Wednesday, June 8, 2016

5 Secrets to Healthy and Permanent Weight Loss

 Memorial Day weekend has past and summer has unofficially begun.  Now is the season to enjoy shorts, flip flops, BBQ, baseball, and the beach.  Is your body beach ready?  If you've slacked off on your New Year's resolutions, don't give up.  There is no better time than the present to lose weight, get in shape, and regain your health.  

     Currently in the US, 30 percent of adults are obese, with Arkansas having the highest rate of obesity at 35.9 percent.  This epidemic places tens of millions of Americans at an increased risk of complicating health factors such as, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer which cost hundreds of billions of dollars to manage every year.  Our country has reached a critical point in our health and we have to make some major change in our health.  The answer isn't in new drugs and better medication, it's in a shift in our lifestyle habits.  Below, I have assembled my top five reasons why people struggle with weight loss and what you can do in the future to achieve success. 

  1. Low calorie and low fat diets don't work.

          Many people try low calorie and low fat diets, but let me tell you why they're not successful at achieving permanent weight loss.  Whenever you drastically reduce your caloric intake, your body is going to go into survival mode.  Your adrenal glands are going to secret a hormone called cortisol that is going to cause your body to store more fat.  Your body will always using fat as a last resort for energy reserves.  As you decrease your calories, your body is going to respond by lowering your  demand for energy.  In other words, your metabolism is going to slow down and make it even more difficult to lose weight.  Any weight loss achieved on a low calorie diet is most likely going to be lean muscle mass.  Now that your metabolism has slowed down, you will inevitably get tired of starving yourself and go back to your normal eating habits. Your body will store those increased calories as fat.  This is why low calorie diets don't work.

  1. Healthy Hormones are the key to healthy weight loss.

          Hormone imbalances in the body can lead to many negative health problems, including weight gain.  There are three organs in the body that are intimately associated with your bodies ability to lose unwanted weight.  These glands are the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, and your pancreas.  The adrenal glands secret a hormone called cortisol, which is your bodies stress hormone.  When you have too much stress in your life, you will have an excess of cortisol in your body which will cause you to store fat and make it difficult for you to lose weight.  The thyroid secretes two different types of thyroid hormone that regulate your bodies metabolism.  Many people in our country suffer from hypothyroidism, a decrease in thyroid hormone in the body, which causes their metabolism to slow down and their bodies to gain weight.  The last organ, and probably the most important, is the pancreas.  Your Pancreas secretes insulin when you consume simple carbohydrates and sugar.  Insulin then delivers the carbohydrates to the cells to be stored as fat until you need the energy at a later time.  However, when you consume to much sugar and have to much insulin released in your body, your cells become insulin resistant and lead to your blood sugar increasing.  This can cause Type II diabetes.  There are some simple ways to test if your body is suffering from hormone imbalances, and, if you are, then there are natural ways to correct the problem.  

  1. The food you eat either fuels your body or feeds disease.

          The old adage that your mother told you is true -- "You are what you eat."  Your body needs over 90 essential nutrients that it cannot produce on its own.  These nutrients come from the earth, not from a food science laboratory.  A good rule of thumb to remember when reading nutritional labels is, if you can't pronounce whats in your food and it didn't come from the earth, then you probably don't need to eat it.  Likewise, it is important to eat organic foods as much as possible and drink filtered water because there are thousands of toxic chemicals that make their way into our food and water supply that can cause serious health problems.  Toxic chemicals cause free radicals in your body, which can destroy your cells and cause cancer.  The body combats these toxic chemicals by surrounding them with fat, which leads to weight gain.  So, just remember, next time you go to the grocery store, if it's not feeding your body, then it's fueling disease.

  1. Exercise is your ally.

          This one is a no brainer.  We are all familiar with the many numerous health benefits of exercise, but did you know that most of your bodies metabolism occurs in the muscles?  This means that the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you're going to burn.  It is for this reason that it is important to include weight bearing exercise (weights, body weight exercises, strength training, etc.) into your weekly workout routine to increase your bodies lean muscle mass. 

  1. Get out of pain.

          Most people probably would not associate getting out of pain with their ability to lose weight, but this is the number one reason I see in my practice.  Throughout our lives, we accumulate traumas and stress to our bodies from falling off our bikes as kids, wrestling with brothers or sister,s sports injuries, falls and car accidents.  When we are younger, we can bounce back from these injuries, but, as we get older, these traumas start to manifest as pain in the body.  This begins a vicious cycle of pain causing decreased activity, which leads to weight gain, which then leads to more pain.  As a chiropractor ,my mission is to educate my patients on preventative things that they can do to move better without pain.  Just like having routine maintenance done on your car to avoid major problems, your body needs the same attention.  

    If you're interested in learning more about fine tuning your body, losing weight or building strength, your care providers are your best resources. Our office doors are always open to new patients that are interested in living a healthy life. We'd like to help you achieve your goals with chiropractic care, our workshops or our new medical weight loss program.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

7 Reasons Why You Should Add Yoga To Your Weekly Workout

Yoga is the hot new fitness trend sweeping the country, or at least it seems that way with all the girls (and some guys) wearing yoga pants.  In all seriousness, yoga has become hugely popular because people are experiencing the many health benefits it offers first hand.  As a former football player and shot putter, I have always been about lifting heavy and throwing far.  I use to think that yoga was for weird hippies that just wanted to stretch and call it a workout.  That all changed when I tried hot yoga for the first time.  Needless to say, it kicked my butt, and I had a new found respect and appreciation for yoga.  As I've continued to learn and practice yoga, I have come to realize that regular yoga goes hand in hand with regular chiropractic for a healthy spine and body.  The following are just a few of the many health benefits of adding yoga to your weekly workout routine.

  1. Increased Flexibility and Mobility

        Improved flexibility and mobility is probably the most recognized health benefit to doing yoga, but do you know why it is important?  Poor muscle flexibility and joint mobility is the most common cause of musculoskeletal injuries in the body.  When you have really tight muscles your range of motion is limited and you are more prone to injuries.  Tight muscles in the spine can also pull your vertebra out of alignment causing subluxations that can lead to nerve irritation.  Likewise, when you don't have good mobility in your joints, those areas of your body are susceptible to early onset of joint degeneration.  Some patients that I meet believe that they were born with tight muscles, and there is some truth to that.  Everyone has a different make up of their connective tissue.  However, everyone also has the ability to improve on what they were given.  A little practice goes along way and, before you know it, you will be touching your toes and mastering your chaturanga.  

  1. Builds Muscle Strength
        Along with improving flexibility, yoga is great for building muscle strength.  Now, your not going to become Miss Universe or the Hulk by practicing yoga, but you will develop stronger, more toned muscles through holding different yoga poses.  As you practice yoga more, you will notice that your balance will begin to improve.  This happens by training your nervous system to respond faster and engage more muscles.  This leads to increased muscle strength which can help prevent injuries.  Yoga is great for seniors because improved balance and muscle strength can help prevent falls.  

  1. Improves Posture

          As a chiropractor, I see patients all day, everyday who suffer from poor posture.  Most people may think that poor posture is not a big deal, but it can actually have very significant implications on your overall health.  You don't have to be in a serious car accident do damage your spine and body.  You can damage your body everyday through chronic repetitive stress (ie. poor posture.)  Just like your car needs to be in proper alignment to function optimally, so does your body.  Yoga can help you achieve good posture in your spine by improving your flexibility, muscle strength and balance.  

  1. Decreases Back Pain and Improves Spinal Health

          Your spine is loaded with special types of nerve endings called, "proprioceptors".  These nerve endings are stimulated by movement and, when they are stimulated, they actually have the ability to override pain in your back.  In other words, your spine craves movement.  When you practice yoga, you will be moving your whole spine through a full range of motion and stimulating massive amounts of proprioceptors that will help to decrease back pain.  Getting more movement in the spine will also help to get nutrients to the disks that act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae.  This will help to prevent herniated disks and the early onset of disk degeneration.  

  1. Improves Core Strength

          When most people hear the words, "core strength," they think of their abdominal muscles.  Yes, the abs are a part of your core, but so is your diaphragm, back muscles and pelvic floor muscles.  These groups of muscles work together to help support and stabilize your spine and the body as a whole.  As we get older and are less active, these muscles begin to get weaker and respond slower.  This predisposes the spine to injuries.  I see this everyday in my practice when I have a patient who blows out their low back when they are doing something as simple as bending over to tie their shoes.  Yoga is great at strengthening your core muscles because a lot of the poses that you do in yoga engage these muscles.  Not to mention that yoga focuses on proper breathing techniques that not only helps to engage the core muscles, but also aids in lowering blood pressure and reducing stress.

  1. Eliminates Stress

          The adrenal glands are our bodies stress response glands.  They sit just above the kidneys and produce over 50 different hormones.  One of the major hormones that the adrenal glands secrete is cortisol, which helps prepare the body for stressful situations.  Released for a short period of time, cortisol is a good thing.  However, when you're constantly stressed day-in and day-out, cortisol can have some very negative health effects.  Yoga has been shown to lower cortisol and reduce stress in your body.

  1. Improves Sleep

          As if all of these other benefits are not enough to convince you to go out and buy a yoga mat, you will also sleep better once you start practicing yoga on a regular basis.  Many people suffer from restlessness and are unable to get a good nights rest because they have stress and tension in the body.  Regular yoga practice helps to lower your blood pressure, reduce tension in the muscles and joints, eliminate stress in the body, and clear your mind.  All of these benefits are a recipe for the best night of sleep you've ever had.  

If you're interested in adding yoga to your fitness routine, there are lots of studios and gyms in town that offer this healthy practice. You can also stop by our office where we offer Wind Down Wednesdays Night Yoga. On the first and third Wednesdays of each month, we offer yoga classes for just $10. Classes begin at 5:45 p.m. and space is limited to 10 participants. Visit our Facebook page for more information at .