Why Diets Don’t Work

By Karen Malkin from Karen Malkin Health Counseling 

Put Down Your Fork!

You can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with America’s hottest obsession: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or ten years of age.iStock_000004541421Small

Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. America’s populace has reached its highest weight in history. About half of Americans are overweight; one-third are obese. Diets steer us away from our common sense and dip deeply into our pocketbooks while eliciting few, if any, lasting results. Why?

  • Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle; how could one diet be right for everyone?
  • Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet.
  • Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.
  • Diets don’t work because most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances.

In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting. Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need.

Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom. There is no such thing as a quick fix; you already have everything you need within you. With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.

A New Type of Balance Board Aimed at Peak Performance

By Brian Rog for ATI Physical Therapy

We mean it when we say “our team leads the way in pioneering the future of the industry”. Such is the case with Chad Franche PT, DPT, United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, and founder of the TherRex Balance Board. What initially started as an idea rooted from a practicum as a graduate student has now evolved into a game-changing product that is revolutionizing the health and fitness industry.

As someone who grew up wanting to make a difference in the lives of others, Chad felt the health and fitness industry needed a balance board that could truly facilitate all levels of motion without sacrifice. While in rotation at an outpatient clinic, Chad discovered that all the current balance boards took on a hemispherical shape on the bottom.

But while in a standing position, current boards give you more distance to shift your weight side to side (frontal plane) than front to back motion (sagittal plane). With this in mind Chad knew he could introduce a product with a base that would mimic this level of movement, but allow for full ankle range of motion without having to dismount from the board.

Fast forward a few years and this very idea was brought to life through the TherRex Board, which resembles a football shape to mimic the movement addressed above. The football shape also replicates the movement attained by a BAPS board (BioMechanical Ankle Platform System) in that it provides inward rotation of the ankle throughout flexion, but through a greater range of motion, which allows for the ankle to be exercised in the position sprains occur.

Chad originally intended for the board to be a pediatric balance board with an interactive gaming component, but after seeing the potential the football shape could provide, it was clear he needed to take this product to the next level.

“I knew with the football shaped base, if the board were to be used in the plank or seated positions there would be two different intensities at which exercises could be performed,” said Chad. “The board would just have to be turned 90 degrees to make it easier or harder (the shorter arc of the football shape is less stable and higher difficulty than the longer more stable arc).

I added a pair of handles at the ends of each arc and a flat edge lateral to the handles that projects underneath the board and stops it so a person’s fingers won’t get pinched against the ground. The flat edge also provides a stable surface for the board to be mounted and dismounted. Other balance boards with a round platform wobble against the ground and make it difficult to mount/dismount.”

With the product officially hitting the market a few months back, we met up with Chad to hear how things are going, see what’s next for him and the brand and get his perspective on this new adventure.

Who is the TherRex balance board intended for?

Our customers are primarily outpatient PT clinics, but we are also targeting gyms (Formula Fitness Club in Chicago as our most recent), schools, and direct to consumer. Ultimately, the TherRex board benefits anyone with a fitness goal or those rehabbing from an injury. Its greatest benefits are in joint stability, core strengthening, and of course balance. I actually use it each night as part of my daily workout routine.

For more information on TherRex Balance Board, please visit the official TherRex Balance Board website.

 

The Common Cold: When Athletes Should & Should Not Train

By Tara Hackney for Athletico Physical Therapy

It is estimated that the average adult has between 1 and 6 colds each year, but athletes who engage in heavy training and competition may suffer more frequent colds.

A cold can present with varying symptoms and severity, including sore throat, coughing, sneezing, fatigue and a fever among other things. With the winter months and flu season upon us, let’s take a closer look at exercising with a common cold.

Risk factors for Catching a Cold
There is research to support that vigorous exercise can increase your risk and incidence of upper respiratory infections. This evidence suggests that heavy acute or chronic exercise is related to an increased incidence of upper respiratory tract infections in athletes.6 When an athlete does become ill, their training and performance are limited. Many of these research studies were performed in runners, and the data shows that runners who were training higher mileages per week or per year showed increased risk of infections.

However, moderate exercise may stimulate the immune system in contrast to intense exercise, which may decrease immune function. This suggests that exercise in moderate amounts is beneficial for the body and the immune system but vigorous and intense training may need to be altered to decrease incidence of illness.

When to Train
If symptoms are “above the neck,” such as stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat with no other body symptoms, then the athlete can proceed cautiously through a workout at half speed. If their congestion clears within a few minutes of starting exercise, the intensity can gradually be increased.

When Not to Train
If an athlete has “below the neck” symptoms, including fever, aching muscles, coughing, vomiting or diarrhea, the athlete should not train. Athletes who feel they may be getting ill should reduce their training schedule for 1 or 2 days. Exercising during an incubation phase of an infection may worsen an illness. Symptom severity and duration of illness may be increased if one is exercising during an illness. Training can resume depending on the type of infection beginning at moderate levels and gradual returning to max, which can range between 3-5 days for up to 3 weeks.

When to Play
Returning to training and returning to play or competition are different. Return to competition criteria is stricter than return to training or practice. Return to play is contingent on a clear physical exam. Ideally, the athlete has returned to training at moderate levels and progressed back to their maximum level prior to competition.

Ways to reduce risk of illness:
• Eat a balanced diet
• Keep stress to a minimum
• Avoid overtraining
• Avoid fatigue
• Obtain adequate sleep
• Space intense workouts and competitive events as far apart as possible
• Wash your hands
• Do not share water bottles

If you do end up getting a cold this winter, use these tips as guidance on whether you should keep training or should take some time off. When in doubt, rest and recover until you are feeling better.

If you would like to learn more from an Athletico physical therapist, please use the button below to request an appointment.

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Hit Your New Year’s Goals

By Dev K. Mishra, M.D., President, Sideline Sports Doc, Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University

Key Points:

  • New Year’s goals can be achieved with the right set of guidelines to help you
  • Pick a relatively small goal and go bigger when you succeed with the smaller one
  • Use a visual key like a big red X on a calendar for each day you succeed
  • Reward yourself for successful days and weeks
  • Go easy on yourself if you miss a few days and then get back on track

This is the time of year when patients will come in to the office for a “tuneup” prior to starting an exercise regimen. This commonly happens for my 40-60 year old patients but it’s an occasional teenager who has the same objective. They’ve made getting fit and losing weight a New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the majority of those folks will fail, and will fall off their new program within a matter of a few weeks.

One of the keys to sticking with any new exercise or lifestyle change is to turn it into a habit.

Creating a new habit and then making that habit permanent can be tough but with some key steps it can be achieved by anyone. If you’re interested in making a major habit change I’d strongly encourage you to read Charles Duhigg’s book: The Power of Habit. In the introductory video you’ll see him describe the three parts of any habit, whether a good habit or a bad habit. There’s a cue (the stimulus), an action (that’s the habit), and a reward (the thing you get from the habit).

It’s interesting to think that a bad habit is associated with a “reward” but Duhigg provides compelling evidence. And so it is with diet and exercise. If you resolve to cut out processed sugar you need to make this a habit. Ditto if you have a resolution involving fitness.

Of the three parts of a habit, I find that the “reward” part is really underappreciated. Too often there’s a feeling that there has to be substantial pain involved in making a new habit but that’s not the case at all. On a daily basis you could give yourself a tiny reward for accomplishing a goal, and perhaps a bigger reward for a larger accomplishment. Just don’t make the reward something that undoes your hard work! For example, if your goal is to eliminate processed sugar during the day don’t reward yourself with a nighttime candy bar!

There are a lot of great people writing about the best ways to pick goals and change habits. Besides Charles Duhigg, I also really like Tony Robbins. There’s also a very nice set of guidelines by Jen Miller in the New York Times.

Here are my overall keys to success for any goal:

  • Pick the right goal. The acronym associated with good goal setting is “SMART”, which means pick a Specific goal and not something vague, make it Measurable, be sure it’s Achievable, choose something Relevant to your life, and put a Timeline on it.
  • Start small. This is related to picking the right goal. You’ll feel empowered to continue if you succeed in very small goals initially, then build with new goals. Many folks pick huge audacious fitness goals but this can be a setup for problems, especially if it’s something totally new for you. I find this is particularly true surrounding exercise. If you’re coming from a place of minimal activity, start with a 20 minute walk rather than a half hour fast run.
  • Use an actual calendar to mark off your progress. Believe it or not, paper actually works best. Keep a calendar where you see it every day. For every day you achieve your daily goal put a big red X on the day. Keep making X’s.
  • Reward yourself on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis for keeping your new good habit going.
  • Go easy on yourself if you have a setback. Things happen that are out of your control and even with the best of intentions you might miss a day or a few days with your new habit. This is not a failure, just a speedbump.

Here’s to your success- Happy New Year!

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