Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How diet soft drinks make you fat....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-29-2010

One way we posted on two weeks ago on Tuesday, 6-15-2010 is that consuming them not only acts as a potent appetite increasing drug for the effects promised but not delivered by the taste, they stimulate your appetite for the very foods, sugary and high glycemic that make you fat.

And, this one is basic to mammalian biology.

Some people can override the effects but diet soft drinks make staying trim or losing excess fat without getting hungry enough to cause you grief MUCH harder.

But if you think that’s bad, wait until you learn the information I’ve gotten just since I did that post!

Drinking diet soft drinks and the use of artificial sweeteners (and even some natural ones with no calories perhaps) also LOWER your metabolism.

That means that those who consume these things, particularly if they do it many times a week, wind up eating MORE fattening, foods with real sugars than those who do not. And, IN ADDITION to that, they burn less calories too!

Guess what? More calories in and less calories out leaves a surplus that you wear as excess fat.

Dr Mark Hyman sent me the email that contained this news.

Then today, Dr Al Sears sent an email also saying to avoid drinking diet soft drinks because they make you fat.

He began with this:

“Dr Al Sears on 6-29-2010

People are still surprised to learn diet sodas don’t give you what they promise. You may drink them because they have no calories. But diet sodas don’t help you drop weight. They make you fat instead. And you can get hooked on them.

I came across an article in JAMA about just how addicting those diet soft drinks are. When you drink them, changes take place in your brain that make you behave differently.1

Your self-control goes out the window. Your body actually becomes addicted to the unnatural sweetness like it’s a drug.

In one study, animals had the choice between cocaine and saccharin. Ninety four percent chose saccharin – even if they were already addicted to the cocaine.2

Here are his two references:

“1 Ludwig, D. “Artificially Sweetened Beverages.” JAMA, 2009 Dec; 302(22):2477-2478.
2 Lenoir, M., Serre, F., Cantin, L., Ahmed, S., “Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward.” PLoS ONE. 2007; 2(8): e698.”

And, since diet soft drinks have a bit more caffeine than regular that can be addicting to some degree as well.

People have more mental resources than mice and rats, so they can override this addicting effect.

So there you have it.

People willingly buy and drink diet soft drinks because they assume they will become less fat.

In doing so, they unintentionally take a drug that makes them much hungrier for sweet and high glycemic foods, the very foods they should minimize to get and stay free of excess fat.

They also unintentionally take a drug that slows their metabolism which also helps them get fatter.

They then get the direct reverse of the effect they intended!

Instead of being less fat, they gradually become MORE fat than they would have drinking regular soft drinks.

And, since more than two regular soft drinks a MONTH begins to make you too fat, those who drink diet soft drinks many times a week tend to be among our fattest people.

Yikes !!

But there’s more! Since now, regular and diet soft drinks are available virtually everywhere and are quite cheap to buy, and diet soft drinks are addictive, it can be a challenge for some people to give them up.

This is very bad.

But there’s more yet!

On doctor I noted in my 6-15 post said that 60 % of Americans drink diet soda every week.

That means that diet soft drinks are one of our worst and most widespread health threats. They may add more to our national health costs than even cigarettes do.

The medical costs of the excess fat that people have today that they did NOT have 60 years ago, are in the billions of dollars a year.

We already knew that drinking regular soft drinks and eating too many sugary treats and too many treats and snacks made from refined grains was making people too fat. Now it seems that 60% of the population is ingesting something that multiplies this effect.

So, the people who are considering taxing regular soft drinks by enough to double their prices should also consider both doubling the price of diet soft drinks by taxing them AND require a warning of their actual effects on a label on every diet soft drink!

But what if you have been drinking diet soft drinks and are not sure how to stop doing so?

My take has been to simply stop cold and only drink things without these dreadful effects such as soda water, water, tea or green tea with no added milk or sugar, etc, or black coffee or coffee with 1% lowfat milk.

Today, Al Sears had another idea. People who have been drinking regular soft drinks and even more so those who have been drinking diet soft drinks crave sweet drinks. So, in addition to beginning to learn to like the drinks I list and drinking them, he suggests making your own drinks by blending real fruit with a blender or very strong blender.

This is enough work that you likely won’t overdo the number of drinks a day and you get some real nutrition and even some fiber in addition to your sweetness fix.

(The VitaMix blender is one that will blend in the fiber for you. That reduces the glycemic index and increases the ability of your blended fruit drink to reduce your hunger. It also makes the clean up easier since you don’t have to toss the left over fiber.)

Oranges and bananas are sweet while berries are not as sweet but have more fiber and nutrition. My suggestion is to try blends of orange or banana with a berry such as blueberries.

And, my favorites are tea, green tea, and coffee since they provide enough caffeine to boost mental performance and are themselves a bit addicting. So I think they may also be particularly helpful substitutes for diet soft drinks for many people.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

How permanent weight loss and fatloss are like driving....

Today's Post: Monday, 6-28-2010

One great way to learn to do new things is to find out how they are very like something you already know how to do.

Most people today and even many teens know how to drive a car.

And, most people either have someone show them how to drive or learn by watching other people drive.

It helps to want to do it enough you pay keen attention to people who already do it well. And, it can help enormously to have someone teach you and then coach you on your initial efforts who can show you the basics one by one and explain why they are important and how to get started doing each of them well.

Then trouble shooting any problems you have on doing each of the key things as you learn them can also be very valuable.

You then have to manage the process as you do it by looking out the window to see if you are going where you intended and can do so safely. You have to be sure you keep the fuel supply going if you begin to run out & do the needed maintenance.

And, you have to keep driving to get where you want to go.

If you run out of gas or pull over and park before that, you won’t get there.

Our posts over the last year -- and some before that -- contain many of the basics of successful fat loss of excess fat (and of the extra weight that excess fat often loads you onto your body.)

Last Friday’s post is a brief overview of these points.

It’s worth noting that every one of the guidelines in that post keep you free of excess fat if you do them all, learn to do each of them well, and keep doing them; AND they also keep you well and healthy and slow aging.

Once you learn them and do them well and begin to like doing them well, just like driving, if you watch where you are going and just keep adding fuel and keep going, you’ll get where you want to be.

If permanent fat loss is your goal, our posts are free to read and you can start here.

We are also working on a more complete and organized online course and a help and support site. When that’s done, we’ll announce it first here.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

New and improved food guidelines....

Today's Post: Friday, 6-25-2010

On Monday (6-21-2010) EatingWell Magazine had an online story titled:

“What should Americans eat? Experts announce 8 new food rules.”

These 8 guidelines apparently are NOT those the USDA will issue but the likely superior ones that the scientists on their advisory committee recommended.

The magazine’s editors wrote them as a summary of the recommendations of those scientists if I read their article correctly.

I’ll initially list just the 8 guidelines. Then, I’ll comment.

1. Eat fewer calories.

2. Get more of your food from plants.

“This report emphasizes eating more vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds”

3. Eat more fish.

4. Switch to low-fat dairy.

5. Eat only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.

6. Reduce intake of added sugars and solid fats.

7. Reduce sodium and refined grains.

“Their advice is to lower your consumption of sodium and refined grains (such as white breads, pasta, etc.), especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fats and sodium.“

8. Exercise!

They ended their article with this quote.:

“Michael Pollan may have said it even more simply. His main food rule?

“Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” “

My comments:

“1. Eat fewer calories.

When far too many people today are now way too fat this is easy to say.

But it’s useless without information on how to do it successfully.

The key they partly covered in their other points is to do so in a way that does NOT increase hunger, does NOT trigger your famine response, and is doable enough to be sustainable.

Here are some of THOSE guidelines.:

a) Avoid eating or drinking things AT ALL that cause you to be hungrier or which give you more calories than they reduce your hunger.

(Put that way it seems almost obvious. But few people realize what that means in practice. NEVER drink soft drinks or diet soft drinks. Never or almost never eat foods made with refined grains or made with high fructose corn syrup. Don’t use artificial sweeteners and restrict natural sweeteners with no calories to a minimum because it seems that those make you hungrier more than the calories they save by replacing real sugar.)

b)Waste NONE of your calories on foods or drinks that harm your health.

(Put that way it seems close to obvious also. But an astoundingly large percentage of foods in most our grocery stores still contain such foods and drinks.

All the foods in the previous category fit here as they tend to cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Oils high in omega 6 & such oils hydrogenated which then contain trans-fats are now known to be in this category. Omega 6 oils increase the inflammation now shown to cause heart disease and hydrogenated oils cause heart disease directly. Why waste your calories on heart attack starters?

c) Avoid most high glycemic foods that spike your blood sugar because the insulin spike that follows that makes you fatter.

Surprisingly for most people, whole grains and white potatoes fit here in addition to the really bad foods in the first category.

d) Be very moderate and occasional in eating things that have added sugar.

People like sugar and foods it is added to. Just emulate the French have them a few times a MONTH instead of several times a day!

e) Limit yourself to moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Moderate drinking seems to have health benefits and people enjoy it. It even may help women stay lean and trim according to one study. But heavy drinking is dangerous, tends to harm your health reliably, and adds large amounts of calories that are avoidable.

f) Do eat foods that support your health and turn off hunger and which mostly are high in fiber and low in calories.

Their next point is one excellent way to do this last strategy.

2. Get more of your food from plants.

“This report emphasizes eating more vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds”

Similar to alcohol, whole fresh fruit is best in moderation and then eat mostly those that are lower glycemic and have more health benefits. Organic ones are safer and have more nutrients. Berries, stone fruits such as peaches, plums, and nectarines, and apples and pears do best at this.

Cooked dry beans, lentils, and peas have more fiber and are lower glycemic than whole grains. So limit whole grains and eat more beans and lentils.

The foods in this list that have the most nutrition and lowest glycemic index and the highest hunger reduction per calorie are the nonstarchy vegetables and surprisingly the nuts. However only raw or dry roasted nuts are safe to eat and then only for those who aren’t allergic to them.

Within the nonstarchy vegetables the ones with the most health benefits are the cruciferous vegetables, raw tomatoes, and cooked tomatoes. Greens come in a close second. And for variety, foods like green beans and asparagus are good.

3. Eat more fish.

The underlying idea here is to do two things get health OK, low glycemic protein and enough omega 3 oils. Doing so without harming your health also is wise.

Some wild caught fish are low in mercury and other pollutants – and high in omega 3 oils. If you can manage it, eating two or three servings a week of those is an excellent source of omega 3 oils.

Note that farmed fish and varieties high in mercury are harmful to your health.

DHA supplements and omega 3 supplements from purified fish oil or algae also work.

In a population that has been badly underfed omega 3 oils, doing those two things has astounding health benefits. It protects your heart, reduces pain and discomfort, improves your mood, and makes it possible for you to think better.

The protein in such fish turns off your hunger well; and the health benefits are well worth the investment in the calories.

4. Switch to low-fat dairy. & 5. Eat only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.

These two are here because those that most people have access to are grain fed only. That means that the fats in them are massively too high in omega 6 oils which is harmful to your health. Worse, the grains tend to be raised using herbicides and pesticides which then get bioconcentrated in the fat of such animals. Last, but far from least, factory farms too often still overuse antibiotics and these two will reduce your intake of those and the antibiotic resistant bacteria they cause.

So with grain fed stuff, eat it less and work on eating even less than that of the fats in it.

In addition, even in people’s who eat such foods from grass and pasture fed animals, those that eat such foods less than they eat plant foods tend to have better health.

Get grass and pasture fed when you can or go very lowfat with grain fed and then be moderate in your consumption either way.

6. Reduce intake of added sugars and solid fats.

Redundant points. Already covered above why to be very sparing with sugars and why NOT to eat transfats & to go easy on butterfat.

7. Reduce sodium and refined grains.

“Their advice is to lower your consumption of sodium and refined grains (such as white breads, pasta, etc.), especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fats and sodium.“

It’s already covered above why to avoid foods made with refined grains. But there are two key points here that are new.

a) Most people are healthier with moderate salt intakes and many others will become sicker unless they have a low intake. Meanwhile most Americans are heavy consumers of salt.

b) A group of common pre-prepared foods and packaged foods contain the majority of the refined grains, excess salt, oils high in omega 6 – and even hydrogenated oils still.

These include white bread, brown appearing bread and pasta made with white, refined flour, packaged snacks, dry cereals, and packaged desserts.

People who eat NONE of these foods get far less excess salt, less fattening calorie foods, and less health harming oils.

When you consider that such foods plus soft drinks are the majority contents of the grocery carts and food bills of many Americans it becomes very clear where most of the obesity epidemic is coming from.

8. Exercise!

If you do vigorous exercise and more moderate physical activities every week, your body will contain more muscle and stronger bones. You will burn more calories directly. And, your metabolism even when resting will be higher.

So you can eat somewhat more and be less hungry while also being far less fat.

Those are the benefits of regular exercise that belong with food guidelines.

But the other health benefits are unbelievable large. It can literally take two weeks of posts to summarize them all.

With exercise it can truly be said, if people really knew what exercise did FOR them and NOT getting any exercise did TOO them, almost everyone would exercise.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feel better right away with no drugs needed part 2....

Today's Post: Thursday, 6-24-2010

Recap from last Tuesday’s post:

With anti-depressant drugs, some people feel better and some don’t. And, even for the people they work for, they don’t begin to be effective for up to a few weeks.

Many of the antidepressant drugs have undesirable side effects. These include sharply worsening your sex life, disturbing your sleep, causing involuntary movements, and even causing you to gain weight

So, even if they work for you after a few weeks, you may find yourself wishing for something better. And, if they don’t work or you run out of patience waiting for them to work, they are addictive and you’ll feel WORSE for a time if you quit taking them.

So, if you are mildly or badly depressed, you may well wish for a better alternative. Clearly if there was one, it would be a far better choice!

There ARE several alternatives and one works virtually when you start doing it.

Even better, if you use several of these alternatives at the same time, they work better and more reliably than the drugs.

This is NOT a guess. It has been tested to work.

There are 8 ways to do the job.

Yesterday we posted on the first 6 methods.

Four of them work directly and physically to make your brain work well instead of badly.

They are like replacing a bad disc drive or getting three times as much RAM remembering to plug in the computer.

They repair or optimize your mental hardware.

One of the first 6 methods works on both your hardware and software which is relating often and connecting often to other people individually and in groups.

Stopping ruminating thoughts is working on your brain’s software.

The last two methods are also software related and both help to stop the kind of ruminating thoughts that keep people depressed.

Although one has since been upgraded in three key ways and there are many people who can train you in using each of them better than he can, one man discovered them both.

Research psychologist, Martin Seligman, PhD was one of many who worked on “learned helplessness”. If you take animals and put them into a punishing situation they cannot escape, they will overlearn this if it goes on too long and then fail to make efforts to escape similar things later even when they can easily do so.

But Doctor Seligman noticed some of the animals didn’t have this happen.

Then he found that this happens in people too.

But that’s where it gets interesting indeed. The people who don’t stop trying even when frustrated do so largely because of two key ways of thinking that they do differently than other people. By his definition, such people are optimists. And, those who do the reverse are pessimists.

1. They work and think from the position that bad things are specific, have specific causes, are limited in effect, and tend to be temporary. As a result they tend to use “always” and “never” very little and to be very careful in stuffing things or people into narrow categories that don’t change.

Interestingly, this is a very reality based, precise, and almost scientific approach to things. It is almost always far more accurate that the thoughts of people who believe and practice the opposite.

2. They work and think from the position that good things are permanent, have many good effects, and are more general. In addition, they tend to believe that their own efforts will be effective. And they often believe that when good things happen it was because of their efforts. They tend to think things will improve and often like working to improve things personally. They even believe they will be successful in situations where the majority of the people who try them fail.

They can be seemingly LESS realistic than pessimists in their beliefs in fact.

And it couldn’t be simpler, unless the optimists who do both these things well have physical problems with their brains, such optimistic people who think this way do NOT get or stay depressed.

People who think in the reverse ways are often depressed and tend to engage in ruminating thoughts about how bad things are permanent and out of their control. Doing so is depressing and continuing to do so tends to keep you depressed even when your brain is physically operating right. Then not believing you can make it better, you don’t try and don’t focus on doing so which would otherwise force your mind out of this rut.

Re-training your mind to learn to do both the thinking skills of an optimist can be quite quick at times and take a long time in others. But it IS doable and each of the skills reduces depression when learned.

Doing the other 6 things and doing a good job of learning these two “optimism” skills comes very close to being a guaranteed cure for depression.

By the way, Dr Ilardi tested the first 6 things he found to work. A full 75% of the people who did all 6 things stopped being depressed.

How do these two optimism skills work in real life?

With some exceptions, it works surprisingly well. Seligman found that optimists: have more friends, enjoy better health, make more money, and live longer than pessimists. They even tend to be more likely to win when they compete in sports or politics.

The 3 upgrades are for the second factor.

Everyone who thinks accurately about in what ways bad things are specific, temporary, have specific causes, and how they might be fixed or overcome or massively improved does better than people who don’t.

So this first factor needs no upgrades. Learn to be very good at it.

The second factor is different. It can be used very effectively; but it can also get people in trouble and has done so. That’s why the 3 upgrades are so important.

The slightly to strongly unrealistic overbelief that they can do things and that it was their efforts that caused success, CAN and sometimes does backfire.

The bad results from using that wrong can stop people from being optimists and even cause depression.

But it’s largely unnecessary.

1. Be a PRUDENT optimist.

Jump into things feet first instead of headfirst. Avoid taking risks where losing or failing will cause injury or death. Take every reasonable precaution you have time and resources for if there is a significant downside risk. Wear your seat belt. Brush and floss your teeth, Eat right and exercise. If the effort is important, make an enormous and focused effort; but also have a plan B or at least what way to try differently in mind if your initial try fails.

If you are starting your own business, find a way to begin where you keep your job or spend virtually no money until and unless your business takes off and produces enough funds to make that unnecessary and has done so long enough it can be counted on.

2. When you can do so safely and the issue is important, voluntarily take responsibility and do something effective if you find others are not or are not able to do so.

3. Know exactly in what ways you DID do things that caused success. That is what people do who are optimists.

But only enjoy those thoughts silently in your own mind.

ALSO, know exactly in what ways other people helped you or made key contributions. Then thank those people and give THEM credit and your commendations for what they did. Then stop. Leave what you did out of it.

People who do the reverse, piss the people off who DID help them achieve success and often lose their future support.

Conversely, the people who do this right can be every bit as aware of what their actions and initiative did to make the good results happen.

But by focusing even more on treating their team and key helpers right, they can succeed on thousands of times the scale. People like them and willingly help them succeed.

In summary, the more and better you do these 8 things, the better your life will be; and you will be far less depressed and often not depressed at all.

Both your brain’s hardware and software will work right!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Feel better right away with no drugs needed....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-22-2010

With anti-depressant drugs, some people feel better and some don’t. And, even for the people they work for, they don’t begin to be effective for up to a few weeks.

Many of the antidepressant drugs have undesirable side effects. These include sharply worsening your sex life, disturbing your sleep, causing involuntary movements, and even causing you to gain weight

So, even if they work for you after a few weeks, you may find yourself wishing for something better. And, if they don’t work or you run out of patience waiting for them to work, they are addictive and you’ll feel WORSE for a time if you quit taking them.

So, if you are mildly or badly depressed, you may well wish for a better alternative. Clearly if there was one, it would be a far better choice!

There ARE several alternatives and one works virtually when you start doing it.

Even better, if you use several of these alternatives at the same time, they work better and more reliably than the drugs.

This is NOT a guess. It has been tested to work.

There are 8 ways to do the job.

1. The most effective and the fastest to work of these 8 methods may be exercise.

Last Sunday, TIME online posted an article titled, “Is Exercise the Best Drug for Depression?” that included several points from recent research.

a) For example, you’ll be less depressed if you aren’t over-stressed. And, since you often cannot control the amount of stress, if you can increase your ability to deal with it without it making you FEEL overstressed, that clearly would be a great help at times.

It’s been known for hundreds of years that regular exercise works to do this. It’s one of the reasons armies always get their soldiers in shape and have them get regular exercise. The TIME article has one of the reasons why this is so.

University of Georgia researcher Philip Holmes and his associates found that after a few weeks, regular exercisers trigger your brain to produce a chemical messenger called “galanin” that keeps norepinephrine, a kind of speed, from getting so high you feel over-revved.

We already knew that people who become fit can stress their bodies more and have their heart rate slow after exercise more quickly than unfit people. That too reduces the impact of stress as your heart rate speeds up less when you experience stress or if it does it goes back to normal more quickly.

b) Next, the article points out that also exercise boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF for short. This repairs nerves and grows new brain cells. And, since mild brain damage can cause depression, often the repairs caused by the BDNF generated by exercise can reverse the problem.

c) For several reasons, vigorous exercise is FAST acting against depression. Instead of waiting passively for weeks hoping to feel better, you can literally feel better in a few minutes.

In the TIME article, Dallas researcher, psychologist Jasper Smits from SMU, notes that, ".... for most people, when they exercise 30 minutes - particularly when it's a little bit more demanding, and they get their heart rate up - they feel better," "You get an immediate mood lift."

And, it need not take 30 minutes either. A very vigorous or demanding strength training set can take 30 seconds. Similarly, a very vigorous 10 minute set of interval cardio can get your heart rate up and cause massive circulation increases in your whole body.

So, if your brain’s neurotransmitters were quite low and your brain was a bit deprived of oxygen or had too much CO2 built up, after such vigorous exercise, that all goes away and you feel better right then.

There is also a second reason vigorous exercise is so instantly effective against depression.

Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of The Depression Cure found that one of the direct causes of depression is having your mind stuck on going over how bad things are without anything else happening. If you go for a long and slow walk as exercise, that can get worse. But when you do really challenging and vigorous exercise, that kind of useless ruminating stops almost instantly as your brain is forced to give its whole attention to doing the exercise and then recovering from it.

Last and far from least, by successfully doing vigorous exercise, you experience yourself doing something a bit hard to do on purpose and succeeding. That makes you feel more in control which Martin Seligman, PhD found tends to turn off the “learned helplessness” that causes depression.

Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of The Depression Cure found information that hunter-gather peoples did not and do not get depressed. He then found five other ways besides exercise to make people’s lives simulate that life style better. Regular vigorous exercise every week and on most days clearly fit.

(When he checked people who did all 6 of the things he found, three times as many stopped being depressed as were helped by drugs! Even better, the better you do each of the 6 things, the more reliably you’ll stop being depressed.)

2. The second thing he found was that hunter-gather peoples got a balance of omega 3 and omega 6 oils while people today who don’t know how to avoid it get far less omega 3 oils and massively too much omega 6 oils. He suggests taking purified fish oil omega 3 supplements and eating wild caught fish like sardines and salmon that are high in omega 3.

And, you can triple this effect if you eat no oils high in omega 6 such as corn, or soy, or canola or foods containing them and only use the neutral extra virgin olive oil. It also helps to only eat meat from naturally or 100 % grass or pasture fed animals or eat less of the most fat trimmed versions of foods from grain fed animals since the fats in the meat and milk from the grain fed versions have 15 times too much omega 6 oils. And, it helps a lot to stop eating and refined grains or foods many from them virtually 100 % and to be quite moderate in eating whole grains. (Grains are quite high in omega 6 oils.)

Even better, if you eat this way with far more omega 3’s and far less omega 6’s, your health will better, your inflammation levels will be low, and your chances of heart disease go way, way down.

And, all that’s in addition to feeling better.

3. He also found that it’s important to avoid ruminating on negative thoughts. It seems obvious that if you think only about negative things, you will feel depressed. But it can be hard to break out of. Vigorous exercise is one fast way to do this. But simply mentally yelling STOP! to yourself when you find yourself doing this can also help.

Being active, purposeful, and appreciative and doing each often to compete with such thoughts can also work.

If you are always engaged in solving problems or working to achieve specific things or in helping people or in noticing and being pleased with those things that you like or are going well, it’s much easier to not be depressed.

4. Get enough daily vitamin D3. Most people who do are not depressed. All too often people who are deficient are depressed. Short noontime walks outside if they are safe in the winter can get vitamin D from sunlight even though there is less sun. It’s known that taking walks in parks or meadows or woodlands also work to improve people’s mood in addition to the sun exposure.
But the most effective and time efficient lever on this is to take at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 year-round and consider taking 5,000 or more during the winter.

In addition to its known effect on improving your mood such ways of getting enough vitamin D3 and doing them also protect your heart, make your immune system more able to keep you well or get well faster, keep your bones strong, help prevent autoimmune diseases, help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and help prevent at least some cancers!

Best of all, 1,000 and 5,000 iu capsules of vitamin D3 are some of the very least expensive of all supplements.

If you can afford food to eat, you can afford to buy them!

5. “Emphasize social connection in order to avoid the harmful effects of isolation.” Dr Ilardi noted that hunter gather peoples were rarely alone and were part of groups of 30 to 50 people who all knew each other.

Some people find this kind of community by attending church each week. This almost always doable too. Even if you don’t believe in the ideas of most religions or accept that you must do so to belong there and aren’t very religious in a conventional way, there is a church that you can go to that supports and accepts you thinking for yourself or not being that into religion called, the Unitarian Universalist church. Most larger cities in the United States have one and many have more than one.

There are also special interest groups you can join that meet once a week. Toastmasters to learn and practice public speaking is an excellent group. Taking a class on Tai Chi also will get you some exercise and stress relief.

Even better, instead of being unhappy no one is being nice to you and waiting for someone to fix it for you, find someone you can be nice to and do it.

No waiting is needed and it’s under YOUR control. You’ll feel good from doing it even if it doesn’t work that great. And, when it does make the other person feel better, it can make you feel a LOT better.

On successful businessman put it this way, “When I wanted people to encourage me it didn’t work very well. But ever since I decided to make a strong effort to always encourage the people I worked with I became successful.”

This set of things reduces stress. The conversations we now know provide much greater mental exercise than people might imagine. And, in addition to reducing depression, doing this set of things even lowers high blood pressure.

6. Get enough good quality sleep.

Getting regular exercise and either not getting too fat or permanently reversing it if you have both can and will improve your sleep quality.

a) On weekdays, have a time each evening by which you are always in bed and set your alarm for exactly the same time each morning if you possibly can. Such very regular sleep times make your body more efficient at sleeping and getting you the rest and repair you need.

b) Unless you have found you are one of the very few people who only needs four hours of sleep a night to feel completely rested (There are some.), make a strong effort to always get at least 6 hours of sleep and an even stronger effort to get at least 5 to 5 and a half hours of sleep. And, if you can possibly manage it, get closer to 6 and a half to 8 and a half hours of sleep at least two days a week if not more.

On most days, that will mean you will be decently well rested. And when you are, you are less depressed and more easily able to make good things happen and feel the energy to do so.

c) Few people today can get 7 to 8 and a half hours of sleep at the same time each night and do so seven days a week; but do it if you can.

Dr Ilardi found that few people who get regular exercise and that much quality sleep get or stay depressed.

The last two ways to avoid being depressed or to feel better, I’ll post on later this week as I’m out of time today.

Dr Martin Seligman discovered them. Doing the 6 things above AND using his two methods is VERY effective at turning off depression.

Both your physical brain and the “software” you think with will work right and you’ll feel better.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

My weight loss progress this month....

Today's Post: Monday, 6-21-2010

Yesterday was the half way point on my twelve month effort to lose the 15 pounds I gained back of the 30 I originally lost.

A few years back, I decided to cut back my food intake about 5 to 10% as I realized I was a bit too overweight.

I kept doing the exercises I was already doing. And, I picked two things I could do and keep doing that I aimed at having that effect. I aimed at eating in a way that would support me weighing what I wanted to weigh or just a bit above that. I did NOT aim to lose more than that or to cut back more initially since I didn't want to have that stress, I ONLY did the two things I felt were doable and that I could likely keep doing.

I thought I'd lose 10 pounds or a bit more. After a few weeks I did. And, since I did not want to gain them back, I just kept doing what I was doing.

A few weeks after that, I lost a second 10 pounds for a total of 20. That was a bit more than I'd expected to lose; but it was a nice surprise. Same deal as before in that I didn't want to gain any of it back and the things I was doing were easy, so I just kept doing them.

I figured that was that and just kept on with my two strategies and my exercise. THEN, a few weeks later, I discovered I'd lost a third 10 pounds! That was a shock; but a nice one.

AT first, things were fine; and I kept doing the things that got me there. I even gained zero pounds over the holidays!

But then, 3 things happened. The Nordic Track broke that I was using and getting a bit over half my exercise on each week. And, at first, I was unable to replace it. I had outside events increase my stress enough that I began drinking more wine than I had been. I had lost the weight in part by cutting back on that. I still drank less; but not as much less. Then the frozen broccoli I'd been cooking up to eat more vegetables dropped off in quality and was no longer palatable.

I kept up my exercises I still was doing and added some raw broccoli florets at lunch. But losing half the calories I was burning in exercise and almost half my fat loss lever by drinking more red wine each week gradually gained me back 15 pounds. That was half of what I had lost.

Then towards the end of last year, I made a firm decision to add several smaller strategies to my life that I calculated would cause me to lose back the 15 pounds I'd gained. I cut back 20 % every week on my drinking of red wine and added several smaller strategies so I would only be eating enough to sustain me at the weight I wanted to weigh. I gave myself twelve months to lose the fifteen pounds.

Yesterday was the sixth month, the half way point. Since May, I only lost half a pound where I had been losing more than that each of the previous months. BUT, that was the LAST half pound I needed to lose the whole fifteen pounds.

So, the very good news is that in half the time I'd planned on, I've now lost all the pounds I set out to lose. I initially lost from 191 to 161. Then I gained back 15 to 176. Now, my plan to lose that 15 pounds back and weigh 161 has succeeded.

And, it's no surprise to me that the rate of loss slowed in this last month, because I'd set out to eat only what I would sustain me at 161 pounds, the weight I wanted to weigh.

However, I had also hoped to lose more than two inches off my waist and wanted to lose four.

Last month, I gained back a quarter of an inch. So, I'm at my goal weight. But I've only lost an inch and a half off my waist when I really wanted to lose 4. Worse, to stop looking like I just ate a 15 or 20 pound ham whole, I likely need to lose another 6 inches on top of the 1 and a half I have already lost from my waist.

I could cut back another notch on my red wine each week and may yet decide to do so. And, I know two more ways to cut back on my calorie intake. If I did all three, I'd not be more hungry and if I kept doing those things for six months, I’d likely lose another 15 pounds.

But, I don't want to be that light or do those 3 things just yet.

Worse, suppose I do those things and only lose another 1 and a half inches off my waist?

What I want, is to be the weight I am now and eat and drink wine about the way I am now -- systematically but only moderately restricted; but to have 4 inches or more leave from my waist.

So, during the next six months, I'm going to work to gain 20 pounds of muscle. Since I'll keep eating just what I am now, I should lose at least 20 pounds of fat. And, since most of my remaining fat is on my waist, that very likely would work, if I can do it, to lose inches from my waist.

I have just managed to work my way up to doing six sets of jump rope on two evenings a week. Now I'll work to get the average number of reps per set from just below 40 as is it is now to 98. And, I plan to buy a kettlebell or two and add a fifteen minute set with those just after the jump rope. On those two days I have time. And, I'm just strong enough from the strength training I already do each week, that will be doable.

Then I plan to increase the weight in my existing strength training one notch and add two supplements that will likely help also.

Once I do those four things and see how I do after they are all in place and have been for a few month to take effect, I'll decide what to do after that.

I certainly will keep doing the several things that have lost me the 15 pounds and the inch and a half off my waist. I’m used to them now and they are not that hard to do.

And, I'll continue doing this monthly review post.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

More information on fast weight loss....

Today's Post: Friday, 6-18-2010

Six weeks ago, we did a post on fast weight loss that included some ideas on how and why to get the fastest loss of excess fat that also enables the people who do it to keep going and to keep it all off.

That was "Study says fast fat loss helpful--False, BUT it is worth looking at" that was posted on Friday, 5-7-2010.

I made two points in that post. The people in the study who lost the most weight initially were likely those who had the most fat weight to lose and therefore the most easily correctable bad habits. And, the people who lost more likely used more methods to lose their fat.

In reviewing the information in the study because of an email today about it, I also realized that the people they listed as losing weight “fast” lost less than 2 pounds a week.

I missed the point that “fast” weight loss by many people’s definition is a good bit more weight per week than that.

So, what they really found was that people who lost a moderate amount of weight each week wound up losing more than people who lost less than that each week.

Today, I decided to give you three strategies for creating the fastest weight and fat loss that you will actually keep off.

1. Aim for ALL your goal but NOT below your goal and also aim to keep all the fat off once you get there!

Eat as if you were now the weight that you would prefer to weigh. But do NOT eat less than that in total calories.

Also gradually increase the amount of total and vigorous exercise you do each week to the best of your ability; and keep doing that exercise every week.

(If you weigh 20 % more than you should, you are taking in as much as 20% more calories than you should.)

But do NOT eat less than that or think of the way you begin to eat as a “temporary” plan. Think of it as switching permanently to a health supporting eating style you learn to keep doing and a relentless attack on your excess fat.

Over 90% of the people who eat less than that fail to continue and to keep the weight off that they lose. They get too hungry too often and they trigger their body’s famine response.

It can be initially fun to lose more by eating less than your body would need if you weighed what you have targeted to weigh. You may well lose more than the 6 pounds or so a month that the “fast” people in the study did – at first.

But the minute you go too far and trigger your body’s famine response, the game is lost. You’ll get “too tired” to exercise. Your weight loss will stop like you ran into a large concrete post. And, you’ll get so hungry for fattening foods, you’ll eat them. Then you’ll gain it all back. Yikes !!

Weight Watchers has people set such goals at intakes below what the people would eat at their target weight; but even though many do lose weight at first, many more people drop out after several months and gain the weight back than I believe is necessary for the reasons I just stated.

2. The second strategy for fast fat loss is much more forceful. My name for it is:

“Hit your fat with TWELVE hammers!”

There are a great many ways to lose fat that do NOT make you excessively hungry or trigger your body’s famine response.

Two models for this are:

Using a large magnifying glass to focus some gentle seeming sun’s rays on a single point. The sun may feel just slightly warm or even not warm without the magnifying glass; but when you focus hundreds of these rays on a single point, you literally can light it on fire or roast it.

The “Shiva” method of using multiple X-rays focused on a cancer at single point to zap it to death without doing nearly as much harm to the parts of you that only get hit with one of the rays.

By using many methods at once to lose your fat—and starting as many as possible as soon as possible, you gain four ways.

a) You can afford to ONLY use methods that avoid making you excessively hungry. (That means you get to tell your famine response to leave you to your work and STAY turned off!)

b) You can afford to use ONLY methods that you can keep doing or learn to keep doing. (That way you keep going until all your excess fat is gone AND you can make it STAY gone.) In fact, the key is to find many ways to lose fat that AVOID making you a lot more hungry. There are a surprising number of those; and they are EFFECTIVE in losing fat.

c) If you use a method that proves ineffective or you are forced to not use a method for a time—or just mess it up yourself, the other methods will continue your fat loss anyway.

d) There are some methods you want to use to the max in doing this. But, by using this many methods, many of them can be quite small and easy to do. That makes them less intimidating to begin and MUCH easier to keep doing.

3) Smash ALL the chains to those things that now force you to be fat. Escape them by completely removing them all.

The people who try to drag them or just remove a few will lose less fat and will be more likely to gain it back. And, they will lose fat more slowly.

Every food or drink that makes you fat or harms your health or makes you hungrier but delivers no nutrition for it, is your enemy.

It can be hard for some people to break the habit of eating them or drinking them. But once you do break the habit, it can be much easier to be free of them.

We have been posting about many of these for a long time.

a) Regular soft drinks deliver calories and fail initially to turn down your hunger at all and then hit you with rebound hunger later that day!

Drinking none from now on will melt off all your fat they have been feeding -- and you’ll be LESS hungry!

b) Diet soft drinks have zero calories but act like a targeted and very strong appetite drug for sugary foods soon after your drink them!

Drinking none from now on will melt off the fat their appetite boosting effects have caused you gain – and you’ll be LESS hungry.

c) Foods made with refined grains are like a combination soft drink. They do turn down your hunger at first; but then they spike your blood sugar and then make you more hungry later when your body slams it back down.

Even worse, the blood sugar spike causes your body to pump out extra insulin which tends to cause any available calories to deposit as fat.

More natural and lower glycemic foods have more fiber and turn off your hunger without this extra hunger rebound effect later and without the extra insulin adding to your fat deposits. Health supporting protein foods, oils, nonstarchy vegetables and most whole fresh fruits -- all do this. (Whole grains are not much better than refined grains so go very easy on those; but they do harm your health far less. If you must eat a grain food, eat ONLY 100 % whole grain ones.)

You will have to learn what real and health supporting foods to eat instead. But if you give up virtually all foods made with refined grains, you will become less fat. And, you will do so with virtually NO increase in hunger.

There are many more foods and drinks on this list to escape. But those are three of the worst that you can get rid of. Break the chains of habit that have you ingesting them all and you’ll be much less fat and NOT more hungry.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

New information on fat loss....

Today's Post: Thursday, 6-17-2010

Let me put it bluntly. Something that most Americans now eat is dramatically more effective at making people fat than they likely imagine; and they haven’t a CLUE it’s having that effect.

There is a set of strategies we have been consistently recommending in our posts because they clearly help protect your heart. They do so BETTER than taking statin drugs & can help avoid the readings that might cause your doctor to recommend you take statin drugs.

Two of the parts of these strategies we have also recommended to people for fat loss.

One part is well known to cause people to get fat. Like almost everyone else we recommend that people stop doing it. Most suggest you cut back some. We strongly recommend you cut back closer to 100% of the time because it also causes and worsens hear disease and because that’s a good bit more effective in making it easy to lose fat and keep it off to cut back that much.

The really scary and important news is that the second one that few people would guess might also cause fat loss may even be MORE effective at making people too fat or MORE effective in losing excess fat if you reverse it.

We had been recommending it for fat loss because it improved your heart health and protection-- because calories you waste on the part of it that’s harmful to eat could be used on foods that improve your health instead.

In making sure you don’t get too much calories each week to keep off excess fat or remove it, why eat ANYTHING that has calories that will make you sick from eating it?

Simply no longer ingesting these second group of foods also will more than double you fat loss too!

THAT is news. It’s news hardly anyone knows.

The first part that everyone knows is fattening is to drink regular soft drinks at all and to eat tons of sugar several times a day besides. Some people are also learning that eating ANY foods made with refined grains or eating more than a modest amount of whole grains has much the same effect.

Recently research came out showing that eating or drinking this stuff in the excess amounts most Americans still do not only is fattening but causes heart disease. It increases your small particle LDL that is one of the prime causes of heart disease, just like trans fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils. You can tell that because eating these high and super high glycemic foods lowers your protective HDL and sharply boosts your triglycerides. (Researchers have also recently found out that these two effects means it increases your small particle LDL.)

But as important as that news is, the second part is so much more effective at making people fat and also causing heart disease AND helping cause cancer, that I thought I should do this post today having found out the information just last night myself.

People evolved what their bodies do well on hundreds of thousands of years before people began eating grains. These foods include vegetables, nuts, some fruit, and some wild game and wild caught fish.

To this day, people who eat all or most of their food from these groups are far healthier – and far less fat -- than those who eat a lot of other things instead.

And, if people get enough exercise, they can do well eating beans and lentils and occasional servings of 100 % whole grain foods. (Beans and lentils are much lower glycemic than even 100% whole grains. So, they are far less fattening.)

It even used to be the case that people could eat things like beef, lamb, and other animal protein foods that people had raised and still be healthy and even NOT fat unless they ate huge amounts.

The really bad and big news is that this is NOT any longer the case for most people today.

Pasture or grass fed animals have about a 1 to 1 balance between omega 3 and omega 6 oils. They also tend to be leaner than grain fed animals who are unable to move about the way pasture fed animals have to, so they have less total fat and less saturated fat too.

People who eat the meat or milk, cheese, and even the butter from pasture or grass fed animals because of this 1 to 1 balance between omega 3 and omega 6 oils their bodies are optimized for almost always stay healthy.

But if you go to the store to buy these things today, the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 oils is something like one to FIFTEEN. Oops!

That’s so far out of balance it’s scary. But it happens every day all across the United States. The meats and animal protein foods in most stores today are from 100 % grain fed animal.

The reason is that the grains the grain fed animals are fed have virtually only omega 6 oils while pasture grass has or induces the healthy one to one balance instead in the animals that eat it.

So, since getting too much omega 6 oils and too little omega 3 oils strongly produces excess inflammation which causes sharply increased risk of heart disease, we have long recommended that people do a whole set of things to avoid this happening to them.

Last night I discovered that it is now known that eating foods that imbalanced also is extremely effective at making people fat in addition!

You can blame the increasing fatness of Americans on drinking soft drinks, eating refined grains, eating far too much sugar, watching far too many hours of TV, and NOT getting regular exercise. And, the evidence suggests strongly you would be correct in doing so!

But what if there was a second reason almost as potent as ALL of the above that virtually no one knew about?

It may well be that this massive imbalance in the fat we eat from grain fed animals may well be just such a reason.

How did this get discovered?

At the same time that children and adults got heavier and fatter than they once were, it seems that babies less than 12 months old did too! They have NOT been exposed to the other factors just mentioned. So what was causing it?

(I ran across this last night in the book, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition by David Servan-Schreiber.

He includes it because it turns out this imbalance also tends to cause many cancers too.)

It seems that the breast milk or cows milk babies eat comes from a person or a group of cows that has been fed grain instead of the foods it has evolved to eat.

It’s almost like they have been force fed grains too, just second hand. And, because of this, the babies have been getting far too little omega 3 oils and far too much omega 6 oils.

This not only causes them excess inflammation and may slow brain growth from too little omega 3 oils, it also MAKES them FATTER than they should be!

Yikes !!

To review our previous advice, here are the things you can do to keep this factor from making or keeping YOU too fat – giving you an avoidable heart attack or cancer.

1. Stop eating oils high in omega 6 to the very best of your ability.

These include corn oil, soy oil, safflower oil, most sunflower oil, and canola oil.

And, also stop eating ALL products that contain them.

2. Do NOT eat any foods containing trans fats or any kind of hydrogenated oils. These are all high omega 6 oils BEFORE they are made even more health damaging by the hydrogenation process.

3. Instead, use mostly extra virgin olive oil -- possibly with small amounts on occasion of butter from grass fed cows only or of coconut oil.

Eat some nuts and avocados also as they have mostly the safely neutral monosaturated or omega 9 oils that extra virgin olive oil does.

(It turns out that the part one of avoiding all the high glycemic and very high glycemic also helps this balance and avoiding inflammation. For one thing, the refined grains are very high in omega 6 oils. That’s also a reason to eat no whole grain or only eat some but usually NOT every day.)

4. Do take DHA and purified fish oil with omega 3 oils daily AND eat some wild caught fish of a variety that is not high in mercury two or three times a week if you can. In other words rebalance yourself to the one to one level your body has evolved to thrive on by adding more of the omega 3 oils you otherwise would be short of.

5. Eat less meat and poultry overall. Eat them two or three times a week or a month instead of two or three times a day.

When you have meat, either get it from animals that have been grass or pasture fed only OR eat smaller amounts of the leanest kinds if you have to get the grain fed stuff. Since the excess omega 6 oils are in the fat, just eat WAY less of it if the animal has been grain fed.

This is also why the nonfat and very lowfat dairy products are better for you as the DASH diet recommends.

One way to get animal protein that doesn’t trash your omega 3/omega 6 balance too badly, is to eat 3 or 4 boiled or poached eggs each week. Seven or more tends to cause problems. But the amount of the fat in only 3 or 4 egg yolks is small while the biological completeness and bioavailability of the egg proteins is so high, you come out ahead. Egg yolks also contain multiple nutrients -- almost like a perfectly formulated vitamin supplement including a megadose of choline that helps increase your protective HDL.

To compensate for having less meat, in addition to the eggs, grass fed meat, skinless poultry, and nonfat and very lowfat dairy products, eat beans and lentils, nuts if you aren’t allergic, and wild caught fish. If you are already trim and exercise regularly every week, you can also get away with eating some foods that are 100 % whole grain too as a protein source.

4. Use ginger and curries with turmeric to spice your food several times a week. Ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory and have other health benefits.

5. Take a daily curcumin or turmeric supplement. (Curcumin is though to be the key ingredient in turmeric that protects your health.)

We already knew you would be healthier and protect your heart and get far fewer cancers if you always do these 5 things.

But it’s good news for people who do them that it also helps you lose excess fat or not gain it.

And, for those who don’t yet know to, it’s very bad news indeed. They will have excess fat they will otherwise have trouble getting rid of even if they do other things right, like getting regular exercise.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Diet soft drinks now proven to make you fat....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-15-2010

A huge percentage of people who drink soft drinks today, drink diet soft drinks hoping to avoid the fattening effects of the regular soft drinks.

It seems obvious and likely that something with no or close to no calories and definitely no sugar would avoid weight and fat gain.

This is NOT true! The facts are that diet soft drinks ARE fattening and look to be every bit as fattening as the regular kind.

The main reason is that they act as an appetite-stimulating drug that makes you want more sugars and need super sweet things to satisfy the urges they create.

It also doesn’t help that many people who drink diet soft drinks often keep eating other fast food such as fries and hamburger buns and junky fast food desserts and may even eat more from this effect.

The result in test after test is that over 90% of the people who drink soft drinks are fat and may even be less healthy than people who drink regular soft drinks.

That’s really bad since regular drinkers of soft drinks are reliably too fat and tend to have more high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease than people who drink none.

Recently EveryDayHealth.com that sends emails with health content for Jillian Michaels’ weight loss email list sent an email with the title,

“Is Diet Soda Making You Gain Weight?”

A doctor, Chris Iliades, MD, wrote it --

& said that virtually 60 % of Americans drink diet soda every week.

The recent research shows that these people weigh more than people who don’t!

Some of that may be caused the other way around in that people who want to weigh less who gained weight in other ways are trying to do something easy to fix it.

But, the studies show that drinking diet soda DOES make you fatter and heavier too.

Worse, it makes it even more likely you’ll develop something called, “metabolic syndrome.”

Metabolic syndrome includes increasing waist size, higher blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, lower levels of good cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar levels, AND getting gradually fatter.

Oops !! Boosting triglycerides and lowering HDL mean that you have MORE of the small particle LDL that CAUSES heart disease.

A bigger belly and waist measurement, getting fatter, high blood pressure, and too high blood sugar readings all speed up heart disease and make it worse and more likely to harm you.

That means this research strongly suggests that the very large group of people who drink diet soft drinks are causing themselves future heart problems and possibly type 2 diabetes by doing so.

And, there is an excellent chance that this is no accident.

The article points out that in research done at Purdue University, rats fed artificial sweeteners gained even more weight than rats fed too much real sugar.

This means that the fattening effects of diet sodas are likely hard wired into your biology. They are not imaginary or likely to be easily overcome.

The article then quotes a doctor who notes that these artificial sweeteners not only cause your body to crave foods with sugar, they make real sugar taste less sweet, so you need MORE of a sugar fix later to feel better. That will do it.

You WILL then eat a net of more sugary foods than you would have without the diet soda and get fatter.

Of course there are also some people who think they can get away with an extra dessert because of the calories they “saved” with the diet soft drinks.

Those people get fatter still.

The article also noted that diet colas may be a bit more addictive than regular colas since the diet ones have 34.3 % more caffeine.

The good news is that water will quench your thirst. Chilled club soda or other carbonated water with no sugars or artificial sweeteners or flavors added will give you that nice sparkly feeling. Green tea, tea, and coffee will give you caffeine if you are addicted to colas of either kind and need a new caffeine source.

And, if you drink those instead of either diet OR regular soft drinks and avoid adding sugar or artificial sweeteners yourself, you will be less fat and healthier.

In fact, if you have been drinking two or more of either kind of soft drinks every day, within a few months you have a good chance of being more than 30 pounds lighter. Virtually all of that weight will be fat, particularly if you exercise regularly. And, once you get used to it, you actually may be LESS hungry rather than more!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Bad news about a good blood pressure drug....

Today's Post: Monday, 6-14-2010

Virtually every online news source for health news had this story today.

The ARB blood pressure reducing drugs have been one of the few decent drugs to treat high blood pressure.

Drugs to lower high blood pressure have mostly been a bit of a train wreck and lost cause. ARB’s have been one of the very few exceptions.

Now it looks like taking ARB’s may cause some people who take them to get cancer they otherwise would not have.

It’s not a large effect and has not yet been completely established as real. But it does NOT look good.

We’ll cover a bit from the stories; then say why it’s such bad news; and then say what can be done about it.

Here’s the story:

In the AP story I found some key points. These include these points.

The effect was small, except for lung cancer which was worse, the researchers calculated that one extra cancer would occur for every 105 people taking ARB’s for about four years.

The analysis of people taking ARB’s that found extra cases of cancer found many kinds including breast and prostate cancer. The effect also seemed to be about double for lung cancer.

About 85 % of the people they analyzed who were taking ARB’s were taking telmisartan, sold as Micardis, made by Boehringer Ingelheim.

To be fair, the other 15% taking other ARB’s seemed to also show this effect from what I read today.

Here’s why it’s such bad news:

Many people with high blood pressure feel fine or only feel bad for other reasons. Then they or their doctors find out they have high blood pressure. As a result the doctor prescribes a drug to lower the high blood pressure. The person then all too often feels like hell and risks other health harm even if their blood pressure goes down.

This situation is NOT conducive to a good quality of life. Often, it’s NOT that protective. And, it can do more harm than good besides.

One large study found that high blood pressure drugs only cut the death rate when prescribed for people with blood pressures of 160 over 100.

As a result, many people refuse to go on high blood pressure drugs -- or even worse, try them and then stop taking them suddenly which can be dangerous.

ARB drugs for lowering high blood pressure have until now been one of the few success stories. Some people get side effects or do so on high doses. But most people on medium or low doses of ARB’s get lower blood pressure and few side effects.

The news today on ARB’s is NOT as good. It could be far worse; but it isn’t good either.

Here’s what to do about it:

I. The best solution that produces the best quality of life and the least amount of harm is to prevent or treat high blood pressure with a health supporting diet that’s also quite low in salt; regular exercise; significant and permanent fat loss for those who need it; no exposure to tobacco smoke; & some key supplements.

1. The DASH II diet that is high in vegetables and extremely low in junk food and fatty meats and has people average 1500 mg a day or less of salt, both prevents and has been proven to lower high blood pressure. It even works on people who didn’t have high blood pressure before they began eating in this way.

Similarly, a Mediterranean diet that has extra vegetables and less pasta and bread and goes easy on the red wine AND also has a limit of 1500 mg a day or less of salt, very likely will have similar effects and has other health benefits.

2. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure both right after you do it and all the time. People who exercise only on some days a week, have lower blood pressure on the days they exercise. And, people who exercise every week both have lower blood pressure than they would have if they didn’t exercise AND also get direct protection from the things lower high blood pressure is supposed to protect against.

3. Not smoking and staying away from second hand smoke are doubly critical. Tobacco and its smoke cause the build up of arterial plaque that CAUSES high blood pressure and heart disease; it triggers heart attacks and fatal ones in people who might otherwise have escaped them, and it increases blood pressure every single time a person is exposed to it. Yikes !!
This means if you avoid tobacco smoke, your blood pressure will be lower and the heart attacks, strokes, and mental decline blood pressure drugs are aimed at preventing will be prevented!

4. Dr Mark Houston who is both a certified expert on treating high blood pressure and self educated on how supplements that actually lower it work, states that the herb hawthorn acts like an ACE inhibitor; taking 600 to 800 mg a day of magnesium – 200 mg three or four times a day -- acts like a Calcium Blocker; and that taking CoQ10 lowers blood pressure in many people who take it about as well as one or two blood pressure drugs!

In fact, he reports many of his patients who take CoQ10 have been able to stop their blood pressure drugs or lower their doses.

The news since he published this is even better. Taking 50 to 200 mg of the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 delivers 4 to 8 times as high a blood level of the C0Q10. By taking ubiquinol, more people will be able to avoid blood pressure drugs or take lower doses of them.

Other than people who take far more magnesium than this, none of these three supplements has side effects!

It’s also significant that hawthorn, CoQ10, and ubiquinol have positive effects on people with heart failure. Since, ARB’s have also been prescribed to treat heart failure, that too is helpful.

5. Anyone who has more than 10 pounds of excess fat who loses it and keeps it off will have lower blood pressure.

That’s true for three reasons.

a) With less fat, your heart only has to pump hard enough to serve the important parts of your body instead of the added load of getting blood to your fat; and your blood vessels stop being squeezed by the space and weight of the fat.

And, the fatter you are the more effective this is. Many fat people with high blood pressure who lose all their fat, find they also lost all their high blood pressure too!

b) In order to lose fat, you have to eat a DASH diet or a Mediterranean diet with extra vegetables and less pasta and bread. Soft drinks, lots of fatty meats, soft drinks, lots of sugar, and junk food all get dumped.

We already know doing that lowers high blood pressure even before the fat is lost.

c) In order to lose fat and keep it off you need to get regular exercise and do best by doing strength training, interval cardio, and some third kind of more moderate exercise each week.

Here again, we already know doing that kind of regular exercise lowers high blood pressure even before the fat is lost.

II. Strongly consider mostly only having people with blood pressure less than 160 over 100 use only the 5 methods above. They are effective at lowering high blood pressure and are dramatically MORE effective at protecting health than blood pressure drugs.

III. Always start people on the lowest possible dose of an ARB; and for those where this is not enough, add a second drug such as a calcium blocker at a low dose before considering a larger dose of the ARB.

III. Refuse to treat anyone who smokes with an ARB. Treat their exposure to tobacco smoke ONLY until it’s gone.

It’s very significant that the bad effect of ARB’s reported today doubles for lung cancer.

Might it even be that this effect ONLY happens in smokers? Given the horrible track record of exposure to tobacco smoke in causing both cancer AND high blood pressure, this strikes me as not only possible but quite likely.

IV. If your blood pressure is over 160 over 100 without drugs and you are taking an ARB now that’s working to lower your blood pressure to readings less than 16 over 100 and not causing you side effects, you might be wise to consider doing the following four things instead of stopping the drug now.

All too many of the alternatives will not be pleasant due to side effects.

(That said, a low dose of an ACE inhibitor that does NOT give you a dry, hacking cough might work. Some will and some will not. And, a low dose of a calcium blocker you do on OK on might work; and that class of drugs cuts morning and other surges in blood pressure and are therefore extra protective.)

1. Do all five of the ways to treat high blood pressure without drugs listed above.

Be sure to eat plenty of raw cruciferous vegetables including broccoli florets or cauliflower as part of your intake of vegetables each week. That is MORE protective from cancers than this effect even if it’s proven to exist.

2. Do literally everything in your power to avoid tobacco smoke. Doing that both lowers your blood pressure and protects you against all cancers and lung cancers and very possibly this bad side effect too!

3. Take 5,000 iu a day of vitamin D3, take a daily curcumin supplement, and eat curried foods with the spice turmeric a few times each week. That combination also protects you against virtually all cancers we now know.

4. Once you get under 140 over 90 consistently by using these other methods in addition, THEN, try a smaller dose of the ARB or try doing without it.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

How to be more than four times as likely to lose your excess fat....

Today's Post: Friday, 6-11-2010

The first thing to do is to learn what methods work well or best to lose excess fat. (We are working on an eBook to put all that in one place and make each part easy to use.)

That alone loads the dice in your favor

But most people know some of them.

Most people know that if they have been eating two or three desserts or similar treat foods a DAY, they will be far more likely to lose fat if they eat none or only eat two or three a MONTH.

And, though most people don’t yet know what kinds of exercise help the most or how to get into regular exercise if they haven’t already, they do know if they begin doing at least some regular exercise every week, it will help.

But, many people even know quite a bit and make an effort but either give up before they lose very much or wind up gaining back what they lost.

1. If they either plan what they eat and eat that way as well as they plan and do their commute to work or write down everything they eat or drink and review it once a week AND they do both things for their exercise program each week, they have been shown to double their chances of success of succeeding with fat loss.

For example, almost 100% of the time I have the breakfast at home that I planned to have that day. Almost 100% of the time I have the same planned lunch at work that I bring from home. And, 90% or more of the time I have the evening dinner I planned to have at home. But I have found I need to write down how many alcoholic drinks I have each day to be sure I only have the amount each week that is my goal and NOT more than that. The planned meals save me the time though of having to keep a log of what I eat.

With my exercise program, I write down what I do in my log book every time I exercise. I don’t exercise as often as I eat and use a kind of simple entry that makes this really fast. This helps me keep doing my exercises, encourages me when I see progress, and helps me get back on track if my performance drops off.

2. If they have access to and use a support group either that they go to in person or access online, it has been shown to double their chances of success.

3. If they do both of these things, their chances of success are then FOUR times what they would have been!

Weight Watchers does a great job for those people who haven’t a clue what to do that works or who need in person emotional support.

But it has some flaws.

It tends to set slightly too high goals for what people will do which causes many people to be too hungry to continue.

It is NOT yet anywhere as proactive is it needs to be in having people stop eating high glycemic foods.

And, it does NOT yet stress enough or support as well the regular exercise and vigorous exercise that gets faster results with less hunger and helps people keep off the fat they lose.

For people who have some ability to work on their own, or who have very busy lives, or who can’t easily get to their meetings, it would be nice to have better online access than the Weight Watchers meetings can deliver.

So, we are working on an online fat loss support or membership website that will solve these problems and deliver better and more reliable fat loss and do far better at helping people keep it off.

If there are any kinds of services this could provide that would help you – or – if there are specific problems with doing your fat loss plan you would like help with that this kind of site could help with, please add those to the comments for this post.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Best kinds of foods for fat loss & good health....

Today's Post: Thursday, 6-10-2010

Last Tuesday, 6-8, the email from Total Health Breakthroughs repeats Dr Al Sears’ persuasive case for eating the foods that humans evolved to eat for hundreds of thousands of years and did eat until people began eating grain about 10,000 years ago.

The article calls eating the way humans evolved to eat a caveman diet.

To the extent that this has been tested, there is strong support that Dr
Sears and Total Health Breakthroughs article are mostly correct.

The article then lists the foods you should eat based on this and those you are better off avoiding.

My take on it is that the two of more modern diets that seem to deliver the best health results are the Mediterranean diet and the DASH II diet.

A. To me, that means that the foods to emphasize most are either those that are on all three of these health OK foods lists or there is reason to believe are those outside Dr Sears’ & Total Health Breakthroughs’ list that deliver the most health benefits in the other two more modern diets that deliver good health results.

1. Nonstarchy vegetables and those that are low in glycemic load are clearly the A number one food. They are emphasized on all three lists and for the Mediterranean diet are one of the components that have been identified as delivering the most health benefits.

Because they are very high in nutrition and fiber, these vegetables turn off hunger and help you eat far less of more fattening foods without much effort. And they have few calories and deliver blood sugar quite slowly – almost like a time release sugar pill.

Cruciferous vegetables have the extra health benefit that they help prevent cancer and the most dangerous forms of cancer when you eat them raw.

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, water cress, and more are all in this group.

Vegetables high in carotenes also tend to prevent cancer. Some are orange or yellow while others hide their orange color behind their primary green.

These include carrots, squash, sweet potatoes in moderation & eaten with some extra virgin olive oil to lower their higher glycemic load, and tomatoes.

Broccoli and other greens also are in this group.

Interestingly, eating these vegetables with extra virgin olive oil and or by cooking them makes their carotenes more bioavailable. Your body intakes more of their carotenes in other words. This is particularly true of cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce and their carotene, lycopene.

In fact, eating mixed carotenes in food is dramatically better for your health than taking more than a bit of beta carotene as a supplement.

All these vegetables have more traditional nutrition, vitamins and minerals, and more of the most protective micronutrients if they are organically grown. Even the conventional ones are good for you though, if you cannot afford or find organic ones.

2. Nuts, for those who aren’t allergic to them, and that are eaten only raw or sometimes dry roasted are remarkably good for your health.

3. Whole fresh fruit in moderation and mostly eating the fruits that are lower glycemic or higher in nutrition also works.

Organic fruits are more nutritious in the same way that organic vegetables are.

Low glycemic ones include apples, pears, and to some degree peaches and plums and nectarines.

Super high nutrition fruits include virtually all berries, particularly blueberries; and they include bananas which are higher glycemic but only in moderation.

4. Protein foods include meat but ONLY from animals fed only grass. So far beef, buffalo, and lamb are most available. Goat meat also works for some people.

Eggs and wild caught fish that are low in pollutants also work.

Poultry from birds that are only pasture fed work well. Skinless and fat trimmed poultry from grain fed birds are OK but only if not eaten often.

Very lowfat and nonfat dairy and cheese in moderation from cattle fed only grass and organically raised are OK for some people and have a good track record in the DASH II diet. They are NOT foods that cavemen ate; & some people do not digest them well. So they are best eaten in moderation if at all.

5. Lentils and beans in moderation and eaten with some extra virgin olive oil to reduce their net glycemic effect are not quite “caveman” foods. But when eaten that way in the Mediterranean or DASH II diets have an excellent track record. And they deliver a lot of nutrition, protein, and fiber. Lentils are best as they are lowest in glycemic index and high in protein but pinto beans and others are almost as good. Soybeans are not good for you eaten unprocessed and are often now raised from genetically modified seed on top of that. But the traditional soy foods that have been fermented or processed in traditional ways from non GMO soy can be eaten in moderation.

6. Extra virgin olive oil has health supporting micronutrients and safe to eat monosaturated fat and hardly any of the inflammation inducing omega 6 oils most people get dramatically too much of. It is NOT a caveman food. But in moderation extra virgin olive oil helps make nutrients in vegetables more bioavailable for your body; it adds good taste to your food & is satisfying to eat; and unlike omega 6 oils that LOWER your protective HDL extra virgin olive oil increases them or leaves them high.

By itself, extra virgin olive oil is clearly one of the reasons the Mediterranean diet delivers the health benefits it does.

7. Spices and related vegetables are often dramatically good for you and the plants involved were often available to early men.

These include garlic, onions, basil, peppers, curry, and turmeric and more. Garlic in particular has strong and protective action for the health of your heart and blood vessels and is one of the reasons by itself that the Mediterranean diet is good for you. These also help traditional cuisines make vegetable and protein foods taste good without adding much if any salt.

B. Grains are NOT foods that cavemen ate.

And, as Dr Al Sears & others have reported even 100% whole grain foods are high or moderately high glycemic foods.

For people who have little excess fat to lose and who do vigorous exercise several times a week and normal blood sugar readings, 100% whole grain foods in moderation are likely OK.

They are most certainly dramatically better for you than refined grain foods.

Everyone else should eat very little or none of these otherwise health OK foods, however.

C. Foods to flee in terror from and to 100 % avoid if you want to be trim and if you value your health include.:
1. Refined grains are so bad for you they should be banned from human consumption however.

They are uniformly high glycemic, have hardly any fiber, & have had most of the other nutrition stripped from them.

Worse, the cereals, breads, snacks, and packaged desserts they are used in quite often to usually have hydrogenated oils, omega 6 oils, high fructose corn syrup, &/or excessive amounts of sugar added to them.

It is extremely unfortunate that most Americans eat LOTS of these foods. And, since they often have been made to taste good and are dirt cheap to prepare, they are heavily advertised on TV. Today, most people think they are normal and harmless foods. They are neither.

Do your health and your waistline a favor and never ingest any of these foods to the best of your ability. If you must have some, avoid the ones with the added ingredients we just listed and have the tiniest possible amounts and then only on rare occasions.

(Since I know this, if I must eat sandwiches out, I eat the meat and vegetables and leave the bread. I know better than to eat it.)

2. Mostly avoid potatoes as they are as high glycemic as the refined grains. Only eat small servings and then with extra virgin olive oil to cut the overall glycemic index of your meal.

3. Completely avoid regular and diet soft drinks.

Americans would be far healthier and MUCH less fat if these drinks were simply removed from the market. That likely is not going to happen. But it would be very helpful if they WERE very heavily taxed as cigarettes are. That may well happen and would sharply lower consumption.

The regular ones add calories without reducing your hunger and then create rebound hunger later! Yikes !!
The artificial sweeteners in diet soft drinks may not be safe or not safe for some people. But worse is that they tend to result in double strength rebound hunger in most people.

The result is that almost everyone who drinks more than one every other week or so of regular or diet soft drinks is fat as a result of these effects.

Drinking 3 a day as many people still do one source estimates adds an extra 45 pounds of fat if people keep doing it.

Like refined grain foods soft drinks are tasty and dirt cheap to make.
So they are heavily advertised on TV and most Americans still think they are normal and safe to drink. They are neither.

If you drink any now and are fatter than you’d like simply stop drinking soft drinks. You may find you are far LESS hungry and for sure won’t be hungrier and you will gradually be far less fat.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Prevent & stop back pain without surgery....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-8-2010

Today, AP ran a story titled:

“Overtreated: Surgery too often fails for back pain”

1. The bottom line is that you can prevent a large percentage of back pain.

Then if you do get it, it will occur less often and be less severe.

Almost all of those things are simple and some are even easy to do.

One upscale and state of the art medical group that specialized in preventive exercises found that their exercises alone restored about 95% of people including their professional athletes who were their patients to pain free lives and activities.

2. Then if you still have back pain and it has lasted more than 6 weeks, there is a new way to treat it that works for many people and that does NOT use surgery.

3. The result of following these steps is that far less than 1% of people with chronic back pain will be left over to even need to consider trying back surgery.

And, at that point, a recent story listed research showing that the more targeted and less invasive surgeries have a better track record than the more extensive and invasive surgeries for most people.

This post covers the first two steps which may well be all most people need or will need barring severe injury. (Quick note, ALWAYS wear your seat belt in your car and you’ll slash your chances of such severe back injuries.)

1. Here are several of the ways to prevent back pain.

a) One physical therapist accidentally discovered that you can often un-kink your back from minor strains by leaning back with your back straight and by moving your hips forward slightly.

Curling forward as many people do and used to do, he realized, INCREASES the pressure on your discs and nerves. Leaning back in this way, often opens the space your discs have and relieves the pressure in many cases.

b) Another innovative practitioner in back care and back pain prevention found that for similar reasons allowing your butt to curl back slightly when you stand up, something she calls “ducky butt” is a more natural posture and one that removes the stresses off your discs and nerves.

This is likely because, although our ancestors have been standing for hundreds of thousands of years, their ancestors came from a more four footed group that initially did not. So leaving that curve in place a bit closer to the curve that would be there if you were on all fours fits the natural geometry of your spine better.

c) Do regular exercise every week.

The muscles supporting your spine in your back will be stronger and so will those in your belly area that the Pilates people call your “core.”

Walking works. So does most kinds of interval cardio. Carefully done strength training for your back muscles works. Doing regular exercise for your abdominal muscles works.

In addition to supporting your back, exercising conditions you to not panic if you feel minor strains. Regular exercise also boosts your endorphins that directly reduce your perception of pain enough that you never even notice minor discomforts and feel far less pain even if you do strain your muscles.

In addition, there also are targeted back rehab exercises that work but which I do not know personally to share with you here.

One upscale and state of the art medical group that specialized in preventive exercises found that their exercises alone restored about 95% of people including their professional athletes who were their patients to pain free lives and activities.

(This group was originally called SOAR, Sports, Orthopedic, AND Rehabilitative , I think that stood for, and was located in Portola Valley, California. They still exist but under a new name and in a new location somewhere on the San Francisco Peninsula.)

The AP article today also listed such a group: “Exercise is medicine, but it has to be the right exercise," said Dave Carpenter, president of Physicians Neck & Back Clinics in Minneapolis.” A man who was one of their success stories for the exercises they helped him learn and do was featured in the AP article.

“The clinic's rehabilitation program focuses on strengthening muscles that support the spine, and published a study showing that only three of 38 patients prescribed surgery still needed it in the 13 months after completing tailored rehab.”

d) Losing excess fat works. The strains on your back are far less with less weight inside your body for your back to deal with. Your discs have far less pressure on them if you aren’t tens of pounds of fat over what you should be.

Getting several kinds of regular exercise also helps with this. Doing this enables you to lose excess fat with far less extra hunger or even none and burn more calories. Exercise also has been shown to be a key way to keep excess fat off once you lose it. This effect is in part because exercising helps you to ONLY lose fat when you lose weight.

Deleting soft drinks and junky and high carbohydrate foods such as packaged snacks and treats completely helps many lose a LOT of weight. So does cutting back heavily on sugar intake. So does virtually eliminating refined grain foods. So does refusing to eat any foods with high omega 6 oils or hydrogenated oils. Corn oil and other high omega 6 oils increase inflammation and are high in calories while partially hydrogenated vegetable oils also cause heart disease by directly increasing the small particle LDL that acts like glue on the surface of your arteries and are also high in calories. These foods and semifoods make you fat and sick. Eat and drink little of them or, even better, none!

Eating more nonstarchy vegetables and health OK protein foods also helps. Including some health OK fats and oils and fresh fruit helps. By learning which of these foods you are OK to eat and those you like and learning to use spices and health OK fats well, you can create enjoyable food. As Michael Pollan writes, ethnic and traditional cuisines all over the world have done just that.

Having a way you find doable to cut some calories out of your normal food intake on top of that also helps. But to make these methods doable and sustainable, each of them needs to be very small. That also helps avoid triggering your famine response that causes your body to STOP your fat loss.

Lastly, some people are taking prescription drugs that keep them fat while others have hormonal or thyroid problems. Once these are identified, most people who have these “stopper” problems will be able to eliminate them

The good news is that each of these steps are doable and doing them all IS effective in causing the loss of excess weight as fat and keeping it off.

e) Taking those supplements that lower inflammation and have other health benefits also reduces back pain and perceived back pain. Doing so certainly helps speed recovery when you do overstrain your back.

Eating wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils and taking purified fish oil, omega 3, supplements lowers inflammation and heart attack causing high triglyceride levels.

Taking curcumin supplements and/or eating curries that get their yellow color from the turmeric that contains the curcumin, lowers or prevents excessive inflammation, and also looks to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and many cancers.

f) Taking supplements that keep your joints healthy and the cartilage in them intact and healthy is a bit more controversial since the evidence that they work is a bit more mixed.

But to the extent they work, they likely work on the joints in your spine also.

Glucosamine, possibly chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid and shea nut extract all either reduce pain and inflammation or keep the cartilage in your intact and healthy or both.

2. Before you do more than the steps above, the first thing to do before you decide to throw significant amounts of money at the problem is to give your body a fair chance to heal the damage for you. How long is that? At least 6 weeks unless you experience symptoms “such as numb or weak legs or urinary problems.” Those may require more rapid surgical attention.

The AP article today had this: “Most people will experience back pain at some point, but up to 90 percent will heal on their own within weeks. In fact, for run-of-the-mill cases, doctors aren't even supposed to do an X-ray or MRI unless the pain lingers for a month to six weeks.“ And the percentage is higher at 6 weeks than it is at a month. So unless the pain is severe, most people would do well to wait the extra two weeks – until the problem has failed to clear on its own in 6 weeks. They even point out in the AP article that even most herniated discs will heal on their own in two years.

But if the pain is too bad to wait two years and it has been that bad for 6 weeks, there is now an alternative to back surgery that works for some people. It does cost money. It isn’t perfect. It doesn’t work for everyone. But it provides 100 % relief for many people and does NOT require surgery.

This is the new back decompression therapy that gently opens the spaces occupied by your discs at specific places in your spine.

It is beginning to be available in most major urban areas in the United States.

3. Lastly, for the very few who still need help after all these steps, particularly the targeted rehab exercises and the back decompression therapy, spinal surgery can be tried. But very few people will need to try it. And since it is very expensive and often produces no benefit and does carry a risk of complications, that’s a good thing!

Then if you do need it, at least initially use one of the targeted and less invasive surgeries that relieve the pressure at the specific point that is needed rather than more aggressive and dangerous kinds. A recent study found this was cheaper and safer and usually worked as well or better.

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