excerpts Dr. Karin's "release your weight" book:
Chapter 1: My Story
YOU MAY HAVE looked at my picture and wondered, “What does this skinny chick know about weight loss?” Well, let me tell you my story.
As a child, I was a happy, healthy little thing. I played on the beaches and in the forests of the rural coastline of British Columbia, Canada. We lived in Tofino, a small fishing village at the end of the Trans-Canada Highway. Despite my village’s tiny size, we did have a candy store, which I frequented often.
I stayed super-thin because I was burning calories faster than I could eat them, between playing in the forest and on the beaches and growing like a weed.
It was the ’70s, a time when antibiotics were prescribed for every cough, sniffle, or earache.
Unbeknownst to me, my love of sweets combined with several days’ worth of antibiotics multiple times a year created the perfect condition for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in my digestive system.
My digestion was so bad that food went right through me. My ability to absorb nutrients was so impaired that I went from weighing 110 pounds to weighing 85 pounds, despite eating as much as I wanted.
Because my digestive system was poor at absorbing nutrients, I was developing bad eating habits without gaining weight. (Check out my book Combat Irritable Bowels if you want to learn how I overcame my IBS.)
After I healed from my IBS, I started gaining weight. At first, this was a good thing. I needed to gain.
I led an active lifestyle, biking to school, going to the gym, and ate what I thought was a healthier diet, but I was still gaining weight.
By the time I was in chiropractic college, I had reached a weight that was considered to be obese for my 5’6” height. I weighed more than I did when I was pregnant with my two kids!
I had several family members who suffered with obesity. My uncle had his stomach stapled. My sister and mother would go through the common cycle of dieting and falling off the wagon. Their weight yo-yoed as a result.
I decided that I was not going to go down either of those paths. At the end of this book, I explain what I did to lose the weight and keep it off all of these years.
However, before I talk about how I lost weight, I want to talk about something much more important: being comfortable with where you are right now.
Losing weight will not likely help you be more comfortable in your skin. No matter what your weight, you will always find something about your body that you do not like. I know too many skinny people who think they are too fat. I know too many beautiful people who somehow only see flaws in the mirror.
Full disclosure: I am guilty of this myself. My secret to happiness is that I have chosen to be comfortable with my flaws. Every morning that I look in the mirror and see a new wrinkle or spot, I remain eternally grateful that I don’t suffer with the countless things I could have wrong with me.
Then I focus on my positive attributes: I have a functioning mind. I have all my fingers and toes. I have a strong body with healthy joints. My children are healthy. I have a husband who I love and who loves me. I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I am so blessed. The flaws I see are insignificant when I think about all the good things in my life.
I am a realist, and I know there are hardships in my life and others’ lives. There is darkness in the world. I choose to shine my light not in a way that ignores it, but brightens it. Our reality is simply a perception, which may be close or far from the truth. I choose to see the world through rose-colored glasses. It makes for a happier life.
No matter what you weigh, be happy!
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You have a body. You are above ground. You have been given this precious gift we call life. Go out and enjoy it.
Don’t worry about being too big, weak, or clumsy to try something new. Don’t worry about what others think. If they think you don’t belong there, that is their issue, not yours.
You are beautiful just the way you are. If you start loving yourself, you will be happier. If you are happier, you will go out and enjoy the world more. You will be doing more, meaning you will be burning more calories and naturally eating less, morphing your body into a healthier you.
It may not result in your body being model thin, but it will be healthier and stronger, allowing you to do even more and improving your quality of life.
In this book, I discuss what you need to know about food, I dispel myths about exercise, and I emphasize the importance of the mind and its effect on the body and your general health.
Once I have armed you with this information, I talk about my three-stage process to go from an unhealthy way of living to a healthy one. Stage one alone should make some changes, and that may be as far as you want to go.
This book is not a “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” plan. Instead it offers a way to gradually change your daily habits, so your body gradually transforms into a healthier you.
Here’s the first important tip I have for you: The slower you lose weight and the less size you lose, the less likely you will have sagging skin once you reach your new trimmed-up size.
You may not end up skinny, but you will have more energy, and your body will be stronger, which will improve your quality of life.
Your goal should not be to reach a certain weight, but to feel good physically and mentally.
Let go of wanting a model’s body. It’s their full-time job to keep their body looking the way it does. You can work your ass off for that body if you want to, but you will have that body only for as long as you work your ass off. You may not be healthier for it either. You may need surgeries to take it that far, and no surgery is without risk of complications or even death.
Free yourself from perfection
If you want to have a joyous life in which you can enjoy food, then love that you have some meat on your bones and some cushion for better cuddles. Speaking from experience, it’s good to have a healthy, strong, meaty body versus a sickly super-thin body.
Make it about quality of life, not weight
Moving well, eating well, and sleeping well are the secret recipe to creating the perfect body—a body that will be the vessel that can take you to new places, do new things, and enable you to do so happily.
Do it for you
If you are worried people do not like you or a person won’t love you or you will never be happy because you are “fat,” look around. I have many skinny friends who are miserable because they don’t see their own good traits. I have many “fat” friends who have many friends and are happily married.
With that said, you can be thin and be happy.
Happiness is not a size; it is an attitude.
If you have found yourself spiraling into feeling bad about being fat, being too embarrassed to go out because of your size, and eating to make yourself feel better, you are likely at a size that is not healthy for you.
Hopefully this book helps you find your FOREVER LIVE-IT. The goal is to find your healthy weight at which you can love yourself, have the energy and strength to live the life you want, and are able to eat the foods you love. I hope this book helps you reverse the spiral down to obesity.
Regardless of how far you go with this book, I sincerely wish you a healthier and happier body and mind.
Chapter 2: WARNING SIGNS THAT YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT MAY BE A SYMPTOM OF A SERIOUS CONDITION
BEFORE I reveal how to lose weight, I must first inform you when it is imperative to seek medical attention.
It would be irresponsible of me to say you could self-treat your excess weight when, in fact, it could be a symptom of an underlying disease that needs medical treatment, if not immediate care.
If you have unexplainable weight gain; if you decrease your caloric intake and increase your activity and still are not losing weight; if the extra weight is held just in the abdominal region; or if you experience changes in bowel or bladder habits, seek medical attention! It could be a sign of a medical condition.
Seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms:
1. Unexplained weight gain.
If you have not changed your eating habits or your physical activity, and you are experiencing weight gain, changes in the distribution of your weight, bloating or swelling, your weight gain may be a result of a medical condition (for example, hormone deficiencies like hypothyroidism, low digestive enzymes, etc.)
2. Weight gain accompanied by numbness in the feet and/or fingers, excessive thirst, urination, and/or blurry vision.
These can be signs of diabetes. Weight gain can compound the imbalances in insulin levels, causing more weight gain and worsening the diabetic condition.
3. A loss of interest in physical activities and an increase in comfort eating.
Weight gain can be a result of depression. People who are depressed often eat more and move less, resulting in an imbalance of calories consumed versus calories burned.
4. Excessive stress.
If weight is gained during or after a time of stress, it may be due to an increase in stress hormone (cortisol).
5. Weight gain after starting a new medication (like steroids or some antidepressants).
Gaining weight may be a side effect of the medication.
6. Weight gain from excessive drinking of alcohol.
Alcohol generally has a high calorie content, which can contribute to weight gain. However, the weight gain may also be a sign that the liver is becoming inflamed and is swelling to the point that the abdominal region bulges. It can also be a sign of becoming more dependent on alcohol, and alcoholism.
7. Swelling of the lower extremities.
This could be because of increased water weight from a failure of your kidneys or cardiovascular health.
8. Unexplained weight gain.
This could be a sign of cancer in tissues that produce hormones (like the pituitary gland). These cancerous tissues produce excess amounts of the hormone, affecting your weight.
9. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should get checked for gallstones (which can be caused by weight loss).
10. Waking up from snoring loudly or gasping for air.
This may mean you have sleep apnea, which can negatively impact your weight and heart. Get a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, a CPAP machine can help not just your sleep, but your weight loss. To learn more, check out my book Combat Insomnia.
11. Getting up at night to eat, sneak, or hide food while others are asleep.
If you engage in one of these behaviors, you may have Binge Eating Disorder. This condition needs psychiatric care; prescription medication can aid recovery.
12. If you are female and experience the following:
a. Weight gain married with sporadic menstrual cycles, infertility, acne, facial hair, baldness, etc. These symptoms could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome.
b. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and a change in menstrual cycle when you are over 45 years old, your weight gain may be due to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone during menopause.
If you have any concerns about your weight, ask a professional’s advice. You may waste a bit of time and money if no serious issues are found, but the cost of ignoring your symptoms may be far worse because doing so may lead to an early death.
If you suffer from excess weight and know you don’t have an underlying health condition, seek the advice of a chiropractor. In my biased opinion, they are the best health practitioners to treat obesity because they have the best tools. More on this in later chapters.
To help you understand your weight, I will explain the body-mass index, some basic anatomy, and the function of the gastrointestinal tract in the next chapter. Then you will have a better idea about what could be causing your weight gain or your difficulty in losing your excess weight. If you haven’t seen a healthcare provider, Chapter 23 will arm you with questions you can take to your next visit with one.
Chapter 3: MYTHS OF WEIGHT LOSS
IN THIS CHAPTER, I hope to combat the myths of weight loss…
The myth of BMI
My biggest pet peeve is the use of the outdated BMI (Body Mass Index). This oversimplified formula is used to help determine if your weight is healthy or not.
Sadly, BMI numbers often label healthy people as obese and unhealthy people as having a normal weight.
Let me explain. BMI just uses two measurements, your height and your weight. To get your BMI, you divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters, then divide that answer by your weight again. To do this in pounds and inches, do the same calculation, but times your answer by 703 (the conversion number to use since different units were used). However, muscles weigh more than fat. So, if you are muscular, your BMI may put you in the category of being “obese”! Ridiculous.
I am 5’6” and wear a size 0–2 depending on the brand.
In 2014 I weighed 135 pounds, which is just 8 pounds away from being overweight according to my BMI. A person wearing a size 0 should not be considered this close to being “fat.”
Then I was involved in a motor vehicle collision. I lost over 15 pounds because I was not able to work out at the intensity I normally do. I looked sickly thin in my legs and arms. Plus, my belly started to bulge. I was struggling to get into “skinny jeans”. I felt like a skinny fat person. Despite having more fat on my body, according to the BMI, I was a couple pounds underweight!
Now in 2018, I weigh 130 pounds, and am still working hard to get all of my muscles back, especially my abs.
Another example would be a body builder who is 6’1¾” tall and weighs 260 pounds. He would have a BMI of 33.6, suggesting he is obese instead of recognizing that he is a man with only 8 percent body fat!
Do you understand how the BMI fails to take into consideration drastic weight loss or intentional weight gain (in the form of muscle)? I was always within normal BMI limits, but I was not as healthy at my lowest weight.
Better indicator than BMI
Figure 3‑1: A 140-pound muscular woman versus a 135-pound skinny fat woman.
Instead of using your weight or BMI as a measure of how healthy your body is, measure your waist circumference (I explain more about this in the “Let that go!” section later in this chapter). What does it matter how much you weigh? Wouldn’t you rather be a 140-pound woman who wears a size 4 than a 135-pound woman who wears a size 6 (Figure 3-1)?
It’s called muscle & muscle weighs more than fat.
Watching your muscle mass is more important than watching your weight. Gaining muscle makes the scales move up (which can be discouraging). Sadly, when people don’t exercise and eat too much, they lose muscle and gain fat. This can make the scales move down, falsely indicating improvement.
When people start working out and eating less, many are discouraged because they gain weight (remember, muscle weights more than fat). They don’t seem to notice that their waist is looking trimmer and they are looking healthier. They are too obsessed with the numbers on the scale!
A scale cannot tell you how your body is changing. It does not tell you how much fat you are gaining or losing; it just tells you how much weight you are gaining or losing. I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand this difference.
Let that go!
If you must, weigh yourself one more time. Write that number down in your journal. Then give your scale to a friend, and do not weigh yourself more than once a month. Preferably you can give your scale away, but we are talking baby steps here…
More important, measure your waist circumference by wrapping a string around your waist at your belly button and making a mark in the string. Then measure the length of the string from the end to the mark.
Write that measurement in bold! Now you have a better starting point. You will be able to gauge your progress of trimming up and gaining muscle without being discouraged by the scale.
If you want to a more accurate measure, there are better options.
Fit3D body scanner can monitor changes in the body:
One option is to find out if any medical offices in your area offer scans with a Fit3D. The Fit3D body scanner makes a computer image of your body so you can see the 3-dimensional changes your body makes during this time of transformation.
Home body scan versus a scale
If you are motivated by seeing objective changes like those shown on a scale, spend more money and buy a scale that measures your muscle and fat content in addition to measuring your weight.
These body fat scales work by sending a small current through your body from one foot to the other. This current is so small that you can’t even detect it.
These scales are not necessarily accurate because the current takes the shortest route to go in through one foot and out through the other, so it only measures the lower half of the body. Plus, many conditions and medications (like diuretics) make them inaccurate. With this said, I still say the data reported by body fat scales is better than looking at weight alone.
Taking these measurements along with your waist circumference will be a good indicator of how you are progressing. Gaining muscle is a good thing, but your motivation may falter when you see your weight rising despite your fat melting away.
If you want more-complete objective signs of your progress, you could also get a hand-held body fat percentage scale to measure the upper half of your body. Just remember, these scales cannot tell the difference between subcutaneous fat (in the skin) and visceral fat (around the organs in the abdomen), so they are not totally accurate, but they are way more accurate than the old-fashioned scales.
Why do men lose weight easier than women?
Or is this another myth?
In general, when men gain weight, they keep their muscle because they have more testosterone than women (testosterone is a hormone that drives muscle growth); their muscle mass remains as their fat layer thickens. When men lose weight, they typically keep their muscle, so the weight loss is proportionate to their fat loss.
However, when women gain weight, they tend to lose their muscle because women have to work harder to keep their muscle. So, when women work out in an effort to lose weight, they wind up gaining muscle. As they gain muscle, they gain weight even though they are losing inches.
This is why I stress that you need to pay attention to your waist size, not your weight. As long as your waist is shrinking, and your muscles are building, you are going to look and feel better for it, whether you are a man or a woman.
The myth about exercise
You don’t have to go to a gym three times a week or more to lose weight. If you love going to the gym or taking exercise classes, by all means, do it. But if you don’t, be honest with yourself. Don’t waste your money thinking that if you pay for it, you will go and keep going. You may go for a while, but if you don’t enjoy it, it is simply not sustainable.
Plus, it may behoove you to work on losing weight by changing your diet before starting an exercise routine because you place more stress on your joints when you exercise when you are heavier. If you spend a couple of weeks eating healthier, your body will be less inflamed and less prone to injury.
In the long run, you will want to strengthen your body, so you can do the things in life you want to do. After losing some weight, you need to strengthen your body and keep your body strong, which requires some form of strength training. Movement is a big part of being healthy.
Any movement helps
Sadly, many people are ashamed of their body, so they don’t go out and dance, hike, kayak, or do any other activity with their friends for fear of being too big and out of shape for the activity.
Let that fear go!
Get out! Do activities you enjoy! Life is too short not do what you enjoy. If you stop yourself from participating in a physical activity because you feel too big, inadequate, or clumsy, then you will continue to be too big and weak to do what you want to do.
Just do it! So-what if you can’t do something well because you are not strong enough? You have to start somewhere. Keep at it, and at worst, you will be burning calories, and at best, you will get better at it so one day you can do it well.
I’ll never forget my first pole fitness class where I saw a “fat girl” twirling around the pole like a pro, and I, Miss Super-Fit Chick, struggled to get around the pole just a few times. I totally wanted to take her picture and make her my poster child for this book.
I can’t say it enough: It’s not about your weight or size! It is about how good you feel in your own skin.
The myth of protein shakes
I can’t tell you how many of my patients have told me they drink protein shakes to help them lose weight. I told every one of them to stop drinking protein shakes.
Protein shakes are high-calorie drinks with a scoop of highly processed protein powder. One shake is worth a whole meal! This is great if you are hiking up a mountain and need extra calories, but this is not great if you need to lose fat.
High-protein/low-carb diets can help you lose weight, but not if you are ingesting way more protein than you need. Plus, protein shakes are highly processed foods with who-knows-what fillers in them. If you need more protein in your diet, eat lean meat or high-protein plant foods.
I lost count of the number of my patients who failed to lose weight, but then succeeded when they eliminated protein shakes from their daily diet.
The myth that all items in health food stores are healthy
You need to read labels on everything you eat, even items you purchase in health food stores. Just because an item is in a health food store, does not mean it is healthy. You can buy soda pop in health food stores. No version of soda pop is healthy.
Plus, health food stores carry protein powders and “natural stimulants” are two more examples.
Another example is low fat foods labeled to appear good for weight loss, when they are high in sugar.
It is not just about the calorie content in the foods you are buying, but how processed the foods are. Treat processed foods like you would treat a piece of cake. Easy to grab protein bars are high calorie with processed nutrition. You might as well eat a piece of cake and take a multi-vitamin with it. I have had countless patients lose weight with just removing the protein bars.
I have also seen supplements that are, in my opinion, bad for your health in health food stores. Yes, health food stores carry many healthy items, but this does not mean every item they carry are healthy. Sorry, you need to read the labels.
The myth that a diet ends
If you reach your goal weight, a common myth is that you should be able to eat how you did when you were originally at that weight because you did not gain weight eating that way before.
The problem is your metabolism may have changed with your diet, meaning you don’t need as many calories to gain weight. Plus, your metabolism decreases over time, so your caloric needs are not as high as they were a decade or two ago.
To maintain your skinnier body, you have to maintain the habits you adopted to get the skinny body. This is why most diets ultimately fail; they are too difficult to maintain. I say, find a healthier FOREVER LIVE-IT instead.
The FOREVER LIVE-IT
Instead of following a diet and lifestyle that are not sustainable, do a FOREVER LIVE-IT where you eat healthier, move more, and sleep well. Then see what happens to your body. If your body melts into a body you are happy with, just keep living that way. If you don’t get to where you want to be, you will have to find more ways to modify your lifestyle to create the perfect combination of living well, eating what you want, doing what you want (or don’t want) to do, and getting enough sleep.
Love yourself and change happens!
With that said, if you are looking to change your body and be healthier, there are some things you need to know about not only food and exercise, but about your mind. After arming you with this knowledge, I will explain my three-stage process to find your FOREVER LIVE-IT, which will change your body and your life.
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Chapter 4: HOW YOUR MIND AFFECTS YOUR WEIGHT
BECOMING A BETTER, healthier you takes more than just exercise and healthy eating. It is also about being able to think well.
Stress is the number-one cause of dis-ease, which leads to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone that negatively impacts health if levels are high over time). Chronic stress leads to disease. Why? Because stress is depressing. It taxes our body directly and indirectly. If you are unhappy, you may lose your motivation to exercise and turn to your comfort foods.
Don’t worry about being sad or depressed. Remember, stressing about your feelings just makes them worse. You are just now at the beginning of being a better you. Your first step is to acknowledge anything that makes you unhappy.
Many people feel stress from
· Failing relationships
· Excessive debt
· Dealing with major life changes
· Work demands
An increase in stress often not only results in weight gain, but it can also sabotage weight loss.
If you suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression, seek assistance from a counselor, psychologist, or health professional.
A healthier mind can make healthier life choices. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to help with weight loss. A cognitive behavioral therapist can give you the tools that help with changing behaviors. More on this in Chapter 20.
Have you ever seen a commercial for a favorite food or gotten a craving for a certain dish and couldn’t stop thinking about it until you ate that food? This is your mind at work. If you are obsessing about eating something (processed foods aside), go ahead and eat it (at least the healthiest version of it you can find). I would rather you eat a reasonable portion of real ice cream than eat something else instead, and then break down and eat the ice cream too.
The problem with processed foods is that you require more willpower to avoid overeating them. I avoid them all together. I do not buy them at the grocery story, nor do I go to fast-food restaurants.
If I need “fast food,” I run into the grocery store and grab ready-made foods like:
· Greek food snacks
· deli food (healthier than food at fast-food restaurants)
I will admit, if I go to a party and cake is put in front of me, I either eat a piece or take a piece to enjoy as breakfast the following morning. Life is too short to deny yourself yummy food. The trick is to eat it in moderation. It is rare for me to eat junk food, but I don’t get upset with myself if I do eat it. I enjoy it and move on.
My two cents
People who struggle with weight tend to take an excessive number of pictures of food and post them on social media. People post pictures of their food on social media for many reasons but posting a lot of food pictures may be a sign that you have an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you wanting to lose inches from your waist, busy your mind with thoughts of how to move more and sleep better. If thoughts about food come, let them come, but then let them go. If I tell you to stop thinking about food, you will likely think about food, just like if I tell you to not think about a pink elephant (what did you just think about?).
So, if thoughts of food come, that is all right. Just learn to switch gears and think about something healthier.
This is where cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) may help you retrain your mind to think like a healthier person, just like you need to train your body to be stronger like a fit person.
 Pimenta et al., “Weight Loss in Midlife Women,” International Journal of Women’s Health.
 Albers, “Why People Post Food Pictures on Facebook.” Psychology Today.
Chapter 5: SLEEP AND WEIGHT LOSS
BEFORE I TALK ABOUT FOOD, I want to talk about sleep. I believe sleep plays a big part in weight loss, and it is not even mentioned in most books on how to lose weight.
The importance of sleep and weight
Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, making it difficult to exercise. If you are tired, it’s hard to think well. A fuzzy brain makes for a weak mind, which becomes vulnerable to old habits and temptations. For every hour you deprive yourself of needed sleep, cortisol levels rise. This makes you more vulnerable to depression and comfort eating.
For optimal health, make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. You need a good night’s sleep to think well, and you need to be able to think well to make healthy choices. Studies have suggested that to be healthy, people should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. That will give you the stamina you need to think well, prepare your meals, and have energy to do the physical things you love (and need) to do to be well.
So how does one sleep well?
Regulating your sleep cycle
You have an internal clock that is regulated by the amount of light entering your eyes. If there is a bright light overhead or shining into your eyes from a screen, your brain thinks it is high noon. This prevents the brain from producing the hormones necessary to prepare the body for sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping, plenty of simple lifestyle changes can make a difference. One major change is to avoid overhead lighting and looking at backlit screens for at least two hours before going to bed. This lets your body know bedtime is approaching.
To mimic a sunset, use lamps set lower to the ground for a few hours before going to bed. If you must look at a screen, get red glasses because they block the blue light that halts the production of melatonin, which is needed for sleep. Use red night lights for you and your children instead of white night lights. The reduction in blue light helps your brain’s internal clock realize that it’s no longer daytime and that it needs to release hormones (like melatonin) to prepare your body for sleep.
I believe the two-sleep cycle is very normal, especially for people whose ancestry includes people who lived far from the equator. Before the advent of artificial light, people would go to bed when it got dark outside. In the winter, depending on where you lived, this could be as early as 5 p.m. Then you would wake up in the middle of the night, stoke the fire, have some fun, go back to bed, and sleep until the sun warmed up the day (8 a.m. or later).
In the summer when the days are longer, people wouldn’t go to bed until late. They’d get up with the sunrise (5 a.m.) but then take a siesta in the middle of the day. Nowadays, we do not follow the natural rhythms, and our brains suffer because of it.
If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, let yourself enjoy that time with some light activity, then go back to sleep the moment you feel tired (no longer than two hours later). If you do this, let yourself have a nap sometime during the day. Don’t force yourself to stay awake or try stimulants like caffeine because both lead to fatigue and will make it difficult to stay motivated to be well.
Sleep quality depends on mattress quality
Sleeping on a poor mattress can cause body aches and pain. You may need a new mattress if you wake up with more pain than you started with the night before or if you are struggling to stay asleep. Remember, good sleep is imperative for weight loss and general good health.
For good quality sleep, I cannot stress the importance of having the best possible mattress. You (hopefully) sleep at least eight hours of every twenty-four hours. This is one-third of your life. If you are going to spend money on one item, it should be your mattress.
To learn more about how to sleep better and to learn about The best mattress that I know of:
Chapter 6: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR STOMACH AND WEIGHT GAIN
WEIGHT LOSS often is not about what you eat, but how much you eat. If you struggle with eating in moderation, you probably have lost what my mom calls the “full button.” You can eat and eat, and not feel full. You may even continue to feel hungry even though you ate more than enough.
It’s easier to be on the thin side when you feel full with smaller portions of food. If you don’t get full, then it takes conscious willpower to stop eating.
Nerves in the stomach send signals of stretching to your brain to give you a sense of being full. But if you are full all the time, these mechanoreceptors do not sense much. Just like anything else, if you don’t use it, you lose it, and your full button breaks. I am so thankful the body can heal, and so can your full button.
Until you get your full button back, you will have to be more conscious of your food intake. Serve yourself smaller portions. Don’t eat out of the bag because it is easy to eat too much right out of a container. Put your food on a plate where you can see how much you are eating. When you finish the food on your plate, stop eating because you have had your full portion. If you want to eat more, ask yourself if the few more minutes of pleasure you get from eating is worth continuing to be overweight.
How to get your full button back
Understanding your stomach and how it works will help you curb your appetite.
Again, your stomach has mechanoreceptors, which are nerves that sense the stomach is stretching. So, if your stomach is completely empty, it feels pretty full when it stretches halfway or more.
The stomach has air in it called the magenblase. That is why when you burp, you can fit more food in the stomach.
The stomach takes about four hours to empty.
If you eat within this four-hour time frame, the stomach is not completely empty. Because the stomach is already stretched, the “stomach is stretching” nerves do not get as stimulated, and you don’t feel as full. You lose your full button, making it easy to overeat.
Can you see in Figure 6.2 how going from empty (A) to full (B) stretches the stomach (represented by the ovals) more than going from almost half full (C) to very full (D) in Figure 6.3?
Figure 6‑4: Comparing sizes of the stomach to illustrate the amount of stretch in the stomach going from empty (A) to full (B) - which results in a huge stretch so ou feel full versus half full (C) to full (D) - which results in a smaller stretch. So even though there is the same amount of food in stomach B and D, you feel full in the B scenario.
I like feeling full. It satisfies me. So, I make sure my stomach is empty before I eat by not snacking between my meals. But you don’t want to be starving when you eat because you may eat too much. When your cells are hungry, it takes a while for the nutrients to be delivered from your stomach to your cells, so you continue to feel hungry until your cells are satisfied.
Chemoreceptors (nerves that sense what you are eating) are better at letting the brain know you are full than mechanoreceptors are. So even if your stomach is full of food, if you do not eat enough protein in that meal, you will still feel hungry because of your body’s need for protein.
Don’t starve yourself
I never skip breakfast; all night long I was fasting, and I want to break my fast. I don’t want my body to go into “We are starving!” mode and start to store fat.
This is why some diets say to eat six small meals a day. That doesn’t work for me because my stomach doesn’t have time to fully empty before I eat again. I never feel full if I snack all day.
You may notice that you get hungry about three hours after eating. I call this “artificial hunger,” where your stomach starts shrinking as the food empties from the stomach into the small intestine. The stomach empties 50 percent of its contents within three hours. The shrinking stomach walls make the nerves fire a signal of hunger to your brain. In the days of our cavemen ancestors, this hunger signal told them it was a good time to look for food because it would take them an hour or two to find and prepare it. In modern times, we can eat as soon as we want.
I say if you are hungry three to four hours after eating and ate enough at your last meal to feel satisfied, wait 10 to 20 minutes. Do something to distract yourself from this hunger and allow your stomach to fully empty before eating again.
This is a good time to get your body moving. One, it should distract you from your hunger and release endorphins that suppress your hunger, and two, it is a great way to tell if you are truly needing to eat something. If you are still hungry, then you may truly need to eat. But if you are not hungry, then you are good until your next meal.
Starving messes with your metabolism
When it comes to feeling hungry, if you are truly hungry, eat. If you starve yourself trying to lose weight, you will negatively impact your metabolism, the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. When you eat fewer calories than what your body needs, your body will learn to live off less food, making it even harder to stay thin. This is why large people stay large even though they are eating the same amount as (or less than) someone half their size.
Remember, if you don’t use it you lose it? Well the opposite is true. If you learn to live off less, your body learns how to cut corners, burning less energy. So that if you ever do eat more, it can put on a protective layer of fat for the lean times. If you never have lean times, your body gets “lazy” with energy conservation and starts “wasting” calories. I am way over simplifying the biochemistry involved, but I have witnessed it time and time again. A healthy person goes on a diet, believing they are too fat, and when they go back to eating their old ways, they gain more weight than they lost!
The trick is to find that fine line of eating enough to avoid starving your body but spacing out your meals enough so when you do eat, your stomach feels super-full with less food.
If I skip a meal, it’s usually lunch (because I am crazy busy through the day and do not have time to eat a meal), but I make sure to at least have a snack (dates, almond butter, meat sticks, or a natural veggie drink) so my body doesn’t go into starvation mode.
Chewing your food can help
Chewing your food helps keep your weight down for many reasons. Chewing triggers many of the satiety systems (the systems that activate your full button, like chemoreceptors, mechanoreceptors, brain glucose sensors, etc.).
Chewing more will give your satiety systems they time they need to signal your brain that you have eaten enough. If you devour your food quickly, you can cram too much food into your stomach and overstuff yourself. Eating slowly helps you feel full faster.
Slowing down your intake of food has other benefits. If you have a limited amount of time to eat in the day, you are likely to eat less if you chew your food more. If it takes you longer to eat, you will eat less in that limited time.
Chewing is the first step in the mechanical process that breaks down your food, and it increases the surface area for the digestive enzymes to work. The better you digest your food, the better you will absorb the nutrients you need. If you are deficient in a nutrient, your cravings for that nutrient will increase.
 MacDonald, “Eating Slowly,” Harvard Health Publishing.
Chapter 7: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR INTESTINES
THE STOMACH empties into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestines) where the gall bladder dumps bile salts to digest the fats in food. At the same point, the pancreas dumps its enzymes into the duodenum to further digest sugar, fat, and proteins in our food.
Then the food travels through the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed (Figure 7-1). The lining of the small intestine is just one cell thick. See the bugs below in our gut... they are kept out of our blood stream with a thin but non-leaking lining (the skin) of our intestines:
This thin, delicate wall is also the only thing that prevents the bugs, toxins, and foreign particles in our food from getting into our blood and tissues.
In a good working system, we absorb the good and poop out the bad.
Leaky gut syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which the thin lining of the intestinal wall becomes irritated and damaged. When the lining is damaged, it allows the bad particles, toxins, bugs, and other hazardous material to “leak” from the small intestine into our bloodstream.
Figure 7-2: Injured intestinal wall allowing bacteria in. Depicted by the yellow creeper making it's way though the weakened lining of the intestine. YUCK!
If you are overweight, even if you eat healthy, your gastrointestinal (GI) lining is likely leaking. Food, even healthy food, contains irritants, whether they are pesticides, herbicides, or the chemicals plants produce to protect themselves. We can handle these toxins in moderation, but we tend to overeat certain foods instead of eating a variety of foods, resulting in an over exposure to these toxins. We can only decontaminate and excrete so much. If we eat more than we can eliminate, then it builds up in our body and gets deposited in our fat cells, and our body will hold on to those fat cells until we are clean enough to handle the release of their toxins.
When you combine toxins with all of the excess sugars (which are inflammatory) found in Americans’ diets, you increase the body’s inflammatory response.
When the intestinal wall becomes inflamed, the bonds between the cells weaken, causing the intestinal wall to leak. Worse is when the cells in the lining swell to a breaking point; the swelling causes a wound in the lining, leading to further inflammation and leakage.
How leaky gut affects weight
Once these bad particles enter the bloodstream, the immune system attacks them. But if every meal causes a new release of toxins, the immune system gets overwhelmed, so it shoves the toxins into our fat cells to deal with later (kind of like sweeping the dust under the carpet to clean later).
If toxins enter our bloodstream faster than our immune system can clean them out, more and more toxins get stored in the fat cells.
If we don’t clean up our diet (eating organic, non-processed foods), even if we eat less, the body holds on to these fat cells until it is safe (when our body is clean enough to handle the release the toxins into our bloodstream for further cleanup).
A leaky gut does not just affect our weight; it also affects our general well-being. Over time the continual bombardment of toxins entering our bloodstream from our GI leads to deposits of toxins in our tissues, like our fat cells (making it difficult to lose weight), muscles (making them tender to touch), and joints (causing arthritic changes). All of these stored toxins can cause our immune system to attack our own tissues, leading to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis etc. It can cause an inflammation of our blood-brain barrier leading to cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease. It can cause acne as our skin attempts to assist in ridding our body of these toxins.
I strongly believe that the first step toward weight loss and overall better health requires you to heal the gut. I talk about how to do this in Chapter 12: First two weeks to your journey to a healthier you.
If you want to learn what we think about your current diet:
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Chapter 8: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FOOD
NOTICE HOW we are eight chapters in and I have not even mentioned much about what foods to eat yet? I hope I have already impressed upon you that weight loss is so much more than what you eat. But you are what you eat, so food does impact your general health. To make matters more complicated, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding food and weight loss.
What to eat?
Some say vegan is the only way to eat, while others need to follow the Akins diet. Both extremes are viable ways to eat. What is healthy to eat for one person may be unhealthy (if not deadly) to another.
Most people eat so poorly that anything they do on purpose to improve their eating habits will work for a while, but will it be healthy and sustainable in the long term?
Personally, I do everything in moderation. But this is not a viable option for someone who has severe allergies, where even the tiniest amount of exposure can kill them.
It is imperative to have a good nutritionist on your healthcare team who is able to tailor their advice to your specific needs. With their expertise, you can select healthy foods and create a healthy eating plan while avoiding foods containing allergens or foods you don’t care for.
With that said, I want to share facts about food that are good for everyone to know. In this chapter, I hope to give you some food for thought (pun intended).
First, my advice on fats.
Why we need healthy fat
We need fat to help our bodies absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Some diets tell us to avoid fat. I don’t avoid eating fatty foods as long as they contain healthy fats. Avocado, wild salmon, and walnuts are a few examples of tasty foods that are full of good fats.
I use organic real butter because it does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease like we once thought it did. Rather, simple carbs increase our risk. Margarines and other fake butters are unnatural, unhealthy, and even related to weight gain!
Fat-free diets are not healthy because you need fat to digest fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K). I can’t stress enough the importance of including good fats in your diet. Fat protects every cell in your body, including the cells in your brain that help you think clearly and make good decisions. Cell membranes (the wall around every cell) are mostly made of fats (two layers of phospholipids) with proteins and sugars embedded throughout the two layers of fat. If you are deficient in nutrients like essential fats and proteins, your body will crave them, and you will eat more foods containing these nutrients.
Fat has a bad reputation because, like anything, it is not healthy to ingest it in excess. Plus, eating fat helps you feel fuller for longer.
“Real” food vs. “fake” food
I avoid “fake” foods with artificial flavoring or anything else artificial in them. I am saddened when I hear that people are trying to do the right thing and be healthy but are misled into eating fat-free foods (which tend to be ultra-high in sugar content and flavor-enhancing chemicals).
Worse, some people use artificial sweeteners “for their health” because they believe it will help them lose weight. Unfortunately, consuming artificial sweeteners and artificial fats often leads to weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners confuse your taste buds, making foods that are good for you taste bad in comparison. Such artificial sweeteners have been scientifically designed to fool our taste buds, and they scream to our brain, “This tastes awesome! I want more!” In nature, if a food tastes good, the enticing flavor indicates that the food is a good energy source with vital nutrients. Unfortunately, artificial foods are not a good source of nutrients, unbeknownst to our taste buds.
Natural foods — “real” foods — are not as effective at activating our taste buds as artificial flavors are, so they stop tasting as good in comparison. Plus, when your taste buds are overstimulated by artificial flavors, the overstimulation cues thoughts of wanting more, so you tend to eat more. Over time, diets high in artificial sweeteners create deficiencies of essential nutrients, making you crave more food in search of these nutrients. Basically, artificial foods and flavorings interfere with your full button.
Sugar and salt
Sugar and salt are not evil either. They have a bad reputation because manufacturers of processed foods add way too much salt or sugar or both to their foods. We tend to eat more processed, prepackaged foods than we do natural foods, which compounds the problem of weight gain in this country. We have become accustomed to a sweet and salty diet.
Flavors are a matter of perception. If you eat a lot of processed foods or feel you may be eating too much salt and sugar, try reducing the amount of salt and sugar you eat. After a few weeks, you should be able to taste the salt and sugar in items you never could before. Foods you used to think tasted plain, or even bad, should start tasting better to you.
If you are very good at avoiding salt, you may need to add a pinch of sea salt to your diet. Salt is only bad if eaten too much. Low salt levels can also negatively impact your health. Every cell in your body needs salt, just not too much.
Stop the soda pop
If you drink soda pop, try to stop drinking it for a month. Doing so will greatly improve your overall health. Why?
Soda pop has gross amounts of chemicals (artificial flavors, artificial coloring), sugar, and salt. These beverages need copious amount of sugar to make them taste good because they are super-acidic. Without such massive amounts of sugar and artificial flavoring, soda pop would taste as bad is it is for you. Once you drink it, it ruins the taste of all other food. It also messes with your insulin levels, making you hungrier. Diet sodas are even worse because of the ill effects of artificial sweeteners.
After a month without drinking soda pop, you’ll probably drink more water (which is generally a good habit), and natural foods should taste better.
When you eliminate soda pop, you may find yourself eating healthier, and your body should show positive signs of this. I have had many overweight patients experience dramatic weight loss simply by no longer drinking soda and making water their beverage of choice.
I can’t tell you how many patients have expressed genuine surprise at how much better they feel by simply eliminating foods containing chemicals from their diet. I have heard countless times from patients of all sizes that avoiding processed foods and soda has given them so much more energy and stamina that they feel years younger.
In addition to the ill effects of soda pop I’ve already mentioned, research has also linked soda to osteoporosis in women (it causes the kidneys to urinate more calcium out of the blood).
Once you feel the benefits, hopefully this enables you to avoid pop forever. It takes at least three months for something to become a habit. Pop is addicting, so it may take even longer.
Drink water often and regularly
All tissues in our body need water. The amount of water in your body affects blood pressure, muscle tension, and joint and fascia lubrication. When you haven’t drunk enough water, you become dehydrated and may experience a headache, which is your body’s way of demanding that you drink more water.
To calculate how much water to drink daily, multiply your body weight by 1/2. That number indicates how many ounces of water you should drink in a day. For example, I weigh 130 pounds, so I should drink 65 ounces a day (130 x 0.5 = 65; close to eight 8-ounce glasses a day). Additionally, for every half an hour you exercise, you should add at least another 10 ounces.
If you drink black tea, coffee, and/or alcohol, you need to drink even more water. Tea, coffee, and alcohol actually dehydrate you because they interfere with your antidiuretic hormone (ADH).
The hypothalamus (a part of your brain) detects how much water is contained in your blood. If the water content is low, the hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland (the master gland of your body, also in the brain) to release ADH into your bloodstream. When the ADH reaches the kidneys, the hormone opens the kidneys tubules, so more water is reabsorbed into your blood (instead of urinating it out). After the water pressure is restored, the hypothalamus detects this and tells the pituitary gland to stop producing ADH. The ADH levels in the blood drop, and the tubules close down so more of the fluid flows out as urine. This negative feedback loop ensures that our blood holds the perfect amount of water.
Simply put, if you drink too much water, the body will urinate out the excess but keep a healthy amount in, as long as you eat and urinate as needed. As with anything you ingest, it is possible to overdose on water, but it would be difficult to do so. If you’re curious about this, you can google hyponatremia, a condition in which the blood contains too little salt because you have either not eaten enough salt or you have drunk too much water. I find most people are in a dehydrated state.
When you drink fluids like tea, coffee, and alcohol instead of water, ADH production goes down. This interferes with the regulation of water in the body, causing you to urinate out too much water, leading to dehydration. Dehydration has a nasty effect on one’s health, especially over the long term.
So, in any given day, for every ounce of alcohol and for every cup of tea or coffee you drink, you should drink at least 8 additional ounces of water.
Because I lead an active lifestyle and drink beverages that mess with my ADH, I try to drink at least three 32-ounce containers (96 ounces) of water a day.
Half the time, when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty. So, if you eat three healthy meals a day and you are still hungry, try drinking more water. If you have weight to lose, drinking more water is an easy way to get those extra pounds off. If you are still hungry after a meal, drinking water should make you feel full. Try drinking a cup of hot water with lemon in it to see if that satisfies you. It may save you from unnecessary caloric intake.
Remember, toxins are stored in our fat, so if you are losing fat, you are releasing these toxins into the blood. You can get sick if you are not able to flush them out. This is why drinking water not only aids weight loss but is so important when losing weight.
Warning: Excess water can be a problem too, especially if you are drinking more than 1.5 gallons a day. Too much water can cause you to flush out your electrolytes (much needed salts), negatively impact your blood sugar levels (diabetes insipidus), resulting in imbalances in your body. This is why it is important to have a healthcare professional help you determine your specific nutritional needs.
Then there is the question of whether to eat organic. I trust that my body is an amazing organism with the ability to detox, within reason. Research lacks evidence to show eating organic is healthier.
When it comes to vegetables, I am not too picky about them being organic. Even if product labels reliably indicated how well the farmer complied with the legal requirements to label foods “organic” and “environmentally sound,” I feel there is no such thing unless you grow them in your own garden.
Most of us do not have enough time, space, energy, or inclination to keep our own gardens, but if you do, eating fresh from the garden is clearly the best way to get your vegetables. Second to that is buying fresh local veggies at the farmers market or a store that sells local food; the less time there is between a food being harvested and you eating it, the more nutrients it provides. Plus, the closer your food source is, the less pollution created to transport it to you.
Because organic plants are not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, they have to make enzymes, chemicals, and proteins to survive, so organic foods have more nutrients per calorie.
Meat: To eat or not to eat, that is the question
When it comes to eating meat or other animal products, I am definitely stricter than I am when it comes to eating vegetables. Conventional meat found in grocery stores comes from animals that have eaten who-knows-what nasty foods, been injected with who-knows-how-many drugs and hormones and been subjected to who-knows-how-terrible conditions (filling their tissues with stress hormones). So, I choose not to eat it.
I also know many people who are vegan (they don’t eat any animal products, including milk or eggs) because it improves their health. I have heard how symptoms of psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, general joint pain, and other symptoms have resolved with a vegan diet.
I tried the vegan diet, but only lasted a few months. I just didn’t have the time to properly plan my meals to get the nutrients I needed. I reintroduced eggs and dairy and remained an ovo-lacto vegetarian for nine years. I still found it difficult with my active lifestyle to get the protein I needed. I ended up eating more carbohydrates than my body needed, and I had to take supplements for protein and iron (because I was becoming borderline anemic). I was heavier then and not as healthy. I am not saying it was not achievable; it was just not easy for me.
I was taught that eating red meat increases cholesterol levels, and all of my family members suffer with high cholesterol. Despite being vegetarian, my cholesterol was borderline high. I was very worried about how eating meat would affect my cholesterol level, but I was craving meat, so I honored my body’s signals.
I found safe, clean sources of meat and even started raising my own chickens and cattle. Now that I am eating lean, clean meat, my body is the leanest and healthiest it has ever been. Interestingly, my bad cholesterol level is lower than ever, and my good cholesterol is even higher, greatly lowering my risk of heart disease. I now believe that red meat is not a cause of high cholesterol, but the over-fed, hormone-injected, antibiotic-filled meat from stressed-out animals is bad for your cholesterol levels.
When I buy meat, I make sure it is organic and cage free. My favorite is from a local farmer who raises buffalo. It makes for very healthy and lean meat. I am sure you can find a butcher shop that knows its meat sources and can assure you of the animals’ living conditions, the quality of their food source, and that the farmers or ranchers don’t inject the animals with hormones or medications.
This includes fish. Farm-raised fish are fed corn (likely GMO corn), which leads them to make omega-6 fatty acids instead of the healthier omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, they have higher levels of toxins in their tissues. Researchers advise to not eat more than two servings of farm-raised salmon (versus eight servings of wild caught) a month.
Sadly, some lake fish are so toxic that you should not even eat these wild-caught fish. You can visit https://fishadvisoryonline.epa.gov/Advisories.aspx
for a national listing of fish consumption bans and advisories issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Remember, the more toxins you eat, the more leaky your gut becomes, allowing toxins to enter your blood. If the body cannot neutralize the toxins, it will store them in our fat cells until we are less toxic. If we are always toxic, we never empty these fat cells, making it very difficult to lose fat weight.
There has been much debate on whether people should take vitamins. If you are eating a healthy, varied, and whole-foods diet, you should be able to get all of your needed vitamins through your food. Unfortunately, most of our food is grown on over-farmed land (so the food produced on it is deficient in micronutrients), and it is genetically designed to look good and have a longer shelf life (not necessarily for its nutritional content or taste). Multiple studies are showing a decline in the nutrition found in vegetables and fruits.
One such study compared levels of nutrients from 1940 versus 1991 and found a decrease in copper by 76 percent and zinc by 59 percent in vegetables.
If you are deficient in vitamins and minerals, this directly affects your health as well as the health of your gut. For example, magnesium deficiency can lead to constipation.
Inversely, overdosing on vitamins and minerals (like calcium) can lead to constipation.
My general advice is to take a half dose of a multivitamin every day or two. That way, you are less likely to be deficient in anything without getting overdosed in anything.
Getting vitamins from the right source
If you are taking a multivitamin, make sure the vitamins are coming from a plant source. Plants build vitamins through complex biochemical processes that produce one specific biomolecule. When vitamins are produced in a lab, an unnatural form can be produced and included in the multivitamin.
For example, vitamin E has two forms of isomers: An L-alpha tocopherol and a D-alpha tocopherol. Isomers are chemicals that are the same but mirror images of each other. Sometimes this does not matter. For example, a cube is the same as its mirror image. But some shapes are such that the mirror image is different from the original. An example of this would be your hands. There is a left (L) and a right (D).
Vitamin E has a left and a right version. In the picture below, notice how the carbon cyclohexane (the circle of dots on the far right side of the molecule) points forward on the D version and points back on the L version.
Do you see that the mirror image is not the same as the original?
Only the right-hand version of vitamin E, D-alpha tocopherol, works in your body. To help you understand why one works and one doesn’t, even though they look similar, think of a lock and key. If the key is just a little bit different, it won’t work.
Consider the example of a high-tech lock that is opened by your unique right hand. Let’s say you can only open it by inserting your right hand, palm down, so it can read your fingerprints. Your left hand wouldn’t be able to open it. Even if your left hand had the exact same fingerprints as your right hand, it still wouldn’t be able to open the lock because the fingerprints would be in the wrong order.
That is what happens with the left and right vitamin E. The right one works, but the left one does not. An easy way to remember this is “L is for liar.”
Look at your vitamin label. If it says the vitamin E is dl-alpha tocopherol, it has the unnatural form of vitamin E as well as the natural version (hence the d and the l). In my opinion, you should throw this away. Look for a multivitamin that has the d-alpha tocopherol (not the dl-alpha tocopherol) instead.
Eat nutrient-rich foods
Most foods on grocery store shelves today are high in calories and low in nutrients. This means we have to ingest more calories to get the nutrients we need. Our bodies need certain compounds, like amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, and so on. We can’t make these compounds from other compounds; that is why you must make sure they are in the foods you eat. If you do not eat them, you will become deficient and negatively affect your health. This is why we develop cravings. An extreme example of this is geophagy, the craving to eat dirt, as your body goes on the hunt for much-needed nutrients.
If you eat processed foods like potato chips, granola bars, or sugary cereals, you are eating items that are loaded with salt and/or sugar, satisfying your taste buds but not your body’s nutritional needs. So your satisfaction is short lived.
If you eat nutrient-rich foods, you will be more satisfied for longer and not require as much food. This leads to reducing your caloric intake and results in a healthier size for you.
Again, try reducing your salt and sugar levels, and after a few weeks, you should be able to taste the salt and sugar in items you never could before. Nutrient-rich foods you used to think tasted plain or even bad should start tasting better.
 Siri-Tarino et al., “Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fat with Cardiovascular Disease,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
 Swithers, Ogden, and Davidson, “Fat Substitutes,” Behavioral Neuroscience.
 Mahmood et al., “Health Effects of Soda Drinking in Adolescent Girls,” Journal of Critical Care; Tucker et al., “Low Bone Mineral Density in Older Women,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
 Dangor et al., “Nutrition-Related Health Effects of Organic Foods,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
 Indiana University, "Farmed Salmon More Toxic Than Wild Salmon, Study Finds," ScienceDaily.
 David, “Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition,” HortScience.
 Mineral Resources International. “A Study on the Mineral Depletion of the Foods.”
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Chapter 9: SMOKING AND WEIGHT LOSS
IF YOU ARE SMOKING to curb your appetite or provide something other than food to give you oral satisfaction, I hope you read this short chapter.
You already know cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco contain toxic chemicals. You also probably know that smoking is the number one risk factor for lung disease (COPD, emphysema, and cancer), heart disease, and stroke.
What you may not know about smoking
Did you know that smoking causes peripheral arterial disease? This condition can damage the blood supply to the limbs so badly that they have to be amputated.
Why am I concerned about this as a chiropractor? I have had a few patients who came to me with several severe disc herniations. They were so bad that I referred them to a surgeon, only to find out they could not have surgery. Sadly, they were not candidates for disc surgery because their smoking had caused so much damage to the blood supply to the discs that it limited their success of healing from surgery.
So, instead, they suffered for several months while I worked with them to get them well enough for their surgery. To save the function of their nerves, they quit smoking and did physical therapy daily for months. They had to take strong narcotics to help with the pain. They suffered through all of this to finally be well enough to have surgery (which required additional months to heal.) Interestingly, some healed well enough to not even need surgery. Those patients’ experiences prove how well the body can heal when a healthier lifestyle is adopted.
I hope you do not smoke. Sadly, I know of patients who are afraid to quit smoking because they are afraid they will gain weight if they do.
Release your weight AND Aim to be a healthier and happier you!
With that said, you can stop smoking and keep your weight off. You can even lose weight after quitting. You can do so by taking one small step at a time.
Let’s go through the small (but many) steps it takes to go from an unhealthy body to a healthy one.
Chapter 10: DON’T DIET…FOREVER LIVE-IT
SO HOW DID I LOSE my excess fat after gaining it in college?
I did not do a diet—I did a FOREVER LIVE-IT.
What does that mean?
I didn’t grossly restrict what I could eat. I did not dare diet because I had witnessed many of my family members diet, fall of the wagon, and have their weight yo-yo as a result.
I didn’t think about getting thin; I just wanted to be healthy. So, I just started eating in a healthier way. I ate in a way that I knew I could eat for the rest of my life. Lucky for me, I already had good exercise habits; I just had to modify my caloric intake to match the caloric burn.
The problem with dieting is that you lose weight when you follow the diet, but then you regain the weight (if not more weight than you lost) once you stop.
Diets are not sustainable at best and lower your metabolism at their worst!
Good news: The body is very forgiving. Thank goodness! My poor body has been through a lot, from being deathly thin to borderline obese, and yet I am healthy and happy today.
I have come up with three stages to help others find their FOREVER LIVE-IT. But before you start with my stages that will walk you through your path to a healthy body, you have to find your WHY.
WHY do you want to get fit and tighten your body?
If you don’t have a strong WHY to fuel your passion for being well, you risk burning out.
I have a ton of strong WHYs. I have to stay strong to do the job I love. I want to be a fun grandma one day. Honestly, my biggest WHY is that I want to look good for my husband. I’ll be honest—it’s a great ego boost when your husband still finds you sexy after twenty years of being together.
If you have a strong WHY, it is easier to not eat the extra calories. When food is put in front of me, I always ask myself, is it worth it? Sometimes it is, but usually it isn’t.
So, before you read the next chapter, write down your WHY in big letters on a page.
Title it: My WHY i choose to live a healthy lifestyle
Now tape it to your bathroom mirror so you see it at least every morning and night. It is helpful to have that daily reminder.
Now that you have that accomplished, let’s talk about the details of finding your personal FOREVER LIVE-IT, your pathway to a better body, a better you!
Chapter 11: HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HELP
THE CHANGES suggested in this book to help you obtain a healthier and happier you are small and doable on your own, but you will more likely stick to your FOREVER LIVE-IT if you start this lifestyle change by doing it with a friend or a group.
Why? Because most of us feel more accountable when we know a friend or group of people expects us to stick to a program.
Think about starting a Facebook group or other social media group to hold yourself and others accountable, provide moral support, share success stories, and have a platform to discuss hurdles you experience.
Chapter 12: FIRST TWO WEEKS OF YOUR JOURNEY TO A HEALTHIER YOU
TO start your FOREVER LIVE-IT, you need just three things: a pen, a sheet of paper, and a pad of sticky notes. Before you continue reading this book, have these items ready!
The following chapters walk you through a path that will help you achieve the healthier, stronger, tighter body you want.
Each step to a healthier you is simple, maybe not easy, but IS DOABLE
It is super-important that you take each step at a pace you can maintain. It took me a decade to develop healthy habits and kick my bad habits.
Remember to give yourself the time it takes to make permanent changes.
First, let me warn you. The steps in the book are simple, but not always easy. Before you start, write down every eating habit that you feel is stopping you from having the body you want.
What eating habit is stopping you from releasing your weight?
If you have weight to lose or need to firm up your body, the easiest thing to start with is to take one bad thing out of your caloric intake. If you drink soda, stop! Sugary drinks? Stop! Just drink water. Half the time when you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. If you stay hydrated, you will curb a lot of your cravings.
Don’t read any further until you write down a list of every habit that is negatively impacting your health.
Did you know one of the biggest obstacles to permanent lifestyle changes is procrastination?
Did you finish writing your list?
In writing this list right now, in this moment, you are already on your way to making a change!
This is a great first step on your new path to wellness!
Write down: List of habits that are negatively impacting my health:" and then start writing down things you know you need to change.
Now look at your list and pick one thing you think you can stop doing. Maybe you eat too much bread. Take bread out of your diet for a couple weeks.
At this level, it doesn’t matter what it is, just stop one bad eating habit for at least two weeks. If you can do that, you are already on your path to a better body.
Remember, the goal of following this advice is not to lose weight quickly, but to lose weight permanently.
And maybe this is as far as you are willing to go with your dietary changes. That is fine. Remember, it is more important to love yourself and love your life. Just eating a little less and moving a little more will change your body for the better.
Preparing your body for the healthy transformation
If you have not been eating healthy, chances are you have an unhealthy gut. Remember, an unhealthy leaky gut allows toxins in, making it difficult to lose fat.
To prepare your body to slim down, you need to heal your gut.
The first step in healing a leaking gut is taking colostrum.
Colostrum is the first food we eat when we are born. It is nature’s way of supplying a newborn with the nutrients the baby needs as it shifts from getting nourishment from the womb to getting nourishment from breast milk and eventually food. It provides food for the good bugs a healthy digestion system needs.
How does colostrum help you heal your gut and keep it healthy?
Colostrum has immunoglobulins, growth factors and more properties to help the newborn heal from any injuries sustained from the exposure to pathogens after being in a protected environment of the womb.
Just like newborns, it can help the lining of the gastro-intestinal tract heal from the trauma of toxic food and can help restore a healthy balanced flora.
How to take colostrum?
To help heal your gut, take colostrum first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Then wait at least 20 minutes after taking your colostrum to eat breakfast. During this time, do your morning routines (like wash your face, take a shower, do your hair) before having breakfast.
Then take another dose of colostrum just before you go to bed. Make sure you do not eat at least 2 hours before taking your colostrum at night. Not snacking at night is another good habit to get into for weight loss.
I prefer the colostrum from Sovereign Laboratories. http://www.sovereignlaboratories.com
A full dose of colostrum from Sovereign Laboratories is two teaspoons twice a day. You may have to build up to this dosage, as any change, good or bad, can upset your digestion and cause diarrhea.
I personally take colostrum every day because I am not perfect and sometimes I eat foods that are not the healthiest for my gut. Taking colostrum does not give me license to eat these foods frequently, but it repairs my gut for the rare occasion that I eat such foods.
I have had many patients notice an improvement, not only in their bowel health, but in their joints, their energy levels, and their waist circumference.
To learn more about them, their product, and how it can help you, check out this 3-minute video:
To learn more about colostrum, CLICK HERE.
If you take colostrum daily and eat a little healthier, you will probably see changes to your body. But even if you don’t, you will be in a better condition to start Stage One of your FOREVER LIVE-IT.
Chapter 13: STAGE ONE (after the first two weeks)
IF YOU ARE reading this chapter, you recognize you may not have the healthiest eating habits and are interested in seeing what benefits small changes will make to your health.
First, start slow, and try these three small things over the next month or two.
One: Increase your water intake
Remember, you can calculate how much water to drink by multiplying your body weight by half (1/2)). The result is the number of ounces you should drink in a day. For example, I am close to 130 pounds, so I should drink approximately 65 ounces a day (130 x 1/2 = 65). Now, for every half an hour you exercise, you should add at least 10 ounces.
If you feel hungry, and it’s not mealtime, drink a large glass of water. For some, cold is better. For me, I do a nice cup of hot water with a splash of lemon and a dash of honey. This does not count toward my daily intake of 65 ounces of water. You can’t count water that has any sugar in it. If you drink black tea, coffee, and/or alcohol, you need to drink even more water. Tea, coffee, and alcohol dehydrate you because they mess with your antidiuretic hormone (ADH), as mentioned in Chapter 8.
Between that and the highly active lifestyle, I try to drink at least 96 ounces (three 32-ounce containers) of water a day.
Two: Add these two supplements and take out this one thing
Not having regular bowel movements can affect your weight. Bowel health is very important for general health. If your bowels are not regular, your ability to absorb nutrients is affected, making you crave more foods to get the nutrients you need. You will be vulnerable to absorbing simple carbs, which go straight to your fat cells; yet your body will still be craving nutrients, making you even hungrier.
For a healthier gut, try taking a digestive enzyme with your heaviest meal of the day. A digestive enzyme breaks down food into particulates, so you can better absorb the nutrients you need and poop out the waste. This helps curb cravings and keeps your midsection slimmer because you are not as bloated or full of fecal material.
Probiotics are the live good bugs you need in your gut to keep it healthy. It is important to have a healthy gut to have a healthy body. Studies have found that the flora in thin people are different than those in obese people. Some probiotics, like Akkermansia muciniphila, have been shown to support weight loss. Interestingly, the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus was found to aid weight loss in women only.
It is best to take a full spectrum probiotic during a meal but not at the same time as your digestive enzyme. You don’t want your digestive enzyme eating away at your good bugs! I take a digestive enzyme if I eat out, and I take my probiotics first thing in the morning, so I don’t forget to take them! I need them for more than just the health of my gut!
This may be difficult but try to avoid processed foods. The sooner you clean out your diet, the sooner you will be healthier for it.
It’s simple but not easy. Look at the labels of the food you buy at the store. Stop buying foods that have a long list of questionable ingredients. Try foods that are natural. If you love ice cream, buy real ice cream where the ingredients are simply milk, sugar, and natural flavors. You can even buy potato chips that are natural. You should be able to find most of the foods you love in a more natural form. You will likely be paying more for less quantity, which is sad, but you will be healthier for it because the food will be of better quality. Your grocery bill may even end up about the same because you should be eating less when you switch to eating higher nutrient foods.
Less foods = Less calories = Inches off your waist
Three: Don’t eat 3 hours before you go to bed!
This step is very important! Most of a person’s “snacking” time takes place at night. Again, load up on water! Yes, you may have to go to the bathroom frequently, but your body will adapt to this new pattern.
Do not be discouraged by this. The focus at this stage is about making these healthier changes permanent lifestyle changes. It may take you months for these baby steps to become habit. Do not move to Stage Two until all the steps in Stage One are done with ease, naturally. There is a reason diets fail. It is easy to make changes, but it takes a long time for these changes to become habit. Some say it takes at least 90 days! This is why the 30-day diets just don’t stick.
Recapping the baby steps of Stage One:
1. Drink enough water.
2. Take an enzyme with your heaviest meal, take a probiotic with a different meal and avoid chemicals.
3. Don’t eat three hours before you go to bed.
If I haven’t scared you off yet, then we are off to a good start!
 Silvers, “Best Probiotics for Weight Loss in Women,” Probiotics Center.
Chapter 14: STAGE TWO
DO NOT BE discouraged if you are not noticing any changes yet. Remember, this is a super-slow process, aimed to change and heal you from the inside out.
Maybe you have fewer aches and pains and are breathing easier, sleeping better, etc. Maybe not. But if you are drinking more water and not eating right before going to bed, you are healthier for these changes!
Now that your insides are a little healthier, it should be safe to introduce some form of movement, if not exercise… But don’t worry. The goal here is to keep it light and fun. Stage Two should give you the bigger changes you likely want.
Step One: Make sure you are getting enough sleep!
Remember, good sleep is a big part of good health. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will be too tired to exercise and make good food choices. For more information about good sleep habits, flip back to Chapter 5.
Step Two: Find some kind of activity you like to do
I don’t care what type of physical activity it is. It could be walking your dog, playing pickle ball, jumping on a mini-trampoline, dancing, bowling—I would even be happy if you watch a comedy that makes you laugh out loud (yes – that is exercise).
The deal is, you have to do something fun that is physical every day. Even if it is just for 5 minutes. But do not do anything for more than 20 minutes (for now). You are at risk of burning out if you sign up for hour-long workouts, especially if you have to drive 15-plus minutes there and back!
Remember, this is a baby step. The goal is to help you find your healthy weight for the long run.
I know too many people who signed up for a “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” work-out program and end up getting hurt so they can’t exercise at all!
Give yourself a good two weeks of doing 5 to 20 minutes of exercise a day. Or get a personal trainer sensitive to your needs. It takes time to develop some strength.
Think of this time as your medicine. Keep a calendar in your bathroom where you check off every day that you take your 5-to-20-minute “medicine.”
It may take you a few days to a few months to get into a routine of doing 20 minutes of daily home exercise.
For examples of exercises to do at home, CLICK HERE and then click on a region.
Once you feel more comfortable in your body and well enough to work out in a class setting, you are ready for Step Two.
Step Three: Sign up for a class that involves physical activity
Why? Because most people work out more intensely in a group setting. We are held more accountable to show up and work out.
But take only one class a week! That way your body has a full week to recover from the demands of an unfamiliar exercise. Plus, you need to continue to exercise 5 to 20 minutes a day at home to maintain the gains you get from your once-a-week exercise class.
What type of class should you take?
That is a personal decision. For me, it changes. One year it was yoga, then rock climbing, then salsa dancing, then pole fit (a primitive form of exercise where all you need is a vertical pole), and now I have added ARX (a new-aged, high-tech, computer-controlled, motorized resistance form of exercise). I will continue to change the physical activity I do every year because I get bored easily. I like learning new things, which motivates me to have perfect attendance when I enroll in a class.
Others do better to stick with one class for years because they prefer to go to a class where they have made friends and know the routine.
Whatever class you take, make sure you take the time to stretch, especially afterward. When you are strengthening your muscles, you don’t want them to get tighter with time. Tight muscles are vulnerable to injury (because their fibers break instead of bend when under stress).
It is possible to harm your body when doing any form of exercise. However, if done correctly, strengthening your body reduces the likelihood of injury. If you are naturally flexible, be especially careful when stretching. Most instructors are used to helping students whose muscles are overly tight, and I have found that naturally flexible people are more likely to be harmed by exercises like yoga because they tend to go too deep into a pose. Yoga can still be helpful but strengthening classes like Pilates tend to be more beneficial for such patients.
Regardless of what class you take, make sure you find a good instructor who can cater to your specific needs, modify the exercises to accommodate your condition, and keep it fun.
Start with a class with few other students so the instructor can give you more individual attention. Let the instructor know you are new. I prefer instructors who lay their hands on the attendees to assist them in correctly getting into position and firing the correct muscle groups. As the instructor guides you, she should pay attention to your specific limitations and modify the exercise or stretch as necessary. Exercises like that in Figure 14.3 can hurt your back if you don’t have the core strength for it.
My general advice for people starting an exercise (whether they are new to it, or if it has been a while since they took a work out class) is to attempt the exercises and stretches at 60 percent of your perceived ability. Over time, your 60 percent will be what your 100 percent would have been when you first started.
If you are straining, you are likely straining your back, so stop. If you hurt yourself, you will not be able to continue with the exercise while you heal, and it only takes seven days for muscles to atrophy, let alone weaken. Working out after an injury makes one prone to injury because they may exercise in a way they have done in the past, but no longer have the same strength as they had in the past and end up pulling a muscle, repeating the cycle.
This is why I tell people to start at 60% of their perceived ability, whether they are new to the exercise or if it has just been a while. Slow and steady wins the race. If you go too fast from the start, you may end up having to start all over because of an injury. Then it will take longer to get to your goal.
Let yourself open like a rose in the sun. If you force the rose petals open, they will break!
I would rather you pace yourself into a lifetime of exercise than burn out after a few months and fall back into your old unhealthy habits.
Recapping Stage Two:
Step One: Get enough sleep!
Step Two: Find a physical activity you like to do and do it every day for 5 to 20 minutes.
Step Three: Take an exercise class at least once a week.
If you follow this for a few months and are happy with how you are feeling, this maybe as far as you need to go.
If after taking an exercise class at least once a week for three months, keeping up with your daily exercise, and sleeping well you are still not seeing the results you desire, then to do so, you need to take it up a notch. Read Stage Three and do what appeals to you. See how attainable and sustainable it is to do and enjoy how your body responds.
Chapter 15: STAGE THREE (after many months)
BY NOW I hope you have noticed some small changes if not great changes in your body. For many people, Stage Two is as far as they need to go. Doing the steps in Stage Two will allow you to slowly transform over time and become healthier and happier.
When reading this chapter, decide what you can do, and do it. You will be healthier for it. If it doesn’t appeal to you, that is OK. You are already doing better than you were before. Keep it up!
If you want to have a more athletic body without going to the gym every day, here is how I do it.
First, let me disclose that my body is not perfect. I do not have the body of a body builder. That would be Stage Four, and even I am not willing to take my healthy habits that far. I love food too much, and body building is not on my list of fun things to do.
If you enjoy working out for several hours a day at a gym, great. If that is fun for you, then more power to you. It’s just not for me.
I keep my body in better shape than most people by sneaking in exercises throughout the day.
I have a pull-up bar in the doorway of my master bathroom, and I do pull-ups, chin-ups, or knee-ups every time I go to the bathroom.
I do lunges while I brush my teeth.
I do pushups and handstands throughout the day.
I run 2 miles a couple times a week (this workout takes me only 25 minutes with the warm-up and cool down because I don’t have to drive anywhere to do it).
Recently, I got a fitness pole installed in my house so I could spend 20 minutes every other day doing inversions.
I have a yoga trapeze hanging outside, and I use it in the warmer weather.
I salsa dance on any weekend it is available (though not as often as I would like).
I minimize the amount of time I spend in front of a television. We don’t have cable, but we do have Netflix and rent movies, so I put a yoga mat in front of the TV to remind me to stretch while watching it.
I do all of this so I don’t have to diet. I eat three meals a day (or two large meals with one snack).
I don’t count calories, but I do minimize how many bad carbs I eat. I don’t worry about good carbs like vegetables. Otherwise, I avoid simple carbs (bread and potatoes) as if every bite means another inch to the waist. I even treat fruit like they are my treats.
If someone puts a pizza or pie in front of my face, I eat it. I enjoy every bite of it and don’t stress about calories or unhealthy ingredients. I trust my body will absorb the good and poop out the bad. I take a digestive enzyme to help my body digest the food and then resume my active lifestyle.
I avoid processed foods. They have too many mysterious ingredients that does who knows what to your body.
The Rotation Diet
I like this “diet” because it ensures that you get a variety of foods. This diet lessens your likelihood of developing food sensitivities (a growing problem in our culture).
It has one simple rule: Whenever you eat something, you can’t eat it again for four consecutive days. The reasoning is that if one of the items triggers your symptom(s), it will be out of your digestive tract before you get re-exposed. Plus, if you can’t eat the same food for four days, it forces you to increase the variety of foods in your diet.
Think about that. How many times have you eaten the same food for a week or more? How much variety do you really have in your diet? If you eat the same types of foods all the time, you will likely develop sensitivity to those foods. Studies suggest you need to eat dozens of different types of vegetables to maintain a healthy gut flora (the naturally occurring bacteria in your intestines, which are imperative to a healthy immune system).
My advice is, if you make a big meal, freeze the leftovers and eat only one serving of it, at most, a week.
Another thing I like about this diet is that, in a short time, you have to start hunting the vegetable aisle for something you haven’t eaten in four days. Instead of repeatedly eating cucumbers, celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, you’ll now try kale, leeks, radishes, spinach, water chestnuts, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, red beets, squash, and more! More diversity is more interesting for your diet and healthier for your system.
Thoughts on detoxing cleanses
I am not a fan of cleanses because I feel they are too harsh on the system, and I don’t want to risk messing with my metabolism or healthy gut flora. A cleanse starves and wipes out the good bugs along with the bad.
I work long hours at a physically intense job, so if I don’t have time for a meal at lunch, having a veggie drink or a handful of nuts is enough of a mini cleanse for me.
Again, this works for me. Everyone is an individual. Find what works for you. Listen to your inner guru. Your body knows what is best for it. Learn to hear its wisdom.
If you suffer from constipation and have a history of unhealthy eating, a cleanse may be a good idea for you. If you do a cleanse, do so under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
The 5:2 Diet
It simply is not natural to sit down and have three full, rich meals every day.
The 5:2 diet suggests eating less than 500 calories a day twice a week (not successively). I believe this diet does work because it does a mini cleanse of the body and resets your full button.
After reading about this diet, I realized I have naturally followed it because of my busy schedule. I do not follow it strictly, but I usually eat less than I burn a couple days a week.
To learn more about this diet, check out
Follow the seasons
Not only is it unnatural to eat three large meals a day, it is unnatural to eat fresh greens in the winter. Some diets encourage people to eat with the seasons, where you eat nuts and meat in the winter, sprouts in the spring, vegetables and fruits in the summer, and slowly transition back to nuts and meat through the fall. This is a viable eating plan.
To learn more, check out:
Final thoughts on food
You have learned unsettling information about food. How unnatural vitamins are bad for you. That our food contains preservatives, hormones, pesticides, and herbicides we need to avoid. That we need plentiful clean water to be healthy. But the number one priority to remember is: Do not stress about it.
Stress is the number one cause of “dis-ease.” I try not to be too strict about my diet (my friends may laugh at this statement, but believe me, I could be much stricter about my food than I am). Ultimately, it is more important to enjoy life every day because you never know how much or little time you have left.
You can live perfectly well and still become ill, especially if you are stressed. Too many of my yoga-practicing, vegetarian, organic-eating friends have succumbed to cancer, while I know people who have smoked for years and are either still alive and cancer free or died of something unrelated to their smoking habit, like a car accident.
Sometimes your longevity and health come down to the luck of the genes you were born with or random environmental exposure or stress that triggers unhealthy expression of your genes. The fact that I don’t know how long I’ll live or what will cause my death does not give me license to cultivate bad habits but living stress-free means that sometimes I must throw caution to the wind and simply enjoy the food in front of me, the company of my friends, and life in general. Control what you can and give yourself the freedom to enjoy what you can’t.
 Drisko et al., “Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” Journal of American College of Nutrition; Abu-Shanab, and Quigley, “The Role of the Gut Microbiota.” Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
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Chapter 16: HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS
IF YOUR APPETITE is truly larger than your stomach and you are hungry all the time, here are some supplements to consider that may help.
CBD oil (aka hemp oil) for weight loss
The health properties of hemp have been known for millennia. Hemp oil contains cannabinoids (CBD), which is a natural appetite suppressant. You can get CBD oil (hemp oil) without THC oil (the part of hemp that causes the high associated with smoking marijuana).
CBD is a natural appetite suppressant
CBD oil will boost your metabolism, but it is not a stimulant or suppressant. If the nerves in the brain are deficient in CBD, they will not only not function well, but they will crave the nutrients they need to function well. CBD will satisfy this need, decreasing your appetite and indirectly affecting hunger.
CBD also directly affects your appetite. Just like THC causes the munchies associated with marijuana, CBD has an opposite effect.
A healthier body allows your body to be better in tune with its needs, so it can better sense when it is hungry or full and eat accordingly. This is why CBD can be used for weight loss as well as for eating disorders like anorexia.
Bonus: CBD is good for us!
Every cell in your body has a need for cannabinoids to function well. When you are not eating well and are stressed out, sleep deprived, etc., your supply of cannabinoids diminishes. When your cells are deficient in cannabinoid, they are unwell, making them vulnerable to disease and leading you to be in a diseased state (insomnia, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, cancer, etc.). Supplying a body deficient in cannabinoids with CBD enables cells to recover and be well again. This is why the effects of ingesting cannabinoids range from not much noticeable change to miraculous healing.
CBD and sleep
I know I said this in Chapter 5, can’t stress enough how important good sleep is for maintaining a healthy weight!
I personally experienced a huge improvement in my sleep with taking CBD. How does CBD affect sleep yet can be used to help you feel good (not sleepy) during the day
The hypothalamus is the brain’s clock with a switch to turn sleep on or off. If the hypothalamus is deficient in CBD, it cannot work properly.
Your sleep cycle is like a pendulum swinging. A healthy hypothalamus swings you from fully asleep to fully awake. If the pendulum is not lubricated well, it can get stuck in the middle instead of swinging freely from awake to asleep.
A CBD-deficient hypothalamus is like a sticky pendulum that can’t swing you freely from asleep to alert, but instead barely swings you from tired to half asleep.
CBD also directly affects adenosine receptors, which play a role in being awake or asleep (remember, adenosine is the chemical produced by the brain when you are awake). Better functioning adenosine receptors make for a brain that is better able to receive adenosine and stay awake, keeping up the momentum of the sleep cycle.
Plus, CBD lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Lower stress makes for better sleep as well. Again, better sleep and low stress are both imperative to maintaining a healthy weight.
To learn more about how to improve your sleep, CLICK HERE.
You can check out all of my books at my amazon author page:
CBD and insulin
CBD activates a receptor called PPAR gamma in cells; PPAR gamma makes cells more responsive to insulin. With a better responsiveness to insulin, the body does not have to make as much insulin to control sugar. Less insulin means less fat storage, especially in the belly.
Studies suggest that those who take CBD have 16 percent lower fasting insulin than those who don’t. This may be due to a direct effect on insulin, and/or its ability to reduce inflammation, with improved insulin resistance, which improves type 2 diabetes.
Regardless, CBD positively affects the body’s ability to make and respond to insulin, which positively affects hunger and reduces sugar cravings. All of this naturally decreases one’s hunger.
I have seen people lose more than 30 pounds by simply using CBD oil with no other weight loss plan.
In addition to containing CBD, hemp oil naturally contains THC (tetra-hydrocannabinol), the chemical that produces the high associated with smoking marijuana.
THC is the yin to the yang of CBD. THC complicates the interactions of the CBD oil in the body and may result in undesirable effects, especially if you suffer from insomnia. THC can rev up the nervous system and impair sleep.
THC is also the chemical responsible for the munchies associated with marijuna use, the last effect you want when you are trying to lose inches from your waist.
Good news: You can get hemp oil that is free of THC. I personally prefer Purx7 Hemp Oil available at Zilis.com. Not only does Purx7 offer hemp oil free of THC, but the company also solved another problem with hemp oil.
 Kirkham, “Cannabinoids and Appetite,” International Review of Psychiatry; Sherma et al, “Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Eating Disorders,” Current Pharmaceutical Design.
 Kim and Ahn, “Role of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-γ,” Diabetes.
 Diabetes.co.uk, “CBD Compound in Cannabis Could Treat Diabetes, Researchers Suggest.”
Other therapeutic oils that may help
Essential oils are pure oils extracted from plants through a distillation process.
When ingesting essential oils, make sure you are getting them from a reputable source that uses organic plant material. A drop of essential oil can come from a pound of plant material. If that pound of plant material has not been cleaned properly, or if it was sprayed with toxic chemicals, this amounts to concentrating the toxic substance in just a drop of oil.
If you will be consuming the oil, make sure the product has been approved for internal consumption. If it hasn’t been, do not use the oil. Even topically, the toxins can enter the bloodstream through the skin.
Oils to consider for weight loss
Essential oil of cinnamon for sugar cravings
Cinnamon helps stabilize your sugar cravings. Plus, cinnamon is great to use to flavor your foods instead of using calorie-filled flavorings.
Essential oil of ginger for digestive health
Essential oil of ginger contains gingerols, which decrease inflammation in your intestines. Healthier intestines mean better absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Better absorption means fewer calories ingested per nutrients absorbed. This leads to less hunger because your cells are getting the nutrients they need from less food.
Essential oil of peppermint for appetite suppression
Essential oil of peppermint is good for both appetite suppression and reducing bloating during digestion.
Essential oil of fennel for digestive health
Essential oil of fennel has melatonin, which curbs appetite and is generally good for digestive health. Note: Eating fennel seed bread is a great way to reduce indigestion and flatulence.
Essential oil of grapefruit
Essential oil of grapefruit contains nootkatone, which increases your metabolism to help burn fat.
Warning: Grapefruit has potentially deadly interactions with some medications (like Tylenol).
Further warning, like other citrus fruits, essential oil of grapefruit can cause you to be super-sensitive to the sun, making your skin more vulnerable to sunburns. I had a patient who ingested a drop or two of grapefruit oil daily to help with weight loss, and her skin erupted in hives where is was exposed to the sun. Her dermatologist, who did not know about this daily practice, thought she had either a bacterial or fungal infection or an allergic reaction, so the dermatologist prescribed a topical antibiotic, an antifungal, and a steroid - which can cause weight gain!
After the patient had several conversations with me, I discovered this missing piece of information. She stopped taking the essential oils, and her face and arms cleared of this unsightly inflamed redness, enabling her to stop taking all three prescription drugs!
Supplements that can help
What follows is a list of supplements that you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about to see if they are appropriate for you to consider during your journey to a healthier you.
Check to see if you are iron deficient. If so, iron deficiency can negatively impact your thyroid levels and weight. If low, taking iron can help. Again, make sure the iron you take is absorbable. I use Floradix for my iron supplement when I get anemic (low in iron).
Iodine ensures thyroid production and raises metabolism.
Chromium picolinate may be an option for those suffering with sugar metabolism.
Raspberry ketones help break down fat.
Berberine is a yellow herb that, when taken in small doses throughout the day, helps with insulin sensitivity in addition to having other positive effects on the body. If you wake up hungry in the middle of the night, or if you eat too much before going to bed (which negatively impacts sleep), talk to your doctor about berberine. It may help with your cravings.
Caffeine can boost metabolism, but high doses affect the quality of your sleep and can increase anxiety and cause diarrhea. Not a supplement of my choice.
Hydroxycut is the most popular weight loss supplement in the world (it contains caffeine), but most medications are ineffective on their own and are not a long-term solution.
I cannot stress enough: Pills, natural or not, are not healthy long-term solutions. You need to find your FOREVER LIVE-IT!!!
If you diet, you will lose weight, but you can only maintain that new weight if you stay on that diet. The moment you go off that diet, the weight will come back, often more than the original amount you lost.
Find your FOREVER LIVE-IT! The lifestyle you choose to live, the food you eat, the amount of sleep and exercises you maintain, all of it results in your body being a certain way. As long as you maintain that lifestyle, you will have that body. The moment you change your lifestyle, your body will change too, for good or bad.
 Murase et al., “Nootkatone, a Characteristic Constituent of Grapefruit,” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Chapter 17: TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE PRESCRIPTION WEIGHT LOSS PILLS
IF YOU TAKE WEIGHT LOSS PILLS to help you lose weight, this chapter is for you. Almost every one of my books contains a chapter on the negative health effects of taking prescription medication that treats a symptom (like pain, insomnia, or weight gain).
I often hear from new patients that they take weight loss pills that I know are not healthy in the long run. If the patient has a medical condition, like hypothyroidism, that leads to weight gain, the medication can work wonders.
But for patients who use stimulants or other weight loss medication, the negative health costs often outweigh the benefits of the weight loss.
Sometimes the medication for a different condition is the root cause of a patient’s weight gain. Steroids, beta blockers, pain medications, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and other prescription drugs often cause weight gain. If you are on such a prescription, talk to your doctor about substituting with a weight-healthy medication where possible, and look for lifestyle changes that will help minimize, if not negate, your need for such a prescription.
After my patients learn to move their body more often throughout the day, eat healthier, avoid their personal food triggers, and get into a regular nighttime routine, they often find they no longer need to take medication for their condition(s), and the weight falls off after their doctor agrees they can get off the medication.
I hope the advice in this book helps you feel well enough that you no longer need your medication!
Finding better solutions
So how do you balance the benefits of weight loss that stimulants offer with their potential harmful effects? Honestly, you can’t. If you are taking stimulants regularly, stop!
If you are suffering from obesity, find the root cause and treat it through diet, stretches, exercises, meditation, and other psychological tools instead of chemically forcing weight loss. This approach is far healthier in the long run.
Yes, your weight loss will be slower, but tough it out. Once your body re-acclimates to a healthier lifestyle, you will see changes in your body, and even if you don’t get down to the weight you want to, you will be healthier and stronger. Your happiness does not come from your outside shape; it comes from inside your body, from your mind and spirit.
To learn more about the drawbacks of taking stimulants, check out http://darksideofstimulants.com
This is where it is important to have a medical doctor who is knowledgeable in nutrition. Generally speaking, this would be a medical doctor who practices in functional medicine.
Chapter 20: WHY SEE A CHIROPRACTOR WHEN TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT?
SOME PEOPLE CONTEND THAT chiropractic medicine is less valid or less advanced than other forms of medicine, or that chiropractors are just neck and back pain doctors. This is not true. It is sad to me that many people still consider chiropractic an “alternative” medicine or think that chiropractors just treat neck or back pain.
Chiropractors are primary care physicians who have as many years of education as a medical doctor. It only takes months to learn how to adjust, but years to learn differential diagnosis. A chiropractor knows when not to manipulate, when to refer a patient to someone else, and which specialist the patient should be referred to, if need be.
There is little mystery on why chiropractic works. It has been scientifically studied for its efficacy and economy for decades. Chiropractors can help with so much more than neck and back pain.
Chiropractors have more education in nutrition, anatomy, differential diagnostics, and imaging than medical doctors do. A medical doctor’s education is filled with pharmacology, which chiropractors study minimally.
Medication versus chiropractic
When you seek medical treatment, a medical doctor typically treats you with a drug, whereas a chiropractor can help you find a way to heal (or lose weight) without using medication.
There is a reason medications require a prescription. I have had many patients who suffered terribly after taking just a few doses of a new medication prescribed by their doctor. Some of their more common side effects have included chronic pain, hormone imbalance, weight gain, and depression, all of which affect weight loss.
Serious negative side effects are real and do occur. This is why I strongly believe that if you have the time to see if the natural route works for you, you should pursue it. Medicine is better suited for critical ailments when you do not have the time to allow your body to heal itself, or if your body needs to be supplemented for a failing organ. To use medicine for anything else is unhealthy in the long run.
If you can get better with chiropractic treatment and lifestyle changes, those approaches are better than turning to a pill. If you go the prescription route for weight loss, you are not solving the problem. You’re masking it and preventing yourself from reaching your goal while the medication’s efficacy wanes.
Starting with chiropractic
If you suffer from excess weight, chiropractors can help you determine the root cause of it. They will treat you and/or refer you to another healthcare practitioner if necessary. They can also teach you how to naturally lose weight and keep it off.
I look forward to a time when patients try chiropractic first to see if it can help (knowing their chiropractor will send them to a medical doctor if they feel the patient’s condition is beyond what chiropractic can alleviate). Even if chiropractic does not work for you, you can always fall back on the medical route. But if you start with the medical route, sometimes there is no turning back.
I believe if people saw a chiropractor before going to a medical doctor, it would solve a lot of our healthcare problems in America (both the costs of healthcare and the general health of this country).
I love that I am married to a chiropractor. He can help keep my spine flexible and youthful. My goal is to feel well until I am at least 102 years old. I would say 120 years old, since some studies suggest that humans are genetically designed to live that long,  but we live on a polluted planet and I am not perfect…which is a good thing. Attempting to be perfect is too stressful, and stress leads to dis-ease, which leads to disease and early death.
 Bryans et al., “Evidence-based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults with Headache,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics; Astin and Ernst, “The Effectiveness of Spinal Manipulation,” Cephalalgia.
 Jensen, “Chiropractic Education vs. Medical Education.”
 Ruiz-Torres and Beier, “On Maximum Human Life Span,” Advances in Gerontology.
Chapter 21: HYPNOTHERAPY FOR WEIGHT LOSS
LIKE CHIROPRACTIC, hypnotherapy is often misunderstood. When people hear the term hypnosis, some think of people standing on a stage and acting like a chicken.
My experience with hypnotherapy is nothing like that. It is simply another tool to help our overstimulated minds get into the relaxed state that facilitates healing on a mental level.
Stress, no matter how real the cause, is only a result of perception. Two people can have the same experience, yet one can be extremely stressed and the other gets a rush from it.
An example of this is when two people get on a roller coaster.
One screams in fear while the other raises his arms in glee.
Same roller coaster, two totally different experiences with different biological effects.
If you think stress is affecting your sleep and eating habits, try hypnotherapy to learn to relax and sleep despite your perceived stressors and to help you make better eating choices.
If you believe pain is affecting your ability to exercise, hypnotherapy can help with this as well. Pain, no matter the cause, exists only in the mind. Not to say there is not a real cause of the pain, but that the actual sensation of pain is just a perception that can be consciously changed.
For decades, hypnosis has been used as anesthesia for surgery. Studies have showed that hypnosis can be used to reduce postoperative pain and accelerate healing.
If you feel cravings are affecting your ability to change your eating habits, hypnotherapy can help you see unhealthy foods as the toxins they are. If you are craving potato chips or ice cream and see them as a treat or reward, hypnotherapy can help you see such foods as the inflammatory chemicals that they are and help you sense the harm they are causing to your body. Hypnotherapy can help you choose to put such foods in the trash rather than in your body.
I used hypnotherapy to cope with the crippling pain I experienced after a whiplash injury. The pain was so great that I couldn’t ignore it. Hypnotherapy helped me learn to control the pain and facilitate my healing.
After seeing how hypnotherapy helped me with my pain, I better understood how hypnotherapy can help reduce food cravings and change one’s perception of food.
 Moore, and Kaplan, “Hypnotically Accelerated Burn Wound Healing,” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis; Montgomery et al., “The Effectiveness of Adjunctive Hypnosis,” Anesthesia and Analgesia; Mauer et al., “Medical Hypnosis and Orthopedic Hand Surgery,” International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis; Crawford et al., “Hypnotic Analgesia,” International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.
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Drummond Chiropractic, LLC
More Than Neck & Back Pain Relief Specialists
565 N Walnut St,
Bloomington, IN 47404