Search Term: " Makeover "
A Gut Makeover for the New Year
January 12, 2017 12:59 PM
When it comes to new years resolutions, one of the resolutions that you should consider for the new year is a gut Makeover. When it comes to long term health investments, reestablishing the community of microbes and bacteria that make up your intestinal tract can be one of the best ones in general. A diminished microbial system can have consequences that extend for a long period of time, which is why this makes for a great long term new years resolution.
"A diminished microbial ecosystem, on the other hand, is believed to have consequences that extend far beyond the intestinal tract, affecting everything from allergies and inflammation, metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity, even mental health conditions like depression and anxiety."
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
September 24, 2005 12:00 PM
Time for a Gut Check
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
When a woman noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale and sucking in his stomach, she said, “I don’t think that’s going to help.” “Sure it will,” he responded. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”
Funny line, sure. But whether you’re talking about “love handles,” a “spare tire” or the proverbial “beer belly,” having a tummy that hangs over your belt buckle is no laughing matter. It’s not even a matter of the quest for “six-pack abs” or a “washboard stomach.” It’s a matter of health.
Consider this: A recent study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a man’s waist size can be a good predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes. A Harvard Health Professionals team, led by Dr. Youfa Wang, an assistant professor at the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed data from more than 27,000 men who were tracked for more than 13 years. The team found that men with larger waists or a higher body mass index (BMI) were both at greater risk for type 2 diabetes than slimmer men. (You find your body mass index by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. If your waist size is 40 inches or less, a BMI of 25 or over means you’re overweight.)
“Abdominal fat measured by waist circumference can indicate a strong diabetes risk, whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his BMI,” says Wang. The Harvard team found that men with waist sizes of 40 to 62 inches were 12 times more likely to develop diabetes and suggested that the current recommended waistline of 40 inches or below for men may need to be lowered.
Okay, now that we’ve scared the bejeezes out of all you guys under 6-foot-4 who by your pants in the big-man store, let’s talk about what you have to do to shop anywhere in the mall. Again, this is not about looking like a Greek ab god. This is about diminishing your risk for a myriad of health problems and being able to comfortably bend over for a ground ball during the pickup softball game. And there are no shortcuts, so forget about liposuctioning those years of accumulated lard. Despite what all those TV Makeover shows say, liposuction can only really enhance your body aesthetic if you lose a large chunk of the surface fat first.
“Those Makeover shows have it all backwards,” says Dr. Bruce Nadler, a fitness trainer who also happens to be a plastic surgeon. “They do surgery on someone’s midsection and then have them doing intense workouts when they are supposed to be recuperating from surgery. I wouldn’t do liposuction until you see what diet and exercise can accomplish. When you have all the weight in the midsection the dangerous fat is deep within the body. So liposuction may make you look better but it won’t necessarily improve your health.”
The Gut Check Plan
Talk to any exercise expert worth their weight in body fat, including Nadler, and they will tell you that on of the biggest fitness fallacies is the notion that intense abdominal workouts and use of abdominal machines (like those sold through those interminable infomercials) are the keys to getting a flatter and more “ripped” midsection. In fact, for many people it’s not physiologically possible to achieve a flat tummy because abdominals are not designed to be flat. And the idea of “spot reduction,” exercising the area where you want to lose the fat, is now considered a myth. Research has shown that fat is lost all over your body, not just in the area that you work.
It’s not that you can’t benefit from doing abdominal exercises. Crunches, situps and leg raises, when done properly, are great for muscle tone and endurance (and you do burn calories), but the real key to achieving a wonderful waist size is losing body fat. How do you do that?
“Dropping a few inches from your midsection,” says Nadler, “depends on four things- calorie reduction through proper diet (eating very little fat, consuming complex carbohydrates and doing it all in smaller portions), stepping up aerobic activity (such as running an bicycling, which burns excess calories quickly and safely), and resistance weight training (which not only increases metabolism and helps burn more excess calories, but also builds and strengthens the abdominal wall).” Then, adds Nadler, when you’ve just about reached your waist=reduction goal, but genetics still won’t give you a flatter stomach, “that’s where plastic surgery may come in as icing on the cake.”
Nadler also advises men not to panic if they don’t notice a substantial weight reduction during a training program. “When people are doing weight and resistance training they are too hung up on the scale,” insists Nadler. “Muscle weighs more than fat so don’t judge your progress by what you weigh, but on what your percentage of body fat is. That’s the number you want to see going down.”
So how long does it take for men with an oversized gut to lose the excess? “Depending on how much they have to lose,” Nadler says, “it takes anywhere from three to six months.” By the way, for men in their 30s and up, there are also two important side benefits to decreasing the waist size and firming up the gut: better overall posture and diminishing the potential for chronic back pain. So get to work guys; suck it up so you can stop sucking it in. -Stephen Hanks
Energize Your Life!
June 14, 2005 05:06 PM
Energize Your Life!
by Laura Weiss Energy Times, December 1, 2003
If every fatigued day leaves you wondering where your energy went, you need a personal energy Makeover.
"Energy, some special kind of energy, just leaks out and I am left lacking the confidence even to cross the street," Diane Arbus, the photographer, once complained. And while Ms. Arbus tried to overcome her energetic and spiritual ups and downs with her art, you can use lifestyle changes as well as self-expression to revive your vigor.
To Sleep, Perchance to Energize
When you're looking for a boost in personal energy, you've got to get enough sleep, insists Jacob Tietelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery). Dr. Teitelbaum emphasizes that unless you "give your body eight to nine hours of sleep per night," your personal energy will never be adequate.
Studies show that getting less than six hours sleep a night hurts your mental performance and drains your energy (Sleep 3/15/03). As your sleep debt builds up, your energy drops down.
"[Our studies show] the importance of sleep as a necessity for health and well-being. Even relatively moderate sleep restriction, if it is sustained night after night, can seriously impair our neurobiological functioning," says Hans P.A. Van Dongen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sleep and Chronobiology at Penn State.
A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that Americans, on average, are getting less than seven hours of shuteye a night. That sleep deficit drains energy.
Watered Down Energy
Added to that sleep requirement, Dr. Teitelbaum stressed in an interview with Energy Times, a lack of water can deplete your personal energy.
"The number one problem is often dehydration," he says. "Make sure you stay hydrated. Although I think it's a bad idea to [obsessively] count glasses of water, you should carry a bottle of water with you, check your lips and if they feel dry drink more water." Overall, your body is about 60% water and 70% of your muscles consist of water. If you let your water levels dip too low, your muscles suffer and your energy levels dip as well. Research shows that as your body dries out, your mental processes can slow down. And the hotter the temperature, the more fluid you may lose (AIHAJ 2002; 63(2):190-8).
B Vitamins for Energy
Also important for keeping your energy up "is getting enough of the B vitamins and magnesium." And even though Dr. Teitelbaum advocates the necessity of a well-rounded multiple vitamin and mineral supplement plus an adequate diet and amino acids to get all the nutrients you need, he recommends "taking a high-level B complex. The RDAs (the government's Recommended Daily Amounts) are inadequate."
In the body, B vitamins are used for the production of energy on a cellular level. For instance, vitamin B1 (thiamine) is crucial for burning carbohydrates effectively. And vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is necessary for the body's ability to properly use B1. At the same time, vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is required for proper nerve function. The need for B12 may necessitate a supplement: Up to 30% of everyone over the age of 50 may have trouble absorbing B12 from their food (Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci 1996; 33:247). Plus, since vegetables contain very little absorbable B12, vegetarians of all ages may also require B12 supplements.
Dr. Teitelbaum also believes that taking malic acid, a nutrient derived from apples, can help. Along with the B vitamins, malic acid is used by the body in the production of energy. When taken with magnesium, malic acid has been shown to ease the pain of fibromyalgia (J Rheum 1995; 22(5):953-7), a condition characterized by fatigue and lack of energy accompanied by painful muscles and joints.
Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) represents a potential tool for controlling blood sugar and improving stamina.
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, "...Asian ginseng enhances energy, raises blood pressure and improves adrenal function...Asian ginseng has such a wide mix of health benefits that its name, Panax, comes from the Greek roots of pan (meaning 'all') and akos (meaning 'cure')-that is, 'cure all.'"
Research on people with diabetes shows that this herb may help control blood sugar levels. People who suffer what is called type 2 diabetes often eat small meals to keep their blood sugar from varying too much. (Rising and falling blood sugar can drain you of energy as well as make diabetic problems worse.)
An investigation of how another form of ginseng, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), affects blood sugar after eating found that it tempered changes by up to 20% (Arch of Internal Med 4/00). These scientists found that folks with diabetes did best when they took the herb within two hours of a meal.
Ready to re-energize? Time to stop skimping on sleep and rushing through inadequate meals. For all of us, slowing down and giving our bodies a chance to regenerate its zip can make the big energy difference.
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified!
June 14, 2005 11:50 AM
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified! by Stephen Hanks Energy Times, January 3, 2005
Marilu Henner is an actress, dancer and author, a health, fitness and cooking guru and a devoted mom. Now she's also an advocate for nutritional supplements. In this revealing interview, she offers her thoughts on the battle to support consumer rights and to create a better health care system in America.
"So, you want to know what my schedule is after I finish talking with you?" Marilu Henner says, in an almost breathless voice. "Today's Tuesday, right? Tomorrow morning I leave Los Angeles [where she lives] for New York City so I can do the Tony Danza Show first thing Thursday morning, Then, I take a 9 am flight back to LA because my son has a sleepover birthday party. I have a 7 am flight to New Jersey the next morning because I'm speaking about mental health at a conference at a big country club. The next morning, I catch a 7 am flight back to LA for my son's soccer games, one at noon and the other at 2. Whew!"
Trying to keep up with Marilu Henner would make anybody feel out of breath because the woman is energy personified. At 52, her schedule includes acting in movies, on television and in the occasional Broadway show, writing books (she's authored seven, including Total Health Makeover and Healthy Life Kitchen), teaching online diet and exercise classes through her website (marilu.com), taking Pilates classes three times a week and raising two sons, Nicholas (10) and Joseph (8).
But now, on top of all that, the former star of the TV show Taxi has become a health and nutrition activist, speaking out in favor of the use of dietary supplements whenever she can. This past September, Henner testified at a hearing of the House Subcommittee for Human Rights and Wellness to advocate increased funding for research and full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). During her testimony, Marilu described why she believes consumers should have access to more information about supplements and why the products should be made more accessible through both government initiatives and private health plans. "I believe that dietary supplements should be part of a campaign to improve our nation's health," Henner testified.
Energy Times recently caught up with Marilu at her Los Angeles home for a freewheeling conversation. Here, this vibrant yet down-to-earth celebrity displays her passion for health, nutrition and consumer issues.
Energy Times: You've become one of the most high profile celebrities to advocate a consumer's use of dietary supplements. What was your motivation to get involved in such a public way?
Marilu Henner: As a teenager, I had been a yo-yo dieter. I could be around 135 pounds and balloon up to 174. I knew I needed a different way of looking at my life. I couldn't concentrate on those stupid diets where I could lose 20 pounds in a week and then gain it all back over a weekend. But after my mom died at 58 in 1978, I said to myself, "It's not really about my body anymore, it's really about my health." I just became obsessed with health. I read everything I could get my hands on. I starting taking human anatomy classes, going to medical libraries and seeing nutritionists and doctors. And I started experimenting on myself, turning myself into my own guinea pig. It took me about eight years to put together a program. I always say that my health birthday was 1979, but it wasn't until 1987 that I could say I was living a completely healthy lifestyle.
ET: Were you ever really heavy when you were performing in a show? MH: Sure. When I first performed the role of Marty in "Grease" more than 30 years ago I weighed about 175 pounds. But I hid it well. When you wear those 1950s clothes you can get away with it.
ET: When did you start incorporating supplements into your health program? MH: Before I became pregnant with my first son in 1993, I had never been a supplement taker. But I started taking prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements when I was breastfeeding and they made me feel really good. After the pregnancy, I just kept taking them because I was getting the essential nutrients that I couldn't get from food alone. I was getting great stuff from my food, but with all the travel I do-you know, the eating on planes and in restaurants-I couldn't always shop for organic food. I had a doctor who understood the value of dietary supplements and encouraged me to use them. I've taken them ever since and I recommend them to my family and friends, as well as to people through my books and classes.
ET: What supplements other than vitamins do you find helpful in your total nutrition program? MH: I take vitamin E, omega-3 fish oils, antioxidants, garlic, coral calcium and echinacea supplements.
ET: So let's get back to why you decided to testify before Congress in support of supplement use. MH: I know that as soon as you put a celebrity face on an issue, people tend to pay a little more attention. When I was in Washington, I was able to tell Congress the personal stories I've heard about people who turned their lives around-from debilitating illness to vibrant health-when they got the information they need to make good choices. By good choices, I mean rejecting the manufactured foods of our society, with their over-reliance on sugar, meat and dairy, and the chemicals, hormones and steroids that usually accompany these products. Instead, we should be moving towards an organic, vegan diet that produces a sense of physical health. I also believe that a healthy diet includes the use of appropriate dietary supplements.
ET: Do you think that government is moving fast enough to reduce the restrictions on safe supplements? MH: Things could always move faster. But I remember years ago writing letters on behalf of people who wanted supplements without needing a prescription. When I would tell people about the benefits of soy products or supplements, they'd think I was nuts. Now those ideas are mainstream. The floodgates are open and people want to know more. You can't even keep up with all the information. I think that the government knows they're not going to get away with making people have a prescription to take their vitamins.
ET: What is the citizen's responsibility in all this? MH: We're in a real transitional phase and people should take responsibility to educate themselves. You have to question your doctors and recognize when something is or isn't working. You have to find a health practitioner who really knows their stuff.
ET: As you said, there's so much information out there, how do you decipher it all? How can someone be an educated information consumer?
MH: I know it's very difficult because there are so many options. Believe me, I've been doing this a long time and I'm glad I did the research. I think you have to read everything. You have to find a nutritionist/herbalist/doctor who's the real deal and knows what they're talking about. You have to recognize the symptoms in your own body and try to figure it out. I think if you start out with a good multivitamin, a calcium supplement, fish oils and vitamin E, that can be your base and you can't go wrong.
ET: Isn't a diet built on buying organic foods much more expensive? MH: Sure, it's a little more expensive. But there's nothing more expensive than bad health. There's nothing more expensive than food being thrown away because it doesn't taste right. Organic fruit tastes so much better than the perfect-looking fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides.
ET: What's your advice to people who want to start a workout and weight-loss program? MH: I'm always saying to people, "Look, you walk your dog, your cat stretches, your hamster runs on a hamster wheel. You're an animal, too, so go move, go do something." I know a lot of people believe that when you want to lose weight you have to go on these 1,200-calorie-per-day diets.
Well, my weight is always between 120-124 pounds and I eat close to 2,000 calories a day, but everything I eat is of quality. And I burn a lot of calories because I wear comfortable shoes and I move around in my life. I'm always strong, I never get sick and I feel like an animal.
ET: How do you view the future of healthcare policy in this country and where do you think nutritional supplements fit in? MH: I strongly believe that the general public needs more access to dietary supplements to maintain essential good health. American research and development has come up with really great products, but the American Medical Association and the drug companies have stigmatized supplements. So what's the result? Most Americans don't have access to safe supplements because they are not covered by their health plans, nor recognized as effective by the federal government. This really needs to be changed.
I think we should take 90% of what we're spending on drugs that barely keep people alive and start spending it on prevention, nutrition and changing lifestyle habits. In this country we're all about curing the disease rather than curing the patient. We don't look at the patient holistically and try to find out how the disease developed. Your doctor should be in charge of keeping you well, not keeping you in that strange state of, what I call, "dis-ease." It's like the medical and pharmaceutical establishment wants to keep you just sick enough so you'll continue to be a paying customer. They've convinced people to think they've got to take a pill to cure themselves rather than use their own bodies.
ET: Do you think medical schools will start training doctors to treat patients holistically and focus more on preventative medicine?
MH: I think we're seeing a lot more nutrition and alternative medicine specialists these days. And the general public is becoming more aware of health and nutrition issues then they were years ago. There's this groundswell of people saying "Wait, I need more information. Wait, my doctor's no longer God. I can't just keep taking these pills and trying to figure out all these warning labels and side effects."
ET: Do you plan on becoming more politically active on these issues? MH: Absolutely, I want to work with any organization that wants to improve school lunch programs, improve the healthcare system and get people more involved in understanding nutrition and disease prevention.
The Natural Man
June 10, 2005 03:31 PM
The Natural Man
by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, July 14, 2003
Men face significant health challenges as they age. "When men go through andropause in their late 40s (like women go through menopause) and testosterone drops, these hormonal changes are associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and diabetes," says Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD, Director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Therapy in Maryland.
And although cardiovascular disease and cancer account for about two-thirds of men's deaths, says Michael Castleman, author of Blended Medicine (Rodale), men are also plagued by chronic pain (arthritis, especially from old athletic injuries), sexual problems and mental decline.
But men, and the women who love them, need not accept decline as an inevitable sign of aging. A natural man lifestyle Makeover can make a difference. "Prostate problems can be significant [for men as they age]," says Jamey Wallace, ND, clinic medical director at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle. "As men get older there can be an enlargement of the prostate that can cause urinary problems, with increased frequency and discomfort. There's a correlation between inactivity and weight gain and perhaps prostate problems as well." Besides lack of exercise, other contributing factors to health problems include a diet loaded with pesticide residues and chemicals, a lack of fiber and an excessive amount of unhealthy fats.
The Stronger Sex?
Women, on average, live five years longer than men. "At every age, American males have poorer health and a higher risk of mortality than females," says David Williams of the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The gap in life expectancy between men and women may have both genetic and lifestyle origins. More men smoke than women, and men are twice as likely to be heavy drinkers. A recent study Williams led, published in the American Journal of Public Health, confirms that men's behavior is indeed a contributing factor to longevity or lack thereof. "Men take more risks than women," says Castleman. "Men ride motorcycles, go skydiving and do 'death-defying' things. Sometimes, death wins." A macho attitude can prompt men to practice risky behavior by, say, driving without a seat belt. Men also typically engage in more dangerous occupations like construction or fire fighting.
Get Him to the Health Practitioner
Being macho may also mean men postpone visits to their health practitioners. Women are twice as likely to schedule an annual checkup.
"Men postpone admitting and getting help for problems," says Shoshana Zimmerman, ND, author of My Doctor Says I'm Fine...So Why Do I Feel So Bad? (Blue Dolphin). "They may want to prove they are tough or are preoccupied with their jobs and responsibilities." "Starting in adolescence men feel they can take care of themselves," says Dr. Wallace. Unfortunately, this means that it may take a health crisis like severe pain to prompt a man's visit to a health practitioner. "Men care less about their health, so they don't take care of themselves as well as women do," says Castleman.
Get Him to Take the Long View
"Health problems are a result of decades of poor diet and not enough exercise," says Dr. Wallace.
Dr. Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic (Avery/Penguin) says, as a rule of thumb, "Things that make you feel good are generally good for you." But there is a difference between a craving, say for sugar, and what makes you feel good. The difference is how you feel an hour after you've eaten something. Sugar may make you feel fatigued; a high-protein diet may make you feel energized. "If you have low energy, that's the time to add eggs and meat. Others need to be vegans. It's really individualized. Listen to your body."
Zinc is an important nutrient for men's health, particularly for the prostate, and can be found in pumpkin seeds. "Sprinkling a small handful on salads on a daily basis or bringing a small bag to the office and nibbling on those can be a helpful adjunct," says Dr. Wallace. Don't overdo zinc supplementation because high levels can lowers HDL-the good cholesterol-levels. If you do use supplements, follow package directions.
By eating different whole foods, you get optimal daily doses of vitamin A (in the form of mixed carotenoids); flavonoids; B vitamins; vitamins C, D, E and K; and important minerals like calcium, boron, manganese and magnesium, the single most critical nutrient. "It's also the one most Americans are deficient in," says Dr. Teitelbaum. "It promotes heart health, improves mental function and mood, helps you relax and sleep better." When sleep is elusive, herbs that can help include wild lettuce, Jamaican dogwood, hops, passionflower and valerian.
For many men, an enlarged prostate is part of aging. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may reduce the frequent urge to urinate that can result.
"After age 40, men's levels of testosterone decline, while levels of other hormones, notably prolactin, increase," says Castleman. "This results in an elevation of the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for the overgrowth of prostate tissue that is characteristic of benign prostate enlargement. Many studies have shown that saw palmetto shrinks enlarged prostates and relieves symptoms." It takes about six weeks to work. (Since urinary difficulties can signal several health problems, it's important to consult a trained practitioner first.)
Give Him a Multivitamin
Add a good multivitamin with essential nutrients from a natural food store, says Dr. Wallace. "You'll find vitamins there with bioavailability. You can take something but it may be in a form that you can't assimilate. You need a multivitamin that your body can actually use."
Powdered vitamin formulas can be a good choice, says Dr. Teitelbaum, since they don't have binders or fillers. "You can just put it into a glass of say orange juice or mix it into a smoothie."
In addition, omega-3 oil offers antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory action, says Dr. Zimmerman: "Especially on the arteries, which protects against plaque buildup."
Get Him Eating Better and Exercising
To help your spouse or significant other improve his health and vitality, start by setting a good example both in nutrition and activity.
"Eat a whole-food diet yourself, include foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains like quinoa, teff and kamut (find them at your local natural food store) full of fiber and B vitamins, instead of refined bread and pasta," says Dr. Wallace. "Choose foods you both like. Go to a natural food store and look through whole food cookbooks, find recipes that use ingredients that you know your spouse likes and try those."
"Spend your time in the produce section, have salads and fruit salads in the fridge at all times, and serve them at all meals," says Castleman.
Make gradual, healthy substitutions, steps you both can live with. For example, replace one meat lunch and dinner a week with a vegetarian alternative, says Castleman. "Make a big pot of hearty bean and vegetable soup a week, and just keep it in the fridge for an easy heat-and-eat meal." You can also broil fish instead of frying it. Use olive or canola oil when cooking.
To get your four to five servings of vegetables each day, eat a five-color salad. "You'll get a variety of nutrients so the body can select what it needs from the different vegetables," says Dr. Wallace.
"Serve more vegetables, at least two with dinner and add fruit into your man's (and your own) diet," says Dr. Zimmerman. "Eating three each of protein, vegetables and fruits per day goes a very long way to improving health." So does drinking plenty of water, eight to ten glasses a day.
Besides providing a good example by eating healthy foods, a woman can do the same thing with exercise. "If a woman wants to start walking she can invite her husband to go along. Thirty minutes of walking every day can be very helpful," says Dr. Wallace. Walking, like sex, keeps the pelvic area active and improves prostate health by stimulating blood flow. Remember, in both diet and exercise, nagging doesn't work-while setting an example and trying to be inclusive, and not demanding, often makes a big difference for better health.