Vitamin D & Weight Loss? Hmmm

Happy September Everyone!  Insert "heavy sigh" right here - that's my usual attitude about September. Sorry, it just is. Shorter days. Colder weather. Less sun. Oh boy.

Ran into this article - another great reminder about maintaining (or getting started) with a vitamin regiment.

"Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that Vitamin D levels in the body at the start of a low-calorie diet predict weight loss success, suggesting a possible role for vitamin D in weight loss."

Got your attention?  Read on....




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.



Tips for Successful Slumber

A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with a thyroid issue, and up until that point I had many health problems that were plaguing me and they really took a toll on me.  In the midst of trying to get my health more balanced, one piece of advice I took from my doctor was the value of getting a good nights rest.

I don't think, up until that point, I ever really thought of 'quality sleep' one way or another, nor how valuable sleep/rest is for your body (and brain).  I now know that when I get the right amount of sleep, it is amazing how different I feel, and I encourage you NOT to wait until a health problem rears its ugly head before you take action.

In the meantime, here are some helpful tips from Consumer Reports on Health (April 2012 edition):

Even if the cause of your sleeplessness is properly treated, poor sleep habits might need to be managed separately. These techniques can help.

*Set a bedtime and wake-up time. A schedule teaches your body to expect sleep at a certain time each night.

*Curb napping. A 30-minute snooze before 3 p.m. can help make up for lost sleep, but later naps could hinder sleep at night.

*Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Refrain from smoking 2 hours before bedtime. Eliminate caffeine at least 6 hours before then, and avoid alcohol 4 to 6 hours before going to bed.

*Avoid large, late meals. They can cause sleep-disturbing indigestion, But a bedtime snack consisting of a carbohydrate and a protein - such as peanut butter on toast or cheese and crackers - can help induce drowsiness.

*Establish a soothing bedtime routine. A warm bath, reading, or listening to mellow music will help you wind down.

*Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Try a sleeping mask or heavy curtains to shut out light. Use earplugs, a fan, or a sound machine to block noise. Consider replacing an old mattress.

*Turn off the technology. In a 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of the participants said they watched television or used a computer or other electronics in the hour before going to bed. But light-emitting screens discourage sleep.

*Use your bed only for sex and sleep, which will train you to associate it with just those two things. If you don't doze off within 20 minutes of trying to sleep, leave the room and do something relaxing in dim light until you're sleepy.

*Exercise early in the day. Regular aerobic exercise promotes sleep, but evening workouts can impede it by raising body heat.

*Use natural light. It keeps your internal clock on a healthy schedule. Open shades to wake with the sun, and spend at least 30 minutes outside daily.


Sleep Your Way to Better Health

Can SLEEP really help you be healthier?  I would have never believed this myself had I not changed my own personal sleeping patterns last year, but getting an adequate amount of sleep can be really beneficial.

Doctors, research, and even your Mother will tell you the value of getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night.  When you don't get enough sleep, you know it. You function very differently during the day and your ability to perform can be compromised.

Sleep management is about time management according to the beloved Dr. Oz, so he encourages you to plan for sleep.

Count back 8 to 8 1/2 hours before the alarm clock needs to ring, and spend 10 minutes on absolute musts for the next day (making your kid's lunch), take 10 minutes for meditation (prayer) and 10 for hygiene....then go to bed.

Some other ways to help:

*Create the perfect sleeping environment. A cool, dark room is best.

*There should be no laptop, no TV, no food in bed. Ideally, the bed is used for sleep and sex, it's not an office or a restaurant.

*Be consistent. your body clock loves it when you follow a predictable schedule. Even on the weekends, try to rise within an hour (at most, two) of when you have to get up on weekdays, even if that means you need a power nap later. Otherwise, your body thinks you have jet lag on Monday morning and will protest big time.

*Other interrupters of quality sleep are caffeine, which keeps you from falling asleep as well as staying asleep, and alcohol, interrupting your sleep cycle and contributing to the 'hangover' that many experience.




Did You Know….

Over the past 40 years, American women have increased their daily calorie intake by an average of 199 calories, while men have added 179.

During that same time period, the obesity rate has more than doubled.

Vitamin D and Weight Loss?

When you feel good physically, your life feels more balanced overall. Which got me thinking about how well I've been feeling lately, and the hard lessons I learned this past Winter about my thyroid, and how low levels of Vitamin D will make you move like a slug. Who knew! I've taken advantage of the sun throughout the Spring and Summer (not so much during this hot HUMID weather, but I tried), and the supplements are helping.

I'm still trying to educate myself and keep updated with everything I need to know about our good ol' thyroid, and working closely with my doctor to help me to become more balanced. I know I mentioned this before but I think I have one of the best doctors, who took my symptoms seriously and did some more digging with her questions and blood work to get to the bottom of my issues.

Anyway, please view this short video if you're struggling too - it's full of good information....

Dangers of Diet Pop

Wow - you've got to see this. Take 4:12 minutes of your day today and check this out. I understand the psychology behind the concept of losing weight (and keeping it off), and how food can be a psychological addiction. But sometimes we're fighting other "battles" that we're not aware of - like what's IN our foods and drinks and how that affects our brain chemistry. This has good research information about diet drinks and how they can make us GAIN WEIGHT - what the heck is that about!! So much to think about.....but this is very eye-opening for me, hope it is for you too!

LOST: High Energy Metabolism – If Found, Please Call

A friend asked the pertinent question the other day - where has my metabolism gone? I thought that was a fair question, especially when you hit a certain age!

As I shared with you recently, I just found out my thyroid is not fully functioning and I’ve been struggling with a slow (very slow metabolism). But we all know that as we get older our metabolism slows down too, and there are ways of stoking the fire again so our ‘internal fire’ burns more efficiently. But it can get extremely frustrating when you feel that you’re doing all the right things - such as changing your diet and exercise - and yet you’re always sputtering and fluttering along. Nothing seems to change.

The flip side of that is you know you’re not doing everything you should - such as changing your diet and exercise - and you’re just struggling to get through some days because of stress and life circumstances. And then there’s always ‘health issues’ that can cause your metabolism to slow (or stop).

Weirdly enough our metabolism can get stuck whether we’re really trying (and nothing is happening with the scale), or life is so stressful and you’re not doing anything about your weight situation.  So I thought it might be helpful to look at what metabolism is and what it does (health

Metabolism is simply how many calories you burn in a day. Your Resting Metabolism makes up the majority of your total metabolism.

Total metabolism for the day is made up of:
Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): the number of calories it takes to keep your body going without any movement (brain function, heart, lungs, muscle, etc)
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): the number of calories that your body actually burns digesting food
Physical Activity (PA): the number of calories you burn moving around all day during your normal activities
Thermic Effect of Exercise (TEE): the number of calories you burn doing planned exercise

Most people's total metabolism each day is about 1800-2200 for women and 2200-2600 for men. The more you move, the higher your metabolism.

Factors that influence metabolism:
Gender: Men tend to have a faster metabolism (burn more calories) than women. Ladies, do you think this isn't fair? What do men have more of than women?
Muscle Mass: The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn all day long. Muscle is metabolically active 24 hours per day. If you have more muscle, you will burn more calories while you sit at your computer reading these blogs, drive in your car, and most importantly, you will burn more calories while you sleep. How awesome is that?
Age: The number one reason people's metabolism slows as they age........they lose muscle.
Heredity: Some people are just genetically gifted with a faster metabolism than others. They can eat a lot more calories than most people and not gain weight. If you are one of these people, thank your parents for good genes!

Vitamin D – And Feeling Good!

Did you know that Vitamin D is actually a critical hormone, not just a vitamin, and it helps support the autonomic and hypothalamic function? Vitamin D is necessary for health immune system functioning, and is self-manufactured by the skin after exposure to UVB light.

I didn’t realize, until I was diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency myself that it can be linked to muscle weakness and pain, sleep disturbances and feeling extremely fatigued. To bring my levels back into balance I was taking 50,000 IU a week (for 8 weeks), and I am now taking the recommendation  amount of 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily.

When your Vitamin D levels are ‘normal’ your stamina is better, your energy to exercise is reignited, and the overwhelming fatigue subsides. It is amazing when you come out of a mental fog and physical limitations (due to deficiency’s) how fast the body responds.

While it’s true that you can get Vitamin D naturally in foods such as salmon, tuna, milk and other sources, diet accounts for very little of the Vitamin D circulating in blood and quite frankly we just don‘t get enough of the vitamin in the foods we consume, that‘s why taking a supplement is always helpful too.

Surprising you can get the important vitamin from the wonderful sunshine too and I find there’s nothing better than spending 10 minutes in the warmth of the sun knowing I’m getting something good from it. Experts say you do not need more minutes (per day) than that on your bare skin, but if you are going to be in the sunshine for hours make sure you wear sunscreen then.

In yesterday’s post I listed the symptoms that you may be experiencing if you have a non-working or low functioning thyroid, and many of those symptoms you can also experience with low levels of Vitamin D. If I could shout it from the mountain tops, and you’re not feeling quite right, please have your doctor check you for vitamin deficiency’s.

The health benefits of Vitamin D are amazing - along with diet and exercise, Vitamin D has emerged as one of the most important preventive factors in human health.

19 Symptoms of a Non-Functining Thyroid!

Several months ago (on Valentines Day actually) I received the results.  I’ve got to tell you I thought the symptoms I’ve been experiencing were just the signs of getting older, or the dreaded prognosis that peri menopause brings.  So I was somewhat surprised when I was told I had very low levels of Vitamin D (which effects energy levels - I’ll talk about that later), and, I now join the ranks of millions of people who have hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition of not having enough of the thyroid hormone, and this lack of hormone can be due to a thyroid that isn’t producing enough hormone and when that happens it can wreck havoc within your body.

Embarrassingly I didn’t realize the importance or function of my thyroid - since February I’ve become much more of an “expert” about the small butterfly-shaped gland that sits in the lower part of your neck.

The thyroid’s most important purpose is to produce, store, and release two key thyroid hormones: triiodothyronine, abbreviated as T3, and thyroxin, abbreviated as T4.

When the thyroid is working properly, it produces and secretes the right amount of T4 and T3 your body needs to function, but when your thyroid is not working properly it does not produce or secrete the right amount of T4 and T3 and you may have many different symptoms such as:

*Menstrual irregularities
*Infertility/recurrent miscarriage
*Temperature changes - feeling cold/hot
*Sleep problems
*Weight changes
*Mood changes
*Loss of sex drive
*Hair loss
*Skin changes
*Bone loss
*Elevated cholesterol levels
*Fatigue, lack of energy
*Aches and pains
*Gastrointestinal/digestive disturbances
*Concentration and memory problems
*Eye problems
*Dizziness and vertigo
*Neck and throat complaints
And many more!

Is it no wonder when you see some of these symptoms that you would think you’re losing your mind OR it’s just something you go through during perimenopause!!  I experienced over half of these for a long time - too long - and I did think I was losing my mind!  I just didn’t understand what was happening to me as the symptoms (with so many at once) were just the oddest, most frustrating thing to deal with.

Let me first just say how very thankful I am for a doctor who took my symptoms seriously and did a lot of digging. By that I mean she asked an exhausting amount of questions, and  I was so desperate for answers I would have given her the whole day if that’s what was needed.  She asked for specific things to be tested with my blood work, and most importantly didn’t make me feel like this was “all in my head.”

Secondly I was put on a prescription thyroid hormone replacement drug right away - as that helps replace the missing thyroid hormone that my body is apparently not producing by itself.  This treatment took a long long time for me to start to notice any kind of results - I guess I was expecting miracles. But I’m feeling better by leaps and bounds, although I know I have a way to go.

I’m not sure why but I was frustrated to know that I’ll probably be on this hormone replacement drug for the rest of my life. I thought I would take this medication “for a while” - you know, until my body caught up with itself - and then I would be ALL BETTER. But that’s not the way it works. Oh well….

So the moral of the story is to listen to your body, and if you sense something is not quite right act on it and be insistent with your doctor (although I didn’t need to be with mine).

I’ve started on a new journey myself since learning more about hypothyroidism - I’m looking at my habits, my diet, the amount of exercise I do, my physical and mental health, and other holistic approaches that I can do.

If you think it’s hard to lose weight, try having hypothyroidism. If you think you can’t find the energy or stamina to exercise, try having hypothyroidism. If you think I’m going to use this diagnosis as an excuse, not on your life!