It’s now March and if you set health and fitness goals in January, you should be able to see some results from those efforts. Hopefully, you are starting to see some inches fall off and your clothes fitting a little differently, or you’re breathing a little easier with less knee pain.
Maybe you are still trying to get it together and move money through your FSA to accommodate your new fitness plan, or just plain having trouble taking the steps or time necessary to facilitate a change. Whatever your reason for not getting started, you still have time before those coats come off. There’s no time like the present.
Everywhere you look, there’s an advertisement about the quick success with SP or the “Skinny Pill,”and we can’t wait to see results with an INSTAGRAM-like picture of weight loss. 50-60 pounds has have crept up over a couple of years but,my gosh, we want it off in one month; a month with no other lifestyle adjustments. Think about how little information is available about the long-term effects of SP – does that sound like a smart plan?
The best fitness plan should include behavior modification; a dietary review and the help of online APPs and a nutritionist. Plus, we should consider exercise with the help of a personal trainer and supplements to provide vital vitamins and nutrients. We don’t usually think of the benefits of these changes unless we are already facing medical problems. However small changes in nutrition and exercise can have large effects on medical conditions such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol.
Any elevation of blood sugar causes the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin goes into cells and binds at its receptor and absorbs carbohydrates (glucose) from the blood. The glucose is then stored in the liver and muscle for use later. Glucose in the form of carbohydrates (simple and complex) is the body’s fuel.
- Simple carbs cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop down just as quickly, causing cravings for more in just a few hours. Examples of simple carbs are: white rice, white potatoes, sweetened soft drinks, cake, candy, cookies, chips.
- Complex carbs give you a feeling of more energy, help with weight loss and keep you feeling fuller longer. Some examples of complex carbs are: fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, yogurt, sour cream, cheese & milk.
Most people are born with a finite amount of insulin. As we age, the body’s receptors may not respond as well to the insulin that is released. This leads to insulin resistance, decreased sensitivity to insulin or Type II diabetes. Individuals with Type II diabetes continue to produce insulin, while individuals with Type I diabetes produce very little or no insulin. Making lifestyle modifications such as nutrition changes and exercise can improve insulin sensitivity for both types.
Lifestyle changes also affect hypertension and high cholesterol. Hypertension or high blood pressure may have multiple causes: genetic, smoking, obesity, kidney disease, age, diet, kidney disease, birth control pills, stress or tumors. In most cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown.
High cholesterol may be due to genetic factors, age, sex, family history and BMI (body mass index) with men and postmenopausal women at an increased risk. Total cholesterol values should be less than 200, with “good” HDL values >59 and “bad” LDL values <100 mg/ dl. Triglycerides are fats from the foods we eat and should be less than 150mg/dl. Increased levels of triglycerides are associated with heart disease, stroke and coronary artery disease.
Change is not easy, especially since most of our eating and exercise habits have formed over the years. The results of change are well worth the effort, however. Look at the results of the clients below: these two ladies will be the first to tell you their “change” was a journey that they knew would yield sustainable weight loss for years to come.
Dr. Gloria Ivey-Crowe
Women Physicians of Northern Virginia