Category Archives: Health

Body Goals, Gyms can Go

WOW, can you believe it?  We are in a new year already!  Where has the time gone? Like most people, the new year brings many resolutions, and one of those is, “I’m going to the gym.”  The first couple of months of the new year all gyms across the world see an increase in membership.  After that time, the number of gym goers dwindles down to the regular members, with only a few of the new members still going.  

Are you tired of buying a gym membership and not following through?  Tired of paying for a gym membership year after year, to find yourself not going after a couple of months?  Are you paying for a gym membership month after month after month and telling yourself, “I’m going tomorrow.  I paid for this membership.” But you never go?  If your answer is YES, keep reading. Here are 3 ways to reach your goals WITHOUT a gym membership.

ONE.

Use social media.  How?, you may ask.  Glad you asked. Social media is a great way to connect with people that are like-minded, people who have been where you are, people who can encourage and motivate you to reach your goals.   The best part of connecting with people through online communities is – IT’S FREE.  Who doesn’t like getting something for free?  You can find advice, encouragement, motivation, recipes, suggested workouts, and a community of people who will not judge you if you fall down.  

TWO.

Workout to videos on YouTube or cable TV stations, which are free and can add variety to your workouts. Consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program.

Check out these two YouTube channels that can help you reach your goals:

  • LBX FitnessThis channel has 30-day workouts men and women can do in the privacy of their home. The trainer shows participants how to do modified and full versions of the exercises.  This is one of my favorite channels.
  • Tiffany Rothe WorkoutsTry any of the following videos: Fabulous Fat Burning Workout, Waist Shrinking Tummy Tightening Workout, and Sexy Upper Body Workout.  My personal favorite is the 10-minute Booty Shaking Waist Workout.

THREE.

Start a walking group.  

Here are the steps (pun, intended).

  1. Create and post flyers to announce your meeting (or use social media to reach out).  Include time, location and a telephone number if you don’t mind taking calls.
  2. Get organized at your first meeting. Discuss how often to walk, time of day, days of the week to meet, location route, distance, and amount of time the group will spend per walk.
  3. Maintain your group’s momentum.  As the group leader, encourage the group to have a motivational meeting at least once a month
  4. Enjoy yourself.   The camaraderie you experience in a walking group can help you stay on track with walking for fitness.

Home Exercises

Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Complete four times with no rest in between. (If you need to, please rest). After doing 25 high knees, standing in place go right into 25 jumping jacks.

25 jumping jacks

25 standing squats

25 high knees standing in place

 

Tuesday/Thursday

Complete five times with a 30-second rest between sets.  After completing your pushups take a 30-60 second rest and start again from the top. 

45 seconds fast jump rope

25 bicycle crunches (left elbow to right knee, right elbow to left knee = 1)

20 pushups (can be done on your knees or feet)

You can also buy a jump rope, 3-5 pounds (or higher) dumbbells, ankle or wrist weights to add to the video or suggested workouts above for more resistance. 

Now do you see how you can reach your goals without buying a gym membership? You can do this!

Zhivi Williams has over 30 years of experience in fitness. She is the founder of LBX Fitness and author of Who Needs a Gym? Her motto is “Transforming the body starts by renovating the mind.”  Follow her on her website at www.lbxfitness.com and on all social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube – at LBX Fitness.

Womens Health: Cervical Cancer Awareness

It’s time to get back to some health education! January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month so let’s take some time to learn a little about cervical cancer facts, symptoms, causes and how to prevent it.

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer is a disease that allows the cells in your body to grow more than they normally would.

How is the Type of Cancer Determined?

  • The type of cancer is always named according to the body part that it starts in, even if it spreads to other areas.
    • If one has cervical cancer and it spreads to the lungs, she would say, “I was diagnosed with cervical cancer with metastasis (spread) to the lungs.” This person does not actually have lung cancer.

Facts and Stats:

  • All sexually active women are at risk for cervical cancer
  • Most cervical cancers are seen in women over 30 years of age
  • About 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 die from cervical cancer each year.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

  • Many women don’t have symptoms. Those that do experience vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic pain/pressure.

Cause of Cervical Cancer:

  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) almost exclusively causes cervical cancer
    • HPV is a virus that is passed from person to person during sexual intercourse.
    • There are many types of HPV, with a handful that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
    • About 70 percent of sexually active individuals will have HPV in their lifetime; however, before it can cause abnormal pap smears or cancer, most women’s immune systems will fight off the virus to clear it from the body, just like a cold.
  • Other things that can increase the risk of cervical cancer
    • Smoking cigarettes
    • Having several sexual partners
    • Having health problems that decrease your immune system’s ability to fight viruses, like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Prevention of Cervical Cancer

  • Start young! Get your children vaccinated with the HPV vaccination
    • The vaccine protects from the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical and vaginal cancers.
      • It can be given to girls and women, ages 9-26
      • It’s best given before becoming sexually active
      • There is great controversy about giving this vaccine as some parents believe that it will lead their children to believe they can become sexually active. I advise that you speak to your children about the topic and discuss your expectations. All in all, if a vaccination can prevent future cancer for your child, why not give it to her?
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit your sexual partners and use condoms
  • Get your normally scheduled pap smears (a cervical swab that tests for cells that can lead to cervical cancer) on time and follow up as recommended if you have an abnormal pap.
    • Many of the cervical cancers that I see are in women who haven’t had a GYN visit in 15-20 years.

Speaking of pap smears, are you a person that dreads your annual exams due to pap smears? No worries! They are no longer recommended every year! Checkout the current guidelines!

  • Starting getting pap smears at age 21, Continue every 3 years, until age 30, then every 5 years with HPV testing or you may continue every 3 years with just a pap smear alone.
  • Stop after having a hysterectomy if it is done for benign reasons (can’t be done for cancer or abnormal pap smears) or at the age of 65 if the last 3 paps were negative.

I hope this information finds you better informed. If I had to provide two take home points they would be: 1. Get your pap smears done on time! 2. Get your children the HPV vaccination! If there were a vaccine that could prevent breast, lung or colon cancer, etc, everyone would jump on it! Let’s work towards moving past our fear of the HPV vaccination and protect our youth from cervical cancer!

Until Next Time,

Dr. Jay

Holiday Weight Loss Survival

It’s the HOLIDAY season! It’s also the end of the year. For some of us, this is the time of year we deal with massive weight gain. Let’s discuss how we can survive the holiday season without a lot of weight gain and go into the New Year healthier.

7 Holiday Eating Survival Tips:

1. If you’re going to travel for the holidays, eat healthy meals the day(s) before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve/Day. Eat healthy carbs, vegetables and protein. Stay away from desserts (as you might eat these on the holiday).

2. Bring your own food. If you cook your own food for the holiday and take it with you when invited out, this will help you to stay on track and reach your goals.

3. If you are cooking for family or friends, incorporate healthy meals you will eat. You may be the only one eating the meals but that’s okay. Remember, you have goals to reach and eating any and everything isn’t going to help reach your goals.

4. If eating later in the day, fill up on fruits, vegetables and water before leaving. This will help you eat less holiday food when you arrive. If you decide to eat dessert or anything that isn’t healthy, eating fruit, vegetables and drinking water before arriving will help with portion sizes because you will become full quickly.

5. Pile on the vegetables! If healthy carbs are available, put one serving on the plate and add protein. If healthy carbs aren’t available, but you would like to eat the carbs being served, add a small amount to the plate.

6. Do not take leftovers home!!! Christmas is a month after Thanksgiving and the New Year is 1 week after Christmas. It is best to wait to eat the same or similar food again. Not taking leftovers home will allow you to get back on track without eating.

7. OR take the day (only that day) and enjoy the food, family and friends. DON’T step on the scale!!! If eating any and everything is the option of choice, weight gain is inevitable. No need to look at the scale to see how much damage has been done, just enjoy the day and get back on track the next day, and remember tip # 6.

 

5 Holiday Exercise Tips:

1. At a minimum, start walking now. If it is too cold to walk outside, do it inside. YouTube has many great indoor videos you can use.

2. Watching T.V. allows for a great way to exercise. A house or apartment with stairs is a great way to get effective exercise. During commercial breaks, walk up and down the stairs. No stairs, that’s okay; do squats, jumping jacks, arm raises (with or without weights), high knees, jog/walk in place, planks, chair squats, bicycle crunches, donkey kicks, leg raises, or push-ups.

3. On the day of any holiday, wake up and exercise. You can join me for a Facebook Live workout, do workout videos or a YouTube workout (check out Tiffany Rothe Workouts).

4. After eating your holiday meal, if possible, go for a walk. Ask family or friends if they would like to go for a walk to get them involved. If the answer is no, head out the door for some fresh air and a little exercise alone.

5. The day after the holiday, it is time to move. Don’t become lazy or allow the holiday to stop any progress made along the way. If you know you will be shopping on Black Friday and you will be out all day shopping, this can be counted as exercise for the day (depending on how long you will be out).

 

I challenge you: DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE NEW YEAR TO START!! The longer it takes to start, the more weight we have to get off. Start the day you read this article. If you are already eating healthy and exercising, keep doing a great job. Don’t let the holiday season get you off track. Remember, I do Facebook live workouts if you need the motivation!

For the new year, I would like to leave you with this. Set 3 realistic goals to reach for the month of January. REALISTIC is the key. On average you should lose up to 4 pounds a month. Don’t make all the goals related to weight loss. What is your water goal? How many days are you going to workout? How many days a week are you going to meal prep? What type of workouts will you do each week?

My Body, His Creation: Altered By Surgery

Have you considered having surgery to improve your appearance, but refrained or are on the fence because of your religious beliefs or others’ opinions? Are you a person feels that others should not undergo surgical procedures to enhance their appearances? Well, I had the opportunity to interview two women who graciously shared their stories. As you read these narratives, I implore you to have an open mind to receive the stories in their entirety.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of most preventable medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, sleep apnea and more. Individuals living with obesity also suffer from eating disorders, malnutrition, depression, anxiety and feelings of shame and low self-worth. Allow me to narrate the events surrounding Mrs. Aviance Lee’s weight loss surgery.

Life Before Surgery
Aviance was a normal sized child and teenager. She first started gaining weight after delivering her first child and developing her first blood clot. She suffers from a genetic blood clotting disorder, Factor Five (V) Leiden, a disorder that makes you more likely to have blood clots in the legs, lungs, heart (heart attack), brain (stroke) and more. After Aviance recovered from her pregnancy and blood clot she reflects, “I never took the initiative to get the weight off”. Her weight increased with her second child. Over the years she tried “lose weight quick schemes” for which she was briefly successful. She lost 25lbs with Weight Watchers and 45lbs with carbohydrate counting and exercise. She reflects, “It’s all a mind set so if you don’t have the mind to do it, you’ll easily revert” as she did when she stopped the diets and exercise and gained all of her weight back.

I wish I could…

Aviance never had issues with depression/anxiety related to her weight; however, she was limited on certain activities she desired to participate in. She loves amusement parks, but could not ride most of the rides due to her weight. Related to her physical appearance, she did not like the way her legs looked because they were always so swollen. As a result, she never wore capris or short skirts. She remembers trips to the gym as embarrassing moments.

The Turning Point
By the Age of 40 Aviance had already suffered 3 blood clots in both lungs, 2 in her deep leg veins and 2 in her superficial veins, with the last blood clot stretching from the calf to the hip, which is massive. When she was discharged from the hospital she saw a new Hematologist who was “real” with her. He was the first physician to outright tell her, “You are severely obese” and that she would need to lose weight or “it was a death sentence”. He then suggested weight loss surgery. As you can imagine, this was eye opening. She became serious about her weight loss, started researching weight loss surgery and underwent gastric sleeve surgery on February 13, 2017, without complications.

The Haters
It’s disappointing when a person strives to enhance his/her life while family/friends disclose their doubt. Sad to say, Aviance had discouraging interactions before and after surgery. One person told her that she was “taking the easy way out” and to “stay away from the chicken”, which was really hurtful. Of course, she did not allow that to stop her. After having the surgery she quickly learned her rebuttal, “This is not an easy way out and is not for the weak minded” because discipline is key in being successful after weight loss surgery. She states, “This is a new way of life” as she has to be conscious of the foods/drinks she takes in because her stomach does not have the digestive mechanisms it once had. After surgery she overheard individuals saying, “I was going to see if she would lose a whole bunch of weight, but she still looks the same”. People approach her all the time asking, “How much weight have you lost?” or “You’re looking smaller”. She always appreciates the compliments, but says “You can tell when people are sincere…I know that people are watching to see if I mess up.”

Life After Surgery

Now that she has had approx. 85% of her stomach removed, she eats small meals. She has to avoid sodas and carbonated beverages, pure sugar, beef/pork (for a short while) and acidic foods. Her daily goals are to drink 64 oz. of water and take in 75 grams of protein for a total of 800-1000 calories per day. Along with this she exercises often. As of June 4th, Aviance has successfully lost 70lbs and she is ecstatic about it. She says, “I didn’t have a self-esteem issue, but now I’m starting to see my curves!” She says that her legs are smaller than ever and she is able to wear dresses that show her legs. She laughs as she discloses a nickname her close friends call her, “slim-thick”. She awaits the moment when she can begin checking items off her bucket list, including getting on amusement park rides and wearing a two-piece swimsuit at the beach.

 

Breast hypertrophy or large breasts is a medical condition that isn’t always recognized as such. Those with breast hypertrophy deal with shoulder and back pain on a daily basis, which can make exercise and normal daily activities a challenge. It can also lead to depression and anxiety. Let’s explore the events surrounding Mrs. Phillippa McCutchen’s breast reduction surgery.

Life Before Surgery

Phillippa first noticed her breasts were larger than her peers in the 5th grade. As you can imagine, the boys in her class teased her regularly. Luckily she never had a sense of insecurity, likely because she had a great support system around her. Later in life she began to have children and while her body size was consistent, her breasts continued to enlarge. Before she knew it, she was a size 40H. Finding clothing was a task. “I had to increase my shirt sizes to accommodate my breasts and purchasing things like panty and bra sets or lingerie was very challenging”.

 

The Curse
As Phillippa’s breasts grew larger she acquired shoulder and back pain, shoulder indents and the pain made it difficult to exercise. She tried to exercise through the pain to lose weight with hopes to decrease her breast size, but was unsuccessful. As she reflects, she disclosed an anger trigger:
Overhearing other women talking about their own breast sizes. People focus on things they don’t have. Women with smaller breast wanted bigger breasts. I struggled with the thought of women having breast implants and couldn’t understand why they would want to have that surgery. I would become enraged. I felt that if they could walk a mile in my shoes, that they would change their minds.

She remembers becoming angry with God and questioning, “God, why did you make me this way?” “Out of all my cousins, I’m the only one like this.” She goes on to say, “I felt cursed!” Needless to say, once Phillippa had health insurance she was certain that a breast reduction was right for her. She had a very supportive physician who was able to document that her breast hypertrophy was indeed a medical problem (inability to participate in exercise, shoulder indents and back/shoulder pain) so her insurance agreed to pay for the procedure.

The Postoperative Set Back

The excitement of her breast reduction quickly came to a halt after running into a complication that only 1/100,000 people encounter. With low blood flow to her left nipple she had loss of sensation and nearly lost her nipple. For 2 months, she had bi-weekly doctor visits all while her feelings of anger resurfaced. She was so anxious about her physical appearance and what her husband would think of her that she asked, “God, did you really let this happen?” By the grace of God and love of her family, she acquired inner strength to embrace her self. She prayed for God to show her how to appreciate her new body. This was the first time she had ever had to trust God for medical healing. She remembers this whole situation as a test spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Life After Surgery

Now that she has overcome her medical/surgical complication she is overwhelmed in joy with her outcome. She easily finds bras, swimsuits and other clothing that fits her body appropriately. She is also able to follow behind her children as they participate in basketball and cheer-leading, pain free.

Advice From the Wise

Both Aviance and Phillippa advise those who are considering surgery to learn all they can about the surgeries and related risk and make a personal decision to move forward or not. Aviance spent 5-6 months researching the types of weight loss surgeries and physically/mentally preparing. Phillippa says “If it turns out bad, you will blame those who nudged you to have surgery” so you want it to be your decision.

As you can see, having surgeries to improve ones outward appearance is not merely cosmetic. After reading these two individual narratives, I hope it inspires you to show your support for those undergoing these surgical procedures and I pray that you have found inner peace and encouragement if you are considering a surgery.

Until next time,
Dr. Jay

Homegrown – 8 Herbs to Grow Indoors

As we approach the spring and summer months, it is a good time to grow herbs in your home that you can use all year round. You don’t need special lights to grow herbs because certain herbs grow with natural light that comes in through windows.

Which herbs can you grow indoors?

• Basil
• Bay Leaves
• Chives
• Oregano
• Parsley
• Sage
• Tarragon
• Thyme

Basil likes a lot of sun and warmth. Plant the basil seed in a pot that is sitting in a south facing window. Basil needs at least six hours of sunlight; but will also grow under fluorescent light. If fluorescent light is used, be sure to have plant under light at least 10 hours to grow healthy. When growing basil indoors, you will need to use fertilizer. If you will be cooking with the basil, use organic fertilizer. Make sure you only use half the recommended strength.

Bay leaves grow great in a pot but needs room from air circulation to be healthy. Make sure roots don’t get crowded in the pot. The pot you use, should have drainage holes and soils that drain well. Allow the soil to dry out, a little, before watering. Bay leaves grow slow, so you may want to invest in a large plant. Bay leaves are pricey.

Chives like a lot of sun. Place the pot in a south facing window. Chives need at least six hours of sunlight. Plant your chives in a well-drained soil and add a little organic fertilizer. Water chives frequently because they grow best in moist soil. Make sure there is proper soil drainage. When planting chives in a pot, make sure the bulbs are 6 inches apart (if you are going to grow more than one in a pot).

Oregano grows best when the temperature inside is 65-70 F during the day and 55-60 F in the evening. As with the other herbs, make sure there is excellent drainage. Oregano needs six to eight hours of sunlight. Place the oregano pot in a south facing window. The soil should be dry between watering. Fertilize oregano every two weeks with diluted water-soluble food.

Parsley grows well in six to eight hours of sunlight. Place the parley pot in a south facing window. Turn the pot every three to four days so the plant doesn’t lean into the sunlight. Make sure the pot has several drainage holes and a saucer underneath to catch the water as it drains. Use a good quality potting soil. Sand can also be used to help improve the drainage. When planting parsley, sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and over them with an additional ¼ inch of soil. Water the pot regularly to keep the soil moist, but don’t ever water the parsley. Feed parsley every two weeks using half-strength liquid fertilizer.

Sage needs six to eight hours of sun late. Place the sage pot in a south facing window. You can use fluorescent lighting if your window doesn’t provide six to eight hours of sunlight. Sage needs to be kept in a warm area, away from drafts, in temperatures around 70 F and needs humidity. Place a humidifier near the pot, and water as needed. Let the top inch of the soil dry out between watering.

Tarragon will need at least 24 inches of height to grow inside. Don’t place the tarragon in a south facing window. Tarragon will need six to eight hours of light. A south facing window provides too much sunlight on the leaves. When planting tarragon, use a clay pot that isn’t glazed. A non-glazed pot will allow excess moister to evaporate. The clay post should have several drainage holes and at least 12 to 16 inches deep. Tarragon shouldn’t be over watered. Allow tarragon to dry out between watering. Provide humidity to the leaves by spraying them every couple of days.

Thyme grows well in a mix of sand, potting soil, and peat moss. Grow thyme in a clay pot. A clay pot allows the thyme to dry out between watering and prevents the roots from becoming overly wet. There should be at least one large drainage hole. Thyme needs 6 hours of sunlight; place the pot in a south facing window. The temperature inside should be around 60 F during the day to grow thyme.

Fresh herbs have a softer flavor than dried ones; you will need to use twice as much as you would with dried herbs.