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Feldenkrais: A New Way to Move

 Feldenkrais work offers gentle non-verbal guidance to the skeletal system to lead it into adopting better ways of moving. The effect of this work on the body is to remove excessive stress from our joints, and it results in a natural improvement in posture and flexibility as you sit, stand, walk, exercise and work. It helps your body make friends with gravity.

There are two main methods of getting this message through: one is by way of a series of relatively active ‘lessons’ that take place on mats in a group class setting. The other is through a series of individual sessions, where the recipient lies passively on a comfortable treatment surface and is moved by the practitioner through a series of positions that are uniquely suited to his/her personal body organization.

Most people find both ways incredibly relaxing and then are surprised to discover that long standing, chronic tightness or pains may have disappeared as well. After a number of sessions, one begins to feel noticeably more relaxed and stable in the feet which often leads to a marked improvement in balance.

We are now offering two classes that utilize the Feldenkrais Method. The class on Mondays is called “Accessing Your Core.”  This focuses more on freeing up the movement of the chest and pelvis to allow for a fuller contraction of the abdominals, often very helpful in personal training sessions and Pilates work, as well as in activities of daily life which involve lifting. The class on Saturdays, Feldenkrais Flexibility, is more eclectic, ranging from improving the mobility of the neck and spine to the flexibility of the feet and ankles.

Individual sessions are available at Structure House. A participant favorite combines 40 minutes of deep tissue with 45 minutes of Feldenkrais work.

This article was adapted from Structure House's in-house newsletter, and was written by our massage coordinator, Debbie Gross. Have any questions about feldenkrais? Let us know in the comments!

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New Emotional Eating track begins Oct. 18th!

 In October and November 2010, Structure House will offer a specialized set of group sessions for preventing and reducing emotional eating. The content of the sessions is developed from evidence-based treatments for binge eating and will consist of 8 group skills training sessions and 4 yoga sessions. The main focus is to provide positive skills for managing emotions. The philosophy of the emotional eating track is that eating has become a learned response to emotions. When people lack good ways of regulating emotions, misuse of food can result. While food may seem to solve the problem of uncomfortable emotions in the short-term, it has high long-term costs (weight gain, health problems, guilt, shame) and thus is not an effective way to handle emotions. The sessions will help individuals learn and use more effective ways to manage emotions so that they can replace ineffective coping methods with more adaptive strategies.


Each session will be a teaching and interactive experience, and participants will be encouraged to practice skills they are learning. In addition to participating in Structure House’s core weight management program, individuals enrolled in the emotional eating course will attend two skills training sessions per week conducted by staff therapists and 1 bodywork session per week with an exercise specialist. The course will begin the week of October 18 and end on Novmeber 12. Only those participants able to attend all 12 sessions (who will be here for a 4 week stay) are eligible to be enrolled. The cost of attending the package of 12 sessions is $225.


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Success Week

 Success week is a very important time at Structure House. Usually held four times per year, these weeks take care to emphasize the hard work and dedication graduates of our program have earned through their weight loss. The classes often discuss specific areas of success, like how people in the National Weight Loss Registry Database are reporting about their sustained weight loss, keeping off weight, a success forum, and much more. Sometimes people inquiring about the program ask us why graduates of the program continue to come back to our campus. The truth is that weight loss is a continuous journey, and some of our participants find the motivation they receive from us to be a key component in maintaining their structure. Our classes constantly evolve, so the material may be an entirely new class, or the information could take on new meaning to program participants further down their journey than it did the first time they heard it.

Some have mentioned to us that Structure House is their version of a healthy vacation. They can still relax and enjoy the pool, massages, and good food, but know they won't return home overstuffed and unhappy about gaining weight. Whatever your reason, don't discourage a return trip to Structure House or a facility designed to encourage and motivate you to stick with your healthy habits. That's why success week means so much to us. We're able to see real results of the work YOU have put in at home, because let's face home is where the majority of our participants lose most of their weight!

To celebrate participants who have lost 10% of their starting body weight, graduates who have met this fantastic achievement and arrive the Sunday that success week starts are entered into a drawing for a gift certificate. This year's success week begins October 25th. Even if you're not a graduate of the program, it would be a great time to begin a new lifestyle change so you can see how realistic our program is for many, many people. Give us a call or post a comment with any questions.

Labels: healthy living

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Podcast featuring Lee Kern

 Recently, Structure House's Clinical Director, Lee Kern, participated in a podcast with Behavior Therapist. They discussed the Structure House program in detail, including:

*A sampling of the topics they discuss include:

*The Structure House approach to treating obesity
*The research base supporting this approach
*Practical strategies for weight loss
*Reasonable weight loss goals
 *The importance of exercise and methods of exercising when one has physical limitations which interfere with exercise
 *Causes of obesity
 *Resources for listeners

Click here to listen to the podcast!


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Strength Training is a Must

 We all know that aerobic exercise is essential to our health, our well-being, and to a successful weight loss. But an equally important, and often ignored, component of a good fitness regimen is strength training. 

 Strength training is moving the body against a resistance a set amount of repetitions in attempt to overload the muscle.  It can include using weight machines, free weights, dynabands, tubing, Resistaballs, Pilates, and even using your own body weight. 

 So you still may be wondering, “Why is strength training so vital to my exercise regimen?” Here are 5 good reasons for you:


  1. It prevents a decline in muscle strength as we age, allowing us to do more!
  2. It reduces your risk of injury and/or decreases the healing time of an injury.
  3. It increases bone density and decreases resting blood pressure.
  4. It improves your metabolism, leading to better weight loss success!
  5. It makes you stronger and leaner, allowing you to look better and feel better!


If you don’t know how to get started, you want a routine that was created just for you, or you have special considerations that you need to address before beginning, consider a one-on-one personal training session to assist you. If you're going to Structure House, all of our trainers are highly qualified to give you the best advice on form, proper weight selection, and exactly what exercises are best for you! If you're at home, call around your local gyms and take a tour if you're not a member. Most gyms will offer a complementary evaluation session with a trainer and they can show you how to use all of the gym's equipment. Having a personal trainer is not necessary for a good strength training regimen, but they can definitely help get you started if you're unsure how to begin.


Labels: exercise

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Sitting: Will it Slowly Kill You?


From Men's Health magazine-

Do you lead an active lifestyle or a sedentary one? The question is simple, but the answer may not be as obvious as you think. Let's say, for example, you're a busy guy who works 60 hours a week at a desk job but who still manages to find time for five 45-minute bouts of exercise. Most experts would label you as active. But Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., has another name for you: couch potato. Perhaps "exercising couch potato" would be more accurate, but Hamilton, a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, would still classify you as sedentary. "People tend to view physical activity on a single continuum," he says. "On the far side, you have a person who exercises a lot; on the other, a person who doesn't exercise at all. However, they're not necessarily polar opposites."


Check out the rest of the article here and let us know what you think in the comments!

Labels: exercise, healthy living

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Treat Yourself to a Healthier You this Halloween

 As Halloween approaches, stores have candy stacked high in the aisles. It leaves no question why so many sabotage their weight loss goals each October. Whether you plan to pass out candy to neighborhood children or tote your own little goblin’s bucket door-to-door, it’s easy to be tempted by high-calorie treats. Favorites like Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Butterfingers all average more than 200 calories and 10 grams of fat each. Is it possible to enjoy Halloween without expanding your waistline?

Weight loss experts at Structure House offer 10 simple tips for a healthier Halloween:

  1. Wait to buy your candy. We tend to eat what’s in the pantry. This year, try waiting until Halloween day to buy your candy or keep it out of sight until it’s time for trick-or-treating.
  2. Buy candy you don’t like. If you love chocolate, buy a bag of sour gummies instead. If it’s not something you enjoy, you won’t be as tempted to eat it.
  3. Leave a bowl of candy on the doorstep. When you’ve seen your fair share of ghosts and witches, pour remaining candy into a bowl and leave it on the doorstep. Chances are it’ll be gone by morning. Take any leftovers with you to work the next day. It won’t last long!
  4. Limit the amount you grab. It’s hard not to take a handful of anything that’s free, but limiting your children to only one item at each stop is a healthy start.
  5. Offer healthier alternatives. Don’t worry about getting toilet-papered, not every house needs to offer chocolate bars. Gum, dried fruit, popcorn, sugar-free candy, glow sticks/necklaces, and plastic rings are all popular, healthier alternatives to candy with high levels of saturated fat.
  6. Serve healthy recipes with Halloween flair. Food doesn’t have to be super sugary to be associated with Halloween. Try a new recipe like Pumpkin Soup and serve in a hollowed-out pumpkin (Note to editor: recipe available upon request).
  7. Start the festivities with a themed, but healthy and satisfying, dinner. Serve an orange and black dinner with foods like black beans, raisins, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, oranges or cheese.
  8. Make decorating a family tradition. Have fun with family or frie nds by carving pumpkins. If the thought of losing a finger is too scary for you, make mini "pumpkins" by drawing jack-o-lantern faces on tangerines or clementines (Note to editor: photo available upon request).
  9. Plan activities with friends. Halloween is about having fun, not hoarding stashes of candy. Consider going to a corn maze, haunted house, or host a murder mystery dinner party, complete with costumes and special effects.
  10. Ration the amount of candy eaten afterwards. After the big day, offer one treat following a healthy meal, exercising or finishing homework and keep the rest out of reach.

Labels: healthy living, holidays

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