Archive for February, 2013

The Warrior Diet & The Stay-At-Home Parent

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The Warrior Diet, created by Ori Hofmekler, is, in short, a diet based on extended periods of daytime under-eating followed by brief periods of nighttime over-eating. The theory is that humans are, by their very nature, nocturnal eaters. Fasting during the day allows your body to detoxify and burn fat. The ‘warrior’ or prehistoric man HAD to eat this way. During the day, physical activity (exercise) was always necessary and the threat of danger was constant. At night, the ‘warrior’ could safely rest and enjoy one large daily meal.

So how does this translate to a stay-at-home parent? Let’s take a look.

1. It doesn’t disrupt family dinner time.

For many families, the 6pm (or 5pm, or 7pm) dinner hour is sacred. It is the one time of the day that everyone can count on. The older kids are home from soccer practice. The younger kids are awake from their naps. The spouse is home from a long day at work. It’s time to gather ‘round the table, break bread and talk about the day that has passed. Too many diets demand restrictions that affect this familial ritual. That is not the case with the Warrior Diet. Fast all day. Eat at night. That’s the deal. The precious family dinner is the perfect time to break your fast.

2. It doesn’t require special recipes.

The Warrior Diet doesn’t require specific foods, so much as it requires specific times to eat. If you’ve fasted all day, when it comes time to eat (around 6pm, give or take), you can enjoy as much of whatever you’d like. That means that family favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, stir fried chicken and pepperoni pizza can stay on your menu.

3. It actually increases your daytime productivity.

During your daytime fast, you’ll kick into gear your sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The SNS activates when emergencies occur, causing the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ reaction to stressful situations. Calling your fast an emergency is a touch dramatic. But the truth is, when your SNS activates energy is generated and fat is burned: both good things! Not only are you losing weight with the Warrior Diet, but your energy levels during the day will increase dramatically. Whoever says being a stay-at-home parent isn’t a full-time job has clearly never been one; extra energy is essential.

Diets are a dime a dozen. Each year another nutrition craze hits the media. The Warrior Diet is unique in its simplicity and accessibility. It’s not the type of diet that will make you miserable, broke or unhealthy. In fact, because it’s a lifestyle decision, not a temporary quick-fix, you’ll see results not only in your weight, but in your mental health as well.

Debunking 4 Popular Exercise Fads

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Late-night television is jam packed with fitness solutions both realistic and ridiculous. In the end, good old fashioned hard work is the only thing that is guaranteed to get you into shape. But, for humor’s sake, let’s take a look at five of the worst exercise fads.

1. 8-Minute Abs
Worst Exercise Fads AbsGet a six-pack in just 8 minutes a day? Yeah! Not so much. The fact is ab exercises alone will never get you a washboard stomach. Most of us already have a six-pack beneath a healthy layer of fat. Thus, getting the stomach you want means you need to be lean. Conditioning, including cardiovascular exercise and weight training, and a healthy diet are more effective than 8-minutes of crunches will ever be.
2. Sauna Suits

Failed Exercise FadsSure, you look ridiculous in that plastic bag, but at least you won’t need an umbrella in the rain. And that’s about all these silly suits are good for. The promise is that the suits will make you sweat out more pounds during your exercise routine. The problem is that you’re losing water weight, not fat. A glass of water will put the weight right back on. Furthermore, wearing the suit is actually BAD for you. In the worst cases, the body overheats and can lead to heat stroke, fainting and cramps.

3. Thigh Master

Unsuccessful Exercise FadsWho is the first person you think of when you think of the Thigh Master? Suzanne Somers, for sure. It should, however, be professional scammer Joshua Reynolds. Not only did Reynolds develop the Thigh Master, he was also the man behind the mood ring fad that swept the nation in the 70s and 80s. (Fun fact: he is an heir to R.J. Reynolds and all his cigarette money.) Does the Thigh Master work? The exercise might give the appearance of muscle if done in excess, but won’t actually increase strength. Simple squats are much more effective.

4. Vibrating Belts

Worst Exercise Fads

Preying on the laziness of late-night television watchers, these devices offered a completely exercise-less solution to weight loss. These belts supposedly use electronic muscle stimulation to trim down belly fat. The best part is, you don’t have to do anything but wear the belt. The commercial shows actors going about their daily business (cooking, reading, cleaning, working) all the while wearing their ‘shocking’ weight loss accessory. I’m amazed a single one of these things sold…well, no I’m not.

Getting healthy is important, of course. But, don’t waste time and money on silliness like these exercise fads. Instead, consult a personal trainer and develop a workout regimen that actually will work.

Why Smoking Is Bad For Your Feet

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Day after day I treat smokers in my podiatry clinic, and they are shocked that smoking actually affects their feet.  They think that smoking may cause lung problems during thier lives but do not understand that it is the cause of their leg cramping, inability to walk for long distances (sometimes only a block or two), and in some cases, their severe foot and toe pain. Our heart pushes blood through a series of blood vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen to all areas of our body.  Thus, the feet get oxygen through this system of blood vessels.   Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow and the blood does not flow well through them.  The carbon monoxide in cigarettes kills the cells in the blood vessels,which allows fat to fill the walls of the vessels.  This contributes to thickening of the vessels or “hardening of the arteries.”  When the arteries harden, they are no longer able to effectively and efficiently push blood throughout the body. 

If the feet do not get adequate blood flow (and oxygen), the following may happen:  thin, unhealthy skin; thick and irregular nails; pain;  cramping;  inability to walk for long distances; wounds that do not heal; and gangrene.  Poor circulation to the feet is a very dangerous situation and can lead to amputations when it gets severe. 

It is important to quit smoking, stay active, and maintain a healthy diet.  If you are diabetic, keeping your blood sugar within the normal range of 80-120 mg/dL is essential.  Additionally, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels will help keep your blood circulating.

Dr. Bender is a foot and ankle specialist at Advanced Physical Medicine.  She practices at the Oak Park and 63rd/Chicago locations.  Dr. Bender has 12 years of experience in private practice and specializes in diabetic footcare and limb saving techniques.  Please call 708-763-0580 or 773-776-3166 for an immediate appointment.

4 Tricks to get your Spouse to Lose Weight

Monday, February 4th, 2013

It’s a tricky situation when your wife or husband starts packing on the pounds. It’s also a common situation. Most married couples put on a few pounds in the first few years following their nuptials. So, how do you get your spouse to lose the weight? Try these four tips to bring healthy (and sexy) back.

1. Have better snacks around.

The need for snacking will never go away. But, you can make healthy snacking just as easy as pulling open a bag of potato chips. Stock up on fruit and vegetables. More importantly, make them easily accessible. Peel and slice cucumbers, melon or apples (toss them in a little lemon juice to prevent browning), and have the bite-size snacks easily available in your fridge.

2.  Eat out less. Eat out better.

It’s most effective to avoid eating out as much as possible. Cooking at home means you can control portion size, ingredient quality and overall health components. However, social gatherings and the occasional need for convenience means you’ll probably have to eat out a few times a month. When possible, try and choose a cuisine that lends itself to healthy options (think sushi, not Italian). At the very least, pay close attention to what you’re eating–order healthy and light, and chances are your spouse will notice and take a look at their own ordering habits.

3. Get active together.

If you have the means, the time and the gumption, you can certainly join a gym together, but that might not be a reasonable option for you or your spouse. Try starting small. Take a half hour walk each evening after dinner. Not only is it good for both of your health, but taking the time to chat through the dusk is great for your relationship.

4. Go see the doctor.

Encourage your spouse to get a check up. Get blood work done to check overall health factors like cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Surely, if your spouse is overweight, the doctor will be the straightforward ‘bad guy’, and tell your loved one about his or her weight problem. It’s tough to hear, but a health scare is a reminder of mortality that might be just the motivation your spouse needs to drop a few pounds.

These tips should help your efforts in helping your spouse to lose a bit of weight. But, the best thing you can do is be supportive and encouraging. Tell your husband or wife that you’re proud of their progress and that you love them. A little kindness goes a long way.