Blood Work for Weight Loss, Hormone Optimization & Disease Prevention

Blood Work for Weight Loss, Hormone Optimization & Disease Prevention
Knowing your blood markers is a powerful diagnostic tool which helps your physician establish baselines, identify the cause of a disease or disorder you may have, but more importantly it can help you learn how to prevent diseases from occurring.  Blood test results can also be utilized to create effective weight loss programs and help to restore youthful hormone levels.

A comprehensive hormone panel for males and females will assess deficits and/or imbalances that can have significant impact on one’s health and quality of life. Thyroid as well as male and female reproductive hormones are assessed.  Establishing baselines or knowing hormonal imbalances can put a person’s mind at ease knowing they may just be a going through a normal stage in life, rather than having a disease. Proactive treatment plans in regard to aging can then be discussed.

Various genetic markers will be assessed that can determine your risk of heart disease, blood clotting and stroke. Knowing such can prompt motivation and diligence toward a lifestyle that greatly reduces/eliminates one’s genetic predisposition.  Traditional lipid profiling is an OK start but many times falls way short on its own in accurately assessing your cardiovascular and related diseases risk. Advanced testing will further assess the type and particle characteristics of your good and bad cholesterol, which has been shown to be significantly more valuable than traditional lipid lab values at assessing risk.

Inflammation drives heart disease and most related diseases. Specific markers of inflammation and oxidation, not routinely tested, will assess the ‘drivers’ of disease-hidden inflammation.  Advanced and extensive biomarkers are tested for problems with blood sugar regulation, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other metabolic dysfunctions.  Routine testing is also done for blood count, liver, kidney and electrolyte status.  Various vitamin and Essential fatty acids (Omega oils) assessment reveals deficiencies, insufficiencies and effectiveness of vitamin/supplement therapies.

Weight management, unbalanced hormones and the worry of possible illnesses can be challenging and stressful! Just having your blood tested and getting a copy of the lab results isn’t enough. Trying to read and decipher the results to self-diagnose your medical conditions can be inaccurate and create even more stress. The innovative cutting edge laboratory testing done at NMR provides a powerful tool towards improving your health and wellness. It will help to determine how to improve your metabolism, balance your hormones, optimize your body fat / muscle ratio, determine your hidden risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and get you energized and strong!  The doctors at NMR will sit and explain the results with you and create a personalized wellness program developed specifically for your needs.

Dr. Sferra welcomes Dr. Kepko to NMR.  Dr. Kepko is board certified in Family Medicine and has completed fellowships in Aesthetic Medicine, Aesthetic Laser Technology and Anti-Aging  Medicine.

Call 908-252-0242 and mention this blog for a
FREE consultation and to see how your insurance
may cover the lab testing completely.

Dr. Sferra is the Founder and Director of Physical Rehabilitation at Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is Board Certified in Chiropractic Medicine, a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and is CSCS certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.  Dr. Sferra is the recipient of the “2005 Spirit of Somerset” award for his outstanding contribution to Health and Wellness in the community.  For more information visit www.NMRNJ.com, or call (908)252-0242.

Day #100. Weight loss goals met! The first 100 Day: A journey to health & wellness






2014 Boston Marathon Volunteer recap: Kristen, a Licensed Massage Therapist stretched and massaged runners after they finished the marathon. Sean, a Registered Nurse cared for runners along the course who could not finish the race.

It was our pleasure to lend our skills to the marathon runners and to the city of Boston. We meet some amazing people, heard some incredible stories and witnessed “wicked” strength & fearlessness.

Day #100

The first 100 days: A journey to health and wellness:

We started this project because we wanted to learn how to lose weight and maintain weight loss, long term. For 100 days we shared our measurements and our experiences, good and bad. We also offered helpful tips that we learned along the way. Tips about nutrition, healthy lifestyle habits, exercise, healthy recipes and goal setting.

Why 100 days?

  • 100 days allows enough time to create new habits and new routines. Even when given all the tools to be successful, success does not happen overnight. Nearly every day we learned something new about ourselves (willpower, wants vs. needs, motivation and commitment) or about the science of weight loss/ weight management (muscle, fat, metabolism, nutrition, and aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise).
  • Weight loss plateau is inevitable. 100 days allowed us time to hit a plateau, make necessary changes and continue losing weight.
  • 100 is a nice round number.

What did you eat?

Our nutrition changed throughout the 100 days. The first 7 days is considered a “food detox” made up of mostly vegetables, low glycemic fruits, nuts and protein shakes. The detox “resets” the digestive system by eliminating foods that cause inflammation and reduces unhealthy food cravings. After the detox, we slowly incorporated starchy vegetables and lean animal proteins. Now we follow the 50-25-25 rule. Each main meal is portioned into 50% vegetables, 25% complex starches (example: quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes) and 25% lean animal protein. Snacks include low glycemic fruits, nuts and protein shakes.

Our daily intake of dairy, gluten and sugar is very limited. There are many types of food that claim to be healthy, we have learned that most of those claims are false. We now read nutrition labels and the list of ingredients. We stay away from foods that contain ingredients we cannot pronounce, artificial sweeteners and pre-packaged foods that contain more than 5 ingredients.

One day per week we have a “free” day. We rarely take full advantage of a “free” day because it is hard work to get back on track and we typically feel “hungover” after eating a lot of sugary, salty, and/or fatty foods.

Did you exercise?

Yes we did. Prior to starting this project 90% of our exercise was aerobic exercise, we are runners. We are runners that love to eat. One of our bad eating habits, included “rewarding” ourselves with high calorie/high fat foods after we ran. That was just the start of our bad eating habits.

During this project we learned how the food we eat can cause local and systemic inflammation, inflammation that causes aches and pains throughout the body. We also learned to the value of weight training. Weight training builds muscle that increases basal metabolic rate = increasing the amount of calories burned at rest. Since increasing our anaerobic exercise routine, we have seen many changes in our physique and overall strength.

To be honest, we did not exercise as often as Dr. Sferra suggested (4-5 days per week). We are getting better about making exercise a priority, we now exercise for 1 hour per day at least 3 days per week. We must admit we have better weight loss results and feel better when we exercise 4-5 times per week.

How much weight did you lose?

Weight loss goals met!

Kristen lost 15 lbs. and a total of 10.5 inches.

Sean lost 22 lbs. and a total of 10 inches.

**Kristen’s mom and Sean’s dad are also following Dr. Sferra’s plan. Kristen’s mom has lost 30.8 lbs. (since January) and Sean’s dad has lost 20 lbs. (since February).**

The project is over, now what?

Now we do more of the same. We have new routines that we follow that keep us on track. We will work on our new weight loss and fitness goals. We would like to achieve those goals before we get married in October.

 The first 100 days: A journey to health and wellness project has without a doubt changed our lives. Below are a few things we learned about nutrition, exercise and ourselves:

Note from Sean:

Nutrition – What you DO eat is just as important as what you DON’T eat.

Exercise – I learned the importance of frequent exercise and weight training.

Myself – I don’t need my vices (diet soda, coffee with Splenda, bread with every meal, etc), but I do need nutrient rich foods. I now choose to feed my body, not my cravings.

Note from Kristen:

Nutrition: I have learned to eat to run instead of running to eat.

Exercise: I was surprised to learn that I actually enjoy weight training! I have seen my body transform. I am much stronger than I once thought.

Myself – I still love sweets, that will never go away but I have learned that I have the power to walk away. It also helps to not have junk food in the house.

 If you would like to start your own weight loss journey call 908-252-0242 and mention the First 100 Days Project to receive a FREE consultation that will outline and explain YOUR individual weight management program.

Day #90. Finish Strong. The first 100 days: A journey to health & wellness.




Day #90

 We did not post an update last week because we realized that somewhere along the way we got 1 week ahead of ourselves (human error). Today Monday April 21, 2014  is in fact day #90.

Today we are volunteering our time and skills at the 2014 Boston Marathon. Our assignments will keep us busy until 7:00pm, we will post information about our experience in our day 100 update.

Kristen’s assignment: Licensed Massage Therapy, providing massage services for runners post-race.

Sean’s assignment: Registered Nurse, providing medical services on a course medical bus.

Weight loss/management Progress:

We continue to lose weight and lose inches at a slow and steady pace. At this point in our journey the nutrition portion of this program is a breeze and we are getting better at exercising 4+ times per week. (Check out our picture updates above.)

There were many weeks we didn’t lose weight, but we did lose inches from our chest, waist and hips. Here is some information about muscle vs. fat:

 Muscle vs. Fat

The key here is to understand the difference in muscle and fat. Because a pound is a pound no matter what you are measuring, one pound of fat is equal to one pound of fat. The common saying, “muscle weighs more than fat, ” is wrong. A pound is a pound, no matter what you measure. However, fat and muscle are composed of different substances, look different, have differing effects on the body and take up varying amounts of space in the body. Fat takes up more space in the body and has a lumpy appearance. Muscle, on the other hand, is lean and smooth. For visual purposes, picture a lean steak equal to the size of a regulation sized baseball. Now, picture approximately three times that much jello in a bowl. If these ingredients were placed in your body, would you prefer the lean, compact muscle or the jiggling bowl of jello? A person weighing 150 pounds, with 14% body fat will look much leaner than a person who weighs 120 pounds with 35% body fat.

Losing Inches Instead of Weight

 Now that you understand the different characteristics of fat and muscle, you are probably likely to reconsider your weight loss goals. Losing inches doesn’t seem so shabby when it’s put into perspective. The most common culprit for a loss of inches rather than a loss of pounds is that of muscle development. When fat is burned and muscle is replaced, your body may stay the exact same weight. However, you have replaced lumpy, jiggly and unhealthy amounts of fat with lean, solid muscle. An equal amount of muscle will take up approximately half as much space as the same amount of fat. (Source: http://www.3fatchicks.com/why-you-may-be-losing-inches-but-not-weight/)

For more information about losing inches but not losing weight: http://exercise.about.com/od/weightloss/a/losinginches.htm


 The remaining 10 days:

We want to finish strong. We made a commitment to ourselves and this project to give 100% for 100 days.

Because we continue to have weigh loss results, we will follow the weight management plan as planned. Eating our bigger meals at lunch time and eliminating starches from our evening meals has made a big difference in how we feel as well as overcoming the weight loss plateau. We are currently exercising at least 4 times per week, our goal is to exercise 5-6 times per week.   

See you in 10 days!

Day #75. The final stretch. The first 100 days: A journey to health & wellness.






Day #75 Progress update.

We have completed ¾ of the 100 day project, we are in the final stretch.

Last week we made a firm commitment to make exercise a priority! Going forward we will do more of the same. Our nutrition will stay the same and we will continue to make daily exercise a priority.

Last weekend, Kristen and I met with some old friends. We were asked questions like “What can you eat?”, “What can’t you eat?”, “How do you know what foods are really healthy?” and  “Where do you buy your food?” 

We thought people who are reading our blog may have similar questions. With the exception of our “cheat” meals (one day per week) here the answers to commonly asked nutrition questions:

“What can you eat?” We primarily eat vegetables, low glycemic fruits (staying away from bananas, mangos and pineapples), lean animal protein. We also eat nuts, almond butter, organic peanut butter and Ezekiel bread, sparingly.

“What can’t you eat?” We stay away from artificial sweeteners, gluten, dairy and use sugar sparingly.

“How do you know what foods are really healthy?” Always read the ingredients. We do not eat pre-packaged food that include ingredients we cannot pronounce and we rarely buy pre-packaged foods that have more than 5 ingredients. **A fact you may not know, ingredients are listed in order of quantity. If an artificial ingredient or sugar is one of the first ingredients, it is best to leave that item on the shelf. **

 “Where do you buy your food?” Healthy food can be very expensive, you may need to shop around. We buy most of our food from the local farmer’s market and Costco.

We also advised our friends to pre-plan and pre-make their meals for the week. We have found that to be the biggest key to our success.

If you have any other questions about our journey, please message us on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/NaturalMedicineRehabilitation




Day #67 Weight loss goal met, now what? The first 100 days: A journey to health & wellness.








Day # 67

Sean: I hit my weight loss goal! I have lost 20 lbs. My weight loss had plateaued for a few weeks and to be honest I was becoming a bit discouraged. Since making a few changes suggested by Dr. Sferra, I have lost weight two weeks in a row! The weeks I that didn’t lose weight were rough on my psyche. I never doubted Dr. Sferra’s plan because I know that he is very knowledgeable and he has tons of experience with weight management, but I started to doubt my ability to lose weight and thought there may be something wrong with me. Although I was losing inches and could see my physique change, I wanted to see the number on the scale go down. And while I am being honest I will admit that I probably would have had better results had I exercised as much as I was supposed to. Exercising consistently is not a skill I have mastered yet.

Weight loss goal met, now what? Now that I have hit my weight loss goal and I know that this plan works, I will make new goals for myself: For the next 33 days (the remainder of the First 100 day project) my goal is to lose another 10 lbs and I would also like to build more muscle mass. I do not have any desire to become the next strong man, but I would like to challenge myself to become stronger and leaner.

Sean’s plan for the week:

I will continue the nutrition plan as is. I have been struggling to go to the gym more than 3 times per week. I won’t list my excuses, but I do think part of the problem is that I am overwlemed with the amount of time that I need to commit to a workout at the gym. I will practice prioritizing my time and stop putting the needs of others in front of my needs. This week I will make a commitment to give myself a present: 15 minutes of exercise per day.

Kristen: I am happy with my progress. I too have reached my original weight loss goal and I have been losing inches but the pounds haven’t been coming off recently. For the remaining 33 days I will push myself outside of my comfort zone in an effort to achieve more weight loss results. I have seen my body change a lot since starting this project and I look forward to seeing more results in the future.

Kristen’s plan for the week:

I am challenging myself to go to the gym 4-5 times a week. I have set this goal in the past but I haven’t made it enough of a priority. I’m going to dig deep and make my goals a reality.

 ***We still have openings available on our NMR team for the 5k Race to Wellness event. The event supports a few Somerset County non-profit organizations. This is a great opportunity to get some fresh air, start/continue an exercise routine AND give back to the community. Register at:  http://www.empowersomerset.com/5k-race-wellness/

Enter “NMR” in the school section of the form, then email LISA@NMRNJ.com to let us know what size NMR shirt you would like. ***

Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation

West End Physical Therapy, 10-12 West End Court, 2nd Floor, Long Branch, NJ 07740 | Phone 732.222.7799

399 Campus Drive, 1st Floor, Somerset, NJ | Phone 908.252.0242| Fax 908.252.0243