Weighted Concerns: Why overweight couples struggle with fertility

Difficulty getting pregnant for most women can be linked to anything from heredity to diet and everything in between. But a more recent study suggests that fertility and obesity can have an adverse affect on pregnancy too, and not just for women.

A woman who is considered obese does have a harder time conceiving a child, but men also play a key role in this fertility debate, particularly when both the male and female fall under the guise of “obese.”

It’s not secret that obesity is becoming an epidemic, especially in the United States. What once was a weight classification that had a small percent of individuals part of it has now grown to be close to 50 percent of the population.

Poor diet, income and stress have been attributed to more individuals falling into the obese category, and couples who are considered obese also don’t exactly have an easy bath to conceiving a child.

Extra weight on women, for example, means your ovulation isn’t always functioning at a premium level and the more obese a male is could diminish his sex drive and testosterone production.

Couples who are obese take 60 percent longer to conceive versus those who aren’t considered obese. Keep in mind that obese and overweight are two different categories as far as weight in concerned, with obesity meaning that your day to day activities, life and functionality are at risk, and your body mass index is well off the charts.

For men, a BMI (body mass index) of 30 is considered obese, while women is around the same number for their BMI. Morbidly obese is around 40 plus for BMI. Around 30 percent of woman in the United States fall under the “obese” tag, while a staggering 41 percent are men.

Leading fertility experts are hoping they can assist obese couples in being able to achieve pregnancy, but you’d like to think that the real assist comes from within with a change in diet. If an obese couple conceives, then the attention turns to cancers, heart disease and diabetes in the man and the woman and how that affects the ability to parent on a number of levels, with something as simple as activities after school or just helping cook, dress and take care of a child.

The end result could be fertility specialists working toward a solution, but men and women alike who are trying to conceive might also want to start the ball rolling on their side of the court, too.

Boxing lesson: Delivered to your door food is all the rage

Fads and dieting almost go hand in hand with one another.

A fad diet, from Atkins to cleanses to people trying to eat right based on blood type to lose weight, tends to be cyclical in some cases or just downright classified as 15 minutes of fame, only to be tossed aside when the next latest and greatest hits the shelves or airwaves.

Everyone has been guilty of implementing some sort of fad diet they heard works wonders, whether you’re downing raw eggs Rocky style or have decided to eat Paleo, mostly foods rich in protein and only good carbs (versus Atkins and its no carbs grass roots).

But what about food that is healthy and is made to eat for those who are trying to lose weight but with one overwhelming, positive catch.

You can enjoy this food, and it’s delivered to your door.

And, here’s another catch: it’s fresh ingredients and recipes that allow you to make it and not worry about counting calories or wondering if it is healthy or not. This latest “fad” of sorts is the direct to door food boxes, such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, which allows you to choose a certain classification of eating types (i.e. Vegan, Vegetarian, etc.) and they’ll simply deliver the ingredients to your door for a fair price, and all you have to do is follow the recipe and magically a healthy, portion controlled dinner appears on your plate without the fuss of wondering what is good or bad food wise.

What makes the food deliver boxes so impressive is the simplicity involved in the work from box to table and that really anyone can follow it based on what you’re given to begin with from one order to the next.

Furthermore, the caliber of the food isn’t anything to scoff at or assume is low grade based on pricing and the idea that it is coming to you through the mail or a delivery service. You also can’t underestimate the time saved from grocery shopping and turning a 30 minute prep and serve dinner, while eliminating the effort put into selecting just the right ingredients that will turn any dinner from sufficient and serviceable to succulent.

You’d be hard pressed to call this a fad, even though the direct to door dinners and ingredients are in the infancy stages. A fad suggests it might not be around for a while, but you have to think this idea is one that is a game changer for good.

Face Masquerade: Do fitness masks actually help workouts?

You certainly see plenty of things at the gym on a daily basis, items, people or actions that catch your eye.

From the new exerciser working out in his jeans, to the mom who can’t manage her way through a circuit without throwing up her arms in disgust or the always present gym attire that is either too large or too small for one’s body, the gym is always bustling with plenty to talk about or discuss.

Even the workouts themselves or the latest and greatest equipment is up for debate.

But one particular piece of attire is not only a discussion point, but most of the every day gym crowd doesn’t in know what it is

Take in deep breath ironically and listen to this: a facemask that is designed to cover your mouth and increase your lung capacity and thus make your workout better. They are technically referred to as elevation training masks, and the goal behind using them is to simply add longevity and intensity to the exercise and training.

The real question, however, is do they actually work?

Some experts believe this product is positively smoke and mirrors and does little if anything as advertised. You’d be hard pressed to assume that a product of this ilk would be totally worthless but some are overly skeptical that it’s more about selling an idea of having fresh air to breathe and promising a better result, when in actuality you’re getting something that makes little to no difference in how you workout.

The end result is the mask is just that, a mask. It makes breathing harder because it quite frankly is covering most of your mouth and nose. The idea that the mask helps with breathing is true but only in the purest and simplest sense. If you take the mask off, airflows freely and breathing isn’t hard. It’s easy, really.

That isn’t so much about a mask that helps you breath earlier, but the notion that this elevation-training mask could be replaced with any sort of mask and still accomplish the same thing. It remains to be seen if the elevation make does what it says.

By the looks of it, this headgear comes across as a reach rather than what the future of the fitness industry holds in the palm of its hand. Spending money on unfiltered air or a better workout won’t be on the top of the lists of exercisers when these masks are included in this conversation.

Rest easy, however, these masks are more about those who will try anything to get ahead in the fitness game then the actual results being achieved.

How to Lose 10 Pounds in 30 days With Math

You may want to lose weight fast for a once-in-a-lifetime event such as your first wedding, vacation to Hawaii, or an appearance on “America’s Got Talent.” You may believe that losing 10 pounds in 30 days is impossible, but it is very feasible. First, you must forget everything you have learned about fad diets, starvation, hormone supplements and the like. You are only going to need three tools to help you lose 10 pounds in 30 days: a standard calculator, calorie calculator and some motivation.

Step 1: Learn the Mathematical Equation

The first thing you need to do is take out your standard calculator and multiply 3,500 by 10. The number that you get is the total number of calories that you will need to eliminate to lose 10 pounds in 30 days (35,000). One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. That equation will be the foundation of any weight-loss plan you develop.

Next, you will divide 35,000 by 28, 30 or 31 days. That result will give you the number of calories that you need to eliminate on a daily basis. You can use 30 days just to grasp an understanding of the process. The daily caloric deficiency for a 30-day month is 1,167.

Step 2: Calculate Your Recommended Daily Caloric Intake

Calorie calculators will tell you the number of calories that you should consume to maintain your body weight. They will also tell you how many calories that you should consume to lose weight, but you will only want to use the calculator for your maintenance figure. You can find a calculator by conducting a Google search for “daily caloric intake calculator.” When you find a detailed calculator, you will enter the necessary information.

Most calorie calculators will ask for information such as age, gender, weight, height and exercise level. When you are finished entering data, you can click on “calculate” for your figure. This figure gives you a guide that you can use for analyzing and altering your current diet.

Step 3: Create Your Deficiency

Every day, you must “lose” 1,167 calories. You can achieve that by either removing/altering dietary items or implementing a vigorous exercise plan. Calorie counting is a complex science, so you might favor straight exercise. You may need to use both methods to lose an aggressive amount of weight, however. You can lose many calories by performing cardiovascular exercises. For example, 30 minutes of vigorous bicycling can help you to drop 500 calories. One full hour could almost complete your daily deficiency.

You know the basics of losing weight. You can adjust your activity level and your diet as needed.

HAPIfork: Controlled eating at your fingertips

As you are probably well aware, I’m not a great fan of “tricks” or “gadgets” that provide a quick, painless way to achieve weight loss goals, but if something works and is harmless, I’m game. Enter HAPIfork. A new technology in a special fork that controls your eating habits.

Similar to an electric toothbrush, HAPIfork is a project initiated by a French designer, Jacques Lapine, who had a traumatic incident in early adulthood when he suffered what he thought was a heart attack but which was finally diagnosed as something similar to acid-reflux, but primarily caused by eating too fast.

Lapine’s company, HAPILabs, has since developed a special fork that contains innovative software that records how fast you eat your food, and if the speed is too fast, a vibrating response that is uncomfortable to the touch is produced to encourage you to slow down. The process seems to work when used properly although there are ways to get around the method such as picking the food off the fork and putting it into your mouth with your fingers. The software works through what is called capacitive touch sensitivity, the same principle with which your cellphone screen detects the presence of your finger. Every bite in every meal is recorded and analysed over time to produce a report of how fast you eat and what can be done to slow you down.

At present, the project is still in the Kickstarter development stage which at first glance appears to have been successful. Devices will be sold for around $99 each and there are plans to design the software to work in conjunction with your Smartphone where real-time reports can be accessed so that immediate correction to eating habits can be made. The principle that people who eat slower consume fewer calories is a huge part of HAPIfork also.

In order to help weight loss habits, the elapsed time between bites can be preset into the device. For instance, lengthening the time between bites to 20 secs from 10 secs helps with digestion and appetite responses which can determine how much food is consumed at one sitting. The product has already won an award at the last Consumer Electronics Show for innovation so there is obviously potential here. The question for me, is does it work. My answer is I don’t know. I guess anything that helps control food consumption, and helps focus our attention on what’s necessary when it comes to the whole principle of dieting, is a benefit.

I have to admit though. I can probably find a bunch of things that I can spend $99 on before I’d spend it on HAPIfork.

The Gastric Band: Drastic and difficult

As someone who doesn’t suffer from a major, debilitating weight problem, it is difficult for me to imagine ever resorting to the Gastric Band to enforce my weight loss principles. However, despite being drastic and difficult, sometimes it is necessary but surely the trick is to act before we get to this point in our journey.

Surgery for me under any circumstances is so painful mentally, that if I can figure out a way to chicken my way out of it, I’ll do it. Weight loss for many people is a simple process. Eat less, exercise more and the weight falls off. Not everyone is that fortunate so in some cases, people resort to extreme solutions such as the insertion of a device called the Gastric band. It consists of a saline filled piece of silicon that wraps around the opening to your lower stomach like a plastic tie. It reduces the size of the volume of your stomach so that it takes less food for the body to tell the brain “No Mas”. The surgery is done laparoscopically and the patient generally recovers quickly in a matter of days. A relatively simple procedure if that is what is needed.The device has achieved mixed results across the board with all demographics and has several side effects that can become very unpleasant.

Before I move onto my next point, let me first say that I understand that there are many medical reasons where the only suitable weight loss option is the Gastric Band, and that regular dieting and exercise might not be possible. I am directing my comments towards those of us who haven’t had the stones to follow a dieting plan, and haven’t been dedicated enough to exercise regularly as part of their daily routine. My sympathy simply dribbles away for this person who now, as a result of having reached a weight that has become unmanageable because of sheer size, has to have the Gastric Band inserted which has become their only option to lose weight. To these people, I ask why?

I can recall mentioning on many occasions that weight loss is all part of a general state of mind. It’s about creating a culture so that the person, rather than the diet, controls the weight problem. Regimens of that type are far more successful and long lasting than the short, sharp, shock that many people employ with only meager results. I implore anyone reading this who is facing the possibility of surgery and who has an opportunity to avert it through self-management. Forego the surgical procedure and dedicate yourself to following the simple procedures that we have discussed over the past several weeks. It has to be the easier option, doesn’t it?

The Gastric band has many features that make it a fit for dieters with specific weight loss needs. To the rest of us, it should be a last resort.

Fitbit: Fitness with Social Media and Mobile

One of the problems I’ve had personally with maintaining my weight and fitness program is with staying motivated over the long term. Anyone can diet or work out for a couple of weeks but what happens a year, or two years from now? FitBit provides a complete environment for the least social of us to maintain focus through Facebook, Twitter our Smartphones.

Dieting and weight loss is as much about the social aspect of what to do and not do as it is about the technical issues. Top athletes will tell of the times when they had to train on their own for weeks on end and found it almost impossible to accomplish their goals. Once they were immersed back into a “team” atmosphere, they became more comfortable and content and as a result, achieved much more.

Fitbit is a way for the average Joe to share experiences and achievements through social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as providing the technology support so that the consumer can make the most of current technology to keep track of performance and goals. For instance, Fitbit provides an interactive weight scale to track weight loss, calculate BMI index, and put your information to work at your fingertips digitally. There is a device called Fitbit One which tracks distance travelled, speed, steps taken and folds it all into a socially shareable statistic which can be used to motivate friends and fellow exercisers travelling along the same path to similar goals. The Fitbit One will also track sleep patterns and wake you up in the morning.

There are Mobile Apps that allow the athlete to track all data through their Smartphone, IPad or tablet and keeps information current and available at all times of the day or night. The app has just become available for Android. Fitbit Flex is a wristband that incorporates all of your daily exercise and dieting data into state-of-the-art technology. The new advances in the Fitbit Flex ensure that complete accuracy is maintained so that the information you glean from the device is meaningful.

One of the things I love about Fitbit is the Social Media aspect of the device. Sharing experiences and gaining support and motivation from fellow exercisers is very important. Nothing is worse than struggling through a difficult part of any weight loss program, hitting the wall, and feeling like you’re in a “desert” with no life around you and no help on the way. Fitbit puts you back into that “team” atmosphere.

I’m a Social Media freak anyway so this type of technology is a must for me. Prices are reasonable with the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Flex starting at around $100 each. In my view, that is a very small price to pay to gain the motivational support that we all need from time to time while pursuing our goals of maintaining weight loss.