Greatest GIFT

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


Leave a comment

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.

20160526_124052.jpg
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.”

 


Leave a comment

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.

screenshot_2016-05-27-06-25-44.png

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/


Leave a comment

Intermittent fasting and weight goal

I am just five pounds away from my weight goal and at this point, I am not really in a hurry to get there. After losing 17 pounds since June 8, 2015, I can now wear a size 4 and even some size 2 clothes! Most of the clothes I was wearing before losing weight were pleasantly bigger now for me. I love that feeling!

I am not strictly calorie counting anymore like daily use of weight goal app nor do I use food scale either. I pretty much know now how to gauge the food I would eat for the day and still lose ounces or maintain my current weight. I still drink 8 glasses of water each day which has tremendously helped me with my weight loss.

And most of all, which is so important, is I weigh myself every morning. This works for me years ago before I started gaining weight. When I was weighing myself daily, I was able to maintain my weight for years. When I stopped this important habit, my weight slowly crept up. I have learned this the hard way, just because I listened to all these online articles on the pros and cons of daily knowledge of your weight. Not all the things that these so called health experts are true, at least, in my case and what will work or not work for me. It’s good to read them and be updated, but I’ve learned to pick and choose what will work for me eventually.

My own body is my indicator. What surely has done wonders to my body organs and cells and immune system is eating more raw vegetables. Real organic foods have delivered the goodness to all areas of my body. I can feel it and I see it with my blood pressure readings and blood tests.

SaveYourLife

Intermittent fasting has done great things for me also. I am forever going to do this in my lifetime.

wpid-screenshot_2015-11-07-22-22-42-1.png

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

Timing Your Meals Can Significantly Boost Weight Loss Success

“There’s compelling evidence suggesting that when you eat morning, noon, and night, you increase your risk for both obesity and diabetes. Not only does this continuous grazing tend to lead to overeating in general, it also causes biological changes that result in metabolic dysfunction and subsequent weight gain and diminished health.

Our ancestors did not have access to food 24/7, and from a historical perspective it appears your body was designed for intermittent periods of fasting. In fact, a number of beneficial effects take place when you go for periods of time without eating. For the last couple of years, I’ve suggested an intermittent schedule that limits meals to a narrow window of six to eight hours a day — ideally by skipping breakfast, and having lunch be your first meal.

However, some people really struggle without breakfast, and I’ve more recently come to realize that you can skip breakfast or dinner — as long as you skip one of them. The key to remember is to only eat within a window of six to eight consecutive hours each day, and avoiding food for at least three hours before bedtime. However, due to the way your body generates energy from mitochondria production explained below, I am not convinced that it’s ideal to skip dinner. Another alternative is to have a very light meal as early as possible.”

What works for me as far as intermittent fasting goes and in which I have incorporated in my daily routine is my daily meal window is 5 to 6 hours and sometimes I stretched it to 7 hours, but rarely. Most of the time, I’m done eating for the day and starts my intermittent fasting at 4 pm. I eat breakfast and by 2 pm, I should have eaten my lunch. By 4 pm, I start drinking more water to fill me up. I am so used to not eating until the following day at most time by 10:30 am. I can pretty much tell if I maintain or lose ounces when I weigh myself the next day. My body loves this routine. Should I wake up feeling hungry, I would end my fasting earlier than usual and eat. At any rate, I’m able to fast for 18 hours daily.

Also from Dr. Mercola’s website, I pretty much follow his chart and his food pyramid below, but not necessarily to the letter. But I surely avoided a lot of processed foods and my daily meals mostly include grass fed meats, organic chicken and wild caught fish. For my grain, I mostly eat brown rice and have always included flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds to my daily green juice. Last summer, I’ve eaten lots of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, all organic and eaten a lot of the power packed organic veggies. Since the season has changed and fruit choices are limited, I make sure I eat organic bananas and organic apples. I eat plenty of sunflower seeds. I have some Whole Food scones to treat myself once in a while or some of Whole Foods or HEB’s French Macarons. Or some whole grain bread or French Brioche. But I make sure I limit my sugar intake overall. My last blood test, my blood glucose reading was good. I want to keep it that good!

foodtoloseweight

MercolasFoodPyramid


Leave a comment

An Eye Opener

The more I read about the connection between gaining excess weight and high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the more I realized why my blood pressure skyrocketed for the last 2 years! The first year, I did not even know it was high. There were symptoms but I was not paying attention. I knew I was gaining weight and I got tired fast. I even was accepting I’m getting older, it’s part of life. That was not the right frame of mind. Now I realized that wherever I am in my stage of life, I have to be proactive and maintain a healthy weight. We live and we learn.

Looking back at my blood pressure chart for blood pressure monitoring at home, my systolic readings were way high in October and November 2014. My systolic readings were 168, the highest and the lowest was 141. My average systolic reading was 146.39. No wonder I was not feeling so good! Thank goodness, my diastolic readings have always been low.  My doctor started me with a blood pressure med when I decided to seek help last year. But I refused to take more drugs as I go along. Something has to go; it’s either the BP med or my excess weight. It really did not dawn on me that yes, it’s the excess weight that has to be dealt with. I read that just a modest weight gain can increase our blood pressure, even in lean, healthy people. This is especially true if we tend to gain weight in the belly area.

According to  Dr. Virend Somers, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic ~ “with even a small weight gain like 5 pounds, there is a significant increase in the overall risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. While these findings are important on an individual level, the impact of these findings is multiplied as more and more adults fall into the overweight or obese category, Somers said.“This is important to see on an individual level, but on the overall population as well,” he said. He said that an increase in weight also comes with an increase risk of high blood pressure, which opens us up to a slew of heart health risks.”

According to Healthline.com, high blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about 67 million American adults, or 1 in every 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not even half — only 47 percent — have their high blood pressure under control. The common condition is characterized by higher than normal pressure from blood pushing against blood vessel walls. Early stages of high blood pressure cause no symptoms, so it is also known as “the silent killer” because of the damage it can cause before diagnosis. Excess weight increases the strain on the heart, raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It can also make diabetes more likely to develop. Losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds can help lower your blood pressure and your heart disease risk. To successfully and healthfully lose weight—and keep it off—most people need to subtract about 500 calories per day from their diet to lose about 1 pound per week.

wpid-2015-09-07-12-11-14-603.jpg

August of 2012 at Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada – I’ve lost 10 pounds here but still on the chubby side.

I’ve started concentrating on losing weight in May 2011, lost 10 pounds in 2012 and I was able to keep off those 10 pounds until the Christmas holidays in 2014. This year, I’ve finally put my foot down and focused on losing more weight by calorie counting and intermittent fasting, which I’ve been blogging here for extra motivation and accountability on my part.

wpid-2015-09-07-11-11-17-429.jpg

this morning, my BMI is 22- blood pressure was 113/60. The pair of shorts I’m wearing is a size 5. Old shorts I used to wear in the early 90s! I kept these with hope that I can wear them again!

My hubby has lost a lot of weight since we started calorie counting on June 2015. He is 6’1 and weighing now at 194. Aside from doing calorie counting, he is also on intermittent fasting and brisk walking around our neighborhood with some jogging. In a matter of six months, he was able to normalize his blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Before this, our doctor told him six months ago that if he did not change his lifestyle habits, he may have to start with statin drugs. His good blood test counts recently are testaments that we can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally, by eating healthy foods like veggies and fruits, whole grains, good fats, lean meats, poultry and fish and eating less and exercise.

This morning, my blood pressure reading was 113/60 which is considered normal. My BMI is 22.


2 Comments

Added Sugar

wpid-20150803_195910.jpgFor years, I’ve been hearing the health expert communities discussed about added sugar in our food; but did not get to understand what they were talking about until I did research on plant based foods. I developed an interest on raw foods after reading a book entitled Magic Foods for Better Blood Sugar.

I’ve read that all packaged foods, bottled and canned on the shelves of the grocery stores have added sugar in the ingredients. Different names of sugar, but sugar just the same. The food manufacturers have long ago knew that sugar is addictive; and with that in mind, they flavored their products with so much sugar with profits in their minds.

According to Dr. Mercola’s website, “fructose, a cheap sweetener usually derived from corn, is used in thousands of food products and soft drinks. Excessive fructose consumption can cause metabolic damage and triggers the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.” And the modern population of today take things in excess and food included. Many are into believing that when the food tastes good, it must be good for us. And if they eat at well known quality restaurants, they are eating good stuff.  And if it tastes good, there’s quality to what they are eating. They don’t realize that the reason the food products taste good is because of the hidden added sugar in these products. Think about it: most restaurants today use these food products to enhance the taste of the foods they serve. Most of the restaurants and fast food joints used these products sold by food manufacturers. First of all, they are cheap, therefore restaurants and fast food joints can afford to serve big plates of foods loaded with chemicals and hidden sugars.

wpid-20150803_195935.jpg

The same thing with bakery shops or the bakery sections in the supermarkets. Aside from loads of sugar in cakes, pies, doughnuts, cookies and the likes, they used ingredients with added sugars on top of the regular sugar used to make these enticing sweet desserts. And those awesome, fantastic looking breads! Smells so good and delicious with added hidden sugar in them, too!

wpid-20150803_195956.jpg

Excess fructose consumption is a major contributor to insulin resistance and obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis, and other diseases.” as per Mercola’s website has stated. That is scary!

I’ve read that sugar, and in excess in our system turns into fat when stored in our body. Excess sugar intake (simple carbs/simple sugar) is the main culprit of our big bellies and big hips. wpid-20150803_200052.jpgOf course aside from those bad fats that we ingested that go and stayed in our bloodstreams and get entwined in our arteries, the fat from sugar get there, too and complicate things for our poor bodies. Our little soldier guys, or better known as microbiome communities protecting our gut and organs, that comprised our immune system, work overtime when these added sugar overload that causes body inflammation invades their guarded territories. These small warrior organisms get confused and attack neighboring organs which initiates all kinds of illnesses and diseases. Imagine the overloads and excess in meat products and dairy that we eat, too; aside from the added sugar from all those extra carbs, especially simple sugar. Those poor little guys protecting our gut could not handle the abuse. Health experts said our leaky guts are a sure sign of doomsdays in different parts of our organs, including our brain and our heart.

There sure is hope, if we just learn to know the right food to eat and to know that our body can only take enough food to keep us healthy and know the favored foods that will make those microbiome communities happy and healthy and in turn make us happy and healthy and energetic.

It is so important to get acquainted with all the body’s organs that deal with our food digestion. Knowing them well will give us the armor of protection to guard them and live a longer disease free life. The answer is in our guts.

microbiome

I like this from Yahoo Health I read today:

 When You Give Up Carbs (added sugar/simple sugar) .. Your Belly Gets Flatter
One of the first things you notice when you replace simple carbs with high-fiber foods is that your belly flattens out—literally within days. The reason: Most Americans only take in 15 of the recommended 25 to 38 grams per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. As a result, the healthy gut microbes that keep us lean have less to munch on, and the unhealthy microbes—which feast on sugar—take over. Those are the little buggers that cause bloating, and make your belly look bigger than it actually is. “Bumping up fiber can help promote healthy regularity,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.