The Not So Obvious Reasons For Weight Gain

You’ve watched your calories and work out several times a week but you are unfortunately gaining weight despite your efforts. We know our own bodies. We know when the extra pounds will show due to the excessive splurging and little activity. But even with a strict routine, weight is increasing on the scale. What is causing it?

Thyroid
Your thyroid is located in the front and at the base of the neck. This endocrine gland mainly influences metabolic rate and protein synthesis. When the gland is underactive then hypothyroidism can occur. Symptoms of this disorder can include depression, tiredness, and constipation. Also, weight gain is a result from hypothyroidism. Sometimes symptoms aren’t noticeable, but if concerned, levels can be checked. Hypothyroidism occurs in more women than men, and increases with people aged over 60. The solution to this disorder is regulating the gland’s functioning again with synthetic medication that boosts thyroid stimulation. Tests of levels are then taken periodically to make any adjustments, if needed, with dosage.

Hormone Imbalance
Hormones are the tiny communicators in the body. Puberty is often thought about with hormones but that’s not their only purpose. Their function is to bind with receptors that signal off instructions with the systems in our bodies. This also includes digestion and metabolism. Metabolism is actually two different processes, catabolism which is the breaking down of organic matter to release energy, and anabolism, the building up of cells to consume energy. If there is any disruption in relaying the important message, metabolism and effective digestion may be caused to change. Hormone levels can be checked to see if there is a need for regulation.

Medication
In order to fix certain conditions, medication is necessary. Prescription drugs can come with unwanted side effects, however. Weight gain might be caused by changes in your system, due to the medicine. When this is noticed, with no changes in diet, a discussion with your provider can help. It may take time for the body to adapt to the medication, so it is important to keep a journal of your food intake and physical activity during this time, listing any side effects also. In some cases, there might be an alternativedrug that produces a more positive reaction with your body.

When weight loss is a goal, any of these happening, can be frustrating. But each of these circumstances can be evaluated by us and then treated.

Spring Health Concerns

Allergies are synonymous with Spring. However, allergies aren’t the only health concern during this season. From chronic pain to Lyme Disease, here are health conditions that arise during Spring…

Weather

Warmer weather is around the corner, but the transition period will present humidity, precipitation, cooler nights and mornings. These conditions can affect parts or systems of the body.

The humidity can make the head feel stuffy, increasing sinus pressure when leaving the air-conditioned indoors. Along with sinus issues, people who suffer from chronic headaches may see more headaches during this time. Warm compresses will help both, but also try a nasal flush with saline solution to remedy the sinuses.

Cooler, damp days also affect arthritis, with joints having more pain. In addition, consistent back or knee pain will be increased because of the weather. Epsom salt baths are helpful with all. Pain can also be reduced with alternating heat and cold packs. Adjusting your diet to help with inflammation is suggested, so is adding Vitamin D and Calcium.

Activity

Since there is more activity outside than during the winter months, other health problems present themselves.

As mentioned, allergies are affected during this time of year because of the pollen in the air. It’s best to be proactive with allergy season and begin treatment at least two weeks before it starts. Also, adding an air purifier to the home is helpful. These same conditions make asthma worse also. Please consult with your health care provider to be prepared for any asthma flareups that may occur during this time.

In Oklahoma, caution must be taken to decrease exposure for tick bites. Spring through Summer is the active time. Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are just two of the illnesses stemming from ticks. Protective clothing and DEET spray will help, but avoiding heavily wooded areas is best. Always inspect body after being outdoors and never assume a bite was a harmless one, scheduling an appointment quickly.

Included with warmer weather, is more physical activity. Injuries from scrapes and bruises, to strains and breaks will be more prevalent.

Spring Forward

The days are starting to have more daylight. This is when clocks are adjusted forward one hour. This time change can cause a few problems, however. Mainly, while the body adjusts to the change, sleep is affected. This lack of sleep can be the catalyst for other heath risks. These are some, but not limited to, ulcers, high blood pressure, and even heart attack.

This change in time and season also can affect mood. Depression is increased during the Spring season. Along with that, contrary to most beliefs, suicide happens more during Spring, rather than during the holidays. Extra time with family and friends is a good idea for all.

Spring is a wonderful season that brings warmer weather and more activity. Be mindful of these health concerns so Spring can be fully enjoyed.

Your 5 Healthy Eating Habits For 2018

It might be a resolution for 2018 to eat healthier. So, we have gathered 5 easy habits for you to help stick with your resolution this year!

1. Don’t skip breakfast. Instead, prepare ahead of time and have it ready to go! Busy schedules get in the way of the most important mealtime, often leading to it being skipped altogether. Breakfast is what jump starts the metabolism! It is crucial for healthy eating. To accomplish this, fix it the night before, so it’s ready to go even with the busiest of schedules. You wouldn’t skip your coffee, so make this a priority as well. Boil an egg, mix a smoothie, prepare some oatmeal. All of these healthy options can keep until the morning, some may even travel well on the morning commute!

2. Bring your lunch. Yes, lunch breaks can be a time to decompress and socialize, which are very necessary, but during at least half of the week, consider bringing the healthy protein and veggies from home. As is the same with breakfast, this healthy eating habit is something that can be prepped the night before, or even for the week. Time saver for the win!

3. There are times you do go out for lunch or even dinner, so now what? Portion control! Restaurants can serve a very large amount of food for a meal, exceeding what should be a daily intake of calories. Especially when the caloric information isn’t listed, be mindful of your portion size. A good rule of thumb is a healthy meal is one that fits on a salad size plate, not a normal dinner size plate. Portion control can also be practiced at home. You will start noticing a lot of leftovers once you develop this habit, eventually saving you money!

4. If you haven’t already, it’s time to throw out and avoid packaged foods. Not only are these foods some of the most sodium-packed foods, there are other dangerous additives or chemicals that do not aid in healthy functioning of our bodies. The convenience might have been appealing at one time, but now is the time to avoid heavy processed foods and opt for the cleaner varieties.

5. Our favorite habit is make it all about color! Have you posted your pretty meal to Facebook or Instagram lately? If you are including fruits and veggies alongside your lean proteins, your healthy choices are making for some great photos. Healthier food is prettier! Compare that Chik-Fil-A sandwich and a salad with a range of greens, the deepest purple, and pops of red. You’ll never want unhealthy again!

Is It A Plateau?

People work to see results. With weight loss and fitness, people like to see progress. There are times, however, when that progress stops. Some of the time, this stall is what is referred to as a ‘plateau.’ Other times, this could be a goal that has been reached. With both exercise and weight loss, there are ways to know if you have reached a goal or a plateau.

Weight Loss

It is frustrating to lose weight consistently, only for it to suddenly stop. It might be you have reached your ideal weight or you perhaps have plateaued. When the number has stopped decreasing, try the following…

1. Adjust What You Consume

You have set an ideal and safe caloric amount, but it is no longer working. It’s not the time to take in less calories. You can easily figure out you have reached a plateau if you adjust your routine. Perhaps, you have too much salt intake or not enough water consumption. You may even need to increase your lean protein. It is important that you now start journaling your consumption and adjust it to see change. If there are no changes, you have reached an ideal weight!

2. Change It Up

Exercise is important in achieving weight loss. When weight loss has stopped, it is time to change your routine. You could be a runner, so it might now be the time to start weight training. The idea is to trick your body. It is known, doing the same thing over and over will achieve the same results. Interval training or maybe even having fun playing a sport, will work on other areas that weren’t being used in your routine. You don’t have to get rid of your favorite routine, just change it up from time to time.

Exercise

Whether you’re a runner or body builder, safety is paramount in achieving goals. This should be considered when results are not being seen. A person could add 5 lbs. weight to squats each month, but eventually the human body will not be able to do any more. Perhaps you are working towards a marathon, adding miles periodically will help you reach your goal. You can also work to increase your time. But, with any exercise, listening to your body is crucial. If your body is strained by serious injury, it is time to evaluate your program and goals. Setting goals is always a good idea, but realizing you have reached them, is even better!

Your Health Strategy For 2018

Time To Organize

Start the new year by dedicating some time to record a health history for you and your family members. This will consist of major injuries, surgeries, and disease. Also include needed medical history from relatives. This is helpful with hereditary conditions. A thorough history can help your medical provider when treating you. Once this is started, updating is easy with current information.

Also, the new year is a perfect time to clean out and restock the medicine cabinet. Safely dispose of expired medication, both over-the-counter and prescriptions. Make sure all basic supplies are stocked for minor injuries and illness. This could include age appropriate restocking with growing children. And also consider your storage of medication by exploring kid safe options.

Checkups and Programs

The holiday season from October to December might have brought an unwanted weight gain. Start the new year with a focus on nutrition. Setting up a program to follow for the year can keep you on track. A program can be as extensive as meal planning or as simple as eliminating a few things from your diet, such as soda or fast food. Along with nutrition, add an exercise program for 2018. Fitness is nothing new, but setting a program will help to organize and achieve your goals.

Valuable checkups are also needed each year for optimal health. Schedule your appointments. You will want to add having your vitals checked and blood tested to such things as annual vision and dental checkups. Hormone regulation and blood pressure are important in maintaining overall health.

Write It Down

Besides recording a permanent medical history, adding a daily or weekly health journal will not only help your health providers, but help you understand yourself. For instance, when you journal your food consumption along with headaches, you may discover a sensitivity to a certain food or additive. Record sleep, all you consume, your activity, and how you feel physically.

Accountability is also included when you write it down. If 2018 is the year you focus on improving your health, recording what you ate and how you exercised is extremely helpful when it comes to losing weight or improving your health. Do you want to lower your blood pressure? Or is this the year to quit smoking? Whether you use an app, write on paper or your computer, accountability has been proven to help achieve goals.

Here’s to a healthy 2018!

The New Depression

We’ve come to know depression by certain signs of sadness, too much sleep, overeating or even severe lack of appetite. But what happens when depression is hidden?

How To Recognize

Just as there are varying degrees of depression, there are also varying signs. Hidden depression is exhibited in behavior that masks its appearance vs. the outwardly signs of sadness, excessive sleep, and extreme change in appetite.

One behavior to be aware of with yourself or others is a realism that is present instead of optimism. Not necessarily complete negativity, but a response that is void of hopeful thinking. An example would be instead of someone saying “I hope I get the job,” they would say “There were a lot of applicants so I know my chances are slim in getting the job.”

Besides this, topics of conversation and thought often turn philosophical with a person who normally doesn’t discuss such things. These could include the meaning of life, evaluation of your life or questioning your purpose.

Another sign is excuses always ready not to be social or attend an activity. Everyone has schedules, but repeated excuses from a once social person could be a signal.

Why It’s Happening

Depression is nothing new for the many who suffer from it. What IS new is our adapting to that depression. Work and home life schedules are more demanding than ever. Between a full day at the office and children’s activities after work, there is little time left.

This adaptation has originated from our current busy situations and produced a coping mechanism that helps us to function daily. This brief coping guards against triggers that are known to affect someone’s mood. But much like the functioning addict, this coping is only temporary.

The Dangers 

Most certainly, this adapting behavior can lead to an acceptance. This is dangerous when the brain is trained to accept a different quality of life.

And most importantly, because these ways of fending off masked depression are mostly unknown, there is a danger that the depression will not be addressed and treated. When left untreated, depression can worsen.

Visiting a healthcare professional to evaluate any concerns is necessary when signs are present of hidden depression.

Sugar and The Body

The recommended daily amount of sugar is 6 tablespoons for women and 9 tablespoons for
men. Unfortunately, Americans are averaging around 20 tablespoons of added sugar per day.
This number does not include the natural sugars found in such things as fruits and milk. The
high daily consumption of sugar is detrimental to our daily wellbeing and is proving to be
dangerous for our systems.
In The Brain
The effects of sugar start with the first bite, sending signals to the brain that raise dopamine
levels. And like with other addictions, more and more sugar is needed to achieve the satisfied
feeling. This increased need is what leads to over consumption.
And a study showed the brain can take glucose and change it into fructose. Fructose is the
sugar that will tell the brain, the body is not full. This also leads to over consumption.
The raised dopamine must eventually come down to be regulated. It is suggested this process
is leading to depression, beyond the sugar ‘crash’ because of the messages sent to the brain.
When not regulated, a dangerous cycle with the brain leads to impairment of function.
With Weight
In small amounts, sugar does not lead to weight gain, especially when there is plenty of
exercise. However, sugar in all its forms, when consumed in higher amounts, will lead to
considerable weight gain. And unfortunately, having a ‘sweet tooth’ is not the only issue with
weight and sugar. Sugar is present in more than just desserts and sweets. Sugar is also added
to savory items such as BBQ sauce and ketchup. It can also be found in canned soup! And just
when you think low fat yogurt and protein bars are a healthy option, you find added sugar.
Much like with the brain, there is an unfavorable cycle with sugar and weight. The pancreas
produces insulin every time you eat, and too much sugar builds an insulin resistance. Insulin is
the hormone to transfer the glucose to cells to convert into energy. The resistance makes it
harder to be active and weight gain harder to lose.
Precursor to Disease
These effects on the brain and weight are leading to diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes. Also,
because of the fat accumulation around it, the liver cannot function properly. And since sugar
raises uric acid levels, kidney and heart disease development are a concern.
But these concerns can be alleviated. To avoid short term effects and long term danger, sugar
must be decreased to safer amounts. Since the added sugars are sometimes disguised, care
must be taken with all food and drinks by reading labels and keeping track of daily amounts.
And then these lowered amounts of sugar will help overall health.

Aging Parents-Concerns and Care

One stage along life’s path may be the opportunity to care for aging family members, primarily parents. Loved ones might not trouble anyone for needs they have, so these are the signs to look for and the care to provide.

Concern

Recognizing certain physical and behavioral changes can assist in knowing when to be concerned for a loved one. Physical changes to keep aware of are weight loss, difficulty getting up from a seated position or difficulty with balance and walking, bruising and other unexplained injuries.

Also, there may be signs that a little help is needed when certain tasks are forgotten or left undone. Mail may stack up, spoiled food isn’t thrown away, or laundry is not done. Hiring help or scheduling time to assist with these tasks can make parents still independent.

Observing behavioral changes is very important too. Are there extreme mood changes? Are they ignoring personal hygiene? Is there confusion with daily tasks? Are they forgetting appointments or medications? These noticeable changes may indicate dementia, but always should be discussed with their medical provider for possible care options.

Sometimes too, there may be depression. Do they sleep most of the day? Are they not as involved with family? Or with friends? Again, recognizing differences in personality or behavior are important to discuss with their medical provider for treatment.

Care

This time comes with many decisions and preparation. Assessing a parent’s needs is the first step. Will the parent require professional aid? Is there equipment needed for their physical care?

Unfortunately there are situations when a loved one suffers a medical event leading to a need for 24 hour assistance. Medical professionals will help during these times by suggesting facilities or in-home nursing.

Other times, parents may just need adjustments in their own homes to make daily tasks easier and safer. Bringing items down, to eliminate reaching, is a great help in preventing falls. Walking devices also serve well preventing falls, as will bathroom equipment for bathing.

Whether parents stay in their own homes, move in with their children or facility, the many advancements with care are improving daily life and even extending it, thankfully bettering this transition.

Focused Exercise For Every Age

Exercise aids in good health, lengthens life span, and increases quality of life. In every stage of aging, exercise can be done to achieve those results. This exercise guide, that is focused for each stage, will maximize those results.

20s

In our twenties, metabolism is high and we are more physically active, so exercise might be considered unnecessary. But, this is the perfect time to create habits for the future and also to build a strong foundation.

First, lifting weights and doing resistance exercises 3 times a week will build strength. This strength is important to counteract the bone and muscle loss in the future. Next, cardio should also be added to a regimen, with the goal of 3-5 hours, weekly.

30s

Our thirties is the ideal time to implement different exercises into the routine. If you have been a runner, introducing other types of cardio such as swimming or aerobics will work areas you haven’t worked on in the past.

An overall physically healthy approach should be the goal with adding flexibility and balance exercises at this stage. Not only will these help with performance, but they also help to maintain range of motion. Yoga and even dancing are great options.

40s

The forties can be a more difficult stage to find the time to exercise. Most importantly, now is not the time to stop lifting weights. Muscle loss is in the beginning stages and a good program will help the core, leg, arm, and back muscles, fighting that loss.

Also important is fat that may accumulate in areas unseen. As we age, hormone levels decrease and fat is redistributed. This fat can build around organs and not be noticed on the scale. Lean muscle will combat this unhealthy fat.

Stretching should also be an increased focus at this stage, continuing into later stages.

50s

Our fifties bring about the time we need to start listening to our bodies. Aches and pains tell us to rest certain areas. Shoulders may need a break after a tennis match, making for a perfect opportunity to walk instead. But it is still important to do 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 times a week during this age.

Besides stretching, aerobic exercise and lighter weight lifting, now is the time to incorporate more yoga or pilates for strong posture.

60s

With decades of healthy exercise, the sixties stage is a time to maintain.

While weight lifting in our routine has decreased, it should not cease. Two to three times a week is suggested for using weights, alternating upper and lower body regions.

Because bones become more frail, caution should be taken with all activity, being mindful of falls and fractures. But this is a great chance to join group classes and have fun with exercise. Zumba and water aerobics are great examples.

70s+

We must focus on sustaining our strength, flexibility, and balance in our seventies.

At this stage, workouts are much safer and effective guided by a certified trainer.

Balance can be worked on with the help of a chair. Resistance bands can be used for strength.

Walking is also good at this time, along with water exercise. These both are terrific for heart health but easier on joints.

Susceptibility for injury is higher at this age, so never over extend and give your body a chance to rest between workouts.

Your Vitamin Benefits and Sources Guide

There are 13 vitamins that help our bodies function properly. The best way to stay healthy with There are 13 vitamins that help our bodies function properly. The best way to stay healthy with development and function is to eat a balanced diet through a variety of foods. Here is your guide to know the benefits and what source foods to consume for these vitamins. Vitamin A (Retinol, Beta Carotene) helps with vision, reproduction, immunity, cell growth and cell communication. Also it assists in formation and the maintaining of bones, teeth, soft tissue, mucous membranes and skin. The best sources for Vitamin A are carrots, squash, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and cantaloupe. Other sources include liver and fish oils, tomato products, milk and eggs.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) aids in cell development and function. It also converts food into energy. Your sources for Vitamin B1 can be found in whole grains, pasta, and rice. Also Vitamin B1 is in meat (especially pork), fish, seeds, nuts, and legumes such as black beans and soybeans.Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) promotes body growth and production of red blood cells. The best sources for Riboflavin are lean and organ meats, low fat milk, eggs, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It also helps the digestive system. Niacin can be consumed with fish, lean meats, poultry, milk, eggs, legumes, and peanuts.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is needed to metabolize food and helps produce hormones and cholesterol. Your sources for B5 include chicken liver, salmon, sunflower seeds, avocados, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, and yogurt.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps to form red blood cells, maintain brain function, and supports protein synthesis. B6 is in fish, organ meats, poultry, and starchy vegetables such as potatoes.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is needed to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates. Also, it helps to produces cholesterol and hormones. Sources for B7 include sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, nuts, eggs, and oatmeal.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is needed to produce DNA, which controls cell function and tissue growth. It also helps red blood cell formation. Legumes are a great source for B9, as well as citrus fruits and their juices. Spinach, asparagus, dark leafy greens, carrots, cauliflower, and beets are also good sources.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) assists in maintaining the central nervous system, aids in metabolism and the forming of red blood cells. B12 is found in beef liver, clams, fish, meat, poultry, milk, eggs, and other dairy products.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) helps the immune system, healing wounds, and absorption of iron. Sources for Vitamin C include citrus fruits and their juices, strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, red and green peppers.

Vitamin D (D2 Ergocalciferol, D3 Cholecalciferol) helps maintain proper blood levels of phosphorous and calcium for healthy teeth, gums, and bones. The best sources for Vitamin D aresalmon, mackerel, and tuna. There are also small amounts in egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Milk is also fortified with Vitamin D.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) boosts the immune system and helps with cell communication. It also helps widen blood vessels to prohibit clotting. Wheat germ, vegetable, sunflower and safflower oils, nuts and seeds, are the best sources for Vitamin E. There also small amounts in broccoli, spinach, corn and soybean oils.

Vitamin K (Phylloquinone) is important for blood clotting and healthy bones. The best sources are green leafy vegetables, blueberries, figs, meat, cheese, eggs, soybeans and vegetable oils. Also note, some food products are fortified with vitamins and can be added to the natural sources!