It’s time that we come to terms with the health challenges thrown upon us-diabetes, obesity, blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, cancer and more. Each of these problems are interlinked and the presence of one problem paves way for the appearance of another. Diabetes and impaired blood pressure levels are two conditions that’s been present among most families since the time of our forefathers. It is genetic and runs in families which makes most of us susceptible to both any time in life. We cannot do anything about it but we can always minimize the risk by leading a healthy lifestyle, performing daily physical activity and eating a healthy diet.
Weight-related changes rule the occurrence of many of these diseases. Obesity/overweight are the root cause of many of these problems with these two existing as a major risk factor for health problems as serious as cancer. Physicians and health experts have always emphasized on maintaining a healthy weight but the overweight/obesity rates clearly show that we have turned a deaf ear to their suggestions. Weight-loss interventions have always been suggested for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in individuals suffering from diabetes or those in pre-diabetes stage. Pre-diabetes is like a second chance for an individual to correct his/her lifestyle and avoid being victimized of the disease. Though some doctors prescribe medications even during pre-diabetes stage as a safety protocol, to stop individuals from becoming a diabetic there are some physicians whose only suggestion is diet, exercise and an active lifestyle to correct your blood sugar levels. With the help of our reputed dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com reach your normal weight ranges and keep diabetes under control with their scientifically proven diets and nutrition changes.
While the focus has always been on weight loss interventions for individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes, we have not studied the effects of intervention in people at a lower risk of diabetes. This was taken up researchers at Stanford University and their focus was looking into the association between BMI, family history of the disease and genetic risk factors affecting both, type 2 diabetes or BMI. There were more than 2,50,000 participants aged between 40 and 69 years involved in the study. Research showed that 5% of them suffered from type 2 diabetes and the prevalence was associated with higher BMI, family history of type 2 diabetes and genetic risk factors. It was also good to observe that for every 1 kg BMI reduction there was a 1.37-fold reduction in type 2 diabetes among non-overweight individuals having a BMI<25 without any family history of diabetes. The results were similar to that observed in obese people with a family history of diabetes.
So, anyone irrespective of BMI values can control their risk of type 2 diabetes by losing weight. Though its proven that lower BMI is protective against diabetes it is not confirmed that weight loss later in life would be equally advantageous if the person had been overweight/obese for decades together. Diabetes is a disease that can be kept under tight control if individuals act smart by eating right and exercising regularly. Forgetting to do this can lead to debilitating consequences as medications alone is not sufficient to keep you healthy when you are busy eating sugar-laden sweets.
Perfection is a mirage! The more you look unto it, the more it seems unattainable. Being a perfectionist is good but not great! This statement might sound ironic but believe me, there are more downsides to embracing perfection than its perks! There are different kinds of people in this world and perfectionists are one of them. Some others don’t care about anything (which is terrible) and there are the rest who stand in between. The world would be a perfect place to live if we did not have to wage wars, fight, face health problems, deal with economic crisis and endure the pain of death and separation. But we don’t live in a perfect world and we aren’t even perfect people.
Individuals often set too high goals or don’t set any goals in life and this is applicable to exercising and weight loss as well. Either you work vigorously where fitness becomes an obsession or you laze around devouring processed foods and leading a sedentary life. There are some who decide to hit the gym every single day of life, abstain from all junk and processed foods and become fitter/lose weight irrespective of what’s happening around them. They start working out and following a diligent eating schedule but life indeed is full of surprises and we don’t know what would crop up anytime! Maybe there are chances of catching the flu, getting hit by migraine or suffering from a sprain in which cases you are forced to stop your active lifestyle for a while. This sounds easier in writing but such hurdles devastate the individual’s goals and he/she goes back to his/her unhealthy, unbalanced lifestyle. This is called as the all-or-nothing approach that doesn’t do much good in the long run!
The Pendulum Effect
Life might be a giant wheel where we face ups and downs throughout our journey but human mind is like a pendulum swinging back and forth in thoughts. We swing in between extremes-either happy or sad, healthy or sick, overeating or starving. A person with an all-or-nothing approach perceives anything lesser than perfection as a failure. They set extremely high or impractical standards for themselves and often feel unworthy of existence even if they fail in one or two places. People here are often unhealthy and unbalanced either staying inactive or overdoing at the gym, starving or binge eating, feeling all geared up for or feeling like not even getting out of bed for exercise. They sway this way or the other but never stand in between to take a deep breath and enjoy life.
There are too many disadvantages with the all-or-nothing approach: They are likelier to binge-eat and again go into starvation mode being ashamed of themselves; there are greater chances of giving up as even the slightest deviation from your strategy makes you irritated and frustrated; you tend to punish yourself by skipping meals when you overeat during the previous meal. We are humans and we might feel hungrier on some days of the week; it causes stress and distress emotionally draining you; social life is jeopardized as you turn down invitations to dinner, parties and other functions as you fear missing gym sessions or chances are that you might overeat and get back all your lost fat! In no way should your health routine hamper your social life as being surrounded by people and having friends provides you with a strong support system that can revive your targets irrespective of your daily fitness routine. And, what’s life without knowing people, being in each other’s company and having some fun?
To avoid all such side effects moderation is the key! Let go of the craze behind six-pack abs, size-zero body or the perfectly chiseled thighs! Give room for error and smile when you commit one. Set small, realistic goals that are sure to change into long-term lifestyle changes in the long run. Maybe you can start working out two to three days a week for 30 minutes and slowly extend the duration and the frequency. Understand that setbacks are sure to happen-it might be during festive times that you have an additional sweet or the presence of guests at home can prevent you from exercising regularly or keeping up with your time schedule. Finally, don’t set too much expectations such that it shatters your mind and heart when they are not fulfilled. The important thing is to bounce back from setbacks and get right on track. Be realistic, have a healthy social life, enjoy exercising and relish eating food to stick to your health goals for a lifetime! To plan your health routine or help you with weight loss please get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Colorectal cancer is no more a disease of the elderly population where it mostly strikes people above the age of 50! Statistics show that a greater number of individuals even in their 20s and 30s are being affected by the disease and the National Registry of Canada proves without doubt that colorectal cancer rates are multiplying at supersonic jet sped. The United States too reports rapid increase in rates where the percentage of people rose from 10% in 2004 to more than 12% in 2015. Shockingly, a greater number of youth detected (51.6%) with colon cancer are usually in their advanced stages compared to only 40% in older population. It was also predominantly seen in those residing in urban areas compared to rural areas but there was no difference in the increase in rates across all income levels. Highest percentage was diagnosed among highest earners. The trend is growingly increasing in developed countries worldwide.
Colorectal cancer remains the third most common cancer worldwide with more than 1.8 million cases diagnosed and 881,000 deaths linked with this disease alone in the year 2018. Colorectal cancer happens when cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control resulting in a tumor that’s malignant or benign. The cancer generally starts as a small polyp or growth on the innermost layer of the wall of the colon/rectum. The polyp mostly is a benign one but rarely it is malignant taking years together to become so. In case its malignant, the cells can also enter other layers of the colon or rectum, travel through blood or lymph vessels moving to other parts of the body and set up secondary tumors in other parts of the body.
On one side we have good news that colorectal cancer rates are declining in the elderly population, thanks to various screening procedures available and also the awareness that’s been constantly created. Since the introduction of age-based screening in 2006 in Australia, Canada and the UK there is a great decrease in incidence rates. In those countries such as Denmark, Ireland, Norway and New Zealand where screening programs were introduced much later there has not been much reduction in cancer rates. While younger adults are still at a lower risk of colon cancer compared to elderly people, they are likelier to carry an extremely high risk in their 50s and 60s compared to their parents, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Such increase in risk in such young people is predominantly due to sedentary lifestyle behavior and rising obesity rates. Get in touch with nutritionists and dietitians at www.firsteatright.com to come up with effective solutions to fight against weight gain problems, get rid of your sedentary lifestyle and involve in active exercise routines. Also, those with chronic inflammation and type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of the disease. While the cancer presents itself with symptoms such as persistent bloating, cramps, constipation, blood in stool, fatigue and unexplained weight loss both the individual and the doctors mistake these symptoms for some other disease such as irritable bowel syndrome as they don’t even think about cancer at such young years.
One good news is that the recommended screening age for cancer has been reduced from 50 years to 45 years by the ACS and other countries such as Canada too are looking forward to decrease the screening age but population-based screening in people younger than 45 is not considered to be cost-effective due to evidently low incidence numbers. Family history can give a great insight into the risk for the disease but until the root cause behind the occurrence of cancer at such young ages are found out we cannot come up with effective preventive and early-detection strategies.
We are all results of the XY or XX chromosome from our parents. Besides bringing us alive onto this world we are also innately blessed with their characteristics and personalities with unique behaviours of our own that makes us who we are - bringing about an identity to every individual living in this world. Nurtured with love and affection children are slowly taught on what’s wrong and what’s right, how to behave, talk, move with others and eat. Eating habits are generally learnt by observing others at the table. Every child’s first role model is his/her parents and he/she tries to imitate their acting styles and even choose foods based on their likes and dislikes. So, maybe all parents shoulder the huge responsibility of helping their kids learn table etiquettes, the types of foods they could choose, portion sizes fit for their age and the way they should eat the meal. Despite such upbringing, each of us ultimately land up with our own style of eating, choosing our preferred choice of foods and sticking to our desirable portion sizes. Hence, we have evolved into a community dominated by our choice and preferences beyond what’s needed or what’s right.
Revisiting Basics of Eating
As kids, we all had a fine experience eating at the table with our family. There have also been occasions when we helped our mums set the table or serve simple dishes. For some, it started with a prayer while for others it was one of the best times of the day when there was so much laughter, fun and happiness around. But now, eating has become an undeniable chore that needs to be done as quickly as possible moving on to the next priority job in our busy schedule. In such a haste, we hardly chew the food mostly gulping it down which can cause ample harm to the body.
Eating Too Fast
Eating in a hurry might save time for you but it burdens you with side effects later in life which includes the brunt of:
Overeating & Obesity: The brain is not given sufficient time to realize fullness and you keep loading yourself with more calories than required. Such uncontrolled eating can put you at a higher risk of overweight/obesity. A large-scale study in Japan on people with type 2 diabetes showed that fast eaters were at the highest risk of obesity while slow eaters were at the lowest risk. That’s because, it takes between 15-20 minutes for the brain to realize satiety but a fast eater gobbles down more food in 20 minutes than a slow eater making them victims of overeating and fullness (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-you-a-fast-eater-slow-down-to-eat-and-weigh-less/) with the effects elaborated below:
Digestion: When you gobble down food there is no time for chewing it properly. There are even some who simply swallow it down with a glass of water to finish off with the eating chore as quickly as possible. All this can definitely end up in digestion problems.
Insulin resistance: High blood sugar and insulin levels can land you with insulin resistance.
Decreased Metabolic Syndrome: Finishing off your food in less than 10 minutes? This might make the boss happier as you get to spend more time at your desk working but this is also an indication that you are putting yourself at a dangerously high risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, both of which increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. An exclusive study on this found that fast eaters were 11.6% likelier to develop metabolic syndrome and yet another study showed that fast eaters were three times likelier to be overweight than those who ate meals more slowly.
My best friend was an extremely slow eater and when we went to the hostel mess for a meal together, she would not even be done with one roti by the time the rest of us were near completion. She is not a chatterbox who wastes time while eating, doesn’t keep daydreaming with food right in front of her nor is there any concern that she has a displeasure for the food served. Her only habit was to chew the food as much as possible before swallowing and sending it for digestion. She almost does 25% of the digestion by chewing the food! She is the best example for chewing and eating the food as advised by India’s ancient school of medicine, Ayurveda.
Though nutritionally there is no difference witnessed with excess chewing it does indeed help to control appetite and weight gain. Chewing is said to increase satiety and hunger hormone levels and both, obese and lean people ate less when they chewed more.
There are a lot many advises shared on the best way to eat food and this includes mindful eating which is nothing but eating slowly, intentionally and without any electronic gadgets around with the sole focus of enjoying the food on your plate and being 100% aware of you eating process. This prevents you from eating at jet speed indeed!
Eating together might set the perfect platform for each of us to have fun and catch up on each of our activities through the day, the only time during which we completely forget about work, refrain from using our smartphones and be involved with our family. It provides us with the right opportunity to help our kids understand the art of choosing healthy foods, inspiring them to come up with ingredients that can be used in the next meal and also keep the entire family together providing them with time to come up with any issues or problems that need the intervention of other family members.
Instead of making it an appointment it should be seen as an opportunity to de-stress and build better relationships-parents with their kids and between adults too. There are even some countries where mealtimes are considered to be sacred. For instance, in France while it is acceptable to eat by oneself one should never rush a meal and failing to follow this would bring about awkward glances and dirty glares from other people surrounding the individual. In Mexican cities people often gather together in central areas like parks or town squares to enjoy their meal and in Cambodia villagers follow a pot-luck kind of tradition-each of them bring food and spread out colorful mats to eat them with joy (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/).
We spend ample time training our kids how to eat but all of it disappears when time comes for us to eat our meal-we even forget to put the spoon and fork down between mouthful of foods to take time to chew. You can even talk in between mouthful of foods and reduce your pace to match that of the slowest eater at the table to enjoy your meal and to eat slowly. Also, never wait until you are too hungry as this might ultimately make you eat as fast as possible to satisfy your hunger pangs. Though many might still advice against drinking water in between eating, there are theories supporting and opposing this. It is always recommended to drink two glasses of water before starting to eat and again drink water once you are done. You can limit water consumption during the meal as this can make you seem full and even substitute for the nutrient-rich dishes placed on the table leaving you with unfulfilled nutrition intake. While what we eat determines nutritional count how we eat, our attitude and behaviour towards food is equally important. Don’t rush through the meal, take time to enjoy your lunch break and see the magic it does on your quality of life.
What Happens to Your Body when You Eat Fast? https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-eat-fast-insulin-resistance-obesity-6148204/
It’s Not a Race! How to Know If You Eat Too Fast: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/know-eat-fast-can-do/
Is Eating Too Quickly Bad for your Health? https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/20/is-eating-food-too-quickly-bad-for-health
Are You a Fast Eater? Slow Down to Eat (& Weight) Less: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-you-a-fast-eater-slow-down-to-eat-and-weigh-less/
Why Slow Eaters May Burn More Calories: https://time.com/4736062/slow-eater-chew-your-food/
Eating Slowly May Help with Weight Loss, Study Finds: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2018/02/12/eating-slowly-and-mindfully-may-help-with-weight-loss-study-finds/#5f8ff7995f41
The world survives on smartphones, Internet and social media. One device that has become a replacement for many other devices such as the radio, CD players, conventional telephones, alarm clocks, calendars, reminder books, telephone directories, digital cameras and many more is our very own smartphone. People eat, talk, work and sleep with their smartphones. Science and technology have minimized workload in many spheres of life. Banks were the only place where people withdrew/deposited money but now ATMs have sprung up in every corner of the road, online transactions help us transfer money with the click of a button and starting a FD or RD is only a click away. Supermarkets deliver foods and goods to the ‘exclusive’ customers whose bill amount exceed base requirements while others visit the grocery shop or store to buy their essentials. Men and women visited parlor rarely some decades back, the frequency of visits increased a few years back but now we have people from the parlor visiting our home for services. The same is applicable for tuitions, purchase of dresses, accessories or home appliances too. Even doctors are available online for consultation! So, why not try our online weight loss programs too?
New Gen Men & Women
Obesity is more than the numbers on the scale and affects a person’s life in more ways than for cosmetic reasons only. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancers, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis and exists as an epidemic worldwide. Fitness industry is revolutionizing weight loss strategies and the health sector is minting money by selling slimming products, vibrator machines, weight loss shakes, superfoods and energy drinks to potential customers.
Registered dietitian nutritionists help individuals lose weight with effective diet plans and exercise routines. Its been proved that conventional face-to-face weight loss programs are effective as they focus mainly on issuing healthy diet plans and physical activity charts. Unlike other medical consultations, the time taken here can even go for an hour or more too. Even after enrolling in a program the visits keep happening regularly every week/month for several months until weight loss is successfully achieved. Much time and efforts are wasted in this endeavor.
Mobile phones have been improvised to deliver us with information on total footsteps count, heart rate, other health information and real-time feedback apart from fulfilling their basic requirements. Using the same gadgets to deliver weight loss efforts seem to be a genius idea and there is also increasing interest in using mobile apps to pursue weight loss programs as these programs are cost advantageous and can also reach a huge population because of the rapid growth in mobile phone users.
A Mix-up Study
A study tried to find out the best kind of program for weight loss and took up three weight loss programs namely conventional face-to-face weight loss program, a mobile weight loss app and a partial face-to-face app.
Study participants included men and women aged between 18 and 65 years having a BMI greater than 29 and having a smartphone/tablet/iPad. Individuals who were suffering from physical and/or psychological diseases, those taking medications that could impact body weight, diabetic patients and those diagnosed with sleep apnea during the previous year, people who followed a diet in the year before the beginning of the trial, those with a history of a bariatric surgery and currently pregnant were excluded from the studies.
Participants were split into three groups each of the group receiving instructions on the weight loss routine all through the 12-week study period.
Conventional Group: Here, the participants received an individualized diet plan for 12 weeks from an RDN and a personalized physical activity plan for 12 weeks from yet another physical activity expert. During the first week participants met the RDN and the physical activity expert for 1 hour, again during the second and fifth week, participants met the experts for a 30-minute face-to-face session and during the seventh week again they met the physical activity expert for an additional session. The RDN advised the participants on eating nutritious fruits and veggies, reducing daily calorie consumption by 500 kcal and decreasing intake of oily and sugary foods. The physical activity expert advised participants to exercise at least 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes at a moderate intensity.
They also received credentials for a mobile app link. Again, during the 7th week they received an additional one-on-one session with the physical trainer. The only difference is that participants here missed out on two 30-minute face-to-face sessions with the experts compared to the conventional group.
Control Group: Participants were informed that they were on the waiting list for the weight loss program.
102 of the 122 participants registered completed the study and results showed that:
Tucked away inside your body might be layers and layers of visceral fat that goes unnoticed by your BMI scales. The weight scale doesn’t deceive the eyes but has 100% potential to deceive the scientific concepts that can pass out once you become joyous after seeing the numbers on the scale. The BMI has been the standard measure to gauge a person’s risk of obesity and its related diseases. Surely it does give you a fair idea about the body fat percentage based on height and weight but it never tells you how or where the body stacks away all this excess fat. But why suddenly bother about such hidden fat layers when the weight is just right might be a question that is now going on in your mind. It’s because these are the factors that predict your cardiovascular health. And sadly, more than 50% of such candidates are falsely classified as bearing normal, healthy body weights though they are at an increased risk due to overfat in the body but doesn’t show up as overweight on the scales!
Fat cells exist in each of us and are intended to store fat for utilizing it as energy when time demands. But some of us are extra-cautious (or greedy rather!) to overfill these fat storage cells and allow the extra fat to travel to all other parts of the body such as the liver, muscles and other organs too that have no fat. This way, fat is accumulated in the belly region too as visceral fat which is damaging enough to elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease. Factors such as gender, ethnicity and genetics define one’s predisposition to it and studies show that Indians are at an increased risk of storing visceral fat around the abdomen (abdominal obesity).
Fat Deposits for your Body Type
The young mind doesn’t stop at anything as the individual is equipped with a specialized type of muscle fiber to maximize speed and stamina. The remaining muscle tissues accumulate fat thereby increasing fat percentage in the body although overall weight remains unchanged. This prevents the BMI from reflecting the exact fat percentage in your body and also increases the risk of inflammation and diabetes.
There are evidences showing that waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio measures are a better way to tackle your body’s needs rather than depending on the BMI values solely. In case of individuals with the same BMI but a different waist circumference those with a higher waist circumference value are at an increased risk of heart disease. Hence, those with a pear-shaped body (more fat around the thighs and hips) suffer from a lower risk compared to those with an apple-shaped (abdominal obesity or fat around the abdomen) body. A waist size measuring more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is said to pose a grave risk upon the individual’s health.
Hence, abdominal obesity can be seen to have debilitating side effects on the body’s health although the individual might not be overweight. Adopting a healthier lifestyle, cutting down on intake of high-calorie foods and exercising daily decreases fat percentage in the body and fat cells are now freed of their overcrowded fatness. Approaching weight loss scientifically is the best way to melt away body fat which dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com specialize in. This is one of the main reasons why even a 5% decrease in body weight reduces the risk of heart disease as it’s the visceral fat that starts to melt away initially impressed with your worthy efforts and a clear goal. So, what’s preventing you from starting your fat-reduction journey and hop onto the journey of a healthy heart?
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