Archive for Weight Issues

Today in Brain Training: Peace in the Middle of the Anxiety Storm…

A client reports, after 10 sessions, that her appetite for food and life have opened up again, she’s now enjoying quality sleep without the aide of any medicines, and she’s got a calm sense of confidence even though she’s navigating through a very difficult personal matter (storm). Here is her survey report:Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 2.59.25 PM

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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YO-YO DIETING

I’m not sure about girls and women, but there’s a lesson that boys and men learn from playing with yo-yos as kids: If you keep working at it, you can master The Throw Down and The Sleeper, Walk-The-Dog and Rock-The-Baby.

And now it appears that yo-yoing has gotten a bad rap – at least in the world of weight control.

By some reports, yo-yo dieting is so prevalent in the Western world that it affects between 10 and 40 percent of the population. But, the good news is that – despite the popular myth – yo-yo dieting does not negatively impact metabolism or inhibit a person’s ability to lose weight in the long run.

“A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from future attempts to shed pounds or diminish the role of a healthy diet and regular physical activity in successful weight management,” reports Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Science Division and senior author of a new article published online in the journal Metabolism.

The statistics are frightening: two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese and nearly half of American women are dieting to lose weight; and, weight is a major risk factor for many cancers, as well as heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. McTiernan pointed out that the World Health Organization has estimated that a quarter to a third of cancers could be prevented if people would maintain normal, healthy body weights and a physically active lifestyle.

The goal of McTiernan’s intervention was to determine whether women with a history of moderate or severe weight cycling were disadvantaged in losing weight when compared to non-weight-cyclers. In the study, 77 women (18 percent) met the criteria for severe weight cycling – having reported losing 20 or more pounds on three or more occasions, and 24 percent (103 women) met the criteria for moderate weight cycling – having reported losing 10 or more pounds on three or more occasions. In the study – based on data from 439 over-weight-to-obese, sedentary Seattle-area women 50 to 75 years old – participants were divided into four groups: a reduced-calories diet, exercise only (mainly brisk walking), reduced-calorie diet plus exercise, and a control group that received no intervention. After one year, the diet-only and diet-plus-exercise groups lost an average of 10 percent of body weight – the goal of the intervention.

At the study’s close, researchers found no significant differences with regard to ability to successfully participate in the diet and/or exercise programs between those who yo-yo dieted and those who did not. No significant differences were found between yo-yoers and non-yo-yoers on other physiological factors such as blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and blood concentrations of hormones such as leptin, which helps make one feel full/satiated, and adiponectin, which helps regulate glucose levels.

The study report is significant because . “To our knowledge, no previous studies have examined the effect of prior weight cycling on the body composition, metabolic and hormonal changes induced by a comprehensive lifestyle intervention in free-living women,” the authors wrote.

Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Canadian Institutes of Health, the study included investigators at Harvard Medical School, the National Cancer Institute and the University of Washington.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

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Male Overweight Issues

There’s two ways to think about all those extra pounds an overweight 50 or 55 year old man is carrying around.

In high school physics class you learned about “foot pounds.” In simple terms, if you’re 45 pounds overweight, that’s like stealing one of those big iron plates from the gym – we call ‘em “Cadillacs” – and carrying it around with you 24-7-365. Pretty dumb, huh?

In even more personal terms, if you’re a 55 year old man, you’ve already experienced a fairly significant decrease in your testosterone levels from what they were in your late teens and 20s. It’s called maturing. And, (Here’s the really bad news.) being overweight can lower your test levels even more.

But there’s some good news from The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston in late June: Weight loss can reduce the prevalence of low testosterone levels in overweight, middle-aged men with pre-diabetes by almost 50 percent.

A new study that involved nearly 900 men with impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes) showed that people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes could delay or avoid developing the disease through weight loss. And, because overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels, Frances Hayes, MD, professor at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, and her colleagues studied the effect of weight loss on men’s testosterone levels.

Symptoms of low testosterone can include reduced libido (sex drive), poor erections, enlarged breasts and low sperm counts. The researchers eliminated from their study men with a known diagnosis of hypogonadism – a condition characterized by low testosterone levels – and/or men who were taking medications that could interfere with testosterone levels.

Participants (average age 54) were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: lifestyle modification (exercising for 150 minutes a week and eating less fat and fewer calories), the diabetes medication metformin or an inactive placebo.

Research results showed that low testosterone levels are common in overweight men with pre-diabetes, according to Dr. Hayes. At the onset of the study, nearly one in four men had low testosterone levels – below 300 nanograms per deciliter. For lifestyle modification participants, the prevalence of low testosterone levels decreased from about 20 percent to 11 percent in one year – a 46 percent decrease. The prevalence levels of low testosterone were essentially unchanged for the group on medication (24.8 versus 23.8 percent) and the placebo group (25.6 versus 24.6 percent) after one year.

The men in the lifestyle modification group lost an average of about 17 pounds during the course of the year-long study and the increase in testosterone levels in that group correlated with decreasing body weight and waist size. “Losing weight not only reduces the risk of pre-diabetic men progressing to diabetes but also appears to increase their bodies’ production of testosterone,” noted Dr. Hayes.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

Helping overweight individuals is an area in which the Brain Training Centers of Florida can be very helpful. The Centers are open 7 days per week from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM for the convenience of our customers. For further information call (305) 412-5050.

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Obesity Battle

Thank you, Albert!

Einstein, that is.

After all, he’s the one who so infamously gave use “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

And, just on time for the Fourth of July obesity researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine calling for a new national battle plan to fight obesity – one that replaces the emphasis on food restriction and weight loss with achieving “energy balance” at a healthy body weight.

In the journal Circulation, published July 3, James O. Hill, PhD and colleagues at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center moved the debate in a new direction, using the idea of “energy balance” – which combines food intake, energy expended through physical activity and energy (fat) storage – to promote the concept of a “regulated zone,” where the mechanisms by which the body establishes energy balance are managed to overcome the body’s natural tendency to preserve existing body weight.

The researchers’ goal is accomplished by strategies that match food and beverage intake to a higher level of energy expenditure than is typical for many Americans, allowing the biological system that regulates body weight to work more effectively.
And the new study is supported by other research that shows that higher levels of physical activity are associated with low weight gain, while comparatively low levels of activity are linked to high weight gain over time.
Hill, professor of pediatrics and medicine and executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the UC Anschutz Medical Campus, is the lead author of the paper. He argues that “A healthy body weight is best maintained with a higher level of physical activity than is typical today and with an energy intake that matches.” “We are not going to reduce obesity by focusing only on reducing food intake. Without increasing physical activity in the population we are simply promoting unsustainable levels of food restriction. This strategy hasn’t worked so far and it is not likely to work in the future.”

As Dr. Hill explains, “What we are really talking about is changing the message from ‘Eat Less, Move More’ to ‘Move More, Eat Smarter.’”

In a burst of common sense that contradicts fast food chains’ preoccupation with jumbo and extra-jumbo sized portions, the authors argue that preventing excessive weight gain is a more achievable goal than treating obesity once it has developed. They stress that reducing calorie intake by 100 calories a day would prevent weight gain in 90 percent of American adults – and that goal is achievable through small increases in physical activity and small changes in food intake.

In part, the Colorado researchers’ results reflect basic math: People who have a low level of physical activity have trouble achieving energy balance because they must constantly use food restriction to match energy intake to a low level of energy expenditure. As perpetual dieters already know, constant food restriction is difficult to maintain over time and when it cannot be maintained, the result is positive energy balance – the calories consumed are greater than the calories expended through daily living and exercise, there is an increase in body mass, which elevates the energy expenditure and helps reestablish energy balance.

It’s somewhat different than the proverbial “see-saw” phenomenon that so many perpetual dieters complain about. It’s more like perpetually digging an ever deeper hole and not being able to understand why you can’t get out. And that’s because 60 to 80 percent of the weight gains that follow diet failures is usually body fat. In fact, the researchers speculate that people become obese because that may be the only way to achieve energy balance in a sedentary lifestyle and a food-abundant environment.

After reviewing the scientific energy balance literature, the researchers calculated that it is not realistic to attribute the current obesity crisis solely to caloric intake or physical activity levels. They noted that energy expenditure has dropped dramatically over the past century as American lives now require significantly less daily physical activity. However, they argue that this drop in energy expenditure was a necessary prerequisite for the obesity epidemic. Part of the response to that epidemic must be reinserting more physical activity into American lives.

“Addressing obesity requires attention to both food intake and physical activity, said co-author John Peters, PhD., assistant director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. “Strategies that focus on either alone will not likely work.”

The authors also explained part of the failure of food restriction in reducing obesity. Although caloric restriction produces weight loss, it also triggers hunger and the body’s natural defense to preserving existing body weight, which leads to a lower resting metabolic rate and changes in how the body burns calories.

A 10 percent weight loss can produce a 170 to 250 decrease in energy requirements; a loss of 20 percent of body weight can result in a decrease in energy requirements of 325 to 480 calories. These figures provide some insight into weight loss plateaus and the common see-saw (weight gain) effect following a weight loss regimen.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

Brain Training Centers of Florida can help individuals overcome weight issues using brain wave optimization with real time balancing. We are open 7 days per week from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM to accommodate our clients.

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“Fat Talk,” Body Appearance, Healthly Weight

Nearly all college women reported that they engage in fat talk with friends and almost one third of these women described their fat talk as frequent or very frequent. Interestingly, the women thought that groups of other female college friends engaged in fat talk much more frequently (an effect size of over two standard deviations) than they do in their own group of friends. These results are consistent with past research that describes fat talk among college women as a normative phenomenon (Britton et al., 2006; Tompkins et al., 2009). Also consistent with viewing fat talk as a social norm for women, results indicated that thin-ideal internalization was correlated with both self-reported frequency of fat talk and how often participants thought other women engaged in fat talk. In other words, the more women endorse the notion that the ideal female body is very thin, the more they share and reinforce these beliefs in social interactions.
Frequency of Fat Talk Associated With Increased Body Dissatisfaction, Regardless of Waistline
ScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2011) — College women who engage in “fat talk” (women speaking negatively about the size and shape of their bodies) face greater dissatisfaction with their bodies and are more likely to have internalized an ultra-thin body ideal than those who engage in fat talk less frequently, according to a review article from Psychology of Women Quarterly.
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Study results found that while frequency of fat talk was associated with increased dissatisfaction with women’s own bodies, over half of the participants reported that they believe fat talk actually makes them feel better about their bodies. It’s concerning that women might think fat talk is a helpful coping mechanism, when it’s actually exacerbating body image disturbance. Researchers Rachel H. Salk of the University of Wisconsin and Renee Engeln-Maddox of Northwestern University found that “fat talk” is overwhelmingly common in the college-age women they studied, with more than 90 percent reporting they engaged in “fat talk.”
“The most common response to fat talk was denial that the friend was fat,” wrote Salk and Engeln-Maddox, “most typically leading to a back-and-forth conversation where each of two healthy weight peers denies the other is fat while claiming to be fat themselves.”
An additional interesting finding was that the frequency of “fat talk” was not related to a respondent’s BMI. “In other words, there was no association between a woman’s actual body size and how often she complained about her body size with peers,” Salk and Engeln-Maddox wrote.
“These results serve as a reminder,” wrote Salk and Engeln-Maddox, “that for most women, fat talk is not about being fat, but rather about feeling fat.”
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The study, reported in 2011 in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly – “If You’re Fat, Then I’m Humongous!”

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by SAGE Publications, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
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Journal Reference:
1. R. H. Salk, R. Engeln-Maddox. “If You’re Fat, Then I’m Humongous!”: Frequency, Content, and Impact of Fat Talk Among College Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2011; 35 (1): 18 DOI: 10.1177/0361684310384107
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SAGE Publications (2011, March 30). Frequency of fat talk associated with increased body dissatisfaction, regardless of waistline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 13, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2011/03/110329172355.htm
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Almost 90 percent of normal-weight college coeds yearn to be thinner.
And, perhaps more disturbingly, most overweight women don’t want to be thin enough to achieve a healthy weight.
Those are among the findings of a Cornell University study of 310 college students
In addition, researchers found that half of underweight women want to lose even more weight, or stay just the way they are, thank you very much.

Most College Students Wish They Were Thinner, Study Shows
ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2007) — Most normal-weight women — almost 90 percent in a Cornell study of 310 college students — yearn to be thinner. Half of underweight women want to lose even more weight, or stay just the way they are, thank you very much.
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Meanwhile, most overweight women don’t want to be thin enough to achieve a healthy weight.
According to the study, one of the few to quantify the magnitude of body-weight dissatisfaction, which was published recently in the journal Eating Behaviors, most — 78 percent — of the overweight males surveyed also want to weigh less. But of this group, almost two-thirds — 59 percent — do not want to lose enough, so the body weight they desire would still keep them overweight.
More than 60 percent of U.S. adults are considered overweight or obese. And “because they don’t meet the societal ideals propagated by the media and advertising for body weight, they are often targets of discrimination within educational, workplace and health-care settings and are stigmatized as lazy, lacking self-discipline and unmotivated,” says Lori Neighbors, Ph.D. ’07, who conducted the research with Jeffery Sobal, Cornell professor of nutritional sociology in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.
These factors have led many people to be dissatisfied with their bodies, says Neighbors, now an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
When the Cornell researchers assessed body weight versus the weight and shape individuals wish they had, they found that:
Men and women are similarly dissatisfied with their weight by an average of about 8 pounds, though women are much more dissatisfied with their bodies. Men have more mixed desires — some want to lose weight while others want to gain weight.
Most of the normal-weight women who want to weigh less desire a weight still within the normal-weight range. However, 10 percent want to weigh what experts deem as officially underweight.
Half of the underweight women want to stay the same or lose weight. “The majority of underweight females, closer in body size to the thin cultural ideal, consider their body weight ‘about right,'” said Sobal, even though experts have deemed these body weights unhealthful.
Overweight women want to weigh less. But about half want a body weight that would continue to make them overweight.
The findings suggest “that the idealized body weight and shape, especially among underweight females and overweight individuals of both genders, are not in accordance with population-based standards defining healthy body weight.”
In a society in which excess weight is the norm, it’s vital, say the researchers, to better understand body dissatisfaction and how this dissatisfaction impacts weight-management efforts.
“While both men and women express some degree of body dissatisfaction, a surprising proportion of people with less healthy body weights — underweight females and overweight individuals of both genders — do not idealize a body weight that would move them to a more healthy state,” said Neighbors.
The research was supported primarily by the National Institutes of Health.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

For Young Adults, Appearance Matters More Than Health, Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (Aug. 13, 2012) — When it comes to college-age individuals taking care of their bodies, appearance is more important than health, research conducted at the University of Missouri suggests. María Len-Ríos, an associate professor of strategic communication, Suzanne Burgoyne, a professor of theater, and a team of undergraduate researchers studied how college-age women view their bodies and how they feel about media messages aimed at women. Based on focus group research findings, the MU team developed an interactive play about body image to encourage frank discussions about conflicting societal messages regarding weight, values and healthful choices.
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“During our focus group conversations, we learned that young people don’t think about nutrition when it comes to eating,” Len-Ríos said. “They think more about calorie-counting, which isn’t necessarily related to a balanced diet.”

The focus groups included college-age women, college-age men and mothers of college-age women, who discussed how body image is associated with engaging in restrictive diets, irregular sleep patterns and over-exercising.
“We receive so many conflicting media messages from news reports and advertising about how we should eat, how we should live and how we should look,” Len-Ríos said. “Some participants said they realize images of models are digitally enhanced, but it doesn’t necessarily keep them from wanting to achieve these unattainable figures — this is because they see how society rewards women for ‘looking good.'”
The researchers also completed in-depth interviews with nutritional counselors who said lack of time and unhealthy food environments can keep college-age students from getting good nutrition.
“Eating well takes time, and, according to health professionals, college students are overscheduled and don’t have enough time to cook something properly or might not know how to prepare something healthful,” Len-Ríos said.
Based on the focus group conversations and interviews, Carlia Francis, an MU theater doctoral student and playwright, developed “Nutrition 101,” a play about women’s body images. During performances, characters divulge their insecurities about their own bodies, disparage other women’s bodies and talk about nutrition choices. After a short, scripted performance, the actors remain in character, and audience members ask the characters questions.

“When you’re developing something for interactive theater, focus groups and in-depth interviews are great at getting at stories,” Len-Ríos said. “Many of the stories used in the interactive play — like valuing people because of their appearance and not their personal qualities or abilities — came from individuals’ personal experiences.”

Burgoyne says the play helps facilitate dialogues about nutrition, media messages and self-awareness.
“Body image is a sensitive topic, and the play helps open discussions about how individuals view themselves and how media messages influence their self-images,” Burgoyne said. “An easy way to improve individuals’ body images does not exist, but hopefully, the conversations that arise from the performances will help develop ways to counteract the images that the media promote.”
MU student actors debuted the play last spring, and Burgoyne said performances will resume during the upcoming fall semester.
The study, “Confronting Contradictory Media Messages about Body Image and Nutrition: Implications for Public Health,” was presented earlier this month at the annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference in Chicago.
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Brain Training Centers of Florida has had a tremendous amount of success in helping individuals overcome weight issues. For further information, call (305) 412-5050. Our hours are 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM Monday through Friday and 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM Saturday and Sunday.

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