September 2006

As over 65% of Americans find themselves identified as obese or overweight, the search for ways to drop those extra pounds… to help bolster flagging willpower in the face of super-sized portions and calorie-laden treats continues in earnest.

While the diet and fitness industry is all too willing to promote the idea of quick, easy fixes, the readings on our bathroom scales don’t seem to be moving all that much. Everyone is looking for weight loss treatments that work, that are free of side effects and offer lasting results. Hypnosis fits the bill on all these.

Hypnosis is already being used as an alternative treatment to help with chronic pain and stress management. Some use it to stop smoking. Others to treat anxiety issues like phobias and panic attacks. Now, an increasing number are turning to this technique to give a boost to their weight loss efforts. In fact, Harvard Medical School psychologist Jean Fain has seen the numbers of people turning to hypnosis for weight loss double in the last five years.

But does it work? There have been few well designed, quality studies on the effectiveness of hypnosis when it comes to weight loss. Finding subjects of the same age and background is one of the major problems such research has faced. Fain points to a mid-nineties study where those who used self-hypnosis lost twice as much weight as those who did not. How long did the weight stay off? Another study puts the figure at as long as two years.

What about side effects? As a form of focused concentration, hypnosis is a tool that helps you find inner strength and tap into abilities that you’ve used in the past so you can put them to work in the here and now to lose weight. The hypnotherapist doesn’t “cure” you of your eating problems or cravings, but rather helps you stay motivated and teaches you how to handle issues related to food. The side effects that come along with hypnosis include less stress, overall feelings of relaxation and well being.

Learning the technique isn’t difficult, though it does take time and effort. A lot depends on how complex your weight issues are, how motivated you are to overcome them, and of course, your ability to be hypnotized — 8 weeks working with a trained hypnotherapist on your weight issues is a good rule of thumb. A very small percentage of the population, roughly 4 to 5% of us are unable to be hypnotized. As for the rest of us, we make suitable subjects and can use hypnosis as one more tool in our battle against those extra pounds.

If you are considering hypnosis for weight loss — beware. It takes a lot of time and considerable work, despite what some may try to sell you. Anyone (online or otherwise) who promises a 100% success rate should be avoided. Hypnosis is not a magic bullet or an effortless quick fix, for loosing weight or controlling any other troublesome behavior. Just like eating right and exercising regularly, to be effective for weight loss, hypnosis must become part of your everyday life. Equally important to hypnosis being successful for weight loss is the skill of the practitioner and the method being used. The most effective treatment is tailored to the unique needs of the individual. Choose a practitioner who is a licensed mental health professional (social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or physician) who has a track record of working with weight loss, and who makes you feel comfortable while offering a reasonable treatment plan.

 You can find practitioners by contacting The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis at or the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis at

So, what is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a high quality protein powder from cow’s milk.  Milk has two proteins:  Casein (approximately 80%) and Whey Protein (approximately 20%).  Whey protein is more soluble than casein and also has a higher quality rating.

It has long been considered the “gold standard” of protein for serious athletes who work hard to develop and sustain a lean, strong and well-defined physique.

You may have found that trying to eat enough protein during the day to reach your daily requirement of protein is almost impossible!  Besides, you do not want all that fat and calories from eating so much.

Whey protein is compatible with low-carbohydrate diets and is an ideal choice. Participants in a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported greater satisfaction, less hunger, and weight loss when fat was reduced to 20% of the total calories in their diets, protein increased to 30%, and carbs accounted for 50%

The study participants ate some 441 fewer calories a day when they followed this high-protein diet and regulated their own calorie intake.  

Another study, reported in the Journal of Nutrition, showed that a high-protein diet combined with exercise enhanced weight and fat loss and improved blood fat (lipid) levels.

“Our research suggests that higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and calorie intake,” says researcher Donald Layman, PhD, a professor at theUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Diets higher in protein [and] moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise … have an excellent potential to reduce blood lipids [and] maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel without dieters being sidetracked with constant hunger.”If you suffer from lactose intolerance, then you should select a pure whey protein isolate, which has less than 0.1 gram of lactose per tablespoon. 

This is less lactose than the amount found in a cup of yogurt and research has shown that most people with lactose intolerance have no trouble taking this very small amount of lactose. 

A product called Advanced Protein meets all of the above criteria and it is delicious!  I love the chocolate (it also comes in banana, strawberry and vanilla) and it tastes so good, just mix with water! 

I mix it with Almond Milk (I am lactose intolerant) and boy, what a great drink!

As you may or may not know, protein is the corner stone to a healthy body.

Protein is an important part in the production of blood hemoglobin, antibodies, new muscle tissue and virtually every metabolic process in the human body!  Hair and nails are mostly made of protein.   Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.  

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called “micronutrients.” But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore, has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.  

Without enough protein in your diet, the body cannot repair itself and new muscle cannot be formed if essential amino acids are not present.  In addition, without the required essential amino acids found in protein, the body will attempt to glean what it needs from incomplete dietary protein and release it back into the blood stream.

If the essential amino acid is not delivered soon enough, the incomplete protein is transported to the liver where it is separated from its nitrogen base.  The amino acids remaining are then converted to glucose (blood sugar) and used as energy or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle tissue.  These leftover amino acids can also be stored as fat – yuk! How do you know how much protein you need?   Here is a chart to help you compute how much protein a day you should be consuming.Just find your activity level and multiple your weight by the number next to that level to determine your daily protein requirements. 

Are you eating enough?!!  Example, if you are an adult – competitive athlete, you would multiple your weight by 0.6 – 0.9.  For example, you weigh 250 lbs. and consider yourself a competitive athlete:

         0.6-0.9 X 250 =   150-225 

So, you would need to consume approximately 150 – 225 grams of protein a day!  

If you are like me, you are probably not eating enough protein! 

Activity Level Grams of Protein Per Lb. of Body Weight Per Day  

Current RDA for Inactive Adult 0.4  
Recreational Adult Exerciser 0.5-0.75  
Adult Competitive Athlete 0.6-0.9  
Growing Teenage Athlete 0.8-0.9  

Muscle Mass

Athlete, Restricting Calories 0.8-0.9  
Maximum Usable Amount for Adults 0.9  

Everyone hears about it.  It’s talked about on the news, talk shows, at work, etc.  But, what is it?  How is it defined?  What are the signs of stress?  Do you have it? 

You may be thinking that this is all common knowledge, but you may be surprised to learn that stress is not something that is easily defined. 

Stress is a natural condition that we humans have – you know, it is the fight and flight syndrome – your body immediately gears up with various hormones, etc. to help you deal with the perceived danger that you are encountering at the time.  Of course, you are not confronting a saber-tooth tiger or dinosaur, but you do encounter stress everyday.  Watching ten minutes of the daily news, for instance, can cause stress. 

The fact is though; you must have some stress in your life.  It revives up your adrenalin and excitement that makes life interesting.  Unfortunately, too much of a good thing is not healthy – seems to be a universal law here. 

Currently, there is a lot of research suggesting that too much stress can do your body harm.  Although stress may not be directly related to high blood pressure, for instance, it certainly does cause weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses that are directly related to high blood pressure.  Kind of the chicken and the egg question, what came first?  And remember, high blood pressure is called the silent killer for a reason. 

Stress for you may not be the same for me.  Genetically we each have our own stress factors – hot-wired so to speak.  You may not get worked up over having to work late one night while someone else may become highly agitated or stressed over it. 

Causes of stress are varied and may be caused by physical or emotional change.  Change – in your environment, relationships, work, etc. 

Some signs that you are stressed are: 

Physical signs: Headache, ringing in the ears, tiredness, exhaustion, weight gain or loss, difficulty sleeping, dizziness 

Mental signs: Forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, lack of creativity, poor memory, constant worry 

Emotional signs: Anger, anxiety, crying, sadness, loneliness, negative thinking 

You can take control of your stress levels by slowing down.  Sounds too simple doesn’t it?  But just stop and think for a moment.  It was not that long ago when we did not have cell phones, e-mails, beepers, faxes, etc. to keep pushing us to move faster, do more, hurry, hurry…. And we actually walked to the store!So, how do you combat this thing called stress? 

Learning how to relax probably could save your life – in more ways than one.  The old saying, stop and smell the flowers is not that far off.  Our bodies need time to repair itself and taking time to rest and relax can do wonders not only for you physically but mentally as well. 

It seems that we have the lost the art of relaxing – you know, no cell phones, t.v., radio, mp3 player, etc. etc.   You know, actually sleeping in one morning a week! 

A fifteen minute walk, three or four times a week, can do wonders to help relieve the daily stressors of life.  The amazing thing is that you don’t have to spend any money, drive anywhere or need any special equipment, and it can be done at anytime!  (Sorry, but there really are no excuses here – even if the weather is bad, you still can walk around in your house for 15 minutes – boring, yes, but it gets the job done.) 

Lack of sleep is another factor.  In our fast paced, hectic lives and schedules, we need to make time for more sleep – yes, 8 – 9 hours a night.  If you cannot sleep that long all at once, try taking a nap in the afternoon.  Your body will thank you and your mind too, it needs rest from all that worrying. 

Having regular physicals and blood pressure readings will help you keep a handle on your blood pressure and other health related illnesses. 

So, learn what your stressors are and learn how to cope with them before you develop high blood pressure – which can develop into hearth disease, which can…….

What the heck does hypnosis have to do with weight loss? Do images of a night club act come to mind?  Someone “barking like a dog” on stage and doing whatever the magician (hypnotist) says?

Whatever your impression of hypnosis may be, you may be surprised to learn that as an alternative treatment for everything from pain to stop smoking to weight loss, hypnosis is being used in medical institutions to help manage these conditions.

According to Jean Fain, a psychologist who uses hypnosis at Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Hospital, “The country is getting fatter and fatter, so different weight loss methods are getting more attention.”

O.K… how does hypnosis work?  First, you must remember that no one can make you do something that is against your will.  Alternatively, hypnosis can help you master your own states of awareness and can affect your own bodily functions and psychological responses.

According to Gary Montgomery, president of the Society of Psychological Hypnosis and Division of American Psychological Association, the hypnotic state is defined as a state of focused concentration, much like being so absorbed in a good book that the outside world seems to fade away.  During this state, you become more open to suggestions.

During hypnosis, your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused and attentive, your blood pressure and heart decrease, and certain types of brain wave activity are altered.  You will feel very at ease physically, yet fully awake mentally.  This has been called the “trance” and it is in this state of deep concentration when you become highly responsive to suggestion.

Much like the way television plays upon your need for food and to lose weight.  Constantly repeating the theme of looking thin, being wealthy, popular and fit, drives their message into your subconscious while you are watching the television.

Proof of this effect can be seen when you sit in front of your television and start munching and are unaware, until later, how much you had eaten.  This is a hypnotic state!  Or what about sitting at a red light?  So, when you are in a “trance” or deep concentration, you are unusually responsive to a suggestion or image.

How many times have you watched television and an ad for a hamburger? Don’t you start thinking about something to eat or become hungry?  Or after watching an ad for a weight loss product, do you start to feel guilty for your weight?  This combination of consumption of junk food and dieting creates guilt and, believe it or not, excess weight.

Hypnosis can help you create your own defense against this constant bombardment of television, newspaper and radio ads.  By learning the technique of positive self-hypnosis, you may actually counter all of this negative feedback and start losing weight.

Children are very good candidates to hypnosis therapy.  In one study, 83 percent of children significantly or completely recovered from obesity, asthma, anxiety, pain and habits like sleep walking, thumb sucking and nail biting.

Through the use of tapes, Lee Hubbard of Orange County, California, taught herself how to go into a hypnotic state whenever she feels like overeating.  Now when she wants to overeat, she closes her eyes for a moment and pictures herself walking toward the food and as she is about to take some food, she instead pictures herself walking way.

Hubbard states, “It’s like a movie screen where you observe yourself in the situation.  It lets you control the arena of your thought.”

1.  Increase your metabolism.  You can do this by developing a higher proportion of lean muscle on your body.  The more lean muscle, the larger your fat burning machine.  The only way to do this is to build lean muscle through strength training.  Now ladies, this does not mean to bulk up like Mr. Universe!  It just means to actually use your muscles!  You do it every day, especially if you have children, you know, picking up your baby (who weighs at least 10 lbs.) a few times a day is “strength training”.  By developing more lean muscle, your body will turn into a fat burning machine.  You do not need to spend hours at the gym either.  Just a twenty minute ‘fast walk’ burns fat.  Fast walk means getting your heart rate up to the point where you can just keep a conversation going.  This is called an aerobic workout. Anything faster than that is not beneficial and is commonly called an anaerobic workout.  Since we want to loose fat, we want to keep in the aerobic range.  There are many electronic heart rate monitors and other gadgets to more scientifically help you stay in your aerobic range, but the “talk test” does not cost you anything!  In addition, you continue to burn fat for almost 30 minutes after your walk.

2.  Increase your protein intake.  Yes, research suggests that if you increase your protein intake you will reduce your hunger, which, in turn, reduces your calorie intake.  Of course, you must be careful as to the type and amount of protein you consume, as you do not want to go overboard on the fats.  The July 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) shined the spotlight on protein and appetite. Researchers at the University of Washington showed that an increase in protein to 30% of calories and a reduction in fat to 20%, at a constant carbohydrate intake, resulted in a spontaneous drop in average daily calorie consumption of 441 calories!  In other words, the researchers found that we eat less when protein consumption is increased and, therefore, we consume over 400 less calories.  That beats sweating at the gym for an hour!

3.  Drink water.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Truth be known, we do not drink enough water.  Water is essential for our body to do its work.  Without water our body cannot properly perform all of the many biochemical reactions and metabolic processes that take place in the body.  Water is the primary component of our body fluids; it aids in digestion, provides the vehicle for circulating nutrients and oxygen through the body, as well as for the elimination of waste. It helps lubricate joints, protect organs, and maintain normal body temperature. A well-hydrated body is necessary for optimal exercise and athletic performance. 

Did you know that on average, your body losses 8 – 12 cups of water a day? This is increased by exercise, hot weather, low humidity, altitude, high fiber diet, the consumption of caffeine and alcohol containing beverages.  Next time you take a soda to drink, check the caffeine in it.  For every caffeinated beverage you drink, drink a glass of water.

On average, you should drink at least 8 cups of water a day.  You can count skim milk, 100% fruit juice, and decaffeinated teas as part of this because they are mostly water.

Another method that is used by runners to be sure that they are sufficiently hydrated is to be sure that they pass at least one clear urine a day.  Urine, by the way, is not supposed to be yellow.  Pale yellow is o.k. Clear is better.

4.  Watch your calories.   Yes, I hear you; we have known this for eons.  However, if you are not tracking your calorie intake you don’t know how many you are eating, do you?  Keeping a journal will help you keep track of your calorie intake and give you a reasonable calculation of your calorie intake.  Keep a food journal for one week.  Be honest here, you are only cheating yourself.  Then, at the end of the week, add up your total calories for the week, divided by seven and you have your average daily calorie intake.  Now, to lose weight, take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by twelve (12 x lb).  So, for a 200 lb. man (200 x 12) this would mean 2,400 calories a day.  Now, you have a basis for your calorie intake.  For a maintenance level, multiply for your weight by 15.  Of course, this method does not take into account your activity level, but at least you now know how many calories you need to lose weight.  Remember though, that if you do not eat enough calories your metabolic rate will slow down, thereby defeating what you are trying to accomplish.

 Be consistent and you will see results.  Not overnight but, rather, over time – the permanent type of weight loss.

It all depends on you and the program you choose.  There is still no substitute for the old adage calories in – calories out = weight gain or loss.  In other words, if you eat more than you burn off, you are going to gain weight.

The question is, what will help us in our hectic lives make better food choices?

There are quite a few different high-tech programs out there that can help you.  Of course, if you don’t use them, then nothing will help you.  We come back to the basics again, don’t we – YOU.

One high-tech program, The Food Phone service, gives you instant “live” feedback on every meal you eat to help you keep your food journal.  You know, the journal where you should be keeping track of everything you eat so you know how many calories you are consuming.  Yeah, right.

Anyway, with The Food Phone service you pay a monthly fee of $149 to stay hooked up, via your cell phone, to dieticians who are available 27/7.  Whenever you get the urge to eat, you snap a digital picture of what you want to chow down on, send it electronically to a food phone coach and the coach will phone you back instantly with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” along with suggestions for what to do instead, such as eating half a portion of your desired treat.

Of course, the downside to this service is the cost, and are you actually going to take a picture of all the food you eat every day?  Also, a picture does not give you the full story, like how much fat, sugar, salt or calories in a dish.  It may be helpful in portion control, but this a rather expensive way to do it. 

If you don’t like to write down everything you eat and look up how many calories, fat, salt, etc. is in that meal, there are computer programs that help keep you on your weight loss regime.   These programs vary from simple meal breakdown to sophisticated tracking of both dieting and fitness goals, with meal suggestions, exercise regimes and daily progress reports.  Many also work in PDAs.  The average cost is $35-$49.

The experts, like Lona Sandon, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, states “By using software to track your progress over time, you can see your accomplishments in print, which can be highly motivating.”  As with food journals, Sandon says, these computer programs also raise awareness about eating habits.

Of course, you do not want a computer program that keeps you at the computer for any length of time when you should be moving around.  Balance is the key here. 

There are several online diet programs that are the electronic version of the group approach to losing weight.  With the power of a virtual community to support your weight loss goals, these programs are excellent if you cannot afford in-person nutritional counseling, or it is not convenient for you.  While you are at your computer anyway, these websites are definitely more productive than playing games or surfing.  You just might make some new friends too.

New York University nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, says, “There have been several studies suggesting that Internet weight loss programs can be quite beneficial.”  She also reported that one study found that adding personalized counseling via email significantly improved weight loss in adults at risk for diabetes.

Anything that can help you with portion control and motivation will certainly keep you on the road to better health, if you use it.  It all comes back to your attitude.  You have to want to get healthier and you are the only one who can

Did you know?

About 950,000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each year, which amounts to one death every 33 seconds.

Although heart disease and stroke are often thought to affect men and older people primarily, it is also a major killer of women and people in the prime of life.

About 61 million Americans (almost one-fourth of the population) have some form of cardiovascular disease.

Coronary heart disease is a leading cause of premature, permanent disability among working adults.

Stroke alone accounts for the disability of more than 1 million Americans.

Almost 6 million hospitalizations each year are due to cardiovascular disease.

In the US 60% of the population has a weight problem.

“Morbidly Obese” is clinically defined as being 100 pounds or more overweight. In our population, the number of people being morbidly obese is increasing year after year.

Who is to blame?

On every corner there are fast food billboards and everywhere you turn there is an advertisement for fast food. The amount and length of the ads seem to be increasing also.

On of the first steps we can take to reverse this scenario is to control our fat intake.  But what is fat?  Is all fat bad?

Taking control of just this single area of your overall health will substantially reduce your chances of heart disease as well as reducing the risk of stroke.  Stroke occurs when blood clots block arteries that supply blood to the brain. 

French researchers examined 250 men and women age 60 to 70 and found that those who had fatty plaque narrowing the main artery out of the heart were 9 times more likely to have a stroke than those who did not have this buildup.

Cancer is another possible by-product of excess fat in the diet.  In fact dietary fat is credited with playing a role in as much as 40% of cancers in men and 60% of cancers in women.  Read meat is considered to be one of the biggest culprits, increasing the instance of colon, rectal and prostate cancer in men.  For women the results are colon and possibly breast cancer.  And, researchers are now beginning to believe it may play a role in lung cancer as well.

So why do we still eat it?  Believe it or not, many of us just haven’t gotten the word yet, especially those over 60.  Even though the information about fat has been around for a long time, many people believe that fat is a necessary part of diet. 

Yes, it is true that dietary fat exists for a reason.  It does provide us with the fatty acids we need to control our body temperature, give us healthy skin and hair and protect nerves and our vital organs. 

The problem is that not all fats are created equal and many of us just don’t understand the difference.

Monounsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils and polyunsaturated fats like corn and safflower oils are considered somewhat healthy when taken in moderation.

Saturated fats that we find predominantly in meat, eggs and dairy products are attributed with causing major health problems especially when consumed in large amounts.

Trans-fatty acids are another type of harmful fat.  These are unsaturated fats that food manufacturers use to solidify certain foods like margarine and vegetable shortening.  In addition to being harmful they have no dietary value at all.

Switching to a low-fat style of eating mostly unsaturated fats you may very well quickly feel rejuvenated regardless of your age.  No matter what your age or medical conditions might be, diabetes, high cholesterol, gout or heart disease a low-fat diet is the way to go.

Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of your daily calories and cut back on the fatty acids and the benefits will increase life expectancy.

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