Aging is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women of Palm Beach often complain of a diminished sense of wellbeing, chronic fatigue, and a loss of libido just to mention a few symptoms of hormone imbalance.
For many women there is a tremendous void in treatment of menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes, mood swings and low or no sex drive are just the tip of the iceberg. Some earlier hormone imbalance symptoms of estrogen deficiency are frequent waking at night. Many others are present, including “mental fogginess.” A woman’s short-term memory retention may be dwindling and her concentration and focus isn’t as good as it used to be. Frequently, women may experience some loss of energy to the point that they actually slide into symptoms of chronic fatigue.
In addition, women may experience some mood swings and irritability, and at the extreme may actually develop feelings of depression. With the loss of energy and chronic fatigue, females find themselves unable to exercise as much as in the past, or to recover as quickly when exercising. Women often find themselves increasing weight gain in spite of attempts at exercising. One hormone imbalance symptom that is not frequently discussed is the loss of sex drive and diminished libido. Not only is energy level and sense of wellbeing diminished, but anticipation and enjoyment of sexual activity is waning as well.
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Many people have found that one of the easiest ways to lose weight is with the Medifast weight loss program. The program is set up so easy that anyone can lose weight by following the steps. Unlike other weight loss plans, medifast has meal plans and delivered meals so you do not let your diet fall by the way side. One aspect of this meal plan is the Medifast shakes. If you want to change up your shakes, though, you have to get a little creative. There are different medifast recipes you can use to alter the taste of your shakes without compromising the nutrients.
The Medifast shakes are a great addition to your diet plan because they can take the place of your high calorie snack foods. Snacking is one of the most common diet killers, so it is important to be able to prevent the urge. If you have been getting bored with your shakes, you can try different medifast recipes to alter the taste. One way to do this is by making a milkshake out of them. Instead of mixing the recipe in the plastic bottle, add a little ice and pop it into a blender. Your shake will have the same quality to it, but it will taste like a rich treat.
Other medifast recipes include adding their flavor infusers, which are sugar free. These are meant to be drunk with water but could be added for flavor to your medifast shakes. You should try adding them to the vanilla shakes for the best results. This also is a great way to change up the flavor infusers if you get bored with them from time to time. There only are so many flavors Medifast can create for your shakes that sometimes you have to leave it to yourself to create your own.
Another great way to change the taste of your medifast shakes includes using sugar free syrups that you can buy at the supermarket. These are syrups that you would add to your coffee for different flavors. With these, your Medifast recipes are virtually endless. All you have to do is make sure the syrup you are using is sugar free otherwise it is defeating the purpose of drinking the shakes. You have the option of using fruity flavors such as raspberry or you can stick with the nutty flavors of hazelnut. By changing the flavors, you are making it easier to stick with your diet plan.
Are You Curious About Testosterone?
Are you one of those guys who are burning the candle at both ends and maybe only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night? Are you also one of those guys having problems with his sex drive and feeling out of sorts? Well, recent studies done in the last 3 years show that these symptoms could all be due to the effect of sleep on testosterone - just how, though, may be a chicken and egg question!
While it's true that lower testosterone levels can be the cause of a sluggish sex drive and irritability it seems to be a matter of research opinion whether low sleep levels cause low testosterone or low testosterone causes lack of sleep.
Here's what we know about sleep, and testosterone to date as it relates to men:
After age 30, men's testosterone levels drop between 1 and 2% a year! By the time they reach 40 they start experiencing trouble sleeping. They complain of less deep sleep time, the period of sleep where the body repairs itself.
In fact, as a man gets older, the most recent studies assert, he can lose deep sleep time altogether! That means the older a man gets, the more his testosterone levels continue to decline, the less deep sleep he gets, the more his body's repair mechanisms decline and the higher his risk climbs for disease!
The reason for this decline in deep sleep time is thought to be due to a loss of neuron activity, which synchronizes brain activity. These neurons are responsible for about 20% of achieving deep sleep. They are intact in young men and get further scrambled as a man ages.
To further complicate things, low testosterone levels are thought to contribute to this loss of neuron activity in the brain. The take away of these studies, then, whichever perspective you come from, seem to say that restoring testosterone to healthy, youthful levels would likely help a man not only achieve deep, restorative sleep again, but also keep him healthier, re-invigorate his sluggish sex drive and keep him in a happier frame of mind.
Do You Have Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
One of the most frequent complaints I hear from my over-40 patients is that their sex drive has diminished significantly from when they were younger. One of the first things I do is to check a testosterone level and most often find that it is decreased. Interestingly, as well, is that they also often complain of not sleeping very much and are depressed!
Now whether their lack of sleep is from a too hectic lifestyle, stress, or from their decreased testosterone level, is not clear. However, when I recommend that they try to get between 6-8 hours of sleep a night their testosterone levels seem to naturally increase and their mood is brighter!
But decreased testosterone levels don't just affect men over 50, it can start as young as the 30-40's! Many men don't seek treatment because they think it's just a part of getting older and they're embarrassed to talk about it! Like menopause in women, low testosterone is not something men have to suffer through just because it's associated with getting older. Here are some other symptoms you may not associate with low testosterone levels:
•Emotional changes, like depression, irritability, "grumpy old man" syndrome
•Decreased muscle strength
•Loss of height
•Weight gain, especially belly fat
What Does Cause Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone levels can be caused or aggravated by a number of things both nutritional and environmental. For my patients who have lower than optimal testosterone levels, here are some other things I tell them to pay attention to in their diet and lifestyle:
•Xenoestrogens - in food and water supplies. These are "environmental estrogens" from soy products and plastics that get into our food and can decrease testosterone levels. Stay away from foods containing soy, most notably protein bars and soymilk. If you buy frozen foods, transfer them from their plastic container into a glass dish before heating.
•Lack of Protein - men need between 0.5 to 1 gram of high quality protein per pound of body weight per day to both build muscle strength and testosterone. Sources include pork, beef, and chicken, which also have higher levels of zinc, which is testosterone friendly.
•Lack of Cholesterol - many men over 40 are watching cholesterol intake for the sake of their arteries, but too little cholesterol will stop testosterone production. Aim for about 30% fat, mostly monounsaturated (nuts, olive oil) and some saturated (red meat, eggs) to build testosterone. Go very light, or leave out, polyunsaturated fats (fish, vegetable oils) as studies have shown they can decrease testosterone perhaps because they may contain xenoestrogens.
•Lack of Nutrition - zinc is a major building mineral for testosterone. The B vitamins, especially B1, B6, and B12 are helpful in keeping testosterone levels healthy. Be sure that your vitamin/mineral supplement includes these.
•Too Much Alcohol - alcohol increases blood sugar levels, which decreases testosterone. Limit to a few drinks per week.
•Lack of Sleep - as mentioned earlier, less than 6 hours of sleep a night can seriously rob your body of its repairing mechanisms and this includes the re-manufacturing of hormones like testosterone. See that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night, more if you have been ill or under a lot of stress. Try some natural sleep aids like Valerian, calcium/magnesium supplements with some warm milk before bed. Cut back caffeine to not past 4 pm, and limit heavy meals to 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Researchers may finally decide which comes first; low testosterone then poor sleep, or poor sleep then low testosterone. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to counsel my patients that adequate sleep is at least a significant factor in low testosterone levels. However, before you start thinking dangerous steroids or prescription testosterone replacements, try the natural suggestions offered here. I believe your T-levels will be up to optimal levels and your sex drive and pleasant mood back on track in no time!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging
Menopause Treatment Options
Have you ever thought, "I just can not seem to get motivated anymore to workout. I just don't understand why I have not lost a pound in two months. My bench press is going down and not up, how can this be?"
We have all experienced time periods where all the hard work, dedication and even desperation does not seem to be enough to jump start us. We focus so much on what we are not doing we begin to lose sight of main reason for exercising in the first place. Before you know it you start entertaining the idea of quitting.
ALl of us have heard of the eighty - twenty rule in life. This is where our lives are built on twenty percent of our efforts. The remaining eighty percent seems too be pushed along by the other twenty percent. When it comes to our weight loss and fitness goals lets look at the same percentages in another light. How about the eight twenty rule in our attitudes?
When I first started exercising and bodybuilding over twenty years ago I knew absolutely nothing about fitness, food or where my future was headed. However, what I did believe was that if I kept consistent, something had to change. With that attitude came a hope for the future and an understanding that good days would be followed by some bad ones.
It is unrealistic for you and me to think that every day in the gym and at the table will be great? We will be tempted to eat badly and we will be discouraged to go workout from time to time. This is reality. However, understanding that in the long run if you have more good days than bad, things will be work out good for you. This mindset is the key longevity. Here are some ideas on how to follow the 80/20 rule:
1. Write out in detail your yearly goal.
2. Get an accountability partner.
3. Focus on internal health vs. external.
4. Focus on the feeling not the work.
Best of luck and remember it's about the BIG picture!
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