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The Plateau Phenomenon

>> Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Have you ever felt like the second 20 pounds is harder to get off than the first 20? Have you felt like you were having great success with a diet plan, losing weight like a charm, but then, despite sticking with the diet, your weight started to plateau, and despite your continued efforts, you just couldn’t seem to budge the scale any further?

If so, you’re quite right! One of the most frustrating things about weight loss is this ‘Plateau Phenomenon’, and it is a real physiological phenomenon. There are several reasons why weight plateaus when you are on a particular weight loss regimen:

1. As you lose weight, your caloric needs go down, simply because you are moving less weight around in the course of the day. Once you’ve dropped those first 20 lbs, this is no different than if you had walked around with a 20lb backpack all this time, and now you are walking around without! So, just like it takes less energy to walk around without the backpack, so do you require less calories to move your body around in your day. To figure out exactly what the difference in caloric requirements is, check out the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator on my website in the right column. You can play with different weights and see the difference in your daily caloric needs!

2. Research has shown that as you lose weight, your muscle cells become more efficient (needing less calories to do their daily work). Also, adrenaline levels and thyroid hormone levels drop just a smidge (though the levels are still entirely normal), and both of these changes result in a slightly lower metabolism.

So what’s the solution here? There are a few options:

1. Decrease your calorie intake further. It’s not fair, but it will work! You can recalculate your calorie requirements as above, and then cut back your diet by those additional calories. Remember that the key to weight loss is having Calories In <>> Exercise!! Look on the positives of having tossed that 20lb backpack – no doubt you are feeling lighter on your feet and hopefully, more energetic! Your joints have less pressure on them, and your body is rearing to get moving!

Remember that Knowledge is Power – instead of feeling saddened by the fact that your weight loss has plateaued, feel empowered by your understanding of the reasons why. You are now equipped to continue on the successful path to a healthier, trim and fit new you!!

Dr. Sue © 2009


What's YOUR risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes?

Alongside the obesity epidemic in our society and across the globe, type 2 diabetes has also become - pun intended - a large and growing problem. Nearly 2 million Canadians have diabetes, and even more alarming, as much as 3% of the adult population are walking our streets with diabetes, but don't know that they have it.

One of those people could be you.

Also worrisome is the fact that by the time most people with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed, they have had it for 5-7 years, but did not know it. This is because in many cases, type 2 diabetes can be more or less without symptoms for a number of years, so if an individual does not see their doctor for regular checkups, the diabetes is not detected. Unfortunately, even though there can be little in the way of symptoms, the diabetes is still very active behind the scenes, causing damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nervous system.

The British Medical Journal has recently published a tool called the QDScore, that you can use to calculate your approximate risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes over the next 10 years. This diabetes risk calculator is based on British data from over 2.5 million people, and is valid for use for people between the ages of 25-79. Although it is based on British data, it should still give a very reasonable estimate for Canadians.

To use the calculator, you need to know your weight in kg, and your height in cm.

Weight in kg = Weight in lbs/2.2

Height in cm = height in inches x 2.54(there are 12 inches to a foot, so someone who is 5 feet 4 inches = 64 inches = 163 cm)

So, you've calculated your risk. Now what? See your doctor to talk about it. Your MD will likely elect to test you for diabetes with blood tests, and if negative, you can build a strategy of diabetes prevention together. Should you happen to be one of those 3% with previously undiagnosed diabetes - then you and your doctor can tackle the issue head on, and get started on a treatment plan without delay.

While this risk calculator is a useful tool, it does not replace a visit to your doctor. It is important to see your doctor for regular check ups - but it doesn't hurt to come prepared with this extra information. Knowledge is Power!

Dr. Sue © 2009


RECIPE: Dr. Sue's Spicy Veg Mixer!

>> Sunday, June 7, 2009

I just made this recipe up today, using some random vegetables that were on sale at the grocery store this week, and of which I therefore had a copious supply in the fridge. Turned out fantastic! It is easy, it’s refreshing... and it is very low calorie! Inspired by the traditional stir-fry, but without a drop of oil. Yes, it is absolutely possible to make a scrumptious stir-fry without oil – just put a bit of water in the bottom of the pot (you may have to repeat this every few minutes) and stir very often.

· 1/2 lb (3 cups) white mushrooms, sliced
· 1lb (5 cups) broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
· 2 medium red onions
· 3 large cloves garlic
· 1-2 tsp reduced salt soy sauce
· 1-2 tsp lemon juice
· 2 packets of Splenda (1g each)
· A sprinkle each of crushed chilis ground pepper
· 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Over medium heat and with a bit of water in the bottom of the pan (no oil!), ‘saute’ the onion, garlic, and broccoli x2 minutes, then add the mushrooms, dried crushed chilis, pepper, Splenda, and 1tsp each lemon juice and soy sauce.

2. Continue to ‘saute’, stirring often, until broccoli is just a bit softened, but still quite firm. (Note: the less the broccoli is cooked, the longer it takes to consume and digest, meaning you will feel fuller and more satisfied from the vegetables, and will therefore want less other food that you may be serving along with this dish. A sneaky little portion control strategy!)

3. Taste and evaluate. Go ahead and add the second tsp of lemon juice and/or soy sauce as you like. Add even more lemon juice if you like the tang, but don’t go too overboard with the soy, as it is quite high in salt. Some like it hot – ramp up the flavour with your crushed chilis! Spice is another fabulous method of portion control... and possibly birth control if you don’t brush your teeth afterwards.

4. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on the top and serve. (Don’t ramp up the sesame seeds beyond the 1 tbsp – they are pure fat and add a lot of calories. Believe it: one tbsp of sesame seeds in this recipe contributes over 1/3 of the entire calorie count of this dish!) Toasting the sesame seeds brings out the taste, and enables you to need less for the same flavour.

Makes 4 big servings. It is OK to eat a big serving of this dish, because it is comprised almost entirely of Free Veg, and this will leave you with less room to eat other, more calorie-rich food at your meal!

Calories per serving: 110


:) Dr. Sue © 2009



I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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