Dr. Laura: How does your thyroid function?

Feeling tired, loosing hair, bring fog, brittle nails, constipated,  periods heavy and cholesterol rising? Perhaps your thyroid is to blame.

What does thyroid hormone do?

Thyroid hormone keeps:

  • our metabolism humming
  • hair and skin smooth and silky
  • muscles and tendons well lubricated
  • mood bright
  • digestion moving along
  • brain firing on al cylinders
  • LDL cholesterol at healthy levels

How do you measure thyroid function?

General practitioners assess Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), and if it is out of range, T4 and T3 is measured. Sometimes an ultrasound is done to visualize the size and health of the gland, to assess nodules or help diagnose thyroid cancer.  Naturopathic doctors, functional medicine doctors and endocrinologists will be more likely the ones to run a full thyroid panel (freeT4, freeT3, TSH, TPO, Anti-Thyroglobulin and reverse T3).

How does the body naturally balance thyroid hormone?

T3 is the active hormone in the body and is made from T4. Although the T4 is made in the thyroid, conversion to T3 happens mostly in the liver and the gastrointestinal tract.   A normal functioning thyroid gland works with the hypothalamus in the brain using a negative feedback system to indicate when there is enough active thyroid hormone in the system.

How does the medical doctor balance thyroid?

Traditionally synthroid or levothyroxine is prescribed to treat inadequate levels of thyroid hormone and treatment is geared to reach a desired TSH level. Direct T3 therapy (Cytomel) is rarely prescribed due to lack of research and clinical experience. Typically the family doctor will  treat to normalize the TSH, but recent research, and numerous patient complaints may indicate that this is not enough.

More research is required to support T4 and T3 combination therapy, whether it is levothyroxine plus cytomel or natural desiccated thyroid, alone or in combination.

Research finds TSH monitoring is not enough to determine adequate thyroid functioning and some medical doctors agree a 4:1 ratio of T4:T3 predicts patient satisfaction and better health.

What does the naturopathic doctor do to balance the thyroid?

Naturopathic doctors seek to support the thyroid in making T4 and the body’s ability to convert the T4 to the active form of thyroid known as T3.   A naturopathic doctor offers support to people on pharmaceuticals like synthroid or levothyroxine, and is also able to additionally or solely prescribe advice for nutraceutical  support and natural desiccated thyroid.

A naturopathic doctor will:

  • look at the full thyroid panel
  • adrenal health
  • cholesterol panel
  • sex hormone health
  • the function of the liver
  • health of gastrointestinal tract,
  • nutrient balance of things like selenium, zinc, iron and iodine

How is cholesterol linked to thyroid function?

T3 levels are also inversely linked to LDL Cholesterol. When thyroid levels are low, LDL cellular reception is reduced, leaving more LDL in the blood stream.  Emerging research finds treatment with T4 alone (synthroid, levothyroxine) does not always correct the high levels of cholesterol induced by poor thyroid function. Rising levels of LDL cholesterol in peri-menopausal women with symptoms of fatigue should trigger an investigation into the balance of T4 and T3, not just TSH.

What drives T3 levels down?

  • Body shuttles T3 to reverse T3 in times of starvation and stress
  • Poor feedback function in the hypothalamus
  • Thyroiditis
  • High levels of natural and environmental estrogens
  • Epstein Barr Virus

T3 levels are increasingly challenged as xenoestrogens (environmental contaminants) rise in developed countries.  Peri-menopausal women also experience challenges. This is because estrogen (unopposed by progesterone as ovulation slows down), or estrogen mimickers like xenoestrogens (from plastics, pesticides and insecticides) have the ability to bind up Thyroid Binding Globulin and somehow affect the T4 to T3 conversion ratio. Some research points to Epstein Barr Virus impacting the genome and ultimately the function of the thyroid.

For more help optimizing your thyroid function, book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 

Dr. Laura: Long Term Effects of Cortisol and Stress

Cortisol is released in a daily rhythm, but also in response to stress. Ever wonder what are the long term effects of cortisol (stress) in the body?

picture from  philosophytalk.org

Long term danger can be perceived in the form of anything that takes away our freedom, feeling unloved, feelings of insecurity, projecting into the future something that is not true, as if it were and  fear-based memories for future survival so as to avoid any repeat of traumatic events.

Cortisol is not all bad, it has some daily and life-saving functions. The problems lies when the body gets stuck in fear gear, cannot return to its natural state of homeostasis and subsequently has difficult with rest and digestion.

Normal Cortisol Function

Cortisol hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is released twice a day with blood levels peaking in the morning, and rising slightly again in mid afternoon.

Throughout the day, cortisol:

  • Helps provide energy; maintains blood glucose
  • Suppresses nonvital organ systems to provide energy to the brain, nerves and muscles
  • Is a potent anti-inflammatory hormone
  • Prevents widespread tissue and nerve damage associated with inflammation

Short Term Stress Response

In response to a moment of physical or emotional shock or trauma, the body releases three main chemicals: epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. In the short term, these chemicals trigger a series of events in the body to promote survival including anti-inflammatory actions and activation of energy to flee from the danger. Short term response has a clear purpose to better outcome (safety, life).

Once the epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol are released into the blood flow,

  • heart rate increases
  • blood pressure increases
  • respiration rate increases
  • arteries vasoconstrictor & release sweat.
  • pupils dilate
  • Pro inflammatory response so as to destroy antigens, pathogens, or foreign invaders; adrenoreceptor antagonists have been shown to inhibit stress-induced inflammation and cytokine production by blocking the proinflammatory effects of norepinephrine.

Long Term Cortisol Danger

Body’s release

When the brain feels you are in danger on an ongoing basis, cortisol release goes into overdrive. This can be things that threaten our survival like financial concerns, relationship problems, too many commitments, feelings of bitterness towards others, anger, resentment, being unhappy with yourself, lack of faith, hope, love, fear of loosing something you treasure… the list can go on.

Basically the body gets stuck in some type of survival mode. It is then difficult to re-establish to its natural balance.

Medications

Long term medications that end on “-sone” are often producing similar effects to cortisol in the body. These are drugs that suppress the immune system like prednisone, hydrocortisone.

Cortisone type drugs are used to treat pain, allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders.

Be sure to also be aware of information on cortisone drug side effects. 

  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle wasting
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hyper irritability
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Vascular fragility including easy bruising
  • Striae or redish stripes over the lower abdomen (thinning of the skin structures)
  • Suppressed immune system, make it easier to get infections
  • Central obesity

If you feel like you are “always on” , have difficulty digesting food or feel “tired and wired”, chances are you are running the meter up on cortisol. As you can see the long term effects are not favourable for good health.

Have Hope

Don’t give up hope, however. The first step is to recognize what is stressing you out. This is more than relationships, it can be pain, inflammation, poor diet, lack of sleep, poor coping mechanisms or genetic wrinkles.

Resolution doesn’t happen overnight but can be improved on a steady course of treatment over time.  Treatment will look at things like sleep hygiene, a healthy diet, the right amount and type of exercise,  and new perspectives on managing yourself in relationships with yourself and others.

The Last “Peace”

Need more peace in your life?  Join me at Goodness Me! on Sept 19th in a presentation on Anxiety Antidotes.

 

References:

Constanzo LS. 2011. BRS Physiology Fifth Edition. Walters Kluwer|Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Philadelphia.

Hannibal KE, Bishop MD. Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation. Physical Therapy. 2014;94(12):1816-1825. doi:10.2522/ptj.20130597.

Wright H. 2009. A More Excellent Way. Whitaker House. Pennsylvania.

Dr. Laura: Anxiety Antidotes

Is there a solution to anxiety, feeling uneasy, overwhelmed, or difficulty concentrating?

We can feel anxious for just about anything. How does this happen? What is going on in the body while this happens? How do you make it stop?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in North America as stated by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America  and the 2014 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada. According to this Canadian Survey:

  • More than a quarter (27%) reported that their disorder(s) affected their life “quite a bit” or “extremely” in the previous 12 months. Basic activities and the ability to work are challenging for many.
  • While the majority consulted a health professional about their disorder(s) in the previous 12 months, almost a quarter (23%) did not.

Anxiety Antidotes

September 19, 2018

6:30-8:00pm

Goodness Me! classroom

If you suffer from anxiety, feel uneasy, overwhelmed, or have difficulty concentrating, this complimentary session is for you. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND will explore mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of anxiety. Learn what nutrients and habits may contribute to your healing and take home some next steps to ease your angst. Register Now!

anxiety

anx·i·e·ty
aNGˈzīədē/
noun
  1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
    “he felt a surge of anxiety”
    synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, inquietude, perturbation, agitation, angst, misgiving, nervousness, nerves, tension, tenseness; More

    • desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.
      “the housekeeper’s eager anxiety to please”
      synonyms: eagerness, keenness, desire

      “an anxiety to please”
    • PSYCHIATRY
      a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

an·ti·dote

ˈan(t)iˌdōt/

noun

  1. 1.

a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison.

synonyms: antitoxin, antiserum, antivenin

“the antidote to this poison”

o   something that counteracts or neutralizes an unpleasant feeling or situation.

“laughter is a good antidote to stress”

synonyms: remedy, cure, nostrum

“laughter is a good antidote to stress”

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND is a registered naturopathic doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She has advanced training in pharmaceuticals, is a certified HeartMath Practitioner and a Certified Gluten Practitioner, and holds the designation of ADAPT Trained Practitioner from Kresser Institute, the only Functional Medicine and ancestral health training company.

Dr. Laura: GUT Circadian Rhythm

Insomnia, pain, fatigue, stress? How do you get to the root cause of your health problems?

SLEEP?

HORMONES?

OUT OF BALANCE?

Do you have sleep issues? Hormone issues? Or just feel out of balance?

 

Learn How Gut Microbes

Affect Your Circadian Rhythm

Join Dr. Laura M. Brown ND, Wednesday June 13, 2018 and  you will learn how circadian rhythms of gut microbes ultimately intertwine with our own circadian rhythms, which regulate our sleep/wake cycles, hormone release, and metabolism.

Comprehensive Stool Analysis 

Dr. Laura is a registered Naturopathic Doctor with a functional Medicine approach. Dr. Laura gets to the root cause of your health issue and stimulates the natural mechanisms of healing. Her individualized protocols are designed with time-proven remedies and the latest scientific research. Her inviting nature will meet you where you are, and inspire you toward a more healthful, purpose-filled life.

Dr. Laura: Wheat & Gluten Sensitivity Testing

WHEAT & GLUTEN SENSITIVITY TESTING

There are over 100 proteins in wheat, which includes gluten, but is not limited to gluten.

Every time any of us eats gluten, some damage is done to the small intestinal lining. For most, it recovers and repairs in about twenty minutes . For those who are genetically susceptible it may take up to five hours. Then the next meal comes. Over time, repeated meals containing gluten repeat the damage, with little time of repair and recovery and eventually the body cannot keep up. Some trigger point of stress or illness may make it more difficult for the recovery. Then the signs and symptoms may show up. Not everyone has traditional symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, bowel issues, pain, gas, or bloating. Some have apparently no symptoms at all.

Gluten sensitivity plays a role in things like:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • autism
  • schizophrenia
  • cerebellar ataxia
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • fertility
  • autoimmunity
  • celiac disease
  • dermatitis herpatiformis
  • polymyalgia

 

A lot of gastroenterologists know how to screen for celiac disease, they’ll typically test for antibodies to alpha-gliadin, transglutaminase-2, maybe if they’re current with the scientific literature they’ll also screen for antibodies to deamidated gliadin and endomysium.

If some of these tests are positive, then they might do a biopsy to determine if there is damage in the small intestine. If the tests are negative, the patient’s generally told that they don’t have celiac or gluten intolerance and that’s as far at it goes.

However, research shows that people can and do react to several other components in wheat above and beyond alpha-gliadin, the fraction of wheat that is involved in the pathogenesis of celiac disease, and these include other epitopes of gliadin like beta-gliadin, gamma-gliadin and omegagliadin; glutenin, which is the other major half of the wheat protein; wheat germ agglutinin, which is a lectin in wheat; gluteomorphin; and deamidated gliadin. What’s more, people can react to other types of tissue transglutaminase, aside from tGT-2, including type 3, which is primarily found in the skin, and type 6, which is primarily found in the brain and nervous system tissue.

If this is you, the gluten you eat may affect your brain or your skin, or maybe your muscle, but you will be completely missed by conventional testing. I emphasize – just because the two markers your conventional doc tests your for come back negative, it does not mean you are not free from wheat related damage. Also, just because you do not have symptoms you think are related to wheat, doesn’t mean you are free from its (potential) body-wide damage.

How do I find out?

Enter Cyrex Array 3 testing. It is the most comprehensive form of wheat sensitivity testing available today. It involves a simple blood test and will test for the two markers your conventional doctor sends for plus 22 other markers.  You’ll have to confirm this at time of testing as pricing can vary. You will need an appointment with Dr. Laura M Brown, ND, Certified Gluten Practitioner, before and after your test. Dr. Laura will help interpret the test and proved direction for next steps. Dr. Laura has extended training in diagnosing and treating gluten related disorders.

Now it is important to note that Cyrex Array 3 will not diagnose Celiac, only the gold standard of positive intestinal biopsy will prove that, but it can tell you how strong the markers related to Celiac or other forms of non-celiac gluten sensitive (NCGS).

 

Here’s what the test results look like:

 

Test Prep:

 

This is a blood test that measures antibodies. As such, in order to improve the accuracy of

your test results, you must ensure adequate exposure to wheat beginning 25 to 30 days

before you schedule your blood draw.

Exposure to wheat allows your body to form antibodies if you do have sensitivity. Avoiding wheat before this test could cause a false negative result, meaning that the test states you are not sensitive to wheat when you actually are intolerant.

 

 

For more information visit www.cyrexlabs.com or book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND at Forward Health.

 

Dr. Phil Shares: 8 Yoga Poses for Stronger Knees

8 Yoga Poses for Stronger Knees

Yoga can be daunting for those with knee problems. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of us, myself included. Below are the yoga poses I used to strengthen my knee after surgery.

Three years into my yoga career, I suffered a meniscus tear. Physical therapy, ice, and painkillers were not enough to ward off surgery. I had to go under the knife.

My bones and tendons blocked the doctors from seeing the exact location of the tear in ultrasounds, so exploratory surgery had to be performed before the surgeon could fix the problem. By the time they were done, my leg looked like it had been beaten with a meat tenderizer and my muscles and soft tissue were in a sorry state. Giving up my career as a yoga instructor was not an option for me, so I took the time to learn how to protect my knee by strengthening the muscles that support it.

Here are the exact yoga moves I practiced to strengthen and stretch my knees. However, make sure to always seek advice from your physician before beginning any exercise or rehabilitation regimen, especially if you have any unique or special medical conditions related to your knees.

 

5 Yoga Poses for Stronger Knees:

1. Supported Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

This pose will strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and abductors. It also increases blood flow to the lower region of the body, which can help with fluidity of movement. Chair pose is typically practiced away from the wall, but that may require more strength than your knees are able to handle at the moment, so use the support of a wall if you need it. Place your feet hip distance apart. Lean your back up against a wall and slide down until your knees and ankles are parallel with each other. You can place your hands on your thighs or reach the arms towards the ceiling. Hold the pose for a few breaths then slide back up. Repeat several times. As your legs get stronger, increase the number of breaths you hold the pose.

Yoga for the Knees Chair Pose

2. Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandasana)

Bridge pose is a yoga asana that helps properly align your knees while strengthening your back, glutes, and hamstrings. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and walk your feet toward your bottom until you can just touch your heels with your fingertips. Step your feet out hip distance apart and place a block horizontally on the floor between your feet. This will help keep everything in place. Press into all four corners of the feet, the inside and outside edges as well as the heel and the balls. Draw your navel in toward your spine and press your lower back into the ground. Tuck your tailbone in and lift your bottom from the ground. Lift as high as you can without compromising your form (your knees should remain hip distance apart and parallel with the ankles). To get an added stretch in the chest, you can roll your shoulders under your body and interlace your fingers underneath you. Hold this pose for a few breaths then release the upper back first, then mid back, then finally lower your lower back and tailbone to the floor. Repeat a few times.

Yoga for the Knees Bridge Pose

3. Supported Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

Balancing poses can be very beneficial when it comes to building the muscles that help the knee. However, if your knee is currently inflamed, you want to avoid anything that will put this much weight on the joint. By using the support of a block, you can work on strengthening the muscles in this pose and stretching the hamstrings without putting stress on your knee. The first time you do this pose, use an empty wall and a block for support. Stand with your back to the wall and rotate your right foot so that the outside edge of the foot is parallel with the wall. Place the block in your right hand, bend your right knee, and shift your weight so you’re balancing on the right leg. Set the block on the floor a few inches in front of your right foot and press your right hand into it to help straight the right arm and leg. Rotate the left side of your body upward so that your back is either in alignment with the wall behind you or leaning on it. Your left leg should be lifted and parallel with the floor. Your left arm should create a straight line with the right arm. Hold for a few breaths and increase the amount of breaths as you get stronger.

Yoga for the Knees Half Moon Pose

4. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Mountain pose will teach you proper alignment that may help ward off new knee injuries and help you become aware of the muscles you need to engage to protect the knee. To get into the pose, stand with your feet hip distance apart, lift all your toes up, spread them wide, and then rest them back down on the floor. Press into the floor with all four corners of the feet to evenly distribute the weight of the body. As you press into your feet, engage your calf muscles. Engage the quadriceps and internally rotate your inner thighs to widen your sits bones. Tuck your tailbone in, and engage the glutes. Tighten your abs. Pull your shoulders back and down. Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your hips and ankles. Lift your chin and pull it back slightly so it is parallel with the floor. Relax the muscles in your face. Take several deep breaths and notice the muscles you have engaged to create proper posture. Hold this pose for approximately 10 breaths.

Yoga for the Knees Mountain Pose

5. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

A common problem with those who suffer from knee injuries or weakness is a strong vastus lateralis (the outer part of your quadriceps) and a much weaker, underused vastus medialis (the inner part of your quadriceps). Trikonasana is a pose that will strengthen the muscles that support the inner quad. Step your feet out in a wide stance so your left foot is parallel with the back of your mat and your right foot is turned out at a 90 degree angle, parallel with the inside horizontal edge of the mat. Bend your right knee so it lines up with the ankle and hip. Press into both feet and straighten the right leg, engaging the inner part of your quad and thigh. When this muscle is engaged, you will notice it is impossible to lock your knee. However, when you disengage the muscle, it will hyperextend and lock (you should avoid this). Reach your right arm straight down and rotate upward with the left side of your body. Line up your arms so they’re in a straight line and keep your core engaged. For support, you can place your right hand on a block, but be sure to keep the core engaged as you reach up to the sky with the left side of your body. Hold for a few breaths, disengage, and then repeat.

Yoga for the Knees Triangle Pose

3 Yoga Poses to Stretch The Knees:

It’s important to not only strengthen the knees but also to stretch them. You can make knee injuries worse if the muscles are so tight that they decrease movement fluidity. Here are 3 poses that stretch the knees and the supporting muscles without causing pain. Again keep in mind that each person is different and very few injuries are exactly the same, so make sure to seek advice from your physician before beginning.

1. Wide-Angled Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)

Many of the poses that stretch your legs and hips tend to torque the knee in a way that can be quite painful for those who have knee weakness and pain. Konasana is a great pose that will stretch out the whole back of the body as well as the hips, inner thighs, and groin. To get into this pose, straddle your legs out in the widest stance you can comfortably place them. Flex your feet to activate the leg muscles. Place your hands on the ground forward in front of you and slowly walk them forward until you feel the stretch. Keep your spine straight and elongated throughout the stretch. If you find that your spine creates a C shape when you start to fold, place a blanket under the sits bones to lift yourself slightly off the floor. Hold this pose for 8 to 10 breaths. Follow it up by pulling the legs together and the knees into the chest.

Yoga for the Knees Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend

2. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Lotus is a common pose that that is held at the beginning and end of each yoga class and can be a real pain in the knee. So, instead of sitting with both feet in the crooks of your thighs, simply cross your legs and gently place one in front of the other. Keep in mind that the deeper the bend in the knee the higher the chance of pain, so you may not have a perfect crossed leg look. That’s okay. You also have the option of sitting on a blanket to make the pose more comfortable and placing blocks on either side of the knees. This pose will stretch your knees and ankles. Sit up tall and breathe deeply for about 8 to 10 breaths, increasing the amount of breaths as you feel more flexible over time.

Yoga for the Knees easy pose

3. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This is a gentle knee stretch that can be intensified the closer you can move your bottom toward your heels. Props are necessary for those with tight, sore knees. Start on your hands and knees (with a blanket under the knees for protection). In the full, unmodified, pose you’d have your feet together with your toes untucked, knees separated so the belly can rest between the thighs, bottom sitting on the heels, and forehead on the mat with the arms extended out. Modify as you need. Consider decreasing the degree to which you part your knees. Use blankets behind the knees or on the heels. This pose can be held for 8 to 10 breaths and then increased slowly as you become more flexible.

Yoga for the Knees Childs Pose

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Laura: Acupuncture- More than pain relief

Acupuncture releases natural pain killers, promotes blood flow, stimulates hormonal balance, relaxes tight muscles, calms anxiety, lifts depression, and promotes digestion.

This ancient Chinese therapy effects every major system of the body, including the cardiac, gastrointestinal, circulatory, cerebral, genitourinary, endocrine and immune systems.

Traditional Chinese medicine

Get to the point…

Some people explain acupuncture in terms of energy and meridians. While this is not wrong, it would be equally right to explain that the energy is based on nerve conduction and proper firing of the nervous system.

Each acupuncture point is a small area about 1cm in diameter. They are where groups of nerves meet below a small opening in the facia. Needling these points, electronically stimulating or even applying vibrational therapy or direct pressure activates the points. This will help dissipate energy that has built up or, alternatively, stimulate the flow of energy to the area.

Did you catch that? Needles are only one way to stimulate the point. If you don’t like needles and wish to try a needle free way of stimulating the points, there are alternatives.

Acupuncture:

1. Relieves pain.

2. Reduces inflammation.

3. Brings balance in the body.

 

What’s in it for me?

Acupuncture is a drug free way to address:

  • TMJ/ jaw clenching
  • sciatica
  • blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • inflammation
  • joint pain
  • acute injuries
  • frozen shoulder
  • PMS
  • bursitis
  • arthritis
  • fatigue
  • common cold
  • headache
  • sinusitis
  • insomnia
  • muscle tension
  • PCOS
  • tinnitus
  • ulcerative colitis
  • vertigo
  • weak immune system
  • fertility

Usually relief is found after the first 30 minute treatment. It typically takes 4-8 treatments to restore balance and heal the body. Sessions can be daily, biweekly, weekly. For maintenance, once a month.

Under Ontario regulation, Naturopathic Doctors are able to perform acupuncture. If claiming under your benefit plan, it will be considered as “naturopathic services”.

From the heart and desk of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Phil Shares: 5 Tips For Getting Fit When You’re Plus Size

5 Tips For Getting Fit When You’re Plus Size

Starting a fitness journey is always a challenge, but it may feel even more daunting when you’re carrying a few extra pounds. If it’s been awhile since the last time you laced up your sneakers, you may not be 100 percent sure what you’re still capable of — which can make it a little intimidating to hit the gym alongside people who look like chiseled bodybuilders and aspiring fitness models.

But “fit” comes in many shapes and sizes — and you can always nail fitness goals in your own living room with Beachbody On Demand if the gym isn’t exactly your happy place. Here are a few tips for getting in shape, no matter what your shape is.

1. No workout is off limits.

Have you ever seen a workout that looked intriguing, but you were concerned you didn’t have the “right” body type for it yet? Maybe you want to try martial arts, but you’re worried that you lack the mobility, coordination, or power to execute a jab/cross/snap kick combo like a Muay Thai fighter. Or you want to try yoga, but you can barely hold downward dog.

Put those worries aside. If a workout program looks fun, such as Beachbody’s YOUv2 (an upbeat dance-inspired program for beginners), don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try it — because you’re more likely to stick with a workout program you actually enjoy. Plus, you can always do the modifiers (i.e., the less advanced variations of exercises) in the workouts in programs such as CORE DE FORCE or 21 Day Fix until you build the strength and mobility needed to execute the main exercises. “Be brave enough to try,” says Jericho McMatthews, Beachbody Super Trainer and co-creator of CORE DE FORCE. “Start with the modifier — even if you’re struggling to complete all the repetitions — and stick with it. You’ll get there.”

(Not sure what kind of workout style will motivate you the most? Test some out on Beachbody On Demand until you find one that inspires you.)

2. Don’t underestimate your fitness abilities.

Your weight or BMI (body mass index) can help you determine your starting point, but they’re not the only (or even the best) way to measure fitness.

Instead, gauge your progress by how strong and energetic you feel, and when you notice your workouts getting easier, go harder. “A lot of people get really safe about using modifications,” McMatthews says. “They don’t realize how fit they’re getting, and how fast they’re getting stronger.” If you begin to notice that the modifiers aren’t leaving you out of breath and drenched in sweat by the end of a workout, it’s time to move on to the main moves.

3. Get the right workout gear.

Splurging on workout gear might feel kind of vain, but it isn’t just about taking awesome sweaty selfies — the right gear can keep you comfortable and even help prevent discomfort and injury. A supportive sports bra can keep everything in place during plyometric (jumping) exercises, for example. Moisture-wicking fabric can prevent chafing between the thighs.

Working out with the right shoes is vital for many reasons. Unless you’re running, stop wearing running shoes when you exercise. Their thick treads can trip you up during MMA-inspired programs like CORE DE FORCE, their raised heels can sabotage stability and form in muscle building-focused programs like Body Beast, and their extra cushioning can throw off your balance during dance-inspired programs like YOUv2. Consider purchasing training shoes instead. (Need help picking a pair? Use our guide help you find the perfect shoes for any workout.) “Everyone’s feet are different, so it’s not one-size-fits all,” McMatthews says. “But for anyone — especially anyone who’s plus-sized — make sure you have a shoe that supports the workout you are doing.”

4. Pay attention to your technique.

Proper form is always important. Not only does it help you get the most out of the exercise, but it can also help you reduce your risk of injury. “It’s really important to make sure your technique is there — especially if you’re carrying around more weight, because you need to protect your joints,” McMatthews says. Beachbody’s PiYo (part pilates, part yoga) and 3 Week Yoga Retreat are great programs for those wanting to take it easy on their joints since they are both low impact.

Whatever program you choose, take it slow when you’re first learning a move, and listen to the form cues from the instructor. “Work on proper alignment and proper technique so you’re avoiding injury — and getting better results, as well,” says McMatthews. It can be tempting to go full-throttle from the get-go, but that can backfire — if you get hurt, you won’t be able to work out for awhile.

5. Set non-scale goals.

Don’t let the scale be your only barometer of success — look for other signs that you’re getting stronger and slimmer. Have you lost an inch off your waist? Are you using heavier weights than you were last month? Can you hold a 10 seconds plank longer? Do you see a thinner profile when you look in the mirror? “Focus on non-scale victories, like how you’re feeling during the workouts and if you have more energy during the day,” McMatthews says.

That includes emotional victories, too, such as feelings of pride and confidence following a tough workout. The keys to meeting fitness goals are to stay positive and not get discouraged. Stay consistent and be patient — results will come. “After a tough workout, a lot of people feel like a new and improved version of themselves, regardless of how much weight they have lost,” says McMatthews.

 

By 

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

How to get fit when you're overweight

Dr. Phil Shares: Should You Work Out If You Are Sore?

Should You Work Out If You Are Sore?

I often get complaints from clients about being sore. Statements like “I thought exercise was going to make me feel good, but now I feel worse than ever” are somewhat common with people who are new to exercising. And there’s not too much for me to tell them. The fact is that if you have any designs on changing your body for the better, you are going to spend some time being sore, which can be a scary prospect. But, it’s inevitable so you have to get over this fear. Fact: there is some pain associated with the ultimate pleasure of being fit.

Also, if you anticipate, plan, and take the proper steps, you can minimize your muscle soreness. I’ll get to this in a sec but, first, let me tell you a little story—a very short one—that might help you out a bit. When I say we all get sore, I mean all. When I originally wrote this, I was very sore. And I got that way by doing one set of lunges. Yes, that’s right, only one set!

I wasn’t out of shape. Quite the contrary, I was cycling harder than I had in years and a member of the U.S. National Duathlon Team. So by most people’s definition, I was ultra fit. However, I’d not been doing lunges. I hadn’t done a single one since I finished 10,000 of them over a four-month span the year before. My body wasn’t used to lunges and, whenever you do something physical that you’re not used to, your muscles get sore. What this means is that most of you reading this are going to get sore—maybe really, really sore—somewhere along your road to fitness.

But I can help, because I’ve been through every level of soreness possible, from the “ahhh, I’m starting a new program” feeling to the “@#&!, I can’t walk” misery. Here are eight ways to achieve the former statement and avoid the latter and find out if you should work out if you’re sore.

8 Tips to Reduce Muscle Soreness

1. Work out when you’re sore to increase circulation

Yes, you heard that right–work out! But, take it easy. This is what is called a “recovery workout,” which is aimed at increasing circulation rather than creating micro-tears (or microtrauma) in the muscles, which caused the soreness in the first place. Exercise promotes circulation, which reduces soreness. Sitting around while you’re sore is actually worse regarding relieving your soreness than having an easy working out. What you should do is warm up and then do part of your scheduled workout. Maybe do half, or even just a quarter. Use the extra time after the cool-down to stretch and ice. But, remember, if it’s only your legs that are sore, you don’t have to go easy on your upper body, and vice versa. Nice try.

2. Learn good pain from bad

There are generally two types of pain associated with working out: from muscle soreness or from injury. It’s not always clear which is which, so tread lightly until you know the difference. I’ve had quite a few clients over the years who thought they were injured but simply had muscle soreness. There is no absolute way to tell, but if your soreness lessens as you warm-up, there’s a very good chance you’re dealing with just soreness of the muscles. Increasing pain doesn’t necessarily mean you’re injured, but it means you shouldn’t exercise that day. If this pain doesn’t change in a day or two, injury is likely and you should see a professional. Muscle soreness always improves over time.

3. Embrace the pain

This idea is going to be foreign to many of you but eventually you’ll learn that a little soreness means you’ve embarked on something that is good for you. The first time, however, you’re going to have to show a little faith. Whenever I switch up my training, I go through an initial period of soreness. While it’s always bothersome, especially say, when it hurts to take off my shoes or wash my hair, I know that it’s only temporary and that it’s an important step along the road to my goal. So I embrace it. Sure, it hurts. But it hurts in a good way. A great way even. I love the beginning of a new training cycle because I know that once I work through the pain, I’m going to be fitter than before. In fact, when I haven’t had a period of soreness in a while, I start to feel like a slacker.

 

Should-You-Work-Out-If-You-Are-Sore-1

4. Stretch after you work out

The more time you can spend doing extra stretching at the end of your workout, the better you’ll recover. Don’t stretch your muscles when cold, as you’ll risk injuring them. An extra 10 minutes after you work out, however, can do wonders. Also, easy movements and stretches right before bed and again first thing in the morning helps your blood circulate better and will also improve your recovery time.

5. Anticipate

Remember that I said I knew I was going to get sore? You will be, too! So go easy on your first day. And I mean E-A-S-Y. It’s normal to get excited on day one. You just ordered Beachbody On Demand and you’ve had visions of yourself walking down the beach turning heads. This is great, but keep your wits about you. You’re not going to get ripped tomorrow or the next day. Hammering through your first workout could end up delaying your program two weeks while you recover from your exuberance. Instead, start slow. Do much less than you feel like you could. You’ll get sore in any case. Next day, push a bit harder. The following day, a bit harder still. Easing into a program is the best way to make steady progress in your fitness.

6. Eat well

The more you exercise, the better you need to eat. Junk food won’t fuel your muscles properly. This is especially true if you are trying to lose weight since you’re most likely eating less. So what you do eat becomes vital. The better you eat, the less sore you’ll be. Try to exercise on an empty stomach and then after your workout, drink Beachbody Recover or eat a small snack that is approximately four parts carbs to one part protein within an hour of finishing your workout. This will greatly help the recovery process and reduce soreness.

7. Massage

You don’t have to go to a masseuse; self-massage is another great tool to aid recovery. The only time you don’t want to massage your muscles is right after you work out because you will interfere with the natural recovery process. But at any other time, such as before heading to sleep, just five minutes of self-massage can help circulation immensely.

8. Ice

More on the circulation theme—nothing moves blood around like ice. It causes blood vessels to contract at first, and then open as you get used to it. If you’ve ever watched a locker room interview after a sporting event, you probably noticed a lot of the athletes were icing parts of their body. That’s because it’s one of the greatest recovery aids we have available. Almost all injuries heal quicker if you apply ice. Working out causes micro-tears in the muscles, which are necessary in order to get stronger but cause the pain of soreness. These micro-tears heal faster if you ice them. You can ice any sore body part up to 20 minutes at a time, a few times throughout the day. It’s hard at first, but you get used to it the more you do it.

BY:  @ Beachbody

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Laura: Is it aging or low B12?

B12 deficiency has been estimated to affect about 40% of people over 60 years of age, and about 40% of the general population are on the lower end of normal.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can look like the signs and symptoms of diseases that are commonly associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other neurological problems; depression and anxiety; cardiovascular disease; cancer; and low libido. If someone you love has these symptoms, best to get there B12 levels checked and supplement if help reduce the symptoms.

Supplementing with an active form of B12 can help reduce inflammation, which has improved symptoms of arthritis and eczema.

Vitamin B12 works with folate to make DNA, red blood cells and the insulating sheath around the nerves to help with nerve signalling. This is why when I inject B12, I always include folate with it.

Causes/Risks of B12 deficiency

  • Vegan/vegetarianism
  • Intestinal malabsorption due to low stomach acid
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune condition affecting our ability to absorb B12)
  •  Atrophic gastritis (usually H. pylori infection in the elderly)
  • Long term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s)
  • People on Metformin therapy

If someone you know or love fall into any of these categories, best they get tested even if they don’t have symptoms, as deficiency can start before the symptoms show up.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

  • not much if  it’s mild
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • strange sensations
  • numbness, or tingling in hands, legs, or feet
  • difficulty walking such as staggering or balance problems
  • anemia
  • a swollen, inflamed tongue
  • yellow skin
  • jaundice
  • difficulty thinking and reasoning
  • memory loss
  • paranoia or hallucinations

Testing for B12

It is easy to run a B12 test, however there are other blood and urine markers that can provide a more complete picture, such as methylmalonic acid (MMA) and homocysteine. Homocysteine may be more sensitive and accurate for detecting the early stages of B12 deficiency. When I run tests, I look at things from a functional medicine perspective and this may involve the more complete profile.

If there is an absorption issue suspected, we need to identify and correct that, if possible. Further testing and treatment may be required to do that.

The results of the tests are also interpreted differently when you come to see me. I look at things from a functional range – your optimum level of performance- not the point at which you have disease. The conventional medical system in North America regard a low B12 to be below 200 pg/mL. This is the point where irreversible neurological damage can happen. I prefer to go at the guidelines set out by Europe and Japan – somewhere over 550 pg/mL.

Supplementing

Best to get B12 from animal based sources – strongest providers are the organ meats (liver, kidney) and seafood like oysters and clams. To get ahead quickly or to supplement a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will need activated B12, so hydroxy or methyl based cobalamin are the best. If there is intestinal absorption issues, then you’ll need a pill to dissolve under the tongue or an injection to provide the boost. What I carry in the clinic is an activated form of B12/B complex so it absorbs easily and we see good results on the before and after blood work, or we can go for the injection – usually weekly for a month and then once a month for a few months. Then we re-test.

 

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She is a Certified Gluten Practitioner, A HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in ongoing education with the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.