Sunday, December 9, 2007

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Obesity is the new epidemic sweeping the nation. Reported levels of obesity have soared within the last couple of years and are an all time high. Being ibese is not something that should be taken lightly and a lot of effort should be put in place to hep people who are obese loose weight, if they don’t loose the weight serious consequences await them.

Obesity opens up doors for all sorts of health problems, not only that being obese cant make you feel good in general, you will always be panting after walking only a short distance, you wont be able to manage stairs, finding clothes will be hard and expensive (not to mention the clothes aren’t very fashionable) and basic tasks will take you longer than usual. Many people are unhappy about being obese but sit there waiting for someone else to take over and get them into shape, that has to stop and obese people need to take responsibility for their own actions.

Albeit some people are obese due to medical problems, for example glandular conditions and thyroid problems, but most of the time it is due to the fact that people are lazy, not eating properly and are shunning exercise! Obese people need to open their eyes and look in the mirror closely, they are not healthy and won’t be until they loose weight, loosing weight will be a struggle but there is plenty help available from doctors and services. If you don’t loose weight then you are digging your self an early grave.

Health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and arthritis can all be cause due to obesity and sometimes you can end up bed ridden because you are to large to get out of bed. In more serious cases people die because of strokes and heart attacks caused due to being obese! These health problems are serious ones and they inhibit day to day activities. The first step for someone suffering from obesity is to go to see their doctor and they will refer them to a qualified and registered nutritionist who will then help them on their road to weight loss.

Obesity needs to be addressed and the government are taking steps to emphasize the problems that it is causing, more health articles, adverts and surveys are being done and the government are plastering their findings as far and as wide as they can, but they can only do so much the rest is up to you.


The secret for a REAL weight loss

Visit a nearby newsstand and I am sure that you will come across some magazines promoting miraculous weight-loss formulas. Sometimes they turn to the mythic properties of fruit, like with the “Lemon Diet” or with the “Papaya Diet.” Other times they just create special nutritional plans, say the “Low-Carb Diet.” There are also the magic workouts and exercises that are supposed to reduce your belly circumference by 10 centimeters in three days – while toning your muscles….

Come on!

The reality is that there are no shortcuts or easy ways to get in good shape. Sorry, but someone needed to tell you this.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you won’t not need to starve for days or perform some Spartan training activities. As long as you get conscious about what you are doing, you will see the results. Below you will find the four principles that you need to keep in mind in your weight-loss journey.

1. Forget About Diets

People that go from diet to diet never reach a stable weight, let alone a good shape. The reason is quite simple: diets are, by their very nature, temporary. You can’t expect to eat properly for two or three weeks and fix your weight problems for the rest of the year.

I know it is encouraging to read that you could lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks if you were to eat this and that. It is encouraging but not true. They might even work in the short term, but after a couple of months you will recover what you have lost.

Many of these diets are not even targeted at fat loss. They promise that you will lose weight, but the caloric cut is so drastic that you end up losing many pounds of water and muscle mass along the way, and that is not what you should be aiming for.

If diets are not the solution, what is then? Proper nutrition, and we’ll cover this on the next principle.

2. Proper Nutrition

If you want to keep your weight and fat percentage under control, you will need to learn the basics of nutrition. Once you learn them, you will be able to eat healthy throughout the year.

Buy a nutrition book on some library and read it. At the very minimum you want to know how your body works, what sources of energy it uses, what are the roles of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.

You will need to shift your paradigm about food. Many people, especially those with weight problems, tend to see food as a source of pleasure. They eat what they like, when they want to, and in whatever proportions it might take to satiate them.

This is not the correct approach. You should see food first and foremost as something functional. You will eat because food is the fuel for your body. If you adopt this mentality, you will start eating what you need, when you need, and in the correct amount.

It might sound extreme, but even with this approach you will be able to have pleasure while eating. It is just a matter of getting used to it. Once you detox yourself from the junk food you will see that an apple can be just as tasty as a sugar-jammed apple pie.

Needless to say that if you are trying to lose weight you will need to have a caloric deficit in place. That is, you will need to eat less calories than what your body needs to keep his weight. Ideally you want to jot down some numbers and calculate how much you should be eating. There are plenty of resources online that can help you here.

3. Physical Exercise

Eating healthy and having a caloric deficit will only take you half the way. The other key factor is physical exercise.

Low intensity cardio is the corner stone of any weight loss program. That is because the higher the intensity of the exercise, the lower the amount of free fat acids in your bloodstream (free fat acids come from your stored fat through the lipolysis process, and they are burned for energy).

So far so good, but what is considered low intensity cardio? The easiest way to determine is to find your max heart rate (220 – age = max heart rate) and calculate 40% and 60% of it. That is the range you should aim for when doing low intensity cardio. Suppose you are 20 years old. This means that your max heart rate is around 200, so your range for low intensity cardio is from 80 heart beats per second to 120 heart beats per second.

Pragmatically speaking, what activities can you do as low intensity cardio? There are many of them, from walking to swimming and riding a bicycle; just find something that you like to do.

Start with two weekly sessions, and build your way up. The same theory goes for the duration, find what you are capable of doing in the beginning (without feeling too tired), and build your way up. It might be 10, 20 or 30 minutes, it doesn’t matter as long as you make progress along the way.

4. Discipline and Perseverance

You can start eating healthy and exercising properly, but unless you stick doing it regularly, the results won’t appear (if they do, they won’t last).

Discipline and perseverance are key here.

You could find a friend to exercise together, a mentor to guide you throughout the way, or even write down your progress day after day. Do whatever it takes to stay on track.

That is pretty much all you need.

It won’t be easy, but very few worth things in life are easy to achieve, right?

Good luck!


Monday, December 3, 2007

Got a cold? Here are some herbs for you

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): Antiviral and immunity-enhancer. If you tend to get every bug that goes around during the winter, you can build up your resistance to disease by taking this Chinese tonic herb on a daily basis. It's safe to take indefinitely.

Garlic (Allium sativum): Antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer and cardiovascular tonic par excellence. The best home remedy for colds is to eat two cloves of raw garlic at the onset of symptoms. Chop or crush the cloves to release the allicin (a sulfur compound with strong antibiotic effects) and put them on a sandwich or swallow them in apple sauce. Don't chew and the garlic won't stay on your breath.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) and sage (Salvia officinalis): Decongestant and antibacterial. Inhaling steam that contains eucalyptus or sage is an excellent remedy for respiratory problems, including chest congestion, bronchitis, bronchial cough and sinusitis. The aromatic oils from eucalyptus and sage leaves help halt bacterial growth and reduce the risk of getting secondary infections. Do the steam routine at least twice a day. As a variation, try several crushed garlic cloves in the water. If you have a sore throat, drink sage tea.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea): Antibiotic, antiviral and immune-enhancer. This native American plant is a fine first-line treatment for colds and flu. At the first sign of trouble, begin taking echinacea and continue until the illness runs its course. Children under 10 can take half the adult dosage.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Warming, anti-inflammatory and anti-nauseant. Ginger root tea helps relieve head and chest congestion while staving off chills. Grate a one-inch piece of peeled ginger root. Place it in a pot with two cups of water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for five minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and simmer one minute more. Remove from heat. Add two tablespoons fresh lemon juice, one or two cloves of mashed garlic and honey to taste. Let cool slightly, and strain if you wish.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): Antiseptic. Speed healing of sore throats by gargling with a warm goldenseal/salt-water solution for a few minutes at a time, at least four times a day.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus): Expectorant, antitussive. Tincture of mullein relieves chest congestion and dry, bronchial coughs. Mullein oil can be used to treat ear infections.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis): Soothing. Calendula lotions and salves, made from the bright orange flowers of this popular ornamental plant, are gentle and effective remedies for chapped skin and chapped lips. Apply as needed.

Tiger Balm: This Chinese herbal remedy, based on camphor and menthol, is great for easing bronchial congestion. The camphor and menthol have a warming action that brings more blood to the area. Just rub Tiger Balm on the chest and cover with a warm towel.

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum): Antidepressant (effective for mild sedation). If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), St. John's wort is a useful complement to light therapy. Take 300 mg of a standardized extract containing 0.3 percent hypericin three times a day. You can taper off this dosage as the days grow longer. Since St. John's wort may take six to eight weeks to work, start this well before the dark days of winter. In theory, an over-stimulated immune system could aggravate allergies or autoimmunity.
An immune support formula with Asian mushrooms.

Vitamin C : Vitamin C functions as a powerful antioxidant that has a role in the repair and regeneration of tissues. It may also support healthy immune function.