After Holiday Weight Gain Blues

22 01 2019

Travel and Food Go Together – Pacing oneself is the challenge.

Last updated 22 Jan 19, by Marc Woodard

Another year has gone by with all the Holiday decor and cheer with it. I understand some of you had a tough time with the food choices and amount that you consumed; and last year’s weight loss resolution didn’t work out so well.

With that being said, should I dare say some of you are not only bummed out after you stepped on the scale, you have the weight gain blues.

There are many reasons weight gain occurs. I would never tell you I know exactly what you are going through. However I do know, out-of-control weight gain is often attached to an emotional lifestyle change. And those changes often trigger over consumption of food and drink – especially during and after the Holiday season, or vacations. And this can lead to acute-to-chronic depression for many.

There is also an illness-disease relationship associated with unhealthy body weight – especially once we become obese. At this point the mind-body becomes susceptible to greater health risk. For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), congenital heart disease, fibromyalgia-phantom pain, etc. A daily habit of over eating may also increase other bad habits, i.e., smoking, drinking, illicit drug or unnecessary pharmaceutical use.

In general, stressful life events cannot be avoided. But can be stress-minimized through understanding the environmental triggers causing them. Regardless of season, or any day for that matter… you must learn how to target and identify the physical, mental and/or social triggers causing the emotional stress keeping you overweight and unfit and do something about it.

Unfortunately for some – the over weight condition may be the result of a genetic or metabolic factor, Which may have less to do with lifestyle habits and behavior – but more to do with an inefficient calorie burning furnace. Any long-term weight gain that threatens health should seek medical attention immediately from a physician.

Recreational Activity Does a Body Good.

Below I’ve listed a few behavioral habit forming relationships that can be changed before and after any holiday season or vacation to help reduce body fat weight gain and achieve the weight loss goal.

8 Lifestyle Changes You can Make to Achieve Your New Years Resolution Weight Loss Goal.

  1. Holiday Cheer Weight Gain – What can I say about Holiday Cheer that I haven’t mentioned in my previous writings.  Have a Holiday battle meal plan before you set down at the table.  Read the following article, “10 Step Basic Weight Loss Tips.”
  2.  Last Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Failed – You know why you failed your weight loss program from previous years. You did not resolve, or change your eating, drinking, or exercise habits. To do so is still too painful for whatever the reason. Until you resolve and/or get serious about your weight loss goal, or seek professional help, regardless of who provides you weight loss tips, services or program… you’ll likely continue to struggle with body weight.
  3.  Pain factor – All pain is directly related to illness, disease and/or injury. And with pain comes more sedentary habits. It is for this reason, it is more important than ever you work with your primary physician and pain management specialists to find treatment and activity that’s right for you. If you have mental and physical pain that’s not been diagnosed – seek advisement and referrals from your primary care physician.
  4.  Stressful life events cause excess calorie consumption– For many the habit of eating more calories than needed may come from everyday stresses caused by work or home environment, or bad relationship with spouse, friend or family member. Or the stress could be caused by some other non-diagnosed physical and mental pain from childhood. Stress events can culminate and increase a depression mood that causes one to eat more in an attempt to feel better. Once you target the cause of your stress induced bad habit and/or behavior and remove it… it’s more likely you’ll succeed in a safe weight program over a set period of time.
  5.  Carry the party into New Year – Some carry the end of year festivities into the new year. This behavior can last for months, or the entire year. This continued habit will not help you lose weight or remove the depression umbrella. “First and foremost, you must understand this is occurring and must break this unhealthy habit.” As one ages and the habit continues – health risk increases.
  6.  Fast foods after the Holiday’s. Too many Americans consume fast foods especially during the Holidays. Here lies a crux for much of the American obesity problem. During this time of year there is a huge spike in fast foods and alcohol sales. Yes, business booms almost in every sector of the economy. Fast foods are convenient, chemically addictive and bad for health in the long run. I know you’re thinking, what if I just give up the fast food places and eat out at restaurants? While this is a better concept, you don’t know how much of those meals are processed with unhealthy garbage causing your weight gain. Also when you eat out – most tend to eat more. Instead develop a healthy whole foods shopping habit and limit yourself to 1 fast food meal a week. I highly recommend you read, “Restaurant and Grocery Foods Healthy?
  7.  Love of Baking – I know, some of you carry your new found baking habits into the new year. Although there is nothing wrong with cooking your own food, the pitfall is when you love everything you bake just a little too much. I know the kids love your home made cookies, cakes and pies. Remember moderation with deserts. Too much sugar, fat and salt is not good for anyone, even children with fast metabolisms. If you’re having a tough time changing up your baking habit – try becoming a little more creative by offering different types of deserts… fresh fruits, jello, pudding, etc. Mix it up and break away from the continuous high fat baking habit.
  8.  Empty Nester’s Bake for an Army – Regardless of season, there are many who continue to cook for an entire family after the children have left home. There are many things tied into this habit. This is a tough habit to change – especially if the spouse demands traditional family recipes. If you continue to cook this way, you’ll not reduce food portions – it will be more challenging to meet your weight loss goal.

Once you target the cause of your weight gain nemesis and make healthier lifestyle choices that include daily exercise activities – your fitness levels and health will improve dramatically, while achieving your weight loss resolution once and for all.

Good health to you and your family!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET2019 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

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Challenging Social Disability Expectation

17 05 2015
Managing Back Pain As Natural as Possible is the Only Way for Me

Author: Marc Woodard on a 15 mile rural walk within/outside of hometown city limits

Updated: 17 May 2015

I know many out there are hurting with disabling mental, spiritual and physical pain thinking there is nothing more that can be done to improve the situation.

I do understand the feelings associated with loss of finances, immobility, productivity, loneliness, worth and dignity.  I’ve personally experienced these things during my own physical adversary and mobility challenge from 2003 to 2008 after injury.  And one thing I know for certain, physical loss almost always leads to mental depression.  And if not prepared with a plan to beat it, the mind and body begin to experience more illness and pain.

However, if you are able to mobilize your body for longer periods of time throughout the day, especially outdoors when possible, nature has a way of inspiring, providing solutions and purpose, while allowing the mind and body to heal. The encompassing being when connected to God’s universe have healing energy. Read: What is Pranic Healing and does it Work

Regardless of whether you’re recovering from injury, addiction, illness or disease and feel broke, you can be made whole again through self-healing effort. Even when temporarily or permanently confined to a wheelchair, dependent on crutches or cane(s); or have loss of limb(s). You’re capable of finding new and exciting purpose while enjoying life to the fullest.

Walking desolate dried up Northern California lakes and river beds for exercise

When the mind and body are stimulated, energized and challenged by changing environmental surroundings and activity; the brains cerebrum thinks, perceives and processes everything within and around it. Through transport of mind and body the processing of sight, sound, smell, sense and touch stimulation of environmental and spiritual elements has therapeutic and healing benefits.

However, if the mind actually believes the body cannot receive such a benefit through mobility activities then a disabled social expectation may likely result.

All too often we tend to lock ourselves away when we become mentally and physically ill or hurt. “Then ponder on all the whys.” Why did this happen to me, why won’t the pain stop, why can’t I continue the same lifestyle habits, why should I continue on to self-improve or help others, why bother?

When instead the focus should be on “the” who, what, where and how. Who are my real friends and family, what environment do I need to surround myself in to heal and get healthy, where do I find the best treatment and support group, how do I need to reinvent myself, contribute to community and find new purpose while living life to the fullest?

What is a social disability expectation?  I coined this term back in 2004 when I understood my injury was permanent causing lifelong pain that must be managed daily.

I believed for a short period of time my new purpose in life was to live as a disability casualty, or learn to live the way I believed society and medical doctors viewed and classified me. Especially as I struggled to walk correctly with mobility aids for many years while battling pain depression. It became apparent post op recovery; psychologist, orthopedic specialists and physiatrists’ recommendations were to live life as comfortable as possible and not stress over the “whys” but to move forward the best I could, as comfortable as possible. But I was discouraged from challenging my physical body more due to possible re-injury and neurological pain complications radiating throughout my body.

Marc after Second Hip Surgery

Nothing easy about a post op and recovery scenario

At that time I didn’t understand how to reinvent myself within a less mobile and pain ridden circumstance. This was my physical adversity challenge for many years and is chronicled throughout the “soon to be released” MirrorAthlete book chapters. It is also one of the integrated client stories and lessons learned. To learn more about my personal adversity challenge visit MirrorAthlete home site. Then click on Book Project link and read the narratives. Release of our first MirrorAthlete book publication will occur 1st quarter of 2016.

Make no mistake, it makes no difference if depression begins within your mind’s eye, caused by bodily pain, substantiated medical diagnosis, public perception, etc. Severe and chronic depression is a serious medical condition and without proper treatment and support may spell disaster for a patient on the mend. Read, L-Tryptophan, The Obesity, Depression & ADD Silver Bullet Solution?

In either case, the psychosomatic [brain and body] are connected through Neuro biochemical transmitter conduits [hormones, and feel good chemical pathways]. The point being, mental and physical illness, disorders and disease can all depress, stress and cause neurological pain through the same neuro transmitter conduits which can further sicken and disable the encompassing being.

I know many of you have woken up on certain days and felt bad, or under the weather and didn’t go to work. Imagine feeling that way every day. How would that affect your daily activities, mood, feelings and outlook on life? And what would you be willing to do to make yourself numb to those feeling? Begin a bad drug or drinking habit? Or fight your way back from the obis through self-healing activities.

When the mind is sickened and depressed then the body and spirit often follow suit. And when this goes on for too long mental fatigue transmits less of the healing feel good chemical energy (serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin, etc.) and begins to put more stress on bodily functions and cellular health. Then as internal and external environmental stressors continue, increased oxidative stress damage to cells occur. Then increase risk of illness and disease and more pain depression follow.

IMG_0277

So many ways to mobilize the body and experience life to the fullest.

I know from personal, medical consultation, client and educational experiences there is a universal energy capable of healing all that ails us [1/3 encompassing being is “spirit”]. Reversing ill-health can be accomplished through lifestyle change that connects our physical being to nature’s spiritual surroundings and energy. My healthy spiritual connection is made through daily walking activity on suburban and rural trail systems as a city dweller. Read: Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and get fit.

To make sense of everything that proceeded to this point, let’s experience what it may be like to live the social disability expectation through another mind’s eye.

You now live a changed lifestyle due to injury or disease or mental disorder. You may/may not have limited mobility, take drugs of some form and receive disability checks monthly. People in general understand disability payments is a needed resource for those clinically diagnosed as disabled of the mind, or body, or both. What becomes bad about those payments are when recipients stop living life to the fullest when in fact capable of doing more.

For example, some believe their not capable of doing anything after disability rating and award of support. Other than living a sedentary lifestyle and stuck inside their home while partially or fully mobile. And others fear if they try to increase activity effort or become more productive, they may lose their disability finances. In either case this is wrong thinking.

Which life road will you choose? A path of adventure and purpose, or isolation.

One does not have to live a 100% disabled and sedentary lifestyle if on 100% disability benefits. There’s room to increase daily mobility activity and improve productivity, while managing pain without fear of losing financial support. Keep this in mind, once substantiated disabled by a medical doctor and awarded support, this will not stop unless you’re gaming the system [an entirely different scenario and discussion].

If you’re now suffering from a depressed state of mind, body and spirit, realize no matter the physical adversity challenge… you have greater purpose in life than meeting a 100% social disability expectation. For instance, does physical disability mean your brain or body is not capable to some capacity of increased productive function?

Does this not mean one can’t help others who now find themselves in the same situation and need a voice, guidance and advisement on how to move forward, heal and fine purpose in life?

Does this mean there’s no greater good one could aspire because of partial, or full immobility, disease, mental disorder and pain challenges?

Does this mean a broken body or mind can’t reason and mend itself out of depression and limited mobility with proper treatment and support resources?

To tell you the truth I could go on and on with reasons why someone should not meet a social disability expectation based on any other opinion than a medical doctor(s) and the knowledge gained once you’ve connected and participated within a relative self-healing treatment program. MirrorAthlete soon to be released book provides all these connections you need to know, get well and live life to the fullest.

The point is, everyone has purpose on planet earth.   Your decision to make… will you accept your disability as a lifelong sentence without hope of better circumstances? Or will you fight for happiness, purpose and quality of life experiences for the sake of self, family and community.

Family Needs You…

To fight and die for a cause is a noble endeavor. To lie down without a fight serves no purpose, especially when capable of doing more. In my mind, only total incapacitation [hospice care] should relieve one of further service and purpose to self, family and community. For that life purpose has been served and will be judged and rewarded not of this earth.

I know many broken bodies have given up on themselves because of injury(s) or chronic medical condition(s) and dependent on disability services making life more comfortable and secure. But in knowing you’re provided for there’s opportunity to help others when capable. Stay mindful, the spirit is strong and when connected to universal energy can overcome many types of physical and mental adversity challenges.

Even if your diagnosis and health condition is classified as stationary permanent (means condition is stable, may/may not improve and “may” get worse with age) is certainly not a reason to throw in the towel. To age without challenging disability on a daily basis is to limit mobility and life purpose. And for many increase health risk. This is where depression begins its insidious course on the organic brain and body.

If lack of mobility causes body weight to climb, then cardio circulatory and disease often follow and may further complicate primary disability circumstances. And when you see no way out of this progressive negative you experience more mental and physical depression and pain than need be.

Don’t let disability and society dictate how to live your life. Don’t accept or fulfill a social disability expectation that’s less purposeful than needed to accomplish life goals and especially when capable.

Be a MirrorAthlete® Warrior and take back as much of your life as possible.

See the world and enjoy yourself in social gathering space and experience positive life interactions.

Live life to the fullest, with purpose and in a way that makes you feel good about your time here in these mortal bodies!  Then you may experience life to the fullest with no regrets. And find peace within your mind’s eye, heart and soul.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2015 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Dare to Walk, Live Life to the Fullest!

10 04 2010

Marc from Mirror Athlete Enterprises while on a windy beach day walking, stops to video his thoughts. In this clip Marc touches on walking as the best cardiovascular fitness pain management alleviation exercise. If you can walk, you can receive a fitness and health benefit. Join Marc and follow his many outreach fitness and pain management projects through http://www.mirrorathlete.biz. Here Marc posts Mirror Athlete projects in hopes to reach as many suffering American’s that need not accept the social disability expectation. So many American’s live in isolation and fear of becoming disabled with crippling pain. Marc educates all how to work around pain challenges as we age regardless of pain disorder, illness, or disease. Won’t you join Marc and support his outreach program to help those in pain. By helping Marc, you help millions of familiens hence a nation “one step at a time!”  Also, be sure to read “Dare to Walk, Realtiy TV Game Show Concept” at Mirror Athlete repository article site.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Rehabilitate Self Through Walking

9 04 2010

Marc from Mirror Athlete stops during his 10mile walk.  See  (www.daretowalk.com) and (www.mirrorathlete.com)  current stories/projects to show you how he went from being confined to bed and wheelchair after surgeries back to health.

It took him approximately 3 years to go from 1block to 18mile (best walk). Doctor’s had left him with prescriptions, handicap placard, stay off feet advicement. His mobility aids of choice : Wheelchair, walker, canes. There was no instruction on rehabilitation to get back what he had lost; other than self advocation for more physical therapy and specialist referals. In other words, it was all up to him to find the motivation, strength and applied knowledge to progress to where he is today. Marc had one knowledge based benefit most don’t have… An undergraduate degree in Exercise Science that he used to apply in order to rehabilitate himself.

Marc specializes in fitness, general health, wellness, nutrition and pain management. See his websites: Through his project hub:  At Mirror Athlete.biz 

Also you can follow mirrrorathlete or daretowalk on twitter. You can also sign up as a Face Book fan and follow Mirror Athlete Enterprises through Facebook. Please chime in on discussions if you have time to contribute.   Share your rehabilitative stories, your walking and active movement exercise activity success.  Send your video links to the Facebook discussion room under an applicable health category so we can post videos here as we do at YouTube (mirrorathlete). In this way we share and outreach to millions that are suffering in unnecessary pain. We welcome your support and success stories for the sake of others that need your inspiration and motivation. Good Health to you and your families!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2009 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Unexplained Pain Disorders Commonly Diagnosed as Fibromyalgia

8 04 2010

Visit Mirror Athlete Chronic Pain Center

Unexplained pain disorder diagnosis is commonly & medically transcribed “characteristic of fibromyalgia pain.” However, the worse thing about unexplained pain depression is not knowing where the pain disorder originates and how to effectively alleviate, or remove the pain. So we seek medical help to resolve our pain disorder issues commonly treated with strong “mental health” prescription drugs.

In this case, instead of “status quo” pychosomatic (mind-to-body) pain connection; a “not so well known” reversal of “undiagnosed (not medically substantiated)” neurological soft tissue damage creates the opposite pain pathology… In which physical pain can cause great depression effecting mental health. This my friends is much harder for medical specialist to diagnose and agree upon actual causes of any particular “unsubtantiated pain disorder(s).” And in many cases, unexplained physical pain disorders are now receiving a fibromyalgia diagnosis which is an easy out for much of our medical community; good for the pharmaceutical companies and horrible for these unique pain disorder outpatients.

In otherwords, it’s much easier “in many cases, not all” for physicians to prescribe psycotropic drugs for mental health conditions believed to be the cause of physical pain (mind-body neurological pathology connection). But when unsubstantiated physical acute pain becomes chronic… Much pain depression occurs from the body-mind connection pathology. This in turn causes depression of the mind originating from the body (non diagnosed origin).

In many of those suffering from physical pain seek pain alleviation to no avail because the pain never originated from a mental health cause pathology problem. Now if this undiagnosed physical problem continues on too long without the necessary intervention; a mental health ill-health condition begins to surface, then “can cause” phycosomatic health issues. The bottom line… substantiated pain origins must be determined to not worsen encompassing health issues in these unique outpatient situations.

This is a whole different ballgame for which our HMO’s don’t handle well. I know this from personal experience. I know our medical community has the technology to provide appropriate diagnosis in many pain disorder cases. However, HMO specialist disagree all to often and always seem to subjectively diagnose, label and prescribe medications all too often that are not effective and potentially cause further harm to patients. Once given a “labeled” diagnosis through subjectivity makes it very hard for some patience to receive further appropriate and timely referals; and other necessary help, i.e., further safe/healthy treatment, state services, e.g., Financial disability assistance, etc.

Tell your story in the comments section about your pain depression, fibromyalgia experiences/connection, disability support, or lack thereof so we can help steer each other to pain free bodies and minds. If interested in a fresh chronic pain forum to discuss this issue in our Face Book Discussion room.  Simply visit Mirror Athlete Enterprises Discussion Room.  Begin chimming in on health matters of importance while looking for solutions and shared experiences.  You can also create your own topics of discussion in this room that matter to you and your family.  Pain management is the topic category.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





After Holiday Weight Gain Blues

23 01 2010

The End of Old Habits Are Near. Let Life Begin

Another year has gone by with all the Holiday décor and cheer with it.  I understand some of you had a tough time with the food choices and amount that you consumed.  And with this being said, should I dare say some of you are not only bummed out after you stepped on the scales, you are blue with depression.  This I understand and can definitely empathize.  The way I see it, you can continue to feed those screaming fat cells telling your stomach and brain it needs more, or you can deny them.  I know, easier said than done.  Cutting back after consuming all those rich foods will be the hardest thing you’ll do to get control of your weight for the New Year.  I also understand with the passing of the old year and in with the new, maybe last year’s resolutions to lose weight didn’t work out so well.  I’ve got to tell you; “don’t be so hard on yourself.”  There are many reasons weight gain occurs and I would never tell you I know what you are going through.    So many of us, when we get stressed, or traumatic change occurs in our lives, causes much long-term depression as well as over consumption of food.  Many at some point in time are at great risk of this prolonged weight gain habit being triggered during the Holiday season.  Because with the Holiday’s many emotions are triggered that can also set the stage leading to depression. 

Unfortunately too many of us deal with depression by consuming too much comfort food and drink.  After the consumption of too much rich food we get upset, frustrated and finally depressed about our weight because we don’t know why we can’t control this habit.  There is also an illness-disease cause and effect relationship that complicates controlling weight once we become obese.  At this point the mind-body “can” becomes susceptible to greater illness-disease risk.  For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), congenital heart disease, fibromyalgia, phantom pain, etc.  Over eating for many years will cause much discourse and depression in one’s life which complicates weight management, mood, and pain picture, relationships we have with people and life goals. 

Although I’ve written many articles revolving around depression, fitness and pain management, I have not written an article with regard to food habit & depression relationship triggers.   In general, stressful life events cannot be avoided in life but can be minimized by understanding the stress triggers and food consumption patterns.”  Regardless of season, or any day for that matter, you must learn to change behavior and habits to take control of your weight goals and develop better stress coping skills.  These skills can be greatly improved through healthy food consumption, relationship associations (behavioral food trigger habits), activity and exercise.  Learn to realize the stress triggers and substitute healthy food and activity as a stress reducer, i.e., walk-window shop, read a good book, call a friend, eat organic, or Mediterranean diet etc.  Whatever you do, don’t go to the fridge or quick mart and have a binge session.  This habit is very hard to stop.  Seek professional help if depression lasts longer than 14 days or frequently returns and/or if you become obese as a result of your habits and can’t stop them. 

Holiday’s and weight gain relationship is something I understand and have worked to avoid during this eventful time of period.  And I know the screaming fat cells will get over themselves once one gets back to a normal routine after the festivities pass.  But all too often, it is too easy to continue the party into the New Year, or look to celebrate every weekend.  Don’t fall into this trap.  To carry this habit into one year and then the next is really unhealthy and depressing as I know you may be aware. 

Alright, I know I said “don’t be so hard on yourself,” and “I would never tell you I know what you are going through…”  However, there is a difference with cheerful event weight gain and short-term depression versus long-term weight gain and depression.  One is short lived and the other is not!  For a few, I would say your weight gain unfortunately may be due to a metabolic defect of the thyroid, or pancreas for example, in which case you require a physician’s treatment.  Any long-term weight gain that has become an unhealthy condition putting you at risk for more illness, disease, depression and pain requires a physician consultation and treatment!  However, there is no reason not to pursue changing your life style to fit habits that incorporate specialized medical treatment and advisement from your physician. 

I now present 8 prominent weight gain blues and depression habits people get themselves into and don’t necessarily know how to resolve the weight gain quagmire throughout the year.  Below I have listed eight hard to break weight gain problematic habits that need to be realized before successful long-lasting health benefits occur.  It is the hope that by exposing habit/behavior relationships, one can change these unhealthy habits into healthy habits that are enjoyable.  

 8 Prominent Weight Gain Blues Behavioral/Habits that Require Change,

  1.  Holiday Cheer Weight Gain – What can I say about Holiday Cheer Weight Gain that I haven’t mentioned in my previous writings.  Have a Holiday battle meal plan before you set down at the table.  Read the following article, “Holiday Weight Management Tips.”
  2.  Last Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Failed – You know why you failed your weight loss program from previous years.  You did not resolve, or change your behavioral eating, drinking, or fitness habits.  To do so is still too painful for you for whatever the reason.  As I stated, “I will not pretend to know what you are going through…”  Until you can resolve and/or get serious about your weight loss/depression, or seek professional help, my fitness tips will fall on deaf ears.
  3.  Pain factor – All pain is directly related to illness, disease and/or injury.  And with pain comes more sedentary type activity.  It is for this reason, it is more important than ever you work with your primary physician and pain management specialists to find activities that you can do safely.  Also visit mirror athlete chronic pain center for other tips and recommendations.  All pain disorders are different and require customized fitness specialization in order to work around and prevent pain trigger aggravations, or worsen pain disorders.  It is for this reason you become proactive to find a fitness activity that you can participate in daily while pain managing with your physicians.
  4.  Stressful life events and comfort food – For many the trigger to eat comfort foods stems from everyday stress factors such as:  Work, bills, health, relationship, family issues, etc., the list goes on.  Stressful daily events can culminate into major depression and poor eating habits (these two things often go hand in hand).  This is a duel health hazard (impacts mental/physical) that effects millions of Americans causing the national obesity and ill-health mental crisis for our children as well.  We get so stressed out over our fast paced lives we can’t foresee how we could ever squeeze time in the day to maintain our overall fitness and healthy eating habits.  Then you tell yourself, I’ll take care of it later.  You must find time before, or after the day’s end to participate in a healthy fitness activity to thwart off daily stress and increase overall fitness levels.  Good diet and activity practices are important for the entire family where healthy habits is essential to establish early on in life and critical for good health “especially” as we age.    For example, my daily fitness activity is walking.  I also mix up the fitness activities with swimming at the local fitness center, light weights and other aerobic equipment.  My fitness habit is mid-day; although it was 5:30am and 12:00pm for many of my working years.  This habit for me reduced stress depression, built self-esteem, controlled my weight, and alleviated pain disorders while keeping the body fit.  I know AM routine seems tough at first, but become an addictive habit if you give it a try for a couple of weeks.  For most, I don’t recommend an after workout fitness habit unless it’s walking.  The stressful day will make the fitness habit seem like pulling teeth for which one will not adhere for a long period of time.  For instance, walking provides much less stressful and more relaxing with your spouse, kids, dogs in hand, etc., where stressful issues can be discussed into reasonable solutions and making better relationships.  I highly recommend mixing it up with after work walks and every other day morning fitness activity.  Look for weekend activities with family, e.g., hiking, camping, boating, walking the beach, visit historical places, etc. I promise you’ll get healthier while improving family relationships.
  5.  Carry the party into New Year – Some carry the end of year festivities into the New Year.  This behavior can last for months.  For many through the entire New Year.  The festive mood appears to keep your depression at bay while keeping you preoccupied with comfort eating, drinks and cheer with friends.  The basketball and baseball season is loaded with reason for bi-weekly celebration.  “First and foremost, you must understand this is occurring and must break this bad habit!”  It is not bad to watch sports, of course this may vary in opinion with your significant other as time is spent on viewing other than bonding.”  However, to continue the party festivities for weeks and months in over consumption indulgence will only drag on the inevitable weight gain and depression blues that accompanies this jovial behavior after the party. Although jovial is enjoyable and relaxing, too much of anything can be a bad recipe for disaster.  As we age and continue this type of lifestyle behavior, weight will pack on and become harder to lose creating many health risks.  If you’re hanging onto this habit and want to change, incorporate a plan to change using my recommendations here, or review anyone of my articles to assist in your weight management control and lifestyle change goals.
  6.  Fast foods after the Holiday’s rush continues. Too many Americans consume fast foods especially during the Holiday rush.  Here lies a crux for the American obesity problems.  During the Holiday’s everyone is in a rush to get the shopping done for gifts, Holiday meals and travel.  During this time there is a huge spike in fast foods and alcohol.  This is greatly reflected through our stock markets and retail purchases.  Yes, business booms almost in every sector of the economy, especially, retail, fast foods and spirits.  Let’s focus on fast foods.  Fast foods are convenient, chemically addictive and bad for your health in the long run.  Both fast food and drink easily bind one into an addictive habit that is hard to break if continued too long.  I’ve watched too many people throughout my life not understand the addiction, weight gain and ill health results from fast foods.  Most that continue the fast food habit don’t even realize this is creating their weight gain problem.  All too often after obesity strikes so does illness and disease.  If you are eating out more than once per week, this could very well be your weight gain problem.  I know, you’re thinking, what if I just give up the fast food places and eat out at restaurants?  While this is a better concept, you don’t know how much of the meals are preprocessed and then served, even in fine dining establishments.  Also, when you eat out most tend to eat more.  Instead of eating out, develop a healthy active habit of shopping for more organic type foods and preparing your own meals.  I highly recommend you read my article, “Restaurant Foods Healthy?
  7.  Love of Baking – I know, some of you carry your new found baking creativity and consumption habits into the New Year.  Although there is nothing wrong with healthy food baking habits, the pitfall is when you love everything you bake just a little too much.  I know the kids love your baking treats and it’s hard not to make cookies, cakes and pies after the Holidays.  Remember moderation with deserts.  Too much sugar, fats and salts are not good for anyone, even kids with fast metabolisms.  If you’re having a tough time with moderation of baking because of whatever is tugging at your apron, try changing up the desert menu a little.  Try to be creative with other types of deserts if the sweet tooth bug just won’t stop.  Try fruits-veggie tray, jello, pudding, etc.  Mix it up and break away from the continuous baking habit.  If you continue baking from one New Year into the next because you are the one that lacks the will power to balance this activity, I highly recommend you read the following article if you want to take back your weight control goals, “Will Power Weight Loss Secrets.”
  8.  Empty Nester’s Bake for an Army – Regardless of season, there are many empty nest couples that continue baking for their entire family after the children have left home.  There are many things tied into this habit which makes this pattern particularly tough to break, especially for those that want to take control of their weight.  And this is an especially tough feat if one wants to change the habit and the husband for example demands dinner meals that require traditional family recipes.  This is a tough to break psyche-food habit relationships for many empty nest couples.  For example, check out some of the tough relational habits after years of lifestyle practice:  Family dinners and social event food comforts; recipe serving portions equate to taste; favorite dishes tied to child personality, family traditions.  You continue to cook huge portions, eat bigger portions and/or store more.   The activity habit of hording food through continuous shopping may be a stress reliever as a form of social & physical activity.  You store excess foods in preparation for when family members visit.  You continue to invite your children and their children over for frequent mid-week and weekend meals.  You celebrate annual Holiday events to include sports playoffs with big meals whether family is there or not.  I could go on and on with this, but I think you get the picture.  Many empty nesters lived for their children where their food storing, preparation, celebration and eating habits were based on full house functionality.  As I stated, this is a tough habit to break but can be done.  If you fall into this category, you first must realize what you are doing and work to change this habit if weight loss and thwarting the blues and weight loss is your goal.  If you feel the need to change your traditional cooking habits into a healthy activity with your significant other…  Learn to cook Mediterranean type recipes, etc., and get exercise by walking to the local market to get the ingredients.  You will also have to learn to mix in your families favorite dish recipes, but modified to servings of two, three, four…   Also, make a huge effort to get in daily walks whether it’s coupled with a healthy walk meal shopping effort.  The idea is to get more activity and eat a healthier diet in proper proportions.  Walk to your local library, and pick up a healthy recipe books and/or look to take a Mediterranean, or low calorie healthy cooking class.  Consider previous MAE articles and apply this information to your lifestyle.  Visit Mirror Athlete’s health repository for other healthy habit weight loss and management tips and recommendations files under weight, holiday, depression and diet.

 After the Holiday’s it can be easy to get into a pattern of never ending “feel good binge eating habits” for whatever the reason and carried into the next New Year.  Just as any one, or combinations of reasons above apply to your particular weight gain and depression blues scenario through each passing year.  You cannot continue to mask your depression blues through food, year after year because your food habit controls your will power to change.  Once you begin to eat healthy and exercise, your fitness levels improve dramatically.  You’ll have the energy to walk and/or become involved in healthier hobby-exercise activities.  And with this habit change the depression blues will become infrequent to rare. 

 I would just like to end this article by providing a valuable bit of insight.  Too many people don’t understand this food habit relationship and the ill-effects it has on quality living.  The same is also true of natural addictive brain chemical stimulation through a more active life style and the effect it plays on weight loss and mood.  And with this being said, it is sad to say, all too many are now prescribed anti-depression pills to boost serotonin levels in the brain to make us feel better on a daily basis.  This does absolutely, or very little to promote increased activity, changing daily habits and weight management.  There is also known “secondary health risks” that “can/do” occur through long-term use of psychotropic prescriptions.  Instead, it would be wise to consider the natural alternatives in combating obesity and depression through increased activity which will naturally boost serotonin levels for healthy body, mind and soul.  If you now use psychotropic prescriptions to combat depression and it’s further complicating your health goals, please read the following article, “Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals.”   Do not stop your medication; simply consider incorporating exercise and eating healthier while you work with your doctor.  You may be able to get off the medication, or reduce the dosage dependency, thereby decreasing other serious health risks. 

 Write us about your weight loss success and removing depression from your life.    We’ll publish your New Year’s resolution success story and identify your post with a first name and state you reside in.  Or make a comment in the posting log where this linked article resides in our healthrepository.  Simply email us with how you changed your habits to lose weight and/or thwart the blues and we’ll post for you under this article.  May this year be your year for weight loss success and defeating depression.  Good health to you and your family! 

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Medical Marijuana Use Pro's and Con's

19 06 2009

It is very concerning after speaking with local youth in two states (California and Oregon) regarding marijuana use; there is a nonchalant attitude regarding this drug.  The common answers to my questions, “don’t you think marijuana will harm you in any way if you continue to use this drug?”  Or, if you keep smoking the stuff, aren’t you afraid of addiction and associated health risks?  Much like laying a bet, are you assured you are not gambling with your health or future life endeavors?   The common answers in reply, “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.”  “As a matter of fact, alcohol is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, broken families, job loss etc., where with cannabis this is not the case.”  The other common answer, “I can quit anytime I want to, it’s not addicting, it’s not a gateway drug and I don’t drink; I choose this drug as my recreational drug of choice as I prefer this vice opposed to drinking.”  Others simply state, “For me there are no problems regarding my use of this drug, therefore, no harm.”  Our youth and many adults don’t appear to regard cannabis as a harmful substance as it like many of our controlled drugs are derived from mother earth, mostly to be tainted by man-made processing chemical manipulation and sold as approved prescription drugs, or recreational drugs (tobacco, spirits, wine and beer).

In other words, “on the street,” cannabis untouched by man appears to be a safer alternative for medicinal purposes (chronic pain alleviation) and recreational use (opposed to alcohol), even though most seem to understand there’s an inherent risk toward addiction (but don’t want to admit it outright) and health risks (e.g., cannabis smoke carcinogens).   My sampling of these queries is rather small, around 50 discussions on this topic where 80-90% concedes (teenagers and adults), cannabis is probably the least harmful of the illegal drugs that should be fully legalized.  And almost all adults within this sampling seem to acknowledge the medicinal properties and benefits for chronic pain sufferers.  I can see the medicinal benefits through the scientific studies, however “all” drugs must have some form of state and federal regulation or greater health and/or addiction problems “will” significantly impact our youth as is with our legal drugs.  Our youth should be of great concern with regard to cannabis legalization.  Any drug including cannabis can have a negative impact on growing minds and bodies especially if one should become addicted during the developmental stage of their lives.  This fact alone can destroy a life before it begins.

I felt it was very important to add two addiction articles to the MAE Health repository since I wrote two previous articles on “Medical Marijuana Use, Part 1 (pain benefits) and 2 (scientific support data) for chronic pain sufferers.”  As you read the two articles, there is a very good case to continue research and development while easing up on state and federal laws for chronic pain sufferer’s use of cannabis.  There is some very good science based around severed or damaged nerve endings where only the THC receivers at the nerve endings provide pain relief through cannabis use.  Science also shows these damaged nerve endings do not respond to the typical opiate prescription; hence pain alleviation through the pharmaceutical prescription gold standard has little to no effect in many chronic pain controlled studies.

Now you are figuring out possibly where I’m going with this.  We must be very vigilant with our children while our states continue to relax marijuana use laws.  I’m in favor of legal marijuana use by chronic pain sufferers.  I’m also very aware and concerned about our children’s access to marijuana should it be fully legalized.  There is a greater probability that distribution abuse and use will occur because of easy access to chronic pain patient’s medicinal prescriptions, or full legalization as an adult recreation drug.  We must not and cannot depend on our government agencies to protect our children from abusing any drug.  It is our responsibility as parents to educate our children, knowing the differences between right and wrong with an understanding of the possibility of addiction and consequences of drug use regardless of whether our society and government deem the substance legal, or illegal.

Control and regulation is very important when dealing with any drug as all forms of mind altering substances have the potential for abuse, health risk, societal harm and addiction.   If there is no, or limited state-federal regulation, control, such as, quasi-legal medical marijuana (read previous MAE achieved Medical Marijuana articles “Pain Benefits,” http://www.mirrorathlete.com/blog) then our government supports a quasi-illegal black market operations by turning a blind eye to states rights and the science backing cannabis pain alleviation.

In other words, if science supports the pain alleviation benefits of any drug including medical marijuana then our federal agencies should recognized the benefits and legalize the drug.  Our federal government should fully recognize states rights for pain patients as opposed to potential imprisonment for those that fall outside of federal guidelines.  Until this is done, like alcohol which we know has the same access and abuse potential by our children… Without federal recognition of cannabis as a controlled substance for medicinal use, substance abuse of the drug will not be monitored and addiction, carcinogenic health risks, with associated mental health probabilities will not be addressed correctly, or adequately.  Instead many cannabis users will possibly be subjected and directed through the penal system for rehabilitation if convicted; which we all know is not the best treatment and rehabilitation course for any drug addict.

Why, because our penal system incarcerates and holds prisoners for breaking the law which is big business unto itself… Incarceration appears to incorporate treatment and rehabilitation for addicts inside, but how successful are these programs really?  And is treatment and rehabilitation this industries main focus?  It sounds like a business that is dependent on law breaking convicts more so than a rehabilitation center for drug addicts.  So, I ask again is this the best course of action to rehabilitate an addict?

I really don’t know since I’ve never been incarcerated, or exposed to these rehabilitation programs.  However, I believe any government run programs are inferior to a third party source.  Really, what am I to think?  Our government has proved time and time again it only knows how to spend money with inefficient government service programs.  It would appear our government is more interested in taxing the American people for unnecessary or inefficient services to grow government.  If the financial rewards and power out weight any human benefits then “We the People,” will come second to power and corruption.  It’s all about power, control and a human trait that cannot be tamed, ‘greed!”

With any drug, “ANY Drug,” there is always the potential for substance abuse.  Cannabis will eventually be fully legalized on a national level, first as is occurring through medical marijuana permits.  The major marijuana composition THC is already legally sold (Marinol) & prescribed by our medical providers.  However, most consumers don’t know this information.

Marinol is listed and classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as a class III legal prescription.  So instead of smoking the cannabis which is the illegal part, you are legally able to ingest the THC oil prescribed by most HMO’s for pain management.  Maybe our government within its infinite wisdom determined it would be easier to control marijuana distribution to our children in this format.  In fact, since Marinol must be refrigerated, it seems to me, it would be easier for our children to get their hands on the tiny capsules, conceal and consume.  If the government was truly concerned about a chronic pain patient wellbeing they would fully legalize cannabis and provide the choice to ingest, or inhale their script.

Part 2, “Marijuana Addiction, Lay Your Bet!” is continued and will be published within July09 issue.  I will post information regarding legal marinol and government greed that will knock your socks off!  You’ll not want to miss the continuation of this article!  Really, is this multi-billion dollar industry concerned about our children’s potential addiction, or is it really about government greed, power and control?

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.