Consumption of soy foods such as tofu is not associated with weight gain. In fact, many studies have found that vegetarian or plant-based diets, which include soy foods, are more effective for weight management. Soy does contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogen-like compounds that can exert weak estrogenic effects. Most research has found that soy foods do not raise estrogen levels in the body.
1. Improved Mood Even light exercise can boost your emotional wellbeing. Aerobic exercise stimulates the release of certain mood-elevating compounds called endorphins— “feel good” chemicals. These natural painkillers induce relaxation and relieve depression.
2. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease If you are overweight, you face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease. It also reduces stress, another contributing factor to heart disease, especially for women.
3. Increased Mental Acuity Memory loss can occur as a result of age, poor health, depression or medications. But unless there is irreversible brain damage, physical activity can invigorate and revitalize the mind. Aerobic exercise helps move blood and oxygen to all the body’s organs, including the brain.
4. Reduced risk of diabetes Excess weight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Physically active people are less likely to develop this condition, and those who have type 2 diabetes can reduce their blood sugar and their need for medication with more physical activity. Exercise increases the body’s ability to use sugar for energy and thereby decreases the need for insulin.
5. Pain Relief When you exercise, your body generates pain-killing endorphins. Moderate exercise also triggers the release of natural cortisone, which helps relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. Overweight people are more susceptible to osteoarthritis. Strength training, in particular, can decrease arthritis pain and keep your body limber and flexible.
6. Increased Bone Density Osteoporosis is a debilitating bone condition responsible for chronic pain, spine problems and bone fractures for millions of people, most of them women. Bone loss is preventable and, to some extent, reversible. Resistance exercises, those that stress the bones, can help improve bone density and prevent bone loss with aging.
7. Longevity Obese people face a higher rate of mortality. Exercise may help reduce that risk. Studies of post-menopausal women have found that, in general, the more frequent and intense their physical activity, the lower their risk of death from all causes.
8. Increased Strength Regular resistance training exercises can significantly increase your strength. This has even been demonstrated even among in those over age 80.
9. Improved Quality of Sleep Lack of sleep is a common concern especially for women and it can have far-reaching effects on our health, increasing the risk for heart disease, depression and even some forms of cancer. Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality.
10. Improved Energy Level Believe it or not, regular exercise can actually make you feel more energized and give you the vim and vigour to lead an active life.
- Make a satisfying protein-rich drink or smoothie by blending 2 cups (473 ml) of low-fat yogurt with 1 cup (237 ml) of crushed seasonal fruit, a banana, and a dash of soy powder.
- Eat a salad or broth-based soup as a first course so you’ll feel full, but take in fewer calories.
- Pack healthy “on the go” snacks such as unsalted nuts, carrot sticks, pears, and apples so you’re not tempted by chips or candy bars.
- Change to a lifestyle mindset
- Stop thinking about the word “diet” as an unsatisfying set of restrictions and instead think about long-term changes that lead to slow, steady weight loss. Create a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and eat right by making smart choices.
- Choose nutrient-packed foods: Ensure balance and give your body a full range of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Pay attention to portion sizes: Share a dish when eating out or keep some for later if the portions are too large. At home, serve reasonable portions on small dishes (so they look bigger) and avoid second helpings.
- Take a walk: Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five to six days per week to use up the calories you take in and prevent weight gain. Aim for 60 to 90 minutes a day for substantial weight loss.
- Get started: Begin healthful habits today to manage your weight for the rest of your life. Small steps count, so look for opportunities: take the stairs, park farther away, walk to shops.
Always beware of products that make outrageous claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. When choosing a product, consult with your pharmacist or health care provider for assistance. Important questions to ask are:
1. Has the product been clinically tested?
2. Are there any side effects or interactions?
3. How should the product be taken (before meals, with food)? 4. How long can I take this product?
Drugs are occasionally prescribed for people with a BMI over 30, or people with a BMI over 27 who also have other risk factors or diseases. Typically, these drugs are used to complement dietary therapy and physical activity, and should never be taken in place of lifestyle strategies. There are two main categories of weight loss medications:
• Appetite suppressants decrease appetite and increase the feeling of being full. Side effects include nervousness, insomnia and irritability, increased blood pressure, nausea, diarrhea and dry mouth.
• Drugs affecting the gastrointestinal tract, such as orlistat, decrease the amount of dietary fat that the body absorbs. Reported side effects include loose bowel movements, abdominal cramps and nausea.
PCOS is a condition characterized by hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, excessive hair growth and obesity. One of the key features with PCOS is insulin resistance, which can affect fertility, cause weight issues and even increase heart disease risk. It is not known whether PCOS causes insulin resistance or the other way around.
Birth control pills such as Diane 35 are often used because they lower levels of circulating androgens (hormones that are associated with hair growth and oily skin). The concern with taking products such as Diane 35 are the side effects such as low libido, mood swings, depression, headaches and bloating to name a few.
Here are some things that you can do naturally to help improve PCOS:
Follow a low glycemic index (GI) diet and get regular exercise because both of these things can improve insulin sensitivity. All our hormones are interconnected, and if something is out of balance (like insulin) it can affect other aspects of health, such as weight and fertility.
A low GI diet means avoiding all refined/white flour products such as white bread, pasta, rice and baked goods. Instead have the whole grains (brown bread/rice/pasta). Cut down on sugar and juice. Eat small frequent meals with low GI carbs, healthy fats like olive oil, fish and avocado, and lean protein.
For exercise aim for 30 minutes to one hour of moderate intensity activity daily. Exercise can help improve body composition, insulin sensitivity and androgen levels and it may help restore ovulation.
For supplements I would recommend:
- Hormone Balance by femMED – contains ingredients that help to balance hormones
- Chromium 200mcg daily to improve insulin sensitivity
- Fish oil (omega-3) 1000mg twice daily
For more information refer to this article: