Thrive Health Blog

Uncover the Cause of Your Weight Gain…

What is really causing you to gain weight?

Have you always struggled with weight gain but haven’t been able to figure out what’s causing it?

There are several things that can cause us to gain weight: eating too much, not enough or just eating the wrong foods. But for many of us, even when it seems like we are doing everything right, we are still gaining weight. If this is you, maybe it’s time to consider that you may actually have a medical condition causing you to gain weight rapidly!

You may not have suspected any of the following conditions, which may be causing you to gain weight.

3 Causes of Weight Gain You Need To Consider

Depression (Causes Weight Gain)

Recent studies link obesity to a greater risk of developing depression – and vice versa.

Typically, people who are depressed tend to eat more without even realizing it. Depression causes your body to shut down a little when it knows you aren’t happy, so even if you are not eating more than normal, your body isn’t processing and burning the calories like normal.

The study also states that if someone is both overweight and depressed, the first step may be to treat the depression. However, if you are binge eating and feel out of control, treating the food addiction comes first.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome PCOS (Causes Weight Gain)

Women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome experience high androgen levels. This leads to symptoms such as body hair growth, acne, irregular periods and weight gain.

The condition is caused from an overproduction of hormones, making it more difficult to lose weight.

PCOS makes it more difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin, which normally helps convert sugars and starches from foods into energy.

See a doctor right away if you suspect PCOS. The doctor may prescribe anti-androgen medication to help you shed some weight. Shedding weight will also decrease your chances of other diseases and conditions.

Hypothyroidism (Causes Weight Gain)

This condition is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to aid in your metabolism. Hypothyroidism affects both men and women. It can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.

If you have trouble losing weight and you believe there is more to it than just poor diet and exercise, speak with your doctor today. Consider focusing on what you can control, like sleep, exercise and stress management.

Memory Foam Lumbar Support Cushion

Health Benefits of Yoga Pilates, and Deep Breathing

Yoga & Pilates have been around forever and knowing the benefits will help you understand why they’re so powerful!

Yoga, Pilates and Meditation are now known across the world, mostly for the extreme health benefits that they bring to the table. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what level fitness you are in; anyone can benefit from both.

More Than 20 Million Across the Globe

Take a Pilates or Yoga class or do Yoga and Pilates exercises in some form or another. This exercise regime is said to give people many physical and mental benefits.

Yoga Mat

Both Yoga and Pilates Make Your body More Flexible and Help Stretch Muscles Giving you Valuable Energy …

Stretching or holding poses overtime and using the reformer on a regular basis not only extends your range of motion, but it makes you more flexible as well. Becoming more flexible will also help you achieve other physical improvements, such as relief from back pain.


Yoga Can Improve Your Breathing, and so can Pilates!

When you are in a Pilates class, careful attention is paid to your breathing patterns. Proper breathing helps with your blood circulation as well, which will make you feel fresh, energized, and happy even far after the Pilates class ends.

Deep breathing gives your body a better supply of oxygen, essential for almost all chemical reactions that take place in your body. Oxygen gives you energy. Breathing out rids carbon dioxide, or waste, from your body. Therefore, deep breathing is a great way to cleanse!


Both Can Help to Improve Posture

How many of us struggle with posture?

No matter what you are doing when going about your everyday life, taking Yoga or Pilates reminds to connect your body with your core pull your shoulders down and maintain the good posture.

Focus on posture is vital to your overall health and good posture in your class will change the way you carry yourself outside of class.

Yoga Pants
Yoga Pants

Want to Build Better Balance and Core Strength? Yoga Pilates…

Using a Pilates ball or holding a yoga pose on a matt or a reformer makes you use physical coordination and also helps to build better balance.

“Active awareness” of your core muscles while performing Pilates balancing exercises helps you maintain your posture. And, because the core contains and controls your diaphragm improving deep breathing.


Overall: Yoga Pilates and even Meditation Make your Body Efficient!

These types of exercises that tone your body, improve your breathing and posture and make you more flexible.

Pilates and Yoga can also help make those at risk for injuries restore muscles, improve body and movement awareness preventing future injuries.

Yoga Pilates and other types of mindful exercises are sweeping the nation and can help you in becoming better, more balanced physically and mentally. Value your body and join Yoga or Pilates today!

Pilates History and Why it Works!

Pilates: A Strength Training Method for Almost a Century

Towards the end of World War I, Joseph Pilates created exercises to strengthen the body and the mind. Almost 100 years later, the success of his method continues to grow, with over 11 million people currently practicing.

The Background Details

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany to a mother who was a naturopath and a father who was a professional gymnast. As a child, he was ill, weak, and frail. Perhaps from using his own inner-determination along with his parents as models, Joseph was able to heal and thrive. He himself grew to become an adept gymnast, as well as a proficient skier.

The family moved to England, where he worked as a circus performer and then a self-defense instructor. But he was eventually placed in an internment camp for “enemy aliens” when the First World War broke out. Joseph worked as an orderly and created special apparatus to help mobilize wounded soldiers. He literally attached springs to hospital beds and designed exercises. His famous piece of equipment, the “Cadillac” was born there.

A Few Years Later…

Joseph immigrated to the United States, and it was on his voyage where he met his third wife, Clara. They were partners in love and business, and in 1926, they opened their first “body-conditioning gym” in New York City.

By then, Joseph had transformed one of his contraptions to help injured dancers. It was called the Universal Reformer, which is now the “Reformer,” one of the best-known apparatus used in Pilates.

Joseph’s method, called “Contrology” incorporated more than just his machines. He integrated three essential principles, which created the base for his exercise philosophy. They were (and still are):


-Whole-body health

-Whole-body commitment


Mind, Body, and Spirit

Joseph Pilates developed a system of exercises that engaged the whole body through controlled movements. Self-resistance is at the core of the movement—also known as dynamic tension. He defined Contrology as “the comprehensive integration of body, mind, and spirit.”

Each exercise requires complete focus. Traditionally, each movement should involve:


  • The breath

  • Concentration

  • Centering

  • Control

  • Precision

  • Flow


Many who studied with Joseph in the early days recall him being the mastermind, but Clara was the true teacher. She was the partner who adapted the exercises to best fit the needs of each individual client. That’s a tenant of the method that still exists today.

Another effective approach that continues today with the Pilates method is the “hands on” style used by instructors. That was actually developed by fortunate accident. Since neither Joseph nor Clara spoke English well, they were fairly non-verbal during instruction and guided students’ bodies with their hands.

Media Popularity

Back in New York when the studio first opened, many celebrity dancers visited the gym. They spread word quickly amongst their peers about how Contrology helped them recover from dance injuries. Jerome Robbins and Martha Graham were part of that crew and the buzz got around about this new form of exercise.

Then again, in the 1970s, celebrities touted the benefits of the Pilates Method. (In 1967, Joseph died and his “elders”—those who continued to teach the method—changed the name from Contrology to Pilates.)

Ron Fletcher opened a Pilates studio in Beverly Hills and word spread quickly. Fletcher was identified as an elder, and can be attributed to moving the moves to a mat. He literally took the exercises to a vertical position. No more equipment necessary. Just a mat and a floor.

By 1975, Pilates became well known in the Hollywood circle with such actors as Barbara Streisand, Ali MacGraw, and Candice Bergen. Even Nancy Reagan practiced and spread the good word.

By the 1980s and After…

Pilates studios began springing up everywhere—with machines and without. After a four year lawsuit, in October of 2000, the courts decided that the term Pilates could not be trademarked.

After that, the exercise method no longer belonged to just the elite. Pilates had finally entered the mainstream fitness trend.

Pilates in 2018

Using self-resistance, the movements in Pilates are designed to elongate muscles, improve joint flexibility, decrease risk of injuries, increase core strength, improve balance, shed inches, and realign posture.

There are fundamental exercises in which one should practice before moving forward. The method is called a “practice” for a reason. As you develop strength and increased concentration, you will be able to manage more and more challenging movements, and watch your body sculpt itself naturally.

Pilates benefits the mind and spirit as diligently as it does the body. Some of today’s celebs practicing a form of the method are: Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kate Hudson, among many, many others.

You don’t need to be in the spotlight to feel like a star. Pilates is worth checking out if integrated and whole-body health is of interest to you.


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Work/Life Balance is More Important than You Think…

Many people are finding it impossible to find a work/life balance. It’s stressful. And the more our stress levels spike, the worse our health becomes. If the plan is to live a long healthy life, you have no choice but to fix the imbalance and understand how important that balance is. Work/Life balance is possible, and you can do it.

The Balancing Act: An Obtainable and Necessarily Skill


Piled-up e-mails. Unending workloads. Family. Relationships. Those are just a few of the responsibilities outweighing your current imbalance.

Stress can lead to both mental and physical health issues. It can decrease mental clarity and make us anxious, depressed, and irritable. Stress also causes our immune systems to weaken. This makes us an easy target for catching a coworker’s cold and susceptible to other more serious sicknesses. In fact, recent studies reveal chronic stress doubles your risk of experiencing a heart attack.


Learning to find balance between work and life will not only help you become happier and more productive, but it may also reduce sick days—and even save your life.

Make A List of What You Find Important in Life

Make an actual, physical list on paper or in your computer. Thinking about what you find meaningful and actually writing it down are two different things. If we see our goals, tangibly on paper or a screen, we may be more likely to pursue them on a daily basis.

For example, if you add “My dog Roxy” to your list, you may be more inclined to take a break after work to take him to the park. That would be a healthy choice instead of running home to check emails. We doubt that “responding to an unpleasant remark from a coworker” is on your list of what you find important in life.

Write it. Make it visible. Read it, every day.

Designate Time for Family and Relationships

If you really want to achieve a work/life balance, you can’t just sit around and wait for free time to magically appear. Be realistic. We know that is never going to happen.

Instead, plan time to spend with your family, friends, and significant others. Stand firm on your commitment. If you are tempted to flake out, remember your list and think about what is truly important to you.


We hear this all the time, but it makes a difference! With technology becoming more invasive than ever, this is likely the hardest for most of us. Also, many jobs are becoming more flexible, allowing workers to work from home. Remember, the keyword here is balance; make yourself available but also designate time to power down your electronics.

If you need assistance with this, try going somewhere and leaving your cell-phone at home. Additionally, both iOS and Android Smartphones now have a “Do Not Disturb” feature.

Make Realistic Goals

We aren’t Superman or Superwoman. We can’t do everything, at least all today. Our lists will likely always be never-ending. Do not have unrealistic expectations in doing everything in one day. Give yourself attainable, reasonable daily goals.

Set yourself up for success.

It’s also important not to over-commit. Though often perceived as “weak” or “lazy,” learning to say no may be your most powerful tool. Put it this way: Would you rather be extremely efficient at a handful of things, or sloppy from juggling too many?

Learn to Communicate, At Work and Home

We can’t expect others to know when we are overwhelmed and stressed. We also shouldn’t take our stress out on anyone. Communication can solve this problem.

Be open about your struggles with your boss and coworkers. Chances are, if you continue to be passive about being overwhelmed or overworked, your performance will decrease. Stating your needs is a win-win for you and your employer. Also, consider suggesting solutions rather than just complaining.

If you come home stressed, communicate to your partner or family that you need five minutes to decompress. Then, find a quiet place or take a walk to release stress before taking it out of your loved ones.

These are just a few of many steps you can take to reduce stress and improve your quality of life. There are many other solutions, such as exercise, self-care, and therapy, that can help you reach a healthy work-life balance. Find what works best for you. With practice and patience, you can do it!


More Good News About Red Wine

If you enjoy a nice glass of wine, it gets more exciting every time a new study comes out touting its benefits. Get ready to cheer once again. This time red wine may prove to correct hormonal imbalances.

Red Wine, No Sour Grapes

Besides its deliciousness to so many of our senses, red wine has shown to deliver several positive health benefits. It’s actually the compound found in the grape skins, which is naturally beneficial. It’s called resveratrol.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant. It helps cells in plants, insects, animals, and humans defend against disease.

Women and Wine

In a study just published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the authors wrote that resveratrol intake can help restore estrogen levels.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a significant condition from which many women suffer. In fact, there are currently five to six million women in the US who’ve been stricken with this disease. Too much testosterone is produced, causing a hormonal imbalance, leading to PCOS.

PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women.

In This Study…

Researchers conducted a double-blind test having some of the female participants take resveratrol, while the others were given a placebo. At the end of the experiment, those in the supplement-taking taking group showed to have a 23% percent drop in testosterone levels. (The placebo gals had less than a 3% decrease in testosterone levels.)

What This Means…

As further studies are conducted, it may prove that resveratrol can help moderate estrogen levels and hormone balancing. Hence, it can be used as a treatment for PCOS—and infertility caused by PCOS.

I’ll Drink to That!

Consuming extra red wine won’t necessarily provide you the amount of resveratrol with which researchers are experimenting. (In fact, overconsumption of alcohol can be dangerous or deadly.) However, one glass of red wine per day, can offer benefits far and wide throughout your body.

Many Resveratrol Benefits

Another astounding discovery about resveratrol is that it may help treat diabetes.


  • prevents insulin resistance
  • reduces oxidative stress in cells, which prevents premature aging and promotes longevity
  • protects the lining of arteries, improving blood flow
  • supports brain cells, improving mental function
  • prevents cancer cell replication, which can suppress the spread of cancer

Before taking supplements, always read up on them and discuss with your medical advisor. Cheers to the benefits of the adult red juice!

Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder
Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder

My Throat Hurts! What Do I Do?

Ugh, we’ve all experienced that awful feeling when your throat is burning, and it’s so tough to get relief. Let’s check out some old and new symptom relievers to make the pain go away.

Go Away, Sore Throat!

Unfortunately, a sore throat is usually a symptomatic preview to an oncoming cold. Or the flu. Boosting your immune system may dull the onset of a viral germ attack. It may also quicken your healing time. In the meanwhile, here are some treatments you can try that should help relieve some discomfort.

Tried and True with a Twist

Warm water and honey are soothing and help coat your throat. There are several other ingredients you can separately or mix and match.


  • turmeric– add a teaspoon as an anti-inflammatory
  • apple cider vinegar- add a teaspoon as an anti-bacterial
  • fresh lemon juice- add just a couple of drops for a boost of vitamin C. Too much acidity may burn, so keep the content minimal
  • ginger- grate a little from a ginger root to steep in the liquid. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Turmeric Curcumin

All Natural Alternative


There are several essential oils that can help relieve your sore throat. The key is to use them properly and safely. Do not ingest them without the guidance of a naturopath and utilizing quality products. The best way to use them effectively, in this case, is:

  1. a) add drops to hot water and gargle. Do not swallow.
  2. b) add drops to boiling water and inhale the steam. Never put your face close to the water and always remove the pot from the stove before inhaling.


  • peppermint oil- contains menthol, which helps soothe
  • eucalyptus oil- stimulates the immune system
  • juniper berry oil- contains powerful anti-oxidants
  • oregano oil- great for treating many types of infections
Top 6 Certified organic Essential Oils

Traditional Treatments and Thoughts

  • Get a ton of rest.
  • Eat soup. It’s soothing, and you can add all types of healing spices to your broth. Cloves and garlic are excellent suggestions and will add yummy flavor. Fresh veggies can help improve your immune responses too.
  • Drink tea. Stay away from caffeinated tea, actually all caffeinated beverages. You don’t need to rev up your system right now. Also, they dehydrate. The key is to stay as hydrated as possible. Chamomile is calming. Any teas with Echinacea and lemon will be perfect.
  • Use natural throat sprays and lozenges. It may be a slight challenge to find, but it will be worth it. Get a spray or drops you can suck on that have cooling effects. Anything with menthol will be nice. Try to avoid any product with sugar or even artificial sweeteners. Gelatin drops with lemon or honey are great.
  • Salt water is always a worthy go-to.

Good luck getting rid of your bug and your pain quickly! If it lasts for several days, you may want to check with your physician in case it’s bacterial (like strep.) Make sure to stay rested, eat well, and wash your hands with soap often. Hopefully, this will help prevent you from coming down with something you’d rather avoid in the future.


No Time to Exercise? Here’s A Way To Squeeze It In!

Work, kids, the house, the spouse, the boss, the folks, no sleep—we get it! You want to exercise, and even though you feel like you’ve got no time, we gotcha covered.

Time for Class?

Who doesn’t love an amazing, 90-minute aerial yoga class? Pilates with pizza would be perfect, too. But where does that fit in the schedule? If it can, that’s outstanding. Congratulations. But the likely reality is, the best stretch you’re getting in the morning is reaching to shut off the snooze for the fourth time or grabbing the door jam to keep your balance on the way to the baby’s room for the fifth time.

Home Gyms

If you’re fortunate enough to have a treadmill at home, best odds is that it’s either unplugged or acts as a hanger for flat-dry laundry. Too bad the Stairmaster is in the garage where it’s 109 degrees on a cool day. We joke, but that’s because sometimes you have to if you don’t want to scream—or cry.

Here’s the gold at the end of the rainbow. Your home really can be your gym. You don’t need “special” equipment. Your classes can be as long or short as fitting to your needs. It’s free. You just need imagination, courage, and a passion for an endorphin rush, a visible muscle under your skin, and/or a lower number on the bathroom scale.

The Secrets are Revealed

Here’s an exercise plan that won’t cost you anything but your commitment. Please don’t mock the suggestions if you feel they’re old school. No one’s laughing at classics like Mustangs, strobe lights, or Bob Dylan, right? Some things maintain their value… Here’s the obligatory checklist to start:

  • The key is to keep your heart rate up.
  • If you can integrate aerobic and anaerobic, you’ll be the master.
  • If you can combine aerobic, anaerobic, and strength training, we bow to you.

Your Options

This is the “secret.” We’re going to list all the (high impact) great aerobic exercises you can do at home, no problem, and hopefully with sweat. Mix and match and create your own circuit.

All you need is a) good training shoes; b) space so you don’t trip or fall; and c) add other stuff (like weights, balancing, or stretching) during the exercises or later when you get a chance. Also, on any positions that include a plank, you may opt to use that moment to do a pushup if you feel up to it.

1) Burpees. You’re going to have a love/hate relationship with these! Squat to the floor. Jump your feet to a plank position. Jump back in and stand up. That’s it. You burn 100 calories in 10 minutes. (So in 5 minutes, you’ll burn 50 calories!)

2) Mountain climbers. These are obnoxious too, but they work! Begin in a straight-arm plank position and then run (not jump, run) your knees in and out, in and out. This is a great calorie burner and core and shoulder strengthener.

3) Bear crawl. Think “traveling plank.” Begin in a squatting position, walk your hands out to a plank, then walk them back in and stand straight up. Repeat. You can growl during this exercise.

4) Squat jumps. Begin from a squat, as the name implies. Keep shoulder-width space between legs and your feet pointing forward. Now jump (as high as you can) and land (as gently as you can) back into a squatting position. These burn calories, raise your heart rate, and build leg strength.

5) Jumping Jacks. These need no explanation—just like buckling a seat belt. Just raise your arms high with each jump to increase heart rate and make them worthwhile. Some moms can’t do these for certain reasons. Don’t worry, just jog in place instead and raise your arms.

Showing up is everything. Give any exercise your best effort and whatever time you can. And while you’re doing it, let the rest of your world’s worries fall away. Enjoy!

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Can Migraines Be Caused By Germs in Your Mouth?

Many migraine sufferers are convinced that certain food and drinks trigger their episodes. There may be more to this picture, which involves germs.

Who’s Got a Filthy Mouth?

Certainly, there are various reasons causing the onset of a severe headache. However, a recent study showing a connection between mouth bacteria and nitrates may shed some light on why some people suffer from oftentimes debilitating, migraine headaches.

It is entirely true that nitrate consumption can have adverse symptomatic and physical affects. But how come it doesn’t affect everyone the same?

Understanding Nitrates

Nitrates are a type of salt used to preserve meats and other consumables that can grow dangerous forms of bacteria. In the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of brouhaha surrounding the peril of nitrates found in deli meats and bacon, for example. There are also nitrates in wines and some chocolates.

But get this: Only a small percent (maybe 5%) of nitrates we ingest come from processed meats. Our largest consumption comes from vegetables—around 80%, to be more accurate. Leafy greens, cabbage, beets, and other plants contain nitrates from our soil, water, and nitrogen in our air.

Nitrates to Nitrites

Meat producers back in the early 1900s discovered that sodium nitrate  changes composition when it interacts with germs. They realized that when they added nitrate to the meat and then it combined with the growing bacteria, it became sodium nitrite. Nowadays, producers simply cut to the chase and just add synthetic nitrite.

All the medical and media coverage about the dangers of nitrites is because when it’s heated over 265 degrees, it becomes a carcinogen. So the USDA has limited the amount of nitrites utilized in food products.

Here’s Where The Mouth Germs Fit In

Just as nitrates convert to nitrites from bacteria on meat, so the same do the nitrates we eat. Green leafy vegetables that naturally contain nitrates become nitrites when they mix with the bacteria in our mouths. Does this mean we shouldn’t eat veggies? Absolutely not.

First of all, our bodies store those naturally formed nitrites in our cells until the molecules become nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a necessary compound, which benefits blood flow and maintains healthy blood vessels.

The Migraine Study

The results of the analysis made by the American Gut Project was just published in a journal from the American Society for Microbiology. By examining saliva and fecal matter from over 2,000 participants, the researchers concluded that those who suffered migraines had significantly higher levels of certain microbes. They basically had more germs in their mouths and digestive tracts.

Whether those particular microbes came from nitrites shows a link, but nothing was cause-and-effect definitively.

Trigger Point Therapy Self Massage Tool
Trigger Point Therapy Self Massage Tool

How This May Help

Once again, this study reminds us how important it is to keep balance in our gut microbiome. We can give up processed meats and wine (maybe not chocolate), but we definitely shouldn’t omit vegetables for fear of nitrate overconsumption.

If you suffer from migraines, try removing foods and beverages that have added nitrates from your diet. See if that makes a difference. Additionally, get good rest and make a commitment to reducing your stress levels. A good life includes a pain-free one.

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