Category Archives: addiction

Body Fat Be Gone

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Many who want to remove excess body fat and reduce overall body weight will choose a product, service, program or process to achieve the objective.

I assure you, Its not enough to say “Body Fat Be Gone.” Hoping some magic potion or pill will be the answer to an overweight or obese condition. There are mental, physical and environmental realities that must be considered when choosing a weight loss program that will work for you.

Although I do not personally use weight loss supplements, I’ve know many who have decided to give them a try. if you are going to use a weight loss product, I believe the two I’ve posted within this article may be worth consideration. However, sustainable weight loss is highly dependent on healthy lifestyle change habits… which include balanced diet and daily exercise activities.

There are many possible reasons for an overweight condition. However, it has a lot to do with lifestyle choices and a combination of other things out of our control, i.e., genetic and environmental and ill-health factors. In this article, our focus will be on lifestyle choice.

Targeting unhealthy habits and behavior that cause one to become overweight and obese is not an easy task. And when you do target the culprit – it is a challenge to change – because change is hard. Bad habits and behaviors and mental health disorders [obsession, anxiety and depression] often lead to excess weight gain. But can be managed or reversed when you know how. First you must target the weight gain nemisis. Once you do this, it is much easier to build a lifestyle change program to help you lose the weight and keep it off.

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When I speak of weight loss program(s), I am not just talking about diet. I am also talking about daily exercise and recreational activities and interests that keep you motivated to stay the fit healthy lifestyle change course.

Exercising routinely does not mean you have to spend every day in a gym. Why not mix in walking exercise and consider other hobbies of interest that incorporate low impact aerobic activity… i.e., a recreational hobbies that motivate you to walk more often.

For example, gold metal detecting is an exercise activity that burns more fat calories/day. Any low impact aerobics activities like swimming and walking and biking will burn more body fat weight/hour. This is why recreational hobbies are excellent activities to help with overall fitness levels and keeping excess weight off. Metal detecting, like walking along a rivers bank to fish, or kayaking is motivational enough to increase the will power to repeat that aerobic activity of interest. And you just might strike it rich or hook that trophy fish in the process!

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The point is, to be successful in weight loss and sustain healthy body weight, you really need to choose daily and seasonal and annual recreational and body toning exercise activities that incorporate more whole body mobility more often… and slowly decrease an unhealthy food habit. For many, exercising in a gym or at home will not motivate them to stay an exercise routine long term. That is why I emphasis finding a recreational hobby of interest one can get passionate about. Once the mind-body is physically engaged, other exercise interests often ensue.

Too many people now depend on the marketplace for quick weight loss solutions that may/may not include healthy diet and exercise… And many of the manmade products and services also contribute greatly to our national obesity problem. You heard me right, many weight loss products make us fatter in the long run! You ask, how could this be? 

 Shortcuts to weight loss can make you permanently fat!

Too many overweight individuals fall prey to one of hundreds of quick weight loss gimmicks. And to become dependent on unhealthy gimmicks… in time and almost always – breaks the fat burning metabolism. This is because the bad habits and behavior did not change. And deceiving the metabolism to lose weight unnaturally also changes the way the body processes fat to remove or store it and taxes and overworks the system unnaturally. These unnatural chemicals can lead to a premature breakdown in the fat burning metabolism.

The key to keeping off unhealthy body fat weight permanently is learning “How to make healthy lifestyle change and committing to it.” For instance, try using the “How to Make Working Out a Habit” chart below to support long term exercise habits. Ultimately, it is the changing of bad habits into good ones that can be sustained long term, especially activity changes of interest that motivate and challenge the mind-body to stay the course.

How to determine if you are overweight.

If your clothing choice has become a variety of stretch type pants, shirts and/or dresses which cover body fat layers… OR you notice body weight increasing out of control… My recommendation is to purchase a digital bathroom scale that can analyze body fat % and track your weight loss progress while measuring body fat weight. And/or invest in a smart watch with apps that track, analyze and measure your fitness, sleep patterns and vitals progress and fitness level gains.

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Just because you gain weight does not necessarily mean it is unhealthy body weight. E.g., when you begin an exercise program, muscle mass will increase as body fat% decreases. The key here… pay attention to the body fat% increase/decrease. Muscle weighs more than body fat weight. You must make this part of your weight loss calculation. The benefits of increased muscle mass weight… it burns more body fat throughout the day. And as you get more toned, your clothes fit and you feel better. As this muscle to fat ratio change occurs, you may not lose weight immediately. Consider using technology to motivate your weight loss and exercise activities programs and monitor fitness results to achieve your ideal body weight.

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You Won’t Change Your Habits and Have Decided to Use a Fat Burning Product

As stated earlier, many of you will try all types of weight loss pills and potions to reduce body fat weight. You may chose this revolving path throughout your life… mostly because you do not want to make a change, or want to exercise, or increase daily activity for whatever reason.

If this is the case, you are set on using a product to cut body fat unnaturally… The Hydroxycut product appears to provide decent results with thousands of satisfied bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts… It is a product I’ve considered trying just to see what type of results I could achieve. This is a product I believe would work well for those in good health, not adversly affected by caffiene and already engaged in daily exercise and want to remove, or reduce additional body fat weight.

Then after a 3 month period for example, I’d go off of it for the same period of time and re-evaluate the need to use it again. Why? Because I know through long term repeated use, it would likely harm my fat burning metabolism. Although I can not validate this statement about this particular product, I inherently know from all my studies on man-made products, it is not good to go an unnatural weight loss course for long periods of time. I recommend, if you want to try something, use it short term and do not become dependent on it. Instead, develop natural and sustainable healthy habits known to decrease and remove unhealthy body weight.

If I do decide to try this product, I’ll write an article on it. For now, I’m not considering the use of any weight loss supplements.

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RECALL, Almost all weight loss products mention exercise and balanced diet to optimize weight loss results.

Change Unhealthy Food Cravings to Feel Better and Lose Weight Naturally

Be mindful of food cravings that lead to supersizing food portions and ordering extra appetizers and desserts when dining out… When you do reduce food calories in general and if you do have the following symptoms after eating – may reduce or illiminate upset stomach, heartburn and possibly acid reflux. This change may also resolve a feeling of bloat and irritable bowel-like symptoms: constipation or diarrhea and the need to take medications to relieve symptoms. This in no way suggests you stop taking prescriptions prescribed by your doctor. Always consult with a physician before stopping any prescribed medication.

If you have specific types of unhealthy food cravings, try fortifying your diet with healthy food nutrients to lesson these cravings. If you do this, your total calorie intake and body fat uptake will decrease.

It is far better to be honest about your weight gain and associated health risk and do something about it before illness and disease and pain ensues as a result of an overweight condition.

The sooner you make healthy lifestyle change – the sooner you will be free of excess body fat weight and begin living the lifestyle you need, want and deserve now!

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant with MirrorAthlete Corp., and Former Tigard City Councilor. A strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2021 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit: www.mirrorathlete.org.

Use Opioids Effectively to Control Pain and Reduce Health Risk

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Last Updated: 3/15/2019, Marc Woodard

Scientific studies prove, pain relief decreases while pain sensitivity increases from excess use of opioids. In other words, if you’re a chronic pain sufferer and have used opioids for long periods of time, greater sensitivity to pain will occur.

So you ask yourself, how could taking more pain killers cause greater sensitivity to pain? “I thought pain killers were supposed to lessen the pain.” This is true if you are following the  doctor’s pain management program. When pain pills are over prescribed, or used in abundance – the body builds up tolerance to them and you feel more pain. The medical term for this relationship is referred to as Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia (OIH). Taking too many pain pills is the cause of more physical and mental pain addiction and increased health risk and accidental death.

Pain Free means you can live life to the fullest.

Simply stated, OIH is pain intolerance, meaning to become more sensitive to any pain stimulus. How does tolerance to pain killers cause more sensitivity to pain? The best way to describe this is your body produces a morphine like substance (via spinal cord secretions) known as endorphins to alleviate pain when you stub a toe, or slam your finger in a car door for instance.

This substance lessons the painful stimuli experience. If a person takes too much for too long morphine like drugs, then the spinal cord no longer secrets the body’s natural pain relief agent.

So when your body hurts really bad (chronic) you no longer have that supplemental natural pain killing agent in your body. Instead, you solely rely on your prescriptions. The pharmaceutical prescription at this point is not enough to provide adequate pain relief. Taking too many pain killers results in an overall increase in pain sensitivity because the pain patient now blocks the body’s ability to dose/mask pain naturally for lack of the body’s natural morphine like defense.

In recent years the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) introduced REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies) guidelines to help manage the known risks for pain medication use. This is a program intended to improve upon patient safety, education and compliance to mitigate risk of abuse, addiction and serious side effects through smart physician-to-patient consults.

Once these guidelines became known to the pain patience, there was fear (among some) REMS would result in limiting their access to needed prescriptions. This simply is not the goal of the FDA REMS guideline program.

Why would pain patients fear such a thing? If your addicted to pain killers and you have a risk evaluation (REMS) by a pain managing specialist, it may be determined the best course of pain alleviation may be to switch pain medications, or reduce the dose, etc. For example, a patient prescribed transdermal fentanyl medication may be reduced dosage by 25%. [Note: Fentanyl is only prescribed for the most serious chronic pain cases and is reported as one of the most lethal drugs an addict could put in their body. Death has occurred simply through skin absorption and inhalation]. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic (man-made) narcotic]. A 100g dose of fentanyl is approximately equal to 10 mg of morphine. Fentanyl stimulates receptors on nerves in the brain to increase the threshold to pain.

So when a pain patient has been using Fentanyl to alleviate pain, a reduction of dose by 25% will appear odd to a patient, but necessary to get pain under control. It takes a bit of education and understanding on how to use high dose pain killers safely and effectively.

After REMS application during a 4 week period – with reduced dose – patients report overall improved coping ability with pain sensitivity.

Click on the book image and learn how to control pain naturally.

If pain is not managed effectively, secondary health risks can and do occur. The list below targets the health risks. If you are a patient on pain medication and experience any of the symptom and signs listed below, contact your primary care physician immediately to get help.

1. Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia – Ineffective pain relief.

2. Respiratory Depression – Slow rate of breathing, loss of urge to breathe.

3. Central Nervous System complications – Dizziness, euphoria, drowsiness, etc.

4. Cardiovascular – Decreased blood pressure, edema (swelling), slow heart rate.

5. Musculoskeletal System – Osteoporosis, muscle rigidity and contractions.

6. Skin System – Itching, this may not indicate allergic reaction.

7. Immune System – Data suggests long-term use, indicates immune suppression.

8. Pregnancy & Breastfeed-Neonatal depression, avoid opioid use during feeding.

9. Ocular System – Constriction of pupil.

10. Gastrointestinal System – Constipation, nausea, vomiting, bowel problems, etc.

11. Genitourinary System – Urinary retention.

12. Endocrine System – Hormonal and sexual dysfunction.

13. Withdrawal Syndrome – Runny nose, shivering, diarrhea, gooseflesh, etc.

14. Constipation – Increase fiber intake, and/or use stool softeners will help.

The FDA REMS guidelines are now required within all pain patient-physician consults; providing the patient an excellent opportunity to learn about the benefits and risks of using pain killers. This program will no doubt reduce prescription addiction and secondary ill-health risk factors that also decrease accidental deaths and lawsuits.

Enjoy life with family pain free.

If you now have a problem with addiction and/or your pain is getting worse, or out of control – ask for help and get a referral to see a pain management specialist [Physiatrist].

Through smart pain management consults, education and timely/applicable self-referrals your pain alleviation program will work safely for you. Taking a self interest in your chronic pain and addiction circumstance is important if you want to continue living life to the fullest with loved ones.

References,

  1. Pain Pathways, www.painpathways.org
  2. Federal Drug Administration, www.FDA.gov
  3. American Chronic Pain Association Consumer Guide, www.theacpa.org

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2019 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Why Most American’s Have a Drug Addiction Problem

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Updated 22 January 2019, Marc Woodard

Why do I say most American’s have a drug use problem?

Drug chemical addictions aren’t all connected to illicit activity with potential to incarcerate someone.

To educate our children fully on unhealthy addiction habits, it is important for parents to also learn and share how the marketplace supplies hyper-palatable addictive food and drinks with chemical stimulants that appear harmless… but have the potential to lead to an illicit gateway drug and cause increased health risk.

To begin understanding this connection, let’s review the obvious first – illicit drug use and harm to society. Then look at how legal chemicals are hidden in food products that begin an addictive lifestyle habit starting at a young age. You may than deduce the legal – plus the illicit substance use in total is causing far more harm to society than what the latest data shows us. And that most Americans are addicted to some form of chemical stimulant or drug.

Looking at the DEA Drug Seizure statistics for 2010/2014, It shows the following drug confiscation data seized and measured in kilograms: Cocaine (30,061/33,770 kgs), Heroin (713/1,020kgs), Marijuana (725,862/74,225kgs), and Methamphetamine (2,224/2946 kgs), Hallucinogens (2,605,997/48,970 dosage units).

Illicit drug use is on the rise with the exception of Marijuana [likely to do with states legalization] and Hallucinogens [May be significantly declining – partly to do with States Marijuana legalization, easier access to pharmaceuticals and other drugs; and/or the table is pending DEA table update]. NOTE CY 2014 statistics are preliminary and subject to updating.

These numbers are indeed impressive drug seizure statistics. But, it is also acknowledged by all drug enforcement agencies that they only represent a fraction of what’s being used on the streets. So really, how do you quantify actual production and use of drugs under the radar? The answer is you can’t. For every person incarcerated and kilogram seized, many don’t get caught. The data only represents a fraction of what’s out there within the illicit drug market.

In 2010, national and state statistics information pertaining to drug use, addiction and drug abuse shows: 22.6 million Americans over the age of 12 have used illicit drugs within the last month of the survey being completed. The drug most used by 17.4 million individuals other than alcohol is marijuana; and then followed by painkillers, then hallucinogens and cocaine. Drug overdoses has risen 540% since 1980. Prescription drug abuse is up 500% since 1990. The cost to employer’s employee productivity from drug abuse is 122 billion dollars per year.

“In 2014, 27.0 million people aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days [an increase of ~4.5 million users from the 2010 data], ‘which corresponds to about 1 in 10 Americans (10.2 percent). This percentage in 2014 was higher than those in every year from 2002 through 2013. The illicit drug use estimate for 2014 continues to be driven primarily by marijuana use and the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers, with 22.2 million current marijuana users aged 12 or older … and 4.3 million people aged 12 or older who reported current non-medical use of prescription pain relievers.” (Hedden et al., 2015)

Addictive drug use data is used as a predictive indicator to determine future sales and potential earnings for other addictive consumables. For example, in knowing Americans spend an average of $90 billion dollars every year on alcoholic beverages has a percentage based relationship to alcohol and other mind altering substances related to automobile crashes and spousal abuse for example. These statistics are also very good predictors of other social and penal services needed for policing, intervention and incarceration services, programs, equipment and facilities resources.

For many children an alcohol experience begins at a very early stage in life. At the beginning of 2000, an estimated 7 million of our youth from 12 to 20 years old admitted to being drinkers. Another 6.4 million were admitted binge drinkers. Over 6 million children claimed to live with parents that have a drug addiction problem. 56% of students in grades 5 to 12 mention that advertising alcoholic beverages encourages them to drink.

In 2001, a survey showed 25 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol and that 23% of our 18-25 year olds self admitted to this fact. Local law enforcement statistics shows us that ~2 million arrests nationwide are made each year due to driving under the influence. Although these statistical numbers are alarming, it would be more alarming because only a portion of alcohol abuse is recorded… many driving under the influence are not caught. The same is also true of national surveys; many alcoholics do not self-proclaim their alcohol use. But one statistic is pretty clear: the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA 2017) shows 10,874 people were killed in vehicular alcohol related deaths. Now compare that number to a mid-size populated town and that statistic is alarming.

What is the impact to our economy regarding alcohol abuse? Approximately 100 million in health care costs. That does not include employment productivity losses, penal system costs, personal injury, property damage and intervention treatment, etc. Unemployed adults are found to be the highest percentage (12.2%) of drinkers between the ages of 26 through 34. Industrial injuries (47%) and fatalities (40%) are directly related to alcohol abuse.

Those predisposed to be addicts are not helped by the consumer marketplace. It doesn’t help when manufacturers knowingly spike our foods and drink with unnecessary food chemical stimulants for the sake of generating a profit. For example, adding more caffeine, nicotine, artificial sweeteners, etc., in concentrated doses is addictive. The only reason to do this is to cause a consumer habit beginning at a young age to crave a chemical dependency.

Lets take a look at a relevant addiction example that places an unfair financial burden on the health care system and nonsmokers. Every year smoking kills ~440,000 people through tobacco related illnesses and disease. That’s more Americans than the Vietnam and WWII casualties combined. In total, tobacco causes more than 5 million disease related deaths per year (lung, kidney, breast, pancreas, lymph, ovaries, larynx, mouth and neck cancer, etc.). Simply consider the medical costs to treat addiction, including long term illness and disease.

For every 1 person that dies from smoking tobacco, 20 more will suffer with a long-term illness (respiratory, immune, intestinal, organ failure etc.). The tobacco industry spends approximately $34 million dollars a day in advertising (2006 data). It’s no wonder roughly 1 in 5 high school students are addicted to tobacco and other chemical stimulants.

Another way to look at this data – legal product or not, we the parents pay the $34 million a day tobacco advertising bill that gets kids hooked to continue the habit. Then pay more in health care premiums and productivity losses when they get sick.

Here’s a good question to ask our legislative policy makers within the health care industry. Why can a tobacco business deduct an advertising expense that influences youth to smoke at earlier ages, costing everyone to pay higher health insurance premiums? We the non-smoking population should receive an incentive for not smoking and not contributing to the rise in health insurance premiums – but this is not the way it works. How’s that fair? Shouldn’t these manufactures pay the cost of those insurance premium hikes as a result of related illness, disease, death and loss of national productivity.

Moving on, let’s look at another harmful consumer habit. The food industry creates more caffeine and artificial sweetened food and drink addicts than all other legal and illicit drugs combined. By first targeting youth to seemingly harmless pick me up in the morning and energy boost products throughout the day – a new generation of stimulant craving addicts is born. One only has to think of the plethora of energy drinks and processed fast foods. These drinks and foods are loaded with caffeine, sugar, salt and other hyper-palatable chemicals that make you want more.

For example a Monster Energy XXL drink contains 4 times the average content of caffeine found within a can of soda (22-46 mg of caffeine). This energy drink contains 240 mg of caffeine. The 81 grams on average sugar content in these products also contribute to weight gain and obesity. And when the metabolism slows down and weight increases to unhealthy levels – often leads to anxiety and increased blood pressure, etc. It is also noted that once a consumer stops this habit withdraw symptoms occur: depression, lethargy, nausea, headaches and vomiting. Although daily doses up to 400mg of caffeine/day for most adults is OK (University of California), it is not healthy for nursing mothers, children and teens. Another noteworthy caffeine statistic: 50% of the population, or 150 million Americans drink coffee. Also, independent coffee shops alone equate to 12 billion in annual sales.

Some would argue these unseeingly harmless consumables are gateway addictions to illegal drug use. Whereas the legal stimulants no longer provide the feel good rush… the young consumer looks for something stronger to alleviate a depressed mind, body or spirit to normalize daily living experiences.

It appears most Americans young and old have very addictive consumer habits in general with regard to tobacco, alcohol, sugar and caffeine products including prescription and illegal drug use. Behavioral therapists know any hyper-palatable and mind altering product product can lead to addictive habits capable of changing behavior. And to change an unhealthy addiction habit may require medical treatment with counselling.

Many lives are lost and families destroyed when addictive habits take complete and utter control over a persons ability to change a destructive lifestyle course.

The consumer industries, market makers and government policy wonks understand how  legal consumer habits connect to illicit drug use and unhealthy behavioral habits – that increase health risks and costs taxpayers more. Unfortunately it is those addicted within the legal marketplace that have the greatest potential to cost the rest of us – and themselves their liberties, freedoms, health and potentially life

– And the number of people addicted to chemical substances is staggering beyond any statistics listed to date… And should be considered a near health epidemic that needs greater educational resources to reverse it’s course.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2019 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

References

Drug-Rehabs.org. Alcohol Statistics. http://www.drug-rehabs.org/alcohol-statistics.php

Hedden et al. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 2015. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

Michael’s House. Drug Addiction Facts and Statistics. http://www.michaelshouse.com/drug-addiction/drug-addiction-statistics/

MyAddiction.com. Tobacco, Smoking, and Nicotine Addiction Statistics and Facts. January 14, 2012. http://www.myaddiction.com/education/articles/tobacco_statistics.html

US Drug Enforement Administration. Statistics and Facts. https://www.dea.gov/domestic-drug-data

Wilkinson, J. Monster Energy Drink Addiction. Mar 7, 2011. http://www.livestrong.com/article/398579-monster-energy-drink-addiction/