NEWEST Video- Clifta Talk #1- Are you stuck? Do you compare yourself to a younger you?

Newest CliftaFit Video… it’s a new series called Clifta Talk. Sharing my thoughts and life lessons and discussions with clients.
Here’s Clifta Talk #1… Are you stuck? Do you compare yourself to a younger you… or a version of yourself from the past that no longer fits, but you’re trying to make it fit anyways? You might like this video. 🙂

Are Your Hormones Out of Whack?

This is a good article by Dr. Oz….


By Dr. Mehmet Oz

470_2661688I think of the body’s hormones as musical instruments in an orchestra: Each plays its own part in creating a perfect concert–until the day one is out of tune and throws off the entire melody.

Although it was many years ago, I still remember one of the first patients I saw with a hormonal disturbance. She was a lovely woman in her early 40s who was a little heavy; despite having tried every diet under the sun, she couldn’t seem to shed the extra pounds. As we talked and she mentioned a few more of her concerns–dry skin, brittle hair, a lack of energy (even shortly after her morning coffee)–I realized I needed to test her thyroid levels. Sure enough, they were too low. With proper medication, my patient’s skin and energy improved, and she was no longer a prisoner to a simple chemical imbalance.

No one should have to live with an untreated hormone problem. Some require medical care, while others may be addressed with lifestyle adjustments, but almost all are treatable. Here is a guide to some of the most common signs of hormone imbalance–and what you can do to restore harmony.


The Clues
If you are overweight, you may have elevated estrogen levels; fat cells actually produce the hormone, so extra weight can lead to too much estrogen in the body. This can be a serious problem because excess estrogen can fuel breast and uterine cancers. During menopause, on the other hand, all women experience a natural drop in estrogen levels, along with side effects that range from hot flashes to headaches to joint pain.

What You Can Do
I know I sound like a broken record, but if you carry extra pounds, exercising and watching your diet are essential: Losing weight can improve your estrogen balance and simultaneously reduce your risk of cancer. (An overweight or obese postmenopausal woman who loses just 5 percent of her weight could potentially cut her risk of breast cancer by up to 50 percent.) I also suggest that women with too much estrogen avoid foods that are high in phytoestrogens (plant compounds that mimic the hormone), such as whole soy products.

For women going through menopause, there is some evidence that herbal supplements such as hops and black cohosh may help alleviate symptoms. But if the symptoms interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor to see if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.


The Clues
In the years preceding menopause, a woman may suffer from decreased testosterone as her ovaries and adrenal glands slow the production of sex hormones. This may explain why many women experience a drop in libido during this period of their lives. Excess testosterone, however, may be the result of a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); possible symptoms include irregular periods, male-pattern baldness, a deepening voice, and excess body hair.

What You Can Do
If you’re concerned about low libido, try incorporating more zinc-rich foods–like oysters and sesame seeds–into your diet (zinc appears to be linked to an increase in testosterone levels), and ask your doctor about testosterone supplementation. To treat PCOS, your doctor might recommend taking birth control pills containing synthetic hormones that reduce the production of testosterone. It’s also important to avoid refined sugars and other carbohydrates in your diet (insulin resistance is linked to a boost in testosterone production) and to eat more fiber (which counteracts blood sugar spikes and promotes the excretion of excess sugars from the body).


The Clues
Low levels of melatonin, the hormone responsible for maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm, are associated with poor sleep and depression. Our bodies may produce less melatonin as we age, which could explain why some older adults have more trouble sleeping than children do.

What You Can Do
If you struggle to get enough shut-eye, try taking .5 milligram of a melatonin supplement one to two hours before bedtime. I’d also suggest drinking melatonin-rich tart cherry juice: In a pilot 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, subjects who drank two cups a day experienced some relief from insomnia.

Ghrelin and Leptin

The Clues
Stomach growling? Thank ghrelin. Produced in the stomach, ghrelin cues the brain that you’re hungry. After you eat, leptin swoops in to tell the brain you’re full. If these two hormones fall out of sync, you may lose the ability to recognize when your body is satiated and overeat as a result.

What You Can Do
Try your best to get a full night’s sleep: A Stanford University study found that habitual sleep restriction (five hours a night as opposed to eight) raised a person’s ghrelin levels by nearly 15 percent, lowered leptin levels by 15.5 percent, and was directly associated with increased body weight. Other research has shown that exercise and stress reduction may help keep ghrelin levels in check.

Thyroid Hormone

The Clues
Thyroid hormone regulates how fast you burn calories. One in ten women doesn’t produce enough of it–a condition known as hypothyroidism, which can lead to weight gain, depression, and fatigue. On the other end of the spectrum is hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland releases too much of its hormone, causing symptoms such as anxiety, a racing heart, excessive sweating, even diarrhea.

What You Can Do
If you have hypothyroidism, a daily thyroid hormone replacement pill can help correct the imbalance. You might also want to consider eating more onion. This veggie contains kaempferol, a compound that may kick-start production of the hormone. If you have an overactive thyroid, your doctor may prescribe one of several treatments, from radioactive iodine–to slow hormone production–to surgical removal of the gland; most patients respond well once they get the proper care.


The Clues
Aldosterone regulates your body’s sodium-to-water ratio. But a condition called renal artery stenosis–a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the kidneys–can trigger the release of the hormone, causing a surge in blood pressure.

What you can do
A heart-friendly lifestyle that keeps your blood vessels healthy can also be a kidney-friendly lifestyle. Minimize salt intake, follow a low-fat diet, get some exercise, and don’t smoke.


The Clues
When you’re under pressure, your cortisol spikes to provide the body with a quick dose of energy. Chronic stress, however, can keep your cortisol elevated continuously–a dangerous state, since the hormone can suppress the immune system and has been linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat.

What You Can Do
When I’m stressed, I close my eyes and breathe deeply for two to three minutes with one hand on my chest and the other on my belly; my chest stays still while my abdomen rises and falls. As you calm down, your cortisol should drop to normal levels.

The Hormone Factory

A brief tour of your body’s finely tuned endocrine system

1. Pineal Gland
Named for its pinecone shape, the pineal gland is tucked between the two hemispheres of the brain. It’s still a bit of a mystery, though we know it produces the sleep hormone, melatonin.

2. Pituitary Gland
Known as the master gland, this pea-size organ releases hormones that stimulate the other glands to, in turn, release their hormones.

3. Thyroid Gland
Think of this gland as the thermostat for your metabolism: It can increase or decrease the rate of calorie burn by releasing more or less thyroid hormone.

4. Adrenal Glands
Perched atop your kidneys, these glands secrete hormones that control your “fight or flight” response to stress (cortisol and adrenaline) and your blood pressure (aldosterone), among others.

5. Ovaries
These organs produce more than eggs; they manufacture and release the most important hormones for female development: estrogen, progesterone, and–yes–testosterone.

4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence During Menopause

4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence During Menopause

Besides the physical changes that menopause brings, it also can shake your sense of self-assurance — but these confidence boosters can help.

In medical terms, menopause — the absence of a woman’s menstrual period for at least a year — is a strictly physical phenomenon. However, most women find that, beyond physical symptoms, menopause can also be a time of emotional upheaval.

“It can be a sad time,” says Dale Perry, a nurse practitioner at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in California and a specialist in menopausal issues. “You know you’re not going to have any more children. You throw that last box of tampons away. You can have mood swings, fatigue — you may just not feel like you’re completely on top of things.”

This combination of physical changes and emotional stress can be enough to make a woman feel a little down or unsure of herself. But you can regain the confidence that menopause symptoms may have shaken. Try some of these tips to start feeling like yourself again.

Confidence Booster No. 1: Have Sex

If you’re feeling less than feminine because of menopause, a great way to overcome that is by being intimate with your partner.

Intimacy can also help you overcome the so-so feelings you may have been having about sex — a common symptom of menopause. “If you don’t use it regularly, it doesn’t work so well,” Perry says.

Some menopausal women find sex to be uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness, which can happen when estrogen levels go down. If you experience this, an estrogen supplement can help increase moisture. Some of the newest estrogen supplements, like Evamist and Vivelle-Dot, are delivered through the skin. “It’s a much lower dose, you can swim with it, and it slowly releases the hormone into your bloodstream,” Perry says. Other options are topical estrogen creams and estrogen tablets that deliver the hormone directly to the vaginal tissues.

Confidence Booster No. 2: Get More Exercise

Regular physical activity can help relieve some of the stress of menopause and improve your physical health, leading to a general sense of well-being. “I think yoga works particularly well,” Perry says. “You can ease yourself in by starting with a gentle stretch class, and move from there.”

Adults should aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week. All of the body’s major muscle groups should be exercised at least twice a week.

Confidence Booster No. 3: Pamper Yourself

Breaking out of your routine by treating yourself to something new or luxurious can be a real confidence booster, Perry says. Also, since your body is changing, this is a perfect time to change your outward appearance in small ways. “Let a personal shopper pick out some clothes you wouldn’t have chosen yourself,” Perry says. “Do something different. That can be really exciting.”

Confidence Booster No. 4: Get Help if You Need It

Many women sail through menopause with no major problems, but others may need to consult with their doctor if they’re feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety. Women with a history of these problems should be on the lookout for signs, which can include loss of energy, sadness, and constant feelings of worry and tension. “If your sleep is disturbed, you need to talk to your doctor,” Perry says. “If you’re not sleeping well, nothing else in your life seems to go well. You start the day already feeling behind.”

If you are diagnosed with anxiety or depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help improve your mood. Commonly prescribed medications include Zoloft ( sertraline ) and Lexapro (escitalopram ). One antidepressant, Effexor (venlafaxine ), also tends to relieve the hot flashes associated with menopause.

While there’s plenty to moan about during menopause, there’s also a lot to celebrate at this time in your life. “In some ways, it’s a very freeing age for women,” Perry says. “In your twenties and thirties, you really care what people think of you. But now, you’re much more comfortable in your own skin. Many women are at the height of their careers … This is not a time of life when life is over. The best stuff is not necessarily behind you at this point.”