What is Pilates Fitness Training? And why It’s Important to Strengthen Our Core/Pelvic Floor!


What is Pilates fitness training?

Pilates is a comprehensive workout, developed by Joseph Pilates, focused on core strength, pelvis and spine stability, whole body mobility and balanced muscle development. It’s a challenging program that requires you to work deeply and methodically, helping you to connect your mind and body and develop deep body awareness skills. The mind body connection is about body awareness. It’s being able to connect and feel in our body what it is we are doing. It’s about bringing our focus into our body and paying attention to how it functions through our everyday challenges.

Why It’s Important To Strengthen Our Core!

Our cores are the center of gravity and balance, it’s where our movement comes from. It’s important for people of all ages and activity levels to maintain a strong core. Our core is where all movement, stability and balance comes from. Whether it’s during our daily activities such as sitting up straight, standing up straight and climbing stairs or our active lifestyle such as sports and aerobics, we need our cores to be strong! Weak core muscles leave us susceptible to poor posture, injury and chronic pain. Our core muscles support and stabilize our bodies. It allows us to move our spine in different directions without damaging our ligaments, joints and discs of our spine. If our core muscles are weak our bodies will compensate to take up the slack and over time cause injury or chronic pains. We will loose our sense of posture, balance and stability if we do not continue to work on our core strength. When our core muscles are strong and functioning correctly we gain pelvis stability, reducing our pain and discomfort. Better yet! Preventing pain and discomfort before it begins!

What Muscles Make Up “The Core”?

The Pilates core is much more than just doing abdominal exercises. The core represents the muscles included to stabilize the spine and pelvis. So when The Body Gallery says we will work on your core we mean the following:

  • inner thighs
  • pelvic floor
  • psoas
  • glutes
  • transverse abdominals
  • multifidus
  • internal and external obliques
  • diaphragm
  • rectus abdominals

Why It’s Important To Strengthen Our Pelvic Floor Muscles!

Our pelvic floor muscles have 3 jobs to do! Hold our organs in, prevent incontinence and last but not least it’s our orgasm muscles! Both men and women have pelvic floor muscles, it’s not just the women’s curse. Our pelvic floor muscles, like all other muscles will loose strength over time and must be strengthened. It’s true that pregnancy and childbirth are the most obvious causes of weakness to the pelvic floor muscles but being overweight, having chronic constipation, persistent heavy lifting, changes in hormone levels and aging are all contributing factors for both men and women. To prevent incontinence, and prolapse (lack of organ support) and maintain our dynamic orgasms we must keep our pelvic floor muscles capable and strong!

For more information contact Cassidy at The Body Gallery

Tell me more about diabetes…

The wonderful, Shanti Pappas of Happy Belly Health and I recently hosted a talk on diabetes. Here are answers to some of the great questions asked during the session:

Q: What is Diabetes and how did I get this?

A: Diabetes, simply put, is excessively high blood sugar. We all need sugar as a source of energy for the cells in our bodies and diabetes is a condition where sugar is too high in the bloodstream. This means that there is less sugar entering cells to be used for energy and the symptoms of diabetes stem from there.

In type 1 diabetics, the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are damaged through an autoimmune process in those with a genetic predisposition. Insulin is the hormone that helps transport sugar from the blood into our cells. So without it, sugar remains in the cells and causes the symptoms above.

In type two diabetes, the pancreas in not damaged but it may produce less insulin or the cells of the body are less responsive (resistant) to insulin so it is more difficult to transport sugar to use for energy. This is often related to genetic factors, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet high in fats and processed sugars.

Q: If I lose weight will it cure me?

A: It can help. Excess body fat contributes to insulin resistance so losing weight can help you better control blood sugar and manage symptoms. Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires consistent management but it is possible to be symptom-free.

Q: What’s a good start? Exercise? Diet?

A: The best place to start is to have your blood sugar checked and regularly monitored to be sure that the appropriate interventions are used in your care. Talk to your doctor about what your options are. Often changes in diet and exercise are sufficient but medications and supplements may be necessary to get the best control of blood sugar.

Exercise is a great place to start. The recommended activity level is 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity exercise. This can be as simple as walking briskly or you can try jogging, hiking, swimming and cycling with some strength training like push-ups, sit-ups and planks.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus (Photo credit: anaxolotl)

The best diet is a balanced one – whole grain, healthy fats, vegetables and proteins.

Avoid processed, refined carbohydrates (sweets, candies, desserts)  and focus on whole grains like brown rice, whole oats and quinoa which include fiber that helps balance blood sugar. Fruits and vegetables are also great sources of fiber so get your fill of these each day. Err on the side of vegetables especially when juicing because fruit juices increase your blood sugar at warp speed!

Healthy fats can help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. Try avocados, raw nuts and seeds, nut butters, olive oil and coconut oil.

Nuts and seeds are also great sources of protein. Protein is the secret weapon to blood sugar balancing. It can also be found in beans, fish poultry and red meat too. Keep red meat minimal in your diet as it can be high in harmful fats. Opt for grass-fed beef or organic poultry.

Q: What about my heart health? Should I be worried?

A: Diabetes increase heart disease risk. High blood sugar in the blood stream damages blood vessel walls and contribute to inflammation, plaque formation and high blood pressure. Luckily, exercise and a balanced diet will help reduce heart disease risk too. Also watch out for salt intake. Too much salt will increase blood pressure and increase risk of heart attacks and stroke. Reduce your risks now starting here with a Heart Healthy Shopping list.

Q: What about stress? Is that a factor too?

A: Yes, actually. High stress means you produce more stress managing hormones like cortisol. High cortisol causes blood sugar to increase because it signals your liver to break down emergency sugar stores. Also, skipping meals puts the body in a “stressed” state because blood sugar drops to a level where your body enters survival mode, producing cortisol to get blood sugar back to normal so you’ll have enough energy to keep functioning.

Keep your stress managed with exercise, balanced meals/snacks and, of course, having fun!

If you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact me for a complimentary 15-min consultation.

Here’s to your health,

Dr Mead



Photo credit: The Discovery Health Journal

Photo credit: Eli Lilly and Co.

I knew I was probably eating all the wrong foods and despite working out 4 times a week I was still over 160 pounds. Finally, I gave in. Let me tell you, it was worth the money, time, and energy to lose the 17 pounds I have lost since March. The greatest thing about all the changes I’ve made is that they are sustainable and healthy. -Liberty V. SF 7/4/13
Relax & Recharge & Have a Drink

sf best nutritionist

Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Summer is often a time for serious play, time off and deep relaxation. Many of us use the summertime to rebuild our reserves for the rest of the busy year. In our work-crazed society we can lose sight of the benefits of slowing down and taking time to rest. Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to enjoy the restorative powers of reconnecting to your body through movement and relaxation.
Your body LOVES to move. What type of movement would you consider fun as opposed to torturous? Perhaps you loathe the idea of a gym, but miss taking dance classes. Maybe you secretly want to try yoga or surfing. You could play touch football with your kids, walk with a neighbor in the mornings or go for a swim. The summer offers so many choices – it’s simply up to you to choose which style of movement excites you. Your heart will thank you, your soul will be gratified, your limbs will be more fluid and you’ll sleep better at night. 

The Miracle drink: WATER 
downtown sf best nutrition

Water helps our organs perform their functions. Water keeps our skin clear and hydrated. Water allows physical action in our bodies to flow smoothly.
SYMPTOMS OF DEHYDRATION: Poor digestion – Sluggish thinking – Skin breakouts – Headaches – Bad breath – General fatigue

To start your day right, set a large glass of water by your bed each night and drink it when you wake up. Drinking water first thing in the morning pulls out toxins from the previous day and freshens your system for the day ahead. 

“How much water do I need?”

The first sip will usually let you know how much more water you need. A sip or two may be enough, or you may need a big glass. If you drink most of your daily water before early evening, you most likely will not be thirsty before bed. This is good, because drinking before bed and then waking to use the bathroom disturbs your peaceful night’s sleep.   

Learn more about how we help people stop dieting, improve digestion, and sleep like babies!
Schedule a 30 minute complimentary initial consultation with me today (valued at $150)
Call Now 415.308.3529 to reserve your spot.


The talk that addresses the biggest drivers for digestive distress, emotional eating, and migraines.

Join us, and meet our guest speaker and mood and anxiety expert, Wendy Sue Horn.
Learn how your thoughts create emotions, how to increase awareness of those processes, and how to change them.


Register Today (limited seating available)
Complimentary for current HBH clients 
only $20 for guests and friends

Call 415.308.3529 or EMAIL for more info

Leave with immediate tools, a wealth of new information, and more resources for growth and change.

Register Today! Limited Seating.
Call 415.308.3529 or EMAIL for more info.


When was the last time you talked with a professional about your health and felt like they were really listening to you? Here at Happy Belly Health in San Francisco, our priority as certified health coaches is to care for you and help you take care of you. Through our nutrition consultations, gentle cleanses and programs, we provide a supportive environment to enable you to achieve all of your health goals and learn how to eat for nutrition and enjoyment.

Schedule a 30 minute complimentary initial consultation with me today (valued at $150)
Call Now at 415.308.3529 to reserve your spot.
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Happy Belly Health

Fight Pain Naturally


What does fish, turmeric, and green tea all have in common (other than a great lunch)?

They are all natural sources of anti-inflammatory agents and produce a significant amount of pain relief.

Typically, people with inflammation will take a NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) to relieve their aches and pains. Common NSAIDS are Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), and Naproxen (Aleve).

Did you know that there are natural alternatives to NSAIDS and that they carry a lot less side effects? NSAID side effects include but are not limited to gastrointestinal upset, gastritis, ulceration, and can adversely affect the kidneys.

Omega 3 EFAs (fish oil) are one of the ways that we can naturally help reduce the inflammation in the body. A study of 250 patients with cervical and lumbar disc disease, who were taking NSAIDS, revealed that 59% could substitute fish oil supplements as a natural anti-inflammatory agent for NSAIDS.

One of the sources for fish oil are through capsule supplementation, we recommend buying from a reputable company (Nordic Naturals). Another way is by food, eating fish 2-3 time per week. The fish should be oily flesh, wild caught, and live in cold water (we really like fresh sardines); if you have concern on quality and environmental impact the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a great website called Seafood Watch.

Turmeric is a flowering plant in the ginger family and an often favorite of Indian cuisine. Curcumin, is the most active part of turmeric. Used in many healing traditions for centuries, both in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine (called Jiang Huang or “ginger yellow”), new research has given credence to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Green tea, more known for its cardiovascular and cancer preventative characteristic due to its antioxidant properties. The tea has now been getting more recognition for its use in treatment with arthritic conditions. The current research now demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective (promote joint health) effects. Typical recommendations for green tea are 3-4 cups per day.

These are just a few of the many natural alternatives to drug therapy. As with any drug that you take at pharmaceutical recommendations, please consult with a health care provider that is knowledgeable in natural alternatives. There are side effects and drug interactions that you will need to be informed about. All therapies should be in the guidance of a health care professional.


Weil, Dr. Andrew, “Omega 3”Dr. Weil, July 2nd, 2013  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART00398

“What are NSAIDS” Orthoinfo, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. January 2009, July 2nd 2013.  http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a0028

Maroon JC, Bost JW, Maroon A. “Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief.” Surg Neurol Int.2010;1: