Posts Tagged ‘Lifestyle’

Diet advice for 2012 – from Cleveland Clinic

January 5, 2012

It’s  a new year and I resolve to write more blog posts this year than last. So, I’ll start with what is on many people’s minds now: which diet should I choose? Here is the latest from a respected source – Cleveland Clinic.

This New Year’s, losing weight will undoubtedly top many Americans’ list of resolutions – and it’s an important one. One reason? Heart disease is the main health threat caused by obesity. Make your efforts to slim down more successful this year by becoming wise to the “secret of calories!”  …

Just follow these 5 rules:

1. Understand the basic principal of dieting for weight loss. With all of the opposing diet plans forbidding carbohydrates or preaching against fat, it’s easy to see why confusion prevails. But, Cleveland Clinic experts say, recent studies comparing these different diets have found that the proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your diet do not influence weight loss. 

This means, in a nutshell, you can lose weight with any diet as long as you burn more calories than you take in. That’s the secret.

2. Know how many calories you need. Would you believe that of the half of Americans who are dieting at any given time, only 12 percent know how many calories they should consume daily? This number, which for adults ranges from 1,600 to 3,000 a day, depends on your age, gender and activity level. [Here is a useful daily calorie calculator]

3. Change your calorie intake to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn. Eat 500 to 1,000 fewer calories per day and you will lose weight, often one to two pounds per week. But don’t be discouraged when weight loss begins to slow after a few weeks of dieting – this is a normal event as your body adjusts to your new diet. Keep watching calories and exercising and you will keep heading toward your weight loss goal!

4. Don’t be fooled by fad diets. More isn’t always better. In fact, it can be harmful. Any loss of more than two pounds a week is usually just water weight. Studies also show that the faster weight comes off, the quicker it is regained. Stick to a diet that has a goal of only one to two pounds weight loss a week [even better, in the long run, would be one pound per month].

5. Choose a diet you can live with. For your weight loss and weight maintenance efforts to succeed, you must continually manage your calories. No one diet is better than another. Studies show dieters tend to lose five to 10 pounds over the course of a year, regardless which diet they pick. What’s important is to pick a diet that works for you and that you can stick with. And if you’re not successful, pick a different diet next time.

Just asking — 4 questions to ponder

May 27, 2008

One of the strongest influences on weight management and healthy lifestyle is drinking alcohol. I am not referring to the fact that moderate drinking has been shown to have some health benefits (cardiovascular). Rather, too much drinking adds unwanted pounds and negatively affects the brain, liver, and most other organ systems. So, how do you know if you drink “too much?” One of the simplest ways to begin to find out is to take a screening test, such as the RAPS4. Here it is:

RAPS4 (Remorse–Amnesia–Perform–Starter):

1. During the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?
2. During the last year has a friend or a family member ever told you about things you said or did while you were drinking that you could not remember?
3. During the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of drinking?
4. Do you sometime take a drink when you first get up in the morning?

A “yes” answer to at least one of the four questions suggests that your drinking is harmful to your health and well-being and may adversely affect your work and those around you.

If you answered “no” to all four questions, your drinking pattern is considered safe for most people and your results do not suggest that alcohol is harming your health.

You also may have a problem if alcohol is causing or aggravating any specific health problem or lab test.

Here is a more detailed online test, developed by Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

What should you do if you think you might be drinking too much? Well, you can cut down by setting an upper limit of drinks per day and days per week. Or, you can try going alcohol free for 2 months or so and see how you feel after this experiment before deciding whether and how much to drink in the future. If either of these experiments is too difficult, strongly consider getting an evaluation from an alcohol counselor or therapist.

To end this post on a lighter note, here is a comprehensive review of cures for hangovers, from The New Yorker magazine (May 26, 2008). Bottom line: there is little scientific evidence to support any of the claims, but it seems alternating alcoholic drinks with glasses of water helps in several ways: less alcohol consumed, fewer calories consumed, less chance of dehydration (which alcohol consumption can cause).