Free Press Article – October 21, 2011

Dr. April Schulte-Barclay, DAOM, LAc

Much like a rocket ship, how well your body is maintained depends on the quality of fuel you choose and how much and how often you put fuel in your tank. Fueling your body to perform at its best is the key to obtaining a healthy metabolism that will provide boundless energy and lead to a healthy weight. Metabolism is your body’s ability to burn and produce energy for sustaining life.

What is stopping many of us from achieving our desired weight? Our society is bombarded by gimmicks and trickery for weight loss as the food industry and weight loss companies take advantage of our desires to be thin. The result is that the U.S. is now known for being fatter than ever.

Separating fact from fiction takes some serious detective work. If you are someone like me, that detective work is intriguing and fun. If you are not someone like me, performing such research may seem like absolute drudgery. So here is some food for thought when considering your best weight management solutions.

Simply put, your body is a composition of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which are the building blocks for all tissues such as nerves, muscle, tendons, ligaments, and bone; as well as for chemical mediators like hormones and neurotransmitters. To achieve and maintain health, it is crucial the body receives all of the key ingredients needed to function optimally. With this concept in mind, here are some general tips to keep the scale tilted in your favor.

1. Speaking of the scale, do not weigh yourself. Instead, focus on what you like about your body and find gratitude for those parts of your body that are working well to serve you.

2. Maintaining a stable blood sugar is the number one thing you can do optimize your metabolism. This requires eating regular meals at regular intervals, say every three hours or so. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast (within one hour of rising) that includes a healthy fat such as avocado, a healthy protein such as eggs, and a healthy carbohydrate such as whole grain toast will get your day started in the right direction by helping you avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster. This will greatly diminish the likelihood of binges on empty carbohydrates like donuts, cookies, chips, and candy.

3. Enjoy your food, all of the time. And give “healthy foods” a chance. Believe it or not, food that is rich in nutrients like whole grains and vegetables can taste absolutely delicious. My favorite pasta is quinoa pasta which has a rich flavor and is high in protein.

4. Avoid the common and oh-so tempting fad diets. I have not found even ONE fad diet that “works.” For example, fad diets that include severe calorie restriction or that nearly eliminate one major food group will leave your body scrambling to find proper building blocks to keep you healthy. Even if weight loss occurs initially, statistically most people gain more weight back than they lost, and are also left with nutritional deficiencies that lead to disease.

5. Artificial sweeteners are… to put it nicely, not so sweet. These toxic chemicals cause weight gain and contribute to multiple disease processes.

6. Learn to carefully read food labels. Look for things like white flour, hydrogenated oils and artificial sweeteners in the ingredients. If the package says something like “lite” or “sugar-free” or “fat-free”… buyer beware!

7. Recognize that these pointers may not be enough to achieve your goals. Sometimes you must delve deeper to understand imbalances within your system. For example, if one’s digestive system is weak, it is unlikely to properly assimilate nutrients which can often lead to sugar cravings. A weak digestive system may be caused by over-worrying, excessive stress, candida overgrowth, lack of self-nourishment/acceptance, or a combination of the above. Establishing a core group of health professionals who can help you understand these factors can be very beneficial.

If finding your path to a healthy weight seems like rocket science, consider our Healing Horizons Wellness Program. This program was designed by our team of health care professionals to provide you with a step-by-step plan to achieve optimal health by coordinating and integrating care between you, your primary care doctor, your providers at Healing Horizons, and other members of your health care team.

Your “health navigators” will assist you in making your individualized treatment program which may include Chinese medicine and acupuncture to improve metabolism and optimize organ system function, nutritional counseling to teach you how to balance your blood sugar and read food labels, behavioral health and life coaching to help you manage stress and cope with emotional turmoil, body work to alleviate any muscle tension and pain, as well as other therapies as needed.

If you are interested in learning more about the Healing Horizons Wellness Program, please join us at our “Wellness Tea” where we will offer refreshments, introduce our professional and skilled team of providers, provide a tour of our clinic, and answer any questions you may have about how the Wellness Program can help you achieve optimal wellness.

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April L. Schulte-Barclay is a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist. She is licensed by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners and is certified by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is founder and clinic director of Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, located at 2139 N. 12th St. #7. For more information, call 970-256-8449.

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