Tips to Keep a Weight Loss Resolution on Track

by Victoria Vande Zande, MD, Prevea Health Internal Medicine

The start of a new year can be a great time to make positive changes in your life. According to Proactive Change 2016, more than 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The key is to be one of the 8 percent who achieve their resolution. Striving for healthier habits and weight loss are among the most common New Year’s resolutions. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your healthier lifestyle resolution.

Set realistic goals and write them down: If you truly want to do something, write it down. Mark your goals on a calendar or on a to-do list. Meet mini goals such as: week one, eat one more serving of vegetables per day; week two, drink eight glasses of water per day; week three, remove sugared drinks from diet; week four, walk three days per week, etc. Do these and you are well on your way to a healthier lifestyle. It may also be helpful to set definite dates for long-term goals. Remember, it took more than a couple of weeks to gain weight, so it will take some time to lose it as well. It really is a lifestyle change.

Journal: Keep a detailed record of your weight loss, daily activity, dietary intake, and how you are feeling. You will be able to see what you are actually eating, and this may help you to figure out what your problem areas are. You may be surprised at how many calories you are consuming in a day. You should also be able to correlate how you are feeling with your diet and activity.

Remove temptations: Leave the temptations at the grocery store. It is much easier to give in if these foods are readily available. Allow yourself to give into cravings only when you are outside of your home and only in one serving portions.

Support system: Find a buddy that has some of the same goals as you do. You can share your ideas, plans, successes, and failures on a regular basis. It is also important to involve your family and friends so they can support you.
Photograph yourself: Pictures don’t lie. Take a photo of yourself every week and monitor your progress. The scale may not show that you have lost weight because of change in body composition, but you should be able to watch your progress through the pictures. You could also do body measurements or monitor your body composition over time.

Give yourself a break: Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t work. Figure out what you could do differently to get better results next time. The same things don’t work for everyone. If you have a bad meal or a bad week, make sure to stay positive and get back on track as soon as possible.
Keep your eyes on the prize with the ultimate prize being a better life and being healthier. Healthy people have more energy, more fun, and ultimately, more time.

A Weight Loss Program That Works
For some, a more structured diet is necessary. For these people, Prevea Health offers Ideal Weigh. Ideal Weigh is a medically supervised weight loss program that uses Ideal Protein foods along with vegetables, protein, and supplements to achieve weight loss. With Ideal Weigh, carbohydrates are limited to push your body into ketosis. During ketosis your body burns fat first. Since you are eating more protein, your body doesn’t burn muscle. In fact, patients on Ideal Weigh have improved body composition (decreased fat and increased muscle) and lose inches. Additional benefits? Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure are often able to decrease the medications they are on, or discontinue them altogether. Patients who have difficulty with fertility due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can have improved fertility. Patients with muscle and joint pain will often have improvement due to decreased inflammation when they decrease their simple carbohydrate intake. To learn more visit prevea.com/weightloss.

Dr. Vande Zande is an internal medicine physician with Prevea Health in Eau Claire, Cornell, and Chippewa Falls. She provides routine care for adults including preventative medicine and diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, heart disease, and depression. She is also the medical director for Prevea’s medically supervised weight loss program, Ideal Weigh. Visit prevea.com to learn more.

Heart Disease and Vitamin K

by Heidi Toy, NTP

The war against heart disease has largely dictated expert dietary advice over the last 50 years. Based on the principle that our diet – saturated fat in particular – predisposes us to heart disease, well-meaning diet dictocrats took to modifying our meals in specific ways to prevent heart disease. It wasn’t particularly successful. We looked to cultures that have low rates of heart disease – French, Italian, Greek – and found them eating lots of saturated fat. We declared that a “paradox” and inferred that some secret ingredient, olive oil or red wine, is protecting them from the butter and egg yolks that must be killing us.

The French/Italian/Greek “paradox” isn’t a paradox at all. Turns out that many of those rich, fatty “sin” foods are abundant in vitamin K2, the only vitamin known to prevent and reverse atherosclerosis.

The popularity of vitamin D supplements might be compounding the heart disease problem. Vitamin D increases arterial calcification when we are deficient in vitamin K2. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines, which is a good thing for bone health. But then vitamin K2 is critical to the next step, escorting calcium where it belongs – away from arteries into bones.

Vitamin K2 works by activating many proteins that move calcium around the body. Specifically, osteocalcin attracts calcium into bones and teeth. Another protein, MGP, sweeps calcium out of soft tissues like arteries and veins where the mineral is harmful. When vitamin K2 is lacking, the proteins that depend on it remain inactive. The “Calcium Paradox” then gradually rears its ugly head with an insidious decline in bone mineral density and hardening of the arteries. When K2 is plentiful, bones remain strong and arteries remain clear.

It is possible to lessen plaque burden by stimulating more MGP to actively sweep calcium away. Whether your cholesterol is high or low, what really matters is whether calcium-fueled plaque is building up in your arteries, leading to a potentially fatal blockage.

Vitamin K2 comes in two forms:
menaquinone-4 (often expressed as MK-4)
menaquinone-7 (often expressed as MK-7)

The studies showing effects on calcium deposits in the arteries were done with 45 mcg of MK-7. Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world’s top researchers in the field of vitamin K, recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for adults.

Always take the vitamin K supplement with fat since it is fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed without it.

Vitamin K1 is most abundant in leafy greens, while vitamin K2 is most abundant in animal fats and fermented foods. The richest sources of vitamin K2 in modern diets are egg yolks and cheese, especially hard cheeses.

Two distinct forms of vitamin K – K1 and K2 – were discovered in the early 1930s as the factors responsible for helping the blood to coagulate – when you cut your finger, you want the blood at the site to coagulate or you would bleed to death. The letter K came from the German spelling of koagulation. But it wasn’t until 1997 that researchers reported that vitamin K2 was recognized as being less important for coagulation, and much more important for healthy calcium deposition in bones and prevention of calcification of arteries. In 2007, the final piece of the puzzle dropped into place: vitamin K2 deficiency is very widespread, and this is having a major impact on human health.

Vitamin K2 appears to be much more effective at preventing pathological calcification than vitamin K1, and humans have a limited ability to convert K1 to K2.

Heidi Toy is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and the owner of Heidi Toy Functional Medicine/Educated Nutrition, located in Eau Claire, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on autoimmune, digestive, weight, female hormone, and depression issues.

Cranenburg EC, Schurgers LJ, Vermeer C. Vitamin K: the coagulation vitamin that became omnipotent. Thomb Haemost 2007, 98(1):120-25

What’s Your Pet’s Fitness Paw-proportionality?

By Margaret Meier Jones, DVM, CVSMT, Animal Wellness Center of Buffalo Valley

Each year I make a few New Year’s resolutions, and perhaps like many of you, the one that usually tops the list is to get outside and get moving more. I resolve to grab Quinn’s leash and hit the pavement “running,” and as an eighteen-month-old border collie, he’s eager and able to join me on my task. In a study published in June 2017 in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn’t own a dog. That’s great news for us humans, but is it equally good news for our four-legged best friends?

In general, whether we are two or four legged, we have to “move it or lose it,” and exercise is one of the best ways to keep our muscles, joints, and even brains healthy. However, with our canine companions, we have to take several things into consideration to ensure we are helping them put their best paw forward. Breed, age, weight, haircoat, past injury, and overall body conditioning has to be taken into account when we consider how much to exercise with our pets. Other considerations, such as the elements, also play a roll. For example, what’s the temperature outside? January in Wisconsin typically means sub-zero temperatures and wind-chills, so even if your dog is bred for Nordic climates, a coat and protective footwear is a must when going outside for any considerable period of time. Animals are susceptible to frostbite and other injury from the elements, so if you need an extra layer to be comfortable, so do they.

Maybe I’m a math geek, but have you ever considered the proportional difference between your stride length and that of your dog’s? If you take the average human’s in-seam of 30 inches and compare that to a dog who’s inside leg measurement may only be 10 inches, that’s a three-fold difference in strides! Add a few extra holiday pounds that resulted from Santa Paw’s stocking stuffer treat binge, and Fido may have to work much harder than you realize just to keep up with you on that walk. It’s best for us, and our dogs, if we gradually work into a more vigorous exercise regime, adding distance and speed as our cardiovascular conditioning improves. As you walk with your dog, paying attention to the effort and rate of their breathing can be a great indicator as to how hard their bodies are actually working on that walk.
Have you been noticing that your dog is lagging behind, breathing harder than before, or even demanding a rest by lying down on your walks? Are you hearing them shuffle across the floor, and you’re just attributing it to getting older? Happily, I can assure you that may not be the case! You’re beloved walking companion may be experiencing the slowdown of his nervous system that occurs when vertebral subluxation complexes (VSCs) accumulate, and regular chiropractic care may get you both back out fulfilling that exercise resolution!