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.

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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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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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Natural Human Growth Hormone

1Winter2016BeigeJacket

With this update, my current weight is 104.2, which I was able to maintain last holiday season due mainly to intermittent fasting. I’ve eaten more than usual during Christmas and New Year. But because of intermittent fasting, I was able to keep my weight down. I’ve gained a pound, but after the New Year, I’ve easily lost a pound and back with my usual calorie control healthy lifestyle.

I believe intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.

via Dr. Mercola

Breaking Down Fat

When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. If your body is not absorbing food, there is little insulin in the blood. However, your body is always using energy; and if you’re not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Under these conditions, various organs in your body secrete hormones:

  • pancreas – glucagon
  • pituitary gland – growth hormone
  • pituitary gland – ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
  • adrenal gland – epinephrine (adrenaline)
  • thyroid gland – thyroid hormone

These hormones act on cells of the liver, muscle and fat tissue, and have the opposite effects of insulin.

When you are not eating, or you are exercising, your body must draw on its internal energy stores. Your body’s prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.

The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules — this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.

In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose

Human growth hormone (HGH) plays a vital role is staying young, long after you’ve finished growing. HGH is a product of the pituitary gland, the master gland of the body. As the name implies, it promotes linear growth in children and adolescents. After the body stops growing taller, levels of HGH decline and often become very low in adult life.
Growth hormone helps burn fat, build muscle and fasting triggers the “growth hormone response”, which prevents you from losing muscle while you fast. Since your muscle is largely responsible for your metabolism, growth hormone also plays a large part
in keeping your metabolism elevated while you are fasting.

 Naturally Increased Growth Hormone

) When you sleep
2) When you are in a fasted state

Natural HGH Booster #3: A Sleep Mask

You release the most growth hormone while you sleep. Use a sleep mask to block out light, allowing melatonin, the sleep hormone, to surge, and get a deeper, more restorative sleep.

Scientific studies show fasting and intermittent fasting promote weight loss and burn belly fat, but have other important anti-aging health benefits, such as protecting the brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, the Huffington Post reported.

Researchers say fasting and intermittent fasting keeps the brain from shrinking and protects it from stress. Fasting as little as eight days a year could have significant health benefits, even for older people and cancer patients.

Research conducted at the USC Davis School of Gerontology indicates that fasting for two to four days at a time can regenerate your entire immune system — especially for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it does is recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” said study author Dr. Valter Longo, a professor of gerontology.

Longo said fasting can be especially beneficial for older people (whose immune systems become damaged with age) and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. “If you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system,” he said.

Boosts Human Growth Hormone 2,000%

Previous research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah indicates periodic fasting dramatically increases human growth hormone. In a recent study, men who fasted for 24 hours experienced a 2,000% spike in HGH, while women saw a 1,300% increase. Studies show fasting stabilizes blood sugar and improves cholesterol.

Fasting for an entire day or two at a time can be difficult for most people, but you can reap the anti-aging and weight loss benefits of calorie restriction through intermittent fasting, which calls for alternating days of feeding and fasting.

Intermittent fasting can slow down aging by limiting the oxidative and metabolic stresses that damage cells, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to research by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), intermittent fasting is better than conventional dieting for fueling weight loss, improving brain health, and maintaining lean muscle mass. “Just as exercise makes muscles stronger, fasting makes the brain stronger,” said Dr. Mark Mattson, chief of the NIA’s neurosciences lab.

What’s more, this pattern of intermittent fasting helped the animals maintain their lean muscle mass even as they aged — the exact opposite of what happens to both animals and people as they get older.

Hugh Jackman Credits IF For Buff Wolverine Body

Similar experiments conducted on humans (alternating between days of normal eating and calorie restriction) showed the same effects. Dr. Mattson said fasting for short periods of time like 16 to 24 hours induces a state of stress in the body, which responds by releasing neurotrophic proteins that stimulate neurons and other cells.

Actor Hugh Jackman recently credited intermittent fasting for helping him achieve his rippling Wolverine body. Jackman, 45, said IF also gave him more energy and improved his sleep.

Hugh’s 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol involves doing all his eating for the day during an eight-hour window and then not eating at all (except for water) for 16 hours. Jackman typically consumes all his calories between 10 am and 6 pm. It’s an eating plan he follows even when he’s not training for a role.

(Marcola) I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that includes making healthy food choices whenever you do eat. Also, proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, so you really want to address your food choices before you try fasting.

This includes minimizing carbs and replacing them with healthful fats, like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, butter, eggs, avocados, and nuts. It typically takes several weeks to shift to fat burning mode, but once you do, your cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs will automatically disappear. This is because you’re now actually able to burn your stored fat and don’t have to rely on new fast-burning carbs for fuel. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence, many health practitioners are still reluctant to prescribe fasting to their patients


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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.

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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!

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MercolasFoodPyramid


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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.

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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.

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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.


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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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Saying No to Binge Eating

Somehow, I really got curious about intermittent fasting. I’ve searched ‘high and low’ to get more detailed explanations and how it can be beneficial to my weight loss journey. First thing I have learned is that when you are on a calorie counting eating program, you would be somehow on an intermittent fasting.  Especially so when I schedule my calorie consumption in the morning until four in the afternoon. Then, I completely stop eating and just drink water. I start eating the next day at 9 am or 10 am which gives me 17 or 18 hours of fast daily.

Discovering that there’s a name given for those hours I was not eating, has given additional motivation for me to obtain details about those hours I sort of psych myself up that I am not hungry, that my stomach is small to have additional food that I really do not need. These subliminal messages I put in my senses and brain did work eventually for my body system has adjusted to the change in my eating habits. wpid-screenshot_2015-08-01-07-32-50-1.png

Learning about intermittent fasting, made me realize that I am really doing a big favor to my digestion and all the organs that work on digesting and distributing the healthy food nutrients I’m ingesting. It takes eight hours for everything to be digested and distributed in my body. What I’ve learned is that after all the work, my system has a chance to repair, clean and whatever job they have to do to keep my organs and cells work to prime. And this happens when my body is in a fasted state. Aside from optimizing my health, it is in this fasting state that my body access the fat it stored for additional energy to do the job of maintaining, cleaning, getting rid of body waste, reduce and eventually reverse inflammation, balance my sugar glucose, get my blood pumping better in my arteries and veins to help with blood pressure and keep the cholesterol in the right level. Our body system is actually a miraculous worker to help heal the body. And with unnecessary interruptions from extra food that we do not need to eat, it disrupts this process. And that’s why intermittent fasting is good for our health when done right.wpid-screenshot_2015-07-08-22-11-57-1.png

Now I understand why health experts were saying that our body can heal the maladies, illnesses and diseases we contracted if given the correct nutrients it craves to help with the healing process; and when we give the body time with no excessive interruptions from eating excessive food. If we are feeding our body with so much sugar, abundance of junk food and bad fat, the body’s natural healing ability will not function. That’s when our body breaks down. It’s just like when we put a wrong fuel in our vehicle’s gas tank. The car engine can be seriously damaged. And so it is with our body.

Bingeing or excessive indulgence after fasting would do the same thing. Aside from defeating the purpose of intermittent fasting, the abuse on our body by eating so much food, can seriously damage our organs. More so when we indulge on junk food bingeing. Worst thing we can do to our body. It will be in a sorry state.  Eventually if we keep on doing binge eating  whether after we fast or not eating for hours after we awake, it will take its toll in our body. Our body system will suffer and it will manifest at first as silent killers and eventually unfold into serious illnesses and diseases that can cause untimely death.

From what I’ve read about intermittent fasting, it works well with a healthy weight loss plan.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, Founder and director of The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine:

A 2007 review by University of California, Berkeley, researchers concluded that alternate-day fasting may:

  • Decrease cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Decrease cancer risk.
  • Lower diabetes risk (at least in animals, data on humans were less clear, possibly because the trial periods in the studies were not long enough to show an effect).
  • Improve cognitive function.
  • Protect against some effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

What should we make of this?

I don’t recommend IF for everyone. Children under 18 should not fast, nor should diabetics, nor pregnant or lactating women. Some health conditions — such as severe gastrointestinal reflux disease, or GERD — are easier to manage when food intake is more regular.

But I do think the evidence for the health benefits of IF should make us rethink what seems to be a modern cultural imperative: to avoid hunger at all costs. To the contrary, getting hungry now and then is clearly a healthy thing to do as long as overall caloric intake stays high enough to maintain a healthy weight. (Fasting, like every other healthy activity, must be done sensibly and in moderation.) Many people who follow IF regimes report both physical and mental benefits, including improved energy and concentration, better sleep, and an overall feeling of well-being.

From my own experience, I really feel much better now and my energy level is high. So far, I’ve lost 11 pounds and 8 ounces since I started calorie counting on June 8, 2015. I feel really good.wpid-screenshot_2015-07-08-22-12-18-1.png


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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