with a low glycemic food per meal. The overall effect will still be a steady blood sugar rise. This steady rise does not promote weight gain. You are taking advantage of the glycemic load--the effect of the entire meal on your blood sugar--rather than focusing on each individual food.

Studies have shown that by eating dinner for example, with a low glycemic food, will impact your breakfast the following day even if you eat a high glycemic index food during breakfast. That's true for any meal. A low glycemic index food the previous meal will impact the next meal even if eaten hours later.

I eat 5 to 6 small meals a day, and I look forward to each meal. I don't eat tasteless food preparations that I dread. I actually enjoy each of my meals.

My nutritional program has sustained me for years. I am not drinking gallons of shakes that taste like mud. Nor am I eating food that I have to force down. Yet the foods that I eat promote a healthy weight and an optimal immune system. And it tastes good. This is the secret to a lasting nutritional program.

And as opposed to special diets, this natural approach to weight loss doesn't need for you to purchase special meals. You eat real food which you prepare at home. Avoid low-fat, lite, low-calorie, sugar-free and fat-free foods. They are all processed and nutritionally inadequate.

Real food is whole food the way it is found in nature. It is minimally processed and bursting with nutrients. Every ethnic cuisine has delicious and healthy foods which promote overall health, and a healthy body weight.

If you are like myself, you enjoy eating. Rather than cutting back on food, you get to increase your food comsumption. Rather than eating the typical American standard of three square meals a day, eat 5 to 6 mini-meals. You won't get hungry because you eat every 3 hours or so.

The next essential phase of weight loss is working out. It is important that you find an exercise that you'll stick with. Find something that you really enjoy, and look forward to doing. A friend of mine who works out at the gym where I train has been lifting weights for well over 50 years! Obviously he enjoys it. By the way, he is eighty years old!

Your exercise program of choice can be yoga, pilates, jogging, weight training, or swimming. It doesn't matter. You will need to exercise at least four days a week.

Another factor that may help you stick with an exercise routine is a workout buddy. Many people will stick with a program if they work out with someone. But there can be a downside to a workout partner. If he or she decides not to work out, or can't for a legitimate reason, can influence you not to work out.

I enjoy lifting weights. I train four days a week with two partners. One workout buddy is in his 40s and the other in his late 60s. I have been weight training for almost 30 years (I am 55 years old) and I still look forward to it.

Bottom line--don't become so dependent on a workout partner that his excuse becomes your excuse. My two workout partners are as dedicated as I am. But even if they weren't, I would go on. I have worked out by myself for years.

This is what you have to keep in mind. You have a lifetime fitness and health goal. It takes no effort at all to become overweight and unhealthy. Just do nothing! But it takes considerable effort to get into shape, and to maintain that conditioning.

Depression and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Epidemiological (epidemiology is the study of disease in humans), experimental, and new clinical studies all show a strong connection between omega-3 fatty acids, or their lack, and major depression. In particular, the omega-3 acid EPA has been especially effective.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA.) Omega-6 fatty acids are also in this class.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids (EFAs.) They are termed 'essential' because they must be obtained from the diet--they are not produced in the body.

Originally, our intake ratio of omega-6/omega-3 was 1:1. Today, Western nations' intake ratio has risen to 20:1 and as much as 50:1! This has resulted in a number of chronic medical diseases. Prostate and other cancers, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease have been linked to the omega-6/omega-3 imbalance. And now studies have shown a link between a low intake of omega-3 and depression.

There have been two major factors responsible for the imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The first factor has been the shift from grass-fed meat to the factory farm system which took place in the mid 1970s in America. The second factor was the low-fat diet craze which peaked in the 1990s, and which replaced butter and lard with vegetable oil.

When the big meat companies began factory-farming, animals were fed grain which contains omega-6 fatty acids. Factory farmed fish are also fed grain. Vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, peanut, safflower, and sunflower are all grains. You are looking at an over-abundance of omega-6 fatty acids in the American diet.

When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, I ate omega-3 rich meat, fish, butter, and cheese, and drank omega-3 rich milk. As a consequence, cancer rates, heart disease, and depression were much lower than they currently are.

When farm animals were deprived of the natural food that they ate by grazing outdoors--they were deprived of high intakes of omega-3 fatty acids. And when consumers stopped eating butter and lard from grass-fed animals--their intake of omega-3 fatty acids was drastically lowered.

The standard American diet (SAD) which has been adopted by many other Western nations is high in omega-6, and severely lacking in omega-3 fatty acids. This is causing physical and mental health issues across the globe.

Dr. Joseph Hibbeln of the National Institute of Health (NIH) says, "In the last century, [Western] diets have radically changed and we eat grossly fewer omega-3 fatty acids now. We also know that rates of depression have radically increased by perhaps a hundred-fold."

Dr. Hibbeln and his study group have shown a direct relationship between fish consumption and depression. Higher fish consumption in a nation is correlated with lower rates of depression. A 1998 study published in The Lancelot found that countries which ate more fish experienced less depression. A 2003 study which was published in the American Journal of Pyschiatry found that the more seafood eaten, the lower the rate of bipolar disorder.

A 2002 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry produced amazing results in participants who suffered depression. Each participant took one gram of fish oil every day. They reported a 50 percent reduction in anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive.

The brain is 60 percent fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are important parts of nerve cell membrances. They assist the cells in communicating with each other. In animal studies, weak levels of omega-3s lowered the concentration of brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine and serotonin are related to attention and motivation.

Children as young as 3 years old and adults as old as 95 years old have been prescribed medications to treat depression. Many of these drugs are based on treating a chemical imbalance in the brain. The chemical targeted is the neurotransmitter serotonin. As is always the case with prescription drugs, there are many side effects.

Many children are being diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and depression. They are being over-medicated. And many symptoms are being medicalized by the pharmaceutical industry so that more and more children can be prescribed drugs.

Many studies have been undertaken to find a serotonin/depression connection. Studies in which the levels of serotonin were lowered to induce depresson failed. Other studies raised serotonin levels in the brain. The serotonin did not relieve depression.

I remember a commercial on television advertising Zoloft. Zoloft is a antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs.) The commercial was an animated feature which said that depression and anxiety was caused by a chemical imbalance. Like all pharmaceutical company advertisements, it was well-produced and convincing.

There have been no clinical studies which prove that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance of serotonin. It is just a ploy so that the powerful pharmaceutical companies can market their money-making SSRIs.

There are natural alternatives to drugs for treating depression. Depression isn't cause by any chemical imbalance in the brain as the pharmacuetical companies would like you to believe. Many forms of depression stem from bad nutrition. One of the biggest is a omega-6/omega-3 imbalance, not a fictitious serotonin imbalance.

Effective cures for depression follows:

  • increase omega-3s in your diet; take fish oil capsules. Stop using all vegetable oils. Substitute extra-virgin coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Eat organic, grass-fed meat and wild salmon. This will effectively decrease omega-6 fatty acids in your diet
  • get plenty of sunshine
  • exercise
  • substitute a whole food diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and beans for snack and fast foods. Stop eating white sugar, rice, flour, and potatoes

  • New E-book now available Let Food Be Thy Medicine.

    The title of this manual is from the famous saying of Hippocrates in 400 bc. The full quote is “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates is known as the father of modern medicine. The foods which constitute the standard American diet (SAD) lack the ability to supply essential nutrients, let alone be medicine for a sick body.

    Whole foods such as wheat and other grains, and fruit are processed to such a degree that dietary nutrients and fiber are removed. Examples are white rice, white bread, and fruit drinks. These processed products are inadequate to supply the human body with the nutrients it needs just to sustain itself. Even though the majority of Americans are eating more than enough calories, they are empty calories.

    People are literally starving themselves to the point that the body is highly susceptible to attack by disease. Their immune systems are undernourished and not capable of fighting chronic illnesses.

    By following the information given in this manual you will slowly nourish your body with the wholesome nutrients it needs to maintain, repair and build itself. Instead of calorie dense foods you will be consuming nutrient dense foods. You will put yourself on the road to strength, vigor, and vitality–no matter what your age. Price: $21.95.

    Purchase here

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