The Effect Of Yoga (and other exercises) and Choosing what is Right for You

By: Dawn Cutillo

In honor of National Yoga Month, I’m sharing the benefits of yoga and other types of exercise as part of a holistic health plan. It likely comes as no surprise that everyone would benefit from daily exercise. Most of us sit at a desk or are inactive most of the day. This means we need to compensate for that inactivity outside of work, and with busy schedules, it can be difficult. But I am hoping that the benefits of a healthy diet, balanced hormones, and exercise will outweigh the challenges that the day throws our way.

Exercise and Health:
Did you know that exercise helps improve circulation and detoxification while increasing strength and flexibility? Not to mention, exercise can increase your mood and self-esteem! Setting a goal to look “fit” physically can be overwhelming. I suggest focusing on your overall health and wellness rather than just focusing on fitness. While keeping our weight under control can be aided with exercise, the key to overall weight management is really by balancing your hormones, diet, and supplementation. BeBalanced helps to balance hormones that affect a myriad of things, and regular exercise in tandem can help you feel healthy, flexible, and refreshed.

I believe the biggest issue that imbalances our hormones is the stressors of our modern society. Stress can raise cortisol and cause an imbalance in blood sugar, insulin levels, and female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone. This leads to weight gain as well as many PMS-related symptoms. Over time, high blood pressure, diabetes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and even female cancers can result from these imbalances. One of the goals for exercise should be to increase the health of the body and to lower stress. Unfortunately, most traditional exercises can be stressful on the body.

Linear Exercise and Stress:
Most people think that running or other linear exercises are the best way to lose weight. Linear exercises can actually be stressful on the body because you are in a linear position that is increasing your heart rate. Your body thinks you are in fight mode (as though you were running from a wild animal or an attacker, or in some sort of danger), and therefore cortisol levels will rise. This type of exercise can cause hormone imbalances or intensify existing imbalances that can then cause weight gain. Trade in these types of exercises for yoga, walking, or dancing which help to raise your heart rate. These will not evoke the stressful response of the “fight or flight” mode that running does. Plus, it is often more fun and causes less joint stress.

Resistance Training as We Age:
To remain strong as we age, some sort of resistance training is needed to prevent muscle deterioration. Weight training can be somewhat stressful on our muscles and bones, but this is a good stress because it increases strength. The body can take this type of stress because it doesn’t throw us into the “fight or flight” mode. What people may not understand is that any type of weight bearing exercise or resistance can do the same for us. Yoga can be substituted for a weight training or resistance training program. It will take us out of the “fight or flight” response and take us into something called the “relaxation response.” Dr. Herbert Benson stated that if a person can evoke the relaxation response through yoga, meditation, and deep breathing for at least 20 minutes a day, that can compensate for the times throughout the day that we are highly stressed or in the “fight or flight” mode. Yoga can serve this purpose while also increasing muscle strength and tone and increasing flexibility. Flexibility is one of the most important things we need as we age. When you observe an older person, observe how they walk, bend, and move, and you’ll often notice they seem inflexible.

My favorite, Yoga!
Yoga is an awesome way to have an exercise program that gives you all you need in a simple, inexpensive form that you can even do in your own home. It is an exercise discipline that will connect your mind and body and nurture your soul, and it can really help bring about positive life change. Below are some of the types of yoga you might consider:

1. Hatha
Slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. Very gentle in nature, so it is best for beginners due to its slower pace. A great way to get started.

2. Vinyasa
A very dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way. The pace can be quick, so your heart rate will rise. Best for those who will miss their normal intense exercise if they try to substitute yoga.

3. Ashtanga
A more challenging, yet orderly, yoga consisting of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses that flow. You breathe through each pose to build heat in the body. Best done in a class until poses are learned and perfected.

4. Hot Yoga (example: Bikram style)
Be ready to sweat because this yoga consists of a specific series of poses and two breathing exercises practiced in 110 degrees with higher humidity. If done in Bikram style, it is 26 exact poses. You must stay hydrated, but it is easy for beginners because of its predictable sequence. Usually done in a class setting.

5. Kundalini
This type of yoga will seem very different from your typical yoga class. You’ll perform kriyas which are repetitive physical exercises coupled with intense breath work, while you are chanting, singing, or meditating. You will most likely break through your internal barriers, releasing the untapped energy in you, bringing you to a higher level of self-awareness. Great for those who are looking for a spiritual discipline that benefits the body as well.

6. Yin Yoga
This type of yoga will really calm and balance your body and mind. Yin yoga poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative yoga is designed to target your deeper connective tissues and fascia, restoring length and elasticity. You can learn these poses in a class and then do on your own at home. Great for those who need to stretch and unwind.

7. Restorative
It may feel like you are not doing much in this type of yoga class, but that is the goal. It is a mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds. It gives your body a chance to tap into a “relaxation response” mentioned above, allowing you to experience a very deep relaxation. Great for those who deal with insomnia and anxiety.

Keep in mind that you don’t always have to go to a class, but to learn certain positions correctly, it can be nice to have one-on-one instruction. Many studios offer class rates in addition to monthly memberships, which can be more cost-effective. After a short time, you will learn on your own and can practice whenever and wherever you want. Try a video to help you get started in an inexpensive way.

So if you’re looking for something to meet your exercise goal and help with stress management, yoga is a great option!

At BeBalanced, our healthy weight loss program has helped over 5,000 women reach their goals by balancing hormones and helping affect wellness in all areas of life! You could be next. Don’t lose hope, find BeBalanced!

For more information on any of the topics mentioned here, you can contact your local BeBalanced Center, or email us at info@bebalancedcenters.com. You can also take our free hormone assessment to start your journey to getting back to your best self! Be Slimmer, Be Happier, Be Energized, BeBalanced!

Dawn Cutillo is the author of “The Hormone Shift: Using Natural Hormone Balancing for Your…Mood, Weight, Sleep & Female Health” and has been in the health field for over 25 years. She is also the founder and hormone health consultant of BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers and is degreed and certified in health and nutrition. In addition to overseeing the operation of the BeBalanced flagship center in Lancaster, PA, Dawn also owns Infinity Health LLC, a national consulting company that advises healthcare practitioners on how to aid patients in balancing their hormones for weight, mood, sleep, and health issues.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and How Natural Hormone Balancing Can Help

By: Dawn Cutillo

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition related to hormone imbalance. Symptoms can have an effect on periods, fertility, weight loss, facial hair, and can cause cysts to form in ovaries, and if untreated, can lead to serious health problems over time. With a steady rise in PCOS among young girls and women in the last decade, it’s become more important than ever to understand more about it. Unfortunately, no single treatment or solution for this condition has been established by the medical community for women to help manage their symptoms. We do know that weight loss can diminish symptoms. Hormones function as chemical messengers in the body that help to trigger the processes of growth and energy production. When hormones are balanced, they work in synergy, and one hormone will signal the release of another hormone. Hormone imbalance disrupts this communication, causing a domino effect of hormones triggering differently than intended. To help treat symptoms manifested by PCOS, medical prescriptions include the birth control pill to aid sex hormone imbalances and blood sugar medications, such as Metformin, to control insulin levels. When pregnancy is desired, stronger drugs like Clomid are used to induce ovulation. It remains unclear whether insulin resistance is the origin of the hormone imbalance that leads to PCOS, or if stress causes the hormone imbalance coupled with the insulin resistance. While we still have a lot to learn about PCOS, it’s important to identify symptoms, which tend to be mild at first.

Symptoms of PCOS:

  • Stubborn weight gain and trouble losing weight
  • PMS symptoms
  • Irregular periods
  • Menstrual pain
  • Fertility problems
  • Depression
  • Acne and Hirsutism (excess face/body hair)
  •  Insulin resistance

Characteristics of a PCOS patient:

  • Lowered progesterone levels
  • Lowered estrogen levels, often inhibiting ovulation
  • Elevated testosterone levels
  • Elevated insulin levels/insulin resistance
  • Elevated cortisol levels

 

If you struggle with any of the above symptoms, you are not alone. While we continue to learn about PCOS, we do know that the body needs to achieve balance between sex and stress hormones for insulin and blood sugar to stabilize. The best approach to this condition is multi-faceted. There needs to be a stabilization of the blood sugar with a hormone balancing diet of whole foods. If the diet is low carbohydrate, it will bring about a ketogenic or fat burning state otherwise difficult to achieve by PCOS patients due to higher insulin levels. To ensure this happens, adding in natural homeopathic glandulars to support the adrenal gland and the stress response is needed. This will simultaneously, but gently, raise progesterone levels to provide the balance that is needed for healthy weight loss to occur. Losing weight has been proven to help alleviate PCOS symptoms. When the hormone progesterone is raised, the normally lowered estrogen in PCOS women will often rise back to normal levels. This process often induces the absent ovulation needed in regulating the monthly menstrual cycle, allowing periods to potentially be symptom-free.

The combination of a low carbohydrate diet, daily stress management, and natural hormone balancing supplements, such as progesterone creams, for long-term maintenance can allow for balancing of all the above hormone-related characteristics of a typical woman with PCOS. Blood sugar may regulate within a few weeks, and often, menstrual cycles and symptoms can regulate and ease in 1-2 cycles.

I have developed a program at BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers similar to what I described above. Through working with thousands of women, we have helped achieve great results with a large number of PCOS clients. Our natural hormone balancing has helped PCOS clients notice changes in their symptoms and has led to weight loss success stories.

If you relate to any of the topics in this article, we can help. At BeBalanced, our healthy weight loss program has helped over 5,000 women reach their goals, and you could be next. Don’t lose hope, find BeBalanced!

Dawn Cutillo is the author of “The Hormone Shift: Using Natural Hormone Balancing for Your…Mood, Weight, Sleep & Female Health”, has been in the health field for over 28 years, and is the founder and hormone health consultant of BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers. She is degreed and certified in health and nutrition. In addition to overseeing the operation of the BeBalanced flagship center in Lancaster, PA, Dawn also owns Infinity Health LLC, a national consulting company, which advises healthcare practitioners on how to aid patients in balancing their hormones for weight, mood, sleep and health issues.

 

Overcome These 4 Roadblocks to Weight Loss

By: Dawn Cutillo

Losing weight can often feel like a battle. Yo-yo dieting, strict resolutions, and over realistic exercise goals can lead to feeling defeated. I started BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers because I understand this frustration and figured out the solution to help women get to the root cause of losing stubborn weight and keeping it off. Besides your diet and activity level, there may be some other things keeping you from losing weight. While it’s important to move daily for circulation and lymph movement, and to eat a clean healthy diet (that means no processed foods), there are other issues that contribute to making it difficult to achieve your healthy weight loss goals. If you have been struggling with your weight, take our free hormone assessment and consider the following.

Digestion:
During digestion, incomplete breakdown of foods can cause your cells to miss absorbing key nutrients from the food you are eating. This can cause you to feel hungry even after you’ve just eaten, and your body reaches into food stores, starving for nutrients. Though the food doesn’t break down, it is stored as fat in reaction to perceived starvation. This manifests in feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

Solution: Taking a good digestive enzyme to break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can work wonders. Recommended enzymes end with the letters ase, so look for lipase (breaks down fat), protease (breaks down proteins), and amalase (breaks down carbohydrates). This type of supplement can vastly improve the breakdown and assimilation of your foods and allows your cells to feel full and satisfied. This will help balance your blood sugar, giving you less cravings and more energy.

Hormones:
Do you feel out of balance in a way you can’t really put your finger on? It may be related to your hormones. Imbalance in this area can cause your body to hold on to more fat and retain fluid by stimulating fat cells with the wrong message. This can cause you to gain weight or not be able to lose weight efficiently. Estrogen tends to become dominant while stress can cause the hormone progesterone (which is a natural fat burner and diuretic) to be depleted. Most PMS or menopausal symptoms are due to low progesterone levels. Out of whack hormones can cause your body to lose its ability to lose weight and adversely affect your emotions, sex drive, and sleep patterns.

Solution: Start by finding out if you could benefit from natural hormone balancing by taking a free hormone assessment on our website. If an imbalance is determined, your local BeBalanced center will reach out with a customized hormone balancing solution and weight loss program to help you with everything from fat burning to improved sleep and moods, all of which can affect weight loss.

Liver:
While the liver is one of the most enduring organs, it’s difficult for it to keep up with the amount of toxins we take in on a daily basis. When this happens, its job of breaking down fat and processing our hormones moves to the back burner and impedes weight loss efforts. Our livers are responsible for processing food absorption, as well as all toxins and free radicals.

Solution: A simple herbal and vitamin combination can be taken to support your liver in detoxification. You want to look for ingredients like dandelion root, milk thistle, and burdock root in a capsule form. You may also try an herbal tea blend of these ingredients to enjoy in the morning. My personal favorite is a delicious Dandy Blend coffee substitute. It is a water-soluble powder available online or in many health food stores. Another great but gentle way to effectively cleanse the liver is to replace your morning coffee with hot water and freshly squeezed lemon. Dietary changes, in the form of a 3-4 day cleanse, can jump start the process of clean eating by eliminating alcohol, wheat, dairy, simple sugars, and excess caffeine from your body and help you to feel better.

Emotions:
Aside from the obvious stress and pressures of the day that may cause us to binge eat, emotions can also affect our relationship with food, causing our body to hold on to more weight as a form of protection. BeBalanced’s healthy weight loss programs takes a holistic approach to losing weight and will help you with everything from emotions, to hormones, and nutrition. With any weight loss plan, there are typically emotional reasons tied to the weight gain.

Solution: It is good to do some emotional “house cleaning” when you begin any weight loss plan, as there are always some emotions attached to the reason you gained weight to begin with. It is helpful to pinpoint stored-up feelings and let them go. Meditation, prayer, meeting with a therapist, or some form of energy work, perhaps in the form of Reiki therapy, can greatly benefit this area. My personal favorite is using a weighted eye mask while listening to relaxing music and sound wave therapy CDs to allow myself to deeply relax.

If you relate to any of the topics in this article, we can help. At BeBalanced, our healthy weight loss program has helped over 5,000 women reach their goals, and you could be next. Don’t lose hope, find BeBalanced!

For more information on any of the topics mentioned here, you can contact your local BeBalanced Center, or email us at info@bebalancedcenters.com. You can also take our free hormone assessment to start your journey to getting back to your best self! Be Slimmer, Be Happier, Be Energized, BeBalanced!