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Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

You’re having problems at work or at home. You’re stressed, and it’s beginning to show — in more ways than one. You’ve noticed a bulge around your mid-section that wasn’t there before. Where are these extra pounds coming from?

Stress could be one of the culprits. It plays a role in weight gain. While it can make you have less of an appetite at first, long-term “chronic” stress actually boosts your hunger.

Fight and Flight

Most of us become over eaters when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. This happens thanks to your fight-or-flight response, a.k.a. survival mode — once your body reaches a certain stress level, it does what it feels it needs to. In most cases, that means overeat.  Why? Because your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with your stress, even though you haven’t, and as a result, it thinks you need to replenish those calories, even though you don’t.

Cortisol and Comfort Foods

Levels of “the stress hormone,” cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

So instead of a salad or a banana, you’re more likely to reach for cookies or mac and cheese. That’s why they’re called “comfort foods.”

Jason Perry Block, MD, an assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard, says eating can be a source of solace and can lower stress.

“This happens, in part, because the body releases chemicals in response to food that might have a direct calming effect.”

Fatty and sugary foods are usually the big culprits, because lots of us have such a strong love for them.

The bottom line? “More stress = more cortisol = higher appetite for junk food = more belly fat,” says Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist.

Lingering Effects of Weight Gain

Carrying around extra pounds can lead to other, more serious problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

If you think your weight has gone up due to stress, tackle some good habits that can help you get back to your old self. Eat healthy, get active, and do things that make your relaxed and happy.

Tips to Ease Your Stress

Exercise, but don’t overdo it. High-intensity workouts can raise cortisol levels. Try a brisk walk.

Meditate, or try other mindful breathing exercises like yoga and tai chi. These can help clear your mind and curb those comfort-food impulses.

Get support from family and friends. It’s always good to have someone to talk to or lean on. If you’re feeling tense, speak with someone about it.

You could also:

  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Pray

Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, too.

We all struggle with stress once in a while. It’s up to you to take charge of your tension as best you can. Resisting the urge to overeat is a great start.

As always, our physicians, coaches and dietitians are here to help you along the way as well at Doctor for Life.  We offer expert help here at Doctor for Life in getting you started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle program. 864-640-0009

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Good Reasons to Eat a Salad a Day

With the hot summer weather arriving quickly, a cool crisp salad can be the basis for a light and refreshing meal. They’re easy to make at home, and to order in a restaurant when dining out. And, with their multiple health benefits, consuming a serving of leafy greens each day can be one of the best habits to get into, summer or winter.

To get the most nutritional impact from your salads, let’s look at some of their benefits, what ingredients add extra dietary punch, and what to avoid to ensure that your dish stays nutritious and healthful.   Aside from their natural good taste and great crunchy texture alongside wonderful colors and fragrances, eating a large serving of fresh, raw vegetables each day can have significant health benefits.

It makes a substantial contribution to disease prevention, healthy weight and youthful energy – and who isn’t interested in a bit more energy and vitality?

Your leafy greens and raw veggies are a superb source of natural fiber, and consuming enough fiber each day has several health advantages:

  • Fiber helps to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
  • It helps to control blood sugar.
  • Adequate fiber intake helps with weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
  • It normalizes bowel movements, and aids in the prevention of bowel disease.
  • Proper fiber intake has been shown to reduce the recurrence and prevention of a number of cancers including colorectal, breast, mouth, throat and esophagus (1).

The idea that fresh vegetables and fruits are essential to our good health and well-being isn’t anything we haven’t heard before, but it’s good to be reminded of it every so often. The following quote is from an article at the Harvard School of Public Health:

“A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check” (2).

It’s important to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, in as many different colors as possible. Combining them in a salad is both easy and delicious! Loaded with vitamins and minerals, eating a salad a day will also increase the level of powerful antioxidants in your blood. 

The basis of any salad, leafy greens, offer a huge nutritional benefit. Among the best of the super greens group are: kale, spinach, beet greens, watercress and Romaine lettuce (3). For something a little different, try adding fresh dandelion greens and mizuna as well.

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables in the “red” family are of particular nutrition benefit. This includes produce with orange, purple, red and burgundy flesh. Some examples are tomatoes, red and orange peppers, carrots,strawberries, nectarines, peaches, plums, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and pomegranates.

Carotenoids are a class of compounds synthesized from the yellow, orange and red pigments of plants. This includes vitamin A and all its varied compound forms: beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. All of these have substantiated positive effects, plus antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits within the body.

Eating a fiber-rich salad before your entree will help you to feel full faster, so you’ll consume less calories than you might when a meal is served without this appetizer. The more raw vegetables you can incorporate into your salad, the greater the potential positive effects will be.

Add a couple of tablespoons of mixed raw or roasted seeds like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and ground flax or chia to boost your daily intake of good fats. Experimenting with different kinds of oils in your dressings will help with this, too.

Slicing a quarter of an avocado and adding it to your greens will also give you a boost. These foods also help the body to absorb all of the protective compounds, phytochemicals, and lutein.

Adding a healthy fat to your salad via the dressing, or by adding healthy raw nuts or avocado will also make it more filling, as fats are among the most satiating.

Low vitamin K levels have been linked with low bone mineral density in women. For healthy bone growth, a recommended full daily serving can be found in just 1 cup of watercress (100%), radicchio (120%) or spinach (170%).

The carotenoids found in the green leafies like spinach, Romaine and Red Lettuce help the eyes to adjust from bright to dark, and to filter out high intensity light levels, protecting them from the formation of damaging free radicals.

The nutrients found in spinach not only help to build strong bones, they also help to improve the performance of the mitochondria – little structures inside our cells that help to produce energy, as well as inform and power our muscles.

Romaine lettuce contains two key nutrients in significant levels that help to protect the heart muscle: folate and fiber. High levels of folate have been shown to assist in the prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease (4).

The high levels of water found in salad veggies improves hydration in our bodies, which is necessary for youthful skin tone and various basic bodily functions.

You can give your salads an extra dose of antioxidants by making your own oil-based salad dressings and including power herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, dill, rosemary, oregano, garlic and lemon. Choose your favorite herb combos, mix with a healthy oil plus lemon juice or vinegar, and season to taste.

Adding fresh herbs goes a long way toward improving your nutrition, as many are densely packed with vitamins and various phytonutrients. Because these vitamins and phytonutrients are produced so intensely, they’re especially nutritionally dense – meaning they’re thermogenic, and may help to naturally increase your metabolism.

Adding sprouts to your salad is like turbo-charging the nutritional value of your veggies. And, if you want fresh and organic, they’re easy to grow at home, and economical as well.

Some of the popular choices for sprouting your own come from a variety of common grains, vegetables and nuts, such as:

  • Wheatgrass, which has good amounts of vitamins B, C and E.
  • Alfalfa, good for vitamins A, C, and K, with significant amounts of phytoestrogens.
  • Mung beans, with a nice protein count, fiber and vitamins A and C.
  • Pea shoots, rich in vitamins A and C, and folic acid from the B family, they offer some of the most significant protein levels in the sprout family. And, they taste like garden peas.
  • Lentils, since the sprouts contain over 25% protein.
  • Clover, high in isoflavones.
  • Broccoli, a noted source of the anti-cancer enzymesulphoraphane.
  • Sunflower, also offering significant levels of protein along with healthy fats and fatty acids, fiber and minerals.

If you’re planning to sprout some at home, pretty much any untreated, whole seeds will germinate if given the right environment, and most offer significant nutritional benefits.

Baby Greens

In general, leafy greens are highly nutritious because of the large variety of vitamins and minerals they have to offer. And they contain naturally occurring phytochemicals from plant compounds such as carotenoids, found in the leaves due to synthesis with sunlight.

Leaves that are exposed to the greatest amount of sunlight contain the highest amounts of these healthful compounds, such as beta carotene. And when plants are young, their form is loose, so all leaves receive equal amounts of light. This is opposed to mature plants, where only the outer leaves of heads of lettuce receive direct sunlight.

As these nutrition-packed phytochemicals have been shown to offer a range of potential benefits, including anti-cancer and cell protection properties, selecting baby greens provides the highest concentration of these important compounds.

Among baby greens, the young leaves of watercress, spinach and arugula contain the highest levels of potent phytochemicals and other nutrients.

Salad Mistakes to Avoid

The many potential health benefits of adding a salad to your daily diet can be quickly counteracted with the addition of certain cooked ingredients, and commercially produced additives.

Among the worst offenders are salad dressings, as they’re often loaded with high fructose corn syrup for flavor and processed trans fats to prolong shelf life. Low-fat dressings usually have increased sugar levels, with fructose added to compensate for the loss of flavor.

As excess fructose in your diet drives insulin and leptin resistance, major contributors to diabetes and other chronic diseases, it’s a good idea to avoid these added sugars when possible.

Make your own dressings instead, with a healthy oil, herbs and lemon or vinegar for a healthful condiment that will work with your salad, not against it. The healthy fats found in olive oil actually assist the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. Just don’t get carried away.

Another common “mistake” is the addition of cooked or processed foods to a salad. Ingredients such as deli meats (which contain high levels of preservatives and nitrates) full-fat cheeses, croutons, and salted or candied nuts all add flavor and texture, but they come with a price tag of calories, unhealthy fats and extra sugar. Use these ingredients sparingly to get the most out of your salad’s nutritional potential.

Protein for Salads

If your salad is going to be your main course, make it a balanced meal with the addition of some lean protein. Good quality protein sources for serving with your greens include tofu, eggs, tuna, salmon, prawns (or shrimp), nuts and seeds, lean chicken and turkey, as well as hard cheeses, cottage cheese and yogurt.

Kale

Kale is one of the super greens that packs a substantial nutritional wallop, but it can have a bitter taste. To take advantage of its many positive properties, try “massaging” your kale to soften it and remove the bitterness – this actually causes the kale to wilt, as its cellulose structure breaks down. It will soften, change color, and take on a silky texture, minus the bitterness… well worth the few minutes required.

At Doctor for Life, we believe adding high-quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet can only be beneficial to your health in the long run.  We offer expert help here at Doctor for Life in getting you started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle program.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step.  864-640-0009

Citations and Resources

(1) Mayo Clinic. “Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983?pg=1

(2) Harvard School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/

(3) Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/carotenoids

(4) American Heart Association. “Stroke.” http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/33/5/1183.full

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Benefits of Eating Healthy Snacks for a Healthy Weight Lifestyle

Snacking plays an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you’re having trouble getting all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs from your main meals, healthy snacks can fill in the gaps. Snacking can help you manage hunger in between meals and keep blood sugar at proper levels. Consuming healthy snacks at the right time and in the right proportion is the key to getting the most from your snacking habits.

Unfortunately, many people defer to packaged junk food like cake, doughnuts, chips, cookies and sodas for their typical snack in between meals. Such foods have little to no nutritional value. In order to benefit from the snacks you eat, you need to think healthy. What does healthy look like? If you were to make a healthy snacks list, foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains which are rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants would definitely be on it. When you commit to eating healthy office snacks, healthy movie snacks, healthy party snacks, healthy school snacks and healthy bedtime snacks, you’re well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. Plan Your Snacks

Poor planning is one of the greatest deterrents to healthy snacking. Grabbing whatever is in sight to feed the intense hunger can lead you to consume empty calories excessively. Planning snacks can help to assure that there is some nutritional value being consumed.

2. Distinguish between Snacking and “Grazing”

Eating a healthy snack from time to time is one thing; continually snacking without giving much thought to what you’re eating, aka “grazing”, is another. Grazing can quickly add up to extra pounds and excess spending.

3. Serve Reasonable Proportions

It’s better to eat small portions from a plate or bowl than snack directly out of a box or bag. By snacking directly from the bag, you risk overeating and gaining extra pounds. Serving small portions gives you better control over the quantity of food you consume.

Benefits of Snacking

Healthy snacking should provide some benefits, either physically, mentally or emotionally. Physically, healthy snacking will improve your overall health, increase energy levels and help you lose weight loss. Mentally, healthy snacks can improve concentration, increase memory and enhance mental alertness and awareness. Emotionally, yummy snacks are a source of joy and inspiration. Whether you favor healthy sweet snacks or healthy spicy snacks, you have much to gain by choosing healthy snack options.

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss  

There’s no need to avoid snacks in order to lose weight. In fact, eating healthy snacks can actually help you lose weight by stimulating your metabolism and filling you up so you eat less during meals. Healthy snacking doesn’t require spending lots of money. By shopping around, you can find a variety of cheap healthy snacks for any occasion. You can also make inexpensive and easy healthy snacks at home.

The best healthy snacks are those that are filling, nutritious and appeal to you and your family. Everyone has different tastes, so be sure to add family favorites to your healthy snacks list before you go shopping. Having a list makes it easier to get exactly what you and your kids want. Healthy kid snacks may differ from healthy snacks for teens or even what you would prefer to eat in the way of healthy easy snacks for adults.  What are some healthy snacks for weight loss? Here are some popular nutritionist approved choices.

Greek yogurt with berries and honey, grapes and walnuts, gluten-free whole grains bar, wheat crackers and cottage cheese, Mediterranean hummus platter, cooked oatmeal with blueberries, banana with peanut butter, natural jerky

 Low Carb Healthy Snacks    

One of the best ways to lose weight is to control your appetite. A ravenous appetite can be a big hurdle to weight loss. Low carb and no carb healthy snacks that are rich in good fats will sustain you longer in between meals, giving you less of an appetite for large meal portions. Low carb, low sugar foods make great options for heart healthy snacks for people who are prone to heart problems and need to be careful with their diet.

What makes a good low carb snack? A snack that’s rich in protein, low in sugar or sugar free, low in calories and rich in healthy fats. Cheese, nuts and seeds, lean meat, eggs and fish all fall under this category. Some popular low carb foods include:  Hard boiled eggs, nuts, Cheese, tuna salad, berries, dark chocolate, raw veggies (celery, cucumber, carrots) with cream cheese dip, avocado

There are numerous benefits to making healthy snacks a permanent part of your diet. A healthy snacking lifestyle can change your life for the better as you reap countless health benefits both now and in the years to come.  

At Doctor for Life, we believe adding high-quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet can only be beneficial to your health in the long run.  We offer expert help here at Doctor for Life in getting you started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle program.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step.  864-640-0009

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Healthy Benefits of Eating Breakfast: The case for a healthy morning meal.

Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day. Whether your goal is weight loss or simply to be healthy, it is imperative that you make eating breakfast a regular habit. The benefits are numerous, ranging from lower rates of diabetes to increased satiety and weight loss. 

When you skip your morning meal, you are telling your body that food may be hard to come by and that it should conserve energy. Thus, what happens is, is your metabolism slows and your body attempts to store fat.  

Fortunately, we are no longer attempting to survive in the wild and we have a plentiful source of food and calories. However, your body does not know this. By eating breakfast to start your day, you will jump-start your metabolism and be well on your way to reach your health goals.

But why is breakfast so important? Quite simply, eating breakfast supports good health.  Coming as it does after the day’s longest period without food, breakfast seems to influence metabolism more strongly than lunch or dinner. Failing to break your fast with a meal shortly after rising might strain your body, which could in theory lead to insulin resistance, and perhaps even other heart risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol problems

A healthy morning meal also appears to be helpful in maintaining a good body weight. It may be a coincidence, but the downward trend in breakfast consumption over the last 40 years has coincided with the surge in obesity rates over the same period. In contrast, breakfast eaters are about a third less likely to be overweight or obese, and tend to be more successful in maintaining weight loss after dieting. They also show greater restraint when it comes to impulse snacking and overeating at other meals.

A well-crafted breakfast should include lean protein, whole-grain carbohydrates, healthy fat, and fresh fruit. These components can be assembled to make a variety of quick and tasty meals, such as a serving of Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and a handful of nuts; a whole-wheat English muffin spread with a dollop of peanut butter; or an egg scrambled in extra-virgin olive oil along with some spinach, mushrooms, or other vegetables.

As you can see, eating a healthy breakfast has numerous health benefits. If you are serious about your health and want to lose weight, it is important that you make regular breakfast consumption a regular aspect of your daily routine.

At Doctor for Life, we believe adding high-quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet can only be beneficial to your health in the long run.  We offer expert help here at Doctor for Life in getting you started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle program.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step.  864-640-0009

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What is all the hype about gluten-free and is it for me?

A gluten-free diet is the only option for people with celiac disease, a severe gluten intolerance. Now, many people without this condition are ‘going gluten free’ because they believe it is a healthful option.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, a combination of wheat and rye. It helps foods such as cereal, bread, and pasta, to hold their shape.

There are many people around the world that consume a diet which is naturally gluten free or low in gluten. A good example is most of Asia, where the main staple food is rice, not wheat. It’s perfectly possible to have a healthy diet which is also gluten-free diet using most standard dietary advice.

Just because something is labeled “gluten-free,” does not mean it is a healthy choice.

As “gluten-free” gains more and more popularity, food companies are flocking to the potential marketing opportunity and selling these “healthy” gluten-free products that are potentially worse for the health of the general public than eating a slice of glutenous bread (celiac diagnosis is a different story).

If you go down the aisles of your grocery store, you will find an overwhelming amount of gluten-free options of all your favorite desserts and snacks. Gluten-free cookies, cakes, muffins, crackers, breads, pastas, cereals…they’re still processed junk food.

Many of these products are filled with highly refined carbohydrates and modified starches, added and artificial sugars, inflammatory omega-6 vegetable oils, food dyes, food stabilizers, and gums.

The processing of these grains and modified starches strips these products of fiber and are void of essential micronutrients, causing a blood sugar avalanche and fluctuating hunger cravings. This spells disaster for anyone trying to lose weight and sets the stage for diabetes.

While some of these items can be “enjoyed” as a cheat snack/indulgence every once in awhile, a true gluten-free diet focuses on eating whole, unadulterated, naturally occurring gluten-free grains (quinoa, rice, teff, millet, buckwheat, oats) and copious amount of vegetables.

At Doctor for Life, we believe adding high-quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet can only be beneficial to your health in the long run.  We offer expert help here at Doctor for Life in getting you started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle program.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step.  864-640-0009

Picture and some info courtesy of eatfunctionalfoods.org

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Meatless Monday for health benefits

Monday is the day of the week that has a reputation for welcoming change and beginning better habits. Whether it’s about encouraging healthy eating, stopping smoking, or kicking off an exercise program, you may want to be a part of one of these to help start your week on the right foot.

Meatless Monday was begun in 2003 by Sid Lerner, founder and chairman of The Monday Campaigns, as he had just started taking a cholesterol-lowering drug and became more aware of research studies that linked excessive fat consumption to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. He learned that a 15 percent decrease in meat consumption (equivalent to 3 meals, or 1 day a week) might help prevent these diseases. He recalled Meatless Monday from WWI and WWII days when it was used for rationing and started a movement.

Research suggests that people are more open to trying healthy behaviors at the start of the week. Monday offers an opportunity to “reset” and get back on track after any lapses over the weekend and studies show people that get back on track at the beginning of the week are better able to maintain progress over time.

Environmental advocates welcome efforts to go moderately meatless, too. They’re concerned about reducing carbon footprint and saving precious resources like water. 

Meatless Monday has brought families together and introduced young minds and bodies to plant protein choices like tofu, yogurt and a bounty of colorful vegetables and fruits. Another Monday Campaign, The Kids Cook Monday, does a wonderful job of setting a healthy, inviting table. 

Meatless Monday can make a big difference for your health and the health of our planet. Replacing meat with plant-based choices each Monday can offer numerous health benefits and help you take action against climate change by reducing your carbon footprint and helping you conserve precious environmental resources.

 For Your Health

Consuming less red and processed meat and more plant-based foods such as vegetables, beans, soy, and nuts can offer many potential health benefits:

  • Eating less meat and more plant-based foods, such as vegetables, beans, and nuts, can improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Skipping even a half serving of meat every day and replacing it with a plant protein like beans or tofu can decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes
  • Substituting plant-based foods for meat can help you maintain a healthy weight
  • Cutting back on red and processed meat and eating more plant-based foods can promote kidney health
  • Beans, nuts, soy, and other vegetables can give you all the protein you need in one day

A new study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that eating plant-based may be the key to adding the most candles to your birthday cake.

This info isn’t actually all that surprising, since previous studies have shown eating a vegan or plant-based diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease. But this study from Harvard wanted to examine how changes to diet could influence all of a person’s risks of dying, no matter how old they were or what their diet looked like before. 

At Doctor for Life, we believe adding high-quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet can only be beneficial to your health in the long run.  We challenge you to try a Meatless Monday for the next months and see how you enjoy expanding your horizon for new plant based food choices.  This is such an exciting time of year as the spring crops are in and summer crops are just around the corner.  We offer expert help here at Doctor for Life in getting you started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle program.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step.  864-640-0009. As always, before beginning a new way of eating or exercise program, consult with your doctor to make sure the change is right for you.

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Is my Metabolism working against me?

Do you know people who complain about having a slow metabolism and how they barely eat anything yet still gain weight? Or have you met people who complain about someone they know who can eat whatever he or she wants — including large portions of junk food — due to a fast metabolism and apparently never gain weight. In both cases the individual usually ends by saying, “It’s not fair!” These scenarios raise several very good questions:

  • What role exactly does metabolism play in weight gain or weight loss?
  • Is your metabolic rate determined by your genes? If so, can you speed up a slow metabolism through exercise, drugs or certain foods?
  • Is the importance of metabolism just a myth? Is weight gain or loss purely due to “calories in and calories out?”

Pausing, and deciding to rest, is not only the hallmark of most people who are successful and healthy, but can actually give you more results from all the hard work you do!

For example, did you know that if you keep working out every day, you’ll quickly begin to plateau? You’ll be exercising on top of your poor muscles that are torn down but can’t rebuild. And rebuilding is the only way they become stronger, more defined, and end up burning more calories, day and night.

Your metabolism is a lot of systems and processes, all working to keep you alive and nourished. When it works well, you look and feel great. When it doesn’t, you get sluggish, fatigued, bloated, and even sick.

Metabolism or metabolic rate is defined as the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life. More simply, it’s the rate at which your body expends energy or burns calories.

The reality is that for most people, excess weight is not all due to bad luck, thyroid trouble or some other unexplained, uncontrollable external factor. It’s simple accounting involving calories in and calories out that determines changes in weight over a lifetime.

Regardless of whether your metabolism is fast or slow, our bodies are designed to store excess energy in fat cells. So if you eat and drink more calories (energy “intake”) than your body expends (energy “output”) you will gain weight. On the other hand, if you eat and drink fewer calories than are burned through everyday activities (including exercise, rest and sleep), you’ll lose weight. Our bodies are also programmed to sense a lack of food as starvation. In response, our BMR slows down, which means fewer calories burned over time. That’s one reason why losing weight is often difficult.

When it comes to weight, metabolism is important and does have a genetic component. Clearly, you can change how you balance the calories you take in against the calories you burn up through activity, which can change your weight.  As you can see, there are many factors involved in your metabolism and your ability to follow a Healthy Weight Lifestyle.  This is our specialty here at Doctor for Life.  We help you each step of the way.  Identify possible obstacles, help you plan your successful journey, conduct medical test as necessary and coach you each step of the way.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step to your Healthy Lifestyle 864-640-0009.

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Why Is Drinking Water Important?

Do you drink enough water each day? If not, your overall health may be taking a toll. And why is drinking water important? Drinking water regularly can help you to lose weight, think better, be in a better mood, prevent disease, and more.  Is that enough to have you reaching for your water bottle?

I follow that advice myself. One item I could not live without, in fact, is my water bottle. To make sure I have one with me at all times, I own several. I keep one each in my car, on my desk, and in my backpack, so pretty much everywhere I go, I have a water bottle on hand.  I even carry a water bottle to restaurants with me which also helps in giving that sense of fullness and not overeating.

Why Our Bodies Need Water

How much of the human body is water? It might surprise you to learn that water makes up about 60 percent of our body weight. And what does water do for the body? The benefits of drinking water are many. It’s vital for almost every function in the body. Water acts as a building block, a solvent for chemical reactions, and a transport material for nutrients and waste.

Water also helps maintain blood volume and allows proper circulation, helps regulate our body temperature, and acts as a shock absorber for our joints and our brain. There are still more health benefits of water: It helps lubricate the linings of our inner organs and maintains healthy kidney function.

Water Your Body: 6 Benefits

Drinking plenty of water can help keep your body healthy and functioning at its highest capacity. Staying hydrated will help you to:

  • Improve physical performance. During physical activity, our bodies use up a lot of water. So stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise helps to protect your body from harm, and to help you to perform better.
  • Help you to lose weight. Are you having trouble with your weight loss efforts? Increasing your water intake may help you achieve better results. Studies show that people who are on diets lose more weight when they also increase their water intake.
  • Boost your mood. People who drink more water also tend to have better moods.
  • Boost your brainpower. When you drink more water, you may improve your cognitive performance, too.
  • Prevent headaches. Water deprivation is a very common cause of headache. In most cases, re-hydrating can provide relief from a headache. For some people, dehydration can also trigger a migraine, so be sure to keep your water intake regular if you are prone to getting migraines or headaches.
  • Protect against disease. One of the most important answers to the question “Why is water important?” is its role in disease prevention. Proper hydration may be a useful tool in preventing a variety of health conditions and diseases. Staying hydrated may protect against kidney stones, constipation, asthma, urinary tract infections, and coronary heart disease.
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?

The amount of water you need to drink will depend on several factors, including your age, gender, activity level, and more. However, here’s a good general guideline when it comes to recommended daily water intake: Women should drink at least 91 ounces per day and men should drink 125 ounces per day. Increase your daily water intake as you increase your activity level. Be sure to always drink filtered water to avoid toxins found in tap water. Give us a call today at Doctor for Life and we can help you calculate your water intake as well as providing you more specific positive effects of water based on your body and health needs.  864-640-0009

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Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

There are many studies that have been conducted over the years with very positive findings.  Results show those people who wrote about or gave verbal gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.  But most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.  Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.  Managers who remember to say “thank you” to people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. Children and teens who take time to thank someone who has help them develop show findings that suggests gratitude is an attainment associated with emotional maturity.

Take a moment today to offer gratitude to someone.  This will show positive effects on physical health, psychological health, reduce aggression, improve sleep, and increase mental strength.  Finding yourself is all part of a Healthy Lifestyle.  We can help you here at Doctor for Life using our evidenced based programs.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step to a more healthy future.  864-640-0009

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A healthy take on Easter Sunday lunch

HE IS RISEN! In celebration of the fact that our King rose from the dead and in welcoming the birth of spring take a look at these menu suggestions for Easter.  Since a lot of traditional Easter food is chocked full of sugar and various other unhealthful ingredients, here are some tasty Easter menu suggestions that will keep you on track with keto, and just about any other low-carb way of eating.

As you’re eating, remember to keep your body’s cues in mind. Eat just until you’re full, don’t gorge yourself no matter how yummy the food is. And just because we might recommend a lot below doesn’t mean you’re supposed to make all of it. The suggestions are here to give you ideas, so pick and choose and leave the rest.

Baked Ham- For the simplicity of the main event, check your local market and buy a previously cooked ham that is low in sugar content glaze. All you will have to do is warm, plate and serve saving time in the kitchen.

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Spicy Smoky Salmon Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon ¼ cup low or no sugar mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces ⅓ fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce
  • dried dill, for garnish

Instructions

Cut all the eggs in half lengthwise. Pop out the yolks into a medium sized bowl. Mix together the remaining ingredients except the dill until well blended. Spoon the mixture into the egg whites. Garnish with dill.

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Garlic cauliflower mashed

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed until very soft
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. crushed garlic
  • 4 oz. cream cheese

Instructions

Steam the cauliflower until it’s very soft. Drain the cauliflower very well and blend it with the other ingredients until completely smooth (use a stick blender or food processor for ease). You may need to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula on occasion. Reheat if desired. Top with some melted butter and sprinkle with some dill weed.

Note: Be sure to drain the cauliflower very well so you don’t have cauliflower soup.

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Creamy & Crunchy Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 large broccoli crowns, chopped
  • 12 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp stevia extract powder

Instructions

Dump broccoli, bacon, onion, sunflower seeds, and cheddar into a large bowl. Stir mayo, sour cream, vinegar, and stevia together in a measuring cup to make the dressing. Pour over salad and stir to coat. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

rfosterA healthy take on Easter Sunday lunch
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