Keeping the Weight Off

Every year millions of Americans pledge to start the new year off right by making New Year’s resolutions. We get all motivated, buy a year-long gym membership, and work out hard for anywhere from 1 day to 6 weeks, then something happens, and we often go back to our old ways. Why does this happen year after year?

1)   Ask Why before What – before you decide what you need to do to lose weight, ask yourself why you need to do it. The why is the inspiration that will turn your goal from something you want to do into something you are committed to do. Some good Why’s are: I’m going to lose weight so I can be around for my daughters wedding. I’m going to be committed to exercising 3x a week so I can take my grandkids to the beach. I am going to stay fit so I can do the hobbies I love, like golfing, at 85 years old instead of being dependant on others. So write down your Why’s.  Then it’s time for the What.

2)   Have a Plan – this is what you’re going to do to achieve your goals. In order to lose 10lbs I am going to exercise 3x a week for 30 minutes, doing 20 minutes of weights and 10 minutes of high intensity activity. I am going to follow a certain eating plan and have two vacations meals a week so I don’t break down.

3)   Get a Partner or join a group – We are meant to go through life together, so joining a health community and having someone you respect hold you accountable is key.

4)   Write Down your Why’s, Goals, and Plan and then post them somewhere you can see daily. Putting it up on your bathroom mirror is a great place to start.

Discover 10 Healthy Foods That Aren’t Healthy

The rate of obesity and disease in the West continues to grow each year. Startling statistics are released every week illustrating the state of health for most Westerners. One of the main culprits causing this state of ill health are the foods we eat..
Many people who think they’re eating health simply aren’t. In fact, some foods that most people consider to be healthy are anything but healthy. Often times it’s not the food itself but some of the ingredients and the way it’s prepared. Learn about the ten foods that many consider to be healthy but aren’t always the healthiest choice.

Peanut Butter (even low fat)
The low-fat, no-fat craze has led to the creation of a low fat peanut butter. Peanuts are actually not healthy, and technically not even nuts. There are numerous studies showing links to being carcinogenic as well. In fact, the other ingredients you should be avoiding in peanut butter are the added sugars and hydrogenated oils.
Try almond butter for a healthy alternative to peanut butter. Most people can’t tell the difference.

Frozen Yogurt
With the heat waves on in many parts of the country there’s no doubt we all want a cold treat to cool us off now and again. But before you buy that frozen yogurt take a closer look.
When you think of yogurt, live active cultures that are helpful to the body immediately come to mind. But when it comes to frozen yogurt there are most times no live, active cultures. The processing has heated the product first, killing off all live cultures that are beneficial to health.
The other problem with eating frozen yogurt is that people think they can over indulge in this treat because it’s ‘healthy.’ This leads to overeating and an excessive consumption of calories.
When you do want a sweet, cold treat try to limit the amount of frozen yogurt you consume. Use healthy toppings such as sliced fruits and buy a product that uses minimal processing and still contains live, active cultures.

Diet Soda
I can’t remember just how many people I’ve met who are concerned with their health that turn around and order a diet soda mistakenly thinking they’re doing their body good with this drink. Diet sodas, while low in calories, are not only devoid of any nutrition, they also contain artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are being shown to lead to health problems with ongoing consumption.
One of the biggest health problems with diet sodas and artificial sweeteners is metabolic syndrome which in turn raises your risk for developing diabetes type 2, coronary heart disease and having a stroke.
Instead of choosing a diet soda, opt for fresh brewed tea, seltzer water, or just pure water. Pure water is the healthiest choice of all.

Smoothies
Some of these supposedly healthy smoothies are loaded with a whole lot of what our bodies don’t need namely sugar
When smoothies first became popular, everyone thought they were the best kept health secret – and many of the smoothies out there are. However, some of these supposedly healthy smoothies are loaded with a whole lot of what our bodies don’t need – sugar.
Many of these drinks do contain the healthy fruits and vegetables but also have high amounts of sugar. This will cause blood sugar levels to spike and fall which is related to acquiring type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Both of these conditions lead to other, more serious health problems.
It’s best to consume smoothies that don’t have fillers such as ice cream or milk and instead opt for smoothies made almost entirely of fruits, veggies, and other all natural ingredients such as coconut.

Trail Mixes
Oftentimes trail mixes add in sugar to coat the fruits and salt to coat the nuts. Too much of either of these are simply not healthy.
Look for trail mixes that don’t add sugar or uses salted nuts. Better yet, make your own with organic, raw nuts and seeds and freshly dehydrated fruits.

Non Fat Foods
Hopefully most of you now understand the hype around the no-fat, low-fat eating. There are good fats and there are bad fats so cutting out all fats is simply a bad choice.
It’s important to eat your share of healthy fats while avoiding unhealthy fats. Many of these low-fat, no-fat foods are loaded with artificial flavors and lots of sugar to make up for the taste.

Granola
When we think of healthy foods, granola is definitely one that comes to mind. But it’s time to reconsider just how healthy that store bought granola really is. While granolas contain a number of healthy ingredients particularly rich in potassium, protein and fiber some mixes contain a high amount of sugar.
Be sure to read the labels when it comes to choosing granola and avoid any with corn syrup or added sugars. Watch out for added sugar in the form of yogurt coated fruits or nuts as well as chocolate chips and the like.
Opt for granolas that use honey or agave nectar as the source of sweetness.

Bran Muffins
When you’re at your local bakery or grocery store baked goods section and you peruse the section of muffins you undoubtedly look upon the bran muffin as the healthy muffin choice. And while bran muffins usually do contain fiber the other added ingredients may not be so healthy.
Many bran muffins are loaded with sugar and bad fats that cancel out the goodness of the fiber. If you really want a bran muffin consider baking them yourself using applesauce and honey as natural, healthy sweeteners.

Energy Bars
Once reserved for only the most serious athletes, energy bars can be seen in the hands of just about everyone today. From our children to ourselves we grab an ‘energy bar’ to ward off hunger or for a quick snack on the go.
The problem with energy bars is that many of them have added sugars and other artificial ingredients. When it comes to these handy, on the go snacks be sure to read the labels of the bars before you make a selection.
Look for only all natural ingredients and no added sugars or artificial ingredients of any kind.

Veggie Burgers
This vegetarian option to the burger can be delicious and nutritious if it’s the right one. Many of the food manufacturers use many additives and fillers in their veggie burgers rendering the burger unhealthy.
When you look for your veggie burger be sure the vegetables are at the top of the list and the fillers such as yeast extract, cornstarch, and gums are not on the list at all or at the very least at the bottom.
No matter what foods you choose to eat it’s wise to read the labels before you make the purchase. Any food manufacturer can and will advertise that their food product is the healthy choice but it’s up to you to be sure those statements are true. Know what ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid.

Sources: womensday.com

The 5 Reasons Women Struggle to Lose Weight

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 35.5% American women are overweight compared to 32.2% of American men. If you’re one of these women you probably want to lose a few of those extra pounds you’ve been carrying. But according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) despite the goal set in 2001 by the U.S. Surgeon General, called the Healthy People Objective 2010, obesity rates have not declined but risen.


Obesity isn’t just about how you look either. In fact, that should be the least of your worries. Obesity contributes to premature aging and death by increasing the risk for developing life threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
If you have more weight than you should it’s time to get serious about losing weight. It’s vital to protect your health today and into your later years of life. What you don’t see now may show up when it’s too late to make a change.
Like many other overweight people, particularly women, you may have tried time and time again to lose weight with no success. You may feel discouraged and figure ‘what’s the point’ to even try. While you’re not alone in these feelings and frustrations there are some key components involved in women’s weight loss you might not know about.
Let’s explore the five most common reasons women struggle to lose weight. Once you discover the reason why you can’t lose weight, you can solve it, and start to live with vibrant health and vitality.

Reason #1: Eating the Wrong Foods
A walk down through the grocery store reveals aisle after aisle laden with foods that advertisers would like us to believe will help us to lose weight. Beware! These ‘fake’ foods actually starve your body for nutrients and you end up craving more to eat, because despite the meal you just consumed your body still is lacking in the vital nutrients it needs. You end up eating more and more of these calories but not giving your body enough nutrients.

How to Know:
Take a look in your cabinets and pantry. Are they loaded with foods in boxes and bags? These are fake foods. Check the labels of these foods. Do they contain all natural ingredients without preservatives, additives, and dyes? If you eat more processed foods every week than fresh foods you could be thwarting your own weight loss goals.

What to Do:
The first step is to eliminate or at least seriously cut down on the fake foods. Opt for real foods instead. Real foods are the foods that are natural like; apples, oranges, carrots, etc. You remember these nourishing foods, right?
Load your plate with fresh fruits and veggies that are grown organically and locally. Choose meats that are free range and not from animals that have been loaded up with hormones and other toxins.

Reason #2: The Wrong Kind of Exercise
Are you one of the die-hard exercisers who despite your dedication can’t seem to shake that extra weight? Recent research has shown that interval training can burn far more calories than when you keep a steady pace throughout your workout.

How to Know:
This one is pretty easy to determine. If you spend dedicated time exercising but aren’t dropping any pounds you may want to consider interval training instead of the classic cardio you’re doing now.

What to Do:
Instead of just running or walking on the treadmill, do bursts of high intensity running or sprinting followed by a cool down. For example, you can sprint full force for thirty to ninety seconds, slow down and walk for two minutes, then rev it up sprints again for 30-90 seconds. Continue this routine for ten to twenty minutes. This type of training causes your body to burn fat for the next 36 hours to replenish your body’s vital energy (glycogen) stores. It really is possible to burn fat while you sleep!

Reason #3: Thyroid Problems
Life is all about balance and when it comes to your body and proper functioning this couldn’t be truer. Our body operates on a delicate balance of chemicals that it must maintain to function properly.
Some of the most important chemicals when it comes to weight and metabolism are the thyroid hormones.
These hormones can be thrown out of whack by many issues. From a diet with too much or too little iodine, to toxicity from amalgam fillings, to an undiagnosed medical condition the thyroid can produce too much or too little T4 impacting your metabolism.

How to Know:
Hyperthyroidism symptoms (too much T4):
• Nervousness
• Insomnia
• Racing heart
• Unexplained weight loss
• High amounts of perspiration
• Muscle weakness
• Multiple bowel movements
• Thin, brittle hair

Hypothyroidism symptoms (too little T4):
• Fatigue
• Dry hair, skin
• Unexplainable weight gain
• Constipation
• Muscle weakness and discomfort

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms consult your health care practitioner to learn more.

What to Do:
Instead of turning to hormone replacement therapies with the use of pharmaceuticals, natural hormones using animal hormones, or in extreme cases surgery, first look at any nutritional deficiencies like iodine or toxicity from things like amalgam fillings in your teeth. Consider supplementing with kelp, and if you have amalgam fillings, I highly recommend you seek a natural dentist to have them removed.

Reason #4: Hormone Imbalances
It’s not just the thyroid hormones that can impact your metabolism and weight. Cortisol, aka the stress hormone, can block your attempts to lose weight too. This fight or flight hormone increases your appetite, makes you crave loads of carbs, and keeps fat in your mid section.

How to Know:
While you can get tests to evaluate the cortisol level in your blood, only you can determine your own innate level of stress. Take some time to evaluate if you are living in a constant (or close to constant) state of stress.

What to Do:
The best way to lower your cortisol levels is by decreasing stress. This is unique to everyone and your own personal lifestyle. As there are universal anecdotes such as exercise, socializing, and giving yourself time to yourself, this is a topic to address more personally with myself or another you feel comfortable with.

Reason #5: Birth Control Pills (or Other Synthetic Hormones)
According to the Mayo Clinic, taking the birth control pill can make you more likely to suffer from fluid retention. It also makes fat cells or adipose cells grow larger in size. This is due to the effect of estrogen in the birth control pill on the body chemistry.

How to Know:
If you take the birth control pill and find since you’ve started you’ve gained weight or your clothes feel tight or uncomfortable, the ‘pill’ may be the cause.

What to Do:
Consider a more natural form of birth control, like Fertility Awareness. Aside from weight gain, there are many other negative side effects to birth control pills like anxiety, headaches, nausea, and trouble getting pregnant after discontinuation. They also increase your risk for cancer and stroke. If you are taking birth control pills for another health reason, learn how to naturally balance your hormones using nutrition and exercise.
Our bodies operate on a delicate balance. We throw so much at our precious bodies on a daily basis we often forget how important it is to protect. If you’ve been struggling to achieve your optimal weight (which we all should) consider these five very common roadblocks for women trying to lose weight. Once you know the cause for you – take action!

Sources
Mayo Clinic (2009)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (2010)

Dr Wagner’s Action Steps:

1. Switch from fake food to real food.
2. Try burst training for 2-3 weeks instead of your typical cardio exercise (or start exercising if you don’t already!)
3. Reduce stress in your life.  Practicing saying no and take time for yourself.

Are You Staying Hydrated in the Hot Summer Months?

We are right in the middle of summer.  Months of long, hot, humid days with temperatures soaring lately and humidity even worse.   While you enjoy the passing moments of summertime be sure you and your loved ones are staying properly hydrated in order to ward off potential concerns.


It’s not just about you and your immediate family either. During the excruciating summer months it’s a good idea to check in on any elderly neighbors or relatives you have too. Many elderly people experience serious health problems and even death during extreme weather periods such as the heat of the summer time. In fact, elderly dehydration is one of the main reasons the elderly are hospitalized each year.

Dehydration 101

There are several types and levels of dehydration. Dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluids in which the body needs more fluids than are being input to function normally.  The body fluids that are lost and desperately needed are either one or the other of the following or a combination of the two:

  1. Water loss
  2. Electrolyte loss

Some parts of the body are more ‘electrically wired’ than others requiring these important electrolytes.  These body parts are as follows:

  • Brain
  • Nervous system
  • Muscles

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

If you want to avoid health problems from dehydration it’s vital to listen to your body and drink water throughout the day. Water is the best way to prevent and beat dehydration, especially during the warm summer months when we are all prone to perspire even more so than usual.  Often times hunger is actually a sign of thirst, so drink a glass of water before going for food!

Simply consuming half of your body weight in ounces of quality water daily is a start.

Once you do get dehydrated you can quickly progress into real trouble if you don’t do something about it – fast! Becoming familiar with the signs and symptoms of dehydration is critical to beating dehydration and at the very least avoiding a hospital visit because of dehydration.

Symptoms of Dehydration

  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness
  • Thirst
  • Decreases urination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Symptoms of Severe Dehydration

  • Extreme thirst
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Extremely dry mouth and mucus membranes
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lack of sweating
  • Lack of tears
  • Very little or no urination
  • Skin that won’t ‘bounce back’
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever

Simple Steps to Avoid Dehydration

The best way to avoid dehydration, particularly during hot summer months, is to be sure you and your loved ones are drinking plenty of pure water on a daily basis, at least eight to ten, eight ounce glasses full. If you are exerting yourself or out in the heat, drink even more water.

Avoiding dehydration is as simple as drinking enough pure water on a daily basis but so many just don’t do this. When you realize the high price your body will pay from a serious case of dehydration or hypernatremia, you’ll be asking for more water to drink everyday.

Top 10 Hydrating Foods

  1. Coconut Water
  2. Celery
  3. Watermelon
  4. Cucumber
  5. Kiwi
  6. Bell Peppers
  7. Citrus Fruit
  8. Carrots
  9. Cultured Dairy (amasai/kefir/yogurt)
  10. Pineapple

Coconut Water for Hydration

Coconut water is one of nature’s best hydrating drinks.  It contains many things that contribute to hydration like amino acids, enzymes, growth factors and minerals. The chemical makeup of coconut water is similar to our blood which makes it perfect to help our bodies recover from dehydration.

source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Got Happiness?

 

Last week I took the opportunity to read a new book while in the airport, and this time I chose to read something I have very little interest in…..Running!  Even though I may look like a runner, I am far from it.

The book, “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall, is a fascinating documentary on a tribal village deeply tucked away in the canyons of northern Mexico, renowned for their long distance runners.  To them, a marathon is a warm up before breakfast!

Imagine running over 100 miles a day, days in a row in the blistering Mexico heat, wearing thin sandals as the only support for your feet!  This is their life, and they are the fastest long distance runners on the planet.


What stood out most about this tribe and their culture is their genuine approach to running, which really can be applied by anyone to any area in life.  Running was not a means to get somewhere, not an “in order to” lose weight, improve health, or even an activity they did to be happy.  There were 2 significant factors that separated this tribe’s running style when analyzed by the top running coaches from the United States.

The first, they ran and lived as naturally as possible: meaning hardly any padding or protection on their feet (Interesting Fact: Studies show the more expensive a running show is, the higher percentage of injury occurs to the runner!).  They ate what was produced around their immediate environment naturally.  No artificial ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, or all the additives that plague the majority of the food source in our current culture. (*Note: Go see the latest documentary on the current state of our country’s food and health, “Forks Over Knives”, playing at independent theaters)

Second, and most importantly, is the mindset and attitude these people brought to running.  They are happy, and they run. They do not run to be happy, or to accomplish something, or even for enjoyment…they simply are all of those already, and then they run as an effect of all of this.  This is a difficult concept to understand compared to the first.  Because in our society today, and most of human culture, we are taught to react to our circumstances, environment, and be a product of our past experience.  Instead, in reality we have the choice to be whoever we want to be, despite the circumstances that surround us day after day or year after year.  When we choose to bring a new attitude, emotion, and mindset to a situation, it opens up new possibilities and actions that can be taken immediately to fulfill on those possibilities…simply by starting off with a different mindset than before.  It is both the simplest and most challenging task to take on, yet its effects are unparalleled.  Think of an area of life where you may be stuck, or is not working at its best, or maybe not working at all!  Instead of trying to “get somewhere” in that area and keep repeating the same actions and emotions as in the past, try being grateful, or at peace, or just purely happy and fulfilled ALREADY in that area.  Then see what new possibilities and actions open up that will alter how it is already going for you.  You won’t know what is possible until you give it a shot.

 

 

The Life House: Published in 3 Manhattan Newspapers

 

 

How the torque technique helped me recover physically and emotionally

By Christina Diaz

According to Time Magazine, more than 76 million Americans face some kind of chronic pain. We search for relief in cutting-edge methods like mesmerism, acupuncture and meditation, as well as traditional medicine. In 1994, a new form of chiropractic care was developed: Torque Release Technique. Since then, it has helped thousands heal each year. My Upper East Side doctor, Josh Wagner, at The Life House Chiropractic (lifehousechiropractic.com), is the only Torque Release chiropractor in Manhattan, and he treats his patients with the intention of restoring their life as a whole, not just their body.

As an avid tennis player and runner, with two marathons under my belt, I suffered back problems as well as depression after a car accident in early 2010. After having seen four other chiropractors in the last year, not only was I still in physical discomfort a month or so ago, I was unable to enjoy activities that made me emotionally and mentally happy.

Dr. Josh Wagner.Dr. Josh Wagner.

Injury doesn’t tend to stay in your anatomy. It often creeps into your brain and sticks there, altering your moods, emotions and mental health. Physical suffering can lead to other unwanted results such as fatigue, anxiety and depression.

According to Dr. Wagner, the spinal column can easily become misaligned with the stresses we experience every day, and that tension is stored in our nervous system. This can cause poor health in your neurology and physiology, producing symptoms like back soreness and headaches, as well as low energy, insomnia, a lowered immune system and chronic discomfort. All of which can lead to emotional and mental issues. Our system will stay “stuck” in this state until an outside force changes it and “snaps” the body out of its downward health spiral. This is what the Torque Release Technique offers.

The actual adjustment is given via a small handheld instrument called the Integrator. It uses a gentle force applied to areas of the spine to “unlock” a stressed nervous system where the spinal bones are “locked” in position, unable to restore alignment on their own.

I’d never enco untered this kind of care before, but was surprised and excited about the almost immediate shift I felt. Torque Release is an accurate description because that’s exactly what I experienced after my adjustment—a letting go of something I’d been “holding on to” since the accident. Explaining results, as well as a new technique, is always difficult, which is why a short video has been developed on the Life House website, so that people can view the treatment.

Dr. Wagner, who graduated from NYU pre-med, got his doctorate at Chiropractic at Life University in Atlanta, and worked with Dr. Jay Holder, the founder of Torque Release Technique.

“TRT is in the patient’s best interest for the short and long term,” Wagner said. “It affects far more than just physical ailments. It is the only chiropractic technique published in medical journals for its effect on helping people who are suffering with depression, anxiety and addiction. I see physical changes in my patients, then deeper results once the stress is gone and they can fully contribute to their entire life.”

Hence the name of his practice: The Life House Chiropractic.

Dr. Wagner said patients often come into his office because of neck or back problems, and after treatment, their energy increases and their sleep improves. Their neck and back issues sometimes resolve secondarily because people begin to work internally how they should, at their best. He said his own blood pressure has decreased and his neck range of motion, due to football injuries, has been helped with Torque Release.

TRT does not use any of the traditional popping or cracking of the spine (something I was never crazy about myself). “Doctors themselves do not heal you, your body heals you,” Wagner said. “Our approach puts it in the best position to heal by assisting you in leading a healthier, more balanced life.”

Torque Release Technique exceeded my expectations and I am now running again without discomfort or stiffness in my lower back. I’m hoping for a shot at the New York Marathon next year.

What Can Antioxidants Do for You?

With summer just around the corner, chances are your taste buds will be craving the refreshing, replenishing, delicious yet nutritious taste of berries.  From smoothies to fruit salads, berries are a summer trend.  And with the colorful burst of summer berries comes the immense health benefit: a boost in antioxidants.

But what are antioxidants, really?  What can antioxidants do for you?  When you think about antioxidants whose source is food, you’re really thinking about resveratrol, an antioxidant produced by certain plants in response to stress.  Why is this important?  Resveratrol has been found to counteract the negative effects of free radicals.  Free radicals, though key in regulating the body’s metabolism and immunity, start to cause problems when they are in overabundance.  A wide variety of lifestyles, including poor diet, insufficient sleep, irregular exercise, stress and exposure to environmental factors such as pollution and radiation, can cause such spikes in free radical counts.  When this happens, you risk damaging your tissues, leading to aging, disease, and even reproductive complications.

But here’s the good news: by eating the right foods, rich in resveratrol of course, you can combat those extra free radicals and be your healthy, thriving self.   The best way to get your healthy dose of resveratrol is to eat a regular diet rich in fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.  Blueberries, according to the USDA Human Nutrition Center, are number one in antioxidant activity.  While other berries, such as lingonberries and cranberries are other great sources, it is important to be aware of the high levels of sugars common to berries.  So be sure to eat your vegetables.  Some of the best sources of antioxidants include yellow onions, broccoli, leeks, artichokes and potatoes.  Even spices have antioxidants.  Try some oregano in your next prepared meal for a quick and concentrated antioxidant.  And if you’re craving that summer sweetness, stick to blueberries, black currants, strawberries, blackberries and plums for a sweet, yet antioxidant-infused fix.

Just a few of the benefits you can consider when you eat your next plate of blueberries and broccoli:

Decrease effects of aging
Lowered insulin and inflammation
Increased blood flow to the brain
Strengthened memory and concentration
Regulated circulation of blood
Prevention against the spread of cancer cells
Neural protection against development of Alzheimer’s

So eat up and enjoy!  Your body will thank you.

To-Do’s

Are you trapped in a daily life of Post-It note “To-Do” lists?

Lists.  Little neon square post-it notes of “To-Do’s” flood your desk, winking at you
menacingly each morning, a reminder of another meticulously-ordered day yet to come.
Sound familiar?  We all have our daily “To-Do” lists.  But lists-aside, do you really set goals for yourself?  And of those To-Dos, how many are actually priorities?

We often get caught up in the daily day-to day “to-do’s”: the laundry, the groceries, the
taxes.  But we forget about the “big picture” goals.  Stop worrying about the post-it note
tasks; they will get done.  Have they ever not?  And if they did not, have they really ever mattered in the grand scheme?  Take a mental leap and think big.  What do you really want?  Perhaps it’s time to try that painting class you’ve been itching to experience.  Maybe you want to participate in the next local race.  Or perhaps you want to find time to read for pleasure each day.

So take a moment, no more than 30 seconds, and think.  Listen to your thoughts—what
do you want?  Consider 3 possibilities in the future you want to be yours.  Now write
them down.  By writing down your goals you’ve just found the 3 things you
most want to attain.  And even more, you’ve exposed them to yourself.

The next step?  Focus on these goals.  By visualizing the outcome, you automatically set
yourself on a forward path geared towards achieving your end goal.  And by focusing on
the “what,” the outcome, as opposed to the “how,” the means of attaining the outcome,
you may just find that the steps towards achievement will fall into place.   Now all you have “to do” is take action steps each day in the direction of that goal, which is now a priority and something you are passionate about, rather than another task.  What’s more, if
you truly acknowledge what you really want, you allow yourself to stretch to new limits.

The best part of partaking in a quest for goals such as these is that you give yourself the
chance to explore your true desires in life.  Goal setting is a way to not only achieve
an end, but also to way discover the unknown.  So take the leap, leave the post-it notes
behind, and discover your true self.

Why Calorie Counting is Not the Answer

Did you know that Weight Watchers recently abandoned their calorie counting weight loss method?

So, to get down to the basics, it’s far more important to look at the source of the calories than counting them. If it wasn’t, you’d be able to substitute one meal a day for a Twinkie and still shed pounds…

Back in 2004, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report accurately concluded that carbohydrates (read sugars and grains) are the reason why Americans have been consuming increasing numbers of calories over the past 30-plus years.

Interestingly, the number one source of calories in the American diet is from soda, in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

Meanwhile, obesity rates jumped from 14.5 percent of U.S. adults in 1971, to nearly 28 percent in 2010. Previous research linked this increase to a greater intake of salty snacks, pizza and other fast foods — in other words, a greater intake of carbohydrates, mainly grains.

What’s the Answer?

At the end of the day, your consumption of carbohydrates, whether in the form of grains (including whole grains) and sugars (especially fructose), will determine whether or not you’re able to manage your weight and maintain optimal health.

Cutting out or severely limiting grain carbs and sugars can be the U-turn you’ve been looking for if you are currently overweight or your health is suffering.

The real remedy is to return to your kitchen and embrace good old-fashioned home cooking.   By simply spending time in the kitchen cooking fresh wholesome meals you can increase your health and longevity.

A major leap forward would be to strive for a diet of 90 percent non-processed food and only 10 percent from other sources.  Not only will you enjoy numerous health benefits, but you will gain the satisfaction of preparing meals and being able to control the ingredients.

Your Hunger is Your Guide to Your Optimal Fuel

Many do not realize this, but frequent hunger may be a major clue that you’re not eating correctly. Not only is it an indication that you’re consuming the wrong types of food, but also the amounts and timing throughout the day.

You can split your meals into five or six smaller portions and still be far less hungry than you ever were before because your body is finally getting the fuel it needs to thrive.

Typically, finding your optimal diet involves shifting the ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, once you have determined what types of food your body is designed to eat. Optimal health may actually have less to do with the type of food you are eating, but more to do with the relative percentage of each food you consume.

If you are eating right for your nutritional type, your meal should leave you with increased energy, noticeable improvements in mental capacity and emotional well-being and should leave you feeling satisfied for several hours.

However, if you feel worse an hour or so after eating, such as:

  • You still feel hungry even though you are physically full
  • You develop a sweet craving
  • Your energy level drops
  • You feel hyper, nervous, angry or irritable
  • You feel depressed

… then you are likely eating the wrong combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates for your nutritional type

The best case scenario that can come from Weight Watchers changing their program is that it may bring millions of more people back to REAL food, opposed to processed “diet” foods.

(Just keep a close eye on your fruit consumption, Berries excluded)


How Important is Your Sleep?

Insomnia has reached epidemic proportions. It’s estimated to be the #1 health-related problem in America. More than 1/3 of Americans have trouble sleeping every night, and 43% of respondents report that daytime sleepiness interferes with their normal daytime activities.


These problems are getting worse, not better. The number of adults aged 20 to 44 using over-the-counter sleeping pills doubled from 2000 to 2004, and youth ages 1-19 who take prescription sleep remedies jumped 85% during the same period. Prescriptions for sleeping pills topped 56 million in 2008 – up 54% from 2004.

We have not only forgotten the value of rest, we have forgotten how to do it.

You cannot be healthy without adequate sleep. Period.

Unfortunately for us, the body hasn’t forgotten the importance of sleep. It’s absolutely essential for basic maintenance and repair of the neurological, endocrine, immune, musculoskeletal and digestive systems. The hormone melatonin naturally increases after sundown and during the night, which helps protect us against infection.

Among other things, a full night’s sleep:

  • enhances memory and mental clarity
  • improves athletic performance
  • boosts mood and overall energy
  • improves immune function
  • increases stress tolerance

When things fall apart: how sleep deprivation impacts your health

Fewer than 6 hours of sleep per day is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation and worsening insulin resistance, as well as increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, to handle stress, to maintain a healthy immune system and to moderate our emotions. It’s associated with heart disease, hypertension, weight gain, diabetes and a wide range of psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety.

The following is an abbreviated list of some of the more damaging effects of sleep deprivation:

  • Impaired immune system: a study from the University of California found that even modest sleep loss weakens the immune systems response to disease and injury.
  • Overweight and obesity: Recent studies have shown that even one night of poor sleep can result in dramatic changes in appetite and food intake. Others have shown that restricting sleep to 5 hours a night for just one week impairs carbohydrate tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Researchers now believe that sleep deprivation is the single best predictor of overweight and obesity in children – which has become an alarming problem. Finally, a brand-new study shows that not getting enough sleep causes liver disease.
  • Cognitive decline: sleep deprivation negatively impacts short-term memory, long-term memory and the degeneration of nerve cells – all of which effects our ability to think clearly and function well.
  • Mood and mental health: anyone who has had a few nights of poor sleep can tell you that insomnia is associated with depression. Insufficient sleep shuts down the pre-frontal cortex and can cause or exacerbate a number of psychological conditions, ranging from anxiety to PTSD to depression.
  • Systemic inflammation: as I already mentioned above, sleep deprivation causes chronic, moderate inflammation.

How to get a good night’s sleep?  Read on…

The most important factor in getting a good night’s sleep is managing stress during the day. Most of us run around like chickens with their heads cut off all day, and then wonder why we can’t fall right asleep as soon as our head hits the pillow. If our nervous system has been in overdrive for 16 hours, it’s unrealistic to assume that it can switch into low gear in a matter of minutes simply because we want it to.

Before we get into natural tips on improving sleep, I want to say a few words about sleep medications. In spite of their popularity, they are not without risk – including dependence, rebound insomnia, drowsiness, memory loss, bizarre sleep walking behavior, changes in brain chemistry, constipation and much more.

On the other hand, there is a point at which the harmful effects of sleep deprivation start to outweigh the potential adverse effects caused by sleeping pills. This is when I believe sleep meds should be used as a last resort, presuming all non-drug approaches have failed. One of the common responses after beginning chiropractic care is drastically improved nightly sleep.

Reduce your exposure to artificial light

Artificial light disrupts our sleep/wake cycle. Just a single ‘pulse’ of artificial light at night disrupts this cycle, which can not only impact our sleep, but also increase our risk of cancer. Another study showed that the blue light emitted from alarm clocks and other digital devices can affect the sleep cycle by increasing melatonin levels.

Follow these tips to avoid light exposure:

  • Don’t use a computer for 2 hours before going to bed. No staying up late on Facebook and Twitter!
  • Use blackout shades to make your bedroom pitch black.
  • Cover your digital alarm clock or get an analog clock.
  • Turn off all digital devices that glow or give off any type of light.
  • Use a sleep mask.

Don’t be too full – or too hungry

Some people sleep better after eating a light dinner. This is especially true for those with digestive issues. Others – like those with a tendency toward low blood-sugar levels – do better with a snack before bed (and possibly even during the night).

Go to bed earlier

You’ve all heard the saying “an hour before midnight is worth two hours after”. It turns out there is some truth to that. When you fall asleep, you go through a 90-minute cycle of non-REM sleep followed by REM sleep. But the ratio of non-REM to REM sleep within those 30 minute cycles changes across the night. In the early part of the night (11pm – 3am), the majority of those cycles are composed of deep non-REM sleep and very little REM sleep. In the second half of the night (i.e. 3am – 7am) this balance changes, such that the 90-minute cycles are comprised of more REM sleep (the stage associated with dreaming) as well as a lighter form of non-REM sleep.

What’s important about this is that the cycles with more REM sleep is where our body regenerates and repairs tissue and engages in other restorative processes. If we don’t get enough deep sleep, we can’t rejuvenate and heal.

So you say you’re a night owl?

Patients often tell me they’re “naturally” night owls, and they’ve always preferred to stay up late and sleep in. But in truth there’s nothing natural about this. For millions of years of human evolution sleep patterns remained in synch with the daily variation in light exposure. We rose with the sun, and went to be soon after sundown. This is what our bodies are adapted for.

In almost all cases, having a lot of energy late into the night is a sign of a disrupted sleep rhythm. Normally, the hormone cortisol should be high in the morning and decrease throughout the day and into the evening. This gives us the energy we need to wake up in the morning, and allows us to start winding down after dark so we’re ready to sleep. In people who’ve been exposed to significant chronic stress, this rhythm goes haywire. They have low cortisol in the morning (which makes it very hard for them to get going) and high cortisol at night, which gives them that late second wind. While drinking several cups of coffee in the morning alleviates the morning fatigue to some degree, it also perpetuates the pattern by revving them up in the afternoon and evening.

Page 4 of 512345