Greatest GIFT

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


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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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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.