Expert Weight-Loss Tips

1.  Record-keeping is often the key to success.

2.  Accountability is another key to success. Consider documenting your program and progress on a free website such as FitDay, SparkPeople, 3FatChicks, Calorie Count (http://caloriecount.about.com), or others. Consider blogging about your adventure on a free platform such as WordPress or Blogger. Such a public commitment may be just what you need to keep you motivated.

3.  Do you have a friend or spouse who wants to lose weight? Start the same program at the same time and support each other. That’s built-in accountability.

4.  If you tend to over-eat, floss and brush your teeth after you’re full. You’ll be less likely to go back for more anytime soon.

5.  Eat at least two or three meals daily. Skipping meals may lead to uncontrollable overeating later on. On the other hand, ignore the diet gurus who say you must eat every two or three hours. That’s codswallop.

6.  Eat meals at a leisurely pace, chewing and enjoying each bite thoroughly before swallowing.

7.  Plan to give yourself a specific reward for every 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of weight lost. You know what you like. Consider a weekend get-away, a trip to the beauty salon, jewelry, an evening at the theater, a professional massage, home entertainment equipment, new clothes, etc.

8.  Carefully consider when would be a good time to start your new lifestyle. It should be a period of low or usual stress. Bad times would be Thanksgiving day, Christmas/New Years’ holiday, the first day of a Caribbean cruise, and during a divorce.

9.  If you know you’ve eaten enough at a meal to satisfy your nutritional requirements yet you still feel hungry, drink a large glass of water and wait a while.

10  Limit television to a maximum of a few hours a day.

11.  Maintain a consistent eating pattern throughout the week and year.

12.  Eat breakfast routinely.

13.  Control emotional eating.

14.  Weigh frequently: daily during active weight-loss efforts and during the first two months of your maintenance-of-weight-loss phase. After that, cut back to weekly weights if you want. Daily weights will remind you how hard you worked to achieve your goal.

15.  Be aware that you might regain five or 10 pounds (2-4 kg) of fat now and then. You probably will. Don’t freak out. It’s human nature. You’re not a failure; you’re human. But draw the line and get back on the old weight-loss program for one or two months. Analyze and learn from the episode. Why did it happen? Slipping back into your old ways? Slacking off on exercise? Too many special occasion feasts or cheat days? Allowing junk food or non-essential carbs back into the house?

16.  Learn which food item is your nemesis—the food that consistently torpedoes your resolve to eat right. For example, mine is anything sweet. Remember an old ad campaign for a potato chip: “Betcha can’t eat just one!”? Well, I can’t eat just one cookie. So I don’t get started. I might eat one if it’s the last one available. Or I satisfy my sweet craving with a diet soda, small piece of dark chocolate, or sugar-free gelatin. Just as a recovering alcoholic can’t drink any alcohol, perhaps you should totally abstain from…? You know your own personal gastronomic Achilles heel. Or heels. Experiment with various strategies for vanquishing your nemesis.

17.  If you’re not losing excess weight as expected (about a pound or half a kilogram per week), you may benefit from eating just two meals a day. This will often turn on your cellular weight-loss machinery even when total calorie consumption doesn’t seem much less than usual. The two meals to eat would be breakfast and a mid-afternoon meal (call it what you wish). The key is to not eat within six hours of bedtime. Of course, this trick could cause dangerous hypoglycemia if you’re taking drugs with potential to cause low blood sugars, like insulin and sulfonylureas. If you take drugs for diabetes, talk to your dietitian or physician before instituting a semi-radical diet change like this.

18.  One of the bloggers I follow is James Fell. He says, “If you want to lose weight you need to cook. Period.” James blogs at http://www.sixpackabs.com, with a focus on exercise and fitness.

19.  Regular exercise is much more important for prevention of weight regain rather than for actually losing weight.

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

How Many Years Does Obesity Cut From Lifespan?

Are you tired of this stock photo yet?

Are you tired of this stock photo yet?

MedPageToday has the details. A quote:

In a computer modeling study, very obese men lost just over 8 years of life compared with normal-weight men, and very obese women lost as many as 6 years, Steven Grover, PhD, of McGill University, and colleagues reported online in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

They also found that very obese men and women (defined as a body mass index [BMI] of 35 and higher) lost about 19 years of healthy life, defined as living free of chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Note that “very obese” in this context has a specific definition: body mass index 35 or higher. Calculate yours.

The number of life years lost to obesity and disease were highest for those who were very obese in young adulthood and presumably stayed obese for years. In other words, becoming very obese at age 60 is not as dangerous as at 25.

I first got interested in weight loss in the 1990s when I had an office-based primary care medical practice. It was obvious that many of the medical problems I was treating were related to years of obesity. Believe me, you’re much better off preventing those problems via diet and exercise.

In the 1990’s, both Dr. Dean Ornish’s vegetarian diet and Dr. Robert Atkins low-carb diet were very popular, and you couldn’t find any two diets that were more polar opposites. And do you remember Susan Powter and her “Stop the Insanity” diet? My desire to lead my patients onto the right path resulted in the first edition of my Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

Click for The Lancet study abstract.

Steve Parker, M.D.

QOTD: Peter Brimelow on Lawyers

I don’t know how many of you have been unfortunate enough to be involved in legal action, but if you are, you’ve got realize that it’s a three-way fight. There’s you, there’s your opponent, and there’s your lawyer. And your lawyer is not on your side. His job is to get as much money as possible out of you, frequently in collusion with the other side’s lawyer, and then move on to another client. That’s really the way lawyers operate. You can’t trust on them to defend your best interests. They’re not your champions.

Peter Brimelow

What To Do If Attacked by a Swarm of Bees

Looks harmless enough, right?

Looks harmless enough, right?

I did lot of hiking this last winter in preparation for my Boy Scout troop’s 20-mile hike that we completed about three weeks ago. Some of the risks while hiking in Arizona, and magnified if you’re alone, include:

  • bear attacks
  • rabid animal attacks
  • mountain lion attacks
  • rattlesnake bites
  • gila monster bites
  • scorpion stings
  • dehydration
  • injuries from a fall
  • hypothermia
  • hyperthermia
  • getting hopelessly lost

Taking into account where I hike and the type of hiking I do, my biggest concern this time of year is attack by a swarm of Africanized honey bees. Even if you”re not allergic to bee stings, they can kill you if you get enough stings.

We had one of these swarms in our front yard last year for several weeks

We had one of these swarms in our front yard last year for several weeks

A favorite hike of mine is Pinnacle Peak trail, which is only a 15-minute walk from my front door. A hiker got stung 50 times there a few days ago. It takes many hundreds of stings to kill an adult, probably in the range of 100 stings per 10 lb of body weight.

If I’m attacked by a swarm, my plan is to run as fast as I can for at least a quarter mile before stopping. I’m dropping anything that could slow me down. If I can duck a car or building before my quarter-mile is up, I’ll do it.

If you kill bees by swatting them, it releases chemicals that further inflame the swarm. I doubt I’d have the self-control to not slap bees stinging me.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I’ve lived in Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida, but don’t recall them having this problem.

 

Brian Burgers With Brussels Sprouts, Tomato, and Pistachios

diabetic diet, low-carb diet, paleobetic diet

Brian burger and bacon Brussels sprouts

Here’s another meal recipe from my stepson. We put it together originally for a low-carb diet, such as the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet. But since I provide the nutritional analysis below, it also works with the Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

This makes three servings. You’ll want to make the Bacon Brussels Sprouts to serve with other meals, so I’ve provided an additional nutritional analysis for those alone. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

13 oz (370 g) ground beef, 85% lean

1/2 tbsp (7.5 ml) Tessemae’s All Natural Dressing-Marinade-Dip “Southwest Ranch,” or A1 Steak Sauce or balsamic vinaigrette or AMD vinaigrette (Brian recommends the Tessemae’s Dressing)

1.7 oz (50 g) onion, diced coarse or fine

1 garlic clove, diced

1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) paprika

1–2 pinches of salt (pinch = 1/16 tsp)

pepper to taste (a pinch or 2?)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) dried rosemary, crumbled or crushed

1/2 large egg, whisked to blend white and yolk

3 oz (85 g) lettuce

1 lb (450 g) Brussels sprouts (cut and discard bases if desired, probably doesn’t matter),   shredded

8 oz (225 g) bacon (6.5 regular (not thick) 8-inch strips), diced

3 tbsp (45 ml) water

1.5 large tomatoes, sliced

4.5 oz pistachio nuts

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Prepping the bacon; use a sharp knife

Instructions:

First cook the bacon in a pan over medium–high heat until done. Don’t discard the grease.

Next do your Brussels sprouts prep (shredding). It will take a few minutes to shred it with a knife. Set those aside.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Brian slaving away. Thanks, dude!

Start on the burgers now. Place the ground beef in a bowl then add your chosen sauce or vinaigrette, onion, egg, garlic, paprika, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand. Divide the mess into three patties of equal size. Fry or grill over medium heat until done, about 10 minutes.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Steaming in progress

As soon as the burgers are plopped on the heat, start steaming the shredded sprouts thusly. Take a pan with a lid, add 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the bacon grease and the 3 tbsp of water, then heat that up for a minute or two over medium to high heat. Then throw in the shredded sprouts, salt and pepper to taste (probably unnecessary), and cover with a lid. Immediately reduce heat to medium and cook for 4–6 minutes. The sprouts will soften up as they cook. Gently shake the pot every minute while steaming to prevent contents from sticking to the pan. If necessary, remove the lid and stir while cooking, but this may increase your cooking time since you release hot steam whenever you remove the lid. When the sprouts are done, remove from heat and add the remaining bacon and bacon grease, then blend.

Bacon has been added and blended after the sprouts are cooked

Bacon has been added and blended in after the sprouts are cooked

Serve the burger on a bed of lettuce (1 0z). Enjoy tomato and pistachios on the side. Serving sizes are below.

Number of Servings: 3 (one burger patty, 1 oz (30 g) lettuce, 1 cup (240 ml) of sprouts, 1/2 tomato or a third of all the slices, 1.5 oz (40 g) pistachio nuts)

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 2 veggies, 1 protein, 4 fats

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

58% fat

17% carbohydrate

25% protein

740 calories

32 g carbohydrate

12 g fiber

20 g digestible carbohydrate

827 mg sodium

1,802 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in fiber, protein, vitamin B6, B12, C, copper, iron, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and zinc.

Nutritional Analysis for Bacon Brussels Sprouts: (1 cup, no added salt):

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 1 veggie, 1 fat, 1/4 protein

47% fat

28% carbohydrate

26% protein

180 calories

14 g carbohydrate

6 g fiber

8 g digestible carbohydrate

530 mg sodium

709 mg potassium

Prominent features: mucho vitamin C.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Brian likes his burger wrapped in 2 oz of lettuce

QOTD: Claire Wolfe on Revolution

“America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution, mid-1990s

Your Wine May Kill You In Ways You Never Imagined

Is the arsenic in the irrigation water, pesticides, or introduced during processsing?

Is the arsenic in the irrigation water, pesticides, or introduced during processsing?

In case you haven’t heard yet, a class-action lawsuit in California alleges that certain wines have dangerously high levels of arsenic that could cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes. USA Today has one of the ubiquitous stories outlining the few details we know at this point.

Furthermore, chronic low-dose arsenic exposure can cause skin changes (e.g., scaly thick skin, darkening, lightening), peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain, weakness, typically starting in the feet, then hands), peripheral vascular disease, and liver disease. The cancers linked to arsenic are mostly skin, bladder, lung, and liver. The increased cancer risk persists even after the end of exposure.

How Do You Know If You’ve Been Poisoned With Arsenic?

Comments here refer to chronic low-dose exposure; acute high dose poisoning is a ‘nother can o’ worms.

First, see your doctor for a history and physical exam and let her know you’re worried about arsenic. If arsenic poisoning remains a possibility, lab testing is usually a 24-hour urine collection for arsenic, or spot urine for arsenic and creatinine. “Spot” in this context means a random single specimen, not a 24-hour collection. For the 48 to 72 hours before either of those tests, don’t eat fish, seaweed, or shellfish.

What about testing hair for arsenic? In general, it’s not accurate.

Bottom Line

At this point, if you or someone you love drinks wine, I suggest simply keeping an eye on this story as it develops. We need more facts. The whole thing could blow over, with nothing coming of it. Look for discount prices on the involved wines over the next couple weeks. One of the brands mentioned is Sutter Home, one of my favorites.

Was it just a year ago we had the vapors over arsenic in rice?

Steve Parker, M.D.