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12 Mental Tricks to Overcome Cravings

Losing weight is as much a mental process as it is a physical one. And, in most cases, it’s our inability to mentally manage our cravings that causes our weight loss efforts to fall by the wayside. Therefore, the answer is easy – overcome your cravings and you’ll improve your weight loss odds.

At Synergy we specialize in medical weight loss in Wilmington NC, and part of our success is based on our ability to help our clients overcome their cravings. Here are twelve mental tricks that we employ to help our weight loss clients reach their goals. Start using them today!

Stop and Think Before You Act

Every single thing you do over the course of a day requires you to make a decision. Therefore, before you dive into that tub of ice cream, stop, take a breath, and think about what you’re doing. Every important decision requires reflection, and everything you put in your body is an important decision. Pausing before you do will help put things into perspective.

Indulge in Heathier Versions of Your Favorite Junk Food

Mentally, we crave the crunch, sweets, and salts of our favorite snacks. But, these sensations can be reproduced using healthier alternatives. Instead of potato chips try crispy kale chips. Instead of ice cream try blending a frozen banana into a sorbet. Or, just dig in to a bowl of grapes or cherries. Your cravings will be satisfied and you will find that you won’t even feel as if you’re missing anything.

Visualize Yourself Eating

According to a study performed by Carnegie Mellon University in 2010, participants who visualized themselves eating thirty M&M candies before they actually starting eating the candy ate fewer of the candies than those who didn’t visualize eating the candy.

Don’t Deprive Yourself

When you deprive yourself of something, it makes you want it that much more. By allowing yourself the ability to have anything, you’ll be more likely to suffer fewer cravings. The key is keeping your splurges limited to once or twice a week.

Portion Your Snacks

If you had a child, how much of one thing would you put in their lunch box? You should adopt a “lunch box” mentality when it comes to your snacks. Instead of sitting down with an entire bag of chips, dole out an appropriate portion in a baggie. This way, your snacks will last you longer, you won’t feel deprived, and you can account the calories that much easier.

Drink a Glass of Water

Often, thirst is mistaken for hunger. Therefore, before you head for the snack cupboard, drink a glass of water. If you’re still hungry after the drink, then you probably really are hungry. Going for an apple will give you the crunch you desire without the salt, calories, and fat of an unhealthy alternative.

Choose a Cheat Day

If you give yourself one day a week to indulge in your favorite treats, then you will have something to look forward to every week. This will also help you stay on track the rest of the week because mentally, you will feel guilty if you indulge outside of your chosen cheat day.

Identify Your Ideal Distractions

What takes your mind off of your cravings best? Is it calling your mom? Playing a video game? Reading a book? Make a list of your ideal distractions so when a craving hits, you can check your list and do something that will help keep your mind off of your craving.

Use Smaller Plates

We’re a super-size nation, so we want to see a lot of food on our plates. But, a lot of food is counterproductive when you’re trying to lose weight. Instead, try using smaller dinner plates when you plate up your food. This will make smaller portions appear larger and your mind will be tricked!

Resist, Resist, Resist

Think of your resistance like a muscle. Every time you use it, it gets stronger. So, every time you get a craving, resist, resist, resist. Eventually, your resistance will strengthen and cravings won’t have the power they once did.

Don’t Eat with the TV On

When we eat while watching TV, we often lose sight of how much we’re shoveling in our mouths because we’re focused on whatever it is we’re watching. Therefore, turn the TV off at dinnertime. This will help you focus on your food so you can pay better attention to what’s going in your body.

Get Technical

If you’re like most people, you’re never too far away from your smartphone. And, when you’re trying to lose weight, that can be a good thing. There are several motivational apps out there that you can use to help keep your weight loss goals on track or you can set daily reminder alerts on your phone so you can receive an inspirational or motivational note at those tough times of the day when your cravings tend to hit hardest.

Try Medical Weight Loss in Wilmington NC Now for Just $99

If you’re looking for a safe and effective way to lose weight, Synergy Medical Weight Loss provides doctor-supervised weight loss programs in the Wilmington NC area that deliver quality results. All of the appetite suppressants, vitamin injections, and prescription hCG therapies used in our programs are FDA-approved components and effectively proven to help patients lose weight safely. And best of all, it’s just $99 to get started!

If your cravings are making it impossible to lose weight, our medical weight loss in Wilmington NC can help. Call Synergy Medical Weight Loss at Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-477-3945 . We are here to help. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Fitness Club Membership in the US: What the Numbers Tell Us

If you are thinking about joining a fitness club to get in shape, you are not alone. Over 50 million Americans belong to a health club, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), and the numbers are rising by approximately 10 percent every year. And it’s no surprise, with more people becoming health-conscious and doing what they can to reduce their risk of obesity and heart disease, which go hand-in-hand with a sedentary lifestyle.

Following are a few interesting facts regarding fitness club membership in the US:

  1. The average fitness club member will go to the gym twice a week.
  2. The primary reason why people do not join a fitness club or quit their membership is that they feel it is too expensive. The average monthly cost of a fitness club membership is $55, and of that amount, $39 of it is wasted because the average member doesn’t use it. Amazingly, an estimated 67% to 80% of those with a gym membership never use it at all.
  3. There are nearly 30,000 health clubs throughout the US, which generate over $21 billion in combined revenue each year.
  4. Approximately a fifth of those with a fitness club membership are over age 55. The primary reason why 90% of them join a gym is that they are concerned about staying healthy, whereas the primary cause for 16-20 year-olds is to feel better about themselves. More gyms are now offering age-specific programs to accommodate the needs of different age groups.
  5. The greater your income, the more time you spend at the gym. A study of 1,600 fitness club members found that those members earning the least money went to the gym for one hour per week, whereas members with the highest incomes were at the gym for three hours per week.
  6. A few studies have found that the reason people go to the gym is not necessarily for fitness. Fully half of fitness club members go to the gym to meet with friends and look for potential dates. The gym may be an effective way to meet a partner, as a study conducted on 2,000 members of one gym found that over 10% of the members were living with someone they had met at the gym.
  7. In 1999, 4 million Americans used a personal trainer at the gym. This number had increased to 6.5 million in 2012.
  8. According to IHRSA, the top 10 fitness club activities, in order of preference, are stair-climbing machines, yoga, low impact aerobics, stationary cycling, abdominal machines, stretching, elliptical trainers, resistance machines, treadmills and free weights (hand weights, dumbbells and barbells).

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 796-3666

Chiropractic for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), named from the carpal bones in the wrist that form a tunnel around the nerve leading to the hand, is an injury usually caused by repetitive and forceful movements that result in swelling around the tendons and pinching of the median nerve, causing painful tingling, lack of muscle strength and control in the hand, and pain shooting from the hand up to the shoulder. CTS is a risk to most workers, such as those who work on the computer and also store and assembly line workers, who receive micro-traumas to their hands and wrists on a daily basis due to awkward positioning, forceful and repetitive movements, and stressful activity.

The usual treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can extend to heavy medication and surgery, however there are alternative methods of treatment that can alleviate the symptoms and effects arising from CTS. Chiropractic treatment for CTS has been studied against conventional non-surgical medical treatment and was found to be effective. This offers an alternative to sufferers who are intolerant to ibuprofen, or those who simply wish to avoid treating with medication.

The median nerve in the wrist, which when trapped causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, connects to the spinal cord through the openings in the bones in the areas around the lower neck. If these bones in the spinal cord lose their ordinary position or motion, this can cause problems in the wrists or fingers. Through chiropractic treatment, these bones can be reset to the correct position and can help to treat CTS.

If Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is detected early, then surgery can be avoided, and chiropractic treatment is the leading method of non-surgical treatment. Chiropractic treatment usually involves various methods, with a combination of rest, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation, including:

  • By chiropractic manipulation therapy of the elbow and upper spine, where the joint’s soft tissue undergoes manipulation;
  • Nutritional supplements in the diet such as B6, a vitamin that has had long-term promotion in its treatment of CTS;
  • Electro-acupuncture treatment; bracing, a technique that has had extensive success, by limiting extension and flexion in the hand, and with compression on the median nerve may encourage recovery and ease the swelling in the tendons;
  • Exercises for the wrist and hand designed to encourage recovery;
  • Reassessing the ergonomics of the work place to minimize stress the best way as possible.

Recent studies concluded that using manual therapy intervention such as soft tissue mobilization (STM) has been found to help improve the signs and symptoms of CTS, with improvements to nerve conduction latencies, wrist strength and motion.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can become a serious health problem, and if left too long may require surgery. If it’s caught early, then chiropractic treatment is an effective, drug-free method to ease the symptoms and pains caused by CTS, and provide long-term relief from CTS.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask.

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 796-3666

Choosing the Right Lumbar Support

Lumbar back support products are designed to help prevent neck and back pain, which can lead to pain in other parts of the body as well. Many of these products are pillows or cushions that offer additional support when you are seated for long periods of time.

The lumbar region of the spine is usually referred to as the lower back. It is the area just above your tailbone and below the thoracic (middle back) region. The lumbar area includes your spine and all the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding your spine. If your ligaments are pulled or torn, you will experience a lumbar sprain or strain, which can lead to muscle spasms and significant pain in your lower back.

What can cause lumbar sprains and strains? Poor posture, poor lifting technique, obesity, and other health-related factors can contribute. In fact, sitting for long periods without lumbar support can itself aggravate lumbar pain. Finally, one of the greatest contributors to back pain is using the wrong type of chair for your body. Surfaces that are too hard or too soft do not encourage proper posture and do not provide adequate support for your back.

Usually all that is required to relieve lower back pain is sufficient rest, but most of us are unable to rest for long enough to overcome lumbar problems. So preventing these problems with a good lumbar support is essential, especially if you spend significant amounts of time sitting down.

The first step to choosing the right lumbar support is to ensure that it fits perfectly in the chair you spend the most time in. An even better option is to choose an ergonomically designed chair that includes a built-in lumbar support, or an individual lumbar support that is specifically designed to be used with your chair. “One size fits all” lumbar support products rarely provide any benefits and should be avoided.

Make sure you test the product in the store before you buy it. If you can, sit with the lumbar support for at least 15 minutes to see if it feels good or aggravates back pain. The best lumbar supports are adjustable, so you can fit it to the chair’s height. Ergonomic chairs with lumbar supports included usually allow you to adjust the height and width of the support. Adjustable separate supports are particularly useful if you use more than one chair throughout the day.

Good health is a combination of many factors including your nutrition, preventative care, appropriate corrective care and the small choices you make every day in the course of living. If you have questions about this article, your general or spinal health, please ask. At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910)796-3666

How Coffee Affects Your Health

 

We seem to hear different things from the medical community every few years about either the positive or negative effect that coffee has on our health. So what is the most current information? Is coffee good or bad for your health? The answer, in short, is that it’s a little of both.

Too much coffee can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure, anxiety and upset stomach, in addition to its ability to become addictive. And don’t forget that added cream and sugar contribute to weight gain. For example, a 24-ounce Starbucks venti double chocolate chip frappucino contains a mind-boggling 520 calories!

Despite these drawbacks, moderate coffee consumption can actually have a protective effect, helping to reduce your risk of many problems, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver cancer, gallstones and Type 2 diabetes, to name a few. It can also lower the risk of stroke in women.

Current research has indicated that there is no increased risk of heart disease or cancer from moderate coffee drinking. The studies done earlier that reached that conclusion were flawed in that they did not take into consideration other lifestyle habits that went along with increased coffee drinking, such as smoking and lack of exercise, two major causes of these diseases. In fact, coffee has been shown to protect against many kinds of cancer.

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that there was a 25 percent reduction in cases of endometrial cancer in women who drank four or more cups of coffee per day. Scientists believe this may be due to the fact that coffee has the ability to lower concentrations of free estradiol and insulin, in addition to the cancer-fighting effect of coffee’s antioxidant phenols.

Even a few cups of coffee every day can cut men’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 30 percent, with those consuming six cups of coffee a day reducing their risk of a dangerous form of the cancer by a whopping 60 percent.

Coffee also reduces your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by up to 20 percent, according to scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who drink coffee (four cups per day) have a 20 percent lower risk of depression than those who drink no coffee at all.

It is recommended that you get no more than 500-600 mg of caffeine intake per day, the equivalent of about 6 to 8 cups of brewed coffee. Obviously, the amount of caffeine in a cup of espresso will be more than that in the equivalent amount drip coffee.

The key point to keep in mind is to consume coffee in moderate amounts, especially if you are pregnant. But all in all, the benefits of coffee consumption far outweigh the risks for most people, so grab a café grande and drink up!

Nutrition is a very complex and our understanding of it is constantly evolving.  If you have questions about your current nutrition or supplement plan, please ask.

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us today at (910) 790-3666.

Obesity Facts and Figures

Obesity is fast becoming the number one health problem in the world, contributing to an increased risk of other diseases and putting a strain on national health budgets. Following are some interesting facts and figures related to obesity:

  • About 17% of medical costs in the US are due to obesity and its related diseases, totaling an estimated $168 billion per year.
  • Obesity adds about $2,800 to a person’s medical bills annually.
  • An estimated 300,000 premature deaths in the US each year are caused by obesity.
  • One third of US adults are obese, indicating a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
  • If an 18-year-old remains obese throughout their adulthood, it will cost them $550,000.
  • 80% of cases of Type 2 diabetes are related to obesity. The rate of diabetes has doubled in eight states since 1995.
  • 70% of heart disease is obesity-related.
  • Low-income women are more likely to become obese than high-income women. Over 33% of people earning less than $15,000 annually are obese, as opposed to a 24.6% rate of obesity in those earning $50,000 or more.
  • The highest rates of obesity are found among non-Hispanic African Americans (44.1%), followed by Mexican-Americans (39.3%), Hispanics (37.9%) and non-Hispanic whites (32.6%). Asians have the lowest rate of obesity at 16.7%.
  • In the last 30 years childhood obesity has tripled, from 6.5% in children aged 6 to 11 years to 19.6% today. The obesity rate in teenagers aged 12 to 19 years has increased from 5% to 18.1%.
  • Of children who are overweight at age 10-15, 80% will be obese as adults.
  • As a percentage of the population, the US has the highest number of obese people (33.9%), followed by Mexico (24%), the UK (23%), Slovakia (22.4) and Greece (22%).
  • College graduates have an obesity rate of 20.8%, which is lower than the 29.5% rate of those who have only graduated high school.
  • Obesity begins to decline after age 60. The population of those over age 69 has an obesity rate of 20.5%.
  • The rate of obesity is increasing in the US. In 2007 only one state had an overall obesity rate of over 30%. In 2011, 12 states had a greater than 30% obesity rate.
  • 40% of obese Americans aged 50 to 84 have osteoarthritis of the knee, caused by the wear and tear to the joints from excess weight stress. One extra pound of weight is equivalent to four pounds of stress on the knee.

Good health is a combination of many factors including your nutrition, preventative care, appropriate corrective care and the small choices you make every day in the course of living. If you have questions about this article, your general or spinal health, please ask. We are here to help!

Chiropractic for Chronic Back Pain

 

About a third of the millions of people who make appointments with chiropractors every year seek relief from back pain. Back pain can be acute, meaning it happens suddenly, lasts 6 weeks or less and often clears up on its own; or back pain can be chronic, meaning it comes on gradually and lasts 3 months or more. Chronic back pain can be particularly debilitating and can limit movement and mobility.

Traditional treatments for back pain include medication, physical therapy, surgery or steroid injections. While these treatments may provide symptomatic relief, they do not address the root cause of the pain. They can also be painful and expensive to carry out.

The foundation of chiropractic care for chronic back pain is the understanding that misaligned vertebrae can cause the pain. This misalignment can result in many additional problems, such as headaches, body pains and impaired joint mobility. Chiropractic treatment aims to restore alignment to the vertebrae, returning natural health to the spine and all the body parts the spinal nerves serve.

Chiropractors believe in the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Chiropractic care avoids medications and their possible side effects, and it also avoids surgery. As an example of the differences in treatment, surgeons may remove a herniated disk from the spine in order to relieve pressure on the nerves, while chiropractors use non-invasive spinal manipulation to achieve the same result.

Your chiropractor will treat your chronic pain based on the vertebral misalignments found in your body. A quick, sudden force is applied to the appropriate vertebrae in order to restore the motion of the joint. Another common treatment for chronic pain is known as the flexion-distraction technique. This treatment involves a special table that stretches the spine. It is particularly effective in treating injuries to the discs that have been the cause of long-term back pain.
Chronic back pain will probably also require additional treatments such as massage, exercise, and perhaps physical therapy. A good chiropractor will work with other health professionals as needed to ensure you get the best possible treatment for your pain. He or she will also look at the entire picture of your life, including your diet, health habits, medical history, family history, and other conditions you may have. This approach is holistic and has a better chance of eliminating the root cause of your chronic back pain than traditional treatments that only work on the symptoms.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. We are here to help!

Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 and schedule your appointment!

Therapy Methods – Spinal Decompression Therapy

 

Spinal decompression therapy is a treatment option for people with long-term back pain, sciatica, leg pain, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, numbness and other conditions that have not responded to initial treatments such as manipulation and physical therapy. All of these conditions may be the result of compressive forces on your vertebrae, which can cause spinal misalignment and compressed discs.

Compressed discs can lead to herniation or bulging of the discs, thus pressure on the nerves. In addition to the pressure and compression, the nerve itself may not be able to receive the nutrients it needs to heal and work properly.  Often, surgery is used to decompress the spine, which is invasive, painful, and carries significant risks. Medications to reduce pain are also often used, but they do not treat the source of the pain and only mask it.

Spinal decompression therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical alternative that offers gentle spinal decompression through the use of specially designed, FDA-approved equipment. Prior to treatment, patients are thoroughly examined both manually and through the use of imaging technology in order to determine which spinal discs are compressed, and if the treatment is suitable and has a high likelihood of success.

Patients are placed on a decompression table in a comfortable posture that depends on which area of the back needs treatment.  The treatment applies a specific force to the compressed discs, and a computer alternates the decompression force with relaxation periods. Usually, there is a series of 15 one-minute alternating decompression and relaxation cycles, for an individual treatment time of 30 minutes. This process serves to gently elongate the spine and to create a vacuum that pulls the disc back into its proper location and shape within the vertebrae. Realigning the discs in this manner can reduce pain and promote healing. However, it may take up to 20 treatments for complete relief.

Not everyone is a good candidate for spinal decompression therapy. Research has shown it to be very effective for some patients but not for others, and it is not entirely clear which people it will work best on. Therefore, it is important to work carefully with your chiropractor to be sure you have a good chance of successful treatment. Your chiropractor may precede each treatment with soft tissue muscle work to reduce the body’s natural reflex reaction and prepare the muscles for the traction forces. He or she will also work with other health professionals as needed to determine the precise nature of your back pain and the type of treatments that are most likely to resolve your pain at its source.

Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 and schedule your Free Consultation!

What is Spinal Manipulation?

The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation”, also called “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile (or restricted in their movement) as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues restores mobility which alleviates pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.

In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.

The Chiropractor will plan the TREAT and INVOLVE the Patient

The Chiropractor will involve the participation of the patient in order to make the treatments truly effective and long lasting. Treatments that focus on pain and other symptoms are less effective and may be dangerous because the underlying condition remains.

In planning a course of treatment, the Chiropractor will consider the condition and age of the spine as well as any existing abnormalities. Once these factors are taken into consideration the Chiropractor will, through the use of gentle adjusting techniques, physical therapies, stretching and exercise, reduce spinal pain. Spinal stresses are decreased, and flexibility and range of motion are improved. Degeneration is minimized.

The Chiropractor will involve the participation of the patient in order to make the treatments truly effective and long lasting. Treatments that focus on pain and other symptoms are less effective and may be dangerous because the underlying condition remains.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care can be of significant value to the aging adult. As we age, the tissues of the spine become weaker. Muscles, facet joints, ligaments, muscles become less hydrated, more fibrotic, and less capable of withstanding everyday stress.

Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion and countless other factors can result in a displacement or derangements of the spinal column, causing irritation to the spinal nerve roots. These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic care teaches that reducing or eliminating this irritation can cause your body to operate more efficiently and with greater comfort. Chiropractic also places an emphasis on a nutritional and exercise program, as well as wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical health.

Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.

Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 and schedule your Free Consultation!