Tag Archive | weight loss

A Fresh Start Every Day

Every morning when we awake is a new day to treat our bodies with the care and love we deserve. As our bodies have been regenerating and repairing throughout the night, the morning brings an empty canvas. A great way to jump start your digestive function is to drink a large glass of quality water with fresh squeezed lemon and/or lime. In case you are wondering what quality water is, (refer to a previous article) reverse osmosis is my personal choice as it removes chlorine AND fluoride. Since all our cells function through the medium of water, a large glass first thing is a good way to jump start your metabolism after a good 8 hour liquid fast in the night.

Now for the fun part… fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice! What exactly is this good for? Lemons and limes are great liver detoxifiers. They both help to stimulate the production of liver enzymes and bile, which aids in the digestive process. These citrus fruits have also been shown to lower the glycemic index of the food being consumed along with them, which is great for diabetics and for weight loss.

A tall glass in the morning will help flush your digestive tract first thing in the morning, and help rid yourself of harmful toxins from the foods you’ve eaten. It’s such a great way to start your healthy day!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Stretching. The what, where, when, and how to…

I thought I’d give a run down on the most effective and satisfying way to stretch, since most times I go to the gym I see no one doing it.  First off, there are a couple reasons to stretch your muscles.  First, as many people are involved in daily repetitive postures and movements, certain muscles will adaptively shorten.  This means that if you sit all day long (for example), your hamstrings and hip flexors are in a shortened position for most of the day.   Since our body is always trying to be as efficient as possible, this sends a signal to the brain saying that these muscles only needs to be ‘this long’.  Hence the muscles adapt to the new demand.  Second, this shortening leads to altered biomechanics in the way our body functions.  The body will always try to compensate for losses by activating other muscles to pick up the slack.  But eventually the system breaks down further and further, especially when compounded with injury.  Sooner or later you will experience pain, the warning signal.  Many times the pain will vanish without a trace, but this does not mean the underlying issue is gone.  Stretching can help to re-establish the proper muscular balance in the body.  Unfortunately, it needs to be a routine to be effective.

There are a couple rules to follow when deciding to take up a stretching routine.

1. Always stretch after your muscles are warm.  This means no pre-workout static stretching.  It has been shown that this can lead to a higher susceptibility of injury during the workout.  It has also been shown that your muscles will not function as optimally.  This means you should not statically stretch before you need to run a race or play a game (something that you need to be at your best).  If you are doing a gym or home workout, the best time to stretch is at the end.  If you are just stretching without working out, it is best to take a short walk or jog first, just to warm up your muscles.  I personally love a sauna session before a good stretch.

2.  If you choose to stretch before a workout, the best way to do so is to dynamically stretch.  (Notice in #1 I said no STATIC stretching.  Static means being still, or for example touching your toes and holding that position.)  Dynamic stretching increases muscle blood flow and helps to loosen the muscle.  This would include a movement such as swinging your leg forward and backward repeatedly.

3.   Through my research, I’ve seen that the most optimal way to lengthen a muscle is to perform eccentric muscular contractions with weight.  This approach will actually build muscle fibers in a lengthening fashion.  So you will get stronger, plus added length and mobility.  This would be performed by holding weight in a contracted position, and continue to hold in that position while another person tries to pull you out.  (This can be done with the other persons strength or by standing on the weights – on a machine assisted lift.)  I have done this style of stretching/lifting most with pec flys on a pec deck machine (machine where your forearms are resting on pads and you squeeze in until your forearms are touching).   I have seen great improvements in my posture (since my shoulders were rolled forward from sitting in class during chiropractic school).

4.  Last, when stretching statically it should never be painful, only uncomfortable.  The stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds for optimal results.  And please, always listen to your body.  If it feels you have gone too far, back off.  If it feels you could go further, ease into it.

I’ve seen with many patients (and myself) how much stretching can actually help alleviate pain and assist in optimizing biomechanical function.  In this article, (http://drkristinsfitnessrx.com/2013/04/30/a-little-something-to-help-you-enjoy-your-summer-pain-free/) I talked about different stretches for low back pain.  It can be beneficial for most people, so why not start a routine today?  The only thing you have to lose is pain or dysfunction!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

What is Whole Body Vibration Therapy?

Whole body vibration (WBV) therapy has become popular recently, in the athletic community and in Chiropractic offices.  But why?  What can WBV do for you?

First off…  What is WBV?  WBV units are platforms, as seen in the picture below, that you stand on.  The platform oscillates up and down one side at a time, causing your body to vibrate.  These machines will vibrate between 20-100 Hz (Hertz is a unit of frequency or # of vibrations per second).

So why vibrate your body?  Well…  when a muscle is isometrically (contracted without changing length) loaded, 40% of the muscle is being contracted at once.  When those fibers start to fatigue, the body utilizes a different 40% of muscle fibers, in order to reduce fatiguability.  When vibration is added to isometric contractions, the Tonic Vibration Reflex is initiated.  This reflex causes a sustained contraction of the whole muscle by engaging the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs.  Ultimately, the whole muscle is rapidly fatigued, and you have had a workout!

The vibration increases local circulation and lymphatic drainage.  This helps to accelerate tissue repair!  Studies have even shown a decrease in blood inflammatory markers after utilizing WBV post-workout, which can help decrease delayed onset muscle soreness, felt after a heavy workout.  Draining blocked lymph ducts can also help to reduce the appearance of cellulite, which accumulates as toxins deposit in the fat tissue in the surrounding areas.

Basically you can’t lose by jumping on this great machine!  Perform squats, one-legged exercises, push-ups, or just stand.  There are many benefits!

 

My love,

Dr. Kristin

WBV

Just Say NO… to wheat

If you are looking to detoxify your body and be as healthy as possible, a great place to start is eliminating wheat.  But why?  If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll remember that wheat stimulates your pancreas to secrete insulin.  This is especially a problem when over-consumed (which is usually the case).  This spike in insulin in your bloodstream sends your body into hormonal frenzy and over time will shift your body into a fat building imbalance.  In other words, you’ll pack on the pounds…  especially in areas such as belly, butt and thighs.

While looking your best is important to most of us, it’s even more alarming to know what scientists have found wheat is doing inside of you.  Proteins called ‘gliadins’ are present in wheat and when they come in contact with your insides, create inflammation.  You might be wondering, why is inflammation bad?  Inflammation is your body’s response to a foreign invader.  If it’s not supposed to be there, inflammation will occur.  Over the long run, inflammation can lead to a host of diseases and/or health conditions.  This can include anything from allergies to cancer and higher susceptibility to illness to heart disease.

So the real question is, do you want to put yourself at unnecessary risk?  In addition to the fat building hormonal cons…

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Squats are a girl’s best friend

If you’re not squatting, I want to help you start!  It’s one of the most functional, butt blasting, fat burning, feel good exercises out there.  For a female, squats are especially useful in the vain game since we deposit a good amount of cushion in our bottoms.  The more muscle you use in a resistance exercise, the more fat busting testosterone is produced.  Muscle is more metabolically active, which means less fat.

Function wise, how many times a day do you need to squat?  Think about it…  Every time you need to go to the bathroom.  Granted you’re not putting 50 lbs on your back as you do it.  But in the long run, your grannie legs will thank you!  Plus many people do not realize the extent that squats strengthen your pelvic floor.  The pelvic floor is the group of muscles that extends from your pubic bone to your tailbone (in no specifics), which surrounds your urethra and anus and aids in control of excretion.  That means no unnecessary urine leaks, which is especially useful if you plan on having children.

So what do you need to do to start squatting?  Well, you have several options.  You can begin with air squats at home.  Stand with your feet hip distance apart, toes turned outwards 30 degrees.  Now lower your tush towards the floor, throwing it back instead of straight down (your knees should be directly over your ankles when you reach the bottom).  Think of sitting back on a chair.  Lower your butt to the floor as far as you can, below parallel please (this means your rear is below your knees)!  Repeat until you cannot do any more.  Know that you will be sore!  It can be hard to get used to being sore after a new workout, but think of it like a badge of honor.  It means you made progress.

When you need more of a challenge, you can add weight to your back.  Anything from a gym bar to dumbbells or kettlebells by your side.  I start with low weight to warm up, and then move up according to my strength levels.  (I push myself, but the heavier you go, you need someone to spot you.  This is only for advanced lifters.)

I really hope you considering squatting as a new part of your exercise routine!  Squats really are a girl’s best friend!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

What kind of exercise should you really be doing?

I go to the gym and 9 times out of 10 all the women are on the cardio equipment.  And I ask myself, why?

I am not in any way demonizing cardiovascular exercise.  I get on a bike or treadmill every time I go into the gym.  It’s great for the health of your heart and vasculature, among many other things.  What I want to know is where are all the women lifting weights?

Many of us in the gym are trying to lose weight or tone up.  The best way to do that is to lift weights!  What we need to think about in the gym is testosterone, a very important fat burning hormone.  In order to convert your body in to fat burning mode, testosterone needs to be increased.  As it is, women do not have very much testosterone, on average about 40-50mg/dL (men average between 200-1000mg/dL).  So don’t worry, it is nearly impossible to beef up in the gym from lifting weights.  We just don’t produce enough testosterone to do that.  (If you’re thinking about the female body builders out there, don’t bother.  Most likely, they’re taking supplemental testosterone, which is known to many as ‘steroids’.)

I know many of you are somewhat reserved when it comes to start lifting weights.  I want to put the bug out there.  Lifting weights will actually help you burn fat and lose that last bit of weight!  And don’t worry, muscles are sexy!

For a full detailed hormonally correct eating and exercise plan, check out my ebook Abs After 30.

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Don’t get that egg on your face!

I, personally, cannot go a day without eating an egg.  I love them.  But when I go to the grocery store, I never know which ones to buy.  Which type of egg is the best for me?

The labels they put on eggs can be deceiving.  When I first realized what all of them actually meant, I was shocked…  There are 5 typical classifications; organic, vegetarian-fed, cage-free, free-range, and pastured (not pasteurized).

The first, organic, seemingly would be the best for you.  However, this only means that the chicken’s food is free of harmful chemicals.  It speaks nothing to how the chickens were raised.  Vegetarian-fed chickens are only given grains for their diet, which seems like it would be healthy, except for the fact that chickens need to get protein from grubs and bugs.  So this term also means that the chickens do not have access to the pasture.  Next up are the cage-free hens, which sounds very humane.  Unfortunately, these chickens are not confined to their cages, but usually are left in a dark barn.  Not a very good place to roam and find nourishing things to eat.   A step up from cage-free is the free-range chicken.  These lucky birds not only get access to roam around the dark barn, but also can go out to the yard, where they can stand on a fenced in piece of dirt or cement.  This was definitely not what I thought free-range meant.  Lastly, the pastured chicken makes it appearance.   Pastured means that the chickens are free to roam through the pasture, or grass-fed.  They can eat the grubs and bugs they were meant to, in addition to the food they are given.  This type of egg usually comes from small farms that sell their product at local markets.

So why eat pastured eggs?  What difference can there really be?  Well, Mother Earth News conducted an egg experiment in 2007 to see what the differences really were.  In comparison to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data for commercial eggs, pastured eggs contained: ⅓ less cholesterol, ¼ less saturated fat, ⅔ more vitamin A, 3 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta-carotene.

Personally, I’d rather get more bang for my buck.  I’ll be making my next egg purchase at my local market.

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Heal your body… With NUTRITION!

When a person is wounded or injured (including recovery from surgical procedures), the body has conditional increases in nutrient needs to facilitate proper and rapid healing.  The following steps will create the internal environment necessary for recovery:

  1. Drink extra water.  Have a large glass as soon as you wake up in the morning, before lunch, and before dinner.  Two of water’s important functions are joint lubrication and muscle recovery.  Even mild muscle cell dehydration can slow the bodies repair process.
  2. Get plenty of protein.  When you are injured, slight deficiencies can lengthen recovery time.  Have at least three servings a day of foods, such as fish, chicken, turkey, and non or low-fat dairy.  Beef and pork are also good sources of protein, but tend to be high in fat, so use them in moderation.  You can also acquire extra protein in your diet by using protein powder to make shakes and smoothies.  This is especially recommended if you are vegetarian.  Use 25-40 grams of protein per drink.  The RDA is your bodyweight in pounds multiplied by 0.364 for grams per day.  Injuries and wound healing – BW x 0.5, regular exercise – BW x 0.6, surgery – BW x 0.7, muscle-building – BW x 0.8.
  3. Take a multivitamin, multi-mineral formula that provides you with at least 100% of RDA for all vitamins and minerals.  Read labels carefully.  If you use a one-pill-a-day formula, you will probably need to take additional calcium and magnesium.  Other formulas require you to take three or more pills a day to achieve amounts listed on the label.
  4. Take extra vitamin C.  It activates enzymes needed to repair wounds and connective tissue.  During your recovery, multiply your body weight by 10 and then round to the nearest 100 to find out how many milligrams of vitamin C you need per day.  For example, 152 lbs x 10 = 1520, rounded to the nearest hundred = 1500 mg per day.
  5. Do your best to stay away from junk food.  Eating less junk food is always good to do, but is especially important when recovering.  Foods like soda, chips, candy, cake, pies, doughnuts, and cookies are low quality sources of calories.  If you have a sweet tooth, try snacking on fresh fruits or sports bars such as Clif, Power, Balance, or Met-Rx.  Ice cream lovers are advised to eat low or nonfat yogurt instead.
  6. If you are on a weight loss diet, put it on hold until you feel better.  Increase the number of calories you eat to a level where you maintain your current weight.  Trying to lose weight and recover at the same time will slow down the healing process.  This, in turn, will inhibit your weight loss goals by extending the time you are unable to exercise at times and intensities required to burn body fat.
  7. When you are better:
  • Continue to drink plenty of water.
  • Reduce your protein back to two servings a day unless you are involved in heavy athletics.
  • Try to maintain healthy snacking habits.
  • If you are on a weight los program, resume it.
  • Reduce your vitamin C intake to 500 mg per day.

Continue to take your multivitamin at least 5 days per week.

My Love,

Dr. Kristin