Management Issues (continued
from part 1)
What triggers my food cravings?
Everyone experiences food cravings once in a while. When we do,
the foods we crave are usually high in sugar, fat or both. Cravings
have been attributed to emotional problems, hormonal changes,
brain chemistry and bad eating habits, but no one actually knows
for sure why we crave certain foods. Some researchers say that
indulging in a craving for sweet and fatty foods triggers the
release of endorphins--brain chemicals that produce a calming
sense of pleasure. Others say the body produces different types
of chemicals first, and then cravings for certain foods develop.
One thing seems certain, however. Food cravings have little to
do with hunger.
If cravings result in binge eating or weight gain, they should
be controlled. But some experts say that if you try to eliminate
a particular food from your diet, you'll only crave it more. The
solution: Eat small amounts of the foods you crave on a regular
basis, so you don't feel deprived and look for versions reduced
in fat and sugar.
Are diet aids safe?
If you're obese, sensible eating and behavior modification
may not be enough to kick-start your weight loss plan. You may
need to take more extreme measures, such as starting with a medically
supervised, low-calorie liquid diet or a regimen of prescribed
diet pills. But these measures are not for everyone and are usually
recommended for people who are extremely obese or have developed
weight-related medical problems, such as diabetes or high-blood
pressure. Both liquid diets and diet pills can cause serious side
effects and should only be started under the supervision of a
doctor. Avoid dependence on medications aimed at appetite control.
Prescription and over-the-counter diet pills, liquid diets and
"diet" teas are all short-term solutions that won't work without
long-term changes in everyday eating. Many of these products contain
mild stimulants and/or diuretics that cause you to eliminate fluids
faster than usual. Diuretics can cause dehydration and heart problems.
And even though you might lose weight at first, you'll gain it
right back as soon as you stop the pills or the diet drinks if
you haven't altered your eating habits. Many of these products
are dangerous for people with certain medical conditions, such
as thyroid disease and high blood pressure. Read the warning labels
on the package.
Can I lower my health risk if I am overweight?
If you are overweight, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent
of your body weight may improve many of the problems linked to
being overweight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. For
example, if you weigh 200 pounds and are considered overweight,
you would need to lose 10 to 20 pounds. Even a small weight loss
can improve your health.