Greatest GIFT

Faith, God's Wisdom, journey to healthy living, Life and dreams


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Keeping it real

Based on what I experienced in the past in regards to weight loss and maintenance is to always be updated with articles about getting fit. They may sound to me as the same advice, but another article might sound more specific and gives me inspiration to keep up with being fit. I’ve learned from past experience that when I let go and  stop paying attention about what I’ve read, I lost the desire to keep my weight down, and for all I know the weight crept up on me.img_20160530_172601.jpg

Before the internet swept us all up with all the high tech, the smart phones, and tremendous flow of articles about everything under the sun, including health advice and healthy nutrition, I was buying all kinds of fitness, nutrition and health magazines. I subscribed to some of them. It got pretty expensive and took up a lot of space that I am glad that I can just put the articles now on my favorites to read later.

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I do not have so much weight to lose, so I can be a little flexible, controlled eating 2 or 3 days and eat a little more on one particular day. I follow pretty much the article below that I’ve read recently. It’s good to have those days when some cravings get fulfilled .

Today, I ate what I’ve wanted and not worry of the extra intake, watched a favorite period drama series that my husband and I enjoy, but we still maintain having fruits and whole grains. I ate more than my share of peanuts, ate more of my lunch meal and I was pretty much happy. I still religiously follow intermittent fasting everyday. After each meal, I continuously drink water until I have about 8 to 9 glasses of water, and that would keep me full.

 

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It’s true that a good night sleep would prevent me from overeating. So I make it a habit to sleep at the same time each night to help me dose off quickly and restfully.

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Whether you’ve recently lost a bunch of weight, you’re heading out on a vacation, or a big holiday of eating is coming up, preventing weight gain is easier than you think. Aside from no-brainers like drinking a lot of water and not eating an entire cake every day, keep these tips in mind, and you won’t have to worry about the scale numbers creeping up.

Save yoga pants for yoga

Wearing leggings when you’re not down dogging is comfy, yes, but a bad habit to get into. The stretchy fabric and elastic waistband are so forgiving that you’ll have no idea if your waist is expanding. Save the spandex for your workouts and opt for something more structured like a pair of jeans or a fitted dress so you can keep tabs on your waistline.

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Fiber, and more of it    

Fiber has the ability to fill you up for hours. Include at least eight grams at every meal and three to four at every snack to help you reach a goal of 25 to 30 grams a day. Nosh on fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds and you’ll have no problem getting your fill.

30 minutes, at least

Get in the habit of moving daily. Aim for at least a half hour, with four to five days devoted to more rigorous or longer workouts, and two to three days a more moderate workout like walking, hiking, or stretching. Be sure to include strength training with weights since building muscle helps you burn calories faster. If you don’t have time, studies show that even 15 minutes proves beneficial.

Make one meal of the day a big, huge salad to fill up on fiber without a ton of calories. Include a variety of greens and fresh veggies in your salad along with a low-fat protein source like beans or marinated tofu, add cooked whole grains to make it even more filling, plus avocado or sunflower seeds to add healthy fats. Ensure you eat one salad every day by making a week’s worth all at once.

Chocolate, alcohol, or french fries

Cravings only grow stronger with time, so keep them at bay by giving in to them! Indulging a little every day will settle those cravings, so you can move on and stay committed to your healthy diet. The key, though, is to enjoy a small taste and to be done. Don’t let a little indulging turn into a week of eating whatever you want.

Research shows those who are sleep-deprived tend to eat hundreds of calories more, not just because they’re awake longer, but because sleep affects levels of hunger-regulating hormones.

Feeling tired makes you more likely to reach for sugary pick-me-ups. Get to bed at the same time every night (even on weekends), and set your alarm for the next day, making sure to get between seven and nine hours of sleep.

As a bonus, the extra energy will allow you to hit your a.m. workout with intensity, instead of hitting the snooze button and skipping out.

derived from:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/weightloss/6-things-you-can-do-every-day-to-prevent-weight-gain/ar-AAh3hv8?ocid=spartandhp#page=1

 

 

 

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Calorie Awareness

People nowadays can easily consume more than 2,000 calories in one seating. With the abundance of restaurants and fast food chains, a person can easily devour more than 4,000 calories from eating breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner in a day. If a person eat this much everyday, the weight gain is obvious. And if this person is not eating healthy, the person’s immune system would suffer and so does the rest of the person’s body organs and cells. Chronic diseases will follow suit.

2000calbreakfast

This worth of breakfast food is 2,100 calories, according to The Upshot article on What 2,000 calories look like.

Lunch

This lunch combination, or it can be for dinner,  is worth a whooping 2,670 calories.

dinner

This delicious meal just by itself without a soda or side dish and bread is 2,370 calories.

And when we dine out, we totally disregard the need to eat veggies and fruits that have so much nutrients and what our immune system is craving for. So, when we eat restaurant entrée and fast food, our digestive system is working so hard. If we are lucky, our body may get some protein in the process, but mostly bad fat and bad carbs that would add up to our waistline because that is where the bad food we had eaten would end up, while our immune system starve to death.

Ever since I’ve started using food scale and have been journaling my food intake for a year now,  I’ve noticed that my stomach has adjusted to the reduced calories I’ve been consuming each day.  I’ve mostly consumed foods eaten at home which I prepare and cook. Occasionally my hubby and I would venture and eat out at Whole Food’s food court or buy the ready made lunch/dinners they sell, which is heat and eat. Mostly, they are nutritious and not so high in calories. We’ve dined out occasionally on special occasion and I would go back to eating less the following day.

I’ve read that the way to accomplish this effect is to train your body to get used to accommodating smaller meals. Your stomach will adjust to proportions suitable for the needs of the average quantity of food you’re used to taking in, in a single serving. Over time, eating smaller-portioned meals reduces the size your stomach is accustomed to inflating during mealtime.

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This is one of my measured food portion for lunch which consisted of Asparagus Risotto at 71 calories, a combo of wild Akeya rice and brown rice at 203 calories, baked chicken wings at 107 calories and 136 calories of Romaine and Avocado salad with cucumber and Siracha ranch dressing. The total calories for lunch that I have eaten was 517 calories. That day I had also consumed 301 calories of healthy breakfast cereal with strawberries mixed with plain Kefir. For snack I had an apple with peanut butter and some blackberries at 235 calories. For a year now, I’ve used smaller plates and bowls. For my drink, I always have 8 glasses of water consumed in a day, not counting my glass of Mineral Water I would drink for lunch almost everyday. Thankfully, Mineral Water is zero calories.

My total calories that day was 1,053.screenshot_2016-05-30-15-58-22.png

To maintain my weight, according to this plan, I have to eat 1,599 calories (for me this is a lot of calories)  and to lose weight, I have to eat less than 1,368 calories a day.

I can see now why I gained a lot of weight from dining out. I had eaten more than 1,599 calories. Knowledge is power definitely! Using a food scale now, it revealed to me that  it’s very easy to eat more than 2,000 calories or more in a day!

I’ve learned that veggies and fruits have lower calories. We can eat lots of veggies and fruits combined and it will not even make it to 2,000 calories. Amazing!

According to this article I’ve read, women who consume more fruit and vegetables have a healthier and more attractive glow than those who don’t, scientists have discovered.

Carotenoids – a type of pigment found in carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and tomatoes, is credited with helping to protect against cancer.

People consuming diets rich in carotenoids are healthier and have lower death rate from a number of chronic illnesses.

The chemical can also work as antioxidants, aiding in the prevention of cancer.

A recent study showed that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42 per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

I’ve just read that: “A new study published in JAMA Oncology revealed four lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Staying away from smoking, keeping a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding hormone therapies after menopause can lower your risk of getting breast cancer by 30 percent.”

 


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Break from Calorie Counting is over!

Too much of a good thing is not good after all. When I thought I was able to maintain my weight without the help of a fitness app, I would be able to succeed. Fat chance! Suffice to say, I’m back to doing my fitness app or I may have to call it, food journal. Without journaling your daily eating habits, it’s failure waiting to happen.

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My weight loss program – lost 2 1/2 pound since I’ve started calorie counting last Sunday, May 22, 2015

I’ve already lost 2 1/2 pounds since I’ve started with calorie counting last Sunday! Yesss! I’ve gained 4 pounds when I took a break last October 2015 from doing my weight loss program through a fitness app. I was able to maintain my weight during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but Mother’s Day this month and another eating out excursion at a Korean Restaurant did me in.  Early on, it needed to be nipped in the bud before my weight goes haywire. Awareness and prevention go hand in hand.

I really feel good, health wise. I had my recent 6 months check up with my cardiologist and primary doctor and got a good health evaluation. I want to keep it that way.

At the cardiologist office, my blood pressure reading was 110/78! And this is at the doctor’s office where my BP would go up as I have this white coat syndrome. My echo cardiogram test came out great, too. My heart is in good condition.

I’m aiming to get to 100 pounds. My height is 4’ll and this weight is best for my height. My target date is August 2016 and most likely I maybe successful. When I stopped doing this fitness up, I was 105 pounds from my start point of 122 pounds. This time around, I’m ready to lose that extra 5 pounds. I’m motivated! screenshot_2016-05-27-06-26-23.png

2016MothersDay

Nine tips to tame your appetite:

  1. Cut out processed food and eat whole foods. Focus on vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, wild fish and grass-fed meats.
  2. Eat breakfast. Studies show that it’s easier to keep weight stable over time when you eat breakfast each day. In general, eating earlier in the day can help keep you from overeating. Try not to eat anything within two hours of going to bed.
  3. Eat slowly. Your stomach takes 20 minutes to tell your brain when you are full so eat slowly and mindfully. Try to enjoy every part of your meal.
  4. Moderate or eliminate alcohol. Do this to lower your sugar calories as well as help prevent you from overeating.
  5. Avoid your trigger foods. Know your own trigger foods and avoid them. Soda, sweets, bread and baked goods are common trigger foods.
  6. Keep a journal. We use food to block our feelings, but you can use a journal to keep you from emotional eating. A journal helps you deal with your emotions in a healthy way.
  7. Get sufficient sleep. Even just a little loss of sleep makes you hungrier. While people’s need for sleep varies, most adults need between seven and eight hours each night.
  8. Control stress levels. Stress makes us overeat, and it makes us crave the wrong kinds of food. Try to actively relax instead by incorporating meditation or yoga into your life.
  9. Exercise. Walk a minimum of 30 minutes each day, and add in more activity as you are able.

from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/09/9-tips-help-stop-overeating-video/


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Health and Intermittent Fasting

screenshot_2016-01-09-09-38-07-1.pngCancer Awareness is a thing of the past. The people who started this movement was just in for the money, how much you can donate to be aware of the vicious disease that is cancer. What we all need to know now is how to prevent it, to not be part of the million numbers who survived or got killed by it. How can we not be aware of cancer when what we’ve been reading now is people dying of it. It’s in the papers and all over the internet.

I’ve started with Intermittent fasting to lose and maintain my weight.img1458758819217.png I have been doing it for months and I’m so used to it that I don’t get hungry anymore during my daily fasting hours. To lose weight, it’s just a matter of how much calories I would eat on the hours I allotted for eating which is breakfast and lunch. To maintain is eating the same amount of calories. To be successful with it, I have to eat what my immune system or my microbiome or gut community would love to eat so they could make my system work properly in absorbing the food I feed them. I’ve stayed with eating lots of raw organic veggies, some organic whole grain, organic and grass fed beef and wild caught fish and seafood. I’ve added a teaspoon of coconut oil to my morning smoothie blend which I have not done in the beginning of my weight loss journey last May of 2015. I’m eating it sparingly as it is a saturated fat, but a good feed for the brain. I’ve used good fats like avocado oil for cooking, and extra virgin oil for my salads. Flax seeds and hemp seeds are my favored seeds to blend with my smoothie and salads.screenshot_2016-04-23-17-33-09-1.png

Fasting and Prevention

“For those trying to keep cancer at bay, intermittent fasting may improve your sensitivity to insulin and reduce your insulin resistance, which has been linked to several types of cancers. There’s also some evidence that fasting induces your body’s cells to begin the process of autophagy – including neuronal and general autophagy – to clean up cellular “garbage.”

While the scientific evidence on cancer prevention is still premature – and keep in mind the majority of clinical studies have been in animals, not humans – nevertheless there is some exciting evidence showing the potential!” http://www.hope4cancer.com/information/healing-cancer-on-time-how-intermittent-fasting-may-help.html

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the heatopoietic system. When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.  What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. ” – Valter Longo, corresponding author. (1)

“Again, because fasting significantly lowers white blood cell counts, this triggers stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.  More importantly, it reduces the PKA enzyme, which has been linked to aging, tumor progression and cancer.(1) It’s also noteworthy to mention that fasting protected against toxicity in a pilot clinical trial where patients fasted for 72 hours prior to chemotherapy.” http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/06/22/scientists-discover-that-fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-fights-cancer/

 


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More Sunny Days

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The weather is changing and I can feel the change in my mood and body. I am getting more motivated to do some light workouts nowadays. My diet remains the same as usual, the green smoothies seem to be as perfect to have than winter time. Though, I kept up with preparing it almost everyday during winter. Best of all, I’ve maintained my weight! Intermittent fasting is still a way of life, which I am so used to now.

However, Springtime is surely happy days. The sun always keeps me in a better mood. It indulges me to have a much better outlook. screenshot_2016-03-31-22-41-43-1.png

The time change this month had screwed up my sleeping habit and it’s only recently that my circadian rhythm finally is back to normal and I’m able to establish my inner clock to work in my favor again with regards to a restful sleep.

According to Dr. Mercola:

“A number of studies indicate that springing ahead to Daylight Saving Time (DST) may be hazardous to your health. Although the one-hour time change may seem minor, when it comes to your body’s internal clock, it actually is a big deal.

The latest study suggests turning your clock ahead for DST may set the stage for a small increased risk of heart attack the following day.1

The findings were published in the March 2013 edition of the American Journal of Cardiology.2 The study showed a small rise in heart attack rates the Sunday following the shift to DST, the Saturday night when you lose an hour.

However, the study showed a small tick downward the Sunday following the change back to standard time, when you gain an hour. Given that heart attacks appear to increase following the shorter night, it is reasonable that sleep deprivation may be to blame.

There are numerous studies showing the adverse health effects of sleep deprivation. But the studies involving one-hour time changes point to just how sensitive your body is to seemingly insignificant changes in your diurnal rhythms.

The lead researcher of the featured study speculates that a more significant result may be found with a larger sample size—the population in this study was quite small. When you consider these results in light of prior studies, the issue becomes more of a concern.”

Reading this made me realize that I had a lot more sleepless nights during the week after the time change or Spring Forward. When I can have a good and restful sleep, I can feel the goodness it brings to my mood and my body temperament. My blood pressure reading is good. I just wish that whoever is responsible for these time changes will stop changing the time. If I can choose, I want it to just stay on daylight saving time.

 


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Fall Season comes with Hopes and Dreams

My weight loss journey has been successful and I’m now down to 106.8 pounds. WordPressMy hubby, on the other hand, has finally reached his weight loss goal of 185 pounds. He is 6 feet and 1 inches tall. So he is now maintaining his weight. Losing weight has really given him a new leash on life and so do I. First and foremost, we feel good and healthy.wpid-2015-09-23-20-15-38-457.jpg It is really the quality of food we eat daily that determines the quality of life we will be leading. It is true what the health buffs and alternative doctors are preaching and teaching about eating plant based whole foods. They really do wonders in every aspect of our being. wpid-screenshot_2015-09-03-23-25-52-1.png Consumption of fruits and veggies do the body good and we have been feeling the good results from eating them. wpid-screenshot_2015-08-28-07-33-17-1.jpg Losing weight in a healthy way is really the answer to a better life.wpid-screenshot_2015-09-03-15-50-32-1.png I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this God given subsistence to prevent and cure what’s ailing us as a society, community or a group. It really starts from the inside out.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-14-13-23-27-1.png When we love and respect our body by taking care of it and knowing how it functions, it will reciprocate back by naturally repairing the cells and organs and our body’s immune system appreciates the caring we give it. wpid-screenshot_2015-08-28-07-30-19-1.png

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My progress on Intermittent Fasting

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-28-07-33-42-1.jpgSince I’ve been on intermittent fasting, my blood pressure has steadily been at a normal range. My systolic has been in 120s, 110s, 111, and my lowest reading is 106. My diastolic level is always low mostly in the mid 60s.  My GP doctor gave me recently a blood test report: my Cholesterol is 205, my Triglyceride is 70, LDL 130 & HDL 61. My Blood sugar is 92 which is normal; my kidney, liver and thyroid are working fine. My BMI is now 21.8 and my weight is down to 108.2.naomi109lbs copy

Since high blood pressure can cause heart attack and/or stroke, uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure can really be a very serious risk to our health and to our mortality. I’ve read young adults of this generation have already developed HBP without even knowing it. With the increase in the number of overweight and obese men and women, there is a risk of untimely death due to diseases that comes with being overweight or obese.

According to the American Cancer Society, An estimated 1 out of every 3 cancer deaths in the United States is linked to excess body weight, poor nutrition, and/or physical inactivity. These factors are all related and may all contribute to cancer risk, but body weight seems to have the strongest evidence linking it to cancer. Excess body weight contributes to as many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths.

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/bodyweightandcancerrisk/body-weight-and-cancer-risk-effectswpid-screenshot_2015-08-20-20-01-04-1.png

According to the American Heart Association,  people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are considered obese. The term “obesity” is used to describe the health condition of anyone significantly above his or her ideal healthy weight. Don’t be discouraged by the term. It simply means you are 20% or more above your ideal weight, and you are not alone.

Nearly 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese. Being obese puts you at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and more.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/WeightManagement/Obesity/Obesity-Information_UCM_307908_Article.jspwpid-screenshot_2015-08-14-13-23-51-1.png

I’ve read that as our weight increases so does our blood pressure. Our blood pressure is affected on what type of food we eat everyday. According to Dr. Mercola of Mercola.com: “Like obesity, high blood pressure is an epidemic. And like obesity, your best treatment is to evaluate your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments.”  He also mentioned that fructose can cause the blood pressure to skyrocket. He added that people with high blood pressure should remove all grains and sugars from their diet, particularly fructose, until both their weight and their blood pressure have normalized. Eating sugars and grains — including any  type of bread, pasta, corn, potatoes, or rice — will cause our insulin levels and blood pressure to remain elevated. He added that we should limit the amount of fructose we get from fruits that we eat to 15 grams daily.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-18-21-11-54-1.png

One of the recommendations of Dr.Mercola in regards to high blood pressure is doing intermittent fasting. He believes it is one of the most effective ways in normalizing insulin/leptin sensitivity.

From  AuthorityNutrition.com on their article about intermittent fasting, they reported that IF changes the function of cells, genes and hormones. While our body is on fast state, 1) the Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning. 2) The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits. 3) The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells and 4) there are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.

Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fatwpid-screenshot_2015-08-10-19-58-22-1.png

Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy. The people on review study also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease. One review study also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction.

Intermittent Fasting Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

 Intermittent Fasting Can Reduce Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in The Body

 Intermittent Fasting May be Beneficial For Heart Health

Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.

Intermittent Fasting Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes

When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time. Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. IF triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells.

Intermittent Fasting May Help Prevent Cancer

Intermittent Fasting is Good For Your Brain

Intermittent Fasting May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Intermittent Fasting May Extend Your Lifespan, Helping You Live Longer

Excerpts from: http://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

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Portion Control with whole, raw and organic plant-based foods, Ghrelin and Leptin hormones

Losing weight becomes really not an effort anymore when my body got used to intermittent fasting. My eating window is from 10 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, max is 4 p.m. where I should have been done eating. Then my daily fast starts at 5 p.m. It’s an 18 hour fast that becomes part of my daily routine. I’m used to it, now that I don’t feel hungry anymore during the fasting window.

I read up to get educated about Ghrelin hormone, known as the hunger hormone. It’s a little complicated, but I will pursue to learn more about it. This hormone has the capacity to either make us overeat or under eat, so it seems. It’s a growth hormone releasing peptide.

According to News Medical Net:  ~ “a hormone that counteracts the effects of ghrelin is leptin, which is produced by the fat or adipose tissue in the body. Leptin induces satiation or a feeling of fullness after a meal. When the leptin level is high, hunger is decreased. Since ghrelin increases hunger, several weight loss procedures aim to reduce the ghrelin level in order to increase satiation, even with a small meal.”

I read up on leptin and I gathered some information as to why a good sleep schedule and eating whole, raw plant based foods work perfectly together with intermittent fasting.

According to Wikipedia, Leptin , the “satiety hormone, is a hormone made by adipose cells that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Leptin is opposed by the actions of the hormone ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”. Both hormones act on receptors in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus to regulate appetite to achieve energy homeostasis.  In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs, resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high energy stores.  

“Dr. Leo Galland’s blog on Huntington post about leptin read: ~ “what can impact leptin based on the research done at the Laval University in Quebec is that 7-8 hours of sleep each night, on average, was associated with relatively higher levels of leptin. In contrast, getting less sleep meant lower levels of leptin and higher body mass index in the study.

Part of my weight loss journey is getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Doing intermittent fasting makes me sleep better as I do not experience heartburn anymore or any stomach disturbance. I consume my last glass of my 8 glasses a day regimen by 7 in the evening, so that I don’t have to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Big long drop of cold water poured into full glass (isolated on white background)

Dr. Galland said that: “Regular exercise stimulates the activity of fat-burning enzymes. The exciting news is that the hormone leptin also stimulates these enzymes, which can increase your metabolic rate even when you’re not exercising. This is important because for most people, the resting metabolic rate accounts for two-thirds of the total number of calories they burn each day.”

He listed ways to increase metabolism. He suggested Omega-3 oils: “Benefit from Omega-3 Oils. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential to the healthy functioning of the body and brain. Omega-3s help heal inflammation as well as promoting a wide range of cellular activities, and improving or preventing depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. Plant sources of Omega-3s include: ground flax seed, walnuts, and beans — especially navy, kidney and soy. Animal sources include fish, especially oily cold-water fish such as salmon or tuna.”

Part of my eating regimen is eating fish and ground flax seeds.

Dr. Galland suggested to: “Up the Fruit and Veg Servings to 9 or 10 a Day. Find delicious ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal. Choose those fruits and vegetables with deep colors and intense flavors that reflect their high content of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, like carotenoids and flavonoids. The deepest red and blue flavonoids belong to a subgroup called anthocyanins, found in the jewel-like colors of blueberries, cherries and pomegranates.”

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I incorporate strawberries and blueberries with my whole grain cereal. I add blackberries, raspberries and banana to my green juice which consists of kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots or whatever veggies I have in the fridge. And I always have veggie salads with mushrooms, yellow and red bell peppers, radicchio, cherry tomatoes and other veggies. I add pieces of avocados and making sure to not having so much as it’s high in calories. I also use pickled beets in small portion. I make sure they are all organic. I recently made some pesto with basil from my garden, organic cheese, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts.

He also suggested to have some snacks to satisfy hunger, and desserts add fun and satisfaction to a meal. Indulge, but in healthy choices only. Enjoy delicious snacks such as crunchy walnuts or almonds, and dessert treats made from fruit and yogurt that will excite your palate while keeping you satisfied.

Since I am on calorie counting to lose weight; to control my food portion, I limit my intakes of nuts and seeds, but I try to always have a few handful everyday during my eating window which is about 6 to 7 hours. My favorites are sunflower seeds, chia and hemp seeds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews and chestnuts.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is not a form of starvation but a way for you to time your meals to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat.

Our portion sizes are way, way out of proportion

In recent years, the amount of food we consider to be a single serving has ballooned. In some foods, it’s increased as much as a whopping 700%.  What most people would think of as a serving of ice cream, for example, is probably about a cup. In reality, though, a 230-calorie “serving” of Ben and Jerry’s is half a cup, or just about 8 large spoonfuls!

“Portion size is a big problem. Most people would say, ‘Well that looks like a serving,’ but in reality it’s two or three servings.”

Think of this the time you’re out to eat. If you get a bowl of pasta, consider taking half to-go. If you’re eating family-style, start by covering half your plate in salad greens.


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The importance in gaining knowledge about our Body Mass Index

BMI4

BMI is what medical doctors use as screening tools together with their patients weight. They go hand in hand on their medical records. I always wonder why the medical assistant always lead me to the clinic’s weight scale the moment I enter the clinic for check up.

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I never really had given it too much thought as to why they want to know my weight measurement until I got educated with Body Mass Index as of late. It seems crucial to put the dots together with family history, your diet and your lifestyle as a whole, as well as your weight and your body mass index. It will give a doctor an idea on where you stand with your health.

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And it should set an alarm in my head that I am at risk for serious conditions such as stroke, heart problems, respiratory, muscle as well as joint diseases. A high BMI could indicate cholesterol and high blood pressure risks putting strain to the heart and the brain.

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I never really thought how important it is to pay attention to my weight, until I’ve gained a few pounds and my blood pressure readings were high. I’ve decided to seek medical advise. My BMI was probably close to being overweight when I saw a doctor. But before that, I’ve gained weight that probably my BMI was over 25. I knew I needed to lose weight when I saw myself on photos and videos. But just looking in the mirror, there’s a sense of denial that I was gaining weight. When I started weighing myself again, reality hit that indeed it’s time to lose the excess weight. Another indicator was I felt tired easily and I was not feeling great plus I was suffering from heartburn each time I was in bed.

What’s bad with all of these was the idea that somehow planted in my head; which started from an article reading about it several years ago, that when you reach a certain age, extra weight is not bad to prevent osteoporosis or thinning of the bones– a reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calcium and bone protein as a person gets older, especially for a woman. That made me complacent with my weight increase and I let myself go. Not a good thinking.

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When I finally put two and two together and getting more understanding about my BMI, it got easier to lose those extra poundage; plus the fact that excess food consumption leads to health risks as well as an abuse of our body system and organs. Measuring my waist is very important, too; however, the medical doctors don’t pay too much attention to it more than the BMI. I can see why because as we lose weight, we will decrease our belly fat, especially if plant based foods or raw and whole foods are parts of our healthy diet. Green leafy vegetables and asparagus and fruits are full of fiber and low in calories. Berries, too are low in calories and full of fiber that give feeling of fullness and satisfaction. Avocados and nuts, and oatmeal are good sources in reducing belly and abdominal fats. The possibilities are endless in regards to flattening the tummy and these types of foods keep us satisfied. Once we’ve learned to tame our sugar addiction in the form of bad carbs from processed foods, whole foods which are the complex carbs or what they now called slow carbs will become the best tasting, wholesome eats of our lives. Just make sure they are organic grown and non-GMOs.

I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian for I eat lean grass fed meat and organic lean chicken, as well as wild caught fish and seafood; although I limit my intake of them and I interchange. I prefer more consumption of wild caught fish instead of red meat.  Brown rice, quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, kimchi, saurkrauts, miso are also our kitchen staples.

I am now down to 109 pounds and my BMI is 22. My recent visit with my GP, he gave me thumbs up and he was glad I’ve lost weight. He advised me that my BMI should never go below 20 as lower than 20 can put me at risk with osteoporosis. I’m keeping that in mind.

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Intermittent Fasting

I’ve heard about fasting on and off as I started searching for better ways to manage weight loss and optimal health. I’ve always thought that when you do fasting, you don’t eat nothing at all except liquid stuff. I’ve always thought that I can’t do that. I do not want to starve myself.

On one of my doctor’s visits late last year, my GP had wanted me to have my blood drawn to check where my body stands as I was concerned about my blood pressure. The nurse assistant told me I have to fast and stop eating at 12 midnight the night before my blood test. I can drink water and that’s it. I told my husband on the way home, that I’ve always had done that, so that’s no sacrifice on my part. I’m used to it. In fact, most of the time I don’t snack or eat anything after 10 pm and would just consume the rest of my scheduled eight glasses of water for the day.

Since my husband and I embarked into this journey of calorie counting, I would stop eating by 5 pm. I have already conditioned my body not to eat too much since summer of 2011 and I’ve lost 10 pounds. This was about the time I adapted plant based eating and cut down on red meat and limited added sugar in my food intake. From losing 10 pounds and maintained it for a while, I gained back 5 pounds by Christmas last year. I was having some rough time losing it by the first part of 2015.wpid-screenshot_2015-07-26-18-40-47-1.png

Thank goodness to stumbling into an app that monitor calorie intake! I told my husband about it and since then, we’ve lost quite a few pounds. My husband is currently weighing 202 pounds and I’ve lost 11 pounds in this calorie counting process. We are both used to eating a lot less now and do not feel deprived. We eat lots of veggies and fruits, fish, whole grain and some meat and chicken. My heavy meal is breakfast. I do not have cravings for sweets anymore since I’ve been eating veggies and fruits. They healed my cravings for simple sugar and bad carbs.intermittentfasting3

Anyway, I love reading about overall health studies and articles, and one of those I’ve read recently was about INTERMITTENT FASTING. According to Yuri Elkaim for U.S. News and published on Huffpost Healthy Living “intermittent fasting is a technique that incorporates a weekly fast into your routine. This method is great because it allows you to reap the benefits of fasting without leaving you feeling weak or deprived. I can understand that this idea might not sound very appealing, but the fact is there’s ton of health benefits to fasting, and it really isn’t as horrible as it sounds. Research shows that those who eat less are generally healthier and live longer than those who eat more. Intermittent fasting is based on this principle.” He also stated that: “The benefits of fasting come after about 18 hours, but this doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to go without food all day long. To give you an example of what a fast might look like, let’s say you stop eating after dinner at 7 p.m., you go to bed and wake up at 7 a.m. Right there you have already fasted for 12 hours. In this scenario, if you wait to eat your first meal at 1 p.m. you will have successfully completed an 18-hour fast. Not too bad, right?”

Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been doing some type of fasting already, 16 hours of fasting almost everyday. I drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning to get my body’s circulation going. Then after 9 am, I’m ready to eat my first meal for the day. If I can hold off until 11 am, I could be doing an 18 hour fast. Usually most days, I’m not hungry in the morning. Maybe I could try doing it once or twice a week. Mr. Elkaim recommends to do an 18 hour fast one day a week.

In Mr. Elkaim’s article, he said:  From a fat-burning perspective, intermittent fasting is a powerful tool. When you’re in a fed state, the body has to produce insulin to keep your blood sugar at a safe level. Insulin’s main job is to shuttle excess glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream over to the muscle, liver or fat cells for storage. But insulin doesn’t only take sugar out of the blood – it also increases fat storage. Now, if a person were to eat small, infrequent meals every day, this release of insulin would not be a big deal. The problem is many experts have led people to believe that eating five or six meals a day is the only way to eat for weight loss. Now let’s think about this logically for a second. Do you think the best way to lose weight is to cause your body to constantly release a hormone that favors fat storage? I didn’t think so!

Another rumor is that fasting and/or eating infrequent meals every day will slow down your metabolism. This simply isn’t true. To make this point clear, all you have to do is think back to our primitive ancestors. They rarely (if ever) ate the same amount of food on consecutive days. Their caloric intake was dependent on what was available on that particular day. And they would be forced to fast intermittently because sometimes food was simply unavailable. Furthermore, evolution takes, minimally, thousands of years, and even though our world has changed drastically, our bodies have not had time to evolve from this primitive lifestyle. As a matter of fact, it has only been within the last 50 to 100 years that our bodies have been exposed to a consistent caloric intake. The truth is, being in a consistently fed state is not natural to the body’s physiology. This is precisely why eating less leads to better health and a longer life.”intermittentfasting

Another website that talk about intermittent fasting is Marcola.com. According to the article I’ve read on this site:

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is historically commonplace as it has been a part of spiritual practice for millennia. But modern science has confirmed there are many good reasons for fasting, including the following:
Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and boosting mitochondrial energy efficiency: One of the primary mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so beneficial for health is related to its impact on your insulin sensitivity.

While sugar is a source of energy for your body, it also promotes insulin resistance when consumed in the amounts found in our modern processed junk food diets. Insulin resistance, in turn, is a primary driver of chronic disease—from heart disease to cancer.

Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to use fat as its primary fuel, and mounting evidence confirms that when your body becomes adapted to burning FAT instead of sugar as its primary fuel, you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Normalizing ghrelin level also known as “the hunger hormone”

Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production:

      Research has shown fasting can raise HGH by as much as 1,300 percent in women, and 2,000 percent in men, which plays an important part in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process. HGH is also a fat-burning hormone, which helps explain why fasting is so effective for weight loss.

Lowering triglyceride levels and improving other biomarkers of disease
Reducing oxidative stress:

      Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.

There’s also plenty of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the aging process.

Intermittent fasting is by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat and eliminate your sugar cravings. Since most of us are carrying excess fat we just can’t seem to burn, this is a really important benefit. When sugar is not needed as a primary fuel, your body will also not crave it as much when your sugar stores run low.

As mentioned above, the other mechanisms that makes fasting so effective for weight loss is the fact that it provokes the secretion of HGH—a fat-burning hormone that has many well-recognized “anti-aging” health and fitness benefits.

Last but not least, intermittent fasting has also been identified as a potent ally for the prevention and perhaps even treatment of dementia. First, ketones are released as a byproduct of burning fat, and ketones (not glucose) are actually the preferred fuel for your brain.

In addition to that, intermittent fasting boosts production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. It also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research by Dr. Mark Mattson, a senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, suggests that alternate-day fasting (restricting your meal on fasting days to about 600 calories), can boost BDNF by anywhere from 50 to 400 percent, depending on the brain region.”intermittentfasting2

For one thing, I do feel so much better and light as a feather since I’ve been eating less. Now with intermittent fasting, I’ll take it with a grain of salt, but keeping in mind that as it is I am already fasting in a more sensible and moderate way.  I’m glad that my blood pressure readings have been on normal levels. This morning my blood pressure was 115/68! That makes me happy.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-03-14-03-19-1.png