As Seen on Dr. Oz: Saffron Extract Curbs Your Appetite

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by Dr. Susan Lark


In January 2011, I wrote an article in my newsletter about how to curb emotional eating, a very common weight loss obstacle for so many women. In that article, I wrote about an exciting nutrient that has been shown to significantly curb snacking: saffron extract. 
Scientists have identified at least two of saffron's active ingredients: safranal, which has been found to promote levels of the well-being neurotransmitter serotonin, and crocin-1, which inhibits the neurotransmitters dopamine (believed to condition you to expect “rewards” from comfort food) and the acute stress hormone norepinephrine. Saffron’s effects on these brain chemicals is believed to be one mechanism by which it combats mild to moderate depression; increases a sense of fullness and satisfaction; helps blunt the triggers of emotional eating; and promotes not just weight loss, but reduction of fat mass.
You may have seen a segment on this exact saffron extract yesterday on the Dr. Oz show. While I was pleased to see this nutrient highlighted on national TV, I must warn you--saffron is not a miracle weight loss "pill," as it was portrayed on yesterday's show. Research shows a significant reduction in snacking after four weeks, after continued daily use. For most women, the results are not nearly as immediate as the show would have you believe. So while I do highly recommend saffron extract if you are trying to curb your appetite, reduce your emotional eating, and ultimately lose weight, you must use it as part of a healthy weight loss program that includes exercise and healthy diet. 
You can find the specific saffron extract used in studies in Slim Select.

About the Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processor

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by Susan Lark
I told you earlier this week about the estrogen-deficient fast processor. Today, I'll tell you about the mirror image of this woman--the estrogen-deficient slow processor.

An estrogen deficiency–slow processor woman is also in menopause and may experience menopause symptoms, but she has the opposite body type and temperament. Characteristics include:
• Plumper/difficult time losing weight
• Fluid retention
• Stronger bones and connective tissue
• Thicker skin and hair
• Placid temperament

Often women have characteristics that fall under both categories, but more of the characteristics fall in one over the other. In this case, you should identify yourself with the profile that most closely lines up with your personal characteristics.

Over the next few days, I'll tell you about exercises and foods to eat if you are a fast processor or slow processor.

Berries Truly are Nature’s Candy

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Forget chocolate and jellybeans. Berries are the only candy you’ll ever need.  berries truly are Nature's candy

Not only are they sweet and delicious, but can also help prevent or relieve a wide variety of health complaints. From antioxidants that fight cancer and heart disease, to bioflavonoids and minerals essential for energy and good bones, the nutrients in berries benefit your whole body—and come in a sweet, attractive, richly-textured package.

For example, a 1996 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that the flavonoids found in purple-colored berries, such as raspberries and blueberries, could actually reduce the risk of death from heart attack in middle-aged men with coronary artery disease.

And don’t even get me started on the fact that they are low glycemic and fit into virtually every natural weight loss plan on the market!

Whether you choose blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries, just choose organic and choose often!

For even more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Your Natural Weight Loss Plan: Remember that Waist Size Matters

Thursday, February 3, 2011 by Susan Lark

Researchers have recently reported that waist circumference is associated with higher risk of mortality among all women—but interestingly, mortality rates were especially high in those women who had a normal body mass index, or BMI (and therefore, were not considered overweight or obese). 

BMI is not always a clear indicator of whether or not your weight is in the healthy range. For instance, many athletes who have a great deal of muscle mass (and therefore weigh more because of that muscle mass) would be considered overweight by BMI standards. Therefore, I do believe that BMI is only one tool to assess health risk. Waist circumference is a great indicator of health because women with thicker waistlines (usually more than 35 inches around) have a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and many other conditions.

Eating a healthy diet (which includes natural appetite control measures) and exercising regularly are the best ways to whittle down your waistline and achieve natural weightloss. Try walking, cycling, jogging, tennis, yoga, dancing, or any other exercise that appeals to you and keeps you motivated. In time, your waistline—and your weight overall—will decrease and you’ll be in much better health.

For more great tips on achieving your weight loss goals, visit my Web site.

The ABCs of Healthy Eating

Friday, January 14, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Following a natural weight loss plan can be difficult. Not only are you fighting off cravings and the ABCs of healthy eatingtrying to manage your appetite control, but finding the right foods can be a challenge in its own right.

That’s why I try to simplify things with little mnemonics to help me out:
  • Add more fiber. Begin each meal with a high-nutrient, high-fiber foodósuch as a salad or an appetizer like 1/3 cup of hummus with baby carrots. This will give you a feeling of fullness before you begin your main course.
  • Breakfast like a king.  Eat your heavier meals during the day (breakfast and lunch) and a lighter meal for dinner. This gives your body time to digest the heavier meals long before bed.
  • Calm down when you eat. Research shows it takes at least 20 minutes from the time food hits your stomach until your brain receives signals of fullness. If you eat too fast, you’ll eat past your “full” point, taking in too much food.
  • Don’t quit. If you do eat something that you know you shouldn’t, or that isn’t right for your type, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty. This is not a short-term program, but a lifetime approach. Work to make these recommendations the norm in your life, with foods like refined sugar, white flour, alcohol, and red meats the exception.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods. Otherwise, you may begin to feel bored and deprived. Plus, you need a wide variety of nutrients for good health.
  • Fifteen-minute meal preparation. You’ll be less likely to give in to temptation and hit the fast-food chains if you know you can throw a healthy dinner together in 15 minutes.
  • Go with small portions first. We seem to be programmed from childhood to leave a clean plate. It’s much better to take a little more if you’re still hungry than to feel stuffed because you felt compelled to finish everything on your plate.
  • Honor mealtimes. Light candles, play soft music, and consider mealtimes an opportunity for reflection, planning, and community, whether you’re eating alone or with others.

For more natural weightloss tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Spice Up Your Natural Weight Loss Plan

Thursday, January 13, 2011 by Susan Lark
A cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine is that losing weight requires stoking the metabolic fire externally through physical exercise, and internally by using spices that have a “heating virya” (a flaring initial effect, like tossing fuel onto a flame) and a “pungent vipaka” (a longer, slower, post-digestive heat, like smoldering embers). This process is better known as thermogenesis. Here are two spices that can boost your natural weightloss efforts: 
  • Hot peppers. Capsaicin is the “hot” ingredient in hot peppers. Studies show that, in spite of being fed a high-fat diet, laboratory rats given supplemental capsaicin actually lost body fat and 8 percent of their starting body weight, while the rats not given capsaicin gained both weight and fat. I recommend Nature’s Way Cayenne 40,000 H.U. Take 450 mg three times daily with food.
  • Turmeric. A well-known antioxidant and anti-cancer agent, turmeric is also a traditional Ayurvedic weight-loss agent. Its active ingredient is curcumin, which studies show suppresses fat deposition in mice fed a high-fat diet. I recommend a turmeric extract standardized to 95 percent curcuminoids, which you can find at any health food store or vitamin retailer. Take 500 mg three times daily. Or, simply add this wonderful spice to your recipes! You can find many recipes that include turmeric online.
For more information and tips on improving your natural weightloss efforts, visit my Web site.

Exciting New Natural Remedies for Weight Loss

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 by Susan Lark

In my most recent newsletter issue, I shared some exciting new discoveries in the world of natural weightloss. I'd like to share some of them with you this week. Let's start with a vitamin I have discussed many times in conjunction with bone health, immunity, and even female hormone balance, that now also has been shown to play a critical role in maintaining a healthy weight--vitamin D!

In one very recent study, overweight or obese individuals in a diet and exercise weight-loss program, who concomitantly took supplemental vitamin D, lost significantly more weight than those who were not taking vitamin D. Here’s the twist: Those who had ample blood levels of vitamin D at the start of the weight-loss program did not benefit weight-loss wise from those ample levels. It was when vitamin D levels in the blood increased over the first six months of the two-year study that their weight-loss success blossomed.

I recommend taking 1,000 to 4,000 IU vitamin D3 daily (D3 is more effective than D2). This dose will get your serum levels increasing towards that target level and give your natural weight loss plan a boost. 

For more tips on improving your natural weigtloss efforts, visit my Web site.

Size Does Matter

Monday, January 10, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Over the years, when trying to stick to a natural weight loss plan, I’ve come to realize that size does mattersimply cutting out “bad” foods and eating more vegetables is just one piece of the puzzle. For me, the key really lies in not overeating. Or, in other words, watching portion control.

I tend to not worry about the amount of fruits or vegetables I eat, but when it comes to proteins and especially carbs, I have to admit, my radar goes out the window.

So, to help, I picture the appropriate serving size as an actual item to help me stay on track. I hope it helps you too!
  • 4 oz. fish/poultry—a deck of cards
  • 1 cup—a softball
  • ½ cup—a handful
  • 1/4 cup—a golf ball

For more natural weightloss tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

It’s Okay to Cheat

Monday, January 10, 2011 by Kimberly Day
When it comes to any natural weight loss plan, there’s what you say you are going to do and it's okay to cheatwhat you actually do.

On the good days, they are the same thing. But, on the bad ones, well, all bets can be off. Whether you are out of town and out of your routine or simply give in to temptation, there are always going to be occasions when you either can’t or choose not to follow your natural weight loss plan.

Rather than get discouraged, just remember to say “PLEASE”:
  • Plan for your indulgence and be extra vigilant the day before.
  • Limit the number of indulgences you take in any given month.
  • Exercise for 60 minutes rather than 30 minutes the day after.
  • Always remember, indulgences are the exception, not the rule.
  • Substitute a shake for breakfast and another for lunch the day after.
  • Enjoy! You’ve worked hard and deserve an occasional treat!

For more natural weightloss tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Detox Away the Holidays

Friday, December 31, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Okay, admit it. You drank too much wine, ate too many sweets, and allowed that brother-in-law detox away the holidaysto tug at your last nerve. In other words, the holidays are nearly over and you’ve overindulged. Don’t worry…I’m right there with you.

The reality is it can be very difficult to maintain healthy eating habits and a cheery disposition when continually faced with seasonal delicacies and family turmoil. Fortunately, committing to a detox program during the month of January is one resolution you can keep.

In case you aren’t familiar with detoxing, it’s a great way to gradually cleanse your body of its harmful accumulated toxins (physical as well as emotional) and get you back on track. You see, detoxification is one of your liver’s most important and vital functions. And it has a myriad of benefits, including:
  • eliminating toxins from your body;
  • cleansing and invigorating your cells and tissues;
  • improving your ability to lose weight and gain appetite control;
  • promoting radiant skin and lustrous hair;
  • protecting your nervous system and brain from unmetabolized toxins;
  • reducing your risk of heart disease, PMS, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and breast cancer;
  • enhancing libido;
  • fighting fatigue; and
  • balancing estrogen levels by supporting estrogen metabolism.

The process of detoxification pulls stashed toxins out of hiding and brings them into the blood and lymph circulation where they can be properly eliminated. During this process, their brief presence in your circulation can make you temporarily more toxic, though this will last only until your detox program successfully eliminates the toxins.

Once they have been expelled, you will experience a significant improvement in the way you look and feel, which will escalate as your liver repairs and regenerates itself.

I will outline a program over the next two days so that, come the 1st or 2nd of January, you will have the tools you need to undo the damage of holiday festivities and ring in the New Year in health and radiance.

If you want even more information about detoxification, check out Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Be Prepared for Holiday Temptation

Friday, December 24, 2010 by Kimberly Day
It’s Christmas Eve and you are face-to-face with all the wrong foods. Your appetite control and Be Prepared for Holiday Temptations with Peppermintwillpower have just walked out the door and that plate of cookies seems to be calling your name. What do you do?

Grab peppermint gum or drink a hot cup of peppermint tea. Not only will you still be in the holiday spirit, but peppermint is an aromatherapy lifesaver that can rescue you from cravings.

For really serious situation, you may want to load up on Binge Buster, a mint and chocolate flavored oral spray that contains green tea and Hoodia gordonii. It starts working immediately to suppress appetite. Plus, it alters the taste of sweets long enough to break your cravings. This is a great anti-bingeing tool to carry in your purse to all of your New Year's parties!

For more tips on avoiding holiday weight gain and sticking to your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Kick-Start Your Natural Weightloss-Step 5

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 by Susan Lark

The final step in controlling emotional eating and kick-starting your natural weightloss is to take the following supplements, which have been proven to help curb the cravings associated with emotional eating:

  • Saffron has long been used as a seasoning and coloring agent by gourmet cooks. But saffron also has amazing medicinal value that is beginning to turn heads, including benefits that can help free you from the clutches of emotional eating. Scientists have identified at least two of its active ingredients: safranal, which has been found to promote levels of the well-being neurotransmitter serotonin, and crocin-1, which inhibits the neurotransmitters dopamine (believed to condition you to expect “rewards” from comfort food), and the acute stress hormone norepinephrine. Saffron’s effects on these brain chemicals is believed to be one mechanism by which it combats mild to moderate depression; increases a sense of fullness and satisfaction; helps blunt the triggers of emotional eating; and promotes not just weight loss, but reduction of fat mass. A new, patent-pending, clinically proven optimized saffron extract, developed in France from Mediterranean saffron and used in the study above, is available as a supplement called Satiereal. I recommend one capsule, twice daily.
  • Sublingual 5-HTP. Your brain is a major source for the production of the appetite control neurotransmitter called serotonin, and 5-HTP (5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan) is serotonin’s main ingredient. In a placebo-controlled study of overweight women, eight weeks of treatment with an under-the-tongue form of 5-HTP resulted in a significantly greater sense of fullness and satisfaction, and reduced body mass index, skinfold thickness, and hip measurement. I recommend Life Link’s 5 HTP lozenges .

To  learn more about appetite control techniques and ways to aid in your natural weight loss plan, visit my Web site.

Prevent Holiday Bingeing

Monday, December 20, 2010 by Kimberly Day
About a month ago, my lovely husband informed me that I always gain about five pounds prevent holiday bingeingaround the holidays and did I want to repeat that again this year? (Thanks babe.)

After a few not-so-nice words…and even more thoughts…I had to admit he was right. I love to bake for the holidays, and even though my treats are wheat- and sugar-free, they still have carbs and calories.

So, this year, I decided to go defensive and nip my treat habit in the proverbial tastebuds. If holiday binging is an issue for you (especially Christmas week), then these tips will help you too!

Eat Plenty of Vegetables

Eating lots of veggies, along with your preferred source of protein, is key to any natural weight loss plan. This type of diet is high in fiber, therefore slowing the release of sugars into your bloodstream. This prevents blood glucose and insulin surges, as well as insulin-driven cravings for sweets and starchy foods.

A diet high in plant-based foods also helps you balance your brain chemistry, as well as your progesterone and estrogen levels. In contrast, a diet high in refined foods disrupts your brain and hormonal chemistry—triggering mood imbalances. So get those veggies!

Choose Carbs Carefully

While my biscotti are delicious and a holiday staple, they are carb-heavy. So I limit myself to two a day and then stick to brown rice and fruits the remainder of the day. This way, I am sure to avoid surge-driven cravings.

I also lean on flaxseed to help keep me full and satiated. I just sprinkle it on salads, add to hummus, or scoop into a morning smoothie.

For more tips on avoiding holiday weight gain and sticking to your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Healthy Tailgating

Saturday, December 18, 2010 by Kimberly Day
I am heading to Pittsburgh today to see my family for the holidays. What makes this great visit Healthy Chicken Skewerseven better is that many of my family members and heading to the Steelers/Jets football game on Sunday. And, in my family, football equals food.

To make sure I not only stay on my natural weight loss plan but also bring delicious stuff to tailgate, I pulled together some of my best, and easiest, recipes. Whether you are tailgating as well or simply want some healthy recipes, both of these are sure to please.

The Orient Express

(Serves 4)

This nutty delight combines wheat-free tamari sauce (alternative to soy sauce) with inflammation-fighters ginger and cayenne pepper. I used it as a dipping sauce for chicken skewers.

1/2 cup organic almond butter
1/3 cup tamari sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon stevia or Truvia
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Warm almond butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When slightly softened, add tamari and remaining ingredients and blend well. Remove from heat and pour into large, shallow bowl. Add meat and marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Cherry-Chipotle Burger Bombshells

(Serves 4)

Definitely not for the faint of heart! This tasty recipe provides the antioxidant protection of cherries with the heat of chipotle chilies. Just one bite and you’ll be hooked! If heat isn’t your think, simply delete the chipotle chilies.

1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup black cherry concentrate
1 teaspoon agave
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and blend well. Shape into patties and grill until cooked through. Serve as patties or with wheat-free buns.

For more delicious recipes to compliment your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Fight Holiday Weight Gain

Thursday, December 16, 2010 by Kimberly Day
While the holidays are often a time of celebration, they can also be plagued with stress and fight holiday weight gaincertain annoying in-laws. And this stress can lead many a woman to the cookie or candy jar.

Fight holiday stress and potential weight gain by keeping your neurotransmitters sharp and in balance.

Neurotransmitters relay electrical impulses between nerve cells throughout your body, and affect everything from muscle contraction and blood flow to mental sharpness, mood, and your ability to handle stress. The neurotransmitter serotonin is a major player in the factors that can trigger, or block, cravings and binge eating. Researchers believe it’s a sort of chemical restraint system, inhibiting the more “primitive” centers of the brain.

When your serotonin levels are low, irritability, anxiety, and binge eating become more likely. The excitatory neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine elevate your mood from the other direction—by energizing you and supporting alertness, optimism, motivation, zest for life, and sex drive.

So, what can you do to keep neurotransmitters in proper balance during the holidays and all year long? Serotonin is produced from the amino acids tryptophan and the intermediary substance 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning your body can’t make it—you must get it through foods such as:
  • turkey;
  • seafood;
  • whole grains such as quinoa;
  • brown rice;
  • legumes;
  • eggs;
  • almonds; and
  • sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.

The excitatory neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine) are derived from tyrosine, an amino acid your body can produce from other ingredients and found in most good, quality, protein-rich foods.

If you’ve changed your diet and your cravings are still a problem, consider supplemental 5-HTP and tyrosine to re-stock your body’s neurotransmitters. Dr. Lark recommends gradually working up to 50–100 mg of 5-HTP once or twice a day and 1,000–2,000 mg of tyrosine once or twice a day.

Be sure to take a high-potency multinutrient, as well, to ensure that you’re getting all of the co-factors you need to produce these neurotransmitters—including vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, and copper.

Please note: If you are taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, consult with your physician before taking amino acids.

For more tips on avoiding holiday weight gain and sticking to your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Kick-Start Your Natural Weightloss-Step 1

Monday, December 13, 2010 by Susan Lark

One of the biggest obstacles in any woman's natural weight loss plan is emotional eating.  Emotional eating—craving then consuming foods you are addicted to—occurs when you cannot or will not allow yourself to feel, express, or deal with your negative feelings. 
If you cannot deal with them as they arise, a common protective mechanism is to avoid experiencing them on an emotional level and instead shut them away or bury them in your body. Emotional eating is a common way of doing this. Instead of feeling sad, worthless, angry, or resentful, you anesthetize yourself by bingeing on foods like potato chips, pizza, or ice cream. In other words, you eat instead of feel.

Today and over the next several days, I will give you techniques and supplements that have been scientifically proven to curb emotional eating, provide appetite control, and help aid in natural weightloss. The first step is in this journey is to use a method called relaxation training.

Anxiety causes cortisol elevations that can quickly sabotage any natural weight loss plan. Relaxation training can help you deal with anxiety and reduce emotional eating that can sabotage your weight and health. In a recent study, three months after completing 12 weekly relaxation training sessions, obese women had fewer depression and anxiety symptoms, fewer episodes of emotional eating, and significant weight loss.
A great way to start is to use brain wave entrainment, which uses a preprogrammed session of flickering lights and/or rhythmic sounds that pulsate at the alpha brainwave frequency (the brainwave associated with deep relaxation and a meditative state). The therapy coaxes brainwaves into that target alpha frequency to bring about a relaxed state. My favorite BWE device is the MindSpa

Other relaxation techniques that I use and recommend include yoga, deep breathing, T’ai Chi, Qigong, grounding, and aerobic exercise like walking or hiking. Whatever method(s) you choose, please commit to having at least a 15-minute relaxation session every day to ease your mind.

To learn more about natural weightloss and appetite control methods, visit my Web site.

Spice Up Your Life with Cinnamon

Friday, December 10, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Who would have guessed that a spice as common as cinnamon would have so many amazing Cinnamon's Health Benefitshealth benefits? As I mentioned earlier, cinnamon has been shown to increase sex drive.

But did you know that Chinese, Ayurvedic, and naturopathic medicine all utilize cinnamon for a variety of conditions, including nausea, bloating, and GI upset? However, the health condition that cinnamon seems to be the most effective at both treating and preventing is insulin resistance.

Turns out, cinnamon improves glucose metabolism in fat cells by as much as twentyfold. It does this by reducing the insulin resistance of fat cells, which makes their insulin receptors more responsive.

To explain how this works, imagine trying to talk to your spouse while the kids are screaming, the television is blaring, and the dog is barking to go outside. Pretty unlikely they can pay attention, right?

Now, let the dog out, turn of the television, and settle the kids down with a snack and a game. Your spouse will finally be able to hear you!

That’s how insulin resistance/insulin responsiveness works. If there is too much insulin (noise) in your bloodstream, your cells cannot hear the message. But if you turn down the noise (i.e. improve glucose metabolism), your cells can hear the message and allow the insulin receptors to be more responsive. Of course, I can’t promise the same results with your spouse.

And, when cells are better able to hear insulin’s message and can better absorb and use glucose, the result is lower blood glucose levels.

And when you blood sugar levels are balanced, you have better appetite control. And that’s really the key for some many women battling excess weight. By keeping your insulin levels in check and your blood sugar levels in the healthy range, you are better able to follow any natural weight loss plan.

Putting Cinnamon to Use

Cinnamon is so common, you are likely already using it. But, to help you incorporate it into your every day life, here are a few suggestions:

You can add cinnamon to a hot liquid such as coffee or tea to make it more of an extract.
  • Use cinnamon sticks to make tea.
  • Add cinnamon powder to coffee beans before grinding to give your morning java a blood sugar boost.
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon to oatmeal or any hot cereal.
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon to your favorite smoothie.
  • Make sweet potato cinnamon “fries.”  Cut a sweet potato into “disks.”  Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil and place potato disks in single layer on the cookie sheet. Spray the potatoes with the olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with cinnamon and bake at 425°F for 20–25 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.
  • Core an apple, then cut in half from top to bottom. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until the apple is soft.

For more information on natural weightloss or tips on treating insulin resistance, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Indoor Exercise Options for Natural Weightloss

Friday, December 3, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Old Man Winter has a way of slowing us down during the colder months. Flowers become indoor exercise optionsdormant, bears take to their caves, and many natural weight loss plans fly south for the winter.

However, cold weather should not mean a freeze in your workout. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to try out a few different forms of exercise.
  • Rowing machine. Rowing provides an all-over body workout, conditioning the quads, butt, abs, lower back, and upper body.
  • Stationary bike. Biking works the leg muscles, particularly the quads, while providing needed relief from the pounding on knees and ankles.
  • Stair climber. Stair climbing is a good substitute for running. Like cross-country skiing, climbing stairs utilizes the same range of motion and muscle groups as running.
  • Elliptical. Elliptical trainers mimic the motion of running, but provide a great low impact workout.
  • Classes. Enjoy the company of others by taking part in an aerobics class, work off your aggression through kickboxing, or see why everyone is raving about Pilates.

So this year, when Old Man Winter comes knocking on your door, invite him in for a spin on the stair master or elliptical machine, and use the colder months to explore the some new, fun exercise possibilities.

For more information on ways to maintain your natural weightloss plan during the holidays, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Walk Your Way to a Trimmer Waistline

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Everyone knows that exercise and natural weightloss go hand-in-hand. But did you know that walking for natural weightlosssomething a simple as walking is a fantastic way to lose weight and maintain your weight loss.

In fact, a number of exciting research studies have found that walking, rather than isolated exercises such as crunches or sit ups, is one of the best ways to sculpt and shape your body, as well as to lose excess fat from problem areas where it tends to accumulate, such as the abdomen and thighs.

According to a 1992 study published in the Journal of Gerontology, people between the ages of 60 and 70 who walked or jogged for 45 minutes several times a week for 9 to 12 months lost an average of 7 pounds, with the majority of the weight lost in the midsection. A positive association between reduction of abdominal fat and a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes was also noted.

Similarly, a 1990 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that women who exercised for an hour and a half, 4 to 5 times a week for 14 months, lost more fat in their midriff than anywhere else on their body.

In a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers observed that postmenopausal women who walked three times a week for 24 weeks enjoyed an 8 percent decrease in their body weight and an 8 percent increase in their aerobic capacity.

They also noted a decrease in mid-thigh fat and an increase in mid-thigh muscle, as well as a 6–24 percent decrease in total glucose and insulin, an 8 percent increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and a 19 percent decrease in triglycerides.

Walking is also one of the best ways to maintain your weight loss. According to a 2000 study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who had successfully completed a three-month weight loss program were more likely to keep the weight off and maintain a trimmer waistline when they instituted a walking regimen into their routine.

Walk This Way

Now, I’m not some crazy exercise fanatic. I clearly know that starting and maintaining an exercise program can be difficult, especially during the holidays and colder months. It involves sacrifice, determination, and a great deal of self-discipline.

But if you follow these easy and fun tips, you’ll soon be walking your way to a trimmer tummy!
  • Invest in a good pair of comfortable shoes. Make sure you go to an actual running store to be fit for running/walking shoes that fit your particular feet.
  • Stretch before and after each walk. Take 10 to 15 minutes to loosen up your legs, arms, back, and shoulders before and after each workout.
  • Exercise outside if weather allows. Take time to rejoice in nature and the change of the seasons. Listen for the crunch of snow underfoot and the crispness of the winter air. If the weather in your area simply doesn’t allow for outside activity, move your routine to a nearby mall or try the treadmill at a nearby gym.
  • Never rest on your laurels. In order to avoid plateauing, be sure to build upon each success. If you start off walking for 10 to 15 minutes a day three days a week, try building to 20 to 30 minutes a day 4 or 5 days a week; work towards a goal of walking for one hour a day, 6 to 7 days a week. You can also include more hills in your walk, or gradually increase your rate of speed.
  • Build a community around exercise. Find a walking partner or join a running club. It is easy to find excuses for not taking your morning walk, but it becomes more difficult if someone is waiting for you on the corner or at the gym.

For more information on ways to maintain your natural weightloss plan during the holidays, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Thanksgiving Does Not Have to Derail Your Natural Weightloss Efforts!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 by Susan Lark
It’s almost Thanksgiving and, if you’re like most women, you’re getting ready for one of the largest and most festive meals of the year.

If you’re usually careful about your what you eat, or you're currently on a natural weight loss plan, you may be wondering if you should allow yourself the pleasure of indulging in foods you normally wouldn’t eat, or you may be anticipating the pangs of guilt you’ll experience Friday morning. 

Honestly, I say follow your heart and enjoy the foods you love this Thanksgiving. However, as a doctor, I also recommend that if you do indulge, do so in moderation and don’t overstuff yourself.
If you do overindulge, you may feel out of sorts for a short while. But unless you have a health problem that could be aggravated by even the smallest amounts of the wrong foods or drinks, one day of cutting loose isn’t going to undo the benefits of your usual good diet, and it won't derail your natural weightloss efforts. Just get back to your normal eating and exercise plan on Friday, and enjoy yourself!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!