2018 July 18 by Dr. Randy
In a previous article I talked about the metabolic factors involved with difficulty losing weight. Those include factors like thyroid function, leptin, insulin, and other hormonal balance issues that can all make it difficult to lose weight. Those interacting factors can be complicated and require a holistic medical evaluation. Dietary issues, however, are pretty simple. There are some basic principles to maintaining a diet that prevents weight gain.
What to eat
- Do not restrict calories. Eating a low calorie diet and skipping meals will just lower your metabolism. That will cause your body to burn less calories, exactly what you don’t want.
- Eat relatively low glycemic index foods. Some foods will stimulate more insulin production that encourages a cascade of factors that will store excess fat in your fat cells. Foods with a high glycemic index include, grains (especially wheat), potatoes, tropical fruits or dried fruits that are higher in sugar, and processed products with refined sugar. Eat all of these sparingly.
- Eat foods as they grow in nature. That includes fresh fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked), nuts and beans, and animal products (eggs, dairy, chicken, fish). Try to avoid packaged foods that contain with a long list of ingredients.
- Don’t avoid fats. Your body needs fats and cholesterol to make hormones. The best fats are butter, coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, avocados, and fish oil supplements. Try to avoid vegetable oils. Remember fats do not make you fat, excess carbohydrates make you fat.
How to eat
- Eat protein in the morning.
- Eat three meals a day. Don’t skip meals and leave space between meals. Try to avoid snacking on carbohydrates. If your blood sugar gets low and you start to feel tired or light-headed, then eat protein snacks.
- Don’t eat late at night. Leave 2-3 hours between your last meal of the day and bedtime. If you eat before sleeping when your metabolism slows down, that food will turn to fat. And often those late night snacks are also high in carbohydrates, making the problem even worse.
- Be kind to yourself. If you crave sugar and carbohydrates, there is a reason that needs to be addressed. It may be a problem with glucose metabolism, thyroid dysfunction, or insulin or leptin resistance. There are specific supplement programs that can help all of these issues. Don’t blame yourself for having weak will power.
- Be consistent. Establishing good eating habits will reinforce and establish healthy behaviors. Every day that you continue on a program will reinforce your confidence and determination.
- Don’t expect quick results. Fad diets and restricted diets will cause loss of fluid retention and some quick weight loss, but you will gain back that weight again and become frustrated. Do not attempt extreme diets (like the ketogenic diet). If you maintain these for a while you may lose weight, but if you go off the diet the rebound effect may leave you with more weight than when you began.
- Stay positive. Losing weight is a gradual process. But once you are more healthy and fit, you will feel better and your cravings will decrease.
2016 July 6 by Dr. Randy
Wherever you are on your life’s journey, health is always a foremost concern. You may be in great health or you may be struggling with symptoms or serious health problems. Everyone has weak areas that flare up. Athletes are plagued with stress injuries. Some of us have recurrent digestive issues or headaches or joint pains. Others struggle with chronic inflammatory conditions. Whatever your level of health, it’s always a good idea to periodically reassess your needs and consider the best program to achieve optimum energy and freedom from symptoms.
Start with diet, the key to good health. Stick to the program that fits your needs best. It may be a low carbohydrate paleo diet, or you may have discovered that you need more carbs for energy or sports performance. Stay away from those high-calorie bakery goods with empty calories. Focus on brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables.
Stick to your exercise program. Increase it. Walk, run, lift, cycle, play. Get outside into nature. Take advantage of the healing power of the trees and sun.
Review the supplements you take. If you have digestive problems, take probiotics and herbal formulas that heal the intestinal tract (glutamine, licorice, aloe, slippery elm). If you have recurrent inflammatory conditions, take plenty of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements (resveratrol, n-acetyl-cysteine, turmeric). If nervous system problems or memory problems are a concern, take nutrients that nourish brain and nerve function (huperzine, acetyl-l-carnitine). And if immune problems are prevalent, take medicinal mushrooms and Astragalus and vitamin D. These are examples of supplements that may help these conditions. The right program for you should be individualized according to your unique needs.
Our lives are filled with stressful events that trigger anxiety, worry, and discouragement. These need to be countered with positive experiences, support, and stress reduction techniques. Integrate relaxation and centering techniques into your daily practice. These may include meditation, yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing practices. Take breaks during your day and stretch, or close your eyes for a few minutes and focus on your breathing. Clear your mind and your mood will improve. Relax and your body tension will dissolve.
If you need help in developing or refining a program for optimum health, I am available for consultations in my office or through a phone or video conference. Stay healthy and live a long and joyous life.
2015 September 3 by Dr. Randy
Here are my five tips to maintain your good health and stay young.
Keep moving. Avoid sitting. If you must sit for your job or school, take frequent breaks to walk and stretch. Climb stairs instead of using an elevator. Schedule exercise at the gym and go for walks or runs on other days. Remember, your metabolism slows down by ten percent every decade after you reach 40 and you need to step up your activity to compensate. Regular exercise will improve your mood and prevent gradual weight gain.
Unless you are a serious athlete, avoid eating starches. Cut down on baked products and grains that slow metabolism and contribute to weight problems. Your diet should be primarily fruits, vegetables, and protein sources from dairy, eggs, meats, nuts, and beans. Eat whole foods and avoid processed food in packages. And try to eat as clean as you can, avoiding produce treated with pesticides and meats from animals fed hormones and antibiotics.
Get out into nature. Exposure to trees and the outdoors improves bodily functions, lowers blood pressure, and improves your mood. Go for a walk in the evening. Go for hikes in the forest on the weekend. Breathe the fresh air. Studies have shown that even putting a picture of the ocean, the mountains, or a forest at your work station has a positive effect on your health.
Maintain a spiritual practice. Meditate or practice relaxation techniques with deep abdominal breathing. Go to a yoga class. Your spiritual life will help to balance the inevitable stress that accompanies your busy daily schedule. Take a break and focus on your breath. It will help to slow things down and maintain a positive outlook.
Your daily supplement program should be tailored to your individual needs, but most everyone will benefit from taking vitamin D, probiotics, and omega 3 fats from fish oil. Anyone over 50 should also consider taking antioxidants that prevent inflammation and the changes that accompany aging. Supplements like resveratrol, astaxanthin, n-acetyl cysteine, and L-carnitine are all powerhouse anti-aging antioxidants.