Sharon's Pontifications
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Spring Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 1
In This Issue
My New Blog
Leptin - What You Need to Know
Acupuncturist Starting at Life Energy Fitness
Realistic Resolutions - Check In
Small Asides
Quick Link
Join My Mailing List
Sharon 2

It's that time of year again. The weather is warming up, and you're probably thinking it would be so nice to get outside. The question is, will you make time to do it?

With our busy lives, spring seems to come out of nowhere and then is gone. How many times have you said, "I should?" Change that to "I will!"


Challenge yourself to start to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Take time to smell the flowers (unless you are allergic) and walk a little, even if it is only one quick trek around the block.


Do you prefer to enjoy the outdoors with others? Check out something called Meet Up online. You'll find walking, hiking, and other groups that host outdoor activities closer than you think.  


If you want to learn to relax, unwind, and breathe, join me for a Decompress Class every Friday starting in April. It's free! Go to my Events page for more information.

In Health and Happiness,

My New Blog
Pill Face

My new blog will be more informal. I'll write about topics that come up from time to time that I feel need people's attention or quick sound bites. For example, I've recently written about "the magic pill" for weight loss, youth, and wellness. I hope you enjoy it.


03-18-2013 16:00:18 PM

People all over the world are looking for a magic pill to lose weight, keep their youth, have more energy, use less medication, and feel less aches and pains. The list could go on and on. We read about it everyday on the Web and see it on TV
: "New weight loss secret the [...]...»

Leptin - What You Need to Know
Leptin Feedback loop Leptin is a 16-kDa protein hormone made up of 167 amino acids. In case you don't know what kDa is (I didn't), it's a unit of weight measurement (like gram and pound).
Leptin plays a role in heart and bone health, and it keeps the immune system happy (very important to keep the immune system happy). I have no idea how it does all this, but with 167 amino acids, it should not surprise you!
One of the chief roles of leptin is to regulate appetite. Yes, this little (or rather big) hormone tells us we need to stop eating; we are full! It also plays a key role in inflammation in our bodies. If there's not enough leptin, there's likely to be more inflammation. Yet, as with every wonderful hormone or system in our bodies, it's not that simple. Apparently, we can become insensitive to leptin, just like we can with insulin. In fact, there is a close tie between the two and their third buddy, triglycerides.


Let's look at what increases leptin. (Take a look at the diagram.) Fat does, because leptin is produced in adipose tissue (sounds so much nicer than fat). The more adipose you have, the more leptin. It makes sense that if you're gaining weight, there's a built-in mechanism that tells your gut, "You don't need to eat anything more, so put that doughnut (or cheesy fries) down." Then the triglycerides come in and block the communication between leptin and your brain. You don't get the message, so you don't put the doughnut or cheesy fries down and gain another 10 lbs.  


Too much insulin production over time (from eating too much sugar, and simple carbohydrates), makes us insulin insensitive, meaning we don't react to it. What goes hand in hand with insulin insensitivity is increased triglycerides. This leads us back to not paying attention to leptin, which makes us gain weight. And so the obnoxious cycle continues.


The good news is there are several things you can do to increase leptin in your body:

  1. Eat omega-3 fats - They increase leptin and decrease inflammation. Salmon and eggs are rich in omega-3 fats. (It's the yolk of the egg that has omega-3s).  
  2. Exercise regularly - It will not only help regulate your weight, it will increase leptin.
  3. Get at least 8 hours of sleep - Studies show you must sleep 8 or more hours to increase leptin. Sleeping fewer hours actually increases ghrelin (the "I am hungry" hormone), and causes sugar cravings.
  4. Avoid crash diets - Crash diets will deplete your body of leptin too quickly. As a result, your body will feel starved, so who will it call? You guessed right: ghrelin!   

Of course it's much more complicated than this. Leptin and its compatriots, insulin and triglycerides, are not the only substances that affect our health. There's so much more. But we do know that leptin is linked to the immune system, inflammation, as well as bone and heart health. So some little steps can have far-reaching results! 

Acupuncturist Starting at Life Energy Fitness
Joao Alvarez Life Energy Fitness is happy to welcome Joao Alvarez to our Rockville location. He will be holding office hours on Mondays starting April 1st. You can start booking appointments through the the Life Energy Fitness online schedule system or visit his website Element Wellness.

Joćo Manuel Alvarez, MAOM L.Ac. studied  the classics, philosophy, and medical anthropology at New York University. He researched medicinal plants of the Amazon Rainforest and examined the connections between quantum physics and traditional (energy) medicine.

During his time at NYU, Mr. Alvarez completed a three-year intensive internship in Er Mei Qi Gong with Sifu David Knoll and Master Wei Zhong Fu.  

Mr. Alvarez graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture, which is the oldest college of traditional Chinese medicine in the United States. At
NESA, he completed a rigorous four-year master's degree program where he studied Chinese and Japanese acupuncture as well as Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese dietary therapy, and Eight Organ Harmony Qi Gong.

Joao's style is insightful, compassionate, and effective. By weaving together Chinese herbal medicine with acupuncture, nutrition, juicing, and other traditional healing techniques, he develops a comprehensive individualized treatment strategy to promote optimal health and well-being.

Realistic Resolutions - Check In

Check yes no You didn't think I would write an entire article on how to keep your resolutions and not make you look at them one-fourth of the way through the year, did you? So here it is, your first check-in.

How are you doing? Here's how you can determine how well you've set your goals. If your goal is reasonable, you should be one-fourth of the way there. For instance, if your goal is to lose 20 lbs. over the course of a year, then you should have lost 5 lbs. by now (which is very attainable by mid-March).  So the yes and no questions apply to, are you on track?

Simply take your goal, divide it by four, and voila: you know where you need to be! If you can't divide your goal by four, then rephrase it so you can break it down in measurable amounts. If you can't, how will you know when you've achieved it? That's why what you choose as a goal is important (see my April 2010 newsletter on goal setting).    


For example, my goal is to increase the profit margin for my business this year. So I figured out how many sessions I needed to add per month, how many contractors I needed to get on board, and how many programs I should create. I checked in and am a little behind (glad to say not by much). So now I'm revisiting my goal. I've asked myself, is it realistic? Should I lower the profit margin, or give myself more time, or maybe add some services that I had not considered? Or should I do all of the above? 

I've decided to add more services such as Pure Program Design, Keep On Track, and a Decompress Class. I'll let you know how it goes in the summer newsletter, which is our next check-in. All the best to you with your goal setting!

Small Asides
Choose your thoughts wisely - It's not widely known, but our brains have access to 40 billion bits of information per second. Yes, I said per second, but only 2,000 bits get to our brain. So we must have some way (through conscious thought or another pathway) of choosing what 2,000 bits will occupy our brains throughout the day, and months and years to come! 

Are those "barefoot" shoes good for you? - They look good, but the jury is still out on whether or not they're healthy. It really depends on how good your bones are, and if you have underlying foot problems. My advice would be to wear them occasionally at first. If your feet start to hurt, of course consult a podiatrist.

Lifelong exercise holds the key to cognitive function - Ah, yes, another wonderful reason to get back on the horse when you've stopped exercising! A study from King's College shows that exercise keeps the brain functioning better. It seems that more consistent and long-term exercise, even if there are periods of no exercise, is better for our brains than a quick illustrious bout of fitness in our 20s, 30s, and 40s!  

In Health and Fitness,
Sharon Bourke
Grand Poobah
Life Energy Fitness LLC