This week we were able to speak with Carin Nielsen, MD. Dr. Nielsen specializes in Integrative Medicine and Medical Weight Loss and has a private practice in downtown Petoskey. We asked for Dr. Nielsen's opinion on some things to think about before starting an exercise program, especially one intended to assist with weight loss.
1. Should a patient consult with a physician before they start exercising?
That depends. Certainly, any patient with a chronic medical condition should consult with a physician before they start an exercise program. Specifically, patients with established coronary artery disease, or those at high risk for heart or vascular disease (such as patients with diabetes, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure) should obtain clearance from their physician prior to starting an exercise program. If you are relatively young and healthy and feeling well, and your health maintenance exams are up to date, I say go for it!
2. How much exercise should a person aim for during the first 1-2 months of starting an exercise/weight-loss program?
This depends upon several factors. If they have been doing no exercise, then starting with small goals is reasonable. Often times these clients are also making significant dietary changes and I like to see them get comfortable with this before pushing themselves too hard. The last thing we want is for somebody to get overwhelmed and stop everything! I encourage patients to first work up to 30 minutes of activity, five days per week. Once that is established, I encourage them to increase their activity to 60 minutes at least five days of the week.
3. What are some behaviors a patient can implement to improve their chances of success (reasonable goals, keeping a diary, etc.)?
Setting reasonable goals is very important. Working with a healthcare specialist in a formal program is helpful because it provides accountability. You can also have accountability if you enlist the help of a friend, and plan your exercise time together. That way, you can encourage each other to keep going! We ask all of our patients to journal/log their food and exercise daily, and plan ahead so they are not caught off guard which may lead to unhealthier choices. I often talk with patients about "giving themselves credit". So often, patients will be moving in the right direction with their health and wellness, yet might not yet be at their goal. I encourage them to give themselves credit for the work they have done. Negative self-talk is very self-defeating. We also discuss the concept of "one day at a time". If they fall off of their program one day, don't let them fall off completely. Take each day as it comes.
4. What are some weight-loss programs your practice offers?
There is no "one size fits all" program in my practice - I customizes all weight-loss programs for the individual. Most programs are based off of a low glycemic index diet (limiting the refined and simple sugars), with a strong emphasis on increased vegetable and fruit consumption. Other tools we have include protein-packed meal replacement, supportive supplementation, prescription weight loss medication, and the new Ultra Lite™ dietary ketosis weight loss system. All patients get a thorough medical evaluation including Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis to precisely measure body composition. I place special emphasis on correcting underlying hormone imbalance, such as an inadequately corrected thyroid, imbalanced adrenal glands, or altered insulin production. When corrected, this can help get their metabolism moving in the right direction.
Dr. Nielsen is currently accepting new patients. Her practice information can be found at www.CarinNielsenMD.com, www.MyOptimalDiet.com, or by calling 231-638-5585.
Carin Nielsen, MD
Integrative Medicine - Find Your Balance
107 Howard Street, Suite A
Petoskey, MI 49770
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