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Health & Lifestyle

How training your mind can help Lose weight 5 times more.



Losing weight requires making diet and lifestyle adjustments, but once we’ve done that, can we do anything to maximize the good results? A new study shows that applying a simple mind imagery technique could boost weight loss significantly.

Recently, Dr. Linda Solbrig and colleagues, from the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, conducted a study.

Its main objective was to find out which types of motivational intervention would be the most effective in aiding weight loss efforts.

The scientists compared a fairly common talking therapy known as Motivational Interviewing (MI) with a novel type of motivational intervention called Functional Imagery Training (FIT).

In MI, the person embarking on a weight loss program receives counseling that allows them to find and voice what motivates them to change (in this case, shedding excess weight).

With FIT, however, the person who wishes to lose wight is taught to fully visualize, in as realistic a way as possible, achieving their goal of weight loss, and what that would allow them to do or experience that they are unable to do or experience at present.

 “Most people agree that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more, but in many cases, people simply aren’t motivated enough to heed this advice — however much they might agree with it,” explains Dr. Solbrig.

“So FIT comes in with the key aim of encouraging someone to come up with their own imagery of what change might look and feel like to them, how it might be achieved and kept up, even when challenges arise,” she adds.

The researchers wanted to see which approach — MI or FIT — would bring about the best results for the participants. The study’s findings appear in the International Journal of Obesity.

Talking therapy vs. functional imagery

Dr. Solbrig and team recruited 141 participants with body mass indexes (BMIs) of at least 25. Current guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) say that a person with a BMI of 25 is deemed overweight, and a person with a BMI of 30 or over could be diagnosed with obesity.

Of the total number of participants, 55 underwent MI and 59 underwent FIT. They all participated in two sessions of the intervention that had been allocated to them: one face-to-face, and one by phone.

The participants also received follow-up calls every couple of weeks for a period of 3 months, and then once per month for another 3 months. The maximum contact time for each person was 4 hours over the entire study period.

Assessments took place at baseline, after 6 months (at the end of the intervention), and then again after 12 months from baseline.

The researchers found that the participants who underwent FIT had lost five times more weight, on average, compared with those who underwent MI. Specifically, participants in the FIT group lost 4.3 centimeters more around their waists over 6 months than those in the MI group.

This amounts to an average of 4.11 kilograms lost by individuals in the FIT group, compared with an average of 0.74 kilograms lost by those in the MI group.

Moreover, those who underwent the FIT intervention reported still losing excess weight even after the 6-month intervention period. At the 12-month mark, participants in the FIT group had lost 6.44 kilograms, on average, and those in the MI group had lost only 0.67 kilograms, on average.

“It’s fantastic that people lost significantly more weight on this intervention, as, unlike most studies, it provided no diet/physical activity advice or education,” as Dr. Solbrig points out. “People were completely free in their choices and supported in what they wanted to do, not what a regimen prescribed.”


A potent multisensory technique

What makes FIT so much more effective than MI, the specialists believe, is that it uses multisensory imagery, asking people to imagine everything about their enhanced experiences following weight loss — from how these might look and feel to how they might taste and smell.

An optional app to support the participants in picturing these scenarios was also made available to them.

“We started with taking people through an exercise about a lemon [regarding the FIT technique],” says Dr. Solbrig, adding, “We asked them to imagine seeing it, touching it, juicing it, drinking the juice, and juice accidently squirting in their eye, to emphasize how emotional and tight to our physical sensations imagery is.”

This technique might be particularly effective in the case of people who may find it truly difficult to keep up their motivation for losing weight.

For example, one study participant who was allocated to the FIT group notes that it allowed her to really stay focused on her reasons for embarking upon her weight loss journey.

“I lost my mum at 60, and being 59 myself with a variety of health problems, my motivation was to be there for my daughter. I kept thinking about wearing the dress I’d bought for my daughter’s graduation, and on days I really didn’t feel like exercising, kept picturing how I’d feel,” the participant explains.

“I’ve gone from 14 stone to 12 stone 2,” she adds, “and have managed to lower the dosage I need for my blood pressure tablets. I’d still like to lose a touch more, but I’m so delighted with the mindset shift.”



Health & Lifestyle

Effects of Hot baths on inflammation, glucose metabolism



According to new research, a hot bath could have effects that extend way beyond mental relaxation. According to the authors, regular hot baths might reduce inflammation and improve metabolism.

Over recent years, hot baths, saunas, and other so-called passive heating therapies have received growing attention from scientists.

Scientists now believe they offer some potential benefits, including improved vascular function and sleep.

Because hot baths are low cost and unlikely to cause significant side effects, understanding any benefits that a hot bath might have could be a quick win for medical science.

Recently, researchers set out to understand whether hot bath immersion could have an impact on metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.

 Almost 20 years ago, a paper concluded that hot water immersion of individuals with type 2 diabetes enhanced insulin sensitivity. However, it is still unclear how this might occur.

In the most recent study, the researchers dug a little deeper into the mechanisms at work. They theorized that the influence of a hot bath over glucose metabolism might revolve around the inflammatory response.


Inflammation and insulin resistance

There is some evidence that chronic, low-level inflammation increases insulin resistance. In other words, inflammation reduces a cell’s ability to respond to insulin, potentially contributing to the development of diabetes.

Conversely, exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity — meaning that the body has better control over glucose levels.

Although doctors often recommend exercise to reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders, not everyone can exercise — perhaps due to health conditions or physical capacity. It is, therefore, essential to find alternative ways to improve insulin sensitivity for these people.

Exercise, as with other physical stressors, sparks a brief inflammatory response, followed by a more extended anti-inflammatory response. The researchers wanted to see if a different type of physical stressor — a hot bath — might have a similar effect on the immune system.

For this study, the researchers investigated the impact of a hot bath on overweight, mostly sedentary men. The findings were published recently in the Journal of Applied Physiology.


Hot bath intervention

Each participant immersed themselves in a water bath set at 102°F (39°C) for 1 hour. Scientists took blood just before and after the bath, and then 2 hours later.

Also, the researchers charted the participants’ blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate every 15 minutes.

 Over the following 2 weeks, the participants had a further 10 hot water immersions.

The researchers found that a single hot water immersion caused a spike of interleukin — a marker of inflammation. Similarly, there was an increase in nitric oxide (NO) production.

The spike in NO is important because it causes blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure. NO also improves glucose intake into tissues, and scientists think it has anti-inflammatory properties.

As expected, the 2-week intervention saw a reduction in fasting blood sugar and inflammation. In the same way that exercise influences inflammation, the researchers saw an initial increase followed by a long-term decrease in inflammation.

The researchers also write that it “might have implications for improving metabolic health in populations unable to meet the current physical activity recommendations.”

It is important to note that the people who took part in the study did report some discomfort. This was either due to the length of time that they were required to stay in the bath or the high temperature. Future research might investigate whether shorter periods or lower temperatures might have similar benefits.

Of course, hot baths alone cannot treat metabolic disorders, but they may be a simple, cost-effective intervention that can run alongside other treatments.


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Health & Lifestyle

Experts recommend natural remedies to Diabetes.



Medical practitioners have recommended some natural remedies that could curb the increasing rate of diabetes in the country.

The practitioners offered the remedies in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

They spoke against the backdrop of this year’s World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated globally on November 14.

The practitioners said the awareness had become imperative because diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose.

“Diabetes usually is prevalent in middle aged and older adults but now becoming common in children. Adults are still at the highest risk than children,’’ Dr. Iorwuese Charles told NAN on phone.


He said that diabetes has to do with an increase sugar level in the blood caused by an absolute deficiency of insulin that affects one out of three adults.

Charles, a medical practitioner at Police Hospital Ado, Ekiti State, said that diabetes is a group of diseases that usually ends up in too much amount of sugar in the blood.


He advised families to always maintain good lifestyle habits to curb diabetes in their homes.

Charles said the symptoms in diabetes include increased frequency of urination, increase thirst, dry mouth, increase in eating with weight loss.

Other signs, he said, are: “Blurring of vision, tiredness, fatigue, mood swings, irritability, frequent urination at night and headaches.”

According to him, the symptoms of diabetes are endless with no permanent cure but with proper maintenance one could live a healthy life.


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