Friday, May 4, 2012

Dieting with a Practicing Mind

BY: Thomas M. Sterner 

Your mind is your strongest tool in the journey to weight loss.

Based on the book The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life , (c) 2012 by Thomas M. Sterner. Printed with permission from New World Library.

What’s the first thing we do when we set a dieting goal? We aim at the final destination: “I want to lose 25 pounds.” This immediately sets up a perspective that breeds struggle and beckons failure before we have made that first step onto the treadmill or passed up that first donut. Why?

Most of us have a habit of setting our goals too far out in front of where we are at that moment and immediately become attached to the point in time when that goal will be reached. This is both counterproductive and a misuse of the goal. Instead of our goal serving as a rudder to guide our effort, it creates a feeling within us that every moment along the way to reaching that goal is something we have to overcome, something we must endure. We experience impatience and struggle, and if we fail to sustain our extended effort, we can lose confidence in our ability to reach any particular goal we set. We also usually attach a time frame for reaching our goals that is totally unrealistic and not based on any factual information, but instead is driven by the thought that reaching a particular goal will make us feel more complete than we already are.

The key is to break our final goal into more manageable parts. Losing 25 pounds is the end of the journey, but to keep us inspired, it is much more helpful to set a goal of first losing only 5 pounds. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, or even fearful, that we will not be able to overcome our cravings for certain foods on any given day or, worse, for an entire week, we should focus on just breakfast and then just the midmorning snack. We know the rest of the day is out there, but we accept that we are here now and that there is just this one meal, this one temptation to deal with. We see only the physical exercise we need to do today, not the cumulative effort it will take to integrate exercise into our schedule for the rest of our lives.

We focus only on one small, simple task as we move through each hour of each day. Doing this requires the same awareness and control of eating and exercise that we need to reach the final goal of losing 25 pounds, but it sets us up with a much shorter “cycle of dieting” that we must adhere to before experiencing success. That experience of success then breeds the motivation and stamina necessary to keep moving forward.

It’s also wise to limit your number of trips to the scale. Stepping on the scale more than once or twice a week can be counterproductive because it can strengthen your attachment to reaching your overall weight goal as opposed to the process of achieving the weight loss. In systems such as Weight Watchers you only have one weigh-in a week. It is normal for your weight to fluctuate a little day-to-day, and stepping on the scale every day when you are trying to lose weight is like constantly looking at your hair in the mirror after a bad haircut to see if it has grown out. What you are really doing is measuring the distance from where you are to where you feel you want to end up. At some level you are saying, “I am not where I want to be, and until I get there, I am incomplete and so can’t feel good about where I am right now.”

The hidden joy in losing weight is a basic truth that is present in any cycle of creating a goal, working toward it, and then eventually reaching it. That joy is revealed in the awareness that the “moment” of achieving your goal is happening in every moment of your effort. In that awareness, you are open to accept those positive emotions in real time because you become aware that you are “living your success” right now.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Reducing the Signs of Aging with Estrogen

By: Marina Johnson, M.D., F.A.C.E

As women age, they start noticing the telltale signs: fine wrinkles and dry, sagging skin.

Risks of Not Having Enough Estrogen

Women are denied estrogen because of an increased risk of breast cancer. Yet, they’re not informed there are more risks from NOT taking estrogen! Heart disease and strokes kill more women each year (400,000) than the next sixteen causes of death including diabetes, all forms of cancer, aids and accidents!

Estrogen decreases Alzheimer’s and dementia by 50% and osteoporosis by 40%. I wrote my book, “Outliving Your Ovaries: An Endocrinologist Reviews the Risks and Rewards of Treating Menopause with Hormone Replacement Therapy,” to give women a guidebook for evaluating and selecting the safest forms of estrogen. Estrogen has over 400 actions on tissues throughout the body and when it’s deficient, adverse consequences occur. While hot flashes can be bothersome, the most serious problems occur when vital tissues literally start falling apart!

Changes in Skin

Let’s start with the most obvious changes: skin, hair and weight gain! I can look at a menopausal woman in her 50s or 60s and tell you if she’s taking estrogen. Many menopausal women resort to cosmetic surgery, Botox and fillers to look younger. It makes more sense to first restore normal estrogen balance. By increasing collagen, estrogen enhances the results of any procedures you choose to do. Healthy skin is also supported by having regular monthly facials, avoiding excessive sun & tanning booths and taking at least 1000 iu of Vitamin D3. Higher doses should be monitored by your physician.

Changes in Hair

Without estrogen, women develop thinning hair even in women who used to have a lot of hair. In menopause, a woman’s ovaries often continue to product testosterone. Even small amounts of testosterone without estrogen leads to loss of scalp hair and growth of facial hair. That’s why you often see older women with whiskers!

Estrogen Delays Middle Age

Estrogen delays the middle age spread by combating insulin resistance. Avoid ORAL estrogen that can worsen weight gain in many women! Instead, choose natural, bioidentical pharmaceutical topical estrogen that can be found in any drug store in the form of patches, gels, creams or mists. Compounded bioidentical hormones do NOT meet the same strict manufacturing standards for quality control and effectiveness.

Within Six Months of Losing Estrogen

Within six months of losing estrogen, many women notice vaginal dryness and painful sex leading to a decreased sex drive. No matter how much you love your partner, when your brain receives pain signals with sex, it turns off libido! Incontinence of urine, urgency and frequent bladder infections occur more often in postmenopausal women who don’t take estrogen.

That’s why it’s common to see older women on no HRT who have to use Depends! The good news is that both problems often resolve with a course of vaginal estrogen. Don’t cheat yourself by waiting too long. The most protection comes from starting estrogen within 10 years of menopause.

Read more:

Marina Johnson, M.D., F.A.C.E., a UCLA-USC trained physician has no ties to any pharmaceutical company. She is the author of “Outliving Your Ovaries: An Endocrinologist Reviews the Risks and Rewards of Treating Menopause With Hormone Replacement Therapy.” She’s the medical director of the Institute of Endocrinology and Preventive Medicine in Dallas, Texas. In 2011, she spoke at the Cleveland HeartLab symposium at the Cleveland Clinic. She’s appeared on Joni’s Table Talk on Daystar Television Network, The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, Daybreak USA radio show and written articles for numerous magazines.