There’s A Time Limit On Grieving Dontcha know!!… REALLY?

“What’re you mean you’re not coming over for dinner during the holidays”???  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah or St. Lucia day for that matter, do you ever feel an obligation to share holidays with family?  That or suffer the wrath of what I call guilt trip syndrome from mom! Okay, I’ll admit there’s no guilt trippin’ this girl into anything revolving around holidays!  Decorations, music, bright lights and snow, family gatherings, New Year’s – I love every bit of it, shared with the right person(s) or loved ones that is.

Unfortunately, it could mean we’re setting ourselves up for something other than a fun-loving, fun-filled, peaceful time – some feel stress, loneliness and constant worry.  Some are grieving. “Be happy” they tell you, but all you can think about is that piercing, heart wrenching sense of loss that’s experienced when longing for the people in your life that are no longer here.  Ugh! Grief and depression!

For the record, grief is not a “disorder” normally requiring any form of treatment; major depression on the other hand is, and does. The two constructs of normal grief and major depression are a source of continued controversy. Disentangling the two in trying to decide where to draw the line when comparing their differences is no easy task for clinicians let alone the lay person.

Holidays are typically shared with people we love most, usually, it’s a fun-filled celebration. How then can anyone be expected to enjoy and cope after losing a loved one?  Holidays represent a multitude of collective memories made over the course of our lifetime, somehow special occasions only magnify our losses so is it any wonder why our celebratory qualities exit stage left?

Depression is debilitating and crippling to say the least, yet, with the gateway of information available right at our fingertips we continue to struggle in eliminating the stigma that comes with it.  Depression and stigma go together like a romantic couple that can’t keep their hands off each other! One that would have Romeo and Juliet feeling envious.  Stigmatization , commonly classified as a normal part of human condition, faced with the unknown our natural response is one of “fight or flight”.

Consequently, the outcome of the “fight or flight” response can enable one to make irrational decisions which in turn can lead to general assumptions.  We begin to fill in the blanks with information which we do not actually know are factual – these presumptions, based on earlier stereotypes  become harmful in that it can prevent one from receiving much needed support and/or medical intervention.

We have all grieved at some point in our lives and can relate to others, however, like depression, grief may last for months and in some cases, years.  Depression often involves a general pervasive sadness and a lack of interest in formerly pleasurable activities; a person will usually obsess over past failures and/or misdeeds.  Grief stricken people tend to react to loss that can transform them with the focus being primarily on the following set of factors:

  • the death of a loved one was either unexpected, sudden, traumatic, violent, or random
  • the death was from a prolonged illness such as Alzheimer’s disease or cancer
  • the loss was of a child
  • the bereaved believed the death could have been prevented
  • the relationship with the deceased person was overly dependent, angry, or ambivalent
  • the bereaved was suffering from an illness that coincided with the death of the loved one
  • the mourner suffered more than one loss within a short period of time
  • the mourner lacks social support

Undoubtedly, while people are celebrating and enjoying a holiday event, the presumption is that everyone is feeling happy.  It almost forces the person who is grieving to believe that they too must to feel the same way thus having to put on a happy face – STOP! Be true to yourself and honest about how you’re feeling, you might be surprised at how supportive people are when you tell them the truth.

There’s a saying that comes to mind “you need to feel it to heal it”,   I know first-hand that trying to bury our emotions can do far more harm than if we actually allowed ourselves to work through the pain at our own pace.  After all, is it the grief we’re trying to avoid or the gut wrenching pain? There’s no time limit on grieving, if you believe there is then dare I suggest you have no heart, or perhaps you never suffered the loss of a loved one.

Other than the loss of a child, there are few things in life that will ever affect one more deeply than the death of a sibling or parent. Afterward, you most certainly will contend with an array of emotions that you quite possibly have never experienced before as I did the day my dad passed away – a day I’d prefer to forget and in a way, I did.  The pain was so deep and intense that my body felt as though it was actually shutting down upon hearing those four tragic words “he didn’t make it”.

In fact, to this very day, I have not fully regained my memory of the events that transpired after the moment I entered the hospital room, the room where my dad was laying on a bed – motionless. In that split second I began to experience nothing short of absolute heartache coupled with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.  There wasn’t anything I could do – Nothing! I wouldn’t be able to bring my dad home ever again.

My mind was crazy glued on that one thought for what seemed like hours, that is, until another reality hit me like a ton of bricks.   This would be my last opportunity, my last chance to hold my dad’s hand, to give him one last kiss and to dig very deep inside myself to muster up what little strength I had left to get the words out that I dreaded most “goodbye daddy”.  It was unbearable and one of the hardest things I ever had to do.  I have no memory of how I got home that day and my recollection of the funeral? I barely remember being present.  It was my body’s way of protecting me, so I keep telling myself.

I’ve been asked multiple times if one ever recovers from that type of pain, as though my response might help them through their own personal grief. I’m still not sure how to answer that question except to say that eventually, we approach a stage in the grieving process known as faded or “attenuated” grief – during which time one feels a sense of adjustment whereby you can function without feeling the tremendous agony you might have felt initially. Each person deals with grief differently leaving their own personal fingerprint behind about how they cope – there is no right or wrong way, only YOUR WAY.

Losing someone you love is never easy, no matter the circumstance or what segment of time in your life the loss has taken place.  When holidays roll around, it is always a painful reminder of the emptiness we feel in our hearts.  Try to remember that your connection to your loved one is never broken because of death and its okay to keep their memory alive.

Perhaps it’s during the attenuated grief stage that I was finally comfortable talking openly about the loss of my dad and all the pain that came with it.  Somehow it became easier to express the wonderful qualities he had, what they meant to me and how he enriched my life.   Honoring someone’s memory shouldn’t be limited to holidays and aren’t reserved for special occasions either.   If you are able to find a healthy coping mechanism to help ease the grieving process even if ever so slightly, don’t be afraid to do whatever it takes, and always keep in mind it’s what feels right to YOU!

What helps me through my favorite holiday is decorating the Christmas tree.  It’s a special time dedicated to the memory of my dad.  There were a few occasions in the last years of his life where he would sit and watch while I fussed in exaggerated frustration to make sure the lights were “just right”. Of course what followed was my dad’s untimely and sporadic outbursts of hysterical laughing coming directly from behind me – I couldn’t help but jump right in and laugh right along with him.  It always puts a big smile on my face when thinking about such precious moments – it makes me feel as though he’s right there with me.

I gotta wonder though…what would my dad be saying at my taking that swig (or two, or three) of good old Johnnie Walker to counter all the anxiety precipitated by the entire “lights just right” fiasco?😉

In loving memory of those who we’ve loved and have lost, but who are forever in our hearts. 

 

“Where a beautiful soul has travelled, beautiful memories remain forever”.

ONLINE GRIEF SUPPORT ORGANIZATION PROVIDING RESOURCES AND SERVICES FOR AND BY PEOPLE GRIEVING.

http://www.mygriefangels.org/Grief_Support_Directory.html

References:

http://www.reset-mylife.net/Bloghttp://www.healthline.com/health/depression/complicated-grief

http://cms.carepages.com/CarePages/en/ArticlesTips/FeatureArticles/Contributors/help-for-severe-depression.html

http://www.opentohope.com/getting-through-the-holidays-include-your-deceased-loved-one/

http://whalefoundation.org/resources/confidential-mental-health/grief-and-grief-recovery/how-to-go-on-living-when-someone-you-love-dies/

Did you say “Perfect Body”?

What would you consider to be the “perfect” female or male body? Instead of embracing diversity in all body types, shapes and sizes, we are often far more preoccupied with appearance. That is, how dissatisfied we’ve become with ourselves rather than appreciating our individual uniqueness. Far more emphasis is placed on how we appear to others, placing us at a much greater risk for engaging in dangerous behaviors to control weight and size.

We are constantly being bombarded with messages pertaining to body image and what the “perfect body” should be. Advertising and mass media have had such a great influence and are definitely amongst the biggest culprits. It should come as no big surprise then, that instead of our focus being placed on a healthy self, we worry about how we will appear to others. Our body image is often based on others looks, we examine how that relates to our own personal goals and aspirations for our bodies. These images become incorporated into our self-perception. Airbrush anyone?

Body image is not a concept that is static as there is constant change. It is not based on facts, but rather influenced by our self-esteem and psychological nature. Our body image is sensitive to our emotions and our moods. We learn how to perceive our body image to the interaction we have with our own families, friends, peers and coaches, but it is only a reinforcement of what is learned from the culture.

Receiving negative feedback as we age can give us a distorted perception of our body shape. One can perceive parts of their body to be unlike they really are. They are convinced that other people are attractive and that body size or shape is a sign of personal failure, which can lead to behaviors such as extreme dieting, exercise compulsion, laxative abuse, vomiting, smoking and use of anabolic steroids – These practices are associated with negative body image.

Many people can become so conscious of their body image they will go the extra mile to achieve the same sculptured body like those that are splashed in the pages of the magazines, billboards, TV, and movie screens. Others try to find sensible and sustainable ways to achieve and maintain a physically fit body, yet overlook another important aspect of their well-being: their emotional health.

If you’ve ever lost weight and managed to reach your dream goal, do you recall what your emotions were like? Were you as happy as you initially anticipated you would be? Although dieting in a manner which uses unhealthy practices such as starvation dieting may result in substantial weight loss, it will certainly affect your overall emotional well-being.

Not all experts agree that human beings are born with a full range of emotions. Instead, some theorize that people were born with instincts and urges, along with an innate capacity for feeling. As people grow older, they develop personalities and nurture relationships with others, which are valuable experiences that help them expand their feelings into full-fledged emotions. Having a complete range of emotion is important for overall health and well-being. We must be aware of our emotions.

Emotionally healthy people are in tune with their emotions and can identify and acknowledge them as experience. After connecting with your emotions, emotionally healthy people will typically develop appropriate ways of expressing them – we must be able to process our emotions. The ability to identify with one’s own emotions enables emotionally healthy people to identify emotions in others and to have an intuitive sense of what it feels like to experience them – showing sensitivity to others and to their emotional state while having the ability to empathize.

Emotionally healthy people honor their emotions which in return empower them to fulfill their goals. As the saying goes, a healthy body cannot be divorced from a healthy mind or a healthy spirit. Emotional health is considered an integral part of an individual’s overall wellness, if neglected, it can certainly cause damage to your physical health in the process. Research has shown that one of the leading contributing factors to illness is stress caused by unresolved emotional issues.

Emotions course through our conscious and unconscious mind at critical junctures or during seemingly inconsequential moments of our lives. Emotions such as grief and anger can be far more difficult to control or reason with. The interplay of various emotions makes that form of “reasoning” not an easy one. Just as emotional health can affect a person’s physical health, the same is true with one’s lifestyle making a direct impact on emotional health. It is important to take vitamins and minerals as they stimulate the production of chemicals in the brain. These are known as neurotransmitters that regulate our physical and mental health functions, including the way we process emotions. Minor deficiencies of these nutrients can lead to depression and irritability, as well as hamper our ability to concentrate and stay motivated.

Unhealthy foods can adversely affect emotional health. An excess amount of caffeine intake can demonstrate many of the same physiological and psychological symptoms as people suffering from anxiety, while a diet with high sugar content has been linked to depression, aggression, and impaired judgment. The real goal in altering your body image must always be health related. Whether an individual is trying to attempt to achieve a healthy weight or a healthy, toned body, the goal must be to achieve good health.

Individuals who desire to change their body image and self-perceptions do not need to change the way they look, feel, act, or live. Instead they must change the way they think about themselves and how attractive they believe themselves to be. Each of us are individuals. We cannot duplicate the current top model and they cannot duplicate us.

The first step for individuals who want to change their body image is to be sure that the weight is within healthy limits by checking with their primary care physician. We must learn to appreciate the diversity that we bring to the human race with our own individual interpretation of our bodies.

When you hear yourself, saying negative things – STOP!  You can be your own worst enemy or your own biggest fan. You need to be realistic about the size you are likely to be based on your genetic and environmental history. By staying active (biking, walking, dancing, yoga, etc.), regardless of your size, you can expect normal weekly and monthly changes in weight and shape. Work towards self-acceptance and self-forgiveness; be kind to yourself.

Make no mistake my friends, children are watching their parents or people dear to them very closely to learn what body image is and how to integrate it into their own lives. When children are learning from parents whose body image is tied to what they see as perfection, it results in raising a generation of children who aspire to perfection to the point that they become anorexic, starve themselves, are constantly dieting and never eat a nutritious well-balanced meal.

Do NOT be afraid to ask for support and encouragement from friends and family or a professional – especially when life is stressful. Most importantly, decide how you wish to spend your energy – do you spend it on making positive changes to yourself? Or, is it spent on focusing on a negative body image? Would you rather spend your valuable time pursuing the “perfect body” or enjoying family, friends, school and life? Clearly, the latter is the healthier choice that can and will lead to a happier and healthier you.

What if this was YOUR Baby?

Personally, I have always been somewhat reluctant to join in on any conversation having to do with religion and politics. Combining the two can certainly force us to acknowledge the tensions this topic often creates (usually stemming from one’s personal views). Granted, there is no easy solution on how to handle it, perhaps we can somehow simultaneously share a strong commitment to religious freedom – that is, respect one’s choices by agreeing to disagree on how each religion is applied  in any given circumstance.

I will admit, initially, it was my  intent  to write about the dangers of “Post-Traumatic Stress and eating disorders” [PTSD].  As I began to type, the imagery flashing before my eyes was one regularly televised, that is, since the war between Palestine and Israel began. As a mom, I couldn’t help but be overcome with deep sadness – I couldn’t allow myself to imagine what life was like for these innocent people, I could barely stomach the mere thought of watching this nightmare unfold in REAL TIME.

The dreadful scene of a mother so grief-stricken , her agonizing cries and unforgettable screams. There she stood over her child’s deceased and lifeless body in trying everything she could to wake her; pain ever so obvious as she was desperately looking for the angelic face she had just kissed only hours ago, only now that adorable face  was buried beneath thick stains of blood. That very image will be ingrained in that innocent mother’s memory and soul for the rest of her life. Now, she’s expected to go on with her life after laying her baby to rest? So, “whose side are YOU on?”

Shouldn’t our children feel safe walking across the street without having to fear that someone could kill them? Fortunately, some children will never have to face what it’s like to live in that type of terror, where others live it every single day of their lives. But how about the rest of us? Is it just me or did it seem the world stood silent while these children were being killed? For what?… Cease-fire? Peace? Try explaining that to all the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and friends who lost their loved ones and a place they once recalled being home. I must ask – whose side are you on?

Evil undoubtedly lurks among us all. Isn’t universal humanitarianism essential when attempting to solve a global problem? Children are children! Conflict increases the vulnerability of those who are already powerless – our children and their children and children in generations to come. Children need to be loved and nurtured. They need to feel protected. Children need a voice. They are often too young to realize why their homes are being destroyed, why they can’t just take a walk to the park and not have to worry about being a grown up at the age 5.

Necessary constants for child development are seriously hindered during a war and the psychological damages of armed conflicts are incalculable. At least two million children have lost their lives in the last decade as a result of wars breaking out at the direction of their so called leader; somehow these factors are concealed, ignored and often misunderstood, but make no mistake, they are harmful to any country nonetheless.

Debates over wars have the power to tear any society apart, it can destroy our faith in each other in the process. Endless opinions. Some may take a more lackadaisical approach, admonishing others to keep emotions in check. Emotions are not a tool of cognition after all (i.e. one cannot and should not use emotions in one’s reasoning process) certainly, one must differentiate between one’s thoughts and one’s emotions with full clarity and precision. I can’t help but wonder how much time they have spent witnessing the horrors of battle and how one deals with its aftermath?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be precipitated when one is exposed to some type of traumatic event(s). They include driving a truck at high risk for encountering roadside bombs, searching homes for enemy combatants, witnessing suicide attacks, land mines blowing up, being victimized by military sexual assaults and physical assaults, being assigned to graves registration, accidents causing serious bodily harm or death, being struck by friendly fire, serving in a medical unit, taking someone’s life, witnessing someone being killed, injured, or tortured, and being taken hostage.

PTSD is seen  in many of the Vietnam veterans who faced a difficult homecoming to say the least. Many managed to adjust well to life back in the United States, however, some veterans haven’t made it all the way home from the war in Southeast Asia. By conservative estimates, at least half a million veterans  to continue leading lives plagued by serious, war-related readjustment problems. Feeling more emotionally estranged than ever, separated or cut off from others, flashbacks to combat, feelings of alienation or anger, depression and an inability to get close or intimate with others. A point often overlooked, drug or alcohol problems or thoughts of suicide. The litany goes on.

The effects of PTSD can be debilitating. The strongest symptom of anxiety for PTSD sufferers is remaining in a constant state of hyper vigilance (always on the alert). This occurs at a subconscious level. Often, the soldier that has returned from battle is not even aware that they are in a hyperactive state. They always seem ready, as if something is about to occur. Mortal combat, unlike most undertakings, has a transformational effect on the mind. Almost any veteran who has ever pulled the trigger of a rifle or managed to duck a bullet in a firefight can draw a thick line in the sand across the course of his or her life comparing their state pre vs. post combat.

There are some veterans that served two tours in Iraq at the young age of 19. We can sympathize, try to imagine what life is like for all military veterans world-wide but unless you’ve lived it, dare I suggest that we would have the slightest clue of what they felt at any given time during the war and after returning home to their loved ones.

The following is a headline from January 30, 2006.   Army Reservist Douglas Barber speaks out about the impact the Vietnam War had on himself and others.

“In In Ohio, a 35-year-old veteran of the Iraq war was buried on Saturday – a week after he committed suicide. Army Reservist Douglas Barber was a member of the Iraq Veterans against the War and had publicly spoken out about the psychological toll war takes on veterans. A month before his death, he appeared on Doug Basham’s radio show. Barber reportedly spent two years fighting the military to get counseling and for the VA to recognize his disability. Just days before he shot himself, Douglas Barber wrote QUOTE, “We cannot stand the memories and [we] decide death is better. We kill ourselves because we are haunted by seeing children killed and families wiped out.” Meanwhile a new report from UPI is estimating 19,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress since 2002. Overall 40,000 veterans from both wars have exhibited some signs of mental health disorders”.

One can only imagine that if anything, this veteran feared what many others claimed in their own personal stories, having to return to a country largely oblivious to the war in which they served. The loneliness he must have felt one could only assume heightened his feelings of sadness and alienation. We do know the internal demons he battled were so devastating that suicide was his only answer.

Reading the following letter from Daniel Somers, age 30, a veteran who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. With the permission of the Somer’s family, Gawker received and published the letter the veteran left before taking his own life on June 10. Here are several excerpts from his letter. I urge you to read it in its entirety so that you get a sense of what his life had become prior to his death.

http: //gawker.com/i-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a-soldiers-last-534538357

“The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility”.

“I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle”?

“This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried………………I am free”.

We all need to wake up and face reality, our children are going to war, brave servicemen and women are making huge sacrifices in their young age and significant challenges await them upon their return home. As we can see by Army Reservist Douglas Barber and veteran Daniel Somers stories, these men were in agony and suffered in silence.  Controlling our emotions and keeping them out of the equation when dealing with war is easier said then done. These vets have a job to do, orders that require adherence, but above all else, they are human with real emotions and there is no “off” switch available upon request.  Most compelling evidence is their heart wrenching stories. So, whose side are YOU on?

How then can any one of us concede that a 19 year old soldier barely out of high school has the mental capacity to absorb, endure and then miraculously rebound from the torment and devastation that a war brings with it?  How can we do that to these young men and these young women and sit in silence? How many of us sat and watched the world cup? All the while, innocent children were taken  to their graves. Have we, as a society become so apathetic that we could care less what’s going on around the world if it’s not happening in our own neighborhood?

No child – it does not matter where they are from, should ever have to be subjected to, nor have to witness a war. They have a right to exist in a safe environment, (being they are so young and innocent) free from violence, free from fear.  Should’nt we as their parents, teachers or mentors have a positive influence on them and show them good conflict resolution skills?  Hopefully that includes them using their vocabulary instead of their fists. To suggest they will come out unscathed after witnessing the remnants of three wars in their young life is ludicrous.   They don’t get to have a say, they don’t have a choice, because they don’t have a voice in any of this – we are their only voice.

“A choir is made up of many voices, including yours and mine. If one by one all go silent then all that will be left are the soloists. Don’t let a loud few determine the nature of the sound. It makes for poor harmony and diminishes the song.”

― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Isn’t it time we send a clear and concise message to our political leaders? I always try my best to keep my ideals and in spite of everything, I’d really like to believe that the good people far outweigh the bad ones, time will tell.

There is no conclusion to a story of this magnitude, no final paragraph resulting in a perfect or magical solution neatly wrapped up with a pretty bow.  As likely as not, the answers may lie somewhere between tolerance and acceptance of one another, at the very least, long enough to come up with a reasonable solution to the conflict in question. Maybe only then, collectively, we can all benefit and strengthen all of humanity.

If asked to depict an image that disturbed me the most when I began writing this paper, my response would be every  one.  Each deserve recognition for what it is, an abomination.  Each picture is indicative of what war can do to a country and what it can do to innocence.  That said, there is one image that will forever be burned in my memory because of its message to all of us.

In front of the reporter’s camera stands a very young little girl from Gaza.  A little girl who should feel hope for a brighter future, be playing in the park along with her friends, or finishing up her school work in the safety of her own home.  Instead, she sits covered in dirt with obvious injuries, she bravely stares into the camera as if somehow it will give her the answer she’s been looking for.  Her sweet voice with English subtitles reads “what does any of this have to do with us kids”? Would you have a reasonable answer for her?  Have you finally decided whose side you are on?  I have.

I’m on her side.

 

This post is dedicated to you AME.  It is also dedicated to my many other new friends that I’ve made through facebook.  Thank you for sharing your personal insights and experiences with me, for allowing me to probe into sensitive topics, for speaking candidly about your military service and re-living your personal traumas with me.  I can’t even try to imagine what your lives have been like after having witnessed  several wars in your lifetimes.  Thank you for putting a name to the faces of your family and friends who perished as a result of war, I know it wasn’t easy.  I can only hope that by speaking about a very sensitive subject it will help you continue to move forward and assist you with the healing process.  

With much Love, Helen.

 

Resources:

http://jmvh.org/article/comparing-ptsd-among-returning-war-veterans/

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/10/09/ptsd-from-viet-nam-to-iraq-and-afghanistan/

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter09/articles/winter09pg10-14.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2206982/I-liked-shoot–women-kids–kind-sport-Secret-Nazi-tapes-reveal-ordinary-German-soldiers-responsible-war-crimes-jusSS.html#ixzz3A6rfgGeE

http://www.historynet.com/vietnam-war

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-day-seven-of-my-family-died-in-gaza-20140731-zyu3s.html#ixzz3A6ZDLTtt

http://www.lintas.me196 × 145Search by imageManfaat Menelan Sperma Bagi Kesehatan

http://www.lintas.me196 × 145Search by image Manfaat Menelan Sperma Bagi Kesehatan

http://gawkergawker.com-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a-soldiers-last-534538357of

Diabetes and (Medical) Exercise

Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic in the field of medical exercise is its application to patients with metabolic or cardiac abnormalities. The top three leading causes of premature death in the United States are heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Despite their prevalence and economic burden, there should be more rehabilitation efforts directed to these conditions in terms of exercise prescription and post-rehabilitative care. There is a substantial amount of evidence that exercise may not only assist in the prevention of these disorders but that it also plays an intricate part of the treatment plan.

There are two types of Diabetes. Diabetes is defined as the body’s inability to metabolize carbohydrates. Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus [IDDM], in which the pancreas loses it’s ability to produce or secrete insulin. The second is non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus [NIDDM], where there is an inability of the muscle cell to uptake insulin from the blood stream making it necessary for the administration of medical intervention.

The medication used by many diabetics is insulin. Insulin is commonly injected under the skin into fatty tissue on the triceps region, abdomen, front of thigh and hip. The medical exercise specialist must inquire about the type of insulin(s) taken during the course of the day, number of injections per day, time of injections to determine appropriate time for exercise, body site preferred for injections (necessary for site specific exercises) while both the patient and fitness specialist must be aware of the times of peak insulin action.

Each type of insulin has an onset, a peak, and a duration time. The onset is how soon the insulin begins to lower your blood glucose once it has been administered. The peak is the time the insulin is working the hardest to lower your blood glucose. The duration is how long the insulin lasts (the length of time it keeps lowering your blood glucose).

For instance, long-acting/fast-acting forms are taken in the morning and evening to to cover the patients insulin requirements. Regular insulin (short acting type) is taken with meals covering glucose peaks which is dependent upon the carbohydrate content of the meal consumed. The correct combination of these types is necessary as it simulate’s the body’s response to a meal naturally. Since a person’s onset, peak, and duration times may vary, it is best to work with your health care team to come up with an insulin plan that works best for you.

The principle of individual differences must be applied when creating an exercise program for the client with special medical concerns and cannot be compared to that of the generally healthy individual. Specific guidelines must be adhered to, if overlooked, it can result in a serious medical emergency.

Studies show that long term physical conditioning lowers one’s blood glucose levels and makes the body more sensitive to insulin which then helps reduce overall resistance. When progress is monitored on a continual basis, the benefits will be noticeable. The main areas of focus with any conditioning program should include aerobic capacity, flexibility, muscular strength/endurance and motor skill development.[1]

Depending upon the type of exercise performed and the conditioning level of the participant, the blood glucose response will differ from one person to another. The diabetic client is constantly battling to avoid hypoglycemia on one hand and hyperglycemia on the other.

Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when the body’s blood sugar (glucose) falls below normal. Most healthy adults maintain fasting glucose levels above 4.0 mmol/L (72 mg/dl), and develop symptoms of hypoglycemia when the glucose falls below 4 mmol/L.[2]

Hypoglycemia is of great concern. One on one training is beneficial for all special medical population groups because the specialist can provide assistance in the event of a medical emergency. The client should carry some form of carbohydrate with them at all times to prevent low blood sugars when symptomatic.

Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar (not to be confused with hypoglycemia) is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood. This is generally a glucose level higher than 11.1 mmol/l (200 mg/dl), but symptoms may not start to become noticeable until even higher values such as 15–20 mmol/l (~250–300 mg/dl). A subject with a consistent range between 100 and 126 (American Diabetes Association guidelines) is considered hyperglycemic, while above 126 mg/dl or 7 mmol/l is generally held to have diabetes. Chronic levels exceeding 7 mmol/l (125 mg/dl) can produce organ damage.[3]

There can be secondary abnormalities due to long standing high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). It can cause deterioration to tissues, becoming more severe around the ten year mark. These complications include retinopathy (eye disease), neuropathy (nerve disease commonly affecting the feet first), myopathy (muscle disease/stiffness), microvascular disease (increasing the risk of heart disease).[4]

Interestingly, exercise allows glucose to get in the cells having a glucose lowering effect. Secondly, stored glycogen* in the muscles and liver can be converted into glucose through what is called gluconeogenesis to provide fuel to muscles during low blood glucose periods. A conditioning effect is usually evident after approximately the first 6 or 7 sessions.

Exercise prescriptions created for the diabetic client must include two important elements, intensity and duration.  The intensity of the fitness routine will equal how fast your heart rate increases and for how long.  The amount of time (duration) which is chosen for the exercise program will relate to an individual’s lifestyle, overall health, amount of weight required for loss and motivation factor.

If the initial level of fitness doesn’t allow the individual to exercise for more than 10 minutes, then incorporating a 10 minute fitness plan three times throughout the day will give similar benefits to doing 30 minutes all at once.  Then, as your fitness level improves, you will be able to maintain a greater intensity for an extended length of time.

It has been my experience through various case studies that conditioning sessions should depend on blood glucose levels. In other words, the higher levels constitute a far more vigorous and longer training session (more sugar to burn). Lower levels constitute a less vigorous session for less time, thus, assisting in the prevention of medical emergencies – highly unlikely if guidelines are followed correctly.

Perhaps the two most fundamental aspects of an ideal weight management program are dietary modifications and regular exercise. When starting ANY weight loss and exercise program, one MUST address all aspects of a person’s physical makeup, lifestyle concerns and behavioral components. There are many factors in determining what will work for each person.

Exercise and weight management programs will improve the quality of your life, it will motivate you as you continue to see positive results.  Incorporating a fitness program into your lifestyle benefits all as there is a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, heart disease, vascular disease, inflammatory disease and cancer. 

Special medical concerns require special attention, please take it seriously because your life can depend on it. Find a specialist that will develop a safe and effective program that does not require the supervision of a licensed medical professional for exercise, however utilizing the parameters that are established by a licensed physician would be highly recommended and the safest way to go.

*Glycogen: Most carbohydrates are broken down in the body to a type of sugar called glucose, which is the main source of fuel for our cells. When the body has extra glucose, it stores it in the liver and muscles. This stored form of glucose is called glycogen. Glycogen is like your backup fuel. It releases glucose into the bloodstream when the body needs a quick energy boost or when a person’s blood glucose level drops.

[1]Family Doctor: Diabetes and Exercise http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/diabetes/treatment/diabetes-and-exercise.html
[2]Cryer, Philip E. (2001). “Hypoglycemia”. In Jefferson L, Cherrington A, Goodman H, eds. for the American Physiological Society. Handbook of Physiology; Section 7, The Endocrine System. II. The endocrine pancreas and regulation of metabolism. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1057–1092.
[3]http://www.diabetes.co.uk/Diabetes-and-Hyperglycaemia.html
[4]The science and practice of rehabilitative exercise FT/ISSA
http:// kidshealth.org/kid/word/g/word_glycogen.html

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Pssst…..The History of Diets Anyone?

In order to understand the “shape” of weight-management, today, it’s helpful to know the evolution of the industry. World-wide obsession with dieting has been around for hundreds of years. The ideal figure has been sought since it was painted on vases.
Now, of course, it’s plastered on billboards and printed in magazines. The following is a recap of some of the more interesting and famous diets.

1917 Diet and Health is first published by Lulu Hunt Peters, a chronically overweight person. Peters teaches readers about “calories,” a term previously used only in physics, and advises a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

1930s Movie stars popularize the Hollywood 18-Day Diet. It consists of grapefruit, melba toast, green vegetables and boiled eggs.

1933 Mayo Clinic’s scientific diet, the Mayo Food Nomogram, is mistaken for a complicated word game and fades into obscurity.

1939 Miracle diet pills, a.k.a. amphetamines, generate sales of $30 million annually before the FDA steps in. Bathing-suit ad slogan: “Suit by Jantzen. Body by Dexaspan.”

1943 Metropolitan Life publishes Ideal Weight Table for women.

1947 Psychoanalyst Hilde Bruch says the glandular theory of obesity is not true. “The blubbery patient belongs not in the gym, but in the psychiatrist’s office.”

1951-1952 The New York Times claims overweight is our number-one health problem. Reader’s Digest admonishes wives to “Stop Killing Your Husband.”

1959 The New York Times now reports that Americans suffer “a dieting neurosis.” Gallup Poll finds 72 percent of dieters are women. Metracal, the first liquid diet proclaims: “Not one of the top 50 U.S. corporations has a fat president.” Girdle sales reach record highs.

1960 Stillman Diet, requiring eight glasses of water and filet mignon every day, is introduced. Overeaters Anonymous, inspired by AA is founded.

1961 A Queens, New York, housewife, Jean Nidetch, starts dieting discussion group. Seventeen years later, sells her Weight Watchers empire for $100 million.

1963 Coca-Cola introduces TAB. However, men won’t drink from a pink can.

1966 Atkins Diet published in Harper’s Bazaar. Eggs, bacon even pork rinds allowed; broccoli is restricted.

1967 Twiggy, 5’7″ and 91 lbs., appears on cover of Vogue four times.

1970 Seventy percent of American families using low-cal products; 10 billion amphetamines manufactured annually.

1977 Liquid protein diets banned after three deaths.

1979 The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet becomes a best-seller. Success is short-lived for creator, Dr. Herman Tarnower.

1982 John Hopkins University researchers calculate that Americans have swallowed more than 29,068 “theories, treatments and outright schemes to lose weight.” NFL endorses Diet Coke for men.

1990 Oprah Winfrey loses 67 pounds on Optifast; one year later, Oprah gains back 67 pounds and declares, “No more diets!”©Copyright 2010 / 2011

1992 The National Institutes of Health champions moderation and daily exercise as the best diet. Extreme obesity declared a disease.

1995 Fen-Phen (fenfluramin and phentermine) introduced to the market place as the new magic pill solution to weight-loss.

1997 Mayo Clinic releases report claiming fen-phen causes heart valve deterioration and possible permanent brain cell damage. Manufacturer voluntarily withdraws fen-phen and Redux from the market.

2000 American Home Products continues to defend against more than 2,000 class action suits brought against the company by parties claiming damaged from the company’s fen-phen-based products. Weider Nutrition settles with the FTC for “Unsubstantiated Claims for Dietary Supplements” for its Phen Cal products.

2002 Atkins returns along with South Beach as they and other low-carb diets become the new trend in weight-loss. Body Solutions, another quick-fix diet pill, file bankruptcy.

2003 Ephedra-based products are banned in California and other states as research points to overuse and abuse
causing serious injury and or death. Obesity reaches highest levels in U.S. history.

2004 Cortislim is charged by the FTC for “claiming, falsely and without substantiation, that their products can cause weight loss and reduce the risk of, or prevent, serious health conditions.

2005 Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig continue to dominate the commercial weight-loss industry with new claims and new games. The USDA introduces the new MyPyramid. It creates even more debate among food experts and fitness professionals.

2006 Hoodia, a plant-based appetite suppressant, begins heavy marketing to U.S. markets without much success. Jenny Craig introduces new weight-loss programs starring celebrities including Kirstie Ally, Vallerie Bertinelli and Queen Latifah.

2007 TrimSpa agrees to pay $1.5 million in January to settle allegations of false and misleading advertising brought by the Federal Trade Commission. In February, TripSpa spokesmodel, Ana Nicole Smith is found dead from a drug overdose.

2008 NutriSystem introduces new Advanced Program with pre-packaged foods delivered to consumers’ doors. Endorsees include former Miami Dolphins Quarterback, Dan Marino, Coach Don Shula as well as several other sports celebrities.

2010 Weight Watchers, NutriSystem and Jenny Craig continue to dominate commercial weight-loss industry. Bariatric or Lap Band surgery increases to become almost mainstream with its advertising campaign: Let your new life begin with 1-800-GET-SLIM. Several insurance companies cover the procedure. New diet drugs awaiting FDA approval include: Lorcaserin, Qnexa and Contrave. Obesity reaches new record levels in U.S. as 12 million Americans are considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight. Costs are estimated at $147 billion per year.

©Copyright 2010 / 2011
Arthur I. Rothafel, Inc, MediCorp
All Rights Reserved

An Emotional Eater? Me?

Have you ever lost complete control and downed half the chocolate cake in the fridge? It was staring you in the face after all, what else could you do? Do you recall what was going through your mind when you reached out and grabbed that cake?  Were you hungry because it was actually dinner time, or was there a deeper issue troubling you?  That pink elephant in the room is what we call emotional eating.

There are many contributing factors that precipitate emotional eating; happiness, sadness,  celebrations, depression, anger, fear or shear frustration.  After all, what could be better than that candy bar?  Unfortunately, the problem is all too common amongst us, yet rarely spoken about.

For addictive habits like binge eating or emotional eating, I would have to agree that triggers are typically stress-induced.  Through years of subconscious conditioning by our families, friends and advertising exposure we have learned that food is used repeatedly for comfort.  I’m sure we’ve all heard “sit down dear, I’ll make you some hot chocolate and you’ll be all better”.  Although these triggers fill a real biological need so that the body has energy to burn, we often use food as a means to fulfill an emotional void.

Many individuals aren’t conscious of hidden or accumulated stress, and if they are, they find it difficult to resolve or let it go.  It isn’t unusual to recognize the various factors that impact whether or not we pick up a piece of food in response to our emotions.  In fact, you may also not have known that most of our decisions have an emotional component attached to it signaling our bodies well before we have had the chance to make a rational decision.

Interestingly, there is a fine line between emotional eating and a full-blown eating disorder.  There are specific characteristics evident in people who have a full-blown eating disorders that may not be as apparent to the emotional eater. Emotional eating will typically fill a void that isn’t related to eating for fuel, (you crave a specific food, such as pizza or ice cream, and only that food will meet your needs at that time).  Emotional hunger needs instant gratification whereas physical hunger can wait.

There are various degrees of severity for all eating disorders. Many people, especially women are concerned about their eating habits and it is hard to depict what behaviors are associated with real eating disorders.  Starving to the point of emaciation, binge eating, vomiting or taking laxatives for weight control (purging), excessive exercising, chewing food and spitting it out, and obsessive dieting are some examples.

There are people who have both an eating disorder and who are avid emotional eaters.  Unfortunately, these individuals may have experienced some form of trauma in their lives, (physical or sexual abuse) which can often lead to eating disorders.  An individual who has experienced this type of abuse has a greater percentage of having an eating disorder vs. the emotional eater. While people who have significant emotional eating habits are not in any immediate medical or psychological danger, they do not suffer any less.

Controlling eating habits can only begin with self-awareness which will ultimately lead to self-management.  Self-awareness is the most difficult part since it involves accepting that you have all the signs of an emotional eater.

  • Do you often feel guilty or ashamed after eating?
  • Does eating make you feel better when you’re feeling down?
  • Does eating help you lessen your focus on problems when you’re worried about something?
  • Do you often eat alone or at odd locations, such as being parked outside a fast food joint?
  • Do you ever eat without realizing you’re even doing it?
  • Do you feel the urge to eat in response to outside cues like seeing food advertised on television?
  • Do you eat because you feel there’s nothing else to do?
  • Do you crave specific foods when you’re upset, such as always desiring chocolate when you feel depressed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions it is possible that you have emotional eating issues.  Make the necessary changes by keeping a short diary.  Write down each time you consume food, what food you consumed, what time was it?  Elaborate on how you were feeling each time you reached for another morsel of food.

You must first acknowledge there is a feeling, something that is causing you to trigger the emotional eating before you can actually discover what causes that response in you.

Through acknowledgment, self-discovery and persistence identifying those emotions will become easier each day. It is time to find what works for you to remedy the problem.  At the end of the day, record the number of times you ate, include the time of day, record any pertinent information and any  emotion that seemed to be involved in the automatic reach for food.  Be extremely honest because you are not hurting or helping anyone else but yourself.

The next step is self-management.  Like all other things in life, the longer you do something the easier it gets.  Practice really does make perfect and it becomes habitual.  Get some help, you will be far more successful if you enlist the assistance of a partner.   As you are forced to document this journey, you will be encouraged to put that food down when you’re angry, depressed or on an emotional high.  The act of emotional eating itself will dissipate in time and you can eat for the right reasons .

Aside from emotional eating to feel that hormonal high, some of us also eat to cope — that is, to reduce emotional distress.  Eating for pleasure or eating to reduce daily stresses are two sides of the coin and our minds divides this coin in half.  On one hand, we are encouraged to slow down and enjoy the food we eat.  On the other hand, we are told by popular culture to never eat for emotional reasons.  If this sounds a bit like hypocrisy, it’s because it is.  What do you think?

 

 

 

RESOURCES KidsHealth.org: Emotional Eating http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/emotional_eating Eating Disorders: Psychological Determinants of Emotional Eating in Adolescents http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859040/Temple University: Study Identifies Triggers for Emotional Eating http://news.temple.edu/news/study-identifies-triggers-emotional-eatingMayoClinic.com: Weight loss help: Gain Control of Emotional Eatinghttp://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/MH00025

Overweight Children and Peer/Parental Pressures – PLEASE READ!!!

It is very important to me that I am selective when deciding on what topic to write about.

We’ve all heard the wise cracks and jokes about overweight individuals. Generally, we’ve all been on one side of the fence – some having to listen to the hurtful and disparaging remarks, while others are guilty of expressing negative comments without any forethought as to how it may affect that person.

There is no safe place from cruel words and taunting assaults to those who struggle with weight. If you happen to be a person who carries extra weight, you know how horrible some people can be. The adolescent and teenage years are often considered the most difficult in life, particularly in the latter’s case.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15 percent of children and teens ages 2 to 19 are considered to be obese. While maintaining a healthy weight is an important skill for teens to learn, it is also important to remember that a teenager does not have the emotional and mental developmental level of an adult. The teenager must be approached with caution, in a patient and compassionate manner, coupled with a healthy attitude. We must keep in mind that teenagers are already in the throes of hormonal surges, which can impact their emotional balance. It is a very sensitive subject.

One would assume that such remarks come from other teens or total strangers. Having worked with and spoken to teens (as well as living it myself) about this very subject almost always leads to the same story. It’s their mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, best friends, and/or teachers, among others, that make such remarks. Many peers of overweight children do not accept them, further fostering negative self-perception.

Teenagers can be annoyed with excess fat on their body and they often have a distorted body image as it is. When weight loss is addressed to teenagers these issues must be included in the plan. Without better knowledge and understanding, teens see themselves differently than they really are, you will not be able to help motivate them to continue to make healthy life choices. Negative and hurtful remarks certainly will not help matters.

Teens often suffer from poor self-esteem and poor self-motivation. It is a parent’s job to help gently encourage them. Research shows that parents who nurture a positive attitude and actively show their child qualities of resilience and optimism will make a dramatic difference that continues into successful, healthy adult years.

Teenagers continue to require appropriate nutrition to feed their growing body. As a parent, believe in them! To foster optimism and resilience in a child who struggles with weight issues, assure them that you are on their side. Assure them that you expect them to be the best person that they can be, although you don’t expect them to be the best at everything. After all, no one person is perfect.

It is necessary to find other adults who also legitimately believe in your children. Teachers, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends can help you make a positive difference in your child’s life. Other adults that can see beyond the weight and also believe in him/her can help your child take control of their life. We must encourage our children to stay interested in activities. Let them know that their interests are valuable and deserve to be developed, whatever it is. Celebrate your children’s winning experiences and help them to accept defeats graciously.

Knowing you appreciate their efforts and positive attitude to win or lose is crucial to a child’s growth. Positive attitude and effort is far more important than any victory. Be a role model for perseverance. Be sure your children hear you say that some tasks are difficult, but that you are not a quitter.

Some teens may need to see a nutritionist to evaluate their eating and determine how to change their habits. Professionals can often give teenagers advice that they accept rather than from their families and friends. However, professionals are more distant and do not have as much invested in the relationship. Weight loss plans designed for teenagers should be approached in a supportive family environment.

It is so much easier to achieve your goals when you are working with like-minded and supportive people. Even though you are able to change the foods that are brought into the home, teens can eat improperly outside the house. That’s why education about healthy nutrition and good food choices are so important to the success of any weight loss program. Keep nutritious snacks in the home. Teens snack constantly! They will reach for what is available and if chips and dip are handy that is what they’ll be eating.

Try keeping snacks like celery, peanut butter, bananas, apples, or other various fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator to serve as healthier alternatives.

While many people are searching for weight loss plans to achieve fast, easy and painless weight loss, it is important to note that any plan should be initiated with the long-term effects in mind. Making strong, healthy lifestyle choices will eventually lead to permanent weight loss and a healthier life.

Each individual person is unique. Genetic make-up varies from individual to individual. Lifestyle and exercise habits also impact the body’s ability to lose weight. Please, please, think before you speak – your words have the power to affect a person’s life forever. Everyone is the son or daughter of somebody.

Overweight Children and Peer/Parental Pressures – PLEASE READ!!!

It is very important to me that I am selective when deciding on what topic to write about.

We’ve all heard the wise cracks and jokes about overweight individuals. Generally, we’ve all been on one side of the fence – some having to listen to the hurtful and disparaging remarks, while others are guilty of expressing negative comments without any forethought as to how it may affect that person.

There is no safe place from cruel words and taunting assaults to those who struggle with weight. If you happen to be a person who carries extra weight, you know how horrible some people can be. The adolescent and teenage years are often considered the most difficult in life, particularly in the latter’s case.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15 percent of children and teens ages 2 to 19 are considered to be obese. While maintaining a healthy weight is an important skill for teens to learn, it is also important to remember that a teenager does not have the emotional and mental developmental level of an adult. The teenager must be approached with caution, in a patient and compassionate manner, coupled with a healthy attitude. We must keep in mind that teenagers are already in the throes of hormonal surges, which can impact their emotional balance. It is a very sensitive subject.

One would assume that such remarks come from other teens or total strangers. Having worked with and spoken to teens (as well as living it myself) about this very subject almost always leads to the same story. It’s their mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, best friends, and/or teachers, among others, that make such remarks. Many peers of overweight children do not accept them, further fostering negative self-perception.

Teenagers can be annoyed with excess fat on their body and they often have a distorted body image as it is. When weight loss is addressed to teenagers these issues must be included in the plan. Without better knowledge and understanding, teens see themselves differently than they really are, you will not be able to help motivate them to continue to make healthy life choices. Negative and hurtful remarks certainly will not help matters.

Teens often suffer from poor self-esteem and poor self-motivation. It is a parent’s job to help gently encourage them. Research shows that parents who nurture a positive attitude and actively show their child qualities of resilience and optimism will make a dramatic difference that continues into successful, healthy adult years.

Teenagers continue to require appropriate nutrition to feed their growing body. As a parent, believe in them! To foster optimism and resilience in a child who struggles with weight issues, assure them that you are on their side. Assure them that you expect them to be the best person that they can be, although you don’t expect them to be the best at everything. After all, no one person is perfect.

It is necessary to find other adults who also legitimately believe in your children. Teachers, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends can help you make a positive difference in your child’s life. Other adults that can see beyond the weight and also believe in him/her can help your child take control of their life. We must encourage our children to stay interested in activities. Let them know that their interests are valuable and deserve to be developed, whatever it is. Celebrate your children’s winning experiences and help them to accept defeats graciously.

Knowing you appreciate their efforts and positive attitude to win or lose is crucial to a child’s growth. Positive attitude and effort is far more important than any victory. Be a role model for perseverance. Be sure your children hear you say that some tasks are difficult, but that you are not a quitter.

Some teens may need to see a nutritionist to evaluate their eating and determine how to change their habits. Professionals can often give teenagers advice that they accept rather than from their families and friends. However, professionals are more distant and do not have as much invested in the relationship. Weight loss plans designed for teenagers should be approached in a supportive family environment.

It is so much easier to achieve your goals when you are working with like-minded and supportive people. Even though you are able to change the foods that are brought into the home, teens can eat improperly outside the house. That’s why education about healthy nutrition and good food choices are so important to the success of any weight loss program. Keep nutritious snacks in the home. Teens snack constantly! They will reach for what is available and if chips and dip are handy that is what they’ll be eating.

Try keeping snacks like celery, peanut butter, bananas, apples, or other various fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator to serve as healthier alternatives.

While many people are searching for weight loss plans to achieve fast, easy and painless weight loss, it is important to note that any plan should be initiated with the long-term effects in mind. Making strong, healthy lifestyle choices will eventually lead to permanent weight loss and a healthier life.

Each individual person is unique. Genetic make-up varies from individual to individual. Lifestyle and exercise habits also impact the body’s ability to lose weight. Please, please, think before you speak – your words have the power to affect a person’s life forever. Everyone is the son or daughter of somebody.

The Myth that Sells – Localized Fat Loss

Have you ever been so desperate to lose weight you jumped on the  infomercial crazy train without giving it a second thought? Unfortunately, and often enough, there appears to be a  purposeful disregard  for facts (physiological) on the part of those who profit from the sale of “muscle-specific exercise gadgets”.

Think about all the “ab-isolating” devices the marketing gurus promote with repeated false claims  stating their product will result in targeted fat loss (and a six-pack).  Unfortunately, these claims target the innocent individual so desperate to lose weight that any insight through education that dispels these otherwise believable myths falls by the waist side.  Knowledge is power, and education is the key.   Better knowledge and understanding will hopefully lead to the design of a no-nonsense, effective overall program catered to your specific needs.

To clarify truth vs. fiction, performing abdominal exercises or doing appropriately prescribed sit-ups will do little or nothing to rid the waistline of fat as is so often stated.    The use of one of these many currently marketed “ab-isolating” devices  may have  value in conditioning your muscles, (the abdominal region) but constitutes only a small portion of an effective overall fat loss exercise prescription.

Let’s examine the biceps curl (keeping in mind that this would be the only resistance exercise performed).  An innocent and misguided individual new to exercise (struggling with their weight) might be inclined to believe that performing the exercise for several months would result in lean hard biceps.   Would runners give credibility to the theory of localized fat loss?  Initially, overweight runners rarely sport an unchanged upper torso or well conditioned legs.   Aren’t the lower extremities involved in this exercise? There is no difference between these ridiculous considerations and the claims made that training your abs will ultimately result in fat loss around the waistline.  It simply does not work that way.

Fat is lost evenly throughout the body, the areas where the least amount of  fat is accumulated will typically be the first areas one will notice visible results.   This occurs not because you are losing fat faster in one part of your body over another, it simply means that this area will be most visible.

Sadly,  little can be done to discourage the purchasing of these marginally valuable (and inappropriately) marketed devices. Since these infomercials are so professionally produced with advertisements that tout credible endorsements, it is definitely an uphill battle to educate any consumer to the contrary.

Achieving fat loss is a particularly  stubborn and challenging proposition, especially among those individuals who have a very slow metabolism or a genetic predisposition to gain weight more easily than others.

There is twelve billion dollars being spent on misleading or faulty commercial weight loss products or programs annually.  We  can certainly blame the advertisers who have unlimited budgets for misrepresenting these “miracle” devices but it would be a waste of our precious time.   I am yet to see a genuine effort on the part of the weight loss industry attempt to offset the barrage of misinformation thus far, have you?

Helen Rousso
Medical Exercise Specialist/Nutritionist
Post-Rehab Therapist

Diet, Exercise, Medical Conditions, Health, Beauty, Traumatic Brain Injury

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