summer weight


Whew! It’s hot out here! I am literally sitting outside on my front porch with a fan blowing on me. Crazy, I know but for those of us who live in Michigan we all know how short our summer season can be and I am determined to sit out here and enjoy it before it is gone.

So, have you been enjoying this season as much as I have? I hope so! Don’t you just love going down the road and seeing all of the produce stands on the side of the road offering all the goodies you can only get in the summer. (They do all of the work and we get to enjoy it)!

Strawberries, blueberries, fresh corn on the cob, dark sweet cherries and watermelon to name just a few. I love them all! But, for some reason though, I tend to gorge myself with these season delectables and don’t give it a thought of how many calories I might be consuming.

The truth is, you CAN gain weight if you overeat these foods. Couple that with trips to go get an ice cream cone (it is summer after all folks) and cold sugar laden drinks to “cool off” and we have the recipe for weight gain.

Summer weight gain? What? We don’t typically think about that very often. I don’t know if it’s because we just assume that we are more active and are burning off the calories or that we think that the foods we eat are more natural and more healthy, but the fact is summer can be a prime time TO gain weight.

Think about it. Backyard barbecues and picnics with family and friends eating all the typical dishes like potato salad, baked beans and corn on the cob dripping with butter and of course something for dessert and then s’mores later on as we sit by the campfire. Summer vacations where all self control goes right out the window because, “Hey, we’re on vacation!” The whole season kind of sets us up for an atmosphere of party time and a laid back mentality don’t you think?

But we need to keep in mind that in a couple of months we will be faced with pulling our jeans out of the closet and hoping we can still button them up. It’s hard to think about that when we are out in the scorching heat in a tank top and shorts with the sweat pouring down our back.

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I’m sweating so much I should lose weight in no time?”
Probably because we feel like we are melting but the truth is it’s just the opposite! In order to prevent summer weight gain we need to know how to ride out the heat.


Did you know that your metabolism is actually faster during the cold winter months than hot summer days? During the winter when your body temperature is higher than the temperature outside, maintaining your core body temperature requires energy which translates into calories your body has to burn to create heat. However, during the hot summer months the amount of energy spent heating your body is at its minimum burning less calories and unfortunately, sweating does not mean you are burning calories.


You know, we can be fickle creatures sometimes. In the winter we say “It’s so cold out I’m just going to stay inside and sit in front of the fireplace, (with a cup of hot cocoa of course!) and then
in the summer we say, “It’s just so hot I’m not leaving this air conditioned house until it cools down” But not moving because it’s hot drops our activity level. When it is really hot outside and we start to do something and our bodies overheat it’s easy to find ourselves taking many breaks or just quit doing anything all together except sitting in the shade with a tall glass of some overly sweetened drink. Over time the number of calories we burn daily throughout the summer due to lower physical activity can decrease contributing to weight gain.

Being exposed to extreme heat can cause you to lose your “Get up and go” and while it’s probably not a good idea to go on a long run when the temperature is in the 90’s, we can alter the times we exercise to the cooler morning and evening hours. Swimming is the perfect summer activity that can really burn the calories or you can still exercise indoors. Either way, you are going to want to find a way to exercise despite the heat.


Fluids are not the only thing you lose when you perspire. As you sweat, you lose important vitamins and minerals that need to be replaced. Sweat is not just water. It is a mixture of minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients that our bodies need in order to function at optimal levels.

Without these nutrients our body’s fat burning capacity is impaired. The B vitamins are especially important in fat burning. However, you can’t just replace them by swallowing a pill. You need to make sure you are eating the right kinds of foods to replace what you are losing along with taking supplements.

A good source of water-soluble vitamins are found in an assortment of foods, including fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Well, I hope this information has been helpful to you. I LOVE the summer and enjoy the many opportunities for fun and relaxation it provides. Sometimes though keeping everything in balance can be a little challenging. If you would like someone to help keep you accountable or need some help getting on the right track with weight management, please give me a call to set up an appointment at (616) 516-1570. You still have plenty of summer to get started!



Spring is right around the corner and while I can’t wait for it to finally arrive, something did occur to me that made me sit up a little and say to myself “oh my!” And that would be my wardrobe. Yes, I said,“my wardrobe.” Let me explain. It’s not exactly the clothes in my closet so much as me fitting into those clothes.

Soon it will be time to shed those long sweaters, the cute coats of winter and long scarves that we have hidden ourselves in while we plodded our way through this excruciatingly brutal bitter cold winter, (did I make myself clear how cold I think it was)? While I am looking forward to shedding the boots and slipping on a pair of cute sandals, the thought of shorts, short sleeves and bathing suits causes me to pause just a little.

It’s funny how you can hear about something for years and you know it happens (to other people of course) but when it happens to you you’re a little taken back. For some reason, some of us can tend to think maybe it won’t be like that with me. But then you start to notice some changes and then you realize Ugh! This must be what “they” were talking about.

There is so much information out there about perimenopause and weight gain. And frankly, you can find some differing opinions about what causes it. Just like everything else health wise it seems like information is always changing and you don’t know who to believe. Some say low estrogen and some say high estrogen. Meanwhile you just want to know why you can’t button your pants even though you haven’t changed any of your eating habits or physical activity level.

I guess what makes sense to me is that yes, our hormones are changing and during perimenopause our estrogen levels have decided to take a ride on a roller coaster. I’m sure many women can attest to the fact they can tell their hormones at this time are all over the place. However, there is only so much we can do about that. Nature IS going to happen whether we want it to or not. What we CAN do though is to be aware of our body changing and figure out how to cope with it to the best of our ability.

Staying positive and informing yourself about perimenopause and its physical effects is a good start. It’s also important to figure out if your weight gain is due to physical (hormonal imbalance)
or psychological factors (e.g. anxiety, emotional stress ) Once you have that established you can work out the most effective method for weight loss. Here are a few things to be aware of:


As hormones change at perimenopause, emotions can run wild and it can be easy to slip into patterns of emotional eating. Maybe the emotional triggers were always there to a lesser degree but suddenly they can ramp up a notch. Or, they are showing up for the first time as we try to work through the complexity of changing hormones and emotions and we start looking for emotional comfort and stability. The problem here being, no one reaches for a bowl of steamed broccoli when looking for comfort. It’s more likely a piece of chocolate cake or something else that isn’t too nutritious. So we need to be diligent in eating healthy and not just focusing on the quantity of food but quality of nutrients and the right mix of fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates we consume.


Most women do not get enough sleep. We actually need between 7-9 hours every night but most women get between 5-7. There are so many processes that take place in our bodies at night while we are at rest. When that cycle is disrupted, hormones are disrupted, mental processing can become impaired, as well as our ability to maintain a good mood and manage anxiety, anger and depression.

Many experts believe that sleep is as important to our overall well being as diet and exercise. There are multiple studies that reveal weight gain can be associated with inadequate or inconsistent sleep. It may be challenging to get a good night’s sleep when your body is out of whack, but it has been noted that one of the most effective sleep inducers is making sure you take enough magnesium. Calcium and magnesium need to exist in our bodies in a ratio of 1:1 but we tend to be calcium heavy and lack the magnesium our bodies require for a good night of uninterrupted sleep.


As we age, our bodies begin to lose muscle mass and this naturally decreases our resting metabolism, as muscle uses up more energy (calories) than fat. Even though we tend to exercise less as we age, it is perhaps the most important time in life that we DO exercise and combine it with some form of strength training to build up our muscle mass.

Our bodies are complex beings and hard to understand but absolutely awesome when you think about how everything comes together and does its own job keeping us up and running. However, with that being said, perimenopause and through menopause is a period of time that even though it is a “normal” process that every women will go through, it can play havoc with our system and sometimes we need a little help.

If you find that you too are in the “battle” and would like some help working through it or are feeling discouraged, I would like to meet with you and together see what we can do to help you achieve your weight management goals. You can either call me at (616) 516-1570 or use the contact form on the website.

Eating for the future

Sitting at a conference last week the speaker threw out this question, “What would you like to be doing at 75 years of age?” As expected, people shouted out answers such as “traveling,” “playing with the grandkids,” “having fun.” Then she asked another question that kind of caught me off guard and I have to believe others too. “What are you doing now to make that possible?”

The interesting thing is, she was not talking about saving money or buying a motor home to travel the countryside. She was talking about what are you doing to your body NOW to make sure that what you dream of doing at 75 will be possible. I have to admit I had never thought about it that way.

Yes. I’ve thought of it in short terms like, if I eat this donut, cake, pizza et cetera, et cetera and not work it off, it will show up on the scale at the doctors next week. Or, I’m going on vacation and I have to put on a bathing suit so I’d better do something or it’s not going to be pretty. But have I really thought about how not eating right and exercising regularly now is going to show up when I’m 75? Well, to be honest, the answer is “no.”

Isn’t it ironic that we “plan” for the future financially but we don’t have the same passion when it comes to what we are putting into our “body bank” that we are going to draw on when we reach retirement age.

We really need to become more aware of what is in the foods we eat and what kinds of food we eat.

Lets’ face it. We are surrounded and bombarded by food everywhere we look. And may I add,
most of it looks, smells and tastes delicious and is hard to resist. Believe me, corporations have spent millions of dollars making sure of that. Which brings me to something I would like to bring to your attention;


Have you ever heard the term “hyper-palatable foods before?” I would venture to say that the answer is probably “no.” But most people eat them all the time. Now you might be asking, “What in the world is “hyper-palatable foods?”

Well, pretty much everything at a restaurant and most processed food but in a nutshell, hyper-palatable food is a highly processed foodstuff that has been engineered to pleasure the consumer and drive him or her to eat more than they initially wanted to, and seek that specific food in the future. (Uh Oh! I think I just described Oreo’s!) Do you get my meaning?

Our food environment has changed so dramatically over the years with the introduction of
these so-called “hyper-palatable” foods that it makes it hard to find it rewarding to just eat a traditional healthy meal. Our minds have been tricked by the artificial flavors and enhancers that are in so many of the foods we eat today is it any wonder that most Americans overeat and are overweight. Our brains were not designed to handle this kind of environment. We eat more because it taste so good not because we are satisfied calorically.


  • Foods in their original form, as they were created — not modernized, not processed, not packaged.
  • Foods that have a long history of supporting good health.
  • Foods that are whole and nutrient-dense.
  • Foods that are simple and basic: meat and poultry, eggs, whole grains, fish, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit nuts, and seeds, dairy, fats.


Gone are the days of our great grandmothers spending all day in the house planning the meals and baking their own bread. However, with a little planning and the knowledge that is at our fingertips, we can certainly make wiser choices with how and what we eat. I’m not saying that you should never go out to a restaurant or “grab” that hamburger on the way home after a long day. But, if we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that we probably “go out to eat” way too often and buy and consume too many processed foods. For some, it’s become a way of life but should WE be letting OTHER people decide what to put into our bodies? “NO ”

There’s no time like the present to start “Thinking” before you put something in your mouth and ask yourself this question. “Is the convenience of this fast food going to turn into inconvenience later in life?”, “Is there a healthier choice I could be making right now?” Start out slowly and read more labels. Make some new healthier changes and then continue on until you’ve made a significant difference in your eating habits and your health. Your grandkids will thank you!

If you struggle with your weight management goals and maybe even realize that food has become addicting to you and would like some help, please call me at (616) 516-1570 and let’s get you on the road to a healthier and possibly thinner you!

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Fall has come and gone. The beautiful colors of autumn have been raked up and disposed of. Days have gotten shorter and darkness falls before dinner. We know that the brutal cold winds of winter are soon going to be whistling through the bare brown branches and we will have to hunker down for the long haul. While some people see this time as a festive time with the holidays starting, others can only look ahead to the long bleak days ahead as a colorless non ending existence.

Ugh! The gray days of winter. How are we going to get through them? That can be a typical thought of many people around this time of year. But for some, that thought can be felt more like depression. How can you tell if you have more than a mere case of the “winter blues” or “cabin fever?”


During the fall and winter months, some people suffer from symptoms of depression that can appear gradually or come on all at once. These symptoms often fade away as spring arrives and stays away throughout the summer months. For some people, this is an indication that they may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).


Depression symptoms can be mild to moderate, but they can become severe. There is no specific diagnostic test for the illness but it is understood that symptoms can include but are not limited to:

*lack of interest in normal activities
*social withdrawal
*craving foods high in carbohydrates
*weight gain
*trouble concentrating


An interesting fact is that women tend to suffer more than men. It typically starts showing up in early adulthood although it can occur in children and adolescents also. It is more commonly
seen in people who live in cloudy regions. Altogether, approximately one half million people in
the United States suffer from winter SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild
form of winter blues.


The specific cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder remains unknown but some suggest that
your biological clock (circadian rhythm) gets out of whack. The reduced level of sunlight we experience in the fall and winter may cause the winter onset of SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

A drop in Serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood could be a culprit that may trigger depression due to reduced sunlight. Also, Melatonin levels can be disrupted due to the season
which can play havoc with your sleep patterns and mood.


Sometimes physical problems can cause depression. But other times, symptoms of SAD can be a part of other mental disorders. I can evaluate your pattern of behavior and identify whether you have SAD or another type of mood disorder. If you do find that you do indeed have Seasonal Affective Disorder here are some common sense home remedies that might help.


Try to increase your exposure to light. Get as much natural light as you can
between 6:00 am. and 8:00 a.m. Go out for a walk, or at least sit by a window.
If you can’t get out in the morning light, at least get out on your lunch break.
Even if it’s cloudy, the natural light will do you some good.

If you can’t get outdoors, try a natural full-spectrum light. One of the most
effective treatments for SAD is daily exposure to a specially designed light
box. Make sure it provides enough intensity of light to positively affect SAD

It is thought that if your levels of Serotonin decrease it can make you crave
carbohydrates. Some have suggested that eating tryptophan rich foods may
increase the body’s production of Serotonin and help you feel better. Although
there is no solid research that supports this, you might want to try eating more
of these foods to see if your symptoms improve. What could it hurt? Some foods
rich in tryptophan include turkey, seafood, milk and egg whites, asparagus and
spinach. Fruits such as apricots, apples and bananas are also a good source.
Research also shows that taking Vitamin D can make a noticeable difference.

Alcohol is a depressant which can bring your mood down even lower and while
Caffeine may give you a little boost for the short term it can also cause anxiety,
muscle tension and stomach issues.

Try walking, jogging, biking, swimming, anything aerobic, but get moving. Even
better, try to exercise outdoors or at least by a sunny window.

Try to take a trip during the winter months to someplace warm and sunny.
For most people with SAD, it takes two or three days of bright sunshine to
start reversing their symptoms.

If your symptoms are mild, hopefully some of these natural home remedies listed above can bring you some relief. However, if the feelings of depression are or become overwhelming, do not hesitate to give me a call. There is help out there for you! You are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, yet, the good news is it is highly treatable.

Binge Eating Disorder


Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder that is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.


  • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes.
  • Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating.
  • Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.

Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder

The health risks of BED are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity.  Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Musculoskeletal problems

About Binge Eating Disorder

  • The prevalence of BED is estimated to be approximately 1-5% of the general population.
  • Binge eating disorder affects women slightly more often than men--estimates indicate that about 60% of people struggling with binge eating disorder are female, 40% are male
  • People who struggle with binge eating disorder can be of normal or heavier than average weight.
  • BED is often associated with symptoms of depression.
  • People struggling with binge eating disorder often express distress, shame, and guilt over their eating behaviors.
  • People with binge eating disorder report a lower quality of life than non-binge eating disorder.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Obesity is a Disease?

overweightThis past summer the American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments.

"Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans," Dr. Patric Harris, a member of the association's board, said in a statement. She suggested the new definition would help in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are linked to obesity.

One could argue for or against calling obesity a disease. The reality is, we are an obese and overweight society.  And the truth of the matter is childhood obesity is at an all time high:

  • Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
  • Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.

Ouch! Things have got to change - obviously.  Thinking about weight loss is so much more than just what diet you're going to try. A lifestyle change is re-evaluating your level of movement, your food intake, your self-talk, and your physical and emotional health.

Being overweight or obese is costly.

Weight Loss After 40 – Why It’s So Hard and What Works

Hello Readers - I ran across this article by Melanie Haiken and thought it was great. I know it's long, but it's a must-read......



A 10-step plan to win the battle of the bulge

By , Caring.com senior editor
Last updated: July 29, 2013

Every year, it seems, the needle on the scale is a little harder to budge. You cut back on portion size; you say, "No, thank you," to dessert; you sign up for a Zumba class -- and yet your jeans size goes up and your energy level goes down. What's going on?

Starting in our early 40s, our bodies go through a series of changes that profoundly affect digestion, metabolism, and other bodily functions. Thanks to hormonal and other changes, the very growth rate of our cells slows down. It's just something we have to learn to work around.

Sometimes, though, something's gotten off track, metabolically speaking, and there's an underlying medical issue that needs to be dealt with before the usual weight-loss measures will have any effect. Here's a 10-step plan for understanding the challenges that prevent weight loss over 40, and for learning how to overcome them.

1. Get to know your body's new biological rhythms -- and adjust to them.

In long-ago times, older didn't necessarily mean plumper. Think of those icons of the American prairie, the sinewy pitchfork-wielding farm couple pictured in American Gothic. But today, those of us over 40 face a twofold challenge: We're living longer, and we're no longer out there milking the cows at 5 a.m.

When it comes to burning calories, it's a fairly simple equation. What goes in must be burned off, or it sticks to our ribs. Acquiring weight is absurdly easy -- eating just 100 extra calories a day (100 more than what your body burns) will lead to a 9- to 10-pound weight gain over the course of a year, experts say. How much is 100 calories? Not a lot: A can of Coke contains 155 calories, a chocolate bar more than 200. Of course, that cola or chocolate chip cookie is no problem if we're walking or running it off. But after 40, our activity level tends to decline, too. So the challenge is to bring the two into balance.

Look back over the past year, and think about when your weight seemed to be holding steady and when it seemed to be trending slowly upward. What were you doing during the good weeks? What sabotaged you the other times? Make a list of what works for you, and what throws you off. Your own healthy habits in the past are the ones most likely to work for you now.

2. Eliminate underlying metabolic conditions.

Would it surprise you to know that thyroid problems strike as many as 1 out of 5 adults over age 40? And 8 out of 10 of those adults are women? The most common of these is hypothyroidism -- an underactive thyroid -- and it's one of the primary reasons many women over 40 can't lose weight. The thyroid is a tiny gland that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, and when it's underactive, so is everything else. Think of low thyroid as having your internal thermostat set too low. Symptoms include feeling cold all the time, poor circulation in the hands and feet, clammy hands, tiredness and lethargy, hair loss (including eyebrows and eyelashes), and weight gain -- despite real attempts to exercise and eat well.

If you suspect an underactive thyroid may be slowing your metabolism, the first step is to call the doctor and ask for a thyroid test. But beware: It's not always that simple. Many thyroid experts consider the first-line thyroid blood test, known as the TSH, an unreliable indicator, and they argue that doctors should diagnose according to symptoms rather than a lab number. And there is extensive disagreement among endocrinologists about what should be considered a "normal" range for the TSH, what range indicates subclinical hypothyroidism, and what number indicates full-blown hypothyroidism. Since 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has been recommending that a TSH test result of 2.5 or above should be considered a possible indicator of hypothyroidism. But many laboratories still use an older standard, according to which 5.5 is the cutoff above which TSH is considered abnormal. And new recommendations issued jointly by a task force of the AACE and the American Thyroid Association (ATA) didn't clarify things much; they basically say that a thyroid result of between 2.5 and 10 could indicate hypothyroidism on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the 2012 recommendations suggest that doctors use an additional test for elevated thyroid peroxidase antibody, or TPOAb, when diagnosing autoimmune hypothyroidism.

The takeaway: If your TSH result is above 2.5, make sure your doctor knows that the AACE considers you a candidate for thyroid medication, based on your symptoms. Then ask for a referral to an endocrinologist, with whom you can discuss the need for additional testing.

3. Adjust your eating habits for maximum energy.

Your goal at this stage in your life is to keep yourself feeling full without succumbing to the temptation to eat like you could at age 20. One strategy recommended by internist Julie Taw, MD, of Englewood, New Jersey, is to eat more frequently but to consume less at each sitting. An added benefit of eating this way is that it's easier to keep your blood sugar steady, so you don't have the peaks and valleys that contribute to fatigue.

Here's the rule: Try eating five to six small meals a day, and don't go more than three or four hours without eating. For example, you might eat a light but healthy breakfast before you leave for work, then have a nonfat yogurt in the late morning. Then instead of eating a big pasta lunch and spending the afternoon in a stupor, eat a light lunch and spend the rest of your lunch break taking a brisk walk. An afternoon snack of nuts and an apple keeps you from needing the 4 p.m. sweet treat and makes it easier to avoid overeating at dinner.

Your goal is the opposite of the starvation approach to dieting -- you want to trick your body into feeling satisfied and well-fed at all times, though the total amount you're eating is less.

4. Time your eating to take advantage of your body's natural rhythms.

Most experts agree on one thing: Snack (or eat dinner) after 8 p.m., and whatever you eat is more likely to go straight to your hips and stomach. Happily, the opposite is also true -- what you eat in the mornings, when your metabolism is revved up to its optimum operating speed, is much more likely to be expended efficiently.

Don't like to eat breakfast? Sorry, but there's no way around this one; eating a good breakfast is one of the key habits experts have identified that keeps thin people thin. When members of the National Weight Control Registry (people who have maintained a weight loss of 30 pounds for between one and six years) were surveyed, 78 percent reported eating breakfast every day and almost 90 percent reported eating breakfast at least five days a week. This was one of the only factors researchers identified that those in the registry had in common!

5. Trick your metabolism with fat-fighting foods.

I know you've heard it before, but it's true: It's really not just about how much you eat, but how much of which foods. There are plenty of healthy foods you can eat all you want of -- and no, that doesn't mean stuffing your fridge with celery sticks, 1970s-style. Instead, make a few simple tweaks to your diet, incorporating foods that actually fight fat instead of those that trigger it. Then eat other foods in moderation, and you should be OK.

6. Make muscles an ally in your weight-loss campaign.

There's one thing the exercise gurus have gotten right: The more muscle mass you have, the more effectively your metabolism burns calories. But sad to say, a natural tendency of aging is to lose muscle, gradually replacing it with fat. So in order to enlist the calorie-burning abilities of muscle, we do have to work at it.

The key here to long-term benefit is basic strength training. Buy some hand weights, a bar, and some stretch bands, and channel your high school gym teacher. And don't ignore your core; planks, curls, and Pilates moves help strengthen the deep core muscles that are key to posture. Make it as pleasant as possible; work out while you watch the evening news or your favorite sit-com. Other tools that help: kettlebells, an exercise ball, and ankle weights. Slowly and gradually build up those biceps, abs, deltoids, and glutes, and you'll have some key allies in your fight to prevent age-related weight gain.

7. Get more sleep to burn more calories.

As any perimenopausal woman or hardworking man over 35 can tell you, sleep gets ever more elusive as you age. It's not just that we're busier and more stressed. We also have multiple physical issues, from back pain to snoring to night sweats, any of which can interfere with getting a good night's sleep.

Yet, paradoxically, getting a good night's sleep is one of the keys to losing weight. In recent years, significant research has shown that lack of sleep is directly connected to weight gain because of the actions of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that control hunger and satiety, or feeling full. One key study concluded, "Sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism." Here's how it works: When you're sleep deprived, ghrelin levels increase at the same time that leptin levels decrease. The result is more craving, less feeling full. Add to that the fact that sleep-deprived people often crave "energy" foods, which tend to be sweet or salty, and you can see how small changes in your routine can add up to big weight gain.

And there's more. Recently, studies have shown that our bodies are most metabolically active while we sleep, and that sleeping less than six hours impairs glucose tolerance, a key precursor to diabetes. So the longer we sleep, the more efficiently our inner fat-burning and sugar-processing engines function.

Add these all together and you can see a pattern emerging: The older we are, the harder it is to get a good night's sleep -- and the less we sleep, the more likely it is we'll gain weight. What to do? Take steps to combat sleep problems and your waistline will benefit, too.

8. Strike up a healthy relationship with your sweet tooth.

If you're dying for a sweet treat, give it to yourself, savoring it slowly so it registers fully with your brain's pleasure sensors. A trick that many experts recommend: Cut the treat in half before you start eating, carefully wrapping the second half up to "save for later." You may or may not want it -- sometimes if you eat the first half slowly and consciously enough, you'll feel satisfied. But knowing it's there if you do plays a nice trick on your brain, which tends to crave things it perceives as being in short supply.

Also, don't try to substitute artificially flavored sweets. Researchers have recently discovered that artificial sweeteners fail to trigger the body's natural satisfaction response. So eating that 100-calorie artificially sweetened cookie only adds to your problems; you'll keep on wanting the real cookie, so the 100 calories you just ate were in vain.

9. Forget dieting. Instead, focus on your fuel-to-energy ratio.

If, like most 40-somethings, you're packing some extra pounds, you've probably made plenty of resolutions to go on a diet. You've also probably figured out by this point in your life that diets rarely work, and neither does suddenly embarking on a strenuous new exercise regimen. There's a good reason that sudden, drastic changes don't lead to long-term weight loss, and may even lead to a rebound. Have you noticed that your weight tends to stay fairly constant week to week, even if one day you go on a junk food binge and the next day you're fairly good? Nature designed us with optimum abilities to maintain a steady metabolic rate, because it helps us weather food shortages and sudden demands on our energies.

Unfortunately, this means that when you've gradually gained weight over time, your body has adapted to the new weight and now does its best to hold onto it. So here's what you do: You make slow, gradual adjustments to each end of the equation. And you -- and only you -- decide which end of the fuel-in, energy-out equation to emphasize and when.

10. Make slow, realistic changes in tune with your lifestyle.

Let's say you want to lose 10 pounds. To do so right now, you'd have to burn 35,000 calories -- an overwhelming number that would require you to eat nothing at all for about 2 weeks, or jog for 51 hours, or walk for 126 hours. Not only would it be impossible, but attempts like those would send your body into starvation-mode metabolic slowdown, sabotaging your efforts.

But you could also, much more effectively, set out to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week for the next 5 to 10 weeks. Studies show that if you take the slow-but-steady approach, you're much more likely to keep that 10 pounds off. Remind yourself that you are the only one in charge of tuning up your metabolic engine. Decide whether to focus on cutting down the number of calories you're consuming, or on upping the number you're burning. Most likely, you'll strike a balance between the two that suits you.

If six half-hour walks a week is relatively painless for you, that's a good choice; if you can only manage three, do that. If going outdoors in ten-degree weather is singularly unappealing and you wouldn't be caught dead in a gym but it's not too hard to give up dessert, then prioritize dietary changes instead.

Your primary goal should be making small, gradual lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your daily routine and stick with over time. That's the ultimate secret to combating over-40 weight gain.








2013 Change

Here we are again....deciding what new things we want to accomplish, and a lot of times the things we want to accomplish have to do with our diet.

One of the ideas I want to encourage you to do is to change how you look at the word "DIET" - start to think of it as not something you go on and off, but as a lifestyle change. And commit to figuring out how to change your current 'diet' to a healthier eating lifestyle, so there's no more thinking of ".....I blew it, I'll start over tomorrow...." STOP THAT THINKING.  It doesn't work - never has, never will.

Change is hard. And it's easy to get discourage when you try and don't get the results you were hoping for. But the reality is that just making the effort is, in fact, progress.

Change is not an event with an exact start and stop point: it's a process.

Each step you  make, even if it's a relatively small step such as making the resolution to change, is still a step in the right direction, bringing you closer to your ultimate goal.

It's also important to recognize that even if you take a few steps back, it's not the end of the world. If viewed and used correctly, the missteps can serve as learning opportunities, helping you become better prepared for the next log of the trip!

So here's to CHANGE and hoping you will have a new year full of new thinking for a healthier YOU.



Going Up? Take the Stairs

Take the stairs--and save time?

It's true, according to a recent study. Researchers timed four Canadian hospital workers as they took the stairs or an elevator to their designated floor. Using the stairs took just over 13 seconds per floor, on average, while the elevator took around 36 to 38 seconds (including the time spent waiting for it to arrive). Saving time is in addition to the obvious advantage of taking the stairs, which is that they help you get more exercise.  (Consumer Reports on Health, April 2012)

If you've ever pushed the button for the elevator and waited, and waited (and pushed the button again), how many times have you muttered "it would be faster to take the stairs?"  Well, next time, take the stairs!!

Less Effort, Better Results

Don’t feel guilty about working out at your own pace. New research from Pennsylvania State University shows that women who exercise at a moderate intensity are more likely to benefit in the long run, compared with subjects who struggle through vigorous sweat sessions. In fact, they were about twice as likely to feel energized and confident about exercising regularly. The upshot: the most effective workout is the one you’ll do for the long haul.

March 2012 Prevention