How to Tackle Thanksgiving Day in a Healthy Way!

Get Ready for the Holiday Season:  How to Tackle Thanksgiving Day in a Healthy Way!

Thanksgiving can be a dangerous day for those watching their weight and working on eating healthier.  Temptations of gooey pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows make it seem impossible to be disciplined.  But eating healthy on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you must forgo all your favorite foods!

Football players aren’t the only ones who should have a game plan for Thanksgiving. Being prepared is the key component for success on the field and at the dining room table.  Thanksgiving dinner can range from 1,500-6,000 calories, with the average person eating about 3,000 calories. Average weight gain during the four-week holiday season is one to five pounds. That may not seem like much until you consider that most people don’t drop the weight after the holidays end, and the pounds add up.  Here are a few simple tips to leave you feeling thankful instead of “Thanksgiving full” this year.

  • Get creative. There’s no need to remove your favorite traditional dishes from the menu just because they aren’t the best for you. Instead, create healthier versions of holiday classics that can still be enjoyed. Swap out an ingredient for a healthier alternative (like whole-wheat stuffing) or revamp a classic (think cauliflower mashed potatoes).
  • Eat other meals as usual. Eating fewer calories for the Thanksgiving meal may seem like a good idea, but it tends to backfire. When we’re hungry, it’s easy for even the most disciplined diner to lose control. Add in the intoxicating aromas of favorite meals, and a disaster is right around the corner. Improve self-control by eating a meal or small snack beforehand.
  • Hydrate. Our bodies often confuse hunger and thirst, so drinking enough fluids is essential. Stick to options that are sugar-free, such as water, seltzer with a twist of lemon or unsweetened tea. We want to eat our calories, not drink them.
  • Location. Location. Location. Proximity to food makes a big difference. To avoid snacking, picking or hastily taking seconds, place yourself at a safe distance away from where food is being served. Have a favorite dish? Don’t sit in front of it at the table. Passing it down the table is a great way to avoid mindlessly going in for a second helping.
  • Choose a smaller plate. When we choose a smaller plate, we trick our eyes and our minds into thinking we are eating more than we actually are. Odds are no matter what size your plate is—you’re going back for seconds, so keep your portions limited. If you can avoid seconds, even better.
  • Eat pumpkin! Pumpkin is packed with nutrients – vitamin A, potassium and fiber. It tastes much like other squashes, so try roasting it and adding salt and pepper to taste. If you’re going to do dessert, reach for the pumpkin pie. Better yet, make your own, substituting fat free evaporated milk for the heavy whipping cream and reducing the fat in the crust. If you didn’t make your own pie, choose a small piece and limit the whipped cream on top to help shave calories.
  • Slow down. Savor the food you are eating and put your fork down in between bites. Really enjoy what you are putting in your mouth.  By slowing down and paying attention, we naturally eat less and enjoy our meal even more.

Making a conscious effort to follow this advice will help make your Thanksgiving Day a healthy one, and make your body thankful as well.  Most importantly, enjoy the company of friends and family. Take the focus off the food and put it back where it really belongs: on our loved ones.


A Basic Primer on How the Body’s Metabolism Works

Stop Starving Yourself:  A Basic Primer on How the Body’s Metabolism Works

Reducing calorie intake and increasing your metabolism (the rate at which the body burns calories) is the key to achieving your weight loss goals.  Hearing the words “reducing calorie intake” can make people think that starving yourself is the way to achieve maximum weight loss. Not only is this unsafe, it’s completely untrue! When you cut down your calorie intake too drastically it may make it harder for you to shed weight and maintain any weight loss you did achieve once you begin eating again.

Calorie cutting affects every part of your body. Your brain is fueled by glucose—the sugar molecule that is regulated by eating—and your body will do anything it can to keep your brain up and running. If you continue a low-calorie intake for more than a day, your body will start to break down muscle tissue to get at the amino acids stored, which it can then convert to glucose to power your brain.  The body breaks down muscle in the absence of fuel because, as the muscles become smaller, they work less and utilize less energy, allowing you to last longer on the stored supplies of fat.

Starvation leaves no fuel for these basic bodily functions, let alone energy for daily tasks. Following a fast or starvation diet for several days can also cause nutritional deficiencies, dizziness, weakness, digestive distress, nausea, irritability, depression and fatigue.

The focus of a healthy weight loss should be your metabolism– the mechanism our body uses to burn calories. Think of it as your body’s “motor.” The faster your metabolism operates the more calories you’ll burn and lose in the process.  As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. The truth is you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. In fact, the best way to rev up your metabolism is to eat and stay hydrated.  Here are some other tips to increase your metabolism:

  • Don’t skip meals. It’s better to eat four to six small meals per day than to skip a major daily meal, especially breakfast.
  • Eat smaller meals, more frequently.  Try eating smaller portions, but more frequently so you don’t feel like you’re starving. Constantly snacking on small, healthy foods will help keep your metabolism going, increasing its overall effectiveness. This method of eating will also keep you full, allowing you to control your calories and prevent overeating.
  • Eat vegetables with every meal. You don’t have to eat only vegetables. In fact, you should incorporate foods from all the food groups into your daily meals. However, eat a lot of veggies with every meal to help you fill up on foods that are nutritious and low in calories.
  • Gain more muscle.  While you don’t necessarily have to bulk-up like a body builder, putting on a little more muscle mass is a great way to give your metabolism a jolt once it’s become sluggish. Having more muscle requires your body to burn calories just to sustain that muscle, even when you’re not doing anything. Numerous studies have shown that those who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate than those with less muscle.
  • Increase your water intake.  If you are gaining insufficient amounts of water, you need to start hydrating yourself properly. Dehydration is one of the factors that can slow down a person’s metabolism, since water is very important for the body to burn calories. While it’s important to drink plenty of water to kick-start a slowing metabolism, it is also important not to overhydrate to avoid water-intoxication.
  • Avoid empty calories, such as fruit juices and soda. They do not substitute water and provide no nutritional value.
  • Be fidgety.  Standing or sitting completely still for extended periods of time while at your desk or on the couch will slow down your metabolism. Try making a habit of keeping your body constantly moving by either tapping your feet, constantly stretching or constantly moving your legs and being fidgety. Constant movement will keep your metabolism cranked, plus you’re burning calories, even if it’s only a small amount.

While weight loss is important, it is more important to do it in a healthy way that can also be maintained to keep the weight off.


Healthy Weight Loss Strategies

What does healthy medical weight loss look like?

Healthy Medical Weight LossHealthy medical weight loss isn’t losing one hundred pounds in two weeks. You didn’t gain your weight overnight so expecting it to disappear quickly is setting yourself up for dangerous fad dieting and greater health risks.

There is no magic pill, surgery, or “new” diet that will help you reduce your weight and keep it off without dramatic, and potentially deadly, side effects. Weight loss isn’t about what you eat. It’s about how you live.

Healthy medical weight loss is a slow and steady process. You’re developing new habits and overwriting years of unhealthy choices. Do you know how long it takes to actually develop a new habit? It takes between 18 and 254 days! That’s a large margin. Be patient with yourself and keep your eye on little goals.

When you lose weight, it will be 1-2 pounds a week (or more when you first start your new lifestyle patterns). The way your clothes fit you will tell you more about your weight loss journey than the scale. Your waist, legs, arms, chest, back, and neck are all places that will show weight loss before your face. Some will lose weight in certain areas first. If you must use the scale, don’t obsess over your weight. The added stress can actually cause more trouble to your journey. Your 1-2 lb loss per week is an average. So, if you weigh yourself every day, make sure you average out your total at the end of the week. Daily tracking is a snapshot of a moment. Your body is about fuel efficiency over time.

Weight loss is made up of three areas: behavioral treatment, a healthy diet that meets a minimum caloric requirement, and physical activity.

Behavior

Behavioral treatment helps you transition into a more active and health-focused lifestyle. It helps you find patterns of behavior and figure out what causes them so you can recognize your triggers and keep them in check. Fatigue and stress are huge factors in what your body craves, so know that a healthy lifestyle includes more than just diet and exercise.

Healthy Diet

Making you get the minimum number of calories to maintain your body health is very important. Most often, we believe that our bodies can burn more calories (and our fat reserves) if we eat less and less. What actually happens is that your body switches to starvation mode and begins hoarding the fat and shutting down other parts of your body. At the same time, paying attention to how often you eat and what you put in your body is important as well. Keeping a food log really helps you out. It will show you whether you’re getting the right balance of vitamins and nutrients, but it can also show you trends you weren’t aware of. Do you end up binging on leftover donuts in the breakroom after the Tuesday morning meeting? If so, is it because you skipped breakfast during your morning rush to get everything ready for it, or because the food was there and it was easier to grab than going back to your desk? If you notice a trend like this, you can prepare ahead of time so you don’t grab the donut without making an active decision to do so. If it’s because it’s convenient, have a snack. If you’re craving sweets, make sure you have a sweet snack before the meeting. Once you know the reasons behind your decisions, it becomes easier to make conscious choices.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is a cornerstone to your weight loss journey. Food is fuel to the engine of your body and physical activity is how you make that fuel (and the fat in your body) burn. Overdoing it can cause strain and permanent injury, so make sure you start out at your current physical level. We tend to want to do the same level of intensity as we did back in our prime, but that can be detrimental to our journey. If you can’t avoid competing with the memory of more active days, consider trying a new sport, activity, or exercise you’ve never attempted before.

When your weight plateaus, it could be that your body has become efficient at your level of activity, or that something else is going on. It’s a good idea at this point to get another blood panel done to make sure there’s nothing else happening behind the scenes.

More than appearance, your weight loss will also affect things you don’t see. Here are some lab tests that may change as you move to a healthier medical weight.

Lipid Profile

Lipid blood tests are used to measure cholesterol levels and types. There are “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol. Bad levels can build in the arteries of the heart which can cause a blockage that may end in a heart attack. With weight loss, your lipid profile levels should change for the better.

Testosterone Total

Testosterone levels can be inhibited by obesity. As the body loses weight, testosterone production may return to its normal levels.

C-Reactive Protein

The C-Reactive Protein cardiac blood test shows the overall inflammation of your body and is most often used to test for heart disease. Losing weight can lower these levels.

Your body is a machine that is efficient at whatever lifestyle you put it in. If you want to lose weight, give it the fuel, dedication, and focus it deserves to take you to the next level.


How Your Diet Can Fuel Your Day

Boost your energy:  How your diet can help you get more out of your day

Are your energy levels low? Does your busy morning come to the screeching halt of afternoon blahs? If so, you may need to boost your energy. I’m not talking about energy drinks or anything that comes in a pill form. I’m talking about a few changes to your diet that can help put more spring in your step and focus in your day. You need to change the way your mind sees the word “diet”. It’s not about deprivation and suppressing your cravings. It’s about choosing foods that have the most impact to your energy levels. Follow these guidelines and you’ll find an improvement in your overall health while boosting your body’s processes.

Nutrient-Rich Foods

Eat nutrient-dense foods to optimize your metabolism. Your brain and body require vitamins and minerals to get everything accomplished in your busy day. Much like a car running low on gas, when you run out of nutrients to break down, your body becomes tired and your thoughts, sluggish. Metabolism is the process of converting food to energy, and the more nutrients per calorie, the more you benefit from eating it. Choosing vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and lean animal proteins will give the most nutrients per calorie. Refined breads, fried and fatty foods, desserts and sweets, processed snacks and foods give a lot of calories but have little to no nutritional value.

Vitamins/Nutrients

Omega-3 fats are a high impact nutrient that improves your mood, memory, and thinking. They’re an excellent source of fat that you need to focus and improve your energy levels. You’ll want to get in at least one source of omega-3 fats a day. Fish, flax seeds, flax oil, hemp seeds, hemp oil, leafy greens, and walnuts are all excellent sources. While a fish oil supplement can help, it doesn’t replace the powerful impact of your body breaking it down itself.

Foods rich in antioxidants are essential to maintaining overall body health. Antioxidants are the clean up crew for your body. They take away damaging chemicals (some that your body makes on its own) that cause fatigue and lead to illness. Choose colorful fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods for antioxidant bursts. Berries, melons, dark leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, collard greens, and spinach are excellent sources. Notice that leafy greens are also mentioned in the omega-3 fats above. Food rich in antioxidants are also nutrient-dense. That isn’t a coincidence. Once again, you want to eat the foods so your body can break it down and gain the most nutritional value. A bill or processed food will never give the same impact.

Don’t Starve Yourself!

Don’t skip breakfast OR snacks. Remember above where we mentioned that you need to change the way you think of the word “diet”? Breakfast jump starts your body’s processing system. It’s also a quick and easy way to get in some fresh fruit or other nutrient-rich foods first thing in the morning. If you get nauseous at the thought of food in the morning, consider a power snack for when you wake up completely. Snacking isn’t evil. But if your first instinct is to grab a bag of chips instead of a nutritious alternative, you’re not doing your energy levels any justice. If you’re hungry, your body crashes and it wants something quick and easy to process…like junk food. If you find yourself in that boat, make sure you have nutrient dense snacks to help you perk up.

Fantastic snack ideas include a container of yogurt topped with natural granola, a mix of nuts and dried fruits, whole grain crackers with baby carrots and hummus, a half cup of berries with walnuts, and more. Hummus is an excellent dip choice because it’s made of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas). While most versions require the use of Tahini (sesame paste), there are other versions that give a rich flavor without the paste.

Hydration Matters!

Finally, what you drink has a powerful impact on your body. Keep hydrated means water. You want to drink one cup every couple of hours. An easy way to drink water on the go is by keeping a reusable bottle with you.

Alcohol intake is another thing to consider. Alcohol is a depressant that contributes to low energy. It also has the added effect of occasionally acting as a stimulant several hours later. That interrupts sleep cycles and causes fatigue. Did you know there is also a nutrient-dense option? A glass of red wine is a good choice because of its antioxidant content, but certain medications and those suffering from certain types of anxiety, high blood pressure, or dependence issues should avoid alcohol completely. Also note that red wine doesn’t replace a nutrient-rich diet. Alcohol should be an occasional indulgence.

Then there’s caffeine. Caffeine can’t stave off sleep for an extended period of time. It’s also not the energy boost you think it is. Regular coffee drinkers who feel a “boost” in the morning are actually counteracting the withdrawal effects of caffeine deprivation through the night. If you have to drink your caffeine, that’s fine, but consider adding an apple or apple juice to your morning routine since apples will wake up you faster and more thoroughly than coffee can.

Don’t try to make dramatic changes overnight. If you try to do a complete diet overhaul, you’ll fall back on destructive habits and feel like you’ve failed. Start small. Make sure you have at least nutrient-dense snacks a day. Then move to breakfast. Then your other meals. Before you know it, you’ll see a dramatic change in your energy levels that also benefit your overall health.


Meal Planning Strategies For Weight Loss – Denver Colorado

The Importance of Eating More, Smaller Meals

Strategies For Weight Loss - DenverEating more, smaller meals are important to your body’s health and weight management. Large meals burden the digestive system. This causes bloating and lowered energy levels while it focuses on digestion. Think of it as gridlock for the systems of the body. Everything is focused on that bottle neck, the digestive system, so nothing else can flow easily.

Large meals also cause bigger crashes. Those crashes, as we’ll explain in a bit, trigger the need to eat whatever you can get your hands on. That usually means sugar-laced convenience foods.

The body is an efficient machine. Regular grazing, eating small meals every 3-4 hours, can allow you to have healthier, more nutrient-rich meals than those who stick with three (or less) larger meals per day.

There are a few factors that prove this theory:

The Time Factor

The longer you wait between meals, the hungrier you get. That hunger will likely make you overeat. Here’s something you may not know. When you are hungry, your stomach produces the hormone ghrelin. It’s a hormone that increases appetite and has a negative effect on both decision making and impulse control. In the long-term, this can make genetic changes to your brain circuits that are linked to impulsivity and decision making. In the short-term, this means you grab whatever food is available and eat until you’re satisfied. Don’t think this impulse control issue is restricted to eating. This affects all your decision making abilities. Ever miss lunch and then make an impulse decision you regretted later? Ghrelin may have been the reason. Don’t skip meals.

The Blood Sugar Factor

It takes four hours to digest whatever you’ve eaten. Three hours into that digestion (or three hours after you’ve eaten) your blood sugar levels begin to fall. At five hours, your blood sugar will plummet and people tend to grab whatever food they have on hand.

This alone would be enough to push the importance of breakfast. You’ve gone 6+ hours without energy, and you need that energy to keep your mind and body going. Skipping breakfast to “lose weight” is like not adding gas to your car to keep it “light”. That fuel is essential to your body’s processes.

The Nutrient Factor

Keeping a steady flow of nutrients to the body and brain will prevent overeating. Calcium and magnesium are prime factors in sugar and salt cravings. Stress and eating too much sugar can deplete both of these nutrients. This causes you to crave food. If you’ve ever been a stress-eater, you now know why it’s happened. B vitamins like B1 and B5 are essential to adrenal gland function while B6 and B9 help regulate mood and help you feel good. Stress, lack of sleep, and more can cause these levels to plummet. This can also cause you to overeat.

Zinc is an unusual nutrient. As we age, we’re prone to deficiencies in zinc. Unlike magnesium, calcium, and the B vitamins mentioned above, zinc doesn’t cause you to crave foods. Instead, it makes food taste bland. Since it dulls your sense of taste, you’ll be more likely to add extra salt, sugar, and other seasonings to foods. This can also make you crave salty or sugary foods more often.

What about those food-specific cravings? Low iron causes a craving for meat, or protein in general. Being low in Omega-3s can cause massive cheese cravings. EPA and DHA are the best ones for taking care of those cravings. The plant-based ALA isn’t as effective. If you’ve craved chocolate, magnesium deficiencies are usually to blame.

Do you find yourself overeating, or facing constant cravings of different foods? Keep a food diary for a few weeks to see if you notice any trends. Do you always crave salty foods at night? When do you get hungry? Do you try to push through it until “meal time”? If so, why not adapt your meal plan to that time?

Start with eating breakfast. Choose a nutrient-rich food choice. Then continue eating every 3-4 hours with small, nutrition fortified (and tasty, too!) meals. Choose meals that are protein and fiber rich to fill you up. Make sure you create a set of snacks that you can grab on-the-go. You want to reach for the smart choice if you do get hungry, since you may face struggles with decision-making. Change isn’t easy, but it’s worth it for your mind, body, and health.


The Common Thread in Weight Loss | Weight Loss Strategies Denver

Weight Loss Strategies DenverThe Common Threads in Weight Loss

It’s no surprise that weight loss is a billion dollar industry. We want to look and feel our best, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to that. But where do we start? Everyone has an opinion about which diet or health plan will work best. You have more choices than ever before: low-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean, Paleo, high-protein, low-sugar, etc. Add in the occasional self-conflicting research, and you may be wondering why you should try any of it. To make matters worse, not all diets are equal. Your friend may swear by low-carb diets, but it might not work for you at all.

Take a deep breath and realize one very important fact: your dietary needs are unique to you. Whether you follow a bandwagon diet or choose your own adventure of proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and starches, make sure you follow these guidelines.

Eat Your Nutrients 

Macronutrient balance is necessary to maintaining long term weight loss and body function. They keep chronic diseases at bay and help you stay healthy. For adults, this means that, in terms of daily calorie consumption, carbohydrates should make up 45-65%, protein should be 10-35%, and fat should be 20-35%. Remember, the goal isn’t quick weight loss that breaks down your body. The goal is focused, healthy weight loss that can be maintained without causing damage to the body in the process.

Note: There are some diets that restrict macronutrients below these thresholds. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must meet your nutrient requirements.

Making smart, healthy choices are also key to success here: lean proteins over fatty ones, complex carbs over simple carbs, etc.

Common Threads

Your body is as unique as your fingerprint. It needs to be fueled and maintained by proper diet and exercise. With all these options available, how do you know where to start? Let’s start with the commonalities among the success stories. The law of averages states that a particular outcome or event is inevitable or certain simply because it is statistically possible. All of the popular diets have three things in common.

Eat your vegetables. Every single success story involved vegetables as a key part of your diet. Some suggested dark, leafy greens. Others suggested root vegetables as core content. Either way, put vegetables in your diet. Vegetables range from sweet to savory, and some will change based on the way you cook them. You can adapt ANY specific diet recipes to your personal menu. The point is to find food that inspires your palate while maintaining your health.

Avoid added sugars. We’re not talking about naturally occurring sugars, like those in fruit. We mean sugars that are added to foods. Here’s a list of common sugar add-ons:

  • agave nectar
  • brown sugar
  • cane crystals
  • cane sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • crystalline fructose
  • dextrose
  • evaporated cane juice
  • fructose
  • fruit juice concentrates
  • glucosehigh-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt sugar
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose

These added sugars will sabotage your weight loss more often than anything else. One easy ways to avoid them is to personally sweeten your foods. If you want fruit yogurt, buy a plain one and add the fruit yourself. If you add honey to your food, or any other sweetener mentioned above, you’ll likely use far less than the manufacturer would.

Avoid refined grains. Refined grains are milled grains that remove the dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins that are necessary to your health and wellness. Refined grains are usually “enriched”, which means that certain B vitamins and iron are added back in after processing. Fiber, however, isn’t.

At least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains. If you still use refined grains, such as flour, make sure it says “enriched” on the label to ensure a healthy alternative.

A lifestyle change won’t happen overnight. Start with one goal in your diet. It could be as simple as eating vegetables every night with dinner. Don’t wait. Start today!


The Link Between Your Medical History & Weight Loss

Denver Weight Loss GuideWhy your medical history is crucial to your weight loss journey  |  Denver Weight Loss Guide

Your medical history is crucial to your weight loss journey. It’s a key factor in how your body processes food and creates energy. It’s a road map of adaptability and survival that a medical weight loss team can use to create a successful weight loss journey.

Did you know that high blood pressure, lack of sleep, and type 2 diabetes can all affect your weight loss journey?

There is a direct correlation between high blood pressure and weight gain. Most of the time, however, high blood pressure isn’t noticed until it’s too late. Did you know that one of its symptoms is fatigue? While it’s completely normal to be tired now and again, a constant, chronic fatigue can be a symptom of high blood pressure. This symptom can make it difficult to get moving, create forgetfulness, and cause dietary problems.  If you notice chronic fatigue, vision problems, chest pain, lightheadedness or shortness of breath, you should see a healthcare professional immediately. Treatment for high blood pressure can cause some restrictions to your exercise regimen. Some beta-blockers such as Tenormin, Lopressor, and Inderal can cause weight gain by slowing caloric burning and causing fatigue. Talk with your medical weight loss team about these concerns, and be prepared to adapt your routine to match your treatment.

Sleep is also a factor in how you lose weight.

Did you know that lack of sleep can make you gain weight? Sleep loss affects the regulation of your appetite by decreasing leptin, the satiety peptide, and increasing ghrelin, the hunger stimulant peptide. If that wasn’t enough, it can also stimulate cravings for high-carbohydrate, high-fat foods. Getting the proper amount of sleep is a key factor in your body health and weight loss. If you’re unsure about your sleep patterns, keep a sleep and food journal for a month. When you wake up, write down how long you slept and how you feel. It can be as simple or as detailed as you like. Track your food intake during the day and see if there is a connection between poor sleep and overeating. You may be surprised by the results. Some sleep aides can make you feel groggy or unmotivated. Keep in mind that it takes time for your body to adapt to a new medication and sleep cycle. Keep in touch with your medical team to ensure your health needs are being met.

Diabetes Can Affect Weight Loss

People who have Type 2 Diabetes face a tough battle with weight, as most of the drugs on the market can make weight loss a struggle. Type 2 Diabetes drugs such as Diabinese, Insulase, Actos, and Prandin stimulate insulin production or activity. This lowers the blood sugar and may increase the appetite. Be aware of these symptoms, and if you notice an increase in your weight and appetite, contact your doctor. The largest weight gain will usually occur in the first three months, but your team can build a plan to help combat the side effects.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to health matters and your weight loss journey. Medications and treatments are necessary for your health, but you don’t have to go it alone. Your medical situation is unique, so why shouldn’t your weight loss strategy be the same? Let our team of medical professionals put you on the right path.


How Do You Know What is Actually Going On With Your Health?

Weight Loss in DenverDo you actually know what’s going on in your body? 

The Key To Weight Loss in Denver

Comprehensive blood tests are your roadmap for managing your health.

Have you ever had a service light come on in your vehicle? While those indicators may seem helpful, in some cases, they only appear when it’s too late. This is especially true for overheating and oil. That’s why you take your vehicle in for regular maintenance and 15-27 point inspection. It gives your mechanic a chance to find a problem before it becomes a dangerous situation to your vehicle’s health. Wouldn’t it be great if your body had the same kind of inspection?

What if I told you that it does? Comprehensive blood tests are your roadmap for managing your health. The same way that a vehicle inspection can point out a valve leak, your blood tests can show misfires in your body and places where things aren’t working the way they should. In addition, it can also show you what changes to your lifestyle are actually working. Here are some tests we recommend.

A Metabolic Chemistry Panel that includes lipids (cholesterol & triglycerides)

This basic metabolic panel (BMP) is frequently ordered to give a snapshot of a person’s metabolism, including kidney health, blood glucose levels, and electrolyte and acid/base balance. The following tests are included in the BMP:

  • Glucose: Energy for the body
  • Calcium: Essential for more than bone health. It is a key ingredient in the proper function of muscles, nerves, and the heart.
  • Sodium: Vital to normal body processes, including muscle and nerve function
  • Potassium: Vital to brain, muscle (to include the heart), and cell metabolism
  • Carbon Dioxide: Helps maintain the body’s acid-base balance (pH)
  • Chloride: Regulates the amount of fluid in the body and maintains the pH balance
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): This is a waste product filtered out of the blood by the kidneys.
  • Creatine: This is a waste product produced by the muscles. Note that both the BUN and Creatine are a measure of kidney function.

With the addition of the lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides, you have a complete picture of your metabolic function.

A Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This test is used as a broad screening test. It’s a general health status test that can help diagnose various conditions like anemia, inflammation, infection, bleeding disorders, leukemia, and more. It can also be used to measure the effectiveness of treatments. There are three types of cells that are measured:

  • White Blood Cell (WBC) Count: This is a snapshot measure of how your body is defending itself. An elevated count could show an inflammation or infection presence in your body. A severely low count could be dietary deficiencies, lymphoma, bone marrow damage or more. There are far more things this will measure, but you see the point.
  • Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count: This shows how many red blood cells you have in your body. A low result could be chronic diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and more. A high result could be dehydration, a tumor, genetic causes, and more. Note that nutritional deficiencies can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s health related, other times it involves a poor diet.
  • Platelet Count: This is a key test that helps your health team determine anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, cirrhosis, sepsis, and more.

25-Hydroxy Vitamin D

This test determines Vitamin D deficiencies. This is a key factor in determining whether or not a person is getting enough Vitamin D or enough exposure to sunlight.

Hemoglobin A1c (glycated hemoglobin)

This is a key test in screening for and diagnosing diabetes and prediabetes.

hsCRP (high sensitivity or Cardiac CRP)

If combined with a lipid profile or other cardiac risk markers, this test can be used to evaluate an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Homocysteine

This test can be used in multiple ways. The most common uses are for B12 or folate deficiencies. It can also be used as part of a heart health screen.

Insulin

This test deals with the pancreas, and while you may immediately associate it with diabetes, there are many other health considerations in an insulin test. It can diagnose the cause of hypoglycemia, identify insulin resistance, monitor those with type 2 diabetes, and measure several disorders.

Thyroid markers

The thyroid is key to controlling the body’s metabolism. A measure of the thyroid hormones can determine metabolic health.

Hormones

Hormones are the regulators of the body. They are chemical messengers that control most major bodily functions. This can be anything from hunger, emotion, mood, and reproduction. A hormone test is a comprehensive snapshot of overall body health compared to those of your own age group. We’ve talked about hormones and how they affect weight loss before.

These tests are a necessary snapshot of your body’s functions, and shouldn’t be ignored. Your blood tests can determine what strategies of weight loss will work for you. Working with a fantastic medical weight loss team who understands that and is willing to adapt to your needs is important.


What To Look For In Protein Shakes From Denver Weight Loss Clinic Experts

Why the Whey? |  Denver Weight Loss Clinic Shares Insights

Denver Weight Loss Clinic When thinking of protein shakes, most people picture body builders and athletes.  It is important to know that not all protein is created equal.  Some forms of protein, such as whey, are better than others. Studies have shown that the inclusion of whey protein can also help encourage weight loss.  The inclusion of a whey protein with a balanced diet and exercise can encourage fat loss, increase satiety, deliver essential nutrients and even improve metabolic activity.

What is Whey?

Whey is a complex protein that contains an incredible range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly.  Whey protein is the protein contained in whey, the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese – think Little Miss Muffet.

If you’ve ever opened a yogurt container to see liquid floating on top, this is whey. Cheese makers used to discard it before they discovered its commercial value.  After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through a series of processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey protein… a powder that is added to shakes, meal replacements and protein bars.  Over the past few decades, whey protein powders have evolved several generations from low-grade concentrates to very high-grade concentrates and isolates.

Whey protein has become a staple supplement for most bodybuilders and other athletes because it’s a great protein.  Whey protein is becoming more popular among those trying to lose weight as well.  However, whey is more than just protein. There are tons of other nutrients in there, some with great health benefits.

Health Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey protein has also been shown to have benefits for blood pressure, blood sugar and even helping to treat symptoms of HIV and cancer.   Studies have shown that consumption of whey protein can also have a positive effect on stress and on depression.  In fact, whey is one of the best studied supplements in the world.

Reading the Label

Whey protein doesn’t taste very good on its own, which is why it is usually flavored. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavored powders are the most popular.  It’s important that you read the ingredients list as some companies have added unhealthy additives like refined sugar.  There are several different types of whey used in protein powders; the main difference between the different types is the way they are processed and the amount of protein.

  • Concentrate: About 70-80% protein. Contains some lactose (milk sugar) and fat, and has the best flavor.
  • Isolate: 90% protein, or higher. Contains less lactose and fat, and is missing a lot of the beneficial nutrients found in whey protein concentrate.
  • Hydrolysate: Also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type has been pre-digested so that it gets absorbed faster. It causes a 28-43% greater spike in insulin levels than isolate

Whey protein concentrate is the most popular form of the whey protein; it is the cheapest and retains most of the beneficial nutrients found naturally in whey. Many people also prefer the taste, which is probably because of the small amounts of lactose and fat.  It is important to note that most of the studies conducted used whey protein isolate rather than concentrate.

The Secret to Weight Loss

One of the best known secret to weight loss is feeling full.  Satiety is a term used to describe the feeling of fullness we experience after eating a meal.

Some foods are more satiating than others, an effect which is partly mediated by their macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) composition. Protein is by far the most filling of the three macronutrients, but not all proteins have the same effect on satiety. Whey protein has proven to be more satiating than other types of protein, such as casein and soy.  These properties make it particularly useful for those who need to eat fewer calories and lose weight.

Australian researchers had 28 obese men consume four different drinks. Those who consumed the beverage containing 50 grams of whey had significantly reduced levels of ghrelin (a hormone that tells your brain you’re hungry) up to four hours later.

Adding Whey to Your Daily Intake

When it comes to muscle gain and fat loss, protein is the king of nutrients, and whey protein is better than other forms of quality protein.  Taking whey protein is a convenient way to add 25-50 grams of protein on top of your daily intake which is important for people who need to lose weight or are simply lacking protein in their balanced diet.


Hormone Therapy Benefits For Men

How men can benefit from hormone therapy from Denver Hormone Experts

Denver Hormone ExpertsTestosterone is more than a reproductive health hormone. It’s essential to the body’s overall well being. The hormone decline in men begins, on average, at the age of 35. Those levels can increase up to 2% per year thereafter.

Hormone therapy is the replacement of testosterone in a controlled, balanced method that’s right for you. If you’re not sure whether hormone therapy is what you need, consider this:

Testosterone is essential in maintaining: 

  • Bone density
  • Muscle strength and mass
  • Sex Drive
  • Red blood cell production
  • Health
  • Proper sleep patterns

Bone Density

Osteoporosis is a universal problem across the genders. Testosterone has a direct connection to the production and strengthening of bone. The longer you go without treatment for low testosterone, the more susceptible the bones become to fractures.

Muscle Strength and Mass

Testosterone has been proven to increase muscle strength and mass. The hormone binds to the receptors in the muscle cells, telling them to contract and grow. Hormone therapy works to recharge your system.

Sex Drive

Note that decreased sex drive is symptomatic of many different issues. It’s only part of the picture, and should not be the sole consideration for a hormone therapy evaluation. That being said, testosterone is essential in both a healthy libido and sperm count.

Red Blood Cell Production

Testosterone is essential to red blood cell production. As we age, our bodies slow down the production cycle. If your hormone levels are lower than average, this can affect your health and well-being.

Health

There has been a direct correlation between low testosterone levels and metabolic function of the body. Studies have shown that diabetes becomes a higher risk as testosterone levels lower. For years, low testosterone levels have predicted the development of type 2 diabetes in men. Additionally, low levels can increase cortisol. Insulin and cortisol imbalances not only increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, it also increases belly fat.

Sleep Patterns

Low levels of testosterone can alter the cycle of sleep by preventing the synchronization needed for deep sleep. This leads to constant fatigue, lack of motivation, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Do any of these issues sound familiar? If so, consider the benefits of hormone therapy. The regulation of our bodies becomes difficult as we age, and if we take steps early enough, we may be able to change the course of our health for the better.

If you think hormone therapy is right for you, seek an expert in hormone balance. Pay attention to your body and keep track of your moods and sleep patterns to help your doctor find the right balance for you. Thyroid panels and vitamin D3 levels should also be checked. Once you find out where you stand against a “normal” lab for your age and your body, a hormone regimen can be started.

The key to success is finding a natural hormone balance method that keeps you at your optimal levels 24/7. Educate yourself, do your research, talk to a practitioner who is willing to sit down and talk with you about your concerns, and consider your options.