To Your Health
June, 2011 (Vol. 05, Issue 06)
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Remember to increase fiber in your diet, but at a rate that is slow and gradual. If you increase your fiber intake too quickly, you may bloat and become gaseous. Therefore, start to increase your dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) gradually to about 20-30 grams per day.

These are rough estimates, but living life is not exact, so do the best you can at aiming for these numbers. Some people may tolerate a diet consisting of 35 grams per day, but some people may bloat and become gaseous at 20 grams per day. The key point is to just keep fiber in mind and increase it to a level that is comfortable for your body. Studies have shown that fiber helps with weight loss and makes you feel full (satiety). It's definitely something to keep in mind as you move forward in your goal of healthy weight loss.

Consider drinking green tea. I know some of you may not like the way it tastes, but there are different types of green tea. Green tea flavoring ranges from jasmine to genmaicha (green tea combined with roasted brown rice) to dragon well (hint of sweetness), just to name a few. Green tea has been shown in some clinical studies to have a beneficial impact on many aspects of health, including improvements in cholesterol, weight loss and weight maintenance. The healthy ingredients found in green tea include, but are not limited to, flavonoids, polyphenols and amino acids.

If you are sensitive to caffeine or have insomnia, they do come in decaffeinated versions. You can also decaffeinate the tea yourself. You can steep the tea bag in hot water for about 1 minute; then dump that water, because caffeine leaks out quickly. Then, use a new cup of hot water and steep the same tea bag in it for about 5-10 minutes to get the flavor with a fraction of the original caffeine.

apple with measuring tape - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Think Health First

As you can see, there are simple steps that can help to ensure weight loss in a way that won't jeopardize your health. Although we all have different reasons for weight loss, and those reasons may change at different stages in our life, we should always remember that our goal should be inextricably linked to the goal of becoming healthier.

It's been suggested in studies that people who initiate weight loss for health reasons, rather than purely for aesthetic reasons, are more likely to achieve their weight loss goals and are more successful at maintaining weight loss. This may be due to the more extensive steps people take toward making lasting lifestyle changes when they are focused on weight loss for health reasons.

Ultimately, it's more important that you cross the finish line and achieve a healthy, fit lifestyle you can maintain, rather than losing a lot of weight quickly, but being unable to maintain the healthy weight because you took extreme measures to lose it. We all know that extreme measures cannot be maintained long-term.

That's why I always remind my patients that, when it comes to weight loss, slow and steady does win the race; in this case, it's much more important to be the tortoise than the hare.

slim man and woman - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark How many Calories Do You Burn?

We don't mean when you're exercising; we mean while you're at rest. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the rate at which your body uses energy during rest. The more calories you burn at rest, the more weight you can lose. Here's the equation:

For men:
(10 x w) + (6.25 x h) – (5 x a) + 5

For women:
(10 x w) + (6.25 x h) – (5 x a) – 161

Where w = weight in kg, h = height in cm, a = age in years

Dr. Julie T. Chen is board-certified in internal medicine and fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, Calif. She is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of Web sites and nonprofit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates various healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more, visit