Mom&Dad – Bedtime Matters …

We’ve known for years that adequate sleep leads to healthier bodies, but we usually think about this in terms of number of hours of sleep.   Now some large fascinating studies tell us that bedtime matters, too.  Pre-school children that don’t get to bed before nine at night are 2x more likely to be obese when they get to adolescence!  And that’s the age when body shape matters most to kids.  Actually, the least risky bedtime for out little ones – at least where avoiding obesity is concerned – is before or around 8 o’clock.  After 8, there’s a steady rise in obesity risk through the nine o’clock hour.

Knowing this and making it happen are different things, of course.   Parents know that imposing structure is important but we often ‘cave’ to whining and some tears.  The solution is to make bedtime something to look forward to – say, story telling or reading together.  Bedtime at eight helps kids feel great!

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Product Review: Amy’s Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano

Welcome to Green Light Product Reviews. This is our first review and it’s something that most everyone loves- spaghetti! Amy’s Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano is in the frozen section at your grocery store.

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Introducing Green Light Product Reviews!

We’re beginning a new feature on Please take a moment to check out Green Light Product Reviews. We will feature a things like food, gear, supplements, gadgets, etc. and each week Dr. Forsythe will give you his review. We would love to receive feedback on how you like this new feature and also if you have any products you would like us to review. Get Lean with Green!

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Kids understand the Traffic Light! Is it Green?

Kids love the concept of Green Light Wellness’ traffic light because it’s so easy. Green? Yellow? Red? Check out this video of 6 year old Joslyn who decides her smoothie is Green!

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Super Success Story!

Cheryl came in for a regular visit with Dr. Forsythe and shared her success with using Green Light Wellness principles. We could not be more proud of her and her accomplishment. Way to go, Cheryl!

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Ready 4 Summer?

shutterstock_48035695Lots of people are now thinking about fun in the sun … and worried.  They think ‘I don’t want to put on a bathing suit and feel bad about my body’ … or else, probably just as common, somebody’s wedding or special event is coming up.  Recent recommendations from the world of Psychology encourage: “Embrace your anxiety and fear.”

The thing is, in all my years in medicine, I can’t remember anyone really ’embracing’ anxiety and fear.  I think the most important steps are: 1. I want to be Healthier and Feel Better About My Body and 2.  I’m ready to do something about it Right Now!  If you can answer ‘YES’ to both these questions, you’re ready and you’ve found the key motivators.

The next step is knowing WHAT to do – and well, that’s what Dr. Forsythe’s Green Light Wellness is all about.

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Motivation – A Little Help Helps

“I just want to thank you so much, doctor,” said the 45 year old, mother of three children, “You gave me hope!”

Rose [not of course her real name] had come to see me about chronic pain in her knees of more than 8 years duration.  She had moved from Arkansas to the west under difficult family and economic circumstances with three – at that time – small children under her care.

With no specific education, she took jobs wherever she could find them, which was not always easy.  Gradually, she accumulated over 75 lbs of new weight that her naturally small frame couldn’t take.  Her whole body ached, but nothing so much as her knees.  Even sleeping became painful.

Determined and devoted as she was, her children played sports actively and were doing well in school.  Not Rose.  She was worn out and aching all over, which is when I encountered her.

“Rose,” I began, “I believe I can give you some temporary relief from the swelling and achiness in your knees … but wouldn’t you really like long-term relief – being really healthy?

“If you’re ready, I can help you learn – and do – things that are much more powerful than any of the medicines I could prescribe for you.”

Rose told me that none of her doctors had ever talked to her in such a direct way … and I understood.  We have little trouble talking about hypertension, or too-high cholesterol, even heart disease.  But obesity with all its medical – and especially emotional issues – just becomes the elephant in the room that many of us physicians would rather pretend isn’t there.  I feel lucky that I enjoy trying to understand the complex mix of medical, social and emotional issues that surround obesity treatment.

Luckily, too, when I first met Rose, she was really ready for some changes and wanted some help.  Now, looking at her some ten months later, it was hard to imagine the changes in the Rose I remembered from that first meeting.

Rose found out that the exercise that works is activity you like to do every day.  She found out that deprivation diets and magic pills weren’t the answer to really being getting slimmer.  She found out that she could eat when she was hungry and choose foods that were really appealing to her.  She learned the tricks of shopping and substituting healthy ingredients for ones that just produced more excess fat.

Fourteen sizes smaller and many dozens of excess fat pounds lighter, Rose found herself.  Every doctor loves to hear that somehow they have made a positive difference, but the truth is that Rose made the real difference.  She decided she wanted to find the self esteem she’d lost.

I guess I provided a little help.  It’s amazing how a little help helps.

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Drink Water, Save Money & Lose Fat!

Mixed FruitDrink water, lose weight – right?  Although the admonition to ‘Drink Water’ to improve weight loss is super common, the actual scientific support is very weak.

The real place that water can make a healthy difference is as a replacement to sugar-sweetened beverages – sodas, ‘natural’ juices and the like.  Let’s say you cut out one typical can of soda per day for a year.  Assuming those refined sugar calories were in excess of your needs, you could lose from 10-12 pounds of fat per year!

One of the best – and healthiest – ways to drink more water is by slicing up your favorite fruit and adding it to the water jug in your fridge.  What about savings?  Well, in one very popular large store whose name begins with “W”, the cost of milk was $.49/lb.; cost of popular soda was $.80/lb.; cost of bottled water – $.13/lb.

Apart from saving money and losing some excess fat, another way of looking at this is:  milk costs a little more than half of what soda costs, but is filled with necessary proteins, complex carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals that are essential for life.  Water’s also essential for life and costs pennies – out of your tap – or about one-fifth of what sodas cost if you want to splurge on bottled water.

Humans can live for about 5 minutes without air, about 3 days without water, and somewhere around 30 days without food.  Actual testing of sodas-for-life has not be done as far as I know.


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Healthy Food Costs LESS

GYRveggiesWhat?  You mean ‘healthy food costs MORE, right’?  I’ve heard this comment for years from doctors and educators and most recently, in a news item about the rising incidence of obesity in Mexico, which has purportedly passed the United States in the percentage of the adult population in the obesity zones.

What’s the reason?   A Mexican health official stated that healthier foods cost more than the high fat, high refined sugars found in lots of restaurants and groceries.  The same reason has been cited for U.S. populations – ‘Oh, healthier foods cost too much.’  But is that true?

Four years ago, I made a presentation to a group of hospital physicians in which I analyzed more than 50 food items from fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, breads and cereals and some desserts.  I repeated the mini-inventory just the other day by going to a well-known nationwide food chain.

Results?  Healthy food wins by a mile … ‘Green Zone’ foods grow above the ground [all fruits and veggies], meats without fat [birds and fish without their skins [fats are on the outside in birds and fish, but red meat animals grow fat on the inside], and nonfat dairy [milk, cheese and yogurt].

Now, let’s look at the costs of Green Zone/healthy foods.  Lettuce, tomatoes, apples, pears, oranges and bananas ranged from $.42/lb. to $1.47/lb.  Nonfat milk costs about $.48/lb.  Whole milk costs about the same but is 49% fat by energy content, so the real price of the healthy milk protein and other nutrients is about double that of nonfat milk.  Water – even bottled – is about 13 cents per pound and sodas come in at around 50-80 cents per pound.

What about meats.  Chicken [95% protein/5% fat] was $4.59/lb. total or $4.83/lb. for the healthy protein.  ‘Lean’ ground round is a great example of how confusing – and misleading – food labeling is.  The packaging on this ground round says “7% fat” but when you make the calculation of the fat calories to total calories per serving, the real fat content was 42%.  The price per pound of this ground round was $4.26, but remember, 42% of it is fat – saturated fat.  The real cost of the healthy protein in this food was $7.34/lb.

Healthy foods cost LESS, not more.

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Waistline and Back Pain

shutterstock_42885394Most people assume that increasing body weight – and getting older – are associated with more back pain.  As to weight, the evidence has never been very strong, but new research focusing on waist circumference does indicate a strong correlation.  Why?

Increasing waistline is a sensitive indicator of increasing central body fat, which just kind of hangs off the front of your lower spine and may cause mechanical stress on the low back.   Women in the last month or two of pregnancy know lots about this pain.   Another potent factor might be the pain biochemicals that are produced in excess fat cells.  But increasing waistline does seem to increase back pain.

As to age, first episodes of back pain severe enough to interfere with daily living have historically occurred most often in the mid 20’s.  But now, it appears even older adolescents are at risk – if waistlines grow.  A recent Finnish study of 16-18 year olds found a surprising increase in low back pain syndrome as waistline increases.  Young women appear to be at about a 40% greater risk than young men.

More evidence that ‘Waist NOT Weight’ should be the focus!