Diet and Exercise for Weight Loss

So many people these days struggle with their weight.  In fact, "More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese. More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity."  (win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/)

Weight loss is a very complex subject with many variables and contributing factors ranging from thyroid problems, to stress, to elevated estrogen levels, to toxins building up in the system, etc, etc.  It's definitely not as simple as "calories in equals calories out"  and it's quite often not a matter of willpower either.

If I had to make a broad-sweeping dietary recommendation that would benefit everyone, I would say: "Reduce your carbohydrate (i.e. sugar) intake to 60 grams a day, not including veggies."  It's obviously more complicated than that, but considering the average American eats 150 pounds of sugar a year (and that's only the average), cutting down on the sugar would be hugely beneficial. Secondly I would say:

1. Eat tons organic green leafy vegetables--you literally cannot eat too many.

2. Eat lots of colorful organic veggies.

3. Eat twice as many veggies as fruit.

4. Eat a variety of fish, organic grass-fed meat, organic free-range chicken, and organ meats (watch the portion sizes on the protein, for most people 4oz is enough).

5. If you're not sensitive to them, eat eggs--they are incredibly nutritious.

6. Eat healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and don't be afraid of saturated fat (it's not saturated fat that causes heart disease, it's inflammation...mainly from elevated blood sugar).  Avoid canola and corn oil at all cost--they cause inflammation and therefore heart disease and are highly processed and usually genetically modified.

7. Limit the dairy (many people have dairy sensitivities, but if you don't then indulge in small amounts and choose the full fat versions).

8. Eat very, very little whole grains (if any at all), and definitely ditch the sugar and processed foods!

9. And don't forget to drink half your body weight in ounces of filtered water a day--minimum! (The best water is reverse osmosis water that you can add a pinch of Himalayan salt to in order to restore the minerals.)

And what's the skinny on exercise?

First of all, thinking you're going to lose weight by continuing to eat junk and just exercising is not going to get you anywhere.  It takes running a mile to burn 100 calories (about one slice of bread).  So you do the math.  Also, exercising makes most people hungrier (women more so than men).  So you may end up exercising but inadvertently eating more, negating the calorie-burning effects of the exercise.  So keep in mind that you must both clean up your diet AND exercise.

Also, if weight loss is your goal, then you want to do everything in your power to prevent your body from burning calories efficiently. Normally we think of efficiency as good, but in this case, efficiency is bad.  When you do the same exercise over and over again, your body becomes very efficient at doing it and it doesn't burn as many calories.  Going for a nice, relaxing walk every day will be fantastic for your mood and probably help your joints (movement is a good thing!) but it probably won't make you lose weight.

If you do low intensity aerobic workouts every day, you are staying in the "fat burning zone." You might think that's good and exactly what you want, right? Well...actually it's not! You do burn fat during that workout, but you are teaching your body (which doesn't like to lose fat because it starts to think it's starving) that it needs to store the food you eat as fat so that there will be plenty of fat-fuel for you to use the next time you do that same low intensity aerobic workout.

If, instead, you do high intensity interval training--where you go at maximum capacity (meaning you are breathing very heavily and are truly giving it every ounce of energy you have) for 30 seconds, and then rest for 2 minutes and repeat--then you never have a chance to get into aerobic metabolism to get your energy. You are going anaerobic, which means you will be using the glycogen stored in your muscles (not fat) as energy for your quick burst of activity. And here's the important bit--you are teaching your body that you will need more glycogen for the next workout (not fat), so it better replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles rather than convert your food into fat.  In other words, this will make you less likely to store the food you eat as fat (which is what you don't want). That's why high intensity interval training is better for weight loss than low intensity aerobics workouts. The other benefit is that you're done in 15 minutes max, vs spending hours on the treadmill.

However--high intensity interval training is not appropriate for everyone. If your adrenal glands are stressed, for instance, you have no business doing this because you will crash and burn. Also, high intensity interval training is stressful on the body (it temporarily causes a spike in inflammation), so you should not do it every day. I recommend once a week to start out with--two, if you are in decent shape.  The rest of the week you should do 2-3 days of weight training, and maybe take a couple of yoga classes or go dancing or do something fun that you enjoy.

It's super important to get a lot of variety in your exercise routine so that you don't get "efficient" at what you are doing (and stop burning as many calories) and so that you avoid overuse injuries. Plus, if you do the same thing every day you're likely to get bored and quit!

Please don't misunderstand me--taking a walk every day is a fantastic idea! Especially if it relaxes you and makes you feel good. As I said, movement is very good for you. The more you move the less pain you will feel (assuming you don't have rheumatoid arthritis or an injury) because of something called the gate theory.  Only so much information can get to your brain at once from your joints, and pain nerve fibers send information slower than the nerves sending information about movement.  So when you move, those signals flood the gate and your brain doesn't register the pain info. In other words, if you move more, you hurt less.  Also, exercise will cause you to release endorphins (morphine-like compounds produced by your own body) that make you feel good. And aerobic exercise is good for your cardiovascular health as well!

BUT, if you also want to lose weight, then mix it up! You will get more weight-loss benefit from the high intensity interval training one or twice a week, than taking those long, slow walks.

And one last tip--studies have shown that people lose the most weight when they have a support group or when they are taking part in a competition where there is a prize to win or a goal to achieve.  Figure out what motivates you the most.  Is it being able to play with your kids? Is it going on a hiking or biking vacation where you will need to be in shape to keep up?  Is it winning the pool of money at work when there is a company-wide weight-loss challenge?  Is it getting off your diabetes or blood pressure medication?  Dig deep.  Figure out what motivates you more than just the weight loss itself, and keep focusing on the larger goal and what you will be able to enjoy when you reach it.  And also be kind to yourself.  Nobody is perfect.  There are days when you will slip up and make poor food choices or feel too tired to go work out.  But the important thing is not to get discouraged and quit.  Keep going!  The rewards are worth it.

Chiropractic or Massage--which do I need?

"Chiropractic or Massage--which do I need?!"

My patients often ask me, "How did my vertebrae get out of place?"  That's a great question, and the answer is--it could be lots of things: from poor posture and sleeping habits, to traumas, or even emotional stress.  Muscles attach to bones, and nerves exit the spine through gaps in the bones and communicate with the muscles.  A bone out of place can irritate a nerve and cause a muscle spasm, but a muscle spasm can also pull a bone out of place and therefore irritate a nerve.  Which came first?  It's a bit of a chicken and egg kind of debate.

So why not address both?  

Chiropractic is the art and science of adjusting the spine and joints to restore motion, allowing the nervous system to function at it's maximal capacity so that your brain can effectively communicate with all your organs, muscles and cells.  The nervous system is the master system of the body.  It controls everything from breathing and swallowing, to digestion, hand-eye coordination, your ability to walk, hear, smell, touch, and even your mood.  And the scary thing is that you can have up to a 60% loss of function before you ever experience any symptoms of pain.  So pain is not an accurate indicator to know if you nervous system is struggling or not.  And the longer your nervous system is running on a deficit, the higher the chances are that you will injure yourself and the longer it will take to heal.  

Chiropractic adjustments are the best way to align the spine, taking pressure off of nerves so muscles can relax.  But quite often, there is also lactic acid build up from the muscle spasm, and this chemical waste-product continues to irritate the nerves, causing the muscle spasm to persist (which can pull the bone right back out of alignment!).  Massage therapy is the best modality to flush out lactic acid, eliminate painful trigger points, and allow the muscles to relax--especially after a chiropractic adjustment.  In fact, patients who receive regular massages hold their chiropractic adjustments much longer and heal quicker.  And massage therapy also significantly reduces stress and increases a sense of well-being.

So again, do you need chiropractic or massage?  From what I have seen in my practice, everyone needs chiropractic care, everyone benefits from massage, and patients who receive both receive the most benefit.  

In an effort to make regular massages more affordable for our patients, we created two Massage Membership plans and a massage package.  

Our Basic Massage Membership includes one 60 min massage per month for $60. (Regularly $80/hour).  Additional massages can per purchased each month for that same low rate.  Membership massages are non-transferrable. 

Our Wellness Massage Membership includes two 60 min massages per month for $110 ($55/hour each, regularly $80/hour).  Additional massages can per purchased each month for that same low rate.  This membership is ideal for couples who would like to share one membership and take advantage of the additional savings.  Membership massages are non-transferrable. 

A minimum 3-month commitment is required with massage memberships.  You can cancel any time after that.  Membership massages must be redeemed each month and cannot be accrued and redeemed at a later date.  

We also offer a Massage Package which includes 3 hours of massage for $180, a savings of $60.  These massages can be redeemed at any time, do not expire and are fully transferrable. 

To sign up for a Massage Membership, purchase a Massage Package, or to schedule an appointment call  512.762.2156 or email  Dr.Rita@RestorativeTouchChiropractic.com

The mind-body connection

I was reading a post online today that said, "The cells in your body react to everything your mind says.  Negativity brings down your immune system." (rawforbeauty.com)

The quote made me think of a patient of mine who had been the victim of an assault.  She had responded very well to chiropractic care, but I knew that the emotional trauma was going to prevent her from healing completely until it was addressed.  So she came in for a session of Neuro Emotional Technique (NET).

When she came in, her posture was slumped and her eyes were shifty (darting from side to side), she looked pallid and seemed anxious.  She reported feeling a great deal of anger which was affecting her relationships and her ability to focus and sleep.  We walked through the assault step by step, treating as we went (almost frame by frame).  When we first started the treatment, she was literally shaking from what she said was anger and a feeling of lack of control over events, and her jaw was clenched.  As we continued, we discovered that some things that she thought were not important and that she had tried to dismiss on an intellectual level, were actually affecting her on an emotional (and consequently physical) level, and we cleared them as well.  After only 20 minutes, her whole demeanor had changed.  She had color in her face again and was able to comfortably maintain eye contact.  Her jaw was relaxed and her shoulders were no longer slumped--she sat erect, and at the same time was visibly more relaxed.  She said, "This sounds crazy and you probably won't believe me, but I feel so much better. How can that be after just one session? I no longer feel angry."

I did believe her, not only because I see these kind of results all the time, but also because I experienced the changes myself first hand when I went through NET therapy to address my own past emotional trauma which had almost caused me to drop out of chiropractic school even though I had a 4.0 at the time.

Emotions are very powerful things and they affect us on a physical level--they're not just something that happens in our heads!  They affect not only concentration and mood, but our posture, digestion, sleep, immune system, etc..  Some people still try to make an arbitrary distinction between the mind and body as if they are separate entities, and attempt to downplay or even dismiss a mind-body connection.  But in reality, the mind is part of the body, and emotions are stored not just in the limbic system in our brains, but throughout the body as neuropeptides called information substances (see link below: Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert, PhD).  In fact, the field of psychoneuroimmunology addresses the influence of emotional states on both the nervous and immune systems.

NET is a powerful tool that addressed the mind-body connection and allows us to release these information substances from where they are stuck.  This, in turn, allows the body to let go of the emotional stress it sometimes holds on to unnecessarily despite our rational mind's attempts of trying to talk us out of being upset.  Sometimes our rational Neocortex may be telling us one thing, but our subconscious mammalian brain is on a different page.  This can cause us to get stuck in certain behavior patterns and prevent us from "moving on" no matter how much we journal, meditate, and otherwise try to "just let go."  So if you're feeling stuck, find yourself self-sabotaging, or feel unable to let go of a particular hurt or frustration, I highly suggest you give NET a try.

To schedule an appointment, you can reach me at 512-762-2156 or email me at Dr.Rita@RestorativeTouchChiropractic.com

For more information on NET:

Is stress making you sick? NET can help!

http://www.netmindbody.com/for-patients/an-explanation-of-net

For more on Psychoneuroimmunology:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17503136

Candace Pert's book, Molecules of Emotion is available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Molecules-Of-Emotion-Mind-BodyMedicine/dp/0684846349

The Dirty Dozen

“The Dirty Dozen Plus 2” and “The Clean 15”—When is it crucial to buy organic?

I remember as a kid not being allowed to leave the dinner table if I didn’t eat all the vegetables on my plate.  At the time, I thought that was definitely abusive behavior on the part of my mom that borderline merited calling child protective services.  Now, of course, I know better. Thanks Mom, I know you tortured me with broccoli out of love.

Eating a diet filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables has numerous health benefits.  Fruits and veggies are bursting with vitamins and minerals.  They also provide antioxidants to fight cancer and inflammation, as well as fiber to help us maintain a healthy gut.

And not only that, but most vegetables and fruits are also low in calories so they pack a nutritious punch without adding to your waistline.  Just be careful to eat starchy vegetables such as potatoes in smaller portions, and to choose low glycemic fruits such as berries more often than bananas and other higher glycemic fruits.  (Note: High glycemic foods tend to raise blood sugar more and are associated with weight gain.)

Both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables retain their precious cargo of vitamins and minerals.  Avoid canned fruits and vegetables, where the beneficial nutrients have been destroyed and often a lot of salt and sugar has been added.

And most of all, beware of  “The Dirty Dozen plus two!”

What’s “The Dirty Dozen plus two?” It’s a list of fruits and vegetables compiled by the Environmental Working Group (an organization of scientists, researchers and policymakers) using data from the United Sates Department of Agriculture on the amount of pesticide residue found on non-organic fruits and vegetables after they were washed. (That’s important because, unfortunately, washing the produce doesn’t remove the pesticides like many people think or hope.)

The group put together two lists: one called “The Dirty Dozen” and one “The Clean 15,” as a guide for consumers to help them know when they should definitely, without a question buy organic, and when it’s ok to buy conventional.

The fruits and veggies on “The Dirty Dozen” roster (when not grown organically), tested positive for at least 47 chemicals! Some tested positive for up to 67!  So when you’re thinking of indulging in produce from the “not so clean list,” you should definitely go organic…unless you’d like to shock your system with a nice little chemical cocktail.  Cheers!

In 2012, The Environmental Working Group added two extra foods to “The Dirty Dozen” list, now making it “The Dirty Dozen plus two.” The list as of today (July 2015) consists of: 

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines 
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Hot peppers (plus)
  • Kale/collard greens (plus)

Green beans used to be on “The Dirty Dozen list” because they were often contaminated by two highly toxic organophosphates.  But those pesticides are now being withdrawn from agriculture, so green beans were removed from the list.  Domestically grown leafy greens were added to the list in 2013 because they were found to be contaminated with pesticides that are exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.  

So what about “The Clean 15?”  If you’ve got the spare change, I’d say organic is always your best bet.  But, if like most people, you’re working on a budget, then “The Clean 15” are safe to buy conventional (non-organic). “The Clean 15” includes:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet corn 
  • Sweet peas – frozen
  • Sweet potatoes

A brief explanation on terminology might be in order.  Foods are often labeled “Natural.”  It sounds good.  “Natural…” Natural is good, right?

The word “Natural” on a label actually has no nutritional or legal definition—it’s just an advertising ploy to trick people into thinking that what they’re buying isn’t so bad for them after all.  And “Natural” most definitely does not mean “Organic.” The two words are not interchangeable.  If it doesn’t say Organic, then it’s not.

So for the record, I highly encourage loving and caring parents to continue torturing their children with vegetables on their dinner plates, as long as “The Dirty Dozen” produce is organic.  And perhaps we should change the famous saying to: “An organic apple a day, keeps the Doctor away!”

Click here for the pdf version of EWGs dirty dozen and clean 15 list. 

Is stress making you sick? N.E.T. can help!

Is stress, anger, or unresolved grief making you sick?

Sadly, 75-90% of all Dr.'s visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Did you know, for instance, that more heart attacks happen on a Monday morning than any other day? (1) Coincidence?

Most of us living in today's fast-paced world would agree that we suffer, at least occasionally, from stress.  Whether it be from:

  • fighting rush hour traffic
  • a stressful job/co-worker/boss
  • an unexpected lay off
  • the birth of a new baby
  • a difficult divorce
  • the loss of a loved one or pet

What many of us don't realize is that stress affects more than our just our mood--it has a very real physical component that affects our whole body. While in a state of stress, our bodies release a multitude of hormones and neuro-chemicals into our blood stream that travel all over our bodies.  As a result, our blood pressure increases, our heart beats faster, our digestion is impaired, we can't focus, our creativity is decreased, our memory fails us, and often we don't sleep well.  We're in a state called fight or flight (the opposite of rest and digest).

Fight or flight is very useful when you're a caveman and a wild animal is about to attack you.  It's a survival mechanism that gets you out of sticky situations.  But after the danger is over, a healthy nervous system switches back to rest and digest mode and everything should go back to normal.  The problem in today's modern society is that we are constantly bombarded with stressful situations that trigger the fight or flight response.  We might not have to face being eaten by a wild animal, but our mortgage bill might feel just as scary!

What complicates matters is that sometimes we have exaggerated responses to present-day situations because on some level they remind us (consciously or unconsciously) of a similar situation we experienced in the past.  It's like when someone pushes your buttons.  Those "buttons" really have a scientific explanation and are called neuro-emotional complexes (NEC's).

Neuro-emotional complexes form when you are going through a stressful situation and your nervous system thinks it might be a survival advantage to remember how you dealt with it.  Although you may have dealt with the situation poorly, you survived! And that's all the nervous system cares about.  So every time you experience a similar stressful situation in the present, the part of your brain called the limbic system remembers, and you experience all the same emotions you felt that first time on top of what you are feeling now.  So the stress is even more intense!  And most of the time, you find yourself acting in the same way you did that first time, even if you know better or wish you could do it differently.  You feel stuck in a pattern you can't seem to break no matter how much you meditate on it, or journal, or "know better" on a conscious level.

Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) is designed to remove those blocks and release pent-up emotional stress.   NET is not a talk it out therapy. It is not a form of psychology, psychotherapy, or counseling of any type. NET uses muscle testing to discover underlying, often deeply buried physical stress that has an emotional cause and then releases that physical stress, allowing the mind and body to heal.

AmieTayTay

So what is NET good for? NET can help with a myriad of physical and behavioral stress-related conditions.  These conditions include:

  • headaches
  • joint and body pain
  • digestive problems
  • difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • various organ dysfunctions
  • phobias
  • addictions
  • general anxiety
  • self-sabotaging behaviors, and so much more.

NET can help you regain a sense of peace and tranquility.  It can help quiet your mind of worries so you can concentrate on what you need to get done during the day and so you can fall asleep at night. And it can resolve mysterious body aches that you haven't been able to get rid of no matter what you did, because they actually had an emotional component.  In harmony with the philosophy of Chiropractic, NET removes physical stressors that are acting as barriers to the natural, self-healing ability of the body so that your body can heal itself. 

If you or a loved one are suffering from the emotional and physical strain of stress,  Dr. Rita would love to hear your story and see if NET could help.

(1) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/14/health/14real.html?_r=0

http://www.netmindbody.com/for-patients/an-explanation-of-net

the-seven-components-of-NET

net-patient-brochure

2008_dr-walker_american-chiropractor