Q: This year I want to lose weight, but I’m already struggling. What could I be doing wrong?
A: Losing weight and keeping it off requires dedication, healthy foods and good hormonal balance. Without proper levels of testosterone, our thyroid becomes sluggish, slowing our metabolism and launching a vicious cycle of weight gain that puts us at a greater risk for developing heart disease, cancers and other health conditions. Besides eating foods that aren’t good for us, there are lots of ways we sabotage ourselves. One of the worst things you can do is not eat enough, because restricting food intake too severely can cause weight gain. When the body’s furnace consistently lacks fuel, it decides food is scarce and rather than burn fat, it will begin storing fat to live off of during the perceived famine.
Skipping breakfast is another common mistake. A healthy breakfast with protein and nutrient rich fruits can kick off a day of fat burning. Add exercise and you’re on the right track. But workouts can be another way we sabotage ourselves. We feel good afterwards and may decide to reward ourselves with pizza or a burger or eat too much.
Don’t be fooled by “lite” foods as they ate usually packed with sugar and chemicals used to make them taste good. Don’t confuse thirst with hunger. Try drinking a glass of water a half hour before eating. Some juices, coffees, and smoothies can have up to 500 calories per serving, and alcoholic drinks are packed with empty calories. Eliminating foods loaded with potential allergens (like wheat or beans) can also help with weight loss.
Watch for Postpartum ‘Baby Blues’
Q: I’m expecting my first child. My mother had severe bouts of depression after giving birth. Am I likely to have the same experience?
A: During pregnancy, hormones rise 20 to 30 times their normal levels, causing nasty side effects like morning sickness, irritability, tearfulness and hypersensitivities to smells and tastes. The sudden drop in hormone levers after birth, however, can trigger severe side effects for some women. The dramatic drops in estrogen and progesterone postpartum can leave many women feeling depressed, irritable and moody, similar to PMS. This is known as the “baby blues.”
The “baby blues” occurs in 75 to 80 percent of women, starting two to three days after giving birth and usually peaking about seven to ten days postpartum. Normally, these feelings subside as hormone levels stabilize, but 10 to 20 percent of women will experience more intense, long-lasting side effects that can threaten their health. For these women, postpartum depression, or PPD, usually sets in about four to eight weeks post delivery, but it can occur anytime up to a year after giving birth. It’s most common among first time mothers or those who tend to have severe PMS.
If your mother experience severe PMS, and you do as well, it is important to let you doctor know so your post pregnancy symptoms can be monitored closely. Symptoms of PPD include frequent bouts of crying, sleeplessness, agitation, anxiety, anger, fear, unexplained sadness or suicidal thoughts. In these cases it is essential to receive professional medical care, as untreated PPD can have significant impacts on both the mother and the baby.