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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Don't Let Your Weight Manage You!

Weight loss has become a 40 billion dollar a year business in America. People are constantly chasing the latest fad diet, or the newest extreme detox program, or even still, the latest and greatest work-out strategy. Here's the bottom line people: if you utilize more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. If you take in more calories than you utilize, your body will convert these excess calories to body fat, and you will gain weight. To start out, let's discuss some of the factors that regulate body weight. These factors include resting energy expenditure, caloric usage for physical activity, our genetic predisposition, and dietary caloric intake.

Our resting energy expenditure is also referred to as our basal metabolic rate. This is the number of calories we are burning while at rest. Our basal metabolic rate is influenced by our lean body mass, our gender, our age, our hormonal status and our level of nervous system stimulation. Those with more body mass burn a greater number of calories at rest. Furthermore, those with more lean body mass (muscle) burn more calories at rest. Men tend to have a greater basal metabolic rate. This is correlated with greater lean muscle mass. Younger people tend to have a greater metabolic rate than older people. Those with greater nervous system stimulation experience greater cellular activity and therefore burn more calories. Hormones also play a vital role in establishing a person's basal metabolic rate. Common hormones impacting the metabolism are thyroid hormones, leptin, ghrelin, CCK or cholecystokinin, and insulin.

Thyroid hormones influence a person's basal metabolic rate in three ways. First and foremost, thyroid hormones will stimulate almost every tissue in the body to produce proteins. Thyroid hormones also increase mitochondrial activity and therefore increase the amount of oxygen that cells utilize. Up-regulated cellular activity will increase calorie usage in the body. Hypothyroid or low thyroid activity is characterized by truncal obesity.

Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells. The body secretes Leptin to signal the requirement for decreased food intake, or rather that there are adequate levels of adipose or fat. In the presence of too much leptin, people can become resistant or unresponsive to the signals provided by this hormone, not unlike insulin. There is also evidence of a genetic component impacting leptin secretion. Mutations in the OB gene may render leptin ineffective and so can predispose certain populations to obesity. At the opposite end of the spectrum ghrelin is secreted by the stomach and acts upon the hypothalmus to let us know its time to eat. Grehlin can actually cause a decrease in the metabolism of fats.

CCK is released by the small intestine during lipid or fat digestion. CCK signals for the release of digestive enzymes from the gallbladder and pancreas. CCK acts as an appetite suppressant and satiety indicator.

Insulin is the hormone utilized to regulate blood sugar. In some people, weather do to genetic factors or elevated levels of dietary fat, the body can become resistant to the effects of insulin.. This inhibits the ability of tissues within the body to take up glucose for efficient utilization. Insulin can also work as a signal to the liver that it doesn't need to produce additional glucose. In the event of resistance this mechanism can be inhibited. Insulin resistance is commonly considered to be a precursor to obesity.

Besides hormones our levels of physical activity and dietary caloric intake are strong indicators of the absence or presence of obesity. In terms of exercise, each one of us should be burning around 200 to 300 calories per day. The exercise does not need to be continuous but can be accumulated throughout the day. General caloric intake should be around 2,000 calories, depending on your particular level of physical activity. Elite athletes can often require more than 1,000 additional calories. Our diets should consist of lean meats, whole grains, and a surplus of fruits and vegetables. Eating a rainbow (fruits and vegetables of variable color) is recommended. Processed foods of any sort, refined sugars, wheat products, and corn products should be avoided if possible.

Each person is physiologically variable. Our dietary requirements, our daily energy expenditure our ability to process certain foods is all a bit different from person to person. When setting weight loss goals for ourselves, it's always best to work with a professional that can accommodate your particular needs. Nutritionists and exercise physiologists can help you to custom tailor a plan that will help you to achieve your health and wellness goals. For more information, consult your local health professional.

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