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What Exercise Works in Weight Loss?

A reader writes: 300 lbs, 6′, 67 yrs. and bad legs, knees, and feet due to neuropathy (or so I am told as have had all tests and nerves and circulation OK.) Makes most forms of exercise very difficult. Have stationary bike, use when have time, but it wears me to a frazzle, as they say. Hard to do anything else afterward. How do I get enough exercise to really make a difference?

There are 2 types of exercise that are best for weight loss.

1. resistance training (weight lifting) which builds muscle, and this can be done at any age or any degree of shape. Muscle requires energy burning all the time, so the more the muscle, the calories burned in the resting state.

2. High intensity interval training, which means finding something strenuous that exhausts you, which has to last longer that 30 seconds to do, but you cannot do it for longer than 60 seconds. Do 4 to 8 of these maximal activities 4 to 8 times per day, 3 days per week. This will stimulate fat burning for hours after the exercise is complete. These 4 to 8 SPURTS  (I call them) can be done over a 20 minute period, or spread out over the whole day.

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Cramps; Three Meals a Day or Frequent Snacks?

What is proper, 3 meals a day or small frequent snacks?
Advise on composition of meals.
Will excess fruits disrupts my efforts to lose?
Cramps related to my weight or is it a natural process at my age?

Cramps are usually indicative of a magnesium deficiency. Take 600 to 800 mg per day and see if they go away. They can also be related to dehydration, calcium deficiency, potassium deficiency.

I don’t think the controversy will ever end between the grazing recommendations and the 3-meal a day group. I take the position that we should be listening to our bodies and eating when it requests nutrients (we then feel hungry). This may be once a day or 6 times a day. The amount of physical labor done relates to nutrient need. What should our plate look like (composition of a meal)? 1/2 vegetables, 1/6 protein (legumes, nuts, meats), 1/6 healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts), 1/6 carbohydrates (fruit for dessert, whole grain with the meal. If the carbohydrate intake is higher (lots of fruits), there is a greater tendency to put on weight; it’s very difficult to lose weight and leads to insulin resistance, especially if sugar is part of the diet.

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Weight Loss

I have had a stomach staple lost 125lbs first year kept that off but have gone up and down since. This past year I lost 70lbs and do not want it back. I should lose another 40 or 50lbs where how what can I do?

Congratulations on losing weight, even though it took a surgical procedure to do it. I am sure you have tried a vast number of things to try to help you, but here is a list you may be able to choose from:

1. Low carb diets. Carbohydrates  become sugar in the body, which become fat if the levels are high.  There are many low carb diets, of which Atkins is the most strict and best known.  These diets are not healthy long term, but may be tried over the short term.

2. Long term low intensity exercise, like walking an hour or more, will burn fat while you are walking.  However, if you want to burn fat for hours after exercise, you will need to do 4 to 8 high-intensity interval trainings a day for 3 or 4 days per week.

3.  A HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), or burst, or spurt, is done by exerting maximal effort for 30 to 60 seconds.

4. Be sure you are getting good sleep, eating real food, and taking supplements so your body is not craving food for nutrient deficiencies.

5. The HCG diet has been helpful for many, but you must be willing to follow it strictly.  You will still need to maintain proper eating and exercise habits long term, no matter what you find successful for the short term.

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Low Carbs and Diabetes

I have a Low-Carb for diabetes question. Dr. Gardner, about 12 years ago during a work physical I was found to have fasting BG of 250. My Dad also had diabetes, and was not doing well with diabetes (and died from it a few years after). My doctor did not think that my diabetes was that bad yet, and started me on meds and the standard ADA diet. I did not lose any weight and felt terrible on the diet. After a couple of months of no improvement and frustration a friend who had Insulin Dependent Diabetes told me about the book “Diabetes Solution” by Dr. Bernstien. I started following that diet and exercise regime religiously and in a month had gotten my BG under control and stopped taking all meds. I keep my carbs around 50 a day, and do eat lots of what I call “salad type vegetables” and have been doing this for about 12 years. A few years ago I tried combining an apple with some protein to see if maybe my BG responded positively. It didn’t my BG shot up to 160 after two hours which I consider totally unacceptable. So for the last 12 years I’ve had one piece of fruit, that apple. I wonder what you think about Low-Carb diets for diabetes control?

Diabetes is not a life sentence.  Your body is capable of healing; my caution is in the case of  Type I, where the insulin producing cells in the pancreas have been damaged and insulin is no longer being produced.

Basically, diabetes type II is severe insulin resistance. This means the cell membrane, which houses the insulin receptors, is unresponsive to insulin and will not let it flow freely into the cell. This is usually caused by years of sugar and too much carbohydrate intake.

The treatment, then, consists of improving insulin resistance. This starts with a low carbohydrate intake, which you have already done. Congratulations on sticking with a 50 gram per day carb diet. Keep it up.

Five other things that improve insulin resistance:

  • chromium,
  • vanadium,
  • biotin,
  • DHEA,
  • testosterone.

You should already be on chromium, and possibly vanadium and biotin. You will need to get levels of DHEA and free testosterone through a health practitioner who is comfortable with using bio-identical hormones to bring those levels up if they are low. I do not consider age-appropriate levels as necessarily the healthy optimum, but I look at levels we had in our 20s as the most appropriate range.

Incidentally, the last time I looked at the ADA diet, they were recommending 150 to 250 grams of carbs per day for their patients. It is no wonder blood sugar levels are so high in those following the ADA diet. That also means the insulin levels are high, and insulin is the most inflammatory substance the body makes. As the insulin goes up, so does the total body inflammation, which makes you feel rotten. Keep up the low carb diet, and listen to your body.

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My Perspective on Flu Shots

Everywhere I turn I see signs “Get your flu shot here.” What are your feelings on getting the flu shot?

I am against the administration of the flu vaccine.

Here’s why.  You will be interested to know how the shots are determined in advance for anticipated flu strains:

Almost 1 year before the vaccine is released, ‘someone’ decides which flu virus subtypes which will most likely invade the world in the fall time. Vaccine manufacturers then spend the next 8 months manufacturing and ‘testing’ the vaccine. It is difficult to find out exactly how much protection is imparted by the vaccine against the viruses in the vaccine.  The flu season may bring in flu viruses that are not in the vaccine, anyway.

In the recent swine flu scare, as well as in the H1N1 scare, it is impossible to find any credible studies that the vaccine worked, or that it was safe.  The vaccine was rushed through the manufacturing and testing process, and administered to the public without adequate testing or verification of efficacy.

Your best protection against the flu is to have a good immune system.   This includes eating well: No sugar or processed food, lots of vegetables, take a potent multivitamin, essential fatty acids.

Supplement with vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D levels in the 50s and 60s may offer the best protection possible against the flu. Healthy people will have little more than cold symptoms if they are exposed to the virus, if they get any symptoms at all.

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Two Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss, and My Answers

Will I keep the weight off? I have a fear of gaining all the weight back, and more.

Most diet programs are difficult to stay on as a lifestyle, and when the motivation is gone, a regression back to the original habits take place.  This program is a lifestyle that just makes sense. Obviously, if no long term changes are not made, and you do go back to your original lifestyle, you will revert to your original weight.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This is a one-year program, designed to establish firm lifestyle changes that are healthy, and work with basic physiologic principles.

Will this work for me?

We have no crystal ball. But if you do the work, and at the end you do not feel healthier and feel you don’t have a more balanced size, we will refund your money. If there are components in this program you have never tried before, now is the time to give it a try. This program will address medical obstacles to weight balance that are not typically part of other diet programs.

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The Popular HCG Diet and “Ease on Down Weight Balance Program”

Hi Dr. Gardner, What do you think of the HCG diet that seems to be so popular right now?

Before I specifically answer your question, I’m going to explore some foundational principles in weight loss that are key components in the soon-to-be-launched (next week!) Ease on Down Weight Balance Program.

At the core of losing weight is getting your body into a healthy state.  This involves long term commitment, understanding of the underlying principles of how your body operates, and learning how to recognize and respond to the clues your body is giving you with the signs and symptoms you experience.

When you commit to follow the Ease on Down Weight Balance Program, all of those elements, and many more, are included in your training.  You will immediately begin to notice the benefits of feeling better, or walking more easily (even going up and downstairs–yes, even with challenges in your knees!)  You will have more energy; you will be filled with greater zest for life and an overall sense of well-being. Your excess weight will begin to melt off, and you’ll notice a difference in how your clothing fits and how you feel about yourself.

That said, some of us are morbidly obese, and have been struggling with intense and significant weight issues for many years.  For our personal health and safety, we need to get significant amounts of weight off.

I am opposed to gastric bypass surgery.  It is far too dangerous, with far too many side effects, and the risks far outweigh the benefits of this procedure.  So….

The Ease on Down Program takes this into account.

After you have participated in the program for a few months, and learned and incorporated the teachings into your personal habits and lifestyle, I am making available a few tested, safe, methods for a more rapid weight loss.  A special format of HCG will be available as an option, after we have explored the best options for you personally.  You will be an active participant in this process (after all, it’s YOUR body!).  These are planned with extensive research and personal and patient experience, and they include some tremendous aspects that are not available anywhere else.

This program is comprehensive, and it is profound.  It will change your life.

Now, having said all that…let’s get to HCG:

The HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) diet has some great elements in it:

  • It gets you off all sugar, processed food and many harmful foods.
  • It insists you are on a good supplement program, and
  • it encourages you to clean up your life from toxins and other harmful substances.
  • It even supports your liver, which will help with detox after you start losing fat. (Toxins in the body reside in the fat tissue, and will be released as fat is burned.)

The 500 calorie diet is not healthy, but the program recognizes it and will not let you stay on it indefinitely, requiring breaks of several weeks in between ‘treatments.’ The HCG is made by the body, so it has metabolic pathways to handle the extra load.

HCG apparently takes away your appetite so you are not hungry on that low of a diet, and the pounds just melt away.

The important thing about any diet that works is what lifestyle you will adapt when the weight is off. If you will be going back to an unhealthy program that made you gain weight in the first place, it will come right back with a few extra pounds. The HCG program anticipates some regression and has made provisions to help you get back on track, which is good.

There are almost as many sources of HCG as there are people promoting the product.  They differ in quality. The HCG that will be available through the Ease on Down Weight Balance Program is highly effective, not given through injections, and contains some exclusive additional benefits that I will share with you during the program.  These are available through homeopathic drops.  It is tested and proven, and of exceptional quality.

If this is of interest to you, and you are not yet on the interest list for the Ease on Down Weight Balance Program, I suggest you go right now to this link, and sign up.  There is no obligation:

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Weight Loss: The Debate Between Low Carb and Low Fat (Ease on Down!)

I’d really like to settle the controversy between low carb and low fat.

You and about a billion other people 🙂  Let’s get to some basic principles (by the way, this is at the core of why Ease on Down is so valuable: you learn the why behind how things work in your body!):

I take the following position on the place of carbohydrates and fats in diets, and specifically for people trying to reduce their fat:

Thirty years ago, when the U.S. decided to take the position that fat causes fat in the body and also causes heart disease, there was an 18 % drop in fat intake.  This drop in fat intake was made up with an increase of carbohydrate intake.

(Just as a side light, there was no research support for this position; it was just a policy statement, making it an experiment on the American public.)   Consequently, during the past 30 years, obesity has increased dramatically.

There is no known minimum daily need for carbs like there is for protein and fats.

All carbs are converted into glucose and are distributed as follows in the body:

  • 50% is burned as energy,
  • 10% is stored as glycogen,
  • 40% is stored as triglycerides.

If there is an abundance of carbohydrates, and the body does not need them for energy at the time of consumption–and the glycogen stores in the body are already full–then considerably more of the glucose will be converted to triglycerides (a fat storage form).

The “Bottom line” (slight pun intended) is this: fats do not cause fat deposition in the body, but carbohydrates do.

Fats are important in the body:

  • they make up all cell membranes,
  • permit absorption of fat-soluble vitamins,
  • prevent water loss through skin,
  • are the precursors of prostaglandins and hormones.

In the Ease on Down program, fats are an important part of each meal.  When fats enter the stomach, two things happen:

1. Cholecystokinin is released to tell the brain that you are full.

2. A message is sent to the intestinal tract to slow down the rate of stomach emptying and speed of food transmission through the intestines.  This makes it so you are not hungry two hours after eating a meal, and it makes the food taste really good.

What if you’re having difficulty metabolizing fats?  Is it possible to get too many fats?  We’ll discuss these and other issues during the Ease on Down Weight Balance Progam, coming VERY soon 🙂  Dr. Stan

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Edema in feet and ankles. Doctor would like to prescribe a diuretic. Is there an herbal way to remedy the problem? I have type II diabetes. Is this a contributing factor?

Type II diabetes means your glucose levels and insulin levels in your blood are elevated. Insulin is the most inflammatory substance your body makes, so yes, diabetes is probably contributing to your swelling or edema in your ankles.

The solution is to get your diabetes under control.  These recommendations will help you get started:

  • no sugar or processed food,
  • less simple carbohydrates (starches such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, fruit) and
  • more complex carbohydrates (vegetables, legumes)
  • be sure your chromium, vanadium, biotin levels are normal
  • there are 2 herbs that function as effective diuretics–dandelion leaves and uva ursi

Focus mostly on healthy green vegetables as your diet mainstay.  Type II diabetes can be immensely helped–and cured in many cases–through diet.

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Gluten Sensitivity, Candidiasis, and Diet

Having had gluten sensitivity for many years, and have overcome it recently, let me add my 2 cents worth:  food allergies can be caused by excess stress, which causes reactions of many kinds in the body, as well as having Candidiasis (overgrowth of yeast in the body, which can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome.  Look it up on the internet.)  They can also be worsened by eating the same foods over and over daily.  The best way to avoid them, especially while under stress and after they have developed, is to use a food rotation system, where you do not eat the same foods, or those from the same family of foods (do research to learn these), more often than once every four days.   You need to do research to learn how to heal your gut, or find a good Naturopathic physician who can help you know what to take and do.  A few medical Drs. are learning how to treat it too, but they are few and far between.

I would strongly recommend that anyone having health problems search the internet for the answers, but do lots of studying and considering before jumping in to any one thing — there are many copycats and pushers that try to sound like they know what they are talking about.  After much study, make your own informed decisions about which advice is most logical and trustworthy.

My experience is that most illnesses are caused by what you do or don’t put into your mouth, and that if the body can get sick, it can also get well.  And that if you stop doing what is causing the problem and start giving the body what it needs (great nutrition, sunshine, good water, exercise and rest) to heal, it will heal itself.  And don’t take dangerous drugs — read their side effects before submitting your body to further risk.  The human body is a marvelous organism.  Hope this helps.

Well stated!–could not have said it better myself. Intake of food is where it all starts–no more sugar or processed food, in with the vegetables and real food. Once the diet is cleaned up and supplements added to account for individual needs, then you need to look to toxin removal.  Toxins get in the way of proper functioning of the enzymes, cells, organs and eventually bodies.  After that, look to safe alternatives for the remaining symptoms, if there are any.

My role as a physician is to help you decipher the plethora of information that is available on the internet: I’ve already spent over 30 years studying the body and what makes and keeps it healthy.  The incredible volume of information that’s “out there” can leave a person feeling almost panicky about what to do to regain health!  I know what works, what doesn’t, and for the most part, what’s just “snake oil.”

Believe me, there’s a lot more “snake oil” than you might realize in pharmaceutical prescriptions!  Good old Mother Nature knows what she’s doing, providing you with natural resources for vitamins and nutrients.  I have to smile, remembering the old commercials for Chiffon Margarine, the plasticky fake butter: “it’s not nice to try to fool Mother Nature!”