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Friday, 18 December 2015

Is weight loss surgery all it's made out to be?
I can't help it
Let's face it, accepted wisdom is that losing weight is good for your health. I'm sure one of the unspoken reasons we want to lose weight is to change  our looks and possibly appeal to our vanity. 

Do you dislike certain features in your appearance that you have no control over?
Do you see your nose as being too  big, or too little,  too pointed or too flat? Do your ears stick out too much? Is there a chin or more than you'd like? More wrinkles than you'd expect for your age?  I'm sure the list could go on.

But, what ever our self image, losing weight is one thing we can do (assuming we’re overweight), that is totally under our control and doesn’t require visits to clinics or vast sums of money to change. If only it was so easy.

It’s a huge struggle to keep to a diet, to visit the gym, or keep to a regular exercise regime.  There must be a faster way to get rid of unwanted weight and unwanted fat.   And, there is. It goes by the name of Biaratric Surgery or surgery to lose weight. But, is relying on surgery to lose weight a good idea?
How do we see ourselves?
How do we see ourselves? Whether you choose what might seem as the more arduous method to lose weight, exercise and diet, or a more immediate approach using a surgeon's scalpel or laser, the rise in overweight people in the western world is a challenge as the graph below illustrates:

Obesity forecast to get worse

So what are your choices for losing weight via the scalpel?

What if you could shrink your stomach forcing you to eat less. The forced diet approach? The type of surgery you need to ask your doctor about is called Malabsorptive/Restrictive surgery. The operation removes or bypasses part of your digestive tract, making it more difficult for you to absorb calories. Isn't that what you want?

A popular surgical operation is Gastric Banding. Sounds painful. But the cliche applies no pain no gain. You'll feel abdominal pain and the usual discomfort following any kind of surgical procedure.  So what's involved? The surgeon uses an inflatable band that squeezes your stomach into two sections, a small upper section and a larger lower section. 

A narrow channel connects the two sections. Visualise an hour glass or, better still have a look at this animation on how the operation is carried out. The amount of food you eat can be measured into a single cup, which should be sufficient to satisfy your hunger  before you begin to feel ill. One other point, crunchy food is out so needs to be softened or chewed well. 

Have a read of Vicky's story. Vicky's weight peaked at 17.5 stones, but she's 5ft 1in and her BMI was 47. (A reading of over 25 is considered obese). After eight months, her weight was 15 stones (BMI 39) and  target weight 9-9.5 stones (BMI 24). This case illustrates that Gastric Banding isn't necessarily the magic wand for getting rid of excess weight immediately after going under the scalpel.

Another option is sleeve Gastrectomy.  This operation might make you  decide dieting and exercise is more agreeable. With a Gastrectomy, your surgeon removes around 75% of your stomach. Ouch. What’s left of your stomach  is a narrow tube or sleeve. This is connected to your intestine. Today, sleeve gastrectomy is the fastest-growing weight loss surgery option in North America and Asia.

Heavily advertised in some newspapers is Liposuction. It sounds the least invasive of weight loss surgeries and removes unwanted fat, more a form of cosmetic surgery to make you ‘look good’ by getting rid of excess fat rather than forcing you to    eat less.

The great thing about liposuction is you choose the part of the body you want to change. Arms too fat? Answer liposuction. Legs too fat?  Answer liposuction. One chin too many – liposuction and finally, too many tyres around your middle then choose lipsuction. Watch this 9 minute video to see what you might have to go through to sculpture your body to get the shape you want.

Did you watch the video? Did it put you off from going under the scalpel? Don’t worry you can still sculpture your body with Laser liposuction. The procedure is Laser Lipolysis, laser assisted liposuction. The laser melts the fat making fat removal easier and more consistent.  This next video takes you from the opening consultation to the results months after the procedure was performed, a bit longer the video is 21mins long. 

You could read pages and pages of research arguing for or against whether weight loss surgery is right for you. Whatever the level of risk whether it’s quoted as low or moderately low. There is risk. Risk with the anesthetic and the usual risks associated with any invasive operation on your body.

Liposuction  sounds the least risky. You can at least target one part of your body and if successful target another area. But, if you want to eliminate all risk, you’re going to have to continue with your struggle to stay fit and getting healthy with diet and exercise. And, discipline yourself to say NO to…

Friday, 6 November 2015

Get in the right mood to lose wight

If you’re like me you eat even if you’re not hungry. For example, your work colleague returns to their desk with snacks or chocolates and you begin to feel hungry. Until that point, the thought of food never entered your mind.

All hopes of dieting, losing weight are dashed in that moment and you kid yourself with mantra, ‘I’ll start the diet and begin losing weight tomorrow’.

How you feel, your mood can be a major factor in combatting the struggle to reduce weight.
Mood Ring - Photo by Bob Smith

So how can change how you feel or your mood? Oils. Oils and their aromas can change our mood and how we feel about losing weight.

When thinking about aromatherapy and the different oils that can aid weight loss you should remember we’re all different. Different people respond very differently to different oils - there is no one oil that meets all requirements. Because a particular oil is good for one person it doesn't follow it is going to work for someone else. Different oils also react in different ways based on how you use them.

Oils can be inhaled, added to bathwater, massaged or burned and how the oils are treated can help affect our moods.
Photo by Yenhoon

Here are some of the oils to try out to get you into the mood to lose weight and overcome the struggle to stay fit and healthy.

If you crave sugar and spice and all things nice or sweet try the aroma of Vanilla oil - the sweet smell really should satisfy your desire for something sweet to devour.

Stress the by-product of modern life – there is a variety of oils which can easily help de-stress and calm the mind.  These are frankincense, jasmine, ylang ylang lavender, grapefruit, geranium, rose, sandalwood, benzoin, bergamot, mandarin, vetiver androman chamomile.

Down in the dumps where there is no light at the end of your particular tunnel but an oncoming train, get a boost from the pleasant aroma of jasmine oil.

If you feel your emotional state is not all it should be or you’re feeling depressed try juniper berries – the aroma should gently send the thoughts plaguing your mind right to the back so you almost forget. Ok, not a permanent solution but you get a temporary respite.

One of the tell-tale signs of depression is the need to eat to find comfort and make depression more palatable. Try these oils to conquer any depression symptoms and help with weight reduction include lemon, grapefruit, frankincense, clary sage,jasmine, ylang ylang, orange,geranium, sandalwood, helichrysum andorange blossom.

Putting scepticism aside, why not give at least one of these oils a go, the only thing you have to lose may be those extra pounds or Kilos.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Beat the struggle to stay fit and improve your memory

If you're like me, despite all the good intentions it's still a struggle to stay fit. Exercising we all know is good for body especially the heart, but it may be no surprise that it's equally as good for the brain. And when it comes to relying on memory it's the brain we depend on.

Anyone who has ever tackled a StairMaster has a pretty good idea of what happens to your body when you break a sweat. But here's what's going on in your head at the same time: All that extra blood bathes your brain cells in oxygen and glucose, which they need to function. The more they get, the better they perform.  So what easy exercises can you do that can stimulate the brain and help your memory?

This is a very easy exercise, doesn't need special equipment, you don't even have to change your clothes into gym wear and you can do it anywhere. A couple of the goals of this exercise is to clear a foggy or dull head.

If you found the exercise in the video not sufficiently strenuous try other moderate-intensity exercises, such as swimming, stair climbing, tennis, squash, or dancing. 

Don’t forget that household activities can count as well, such as intense floor mopping, raking leaves, or anything that gets your heart pumping so much that you break out in a light sweat.

Here are 4 tips to exercise your way to a better memory:
  1. Walk briskly to your destination from where you park the car. Or, combine this with parking the car that bit further from your destination. I park my car just under a mile away from the train station and it involves climbing a hill on the return journey
  2. If you catch the bus to work get off at a stop earlier than you do normally, combine this with getting on at the next stop from the one you normally get the bus
  3. Do you normally take lunch at your desk or in the staff restaurant? Take a walk to buy your lunch and take the longer route back to the office
  4. Buy some hand weights, if don't have any, and pump up those muscles, remembering to warm up and cool down for each exercise routine by stretching out.
And finally, nothing to do with physical exercise, challenge yourself to memorise a 20 digit number, this video shows you how.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Should I get a personal trainer?

While personal trainers are favoured by celebrities and high powered , is a personal trainer within my reach? Am I being pretentious? Well, a personal trainer could in fact be the right solution to beat the struggle to become fit and stay healthy according to Nicole Dobernig on Infofit, North America's School for Fitness Professionals in her article Why Have a Workout Session With a Personal Trainer? - Infofit, by having a trainer is the swiftest way towards improving fitness and your overall health. Think again If you believe hiring a personal fitness trainer is just a waste of hard earned money; you cannot be more wrong. These fitness professionals are educated in every aspect of fitness so they can guide you reach your fitness goals in the swiftest fashion possible.
So how do you go about getting your own personal trainer? As with most personal services, a personal recommendation is the best route. But if you’re like me you’re not one for frequenting gyms so personal trainers and those who use aren’t likely to be in your circle of friends.
The Dr Fitness Blog has some great tips. The first one is checking that whoever call themselves a personal trainer are infact qualified as such. There are programmes that certify and check the competence of people calling themselves personal trainers.
When you first meet with a prospective personal trainer make the meeting an informal interview and probe how they propose to make you fitter than you are? Will they weight you every session, will they measure you bodyfat and how will they measure it?
Have a look at the Dr Fitness Blog for suggestions on selecting a personal fitness trainer so you make the right choice.
How to Hire a Personal Trainer (Part 2) « the Dr. Fitness blog Wed, 12 Nov 2014
Tai's fitness video below shows some of the fitness routines you can expect if you do decide to hire a personal fitness trainer. Tai's 14 minute video, doesn't show actual exercises but using a whiteboard he describes the schedule of exercises you could expect to practice on a daily basis. The video isn't too in your face and is easily watchable.
How To Create A Workout Routine (1 of 2) - By Personal Trainer Tai