The overweight-obesity epidemic can’t be solved with a “quick-fix” pill. We need to make serious changes in our lifestyle.
A new obesity drug, Qnexa, is awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to come to market. The FDA has not approved a weight loss drug in 13 years due to the risks and side effects which are serious.
Most, if not all of these drugs have consistently had warnings for heart problems. This new drug, Qnexa, is no exception. It comes with side effects such as heart problems, lack of concentration and fogginess, and birth defects. The problem is that obesity raises the risk of heart disease as it is, and to add another drug that exacerbates that risk could be quite dangerous.
The other interesting fact that coincides with the epidemic of obesity is the growing problem of insomnia in our country. We just can’t sleep at night! The stress in our individual lives has increased with the economic crisis and global changes. We are effected by our day-to-day stresses and as a collective, we feel the fear body of all humans.
What does sleep have to do with obesity?
The NHANES study showed that if people slept less than 6 hours a night, they had a 235% increased risk of becoming obese compared with those who slept 7 hours a night. Lack of sleep changes our hormones. Ghrelin, a hormone that drives people to eat more increases, and Leptin, a hormone that controls appetite, decreases when there is sleep deprivation. There is also a rise in our stress hormone, Cortisol, when we are up at night. Our bodies don’t need to be active to raise Cortisol. An active mind is all that’s needed to increase Cortisol. Cortisol stimulates insulin and increases glucose production in the liver, also adding to insulin resistance.
Enough of the chemistry class…here’s what to do:
1. Cut out the carbs, except for fruits and veges. avoid starchy carbs like bread, bagels, pasta, crackers, potatoes, yams and squash. Eat 2-5 cups of colorful vegetables. Eat good proteins and healthy fats (fish, avocado, nuts, legumes, beans and eggs).
2. If you are not sleeping, get it checked out. Rule out sleep apnea by getting tested with a free test that checks your oxygenation while you sleep. It it’s abnormal, then get a sleep study. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Insomnia raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension.
3. Move! Even if it’s just walking around the block or up and down your stairs. Walk or take a fun exercise class with a friend. It’s the DOING that needs to happen. The more you do, the more your body will want to keep doing.
4. Avoid weight loss drugs. No sooner are they on the market, than they are removed due to people experiencing dangerous side effects. It’s not worth the risk.
5. And lastly, believe in yourself! You can make the small steps that go a long way in losing weight, feeling better and staying healthy.
Reference: Morstein, M. Metabolic Syndrome and the Menopausal Woman. Townsend Letter-Feb/March 2012. p. 90-95.