Beyond Diet and Exercise (or Other Reasons Your Weight May be Sticking Around!)

by Dr. Michael Roth

 

Guess what? There is more to losing weight than a healthy diet and regular exercise!

 

Many of the patients I see in my holistic chiropractic practice are making good food choices, moving their bodies, reducing their stress and are willing to do the work digging into the emotional reasons behind their eating habits. Yet, some are still not losing weight as fast as they would like.

 

If you’ve been stuck on a weight-loss plateau, read on. This month I want to tell you about six other causes that can slow down weight loss.

Flickr photo credit tipstimes.comdiet

1. Lack of Sleep

Not enough sleep can have a negative impact on your weight loss by altering levels of hormones that regulate hunger. In one study at the University of Chicago, people who slept only four hours a night had an 18% reduction in the hormone leptin that signals your brain it has had enough food and a 28% increase in ghrelin, the hormone that tells your brain you are hungry! Plus, after such little sleep, the participants craved sugar, salty and starchy food and had a 24% increase in their appetite for candy, chips and pasta.

2. Sitting too Much

If you spend too much time sitting during your day, you could be packing on the pounds. It isn’t simply the lack of exercise. Even those who exercise regularly may experience this phenomenon. Sitting stops the circulation of lipase, an enzyme that absorbs fats. When you sit, instead of being absorbed by your muscles, the fat recirculates in your blood stream where it may end up being stored as body fat!

 

Sitting not only has a negative effect on fat and cholesterol metabolism, but also stimulates disease-promoting processes. Standing and moving slightly will re-engage the enzymes. So remember to stand rather than sit as often as you can!

3. Depression

Depression and being overweight often go hand-in-hand. People who are depressed are more likely to become overweight and those who are overweight are more likely to become depressed. Depression increases the risk of obesity by 58% according to a recent study by Dutch researchers. It is common for people with depression to overeat, especially “comfort” foods that may be high in fat and sugar.

flickr photo credit Phoney Nickle

flickr photo credit Phoney Nickle

 

4. Medications

Certain prescription drugs may have the side effect of weight gain. They include corticosteroids, antidepressants, epilepsy drugs, and drugs used to treat schizophrenia. Also birth control pills, diabetes drugs, and blood pressure drugs may cause weight gain.

5. Portion Sizes

You may be watching the types of food you eat and making better choices, yet if your portion sizes are too large, you won’t be losing the pounds. Portion sizes in the United States have been growing larger over the past decades. For example, in 1970 a bagel weighed three ounces and contained 230 calories. Today, the average bagel is about six ounces and 550 calories! I recently attended a seminar locally in which some of the participants were from Canada and they were all commenting on the size of the portions they received in the restaurant here!

6. Obesity as a Symptom

If you feel you are doing everything you can to lose weight and are still not getting anywhere, it could be a red flag that there is another underlying health problem. The following conditions could be the cause: thyroid disorders, diabetes, lupus, cancer, congestive heart failure, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and metabolic syndrome. See your health care professional to determine if one of these conditions may be involved.

 

It is my desire to support each of my patients to their greater health and wellness. I will work with you to determine your weight loss goals and how to effectively achieve those goals. Weight loss and better health are achievable and I am willing to go the distance with you. Please call Amber in our Ventura office today and make an appointment for an office visit to get you on the wellness wagon!

Your Thyroid Gland — The Butterfly in Your Throat

By Dr. Michael Roth

 

The thyroid gland is part of the body’s endocrine system. This means it is a gland that produces secretions called hormones, which are delivered to the body through the blood. The thyroid gland is located in the neck, just under what we call the Adam’s apple. It is in the shape of a butterfly, with 2 ‘wings’ or ‘lobes’.

 

 

Controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, the thyroid combines iodine from the food we consume with the amino acid tyrosine and produces two main hormones. Over the years, in my holistic practice at my chiropractic office in Ventura, I have seen the health of many of my patients compromised by an out-of-balance thyroid.

 

The hormones produced by the thyroid do two important things:

1) They help the necessary enzymes and electrolytes pass into each cell of the body.

2) They help the processes of energy production in the mitochondria.

 

The mitochondria are the “energy-generating stations” within each cell. In the mitochondrion (singular), enzymes are used to combine carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms, forming carbon dioxide and water, and releasing chemical energy. This process of converting oxygen and the food consumed into energy needed by the body is referred to as metabolism. This conversion is imperative to carry out every function necessary to maintain life.

 

The hormones produced by the thyroid also perform the following functions:

1. Raise the metabolic rate of almost all the cells in the body

2. Stimulate protein synthesis and degradation

3. Stimulate the heart

4. Increase the breakdown of fat

5. Interact with the adrenals and the catecholamines (the fight-or-flight hormones)

 

When the thyroid is working improperly, or is out of balance, one of two conditions tends to happen. Hypothyroidism is the term referred to when the thyroid produces too little or is underproductive. The overproduction state is called hyperthyroidism.

 

If the thyroid is under-producing, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue or lethargy, weight gain, cold hands and feet, infertility, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), constipation, dry skin and hair, sensitivity to cold, sinus congestion, premenstrual syndrome and depression.

 

An overactive thyroid may leave you with feelings of being anxious or nervous for no apparent reason, increased pulse rate and rapid heartbeat, the inability to gain weight even when eating above-normal calories daily, frequent loose bowel movements, and excessive sweating.

 

These are not comprehensive lists, yet they show the diversity of the effects of an out-of-balance thyroid. Because the symptoms of a thyroid condition can appear to be problems all their own, thyroid conditions are often mis- or under-diagnosed. As a holistic chiropractor, I use non-invasive procedures to determine if the thyroid gland is the culprit in my patient’s dis-ease.

 

Stress, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins and other diseases such as diabetes and cancer wreak havoc on the thyroid. Therefore developing a healthy lifestyle is just as much key to having a healthy thyroid gland as it is to your general overall health.

 

Ensure you are eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, taking omega-3 oils, eating complex carbohydrates rather than refined sugars, and limiting your fat intake. Remember the higher the quality of nutrition your body has to work with, the better quality fuel it can create.

 

Exercising, getting plenty of uninterrupted sleep and reducing or dealing with life-stressors as efficiently as possible, are also lifestyle factors that can help keep you running your best.

Flickr photo credit der wunderbare mandarin

 

If you are experiencing any of the possible symptoms of an over-or under-active thyroid, please call Amber in our Ventura office at 805-644-0461and make an appointment with me for an evaluation.

 

A Holistic Chiropractor Takes a Look at Sugar…and YOU!

By Dr. Michael Roth

 

“Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime…” 

The lyrics of this song from a bygone era address the sweetness of love. However, in today’s modern world, the sugar we consume at meals is very real and very addictive!

Flickr photo credit Moyan Brenn

 

Most people are not aware that they are addicted to sugar. Yet, try to go a few days without it and you will briefly experience the pangs of withdrawal. Most of the clients I see in my holistic chiropractic practice know that too much sugar is not good for their bodies and their health.

 

Sugar leads to excess weight gain and puts you on the path to Type II diabetes. Although you most likely won’t be able to eliminate sugar from your diet completely, I offer here a few tips to reduce your sugar intake.

 

Plenty of people eat sugary foods throughout the day because their bodies tell them that they are hungry. One of the best ways to combat this feeling is to drink plenty of water. In addition to staying hydrated, you will not feel as hungry.

 

 

It is very common for people to eat all sorts of foods without bothering to read the list of ingredients. If you are trying to overcome your addiction to sugar, then make label-reading a habit. If sugar is one of the first three ingredients, don’t buy it.

 

The type of food that you eat is very important. Eat foods that are as close to their original form as possible. For example, instead of eating canned peaches in syrup, eat a whole fresh peach. Eat organic oatmeal for breakfast instead of packaged cereal, which usually has added sugar.

 

In my book, The Healing Code of Weight Loss, I recommend the following:

 

Avoid large beverages such as “super-sized” sugar-sweetened soft drinks. They have a large number of calories. Instead, try drinking water with a slice of lemon. If you want to drink soda, choose a calorie-free beverage or fruit juices instead.

 

Eat a breakfast that contains protein and fat to keep sugars low. This will help stave off cravings for chocolate and starches. Protein takes longer than sugar for your body to digest. You will feel full for a longer period of time and be less inclined to reach out for a sweet snack.

 

Stay away from fast food. The high sugar and fat content of fast food, combined with lack of exercise, creates a chain of events that puts the body into chemical stress. The digestive system is down-regulated when the body is under stress and one of the symptoms is belly fat.

 

Keep an accurate journal of everything that you eat. You may be surprised at how your sugar intake adds up when all of the foods you eat are combined. Keeping a journal will allow you to see exactly how much you consume.

 

You will also help yourself by staying as active as possible. People tend to eat more often when they are sitting around relaxing or watching TV. Starting an exercise regimen is a great idea since it helps you get or stay in shape. In addition, when you are physically active, you will be too busy to reach for the sugary foods!

Flickr photo credit Brett Lohmeyer

 

If you are concerned about your sugar intake and overall health, and if you would like assistance in developing healthier eating habits and lifestyle choices, please call Amber in my Ventura office to make an appointment for a personal consultation and start singing a different tune! (805) 644-0461

Proactive Steps to Manage Your Stress

By Dr. Michael Roth

Controlling your stress level is a necessity in today’s fast-paced society. For many people, the challenges life brings rest heavily on their shoulders and they don’t know where to begin to alleviate their tension.

Flickr photo credit Bottled Void

Worry – we all do it to some extent. Worrying is a stress-producing activity. Multiple worries can lead to a cycle of non-stop agitation.  Humans usually can tackle only one “worry” at a time effectively.  And really, does the act of worrying ever make anything better or easier?  At the end of the day, put worrying on hold until the morning.  Getting a good night’s sleep can help reduce the urge to worry.

Yoga and other stress-relieving movement exercises are always an asset. For example, the simple act of focusing on your breath allows your mind to take its attention off the stressful thought.  The deep breathing sends fresh oxygen circulating to all parts of your brain and body, refreshing your entire system.

Flickr photo credit Matt Madd

As a holistic chiropractor, I often recommend breathing and movement activities to my patients.  Locally here in Ventura, there are many such choices available.

Rigorous stress-busting exercise works wonders on an emotional and chemical level.  The mood enhancing endorphins created during a good workout relieve stress and may even improve your attitude!  Make sure your primary care doctor clears you for vigorous activity before you begin.  The last thing that you want is to cause more stress through a sports related injury or a cardiac-related mishap.

You are what you eat.  Making good food choices and managing your portion size will reduce the stress that improper nutrition and excess weight put on your system. Many people love their caffeine in coffee and colas. It is wise to limit your caffeine intake to reduce any undue stress it may be creating in your digestion or circulation. Please come talk to me about making healthy food choices—it is a passion of mine!

Treating yourself to some fun is always a good strategy for reducing stress and making life more enjoyable. Go for a walk in the hills or at the beach. Have a catch, toss a Frisbee, go for a swim. See a movie, visit a friend, play with your pets, or tell a joke. Laughter is always a great stress-buster. Laughter chases away the worry and oxygenates the body at the same time!

Flickr photo credit Kendall

Balance is a wonderful word worth reflecting on for a moment. Financial, emotional and physical balance are goals we all wish to achieve. You can start balancing your life today by managing your stress level, releasing more energy to meet those goals. Choose one thing right now that you can do to help release the stress in your life. Come see me for more discussion on how to optimize your health and wellness and reduce YOUR stress!

Control Your Stress and Stay Healthy!

Your body can adapt to stress quite nicely, yet there are times when the body goes into a “flight or fight” response when stress occurs.

 

Imagine you are hiking through the words and suddenly you see a bear! Here are the changes that occur in your physical body as it prepares to fight or flee from the bear:

 

Your blood is redirected from your extremities (giving you cold hands and feet), from your face (creating a pale look) and from your digestive system to the large muscles to help you run or fight. Your pupils enlarge to help you see better and your hearing becomes sharper. Your breathing and heart rate increase, and your blood pressure rises. The adrenal glands secrete adrenalin and other hormones to create a heightened state of arousal. Glucose and oxygen are increased to the heart, brain and skeletal system for more energy.

 

Once the brain perceives that the threat is over, the body reverses this reaction to return to a more calm state. Blood goes back to the extremities and digestive system; heart rate, breathing and blood pressure go back to normal, etc.

 

Of course, this bear in the woods situation is not a regular occurrence here in Ventura, California! However, we humans may experience mini stress responses like this on a chronic basis. This consistent physical reaction can lead to health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, insomnia, high blood pressure, low energy, anxiety, weight loss or gain, and depression. Experts say that chronic stress can affect the immune system, which can lead to frequent colds and flu.

 

The body reacts just like the extreme physical response described above,but on a lesser scale when continual stress is experienced. These consistent mini-reactions can wear the body down and take years off our lives. In my practice as a holistic chiropractor, I see patients whose lives are being chipped away by chronic stress.

 

Nape pain

What can we do about the little annoyances of life that haunt us every day? Deep relaxation exercises can save us from the turmoil of stress. There are many relaxation techniques that you can do on a daily basis to help you lead a more stress-free life. I suggest you search the Internet or purchase a book or DVD on relaxation techniques, find something that feels good to you and do it regularly.

 

Breathing techniques work wonders. They can slow the brain waves down and help you think more clearly. Many people breathe too shallowly into their lungs. Practicing abdominal breathing encourages better oxygenation of the body. One breathing technique I do regularly is the following:

 

Lie or sit down and put your hands on your abdomen. Breathe in deeply and feel your abdomen rise. If you feel your chest rise instead, breathe in more deeply until you feel your hands rise on your abdomen. Once you have achieved this pattern, do a few minutes of abdominal breathing. Breathe in SLOWLY through your nose for the count of four. Hold your breath for the count of four and then breathe out through pursed lips (as if you are going to whistle) SLOWLY for the count of six.

 

Do this for five to ten minutes twice a day. This will definitely relax you!

 

There are many other relaxation techniques you can try such as meditation, progressive relaxation, imagery, etc. Exercise is a great stress reliever and is a must! Exercise produces endorphins, a source of pleasure. It can help to lower blood pressure as well.

 

Watch your self-talk. This is the talk that goes on in your mind all day long. Be more understanding and forgiving of the little irritations or people who frustrate you. They may have just had a fight with their spouse or heard some bad news and are struggling with their emotions. Be positive and stop any negative thoughts in their tracks.

Flickr photo credit Steven Depolo

Flickr photo credit Steven Depolo

Get out with friends so you have balance in your life. Laugh, laugh, laugh. Watch funny videos. Laughter is great for your health!

 

Talk out or write down things that bother you, don’t keep them bottled up inside. Stress can kill, so if you feel like you just can’t cope, please seek medical help!

 

Enjoy life, as it is too short to get ourselves all tangled up in anger and frustration. Practice relaxation methods and you will see a huge difference in your life. Be happy!