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living a healthy lifestyle

Living A God-Glorifying Life Through Good Health.
(Featured on CNN)

When I was growing up in the '50s and '60s, there was no obesity epidemic, and children were not developing old-age maladies such as heart disease. Cancer, Alzheimer's, and autism were virtually unheard of. Living a healthy lifestyle was a lot easier. More...

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Weight Loss Lifestyle

Obesity is counterproductive to a weight loss lifestyle. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. A healthy weight reduction lifestyle is the only way to shed the excess weight. Obesity raises the risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, sleep apnea, and other medical conditions. Healthy weight loss... Track weight loss... Obesity rates are escalating...

Don't blame obesity on your genes or slow metabolism (July 9, 2008.)
Obesity report card for 2011 ... it's getting worse!

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America's seemingly unlimited food supply is one reason people find it hard to adopt a healthy weight loss lifestyle. A RAND Corporation study looked at the growing obesity (See July 11, 2007) rates in America from 2000 to 2005. Americans who had a BMI of 30 or more grew by 24 percent; those with a BMI of 40 or more grew by 50 percent; those with a BMI of 50 or more grew by a whopping 75 percent!

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, the percentage of Americans aged 20 and over who were overweight in 1960 was 45 percent. Americans aged 20 and over who were obese in 1960 was 13 percent. Currently 66 percent of Americans are overweight while 32 percent are obese.

In his book The End of Overeating, David Kessler writes, "In 1960, when weight was relatively stable in America, women ages 20 to 29 averaged about 128 pounds...By 2000, the average weight of women in that age group had reached 157..." The trend was similar in women aged 40 to 49. Average weight spiked from 140 pounds in 1960 to 169 pounds in 2000.

In a survey of the world's fattest countries, the United States was ranked number 9 by 237 million Americans or 74 percent aged 15 years and over are overweight. determined its numbers by using the BMI which relates weight to height. The countries which had a greater percentage of overweight citizens are almost all located in the South Pacific. The native of the South Pacific islands now need a weight loss lifestyle.

From the mid-1970s to 2003-2004, obesity in America increased from 15 to 33 percent for ages 20 through 74. The rate more than doubled in a little more than 30 years. Here is an obesity rate breakdown for children in that same period: for ages 2 thru 5, obesity increased from 5 to 14%; ages 6 thru 11, obesity increased from 7 to 19%; ages 12 thru 19, obesity increased from 5 to 17%.

Did you know that 'convenience' leads to weight gain? Find out how here

Do you have a successful weight loss story that you would love to share? If so, click here.

(Below is my class picture taken in the early 60s. Only one person would be considered overweight. It was easier then to follow a weight loss lifestyle. Can you find that person? ('Click' picture to see larger image!)

Joseph Elijah Barrett

A recent study found that the one occupation in America which is at the highest risk for obesity is the ministry. When adjustments are made for age and sex, ministers are 20 percent heavier than any other segment of society. A survey found that 76 percent of ministers are either overweight or obese. The typical Sunday meal does not support a healthy weight loss lifestyle.

Being overweight increases the risk of developing many chronic diseases. Following is a list of a few of them. As long as a healthy weight loss lifestyle is neglected, these chronic diseases will increase.

1. increases risk of developing diabetes, gallstones, high blood pressure, heart disease, colon cancer and stroke

2. being 5% to 10% overweight increases the risk of developing chronic disease

3. being overweight by age 50 increases the risk of death by 20% to 40%; obesity doubled or tripled the risk of death

4. increases liklihood of developing asthma by 50%

5. increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 300%

6. increases risk of high cholesterol by 200%

7. increases risk of developing heart disease by 200%

8. increases risk of developing arthritis by 200%

9. increases risk of developing high blood pressure by 200%. Weight loss & calories...

America's African-American community has a disproportionate number of members who are overweight. Almost 80% of African-American adult women are overweight and 67% of its adult men are overweight. African-American teenagers haven't escaped this epidemic either. Approximately 20% between the ages of 12 and 19 are overweight. A weight loss lifestyle can reverse this trend.

Weight Loss Lifestyle and Low Glycemic Index Foods

A French study revealed that overweight men placed on a low glycemic index (GI) diet lost a pound of fat (3,500 calories) from their abdomens. The length of the study was 5 weeks.

A follow-up study conducted in Europe found that people who implemented a low GI diet not only had better blood sugar levels, but smaller waists!

(Read the effect a high glycemic beverage has on blood sugar here...)

Weight Loss Lifestyle and Sleep Deprivation

The body reacts to sleep deprivation as it does to chronic stress. This is because sleep deprivation puts the body in a stressful situation.

When the body doesn't get enough sleep, it pumps cortisol from the adrenal glands. At the same time glucose (blood sugar) levels rise. In response, the pancreas releases insulin to lower the glucose levels. The cortisol and glucose are the body's response to a perceived 'threat.'

The constant 'stress' caused by sleep deprivation brings about insulin resistance. Unchecked and uncontrolled, insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes, and then to diabetes. This also leads the body to store fat. A weight loss lifestyle under these circumstances is all but impossible.

A person needs an average of 7 hours of quality sleep per night.

A University of Chicago study reveals that a few sleepless nights strung together dropped leptin levels by 18%, and boosted ghrelin (hormone that triggers appetite) by about 30%!

Weight Loss Lifestyle and Hoodia

The hoodia plant is native to the southern part of Africa. Specifically, it can be found in the Kalahari desert which covers much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. The Kalahari desert comprises 362,500 square miles.

The San people (commonly known as Bushmen) of the Kalahari desert have been eating the hoodia plant for hundreds of years. The hoodia plant has been a part of their diet NOT to lose weight, but to suppress their appetite. This was necessary on hunting trips when the game was scarce.

The hoodia plant was analyzed by a South African laboratory in the 1960s. It was part of a study of indigenous foods. When the plant was fed to laboratory animals, they lost weight.

It seems that hoodia mimics glucose (blood sugar) and its effects on nerve cells in the brain. It tells the brain that you are full even though in reality you are not. There are no side effects.

Hoodia contains an active compound which has been named P57 which can effectively turn off hunger and thirst. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has $21 million invested in hoodia so that it can be manufactured as an appetite suppressant.

Important Note about hoodia. Hoodia is not a weight loss plant even though it can be used as part of a weight loss lifestyle. It doesn't speed up the metabolism to burn fat. As a matter if fact, it doesn't affect the metabolism at all. It merely suppresses the appetite!

Hoodia is not some magical one-shot weight-loss cure all. It can be effective in a healthy lifestyle already consisting of proper nutrition and exercise. Nutrition plus exercise plus hoodia is an effective weight loss/weight maintenance combination.

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. There is plenty of deception and fraud in the marketplace. Some hoodia products currently on the market contain bogus ingredients, artificial sweeteners, and fillers.

If you are considering hoodia as part of a weight loss lifestyle, do your homework. This site is dedicated to the truth about hoodia, and recommends genuine products.


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas discovered that the neurotransmitter serotonin is not only a mood enhancer, but also assists in decreasing the appetite. Specifically, serotonin activates certain neurons that slow down the appetite while at the same time blocking the neurons that increase it.

While pharmaceutical companies will undoubtably try to formulate drugs to mimic what serotonin does, there are safe and natural ways to increase serotonin levels. The first thing to do is avoid all foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate) and yellow dye #5 (tartrazine.) Yellow dye #5 is used in cereals, custards, beverages, ice creams, and preserves. By law it has to be listed on the ingredient label.

Make certain to get B complex vitamins. The body utilizes vitamin B-6 and other compounds to convert naturally occurring 5-HTP into serotonin. Get plenty of sun exposure. Last but certainly not least--exercise! Exercise boosts serotonin levels in the brain.

Weight Loss Lifestyle and DHEA

According to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone, commonly known as DHEA, significantly reduced abdominal fat and improved insulin levels. MRI images showed that DHEA reduced both subcutaneous and visceral fat.

Study participants were men and women from 65 to 78 years of age. Levels of DHEA reach their peak at the age of 20, and then slowly decreases. At the age of 70, there's only about 20 percent of the peak levels left.

The volunteer women who were given supplemental DHEA had a 10.2 percent decrease in visceral fat and the men experienced a 7.4 percent decrease. Both men and women experienced a 6 percent decrease in subcutaneous fat.

Dennis T. Villareal, M.D., assistant professor of medicine said, "Among different fat stores, visceral fat is specifically considered potent and metabolically active because its blood drains directly to the liver. Fatty acids from visceral fat get deposited in the liver and other organs and then mediate the decrease in insulin action that leads to an increased risk for diabetes."

The use DHEA as a fat reducing supplement has a champion in Dr. Mark Stengler, one of America's leading natural physicians.

Build Muscle On a Plant-Based Diet

According to an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a plant-based diet can be used to effectively build and maintain muscle.

The study used 400 male and female volunteers 65 years old and up. A group was given a high potassium diet to eat. A potassium diet comes from eating fruits and vegetables-an alkalizing, plant-based diet.

The group that ate a plant-based diet had 3.6 additional pounds of muscle (lean tissue) than the group that consumed half as much dietary potassium.

Diseases Attributable to Obesity

The following diseases negatively affect a weight loss lifestyle:

  • diabetes
  • congestive heart failure
  • enlarged heart
  • pulmonary embolism
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • fatty liver disease
  • hernia
  • erectile dysfunction
  • urinary incontinence
  • chronic renal failure
  • lymph edema
  • cellulitis
  • stroke
  • Pickwickian syndrome
  • depression
  • osteoarthritis
  • gout
  • gallbladder disease
  • Weight Loss Lifestyle and Saffron Extract

    One of America's most alarming lifestyle statistics is the ever rising obesity epidemic. There seems to be no end in sight.

    One of the factors driving this "growth" of double and triple X waist sizes is our diet. The standard American diet (SAD) is composed primarily of processed food high in fat producing substances such as high fructose corn syrup, genetically-modified ingredients, and an imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids (mainly vegetable oils) to omega-3 fatty acids.

    A lot of the overindulgence of eating is fueled by our emotional state. Worries about the economy, jobs, bills, news, etc. creates a lot of stress. This stress compels people to reach out to so-called comfort foods such as chips, cakes, ice cream, and other sweet and salty treats.

    These comforting "treats" produce a surge in the brain's feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin satisfies that craving we feel when we get depressed.

    What if you could get the same effect without reaching for fat-producing junk food?

    Exciting news has emerged about studies that show saffron extract produces the same effect on serotonin levels as sweet and salty treats without the accompanying weight gain.

    There is one caveat however. Don't confuse saffron extract with safflower oil as I once did. Safflower oil is produced from the safflower plant while saffron extract is derived from a herb grown commercially in countries like France, Spain, and India.

    Scientific studies also show that saffron extract reduces your appetite. That directly translates into a reduction in cravings which people feel powerless to control.

    I recommend saffron extract as it is natural and proven to reduce inches and weight. As with any other supplement, saffron extract should only be used as part of a healthy diet. Use it with whole, natural food and exercise.

    Weight Loss Lifestyle and Calories In calories Out

    Dodo birdMost people have heard of the Dodo bird. It was last spotted in 1662 but is now extinct. Lately the term dodo has come designate something outdated or extinct.

    The first law of thermodynamics is a law of physics that is as certain as death. It states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can be summarized by saying that any enery that enters a closed system must either leave the system or be stored.

    This concept was commonly thought to apply to calories consumed too. Many nutritionists and medical doctors believed that in order to lose weight, all you had to do was simply eat less calores than you burned (create a calorie deficit).

    Bodybuilders like myself believed in calories in/calories out for dieting too. When I was preparing for competition in the 1980s, I stopped eating fatty foods (fat equated to 9 calores while carbohydrates and protein were 4 each).

    Here's what Micheal Feigin, M.S., C.S.C.S., said in a Huffington Post blog, "...No matter how you slice it, weight loss can summed up by taking in fewer calories than you're expending..." (Feigin, M., December 6, 2011, para. 1).

    Calories in/calories out may have been true when I was growing up in the '50s and early '60s, but many nutritionists and health advocates today are "deep sixing" the concept. It has become a modern day dodo.

    Science has given us many endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals unknowingly carried on the back of food products, pesticides, food and liquid containers, etc. Many of these chemicals did not exist when I was growing up - or they did not exist in the quantities commonly seen today.

    These chemicals mimic human hormones and they are in abundance in our food, water, and environment.

    Hormone-mimicking pollutants turn precursor cells into fat cells in unborn children and potentially change metabolic rates so that the body hoards fat instead of burning it.

    Currently, approximately 66 percent of American adults are overweight while 33 percent are obese. But unfortunately this growing trend is not limited to adults.

    Scientists at the Harvard School of Health reported in 2006 that the evidence of obesity in infants under six years of age had risen 73 percent since 1980 (Begley, S., September 10, 2009, para. 1).

    Obesity in adults can be blamed on our "super-sized" fixation. Huge portions of everything from theater popcorn to soft drinks to gargantuan burgers are common in today's society.

    Our daily diet consists primarily of nutrient deficit fast foods high in sugar and artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and out of proportion omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils and the grain products we eat. As our appetite ballons, so does our waists.

    What can explain the alarming increase of infant obesity? We certainly can't blame it on Big Macs and Big Gulps!

    Something else has entered the equation.

    In 2002, Paula Baillie-Hamilton, a doctor at Stirling University in Scotland, observed in an academic paper that obesity rates had risen in conjunction with the use of pesticides and plasticizers over the last 40 years.

    When Jerrold Heindel of NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) read this paper, he looked at the chemicals mentioned. He noted that many of them caused weight gain even at reduced levels.

    Researchers were now entertaining the idea that hormone-disrupting substances present in the mother's body may be affecting their unborn baby's cells. This would certainly help explain the huge increase in infant obesity since 1980.

    Japanese researchers were studying bisphenol A and its effect on cells in the laboratory. Bisphenol A is used to line food cans, in hard plastic water bottles and containers, and baby bottles.

    Normally these cells become fibroblasts which comprises our body's connective tissue. However, bisphenol A stimulated the cells to become fat cells. It and other compounds the scientists were working with pushed the expansion of existing fat cells too.

    Retha Newbold of NIEHS has studied the effects of estrogen (endocrine disruptors) for 30 years. When her attention turned to seeing if there were any connections to obesity, the results were startling.

    Newbold gave laboratory rats estrogen which was the equivalent of what an average person ingests from the environment. The rats weighed 20 percent more and had 36 percent greater body fat than the control group.

    The "fat" rats were given the same caloric intake and did not move any more or less than the control group. These laboratory results defied the first law of thermodynamics.

    Bruce Blumberg of the University of California at Irvine had also read Paula Baillie-Hamilton's paper; he decided to test to see if the hormone disruptor-obesity connection held true for live animals.

    Earlier this week, I happened to catch a public service program on a local jazz radio station. One topic covered was tributytin, a hormone disruptor. It enters the food chain through seafood and our water supply.

    The researcher interviewed was convinced that tributytin was linked to America's spiraling obesity epidemic. This is the substance Blumberg used in the laboratory.

    His results confirmed Newbold's laboratory results; the parent rats' offspring were born with more fat, had more fat cells, and became 5 to 20 percent fatter by the time they reached adulthood.

    Blumberg's discovery was so revolutionary that he decided that these endocrine disruptors which fueled obesity should have their own term. He called them obesogens.

    Soy has been widely promoted in America as a replacement for the saturated fat in milk and red meat. Soy contains a substance known as genistein, a suspected obesogen.

    Soy is popular withhealth advocates and vegetarians. I once was on the soy bandwagon eating soy burgers and drinking soy milk. Soy formula is commonly given to infants.

    Laboratory rats which were fed soy had higher bodyfat levels than those which were not given soy.

    Researchers tell us that virtually every American has some level of obesogen in their body. How it may effect an individual varies.

    For those people who have a weight problem due to inheriting obesogens from their mothers, nothing can ever change that. But a clean diet and exercise may help control uncontrollable weight gain.

    Future mothers should be extremely careful with their diets. Avoid all unfermented soy products (almost all products on the market are unfermented). Avoid canned food as the cans may be lined with bisphenol A. Stay away from processed food and prepare your own meals from scratch. Eating organic as much as you can aford to will help immensely.

    Read also: sugar addiction

    Sources: Feigin, M., Huffington Post. Retrieved from Huffington Post
    Begley, S., Daily Beast. Retrieved from Daily Beast

    dangerous hidden fat
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    portion sizes growing
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    the glycemic index
    artificial sweeteners
    the dangers of fructose
    lose weight with CLA
    protein essential in weight loss
    understanding nutrition labels
    mind makeover
    understanding fat-free/low-fat labels
    reduce stress
    overweight and kidney disease
    fat skinny people

    Weight loss lifestyle menu
    Low Glycemic Index Foods Weight Loss Problems Inflammation Track Weight Loss Visceral Fat Obese Body Shape Weight Loss Fat Portion Size Fast Food Protein CLA Low Fat Labels Reduce Stress Weight Loss Myths Excess Estrogen Excitotoxins Fat Low-Fat-Diet Sleep Deprivation Hoodia Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) Serotonin Sleep Deprivation Bad Habits Belly Fat DHEA Build Muscle On a Plant-Based Diet Diseases Attributable to Obesity Sugar Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers for Weight Loss Saffron Extract

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