The Power of Naturopathic Medicine

power of naturopathic medicine

There comes a time in one’s life where stress gets the best of us, people get the best of us, life gets the best of us. Sometimes this comes on suddenly like a thief in the night and other times things progressively head south over an extended period of time.  Whether this is a mental issue, or a physical issue is indifferent they both lead to the land of blah. We try to self medicate with exercise, wine, sleep etc but nothing seems to be able to reset us back to that once calm, centered state we were in before.

I’ve been there and back.  I’ve tried numerous avenues to reset myself like mentioned above but none of which gave me any solid results. It was frustrating and draining. After my failed attempts I decided to try a holistic approach as I had heard numerous friends talk about the power of acupuncture, supplements and oil.  All sounded like voodoo to me…  but I decided if this has been around since ancient times let’s give it a try.

I started visiting a Naturopathic doctor last summer. What I loved immediately is she addressed the whole of me. She didn’t just go straight to what my issue at hand was she dug deeper and instead analyzed the whole.  After a bout of blood work and various other less invasive tests we sat down and went through the results.  What was really interesting is that what we found were areas of weakness in the body.  But those areas of weakness were not what my perceived issues were.  What I learned though is how closely related functions of the body are.  If one is weak it can affect a whole different part of you.

After review we started acupuncture to balance out my body and strengthen my pulse. I proceeded to get accupuncture treatments twice a month for about 5 months.  It was like a glorified nap for 20 minutes while I “baked” with needles stuck in me.  Seriously though they don’t hurt and if positioned right you can almost feel the energy circulating your body.  In addition I started taking what I now consider essential supplements with a myriad of benefits: Magnesium Lactate, liquid Vitamin D3, supplements to balance my blood sugar levels (they were a bit wacky), and L-theanine in liquid form to help with stress.  At first I was a bit skeptical as supplements are not cheap.  But as I started taking these I could literally feel the change.  My mood was lifted (thanks to the Magnesium), I felt stronger, less ornery and less stressed.  In addition to the supplements, I also carried my lavender essential oil everywhere…. you can never get too calm when you have a Type A personality!

Finally after those 5 months were up I decided to discontinue the acupuncture (for financial reasons… it is not cheap…) but I have continued to use the supplements with great results.  I am nowhere near that funk I used to be and just feel more balanced and ready to take on the world.

Moral of this story is, sometime life throws lemons at you.  Use that opportunity to dig deeper and explore other options. You don’t have to live feeling less than great.  What is awesome about naturopathic medicine is it is natural… you are not adding chemicals or other crap into your body to try to band aid a deeper issue. You are healing yourself from the inside out.  Balance. Strength. Power. Beauty.

Have you tried Naturopathic medicine? What was your experience like?  Would you recommend it?

 

 

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The Magic Equation for Success

I often get questions from people on what are the most important things they can do to see change whether that is weight loss, toning up or addressing health issues.  The equation for success is a simple 3 step process:  Set a goal, be realistic about what you can/cannot do and whatever your plan is be consistent.  That’s it!  The magic formula that stands between you and crushing it.

 

Fitness success formula

So why then is it so hard?  Why do people often fail?  Did you know that approximately 70% of people who start an exercise program quit?! Talk about the odds stacked against you. But the question still remains why did your plan fail?  Starting is step #1 and a great accomplishment but without the proper amount of forethought before beginning your plan motivation quickly slides into a slippery downhill slope.

Now the story can go two ways…. there are those of you who are like “yeah that’s totally me, I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”.  On the flip side, there are others who say “I did have a plan and a goal but I saw no results so I just quit”.  Do you think Simone Biles got to the olympics by throwing the towel in?  Hell no, she tried it again and again and again until she perfected her craft.

So then what sets these two groups apart?  Why did one plan fall through and the other plan play out like an airplane stuck on a runway? Lets take a look into what happened in both scenarios:

Scenario #1: “I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”

For the majority of you, chances are you fall into a version of the above (based on the previous stat at the beginning of the article). It’s ok the great thing is that it is NEVER too late to start again.  In the words of Janis Joplin, “Tryyyy just a little bit harder”.  So how can you try a little harder?  Let’s be frank, you need to set a goal.  That’s usually the biggest missing piece it’s lack of clarity from what you want and are expecting to achieve.  If you don’t know what you want, no one else will either. So my advice to you is come up with a solid plan… think it through.  What do you want?  What are your expectations?  Are they too high?  By all means it is good to challenge yourself but if you set some super high expectation of yourself that’s almost just as bad as not setting one at all.  Start small…. crush it…. set a new goal again and again and again.

So what are some types of goals you can try out if you need some ideas?

  1. Upcoming event  – for some of you maybe you have a vacation or wedding or event coming up in a few weeks, months etc that you want to look your damn best for.  What’s great about this goal is there is a clear date and a clear timeline to follow.  You know exactly how much time you have and are committing to.  The trick though is once you nail your goal don’t stop and say “ok I’m good i’m going to go back to being lazy now”.  NO! Set another goal…..  see below for some more ideas.
  2. Health related – Maybe you went to the doctor recently and uncovered that you are overweight or have high cholesterol, or worse are pre-diabetic or maybe you just want to be able to have enough energy to keep up with your kids. Whatever it is don’t just sit there wishing you could do something different just do it!  Use that goal as your driver to get healthy and benchmark your change.  By 6 months from now I want to be 20 lbs down or by my annual health exam next year I want to lower my cholesterol.
  3. Vanity goal – Maybe honestly you just want to look good.  You want to wear those size 4 or 6 pants you buried in your closet for the last 10 years or you want to see definition in your abs or firm up your butt. That’s ok too.  In this case find and clip pictures of what you aspire to be, how you want to look and use those pictures along the way as motivation toward your goal.  Just keep in mind realistic expectations… unless you are willing to supplement time, nutrition and hardcore years of training/clean eating most people will never look like the airbrushed models in a magazine (sorry!).  But that’s ok, be your best version of you.

The great thing is that once you start a plan that you thought out and succeed, that success will continue to motivate you to smash your goals again and again!  In the words of Sagi Kalev in Beachbody’s program Master Hammer & Chisel, “Are you a hammer or are you a nail?”.  Be the hammer….

Crush it!

Scenario #2: “I did have a plan but saw no results so I quit”

It’s ok, I’m not going to yell and say you didn’t try hard enough, I don’t know your situation.  But I do have a question for you.  What didn’t work?  Did you set a realistic goal?  Did you focus on exercise AND diet?  After all it takes two to tango.  You can kill it day in and out at the gym but if your diet is filled with crap choices your going to be stuck in the same spot like a hamster running on a wheel. To really succeed you need to be realistic too… maybe you were too extreme with exercise and diet and burned out before seeing any changes?  Think back on why you quit and then try again a different way or with a more defined goal in mind.  See how that works.

Look, no matter which scenario resonates with your current situation it is never too late to figure out what works but you have to be willing to try and no one can motivate you more than you can yourself.  Check out some of the other articles on this site to help inspire your new workout plan and diet and apply the 80/20 rule to all that you do.

Lastly, in this super long post, I do want to take a moment to congratulate those of you reading this that have figured out what works for you.  I know there are at least a few of you out there killing it and seeing really great results.  You, my friends are what can help the rest.  Share your success and what works for you.  Remember, we are all in this together…. we only have one life to live so let’s make the most of it.

By Kim Hale, founder of HoneyCrunched Fitness

 

5 Fun Health Facts for those “Off Days”

We all know exercising regularly and eating well are the best tools in preventing illness. We have also had the days when we just don’t want to work out and those days when we can’t stand to eat another salad. I’ve collected a few ideas that should help you on those “off” days; they work for me!

Pizza

  1. Did you know that Laughing out loud reduces cortisol levels and improves your bone density?? Finding more reasons to laugh seems doable.
  2. The word ‘gymnasium’ comes from the Greek word “gymnazein”, which literally means “to exercise naked.” Sounds fun to me.  
  3. A study done by American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition states that eating a bowl of  ice cream two hours after a workout triggers your insulin, which is a hormone that is essential in the muscle building process. Helping my muscles, one scoop at a time…
  4. An Italian research team found out in 2003 that people who ate pizza on the regular were far less likely to develop esophageal, colon and mouth cancer. Check and check.
  5. Interval workouts produce post-workout calorie burn, and increase mitochondria growth (mitochondria help to burn fat). So, even while you enjoy your post-interval-workout sit on your couch, you’re burning calories. 

My takeaway here is: interval training then pizza, ice cream and laughter. Who’s with me??

Contributing Writer, HoneyCrunched Kate Milde

 

 

Source: Crazy Health Facts, Huffington Posthttp://thegymlifestyle.com/10-shocking-fitness-facts/; http://www.fitness.com/articles/648/15_amazing_health_facts_you_may_just_not_know.php

4 Ways to keep your sanity on Black Friday

Thanksgiving is just days away.  As the doors close in on this family tradition I know that lurking just a day passed is one of my favorite days of the year… Black Friday!   I have loved Black Friday ever since my old school retail management days at a Toy shop.  True we had to be in by 4am and yes crazy parents already were lined up in the outdoor mall all for their kids burning passion for Tickle me Elmo’s and Lightsabers.  But the rush you feel as an employee or as a shopper is amazing!  There is this crazed burst of energy that gives anyone the incredible power to be like the Incredible Hulk and toss piles of heavy boxes aside all to see if there might be one Christmas Edition Thomas Engine left.

There is no amount enough of caffeine that can prepare us for this day.  Once that adrenaline burst crashes so do we. Leaving us irritable, tired and just downright angry at everyone and everything around us.  There are better ways to do this and enjoy the day without coming home to sleep the straight through or knocking over at the mall everyone and everything in your way.

Here’s 4 useful tips if you plan on surviving Black Friday:

1. Eat breakfast – Even if your breakfast is mini Thanksgiving round 2 something is better than nothing.  To ideally set your self up for success a big bowl of oatmeal with nuts/fruit, egg white omelet with spinach and feta over paired with a high fiber english muffin, or a cup of greek yogurt and multi-grain toast should set you up to survive.

2. Gear Up – Make sure you are well prepared for whatever elements you might encounter this day.  This means dress appropriately.  If you know you’re going to be standing outside or that you will be burning up trying to hurry through the stores put on good gym shoes, enough of the right layers so body temp doesn’t throw your mood for a curveball, and downsize that coach shoulder bag for a smaller crossover purse or pockets with just the bare essentials.

3. Strategize – Come up with your plan of attack BEFORE you leave the house.  Where are you going first?  What items are you targeting and which are the most important.  Also do some research before heading out.  There’s nothing worse than standing in a two-hour long line for a gift that turns out is the same sales price….everyday.

4. Pace yourself – Keep in mind Black Friday is just ONE day.  You’ll still have Cyber Monday or any of the other odd days to Christmas to hit up some good if not better deals.  Don’t burn yourself out or worse end up on TV like Frankie from the Middle in last week’s Thanksgiving show.

I realize these tips might not be new but applying them is the biggest catch of all.  The best perk of going through all that fuss is seeing joy on your family and friends faces at that totally awesome present you got them.  You can rest knowing that it was worth it and hell you even had a chance to burn off some of the calories from Thanksgiving.

Do you go out for Black Friday?  Any successful tips that you’d add to this list?  Let us know!

5 Tips to help you banish belly fat

Written by Kimberly Evans

One of the most frequent health questions I get is “how do I get rid of this belly fat?”.  Generally this statement is followed by a testimony of healthy eating habits and the time spent trying to stay active.  My response to this belly fat question is always the same. You can not spot treat belly fat.  Seriously, it is just not possible. You can strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles but all the crunches in the world will not rid you any faster of a muffin top.  You need to shrink that middle so that you can start seeing your abs which you can fine tune/define with planks, crunches, etc.

Ask yourself this, how long did it take you to gain your muffin top? Expect that losing it will take just as long.  So exhibit some patience and keep in mind there is no one way to do this nor is there any easy way out. It will take willpower and dedication on your side to find what works best.

Below are my top 6 items to address so you can start seeing results.

1. Cardio – Are you still maintaining a level of  30-40% of you max heart rate when at the gym? If the answer is no, pick up the pace!  Try to find a happy zone staying between 60-80% of your total heart rate.   Unsure of what your heart rate is?  Try using a heart rate monitor.  There are fitness trackers with all sorts of bells and whistles or there are simple heart rate monitors that have a chest band (yes you have to wear it if you really want to know your  accurate heart rate).  These would be more than enough.   Here’s a quick reference sheet from the American Heart Association on ranges by age: Target Heart Rate.  As a side note, do NOT rely on the machines at the gym to tell you how far you’ve gone, what your heart rate is or what your calories are… they are not accurate.

2. Cut the sodium – Did you know the CDC recommends 1500-2300mg of sodium today?  If you are over 50 the recommendation changes to no more than 1500mg. That’s like the amount in an order of Chinese!  How much sodium are you consuming in a day?  Generally unless you’ve been watching that answer is too much.  Try to limit going overboard on sodium.  One quick way you can take this into your own hands is not adding extra salt to your food or pick lower sodium chicken broths, stock, seasonings, etc.  Sodium leads to water retention and unnecessary belly bloat.  Try reducing yours to see if that makes a difference.

3. Eating better – Greasy fries may be good on occasion but if you are looking to lose your middle filling up on garbage just stands as a roadblock between you and success.  This goes the same for the processed sugars.  Try and cut out those foods that have a laundry list of added ingredients in the back.  Less than 5 is ideal and if they contain the words partially hydrogenated soybean oil put it back.  Simple can still be tasty… try it I dare you.

4. Cut down drinking– Like to drink? Like to drink beer?  This is another notorious reason for that belly bulge that just wont’ go away.  Mild drinking is ok once and awhile just try not to make it a daily habit.

5. Sleep More – This one may confuse you but it has been proven that getting too little sleep can really screw your body over when you’re trying to lose weight.  A sleep study from several years back showed in the results that women who slept less than 5 hours a night weighed on average 5.5 lbs more than women who had a good night sleep. Need a quick win?  Get more sleep!  Aim for 6 plus hours a night, your body will thank you!

The list of things you can do to kick your belly fat for good goes on and on.  Like anything adjusting from your current routine and mindset takes a bit so cut yourself some slack (but not too much afterall that’s what got you in this predicament!) and keep on plugging away.    You’ll find as you make 2 or 3 of the changes above on a consistent basis that the new habits will become a routine and they will get easier and easier to incorporate daily without much thought.

To end as much as I like to be positive about things, sometimes I have to be a bit more brash.   You need to make the changes for you and no one else can make them for you.  There’s only so many times you can give someone the same advice, it’s at that point they need to either take it or stop asking.  Moral being: less talk more action will get you everywhere in life.  Now let’s kick it into gear!  Namaste.

Is Stress Making Me Fat?

Stress Management

Stress Management (Photo credit: Livin’ Spoonful)

Have you felt overwhelmed by your tasks at work or at home or both?  Feeling sluggish or lacking a good energy vibe that used to be there?  Have you found yourself getting quick with people and acting a bit intolerant of anything you deem as miscellaneous information?

If you answered yes to a few if not all of these statements you may be stressed out.  Surprise, surprise how can we not be stressed out with our jobs on the line, the prices of everyday groceries going up, the demand our employers are expecting from us weighing on our shoulders, and North Korea threatening to dampen our day with a nuclear test. Actually 1 in 5 Americans felt stressed in 2012 according to the American Psychological Association.  In fact 75 percent of Health care costs are associated with extreme stress which lead to chronic illnesses.  But is all stress bad?  Well, no actually. Mild stress is good it forces us to sharpen our minds and act quickly further helping fine tune those decision making skills.  We’d call this type of stress, tolerable stress.  However when it happens more frequently and the stress lasts longer periods of time that’s when serious implications can start to occur and you push past that tolerable level.

How about stress and weight gain, are they related?  Possibly.  There is a hormone your adrenal gland releases in times of stress called Cortisol.  The more stressed your adrenal gland is the more cortisol that is produced.  This release relates to physical stress (exercise/exertion), mental and emotional stress as well.  It is also true that those who are in a constant state of stress maintain above normal levels of cortisol too.  Having high cortisol levels for an extensive period of time can cause blood sugar imbalance, elevated blood pressure, lowered immune systems, and yes extra fat particularly around the middle.  But don’t get too ready to point the finger at cortisol as the reason for weight gain, turns out that for some cortisol can even cause weight loss! (Fitday) This is possible in part to the extra energy burst we feel when in that stressed fight or flight stage.

Ultimately, it’s all about how you choose to respond to the stress that leads to weight gain or no weight gain.  Some people turn to emotional eating when stressed and the cravings of comfort foods or just a sense of hunger kicks in.  This is where overindulgence can occur and if this extends for a period of time weight gain will ensue. (Mayo Clinic). Others go the opposite route and are so stressed food becomes the last thing on their minds. Neither of these being the ideal responses but everyone deals with situations differently.  For instance, I don’t over eat when stressed nor under eat I get angry.  my stress turns to anger and I start getting irritable and crabby and short with everyone around me.  To cool down now takes a great amount of effort and willpower just to turn away from that overwhelming emotion.  It may sound silly but what works for me I learned in Adam Sandler‘s Anger Management movie (one of my favorites, shocking?).  It’s the scene where Adam and Jack Nicholson are driving and Adam gets an extreme case of road rage.  Jack Nicholson stops their car in the middle of the road, turns it off and forces Adam to sing “I feel pretty“.  It takes Adam a bit to change his mindset but once he does and starts singing he calms himself down and removes those stress barriers.

So the next time you are stressed just stop what you’re doing and think about why you feel the way you feel. See if you can pinpoint the stress in your life and consciously make an effort to see how it makes you feel. That will give you a good indicator as to how you handle stress. From there start making changes. Can’t get rid of the stressors? Try and change the way your treating the stress then for the better.

How do you deal with stress in your life? Knowing that what changes do you plan on making to deal with it better?

Written by  Kimberly Evans

Portion Size Distortion

Portion sizes are one of the biggest contributors to the rapidly increasing average waistline sizes of Americans.  Did you know that in the 1970’s, 47% of people were obese or overweight?  Did you know that since then that rate has reached 66%?  (Divine Caroline 2013) Sadly, it’s become the norm to be overweight.

How many of you take your leftovers home from dining out?  How many of you eat what you can and just leave the rest?  Those with the latter choice, not only are you spending $8-$20 per meal but you’re leaving half of it!  So you’ve just wasted a whole other meal’s worth of hard-earned cash.  That’s not fair, and it’s not your fault.  Portion size in the US has grown tremendous in size over the years.  The best example of this is Italian pasta dishes.  Going to places like Maggiano’s you’re sure to be delivered 3-4 servings on one plate.  Well, no wonder America’s obese rates are skyrocketing!

This over portioned problem also infiltrates our homes when we attempt to prepare meals for ourselves and families. We have developed such warped views on what a portion size should look like that when we do see one it looks small and un-fulfilling. Did you know a serving size of meat is about the size of a deck of cards?  Sure 2 servings is fine if you’re just pairing it with vegetables but we’re not.  We’re adding condiments, bread, pasta or potatoes with butter and sour cream.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

What it comes down to, is it’s not all attributed to a lack of nutrition education.  The nutritional information is on the packaging, explanations for what the ingredients and amounts represent are getting easier to understand, and ultimately we do have a choice on how much we eat or don’t eat.  It’s the norm that is working against us in our expectations from a serving, just like the norm of being overweight as I mentioned in the beginning.  We’ve gotten ourselves used to such large portions of items that normal servings look like bird food!

So what are some things you can you do to avoid the portion distortion when out to dinner or even when cooking at home?

1. Use a smaller plate – don’t reach for the big fancy china dish but instead take the salad plate.  May look small at first but over time you’ll save a lot of calories and get used to it.

2. When at a restaurant immediately put 1/2 to go.  I do this all the time and it works.  It takes 20 minutes when eating to begin to feel full.  If you leave everything there you will be tempted to consume it before you even realize you’re full.  Now you’re too full!  Take it home and eat it tomorrow or give it to your child or pet for their next meal.

3. This is one that the critiques are out on, but is worth mentioning:  if given a choice eat your food on blue plates/bowls/cups etc.  Red apparently is a strong bold color and has shown in studies to increase your appetite (how deceiving!).  On the other hand blue is shown to have the opposite effect.  What colors are your plates in your kitchen?

4. Measure your serving sizes.  The method of “I’ll add a dash of this, a dab of that. scoop of this…”, is just not reliable.  That extra tablespoon or 1/2 cup could be over time what’s standing between you and that waistline especially when it comes to highly caloric items like cheeses, oils and peanut butter.

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Written by Kimberly Evans