Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015 and another round of Americaís favorite game. Many people begin the New Year with the game of trying to get in shape. Although they may have started with the speed of a race horse, the pace tends to become significantly slower as the year progresses. By Thanksgiving, the majority of these folks have completely given up on their fitness goals and the game is over for the year.

Excuses often involve the faulty mindset that getting in shape takes too much time or is too expensive. When their efforts donít appear to be paying off, many people get frustrated and return to unhealthy habits. As the holidays approach, they console themselves with plans for starting over in the New Year.

If this is sounding familiar, would you like to get on a new track for getting in shape so you donít have to keep starting over? While you might not want to place any bets just yet, getting on this track may be exactly what you need to achieve your fitness goals and finally win in this game!

There are 4 simple rules:

# 1- Eat clean food.

When you eat processed foods, junk foods, or any type of artificial foods, you store the toxins from these foods in your body. These toxins are stored in the fatty tissues of your body to protect you from harm. However, storing these toxins in your fatty tissues means you wonít be able to burn extra fat in your body as fuel because doing so would release these harmful toxins into your body, perhaps making you ill.

When fat stores become filled with toxins (viewed as poison by the body), additional fat will be created to have places to store new toxins. It is important to understand this concept because this unhealthy cycle leads to a cascade of problems. For example, belly fat may begin to produce the hormone estrogen. This estrogen causes the production of more fatty tissue which becomes especially problematic for overweight men who take supplemental testosterone. The estrogen can contain an enzyme called aromatase that turns testosterone into more estrogen. The estrogen continues to make more fat rather than making the muscle they had hoped for Ė the muscle that was going to help them lose weight by having more muscle mass to burn their excess stored energy, known as fat. The good news is that there are safe ways to detoxify fat stores without causing damage to the body.

Donít be confused about good fats and bad fats. Good fats provide energy for your body and are the most efficient forms of storage for energy. However, you must avoid all trans-fats, including certain vegetable oils, over-heated oils, and processed fats and oils.

Another reason for eating clean food is that artificial junk foods contain lots of chemicals. Especially frustrating to those trying to get into shape are those called obesogens. Obesogens are designed to increase the number of fat cells in your body. This way you feel hungrier so you want to buy more of the food containing the obesogens Ė good for producers but not consumers.

# 2- Donít eat beyond your first sigh.

When you eat beyond the point of being satiated, you will click over into an outdated survival program from the days when food was scarce. Once our immediate food needs are satisfied, the rest of the food is turned into storage in a form to carry with us, called fat. This phenomenon takes place with all kinds of food, both good and bad.

# 3-Eat the foods of our ancestors.

Fill your plate with eggs, meat and fish. If you are thinking saber tooth tiger steaks, think again because they went out of existence before we came on the scene. I suggest eating the basic Paleo diet 80-90% of the time. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be in a ratio of 90% vegetables to 10% fruit. Fruit should be primarily berries as they are low glycemic. Avoid most fruit juice although tart cherry is a worthy exception. Use the EWG (environmental working group) guidelines to learn which fruits and vegetables need to be organic in order to avoid the most chemicals and pesticides. Meat and eggs should be organic, free range. Fish needs to be wild caught and only consumed once a week, thanks to the toxic loads in fish, even if itís wild caught. Take approximately 3 grams of good quality omega-3 fish oil every day. (Your brain and your friends will thank you!) Diary should be in the form of cheese and raw is best. Raw milk (either from goats or cows) from clean, responsible farms is the only milk I endorse. In Michigan, this involves purchasing a cow-share. Almond milk is a good substitute.

# 4 Ė Exercise daily.

Start each day with stretches from the exercise class I teach, spins, and a 5 minute free weight workout. If you want to do more Ė great!

Hereís the bottom line: People start the year with great intentions to be the best they can be, working hard with diet and exercise. But you canít get rid of toxic fat without detoxifying the body. The fat must be cleaned up so it can be burned off. This is the reason most people fail in their efforts to get into shape.

To get in shape in a way that also improves your health often means changing various aspects of your lifestyle. Rather than going on a diet, eat in a way that supports what you want to see in the mirror and what you want to do in your life. Youíll need a body that is capable of the exercise it deserves, meaning that youíll need a functioning nervous system. Regular chiropractic adjustments are the best way to maintain a healthy nervous system.

Before getting started on your fitness goals, be clear about what you want, believe that itís possible, and remember that weíre here to help you.

Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.