Category Archives: health

Junk Food – Sweet and Slow Poison

The one best thing to live for is food, food and only food for the foodies. But do we really look into the taste or its nutritional value. Many restaurants and eat outs have flourished and they make good money out of their business of food.

EXAMPLE: The sodium mono glutamate added in the recipe’s of KFC will lead to negative health results in long term

The carbohydrates present in almost all drinks will damage nerves in the nasal and mouth cavity.

Black salt added in many Chinese items will decompose your bones.

These are just a few to bring out to the light of focus.But we still read it,ignore it and enjoy the taste at the cost of our health.Many newly born kids are born with malnutrition. Who is responsible for this? Is it our taste that we really look into or is it our negligence towards health.The government also has to take several measures and look into the health and nutrition of the people of the country because we always feel that “HEALTH is WEALTH”.

Health awareness has to be brought into the people and see that the nations population is at good health. Many people now are suffering from different kinds of diseases just because of the wrong intake of food. People in this country have got used to corrupt all the materials that we use. We can even find bananas getting ripened in seconds just by sprinkling a chemical on the raw bananas. Where have the ethics of our people gone. Don’t they think of their kids before doing all this.

Looking forward for some miracle to happen to stop all these things.

How to Work With Your Scar Tissue to Get Rid of It!

First off, let me congratulate you that you are trying to do your own healing! So many people go to their MD/DO/physical therapist/chiropractor/massage therapist, etc. and expect that that person is going to be able to heal them completely. I often tell my clients who have chronic conditions (health related issues which last a long time) that even if they come for massage three times a week, they won’t see the kinds of improvements they want until they’re willing to do their own work to improve (be that stretching, doing their own massage, eating right, ice/heat, etc.). So congratulations on your willingness to do your own healing!

While I have never had multiple surgeries on the same area, I had four surgeries in a 6 year time span (including an ACL replacement in my right knee), and I understand the pain that often accompanies scar tissue.

I was fortunate with my ACL injury in that I had a surgeon who believed it was important to keep the knee moving and stretching. When I came to (from surgery), my knee was already moving in a machine called a CPM unit (Continuous Passive Movement – delivered by Colorado Professional Medical), which allowed me to set the speed and degree of the angle which my knee was moved to. It constantly moved my leg up and down, bending the knee each time. When I got home, I automatically started using the CPM unit again, which had been delivered to my house and which the delivery person had taught me how to use prior to surgery. I increased the speed and angle of degree every day and stopped using the CPM unit one week after surgery, because I had gotten back the full range of movement which the CPM unit allowed for (120 degrees). It was about 6 months after my knee surgery when I learned that some orthopedic knee surgeons believe in keeping the knee immobile for up to a month after ACL surgery. I was surprised and disappointed to hear this because keeping the knee immobile for that long of a time is setting the person up for a longer (and often more difficult) recovery.

Scar tissue develops all the time in muscle. When you pull muscles, some amount of scarring can occur. That scar tissue can be gotten rid of through normal stretching and activity. However, when serious scar tissue develops (as is often the case in whiplash and surgery) it can take a lot more to get that tissue to be reabsorbed into the body. If it is not gotten rid of, it can cause numbness of the nerves in an area, decreased flexibility, and ultimately, pain.

Many people think that scar tissue will simply go away after time, but most often, it does not. It is an injury which needs to be worked with in order to re-heal as effectively as possible.

Healing, depending on whom you talk to, is a complex process. Some people believe that prayer alone will heal, while others believe that only pills and western medicine will heal. Some have great success with acupuncture, others with chiropractic, and others with nutrition. I believe that healing is a combination of all of these things.

What I offer here is advice on how to massage scar tissue, with the hope that you will be able to use it and effectively break up your scar tissue. I hope this works for you, and hope as well that you will let me know your results. I hope you’ll incorporate whatever else works for you, as that will help speed up your healing. Also, a point I’ll make is that massage is all hands-on, so describing it using a non hands-on medium like email or the Internet is a bit difficult; I’ll do my best, but if there’s something you don’t understand, please email me.

There are two levels of scar tissue which you can address with massage. One is the skin level, and the other is the muscle level. I will first address the skin level, and then address the muscle level.

When scar tissue develops, the brain/nerve connections, which have to happen to detect touch, never develop or develop very weak. This is because scar tissue develops primarily to heal and protect, and only secondarily to feel sensation. In other words, the tissue naturally develops a weak ability to notice sensation while it is being created. Because most people don’t use or touch a part of the body which had a kind of trauma to it, (like that which comes from surgery or a car accident,) the tissue doesn’t receive any stimulation. This means that in many cases (after surgery or other trauma), the secondary function of scar tissue, sensation, never or barely develops. Over time, this lack of sensation causes an area to be touched less (after all, why would a person touch an area that had no feeling?). It receives less touch, and because of this, it receives less stimulation, which means that the nerve endings and connections develop less, which means that the area has less feeling, so it is touched less; and the process goes on until there is a thick mass of non-sensory tissue, most of it probably scar tissue.

I have larger scars on two of my fingers (from surgery). While sitting in class or somewhere where I only need to listen to what’s going on, I will take a sharpened pencil, paper clip, nail file, or even a needle (something with a small point), to see what kind of feeling I have in a specific spot on the scar. I will really pay attention to what kinds of sensations I’m having in the spot that I’m touching. I don’t pierce the skin, as that would only cause further injury to a healing area, but I do test to see how much sensation I have. I have done this since having surgery over 8 years ago. Over time, the sensations have become stronger and more definite in the scar tissue itself, and as the sensation has come back, the scar tissue has been reduced (not gone away), and become much less painful. It probably also helps that I am a massage therapist, and while working on a client, I use the sensations coming from my hands to understand when a muscle is tight, or when it has knots, etc. I pay a lot of attention to the sensations coming from my fingers.

For the skin level on a knee, you will want to work on the scar itself. Touch it with an object with a small point in several specific spots on and around the scar. Can you feel the sensation? If not, start by going around the edge of the scar. Can you feel that sensation? Notice what it feels like. Does it make a difference if you press hard or light? What about if you move it around a little?

Set an intention that you want to feel sensation in that specific point you are touching. By doing this, and focusing your attention on it, you are forcing your brain and your body to focus in on the sensory information you should be receiving from those nerves. Just like working to develop more flexibility by stretching the same muscles over an extended amount of time, you are working to develop those nerves on a daily basis by using different kinds of touch. Over time, you will redevelop more feeling in the area than you previously had.

Moving on to the deeper layers, it is important to know that just as scar tissue develops on the outside layers of the skin, it develops in the muscle. Muscle can be divided into two groups with regard to scar tissue; areas which can be worked through direct massage, and those which are much more difficult to work with using massage. Most massage therapists have developed an ability to work at a deep level within the muscle that most non massage therapists have not. For the areas which are difficult to get to when doing massage yourself, I would recommend getting into a regular stretching program and getting regular massage. Most recreation/fitness centers now offer Yoga classes. If yours doesn’t offer Yoga or another kind of stretching program, ask them why they don’t, and consider joining one that does.

Also, consider getting regular scar tissue massage for a while. If you don’t know a good massage therapist, ask a friend who gets regular massage, or even look up a CMT in the phone book. You can find criteria for selecting a massage therapist by clicking here. You may have to take some time researching, but it will be worth it when you find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable, and schedule an appointment. Massage can range from $20 to upwards of $300/hour. The cost doesn’t necessarily determine the quality of the massage, so don’t think you have to pay an arm and a leg to get a great massage. Let the therapist know your wants with regard to getting your scar tissue broken up, and they should be able to help you.

Another thing to consider (when getting massage for a trauma area) is that the muscles around the area will be tightening up in protection of the injury. In the case of a knee surgery, this would be the quadriceps, hamstrings muscles, calf muscles, and all the muscles on the anterior (front) side of the lower leg. A therapist should know to work these muscles, and you can rub them yourself as well to help keep them loose.

On to the level of scar tissue in the muscle that you can work yourself, cross-fiber technique can be very effective. If your scar tissue is right over the knee cap you’ll probably have to lift it up off of the knee and squeeze it between your thumbs and forefingers to get to it. However, if it is in a more substantial set of muscle (lower quads), you will be able to work your fingers across the muscle and use a cross-fiber technique on the muscle (or have someone do this for you).

Cross-Fibering

Start by using a cream, lotion, or oil (I personally recommend Lotus Touch cream, available from http://www.lotustouch.com) and use it on the area you want to work. Skinstore.com also sells a few creams and gels, which have been reported to help considerably to diminish the tightness and the overall thickness of scar tissue. Remember that you are using the massage cream to allow your hands or a tool to more easily move across the skin, so if the skin soaks all of it up, you may need to reapply. You will then want to work across the muscle fibers. In the case of the muscles around the knee: as you are standing, most of the muscle fibers go up and down, so you will want to work across the leg. You can use massage tools and/or implements to get into the muscle deeply and work across the muscle, or you can use your hands. One good hand position is to bend the middle and ring fingers and use the second knuckle (closest knuckle to the hand-but not the knuckle joining the hand) on the middle and ring fingers, to get into the muscle fibers of the quads/calves, while the second and pinky fingers are straight and glide across the leg. Move up and down the muscle, making sure to focus on areas where it feels like there is more binding of the tissues. You can finish by doing a gentle massage on the area to calm it down. This is one possibility for cross-fibering.

Whatever hand position or tool you use with cross-fibering, remember that your goal is to break up the scar tissue by going across the muscle, and remember that this isn’t going to happen overnight. By using cross-fibering, you are actually causing minor traumas to an area which promote the healing in that area. You don’t want to re-injure the area to the point where more scar tissue develops because of your working on it. A generally good way to know how much pressure is enough is that it should be on the level between uncomfortable and painful. So it should be uncomfortable, but not overly painful. As far as the time it takes for healing, a good general guideline is that you should give the scar tissue as long to break up (if you’re working on it daily) as it did for it to be created. In other words, if you had surgery two years ago, and you just started working with the scar tissue yesterday, large improvements could take up to two years from yesterday. Healing doesn’t have to take this long, but this should give you an idea of how patient you should be.

In summary:

Work with the scar as often as you think about it.

It is possible to overwork an area, but not likely that you will with the scar tissue.

Use heat to bring blood to an area, cold to take blood away from an area.

Generally speaking, you will want to take the blood away from an area before you work with scar tissue so that it will hurt less to work with it (the cold of ice will also numb the nerves so you can work with the scar tissue). You will then want to work with the tissue that is deeper in the muscle, using cross-fibering, while it is cold. When you are done, you will want to heat the area to bring blood in and carry away the toxins which are released as you break up the scar tissue and open up the area. (Too much time with the heat can cause an abundance of blood in an area, which can cause swelling and a different kind of pain. Generally, 20-30 minutes with the heat is a safe bet.) You will want to use moist heat if possible (i.e. a wet washcloth warmed up in the microwave or something comparable), as it will draw more fluids to the area and encourage the muscle to return to its natural state. (Don’t get the heat so hot that it burns you.)

Working with the scar tissue may hurt initially.

Pain should decrease over time, but may not fully go away. Be prepared for this, but don’t psyche yourself out. It does get better.

You can do the work yourself

You can have great results just from working on the scar tissue yourself. You will be most successful if you will work on it yourself because you are the only one who is with you 24 hours a day, so you can be there all the time to work on it. However, just like it feels better to get a massage from someone else than it does to give yourself one, you may experience good results from someone else working on you as well. Just make sure that you communicate with them (and that they are willing to listen) when there is too much pain, or not enough pressure, etc. Also, there may be cases where you can not reach the scar tissue (i.e. back surgery. If this is the case, have someone else work with you, and get into a regular stretching program). Caveat: Make sure you say thank you to the person who is helping take care of you. They’re much more likely to help again.

Nutrition is important.

Eating well can have a huge impact on how quickly the body will heal. With regard to scar tissue, nutrition plays an important role in how quickly the body will be able to develop feeling in an area and breakdown the scar tissue. It needs the vitamins and minerals to build tissue, create chemical connections, and carry away toxins.

Be patient.

The human organism is amazing in what it can do, if given the time and resources it needs to do so. If you re-injure the area by doing more than it can handle (i.e. bungee-jumping two weeks after surgery), don’t expect your body to respond well.

Be patient!

Pathological Eating Disorders and Poly-Behavioral Addiction

When considering that pathological eating disorders and their related diseases now afflict more people globally than malnutrition, some experts in the medical field are presently purporting that the world’s number one health problem is no longer heart disease or cancer, but obesity. According to the World Health Organization (June, 2005), “obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight – at least 300 million of them clinically obese – and is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability. Often coexisting in developing countries with under-nutrition, obesity is a complex condition, with serious social and psychological dimensions, affecting virtually all ages and socioeconomic groups.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June, 2005), reports that “during the past 20 years, obesity among adults has risen significantly in the United States. The latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 30 percent of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older – over 60 million people – are obese. This increase is not limited to adults. The percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. Among children and teens aged 6-19 years, 16 percent (over 9 million young people) are considered overweight.”

Morbid obesity is a condition that is described as being 100lbs. or more above ideal weight, or having a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30. Being obese alone puts one at a much greater risk of suffering from a combination of several other metabolic factors such as having high blood pressure, being insulin resistant, and/ or having abnormal cholesterol levels that are all related to a poor diet and a lack of exercise. The sum is greater than the parts. Each metabolic problem is a risk for other diseases separately, but together they multiply the chances of life-threatening illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, etc. Up to 30.5% of our Nations’ adults suffer from morbid obesity, and two thirds or 66% of adults are overweight measured by having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25. Considering that the U.S. population is now over 290,000,000, some estimate that up to 73,000,000 Americans could benefit from some type of education awareness and/ or treatment for a pathological eating disorder or food addiction. Typically, eating patterns are considered pathological problems when issues concerning weight and/ or eating habits, (e.g., overeating, under eating, binging, purging, and/ or obsessing over diets and calories, etc.) become the focus of a persons’ life, causing them to feel shame, guilt, and embarrassment with related symptoms of depression and anxiety that cause significant maladaptive social and/ or occupational impairment in functioning.

We must consider that some people develop dependencies on certain life-functioning activities such as eating that can be just as life threatening as drug addiction and just as socially and psychologically damaging as alcoholism. Some do suffer from hormonal or metabolic disorders, but most obese individuals simply consume more calories than they burn due to an out of control overeating Food Addiction. Hyper-obesity resulting from gross, habitual overeating is considered to be more like the problems found in those ingrained personality disorders that involve loss of control over appetite of some kind (Orford, 1985). Binge-eating Disorder episodes are characterized in part by a feeling that one cannot stop or control how much or what one is eating (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). Lienard and Vamecq (2004) have proposed an “auto-addictive” hypothesis for pathological eating disorders. They report that, “eating disorders are associated with abnormal levels of endorphins and share clinical similarities with psychoactive drug abuse. The key role of endorphins has recently been demonstrated in animals with regard to certain aspects of normal, pathological and experimental eating habits (food restriction combined with stress, loco-motor hyperactivity).” They report that the “pathological management of eating disorders may lead to two extreme situations: the absence of ingestion (anorexia) and excessive ingestion (bulimia).”

Co-morbidity & Mortality

Addictions and other mental disorders as a rule do not develop in isolation. The National Co-morbidity Survey (NCS) that sampled the entire U.S. population in 1994, found that among non-institutionalized American male and female adolescents and adults (ages 15-54), roughly 50% had a diagnosable Axis I mental disorder at some time in their lives. This survey’s results indicated that 35% of males will at some time in their lives have abused substances to the point of qualifying for a mental disorder diagnosis, and nearly 25% of women will have qualified for a serious mood disorder (mostly major depression). A significant finding of note from the NCS study was the widespread occurrence of co-morbidity among diagnosed disorders. It specifically found that 56% of the respondents with a history of at least one disorder also had two or more additional disorders. These persons with a history of three or more co-morbid disorders were estimated to be one-sixth of the U.S. population, or some 43 million people (Kessler, 1994).

McGinnis and Foege, (1994) report that, “the most prominent contributors to mortality in the United States in 1990 were tobacco (an estimated 400,000 deaths), diet and activity patterns (300,000), alcohol (100,000), microbial agents (90,000), toxic agents (60,000), firearms (35,000), sexual behavior (30,000), motor vehicles (25,000), and illicit use of drugs (20,000). Acknowledging that the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality was risky behavior lifestyles, the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force set out to research behavioral counseling interventions in health care settings (Williams & Wilkins, 1996).

Poor Prognosis

We have come to realize today more than any other time in history that the treatment of lifestyle diseases and addictions are often a difficult and frustrating task for all concerned. Repeated failures abound with all of the addictions, even with utilizing the most effective treatment strategies. But why do 47% of patients treated in private treatment programs (for example) relapse within the first year following treatment (Gorski,T., 2001)? Have addiction specialists become conditioned to accept failure as the norm? There are many reasons for this poor prognosis. Some would proclaim that addictions are psychosomatically- induced and maintained in a semi-balanced force field of driving and restraining multidimensional forces. Others would say that failures are due simply to a lack of self-motivation or will power. Most would agree that lifestyle behavioral addictions are serious health risks that deserve our attention, but could it possibly be that patients with multiple addictions are being under diagnosed (with a single dependence) simply due to a lack of diagnostic tools and resources that are incapable of resolving the complexity of assessing and treating a patient with multiple addictions?

Diagnostic Delineation

Thus far, the DSM-IV-TR has not delineated a diagnosis for the complexity of multiple behavioral and substance addictions. It has reserved the Poly-substance Dependence diagnosis for a person who is repeatedly using at least three groups of substances during the same 12-month period, but the criteria for this diagnosis do not involve any behavioral addiction symptoms. In the Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition’s section (DSM-IV-TR, 2000); maladaptive health behaviors (e.g., overeating, unsafe sexual practices, excessive alcohol and drug use, etc.) may be listed on Axis I only if they are significantly affecting the course of treatment of a medical or mental condition.

Since successful treatment outcomes are dependent on thorough assessments, accurate diagnoses, and comprehensive individualized treatment planning, it is no wonder that repeated rehabilitation failures and low success rates are the norm instead of the exception in the addictions field, when the latest DSM-IV-TR does not even include a diagnosis for multiple addictive behavioral disorders. Treatment clinics need to have a treatment planning system and referral network that is equipped to thoroughly assess multiple addictive and mental health disorders and related treatment needs and comprehensively provide education/ awareness, prevention strategy groups, and/ or specific addictions treatment services for individuals diagnosed with multiple addictions. Written treatment goals and objectives should be specified for each separate addiction and dimension of an individuals’ life, and the desired performance outcome or completion criteria should be specifically stated, behaviorally based (a visible activity), and measurable.

New Proposed Diagnosis

To assist in resolving the limited DSM-IV-TRs’ diagnostic capability, a multidimensional diagnosis of “Poly-behavioral Addiction,” is proposed for more accurate diagnosis leading to more effective treatment planning. This diagnosis encompasses the broadest category of addictive disorders that would include an individual manifesting a combination of substance abuse addictions, and other obsessively-compulsive behavioral addictive behavioral patterns to pathological gambling, religion, and/ or sex / pornography, etc.). Behavioral addictions are just as damaging – psychologically and socially as alcohol and drug abuse. They are comparative to other life-style diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease in their behavioral manifestations, their etiologies, and their resistance to treatments. They are progressive disorders that involve obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors. They are also characterized by a preoccupation with a continuous or periodic loss of control, and continuous irrational behavior in spite of adverse consequences.

Poly-behavioral addiction would be described as a state of periodic or chronic physical, mental, emotional, cultural, sexual and/ or spiritual/ religious intoxication. These various types of intoxication are produced by repeated obsessive thoughts and compulsive practices involved in pathological relationships to any mood-altering substance, person, organization, belief system, and/ or activity. The individual has an overpowering desire, need or compulsion with the presence of a tendency to intensify their adherence to these practices, and evidence of phenomena of tolerance, abstinence and withdrawal, in which there is always physical and/ or psychic dependence on the effects of this pathological relationship. In addition, there is a 12 – month period in which an individual is pathologically involved with three or more behavioral and/ or substance use addictions simultaneously, but the criteria are not met for dependence for any one addiction in particular (Slobodzien, J., 2005). In essence, Poly-behavioral addiction is the synergistically integrated chronic dependence on multiple physiologically addictive substances and behaviors (e.g., using/ abusing substances – nicotine, alcohol, & drugs, and/or acting impulsively or obsessively compulsive in regards to gambling, food binging, sex, and/ or religion, etc.) simultaneously.

New Proposed Theory

The Addictions Recovery Measurement System’s (ARMS) theory is a nonlinear, dynamical, non-hierarchical model that focuses on interactions between multiple risk factors and situational determinants similar to catastrophe and chaos theories in predicting and explaining addictive behaviors and relapse. Multiple influences trigger and operate within high-risk situations and influence the global multidimensional functioning of an individual. The process of relapse incorporates the interaction between background factors (e.g., family history, social support, years of possible dependence, and co-morbid psychopathology), physiological states (e.g., physical withdrawal), cognitive processes (e.g., self-efficacy, cravings, motivation, the abstinence violation effect, outcome expectancies), and coping skills (Brownell et al., 1986; Marlatt & Gordon, 1985). To put it simply, small changes in an individual’s behavior can result in large qualitative changes at the global level and patterns at the global level of a system emerge solely from numerous little interactions.

The ARMS hypothesis purports that there is a multidimensional synergistically negative resistance that individual’s develop to any one form of treatment to a single dimension of their lives, because the effects of an individual’s addiction have dynamically interacted multi-dimensionally. Having the primary focus on one dimension is insufficient. Traditionally, addiction treatment programs have failed to accommodate for the multidimensional synergistically negative effects of an individual having multiple addictions, (e.g. nicotine, alcohol, and obesity, etc.). Behavioral addictions interact negatively with each other and with strategies to improve overall functioning. They tend to encourage the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, help increase violence, decrease functional capacity, and promote social isolation. Most treatment theories today involve assessing other dimensions to identify dual diagnosis or co-morbidity diagnoses, or to assess contributing factors that may play a role in the individual’s primary addiction. The ARMS’ theory proclaims that a multidimensional treatment plan must be devised addressing the possible multiple addictions identified for each one of an individual’s life dimensions in addition to developing specific goals and objectives for each dimension.

The ARMS acknowledges the complexity and unpredictable nature of lifestyle addictions following the commitment of an individual to accept assistance with changing their lifestyles. The Stages of Change model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984) is supported as a model of motivation, incorporating five stages of readiness to change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The ARMS theory supports the constructs of self-efficacy and social networking as outcome predictors of future behavior across a wide variety of lifestyle risk factors (Bandura, 1977). The Relapse Prevention cognitive-behavioral approach (Marlatt, 1985) with the goal of identifying and preventing high-risk situations for relapse is also supported within the ARMS theory.

The ARMS continues to promote Twelve Step Recovery Groups such as Food Addicts and Alcoholics Anonymous along with spiritual and religious recovery activities as a necessary means to maintain outcome effectiveness. The beneficial effects of AA may be attributable in part to the replacement of the participant’s social network of drinking friends with a fellowship of AA members who can provide motivation and support for maintaining abstinence (Humphreys, K.; Mankowski, E.S, 1999) and (Morgenstern, J.; Labouvie, E.; McCrady, B.S.; Kahler, C.W.; and Frey, R.M., 1997). In addition, AA’s approach often results in the development of coping skills, many of which are similar to those taught in more structured psychosocial treatment settings, thereby leading to reductions in alcohol consumption (NIAAA, June 2005).

Treatment Progress Dimensions

The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (2003), “Patient Placement Criteria for the Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders, 3rd Edition”, has set the standard in the field of addiction treatment for recognizing the totality of the individual in his or her life situation. This includes the internal interconnection of multiple dimensions from biomedical to spiritual, as well as external relationships of the individual to the family and larger social groups. Life-style addictions may affect many domains of an individual’s functioning and frequently require multi-modal treatment. Real progress however, requires appropriate interventions and motivating strategies for every dimension of an individual’s life.

The Addictions Recovery Measurement System (ARMS) has identified the following seven treatment progress areas (dimensions) in an effort to: (1) assist clinicians with identifying additional motivational techniques that can increase an individual’s awareness to make progress: (2) measure within treatment progress, and (3) measure after treatment outcome effectiveness:

PD- 1. Abstinence/ Relapse: Progress Dimension

PD- 2. Bio-medical/ Physical: Progress Dimension

PD- 3. Mental/ Emotional: Progress Dimension

PD- 4. Social/ Cultural: Progress Dimension

PD- 5. Educational/ Occupational: Progress Dimension

PD- 6. Attitude/ Behavioral: Progress Dimension

PD- 7. Spirituality/ Religious: Progress Dimension

Considering that addictions involve unbalanced life-styles operating within semi-stable equilibrium force fields, the ARMS philosophy promotes that positive treatment effectiveness and successful outcomes are the result of a synergistic relationship with “The Higher Power,” that spiritually elevates and connects an individuals’ multiple life functioning dimensions by reducing chaos and increasing resilience to bring an individual harmony, wellness, and productivity.

Addictions Recovery Measurement – Subsystems

Since chronic lifestyle diseases and disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, alcoholism, drug and behavioral addictions cannot be cured, but only managed – how should we effectively manage poly-behavioral addiction?

The Addiction Recovery Measurement System (ARMS) is proposed utilizing a multidimensional integrative assessment, treatment planning, treatment progress, and treatment outcome measurement tracking system that facilitates rapid and accurate recognition and evaluation of an individual’s comprehensive life-functioning progress dimensions. The “ARMS”- systematically, methodically, interactively, & spiritually combines the following five versatile subsystems that may be utilized individually or incorporated together:

1) The Prognostication System – composed of twelve screening instruments developed to evaluate an individual’s total life-functioning dimensions for a comprehensive bio-psychosocial assessment for an objective 5-Axis diagnosis with a point-based Global Assessment of Functioning score;

2) The Target Intervention System – that includes the Target Intervention Measure (TIM) and Target Progress Reports (A) & (B), for individualized goal-specific treatment planning;

3) The Progress Point System – a standardized performance-based motivational recovery point system utilized to produce in-treatment progress reports on six life-functioning individual dimensions;

4) The Multidimensional Tracking System – with its Tracking Team Surveys (A) & (B), along with the ARMS Discharge criteria guidelines utilizes a multidisciplinary tracking team to assist with discharge planning; and

5) The Treatment Outcome Measurement System – that utilizes the following two measurement instruments: (a) The Treatment Outcome Measure (TOM); and (b) the Global Assessment of Progress (GAP), to assist with aftercare treatment planning.

National Movement

With the end of the Cold War, the threat of a world nuclear war has diminished considerably. It may be hard to imagine that in the end, comedians may be exploiting the humor in the fact that it wasn’t nuclear warheads, but “French fries” that annihilated the human race. On a more serious note, lifestyle diseases and addictions are the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality, yet brief preventive behavioral assessments and counseling interventions are under-utilized in health care settings (Whitlock, 2002).

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that effective behavioral counseling interventions that address personal health practices hold greater promise for improving overall health than many secondary preventive measures, such as routine screening for early disease (USPSTF, 1996). Common health-promoting behaviors include healthy diet, regular physical exercise, smoking cessation, appropriate alcohol/ medication use, and responsible sexual practices to include use of condoms and contraceptives.

350 national organizations and 250 State public health, mental health, substance abuse, and environmental agencies support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Healthy People 2010” program. This national initiative recommends that primary care clinicians utilize clinical preventive assessments and brief behavioral counseling for early detection, prevention, and treatment of lifestyle disease and addiction indicators for all patients’ upon every healthcare visit.

Partnerships and coordination among service providers, government departments, and community organizations in providing treatment programs are a necessity in addressing the multi-task solution to poly-behavioral addiction. I encourage you to support the mental health and addiction programs in America, and hope that the (ARMS) resources can assist you to personally fight the War on pathological eating disorders within poly-behavioral addiction.

For more info see:

Poly-Behavioral Addiction and the Addictions Recovery Measurement System,

By James Slobodzien, Psy.D., CSAC at:

[http://www.geocities.com/drslbdzn/Behavioral-Addictions.html]

Food Addicts Anonymous: http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/

Alcoholics Anonymous: http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/

References

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition,

Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 787 & p. 731.

American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (2003), “Patient Placement Criteria for the

Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders, 3rd Edition,. Retrieved, June 18, 2005, from:

http://www.asam.org/

Bandura, A. (1977), Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review,

84, 191-215.

Brownell, K. D., Marlatt, G. A., Lichtenstein, E., & Wilson, G. T. (1986). Understanding and preventing relapse. American Psychologist, 41, 765-782.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved June 18, 2005, from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/

Gorski, T. (2001), Relapse Prevention In The Managed Care Environment. GORSKI-CENAPS Web

Healthy People 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2005, from: http://www.healthypeople.gov/

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The Top 7 Secrets of Marketing ‘Forever Living Products’

With over nine million distributors spanning nearly 140 countries, Forever Living got started as one man’s dream more than 30 years ago. Rex Maughan, the Founder and CEO of Forever Living Products, got started by combining two of his biggest goals – financial freedom and healthier living. Using Aloe Vera as the foundation of all his products, Rex Maughan found a whole group of doctors who developed different ways to stabilize and store the aloe gel, which was otherwise known to be extremely perishable.

The first meeting was held in Arizona and was attended by just 43 people. However, this single event would mark the beginning of what would later prove to be a multimillion dollar business. After nearly 3 years of founding the Forever Living Products Company, it purchased the Aloe Vera of America’s patents and the cosmetic production plant. Today, the Forever Living Products consist of a range of skin care and weight loss products that are dedicated to improving the health and beauty of people.

Let’s take a deeper look into the Forever Living Products themselves!

The Forever Living products include a wide array of Aloe Vera based products that range from beverages and supplements to lotions, soaps, creams, deodorants, after shaves, toothpastes, perfumes, colognes, laundry detergents, lip balms, burn treatment creams and hair care products. The company owns many acres of Aloe Vera plantations and the facilities are capable of processing thousands and thousands of gallons of raw Aloe Vera daily.

  • Drinks: Forever Living has a wide complement of Aloe Vera drinks that include: the Aloe Vera Gel, the Aloe Berry Nectar, the Forever Bits n’ Peaches and the Forever Freedom. The major ingredient in all of these drinks is the pure Aloe Vera fillet gel, which is taken from the centre of the leaf. Other drinks include: the Forever Pomesteen Power, the Aloe Blossom Herbal Tea, Aloe2Go and the Forever Natural Spring Water.
  • Nutrition: Today, more people have been turning to nutritional supplements to get those vital nutrients that will enhance their health. The Forever Living supplement products consist of the finest ingredients that are grown from the best sourced and produced with the help of the finest technology. Some of these include: Forever Nature Min, Forever ARGI, Forever Arctic Sea, Forever Gin-Chia, Forever Absorbent-C, Forever A-Beta-CarE, etc.
  • Bee Products: Forever Living has a whole range of 100% natural bee products. These include: Honey, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly and Bee Propolis.

Some of the other products include weight management, personal care and skin care products. Forever Living also has a remarkable range of combo packs. These products are all top sellers in the market today. So, it is quite obvious that a large portion of the overall revenues that the company makes comes from these Aloe Vera products. These products have been around for over 30 years now and in case you are planning on becoming a Forever Living distributor, then it is safe to say that you won’t have to beg to sell these products.

If you want to become a successful Forever Living Product Distributor, then you’ll have to follow the basic rules of marketing. But before you get started, it is very important to learn everything about the company and the products that you are planning on selling.

It is also important to learn about the marketing system that the company uses and other schemes like commission distribution and incentive programs. After all, everybody knows that a smart trader should always know who he’s working for and what he’s working with.

Here are 7 secrets of marketing Forever Living products:

1.   Build a Website:

The Internet has become such a big part of our lives that people go online every single second searching for information on services and products. Start by building a website to market your Forever Living products. When users look for products that are similar to yours, there is a very strong chance that they might stumble across your website and purchase from you.

2.   Optimize your Website:

The Internet puts you in a position where you know that people will actively search for health and cosmetic products. Your aim is to get people to find you online. If your site is now well-optimized, then your site will be lost in the melee of the Internet. Search Engine Optimization techniques such as keyword research, meta-tag optimization, PPC, article and blog distribution, etc should be used. This is a good way to attract people to visit your site. In this way, your site will not only be useful in selling your products but it can also help in expanding your downline.

3.   Social Networking:

With social networking sites becoming the new rage, opening accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter could be very useful. Start your own Forever Living community and entice your friends to join with you and spread the word. Get involved in discussions related to Aloe Vera products and other healthcare products and put in a word about your company every now and then.

4.   Posting Ads in Print Materials:

With the online methods getting more and more popular, offline methods should not be ignored as they are still extremely valuable. Posting ads in magazines and newspapers form a very important part of multilevel marketing. Many publications have a classified ad section. However, never advertise your MLM business directly. Always employ a 2 step lead generation process. First offer a free report or a similar offer, and then follow this up with more details on your company. This will help to increase the conversion rate.

5.   Print Flyers & Brochures:

Printing flyers and brochures with your product information is a great offline way of marketing. Always include your contact details, your web address and any other personal information that you think may be useful. Distribute these flyers and brochures in local shops, beauty salons, massage centres’, spas, apartment complexes, housing developments, mobile home parks and rental offices. But make sure you take permission before you leave your flyers behind.

6.   Distribute Freebies:

All people love free stuff. So, use this to your advantage and give away freebies like pens and stickers and even free products. But make sure that each item that you give away has your company’s logo and website URL. But be wise with the freebies you choose to give out. You don’t want to burn a hole in your own pocket. Give away freebies to those you think are serious prospects.

7.   Spread the Word:

Simple word of mouth marketing is perhaps still the most effective form of offline marketing. Talk to friends and family and loop them in. However, just because friends and family are the easiest targets, do not limit yourself to them. Ask your friends to spread the word and regularly hand out business cards to strangers. Spread the word across your neighbourhood and have frequent yard sales.

Some other marketing methods include: group conference calls, issuing business cards, go door to door selling your products, etc.

By associating yourself with Forever Living, which is a company built with integrity; you have already made it easier for yourself to become rich. But with just a little marketing effort and a bit of creativity, you should be well on your way to achieving unimaginable success!

Company Profiles – Grifols

Grifols is a producer of biotechnological products and services for the healthcare sector.

The website starts with strong statement: “What matters most: People.” More difficult it is to evaluate the site and the annual report on this statement.

Their vision: to assist professionals in securing the health and well-being of humanity through dedicated service and innovative products.

Grifols is a group of companies, which serves healthcare professionals and patients in over 90 countries around the world. They research, develop, manufacture and market plasma derivatives, IV therapy, enteral nutrition, diagnostic systems and medical materials.

The mission statement is divided in five areas:

– Health. Our services and products help you improve the health and well-being of humanity.

– Innovation. New products and services from Grifols enable major advances in patient health and medical capability.

– Experience. Grifols: a proven, trusted plasma pioneer since 1940.

– Resources. As part of the global Grifols family of companies, Grifols gives you access to world-class resources and worldwide service.

– Commitment. A heritage of more than sixty years of innovation, safety and service.

The organization of Grifols is divided roughly into

Industrial area, dedicated to developing, research and manufacturing of products and services (diagnostic, laboratories, engineering, biomat, plasmacare and biologicals) and a commercial area (marketing, distribution and customer service) which is setup regionally (America, Asia and Europe) a third branch “Others” covers “grifols Viajes” (travel)

A family business: the company was founded in 1940 by Dr.Grifols i Roig founds Grifols (Laboratories) together with his sons.

Interesting facts on the timeline starts as soon as 1943 when “The first single donor lyophilized plasma in Europe and the first penicillin in Spain are produced.” In 1945 the first private blood bank is opened in Spain and in 2006 the company Grifols is listed on the Spanish Stock exchange.

There are three divisions:

Bioscience Division. Specializes in the research, development, production and commercialization of high quality plasma derivates. Grifols’ original product line.

Diagnostic Division. Focuses on researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing diagnostics products for laboratory analysis, including products for Hospital Blood Banks and Transfusion Centers.

Hospital Division. Provides a wide range of non-biological products used in hospital pharmacies, surgery, nutritional support, fluid therapy and for other therapeutic uses.

Interesting about the annual report is its design, simple but the statistical and financial figures are represented with test-tubes stressing the laboratorial business.

In 2007 Grifols recorded total revenue of 703 million euros and total profit of 87.8 million euros.

We have a low level of debt (net financial debt is 1.9 times EBITDA), which gives us a comfortable margin for carrying out the next stage of our business expansion plan. (An ambitious, 400 million euro investment plan to fund its growth in the next five years, which it began implementing in 2008)

Benefits of Engaging in Physical Education and Sport Activities

Engaging in natural health remedies such as physical education and sport activites are encouraged by health and nutrition experts today. The increasing number of health risks and conditions that are experienced by most people today, young or old, create concern about the impact of lifestyle and diet factors to increasing those risk factors. If you wanted to adapt a change in lifestyle, make sure to learn how you can incorporate those activities in your daily life and experience their benefits.

What is Physical Education?

Physical education is a form of instruction that focus on promoting activities that involve physical development and enhance an individual’s overall well being. This is one reason why physical education is an integral part in a school’s curriculum, especially for grade school to high school students. This is the time wherein the physical body is undergoing development and engaging in activities such as dance, sports, gymnastics, and calisthenics, among other PE classes are highly encouraged.

Aside from those physical activities, games can also become part of physical education and sport classes. The idea is to stimulate play behavior to develop physical fitness and skills. Although physical education has been largely associated with the modern society, it actually has a long history that dates back to the times of ancient Greece.

Teaching Physical Education

The ability for children to benefit from physical education and sport classes depend largely on the teaching methods employed. This is why PE teachers need a certain level of qualification before they are allowed to teach this subject. A baccalaureate degree is the most basic requirement for PE teachers and some could even have concentration studies in the area of human behavior and biology.

Aside from teaching physical education and sport in schools, there is also a large demand for PE instructors in other sectors. This is partly due to the recent surge in health and fitness awareness with the need to stay active being considered as one of the healthy yet natural alternatives to combating common diseases and health risks.

Sport Activities

Although sports is viewed today as a competitive activity, it can also be practiced for leisure and fitness purposes. There are various level of sports activities that one can engage in such as amateur, leisure, and professional sports.

Sports classes are also held in schools to encourage students to participate actively for physical stimulation. After all, sports is not only fun and competitive, but it also teaches one the importance of taking care of your body and well being in terms of physical self-discipline. There are several sports activities that one can choose from such that it is easier to commit yourself into this activity, depending on what you enjoy doing most. Some of the most popular sports today include basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming, to name a few.

Benefits

To encourage your kids to engage in physical education and sport activities, here are some of the rewards for doing so:

• Depending on the type of sport, it can encourage social behaviors and improve one’s ability to work with a team.

• It boosts your endurance and fitness level such that you stay healthier for longer.

• It teaches one self-discipline to adapt a healthy lifestyle and take good care of one’s body.

• It promotes physical development and acquire essential physical skills.

7 Supplements and Herbs For Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Hypothyroidism

Many people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and other types of hypothyroidism look to take nutritional supplements and herbs to help manage their symptoms naturally. Taking the right supplements and herbs can really do wonders with someone who has a hypothyroid condition. In fact, when incorporating other lifestyle factors as well, many people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and other types of hypothyroidism can completely restore their health. So it’s important to understand that while nutritional supplements and herbs can do wonders for one’s health, taking them alone won’t restore your health back to normal, and they might not even do a good job of managing one’s symptoms.

As result, before you decide to take any of the following supplements or herbs, it’s a good idea to speak with a holistic doctor who focuses on endocrine disorders. They will evaluate your condition to determine which of the following supplements and/or herbs you might need, what dosage is appropriate to take, etc. Plus, a good holistic doctor won’t only try to manage your symptoms naturally, but if at all possible will try to cure your condition. While conventional endocrinologists and medical doctors simply tell their patients to take synthetic or natural thyroid hormone for the rest of their life, a good natural endocrine doctor will try to find the underlying cause of the condition.

After all, most thyroid conditions don’t simply develop “out of the blue”. In other words, there usually is an underlying cause which in turn causes problems with the thyroid gland. So while taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone may do a good job of managing the symptoms (although not always), it will do absolutely nothing for the actual cause of the hypothyroid condition. On the other hand, following a natural thyroid treatment protocol can help to correct the underlying cause. And the following seven supplements/herbs can play a big role in the recovery process:

1. Eleuthero. Most people with hypothyroidism, including those with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, have adrenal problems. Eleuthero, also known as Siberian Ginseng, is an excellent herb that can help people do a better job of adapting to stressful situations. For people who have weakened adrenal glands, this herb will help them to recover and become strong again. This herb also helps with the immune system, which of course will benefit those people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid condition I took Eleuthero, as I had abnormally low cortisol levels and this herb, along with other factors, helped to restore my adrenal health back to normal.

2. Echinacea. Many people are familiar with this herb, which has a primary focus of improving immunity. This once again will be helpful for someone who has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, as well as with other autoimmune conditions. It is important to understand that the quality of this herb is important. While this is true with any other herb or nutritional supplements you take, the reason I bring this up with Echinacea is because this is a very popular herb that is sold in most nutrition stores, health food stores, pharmacies, and many other places. So it’s important to take a high quality supplement in order to receive optimal results.

3. Iodine. Most people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and other hypothyroid conditions are deficient in iodine. However, while people with primary hypothyroidism can take iodine without a problem, those people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can’t take iodine until the autoimmune response has been addressed. If they do take iodine, there is a good chance their symptoms will become worse. So if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, you need to first see a natural endocrine doctor who will address the immune system component. Once this is under control then the iodine deficiency can be addressed.

But how can someone tell if they have an iodine deficiency? The best method is through an iodine loading test, which is a urine test that involves taking a 50mg tablet of iodine, and then seeing how much iodine you excrete over a 24 hour period. Once it has been determined that you have an iodine deficiency, you will want to take a high quality iodine supplement, and gradually increase the dosage to address this deficiency. I’ve written separate articles on iodine deficiency, and in addition to reading these, there’s an excellent book entitled “Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It.” I highly recommend anyone with a thyroid condition to read this book.

4. Bladderwrack. This is yet another great herb for people with hypothyroidism, including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Bladderwrack is a multipurpose herb, which means that it has many different benefits. This actually describes most herbs, as most of them do more than one thing. In any case, this herb directly impacts the thyroid gland, and also helps to increase the metabolic rate.

5. Ashwagandha. This is another wonderful herb for hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Some of its functions include helping the body better cope with stress, as well as help with immunity. It also helps with the conversion of T4 to T3. There are numerous other benefits of this herb as well.

6. Selenium. Selenium is an extremely important mineral, as it is involved in the production of thyroid hormone. It is involved in the enzymatic reaction which converts T4 to T3, and so a deficiency in selenium may lead to the development of a hypothyroid condition. Many people have a selenium deficiency, but this can easily be addressed through supplementation, or by simply eating a handful of raw Brazil nuts each day.

7. Magnesium. Many people are also deficient in magnesium, which also is important in people with hypothyroidism, including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is especially important for the proper utilization of iodine. So anyone who is iodine deficient should definitely make sure they aren’t also magnesium deficient. There are numerous foods one can eat to address such a deficiency, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, and unrefined grains. Or you can choose to take magnesium supplements instead.

So these are some of the nutritional supplements and herbs that people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis should consider taking. This of course isn’t to suggest that everyone with these conditions needs to take all of these supplements and herbs, as this is why it is advised to consult with a competent holistic doctor. This way they could determine which nutritional deficiencies you have, see what herbs you can benefit from taking, and come up with a natural treatment plan to help restore your health back to normal.

Don’t Buy Cell Tech Creatine! 2 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Cell Tech Creatine

Creatine is likely the best, most proven muscle building supplement outside of food products like protein powder. However, there are many overpriced, overhyped products which you would do well to avoid. The foremost of these snake oil products is cell tech creatine.

This article will explain the 2 most important reasons why you should save your hard earned money and avoid cell tech creatine. You can use these tips to avoid other bad products and focus on the ones that are really worthwhile. At the end of the article, follow the link to find a comprehensive muscle building guide, one that will do far more than any bogus supplement to help you gain mass.

1. You’re Paying Top Dollar For Sugar!

The main appeal of cell tech creatine is its outrageous advertising. The company uses massive bodybuilders to promote the product as if it is the next best thing for building muscle. They make crazy claims, like “Cell Tech Creatine can make you gain 25 times more mass,” and other thins along those lines.

If you peel away this marketing veil, however, you’ll see that the only big difference between cell tech creatine and other, much cheaper creatine products, is sugar. That’s it! You’re paying 10, 20, even 30 times as much for some sugar! Adding glucose to creatine can certainly be useful, but you should never pay that kind of price for it.

2. Creatine Monohydrate Works Just As Well

As with many things in life, the simplest is the best in this case. Plain old creatine monohydrate, the supplement that has been tested and proven to work for years, will give you the same muscle building benefit as cell tech creatine for pennies per serving.

Creatine works by helping your muscle cells to produce more ATP, or cellular energy, from the food you eat. No “magical” formula is going to accomplish that goal any better. If you want to take creatine with sugar to increase its uptake into your muscles, buy some dextrose (also dirt cheap), and mix them yourself.

How to Lose 50 Pounds in 11 Weeks – 5 Things You Must Do

Trying to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks can seem like a formidable task, but I assure you it can be done.

I’m assuming you’re not interested in using weight loss pills, appetite suppressants, surgery or any of that other junk to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks, which is good…’cos I hate those things. Don’t get me wrong, they have their place in certain situations, but in most cases, are an unnecessarily extreme measure.

When you consider that a gastric bypass operation can cost anywhere between $25,000 to $35,000 US dollars, you have to question whether the advice given to some folks to go through with it is in their best interests or that of the surgeon and his pocket.

Trying to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks may be a tough challenge but there are a few things you can do to make your life easier.

Here are 5 top tips you should follow when trying to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks.

1) Believe in yourself / set goals

The first and most important thing is getting in the right frame of mind. This may sound strange since you already know you want to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks…so what do I mean?

Well, don’t worry, I’m not gonna go all Tony Robbins on you and get you jumping up and down in a euphoric state (although there is some truth to that). Rather, I’m saying that you need a clear picture of where you want to be, and focus on it. You need to feel like you’ve already managed to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks…think about it…how does it really feel. Are your work colleagues inspired and envious of your new body and transformation? Do you have the confidence that you were lacking to ask out that hot guy or gal you’ve had your eye on for like forever?

Only by picturing it in your mind will you be able to set goals for your success and believe that you can and will lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks. The goals will be the checkpoints on your journey, the self-belief will be the fuel that keeps you going.

2) Find a good trainer and surround yourself with good like-minded people

This is an essential and often overlooked part of trying to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks. A lot of people don’t realise that who they surround themselves with plays a huge part in their self-belief, attitude, and overall motivation and determination. It has been said that a person is the average of the 5 or 10 people they hang around with the most, and this regards health, wealth, ambition, aspiration, relationships, family etc. This is not a hard and fast rule, but I feel there is some truth to it.

Trying to lose a lot of weight quickly will be demanding and therefore you want to surround yourself with positive folks who are rooting for you, and not people who are waiting for you to fail, so they can say “I told you so!”

Now, I’m not saying you should just give up and avoid your family and friends, but rather to seek out folks who have similar goals, and understand your situation. Finding people who have been where you are now and achieved your goals can give you a real push to do the same. Why do you think things like Weight Watchers clubs are so successful? It’s because they bring all these people together and they help each other out.

Where can you find these people? There are loads of forums online where you can find people who are trying to lose weight. Just going to Google or Yahoo and typing something like “weight loss + forum” (without the quotes) will yield all sorts of great things. There are also loads of weight loss and fitness programs online that you can follow to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks.

The same applies to your trainer, coach, or workout program that you choose to follow. Are they supportive yet ambitious, pushing you on when things get tough? If not, find one that is.

3) Eat a healthy diet

Obviously, diet and nutrition is fundamentally important when trying to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks. Taking on too many calories will mean you always put on weight, period. Therefore, you will need to create a caloric deficit, by taking on fewer calories than you burn, forcing your body to burn up the fat deposits and use it as energy.

Finding the right diet is important, and many folks go about it the wrong way. Starving yourself is a big no-no. You may lose a few pounds in the first few days, but it won’t last, as your body will transition into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism to burn less fat (it’s your in-built survival mechanism), making it even harder to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks.

So what can you do? Eat more! Yes, by eating smaller meals more regularly you will maintain your metabolism at a higher rate, and this, combined with exercise, will help you lose the pounds faster.

Green fibrous vegetables like broccoli, green beans, asparagus and lettuce are great healthy foods that can actually help you to burn fat, and it’s almost impossible to overeat on them. Eating more of them in the later part of the day along with a good lean protein like chicken breast is one of the best methods of getting lean as quickly as possible, and losing 50 pounds in 11 weeks.

4) Follow a good exercise plan

Without exercise, even the best diet plan in the world will struggle to help you lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks. You need to exercise in order to get the full benefit of the caloric deficit we mentioned earlier. It will create the furnace where you burn off those unwanted pounds.

Regular exercise also aids the mind, confidence and overall health. By tightening up, toning and growing your muscle, you also help your body to burn fat faster. Did you know that muscle can actually help you burn fat? So the more muscle you have the more fat you can burn, because your metabolism will work faster with more muscle.

Find a good training and exercise plan, with a good variety of cardiovascular work for your overall fitness, endurance and toning exercises like pushups and sit-ups, and some light weight training.

5) Stick to it!

This is the most important and often the hardest thing when trying to lose 50 pounds in 11 weeks. The best diet, exercise routine, trainer, and goals, mean nothing without the small action of going and actually doing it. Things may get tough over the next 11 weeks, but sticking to it and following through will show results, and you’ll be amazed at what you achieve. Once you see a little success you’ll be hungry for more and then it’ll be so hard to stop the momentum you build up, that 50 pounds in 11 weeks will seem like a piece of cake!

Vocal Health Daily Regimen

Having a healthy voice should be a part of your every day routine. Just by taking better care of your voice you can greatly improve your vocal health. If you are having vocal problems and are experiencing fatigue and hoarseness regularly, please see a professional voice doctor right away. Catching problems early is the key to turning them around quickly.

1. Humidity is a singer’s best friend. The ideal humidity level for singers is 60%. Boiling one pot of water in a 600 sq. ft. apartment will usually reach 60% in 1 hour. For frequent travelers, run the shower in your hotel room every morning and evening for 20 minutes with the bathroom door open. You can also use a humidifier, but it must be on all the time (be sure to clean humidifiers every other day with water and vinegar as mold spores develop quickly). Get a humidity thermometer to read your levels.

2. Drink 8 -10 glasses of water per day to stay adequately hydrated (the equivalent of four 1 liter bottles).

3. Do not talk over loud music and try not to “glottal” (strike the vocal cords). Do not whisper as it strains the voice.

4. Do yoga (or stretches) and breathing exercises daily. Vocal problems come from deep contractions in the muscles of the neck, tongue, jaw, back, and diaphragm. A loose and limber body helps avoid injury.

5. I recommend going for massage 1 or 2x a week for the next month – have the masseuse focus on your stomach, ribs, abs and neck/ shoulders/upper back/jaw/throat as well as all over body. With my students, I provide vocal massage sessions to release the jaw, tongue, throat/vocal muscles and neck and upper back and diaphragm – and teach singers self massage to help them stay free of tension as much as possible.

6. Acupuncture for the voice reaps great results. Acupuncture works on the central nervous system and energy centers of the body to get your natural healing energy flowing. Once or twice a week treatments are very helpful in restoring vocal health.

7. Do speaking exercises to find your optimal voice placement. And be sure to warm up and cool down before and after performances every time to avoid vocal wear and tear.

8. Stay away from smoky environments and use Vocal Eze Throat Spray 3-4x per day (endorsed by tons of rock stars). Spray 5-6 times at the back of the throat, tip head back and let it stay for a few moments before swallowing.

9. Gargle with warm salt water daily; use Neil Med saline rinse every day as well (available at most drug stores); and drink Throat Coat tea (available at health food stores).

10. Steam 3x a day – breathe in hot water/steam for 10min

11. Consume foods with a high water content:

a. Fruits and Veggies: Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, papaya, strawberries/ blueberries (all berries), romaine lettuce, celery, water chestnuts, bok-choy, carrot/celery juice, etc., b. Salads are your new BF. Salads should be your main meal twice a day. Fresh foods have living enzymes and high nutritional content. Great for staying healthy and avoiding acid reflux and digestive disorders. c. Soups with broth base (no tomato or cream). d. Stop eating all fried foods (for at least one month), no citrus, no peppermint, chocolate or marinara sauce.

12. Take whole food supplements daily – Take:

a. A daily vitamin ~ most important! b. Favorite Flora will help reverse acid reflux c. Perilla Sinus is the best supplement on the market for folks with allergies.

13. Natural medicine:

a. Homeopathy ~ Take Sore Throat/Hoarseness (homeopathic name is Roxalia) – by Boiron. This remedy reduces inflammation at the vocal folds. Take 3 days on 5 days off until symptoms subside. b. Herbs & Supplements c. Take Crystalline, non-acidic Vitamin C Powder daily. Take one heaping teaspoon in a 1/2 glass of juice daily. d. Stay healthy with Thieves lozenges and mouthwash and by using Oscillicoccinum and Coldcalm at the first sign of infection.

14. Get 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep is the way your body and mind recharge and rejuvenate. Without sleep, a singer’s voice is always tired which is a sure thing for vocal problems. If you have trouble sleeping, I do not recommend a pharmaceutical solution. Try melatonin right before bed. Usually does the trick. For a milder approach try a cup of chamomile tea or 10-15 drops of valerian root (herbal tincture) in water. A bath before bedtime and/or breathing exercises for 10 minutes will also help you drift off to sleep more easily.

15. Stay Away From:

a. Sugar

b. All fried foods

c. Citrus

d. Caffeine

e. Carbonated beverages ~ all soda and sparkling water

f. Ibuprofen

g. Peppermint

h. Cooked tomato sauce (marinara)

i. White flour (including white rice and pasta, pastries etc.)

j. Alcohol

k. Smoke

A note about pharmaceutical medicine:

Personally I do NOT take pharmaceutical medicine of any kind unless it is an emergency. For those of you who need medication, I don’t recommend immediately going off your medication. I do however recommend getting into health by reading books and educating yourself. Supplement your daily nutrition with whole food supplements and use products without chemicals to get your body back in balance. Natural medicines like homeopathy and herbs are extremely effective along with eating more naturally. It may take longer than popping a pill, but will not create the toxicity/chemical overload you get from pharmaceutical meds. This does not suggest you stop taking medicine prescribed to you. Discuss alternative treatments with your doctor first and visit a qualified nutritionist or naturopath to get off medication long term.