In his latest podcast series, 20Lighter co-founder Dr. Gerry Dembrowski discusses “What is Making Us Sick & Fat”. The three episodes cover a pretty wide range of topics including ‘The Obesogen Hypothesis’ that postulates chemical food additives (artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc) seriously contribute to weight gain and health problems, evidence showing the food and beverage industry and main stream weight-loss industry collaborate to enrich themselves at the expense of our health, nutrient differences in organic versus non-organic foods and grass-fed versus grain-fed meat, and what we have been told for years causes weight gain is not actually supported by the scientific literature.
Listen to this new podcast series & others here: http://20lighter.libsyn.com/
We are often asked why we go through all the trouble of IRB protocol approval, put in the weeks of work needed to analyze data, write and submit abstracts, design poster presentations, and present data at medical meetings. It requires a lot of time, a ton of analysis and writing, and more than a little bit of financial investment. The answer to the question of ‘why’ is rooted in the scientific foundations of our program. The 20Lighter Program is not just another weight loss program. Our goal from day 1 has been to assist clients in rebuilding their overall health. Yes, weight is a part of that, but it is not the whole story.
Dr. Dembrowski’s long history of patient interaction taught him that wellness was not just a function of the scale being at a certain number, but the whole picture of how a person was feeling… aches and pains, medications (and side effects of medications), sleep (quantity & quality), mental clarity, mood and self image. We worked together to produce a program that, to our very best ability, could address as many of these parts of the whole as possible. And at every step in the process we would get feedback from colleagues that the ‘diet’ and ‘weight loss’ industry is one big gimmick and you will be classified as another ‘fad diet’, that it takes pharmacologic therapy to walk a person back from the brink of disease and tissue damage, that overweight people just lack discipline and don’t want real help, and that if people just learned to put down the fork things would be different.
But what we found to be true in our discussions with clients and our exhaustive review of the scientific literature on almost every aspect of weight, metabolic, and disease processes was that only ONE of those commonly held beliefs by our colleagues was partly true. The weight loss industry is for sure full of gimmicks, but we work every day to distance ourselves from the industry whose main goal is to generate money by keeping those consumers hooked on their diet products or group meetings or subscriptions.
Over the past 3 years we have seen with our own eyes that a cross-discipline approach that embraces a return to freshly prepared foods focusing on good nutrition and natural (homeopathic) means of reducing inflammation- not another pill being pushed by a pharmaceutical company- can have clinically relevant and long lasting impact. Our clients are educated and shown what needs to be done for them to see improvements in how they look, how they feel, and in their health overall. As they prove to themselves that they can have a dramatic impact in a relatively short period of time without adding more medications, without having weight loss surgery, and eating prepackaged foods and shakes that confidence builds and what may have seemed like an impossible journey previously is now looking do-able.
On our program we have proven that our colleagues are holding some pretty significant misconceptions. So while we work to spread the word to our clients about their ability to change their situation and their lives, we also work to educate our colleagues. Our labor of love in preparing data for presentation is important for many reasons with two being the standouts. First and foremost, we want to show our colleagues the progress and results that can be achieved when you take the time to put together a program that addresses issues underlying the cause(s) of weight gain and of metabolic disease, that teaches clients what those underlying issues are, what triggers them, and works to establish good healthy habits long after their program is finished. You would be surprised how many health professionals have come to our posters and been blow away by our data…
Them: Your attrition rate must be ridiculous? Us: No, over 95% of those who start our program complete it.
Them: You must have excluded a ton of people. Us: No, our only contraindications are pregnancy or breastfeeding, current treatment for cancer, major organ transplant with immunosuppressive drugs, schizophrenia, or being over 70 with three or more CV comorbidities.
Them: Wow, that’s a really average looking baseline demographic. Us: Yes, our average client is 54 years old with a BMI of 34, and takes 3 daily prescription medications. Our program works for the real average person.
Them: This is the first data I have seen at this meeting looking at reduction of visceral fat in a weight loss program. Us: Well, we thought it would be critical to gauge the important surrogates of disease as best we could. Makes you wonder what real benefit beyond weight reduction other programs are actually having, doesn’t it?
Physician or health professional referrals account for one third of our clientele. In almost all cases those referrals come from docs who have had other patients go through our program and be successful or those docs themselves have gone through our program and been successful. Nothing is more convincing than seeing results firsthand.
The second reason we do these analyses and presentations is because it informs us on how our clients have done on program historically. This allows us to share solid data-driven information with clients concerned or focused on specific aspects relevant to them. I have type 2 diabetes what can I expect for results? Will my antidepressant medication impact my ability to do well on 20Lighter? The more we understand how specific groups of clients do versus our clients as a whole, the better we can talk with prospective clients about how they will benefit from the program based on actual data, unlike other programs who rely on generalities and shrug off questions and addressing specific concerns with ‘oh yes our clients do great’ and avoid providing meaningful responses. 20Lighter takes the health and well being of our clients incredibly seriously, and we feel understanding- in a granular way- how our clients perform and what co-morbidities impact their ability to do well is of significant importance.
You might get the feeling that the 20Lighter Program is not like other weight loss program- perhaps we are a ‘horse of a different color’. You are 100% right- we actively work to NOT be like other programs. We feel being different, having unique goals and being vocal about that is just who we are. While the weight loss industry may be about those companies with household names doing well, 20Lighter is about doing good, with a strong focus on our clients doing well.
There is considerable evidence linking the food we eat to a variety of illnesses. It’s not just a case of what we eat, but also what we don’t eat. So, in honor of #ShoppingCartDay here is a list of four must haves to add in your grocery shopping cart!
1. Shiitake & Button Mushrooms — A great source of vitamin D
Mushrooms are the only plant-based food that can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, in a manner similar to how your skin makes vitamin D. Place your mushrooms by a kitchen window for an afternoon prior to using them to get the best bang for your buck.
Research suggests that vitamin D intake can facilitate the absorption of essential trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and selenium. Healthy levels of trace minerals are required for all metabolic processes. There is literally no physiologic process, at the cellular or systemic level, that can operate at its best (or even operate efficiently) without trace minerals.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in teens and adults, so focusing on natural food-based options to help enrich your levels is a great (and easy) way to help ensure you are getting enough!
2. Bison — a complete protein, never exposed to antibiotics or growth hormone
What is a complete protein you ask? The difference between ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ proteins is that complete proteins contain all essential amino acids your body requires daily, and incomplete proteins only contain some essential amino acids. Your body digests proteins you eat into amino acids, the building blocks needed to repair tissues in your body, provide energy, and perform all body functions. Because bison is a free-range animal and isn’t grain fed like commercially raised cattle the meat is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Bison, by law, can’t be treated with antibiotics or growth hormones and feed on grass pastures. The incredibly lean meat is an excellent source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins. With a mild flavor and so many nutrients it’s a must try!
3. Parsnips — assist your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms
Parsnips are a root vegetable, which look a lot like white carrots. They contain nutrients and molecules known to support your body’s natural defenses against toxins. More and more we are seeing studies that show exposure to toxins has serious health consequences. The more you are able to assist your body in breaking down and removing toxins form your body the better, and of course natural means of assisting is the best!
Parnips, along with other apiaceous vegetables (veggies in the parsley family) are strong supporters of the first stage of detoxification- the inactivation of dangerous molecules that occurs in the liver. Looking for more options in addition to parsnips? Grab carrots, celery, parsley, and fennel!
4. Jerusalem Artichokes — Support a healthy gut
With a taste halfway between the nutty flavor of an artichoke heart and the savory flavor of a potato, the Jerusalem artichoke is a superhero for promoting gut health. Rich in what we refer to as ‘prebiotics’, this food (you are likely to find in the produce section of your grocery store) has a powerful ability to help foster growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotics are fiber molecules that are digested directly by friendly bacteria residing in our small and large intestines. The digestion of prebiotics by those friendly bacteria produces short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that are a major fuel source for the cells that line our GI tract, that promote good immune function and have anti-inflammatory effects. With all the research suggesting an interrelationship between our gut and brain function, immunity, skin, and disease it’s so important to use all natural means available to you- and you might be surprised just how tasty Jerusalem artichokes are!
On the heels of the #RuntoRemember event on Sunday, I thought a release of the next installment in a series of blog posts related to reducing stress and positive thinking made sense. It seems as I write each of these, a new topic of discussion comes to mind. The first Blog post entitled “The Necessity of Difficult Things” discussed how I learned over time to find something that helped me constructively deal with stress. The post was intended to engage readers to reassess how they deal with stress, ask themselves if it is working for them, and nudge one down the path towards understanding what things may work better for them. Today’s post is a bit different, but again has roots in running. Odd for me to admit that something I hated and avoided for decades holds both obvious and hidden meaning. But as they say, life is a journey…
This past January my daughter Summer told me her New Years Resolution was to run her first half marathon before the year’s end. For some folks, this New Year’s Resolution might seem par for the course, but for Summer this is a big deal- a very big deal. Back in middle school she struggled to conform and feel comfortable in her own skin (rough times as we all remember). I knew her to be a hard worker, a smart and friendly kid who easily made friends with all sorts of folks, young and old. She really has a wonderful gift of making people feel comfortable and liking her off the bat. But it was very clear she lacked confidence, she was unsure of herself despite her natural gifts and how she viewed herself was very different (much less positive) than how others viewed her. This was painful to see as a mother, but not something that was remedied with me telling her more often how great she was and about the skills and gifts that I saw her use in her daily life. This was a personal journey that she needed to travel, and I could assist and play a big role in that journey, but it was one she needed to decide to embark on.
So I started seeding some food for thought on different ways she might be able to start this self-improvement project, and one day in January of 2012 she finally came to me and asked if I would help her train for a 5k race that spring. I enthusiastically agreed, and told her I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to spend some time together no matter whether she decided to run the 5k or not (keeping the pressure low at this point seemed important).
I think it’s fair to say all of us have some ‘thing’ or aspect of our lives we might want or need to embrace a similar ‘journey’ to tackle. Professionally or personally there is always something we can learn to better ourselves. But often it’s scary, or seemingly too big a hill to climb (or even begin to think about climbing) and we put it off. Every day Dr. Gerry and I work with people who feel they have an insurmountable task ahead of them in losing weight and regaining their health. And we very strongly tell them, ‘hey taking the first step to even have a conversation with us about that task is the breaking point… it means you have acknowledged to yourself the possibility of change‘. This blog post is about the power of possibilities.
As a young child Summer was very active, but she had broken her arm a couple years prior to 2012 and had since not really engaged in athletics, opting for books and school work instead. So at the age of 11 she did not have much of a base of cardiovascular fitness and I am fully sure she was equally scared stiff and excited about the goal she had set for herself. We started off slow… SLOW… getting some good running shoes… talking in depth about each daily and weekly goal and putting it into perspective. Week 1: 3 runs that week with each run comprised of 2 total minutes of running broken into 4- 30-second intervals with 2 minutes of walking in between… (2 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot, mom! I can totally do that) …running meaning we go faster than walking but we are not racing each other. We kept an easy pace… nice and clear, seemingly easy -with very defined goals. And I did this on purpose because I remember vividly how much I struggled in the first weeks when I started running.
So our first day we were careful to make sure we had everything we needed. We had our headphones and music players charged up, I had my running watch to keep track of the time and we were off… and the first 30 seconds go by, not bad… the second 30 seconds is half way done and then it gets HARD. I offered some gentle support (almost there just a few more seconds!), big picture perspective (wow we are already half way done!!), and lots of positive feedback (I am so proud of you for pushing through!). That first week was an interesting combination of ‘oh boy what did I get myself into’ and ‘cool I did it’. And in this timeframe reassessment of the goal occurs… Can I really do this? Do I want to do this? And I tried very hard to provide positive feedback but not overdo it, while also actively knocking out any comments I heard about quitting (it’s been less than a week, I believe you can do this- so work with me for two weeks before you make any decisions).
When most people embark on a significant endeavor, one that requires time and energy and pushes you beyond your comfort level, that first week is the most critical. The small triumphs have not yet had long enough to build momentum and the discomfort is in the forefront of our minds. We see and feel the impossibilities… and have not yet allowed ourselves to be open to the possibilities. SOOOOOO many people quit in this first week, if I had a penny for every time I have heard clients tell me they tried to diet, or quit smoking, or exercise and couldn’t get through the first week. Change is hard, there is no doubt, but a shift in thinking is the key to success or failure.
So we are now about three weeks into our new endeavor, and Summer is pushing through- it’s not easy, but we are now running for 2-3 minutes at a time. She’s made it past the first two weeks; she has improved enough and shown enough resolve that now I can be a little tougher on her without fear she will flat out quit. In response to the ‘I have a cramp in my side I have to stop’ I can point out we have 20 seconds left in this 3 minutes and then we can walk it off and she trusts me enough to know I am not fibbing. I point out how far she has come in only three weeks and how she has completed every run we scheduled and followed through on her promise to herself to give it a shot… progress and positive reinforcement. Slow, but steady progress to build upon.
This is not all that different to what we see and hear with people on our programs. Some folks lean more on ‘I can’t’ and ‘I have to’ as a knee jerk reaction when the going gets tough. In any endeavor worth pursuing, the going ALWAYS gets tough. Instead of a reason to stop, look for a reason to continue. I’ve come this far; I CAN go a little further, and I trust that there is someone there to help me find strength to test my limits.
Each week Summer’s ‘I can’t’ comments are overtaken by ‘OK, let’s try’. In a subtle way Summer has PROVEN to herself that she is capable of more than she thought was. What a huge turning point. And this is really what this blog post is about. That time where something you were absolutely convinced you could never do becomes potentially possible. That door that was shut to you now is cracked ever so slightly open. Summer turned those three weeks into four months and we did our first running event, a one-mile run, on Mother’s Day 2012.
Summer was convinced that being a runner was not within her, yet she made it happen, slowly- with effort and setbacks- but she made it happen all the same. Once that limit had been tested and broken through I started to see her testing limits in all sorts of areas (school work, social settings, etc) and watched her confidence grow. She ran her first 5k in June of 2012, joined the track team her freshman year in high school, now she won’t bat an eyelash at a fun run 5k (even running solo when I am injured as the picture above shows), and she routinely kicks my butt when we run together. Once you prove yourself wrong and accept that maybe you can do more than you thought, the range of possibilities becomes endless because the world truly is your oyster.
With clients that go through our programs, we not only see a reduction of weight and improvement of health but we also hear them talk about renewed engagement at work, confidence that they can be successful in other things that they had been holding back on. Once you start testing your limits and find out you are stronger and capable of far more than you ever thought, the world looks different. You have proven you can do something you were so sure you could not do, so what’s next? What else have you closed yourself off to? Maybe it’s time to crack that door open just a bit and re-examine?
We are proud to announce the launch of the first in a series of special topic 20Lighter programs over the next 6 to 8 weeks. The 7 Day Healthy Gut Jumpstart Program is a self directed program designed to assist clients in achieving good gut health.
New research is confirming the major role your gut plays in almost every aspect of health and wellness… mood, metabolism, disease, and more. Now more than ever it’s important to understand what good gut health means, how and why it plays an important part in unlocking your best overall health, and where to begin assessing how to make changes to improve the health of your gut.
This 7 day, self-directed program is designed to accomplish each of these goals and get you on the road to unlocking good health and wellness. Visit the Healthy Gut Jumpstart Program page here to take our free gut health assessment and learn about the new program!
As a special introductory offer we are offering this program, valued at over $500, for only $95.
As we continue to digest all the comments from visitors to our poster presentation and put together a review of our data for you, here is a short video giving you an inside peek at this year’s American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting…
Why We Attended
The American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting (APAAM18) is this year’s largest gathering of mental health professionals in the world. This year the APA expected over 12,000 attendees to the conference that offers educational sessions and the latest research into all aspects of mental health including assessment, treatment, epidemiology, management of side effects, etc. This medical conference was a great venue for us to share with providers the benefit 20Lighter Programs offer their patients who have been prescribed drugs for depression and struggle with weight gain as a result. It also gives us the opportunity to get feedback directly from providers on what unique needs their patients prescribed antidepressant drugs may have that are different from our other clients. Overall our goal at 20Lighter is to help all our clients achieve success as they move towards a healthy lifestyle both from a mental and physical perspective.
What We Shared
Our presentation at APAAM18 came about as prospective clients asked us about their chances of being successful on 20Lighter even though they were taking antidepressant medications. With ~15% of our clients taking at last one prescription antidepressant at the start of their program, we felt it was important for us understand how this group of clients do versus clients who are not taking antidepressant meds. We reviewed all client data (all data was blinded and the study was approved by an Institutional Review Board to ensure ethical procedures and confidentiality) for those completing a 40Day program between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017. We analyzed the changes for each group (clients on depression meds or not on depression meds) from baseline (Day 1) to the end of the reduced calorie portion of the program (Day 40) in body weight, BMI, body fat %, visceral fat rating, and body water %. We found that the mean change from Day 1 to Day 40 in reduction of weight, BMI, body fat %, and visceral fat and increase in body water % were all clinically relevant and statistically significant. So each group- both clients taking and not taking depression meds both showed great changes in all body composition measures between Day 1 and Day 40. Next we wanted to learn if those changes from Day 1 to Day 40 were equal… did either group perform better? To see how the groups compared to each other we calculated the mean % body weight lost, reduction in body fat %, BMI, and visceral fat and the increase in body water % for both groups and then asked if those means were clinically or statistically different. We found that both groups of clients, those on depression meds at the start of their program and those not on meds did equally well, and that the improvements did not differ clinically or statistically.
What We Learned
We had great traffic to our poster, and lots of providers from all over the world stopped by to look at the data and ask questions about it. Some practitioners offered anecdotes from their own clients’ experiences, and some shared info they had learned at the meeting sessions they had attended. We will be expending this discussion into it’s own blog post as some specific new research providers shared is incredibly interesting to us and fits pretty smoothly with the overall tenets of our program. Very excited to share that blog post over the next week or so as we also share some video from the meeting itself.
Why This Matters To You
Some clients ask us why we go to these meetings, and how it benefits them. The answer to this question is really two fold. First the research that we do to submit data to the meetings for presentation informs us on how our clients have done on program historically. This work allows us to share solid data-driven information with clients concerned or focused on specific aspects relevant to them (I have type 2 diabetes what can I expect for results? Will my antidepressant medication impact my ability to do well on 20Lighter?). The more we understand how specific groups of clients do versus our clients as a whole, the better we can talk with them about how they will benefit from the program based on actual data, unlike other programs who rely on generalities and shrug off questions and addressing specific concerns with ‘oh yes our clients do great’ and avoid providing meaningful responses. 20Lighter takes the health and well being of our clients incredibly seriously, and we feel understanding- in a granular way- how our clients perform and what co-morbidities impact their ability to do well is of significant importance.
Additionally, every time we share our data with medical and health care community the feedback we get helps us make 20Lighter programs better. From adding new assessments to monitor progress from a different perspective to finding new products that offer our clients benefits on and off program, we always leave a medical conference with more knowledge than when we arrived. APAAM18 was no different; our exposure to the most cutting edge research into the causes and neurological mechanisms of depression allows us to further tailor our programs to help address the shared underlying physiologic issues that contribute both to weight gain and to depression. In short we want to learn and stay abreast of cutting edge research so we can make 20Lighter programs even more effective for our clients.
Recent research suggests a person’s diet strongly influences how fat is stored, mechanisms that control appetite, cravings for food, eating behavior, and inflammation in the gut and brain. This is a dramatic advancement toward understanding how people end up gaining weight, why it is so difficult to lose, and mechanisms leading to regain of weight after traditional dieting.
There is a condition described in scientific literature called “dietary inflammation.” Inflammation is an important signal that tells your brain there’s something wrong and it needs to be fixed. Dietary inflammation is caused by the foods available to you in the grocery store being heavily processed and refined.
Before we go further, let’s review the definitions and differences between whole foods, processed foods, refined foods… because they all mean something different.
Whole foods are those that have not been altered from their natural state.
Processed foods are foods that have changed, often with the goal of preserving the food, but have not yet had nutrients removed (ground, chopped, etc) or that have been commercially processed (freeze dried, canned, heated, etc).
Refined foods are processed food that have had nutrients are removed in an effort to extend shelf life .
Over the past twenty years most, if not all, of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes… basically most of the healthy nutrients have been removed during processing for mass production and we are left with a fortified food substitute in a fancy wrapper. These prepackaged processed foods are highly refined, are high in sugar and fats. These refined foods directly cause inflammation in specific areas of your body and causes symptoms that are felt throughout your entire body.
A clear picture is emerging where a diet high in fat and sugar causes dietary inflammation affecting the entire body. This vicious cycle of inflammation strongly influences the accumulation of Visceral Fat. The present dieting landscape is filled with gimmick diets, powders, bars, pills, shakes, cookies and prepackaged foods aimed at easy and quick fixes to lower the number on the scale. None of them address the cause of the problem… dietary inflammation- the foods that cause it, and the inflammatory mechanism itself.
Now that March is here, we’d like to take a few minutes to recap for you the media headlines, Scientific studies, and 20Lighter happenings that you may have missed in February.
February 2018 Review
In case you missed it… this newsletter recaps news, advancements, and tidbits that made headlines in February 2018.
March is upon us and we’d like to take a few minutes to recap for you the media headlines, Scientific studies, and 20Lighter happenings that you may have missed in February. We review the most interesting and relevant topics to keep you in the loop on health & wellness articles and research.
If you have an questions, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on social media via the links below, and check out our new podcast for in depth discussions of a wide range of topics of interest.
Jess Barnes, Ph.D.
Gerry Dembrowski, D.C.
The 20Lighter Program
FROM THE HEADLINES
Helping your body adjust to the upcoming “Spring Forward” Daylight Savings change on March 11th
A few tips for an easier transition to that earlier alarm clock:
→ Do get to bed a bit earlier on Friday and Saturday nights to help to compensate for the lost sleep on Sunday and Monday.
→ Do get up at the same time as your normally would… Don’t ignore the time change.
→ Do drink plenty of liquids and stay hydrated… Don’t drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages late on Saturday or Sunday.
→ Do keep your bedroom focused on sleep (dark & quiet)… Don’t have a TV or bright light on less than 2 hours before bedtime.
→ Don’t have large meals close to bedtime.
FROM THE LITERATURE
Chemicals in non-stick cookware & fast food wrappers slow your metabolism Molecules called “PFASs” interfere with human bodyweight regulation and metabolism highlighting the role environmental chemicals in weight loss & regain.
20Lighter is now offering hand-picked dietary supplement regimens
Including an Anti-inflammatory combo, a special GI-focused probiotic combo, the 20Lighter General Nutrition Formula & new proprietary Trace Mineral Supplement. Check out the options here: https://www.20lighter.com/shop/
The 20Day Program is a great tune up for Golf Season!
Gents keep in mind our 20Day Program to help put a spring in your step & some umpf in that driver this Spring!
20Lighter anti-depressant data accepted for presentation in May!
20Lighter is excited to announce they have been invited to share data looking at the impact of anti-depressant medications on outcomes in the 20Lighter Program at the American Psychiatric Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting. The co-founders are proud to continue sharing data with the Scientific & Medical Community!