Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s all a matter of how we decide to use it. The Internet is a good example. Some experts warn that sitting in front of a computer for long periods can lead to physical and psychological consequences, including obesity and social isolation. But there is a growing body of science indicating a constructive way to spend time online. In particular, researchers found that overweight people to benefit from the educational content and interpersonal support is readily available to almost anyone with an Internet connection. There were two news items caught my attention today. The first report of a series of adverse events related to an FDA approved, over the counter weight loss drug commonly referred to as “Alli.” The actual medication in this product is known as orlistat and is available as a prescription medication since 1999. Since then, 32 cases of “serious liver damage” attributed to this supposedly safe weight loss aid. A second point related to obesity really shook me awake. A study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping indicates that obesity is “associated with lower brain volume in overweight and obese older persons”. 8% less brain tissue was found in the “obese” individuals and a 4% deficit was recorded in “overweight” subjects. One of the researchers noted that the obese brains appeared about 16 years older when viewed through a kind of scan the brains known as “tensor-based morphometry“. (1,2) That’s the bad news. The good news is that weight loss is not only possible, but we now have more tools than ever to help combat obesity.
Before I continue, I want you to know that I am proof that you do not necessarily need to potentially dangerous drugs weight problems to overcome life. I am already over 80 pounds by switching to a healthier diet and the use of the Internet to some much needed moral support. Here is a brief history of my weight on the basis of life: When a boy and young man, I was a bit heavy but not obese. In my early teens, I developed an eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa, resulting in severe weight loss due to starvation and excessive exercise. With the support of my family and a carefully designed psychological intervention, I was able to overcome anorexia. However, as I have grown to adulthood, I began to eat exploited in another way. I used it as a means of consoling myself. As such, I am working on a form binge eating and then received a considerable amount of weight. At the age of 35 years, I stood at 5’11 “- and weighed 265 pounds. I do not exercise much, and my healthy diet ranged from completely destructive, depending on my mood. On many occasions I would some weight loses only about winning back soon after. I just could not stick to a weight loss program with any degree of consistency. That is, until I found the right way to lose weight for me. The path that makes the most sense for my situation was made a low carbohydrate diet that was rich in whole foods. That was the physical part of the equation. On the psychological front, I began keeping a daily “blog menu” on the Internet. Documented every bite of food I consumed. I started visiting other blogs menu belonging to people in a similar way. This has not only helped me to learn from their successes and failures, but also gave me the opportunity to support others and receive encouragement along the way. I was actually a part of a community with a common goal. After about 8 months of this program, I finally reached my goal weight. I now weigh about 180 pounds. I still have my daily diet menu on my blog and community to take with my friends in the low carb weight loss “blogosphere”.
This helps me remain responsible for my decisions and stay connected with a great bunch of friends who helped me get where I am today. Web-use 3-week baseline period and in successive 4-week periods for 1 year Source: J Med Internet Res. October-December 2008 (a) One person’s story is not much weight is not in possession of a scientific viewpoint. That is as it should. But numerous studies have been published in the last year tend to bring my experience to support and that of countless others. An 8-week trial set to be published in October 2009 tested the theory that “sms” and “Internet-based interventions, a group of patients suffering from both hypertension and obesity to help. In this select population, diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure decreased by 9.1 and 7.2 mmHg, respectively, in the course of 8 weeks. There was also a significant reduction of fat and weight showed that risk. A small increase in HDL “good” cholesterol was also included. ( 3) A 12-week trial in August 2009 was also an excellent response to a web-based weight loss program in a group of 101 obese patients. Those who have participated most actively online benefit to a greater extent. There are a variety of other studies have similar results.
Collectively, these data has led researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Stockholm, Sweden with web-based weight loss interventions to determine show great potential in the fight against chronic obesity. (4,5,6,7,8,9,10) I believe the main benefits of using the Internet as a tool can be summarized in two words: 1) accessibility and 2) accountability. Via the internet, you can easily connect with a support system from virtually anywhere and at any hour of day or night. This is generally not possible in the “real world”. But online there is always a resource available that you can lift in a down moment and be aware when you are not sure. Perhaps the best part of this whole experience is that you participate in this weight loss journey may very well help and inspire others in their quest for wellness. That alone played an immense role in the passion that spurred me on toward my goal weight and beyond. Be good!