Healing

Why Women Need Testosterone Too

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Healing, Health, Hormone, Testosterone | Tags: , , , , , |

Monica side with weights

Monica Steiner

By Dr. Greg Steiner

Most people have been under the impression that testosterone is for males only.  Not so!  This hormone is found in both sexes but in smaller concentrations in females.  Testosterone not only helps with keeping muscle mass (no more saggy arm skin) but it can help substantially with energy and overall well-being.  There are many things which affect testosterone levels with increasing age as a main factor.  Most recently, we’re seeing lowered levels appearing in younger ages and in both men & women so often it’s almost an epidemic.

Symptoms of low testosterone in women include:
Weight gain
Hair loss or thinning
Depressive mood
Irritability
Low libido/sex drive
Decreased energy & fatigue
Inability to build or maintain muscle mass

How Do I Know If My Testosterone is Low?
Questions to ask include, “Are you in your 40’s or 50’s? Have you had menopause? “or “Have you noticed a difference in your mood or how you feel?”  Because we have many different hormones, the issue at task is discovering just which ones are actually causing the problem.  Menopause symptoms as well as hypothyroid and low testosterone symptoms can be very similar and often overlap.  The best thing to start off with is a blood test to determine what may be off.  But don’t just go on labs alone because what some labs may consider to be a “normal” range may not be the optimal best range.  For example, if a patient has a testosterone level of 22 which one lab says falls within their “normal” range of 15-75.  This falls within the low range of normal but the patient could dramatically benefit from testosterone supplementation.  (There have been marked improvements in symptoms from shooting towards the upper 50% of “normal range”).

How to Naturally Increase Testosterone
Hormone replacement has been come well known in recent years but there are some things one can do to help increase those levels through nutrition, exercise and stress management.  Vitamin and herbal supplementation suggestions include plenty of omega oils, maca root, nettle root extract, and dim- (a broccoli extract which helps stop testosterone from being converted into estrogen) are good choices.  Because of deprived soils producing inferior foods with lowered nutrition on the market, a case for supplementation can be made.  A diet with lowered starches and carbohydrates and increased vegetables, good fats and proteins help as well.  Exercise is good for everyone but type of exercise can influence testosterone levels.  Those who are endurance athletes (runners, cyclists) whose bodies tend to be lighter and leaner  tend to have slightly lower levels than power athletes (weightlifters) or those who engage in strength building because growing muscle mass builds testosterone.  For stress management, having good, deep, and restorative sleep will make a huge difference.  Testosterone is produced when the body reaches a restorative state.  For example, with 5 stages of sleep, you’ll need to reach stage 3 or 4 at least in order to start that process.  Proper, uninterrupted sleep (where you dream) is necessary for recovery and sufficient testosterone production.

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Consider Cross Training to Prevent Injuries

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: Exercise, Healing, Health, injury, rebuild, Weightloss | Tags: , , , |

bigstock-beautiful-woman-at-the-gym-doi-13618106by Dr. Greg Steiner

Many of us find a particular sport and fall in love with it, so much in fact, that there doesn’t seem to be a need or desire to do anything else than that particular sport.  Our thoughts may be, “If I focus solely on that sport and direct all my attention towards it, I can become better at it!”  While in theory, that’s the right attitude and perseverance will surely help reach one’s ultimate goal, this thought process can actually limit our experience and long term end result.   This limitation is defined by experiencing pain from overuse of certain joints or injuries that occur.  Fortunately, injuries aren’t inevitable.  As a matter of fact, most overuse injuries can actually be prevented and a great deal of these injuries are actually re-injuries. (Re-injuries can come from inadequate recovery where the body isn’t fully healed yet). This is where cross training fits in.  It’s keeping a well roundedness to your exercise program that strengthens and works a variety of muscles instead of the just the ones benefitting from one particular sport only.

While the major benefit of cross training is injury prevention by far, it’s not the only one.  It can also help with rehabilitation too.  When an injury occurs, no athlete wants to stop working out altogether and lose any progress they’ve made so cross training and exercising different body parts can still keep up fitness and activity levels.  Here, some muscles can rest, while others recover.  You can still train somewhat even while injured.

Improved fitness and strength can also be achieved by cross training.  Because certain sports focus on a specific combination of muscles, some muscles see over use while others are neglected.  Effective cross-training will enable the use of these other muscles and strengthen them.  Think about someone who is a runner, there’s fantastic cardiovascular exercise though a lot of hard impact on the joints, but when combined with yoga, allows a stronger and more stable core to be developed and promotes suppleness, fluidity and flexibility.

Improved motivation and excitement by changing up things helps keep one from becoming bored.  Trying out a new sport brings in a nice challenge while keeping fitness fresh and differentiated.  This keeps us from being stuck in a rut or in a plateau and can help us constantly evolve and grow athletically. You can also be flexible with your training needs (if you can’t run outside due to weather, you can lift weights at the gym).

Cross training and incorporating different activities into your main sport can not only help make you a better athlete overall, but enhance focus, keep you enthusiastic about exercise, and help keep you from injuries,  Like the old saying, never keep your eggs in one basket (one sport) but diversify your interests in staying healthy and fit as well!

 

 

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Pre & Post Surgery Prep for a Quicker Recovery

Posted on March 20, 2018. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, Health, Pain, surgery | Tags: , , , , , , |

monica back exercise~By Dr. Gregory Steiner, DC, MPhil

After over 25 years as a Natural Health Practitioner, I’ve come across a multitude of patients who used Chiropractic and Acupuncture therapies to either forgo their surgery or to prepare for an upcoming procedure.  I’ve also utilized these therapies on myself pre and post for knee surgery due to years and years of martial arts, over exercising, improper techniques, poor diet and ignorance in my youth. Surgery was performed to re-implant my own cartilage back into my kneecaps. I created a protocol for the first surgery and then tweaked it two years later for the second surgery.  The results of preparation pre and post were incredible and I’ve been able to share this protocol with my patients for their own rehabilitation success.

First and foremost is the concentration on nutrition. My patients and myself included, have used proteolytic enzyme supplements to prepare the body and help reduce inflammation.  These enzymes are designed to speed up the chemical reactions in your body and speed up your own repair process.  You should also focus on a more anti-inflammatory diet and consume foods like green leafy vegetables, walnuts, avocados, and herbs like garlic and ginger, and especially turmeric.  Stay away from sugars, white flours, and fast foods while also reducing dairy products pre and post-surgery.  I also liked to sip on branch chain amino acids pre and post.

Prehab also includes exercise.  Whether it be plyometrics or weight lifting, the goal is to activate the nervous system and get it charged up.  Anesthesia from surgery affects this, they create “nerve blocks” and it can take a while before they start firing up again.  It’s not just about lifting a bunch of heavy weights but using them in a controlled manner to activate the nerves as well and fire them up.

Acupuncture combined with electrical stimulation can also help.  I’ve used general points to boost energy and decrease stress and specific master points to help reduce inflammation and increase circulation to affected areas. Chiropractic is very good especially if the upcoming surgery is joint related.  The goal here is to get the joint in the best alignment as possible prior to procedure.

Getting the mind and body ready for surgery and preparing yourself  “pre-hab” and “rehab” can result in quicker and less painful recovery helping get you back to doing what you love to do in the shortest time possible.

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Stopping Neck & Shoulder Pain

Posted on April 6, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, Health, inflammation, injury, rebuild, Neck Pain, Pain, Posture | Tags: , , , , |

dr greg neck exercises cut out

Dr. Greg shows some simple neck exercises

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic

Neck and shoulder pain come in many shapes and forms.  There’s the sharp & stabbing type, sometimes coming from an arthritic joint or perhaps from something as simple as bending it in the wrong direction.  Sometimes it feels like it’s a grinding sort of pain and other times it feels heavy and stiff.  Whether the neck pain is a muscular or pinched nerve type, it usually doesn’t originate just in the neck but the uppermost part of the back, where a lot of muscles are activated and connect.  In order to be thorough and correct the problem, all these areas need to be addressed and assessed.

Oftentimes, headaches are caused by neck & shoulder issues.  If the muscles in the front of the neck are spasming, it can create a headache on the side of the head.  Tight trapezius and shoulder girdle areas can refer pain up the back of the head, and at the base of the skull, the deeper layer or muscles, when contracted or spasming can irritate blood vessels or nerves and produce “migraine” symptoms.

The feeling of an electrical shock or jolt running down the arm may indicate a nerve compression of some sort while a tightness or achy pain could result from a muscle strain from training at the gym.

The type of pain itself can often help identify the problem and therapies to be used for pain relief.  Ice packs are great to help reduce sharp pain while a stiff pain can be helped with ice and then heat.  The most effective therapy I have found is a combination of both chiropractic and acupuncture.  The chiropractic adjustment can help relieve muscle tension and restore some motion on just the first visit.  Subsequent visits keep increasing that range of motion, resulting in pain relief and longer term can restore proper alignment.  Add in the use of electrical stimulation and infrared heat and spasms and tightness can be also be reduced.  Acupuncture can also give a pretty satisfying analgesic effect by helping reduce muscle tension and inflammation.

One thing that can help reduce and prevent neck & shoulder pain is to focus on mobility and correct posture.  Gentle stretching and proper movement can keep the areas flexible and lubricated.  If you sit at the computer all day with your head leaning forward and hardly move, the strained position will eventually destroy the curve of the neck.  Inflammation also occurs, and nothing seems to fit in the right place.  The ligaments are no longer in the correct position and the front muscles start to shrink (because they are always contracted) while the back of the neck muscles are over stretched and weakened.  A great deal of this can be remedied by taking breaks to gently stretch the neck & shoulders, having the computer monitor & chair at the right height, as well as sitting tall and upright with the head in alignment with the shoulders.  The earlier you catch & remedy the problem, the faster you’ll see relief and following these simple suggestions can help deter that pain from the start.

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Physical Training & Avoiding Injuries

Posted on March 21, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncturist, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, injury, rebuild, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

monica back exercise

Monica Steiner at work in the gym

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

“I keep getting hurt – how can I train to gain without getting injured anymore?” This and similar questions are only slightly less common than “What did I do to myself?”

Let’s face it, little is more frustrating than being knocked off the training track once again. Finding a sticking point or plateau is bad enough, but what I might call “break down points” is probably even worse. The difference is critical – a plateau is that inability to surpass a certain desired goal in size, strength or muscularity. A breaking point is one of those times when “Oops, it happened again,” such as when training weights approach a certain level at which a back, shoulder or perhaps knee always seems to give way.

The essential bottom-line point is that if you are injured over and over again, your training will suffer. If your training suffers, it is not possible to reach your peak cardiovascular fitness. So, what are we to do?  Whatever the most motivating end goals, the underlying requirement is training consistency. A week here or a month there is of no value, other than in giving one a sense that “efforts are being made, I’m trying…” Largely futile and possibly dangerous – it used to be called “the weekend warrior” syndrome, which helps fill the waiting rooms of Monday morning chiropractic clinics as these individuals exert beyond what is their safe capacity.

The next essential step is to do the exercises correctly. One of my physician mentors used to have a saying – “If it’s not right, it’s all wrong!” He didn’t pick up this phrase from school however, but from an elite military unit of which he was once a part. He himself was a super-fit, super motivated highly intelligent man with very big uppers arms and a fighting spirit to match. His relevant point in his saying however, was that in times of high stress, structures and procedures had to be tip-top, or something would break.

In weight training, this refers to cheating on form while the body is under the greatest load, usually when performing the hard reps late in a set, or when using very low reps and very heavy weights. It’s then that the weak links give way, and injury occurs.

Sorry, but no one training method or scheme produces the perfect size, fitness, strength while taking no effort, being fun to do all the time and perfectly safe.  But, the real baseline is consistency and ability to replicate useful workouts time and time again while simultaneously performing them correctly without error.  The principle behind training without getting hurt is to stress the muscles without damaging the supporting structures such as ligaments and joint capsules in order to grow and maximize them without causing them injury.  If you are not sure if you’re doing something correctly, find an expert who can help and get that extra insight.

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Repairing Your Body After Injury

Posted on July 14, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Healing, Health, injury, rebuild, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Heat map Acupuncture doll

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

In its simplest terms, aging could be described as the body’s failure to repair. We grow, we mature, we reach various physical and mental peaks, and then…..we age.  When we are young our hormones, e.g. testosterone and growth hormone – are at high levels and command our bodies to grow and repair; our circulatory system is efficient as it transports those hormones and necessary nutrients towards muscles and organs; we have more enzymes that we know what to do with that make the chemical process necessary for growth and repair work at super speed. Though other factors are involved, hormones, transportation, enzymes and nutrients form the basis for growth, and its first cousin – repair.

Have you noted when an athlete of say, 20 years of age sustains an injury he or she seems able to be back on the field in just a few weeks? If an athlete of age 30 sustains an identical injury, it’s often much longer before return to play. At age 40, who knows?  The younger athlete’s speed of recovery demonstrates all those factors in play, working fast and in a coordinated way.

Of course with every injury comes scar tissue. If you tear a hamstring, it will eventually heal, but somewhere within the muscle will likely be a cluster of tough, stringy tissue that while strong, is nowhere near as elastic as the original muscle, nor does it have the same circulation properties which means the scar won’t receive or use nutrients as effectively as original tissue. One thing that I’d say every aging fitness person or athlete knows very, very well is what a painful body feels like. All the accumulated injuries of younger years are still present in scar tissue, and as the body loses efficiency and elasticity, the aging athlete feels them all the more. That’s why putting a strong emphasis on ‘repair’ is crucial to prolonging your active life and living a vigorous lifestyle.

While a team doctor for Master’s weightlifters in Scotland, I would often converse with coaches and lifters who had travelled to Eastern Europe and Russia to train, learn and exchange ideas. Though many bits and pieces of knowledge were exchanged during these travels, two factors truly stuck out. First, the emphasis on conditioning no matter what the sport practiced; and second, how much effort they would put into restoration.  One way of summing up the ‘conditioning’ emphasis was to say ‘an athlete is as good as his legs,’ meaning that legs take real effort to condition, and if the legs are strong and have stamina the whole person probably does too.

Repair then, is replacing what has been lost, mending what has been torn, restoring arrangements in what has been disrupted and so on. To live is to be injured, but through nutrition, good body mechanics, enzymatic replacement, and the right type of conditioning your body has the ability to restore itself.

 

 

 

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What is Sciatica and What Can I Do About It?

Posted on June 3, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, Healing, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1test2~by Dr. Greg Steiner

Sciatica is something that strikes terror into the hearts of people who have had it before. It’s referred to as a pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back, through the hips or buttocks down the hamstring and into the leg.  Some people have described the pain like a blood pressure cuff contracting around the ankle.  They may feel  a fire or electricity in the leg or even weird sensations of ants crawling on them, but whatever it is, it’s not right and it usually gets worse with sitting.  They’ll start sitting sideways or in different positions and do anything to get comfortable.  Rarely do pain meds even help in this situation.  Some folks think that it has to do with circulation, but that’s not the case.  The simple formula is that numbness + tingling = nerves.  If you cross your legs too long and your foot goes to sleep, you’ve basically cut off some nerve for a time and when it starts to fire again, it hurts for a bit and then it’s ok.

There are a couple of different causes for Sciatica.  Sometimes it will be a twisted muscle or vertebrae in the back, with muscles pulling this way and that which tugs on the nerve and makes pain go down the leg.  Another way is when someone bends and picks something up, the disc between the vertebrae can be squeezed and when it bulges out, it pokes a nerve.  If it pokes a nerve, it doesn’t hurt where the nerve gets poked, it hurts down the leg.

If left untreated, sciatica can lead to surgery but we prefer a much more conservative approach.  We’ll go through a checklist to determine exactly where the problem is and we work with it to see if it starts to feel better by using chiropractic, acupuncture and body mechanics modification.   Other things that can help relieve sciatica that you can do at home include:

  • Specific exercises for pain relief
  • Icing –best used when sore or swollen
  • Heat – best used when the area feels stiff
  • Natural anti-inflammatories/ herbal therapies
  • Trigger points for self-massage

One of the best things you can do for Sciatica is prevent it in the first place.   The biggest cause of sciatica is actually lifting or handling objects incorrectly.  So, be sure to “Think before you lift”.   Ask yourself, “Am I standing in the correct position?”, “Are there any handling aids that can help?”   The second biggest cause is sitting down for too long which can decay the spine & disc.  When you sit too long, your spine is not moving and flexing thereby prohibiting an adequate supply of nutrients to the area.  If you still feel the pain, just be sure to get checked out with a thorough exam to determine exactly what the problem is and how it should be handled specifically to your needs.

 

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Natural Healing for Skin Problems

Posted on March 3, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Allergies, detox, Healing, Health, Immune System, inflammation, Pain, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Magnifying Glass - Healthy LivingBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Usually at some point in our lives, we experience some type of skin malady, be it acne as a teen, eczema, dry scalp, psoriasis or rash.  The range of cause is diverse and can include exposure to external irritants (toxins/chemicals often found in soaps, lotions, and shampoos), infestation (ringworm), fungal, nervous system (shingles), allergies and even stress.  Many of these external skin conditions are actually representations of an internal disharmony.

The standard medical approach is to treat the inflammation with an anti-inflammatory, but that doesn’t always treat the cause of it.  Traditional Chinese medicine views it a different way.  For example, eczema is seen as an imbalance of body’s energy which allows external pathogenic factors to attack causing itch, inflammation, as well as dry and red skin. Chinese medicine treats eczema not by suppressing the immune response but rather correcting the imbalances that are causing the eczema. By correcting or removing these imbalances your body is able to heal on its own.

Acupuncture has been used quite successfully for skin conditions.  When the body is out of balance, there is often illness. If the skin problem looks red, this means the patient has heat (inflammation) in the blood. The redder the skin, the more heat in the blood. This gets worse in hot weather. Most cases of eczema involve heat (inflammation) in the blood. If the skin feels dry, this means the condition involves blood deficiency.  If the skin blisters or oozes or has pustules, this means that the patient has a condition called “dampness” in Chinese medicine.  Once those representations have been identified, the patient is treated accordingly.  If the skin conditions are identified as “heat” then acupuncture points would be used to literally “cool off” or counteract the heat and restore the balance.  Different points are used to restore and normalize things.

 

One of the greatest effects an individual can have on their own body is by modification of their diet.  Omega oils and essential fatty acids like wild-caught fish and flaxseed oil are extremely beneficial and can reduce eczema and psoriasis symptoms.  Refined foods and sugars have been determined to increase inflammation and therefore should be avoided.  Those with food intolerances should avoid any potential allergens which could be gluten, dairy, shellfish or peanuts.  There are also several Chinese herbs that work well according to the ailment which include Zhi Yang, Rhubarb, and Fen Ci.  All in all, the best approach is holistic, which considers the whole body.  Food choices, sleep, exposure, and even emotional health all play a role in our health and well-being.

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Do I Need to Cleanse & Detox?

Posted on January 7, 2016. Filed under: cleanse, detox, Healing, Health, Pain, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , |

~By Dr. Greg Steiner

Magnifying Glass - Healthy Living

Cleansing & detoxing seem to be all the rage these days.  There are 2, 5, 7, 10, or even 21 day cleansing programs available that promise to clean out all those harmful toxins that are currently ravaging your body and wreaking havoc on your immune system.  But if you think about it, our body is seemingly bombarded on a daily basis from toxins we get from water, household cleaners, air pollution, chemicals, food additives and the list goes on and on.  Some of these things become neurotoxins in our systems and impair proper nerve function, cause tremors, lack of sleep, inability to focus, unexplained weight gain, etc… Or they can become hormone disruptors, interfering with testosterone or estrogen.  What these neurotoxins & hormone disruptors do is block or disrupt normal metabolism.  They build up within your system and the effect can be cumulative.

What happens if you’re toxic?

The two organs most affected are usually the kidneys and the liver.  The liver is the metabolic power plant, but a lot of these toxins get stored in the fat as well.  When you go on a diet to lose weight and detox yourself, some of these toxins can still be released into your system and be metabolized or even re-metabolized in the body.  If they get into the liver, metabolic pathways may not function optimally.

These symptoms can be very broad and vague with headaches, muscle pain, body odors, or fatigue. Sometimes it’s hard to nail down exactly the issue, but you know you just don’t feel right.  In my own practice, I’ve seen many people vigorously & diligently clean up their diet, use a detox regimen along with drinking lots of water, allowed a little bit of time (patience being a key ingredient in this process), go through almost miraculous changes.  They feel a whole lot better and many have been able to minimize the medications they’re on and in some cases even come off of them.

How do I benefit from doing this?

Detoxification  is a lot about supporting organ function while minimizing exposure.  When you support the kidneys and liver and give them a rest from exposure to toxins or even regular food,  the theory is that your body will work to get rid of the garbage in your system and allow itself to recover and heal.  The real benefit is that while going through your “cleansing & detox” process, the herbs, clean “green” type drinks, and ample supply of water you drink help create the bridge over to living a better lifestyle afterwards.  Cravings for caffeine, sugar, and salty foods become greatly reduced, energy increases, and even your attitude towards exercise and staying healthy becomes predominately positive!

Be sure to do your “due diligence” in research when you start a cleanse/detox.  There is no magic drink or pill.  You’ve got to combine the program with the right type of nutrition for optimal success.

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Using  “Micro” Goals for Success in Health & Wellness

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, cleanse, detox, Exercise, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

make things happen~By  Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

How does one actually reach their ultimate goal, whether it be for weight loss, better health, or improved fitness level?  Saying, “I will lose 50 pounds” can be daunting in of itself and can set you up for disappointing results.  I’ve found that setting “micro” or mini goals can help you achieve better results and provide enough satisfaction to keep you motivated and moving forward.  These small goals can be measured in minutes, hours, or even day by day.  Setting a small goal say from breakfast to lunch time may only involve 4-5 hours, but it provides an attainable timeline that is reachable and can be reset until the next goal is achieved.  Little blocks of time can help provide emotional satisfaction in a meaningful way that can help you keep going throughout the day.

By looking at bite size chunks of time, you can talk yourself into success.  For example, when trying to eat healthy (no junk food, fried foods or sweets), instead of trying to get through the entire day without eating any of it, break down your day from breakfast to snack, snack to lunch, etc… set it up in a way that will provide you with some sense of accomplishment.  When you reach 2-3 of those “micro” goals, you’ll be more motivated to keep going.  The idea is to not feel desperate or deprived, but driven & excited about your albeit small successes.

This type of planning works well for people who plan to go through a cleanse or fasting program.  Most people can’t fast for 24 hours, they usually get through two meals and give up.  By breaking those 24 hours into smaller segments and reaching those small goals you’ve set, you emotionally feel success and your confidence is boosted.  The funny thing about cleansing is that once you’ve eliminated certain foods like sugars or salt for just a week or two, your taste buds change and your cravings for those items are significantly reduced.

Writing your successes down in a notebook or a journal can help keep you on track.  This written record provides an extra set of accountability.  No one wants to see failure written down.  Be sure to keep things positive!

These small, mini goals can be implemented into various aspects of your daily life – whether it be for diet, exercising, or even reducing stress.  By creating this structure and adhering to it over time, you become more disciplined and eventually can reach your goals by force of habit.  Good Luck & Great Success!

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