2012

2012 or 12 will be the new numbers we will all be writing on our checks and other forms very soon. No doubt many of us will continue writing 2011 or 11 until June. The new year seems to bring with it resolutions. I for one make mine on my birthday because for me, that is truly my new year. But seeing as how many decide to make resolutions for Jan. 1, I wanted to discuss this briefly. First the definition of resolution:

noun

1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
5. the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.
 
Numbers 1-4 pretty well describe the resolutions of people across the board. They have something in mind and then they try to accomplish it. Now lets look at the word goal:
noun

1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
2. the terminal point in a race.
3. a pole, line, or other marker by which such a point is indicated.
 
The above definitions could be found at dictionary.com
 
There are more definitions, mostly sports related, but the above will suffice for the topic of the day. A resolution is an affirmation that you want to do something. The goal is what you want to accomplish. So around the new year many people set some goals and then resolve to accomplish them. This type of planning is doomed to fail. Why? Because there are no objectives. Many goals from many people consist of some sort of physical activity. “Being physically fit” I think is the goal of many people. They get a gym membership or go back to the gym after months of hiatus and go crazy for a few weeks before returning to their old ways. There is no measurable objectives to the goal they have resolved to accomplish.

Lowering A1c is well known to diabetics as one of their main goals

 
If a person wants to be able to bench 400 lbs or squat 600 lbs or drop their A1c by 1 point, they must have a system by which allows them to do so. Simply benching 1-2 times per week or watching what you eat will not get your bench press to 400 nor will your A1c drop even 1/10 of a percent. There must be a process. Physical trainers know this. Doctors know this. Successful business men know this. There must be a process to achieve your goals. A great example is if you decide to want to accomplish running a marathon. No matter how much resolve you have to run those many miles and achieve your goal, you can’t do it in a week or even a month if you haven’t been already training. Your brain can tell your body to go, but it will stop depending on your condition. If you were determined to run that marathon today or even in a month with little to no training, you may become frustrated and even stop, deciding that the goal is too hard or not worth it and the purpose of running the marathon becomes irrelevant. The training stops and so do any aspirations or hope of accomplishing the goal.
 
If you are a diabetic who wants to get better control over your blood glucose levels, GREAT! The question is, what measurable objectives are you going to WRITE down to do so? Learning about diet and different foods might be a starter. You don’t have to go to a dietician to do that either. There is a wonderful resource that is free and has an incredible amount of information. It’s called a library. I’m not saying don’t talk to health care professionals about what you can do, but I think people learn better when they do the studying on their own. There is also something about writing note and looking at them often rather than just reading that enhances the learning process. The internet is a great source of knowledge also, but I caution anyone doing so to be careful of their sources. Don’t blindly trust Wikipedia or any old random health blog, including my own. Do the research and scrutinize it.
Next you might want to look at your medicine for diabetes. What does it do? How does it affect you? Have you read the inserts that come with it? Have you talked to the pharmacist or doctor about them? (I would refer back to my previous post about pharmacists and doctors and giving you the time of day) Have you learned about other treatments or therapies that might help lower blood glucose to normal levels like exercise and not eating so many starches regardless of what the FDA or any others may say? In essence, you need to learn what it is that is going to help you achieve your goal. Becoming a pharmacist took almost 8 years for me. That time was spent learning. Now that I am practicing, I’m learning even more to become a more effective pharmacist. I wouldn’t trust a pharmacist or doctor who says they don’t have time to learn about something. It may take some time, but knowledge is power, especially when accomplishing goals.

Learning is exciting to me, but boring to others. Make sure it is a part of whatever it is you want to do

 
Writing down some objectives that can be measured is important. First they need to be written because if they aren’t, they are just hopes and dreams. Second is they need to be measurable. Example: Eating healthy is not measurable while limiting carbs and sweets ( I know that’s redundant but stay with me) to x amount a day is measurable. Running regularly is not measurable while running 3 days a week is and running 3 days a week for 20 min at a time is even more so. Reading a book a month is measurable, reading is not. Jot down some things that you can do too. Reading a book a month for me is probably not manageable for my schedule, however reading 1 every 2 months might be. Running 10 miles a week may not be the best start for someone who is just getting back into shape, so maybe 4-5 miles a week might be a better start. If your objective is too big for your capabilities you will become frustrated and will be more likely to give up on it rather than continue on. If you write down some objectives and after a week or two are finding they are too much, alter them. Conversely, if they are too easy then modify them. Typically 6 year olds don’t learn algebra. They learn addition and subtraction. Soon multiplication and division are added. The fractions and so forth. If the child learns quickly, then more can be added quickly while those who learn more slowly will take time with just addition. Nothing wrong with that so long as progression is being made.
 
Time table can be helpful in accomplishing goals. If you want to run 5 miles a week or 20 miles a month, you can set the date for 1 month. If after 1 month you haven’t accomplished 20 miles look back and analyze why that was. Were you trying and it was just too difficult? Then cut the mileage back. Were you working on it but not very hard? Rededicate yourself to it. The first time I had the goal of bench pressing 400 lbs, I set the time-table before the end of the school year. The goal was set in September which meant I had till the beginning of May to finish. I had smaller goals every month of how much I had to be able to lift by the end of that month. Bit by bit my max went up. In April, I pushed up 408 lbs. with 3 weeks to spare. Had I not been able to do so, I would have still come out ahead because I was bench pressing more than I could when I started in September. If you aren’t able to accomplish what you set out to do, but are still doing better than where you were, be happy for that progression.
 
As an ending I say this; surround yourself with people who are supportive of your goals and objectives or those who will do them with you. Negativity and pessimism have no reason for existing when trying to better one’s self. Get your spouse or children or parents or friends on board with whatever it is you want to do. Having a buddy to help out makes it easier to do whatever it is you want to do. Surrounding yourself with those who do not support or are against will only serve to frustrate and cause catastrophe when it comes to your desires. Never settle for anyone who won’t help you be better doctors, family or otherwise. 
 
So in review:
1. Set goals that benefit you and write them down
2. Write down some measurable objectives that are realistic and that can be changed
3. Give yourself a reasonable time-table to achieve your objectives
4. Surround yourself with people who will support and help you accomplish your goals
5. Reassess your objectives when they have been met or they aren’t being met
6. Have some joy in knowing that even if you haven’t quite reached your goal, you are better than you once were.
 
CIAO
The Brute
 
Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.
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FDA Says Down with HCG

Here is one of many links you can look at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM281457.pdf

Here is the last paragraph from the above site;

FDA advises consumers who have purchased homeopathic HCG for weight loss to stop using it, throw it out, and stop following the dieting instructions. Harmful effects should be reported online to FDA’s MedWatch (www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) program or by phone at 800-FDA-1088 (800-332-1088) and to the consumer’s health care provider.

Finally some common sense. Granted it appears that the FDA is looking at it more from a legal standpoint than an actual efficacy standpoint, they are pointing out that the HCG part of the program does absolutely nothing to help reduce weight. As I mentioned in another recent post, anyone who eats only 500 Calories/day is going to lose weight. It’s just going to happen.

If you have been fed the HCG propaganda by your doctor or the internet please get a new doctor (unless he/she can admit he/she was wrong and know why and apologizes to you) and quit looking at every product with some hot picture of some hot fitness model. Those pics are doctored up and they are made that way to sell product. If you want some more evidence, watch the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster by Chris Bell. In the following pic he shows just how deceptive altering a pic can be.

Getting shredded in 6 weeks is easier than you think...NOT!

Chris describes in his documentary that it is common for the photographers to photoshop the pics. In the pic above, Chris shows what they can do. Both pics are of him…on the same day. They waxed him, had him shave, gave him a fake tan, took in his gut and added some light 6 pack lines while telling him to act depressed for the first pic and happy for the second. Good work.

Drug companies do this all the time with their commercials. It’s really almost like the beer commercials with the hot babes in bikinis and parties. Only for drugs it’s living that perfect dream life where everything, but your cholesterol is wonderful and if you take that statin, you will be even more wonderful. Uh huh.

Don’t do drugs to lose weight, do exercise and change some dietary habits. Stay away from sugar. Eat fewer Calories than you utilize in a day. Above all else remember, if you see something like this

yeah she has a hot bod, but she didn't get it with what she's about to sell you

Walk away from the computer and go for a jog. It will do your wallet and you thighs some good.

CIAO

The Brute

Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.

Fitness and Leanness

Fitness and leanness is a topic that people sometimes talk about and some wonder whether the idea is sound. The idea being that a person who is lean is also fit and/or healthy. This just isn’t the case.

skinny or lean doesn't equate with health, not to mention sometimes it's just brutally unattractive

Some people say, and it has been reported in the news, that a person who is overweight but active is healthier than a person who is lean and inactive. There is some truth to this idea. I won’t say that people who are overweight won’t have challenges with their health if the are active, but there are some advantages to being active, even if you are carrying some weight with you.

A study released in March of 99′ showed that unfit lean men who were not active had just over double the risk of all-cause mortality of fit, lean men. That comes as no surprise I think. Unfit lean men also had higher all-cause and CVD mortality than men who were fit and obese.¹ Measurement of fitness was done using VO2 Max on a treadmill.

Another similar study recently published concluded the following: “Maintaining or improving fitness is associated with a lower risk of all-cause and CVD mortality in men. Preventing age-associated fitness loss is important for longevity regardless of BMI change“. (emphasis added)² I think the bolded part is the most interesting. I would even go out on the limb and say that it improves morbidity as well for a whole range of disease. I work out with some people that, although they are probably working out more than myself, complain about unseemly areas on their body or don’t like their stomach or over work it with no visible results. My advice is this; don’t go running for phentermine or any other drug that will help you lose weight. Be happy that you are doing your heart and your over all health a favor. And remember that diet seems to play a large role in your body fat mass just as much as exercise.

With that said, I think those people that qualify in the fit and obese category need to be careful about the types of exercise that they do. Running or jogging can be hard on joints, even if one is lean. I personally like the rowing machine. I get to work my body without putting lots of pressure on my knees, which have some problems of their own. Swimming is great too and your knees and ankles will be thankful. I’m not against running or jogging, just against overdoing it. If something is hurting, there is probably a reason, and having great cardiovascular health at the detriment of needing knee replacements isn’t my idea of a great life.

I don't know how well he does on the treadmill but I ain't gonna tell him to get on either

 Remember that carrying extra weight around the gut is also a risk factor for diabetes and other endocrine dysfunction. I recommend using diet and exercise to reduce what you can if it’s there. But even if you’re having a hard time with it, just remember that if you’re bustin your butt to stay in shape, there is some health benefit to it. Keep it up!

CIAO

The Brute

 1.Lee C.D, Blair S.N, Jackson A.S, Cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men. Am J Clin Nutr March 1999 vol. 69 no. 3 373-380

2.Lee D.C et al. Long-term effects of changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index on all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. Circulation. 2011; 124: 2483-2490

Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.

hCG Diet Value ……NONE

A diet that has been around since the 50’s seems to be making some sort of resurgence. A friend of mine was questioning the diet and its usefulness and asked me to do some looking into it. I obliged.

It’s known as the hCG diet or “Simeon’s method” (the doc who discovered hCG). Essentially it lowers the caloric intake of an individual to around 500 Calories/day for 3-6 weeks and includes injections of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is a hormone found in great abundance in pregnant women. It is the hormone that is measured in over the counter pregnancy tests.

Now for a bit of biology; hCG is a hormone that promotes the corpus luteum to keep pumping out progesterone during pregnancy. It is created by the embryo after conception and later fueled on by part of the placenta. Progesterone keeps the uterus lined with blood vessels to nourish the embryo and later fetus. This hormone was used by Dr. Simeon on boys who had Froelich’s syndrome which is a condition in which there is delayed puberty, small testes, and obesity. hCG in boys can reverse this condition as it stimulates testosterone production and the symptoms are reversed. Essentially it stimulates puberty and normal function.

There's no way she's a fitness model....right?

 The hCG diet claims some things that are typical of many weight loss schemes.Some of the claims are that people can lose 1-2 lbs/day which can translate into weight loss of 60lbs/month. Some say that you won’t be hungry on this diet. Others promote that you be able to keep the fat off once the injections were completed. Not to mention you’ll look like the pic above.

Now let’s do some reasoning with the claims. Some claim that you can lose 1-2 lbs/day on this diet. I don’t doubt that some will lose this much for a time. If you’re caloric intake is 500 Calories/day, your energy expenditure is going to be higher than you’re intake. That of course equals weight loss. If you Google the images of women who have lost on this diet you will no doubt see some pics of fat loss. However this likely won’t last. As energy expenditure goes down that significantly, so too does the metabolism. It’s in the body’s best interest to slow down metabolism.

Lets look at this another way. If you fill up your gas tank and go really fast but can make it to another gas station before you are running on fumes, you will continue to drive fast. If you fill the tank up ¼ of the way, you probably won’t make it very far doing 100 down the road. You slow down and you may not go on that long trip with only ¼ tank, especially with the next gas station 150 miles away.

When the metabolism starts to slow down, so does fat burning capacity. In fact the body will start to break down muscle if it’s not being used for energy and that is the exact opposite of what one is trying to accomplish.

Another claim is that you won’t be hungry during the diet or after by some sites. I call bull-crap! Cut your calories to around 500/day and tell me you’re not hungry, especially if you are active in anyway. If you can, then you must be a zen master who can control everything with your brain. In one study that was printed in 1969, two groups were randomly assigned to the 500 Cal/day diet and hCG injections or placebo injections. After 6 weeks both groups had lost weight, but there was no significant difference in between the two groups. They had both lost the same amount of weight. And guess what, they were both hungrier at the end than reported at the beginning. At that time the authors concluded the following, “With the now overwhelming body of evidence suggesting that HCG is no more effective than placebo in the treatment of obesity, it would seem that further efforts to perpetuate the Simeons method could only be financially motivated

That to me seems to really get at the crux of the situation. The drug companies make money off of extracting the hormone from pregnant women’s urine and then selling it to you at an outrageous price and the doc gets to charge for actually injecting it.

The claim the you will be better able to keep the weight off once the injections are completed was tested in 1976 with a crossover trial. Two groups on the same low calorie diet received either placebo or hCG for 6 weeks and then no injections for 6 weeks. Injections were resumed for 6 more weeks. If the participants received hCG during the first 6 weeks they received placebo and vice versa. The conclusion…”claims regarding the use of HCG are that it allows the patients to maintain the weight loss better than patients who have not received it and that a second course is as effective as the first. We found no evidence of better weight loss maintenance as a result of HCG, and a second course of therapy was less effective regardless of the injection received during the first course”.²

So keeping the weight off was not happening and a repeat cycle of injections didn’t do much either. This isn’t looking to good for hCG.

Another issue I see with this diet is that a hormone is being introduced into the body that doesn’t need to be there for the purpose of weight loss. Lets look at a few side effects of hCG:

  • Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Early puberty
  • Prostate cancer
  • Severe pelvic pain
  • Swelling of the hands and legs
  • Stomach pain and swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Edema
  • Reduced penis size
  • Thromboembolism

I’m not going to say a whole lot more about this diet other than a meta-analysis that was published in 1995. They looked at 24 studies looking at weight loss, hunger issues, fat redistribution, and feelings of well being. In short, the authors concluded that hCG and the diet was inappropriate and not scientifically validated as a method of losing weight and/or keeping the weight off.³

The best weight loss treatment there is....getting out and being active

Any method of weight loss that has “too good to be true” claims is too good to be true. Save that money and invest TIME into changing your lifestyle. I was talking to one of the docs I work with yesterday and said he can cut the dose of insulin in half on his patients when he has control of what goes into their mouths and what types of activities they do. I believe him. Unfortunately for the patients’ health, this doctor can’t make them change their lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be able to choose their lifestyle. I would hope that people would learn more about their health because it really is something that affects everyone, just like death and taxes. Find something that is fun to do and go do it. Find good whole foods that are good and eat them. Enjoy the occasional treat and enjoy the company of good family and friends. Please do NOT however fall to the diet industry and give them your money. If you want to lose some weight there is a tried and true method; calorie reduction mixed with some calorie expenditure.

CIAO

The Brute

  1. Albrink MJ.Chrionic Gonadotropin and obesity? Am J Clin Nutr 1969; 22: 681-85
  2. Young RL, Fuchs RJ, Woltjen MJ 1976 Chorionic gonadotropin in weight control. A double-blind crossover study. JAMA 236:2495–2497
  3. Sabine Lijesen G.K et al. The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy:a criteria-based meta-analysis. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 September; 40(3): 237–243

Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.