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Your BMI Says You're Obese - What Does this Mean and How Can You Make it Better?

Written by Dana Yarn, RDLD

obesityThe definition of obesity is as follows...the state of being more than 20 percent above normal weight, having a body fat percentage greater than thirty percent for women and twenty-five percent for men.

Roughly one out of every three adults in the United States is now obese and even more alarming one out of every five children is obese.* The cause of obesity has been directly linked to the standard American diet which is high in processed fats and sugars, and they get little, if any, exercise. The causes of obesity are lifestyle and dietary related, the solution is to make changes in these areas. This would include reduced television watching and increased physical activity.*

 Did you know obesity has classifications? The types of obesity vary based on where the fat is distributed in the body.

Hypertrophic obesity is characterized by an increase in the size of each individual fat cell and is linked to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other serious disturbances of metabolism.

Hyperplastic obesity is an increased number of fat cells throughout the body. This is typically determined by the mother’s diet while the person is still in the womb and early infant nutrition.

There are two main causes of obesity, physiological and psychological factors.

Psychological factors directly relate to the amount of TV watching a person does. Excessive TV watching is linked to the onset of obesity in both adults and children. The sedentary effects of TV watching result in reduced physical activity which results in a reduced basal metabolic rate, which results in less calories burned at rest.

 Physiological theories of obesity are related to brain serotonin levels, diet-induced thermogenesis, the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the metabolism of the fat cells, and sensitivity to the hormone insulin. All of these factors support the notion that obesity is not just a matter of overeating.

Treatment for obesity includes establishing a positive mental attitude, a healthy lifestyle (especially important is regular exercise), a health promoting diet, and supplementary measures. Improving just one of the cornerstones is enough to see positive changes, but improving all four will yield the greatest results.*

How should you eat? Rather than calorie counting and yo-yo dieting to lose weight quickly, focus on making small lifestyle changes that will lead to obtaining an ideal weight FOREVER! Here is what a day of eating for healthy lifestyle should look like.... (Notice there are no artificial sweeteners, diet products, or low fat/fat free items).

Breakfast options:

•1 c gluten free steel cut oats or quinoa with organic/all natural berries, chopped walnuts and unsweetened almond, rice or coconut milk

•Meal replacement shake- 1 scoop hypoallergenic protein powder (pea or rice protein powder), 1 c frozen or fresh organic/all natural fruit, 2 Tbs. ground flax seed, unsweetened almond, rice or coconut milk

Lunch Options:

•Salad – 2-3 c dark leafy greens, 1 c additional chopped all natural vegetables (i.e carrots, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.) ¼ c chopped pecans or walnuts, 3-4 oz wild caught all natural grilled salmon fillet, 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar

•Lettuce wraps: prepared all natural chicken salad (3-4oz all natural chicken grilled and chopped, olive oil based mayonnaise, chopped celery, purple grapes, and walnuts with herbs to taste). Over 4 large romaine or Boston lettuce cups

Dinner Options:

•4-6oz all natural lean steak fillet, 2 c roasted asparagus (use olive oil and lemon), ½-1 c wild rice with herbs to taste

•4-6 oz grilled all natural shrimp skewers (marinade in olive oil, and herbs), 2 c grilled all natural zucchini and squash, 1 medium sized roasted or grilled red potato

There are several weight loss aids that can help either reduce appetite or enhance metabolism. In order of effect we would rate these items as follows:

• 5 – Hydroxytryptophan (5- HTP) - 300mg three times per day (natural herbal supplement that helps reduce carb. cravings)

• Fiber supplements- start out with a small dosage and work your way up to 10g before meals daily

• Chromium- 200 mcg per day

• Medium- chain triglycerides – 1-2 Tablespoons per day (can get this from organic coconut oil)

• Hydroxycitrate- 500 mg three times per day

• Coenzyme Q10 – 100mg daily

R. Kuczmarski et al., Increasing prevalence of overweight among U.S, adults,” JAMA 272 (1994): 205-11.
G. Kolata, “Why do people get fat?” Science 227 (1985): 1327-28.
R.J.Wurtman and J.J. Wurtman, “Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity and Depression,”Adv Exp Med Biol 398 (1996) 35-41.

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