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Osteopenia January 2015
January 05, 2015

Let this be the year

Good day to you. A new year - and I hope with all my heart that this will be the year I get an email from you saying you are unsubscribing because you no longer have Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

It is possible. Not only have I done it (twice) but each year I get emails from readers saying they are back to normal bone density. And if you are wondering how they did it. The methods differ depending on the CAUSE of their bone loss.

Find ALL your causes. Address each one and you too will be back at normal bone density.

Now I worry

From January) through June of each year, I worry. Yes, I worry because in the New Year and as summer approaches in the Northen hemisphere, there is so much propaganda about 'going on a diet to lose weight'.

So why does this concern me? 10% of weight loss when dieting is loss of bone. Have you ever dieted? If so, how much weight did you lose? OK. Now take 10% of that amount and you know how much bone you lost while dieting. Have you dieted more than once? All up all the weight you have ever lost by dieting (you may have put the weight back on but usually the weight put back is NOT bone).

Yes, just as persons with anorexia and bulimia develop Osteoporosis so, too, do repetitive dieters. And I do not know why the media does not broadcast this issue.

So what is the way around this?

So what is the way around this? Being overweight is not good for us...but dieting can contribute to Osteopenia, Osteoporosis. Solution? Lose weight by increasing your activity - AND keeping your diet (calories) as they are.

Do jumping jacks in the kitchen. (Call your physician to make sure it is safe given your bone density. You do not want to shatter a bone by jumping or if you have cardio issues, you do not want to have a heart attack) Start with 1 or 2 a day. Add 1 more every 3-5 days. Soon you will be doing 6 or 7. Stick with that for a few weeks. Then add one more...until you are doing 10 a day. If this exercise is safe for you, it will both build bone and reduce your stores of fat.

If jumping jacks are not good for you, start lifting some weights. (Again, check with your health care provider.) Some people join a gym - and that has an advantage since most gyms have someone who will teach you the right way to lift a weight so you do not hurt yourself. I joined a gym back in my 40s; learned how to lift. Now I have some weights of my own and I can practice at home. (Yes, it is cheaper.)

More about weights

If I have not been lifting for awhile, I go back to 5lb weights. I do each of the positions 7 times to begin. I lift every other day (so muscles have time to recover ) Then I add one more rep (lift) each day I lift until I am 10 reps for each position. I stay with that for a week.

Then I do 10 reps of a position...wait about 20 seconds and then lift a few more times in the same way. I keep adding reps until I am doing 10 reps (lifts)..pause and then 10 more for each position. Those who advise about lifting weights suggest aiming to add reps until you are doing 10 or 12 repetitions for each position - THREE TIMES. Then pause...and go on to the next position (muscle group).

Yes, it is 'weight bearing exercise' and so stimulates bone growth. You will also find that your body begins to drop fat and add muscle. Neat because muscle burns more calories than as you change fat into muscle, you will burn more calories. You will not only 'reshape' your body through this sort of exercise, but you will be building bone too.

If you have never lifted weights before or had any one teach you the right way to do this, it is more than worth paying for a gym membership (be sure to ask if they have teachers before you sign up). You may decide to quit the gym after a few months and buy your own weights and work out at home - that is fine. Some people find that gym membership keeps them motivated. Others do not need that. But I guarantee you that if you do progressive weight lifting on a regular basis, you will find your next dexa scan shows improvement AND you will feel so much better about how you look AND you may find a real improvement in mood (exercise releases those 'feel good' endorphins.)

Of course you know that you should give a call to your health care provider to get his/her OK for starting any regular weight bearing exercise program.

. Oh, and that is the key word: REGULAR weight bearing exercise program. It is the best weight loss/bone building, mood improving program I know. And, if like me, you have some medical conditions/disabilities you can still participate. If you are new to lifting, just find a knowledgeable teacher - they will offer ways to work around the disability.


Finally, and if you have diabetes - you may find yourself needing less medication. So too with some other medical conditions. Just be sure to get your physicians OK and if you have a serious health issue, s/he may offer some limits or suggestions. Follow them.

Please, please for 2015, aim to reshape your body through activity NOT dieting. You can do it. And I welcome your sending me 'before' and 'after' pictures and your dexa scan results next year! We can add your story to our 'wall of success' stories.

Meantime be well. And if the snow and sleet has you confined to home, join me in 'dancing, stamping in the kitchen' each day'.

Be well. And Happy New Year!


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