PFTL NEWS August 2019

COULD INTERMITTENT FASTING SOLVE YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS PLATEAU?  (Excerpted from, 01/08/18; written by Dan Reardon)

There’s been a lot of buzz around intermittent fasting (IF) recently — but what does it really entail? Think about it like this: When you get up in the morning, you eat breakfast. You’re breaking your fast from the previous night.

While you’re sleeping, technically, you’re fasting (unless you’re sleep eating). Conversely, while you’re awake, you’re eating. Intermittent fasting  (IF) can be simply defined as going without food for a longer period of time than sleep and consuming all of your calories within a specific window of time.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting – Reducing calories (like you do with IF) has been shown to increase the lifespan of cells in the body. In animal models, calorie restriction can actually enhance the longevity of the animals, and limiting food intake might also fight off disease.

From the perspective of body composition, one of the big selling points of IF is your body’s increase in responsiveness to insulin. The hormone insulin is released in response to food. It has the effect of causing the liver, muscle and fat cells to store glucose. In a fasting state, blood glucose levels drop, leading to a decrease in insulin production, which signals the body to start burning stored energy.

There are many potential benefits to intermittent fasting, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved mental state
  • Increased energy
  • Improved fat-burning
  • Increased growth hormone production
  • Lowered blood cholesterol
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Improved cellular repair

Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You? – As of right now, there’s no official test to say whether you should or shouldn’t try intermittent fasting, but there are some general guidelines. You should consider the impact on your lifestyle.

If your IF protocol conflicts with family’s nutrition needs or your work schedule, it might be challenging to commit to an IF schedule. Or let’s say you’re a performance-based athlete: You should consider your nutritional needs, including recovery. Finally, if you’re a woman, intermittent fasting might not be right for you due to hormonal implications.

With any IF protocol, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting. Will you benefit from IF? Remember, just because your friend did it doesn’t mean it will work for you too.

Ultimately, the only sure way to find out if intermittent fasting is right for you is to try it for yourself.  There are a ton of variations on intermittent fasting, and choosing which one is right for you is often a matter of trial and error. To get you started, here are a few examples of IF protocols:

1. Breakfast Skipper (aka 16/8 Method)

  • Fast for 16 hours, and then eat during an eight-hour window.
  • This is a good protocol for those who are new to IF and would typically eat between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight.

2. “Leangains”

  • Women fast for 14 hours, while men fast for 16 hours.
  • Similar to the Breakfast Skipper, but the slight decrease in fast length for women is to ensure you’re not messing up your hormones, as females can be more sensitive to signals of starvation.

3. Fast Diet (aka the 5:2 Diet)

  • Eat for five days and significantly cut calories for for two days.
  • This is a more advanced method of fasting in which you eat as you normally would for five days, and then reduce your calories significantly (600 calories for men and 500 calories for women) for two days.

4. Alternating

  • Eat one day, fast the next.
  • With this diet, on the fasting days you should eat a fifth of your recommended daily caloric intake, and then consume a normal amount of calories on feasting days. This is a slightly easier protocol to follow than Fast Diet.

5. Warrior

  • Fast for 20 hours a day and eat one large meal at night
  • This is a more challenging protocol to follow, as you’ll need to ensure you fit all of your important macro- and micronutrients into one meal a day.

There really are a limitless number of variations on the intermittent fasting protocol, so if you’re considering IF, start with one (say, breakfast skipper) and play around with what works with your schedule and hunger levels.

The Impact of Metabolism and Genetics –  As with any nutrition plan, success is largely based on if the diet is right for you. Two factors that play into this equation are your metabolism and genetics.

Suppose you have a fast metabolism and you’re trying to build muscle. Focusing on your calorie intake around exercise means you have lots of energy to work out, with additional energy and amino acids to recover. If you’re a true “hard gainer” or “skinny fat,” IF might help you achieve your goals — not to mention the potential hormonal benefits.

If you have a slow metabolism or you store energy easily, then eating all your calories in a short space of time might make fat loss hard for you because you will hang onto energy even in the fasting windows, so IF might not be a good protocol for you to follow.

PFTL NEWS June 2019


This will be the fifth year that PFTL will offer a free walking clinic to our clients and the public.  We will meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette.  Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise.  Contact Julie at 847-251-6834 or for more information.  Let us know if you want to be put on our email list for the walking clinic, as walkers are notified when the class is cancelled. Linda Meyer and Leslie Cohen will be assisting with the clinic again this year.


(Written by Guest Writer,  Jennifer McGregor co-creator of Public Health Library ( which provides information about health and wellness topics and creates a forum for sharing reputable health and medical information.)

They say that beauty comes from within, and that’s actually a very true statement. You have to keep your body and mind healthy in order to look and feel your absolute best, but knowing how to take better care of yourself can be a little confusing. Thankfully, we’ve put together a list of some uncommon habits that can have a big impact on your health and wellness.

Protect Your Health and Beauty with Cleaner Air – Above all other elements, you need air to survive, but you need clean air in order to truly thrive. Contaminated indoor air can impair your ability to breathe, leading to increased problems with allergies and asthma. The best way to preserve your overall health is to make sure your air is free from these harmful pollutants. You can use an air purifier, or you can simply change your filters to models with higher MERV ratings. A MERV rating of at least 8, 11 or 13 will trap more particles and prevent smoke, pollen, dander and dust from impacting your breathing and health.

Enhance Your Body and Skin with a Healthier Gut – Better air quality can enhance your beauty and health, but wellness runs even deeper than that. The state of your microbiome may have the most significant impact on how well your body digests food, how strong your immune system is, and even how balanced your mood is each day. Getting familiar with the health of your gut and all of the beneficial bacteria that regulate the processes in your brain and body will help you take more control of your overall health and happiness. If you have skin issues to address, balancing out your microbiome can help you there too. When your microbiome is out of balance, it’s not eliminating toxins as well as it should. Those toxins can end up causing breakouts or other issues with your skin.

Boost Your Skincare from the Outside – There’s a lot of emphasis on skin in this article, and that’s because your skin is so important for protecting the rest of your body. Aside from influencing how you feel about yourself, the presence of healthy skin serves as the first layer of protection against pollutants, toxins and environmental hazards. It’s the largest organ in your body, so make sure you are taking steps to really take care of it. Protect your skin while you’re outside with sunscreen, use mild cleansers when bathing, and choose a good moisturizer to prevent dry skin.

Manage Your Mental Health with More Self-Care – Caring for your skin is not just about aesthetics. When you treat your skin and body well, you are reinforcing your commitment to overall self-care. Self-care isn’t just an option; you need sufficient self-care in order to limit the effects of stress on your mental health. Chronic high stress levels create reactions in your brain that can leave you more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and other physical health problems. So, start practicing better self-care by taking better care of your skin and body, but don’t stop your efforts there. Research simple self-care practices online, and try a few that feel right for you. You may want to start a new exercise plan or begin morning meditation. You could just need more time to yourself. Know that whatever works for you, self-care is never a selfish way to spend your time.

Look to Your Healthcare Plan – Good health doesn’t stop at trying self-care solutions on your own. You should make full use of the benefits that come with your health plan so you’re getting the most out of your coverage. For seniors, health insurance is especially important to help prevent and treat medical conditions. Check your coverage every year to determine if you need to change it. Depending on your needs, it might be worth considering an alternative healthcare plan like Medicare Advantage, which in addition to Original Medicare also covers dental and vision care and gives you access to nationwide fitness centers. Check with providers like Aetna to find out more. And if you’re not a senior, you should still carefully review your policy to know what’s covered and to check for perks like health and weight loss coaching, 24/7 nursing hotlines, discounts for gym memberships and more. 

It turns out that beauty is more than just skin deep. If you want to be your most radiant and joyful self, you have to pay more attention to all aspects of your physical and mental health. A balanced lifestyle will help you look more beautiful and feel better about yourself.

SOME NICE-TO-KNOW FACTS ABOUT THE SHOULDER  (from ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal: May/June 2019)

A CURIOUS DESIGN. The human shoulder is made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone), as well as associated muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Unlike many of the other joints in the body that support movement (e.g., the hip, which has a deep socket), the shoulder has no socket. As such, the ball of the arm bone moves against an essentially flat surface on the shoulder blade.

A BARE CONNECTION. The entire shoulder joint barely has any bony connection to the rest of the skeleton. In fact, the only bony connection is where the shoulder connects to the collarbone via the acromioclavicular joint, which is at the tip of the shoulder, and the sternoclavicular joint, which is at the base of the neck. In essence, the shoulder girdle is designed for very free movement of the arm and shoulder.

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT. The shoulder is more dependent on muscles than any other joint in the body. Given the relative lack of a bony connection between the shoulder and the rest of the body, the lack of a bony socket, and the numerous directions in which the shoulder can move, the eight muscles that control the stability and movement of the shoulder and the arm play a critical role in the process.

A BETTER OPTION. A number of people erroneously believe that they need surgery to fix their shoulder pain/injury. As a rule, they don’t. Rather, they should engage in a plan of action of conservative treatment, including rest, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, and a gradual return to activity, as well as a well-designed program of stretching and strengthening exercises, which can improve function and decrease pain in the affected area.

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PFTL News March 2019


It seems as though the pace of life continues to gain speed. Constant events, deadlines, goals and to-do lists fill the calendar. This pace of life can become stressful. Unfortunately, stress is one of the primary causes of disease, unhappiness and anxiety. When you are really busy, it’s likely you don’t have time for a shower, much less a massage or a vacation. So, how do you make time for de-stressing? Let’s get right to the point, because time is of the essence. Try any of the following actions to improve your ability to reduce stress, maintain balance and enhance resiliency. Each idea can be implemented daily with little time commitment.

  1. Change the way you think – Shift your focus to abundance rather than lack. Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. This simple mindset shift evokes gratitude and a sense of peace. We inherently fear failure and rejection. We worry about trying to control every outcome in our lives. We compare ourselves to other people, and we believe that we are always behind. As easy as it is to compare ourselves to others, it really is something to avoid. Each person has his or her own challenges, feelings of lack and bouts of unhappiness. We all have our own story, each is unique and different. It’s O.K. to be content with where you are right now and be grateful for what you have in the present.

Action: Start a gratitude journal – For one week, each night before bed, write down three things for which you feel grateful, proud, happy or content. Note how these things came into your life. At the end of the week, assess how you feel. It’s likely a mood shift may have occurred, and you feel less stressed.

  1. Take a break – In the midst of an overwhelming schedule, a selfish break can feel irresponsible. However, a short five- to 10-minute break will clear the mind, help with fatigue and provide a much-needed pause during a busy day. If possible, go for a short walk outdoors. Nature provides grounding energy, and movement improves blood flow and produces mood-enhancing hormones. Better yet, pair regular breaks with a daily bout of exercise. Maintaining a consistent exercise program, even when life is hectic, will enhance your physical and emotional abilities to deal with stress.

Action: Walk in the present – In the next hour, take a five-minute break for a walk. Notice your surroundings and pay attention to how your body feels. Take inventory of how you feel prior to the walk and again after the walk.

  1. Be a superhero – Physical activity, smiling, power postures and deep breathing are quick fixes for stress-related physical symptoms. Our bodies display stress in external ways—headaches, gastrointestinal issues, sleeplessness, general aches and pains can often be attributed to stress. Even if you don’t experience severe symptoms, it’s likely you have experienced fatigue, general tightness around the neck and shoulders, and a slouchy, tired posture. You can trick your body into feeling fewer physical symptoms of stress by changing your physical posture. Stand up straight, align the spine and smile. This power posture is an instant boost.

Action: Pose like a superhero – During moments of stress or general tiredness, stand up and place your hands on your hips. Pretend you are a superhero and puff up your chest. Take five deep breaths. Fill your lungs and belly to capacity. Next, smile for 10 seconds. The simple act of smiling sends a positive signal to the brain and allows the body to relax a bit. This power posture can be helpful before presentations and difficult conversations, and for those times when you just feel overwhelmed.

  1. Practice mindfulness – When life is overwhelming, your mind naturally spins with multiple thoughts. Focusing your thoughts on the past can create feelings of regret and depression, and focusing on the future can foster feelings of anxiety. The only place we can be without worry is truly in the present. That means letting go of expectations of anything except what happens right now. Most of us have future deadlines, goals and ambitions. Being mindful in the moment does not mean that we let go of those things. It simply means we turn our attention to the task at hand, and really place our focus and energy with it. For some, mindfulness is being fully immersed in work. Taking the time to eat slowly, taste and enjoy food is a form of mindfulness. Paying attention to how your body feels during movement is mindfulness. Mindfulness might also take the shape of paying attention to the breath, something that occurs all day long without you giving it a second thought. Whatever form mindfulness takes for you, the point is that it can be done anytime, anywhere, and it provides immediate results. In as little as 60 seconds, your body and mind can become calm, and a sense of balance can be restored.

Action: Breathe – Assume a comfortable position with a tall posture, standing or seated. Set a timer for one to three minutes. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. Follow the inhale, follow the exhale. Try to inhale for the same duration as you exhale. Notice how you feel before this exercise and after.

It takes conscious effort and commitment to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. These four ideas are quick and efficient ways to navigate stress and maintain balance when life gets hectic.

WAYS TO PREVENT FALLING  (From Washington Post, Lean and Fit, Feb 27, 2019)

The author of this article had taken a fall and was apprehensive about falling again.  She was 53 years of age.  She consulted several people about how to prevent falls, and here are excerpts from that article regarding the advice she received.

  1. Practice the following:

Level 1. Balance on one foot. Start by doing it near a doorway or chair so there is something to grab for support.

Level 2. Use your non-dominant hand to stir a pot.

Level 3. Use your non-dominant hand to stir a pot while standing on one foot.

  1. If you are going to fall, the best way to do it is to bend a knee and roll at an angle over one shoulder to protect your hip and your noggin.
  2. Tuck your head, use your strength to direct your fall, and roll so that you take most of the impact on your backside, the upper back and/or gluts being the most resistant parts of your body.
  3. Wear “minimal” shoes with thin, flexible soles for both sports and everyday living. The information we get from the bottoms of our feet (the technical term is plantar neurosensory input) helps us maintain balance. This input, coupled with muscle strength and agility, is essential for generating a “good correctional movement” should we fall.

Debora’s Note:  I recently took a fall while walking fast on a dark street.  I tripped on uneven pavement and when I realized that I was not going to be able to regain balance, the one thing I told myself as I was falling, was, “Don’t hit your head on the sidewalk”. I did hit my nose and head, but I was able to keep from hitting hard by bracing myself with my arms.  Despite a lot of facial bruising, I was unharmed.  But I learned that walking in the dark requires one to pay extra attention to the surface you are walking on.

Rotary Club of Wilmette Event

Dear PFTL Client (past and present),                      

As you probably know, I am an active member of the Rotary Club of Wilmette.  Our Club will be having an annual gala fundraiser on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the Valley Lo Club, in  Glenview,  from 5:30pm-9:30pm.  See the attachment.

Several PFTL clients have come to this event in the past, and said they were glad they had attended.  This will be an exciting night of good food, entertainment and a chance to win a weekend and show in Las Vegas. Additionally, proceeds will benefit local charities that Rotary supports, as well as international humanitarian efforts.

Among the many activities will be a dinner (salmon, filet mignon or vegetarian), live entertainment by interpretive artists from Las Vegas, of Dean Martin and Barbra Streisand, a silent and live auction, and a Vacation/Cash raffle, 

Prepaid tickets are $100 per person ($125 at the door). Each event ticket comes with a complimentary $35 raffle ticket.

Additional raffle tickets are $35 each, or 2 for $45, or 5 for $100.

Let me know if you are interested in coming.  You can purchase event tickets, and/or donate online through a link on our website, .  If you want to save the service fee, just write me a check, and give me the name of everyone who is coming with you.

Best regards,

Debora Morris