1 lb raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
8 oz baby bell mushrooms
3 oz baby spinach
2 Tbls butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup half & half
2 tsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1. Toss shrimp with salt & pepper, sprinkle with basil.
2. Melt 1 Tbls butter in skillet and cook shrimp over medium heat until pink, turning to cook evenly on both sides. Remove from skillet.
3. Melt remaining butter in skillet and add garlic. Saute and add chicken broth and spinach.
4. Combine half & half with arrowroot powder and pour over wilted spinach. Stir mixture until it starts to thicken.
5. Stir in parmesan cheese and cook until cheese is melted.
6. Toss in shrimp and stir to coat.
7. Sprinkle with basil and serve.
Makes 4 servings
Total Fat 13g
Total Carbohydrates 8g
Dietary Fiber 1g
We’re talking about sabotage behaviors. Often it’s self-sabotage. We are our own worst enemy. But sometimes it’s others who are sabotaging us. Eat to live, NOT live to eat. If it were only this easy! Often you “know” what to do, but doing the right thing can be difficult. Why is that? Often sabotage behavior can derail the best intentions.
Sabotage is “the act of hampering, deliberately subverting or hurting the efforts of another.” Another definition is “the deliberate action to destroy property or equipment.” What about the self-sabotaging behavior? Here are some things to think about. Are your goals realistic? If they become unrealistic, typically it becomes easy to sabotage yourself. You might be trying to do too much too soon. For example, if you overdo it with the exercising you could be so sore you can’t move. Now you have to stop working out for several days. That “all or none” mentality does not work. The reality is, we all make mistakes. We need to be able to forgive ourselves as well. There’s the “excuse for every occasion” type of thinking. For example, “I only have a birthday once a year.” There’s always going to be a birthday or festival or something. Relying solely on willpower is another example of self-sabotage. I assure you that doesn’t work very well. Listening to how you feel will help you counteract this, as well as journaling. Thinking about it ahead of time will help you make better decisions. Another good way is writing it down. Journaling is one of the best ways to control what we do. It’s a great way to keep track of what we eat and keep track of what we’re doing. Writing your emotions down can be very helpful. You can ask yourself things like, “Am I truly hungry?” “Why is it I’m hungry?” “Am I angry?”
How do you combat this self-sabotage behavior?
Part of it is setting realistic goals. If the bar is set too high there’s no way we’re going to get over it. It would be nice to lose 100 pounds. Is that realistic? Can you do it in a year? The goal is going to be different for every individual. Some of it is where we are trying to get in the long run. Secondly, throw away the excuses. Just decide what you’re going to do and do it. Don’t be in a hurry. You don’t have to do it all at once. We all make mistakes. We all fall off the wagon. You need to forgive yourself. Be realistic. This didn’t happen overnight.
Try not to overbuy. We talked recently about the “Costco effect” where we can get some great deals on everything in bulk. That’s wonderful except whenever we buy things in bulk we tend to eat it quicker. This is true with everything. When you have a lot of it, you tend to overuse it. When we have only a little bit of something we tend to conserve it. This is true with food too. Overbuying tends to lead to overeating.
Pre-plan your day or week, including meals and activity. Review them frequently. Review at night to see what you could have done better that day. Wake up in the morning and figure out what your plan for the day is. Keep track of your steps daily.
Replace the negative thinking wit what you’re doing right. We tend to beat ourselves up. Negative thinking is never helpful. Realize you made a mistake and do things differently. Most things in our life are recurring themes.
Finally, journaling is one of the most powerful tools there is. Writing things down helps you figure out what works well for you. Without writing it down you’ll never really know where the problem areas are, especially the eating and activity aspect. We often have the concept of thinking we’re doing everything just right. But if you actually right it down you can find areas of improvement. We can all improve. I can assure you of that.
Other people can sabotage your efforts. Some do it purposefully and others do it unconsciously. Unconscious saboteurs appear to be supportive and believe they are being helpful, but they actually knock you off track by acting out of habit. The conscious saboteurs are more obvious. They know you’re trying to lose weight but they try to entice you. “Just one won’t hurt.” “This is the best cookie ever.” Some people ask you to do something else when they know it’s your fitness time. “Let’s stop by the bar and have a beverage and some food. “ Other people just have a constant discussion about food. I could never understand why someone who’s trying to lose weight would watch the Food channel. Turn it off. Why do you want to torture yourself?! You can be a foodie I guess, but it makes it really hard. When we talk about food, we get hungry.
How do you combat saboteurs?
Recruit people to help with weight loss. Communicate with friends and family assertively. Have responses ready. When someone encourages you to eat some cake, just say, “No thank you.” You don’t have to have a big explanation. Place trigger foods out of sight. I’m not a big fan of saying you can never eat a particular food. The exception to that is for people who have trigger foods. If you’re someone who can’t eat just one potato chip and has to eat the whole bag, then you should avoid that trigger food. Stop being so polite. “Ok I’ll have a little of this….” “I’ll skip my exercise because I know we haven’t seen each other in a long time.” Try to recruit your saboteur as a support person. If you can’t recruit them, it’s time to spend less time with them.
There are certain situations and events that are saboteurs. The big three are vacations, office life, and holidays. The reality is we’re all going to be part of these things. You can’t just ignore them. Everybody needs a vacation. You should have fun when you go on vacation. Incorporate activity into your vacation. Try some new foods. Search for new protein sources. Keep alcohol in check. There’s a lot of calories alcohol and it turns to sugar very quickly. It also decreases inhibitions so you tend to eat more. Plan your splurges. For example, be careful during the day because you want to go to a certain restaurant at night. Enjoy the splurges and then get right back on track. Deprivation diets don’t work very well.
Office life can be a saboteur. We obviously have to go to work. We have to socialize. You don’t want to hide what you’re doing. If you’re losing weight, people are going to know what you’re doing. If you talk about what you’re doing then you can get support. Everyone is going to have an opinion so you want to be a little careful who you’re sharing things with. Don’t listen to everything they say. Take a walk during your break. Keep healthy snack available. Plan your eating times. There are also unplanned eating times. There should be periods of time when you’re not eating.
During the holidays plan for events and don’t go hungry. Have a plan to socialize away from the food. Take a look at the spread of food so you can “pick your poison.” Keep it to a minimum. Watch the alcohol. It’s a good time to schedule a personal trainer during the holidays. Have someone that is going to hold you accountable and to push you. Don’t go it alone. Find a weight loss buddy. You can support each other.
Here are some tips for success.
Identify sabotaging behaviors you or others might have. It’s very important to figure these things out. The situations are not going away. They are going to be there forever. Review the tools for combating saboteurs and risky situations. Separate yourself from risky situations as necessary. There are a couple of good resource both written by Judith Beck. She’s a psychologist/behaviorist. The first is “The Diet Trap Solution” which is an older book. It’s a really good book about how to change your behavior with eating. The other is “The Beck Diet Solution.”
What do you know about growth hormone? You might hear about this in the media as anti-aging, this wonderful thing that could keep you young forever. It’s not quite like that. But there is some evidence that potentially can be helpful for certain things. We’re going to talk about those things.
If you look at the literature out there, it suggests a lot of wonderful things that growth hormone can do. There are some wide ranges of potential effects. It can: reduce body fat, increase muscle mass, enhance sexual performance, stronger bones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, faster wound healing, higher energy levels, regrowth of vital organs, restore immune function, hair regrowth, sharper vision, elevated mood, and improved cognition. In theory, it sounds like this does all kinds of stuff. So, is this the Fountain of Youth?
Let’s talk about what this is, where it comes from, and what it can potentially do. Is there some way you can actually utilize this? Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland in your brain. The pituitary gland is a tiny little thing separated into an anterior and posterior gland. There are two different lobes. It’s right there at the base of your brain. It’s controlled by the hypothalamus which sends signals down to the pituitary gland and what it should do. The pituitary gland secretes all kinds of different things. Many of them are hormones. We’re talking mainly about the anterior pituitary today. It helps control how your thyroid works, how your adrenal glands work, how the ovaries work (Follicle stimulating hormone), prolactin, and it secretes growth hormone. It also secretes some other endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones. The anterior pituitary secretes many hormones very important for overall health in addition to growth hormone.
Growth hormone is a peptide that stimulates growth. That means it’s made out of amino acids. It’s a protein. It’s made by the anterior pituitary gland. There are 190 amino acids and it’s a single chain. It’s folded in a particular fashion. A hormone is just a chemical messenger. Once a hormone is secreted (by whatever gland we’re talking about), it passes through the blood stream and sends messages to tissues that have receptors to that hormone. You have to have receptors on the tissue in order to receive the message. Different tissues may receive a slightly different message to do different things. Basically, this is what all hormones do. Growth hormone is abbreviated HGH. It stands for Human Growth Hormone. You’ll often hear about athletes abusing it to improve their athletic performance. It is a prescription drug and can be used legally for deficiency syndromes. If someone truly has a deficiency syndrome in growth hormone, then potentially they can utilize growth hormone to help fix that deficiency syndrome.
You’ll often hear about it in age management. Part of the reason is, as we get older, just like most hormones, we typically don’t get as much out of our hormones. Hormones are not secreted at the same rate and same amount. The theory is that as we get older and growth hormone decreases, we could possibly prevent some of these aging processes by supplementing growth hormone. This is a very controversial subject. Right now we can’t legally use it unless you have a proven deficiency syndrome. What is a proven deficiency syndrome? If you ask many different experts, you’ll get many different opinions. It is a very controversial medication.
How do you know if you have a deficiency syndrome? It’s not easy to measure. That’s where one of the problems comes in. Growth hormone is released in a pulsatile fashion during the early hours of the deepest sleep. The half-life of growth hormones is very short, so you’d have to catch it at the exact time to know whether you’ve got enough or not. It usually happens in your deep sleep. That’s when it’s released the most. Once it’s secreted by the anterior pituitary gland, it’s taken up by the liver. The liver converts it into growth factors. Growth hormone by itself is really difficult to measure. You have to catch it at the right time. The half-life is so short. How do you actually measure it? You can measure it in your urine. If you were to collect a 24-hour urine specimen you can look at how much is secreted into the urine. It can give you an idea of whether a person is secreted enough growth hormone. One of the most important growth factors it’s converted into is insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). We talk about insulin all the time. Insulin is the antithesis of weight loss. We want to keep insulin levels low. This IGF-1 is something different. It just has a name that begins with insulin. It’s insulin-like because insulin is a growing hormone. With regular insulin it means growing fat. IGF-1 can be a growing factor of growing muscle mass. IGF-1 can be measured because it’s a longer half-life. It will stick around for a longer period of time. If someone were actually had a deficiency syndrome of growth hormone, and we gave them growth hormone, we could get an idea of what the response to that hormone by measuring IGF-1.
Typically growth hormone declines with age. The biggest time to have growth hormone is when we’re growing in adolescence and early adulthood. It declines about 1-3% per year after age 30. It goes down relatively quickly. You’ll see this in Olympians. Typically for men they’re at peak performance in their mid to late 20’s. That’s true with most professional athletes. It happens a little bit sooner with women. The reality is that most of us by the end of our 20’s will start to have a growth hormone decline. We don’t have that same physical performance that we did in our mid to late 20’s. It drops off relatively quickly, but the highest amounts are in the mid to late teens. It can be up to about 3% per year. At some point it will be really low. As we get older we start getting debilitating illnesses. The question is, if we kept supplemented growth hormone higher, could it actually take care of these illnesses of aging?
What are some common signs of low GH? The problem is that most of these signs are really vague because they go along with just feeling bad. The common signs are: premature aging, flabby and obese, stretch marks, droopy eyelids and sagging cheeks, thinning skin, reduced foot arch, thinning muscles of the hands, and prolonged skin folds after pinching skin on the back of the hand. The prolonged skin folds after pinching can also be a sign of dehydration. It could also be a sign of adrenal problems too. Those are really vague things.
What are common complaints with low GH? Again, these complaints tend to be really vague. They don’t mean a whole lot by themselves. The complaints are: poor quality of life, lack of inner peace, anxious, depression, low self-esteem, lack of concentration, lack of self-control, excessive emotions, thinning and weakening of the muscles and skin, exhaustion and poor recovery, feeling of rapidly aging, low libido, and lack of sleep or excessive need for sleep.
What tests can we actually do? GH has a very short ½ life and is released in a pulsatile fashion, so measuring blood levels is impractical and may be meaningless. If someone is measuring your growth hormone and trying to send it off in a lab for bloodwork, it’s pretty much meaningless. IGF-1 can be measured but there is a wide range of “normal.” GH can be measured in 24 hour urine collection, but many labs cannot do this accurately. Almost all of the signs and symptoms of GH deficiency go along with testosterone deficiency. Testosterone deficiency is really common. Both men and women need testosterone. As we age, our testosterone levels drop. Almost every complaint I just mentioned of GH deficiency is actually more likely testosterone deficiency. This might be much more fruitful to measure than to chase GH around.
Let’s say we’re going to treat you for GH deficiency. What are the risks versus the benefits? The benefits are that the complaints we just mentioned could potentially get better. In theory, it’s really safe because we use bio-identical GH. It looks exactly like human GH. If it truly were that unsafe, we would see a lot of younger people with a lot of GH problems because they have really high levels of GH. You don’t want your GH too high either because it could cause Gigantism. Every once in a while you’ll see the 7 foot person that later was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor that secreted GH. Andre the Giant was one of the classic ones. They have a very enlarged jaw and large hands and feet.
Hormone balance is a key concept. We don’t want something out of balance, whether it’s too much or too little. GH has to be given by injection. In theory could we do something to stimulate your own GH? That’s possible in theory. If it’s given by injection, it could take months to notice a clinical improvement. And, this is incredibly expensive. Unless you truly need it and get approval from the insurance company to get treated for this, good luck with getting it paid for! It would be a few thousand dollars every single month. I don’t know many people who are going to do that or want to do that. There’s always the question of because it’s a GH could it actually stimulate tumor growth? If you had some type of tumor, could GH actually make that grow? That’s a real theoretical concern. There’s never going to be a study to look at that. If someone has a tumor we’re not going to start injecting them with GH! It’s been done in animals and was determined it can actually stimulate tumor growth.
Are there certain things that we could do ourselves that would optimize GH release? That would be the optimal thing. What can we do to improve the release of our own GH? We can’t live without it even though our levels go really low with age. Things that improve GH release: strenuous exercise (like High Intensity Interval Resistance Training), deep quality sleep, and protein. These are the best ways. There are a number of potential enhancers. They are: B-vitamins, inositol (like a B-vitamin), minerals (chromium, magnesium, zinc, and iodine. Magnesium also helps with testosterone), amino acids (glutamine 2g/day, carnitine, arginine 7g/day, GABA-all can be found at health food stores), hormones (DHEA, melatonin-helps with sleep-, estradiol, testosterone, thyroid, progesterone), and herbals that can potentially help. Things to avoid: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and milk products. These are a lot of things we talk about anyway. There are other things that truly inhibit GH release. Carbs-insulin inhibits the release of GH. Stress increases cortisol levels. Cortisol inhibits GH release. If you’re doing things we encourage you to do, you’re probably doing a lot of these things already.
There are some commercial formulas out there. I see this all the time in magazine and newspapers. They say a famous person takes GH and it keeps them young. That’s their secret! What they’re talking about is something that can potentially help increase the release of GH. They tend to be very expensive. They’re usually a mix of amino acids and/or vitamins and herbs. It’s a “proprietary blend.” There are a number of them out there: SeroVital-hgh, Pro-HGH, Symbiotropin, etc.… They’re combinations that, in theory, that will increase the release of GH. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a lot of evidence that they actually work. There have been a couple of small studies, and they do tend to work in the people that don’t need it! They work really well in young adults, but they’re not GH deficient. Let the buyer beware! They tend to be very expensive with limited studies that show that they help at all. But they’re not completely lying either because it can help in the people that don’t need it.
In summary, could this GH be the “fountain on youth?” Unfortunately many of these questions are unanswered. Optimizing your own GH may be helpful in your overall health and weight loss because it does so much that we want to accomplish. For many people the easier answer may be looking at testosterone levels both male and female. There could be something beneficial there for potential weight loss. It’s something to consider and it’s much easier to measure.