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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Depression and Weight Gain

Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won't go away, it may be depression. We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.

Common signs and symptoms of depression
·         Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
·         Loss of interest in daily activities. 
·         Appetite or weight changes. Sleep changes.
·         Irritability or restlessness Loss of energy.
·         Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt
·         Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
·         Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.


Causes for depression
·         Loneliness
·         Lack of social support
·         Recent stressful life experiences
·         Family history of depression
·         Marital or relationship problems
·         Financial strain
·         Early childhood trauma or abuse
·         Alcohol or drug abuse
·         Unemployment or underemployment
·         Health problems or chronic pain


There are lots of possibilities including the fact that people who are depressed may try to relieve their mental pain by eating more. Researchers in this study theorize that the tendency to gain fat around the waistline in depressed people may come from higher cortisol levels produced in response to stress.

Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone” since it’s produced in greater quantities during stressful periods. High levels of cortisol have been correlated with abdominal obesity and accumulation of fat around the waist – as well as a decrease in muscle mass and bone density. Cortisol also raises blood sugar levels, increases blood pressure, and lowers immunity. Too much cortisol isn’t a good thing when it comes to body composition – or overall health.
Elevated cortisol levels also increase appetite to help the body refuel after stressful times, so depressed people with high cortisol levels may eat more food – particularly high carbohydrate foods.

Reducing the Cortisol Response:If depression and weight gain are connected to cortisol, it makes sense to try to reduce cortisol levels naturally. One way to do this is through daily physical exercise. High intensity exercise is best for weight loss, but vigorous exercise and long periods of sustained exercise increases cortisol levels further. The best way to lower cortisol levels naturally is to take a twenty minute walk – preferably outdoors in nature. This not only helps to reduce levels of the “stress hormone” and lift the spirits, it burns extra calories.

Make healthy lifestyle changes:Lifestyle changes are not always easy to make, but they can have a big impact on depression. Lifestyle changes that can be very effective include:
·         Cultivating supportive relationships
·         Getting regular exercise and sleep
·         Eating healthfully to naturally boost mood
·         Managing stress
·         Practicing relaxation techniques
·         Challenging negative thought patterns

By:
www.helpguide.org and By Dr.Kristie Leong M.D

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

There are no shortcuts to weight loss.

The energy you use in your home can come from a coal-fired power station, hydroelectric power, or a wind turbine. You won’t know which because the end result is electricity. The energy that fuels your body can come from fats, proteins or carbohydrates. You won’t know which because the end result is ATP, or cellular energy,” says Cooney, concluding that “Your body will use the energy it needs and store the leftover fats, proteins or carbohydrates as fat. When you do the sums, it’s ultimately a matter of calories in and calories out.” ~ By Alan
So how do you lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. Nobody likes that answer, but continuing to ask the question isn’t going to change it.
We know that any diet will work and, for that matter, any exercise program works, provided you're burning more calories than you're eating.
The question we ask ourselves when it comes to diets or exercise programs is often: Will this help me lose weight? Chances are, whatever it is, it will. The question we may want to ask ourselves is this: Can I follow this for the long-term?
That's one reason that making lifestyle changes is one way people find long-term success.
What about you? Have you ever found yourself trying to go back to an exercise program or diet that worked for you before? If it worked, why weren't you able to stick with it? Is it time to let it go and find something you can do for the long-term?
Weight loss is all about believing in yourself and finding a program that you think works for you. If you believe in yourself it will make it that much easier for you to succeed in your journey. Here are a couple of tips to help you stay motivated on your way:
1) Set Short-Term Goals:
While it is essential to long term goals you must set short term goals as well. Why? It’s simple. If you just set long term goals then you will get disappointed and maybe quick because of a lack of results. But with short term weight loss goals like losing a 1 or 2 a week, or shaving 10 seconds off your mile time then you can see results and it will keep your eye on the prize.
2) Reward Yourself:
A good thing to do in order to continue on your weight loss path is to reward yourself with little things that you have been wanting. Take this for example. "If I stay on track and lose twelve pounds this month, then I'll buy myself that pair of heals I've always wanted." Little incentives like that can really go a long way when it comes to keeping you interested in your program.
Losing weight can be a difficult challenge for anyone but we can all succeed in the task if we are willing to put in enough work towards it. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there that you can use to your aid and conquer all of your weight loss goals. Remember that in order to lose the weight and keep it off for the rest of your life, you can't change your habits for a month or two. You need to change your habits for the rest of your life. Good luck and the best wishes along your weight loss journey.