When a Headache Strikes Try These Natural Pain Relief Methods

Headache seems to be a normal illness nowadays. Though there are many causes of headaches, suffering from headache pain sometimes becomes common for almost anyone. Different pain comes in different reasons. The serious ones get a person in trouble if the illness is just taken for granted.

Initial pain relief for sudden headache can easily be taken care of. Any pain reliever medication at home like Ibuprofen or Aspirin can help alleviate the pain and suffering. The following can be considered as an effective natural pain relief:

1. Sleep – Sometimes headaches are caused by stress or sleepless nights. This is the best pain relief to relax both mind and body. The pain is caused by the stress built up into the head. Just keeping your mind free from any stressful thoughts and a good sleep will surely be a great help.

2. Hot bath – A good way of revitalizing mind and easing pain is a good hot bath. This is a known headache pain relief as it takes always the tension building stress in body and mind.

3. Exercise – A good hearty exercise relaxes muscles. Aside from keeping you physically fit, it is the best way of staying active and keeping oneself healthy.

4. Water therapy – There has been some research that dehydration can be a cause of headache. A minimum of eight glasses a day will keep you hydrated for the rest of day.

With these four easy natural ways of relieving pain, you can be free from headaches. Serious or recurring headaches may sometimes lead to life-threatening illness. It is still best to consult to your physician for the proper diagnosis and treatment.

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How to Eat Like a Toddler… Only When You are Hungry

Well, let start with the question, “Why do you eat?” The simplest answer to that question is… because I’m hungry. Why do you stop eating? Because I’m full? If only the act of eating and stop eating were so simple as being hungry and full. For the newborn infant and growing toddler, it really is that simple. They eat when they are hungry and stopped when they are full. The typical two-year-old grazes throughout the day: A cheese stick here, a piece of apple there. When it’s time to sit down for a meal, they may not eat more than a bite or two.

Young children have an amazing ability to self-regulate energy intake. In research studies where children were allowed to eat as much or as little as they wanted, preschool-age children had the ability to eat just the right amount. They did not necessarily choose the healthiest food but they did choose the right amount of food. Healthy food options are where mom and dad step in to provide the veggies, fruits and protein some kids stay away from. Any comments from the Pediatricians in the audience would be appreciated here.

Recall back to the last toddler birthday party you went to. When my daughter, Tallulah, turned 4 years old this year she obsessed about the cake. It had to be just right. A chocolate cake with mint frosting in the shape of a butterfly with plenty of pink icing flower decorations. I had to keep the cake on the top shelf of the refrigerator way in the back out of reach of little fingers ready to poke into the pink frosting. Yet, despite the anticipation, after the candles were blown out and the cake cut, little Tallulah ate about 2 bites of frosting and 1 bite of chocolate cake. And she LOVED the cake. She was not alone. The table was littered with plates of half-eaten mounds of chocolate cake and pink frosting. Minus the amount of frosting that landed on chins, shirts and the floor, the amount of cake consumed averaged to about 1 oz. per child. A perfect toddler sized palm of the hand bit of cake. The parents, meanwhile, where eating their plates clean and taking a bite or two of their child’s leftovers.

Think about all of the triggers out there that result in the action of eating.

Time – When the clock ticks closer to 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm the visual cue that it is getting closer to meal time is a powerful trigger to eating. It’s dinner time and you may still be full from happy hour snacks, but the time on the clock triggers the action of sitting down to a full dinner.

The sight of food  – Have you ever felt a little rumble in your stomach after seeing a fast food restaurant burger commercial with a 40 inch sized (or formatted to fit your TV screen) visual of a juicy grilled burger with fresh fixings. The sight of food is a powerful trigger to eat.

Someone else is eating – the social triggers to eating are plenty powerful. A good example is when you meet someone at a café or restaurant and you’ve already eaten. It is hard not to order a small something to join them while they eat.

The smell of food – I fall for this one all of the time. My partner and I share an office. We both have the habit of eating a hurried lunch hunched in front of our computers trying to eat and get some paper work done at the same time. She loves “Lean Pockets”. They are a quick and convenient. Well, those Lean Pockets smell sooooo good. Like a hot baked pizza straight from a wood burning stove. Too bad they don’t taste that good. But the smell wafts through our office and instantly triggers an urge to dive. Excellent marketing for Lean Pockets.

Stress – If you have never had the urge to sooth a day of hardship with comfort foods like Mac and Cheese or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Double Fudge Crunch, then all power to you. When our willpower has been depleted to near zero, resisting these temptations can be difficult. In addition, stress may add a craving in addition to being a trigger, resulting in the urge to indulge as a potential solution to the stress our body feels. Sure, back in the caveman days, stress was caused by the saber tooth tiger you just outran. A few comfort calories after a sprint for one’s life were well deserved. Today’s stressors are unlikely to involve physically running away (however we may wish that to be the contrary). They are more likely to come from the mental stress of too much work and so little time, relationships gone awry, and bosses demanding more. The extra calories do little more then add expanding waist lines and clothes that no longer fit to the list of modern day stressors. Stress eating can get ugly quickly. If you are a stress eater, then the next post in this series is especially for you.

Boredom – Do you every find yourself rummaging through the refrigerator on a Saturday night. Nothing better to do then to curl up to a late night movie and a tub of popcorn, extra butter, please.

Hunger – Do you eat like a toddler? Only when you are hungry and stop when you are full? If so, I congratulate you and your ability to avoid the food triggers that have become habit for most of us. We have been exposed to a lifetime of training, soothing, cajoling, and socializing that these other triggers to eat

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3 Best Tips to Change Your Diet and Lose Weight

Many people find it hard to lose weight. It should be easy, just cut your calories and move more to create a calorie deficit. This formula does not seem to be working because the diet industry is booming and people are not any thinner in general. This may be due to the fact that changing dietary habits is not as easy as it seems. In that light, here are three tips to help you lose weight.

Tip Number One seems like the easiest and the hardest to do at the same time. Do not eat junk foods. These foods include; sodas, pizza, and most fast foods are full of components that are addictive. One of these include high fructose corn syrup. So, if you want to lose weight, keep in mind that the more junk food you eat, the more you will want. Try to wean off of them.

Weaning off fast foods and junk foods can be easier with practice. For example, instead of going to a fast food restaurant for a burger, go to your local health food store for a ready-made sandwich. These will have fresh meats and plenty of veggies to help you get your daily amount of vegetable servings. For added benefit, see if you can get your sandwich on a pita or whole wheat tortilla.

If you crave sweets, try making your own raw food treat. This will actually add to your health as many are made with fresh fruits or nuts. Dates are a nutritious food packed with minerals that can be used to make cookies. Almonds are a healthy protein that can be make into a cookie or pie. Look at your local health food store or online for a raw food recipe book for more ideas.

Tip #2 – Take daily supplements of fiber and essential fatty acids. You can get EFA’s in pill or liquid form and the fiber in a pill or powder form. It only takes a minute out of your day to take them and they both help you lose weight while helping you feel fuller.

EFA’s are known by health professionals and even some doctors to make weight loss easier and can even help balance hormones. A big health addition with this supplement is that it may help protect you from heart disease by reducing internal inflammation.

Fiber helps sweep internal waste so your body can remove it. Some fibers help lower bad cholesterol. They also give you a full feeling, so taking a fiber supplement before a meal may help you to prevent over eating.

The 3rd Tip to lose weight may sound odd at first; do a whole body cleanse. Although shunned by most doctors, thousands of people have found this to be a healthy practice to lose weight and even feel better. Some call it a colon cleanse, but it is the same since your body works as one unit.

Learn how to do a whole body cleanse and decide what your needs are to help you determine what will work for you. There are many supplements on the market and they all have their fans, so find out why. There are also programs or books to help you create one for your lifestyle or there may be a holistic health therapist in your area.

By learning as many tips and tricks as you can, you will more easily be able to add them to your daily routine. Change is not easy so take your time if you need to, weed out the bad habits, replace with good ones and then you can have real weight loss that will last a lifetime.

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The Way A Change In Diet May Help You Survive Morning Sickness

Not every remedies may work, but a general change in Diet and in the amount of food you eat may help you survive morning sickness.

Morning sickness or nausea and vomiting are probably the toughest experience during Pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. Although it is often worst every morning, the symptoms can strike anytime of the day or night.

For the majority of women, the foods they normally eat are probably not the foodstuffs they love to enjoy through the first few months of their pregnancy. Instead, these foods only trigger morning sickness.

When this happens, medical service providers often suggest a change in Diet and the quantity of food to enjoy. The following tips can serve as a guide on how your specific Diet change could be a part of your cures for morning sickness.


Suggested foods each and every morning

It’s a good idea to have some crackers or dry cereals by your bed so you’ll have something to nibble on as soon as you arise. Morning sickness is often at its toll in the morning, so in addition to putting something in your stomach, slowly getting out of bed may also help overcome your nauseated feeling. Cold foods for instance, sandwiches, well-prepared salads, plain vegetables and fruits including bland foods just like chicken soup or broth and plain baked potato are some of the suggested foods that can assist you manage the nauseated feeling in the morning.

Suggested foods during the day

An empty and full stomach can also trigger morning sickness. To prevent getting too full or hungry, it is advisable to eat small, frequent meals during the day. Drinking water half hour both before and after mealtime and not along with your meals helps as well in keeping your food down. It is also recommended to drink fluids during the day to help keep you hydrated.

Lemons, ginger tea, ginger ale soda, ginger snaps, crackers, flavored popsicles and Jell – O are some of the great snacks to eat.

Suggested foods later in the day

Bland foods without strong odors are better dinner foods for expectant mothers since greasy and spicy foods tend to invite a nauseated feeling.

Don’t forget that to be free from mental stress and fatigue as they only make morning sickness worse. So, along with the change in diet, one of the most important advice for mothers-to-be is to always go to sleep early and rest!

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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease

Most people know Gastroesophageal reflux disease as “GERD” or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease which is known as “GORD”.

Our stomach is the one of the main organs in our digestive system. A little problem can lead to serious illness. GERD is one such condition, which relates to stomach functions. If we try to know that what is GERD, It stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Human stomach has some natural acids, which help in the digestive process. Pepsin and Hydrochloric acid are the main acids which are present in the stomach along with many enzymes. The combine effect of these enzymes and acid digest different food elements. For instance, pepsin helps in the digestion of protein. On the other hand, Esophagus is the main muscular tube, that connects the mouth and stomach. Now coming back to the what is GERD, GERD is the condition, when acids from the stomach refluxes into the esophagus.

This flowing back of stomach liquids is not a natural condition, rather it is a common disease. There are many kinds of liquids in the stomach, some are enzymes which are protein in nature, while others are acids, which can be harmful. If GERD persists for a long time, these acids can destroy the lining of the esophagus, leading to some serious illness. Usually, heartburn and chest pain are felt by the patients, and the majority of patients experience both. During normal conditions, some amount of stomach liquids flows back in esophagus, but that is for a short time.

But people who suffer from GERD, have these acidic liquids for long in their esophagus and the concentration of acid is also higher in these liquids. So, if someone experience the heart burns occasionally, we can call it normal. However, if an individual feels chest pain or heartburn once a week, it is a clear indication that he can develop GERD. Moreover, if someone is suffering from hiatal Hernia, he is at higher risk of getting this disease.

The human body has its own mechanism to relieve these symptoms. Most reflux occurs during the day, this is an evidence of the body’s own relieving action. When we are upright, gravity plays a major role and stomach acids can flow back in the stomach after a short time. When we are awake we swallow often, which send stomach liquids back into the stomach. Moreover, bicarbonates are present in our mouth, which neutralize acids, this balances the effect of acids in the esophagus, when saliva travels in this tube. If we talk in order, most of the work is done by gravity, after that swallowing does its job and left over acids are neutralized by the bicarbonates present in saliva.

The situation is not really simple at night. During sleep we are in such a position, when gravity cannot work and we are no more swallowing, so the two major factors are absent, which can cause problems. So, at night refluxes can be dangerous for the esophagus as they will stay there for longer. GERD is a lifetime problem, once developed. If the esophagus is damaged, it can be serious as well. Patients will need regular treatment to get rid of common symptoms. With continuous treatment symptoms can completely disappear but they can come back again after few months.

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Quick tips for weight loss

Are you ready to shed the weight fast? The swelling is being placed in the way of feeling good about your body? Here are some valuable tips to lose and to inflate the scale is low. These diet tips are recommended only for short-term results fast and you should discuss with your doctor before incorporating them into your diet.

1. For rapid weight loss you want to avoid foods that cause swelling. Beans, for example, are very hard for your body to digest and can cause symptoms of swelling. The dairy can have a similar effect in people who do not tolerate dairy products like milk and cheese well. Just as importantly you want to avoid overloading the diet with salt. Most Americans consume about 5000 milligrams of sodium per day and while there is no recommended daily allowance for the product of the salt, most nutritionists recommend to draw the line around 2500 milligrams daily. Avoiding these foods will decrease the occurrence of swelling that can leave you feeling uncomfortable and fat.

2. Drink plenty of water each day. The additional water consumption actually helps flush your system and remove the swelling and toxins that accumulate in the body and create barriers to weight loss. Experts suggest that you consume 6 to 8 glasses of water a day but if you’re looking for quick results, you can increase that amount every day.

3. Cut carbs after lunch. Carbohydrates tend to stand on water and you keep the liquid to leave your stomach feeling bloated. For quick results consume carbohydrates for their lunch time. This means that you should not eat grains, bread, pasta, potatoes, corn or ningui type of refined carbohydrates such as pretzel, chips, cookies and sweets in the afternoon or evening.

Follow these recommendations and you lose the feeling bloated, weight loss of the experience quickly and be ready to show off your body more thin. Beginning today avoid foods that make you retain fluids, such as beans, salt and dairy if you are sensitive, increasing their productivity and cut their water carburetors later in the day. The results will come quickly.

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What is a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is a healthy diet, whether you’re trying to gain weight, maintain your weight, lose a little or lose a lot. The only difference between these is the number of calories you take in. For that reason, we won’t discuss calorie requirements, but the way you should be spending or distributing those calories. We also won’t take into account any special diets for managing Type 2 diabetes or any other conditions or allergies.

A healthy diet is a balanced diet that includes all of the macronutrients (protein, carbs and healthy fats), allows for a good dose of vitamins and minerals and other micronutrients, keeps your blood sugar steady and leaves you feeling energetic, sated and happy.

The Macronutrients: How Much of Each Do You Need?

A lot of diet books and websites will prescribe a definite amount (in grams) of each of these nutrients. This can be complicated or confusing for those who don’t have time to count every gram of every food. It’s also a little misleading.

How many grams of protein, carbs or fat you need depends on your gender, age, activity level, whether you’re a bodybuilder or on a heavy weight training program, etcetera. There are places on the internet where you can find out how many grams of each are recommended for given groups. For the purposes of planning a healthy diet, though, it’s perfectly fine to go by this guideline: you should get about 40% of your calories from protein, 40% from carbs and 20% from healthy fats.

So, if you’ve determined that you need to take in 1800 calories to maintain your weight, you’ll want to spend 720 on protein, 720 on carbs and 360 on healthy fats. This ratio won’t change if your calorie needs are higher or lower, only the exact numbers will.

The Macronutrients: Where Should you get Them?

All proteins are not created equal; neither are all fats or carbs. The types of protein, carbs and fats you choose will have a huge impact on how nutritious your daily diet really is, and on whether you lose weight. You can take in 1200 calories of unhealthy foods and gain weight or take in 1600 calories of healthy foods and still lose weight.


What is a healthy diet of lean protein? When choosing your protein sources, you should choose those that are low in saturated fat and have as few additives as possible. Cold-water fish and shellfish are not only great sources of protein; they are also low in saturated fat and have healthy doses of Omega-3 fatty acids. 300 calories worth of these is far healthier than 300 calories worth of ground beef, which is loaded with saturated fat and contains no healthy fats at all.

Legumes and some dairy products are the next best sources of protein. Black beans, split peas and soy beans are excellent examples of protein-rich legumes. Greek yogurt has twice the protein content of regular yogurt and often has far less sugar. Low-fat milk and low-fat cheeses are another good choice.

Eggs are a terrific source of protein. Egg whites are best if you have cholesterol issues. If you do want some yolk, try scrambling on yolk with three egg whites to get tons of protein without extra fat.

Meats should be the protein you choose last, as all of them contain saturated fat and some of them contain way too much of it. Lean cuts of beef, such as filet or London broil, should be chosen over a T-bone or rib eye or chuck roast. You should opt for chicken or turkey breast over a drumstick and all skin should be removed and fat drained on a paper towel before eating. You can cut the fat by as much as 40% just by draining the meat before putting it onto your plate.

Lunch meats should be avoided; they’re packed with additives, preservatives, sugar and sodium.

Protein powders are certainly acceptable, especially those made of soy or whey protein. They’re a great way to get a protein-rich meal when you’re in a hurry, or if you aren’t much of a breakfast eater. However, it’s important to read the labels before you buy. Many of these have just as much fat and sugar as a regular milkshake! Buy the purest formula you can, and whip up your own healthy shake with skim milk, fresh fruit, yogurt or many other healthy and tasty ingredients.


What is a healthy diet when it comes to carbs? Carbohydrates are found in almost everything except meat. The chief sources for them though are grains and plant foods. The important thing when choosing carbs for a healthy diet is to choose fresh produce and whole grains for at least 80% of your carb intake. The rest of your carbs will likely come from sugar.

All grains are not created equal. Don’t be misled by product labels. You need whole grains in your diet, as they provide both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber expands in your stomach, creating a feeling of fullness, slowing the rate that sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream and making you feel full faster and longer. Insoluble fiber is essential for speedy digestion and regularity.

Choose whole grain breads-the more dense they are, the better. Also opt for steel cut or whole grain hot and cold cereals without added sugar. It’s fine to add your own sugar, honey or other natural sweetener, but pre-sweetened foods usually have far too much.

Brown rice, quinoa and barley are other good grain choices. Avoid pasta; even whole grain pasta is very easy to overeat. White breads, white rice and white pasta should be avoided.

When choosing fruits and vegetables, variety is the key to covering all of your bases. Choose dark, vibrant colors, such as red peppers, orange sweet potatoes, dark green spinach and vibrant purple blackberries. You’ll get a wealth of antioxidants, phyto-nutrients and vitamins if you have a rainbow of produce in your fridge. Eat plenty of leafy greens, berries, citrus and fibrous fruits and veggies such as broccoli, apples and carrots.


What is a healthy diet without fat? An extremely unhealthy diet. You absolutely must have fat in your diet. You need them to process and transport vitamins, nourish your skin and hair and even for proper brain function. For dieters, fats are also integral to feeling satisfied rather than hungry.

There is no place in your diet for trans-fats. These are hydrogenated oils such as lard, shortening or margarine. If it’s solid at room temperature, it is a trans-fat. Trans-fats are in most processed foods, fried foods and prepared bakery items.

Instead, choose butter spreads that contain no trans-fats. There are many good ones available if you must have that buttery taste on toast or veggies.

Do your cooking and make your dressings with canola oil or olive oil.

Excellent food sources of healthy fats are cold-water fish and shellfish, avocadoes, walnuts and raw almonds. These all contain unsaturated fat as well as health powerhouses Omega-3 and Omega-6.

What is a healthy diet? It’s a wide variety of colorful, flavorful, fresh foods. It’s easier and far more delicious than you may have thought.

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The Hormone Diet

What is the Hormone Diet?

The Hormone Diet aims to balance hormones, improve overall health, teach eating habits, and promote in weight loss. Naturopathic doctor and author Natasha Turner bases the Hormone Diet on the premise that hormones affect every aspect of weight gain and loss. Turner, author of the bestselling book The Hormone Diet, believes that hormones control food cravings as well as fat storage and burning. She says that hormonal imbalances can cause fatigue, memory loss, and ill health in addition to weight gain, and that up to 90 percent of all adults have hormone imbalances.

Dieters lose up to twelve pounds the first two weeks of the Hormone Diet. They then lose about two pounds a week during the six-week program.

You can participate in the Hormone Diet in a number of ways. You can use The Hormone Diet or the companion book The Super-Charged Hormone Diet to guide your diet or you can become a patient at Dr. Turner’s wellness boutique in Toronto.  (As the name suggests, The Super-Charged Hormone Diet is a speeded-up version of the Hormone Diet that takes only four weeks.) Another option is the Hormone Diet Bootcamp, which can bring the Hormone Diet to your workplace (or you can participate in the bootcamp at the Toronto clinic.)

The cost of the diet depends on how you choose to become involved. Some insurance may reimburse for certain of the naturopathic classes. You can buy detox and maintenance kits that cost about $200 each and include the supplements you need for steps 1 and 2 of the Hormone Diet.

How to Follow the Hormone Diet

The six-week Hormone Diet takes a three-step approach.

1. Renew and Revitalize. The first step starts with a two-week detoxification. During the detoxification you learn how different foods affect you and which you may be allergic to. You do not eat the foods that commonly cause allergies, inflammations, or migraines—foods like corn, refined sugars and grains, citrus fruits, and foods with additives.

2. Replenish Your Body and Balance Your Hormones. Step two focuses on which foods to eat and when to eat them. Foods to avoid include so-called ‘hormone-hindering’ foods such as farmed salmon, fish high in mercury, raisins, dates, and non-organic coffee and meat. Throughout the diet you avoid refined sugars and grains, foods with trans fats, corn, citrus fruit, processed meats, foods with nitrites and other additives, alcohol, and most artificial sweeteners.

Your diet consists of gluten-free grains, most vegetables (not corn), fruits (except citrus and canned and dried fruits), nuts, seeds, fish, organic meat, goat cheese, olives, flaxseed and canola oil, eggs, nondairy milk substitutes, soy products, and avocados. You take supplements, omega-3 fish oil, and cleansing formulas. Your supplements may change as you progress in the Hormone Diet.

Your might have a fruit smoothie for lunch and chicken, fish, or turkey and vegetables for lunch and dinner. Good snacks are goat milk cheese and almond protein bars. Lentil soup, three-bean salad, and chicken stir-fry fit with the Hormone Diet. The Hormone Diet includes simple recipes for such tasty dishes as Texas Chili, Vegetarian Chili, and Jamaican Chicken Curry.

You supplement your diet in the second step with multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium-magnesium, whey protein, and antioxidants. You need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

3. Restore Strength, Vigor and Balance. In step three you add exercise– yoga, hiking, biking, and aerobic and strength training—six days a week. The special Hormone Diet workout is a 30-minute workout that uses free weights.

A self-assessment helps you figure out which of your hormones are out of balance and how you can correct them. Correcting hormone imbalances may involve changes to your diet, behavior changes, exercise, better sleep, or stress reduction.

Benefits of the Hormone Diet

Unlike many fast weight loss diets, the Hormone Diet looks at lifestyle issues such as sleep, exercise, eating habits, and stress.  It makes the connection between hormonal health, weight loss, and overall health. It addresses inflammation as a cause of weight gain and health problems.

The nutrition and exercise programs are lifelong programs.

The Mediterranean-style low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic diet is basically a healthy one.

Dr. Turner is a medical doctor and the Hormone Diet has the endorsement of other medical doctors.

The Hormone Diet is for men and women and is consistent with a vegetarian lifestyle.

Concerns about the Hormone Diet

Registered dietitians are concerned about the amount of supplements the Hormone Diet requires. They say that supplements can interact with prescription medication and can be dangerous in the quantities used in this diet.

Traditional medical doctors believe that detoxification is not necessary because the liver and kidneys do that job, and can be dangerous. They say that detox diets can have serious side effects, including dehydration, anemia, low blood sugar, nausea, and fatigue. Detoxification may be particularly dangerous for people who have heart disease or diabetes.

The diet may be too low in carbohydrates for people who exercise regularly. In addition, it may cause the loss of muscle mass and negatively affect your metabolism—both of which make it harder for your body to burn calories.

Many authorities dispute the role of hormones in weight loss as presented in the Hormone Diet. They say that weight loss is more complicated than that and involves other factors in addition to hormones.

Check with Your Doctor

Because the Hormone Diet involves a period of detoxification and requires you to use so many supplements, it’s important to check with your doctor before you start it. Your healthcare provider can evaluate whether the diet is a good one for you, particularly in light of how the supplements may affect any health conditions you have or medications you take.

Keep in mind that you can consult with your physician if you have any questions or concerns while you are on the diet.

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What Are the Causes of Weight Gain

Weight gain is not only the result of overeating and under exercising. Medical researchers have uncovered a number of reasons people cannot control their weight, from stress to genetics. In this article we take a look at a few of the major reasons people gain weight.

Medications that Can Cause Weight Gain

Prescription medications can increase the appetite, slow down metabolism, change the way the body stores fat, and affect insulin levels—all of which can contribute to weight gain. Different medications have different effects on weight, and effects of the same medication can vary from individual to individual.

  • Coricosteroids (e.g., prednisone, cortisone, and hydrocortisone) are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions, including lupus, asthma, and rashes.
  • Cyproheptadine, which is prescribed to relieve allergies and related conditions;
  • Diabetes medications;
  • Anti-seizure medications;
  • High blood pressure medication;
  • Heartburn medication;
  • Lithium—an antimanic agent used in the treatment of bi-polar disorder;
  • Tranquilizers;
  • Antipsychotics (e.g. phenothiazine);
  • Other medications that increase fluid retention and cause edema; and
  • Anti-depressants. Certain anti-depressants are more likely to cause or contribute to weight gain than others.  Researchers estimate that anti-depressants cause weight gain in up to one-quarter of the people who take them.  Anti-depressants that may cause weight gain include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as lexapro, paxil, prozac, and zoloft.

Medical Conditions that Contribute to Weight Gain

Weight gain accompanies many different medical conditions:

  • Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. A deficiency in this hormone depresses the metabolism, which in return causes weight gain.
  • Weight gain associated with Cushing’s syndrome is due to an excess of the hormone cortisol, which results in a build-up of fat in the upper back, abdomen, and face.
  • Certain heart and lung disorders involve fluid retention, which increases weight.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome, which is an imbalance in a woman’s female sex hormones, can cause weight gain.
  • Sleep apnea, which affects hormone levels and interferes with sleep.
  • Leptin is a hormone that regulates weight; people may become overweight as a result of low leptin levels.
  • The hormone insulin does not work as it should in people who are insulin resistant, resulting in excessive accumulation of sugar in their bodies. Insulin resistance can result in weight gain, and can also lead to type II diabetes.
  • Some people eat more and thus gain weight when they are depressed in an attempt to relieve the depression.

Weight gain may be a symptom of an underlying condition that requires medical attention. Individuals who experience any of the following symptoms along with weight gain need to see their healthcare providers.

  • Constipation;
  • Hair loss;
  • Sensitivity to cold;
  • Swollen feet along with shortness of breath;
  • Changes in vision;
  • Uncontrollable hunger along with heart palpitations, tremors, and sweating; or
  • Excessive weight gain for no apparent reason.

Aging and Other Natural Events that Cause Weight Gain

Weight gain naturally accompanies a number of events in the normal life cycle of a human being. While not all people gain weight with age, many do, at least partly because their metabolisms slow down.

It is common for women to gain weight at puberty, during pregnancy, and at menopause. Gaining weight is part of maturing into adulthood. As boys and girls approach puberty their bodies change shape and become heavier.

What are the Causes of Weight Gain Related to Lifestyles?

As most people know, maintaining weight requires a balance between the calories that come in and the calories go out. Eating too much is most common cause of weight gain. A recent study by the World Health Organization concluded: “The main reason that obesity has risen sharply in the United States in recent decades is predominantly because of overeating.”

High carbohydrate and high fat diets contribute more to weight gain than do low carb/low fat diets. Highly processed food and junk food are high-calorie foods that have a direct relation to weight gain.

Studies show that inactivity and overweight are connected. While the exact nature of the connection between the two is still open to debate, a healthy diet combined with regular exercise is the most basic way to avoid becoming overweight or obese.

People may gain weight from moderate to excessive consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is a refined carbohydrate, like sugar and white flour—all of which add calories to any diet. Plus, for some people alcohol may raise blood sugar and insulin levels, two conditions that can play roles in weight gain.

Many people experience a temporary weight gain when they quit smoking. Often this is because they eat more to make up for lack of cigarettes. This type of weight gain usually passes once non-smoking becomes part of life.

Some people eat less when they are stressed and some eat more. Many are so consumed with their difficulties that they do not eat healthy meals. Stress eating or emotional eating is a common reaction to stress: people eat higher calorie foods in an effort to fill their emotional needs. Stress can also lead to inactivity, which can then lead to weight gain.

Believe it or not, a good night’s sleep is important to weight control. Lack of sleep causes a hormonal imbalance, which can translate into cravings for high calorie foods and an increase in body fat.

How Genetics Affect Weight

Because of genes over three-quarters of a person’s body composition is pre-programmed at the time of conception. Researchers are finding that some people have a genetic tendency to be overweight or obese. It seems that such people are less sensitive to the signals their bodies give off when they are full. As a result they keep eating–much more than they need to.

Medical researchers have identified genes that increase and decrease appetite.  They have also found that genes play a major role in a person’s metabolism. The rate at which the body converts nutrients into energy can vary as much as 20 percent from person to person.

People with a genetic predisposition to overweight typically cannot lose weight through standard diets and exercise.

Weight Gain: A Complex Topic

Medical researchers, dieticians, and nutritionists continue to study what causes weight gain. A lot is known about this important subject, but there is a lot we still do not understand.

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Gallbladder Disease

How Obesity Increases the Risks of Gallbladder Diseases (and Gallstones)

Gallstones and gall bladder disease are so prevalent that more than 25 million Americans have them and at least a million are diagnosed each year, according to a recent article from 2009. (1) According to all the information available, women are much more likely to develop gallstones and gall bladder disorders than men. Additionally, pregnancy, raised estrogen levels as well as risk factors from hormone replacement therapy make the chances of developing gall bladder disease or gallstones more likely. Another major cofactor for the development of gall bladder maladies is obesity.

Obesity is a condition that affects a very large number of people worldwide, in fact it is so prevalent that it has become an epidemic. (2) Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30.0 kg/m2, while being overweight is a BMI between 25.0 kg/m2 and 29.9 kg/m2. (3) Obesity is just one of the more visible symptoms of a larger set of illnesses collectively called metabolic syndrome. (4) A person identified as suffering from metabolic syndrome is at high risk of developing seriously life-threatening illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, disorders and cancers of the liver, stomach, bowels, kidneys, pancreas, gall bladder and other gastrointestinal tract issues. (5) Therefore, obesity is a serious condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible with weight loss and diet change, as well as surgery if no other alternative is available. (6)

Obesity and gall bladder maladies

People who suffer from diabetes have a higher risk factor for developing gall bladder disorders and gallstones. Type 1 diabetes is genetic and develops early on in a person’s life, so it is not directly related to obesity, although staying at a normal body-weight certainly does improve the quality of life for someone suffering from this condition. (7) On the other hand, type 2 diabetes develops as a result of obesity, so it is important to remember that anyone can be afflicted with this condition. (8) One of the gall bladder’s many functions is the conversion of cholesterol into bile. Gallstones are usually formed by high concentrations of cholesterol that have become calcified, (9) so it is likely that sufferers of gallstones who are also diabetic have high cholesterol in their blood as well. (10) Cholesterol in the blood is regulated by insulin created in the pancreas. (11) A person with type 1 diabetes has a pancreas that cannot create insulin and a person with type 2 diabetes has so much insulin in their blood that the body becomes desensitized to its effects. (12) Thus, obesity, high cholesterol levels and insulin are all intricately related to the potential development of gallstones.

Obesity is also a risk factor because the cholesterol is produced by the liver. (13) If the liver is producing too much cholesterol, it is delivered into the gallbladder and converted into bile. (14) However, if there is too much cholesterol then the gallbladder cannot deal with the quantities and therefore becomes supersaturated with cholesterol. (15)

Rapid weight-loss and weight-gain is also one of the cofactors for gallbladder disorder. (16) The risk of gallstones increases by 12% after a lengthy calorie-restricted diet and the risk is a staggering 30% higher 12-18 months following gastric bypass surgery. (17) Those who go through bariatric surgery and other surgeries for dealing with obesity are also at a greater risk of getting gallstones. (18)

Metabolic syndrome and cholesterol

Gallstones and gall bladder issues are related not just to obesity, but to metabolic syndrome as a whole as well. (19) Obesity in the form of adipose tissue around the central part of the body is one of the highest correlating risk factors to gallbladder issues, as well as low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. (20) Additionally, it should be noted that cholesterol as a whole itself is not responsible for the risks of gallbladder stones, but it is that HDL cholesterol (often called “good” cholesterol) levels are too low, which causes the imbalance in the bloodstream producing too much insulin and leading to metabolic syndrome, obesity and gallstones as well.  (21)

Diet, obesity and gallstones

Even though it might make sense to conclude from all of this that an improper diet is a risk factor for developing gallstones, there has not been a study that showed a clear relationship between diet and gallstone formation. (22) This is not, however, to say that low-fiber, high-cholesterol diets and diets high in starchy foods have not been suggested as contributors to the possibility of gallstone formation. (23) There have also been some links showing that wine and whole-grain bread may decrease the risk of gallstones. (24)

As with any of the other disorders in the metabolic syndrome that are heavily related to obesity, it’s important to have a balanced diet that covers a broad range of foods, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. Any imbalances in these foods can cause a number of problems that are all part of the metabolic syndrome and can contribute to obesity and gallstones. High blood sugar is also known to contribute to obesity and other related problems and if a person is eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and sweet food or drinks, you can make your blood sugar spike significantly causing too much insulin to be released from the pancreas. If cholesterol, insulin, triglycerides and any number of other of these substances get out of control in the bloodstream then they can all contribute their part to the obesity epidemic and the formation of gallstones.  A lack of fiber can also contribute to too many solids in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to accumulation of bile in the gallbladder and disorders. A healthy regime of exercise several times a week can also contribute to having a life free of gallstones.

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