Ballard Naturopathic Blog | All posts tagged 'exercise'

Stone Turtle HealthNaturopathic Medicine and Massage Therapy for the Whole Family

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Stone Turtle Health Blog

Take a Time Out!

October 13, 2011

Lions, and Tigers and Bears, oh my! It's time for touchdowns, tackles, and tight ends. Whether you're watching your kids play, watching the pros, or playing the weekend warrior playing a pickup game on the front lawn or in the park, fall means football (and soccer) for a lot of people here in Seattle and across the US. Here are a few ways to add some healthy habits to your season!

Stretch! Get all those muscles nice and warm. Stretch your large muscle groups (upper legs- front AND back, calves, biceps & triceps, back muscles and neck muscles) to improve circulation and prevent injuries. Sitting on the couch through a Sunday's-worth of games can take a toll. Get up and move around, grab another glass of water, and keep moving. If you or your kids are on the field, warming up before the game is a MUST to avoid Monday remorse. 

Snack! Healthy snacks, like carrot sticks, orange slices, and peanut butter with crackers are perennial favorites for teams. At home? Add a twist to plain old chips and salsa by making a mix of shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic and jalapenos to serve alongside. Buy the baked chips this time. Fruit plates, veggie trays with healthy dips like hummus, and chicken skewers instead of ribs and burgers are all great options that are lower in fat and calories. Chili is great, but skip the sour cream and mountains of shredded cheese & bacon bits.*

Drink! Water, that is. The more well-hydrated you are, the less sore you're going to be. Water helps remove waste products from active muscles, making for a more pleasant morning after the big game. Make sure to replace your electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are lost when you sweat and can't be replaced by plain water. Healthy options, such as Recharge or Emergen-C are good alternatives to Gatorade and other electrolyte replacement drinks that use artificial ingredients.

Let's be realistic. Lots of folks like a beer while they watch the game. If you're going to drink alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a large glass of water to avoid over-consumption (by filling up with water, you'll be less inclined to drink more alcohol to satisfy your thirst mechanism, and a stomach full of water will also help to stop you from eating the whole bag of chips by yourself). Know your limits. No one likes to deal with drunks at public sporting events or bars, so be aware of how much you're drinking. 

Have fun! Parents, remember that your kids are playing sports to have fun! Overcompetitive parents and those who argue with the referees, coaches, or other attendees are no fun for anyone. If you're playing, go with a laid-back approach. You're there to have fun, get some exercise, and spend time with your friends and teammates. Enjoy!

Remember Stone Turtle Health for school sports physicals (only $40 or insurance), therapeutic massage for sports injuries, and prevention.

*(Check back tomorrow for fall recipes that are great for entertaining during or after the game.)



June 16, 2010

Today marks the beginning of my 6th week on the New ME Diet's Fat Loss program. Exactly nine days prior to that, I began doing weigh-ins for a local company's corporate weight loss competition. Exactly two days prior to that, I decided to weigh myself. On the fancy fat-measuring scale. While my weight was within the low end of my "normal" range, the fat percentage was through the roof. As I leafed through the instruction manual, seeking out justifications for a "miscalculation", it dawned on me that the scale might be right. If I was comfortable enough using its measurements for the company participants, why did I think I was immune to its cold, objective calculations?

Knowing that I have relatively healthy eating habits (aside from the occasional seven course meal at my favorite Italian restaurant), I knew it had come to this: If I wanted to lose weight, I needed to move. The thought of exercise conjures up images of being dragged around the track an extra lap because my gym teacher didn't believe I'd gone the full mile. Of working out with a personal trainer who would mock the way I was doing exercises rather than asking why I was favoring one side or correcting my form in a positive way. Of all the dread and embarrassment that came from being the misfit who didn't know the rules to games everyone else seemed to know how to play. Of being picked last for kickball, the cliche of cliches. Exercise was Not My Thing.

So, I turned to my social network, including Facebook friends who would cheer me on and hold me accountable and to my live friends who could be counted on for support when we got together for salads, not dessert or for tea, not beer. And to my family which, given the delectable manner of cooking they participate in, can't really be faulted for not understanding what on earth had come over me when I refused free-form cherry cheesecake, homemade gravy, and other tortures.

In particular, one former classmate of mine, Dr. Jillian Sarno-Teta, a naturopathic physician and bodybuilder, has been my rock. And she's responsible for introducing me to the program that has turned my "normal" weight on its head. Jillian's husband and brother-in-law (both also naturopathic doctors) have co-authored the best-selling "The New ME Diet" and are the creators of the Metabolic Effect 10-Week Fat Loss Program. Jillian was kind enough to get me started with some tips until my book arrived.

My goal: to drop 20 pounds in 10 weeks. This would put me where I was after my 3 month session with a personal trainer back in 2004. In the first week, I dropped a few pounds, but the main difference was in my waistline: 1 1/2 inches in the first 4 days. Since the beginning, my waist measurement has dropped a total of 3 1/2 inches and my weight has dropped over 10 pounds. I've been sleeping like a log and the exercise takes only 30 minutes 3 times/week (walking 30-60 minutes on off-days). Initially, I had to squeeze time into my day, but now that I'm sleeping better, my body has been waking me up naturally (without exhaustion) a good 30 minutes earier, giving me plenty of time to work out before getting ready for my day.

I spent the first 3 weeks standing in front of the mirror, just making muscles and admiring myself. Not out of any sense of vanity, but more out of a sense of wonder and playfulness. If I could have done this so easily, what else could I accomplish? Could I actually grow a few inches? (Answer: well, technically, no, but working out the kinks in my spine and improving my posture has me back to a "real" 5'9"). Could I really lose weight by eating 6 meals a day, all of them containing meat?

The past 2 weeks, I've been incorporating my "reward meals", mainly to make social interactions easier. The first was a yes to fettucine in gorgonzola cream sauce (no to dessert), the second on a date where I had pretty much what I would have eaten anyway (meat and vegetables), but with a coconut daquiri, beans and rice, and plantain fritters with garlic sauce. I've also been getting more creative with my planned meals, expanding from the simple chicken breast with broccoli and sweet potato or salmon burger with sauteed mushrooms and spinach to orange-chili glazed chicken stir-fry and cumin-scented turkey burgers with baked sweet potato fries.

Since I've been so happy with this program, Stone Turtle Health has become an affiliate clinic (Metabolic Effect is based in one of the Carolinas, I can never remember which one). I'm looking forward to providing my patients with free weekly weigh-ins and free entrance to my monthly Healthy Shopping on a Budget classes as part of their enrollment fee into Metabolic Effect's Fat Loss Program. I'm looking forward to having more partners in crime and creating a support network of patients to provide long-lasting changes in their health.