Lose weight without unnecessary harm to your body

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Risks of and remedies for obesity.

Although most Americans understand obesity is dangerous, they grossly underestimate just how dangerous it is.

Most Americans can recite the medical complications of obesity, reciting "cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and digestive disorders" as if they had memorized the facts without taking them to heart. Even allowing for some genetic predispositions to cardio-vascular problems and Type I diabetes, Americans can prevent up to 90% of weight-related illness with healthy diets and programs of regular daily exercise.

Obesity substantially limits physical performance.
"Americans should focus on what their bodies can do instead of how their bodies look," advises Dr. Kate Stevenson, a Chicago-area exercise physiologist, noting that, as she walks through the mall on any ordinary day, the average shopper looks more like a fire hydrant than a human being. "Most Americans apparently have forgotten that bodies should curve in at the middle and show striations in their muscles. Yes, Americans should pay attention to what their bodies can do, but they especially should pay serious attention to what their bodies cannot do right now." Dr. Stevenson says the average American cannot walk a mile in ten minutes, the average human pace; and many Americans just plain cannot walk a mile. Similarly, the average American cannot do ten push-ups and ten sit-ups, the first threshold of arm and abdominal strength. Only 10% of Americans can swim 100 yards without stopping. "People paint themselves into a corner with their diet and exercise habits, because the less they exercise, the more they gain weight; and the more they gain weight, the less they exercise." Smiling wryly, "Extremely vicious cycle," she says.

The registered dieticians among Stevenson's colleagues most often recommend Medifast for safe and effective weight loss. They note the five-plus-one meal plan contributes to excellent nutrition without overloading the body, and the special Medifast formula guarantees proper nutrition, giving muscles the proteins and nutrients they need without adding sugar or fat to the mix.

Obesity contributes to psychological problems.
Not surprisingly, obesity also contributes to depression, especially among teen-aged girls. To some investigators' surprise, however, obesity contributes not only to "circumstantial depression," largely the result of environmental stressors and characterized by low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and social isolation, but also to chronic biochemical depression caused by imbalances among essential neurotransmitters in the brain and central nervous system and characterized by persistent feelings of melancholy, fatigue, unaccountable muscular pain, and self-destructive thoughts. Overweight teens face the challenge to reconcile conflicting messages from their peers, the media, and the psychological community. On the one hand, America's cultural standards for beauty and health have not changed, and girls yearn for bikini-ready bodies; on the other hand, psychotherapists urge girls to "love the skin you're in," and society generally has become extremely tolerant and forgiving of weight problems.

In one study, psychologists tracked teen girls' self-esteem and self-efficacy while nutritionists tracked their weight loss. Following a plan and formula almost identical to the most popular Medifast system, the girls carefully managed their diets and walked for an hour each day, sustaining the routine for sixteen weeksóa school semester. One researcher wrote, "We were not surprised when girls' self-esteem increased almost in direct proportion to their weight loss, but we were thrilled when they reported feeling stronger, more competent, and more capable as a result of self-discipline and increased fitness."

Proven practices and products for weight-loss
The fundamental science of weight-loss derives more from logic than the laboratory. In order to lose weight, people need to burn more calories than they consume; and they need to limit their intake of sugar, fat, and salt. On one side of the equation, Americans need to exercise or play for an hour each day, so that they burn between 2500 and 3000 calories daily. On the other side of the equation, Americans must maximize their protein intake by eating more chicken and fish, more fresh fruits and vegetables, and far less fried food.

Whereas physicians and dieticians strongly caution against fad diets and fasts, more than 20,000 primary care doctors routinely recommend Medifast for weight-loss patients. The precise balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and essential nutrients in Medifast assures maximum nutrition with minimum calories. In a simple program of daily cardio-vascular exercise and a Medifast plan, an adult can lose three-to-five pounds per weekóweight loss doctors say this is healthy.
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