Posted by on February 14, 2014 - 2:04pm

With the recent controversy surrounding Rachel Frederickson’s extreme weight loss on The Biggest Loser, it’s time to shed light on the proper (and safe) way to lose weight. For those unfamiliar with reality television, The Biggest Loser centers around overweight contestants attempting to lose weight to win a cash prize. The winner, whoever loses the highest percentage of weight, is given the title “the Biggest Loser,” along with a cool cash prize of a quarter million dollars. This past season’s winner, Rachel Frederickson, has stirred up much press when she dropped 60% of her bodyweight, going from an original weight of 260 lbs. down to a meager 105 in roughly 7 months—a new record for the show.

Rachel reportedly exercised for at least six hours a day and ate a diet of only 1,600 calories per day. Despite her claims that this workout/diet routine mimicked that of an athlete—did she go too far? Perhaps. This extreme decrease in weight certainly points to unhealthy habits. Each body is unique and it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot handle when trying to lose some pounds. WebMD advises aiming to lose 1-2 pounds per week—if you’re looking to shed weight—anything extremely more can be too much, too fast. Fad diets are inadvisable, as they can often be unhealthy and don’t usually last. Burning 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week should be sufficient to help you lose 1-2 pounds safely. Doing slightly more to lose weight, such as eating 1,200 calories a day and exercising for one hour each day could help you lose 3 or more pounds a week—but this can be inadvisable for many people, depending on their unique health conditions.

Eating healthily is a key component to losing weight properly. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, egg whites, soy products, poultry, fish, nonfat dairy, and 95% lean meat is a great start. Drinking plenty of water, eradicating tempting foods from your home, not skipping meals, and staying busy are all other tips to help you reach your goal. While it is unclear if Rachel Frederickson lost weight healthily, it is important to monitor the limits of your body closely. Consulting with your doctor and devising a healthy weight loss or weight management plan will help ensure you’re losing the weight in a proper and safe way.

Sources: CBS News and WebMD

Posted by on November 3, 2011 - 2:44pm

A recent UT Southwestern Medical Center study found that estrogen regulates energy expenditure, appetite and body weight, while insufficient estrogen receptors in specific parts of the brain may lead to obesity.

“Estrogen has a profound effect on metabolism,” said Dr. Deborah Clegg, associate professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study published Oct. 5 in Cell Metabolism. “We hadn’t previously thought of sex hormones as being critical regulators of food intake and body weight.”

The mouse study is the first to show that estrogen, acting through two hypothalamic neural centers in the brain, keeps female body weight in check by regulating hunger and energy expenditure. Female mice lacking estrogen receptor alpha – a molecule that sends estrogen signals to neurons – in those parts of the brain became obese and developed related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Similar results were not seen in male mice, although researchers suspect other unknown estrogen receptor sites in the brain play a similar role in regulating metabolism for males as well. Estrogen receptors are located throughout the body, but researchers found two specific populations of estrogen receptors that appear to regulate energy balance for female mice.

The findings are potentially important for millions of postmenopausal women, many of whom have decided against hormonal replacement therapy. The study could lead to new hormonal replacement therapies in which estrogen is delivered to specific parts of the brain that regulate body weight, thereby avoiding the risks associated with full-body estrogen delivery, such as breast cancer and stroke.

Doctors stopped routinely recommending long-term estrogen therapy for menopausal women in 2002 when a Women’s Health Initiative study showed the hormone did not prevent heart disease in women who already were at increased risk.

“The role of estrogen in postmenopausal women continues to remain uncertain,” Dr. Clegg said. “Current research is focused on the timing and the type of estrogen supplementation that would be most beneficial to women. Our findings further support a role for estrogens in regulating body weight and energy expenditure, suggesting a benefit of estrogen supplementation in postmenopausal women.”

Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center