Monday, June 30, 2008

Setting Your Weight Loss Goal

One of the most common health problems today is being overweight. Weight problems significantly increase the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory problems, arthritis and many others. The question naturally arises how should we lose weight. Just as important is how do we prevent gaining it back.

Well, let me allow you in on a little secret. The answer is not by dieting. Americans are obsessed with dieting. The irony here is that it is this very obsession that prevents us from maintaining a healthy, stable weight. Another little secret is that fad diets are even worse. It is true that fad diets will help you lose weight, and in some cases very quickly. In the long run they will not have a lasting effect.

It is believed that as many as 90% of those dieting will regain the weight that they lost withing a year of losing it. It is not uncommon to gain even more weight than was lost in the first place. Dieting and fad diets can cause more problems than they cure. Some of these include headaches, insomnia, constipation, water retention, heart palpitation, nervousness, irritability, and stress on the digestive system. It should be evident that dieting or fad diets alone are not the solution.

To achieve your goal of losing weight and keeping it off, you should consider a multi-faceted approach.

Dieting without sufficient stomach and digestive strength will cause overexertion, dehydration and undernourishment. This leads to further weakening of the digestive tract. When this occurs weight loss will become very difficult. It is important to remember that we depend on our digestive system to absorb and assimilate nutrition. This in turn sustains the body's normal functions. One very important way to maintain our digestive integrity is to chew our food very well. It is helpful to sit while we eat. Last by not least, we should not eat 3 hours before bed.

Another important aspect of improving our health and losing weight is to maintain regular bowel movement. This does not suggest the use of laxatives which only weaken the digestive system. Regular bowel movements can be achieved by eating food rich in fiber (whole grains), chewing well, sufficient rest and regular exercise.

This next point is a big one and contrary to what you usually hear. Drinking too much water can cause water retention. The main characteristic of fluid deficiency is dryness. Water in and of itself does not do an adequate job. This results in dehydration. When you drink too much water the kidneys will become weak. In that case they are not able to deal with the excess fluid. This alone can cause bloating which in itself will contribute to excess body weight. You should drink only when thirsty and not gulp. You should also avoid soda, drinks with artificial sweetener and power drinks.

Here is another point contrary to popular belief. You should eat 3 meals per day, not several smaller ones. You can eat as much as you wish with the following caveats. Chew your food extremely well. You will be satisfied sooner. Up to 90% of digestion will take place in your mouth, thereby taking the burden off your digestive tract. Your food should be natural, consisting mostly of whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Avoid processed and prepared foods. Do not eat at least 3 hours before bed time.

You should exercise regularly. Obviously, this provides several benefits including the increase of your body's metabolism.

Chinese herbal supplements can be a great adjunct in your weight loss program. The good ones are all natural and do not have any serious side effects. One word of caution. There are several Chinese teas around at the moment that promise spectacular results. I have consulted with a Chinese doctor. He informs me that these teas, while harmless, provide no weight loss benefit.

There you have it. If you have a weight problem there is no time like the present. Now there are two things you have to do in order to accomplish your goals. Focus and take action.

Kathryn Soloff is the mother of 8 children and a natural foods cook for over 30 years. She is co-publisher of where she provides additional advice, tips and hard to find information on Weight Loss

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