Monday, October 6, 2008

Mel's work on Obesity

3:06:50 AM CDT
Feeling Quiet
Hearing In the summertime - Mungo Jerry

Mel's work on Obesity

Eventually every discussion I ever get into ends with my wide hide. Don't know why, don't mean to do it, just seems to violate every discussion by it's shear volume alone. Of all the topics anyone could want to bring up with me, this one I know enough about to feel that I can make a well thought out opinion on.

I like to consider myself a slightly intelligent individual. Don't think I could possibly formulate the next theory of the evolution chain for you, but pretty sure I could research and talk myself outta a paper bag on a rainy day when the situation arises. It's because of this belief that people around me (and myself) find it really hard to believe my derriere could possess it's own zip code. I mean, come on, I know the risks involved with obesity, I goggled that puppy years ago. And yet, with all my educated knowledge, there it is, a living entity all by itself. Yes sir folks, this one deserves the Mel expression commonly used to be directed at my own self:

"Dude, what were you thinking?"

Several cultures actually considered obesity to be associated with physical attractiveness, strength and fertility. Even some of our earliest artifacts depict obese female figures. Obesity was considered a symbol of wealth and social status in cultures prone to food shortages or famine. So basically, the bigger you were, the more resources you had and the more desired you were. (Can we say Suga momma?) LOL My theory is that I was born in the wrong darn century.

Today in modern Western culture, obese people are considered vulgar. Along with this stigmatism is the thought that these people are lazy, stupid or just plain gluttons (ok, you may have me on this one =P). Society shuns anyone that doesn't fit what they consider to be beautiful which I suppose, if you think about it, is just another way of "natural selection" because I don't know of many morbidly obese people that often encounter a lot of sexual proposals.

First let's look at why people typically gain weight. Food is our source of energy to the body. The body burns this energy whether you are sleeping or simply vegetating on the couch because it needs this energy to keep you warm, keep your organs functioning and your muscles operational. However, when your body produces more energy than it can use at any one given time, it begins to store that energy in it's adipose tissue (commonly known as fat cells) to be consumed at a later time when food may not be within your arms reach. This is your body's natural defense against famine (so when the world ends, I'm set baby!)

In order for your body to lose this weight (in a healthy manner), you must consume less food (or calories) than your body is expending, thus calling out the fat reserves to make up for the shortage. Physical exercise is an important complement to reducing caloric intake because it helps increase your metabolism (how your body is burning energy), but if it's this darn easy, why isn't everyone thin?

There are underlying factors that have been suggested to contribute to the development of obesity which includes:

* Genetic factors and some genetic disorders

* Underlying illness (such as hypothyroidism)

* Eating disorders (binge eating disorder)

* Certain medications

* Sedentary lifestyle

* A high glycemic diet

* Weight cycling, or yo-yo dieting

* Stressful mentality

* Insufficient sleep

* Smoking cessation

As with many medical conditions, the caloric imbalance that results in obesity often develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The easiest solution would be to see ones physician and have them help you prepare a plan to loose those excess pounds in an ideal way, however, for many various reasons, people choose to attempt to solve their problems in their own way.

This image among our society to be thin is so intense that people who struggle with their weight will turn to means of desperation in order to solve their problem. The world of supply and demand sees there's money flying when people are concerned about health and vanity, and the list of new diet products to try just keeps on growing and growing. We also like to accomplish our goals the easy way, in fact, the easier the better, or as a friend of mine once said (easy like a call girl at a fraternity party =P).

One extreme way to tackle weight loss is through drug therapy. There are some "drugs" that are on the market designed tospeed up your metabolism (how your body produces and burns fuel), one of the latest is called Calcium Pyruvate.

Pyruvate occurs naturally and is the primary beginning compound in the Krebs cycle (an energy cycle of chemical and enzyme actions that produce ATP, which the body uses for energy). ATP is what powers your muscles during short powerful movements.

Based on studies of the drug, it seems that pyruvate calcium is a win-win situation. It has been proven to work time and time again under controlled environmental situations:

In one study, 22 to 28 grams of Pyruvate were administered to participants as compared to the recommended 500mg to 1 gram consumed several times a day for a total of only about 4 to 5 grams. This study also found 23% more fat loss as opposed to the claimed 48%, and even with the 48% greater fat loss claim, weight loss in pounds translated to just 2 or 3 pounds, which is rather insignificant considering the amount of Pyruvate the subjects took.

In terms the average consumer can understand:

Better learn to like taking this supplement, because you'll be doing it....a lot.

Of course, the drug has yet to receive any FDA approval stating the legitimacy of the product's claim, but some recent data suggests that Pyruvate can stimulate cellular respiration and possibly inhibit fat production. There are documented studies which have shown Pyruvate to help people lose weight and fat. The calcium mineral stabilizes the supplement, and is also an added bonus for those looking for that solution to their calcium deficiency.

If it's so awesome, why doesn't the FDA put their stamp of approval on it?

Well, there's another animal all by itself. The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy (the power to produce an effect), and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health. The problem with this idea, is that it takes a very long time involving many, many tedious experiments, data research and proven outcomes before they stamp their O.K. on a product because they don't want to be caught panties down if something hits the fan, and manufacturers work on the premise of "striking while the iron is hot".

The solution to that is the ever popular disclaimer: Results may vary, as with any weight reduction program a sensible diet and exercise program under the supervision of a physician is recommended. This disclaimer works like a faith healer: if you're not healed, it's because you didn't believe enough. In other words, if it doesn't work, you didn't try hard enough.

The FDA kind of reminds me of the "Big Brother" from the novel 1984. Fear the big brother, he knows and sees all. The point we go back to with this idea, is that some people just don't like being told what they can do and when they can do it. The same holds true for what they can consume. FDA is on a crusade to regulate the use of supplemental herbs and this idea has organizations such as the "Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute" up in arms. They believe regulation of these supplements will one day outlaw even the use of herbs in cuisine cooking.

Herbs in all technicality are actually considered a food source. Humans since the dawn of ages have been using herbs for medicinal purposes. It was actually science that chemically fabricated some of the more useful herbs for mass consumption and eventual FDA approval. One prime example is White Willow Bark. This herb is commonly used to relieve pain. Science came in and said, "I can do this better", and chemically fabricated the herb making what you recognize today as simple Aspirin. The most important fact to point out about herbs, is that they are only temporarily effective in relieving some health issues. Once the herb is out of the body's system, the effectiveness dissipates, therefore, in order to keep reaping these generous outcomes, one needs to keep on taking the herbal supplement. In my personal opinion, of all the things FDA should be regulating, or is regulating and doing a pretty poor job of, herbs should not be in their agenda.

America has asked for this freedom and as with any freedom, it comes with a price. Lack of education on the subject matter, or ignorance has never deterred consumers from trying the newest fad, and certainly lack of FDA approval isn't slowing the consumption down one bit, in fact, statistically speaking, whenever the government has tried to regulate consumption, it's often been met with hostility. Want an example? Try Cannabis. No matter how much the government tries to deter it's use, even going to lengths of potential loss of one's freedom, consumers around the world are still partaking in a little doobage. The only thing that really seems to work as a deterrent is educating the population to the negative effects of cannabis use, such as the killing of innocent brain cells (and where Mel is concerned each and every one of them puppies count!)

There are currently "guidelines" within every food and/or supplement on the market. I believe that between these "guidelines" and the media (because if a product goes wrong, you know the media is all over that one), should be substanial enough. It should be up to the consumer to educate himself and make the decision on the best action for him to take. As for regulation on the purchase of these products? One can only point to the use of pseudoephedrine and say, "There's an idea gone bad". Currently the only way you can obtain a product with pseudoepherine is behind the counter, and that's not before giving your age, license, fingerprint, dna sample, first born child over beforehand. Phamicists have explained to me it's because illegal drug producers use this to cut (I think that's the correct term) their product. The problem is that this regulation does nothing to deter these ingenious "chemists", if they want it they are going to get it one way or another. The regulation only seems to hurt the consumer that needs the medication for allergies and colds by making it harder and sometimes impossible (ever try finding a pharmicist on duty at 2 am?) to obtain.

Do I think drugs are the answer?

It's possible. Anything's possible, and in the game of desperation when one's trying just about anything to fit into society, everyone's looking for a pocket savior. I'd think that even the thought that a drug was an absolute cure all would have great psychological benefits for someone really grasping at straws, and in the end, it's hope that we humans cling to.

My answer to myself and friends around me that wonder why my hide is so darn wide is this:

It's not like I spent large amounts of time thinking how cool it would be to be the "bottom" of every water cooler joke, it just kind of happened overnite. There was once a time that I was actually quite thin, and if I allow my vanity to speak, really darn cute. Two kids and one divorce later, woah baby!

Genetics plays a roll in this problem. Dad's a big guy, most of his siblings aren't missing meals either.

All my siblings as well as myself have the medical condition hypothyroidism. It's a common illness that requires close medical supervision, and you better be prepared to do the red cross thing and give lots of blood samples. Regulation of this illness means testing your CBC's about every 3 - 4 months.

Stress plays a huge roll in my choice to remain a bit chubby. Working 2 jobs, going to school, raising children and remodeling a house causes extreme stress (and lack of sleep), anyway out there to sooth my nerves is going to get my attention, and although I don't mind exercising, it's rather hard to dance or run the treadmill with a toddler clinging to your midsection (tried it, the outcome was ugly).

Previous battles with anorexia really mess up the metabolism.

Losing weight takes dedication, it takes time and it takes a lot of will power, which all converts to expending one's energy. Right now my focus is on my family, my education and my work. When the ability or need to change my focus arises, I will divert that energy and face that challenge head on.

No matter how you try to look at the fact, it is a choice, but it is also a situation that you can't easily fix with magic. As with any habit, change happens when you want it the most and it never happens overnite.

In the meantime, I suppose the family can enjoy using the hide as an additional tax exemption. =P

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