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Are you a chocolate lover? If you are, we’ve got some great news for you (and just in time for the holidays!). Studies show that eating organic and unprocessed dark chocolate may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and can help reduce cardiometabolic disorders such as hypertension, abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides and elevated fasting glucose. Dark chocolate has biochemical properties that decrease the clumping of platelets which cause blood to clot. Platelet clumping can be potentially fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, which results in a heart attack. When organic and unprocessed dark chocolate is eaten in healthy doses, it mimics the effects of aspirin. In addition, other research studies found that a flavonoid compound called epicatechin, found in dark chocolate, may help protect your brain after a stroke by increasing the cellular signals that are known to shield nerve cells from damage.
Before you go and binge on your favorite chocolate treat, be wary! Not all chocolate is created equal—the health benefits from “chocolate” are specific to organic and unprocessed dark chocolate and raw cacao, which contain high levels of antioxidants. Processing the cacao causes it to lose its nutritional value. Milk chocolate has little to no antioxidants, meaning that it does not share any of the nutritional value that unprocessed dark chocolate and raw cacao have. The milk also works to negate the chocolate’s antioxidants properties, and milk chocolate is typically loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners. Even more disturbingly, some chocolate may be contaminated with lead when it is processed. To get the full effects that chocolate can offer, be sure to stick with the real cacao!
Now that you know the health benefits of chocolate (or really unprocessed dark chocolate and raw cacao), and which types of chocolate to avoid, allow yourself to indulge! Remember, 5-7 grams of dark chocolate a day (about half a bar per week) is the perfect amount to satisfy your sweet tooth and to defend youself against cardiovascular disease.
For this week’s newsletter, we’ve rounded up our experts to give you some quick weight loss solutions, just in time for spring! Whether you’re looking to transform your body and lose 30+ pounds, or just looking to shed a few pounds of the extra padding you put on this winter, the NY Health & Wellness team is here to help!
Get your hormones in check! If you’re really struggling to lose weight, there may be underlying biological reasons. While it is important to eat right and exercise, sometimes a hormonal imbalance may be the real culprit behind unnecessary fat retention. Remember—hormones are the body’s chemical messengers—they travel through the bloodstream to deliver messages to tissues and organs throughout the body. Leptin, ghrelin and cortisol are the three most common hormones involved in the regulation of weight and weight-related senses like hunger and satiety. They need to be balanced in order for effective weight loss to take place.
If you suspect that a hormonal imbalance may be slowing or halting your weight loss, please come visit us at NY Health & Wellness. The key to correcting these pesky imbalances is to confront the problem from all angles—there is no quick fix. Our comprehensive Balance 3-H program is designed to help you balance these hormones naturally by devising a customized plan that includes vitamins and supplements, dietary changes, a fitness routine, stress management and sleep techniques, among other recommendations tailored for your individual lifestyle.
If you’ve tried several weight loss programs and you’re still struggling to lose weight, the HCG diet may be a great option for you.
HCG is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a hormone typically produced during pregnancy. It is safe for both men and women and is routinely used by men to increase their testosterone levels. In the 1950s, an English physician named A.T.W. Simeons began using HCG as a weight loss aid. His results were remarkable and have since been successfully repeated in thousands of people.
HCG causes the hypothalamus (the master gland in the brain), to take fat cells from all over the body and convert them into fuel. As a result, fat literally melts off of your body. The HCG Diet cuts down your appetite while helping the body lose fat and preserve lean muscle.
While on the diet, you will administer a daily injection of a minute amount of HCG through a tiny insulin needle. The shot helps to decrease your appetite so that you can follow the very specific 500-calorie a day diet regimen. To follow the diet safely and effectively, the HCG diet must be supervised by a physician or nurse who specializes in the use of hormones and diet. You can expect to lose between .5 and 1 pound of unwanted fat every day. The duration of the diet can be either 26 or 49 days. We have seen weight loss of up to 35 pounds in the 49-day program. There are numerous case studies of people safely losing 30, 40 and over 60 pounds on the HCG Diet.
Lisa Avellino, Fitness Director
Diversify your cardio workout! We all know that cardio is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Regular cardio workouts help to increase the body’s aerobic capacity, lower cholesterol, prevent disease, and of course, aid in weight loss. However, doing the same cardio routine day after day may actually stall weight loss because the body craves a challenge! The body will get used to performing the same routine and a weight loss plateau may ensue. So, mixing up your cardio routine is a good way to revamp your weight loss plan.
Don’t be afraid to test the waters, and don’t be scared to mix and match! Try running, inclined speed walking, kickboxing, Zumba, biking, swimming, etc. Be sure to vary speed, intensity and length of each workout in order to optimize your results. Also keep in mind that sometimes, less is more! If you are experiencing a weight loss plateau, it might be worthwhile to replace your hour-long steady treadmill routine with shorter, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routines. It may take a little trial and error with your workout regimen, but you will ultimately find what works best for YOU and your desired results
Drink more water! Water is an essential part of life and plays a vital role in your quest to lose weight. Research has shown that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner helps people to lose weight, and to keep the weight off. Many people confuse sensations of dehydration with hunger pangs, causing them to eat more food when their bodies are actually craving water. Research has also shown that water consumption boosts your body’s metabolic rate—the rate at which you burn calories. Dehydration also causes the body to fatigue more easily, making it difficult to have effective workouts if you haven’t been hydrating. Remember to drink lots of water in order to optimize your body’s ability to use energy and your efforts will ultimately result in weight loss.
I recommend drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water about half an hour before your meals. I also suggest starting your day off with 10-ounces of water to awaken your body and rev up your metabolism. Remember to drink half your bodyweight in ounces every day. If water tastes too bland for you, you can infuse it with lemon or other fruit to give it some subtle flavor. A regular dose of water is guaranteed to keep you smiling all day long!