I Want to Feel Balanced!

Balance“Balance” – What is that you say? Well the official definition of balance is mental and emotional steadiness; habit of calm behavior.  It is a state of equilibrium or equipoise.  That’s all fine and good but the reality is that if you feel balanced, you have a greater sense of control. You also have a better ability to constructively manage the ups and downs that come your way in life. If you feel balanced, you not only survive but you thrive!

So when was the last time you felt balanced? Does such a feeling seem out of reach? It doesn’t have to be. Finding balance in your life is the key to your overall health and wellness. In order for you to obtain a state of optimal health, your body needs to be balanced. Factors that influence your “balance” include things such as what you eat, your exercise regime (or lack thereof), your sleep pattern, your relationships and even your vitamin and hormone blood levels.  So…how do you obtain balance in your life?

A great place to start in order to understand what’s really going on with your body on a cellular level is to have some important laboratory blood tests evaluated. Knowledge is power when it comes to understanding your body.  Proper nutrition, regular exercise, taking quality vitamins, and getting enough sleep affects what’s going on in every cell of your body. If one of these factors is out of balance, it will be revealed in your lab work. There’s also a big difference between being “normal” and “optimal”. This is something you may not even realize. Why feel “ok” when you can feel “great”?

So what tests are important? Dr. Clark initially orders approximately 16 different important laboratory tests. Once the test results are in (within 2-3 days if drawn at CFWLS), Dr. Clark reviews everything you need to know about each of them (why they are important, normal value, your value, significance of your result and how to improve your levels).

Did you know that you can actually have your blood evaluated through a separate corporation (Atherotech Labs) at CFWLS. You can either have Atherotech bill your insurance (with a maximum of no more than $39 out of pocked expense if any aren’t covered) or as a reasonable cash pay option. Here are a couple of important laboratory test examples:
Vitamin D – One of the labs checked by Dr. Clark at CFWLS is your Vitamin D level.  This vitamin is important for bone health, preventing heart problems, and is also important for fat mobilization.  Normal levels are 30-100 ng/ml.  If lab results indicate your vitamin D level at 30, it’s within normal range. However, OPTIMAL levels for vitamin D are greater than 60.  Being in the OPTIMAL range will give you better results than a low NORMAL range. Therefore, we would suggest sun exposure 5-30 minutes 2x a week and an ADK supplement.
Testosterone – This is a vital hormone for men and women. Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for preserving your vitality, sex drive, lean body mass and youthful feel. NORMAL range for women is 30-95 ng/dl and 300-1200 ng/dl for men.  However, being in the OPTIMAL range will make you feel even better and more balanced.  OPTIMAL range for men is 800-1200 and 80-150 for women. Intense exercise, quality sleep, and testosterone replacement (we recommend natural bio-identical hormone replacement) are all crucial for optimal testosterone levels.

The staff at the Center for Weight Loss Success and the Center for Hormone Health and Wellness can help you find your balance and experience optimal health.  You can take advantage of our fitness center and our highly trained and professional personal trainers.  Or stop by our nutrition store to purchase our high-quality vitamins and tasty high quality protein products. If you are experiencing mood swings, depression, migraines, sleep problems, poor sex drive, hot flashes, and other hormonal issues, The Center for Hormone Health and Wellness can help you get your hormones back in balance using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Get your lab work done to determine what your body is missing.

Don’t settle for feeling just “ok.”  Strive for optimal vitamin and hormone levels along with healthy nutrition, fitness and behaviors. We are here to help you look and feel your very best. Control your health before it controls you. Being balanced feels great!

You CAN Enjoy Aging!

It’s a fact – getting older is inevitable.  Your chronological age advances with each passing day.  Although this is true, it’s become much easier to embrace each year.  In fact, you can enjoy your “mature” years” as much or even more than your “younger” years.  This is especially true if you feel happy, healthy, balanced and in control (at least most of the time).

Impossible you say?  Well, it’s not as impossible as you may think!

So what’s the key to success?  I believe it primarily comes down to these five things:

  1. Don’t avoid focusing on YOU! It’s easy to come up with reasons as to why you are your last priority.  The fact remains that you are the one who controls your decisions.  You are the one who can determine what you eat each day, how active you are each day, how you organize and prioritize your day/life and how you respond to setbacks, frustrations and saboteurs.
  2. Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Sounds simple but it’s a conscious choice and if you are involved in any of our programs, you will understand how to make this happen.  Don’t view your weight loss plan as a “diet”.  It’s your new way of life.  Let us help you make it work for you so you feel satisfied instead of deprived.   Otherwise you are set up for failure.
  3. Embrace fitness! If you do, you will feel better, have more energy, significantly decrease your stress level and be better prepared for the challenges life sends your way.  Don’t forget about yoga (a great way to clear your mind and strengthen your body) and resistance training (build your muscles and enhance your metabolism).
  4. Get organized and simplify your life! What gets on your calendar is much more likely to get done.  Set your goals, review them every day, plan ahead with a daily/weekly planner for your meals/activity and the things that have to get done.  Delegate what you can and realize that some things don’t have to be done now!  Put them on your calendar for a future date though if they are important so you don’t forget about them.
  5. Get balanced and love yourself even more! If you haven’t had your hormone levels checked yet, do it!  The independent lab at CFWLS makes it a no-brainer (out of pocket cost no more than $39.00 after insurance).  Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has been providing men and women with more energy, better mental clarity, higher libido, lower body fat/more muscle mass, lower levels of depression, irritability and mood swings and protecting against osteoporosis, heart disease and many cancers for decades.  Talk to any of our staff or visit CenterForHormoneHealthAndWellness.com for more information.

It’s up to you!  Age healthier…age happier and remember to enjoy the journey!

Restful Renewing Sleep

We’ve already established that stress causes a number of negative side effects – exercise helps and so does something we take for granted every day of our lives. Sleep!

According to the National Institute of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. Are you average? If so, you may be getting enough to get by but not enough to function at your best!

The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life. Mental sharpness, your productivity and emotional balance, creativity and physical vitality, even your weight can be tied to the amount and quality of sleep that you get. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort. While you are asleep, your brain stays busy. Biological maintenance is taking place! Hormones are coaxed back into balance. Energy and efficiency are being restored.

It’s not just the number of hours that you sleep but the quality of those hours that make a difference. You may have noticed at times that your sleep is disrupted. Your internal clock can be affected by shiftwork, traveling across time zones, irregular sleeping or even too much artificial light at night.

Melatonin is one of the naturally occurring hormones produced as a result of light exposure. It helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Spending time away from natural daylight and too much time around bright light at night may suppress your body’s production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep.

Tips for a Restful Night

  • Set a regular bedtime and don’t change the routine on weekends just because it’s tempting to stay up late. Create a relaxing routine and make sure that your bed is comfortable.
  • Wake up at the same time every day. You should be able to wake up without an alarm clock. If this isn’t the case, try going to bed a little earlier.
  • Nap to make up for lost time instead of sleeping late. Try an early afternoon nap (30-45 minutes) so that you don’t disturb your natural sleep pattern.
  • Avoid falling asleep on the sofa. If you find yourself drifting off after dinner, get up and do something that is mildly stimulating to avoid throwing off your routine.
  • Stay away from big meals at night and cut back on caffeine. Caffeine has been known to cause sleep problems as much as 12 hours after drinking it!
  • As little as 20-30 minutes of daily exercise will help. The more strenuous exercise should be done earlier in the day but relaxing exercises like yoga or gentle stretching can be done in the evening.

‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy & wise.’ There may be something to that proverb!

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How to Stop the Clock? Exercise and Aging

You will notice the changes by the time you’re 30 – what happened to the body you had in college? Diminished aerobic capacity and loss of muscle can leave you feeling breathless and exhausted with normal daily activities. Most Americans also put on 3-4 pounds a year! Add to that slower reflexes, memory lapses and a decrease in coordination – that’s right, aging is not for the timid.

No one can stop the clock but you can definitely slow it down! The key is regular activity. You don’t need to be an athlete, just enjoy a variety of things that keep your blood pumping. Dr. Clark tweeted just last week that a recent study showed the more time you spend sitting, the higher your biochemical markers for developing diabetes & metabolic dysfunction. There are so many reasons to get moving but how do you start?

Start slowly – something as simple as walking 30 minutes a day will provide benefits. A balance of different exercises will help you optimize your strengths.

Cardio exercise keeps the heart muscle strong and the arteries flexible and generally results in lower blood pressure. Cardio or endurance exercise does many things for you. It reduces body fat, increases sensitivity to insulin, and lowers blood sugar levels. Exercise can improve sleep and lift your spirits, off-setting anxiety and depression. It can also help improve your reflexes and decrease age-related memory loss so let’s get moving!

Resistance exercise using light weights or machines will increase lean body mass and improve your bone density allowing you to remain stronger and more independent as you celebrate those birthdays.

Flexibility training will keep you limber and allow for greater range of movement making daily activities easier and more fun. Stretching can be done anytime but is ideal as a warm-up or cool-down when paired with a cardio exercise.

Balance exercises will help you avoid injuries and move more gracefully – this does not happen on its own, you must work at it.

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The Good Bacteria – Probiotics

Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our gut. We have over a trillion bacteria in our colon and most of them are beneficial. Problems start arising when the ratio of good to bad bacteria gets out of balance. If that balance gets out of hand, you might consider taking probiotics. Do you obtain probiotics through your food or from a pill?

The United States has been slower than other countries in recognizing the importance of probiotics. The Northern Europeans and the Japanese acknowledge their importance. However, some GI specialists in the US are starting to treat gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, with probiotics.

What can probiotics do for us?

  1. Digestive Health: treatment of IBS, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and possibly Crohn’s Disease
  2. Urinary Health: Studies have shown that probiotics can help prevent the unhealthy bacteria from getting into the bladder, thus preventing a bladder infection.
  3. Women’s Health: Probiotics have been shown to prevent vaginosis and yeast infections.
  4. Immunity: One of the functions of helpful bacteria is to stimulate the immune response.
  5. Obesity: Obese people have different gut bacteria than those with a healthy weight. Probiotics could help surgical weight loss patients maintain their weight loss.

PRObiotics dump new bacteria into the colon. PREbiotics are food ingredients that stimulate growth of good bacteria in the colon. They are found naturally in oats, some honey, and bananas. Dr. Challa, author of Probiotics for Dummies, recommends the following foods: plain yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, pickles, kimchi, and kambucha tea.

There’s no evidence that taking probiotics in pill form will cause harm. Flatulence and abdominal discomfort are the only reported side effects. However, measuring the effectiveness is tricky. Probiotics, in pill form, must be packaged in something strong enough to survive stomach acidity. Then, scientists aren’t quite sure how many make it through the GI tract. And, since the effects of probiotics are temporary, you must keep consuming them.

Research on Probiotics is on-going and will continue providing us with more definitive answers. Scientists say probiotics PROBABLY will help you, with the possibility of minor side effects. Instead of buying in pill form, it may be more advantageous to consider measures with proven benefits, such as diet and exercise.

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