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Kick Start Your Wellness New Year’s Resolutions: PART II OF II

January is the time of year that many people set goals and resolve to be their very best. Not surprisingly, weight loss and fitness are the most common resolutions. It is also a time when many residents of NEPA will plan vacations and travel to warmer climates. Well, it may be that you can do both… This year consider visiting a “Fitness Resort.” According to “FitStays,” fitness resorts are rapidly gaining popularity for people of all sizes and shapes. Last week in Part I of “Fitness Resorts” we discussed value of fitness resorts. This week we will present “a typical day, how long you should stay, expected costs, and some recommended resorts.

What is a Fitness Resort? (fitstays.com)

A fitness resort is a vacation destination where travelers go to exercise and lose weight. Sometimes called a “weight loss resort”, “fitness retreat”, “wellness resort”, “weight loss boot camp”, or “adult fat camp”, fitness resorts around the United States cater to people of all shapes and sizes.

Most fitness resorts consist of pre-determined, calorie-limited menus to help travelers in their weight loss journey. Some resorts promote menus of 1,000 to 1,500 calories-per-day, which is fewer than most people burn naturally via their resting metabolic rate (RMR).

In addition to net-negative calories through nutrition, fitness resorts and retreats typically have an extensive workout plan as part of their standard program. Many resorts and retreats offer daily hiking, in addition to strength classes, cardio, sports, and other physical activities.

The combination of healthy nutrition and active exercise means that most visitors can expect to lose weight at a fitness resort. Specific weight loss goals are determined by which fitness resort you pick, how long you stay, and how strenuously you want to stick to the program.

Fitness Resort – What’s it all about?

Fitness resorts (fitness retreats) are not your average “Reality TV Fat Camp.” In fact, your do not have to be excessively overweight to attend as people of all shapes and sizes benefit and enjoy the experience. Thousands of people chose to visit fitness resorts and fitness retreats every year because they are looking for a healthy alternative to a typical vacation. Instead, many want to “kick-start” a healthy lifestyle in a controlled environment. The basic concept of combining a limited-calorie diet with daily exercise, most people will have net-negative calories every day, lose weight, and gain strength and endurance at a fitness resort—provided they stick to the program.

Length of Time/Cost

Typically, fitness resorts offer one week programs but multiple weeks with a variety of options are available. However, for the best outcomes and carryover, experts recommend 2-3 weeks for your first visit to a fitness resort.

Fitness resorts, like everything else, vary in cost. According to FitStay, programs cost as little as $1,500 per week (all-inclusive), while some are more than $7,000 per week.

To choose the best fit for you, your budget, and goals, visit fitstay.com. Remember, most fitness resorts are all-inclusive, meaning that you won’t need to budget any extra for food. The program includes meals. Also, when choosing a fitness resort consider: location (where would you like to travel?); cost (how much can you afford to spend?); how long can you stay (one, two or three weeks?)

FitStays – Top 20 Fitness Retreats (7 of these discussed below):

NOTE: One of these includes a fitness retreat in our very own Pocono Mountains!

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy in Scranton and Clarks Summit. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

Kick Start Your Wellness New Year’s Resolutions- Part I of II

January is the time of year that many people set goals and resolve to be their very best. Not surprisingly, weight loss and fitness are the most common resolutions. It is also a time when many residents of NEPA will plan vacations and travel to warmer climates. Well, it may be that you can do both…this year consider visiting a “Fitness Resort!” According to “FitStays,” fitness resorts are rapidly gaining popularity for people of all sizes and shapes.

What is a Fitness Resort? (fitstays.com)

A fitness resort is a vacation destination where travelers go to exercise and lose weight. Sometimes called a “weight loss resort”, “fitness retreat”, “wellness resort”, “weight loss boot camp”, or “adult fat camp”, fitness resorts around the United States cater to people of all shapes and sizes.

Most fitness resorts consist of pre-determined, calorie-limited menus to help travelers in their weight loss journey. Some resorts promote menus of 1,000 to 1,500 calories-per-day, which is fewer than most people burn naturally via their resting metabolic rate (RMR).

In addition to net-negative calories through nutrition, fitness resorts and fitness retreats typically have an extensive workout plan as part of their standard program. Many resorts and retreats offer daily hiking, in addition to cardio and strength classes and assorted sports and other physical activities.

The combination of healthy nutrition and active exercise means that most visitors can expect to lose weight at a fitness resort. Specific weight loss goals will be determined by which fitness resort you pick, how long you stay, and how strenuously you want to stick to the program.

Fitness Resort – What’s it all about?

Fitness resorts (fitness retreats) are not your average “Reality TV Fat Camp.” In fact, you do not have to be excessively overweight to attend as people of all shapes and sizes benefit and enjoy the experience. Thousands of people chose to visit fitness resorts and fitness retreats every year because they are looking for a healthy alternative to a typical vacation. Instead, many want to “kick-start” a healthy lifestyle in a controlled environment.

Positive Results

Fitness resorts have been found to be effective for most attendees. The basic concept of combining a limited-calorie diet with daily exercise, most people will have net-negative calories every day, lose weight, and gain strength and endurance at a fitness resort—provided they stick to the program.

While some people report losing 1-3 pounds-per-week at a fitness resort, others experience much more success. Exactly how much you will lose will be dependent on a wide variety of factors, including the duration and intensity of your exercise and activities and the calories you consume. Inherently, men tend to lose weight more easily than women, and younger people typically have an easier time shedding pounds than older people.

Ideally, for long term success, a fitness resort program should be a part of a healthy lifestyle, rather than an absolute weight loss goal. Be aware that many “spas and wellness centers” entice people with lavish facilities in a beautiful environment but mostly offer passive modalities such as massage, meditation, acupuncture, manicures, pedicures and facials. While these modalities have value, if your goal is jump start on weight loss and physical fitness, a fitness resort may be a better option.

Frequently Asked Questions…“Will they starve me?” “How intense is the exercise?” “Will I be intimidated?”

Most fitness resorts are not “diet retreats” or painful “boot camps.” With a little effort, you can easily find the right fit for you. You will not starve! While you need to limit caloric intake, you also need enough energy for the 3-6 hours of exercise and activities (swimming, biking, hiking, Zumba, Yoga) offered. There is no need to be intimidated as most attendees are like-minded people with the same goals and needs. A good resort will not only provide the right amount of calories and exercise for your goals but also educate you how to prepare meals and engage in proper exercise once you return home.

A Typical Day at a Fitness Resort

According to FitStays, most fitness resorts offer a set schedule and a camp-like experience for adults with three meals every day, usually prepared by expert nutrition staff and/or dietitians, designed around healthy foods. A typical morning begins with extended cardio exercises, such as a run, bike or hike. The afternoon may have more intense exercise classes such as strength training classes as well as more fun activities such as sports and games. Educational classes are offered throughout the day, so you can carryover the lessons from your fitness resort experience when you return home. Evenings are usually lighter to allow for leisure, rest, or spa services, which are also offered at many resorts.

NEXT WEEK: FITNESS RESORTS - PART II – A typical day at a fitness resort, recommended length stay, cost and top 20 recommended resorts.

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy in Scranton and Clarks Summit. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, please check out our exercise forum!

For those trying to lose weight or “get in shape” for the New Year (number one resolution), a better understanding of the role sugar plays in your diet and overall health may be valuable. You have probably noticed a lot of attention being paid to sugar lately. Many television stars, like Ellen DeGeneres, have shared their experiences using a “sugar cleanse” when they need to lose a few pounds and get healthier.  I have had several patients and friends tell me the same thing.

For 4-6 weeks these people decide to avoid all refined sugars with the goal of losing weight and improving their health and wellness. Well, what is all the fuss about? Terms like simple sugars and simple carbs, which are purported to be bad, and complex carbs, suggested to be good, are being used ad nauseam. While medical research does not support the value of a short term “sugar cleanse,” it may have value for another reason. For example, it would be very beneficial if one engages in a “sugar cleanse” for the purpose of changing their palate with the hope of developing long term healthy eating habits, especially for those with diabetes.

So, with this in mind, I decided to find the answers to some simple questions about the fuss over sugar. What is a simple sugar? What is a complex sugar? Which sugars are good for you?

WHAT IS A SIMPLE SUGAR (CARBOHYDRATE)?

Sugars, along with starches and fibers, are one of three types of carbohydrates (also referred to as a carb). A carb is “simple” or “complex,” based on its chemical composition and how it is processed in the body. It gets a little complicated because some foods have both simple and complex carbs.  Typically, simple carbs are chemically more “simple” and basic, and therefore they are broken down more easily and serve as a quick source of energy. Some of these carbs are naturally simple (like fruit and milk) while others are processed or refined sugars such as those used in candy, soda and baked goods.

It is Good Sugar or Bad Sugar?

To determine if a food product has good or bad simple sugar, you must also know how much fiber, vitamins and minerals are in the food. A food with a higher sugar content combined with a low fiber, vitamin or mineral content will be worse than  a food with the same sugar content but high fiber and vitamins or minerals. For example: a candy bar, which is high in sugar without fiber or vitamins or minerals, is not as healthy as a fresh orange, which contains fiber, vitamins and minerals along with its simple sugar (fructose).

Examples of simple carbs:

WHAT IS A COMPLEX SUGAR (CARBOHYDRATE)?

Complex carbs have a more complicated chemical makeup and take more time for the body to break down for use as energy. Therefore, these are considered “good” carbs because they provide a more even distribution of energy for the body to use during activity. They cause a more consistent and gradual release of sugar into the blood stream (as opposed to peaks and valleys caused by simple carbs) and provide energy to function throughout the day. Additionally, “good” carbs have the added benefit of providing vitamins, fiber, and minerals that are missing from simple carbs.

Examples of complex (carbs):

WHY EAT COMPLEX CARBS INSTEAD OF SIMPLE CARBS?

Remember that carbohydrates fuel the body and are an important source of energy, especially for active and athletic people. However, carefully selecting the type of carb you eat is critical to peak function and performance.

Simple Carbs

Complex Carbs

TIPS TO EAT MORE COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES!

Sources: www.everydayhealth.com; www.yourdictionary.com; Mayo Clinic

Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”  

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

For All of Dr. Mackarey's articles: visit our healthcare forum!

There are many reasons why losing weight, the number one health goal, is the most elusive goal of all. Not the least of these reasons is the psychology of eating…because in the land of plenty, we eat mindlessly! Consider the facts; First, we thought the food was bad…but when we chemically modify the food such as removing or altering the fat or sugar and removing the calories, it failed to reduce our weight. In fact, it has been discovered that “fake sugar,” even thought it does not have calories, can still increase blood glucose levels. Next, we decided fat cells were the enemy but we failed to control our weight when we removed fat cells from our body through liposuction. Then, we decided the problem was our digestive system so we placed bands or staples in the stomach or by-passed the small intestine. While these efforts helped many in the short run, long term, without a change in behavior, it failed as a long-term solution. Many medical professionals have concluded that the problems people have with weight are not exclusively due to the food, fat cells, stomach or intestines, but rather, THE MIND! 

WHAT IS MINDFUL EATING?

Mindful eating, also referred to as intuitive eating, is based on Buddhist teachings in which focus is placed on the experience of eating, AND ENJOYING, our food. The concept was presented in a feature column in The New York Times written by Jeff Gordinier based on his time spent in a Buddhist monastery. He discovered that mindful eating practitioners ate in silence and chew small pieces of food very slowly and deliberately to experience its taste, texture and smell. It requires full attention to the experience of eating and drinking on the body and mind. It is often referred to as “the opposite of diets” because with mindful eating there is not right or wrong way to eat but rather varying degrees of awareness about WHAT WE EAT AND WHY. Furthermore, the goal of this exercise is to teach our mind and body to connect and communicate while eating so one can learn important cues such as: what are my hunger signals? What does my stomach feel like when it is half, three-fourths and completely full?

THE RESEARCH

One study of 1,400 mindful eaters found that they enjoyed lower body weights, greater sense of well-being and suffered from fewer eating disorders. However, many feel the concept, while valuable, is very difficult to put in practice in the busy American family. Research shows that, even when not perfectly relaxed, the simple act of the family meal can have a powerful impact on mindfulness, health and wellness.   

In a country that thrives on a fast pace with over-book schedules, families struggle to balance work and school and after school sports and activities. Consequently, fast food, eat-and-go habits have become the norm. According to some studies, most find it difficult find time to sit and relax for a family meal even once a week. Additionally, when families do pull off a family meal, it is often overwrought with school drama, sibling rivalry, and parental discipline about school, homework or social activities, making the situation stressful. Despite the family conflict, studies strongly support the health values of the family meal.

A recent study from Columbia University that received national attention found that children who participated in a family meal regularly were less likely to have problems with drugs or alcohol and more likely to excel in school. Moreover, those children eating with their families at least 5 times per week benefited most. Other studies have found that the there is a significantly lower incidence of teens who smoke, use alcohol, have sex at a young age, fight, get suspended from school or commit suicide among those who have meals with their family on a regular basis. 

Mindful eating expert, Christopher Willard, PsyD offers the following tips for healthy eating habits:

  1. Let your body catch up to your brain: Eating rapidly past full and ignoring your body’s signals vs. slowing down and eating and stopping when your body says it’s full.
  2. Know your body’s personal hunger signals: Are you responding to an emotional want or responding to your body’s needs?
  3. Develop healthy eating environments: Eating alone and randomly vs. eating with others at set times and places
  4. Eat food not stories: Eating foods that are emotionally comforting vs. eating foods that are nutritionally healthy
  5. Consider the life cycle of your food: Considering where food comes from vs. thinking of food as an end product
  6. Attend to you plate: Distraction eating vs. just eating

TIPS FOR MINDFUL EATING

6 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating

Mindless Eating Mindful Eating
1. Eating past full and ignoring body signals1. Listening to your body and stopping when full
2. Eating when emotions tell us to eat2. Eating when our bodies tell us eat
3. Eating alone, at random times and places3. Eating with others, set times and places
4. Eating emotionally comfort foods4. Eating nutritious and healthy foods
5. Eating and multitasking5. When eating, just eat
6. Considering a meal an end product6. Considering where food comes from
– by Christopher Willard PsyD

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Read all of Dr. Mackarey's Articles at: https://mackareyphysicaltherapy.com/forum/

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

According to The Council for Responsible Nutrition, 77 percent of adults in the United States take dietary supplements. These supplements are available in many forms of pills, capsules, powders, gel tabs, extracts, or liquids. Vitamins and minerals are common supplements and, of these, multivitamins are the most widely consumed. The scientific literature does not support the value or need for supplements, especially for healthy individuals consuming a well-balanced diet. For those with medical problems affecting nutritional absorption, supplements may have merit.  However, these over-the-counter products are not regulated by the FDA and for some, may be harmful. Some supplements can interact with your medications. Therefore, before taking any supplements be sure to talk with your medical doctor to be sure it is safe for you. Keep in mind, just because you use herbs for cooking, not all herbs are the same and some can be harmful.    

St. John’s Wort:

St. John’s Wort is a popular supplement in the USA. It is often used for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. However, it is not without its side-effects and dangers. Some side effects include: headaches, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth and vulnerability to sunburn. Also, this supplement can be very harmful when taken with some drugs and treatments. Some include; heart medications, antidepressants, birth control pills and chemotherapy treatments

Kava:

Kava is purported to help with anxiety and insomnia. However, it also may cause liver damage such as hepatitis and should not be taken by those with liver or kidney problems. Kava should not be mixed with alcohol or other drugs that cause drowsiness.

Ginkgo:

Some believe that Ginkgo can improve memory, circulation, prevent altitude sickness and other scientifically unsupported claims. However, this supplement can thin your blood and cause bleeding. This is especially dangerous if you take blood-thinning medications.

Arnica:

Users claim that oil from this plant can be rubbed into the skin to provide healing from bruising, swelling, and pain. Others take the supplement to help with constipation. However, side effects from Arnica include; high blood pressure, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat and liver damage. In rare cases it has been associated with coma or death.

Ginger:

Ginger is often used to ease nausea associated with motion sickness and chemotherapy. It is also used for joint pain from arthritis. But, as with other supplements, it is not without its problems and can impact; blood clotting, heart rhythms, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Those on blood thinners or have diabetes should be aware.

Goldenseal:

Goldenseal has a long history as a favorite among Native Americans. Presently, it is used for constipation, colds, eye infections, and cancer. But Goldenseal can affect heart rhythm, blood clotting and lower blood pressure; therefore, if you take blood pressure medication or have clotting issues ask your doctor before taking this supplement.

Aloe:

Aloe, often in the form of a lotion from the plant, has been used on burns or wounds to promote healing and lessen pain. However, when taken by mouth it has been associated with abnormal heart rhythm, kidney problems.

Ephedra:

Ephedra has been used for thousands of years in China and India to treat coughs, headaches, and cold symptoms. In contemporary society it has been used for weight loss and to boost energy. But, studies have shown it may increase blood pressure and heart rate and increase the risk of heart problems and stroke. While the FDA has banned ephedra as a supplement, it is still found in some herbal teas.

Ginseng:

This supplement is often associated with slowing down the aging process, managing diabetes and improving sexual performance. But, it is also associated with lowering blood sugar (a potential problem for those with diabetes), and thinning blood (a potential problem for those taking blood thinners).

Black Cohosh:

Black cohosh is used to ease menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. However, it should not be used by women with liver problems or breast cancer.

Garlic:

This popular supplement is used for high blood pressure and cold symptoms. Some studies support its use to lower cholesterol. While safe for most, garlic can thin your blood and those taking blood thinners must be cautious and seek medical advice.

Licorice Root:

This supplement has been used for coughs, sore throat, bronchitis, infection, and stomach ulcers. However, licorice root can raise blood pressure and affect heart rhythms so be sure to consult with your physician.

Stinging Nettle:

Users believe this supplement has value for allergies, dandruff, bladder stones, and urinary tract infections. But it can also cause fluid retention and should be avoided by those with heart or kidney problems or if taking diuretics.

Feverfew:

Feverfew is most commonly used for migraine prevention. It is also used for arthritis joint pain and allergies. But, it is associated with blood clotting and can be problematic for those with heart disease or blood disorders.

In conclusion, while supplements may not be valuable or necessary for healthy individuals, others may find merit. However, these products are NOT regulated by the FDA and may be harmful.  Some supplements can interact with your medications. Therefore, before taking any supplements be sure to talk with your medical doctor to be sure it is safe for you.     

SOURCES: National Institutes of Health; WebMD

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”  

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment.

Read all of Dr. Mackarey's articles at: www.mackareyphysicaltherapy.com/forum

If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.