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Weight 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.

Reference Source 22,24,25,26,60

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