Dear Patient and Friend,
Welcome to the Health & Wellness monthly Newsletter of Drs. Bassan & Bloom – your experts for your health and well being. Thanks for stopping by. If you’d like to unsubscribe from our emails, please click the unsubscribe button at the end of this email, and we’ll remove you from our email list immediately.
Spring is on the way! One of the joys of spring is the feeling of new beginnings. If your New Year's resolutions have faded, think of this as a chance for a fresh start on your goals for good health.
Make a list of the changes you would like to make. Then next to each, write down the steps you could take to achieve each one. Be realistic. Enlist friends or other family members to join you in working toward health goals if you would find that helpful. Keep an ongoing food, beverage, sleep, and exercise record. This allows you to see more accurately what you are doing and keeps you accountable.
Spring cleaning may also be one of your normal springtime rituals. Why not think about "spring cleaning" your kitchen. Do your own food "makeover." Take a good look at what lives there — check cupboards, refrigerator and freezer.
Do any of these foods work against your goals for health? If so, give them away or just do not replace them when they run out. Foods in this category tend to be higher in fat, sugar, sodium, and may not fit into a healthy food group.
Are there healthier foods that could take the place of some of the less healthy ones? At the grocery store, explore some new healthy options. Choose items for both meals and snacks. Think — high fiber, lower sodium, lower fat, more plant-based foods, smaller and leaner portions of animal proteins, lots vegetables and some fruits.
Are there some new healthy recipes you could prepare? Check online, in cookbooks or healthy cooking magazines to get ideas. Switch gears into spring and summer foods, which tend to be lighter and often have fewer calories.
With the return of spring, there is also an increase in the availability of seasonal, local produce. Strawberries are a definite sign that spring is here. Think of all the healthy recipes you can make with the many nutritious and delicious garden treats. Check out your local markets in the weeks ahead and enjoy ‘Springing Into Health!”
The Dangers of Obesity
It seems everywhere we turn we’re hearing about obesity. The statistics. The dangers. The effect it has on all areas of one’s life. We know weight gain is bad, but surrounded by supersized value meals and communities not designed for walking, is there any hope of winning the battle of the bulge?
The answer is a resounding yes. And the first step lies in knowing thy enemy.
Obesity: What Is It?
Over the last 25 years, obesity rates have been climbing steadily. According to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 33 percent of men and 35 percent of women are obese. Even among children and adolescents, 16 percent were found to be obese.
In layman’s terms, obesity is carrying enough body fat to put an individual at risk for a variety of ailments including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, reproductive disorders, osteoarthritis, and cancer, among others. “In short, obesity can affect functioning of all major body organ systems,” says Jennifer Nasser, RD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Obesity is typically determined by figuring out an individual’s body mass index (BMI) using a formula that includes his or her height and weight. For an adult, a number of 25 or larger falls in the overweight category, while a value of 30 or more is considered obese.
This formula is not appropriate for children and teens, however. “BMIs for children and teens are age and gender-specific because the amount of body fat changes with age and growth and differs between boys and girls,” says Rose Clifford, RD, clinical dietitian in the department of pharmacy services at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer an accurate BMI calculator for those under age 20 with their Child and Teen BMI Calculator.
Obesity: What Causes It?
A variety of factors are converging to cause the current obesity epidemic. “More people are becoming obese because of the foods that are available and inexpensive,” says Caroline M. Apovian, MD, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at the Boston Medical Center. “We are eating 200 more calories per day than we did 50 years ago.”
Technology has made our lives easier, yet also more sedentary as we drive instead of walk and e-mail instead of wandering by a colleague’s desk. The environment, too, can be causing us to add extra pounds. “Weight gain results from the interaction between genes and environment,” says Linda Bacon, PhD, associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, and author of Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. “Environmental conditions are changing and some people’s genes make them susceptible to gaining weight in the current environmental conditions.” Bacon says that these include increased toxins in the environment, some of which cause changes in hormones which lead us to store fat, and changes in our eating habits — some of the nutrients more common today don’t trigger our internal weight regulation mechanisms as readily as foods from nature do.
Obesity: What Are Its Effects?
Besides health dangers, obesity can cause economic hardships and psychological effects including depression and self-esteem issues. Perhaps worst of all is the discrimination suffered by those who are obese. “Discrimination against larger people now exceeds that based on race and gender,” says Bacon.
While obesity can be affected by genetics and the environment, there is still plenty you can do to fight it. Stay active by scheduling exercise into your routine and avoid spending too much time on sedentary activities like TV-watching. And make healthy diet choices — with correct portion sizes and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Physician supervised weight loss programs are a safe, effective and proven way to lose unwanted weight. Speak to your doctor to see if a regulated weight loss program is for you.
Sneaky Ways to Add Exercise to Your Day
It’s not just the heavy sweating you do at the gym that helps your heart—and your waistline. “Every bit of movement counts!” says top Hollywood trainer Ramona Braganza, who has helped sculpt the bodies of A-listers like Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba and Halle Berry. “Each time you move your body, you burn calories, and by the end of the day, they all add up. In order to burn a pound of fat a week, you need to use up 3,500 extra calories a week. It sounds
like a lot, but that’s only 500 calories a day of extra activity.” Here are seven ways to move a little more and sneakily burn off 513 calories today.
Take the stairs.Have a friend who lives on the top floor? Or are you heading to a multilevel mall? Going up and down six flights will burn 29 calories.
Lug your grocery bags.Leave the cart by the exit and carry those bags to your car (which, of course, you’ve parked at the far end of the lot). You’ll burn 35 calories.
Stage a walkout at work.Grab a quick sandwich at your desk and spend the rest of your hour walking with office friends. A 45-minute no-sweat stroll will melt 125 calories.
Do your dishes by hand. You’ll use up 75 calories for a half hour of wiping and scrubbing if you don’t use the dishwasher. (Hey, and maybe tone those arms a bit, too!)
Walk while you talk.Pace around while catching up with a friend on the phone: A 20-minute pace-and-call zaps 64 calories.
Get out of your car. Walk to the café for your afternoon coffee instead of driving: Three long blocks will burn up 65 calories.
Clean the house.Just a half hour of chores uses up 75 calories and you’ll be psyched that you can cross cleaning off your to-do list.
Now get moving!