Monday, December 2, 2019

How To Minimize Weight Gain Over The Holidays

by Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND 

The holidays are a time when indulgence is typical. It's hard to say no when there is a great host of food and desserts.  But how do you feel when the holidays are over? Do you feel guilty? Have you gained a couple pounds? Being strategic about what you eat can still satisfy your indulgences so you can enjoy yourself and keep you on track.

The Basics On How To Minimize Weight Gain

The holidays should be an enjoyable time with your family and friends, and food is what usually brings it all together. The idea is not to be overly restrictive with your foods, while also making sure you don't over do it. Here are some of the basic ways to modify your habits over the holidays that will help you to keep the weight off.

1. Eat Your Protein & Fats! Protein and fat are more satiating, meaning that you will feel more full for longer compared to a meal that is heavy in carbohydrates. Protein and fat also slow down the release of sugar into your blood stream, keeping your blood sugar balanced. So if you have the option of a turkey leg or a plate of pasta, choose the turkey!

2. Eat your vegetables! Vegetables are high in fibre and will also keep you full and regulate your blood sugar. Baking some mixed veggies, such as sweet potato, parsnips, squash, pumpkin and brussel sprouts is an easy and delicious way to get in your veggies and help you feel good. Root vegetables are ideal for this time of year as they are easy to digest and will nourish your body.

3. Chew your food! Chewing your food adequately prevents you from overeating. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. If you eat your food too quickly, you don't give your stomach enough time to send that message, resulting in the misguided sensation that you are still hungry. It is also important to remember that digestion begins in the mouth. The mouth has different enzymes that help to break down carbohydrates and protein. Chewing your food gives those enzymes time to take effect and mechanically will assist in the digesting process. Taking your time with your food will allow you to enjoy it and make you feel more satisfied so that you are less likely to add more to your plate.

4. Moderation & Balance! Of course you will be tempted by lavish desserts and 3 cheese lasagnas. It is okay to enjoy your food, but just remember your limits. If you already suffer from digestive issues or conditions that are aggravated by certain foods, be mindful of how much you are eating. If know that you will be having a large meal, the next day you can reduce your caloric intake to maintain that balance.

5. Movement! Try to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule over the holidays. That could mean stretching before bed or when you wake up in the morning. Exercise will help burn those extra calories, improve your digestion and give you more energy. 

6. Reduce your Snacking! Snacking can burden the digestive tract as it is not being given a break. There is a system called the migrating motor complex within your digestive tract that will cause your intestines to keep things moving. However, this function can only work while you are fasting. Making sure you leave 4-5 hours between meals to allow your digestive system to be swept clean by the migrating motor complex. If you tend to snack often, that may be a sign that your blood sugar has difficulty regulating itself. To investigate that symptom, see your naturopathic doctor to perform the necessary tests.  

Why Consider Nutritional Counselling?

If you already struggle with making healthy decisions when it comes to food, most likely the holidays are a challenging time for you. Nutritional counselling can help teach you which foods are right for your body and how you can sustainably make changes at your own pace. Most people have the perception that they can just start fresh in January, but research shows that the weight gained over the holidays is much harder to lose than weight gained at any other point in the year. Further, the habits formed over the holidays can sometimes be harder to kick. Before the holidays, learning your individual nutritional needs based on your food sensitivities, your health conditions, age, sex, activity level and hormones, will more likely keep you on the right path.

Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND, focuses on individualized nutritional counselling and helping patients make healthy lifestyle choices that are specific to them. Dr. Ann-Marie is now offering 30 minute nutritional consults focused solely on creating sustainable and effective dietary adjustments that will address your concerns. During a nutritional counselling visit, your nutrition and typical diet will be assessed and modified based on your needs. Dr. Ann-Marie will assess your nutrition with an assessment tool which investigates your water, protein, fat, vegetable, fruit and fibre intake and take special considerations such as individual health concerns into account.

To learn more about what foods work best with your body and nutritional counselling, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Ann-Marie Regina or to schedule a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet."

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Self Care...Beyond Bubble Baths

By: Dr. Jessica Nesbitt ND, CFMP

If I were to ask you the question;

"What do you do for self care"?

Would you be able to list one thing that you try to do on a daily basis in order to improve your health?

When I meet a new patient for their initial appointment I spend a lot of time getting to know their story, their medical history and current health concerns. I also make a point of asking if they know how stress effects their body and what they do for self care on a daily basis?

I have found that many people are not aware of the effects that stress has on their body and that often times a self care routine is non existent. When self care is mentioned, it usually involves activities like a massage, manicure, wine or a bubble bath. These activities are all enjoyable and can be forms of self care, but sometimes we need to go beyond the bubble baths!!

The Importance of Self Care

Self care can be defined as taking an active role to improve one's health.  We all know physical health is important for us. However, did you know much of our physical health is affected by our mental and emotional health?  Stress alone can have detrimental effects on physical health including fatigue, lowered immune system functioning and high blood pressure.  If we don’t slow down and take care of ourselves – physically, mentally and emotionally – we run the risk of deteriorating our overall wellness. Committing to a self-care routine can improve your health, self-esteem, compassion and empathy towards others. Self-care is saying to yourself, “I deserve to be healthy and feel my best”.  Contrary to popular belief, self care does not make you selfish.  It can be an ongoing challenge to make time for self care. There is often not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we need to do. When you discover that you're neglecting a certain aspect of your life, create a plan for change.  You don't have to tackle everything all at once. Identify one small step you can take to begin caring for yourself better.  Then, schedule time to focus on your needs.  Even when you feel like you don't have time to squeeze in one more thing, make self care a priority.

Types of Self Care

I have broken down self care into three different categories and listed a few different ways to practise self care.

1. Physical Self Care: getting adequate sleep, individualized nutrition, movement/exercise, rest and annual physical exams with your naturopathic doctor.

2. Mental Self Care: trying to have a daily practice of gratitude, setting short term and long term goals, meditation, changing negative self talk.

3. Emotional Self Care: expressing emotions through talking, journalling, artwork or dance.  Practising forgiveness of yourself and others.  Practising self love which means that you unconditionally accept yourself. 

 Other Ways to Introduce Self Care into Your Life 

→ making difficult decisions that could improve the quality of your life 
→ setting boundaries with loved ones
→ cancelling exciting plans in order to rest when sick
→ down-sizing in order to be able to better afford life's necessities 
One of my goals as a naturopathic doctor is to educate and empower my patients. I encourage all of my patients to try and commit to a ritual of self care on a daily basis. All too often I see people who are constantly rushing through their days only to find that weeks or months have gone by and they are feeling run down or burned out.

If you find that lately you have been feeling run down, tired in the morning when you wake even though you have had a good night sleep or find that you are getting sick often I invite you to reach out and request a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet" to find out how I can support you.  If you have any questions,  I can be reached at

Are You Physically Ready for Winter?

By: Darryl Gomes  R. Kin., CAT(C), D.O.M.P., D.Sc.O.

During the past couple of weeks, winter appeared earlier than we expected. The temperatures dropped below zero into the double digits, and we experienced a couple of significant
snowfalls. Outside of getting the snow tires on the car, how ready are you for winter and how are you preparing for it? Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you get through winter safely.

Dress Appropriately
  • Check the temperature before you head out. Don't just assume blue skies and sunshine mean it will be warm outside. Make sure to read the wind chill temperature as well, as that will give you a better sense of the ambient temperature. 
  • You should dress in layers depending on how long you will be out in the cold and the type of activities you will be doing. Whether you are snowboarding or shovelling the driveway, it is important to dress warmly. 
  • Make sure you have boots and gloves that will keep your extremities warm. For those that experience circulatory issues (such as Raynaud's Syndrome), you need to be extra careful and ensure your fingers and toes stay warm. If necessary, you may need to use chemical heat packs to keep them warm.
  • You may need to apply sunblock or lip balm to protect your skin and lips depending on how long you will be outside. Sunglasses may be required if you are going to be out in direct sun in order to avoid snow blindness.

Recognize the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia

  • Frostbite occurs when skin has been exposed to the cold for too long. You may experience a burning, numbness or stinging sensation in the affected areas, and prolonged exposure may lead to skin damage. Body parts such as your ears, nose and cheeks are most susceptible to frostbite. 
  • If you suspect you have frostbite, get out of the cold as soon as possible. 
  • Allow the tissue to warm up gradually. Don't put direct heat on it and don't rub the skin. The tissue can be fragile, and you may end up damaging it. 
  • If the burning, stinging or numbness sensations don't go away despite making these changes, you may need to seek emergency care.

Shovelling is Exercise

  • Depending on the amount of snow that needs to be cleared, shovelling can be a gruelling workout. Your muscles need to work hard in order to push and toss snow around. Therefore, you need to treat shovelling like you would any other exercise.
  • You may need to take a few minutes inside the house to do some squats, lunges and torso twists in order to get your body ready for shovelling.
  • Bend your legs when you pick up and throw snow. Do not bend over or throw snow with your back. 
  • Especially if there has been a heavy snowfall, you should section your driveway/sidewalk into small areas and deal with them one at a time, rather than trying to push the snow all the way from the top to the bottom of the driveway.
  • Take breaks, especially if the snow is wet and heavy. Even if you don't have any type of cardiovascular issues, taking a few minutes to catch your breath is always a good idea. 
  • Know your limitations and don't overdo it. You may need to rely on family members, neighbours or hired help to clear your driveway. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it, especially if you suffer from cardiovascular problems.

Dealing with Falls/Injuries

  • Whether you slip on a patch of ice walking to work or fall from catching an edge on the ice while skating, falls during winter are a common occurrence. Knowing how to take care of your injuries is important.
  • You will need to ice down any bumps or bruises you get. Make sure you have skin sensation (you can feel the difference between warm and cold along with the sensation of pressure) before you start icing the area down. Keep a cool damp towel between the skin and the ice pack to prevent frostbite. Keep the ice on for about 20 minutes or until the area feels numb. Do not re-apply cold until you can feel sensation in the area again.
  • Fractures are a common injury with slips and falls. If the pain you are experiencing is not resolving or gets worse after you ice and rest the area, you may need to seek medical help.
  • It is not uncommon to hurt your back or experience other types of pains from shovelling or other winter activities. Whether you have existing chronic injuries that are exacerbated by exercise, or receiving acute injuries, it is important to make sure you get them treated. 

So Where Does Osteopathy Fit in?

Be proactive and get treated now! If you suffer from poor balance, why wait for the snow and ice to arrive and increase your chances of falling/injury during winter? Take the time to treat your musculoskeletal issues, in addition to improving your balance with proprioceptive specific exercises. 

Osteopathic treatment can help to remove a lot of the existing problems that you currently have or may discover over the course of the winter.
  • Spinal misalignment can not only create musculoskeletal problems, but can lead to visceral problems. As signals from the spine to the different organs get impinged, the function of the organs can be affected. This is why someone who has back problems can develop such things as acid reflux or elimination problems. The corollary exists, where visceral problems can create spinal problems which may be the cause of back problems. 
  • Falls can create direct problems (such as falling on your pelvis) that can create imbalances in your body. If they are not treated, they can create compensations in the body that can lead to long term problems such as spinal misalignments. Bone bruises can affect the function of the bone and do need to be treated.
  • Pre-existing injuries can be compounded by new injuries. This is why activities such as shovelling can make you feel worse, even if you didn't think you overexerted yourself.
  • Colds and flus are synonymous with winter. Your body is constantly working hard to fight off infections. Ensuring you are eating properly and staying hydrated is important for providing your body with necessary nutrients. Osteopathic treatment can help to keep the body working efficiently, just like a winter tune up would for your car. 
If you have any questions about how osteopathy can help you, call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book a free 15 minute consultation or email me at:

Stay active!