Archive for Menopause and Your Weight

In this video with a small technical problem, I review the facts about alcohol and weight loss. I hope you enjoy this and will ask questions and leave me comments. Thanks

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How many hours and how much money have you spent on trying to lose weight in the course of your lifetime?  It is discouraging enough to not achieve any long term success in lowering your weight, but it becomes much more serious when your health is at risk. Increased weight can bring joint pain and destruction, as well as diabetes and heart disease.

It is no wonder that a surgical alternative such as bariatric surgery is gaining in popularity. Many professional medical societies are siting the success of weight loss surgery in treating diabetes and metabolic disorders. Recent studies have documented the success of Gastric Bypass surgery and Gastric Sleeve surgery in treating diabetes specifically; and by virtue of weight loss: hypertension, hyperlipidemia and joint problems.

Before you jump into considering surgery as a viable treatment option, it is important to understand that these surgeries are relatively new. Long term consequences  have not been documented. As the author of this editorial illustrates, Diabetes is a progressive illness even with proper glucose control. It is not yet known whether controlling the blood sugar through this weight loss surgery is really enough to stop the metabolic dysfunction that involves diabetes. We still don’t know if weight loss surgery will slow the progression of end organ damage that eventually causes cardiovascular disease, renal disease, and vision loss; all of which comes from diabetes.

So why would anyone even consider this form of therapy? Many people, both men and women, have felt they have tried their hardest and been largely unsuccessful at controlling their  weight, cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure. Many people most likely have a genetic predisposition to metabolic dysfunction as an explanation for this difficulty. For these people, bariatric surgery may in fact be the most effective tool if they are morbidly obese.

I worry however, that many people gravitate towards this surgery as an answer to their problems. It is important for medical providers to be cognizant of the major change of lifestyle such surgery requires in order to be successful. Are these people actually taking a short cut from a more fundamental exploration and change for what drives the decisions they make, the decisions that may have started them down an unhealthy path?

What do you think? Please share you stories and journeys of friends and loved ones who may have undergone bariatric surgery.

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Your body can be like a stubborn child, rebelling against all your hard work to improve your weight and conditioning! Now that the New Year is upon us, no doubt many of you have resolutions and intentions to improve your health. This will most likely include your diet and weight.

A recent study has uncovered a process within your body that actually increases your appetite when you have lost weight! How can this be fair and why does it happen?

It is all part of evolution and survival. Your body believes that something terrible is happening when you lose weight, so it switches into survival mode and does everything it knows how to do for that very survival. That means triggering regaining of weight even if the reality is unhealthy for you.

Many people believe that our modern food, with all the additives, has altered the way our body processes food information. This is the reason for most healthy eating plans include foods that are basic and with  minimal or no processing and additives.

What can you do about this “sabotage” your body presents? This is where health coaches, food diaries and any other supports you have enlisted can help you. Even if you are hungry, if you KNOW you have eaten enough food, you utilize other measures to take care of the hunger. It will pass. Drink water, or get busy in a different activity. This will take you mind off the hunger. If you must chew on something, eat celery or other vegetables. It is important however, that you teach yourself to not reach for food every time you are hungry.

It is most important to not get discouraged, to keep trying and not give up on your health resolutions. Remember that change cannot happen quickly, it requires a slow and steady process that can give you tremendous rewards!


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Is Weight Gain Inevitable?

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What can you do about your health and weight if you come from a family where obesity, or being overweight, is the norm? Is it inevitable that you will be obese also, pre-destined to gain weight as you age?

Years ago, researchers found the fat gene, called the Fat Mass and Obesity Association Gene (FTO). They project that an astounding 65% of people from European or African descent have this gene, as well as  upwards of 44% of people of Asian descent carry some form or part of this gene. The presence of this fat gene increases the risk of obesity or being overweight, by 12%.

If you feel that obesity is your future, what are you capable or willing to do in order to avoid this? Will you throw in the towel and eat to your hearts content, and would it even make a difference?

According to some recent studies, physical activity can decrease the effect of FTO by almost 30%.

Researchers theorize that the FTO gene is most active in the brain and affects appetite and behavior-both eating and exercising. It appears to be active in areas of brain that regulate the balance of energy intake and energy expenditure, and it is the loss of this energy balance that can cause weight gain.

Researchers are not certain how exercise attenuates the expression of the FTO gene, but analysis of data from multiple studies reveal an almost 30% reduction of gene expression (not 30% of weight!) as measured by body fat percentage and waste circumference. This indicates that even a small amount of exercise have helped people control their weight.

So what does this mean for you?

It means that physical activity will help you regardless of your genetic code and family body type. This knowledge can give you the power to change what you may now believe to be your “health destiny”, by making changes to avoid diabetes, hypertension, joint problems. It gives you the reason to take action so that you can achieve your goals of fitness and health.

We have many articles within Female Menopause Mentors that can help and guide you on making changes and initiating an exercise program. We will have a special program within the next few months,that will help guide you step by step through initiating and maintaining these changes. As a result of the many years of medical experience in family practice, I have seen the damage that poor health can cause to women, in the form of onset of diseases and loss of mobility and independence. I am committed to helping women through the process of health improvement and I am certain our program can help you!

I have created a video on this subject. It is posted to YouTube but can only be accessed via this link Control Menopause Weight Gain. If you want to have access to videos as I produce them you need to sign up for a membership on the home page. I give memberships away so that ability to pay is not a factor in receiving my information.

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Healthy Food for a Dollar?

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Fresh Food

Fresh Food Helps Weight Loss

I was reading through some information that had been voted on by thousands of readers.  One that caught my attention was a post that had been viewed 385,000 times! Wow! Look at the title:

The Twenty Healthiest Foods for Under $1

Is this possible?  Can you eat healthy for $1? Well, look at her list.

Things I disagree with on the list are:

  • Tofu – the way it is processed in the USA is probably not good for your health.
  • Potatoes – tiny new potatoes do not spike blood sugar like their mature, fully grown variety. I think potatoes ought to be treated like a sugary dessert – eat them occasionally and in moderation.

Everything else on the list is great. Tim Ferris in his book “The 4-Hour Body” cites the case of a fellow who was eating grass fed beef at this much a serving but he spent some daily time looking for discounted food in multiple stores. I do not have that time, so love lists like this one.

Don’t freak about eggs either. They are not going to hurt your cholesterol. Keep your calories down, avoid sugar and sweet foods of all types and you will be much healthier if you incorporate these foods into your diet. I am interested though on how you buy and prepare “healthy food”.

We are only a little rational. Mostly we are emotional and react. Some of my friends would object to coffee on the list because they think drinking it offends God.  Some other people I know will immediately wrinkle their nose at Kale or Squash or Sardines.  If they make you choke, then they probably are not all that healthy for you.

I try to eat in a way that I think someone in the third world would be grateful to have. It is easy for me to want something and tell myself I work hard and deserve it. What I want to do is eat low on the food chain but try to eat local and seasonal. So I put lots of dry lentils and beans on my list. I eat lots of salsa too!  When fresh foods are out of season where I live I try to eat more foods that could have been gathered and dried like nuts, beans and legumes, and animal protein. I like root crops here too and they are on the list.

In the summer Bok Choi and Romaine lettuce with sprouts of all kinds and radishes, spinach etc… form the basis of what I eat with fish of all types and fowl. I love to eat them grilled on my back deck alfresco.I have really stuck with my plan this winter and have lost weight naturally and slowly from 179 to 166 and still receding. I think about 150-155 is where I will level off. I have exercised during this time and reduced my body fat % by 4 %. I have a ways to go on this.

What about you? What is healthy and low cost at your house?

Bruce Bair PA-C

Share a menu with us, a shopping list, your philosophy for your diet.

Join Anne Vaillancourt’s free membership site for inside info not available to those who don’t join.

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Artificial Sweeteners: Safe? Effective?

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What is the purpose of an artificial sweetener?

It is to replace sugar in processed food to lower the calories and keep the person consuming that food from getting fat or “fatter”.  Is there any evidence that they do the job? I agree with the principle of lessening the stimulation of insulin by lowering the dietary intake of high Glycemic Load Carbohydrates.

How about this quote from Professor David Benton found on Medical News Today:

Professor Benton concluded that at present the scientific evidence suggests there is a lack of convincing evidence to draw firm conclusions on the role of artificial sweeteners on long-term energy intake and body weight regulation. Current evidence suggests that, although artificial sweeteners may be helpful in the short-term, there is little long-term benefit in people of normal, body weight.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?

What about the safety issue?  Are they safe to use on a daily basis for long periods? An author I read, Mark Sission, of “Mark’s Daily Apple” wrote a post entitled “The Not So Definitive Guide to Diet Soda“. If you don’t want to read it, Mark concludes that a healthy diet is an 80/20 proposition. He recommends saving your 20% for things more satisfying and fun than artificial sweeteners.The article is comprehensive and I recommend it.

Here is my advice. It is second hand. The person I heard say it first is Jack LaLanne. His advice passed from me to you is this:

“If man touches it, don’t eat it.”

Nutritional Legal Terms

For money, business men can make things very cloudy. Most food labels on processed food are legal not nutritional terms. Whole Wheat stands for the least amount of real “whole wheat” that can be added to a processed grain product and still call it whole wheat.Whether there is good evidence that artificial sweeteners are harmful or not does not matter. They do not work as intended. People who use them regularly are usually over weight and their use does not make them slimmer or prevent the health problems that accompany obesity.

My advice, avoid them. Make them something you only ingest occasionally if at all. If you are going to put fuel in your tank, make it high test. The very best. You don’t need a lot, just enough and artificial sweeteners can not help you become healthier.

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Everyone knows what fat is or at least they think they do. The scientific name for fat is ADIPOSE Tissue.

Cold hleps Weight Loss

Thus WAT in the title is White Adipose Tissue and BAT is Brown Adipose Tissue.

In a research article published on Medline the authors write the following in the abstract:

The function of brown adipose tissue is to transfer energy from food into heat; physiologically, both the heat produced and the resulting decrease in metabolic efficiency can be of significance….Heat production from brown adipose tissue is activated whenever the organism is in need of extra heat,

The significance is that if you can successfully activate your brown adipose tissue, it may help you lose weight. I knew a little about this but never associated it with weight loss (at age 60 I have about 15lb more to lose) until I read the “Ice Age” chapter in Tim Ferris’ new book called

“The 4 Hour Body”

Tim tells the story of Ray Cronise, a NASA scientist and a guy who became fat sitting at a computer terminal crunching numbers about re-entry heat and the space shuttle.  Ray used the laws of thermodynamics to take off and keep off 50 pounds. Besides controlling his calories, Ray learned to activate his brown adipose tissue. Click on his name and you can read his story.

Why am I telling you this? Because you probably are unaware of it. What can you do to get this part of your physiology to help you? Make your brown fat cold. Before you do anything extreme, ask your doctor, especially if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or any condition being monitored regularly. If you haven’t been to the doctor in a while, maybe get a baseline exam before you take mine or anyone Else’s advice about YOUR health. You are not my patient, just a friendly reader and I want you to come back.

OK, here is the scoop. Making your body slightly cooler regularly can help activate brown fat. Ferris suggests drinking a pint of ice water first thing in the morning. He also suggests cool showers, ice packs on your neck and muscles closest to your neck for a half hour each night for 30 minutes and if your are in a big hurry, ice baths (which I do not recommend – Ferris was taking these as a 20 something man).

There is no magic bullet. You have to acquire new habits of eating, movement and perhaps cold adaptation over time. There are fantastic reports of weight loss doing this and that. These are usually associated with a “pay me and I will tell you how” offer. It does appear that cooling the body (a good way to do this might be to take a 30 minute swim daily) along with reducing calories and the type of calories makes a difference in your ability to take off excess fat and keep it off.

As usual your comments are solicited. We, Anne V. PAC and I encourage you to become free members of our site and gain access to reserved content on weight loss, exercise and Anne’s E-book about diets. 

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As the New Year and its’ requisite resolutions have come, you may have decided to begin or change your exercise routine. You may be wondering how you are going to implement the changes you want to make. In this economy you may not be able to afford a gym membership or a trainer. So what can you do?

It need not cost a lot of money to set yourself up at home with equipment that can aid you in your fitness resolutions.
Here are some way you can obtain and use equipment in an affordable way.

  • Shoes: These are the first and possibly most expensive investment you need to make when beginning an exercise program. There are many good brands and a wide price range. The important thing to understand is that proper fitting shoes will help prevent injuries. Your shoes need not be expensive, but they must give adequate support to your arch. Additionally, they should not rub either at the widest part of your foot or at the heels and toes. You should try on several different pairs in the store and walk and jump around a little to evaluate how they feel. Don’t be embarrassed to do this, I often see people doing this in stores. Many discount shoe stores will stock last years or seasons model of athletic shoe at a significantly lower price.

    #1 Piece of Equipment

  • Pedometer: This small device hooks onto you waist and counts the steps you take when you are walking or running. They can be helpful to guide you on distance, and close you are getting to the 10,000 steps a day that is recommended for heart health.They are very unobtrusive, can motivate you to increase walking or running, and can cost from 10-30$ depending on sophistication.(look for one that does not need to be perpendicular but can also be carried in a pocket or backpack and still count your steps)
  • Jump Rope: Remember using this as a child? Jumping rope is an excellent cardiovascular exercise which works many muscle groups in legs and buttocks. 10 minutes of intense jump roping can burn up to 100 calories. It is utilized by many professional athletes to augment fitness routines and costs 10$ or less. Be careful if you have problems with your knees, ankles or feet.

    Skipping rope is great Exercise.

  • Resistance Bands: These often come in sets and can help to strengthen muscles by pushing against a set resistance. The sets often come with exercise guides, these exercises can be done easily in your home and cost 10-20$.
  • Hand Weights: Hand weights come in different weights, they range in cost from 10-20$ for a pair. You can start with a low weight and gradually build up. The weights can be held while doing different strength exercises such as squats or lunges, to increase the work of your muscles and burn more calories.It is best not to walk holding weights as this has been shown to cause strains in the shoulders, elbows and wrists if not held correctly or improper posture used.
  • Medicine Ball: A medicine ball is a ball that is weighted, different weights can be purchased. It is smaller than a basket ball. It can be held during different strength training moves to strength upper body and you core muscles(abdomen and back).You can squeeze and hold the ball between your knees as you do squats or when you are using hand weights for your upper body workout.
  • Stability ball: This is a large ball which is purchased according to your height. It is inflated with air, and you sit on it while doing different exercises. Because it is wobbly, your core muscles work harder to maintain your balance. It is very good for strengthening different muscle groups. It has a variety of workout uses and most come with a workout set of instructions. It can usually be purchased for under20-25$.

    Stability Exercise Ball

In addition to the above tools for exercising, are fitness videos that can be rented from
your local library or video rental store, purchased new or used from book stores or online
retailers. You can rent several from Netflix before you decide on purchasing one. All of this
can be done in the privacy of your home.

If your budget is larger, I recommend you go to your local sports equipment retailer that sells exercise equipment and try out their equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines or stationary bicycles. Many gyms will give you a 1 week free trial and you can use this to evaluate what type of exercise machine is most compatible and enjoyable for you. Talk to your friends and co-workers who may use this type of exercise equipment and get their opinion on brands and types of equipment. If you choose to purchase a large piece of equipment, it
is a good idea to read about the different levels of quality and what you get for more money.
A good quality treadmill will cost at least 600-700$ and more. Elliptical machines, stair steppers and bicycles are slightly less.

If you crave variety and would like to use many different types of equipment while exercising, or you are easily bored with exercise; a gym membership may well be worth the money to you. Many gyms have done away with joining fees, and offer memberships for 30-40$ a month if you agree to a year or more contract. This really is worth the money as long as you can commit to using this membership at least 3 times weekly. Anything less is a waste of money.

Personal trainers are well worth the money if you can afford them. A certified personal trainer will work out with you, push you to push yourself and help you with form in order to prevent injuries. All of this will help you to achieve better results with your fitness goals. Many gyms have personal trainers that contract with them to use the space. Many personal trainers will come to your home. It is important to see that they are certified and it helps to get references, work of mouth through friends and co-workers is another way to find a reputable personal trainer.

Stay tuned for future exercise suggestions, how to get started, or how to tweak your routine in order to get better results!

Get more information

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Fresh Food

Fresh Food Helps Weight Loss

Now that the New Year is here, you have no doubt made a resolution to lose weight. Who of us does not feel that a few lost pounds would be welcome? The question is, why are you dieting again?

Many of us get tired of how we look in clothes. We look at the models in magazines and on TV shows and we think- I want to look better, like she does!

But is this realistic? Is this a good reason to change?

It might be. However our nations obsession with skinny or very slender, is just not realistic or healthy. The recent criticism of Jenifer Ringer, the sugar plum fairy in the New York City Ballet’s recent production of the Nutcracker illustrates how warped the perception of beauty can be. Here is a vibrant, healthy, and strong ballerina with (in my opinion) a wonderful figure who was recently slammed by a critic for appearing to have “eaten too many sugar plums herself”. There has happily been a huge backlash against the critic and in support of Ms. Ringer.

Regular exercise improves many things.

There are many reasons to change your diet in a healthy way, or to begin an exercise program. I would say that improved heart and lung fitness, improved strength and flexibility, improved energy and alertness, improvement in disease risk factors are all excellent reasons to “diet”!

When I say “diet”, what I really mean is an improved and healthy eating program. What I do not mean is restriction of major food groups and choosing from a small list of foods for your nutrition.  What I mean by “diet” is to eat:

  1. wide variety of fruits and vegetables
  2. healthy fats such as olive oils and nuts
  3. lean meats/fish/poultry
  4. whole grains such as oatmeal that is not instant and flavored, wild rice, couscous, quinoa, barley
  5. whole grain bread and pasta with NO bleached flour
  6. drink water, pure juices, NOTHING with corn syrup, high fructose syrup or any other syrup
  7. keeping restaurant food as close to all the above as possible, no fast food, very limited sweets

Keeping the this type of eating plan will not only help you lose weight and get slimmer, but more importantly will improve your health so that you can live longer and enjoy doing just that!

Isn’t that what most of us want?

Contact us with questions, comments or concerns! There is much information on this website and soon we will have a program to help with making these changes, and many others in the future.

Become a member as my gift to you by using the form on the home page!

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Get My new E-book as a gift

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Here is how you can get my E-book as a gift.

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