Title:
Weight loss system and method and weighted distal limb sleeve
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Various weight loss systems and methods and weighted distal limb sleeves are provided for promoting non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). One embodiment is an anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve for use in a weight loss program. One such anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve is adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a distal portion of a person's limb relative to a limb joint. The anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve comprises a predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the limb sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of endogenous soft tissue of the distal portion of the limb.



Inventors:
Virji, Ayaz (Seminole, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/395114
Publication Date:
08/03/2006
Filing Date:
03/31/2006
Assignee:
Body Trimmer, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/065
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Adam, Crall Carlton Fields E. (P.O. Box 3239, Tampa, FL, 33601-3239, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A weight loss system comprising: a pair of anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeves adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's forearm, one distal arm sleeve for the left forearm and the other distal arm sleeve for the right forearm, each distal arm sleeve having a first predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major endogenous soft tissue of the forearm; and a pair of anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeves adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg below the knee, one distal leg sleeve for the left leg and the other distal leg sleeve for the right leg, each distal leg sleeve having a second predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg.

2. The weight loss system of claim 1, wherein the distal and proximal ends of the distal arm sleeves and the distal leg sleeves include a support fastener.

3. The weight loss system of claim 1, wherein the distal arm sleeves and the distal leg sleeves include an alignment indicia for proper anatomical alignment.

4. The weight loss system of claim 1, wherein the first predefined amount of exogenous weight is arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major flexor and extensor muscles of the forearm and the second predefined amount of exogenous weight is arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the lower leg.

5. A distal leg sleeve for use in a weight loss program and adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg below the knee, the distal leg sleeve comprising a predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg.

6. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, wherein the exogenous weight is substantially omitted from an anterior tibial portion of the distal leg sleeve.

7. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, wherein the exogenous weight tapers toward a distal portion of the distal leg sleeve.

8. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, wherein the exogenous weight is substantially omitted from a posterior distal portion of the distal leg sleeve.

9. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, wherein a proximal end and a distal end of the distal leg sleeve include a support.

10. The distal leg sleeve of claim 9, wherein the support comprises an elastic band.

11. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, further comprising a support fastener at a proximal end and a distal end of the distal leg sleeve.

12. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, wherein a posterior distal portion of the distal leg sleeve includes a fastenable breakaway for facilitating installation and removal and to provide additional support during use.

13. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, wherein the exogenous weight comprises a plurality of weight members.

14. The distal leg sleeve of claim 13, wherein the weight members are stitched into the leg sleeve between a pair of fabric layers.

15. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, further comprising an alignment indicia to enable the user to properly position the distal leg sleeve on the lower leg with the exogenous weight simulating the anatomical distribution of the endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg.

16. The distal leg sleeve of claim 5, wherein the predefined amount of exogenous weight is arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the lower leg.

17. A distal leg sleeve for use in a weight loss program and adapted to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg below the knee, the distal leg sleeve comprising an exogenous weight distributed relative to a surface of the distal leg sleeve in a substantially anatomical relationship with the major muscle groups of the lower leg.

18. The distal leg sleeve of claim 17, wherein the predefined amount of exogenous weight is arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

19. A distal arm sleeve for use in a weight loss program and adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's forearm between the elbow and the wrist, the distal arm sleeve comprising a predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of endogenous soft tissue of the forearm.

20. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, wherein the exogenous weight is omitted from a portion of the distal arm sleeve at least partially positioned over the radius of the forearm.

21. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, wherein the exogenous weight is omitted from at least a portion of a lateral side of the distal arm sleeve.

22. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, wherein the exogenous weight tapers toward a distal portion of the distal arm sleeve.

23. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, wherein the exogenous weight is substantially omitted from a lateral distal portion of the distal arm sleeve.

24. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, wherein a proximal end and a distal end of the distal arm sleeve include a support.

25. The distal arm sleeve of claim 24, wherein the support comprises an elastic band.

26. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, further comprising a support fastener at a proximal end and a distal end of the distal arm sleeve.

27. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, wherein the exogenous weight comprises a plurality of weight members.

28. The distal arm sleeve of claim 27, wherein the weight members are stitched into the distal arm sleeve between a pair of fabric layers.

29. The distal arm sleeve of claim 19, further comprising an alignment indicia to enable the user to properly position the distal arm sleeve on the forearm with the exogenous weight simulating the anatomical distribution of the endogenous soft tissue of the forearm.

30. A distal arm sleeve for use in a weight loss program and adapted to be comfortably worn on a person's forearm between the elbow and the wrist, the distal leg sleeve comprising an exogenous weight distributed relative to a surface of the distal arm sleeve in a substantially anatomical relationship with the major muscle groups of the forearm.

31. The distal arm sleeve of claim 30, wherein the predefined amount of exogenous weight is arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major flexor and extensor muscles of the forearm.

32. A weight loss method comprising wearing a pair of anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeves adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg below the knee, one distal leg sleeve for the left leg and the other distal leg sleeve for the right leg, each distal leg sleeve having a first predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg.

33. The weight loss method of claim 32, further comprising wearing a pair of anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeves adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's forearm, one distal arm sleeve for the left forearm and the other distal arm sleeve for the right forearm, each distal arm sleeve having a second predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major endogenous soft tissue of the forearm.

34. The weight loss method of claim 33, wherein the second predefined amount of exogenous weight is arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major flexor and extensor muscles of the forearm and the first predefined amount of exogenous weight is arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the lower leg.

35. An anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve for use in a weight loss program and adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a distal portion of a person's limb relative to a limb joint, the limb sleeve comprising a predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the limb sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of endogenous soft tissue of the distal portion of the limb.

36. The anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve of claim 35, wherein the limb comprises one of an arm and a leg.

37. The anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve of claim 35, wherein the exogenous weight comprises a plurality of weight members.

38. The anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve of claim 35, wherein a proximal end and a distal end of the limb sleeve include a support.

39. The anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve of claim 35, further comprising a support fastener at a proximal end and a distal end of the limb sleeve.

40. A method for promoting weight loss comprising wearing at least one weighted limb sleeve on a distal portion of a limb below a corresponding limb joint.

41. The method of claim 40, wherein the wearing the at least one weighted limb sleeve comprises: wearing a pair of leg sleeves, one leg sleeve on a right leg and the other leg sleeve on a left leg; and wearing a pair of arm sleeves, one arm sleeve on a right arm and the other arm sleeve on a left arm.

42. The method of claim 40, wherein the weighted limb sleeve is anatomically weighted to generally simulate the distribution of endogenous soft tissue on the distal portion of the limb.

Description:

CROSS-REFEFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part patent application of, and claims the benefit of the priority of, copending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/013,530, filed Dec. 16, 2004, and entitled “Distally/Proximally-Weighted Joint Sleeve”, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. This application also claims the benefit of the priority of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/680,463, filed May 12, 2005, and entitled “System, Method, and Weighted Limb Sleeve for Promoting Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis”, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Obesity is a growing, world-wide epidemic. Studies suggest that more than 60% of Americans are either overweight or obese. Obesity results in nearly 300,000 deaths per year in the United States. It is well established that obesity is a major risk factor for many serious diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, ulcer-related diseases, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, prostate cancer, major depressive disorders, and chronic pain disorders, to name a few.

The core fundamentals of any obesity intervention and/or weight loss program involve reducing calorie intake (dieting) and increasing calorie utilization (exercise). In other words, in order to lose weight, you must expend more calories than you consume over a given time period. While the theories of weight loss are known, the fact remains that the majority of individuals fail in their attempts to lose and maintain an appreciable amount of weight loss. One noteworthy reason for the low success rates is that dieting and/or exercise require significant lifestyle alterations and dedication. Not all people that desire to lose weight (and maintain the weight loss) have the self-discipline, desire, etc. to follow through with a particular dieting and/or exercise regimen. The theory behind weight loss may be simple, but statistics show that executing and maintaining a plan is a different story.

SUMMARY

Various weight loss systems and methods and weighted distal limb sleeves are provided for promoting non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). One embodiment is a weight loss system comprising: a pair of anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeves adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's forearm, one distal arm sleeve for the left forearm and the other distal arm sleeve for the right forearm, each distal arm sleeve having a first predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major endogenous soft tissue of the forearm; and a pair of anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeves adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg below the knee, one distal leg sleeve for the left leg and the other distal leg sleeve for the right leg, each distal leg sleeve having a second predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg.

Another embodiment is a weight loss method comprising wearing a pair of anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeves adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg below the knee, one distal leg sleeve for the left leg and the other distal leg sleeve for the right leg, each distal leg sleeve having a first predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of the major endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg.

Another embodiment is a method for promoting weight loss. One such method comprises wearing at least one weighted limb sleeve on a distal portion of a limb below a corresponding limb joint.

Yet another embodiment is a distal leg sleeve for use in a weight loss program and adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg below the knee, the distal leg sleeve comprising a predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the distal leg sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg.

A further embodiment is a distal arm sleeve for use in a weight loss program and adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on a person's forearm between the elbow and the wrist, the distal arm sleeve comprising a predefined amount of exogenous weight arranged on the arm sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of endogenous soft tissue of the forearm.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other aspects, advantages and novel features of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention when considered in conjunction with the following drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates one of a number of embodiments of a weight loss system and method for promoting NEAT by wearing a pair of anatomically-weighted arm sleeves and a pair of anatomically-weighted leg sleeves.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeve (right leg) of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an in-use, front view of the anterior portion of the anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeve of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is an in-use, back view of the posterior portion of the anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeve of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a simplified front view of the anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeve of FIG. 2 relative to the muscular skeletal system of the lower right leg.

FIG. 6 is a simplified back view of the anatomically-weighted distal leg sleeve of FIG. 2 relative to the muscular skeletal system of the lower right leg.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeve (right arm) of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is an in-use view of the lateral portion of the anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeve of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is an in-use view of the medial portion of the anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeve of FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a simplified view of the lateral portion of the anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeve of FIG. 7 relative to the muscular skeletal system of the right forearm.

FIG. 11 is a simplified view of the medial portion of the anatomically-weighted distal arm sleeve of FIG. 7 relative to the muscular skeletal system of the right forearm.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This disclosure describes various embodiments of weight loss systems and methods and weighted distal limb sleeves, such as an anatomically-weighted distal limb sleeve (AWDLS), for promoting non-exercise activity thermogenesis NEAT. In general, NEAT refers to caloric expenditure through daily activities or non-volitional exercise, rather than volitional exercise. A more detailed description of the science and theory behind weight loss management and the underlying principles of NEAT is provided in the following references, each of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety: (1) The Skinny Book: The 6-Step Methodology for Weight Management, Verona Publishing, Inc., 2004 by co-inventor Dr. Ayaz Virli; and (2) Virji, A., Philips, S.E., Activities of Daily Living Resistance (ADLR) Study. NAASO Annual Scientific Assembly 2005; P-319.

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a weight loss system and method for promoting NEAT. As generally illustrated in FIG. 1, the weight loss system and method employ one or more weighted distal limb sleeves, such as, for example, an AWDLS. In the implementation illustrated in FIG. 1, a weight loss patient 100 wears two pairs of AWDLS. One pair of AWDLS is worn on the patient's arms (left-arm AWDLS 102 and right-arm AWDLS 104), and a second pair of AWDLS is worn on the patient's legs (left-leg AWDLS 106 and right-leg AWDLS 108). As described below in more detail, each AWDLS is adapted and sized to be comfortably worn on the distal portion of the patient's limb relative to the corresponding limb joint. To promote comfort and thereby encourage extended wear during, among other things, non-exercise activities, the AWDLS is only worn over the distal portion of the limb and does not substantially cover the limb joint or the proximal portion of the limb. For example, in an arm embodiment (AWDLS 102 and 104), a distal arm sleeve is adapted and sized to be comfortably worn over the forearm region of the arm, between the elbow joint and the wrist. In use, the distal arm sleeve is positioned just below the elbow joint and extends distally toward the wrist. The distal arm sleeve does not substantially cover the elbow joint and does not extend to the proximal portion of the arm. In a leg embodiment (AWDLS 106 and 108), a distal leg sleeve is adapted and sized to be comfortably worn over the lower leg, between the knee joint and the ankle. In use, the distal leg sleeve is positioned just below the knee joint (e.g., below the tibial tubercle) and extends distally toward the ankle. The distal leg sleeve does not substantially cover the knee joint and does not extend to the proximal portion of the leg.

Again, to provide comfort and encourage extended wear, in one embodiment, the AWDLS is made of a relatively thin, lightweight, flexible, and breathable fabric. This type of fabric, and other types of materials, and the configuration of the AWDLS may enable the sleeve to be discreetly worn underneath existing clothing during activities of daily living (see FIG. 1). One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the AWDLS may comprise any of the following, or other, materials: neoprene, spandex fiber, polyester microfiber, polyester/nylon blend, performance fabrics/blends, etc.

As the name suggests, the AWDSL is anatomically weighted with a predefined amount of exogenous weight or simulated body weight. The exogenous weight is arranged on the distal limb sleeve to simulate the anatomical distribution of, for example, the endogenous soft tissue or the major muscle groups of the distal portion of the limb (or significant portions thereof). In other words, the exogenous weight is distributed around the endogenous soft tissue or the major muscle groups of the distal portion of the limb in a manner similar to the way a person is used to feeling exogenous weight. For instance, in a leg embodiment, the exogenous weight may be arranged on the distal leg sleeve to cover major muscle groups or endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg (e.g., the gastrocnemius muscle and/or the soleus muscle), or significant portions thereof. In an arm embodiment, the exogenous weight may be arranged on the distal arm sleeve to cover major muscle groups or endogenous soft tissue of the forearm region (e.g., the flexor and/or extensor muscles), or significant portions thereof.

The exogenous weight may be omitted from portions of the limb sleeve that do not cover major muscle groups or endogenous soft tissue. For example, it may be advantageous to omit the exogenous weight on portions of the distal limb sleeve which predominantly cover skeletal structures. In the leg embodiment, it may be advantageous to omit the exogenous weight from the anterior area of the distal leg sleeve (or portions thereof) that covers the anterior tibial line of the lower leg. In the arm embodiment, the exogenous weight may be omitted from the area of the distal arm sleeve (or portions thereof) that covers the radius. These and other types of arrangements of the exogenous weight on the weighted limb sleeves may, among other things, minimize uncomfortable pressure on certain skeletal structures (e.g., the tibial tubercle), as well as more accurately simulate endogenous weight distribution. Suitable padding may also be provided to minimize pressure from the sleeve on these areas.

In certain embodiments, the arrangement of the exogenous weight generally simulates the anatomical distribution of the endogenous soft tissue or major muscle groups of the distal portion of the limb (or significant portions thereof). The distribution of the exogenous weight may be implemented in various ways, and need not represent a precise anatomical distribution. For instance, for the leg embodiment, the exogenous weight may generally wrap around the posterior, medial, and/or lateral portions of the distal leg sleeve, with an appropriate distal taper or funneling-down arrangement, in a manner similar to the way calf muscles taper or funnel as you go lower and closer to your ankle and to your lower leg.

The amount of the exogenous weight added to the AWDLS (and the distribution of the weight around the AWDLS) may be clinically defined to appropriately simulate normal body weight. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, with reference to this disclosure, that the anatomical distribution of the exogenous weight on the AWDLS more accurately represents additional body weight and more accurately simulates an obese environment. The relatively thin and lightweight distal limb sleeve and the more anatomically-correct exogenous weight may improve comfort, which encourages extended and/or more frequent use. Furthermore, it should be appreciated that a systematic weight loss program based on the addition of exogenous weight to the human body, in this manner, during activities of daily living may promote enhanced caloric expenditure.

FIGS. 2-6 illustrate one of a number of possible embodiments of a distal leg sleeve—with reference to a right-legged distal leg sleeve (AWDLS 108). AWDLS 108 comprises a generally cylindrical sleeve sized and configured to be comfortably worn on a person's lower leg between the knee and the ankle. AWDLS 108 forms a relatively flexible surface (FIG. 2) having opposing open ends—a proximal end 110 and a distal end 112. The spatial terms proximal and distal are made with reference to AWDLS 108, as it is properly worn on the patient's right lower leg in an anatomically-correct position. In use, distal end 112 is positioned more distant the torso than proximal end 110. In other words, proximal end 110 is closer to the torso than distal end 112.

Because AWDLS 108 defines a generally cylindrical surface, when it is worn on the lower right leg, the surface of the sleeve may generally be described as having certain portions or areas that generally correspond to the area or portion of the leg which they cover. It should be appreciated that these “areas” or “portions” are not specific, discrete portions of the sleeve, but rather refer to general areas of the surface of the sleeve for purposes of general identification. This general reference terminology provides a suitable point of reference for illustrating the proper arrangement for wearing AWDLS 108 on the lower leg and for illustrating the simulated anatomical arrangement of the exogenous weight on the sleeve relative to the anatomy of the lower leg. In this regard, AWDLS 108 is described as having a front or anterior portion, a back or posterior portion, and two side portions (a lateral portion and a medial portion). The lateral portion refers to the side more distant the midline of the body (i.e., the outside of the limb), and the medial portion refers to the side closer to the midline of the body (i.e., the inside of the limb).

As mentioned above, AWDLS 108 is designed for comfort to encourage frequent and/or extended wear during daily activities. Thus, in some embodiments, AWDLS 108 is made of a relatively thin, lightweight, flexible, and breathable fabric. This type of fabric, and other types of materials, enable AWDLS to be discreetly worn underneath existing clothing during activities of daily living (see FIG. 1). AWDLS 108 may comprise any of the following, or other, materials: neoprene, spandex fiber, polyester microfiber, polyester/nylon blend, performance fabrics/blends, etc. AWDLS 108 may be integrally formed or formed from two or more pieces of fabric, material, etc. In one embodiment, AWDLS 108 is conveniently formed from pieces of fabric that are stitched together with, for example, a thread 114, such as polyester thread or continuous filament-textured thread.

AWDLS 108 supports a predefined amount of simulated or exogenous weight. The exogenous weight is arranged on AWDLS 108 to generally simulate the anatomical distribution of, for example, the endogenous soft tissue or the major muscle groups of the lower leg (or significant portions thereof). The exogenous weight may be supported on AWDLS 108 in various ways. AWDLS 108 may be flexibly designed with removable exogenous weight to allow the addition and removal of weight. In some embodiments, the exogenous weight may provided in a matrix of pockets. The pockets may be formed from stitched borders of thread 114. The pockets may be integrally formed in AWDLS 108,, attached to the outer and/or inner surface of the sleeve, or otherwise supported by the sleeve.

In one of a number of possible embodiments, the exogenous weight is implemented with a plurality of weight members 116. Weight members 116 may be supported on AWDLS 108 by stitching them between two layers of fabric or other material. It should be appreciated, however, that in other embodiments the exogenous weight may be implemented with solid material, liquid or gel-filled capsules, solid granules, etc. In one embodiment, weight member(s) 116 are designed with a slim, cross-sectional profile and are supported close to the body to minimize uncomfortable shifting as patient 100 moves.

Regardless the implementation, the exogenous weight may be distributed on AWDLS 108 to generally simulate or mimic the relative anatomical weight distribution of the lower leg. The exogenous weight may be arranged to simulate the distribution of endogenous soft tissue or the major muscle groups of the lower leg in a manner similar to the way a person is used to feeling endogenous weight. For example, in one embodiment, the exogenous weight may be arranged on the AWDLS 108 to cover major muscle groups or endogenous soft tissue of the lower leg. As best illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the exogenous weight (represented by weight members 16, for purposes of illustration) may be positioned on AWDLS 108 to overlay the gastrocnemius muscle (generally represented by reference numeral 118, for purposes of illustration) and/or the soleus muscle (generally represented by reference numeral 120, for purposes of illustration) when properly oriented on the lower leg.

To achieve a desirable level of anatomical correctness, the exogenous weight may be omitted from portions of AWDLS 108 that do not cover or overlay, for example, major muscle groups or endogenous soft tissue. The exogenous weight (represented by weight members 116, for purposes of illustration) may be omitted from portions of AWDSL 108 which cover certain skeletal structures. Referring to FIG. 5, the exogenous weight may be omitted from the anterior portion of AWDLS (or portions thereof) which cover the anterior tibial line of the lower leg. To aid patient 100 in properly aligning the exogenous weight distributed on the sleeve with the corresponding endogenous weight on the lower leg, AWDLS 108 may comprise an alignment aid (e.g., alignment indicia 122). For example, a pair of alignment indicia 122 (e.g., a tag, product label, etc.) may be vertically aligned on proximal end 110 and distal end 112 on the portions of AWDSL 108 corresponding to the anterior tibial line. In this manner, patient 100 merely needs to align indicia 122 with the anterior tibial line on the lower leg to ensure that the exogenous weight is in the proper anatomical arrangement.

As illustrated in the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, the exogenous weight (represented by weight members 116, for purposes of illustration) may generally wrap around the posterior, medial, and lateral portions of AWDSL 108. This general taper or funneling-down arrangement generally simulates the way calf muscles taper or funnel as you go lower and closer to your ankle and to your lower leg. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the amount of the exogenous weight may be predefined to accommodate various clinical situations, individuals, etc.

AWDLS 108 may include various types of support mechanisms to minimize movement of the sleeve relative to the patient's skin. For example, proximal end 110 and/or distal end 112 may be reinforced with elastic bands to provide additional support at the respective sleeve ends. In some embodiments, AWDLS 108 may include releasable support fasteners. Referring to FIG. 2, proximal end 110 and distal end 112 may include a Velcro®-type strap having mating portions 124 and 126. Mating portion 124 may be positioned on an upper surface of the strap, and mating portion 126 may be positioned on the undersurface of the strap. For further support, AWDLS 108 may include a breakaway fastener 128 located at, for example, distal end 112. Breakaway fastener 128 comprises a generally vertical cut-away in AWDLS 108 at distal end 112, which extends proximally. Breakaway fastener 128 may employ Velcro®-type, or other mating, straps to enable patient 100 to more easily remove and install AWDSL 108, while providing further support for the exogenous weight.

FIGS. 7-11 illustrate one of a number of possible embodiments of a distal arm sleeve—with reference to a right-armed distal arm sleeve (AWDLS 104). AWDLS 104 comprises a generally cylindrical sleeve sized and configured to be comfortably worn on a person's forearm between the elbow and the wrist. As with AWDLS 108, the arm embodiment of AWDLS 104 forms a relatively flexible surface (FIG. 7) having opposing open ends—a proximal end 130 and a distal end 132. Similar to AWDLS 108, the arm embodiment uses the same general reference terminology to provide a suitable point of reference for illustrating the proper arrangement for wearing AWDLS 104 and for illustrating the simulated anatomical arrangement of the exogenous weight on the sleeve relative to the anatomy of the forearm.

AWDLS 104 is configured in much the same manner as the leg embodiment, with appropriate modifications to account for the anatomical differences between the forearm and the lower leg. AWDLS 104 may have more of a tapered, generally cylindrical shape (with proximal end 130 having a larger diameter than distal end 132). AWDLS 104 may include appropriate support mechanisms as described above.

The exogenous weight on AWDLS 104 (represented by weight members 116, for purposes of illustration) is arranged to generally simulate the anatomical distribution of the major muscle groups or endogenous soft tissue of the forearm region (e.g., the flexor and/or extensor muscles), or significant portions thereof. The exogenous weight may be omitted from portions of AWDLS 104 that do not cover major muscle groups or endogenous soft tissue. As illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 10, it may be advantageous to omit the exogenous weight on portions of the sleeve (generally represented by reference numeral 134, for purposes of illustration) which cover skeletal structures, such as radius 136 (FIG. 10). AWDLS 104 may also include appropriate alignment indicia 122 to ensure the exogenous weight is in the proper anatomical arrangement.

One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that regular use of the weighted distal limb sleeves (on one or more limbs) may enhance caloric expenditure due to the additional simulated exogenous body weight. It should be noted that, although exercise is an important part of overall health, it accounts for a relatively small percentage of daily caloric expenditure for most individuals. The amount of time one can realistically dedicate to exercise is limited due to health, family, career, lifestyle factors, etc. For instance, a typical individual expends only approximately 20% of daily caloric expenditure through exercise. The largest percentage of daily caloric expenditure comes from the basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR (which accounts for approximately 70% of daily caloric expenditure) is the daily energy required by the body to exist and maintain minimal function. This includes energy needed for breathing, blood circulation, maintenance of core body temperature, etc.

In this regard, it should be appreciated, with reference to this disclosure, that the various embodiments of weighted distal limb sleeves (e.g., AWDLS) target BMR, rather than expenditure via exercise (although they may also be used during exercise to further enhance caloric expenditure and build muscle tone). Enhanced caloric expenditure may be accomplished though a unique concept of Activities of Daily Living Resistance (ADLR), which is one of the core principles of the weight loss systems and methods and weighted distal limb sleeves described above. As mentioned above, NEAT is the daily energy expenditure accomplished through physical activity involving non-volitional exercise, otherwise known as Activities of Daily Living (ADL). These include activities such as opening a door, walking to the car, pacing while on the phone, walking the dog, running errands, doing housework, etc. NEAT has been validated as a potentially significant source of Non-Resting Energy Expenditure (NREE) and resistance to weight gain through studies done at the Mayo Clinic (Levin JA, et al., Am J Clin Nutr 2000, Dec;72(6):1451-4, Levine, JA, et al. Science 1999, Jan;283(5399):212-4), which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The weight loss systems and methods and weighted distal limb sleeves described above are designed to significantly enhance NEAT by adding ADLR to one's daily routine, thus significantly increasing total daily energy expenditure in a virtually effortless design. They are designed to be used during regular Activities of Daily Living and/or exercise. They are designed slim and comfortable enough to be worn under a variety of clothing types and to be worn unnoticeably on a daily basis.

It should be appreciated that the various embodiments described above may also work to fight obesity by simulating the obese environment. Weight is distributed in an anatomical manner around major muscle groups. As obese individuals lose weight they also lose lean muscle mass because they are carrying around much less weight in their day-to-day lives, thereby reducing their BMR. In addition, burning calories becomes more difficult for the same reason. Therefore, weight loss often comes to a halt, and may reverse. Loss of lean muscle mass during dieting and weight loss results in reduced BMR, essentially yielding a slower metabolism.

The weight loss systems and methods and weighted distal limb sleeves described above use exogenous weight added to the body in an anatomical way to model the bodies major muscle groups. This systematic application of exogenous weight fuels the calorie burning process by requiring many extra calories with any physical action taken. In addition, it enhances the BMR by sustaining lean muscle mass in the appendicular skeletal muscle of the extremities (which houses the bodies greatest portion of lean muscle tissue) through added resistance with virtually every consequential physical movement. The weight loss systems and methods and weighted distal limb sleeves may also promote the maintenance of the BMR during weight loss and enhance NEAT through ADLR—thus promoting weight loss.

Although this disclosure describes the invention in terms of exemplary embodiments, the invention is not limited to those embodiments. Rather, a person skilled in the art will construe the appended claims broadly, to include other variants and embodiments of the invention, which those skilled in the art may make or use without departing from the scope and range of equivalents of the invention.