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Weight Watchers: A Look At What May Be Interfering With Dropping Those Last Few Pounds

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

After a career life that required me to both think and stand mostly on my feet, finding a dream job behind a desk and in front of the “big screen” took a toll on my assets. And, while it took a while to notice, so to did it take quite a while for those (few) extra pounds to come off once I got back into my workout routine.

Yet, once one pound came off, it wasn’t long after that it was two and three, four and five. But, then the dreaded plateau. Despite my change in eating dynamics, decrease in portion size, and routine fitness regimen, those stubborn few last pounds just didn’t seem to want to budge. Not to mention that the scale seems to fluctuate by a pound or two each day.

And, while I often feel like throwing in the gym towel, experts insist that the scale, I’m assured by my husband, my mother, and the experts that seeing the scale and the numbers go down is only a matter of persistence and time. And, some even suggest that I may even be “cheating”, not on my “diet” but on my fitness plan and may be engaging in “activities” that are sabotaging my progress. Among these:

· A deprivation of rest and relaxation: Experts note that depriving yourself of sleep can leave you sluggish, irritable and it can take a toll on some very important hormones (leptin and ghrelin) that control hunger and appetite. According to studies, in general, most of us are getting significantly less sleep than we did just 10 years ago and were are also taking less time out for ourselves, leading to a faster pace and an increased appetite.

· Turning you home into a “comfort zone”: Experts suggest that while regulating your body heat with the use of either air conditioning or heat can be doing your metabolism a disservice. In fact, they suggest that by allowing your body to heat up or cool down on its own encourages expending energy and burning calories. With that said, they suggest turning temps up or down a bit or getting outdoors more and jumpstarting your body’s temperature-regulating mechanism.

· Watching what you eat: YES, losing weight DOES require a change in eating habits, but more so, a change in lifestyle. And, it certainly doesn’t mean you can NEVER again enjoy any of your favourites. In fact, experts assert that those who “diet” often gain back all the weight they lost, as well as a few additional pounds. And, they add that strict and ardent dieting and food deprivation may discourage some from engaging in activity and exercise. Instead they suggest exploring healthy eating, which includes indulging in some of your favourites from time to time and keeping fit with a frequent and consistent exercise program and routine.

· The chemistry connection: While some people simply have faster metabolisms than others experts suggest that according to studies, it seems that much of the obesity and weight gain problems we are experiencing today are actually a response to toxic chemicals in our environment. They suggest that research revealed that significantly overweight and obese individuals showed higher levels of organochlorides (Ocs) in their blood. These fat-soluble chemicals they say include dioxide released into the environment by specific industries, and include pesticides that wind up in our soil and water, are consumed by animals and stored in their fat. And, this has been linked to the body’s ability to burn off fat and calories and resting metabolic rate. They suggest a menu low in animal protein as well as steering clear of items made of PVC of vinyl plastics (such as blinds or shower curtains), which are common sources of dioxins.

· Weird science: According to researchers, certain microbes known as “gut flora” found in the intestines showed a link to notable increases in total body fat. With that said, experts suggest including plenty of foods containing probiotics (such as yogurt and fortifies juices), shown to increase the amount of “friendly” bacteria in the digestive tract, as well as probiotics, a unique and special type of carbohydrate that enters your large intestine whole and offers it good bacteria.

· Getting to the meat of the matter: With a societal emphasis of mega cars (such as the Hummer) and mega mansions (as starter homes), it only follows, say experts that we are also enjoying “mega-meals” comprised of larger portions overall. In fact, according to studies, even those who ate only fish or veggies were like to show and increase of two kilograms (about five pounds) over a five-year period. On the other hand, those who limited their intake of animal protein gained less. Experts suggest limiting animal protein to about two and a half ounces per meal (about the size of a deck of cards) or opting for non-meat alternatives such as beans or tofu.

· “Venomous” additives: We are all guilty of enhancing the flavour of our favourite dishes with a pinch of this and a dash of that. And, most often the pinch and dash refer to salt. However, recent studies suggest that an overabundance of salt in our daily diets is linked to obesity. In fact, studies show a strong correlation between our increased salt intake and the intake of calorie-packed sweetened beverages over the years. And, in those same years, we’ve also seen a prevalence of obesity, giving us all another good reason to cut back.

· The medication connection: They may cure (some) of what ails you, but according to experts prescription medications can contribute to an increase in weight. They note that birth control, antihistamines, steroid hormones, antidepressants an anithypertensives (used to stabilize blood pressure) are linked to weight gain by causing water retention, boosting your appetite and lowering your metabolism. Experts recommend consulting with your doctor, before you start taking and med or once you notice a shift in appetite or weight gain….but, don’t stop taking them before you talk to your doctor.

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