The Thyroid a Powerful Weight Regulating Gland

22 09 2018

Updated 22 September 2018

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck no bigger than a buckeye butterfly.  But this glands hormone also influences other hormone producing glands which have much to do with our weight and other important metabolic interactions and bodily functions.  Just because these glands are small, does not mean they are insignificant.

Walk More to Burn Additional Calories

It is seen through patient and animal research that hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) can cause many types of problems:  weight gain, depression, sluggishness, fatigue, bad mood, unhealthy appearance, impotence, water retention that adds to excess weight and cellulite, pear-shaped figure, infertility, PMS, hardening of the arteries, cystic breasts/ovaries (including breast/ovary cancer), irritability, bad complexion, puffiness under the chin, forgetfulness, irritability, apathy, dry skin, intolerance to cold, enlargement of the thyroid and unhealthy hair, nails and teeth.

If you have hypothyroidism to the degree where one quarter of the thyroid hormone thyroxin is produced, you may also suffer from chronic fatigue.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, hyperthyroidism causes an overactive thyroid gland condition that has the opposite effect on the body’s metabolism.  The “hyper” condition speeds up the metabolic process, causing underweight and hyperactive tendencies.

A more serious disorder from an underactive thyroid is a goiter (swelling in the neck area).  This occurs because the thyroids enlarge to compensate for lack of iodine in the diet.  However, a goiter can occur, even if you’re not iodine deficient.  This swelling or enlargement of the thyroid glands is also known as Graves Disease.  Regardless of whether you have a hypo/hyper thyroid condition, both conditions untreated can become a life threatening situation.

Before I get more into the meat of the matter let’s first understand what trace mineral stimulates the thyroids hormone “thyroxin” secretion.   A very important mineral is iodine.  There is also another one needed that works with iodine to manufacture the thyroxin hormone.  And that mineral is Tyrosine, an amino acid.  Luckily Tyrosine can be consumed through many types of high-protein foods such as chicken, milk, cheese, beans, bananas, soy products, peanuts, almonds, fish, turkey, etc.  Iodine, along with tyrosine is required to produce a normalized balance of the thyroxin hormone to stabilize our caloric burning furnace.

Spoil your children in moderation. Walk and share fun exercise activities with them.

There is a TSH (Thyroid-Stimulation Hormone) test that tells a treating physician if your thyroid is producing proper amounts of thyroxin hormone to keep your metabolic system balanced.  The test determines if your thyroid is working correctly through reading TSH levels in the blood.   This stimulator hormone is produced by the pituitary gland.  So as the pituitary gland slows down within the metabolic system it releases more TSH to signal “speeding” up the thyroids production of thyroxin.  This test can determine proper levels of TSH hormone in the blood.  The TSH hormone release is directly related to many interconnecting metabolic processes.  If all other metabolic processes are working correctly, the thyroid hormone release stimulated by TSH should normalize all metabolic functions which impact weight loss/gain and mitigate other disorders.  But if too little, or too much TSH is produced than the test will show ranges from under/over active and normal thyroid gland.

Normal TSH test scores will be between 0.4 and 2.5.  A low score of 0-0.4 is hyperthyroidism.  And if the score is between 2.5 and 4, this means there is risk for hypothyroidism.  Anything higher can lead to a major health concern.  Many doctors will resist treating patients until they hit a 10.  This is basically due to the delicate balance and interactions these hormones and chemical exchange relationships have on the entire metabolic system.  Nevertheless, if your measurement is at 4 or above, or below 2.5, you should discuss a treatment course with your medical specialist.

Although your thyroid only requires a hundred thousandth of a percentage of your body weight in iodine (150 micrograms daily – the best sources of iodine comes from seaweed, onions, seafood and salt); without it the thyroid cannot function.  If you don’t have enough of this mineral, you gain weight.  But if you get enough of it in your diet, adding more through supplementation will do absolutely no good because the glands function is balanced, or better known as “normalized effect”   That is, if your thyroid is functioning normal, iodine will not help because the thyroid is already normalized and functioning correctly.

If you must take an iodine supplement for an underactive thyroid, kelp is the best organic source.  It appears to have “the best “normalizing effect on the thyroid gland.  However, if your iodine dose is incorrect, it is possible to supplement with too much, or too little.  Some of the symptoms of iodine over supplementation include:  Severe acme, become underweight, emotional imbalances, hyper-activity, mental and emotional instability, negative effects on thyroid glands, skin irregularities (welts on arms/face, rough skin) and problems with focus, or spaced out feelings.

Getting enough iodine in the diet should not be a problem since we get it in our everyday table salt, processed and fast foods and through its presence in crop fertilizers.  However, the key issue with our iodine in our everyday diet is, most of us do not get organic iodine (e.g., seaweed, “kelp”).  Homeopathic doctors have prescribed kelp, vinegar, B6 and a lecithin diet for treatment of obesity and other types of preventative disorders for years.  The diet is also beneficial to brain tissue, sensory nerves and spinal cord.

However the normalizing effect of iodine benefits for an overweight problem gets lost in translation within the market place for those desperate to lose weight.  That is, consumers are lead to believe if iodine is good for the thyroid, than more is better whether you need it or not.  But there could be nothing further from the truth.   There is another way to look at this statistically.  Eighty percent of all thyroid cases are diagnosed as the hypo-type.  But this percentage does not equate to eighty percent of those that are obese have a thyroid problem.

Aerobic workouts good for the cardio Muscular endurance

Let’s also not forget those who choose “not to exercise, or eat healthy diets,” but have healthy thyroids with plenty of iodine in the diet.  They will not lose more weight by increasing iodine intake.  Also, 8 times out of 10 thyroid disorder diagnosis are more prominent in women than men.  And as a natural progression of aging, increased risk of thyroid disease occurs naturally.  And if you have an autoimmune disorder, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis your at higher risk for thyroid disease.  These diseases and other factors are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to diagnosing whether or not your thyroid needs stimulation to help you manage your weight.

If you do supplement your diet with iodine, it is important to understand it is also important to get enough vitamin A as well.  Vitamin A allows the thyroid gland to absorb the iodine.  If absorption of iodine through the gland does not occur optimally, then the production of thyroxin will occur relative to the glands absorption rate.  Recall, with reduced thyroxin hormone production, you have a lower BMR that does not help your weight loss and overall health goals.

One last point I’d like to touch on regarding a hyper-thyroid condition.  There are many cases documented where speeding up the thyroids function will cause weight loss.  But there are also cases where speeding up the thyroid function causes weight gain.  You ask how this is possible.  Because, by increasing the metabolic function, you also increase appetite.  Here is another truth, for those that lost weight during hormone treatment, once the hyper-active treatment stopped the weight came back.

Dogs need exercise as well to keep their body weight healthy.

Therefore, it appears that thyroid treatment to treat obesity does not appear to be real useful in many obesity cases.  This is why you should seek a treating physicians advisement to get help identifying the cause of your weight gain problem.  If you are diagnosed with thyroid disease, then you’ll likely be prescribed a synthetic thyroxin to replace the hormone your thyroid can no longer produce.

By working with your doctor to adjust to the necessary doses, you’ll begin to look and feel better.  In other cases some of you may need a combination of treatments to regulate, or lose body weight that include thyroxin prescription, diet and exercise.  And in other weight loss/gain situations – relative to disease and disorder(s) diagnosis…

Varying medical treatment strategies may be necessary as opposed to thyroid treatment. The point being, your thyroid may not be the problem. It may be one of several other connecting hormone functions dependent on the thyroid hormone that has malfunctioned and needs treatment.

References,

American Thyroid Association.  Thyroid and Weight.  2005. http://www.thyroid.org/patients/brochures/Thyroid_and_Weight.pdf

Hastings, John.  The Truth about the Thyroid.  The Oprah Magazine. Jan 2009. http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Truth-About-the-Thyroid-and-Weight-Gain

Veracity Dani.  How Iodine Accelerates Weight Loss by Supporting the Thyroid Gland.  Natural News.com, June 25, 2005.  http://www.naturalnews.com/008902.html

Woodard, Marc T.  GH-Hormone Stimulator the Fountain of Youth Elixir?  Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets!  23 February 2012.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2012/02/23/exercise-is-the-anti-aging-hormonal-fix/

Woodard, Marc.  Low Testosterone, another Man-Made Risky Fix?  Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. January 22, 2012.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2012/01/22/low-testosterone-another-man-made-risky-fix/

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2012-18 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master on Bull Mountain

14 02 2018

Walking to Bull Mountain Trail Head

Like most fitness enthusiasts I’m always looking for a variety of exercise activities that’ll keep me motivated to walk daily – If I can find it outdoors all the better. After the Holidays and during the winter months there’s nothing better than a “Mid-Intensity fat burning walking activity,” especially on an uphill grade with multiple switchbacks and preferably in a wooded area. If such a place exists, you’ve just found nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master. Not only will an uphill walking effort challenge anyone’s cardio and muscular endurance… it requires more body fat fuel to power the exercise opposed to flat land walking.

Within the City of Tigard a public-use wooded trail system like this exists. I’m happy to share its location for those looking for a different type of mobility challenge and experience. If you want to burn even more calories and get in better shape, consider making it a habit to walk in places like it – even during inclement weather.

Those of you who served in the military with boots on the ground… recall, “If it’s not raining we’re not training.” It’s a fact, when it’s cold and rainy, the resistive forces on the mind-body just increased a notch. Anyone can use nature’s outdoor Stairmaster throughout the year to personally challenge themselves and increase fitness levels regardless of rain or shine.

Molly our Red Setter – Loves this site – She stakes her claim.

The well-designed dirt trail runs approximately half a mile with multiple switchbacks and is located on the West side hill of Bull Mountain Park where Kruger Creek cuts through its slopped base in a valley-like wooded environment. I’d estimate the trail grade varies from top-to-bottom, 4-8 degrees. There are seated areas along the switchback segment of the pathway to rest and reflect on all that matters. Molly our red Irish setter loves the rest area approximately 2/3 way up the switchback segment. And believe me she doesn’t slow down a bit once closing in on that spot.

That’s the look… she also likes the white stuff.

“Glancing back at me only momentarily with excited eyes and happy pant, she pulls with full gusto.” I sense she’s concerned if I’m keeping up with her. And in that moment “we lock eyes and both know, ‘It’s all good – onward and upward we go!” If you need motivation to walk with purpose an energetic dog will definitely do the trick. Once in this peaceful place the sights and sounds of nature do its thing… “In itself is worth the effort, simply for peace of mind.”

Rest area and observation site near top of switch back trail system

While observing the surroundings in this spot, anyone would be drawn to read the two small plaques posted next to the picnic table where Molly proudly poses for the picture. The first one reads, “Hiking Trail and Picnic Table, Eagle Scout Project of Nikolai Hanson, Troop 419, June 2013. The second one reads, “Stairway railing and rock wall, Eagle Scout Project of Benjamin Love, Troop 799, and September 2014.”

Recognition for volunteers who built the great trail system and rest stops along the way.

I’d like to personally thank those Eagle Scouts and community volunteers responsible for this trail system and rest stops along the way… And of course the newly developed park.

If you’ve not been to Bull Mountain Park, or walked the switch back trail segment here’s how to access them. Park and walk the Morningstar Greenway trailhead beginning at SW Greenfield Drive and Benchview Terrace to experience the uphill hike to the switchback trail segment – ending in Bull Mountain Park.

SHORT VIDEO: FROM TOP OF PARK TO FIRST SWITCH BACK AND PICKNICK TABLE

Or drive to the park – If you want to access the switchback trail segment from Woodshire lane once parked… continue walking straight ahead [Westerly] past the maintenance shed, outhouse and playground structure.

Previous property owners, “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D.

Walk just a little further forward and as the asphalt turns to bark chip, look for the ground level plaque on a rock to your left. The trailhead plaque reads “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D. ‘They loved this place and lived here from 1979 to 2008.” Walk down ~100’ to the first switchback and 100’ more to the picnic table, have lunch and enjoy nature.

Bull Mountain Park

The official ribbon cutting ceremony recognized all involved in raising the money necessary to develop Bull Mountain Park and its trail systems, 15 October 2017. “This 10-acre neighborhood park is comprised of woods, open space, and riparian areas. The park features accessible trails, a picnic shelter, a nature play structure, and interpretive elements.” Learn more about the park and how community came together to raise funds and develop it. http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/bull_mountain_park.php

Tigard parks development and recreational outdoor events hosted in them continue to grow popularity. Events and activities in parks are directly supported by city council’s 5-year recreation goal #2 – Expand outdoor events (movies, concerts, pop‐ups in the park; including programs and classes with outside providers; and partnership opportunities, etc., 2012-17). On March 7, 2017 the City Council updated those goals for the next two years – 2017-19. Learn more about them.
http://www.tigard-or.gov/document_center/Council/Council_Goals.pdf

Zip line down this wooded valley hillside… anything is possible.

I must say, “When city leadership and community recognize the value of the fit healthy benefits city parks and recreational events and activities provide within them… COOL things like Nature’s Best-In-Class Stairmaster come to life. What’s next, “a Zip-Line with tree tower, repealing base camp and Ninja Warrior style obstacle courses throughout the trail system area?

Recreational activities, partnership opportunities and possibilities are only limited by the imagination, recreation personnel and public support. Regardless of whether a Zip-line and Ninja Warrior-like obstacle challenge course becomes reality in Tigard, I know one thing for sure…

2017 Street Fair & Latino Feast – Rotary Plaza

“When parks and trail systems become accessible, useful and activated… ‘More people spend their leisurely and play time hours in and around them.”

When community plays together anything is possible – “Including realization of COOL activities that bring people together and fit healthy for all who physically participate and spectate within it.”

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

20 11 2017

Annual Tree Lighting Event at Liberty Park, Tigard OR

Updated, 20 November 2017

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you’ve had a hard time managing body weight.

I have an 8-Tip Meal Plan strategy that may help you avoid weight gain during the Holidays.  Yet allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

This 8-tip strategy has helped past clients stay on weight loss target during the Holiday season.  Admittedly – most didn’t lose weight during this time of year…  however they didn’t gain any either while applying the tips.

Back History on the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Strategy – I was asked during a client consult if I could create a work around food strategy.  One that allowed someone to eat favorite Holiday foods without derailing a weight loss goal.

Of course I told the client there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when overeating hyper-palatable foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to modify the current weight loss plan to enjoy Holiday foods with family; and without fear of weight gain.  Prior to this request avoidance of all Holiday and family event meals was the norm for this person.

After the client applied most of the tips throughout the Holiday season – there was no weight gain and weight loss target was sustained during the New Year.

For some, it’s almost as if we must harden the body for the rigors of war while trying to lose a little weight.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.  And without a good “hold the weight gain line” strategy, Holiday and special events foods often overwhelm our senses and will power to stay a healthy weight loss course.

The worse part of consuming too many calories as we age – our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing the excess.  Instead the metabolism gets very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true after a Holiday food binge, there is a tendency for some to continue the same eating pattern throughout the New Year.  With that said, these tips can help correct an unhealthy eating pattern after the Holidays should it continue.

Holidays are a special time of year for families to gather and be thankful for what they have.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success at melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution.

Congratulation to you!

For those struggling to hold the weight loss line during the Holidays, don’t throw in the towel just yet!  I’m sharing the same client tips that worked for some… I know can work for you.  And quite possibly habit forming enough to incorporate into a current weight loss program.

However remain mindful – these tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Especially if you are in poor health with a chronic condition; have a substance abuse problem, or obsessive compulsive eating disorder, or grossly obese, etc.  In any case, request a primary care referral to see a medical specialist for relative treatment.  Especially if body weight now presents a chronic health condition.

IMG_0186

Celebrating with Family should not include worry of weight gain.

I’m no different than anyone else during the Holidays.  “I’m tempted to eat more than I need.”

However if aware of a bad food choice, or habit known to cause weight gain… and having a hold the line food habit strategy – keeping the weight off during the Holidays is very doable.

These behaviors and food habit modifications in practice are also useful when the metabolism slows down in the evening and progressively every year after the age of 25.

It is well known as we age, the body doesn’t require the excess calories it once did during the developmental and active adult years.  Regardless, this does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods, even if some of them are considered unhealthy.

I would be remiss in mentioning – there’s some foods we’d all be better off leaving off the plate – E.g., highly processed foods and drink with too many preservatives, salt and sweeteners in them.

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, medical condition, genetics, environment, etc.,  I can’t predict, or provide a “one fix solution to hold the body weight line strategy” that’ll work for everyone.  Especially when I know the programmed tips below were designed for a few client types that wanted to indulge once and a while without weight gain guilt.

However I believe these tips are worth sharing because some of them will be useful for anyone.  Especially if your concerned about gaining weight during the Holiday season.

Some have asked, “Can this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Strategy work long term?”  Yes.  “I believe certain habits and behavioral changes as listed below could work long term for a majority that apply them consistently throughout the year.”

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy without a Holiday Meal Strategy… My hats off to you!  You have will power most of us can only dream about.

For those that need some help in this area – Try the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Strategy below.  It can  allow you to eat your favorite foods and keep weight off during the festive times of year.

Best Time Ever

Best time ever this time of year in the Great NW.

Tip#1Never!  Go to your mother, or mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal seems to be ingrained within the American spirit and culture.  I know my family like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves.  Before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.  So, it stands to reason, you must eat something not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food after a meal, the stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies with each one of us.

I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is… when you get to the table you won’t be as hungry or want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never,  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

Tasty Beer Cheer.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body prior to sitting down for for the meal?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor all wrapped into one.  This concept is easy to understand: eat and drink like Vikings… equates to inhibited calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day prior, during and after Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently and that means less calories stored as fat.  Plus, water will make you feel full faster and has no calories.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here.  I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan strategy that moves one away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving.  After you consume it wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal.  “Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.

Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/2 the plate diameter.  And no piling food on the plate.   Focus on 50% less than what you’d normally put on the plate for 1st’s and 2nd’s.

Tip#6Never eat dessert after you’ve eaten the main meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass blood sugar spike without consequence, especially if you’ve achieved satiety after eating the meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of what you ate.  If you experience a feeling of satiety and not overfull after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  While eating dessert take your time to gage feeling of gut comfort. But if you begin to experience the feeling of near full, back off and leave the remaining portion of dessert.

Tip#7 Never,  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods addicts some to them with similar eating patterns for months.  In this case another 10 pounds can be added quickly.

Walk whereever you find yourselves during the Holidays.

Tip#8 – Start a daily  exercise program during the Holidays if you don’t already exercise.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to mobilize the body to remove the unspent fat fuel.  I highly recommend at a minimum… a daily walking program, or other aerobic activity at least 30 minutes a day.

You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods that don’t compromise the meal experience and add guilt.

And best of all, when applied with conviction you won’t gain any weight.  You may even surprise yourself and lose a little.

Marc Woodard wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  If fortunate enough to get covered in the white stuff, walk around in it. It’s a fantastic exercise activity experience.

Have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss program prevent a great meal experience with loved ones.

Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays without fear of being around the foods you love to eat.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Tigard’s Outdoor Fitness Center

22 10 2017

Fanno Creek Bridge Crossing into Dirksen Nature Park

During brisk afternoon walks I often cross a pedestrian bridge in my neck of the woods.  It’s located on Tiedemann Avenue in Tigard at the North East corner of Fowler Grade School next to the track. This bridge crossing over Fanno creek is a pedestrian access point into Dirksen Nature Park.  One day after walking across the bridge I broke stride to focus on a youth doing pull-ups at the far West end of the field. I changed course to reacquaint myself with that area.

Then reread the dedication plaque. “This outdoor fitness center was presented to the Citizens of Tigard by the Rotary Club of Tigard to commemorate the Club’s 50 years of SERVICE ABOVE SELF, February 13, 2014.”  It reminded me of how committed this organization and others like them are and work to improve the livability of families and community at large.

The project was paid for by the Tigard Rotary Club and it marked their 50th year anniversary.  They’ve been established in Tigard since 1964.  If you’d like to know more about their organization, visit https://tigardrotary.org/.

Modified Push Up  “Up Stroke” of repetition

Today I use the equipment frequently and exercise between walks using my body weight as the resistant weight-force to improve strength and flexibility. The exercise you see me doing in the picture is a modified chest press. I simply lean against a bench-like object, then lower to and push away from the platform to complete a repetition. This particular exercise targets the undercut of the chest and front shoulders and upper back during the down-stroke motion.

Modified Push Up “Down Stroke.” The further you travel downward the greater range of motion and strength building.

And while holding the angled pike position performing the modified incline pushup, it tones other parts of the body. “How does it do that?” It takes supportive leg, buttocks, core and back muscles to hold the rigid position while performing the exercise.

Many of you know aerobic exercise has cardio and weight loss benefits. But may not be aware of how important strength, flexibility and body toning exercises are to posture, balance and mobility. To leave these fitness components out of the exercise equation is to leave the body less capable of performing essential daily tasks long term.  Like lifting a grocery bag, getting out of a chair, yard work, or going up or down stairs, etc.

If you’d like to incorporate stretches, strength and body toning exercises during a walk, outdoor exercise stations like this one can certainly help achieve the goal. This exercise area is nestled in nature’s back yard where anyone can use it at no charge. There is also an extra bonus “bark chipped trails to walk around between exercise sets.”

Better yet take the dog with you. This is a two for one deal. Everyone gets their daily dose of exercise.

If you see me there, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself.

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Diabetes A Serious Disease

19 09 2017

Diabetes Basics 101 – Reduce Health Risk.

Last Updated:  19 January 2018

An individual with blood sugar levels outside of normal range and diagnosed as having low insulin production… and/or glucose absorption malfunction is best described as a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas allowing glucose to be absorbed by the body.  This hormone is required to stabilize & metabolize the body’s sugar.  Insulin triggers cells of the body to absorb glucose from the blood stream storing the glucose as glycogen within the liver, muscle and fat tissue cells.  Glucose in the blood stream and glycogen are the primary muscle storage fuel sources used first by the body’s metabolism to mobilize it and get work done.  A diabetic without insulin develops “diabetic ketoacidosis,” which can lead to coma, or death.

Diabetes is treatable since insulin shots became available in 1921.  “However, there is still no cure.”

Exercise activity is a proactive measure to help combat juvenile onset diabetes.

There are two type of Diabetes: 

Type 1 – Diabetes Mellitus – The pancreases inability to produce insulin requires insulin shots, modified diet and blood monitoring.  This type of diabetes can affect children as well as adults, first dubbed “juvenile diabetes” because it represents a majority of children diagnosed with diabetes. Some scientists believe Type 1 represents an autoimmune problem that results in permanent damage of the pancreases ability to generate insulin.  Exact cause of this disease is unknown.

Eat more farmed fresh whole foods.

Type 2 – Diabetes Mellitus – Although the body produces insulin with Type 2, medication and diet is required to stimulate the body’s insulin receptors to absorb the blood sugar.  Without medication to assist the body’s insulin function this type of person becomes hyperglycemic (high blood sugar), like a Type 1 diabetic.  Should the Type 2 individual stop producing insulin they are then treated as a Type 1 diabetic with insulin shots, blood monitoring, diet, exercise and other medications. 

Treatment consists of insulin shots and possibly other medications.  Healthy habits to mitigate symptoms include: healthy diet, blood monitoring, daily exercise, stop smoking, reduce excess sugar consumption and moderate or give up alcohol to manage either type of diabetic disease.  Diabetes is complicated by other influences, i.e., genetic predisposition, environment and autoimmune factors. 

Other Diabetic Insight: Type 1 can turn into Type 2.  Type 2 diabetic does not have to start as a Type 1.  Onset risk to Type 2 diabetes can be triggered by unhealthy diet and sedentary habits that lead to excess body weight.  Whereas the excess body weight forms around the waist – also known as “Central Obesity.”  Adult obesity can develop into onset-diabetes caused by high percentages of body fat.

Treatment of diabetes is to be taken seriously and considered a serious disease.  If not treated appropriately acute and chronic conditions can and do arise regardless of diabetic type and can cause medical complications. 

Walk anywhere and as often as you can to reduce diabetic symptoms.

Serious long-term complications:  

Mismanagement includes but not limited to:  Cardiovascular disease, chronic renal (kidneys) failure, retinal (eyes) damage, nerve damage, impotence, poor wound healing, and gangrene of the feet (possible amputation), etc.

How do you know if your diabetic?  The initial signs and symptoms of a diabetes…  You’re constantly thirsty and urinate frequently.  This is because your kidneys are desperate to remove the excess blood sugar.  Many also experience dehydration and some end up in the hospital as a result.  It is at this time those patients are often diagnosed as diabetic.  If you have the need to frequently urinate in the middle of the night and are constantly thirsty see a medical doctor for advisement.   

Proactive Steps to Avoid or Reduce Diabetes Health Risk

  1. Choose foods low on the Glycemic Index, “Natural Weight Loss and Diabetes Managed through “GI Knowledge” [Read Now].
  2.  Seek medical diagnosis if you experience extreme weight loss/gain or can’t manage healthy body weight.
  3. Lower blood pressure & cholesterol levels, quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake.
  4. Visit our Health Repository – Read MirrorAthlete Free articles on Weight loss, fitness, health, Nutrition, etc.
  5. Supplement your diet with V&M’s & anti-oxidant Immune boosters.
  6. Eliminate sugar substitutes & reduce total sugar intake in your diet.  Biggest tip – “DO NOT” drink diet sodas and heavily processed foods, i.e., chips, cookies, cake, candy, etc.
  7. Learn more about the context of our 1st Book Publication – Fit Healthy Lifestyle and More.
  8. Exercise daily – Low impact aerobics, i.e, walking, jogging, dance, biking, etc., will help lower diabetic risk and decrease symptoms – including reduction of centralized obesity.
  9. To stabilize healthy blood sugars, maintain glucose counts between 80-120mg/dl which is considered normal.
  10. If you have chronic thirst and urinate frequently see a medical doctor.

If you like our free informational services, don’t hesitate to show your support by “Like” us at our FaceBook page at MirrorAthlete and chime in on everything fitness, health and nutrition.

Thank you for your support.

Good health to you and your family.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET.  2017 Copyright.  All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Walking is a Superior Fat Burning Activity

17 07 2017

What many people don’t know is during low-intensity aerobic exercise like walking the muscles prefer to burn fat fuel.

That’s right the metabolic energy needed to walk prefers stored body fat to move the large muscles in the legs and buttocks.

But those same muscles used during high-intensity aerobics exercise like running, sprinting or high intensity aerobic dance or boot camp training prefer mostly blood glucose [sugar] and stored liver and muscle glycogen fuel from carbohydrate conversion.

When intense exercise is performed the priority of fuel need by the metabolism is blood sugar and stored carbohydrate energy… and less body fat fuel. Thereafter the body needs to replenish the quick energy storage tank. That’s one reason why high intensity exercise cause carbohydrate food cravings… thereafter many become famished, overeat and gain weight. The point here is – “you don’t have to train hard to lose body fat weight and experience extreme carbohydrate food cravings that add undesired body weight.”

City trail pathways are a great for daily walking activity.

It will take approximately 1-2 weeks to become addicted to a daily walk habit to lose more body fat and body weight. However everyone differs slightly in metabolism, exercise and activity interest, intensity, frequency and duration where fitness results and weight loss do vary. But in the end, daily low-impact aerobics exercise will help moderate food cravings and increase will power to continue the exercise and natural weight loss course

Join a walking group and stay motivated to repeat the daily activity..

To improve the odds of sticking to a daily  exercise habit, 10 lifestyle changes will help sustain daily exercise activity and weight loss goals 1) Stop substance abuse and unhealthy over indulgences.  2) Get 6-8 hours of sleep. 3) Remove yourself from unhealthy and stressful environments. 4) Make the time for “daily” low impact exercise activity. 5) Eat more fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables and less processed and high sugar foods. 6) Invest in a good pair of walking shoes with insole inserts if needed. 7) Don’t quit after 1 or 2 days of walking activity, be consistent and exercise on a daily basis. 8) Give up artificial sweeteners, they cause weight gain and acute and chronic disease. 9) Drink more water daily – up to 8 glasses will help with weight loss and reduce weight bearing joint pain. 10)  Find a walk group, or walking partner.  This will provide more will power to stay the course.

When beginning a daily walk program it doesn’t’ require much will power to get started. But it does require commitment. The excuse I often hear people use to avoid any form of exercise, “I don’t have the time.” But if you can make time you’ll lose weight and feel better almost immediately. If you haven’t exercised for awhile it may feel uncomfortable and you may experience a little soreness. But if you can walk or bike at least 15-30 minutes or more each day you’ll notice results and feel better in no time.  Remember, “Rome was not built in a day.”  Slow down and let your body adjust to the weight bearing exercise activity.  Then increase duration and intensity over a period of days.

Low Impact Aerobic Dance is a great fat burning activity.

I’ve had plenty of overweight clients walk or ride a stationary bike for a year before they achieved successful weight loss. Thereafter participated in a long distance walk, hike, jog or ran or biked a marathon. They never imagined being capable of doing anything like it. They simply believed it possible because they could relate to the low-impact aerobics and fat burning engine truths.  Truths that got them pointed in the right direction to achieve greater fitness goals.

Now go get addicted to the natural feel good chemicals and fat burning metabolism produced by your own body through low aerobic exercise.  Dance, walk, jog or ride a bike but don’t overdue it.  Then reap the ideal body weight, healthy longevity and increased mobility and energy benefits you need, want and deserve!

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

17 12 2016

Santa’s on his way

Updated, 17 December 2016 Marc Woodard

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you have a hard time managing body weight.

I have an 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan that may alleviate fears of eating your favorite traditional Holiday meals and without gaining weight.

These tips can help many resist the temptation to overeat during this time of year.  I’m sharing a “no weight gain strategy.”  This strategy has helped past clients stay on weight loss target.  Admittedly most didn’t lose weight… however most didn’t gain any either.  And some even shed a few pounds by applying all 8 tips below.

Back History on the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan – I was asked during a client consult if I could create a work around food strategy.  One that allowed someone to eat favorite foods during the Holidays without derailing a current weight loss plan.

Of course I told the young lady there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when overeating hyper-palatable foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to modify the current diet plan.  That is to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal with family and not fear losing control over foods and body weight.  Prior to this request she had avoided all Holiday meals in fear of weight gain.  And now doesn’t want to avoid them any more.  After applying the 8 tip program she acknowledged the following results.  There was no weight gain and she continued to stay on weight loss target for the following Year.

For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden the body for the rigors of war because of all the food temptations in front of us.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.

The worse part of consuming too many calories in a day, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing the excess.  Instead the metabolism gets very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true during the Holidays most have a tendency to over indulge and then continue this pattern the following Year.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success in melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution commitment.

Congratulation to you!

For those still struggling to lose weight don’t give up!  I’m sharing the same client tips I know can work for you.  And quite possibly may be habit changing enough to incorporate into your current weight loss program.

However the tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Whereas ill-health conditions warrant medical doctor advisement prior to changing a daily routine.  The point being these food strategy tips will not help if you are in poor health, have substance abuse problems, personality disorder, e.g., obsessive compulsive tendencies, etc., and/or carry excessive body weight and grossly obese.  Moving on…

IMG_0186

A Time to Celebrate With Family

I’m no different than anyone else with regard to foods during the Holidays.   I’m greatly tempted to eat more than I need.  However, awareness of our food habit weaknesses combined with a food plan strategy is the best deterrent to minimize an uptick in body fat weight during the Holiday season.

The fact is as you age the body simply doesn’t require the excess calories it once needed during the developmental and active adult years.  This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirements are to follow the satiety suggestions below, reduce over processed food consumption and don’t eat or drink your calories after 8pm.  And participate in some form of low stress aerobic exercise activity daily [i.e., walking, biking, hiking, jogging, dancing, yard work, rowing, cross country ski, swimming, etc.].

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, health and medical condition, genetics, etc.,  I can’t predict or provide a one fit “hold the body weight line” solution that will work for everyone.  Especially when I know the program below was designed and worked for a few client types that wanted to indulge during the Holidays without experiencing weight gain.

However I do know these tips are worth sharing because they can be advantageous for you.  Especially if your the type of individual that has the will power to continue a healthy habit food course after partaking in an infrequent celebration or Holiday meal.

Can this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan strategy work long term?  Yes I believe it can for certain individuals.  But determining each individuals commitment to a successful weight loss goal and plan is best accomplished through 1:1 consulting services where information sharing is a two-way street and the program is relative to individual needs and wants.

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power most of us can only dream about.  For others, to help reduce calorie consumption during the Holidays my 8 Tip Holiday Meal Plan may be of consequence.

Best Time Ever

Best Time Ever

If you take this 8 Tip Holiday Meal Plan to heart and apply parts of it or the whole, it can work short and possibly long term.

Tip#1Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal seems to be ingrained within the American spirit and culture.  I know my family like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves.  Before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.  So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food after a meal, the stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies with each one of us.

I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is when you get to the table you won’t be as hungry or want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

Tasty Beer Cheer.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body prior to sitting for the meal?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor.  The point is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain equates to much inhibited calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day when attending Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently and that means less calories stored as fat.  Plus, water will make you feel full faster and has no calories.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here.  I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan strategy that moves one away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving.  After you consume it wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal.  “Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.

Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/2 the plate diameter.  And no piling food on the plate.   Focus on 50% less than what you’d normally put on the plate for 1st’s and 2nd’s.

Tip#6Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat dessert after you’ve eaten your meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass blood sugar spike without consequence, especially if you’ve achieved satiety after eating the main meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of what you ate.  If you experience a feeling of satiety and not overfull after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  While eating dessert take your time to gage feeling of gut comfort. But if you begin to experience the feeling of near full, back off and leave the remaining portion of dessert.

Tip#7 Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods addicts some to a similar eating pattern for months.  And thereafter another 10 pounds can be added quickly.

Walk where ever you find yourselves during the Holidays.

Tip#8Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holidays.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to mobilize the body to remove the unspent fat fuel.  I highly recommend a daily walking program, or other Low-Impact aerobic activity at least 30 minutes daily.

You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods that don’t compromise the meal experience or add guilt.  And best of all when applied with conviction you won’t gain weight.  You may be surprised and even lose a little.

Marc Woodard wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  If fortunate enough to get covered in the white stuff, walk around in it. It’s a fantastic exercise activity experience.

Have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss plans prevent a great meal experience with loved ones.

Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays without fear of being around the foods you love to eat.  You’ll be glad you did.

MirrorAthlete wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2016 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.