TLC Integrative Lifestyle Programs

Personalized Integrative Lifestyle Programs

Let’s face it.  The more you know about your health, the better equipped you are to achieve your wellness goals.  Dr. Michele Couri’s personalized, integrative wellness programs include:

  • detoxification
  • food sensitivity testing
  • hormone balancing
  • metabolic labs
  • nutrition
  • exercise

Curious how TLC can change YOU?  

Schedule your complimentary consultation below or call 692-6838.

Determined to Regain Her Health By Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Women are complex creatures, as many of our husbands already know. We are often headstrong, goal-oriented and stubborn. We are also mothers, professionals, calendar-organizers, and chauffeurs. Life throws many things at each of us, but for many women, physical signs and symptoms are pushed aside due to lack of time and importance. At the Couri Center, we pride ourselves listening to our patients. We believe that each patient is different from the next, and each should be treated as such.

Dr. Couri has created a group of outstanding professionals who truly understand women and women’s healthcare. Her ‘toolbox’ is full of options that have proven time and time again to be life-changing. TLC™: Total Lifestyle by Couri is a resource for women who feel unbalanced, unhealthy and are looking to improve their overall health and well-being. TLC™ aims to piece together all of the issues that are often forgotten in women’s healthcare: hormones, food sensitivities, extensive labs, dietary changes, exercise, and proper supplementation. This customized program has helped countless women regain their health, outlook, energy, and body.   Below is Susan’s 2018 journey through the TLC™ program: 

Explain what your life was like before the TLC™ program. 

Life before the TLC™ program wasn’t much of a life.  One day when my husband and I were talking, he remarked that he felt as though no one could ever understand how bad I honestly felt.  He thought I was literally dying until I met with Leslie and started the TLC program.

 I was nauseous every moment of every day.  I suffered from migraines, IBS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, inflammation and swelling, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.  I underwent many rounds of testing to check for intestinal issues, trouble swallowing and persistent coughing.  I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009.  My exhaustion was over the top.  Housework was nearly impossible.  I would do ten minutes of work then rest about an hour before I could do 10 more minutes of work.  If I had to make a trip into Peoria from my hometown of Henry, it ended up a miserable day because I would do as many errands as possible to save on gas and drive time.  I carried extra clothes and knew where every bathroom was just in case I had stomach problems. My anxiety level was extreme.  Because I no longer had any strength, I could barely get groceries in the house.  I had to purchase lighter pots and pans and an electric can opener because I had no strength.  Sleep was non-existent.  When I did rest, it was poor, so I never felt rested.  I barely had any motivation or drive to do anything.  I no longer wanted to live a long life. Life was not enjoyable.

 I almost didn’t do the TLC™ program knowing I would have to make the trip to Peoria twice a week.  It took time to see improvement once I started, but as time went on I felt better, I was able to sleep and each week continued to improve!

 What methods did you try to fix your symptoms before TLC™?

 I have been to two sleep centers, met with several doctors and specialists, tried medications, worked on my diet and incorporated exercise.  I’ve done Weight Watchers, Curves, Nutri System, Seattle Sutton, and contemplated Jenny Craig.  I have met with dietitians, endocrinologists, gynecologists, gastroenterologists as well as having many tests and procedures. Nothing helped.  I gave up.

 What was appealing about the TLC™ program?

 I loved the idea that I was going to a comfortable environment full of friendly faces that felt less like a massive medical complex.  The purpose of finding something that would help me feel better and hopefully look better was extremely exciting. I felt as though the Couri Center really cares about all of their patients and genuinely wants to help everyone live a happier life.

 How did you feel after reviewing your pre- TLC™ labs? Did you learn anything new?

 I was absolutely SHOCKED! I learned that my so-called healthy, carb-conscious diet was causing inflammation, giving me GI problems, migraines, exacerbating my fibromyalgia, and affecting my sleep.  I couldn’t believe it when after a few weeks Leslie suggested that decreasing my chronic inflammation could positively impact my diabetes. I never imagined the potential of stopping my diabetes medications. I also loved being able to see different deficiencies in my labs. My supplement recommendations were tailored just to me, and I was given a full explanation of why each supplement was recommended.  I was left wondering why all those doctors and specialists hadn’t figured any of this out. 

 I did have moments of doubt.  It was at that moment when Leslie said: “you are not crazy and you are not fat” that I was able to switch my attitude to “let’s get this started!” I learned that everything I knew about nutrition was only basic recommendations for “most” people, and I did NOT fit into that mold.  I knew THAT day my life was going to change for the better.  I just had no idea how much better it was really going to get.

Did you struggle with the dietary changes recommended for you?  Do you feel satisfied with what you are eating?

 My struggle with dietary changes only came when shopping.  It did take me a little longer because I was reading each and every label to understand the ingredients.  I also found that I spent more time in the produce section than I ever had.  When it came to actually eating within my dietary changes, I had no struggles, especially when I started feeling better. I could not wait for the constant nausea to go away.  It took about 2 months before I noticed a difference in how I felt, but I immediately saw how I was not starving all the time.  I would eat a meal and be satiated until my next meal. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to stick to my food plan. 

 Tell us about the changes and challenges you experienced throughout the program.

 First, and foremost, I had been going to the gym only when my gym buddy was going.  I could not bring myself to go on my own.  I was ashamed of my body and was sure people would be judging me on my looks, how slow I walked and lack of athletic clothing. I felt horrible each time I got on the treadmill, and my workout buddy would walk faster than me. Even at a low speed, I could not talk while walking on the treadmill.  I felt trapped in the clothes I was wearing.  I always felt the need to hide in large clothing.  I did not want others to see what I saw in the mirror. 

 Finding motivation to get up and move was difficult in the beginning.  I was wearing my Fitbit that came complimentary with TLC™ and felt tethered to it.  The stress of wanting so badly to feel better finally, look better and improve my strength was hard at the start.

 What did your end of TLC™ labs reveal?

 My labs revealed that everything was improving!  It also saw two of my A1C (blood sugar) results were the lowest they have been in years!  My primary care doctor told me to stop taking my diabetes medications.  This left me feeling euphoric!

 How do you measure your success?  How have YOU changed since beginning the program?

 My outlook has changed immensely! I know I am successful because I have no problem sticking to MY way of eating.  I still enjoy lots of different foods, and I work out (by myself) 4-5 days a week.  I have been signing up and walking 5k’s and I workout with a local exercise group.  Not only is my success ‘measured’ in the 34 inches I’ve lost off my body, but by the changes in clothing sizes and the new found confidence I have. I no longer hide behind my clothes.  I am out there for the world to see.

 Was the program hard?

 The hardest part of the program was getting myself to sign up and show up to the consultation with Leslie. 

 Would you recommend this program to a girlfriend?

 I have been recommending this program to everyone that compliments me or asks me what I have done to lose so much weight!  I cannot say enough wonderful things about the Couri Center and the TLC™ program. I’m so very thankful I took that first step into a new life!

 How are TLC™ and the Couri Center different than other programs or offices?

It’s such a welcoming atmosphere. I love all the smiling faces greeting me.  As I continued my visits with Leslie, I found other employees checking up on me and giving me encouragement and compliments.  I never felt belittled, like a failure, or like they were too busy for me.  Not only does everyone care about helping me through the program, but they genuinely wanted to know how I was doing and feeling.  I love that Dr. Couri is top-notch at following my progress.  I always feel like I matter.

If you would like more information about TLC: Total Lifestyle by Couri programs, please schedule a complimentary consultation.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Rotational Diets are Crucial.  Here’s Why. By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

For over eight years the Couri Center has offered food sensitivity testing. Many patients struggle with a variety of symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain after eating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches/migraines, skin irritations, acid reflux and even chronic sinus issues. Food sensitivity testing helps to identify single or multiple foods that contribute to these symptoms. The results are helping patients better manage, reduce and even eliminate these symptoms. At the Couri Center, food sensitivity testing includes a consultation with a registered dietitian. This consultation is customized and allows time to better explain your results and provide you with education on how to alter and plan your diet.

 

During most food sensitivity consults, after reviewing the results, I wait for the patient to interrupt me and say “BUT I EAT THAT EVERYDAY!” I know. It happens nearly every time. The second most common statement; “but how can something that is supposed to be healthy be bad for me?” Eating too much of a single food has been shown to increase risk of food sensitivity. Patients who have already had food sensitivity testing may remember me saying “if you learn anything, your health will benefit most from eating with the calendar and following a rotational diet.”

 

Modern conveniences, like cross country and international shipping, provide grocery stores with fruits and vegetables year-round, that are traditionally seasonal foods. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are classic summer foods, however they are not grown in the freezing winter temperatures of the Midwest. When foods are shipped cross country or imported from other countries, they are picked early, and show lower nutrient profiles and less phytonutrients than produce picked when ripe. Another downfall of having produce consistently available year-round; single food items are consumed repeatedly and the nutrient profiles of less “advertised or popular” foods, traditionally grown during that season, are eliminated.

 

Daily, I discuss the downfalls of publicized diets, weight loss plans and advertised health claims. Every so often a different trend or plan gives numerical values to food. Classifications like Top 10 lists, calories and the glycemic index give food numbers that represent a single dimension of health value. When values are interpreted without proper professional guidance and patient history, foods are often restricted or increased dependent on their numerical value. Protein shakes made with blueberries and kale, Greek yogurt or scrambled eggs are generally classified as ‘healthy’ foods and often consumed daily. These foods are also found to commonly cause problematic symptoms in patients.

 

Being a creature of habit may be beneficial in many areas of life, however, it should not be part of a diet. Following a rotational or seasonal diet encourages consumption of a full spectrum of nutrients and vitamins. Remember that winter foods, such as vitamin C rich citrus foods, keep our immune system strong during cold and flu season. Spring and summer produce is full of antioxidants and beta-carotene which protects against sun and contain sweetness which helps maintain energy during long, hot summer days. Nature tends to keep us healthy, if we choose to listen.

 

Here are a few ideas to help increase the rotation in your diet:

  1. Grocery shop weekly. Each week when planning your meals, try to purchase different foods than the week prior.
  2. Research which foods are in season. In-season produce tends to be less expensive than out-of-season foods. Summer produce that is currently in season include greens, beets, broccoli, berries, garlic, peppers, peas, potatoes and watermelon. Shopping our local farmer’s markets is an easy way to purchase seasonal food as well as support local farmers.
  3. Look for color within the produce. Strawberries that are white are providing limited nutrients and flavor.
  4. Think before you buy. Do not avoid OR over-buy produce due to preconceived ideas of their health benefits. Remember too much of any good thing is usually a bad thing.

 

If you are struggling with understanding how to eat for your individual body, I encourage you to look no further. The Couri Center does not recommend any one diet, nor do we make generalized recommendations without proper data.  We take the time to learn about and listen to our patients, put together a group of labs that provide detailed information and challenge ourselves by stepping outside the box for solutions to our patients’ concerns.

Please contact the Couri Center for more information on food sensitivity testing, nutritional analysis and our one-of-a-kind lifestyle and wellness program TLC: Total Lifestyle by Couri.

 

Leslie Rusch-Bayer

 

What’s in a Number? By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

jennifer-burk-118076Have you ever been to your doctor’s office and been told you need to eat less and exercise more because the doctor said you were “overweight”? In this day of age, many women strive for health by staying active, meaning they exercise more than 150 minutes each week, and strive to eat a balanced diet. Most leave thinking how much more can I do? What is wrong with me? What makes my doctor think I am overweight?

As a dietitian in a women’s health setting, I regularly counsel women based on current weight, desired weight, as well as what they should weigh. Each poses a unique answer.

Women themselves often use body weight as an indicator of health, as well as do medical providers, insurance companies and physical education/health teachers. Body mass index is a commonly calculated equation. Body mass index (BMI) uses height and weight to calculate whether a person is underweight, of normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI is used the most in medical offices because it is quick, easy and inexpensive. The following equation will help you calculate your BMI: Weight (lbs.) / [height (in.)2] x 703. A woman is considered underweight if her BMI is less than 18.5, of normal weight if less than 25, overweight if greater than 25, but less than 30 and obese if her BMI calculation is greater than 30. Even though it is used in most medical offices, the measurement of BMI also has its faults.

It is best to remember that BMI is just a one-dimensional number. As much as it is used as an indicator of health, as we all know, no one human is like another, therefore we should remember one number cannot completely classify our health. Just because someone has a BMI greater than 25, this does not indicate that they are unhealthy, just as someone with a BMI less than 25 does not indicate that they are healthy. It should also be noted that BMI is not an indicator of physical fitness, strength, or endurance. I do calculate BMI in my office; however, I focus more on a collaboration of body fat percentage, girth measurements, and recent weight change.

Body fat percentage calculates the percent (0-100%) of a body that is made of fat. It also shows lean body weight, hydration status, basal metabolic rate, and liters of water currently held on the body. A healthy body fat percentage for women is less than thirty-two percent. Body fat percentage is calculated using skin calipers, bioelectrical impedance, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or underwater weighing. At the Couri Center, we offer body fat percentage reading by bio impedance analysis. A bio impedance analysis works by sending a small electrical impulse through electrodes placed on one’s hands and feet. The time that it takes this electrical impulse to travel through the body is then converted to pounds and percent fat. This impulse will travel more quickly through a person with greater muscle because muscle is mostly made of water and water is a great conductor of electricity. On the reverse, the impulse will travel more slowly through someone with a higher fat mass. Body fat percentage measurements are limited because they are either not offered, are costly, and require highly educated and trained personnel to administer and read. A woman with a normal body fat percentage may very well have an overweight or obese BMI. BMI does not take into consideration the density of muscle mass.

Girth measurements are a quick, easy and an inexpensive form of measurement. The World Health Organization recommends using a waist-to-hip ratio as a predictor of health. Waist-to-hip ratio is measured by dividing the waist measurement by the hip measurement. The optimal solution for women is less than 0.85. Non-profit groups like the American Heart Association, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and International Diabetes Federation prefer using waist circumference as a predictor of health. The optimal measurement for women is less than 88cm. Girth measurements are very hard to standardize because it is very difficult for various practitioners to consistently measure the exact same spot of the body.

What is the best answer? How can you tell if you are underweight, overweight, obese, or just right? My typical answer is ignore the numbers. Yes, these numbers are used as predictors of health, but they do not determine our health. If you are an active, strong, female who tries to eat a wide variety of nutrients and have very little or no labs outside normal limits, stop worrying about your weight. Live. Enjoy life.

However, if you have recently been diagnosed with a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease, or struggle with laboratory management, many times the first recommendation from your doctor is to “lose weight.” Just losing weight does not guarantee your disease or health will improve. Instead of focusing on limiting calories, please focus on increasing your nutrient consumption through whole foods.

Weight is a number. I cannot stress how many times a week I meet with women who are skinny and not healthy, as well as women who are a little heavier than wanted, but super healthy. When did we start ranking the number on a scale as more important than our overall health?

If you are interested in having your BMI, body fat percentage or girth measurements taken, as well as evaluated, I encouraged you to look into our TLC™: Total Lifestyle by Couri Integrative Consult. This one-hour consultation will take these markers, as well as food sensitivity, hormone and expanded metabolic panels into consideration to show your current health status as well as show how you can improve your health through integrative measures.

Please stand up for your health. Do not be that person that depends on the scale to determine your happiness every morning. Life is so much more than a number.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer