Sunday, January 13, 2013


So...It's a Happy New Year and you're thinking about losing weight.   You've put it off long enough.  You tried not to put on the usual 5-10 pounds that usually occurs during the holiday season, but did anyway.  Where do you start?

Well, you first might want to figure out why you want to lose weight.  Likely, you think if you lose the weight you will look great!  This is like the feeling you experienced while dating the best looking guy in the history of your love life;  nice for a while, but superficial and ultimately not as satisfying as you imagined, not to mention short-lived.  How about to live a longer life?  That has to be it!  No again.  A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that only people with body mass indices (BMIs) of greater than or equal to 35 were at a higher risk of death from any cause than compared to people that were normal weight or moderately overweight.  That's right, I said OVERWEIGHT.  In fact, they found that people that were overweight actually had a LOWER chance of dying (by 6%) than people with normal BMIs (equal to 19-25).  I can actually hear all of you breathing a sigh of relief. 

Why would people that are overweight have a lower chance of dying than those of a normal weight?  Well, the experts theorize that possibly people that are overweight are treated more aggressively for medical conditions such as diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure than their normal weight counterparts.  Overweight people are less likely to have osteoporosis, a condition that leads to an increased risk for life threatening hip fractures.   Another factor may be that if you are overweight and develop a life threatening illness, that those extra pounds provide needed energy reserves.

Ok, so now you say, why should I lose weight at all?  How about to FEEL GOOD!?  How about to have the energy we need to meet the demands of our fast paced lives?  How about so you don't need all those medications to treat medical conditions that come from eating the wrong foods and not being active enough?  That sounds pretty good.  If we eat healthily and maintain an active lifestyle (watching TV or playing on your Ipad does not constitute an active lifestyle) but are not rail thin, let's not beat ourselves up too much.  Make sure you are getting screened for elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension on a regular basis.  Make sure you are eating a diet rich in a variety of vegetables (yes, these come first in priority and amounts), fruits, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.  Minimize your alcohol intake (ladies, this is <7 glasses of alcohol per week and no more than 2 glasses at a time).  Move, exercise, dance, walk, park your car far away from the mall entrance/from the grocery store entrance, take the stairs, just get going!  If your BMI happens to fall into the "overweight" category, but you are living a healthy lifestyle, don't fret.  You'll have less of a chance of dying than the skinniest person you most envy!

To calculate your BMI (body mass index): take your weight converted into kilograms and divide it by your height (converted into meters) squared. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year from Loudoun Physicians for Women

Happy New Year, 2013!
We at Loudoun Physicians for Women wish you and yours all the best for the new year.  Now that we've narrowly averted going over a fiscal cliff, what's next for the coming months?  For those interested in a resolution to lose weight and get healthy, I'm a big fan of the Weight Watchers program, both online and in-person.  It's been shown to help folks maintain their losses better than those other programs that provide you their food options without really teaching you better attitudes toward your food/shopping/cooking/eating out, etc.  Even modest losses (10-15% of your total body weight) have measurable health benefits to your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.  Small increases in your physical activity (taking stairs instead of elevators, parking at the far end of the parking lot, stretching and doing some light weight-lifting while watching TV in the evenings, etc.) can make noticeable differences in your energy level and flexibility, as well as your ability to maintain your weight.  Paying attention to your calcium and vitamin D intake can help to stave off the risk of osteoporosis and fracture as you age, especially the younger you start.  Reducing stress wherever you can affects not only your mental health but your physical status as well.  Making time for friendships, leisure activities, and spiritual growth are all important in keeping your "happiness quotient" up.  We see many of our patients doing wonders at taking care of everyone but themselves, and we want you to remember you're no good to them if you're not in the best shape you can be.  We're behind you all the way!