Author: David Yochim

Junkies, Addicted to that Sugar

Addiction, what a wonderfully glorious, life ruining malady to suffer from. It is ever so easy to get used to that feel good rush that comes from hitting that glass pipe of methamphetamine. It makes you feel as if you can conquer the world while destroying everything about your life with a swiftness. Or, you might love the instant euphoria that comes when pushing heroin through a needle into your vein, that peaceful easy feeling is tough to beat even when you know the great harm which comes with the territory. The most common feel good substance you can find yourself addicted to as well, might be found in your kitchen cabinet for you and your family’s enjoyment. That addictive substance is sugar!

Many signs of addiction are easy to recognize, people neglect personal responsibilities, exhaust financial resources, and sometimes engage in criminal conduct to support their habits. But then, there are many addicts among us each day that may not show any signs at all. I had a brother in law years ago who was addicted to amphetamines and cocaine. He was successful in the banking industry despite  his addiction leading him to preloading two syringes each morning before work in order to have a mid-morning and afternoon hit before going home in the early evening. You would have never guessed that despite the super clean cut appearance, he had illegal drugs tucked away in his suit pocket.

We might think that addiction will never happen to us, we like to believe we are too smart to allow this to ever happen. I never saw myself as an opiate addict until I found myself trying to get off prescription pain meds following my spinal injury ten years ago. You might be thinking none of this has anything to do with you since you might not indulge in any of the obvious addictive vices life has to offer. If you are overweight and out of shape, you need to reconsider. Chances are, you are addicted to simple carbs and sugar and are as much a junkie as any drug addict or alcoholic. If this offends you then consider these questions:

  • Do you ever find yourself craving sugary foods?
  • Has your appetite for sugary foods caused problems for yourself and your family? Problems which have come from the impact sugar has had on your health? Metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more?
  • Do you dress to highlight features of your body? Or do you wear clothing that distracts from unwanted bulges and rolls that embarrass you?
  • Have you ever hid how much you actually eat from family and friends?
  • Have you ever been ashamed of how your appetite has impacted your health and appearance?
  • Do you know that you need to lose weight and improve your health but feel unable to give up your junk foods?
  • Are you embarrassed by the number that appears when you stand on your bathroom scale?

Face it, it is highly unlikely you ever craved brussel sprouts or lettuce like you have simple carbohydrates and sugar. Sugar is often used to make foods more appealing, which leads to habituation and even in some cases addiction, thereby uniquely contributing to the obesity epidemic our society is experiencing. As with street drugs, the dopaminergic system gets involved in reward with the consumption of highly palatable foods. Recent research suggests that highly processed foods are addictive and the hedonic mechanisms (pleasure-seeking pathways) plays a critical role in obesity.

Have you ever noticed that decadent pleasure which comes from biting into a sweet treat?

Of course you have, who are you kidding…

Are you a junkie addicted to sugar?

The American Psychiatric Association has defined addiction as “a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence.”

In today’s world, there is nowhere you can turn without the sight of people with a variety of weight problems ranging from minor to severe. Because sugar is in so many foods we eat, and on the shelves of every grocery store across the nation, we think of it as a harmless substance even though common sense says otherwise.  Cocaine used to be in Coca Cola and was thought of as harmless. At one time, even heroin was easily obtained for cold symptoms. Most recently, synthetic THC products could be found for sale in gas stations and convenience shops. Because it was legal, many young people thought it was harmless. Many learned the hard way that just because a product is legal, this does not mean it will not cause your body harm. Sugar has been linked to an increased risk of a number of medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sugar also zaps your energy, increases your risk of depression, and contributes to poor dental health — just to name a few.

By cutting sugar, you can reduce your health risks and may feel better than you ever thought was possible. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. We have over 750 articles and healthy recipes to help you kick your sugar addiction. Subscription is free and easy. By subscribing you can receive each new article straight to your email inbox.

Be well!

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Obese Yet Malnourished

Imagine if you will, the surprise you might experience if you have been feeling run down with a malaise that will not go away to hear from your doctor that not only are you now morbidly obese, but you are also suffering from malnutrition despite the fact you eat all day, every day. Despite your excessive consumption of food, you learn that you are no different than many other obese individuals who have high rates of micronutrient deficiencies. That diet of fast food, pizza, soda pop and sweet treats has left you with a deficiency of specific vitamins and minerals that play important roles in glucose metabolism and insulin. All of which may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome sometime in your future if you do not already have one of these conditions.

You can’t fix your hunger by just nutritionally empty calories. You’ve got to nourish yourself with healthy, nutrient-dense foods, in order to maintain good health and to not become obese. You are doing yourself no favors if you are the type who lives on fast foods or any other type of foods of poor nutritional quality. When you consume a nutritionally poor diet, you are dooming yourself to a life of obesity and health problems. You are responsible for your health, no one else. Your first line of defense is to change your dietary habits to one of whole nutritional foods. If you believe eating healthy is too expensive, you should consider the cost of good food is nothing when compared to unnecessary medical bills. It is a shame, but poor diets are now linked to more deaths than smoking.

 Besides getting fat, do our bodies have any way to tell us when we are hurting it with our poor nutritional habits? If so, what are the prominent signs?

Damaged Hair

Some people have naturally lush, beautiful hair. Others aren’t so lucky. But having great hair isn’t just about your genes. It can also have a lot to do with what you are, or are not feeding yourself. One of the first things to suffer from a poor diet is the hair follicles. Protein deficiency can be seen in stringy, straw-like hair. This can also be the result of a diet low in essential fatty acids, vitamin C, zinc, and iron.

Wrinkles

We all get wrinkles, like death, they’re fairly inevitable. But we can control how early our skin starts to show signs of age by eating well and avoiding bad habits, like smoking or drinking alcohol on a regular basis. The best way to keep your skin looking healthy is to eat foods that are high in vitamins A, C, and D and antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids. It’s also a good idea to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day.

Bad Teeth and Gums

If you’ve developed a case of bleeding gums or painful teeth, there’s a good chance you’re doing something rather terrible to your body. Smoking, eating the wrong foods, and drinking too much alcohol can all have an adverse effect on oral health.

While smoking can present major problems for the teeth, sugar is still the primary culprit. Consuming too much sugar, which is often caused by imbibing large amounts of soda, can wear away the enamel on the teeth, exposing them to decay and pain. You can help yourself by avoiding these beverages and increase your intake of vitamin C, which can help heal swollen and bleeding gums.

Weight Gain

Weight gain can be the result of binging on high-calorie, high-fat foods barren of important nutrients. You already know you did not get heavy by eating healthy.

Gastrointestinal Problems

If you’re constantly in discomfort following a meal, meaning you feel indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, or constipation, it can be a sign that you’re doing your body harm. This could be the result of an insufficient supply of fiber. It’s recommended men get about 38 grams of fiber each day, with women getting about 25 grams.

Constantly Getting Sick

If you feel like you just can’t do anything to get to feeling healthy, it is time to re-evaluate your lifestyle choices. This should start with a careful examination of your diet, followed by a close look at your exercise regimen. Simply put, eating poorly and failing to get sufficient exercise can have hugely negative consequences for the body and particularly its immune system.

Wounds Heal Slowly

If it seems like your body is in slow motion when it comes to healing minor cuts and bruises, it’s possible you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs to fight these problems. If this is a problem for you, try to eat less high-calorie, high-fat foods that lack essential fatty acids and important vitamins, from vitamin A and B12 to vitamin C. Be sure that the foods you’re eating aren’t just empty calories that offer your body nothing it can use to heal wounds. Increasing your consumption of protein will also help.

Foggy Brain

If you find yourself struggling to answer really simple questions and can’t figure out why, it could simply be a lack of sleep or preoccupation with another, more important life matter. Or, you could be damaging your body and it’s trying to warn you that things just aren’t right. Foggy memory and struggles with concentrating are actually two major signs that the body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs. Like the other parts of the body (including the heart, lungs, and intestines) the brain needs certain nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, to function at its best.

When most of us think of malnutrition, we think of stick thin children with distended bellies. We almost never consider that one who is obese could possibly be suffering from malnutrition too. I remember the first time I ever heard of this, it was about 23 years ago. One of my family members was obese and not feeling well. He went to his doctor who asked him what he eats on a daily basis. His reply was pizza, beer, pickled eggs and hotdogs. He weighed about 300 pounds and because of this unhealthy diet, he was also severely malnourished. Never for a minute think that just because your belly is full, that is good enough.

It is not enough.

Make the choice today, make a difference in your health and begin eating a nutritionally dense, low calorie diet of whole foods that contain no added sugar, unhealthy fats or too large amounts of sodium or preservatives. We have over 750 articles and healthy recipes here at David’s Way to Health and FItness to help you with a new lifestyle. You have the power to make a positive change if only you first choose to do so.

Re-Evaluating Healthy Living Yet?

With each passing day over the last couple of weeks, life has become more surreal than I have ever experienced in my almost 57 years. I have never seen empty store shelves the likes of which are happening around the world. I have never witnessed a level of fear over a virus such that has occurred with COVID-19. In China, where the virus originated, the average age of individuals who have died as a result of COVID-19 has been 56,  62% of which were men. Around half of those treated had underlying medical conditions, most commonly diabetes and high blood pressure. In America, an estimated 60 percent of all Americans have at least one chronic health condition, and 40 percent have more than one. Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes can exacerbate a Corona virus infection. Studies have shown these conditions, which are largely a self imposed result of unhealthy living, increase the odds of severe disease and death. If you have been the type who proclaims “I do not do healthy”, have you considered re-evaluating how you live your life as you pass all the empty shelves in your grocery store? Have you even consider how your unhealthy habits leave you more susceptible to dying from COVID-19?
Let’s be real and consider that COVID-19 is not the first pandemic, nor will it be the last that afflicts people around the world. We will get through this one way or the other. But going forward, if you have maintained a sedentary lifestyle and lived on unhealthy foods, are you going to take personal responsibility for your own health? Or, are you going to continue with your ways and demand that others fix your problems for you? Are you going to be proactive with your life? Or will you continue to be reactive only? Will you accept that your sedentary behaviors and dietary intake are independently associated with your risk of obesity and all that comes with it?

It is no dark government secret that an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are among the key modifiable risk factors for non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although such diseases often only appear in adulthood, these behaviors are typically initiated or reinforced already during childhood and adolescence. With the rise in childhood obesity rates, it is no longer uncommon to see children who have these maladies that we used to only see in the old and infirm. There is a growing tendency for our children to consume unbalanced diets with high intake of simple carbohydrates, oily foods, and consumption of sugar dense processed foods and drinks. Is it any wonder that our health industry can become overwhelmed without the addition of COVID-19 to add to their already heavy burden?

COVID-19 might take your life, you also might get run over a truck tomorrow. We just do not know what life has in store for us, but we can do all that is possible to live the healthiest lives we can. Sedentary lifestyles with unhealthy diets increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world—from both developed and developing countries—lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of children are also insufficiently active, with serious implications for their future health.

As bad as COVID-19 might be, there are far many other concerns in life you had better start taking just as seriously.

Start living a healthy life today!

No Hill For a Climber, March Progress

Today is March 18,  seventy two days have passed since Loraine’s double mastectomy and she still has not healed enough to begin her radiation treatments. She had been healing just fine until a staph infection reared its ugly head and her radiation treatments had to be put on hold. After a course of strong antibiotics and weekly visits to a wound care specialist, we find ourselves now facing yet another infection. This one came as much or more of surprise than the first one had. Each week her open wound has been checked by the wound care specialist. He would cut out dead fatty tissue along with a tissue called fibrin. Fibrin is a corrupt matrix of cells which must be removed in order to facilitate healthy healing of a wound. Thankfully, Loraine has started her daily hormone treatments despite the delay in her radiation treatments which we had been hoping would begin in the next couple weeks. Now, we await lab reports so that she can begin another round of antibiotics. Oh the joy…

The last half dozen months have been such a learning experience for Loraine and I both. There is so much information that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis that it is extremely difficult for every topic to be covered, and for you to actually be able to absorb it all. It will make your mind spin round and round. It is our sincerest hope that by my writing about our shared experience as a man and wife, that we can help others in their difficult journey too. One thing which we never knew about before hand is it is not uncommon after a bilateral mastectomy for a woman to suffer pain in her sternum. When you ask about pain after breast cancer, you might get a vague answer, Loraine has. For some  women, sternum pain is a normal part of recovery.  This is true for many women, but not for all. For those experiencing sternum pain after breast cancer, Costocondritis may be to blame.

What is Costocondritis? 

Costocondritis is inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone. Also known as anterior chest wall pain, Costocondritis causes discomfort in the chest wall around the breastbone (or sternum) and sometimes is severe. Loraine experiences pain ranging from mild to severe. The pain wakes her from sleep quite often.

Costochondritis is a common problem in women who have been affected by breast cancer and acts up in a similar way to arthritis. The pain may be mild to severe with tenderness over the anterior chest and may radiate to the back, shoulders, stomach or arms. Pain is often aggravated with coughing, lifting, straining, sneezing and deep breathing. Flare ups can be triggered by over-working your arms, lifting, sweeping, or over extending. Pain can be constant or intermittent and can last for several days to multiple months or years.

We never heard about Costochondritis anytime before her surgery, and Loraine has not yet been diagnosed with it. Her pain could also be simply from all the manipulation of pectoral muscle tissues being pulled and stretched during surgery. We hope and pray her pain is resolved soon, my poor wife has been through so much already…

Thoughts on Corona and Lifestyle

My life has been quite the whirlwind lately. We lost my brother in law and best friend Howard to liver cancer, and then my work schedule was changed unexpectedly along with a few more private and personal events I do not want to get into here. And just when it seems that everything is tapering off, along comes the Corona virus and all of a sudden, people everywhere have gone stark raving mad. I will never worry about a zombie apocalypse now, instead my fear is having to wrestle lunatics in the grocery store over a package of toilet paper. If I could find a pack, I might just make sure all in the store watches  as I first lick and then cough all over it in order to ensure no one steals the package out of my cart…

I have been a little remiss in my writing lately with all the events that have occurred n my life. I had a muse this morning to write another piece on childhood obesity, but while walking through my grocery store early this morning, seeing the run on bottled water, toilet paper and cleaning supplies, my thoughts on my muse began to change. I’m not a doctor or a scientist so I am not going to get into if I believe the virus is going to wipe out mankind or not, but I do want to address some absurdities:

Immunizations

How many of the toilet paper hoarders refuse to immunize their children against the numerous diseases that have been known to decimate children, diseases such as smallpox, measles, polio, or other vaccine-preventable diseases.  A decision not to immunize your child also involves risk and could put your child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease. Without vaccines, your child is at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, and even death from diseases like measles and whooping cough. Yet, there are many people who refuse to vaccinate their children. Do we need to see them dying again for people to once again take these illnesses serious?

Smokers

If you are a smoker who is fearful of this virus, you really need to re-evaluate your life. If you are afraid of this virus, you should be afraid of every virus that can get you sick or kill you. Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year.

Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:

  • More than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • 278,544 deaths annually among men (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • 201,773 deaths annually among women (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

Cigarette smoking causes premature death:

  • Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers.
  • Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.

How about doing us all a favor and put a can or two of disinfectant back on the grocery store shelf for someone else to have some.

Drinkers

If you are a drinker and panicked by the fact you might die from the Corona virus, why do these facts not bother you?

  • An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity.
  • In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).
  • In 2010, alcohol misuse cost the United States $249.0 billion.
  • Three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking
  • In 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 percent of all global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women), were attributable to alcohol consumption.
  • In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. In 2012, 5.1 percent of the burden of disease and injury worldwide (139 million disability-adjusted life-years) was attributable to alcohol consumption.
  • Globally, alcohol misuse was the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability in 2010. Among people between the ages of 15 and 49, it is the first. In the age group 20–39 years, approximately 25 percent of the total deaths are alcohol attributable
  • More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study.

Thursday night at my job, we had several employees not show up to work because of their fear of contracting the Corona virus. Yet, I cannot help to wonder how many of them sat around drinking away their obsessions with others in a bar or at home.

Obesity

In this modern age where we have all the information in the world contained by a small device in the palm of our hands, everywhere you look, there are people with significant weight problems. It is almost like no one either knows how this happens, or maybe they just do not care. Either way, the increasing prevalence of obesity over the last two decades has generated considerable concerns about its health burdens. It is frequently stated in scientific and lay literature that obesity causes about 300, 000 deaths per year in the United States. It has been suggested that obesity is second only to smoking as a preventable cause of death.

It is not rocket science to see that people who are overweight or obese face a lot of health complications. In fact, by being overweight or obese, you increase your risk for many diseases and health conditions that can be more debilitating or deadly than the Corona virus. Unfortunately, obesity rates in the United States are rising. With that statistic comes some staggering costs.

  • In the United States, 36.5 percent of adults are obese. Another 32.5 percent of American adults are overweight. In all, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.
  • Around 17 percent of American children ages 2 to 19 are obese. That’s more than 12.7 million American children.  One in eight preschoolers are obese. These statistics are unacceptable! Children who are overweight or obese are five times more likely to be obese or overweight adults than children of normal weight. This can increase their risk for many chronic diseases and health complications.
  • If you are overweight or obese, your risk for dozens of diseases and conditions is higher. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and many other diseases.
  • Globally, obesity is one of the top five leading causes of death. It causes more than 2.8 million deaths each year. The other four leading causes are high blood pressure, tobacco use, high blood glucose, and physical inactivity.
  • Obesity costs Americans $147 billion each year. People who are obese pay more out of pocket than people who are not. In fact, the medical costs for people with obesity are $1,429 higher each year than those of people with a normal weight.
  • As of 2017, all 50 states have an obesity rate over 20 percent. Just two decades ago, no state had a rate above 15 percent.
  • Today, Americans eat 23 percent more calories than we did in 1970. That can really add up. One of the leading causes of overweight and obesity is an imbalance of calories. When you eat more than you burn, your body stores the extra energy as fat. Over time, the pounds can begin to pile on.
  • People who are overweight or obese miss about 56 percent more work days than people of normal weight. While normal-weight employees miss an average of three days per year, overweight and obese individuals miss approximately two additional days.

I do not want to take away from the seriousness of the Corona virus pandemic, but seriously, we need people to calm the hell down and quit with the runs on the grocery stores. By taking more than you need, you are preventing others from also being able to buy those goods. Yes, the unknown factors behind this virus is kind of scary, however, there are far more scary things we do with our health each and every day without a thought to deadly or debilitating consequences. It appears the virus is most deadly to older people and those with health problems already. The good news is, there is something you can do about your health that costs little to nothing. What you can do is clean up your dietary habits and quit living a sedentary life. You have it in you to actually be able to increase and improve the quality of your own life if you simply make the choice to do so. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and FItness, and we can help you to get there. Subscriptions and access are, and always be, free and easy for all.

Sugar Addiction

If you are overweight or obese and have a voracious appetite for junk foods, what would you think if I said you were no different than the junkie down on the corner looking to score a rock of  crack cocaine?

Would that piss you off?

If so, why does this make you angry, because you see yourself as better than a junkie?

Did my opening words get your attention? I sure hope so because our society has a humongous problem with junk foods and obesity. That craving you and I can get for sugar laden foods is an addiction no matter how you look at it. Let me ask;

Have you ever had an insatiable craving for brussel sprouts, broccoli, or any other healthy foods?

Could you eat a 5 gallon bucket of salad greens and still crave something loaded with simple carbohydrates?

Have you ever ate canned frosting with a spoon?

When you eat cookies, do you eat a half dozen or better at a time?

Does this kind of eating ever make you feel guilty, or that you have let yourself down?

What is addiction?

Addiction is a complex disease, often chronic in nature, which affects the functioning of the brain and body. It also causes serious damage to families, relationships, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. The most common symptoms of addiction are severe loss of control, continued use despite serious consequences, preoccupation with using, failed attempts to quit, tolerance and withdrawal. (1)

My personal opinion is that addiction to foods that are calorically dense from simple carbs while being low in nutritional value are running neck to neck with common street drugs in the damage they do. I believe this because junkies on street drugs know they are doing something wrong when they consume illegal drugs while no one will ever think the same while snarfing down Grandma’s famous cookies or your favorite aunts pecan pie. Food junkies are a bit worse off because they do not always recognize the harm they are doing to their body’s when tossing candy and cakes down their throats.

Good lord, it’s food and we have to eat, right?

The addictive nature of sugar.

We reward children with it, over the holidays or for a job well done in school. And we reward ourselves with it — after a particularly stressful day or to celebrate a birthday or a special success. We add sugar to our coffee, bake it into our favorite treats, and spoon it over our breakfast. We love the sweet stuff. We crave it. But, are we addicted to it?

There’s an increasing body of research that tells us sugar could be as addictive as some street drugs and have similar effects on the brain.

The link between sugar and addictive behavior is tied to the fact that, when we eat sugar, opioids and dopamine are released.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a  key part of the “reward circuit” associated with addictive behavior. When a certain behavior causes an excess release of dopamine, you feel a pleasurable “high” that you are inclined to re-experience, and so repeat the behavior. As you repeat that behavior more and more, your brain adjusts to release less dopamine. The only way to feel the same “high” as before is to repeat the behavior in increasing amounts and frequency. This is known as substance abuse.

“Research shows that sugar can be even more addicting than cocaine,” says Cassie Bjork, R.D., L.D., founder of Healthy Simple Life. “Sugar activates the opiate receptors in our brain and affects the reward center, which leads to compulsive behavior, despite the negative consequences like weight gain, headaches, hormone imbalances, and more.”

“Studies suggest that every time we eat sweets we are reinforcing those neuropathways, causing the brain to become increasingly hardwired to crave sugar, building up a tolerance like any other drug,” she adds. (2)

You know, there are actually some people out there who can casually drink alcohol and never have a problem associated with it. There are also people who can casually consume street drugs and never fall victim to a full blown addiction. This is true also in that some people can eat sugary foods and never have any issues either. However, there are many, me included, who have a problem with sugar addiction. We have a difficult time controlling our cravings for sugar and the next thing you know, you are overweight or obese.

If you are overweight or obese, odds are quite slim that you became that way by eating like a rabbit, and you know this to be true.

Once your body has a weight issue, health issues are going to be next, if you do not already have them. Health issues such as:

Heart disease and stroke.

High blood pressure.

Diabetes.

Cancer.

Gallbladder disease and gallstones.

Osteoarthritis.

Gout.

Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea and asthma.

Sadly, far too many who have weight related health issues will refuse to modify their nutritional habits. If this is not you, you almost certainly know someone who refuses to clean up their nutrition even when they know that will give them a better quality of life.

Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we are and always will be free to you. We have about 750 health and fitness articles along with many healthy recipes to help you lose and manage your weight in a healthy manner. Click on our Home Page Menu sub-item  in order to learn all about our methodology. Subscriptions to David’s Way are free and easy, By subscribing you will receive each new article or recipe straight to your email inbox.

(1) centeronaddiction.org

 (2) healthline.com

Goodbye My Friend

There are elements to weight loss and management that simply confound me at times. I knew from weight loss social media sites that many people when getting close to their goals will sabotage their own efforts and will subsequently implode. They will quickly wipe out all of their efforts in less than half the time it took to lose the weight they had lost. They will regain all of their lost body fat, and most of the time will wind up with a higher body fat percentage than what they had began with. This is a sad reality that occurs each and every day.

When I was working towards earning my certification as a Nutrition and Wellness consultant, a portion of the course of study covered human nature when it comes to weight loss. You would think the most important question to ask a prospective client would be  – “why do you want to lose weight”?  This question actually ranks down to about third in  importance. The top two questions are actually – “are you willing” and “do you think you can”? If you are not willing or do not believe you can, then the question of why is a moot point.  Even people who are facing death will not find this reason enough to change their dietary habits. This lesson was slammed home for me in a very personal way over the course of the last year.

( in the interest of family privacy, I’m withholding my friends name below)

 A little over a week ago, I lost my best friend to liver cancer. I had taken him into my home a year ago to care for him since he was unable to care for himself in his own home. My friend was also morbidly obese, he had very poor nutritional habits that contributed to his demise.

As we watched his condition deteriorate, it was becoming obvious that we would be needing help in the home with his care, or possibly have him placed in a Hospice House. I took him to his last oncology visit with the intent of speaking to the doctor about hospice care, but it turned out I did not need to raise the subject as the doctor brought it up first. Even though I knew my friends condition had deteriorated, I sat in stunned silence as the doctor told him nothing more could be done, and then he described how his demise would occur. The doctor reassured him it would be painless, and that he would simply fall asleep and never wake up again. We left the oncologist’s  office and checked him into the hospital with the hope he would be transferred to a Hospice House at the beginning of the week. For my dear friend, the beginning of the week never came. Early Saturday morning he fell asleep. Sunday afternoon, I watched him gasp for his last breath and then sadly watched as the life left his body.

As tragic as this loss has been, I want to convey an important lesson from it in order to help others. My best friend had hope for a cure. Although he was morbidly obese, I was there when his doctor said that if he could get his body mass index (BMI) down, he would be able to get a life saving  organ transplant. It was a long shot, but through good nutrition I was able to assist him in losing weight from 588 pounds down to 361 pounds. He went from being immobile to actually being able to do the exercise program I had set him up with. He also regained his ability to walk without his walker. We were on a good path towards achieving his goal of getting his BMI down far enough for the transplant. He was feeling much better, his blood labs had vastly improved. It was amazing to see the transformation to his quality of life. But then, about late summer or early fall, he fell back to his old eating habits, which resulted in a rapid decline to his health. I had talked with him about the importance of not resuming his bad nutritional habits ever again, as he did not have the luxury of time with the cancer in his liver. We had to get his BMI down before the cancer took over. I was actually optimistic about achieving this goal until he began once again eating sugar and sneaking out for fast foods excursions along with having it delivered to our home. I know he wanted to live, but in the end, the cravings for unhealthy food choices beat out his desire for life.

We cannot, nor will we ever know if my kind and gentle friends life would have been saved if he had remained on point with nutrition and exercise. Cancer is a bitch and will take even the most healthy with a swiftness. The take away point is the importance of healthy nutritional habits as a permanent lifestyle and not a temporary diet. It is not rocket science that a fit and trim body is going to allow you to live a life of better quality than living with an obese or overweight body. When you allow yourself to become obese and out of good physical condition, you are literally gambling with your life.  The longer you let a habit overcome sensibility, the harder it is for one to break this habit. This is especially true when it comes to poor nutritional habits. If you have a child with a weight problem, it is incumbent upon you to help them to change their unhealthy ways. By allowing your child to continue with poor nutrition of sugary, processed foods, you are dooming them to an unhealthy life in the future. A healthy body is more important than a roll of the dice.

You Can’t Outperform a Bad Diet

If you study any of the popular weight loss social media sites for any length of time you will notice a common theme where people cannot understand why they are not losing weight despite how much they exercise.

You cannot beat a bad diet with exercise!

You might do well for a little while, but eventually the bad diet practices will overwhelm your exercise regimen. The only exception to this are elite level athletes and genetic outliers. This is a simple fact of life that many seem to never grasp. Just because you exercise regular does not give you license to eat anything and everything you want without eventually paying the consequences on the scale and with your health. I know one individual who believes that since she walks many miles per week, she can eat sweet treats on the weekends. She also seems to have a difficult time understanding why she cannot stay at her goal weight. I have known others who thought that the first place to visit after working out in the gym was the local Dairy Queen on their way home. To put it quite simply, while exercising is certainly a healthy habit, it is not enough by itself. If you want a fit and trim body, your nutrition has to play a positive role too. There is an old saying that is an absolute truth for all – Six pack abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym!

In order to slim down and lose body fat, you must be at a caloric deficit no matter who you are and no matter what shape you might currently find yourself. This is a simple truth of life. Unless you have a true medical issue that might interfere with this truth, you have to consume less than you burn. You are not any different than anyone else, you are not special in this regard. I can guarantee, you cannot find scientific or medical proof that I am wrong in this regard.

One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. To lose one pound of fat per week, you must have a deficit of 500 calories per day, or any combination that will equal a total deficit of 3500 calories from your weekly needs. Conversely, 3500 extra calories over your needs will equal a one pound increase of body fat per week.

Many people make the mistake of over estimating their caloric burn when they exercise. They will rely on data from their exercise equipment, such as treadmills for example, or their personal fitness trackers. It is not uncommon for this caloric burn data to be incorrect. If you are relying on this data to justify still being able to eat your treats and you are still gaining body fat, you can bet the data is telling you that you are burning more fat than you actually are. This is a truth even if you have the most expensive of fitness trackers on your wrist. Just because you might have spent $500 on the latest fitness tracker does not mean the data is reliable. As with any computer system, junk data going in means junk data is going to come out. My personal feeling is many people would be better off to ditch the fitness trackers all together and pay more attention to what their body is telling them.

Another mistake many people make is they over rate the intensity of their exercise. On one popular weight loss app, people are awarded food points based on the duration and intensity of their exercise. On this app, I have seen over weight, out of shape people insisting they exercised at a high intensity for an  hour for example. This is a bunch of bologna, as high intensity exercise means that you have your heart rate up into the anaerobic zone above the fat burning zone. At a truly high intense level for these people, they would not be able to breath well enough to continue at this rate for more than a minute or two at best. People who are not used to getting out of their comfort zone will confuse a medium intensity level of exercise with a high intensity. Many people become uncomfortable the moment their breathing becomes even a little bit labored. But, this little bit of discomfort does not indicate you are exercising at anything beyond a medium intensity.

Low Intensity: You can breathe easy and carry on a conversation as normal.

Medium Intensity: Your heart rate has elevated enough for you to breathe a little heavier, yet you are still able to maintain a labored conversation.

High Intensity: Your heart rate is high, you can barely breathe and there is no way you can engage in any conversation. This kind of intensity can also make you vomit.

Vigorous exercise will make you hungry. It will make you hungrier than if you had not exercised at all. When you exercise, the smart money is on also cleaning up your nutrition. If you are addicted to simple carbohydrates as many of us are, you will only crave them even worse after you exercise. If you are carb addicted, that ice cream parlor might be hard to resist after swimming laps. The reality is, that 750 calorie hot fudge sundae you are craving might actually equal more calories than you even burned while in the pool.

To sum all this up, you might exercise 30 minutes to maybe a couple hours out of your twenty four hour day.  Even if you get in two hours of exercise, this is only a small percentage of your time. No matter who you are, no matter your level of fitness, you must make the remaining hours of your day that are not filled with exercise count as much, if not more than your time in the gym or out running. If you exercise and still cannot lose weight, you are not a special snowflake. You are still eating more than you burn off in a day, therefore you just make an honest assessment of your nutritional habits. You must make yourself accountable to yourself. It is intelligent to track what you eat and not assume you are eating fewer calories than you actually are. If you do not track, you cannot know. Having a fit and trim body requires having the discipline to incorporate healthy habits into all aspects of your life.

If you find that you are not losing body fat despite your exercise, you need to truly evaluate your daily habits and adjust accordingly my friends. No one can outperform a bad diet forever.

No Hill For a Climber, Fighting To Heal

Loraine and I truly hope that by telling our story of her battle against breast cancer that we may help others who may be facing the same. There is a plethora of things about this terrible disease that we had no clue about, every day seems to be a learning experience. With what seems to be every day, we are faced with new challenges that we never dreamed of in the past.

Nothing about breast cancer treatment ever seems to move at the speed we wish it would. Even though from the time of diagnosis until Loraine’s double mastectomy was only a couple months, those months seemed to drag on and on, you just want to get that shit out in order to begin further treatments. Yet, further treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy cannot begin until a woman has healed from her mastectomy. Loraine’s underwent her mastectomy on January 6th, it is now February 27th and we have no earthly idea when her radiation treatments can begin as she is not fully healed as a result of the infection which had set in quite deeply at her left incision.

Loraine still has a ugly, angry looking hole in her chest that seems to be getting bigger by the day. Literally, you could place a small stack of quarters into this hole, it is scary looking and not something anyone who is squeamish could adequately care for. The good news is, it is actually not infected any longer. We went to Saint Luke’s today for wound care, the doctor was out sick with the flu, but the two awesome nurses who have been involved in Loraine’s wound care were still able to clean the wound out and dress it. They told us that despite how ugly it looks, it is common that deep wounds like this can appear to be uglier before they get better as the underlying and exposed fatty tissue has to die off before healthy skin tissue begins to grow back over the hole. The surrounding skin and underlying tissue looks healthy, Loraine has been on antibiotics and we clean and dress her wound every day. Apparently we are doing a good job. What looks like puss to her and I is actually the dying fatty tissue which we have been removing every day after she has bathed. I wash out the wound with sterile saline solution, remove the dead fatty tissue and then repack it with a collagen and silver dissolvable packing called Prisma, then re-bandage the wound until the next day when we repeat the process.

Loraine had a visit with her medical oncologist last week. Dr. Satteli had her go ahead and at least begin her hormonal treatments since there was no need for further waiting on this course of treatments that will last the rest of Loraine’s life. Dr. Satteli suggested a skin graft may be necessary to get the wound fully healed in order to begin the radiation treatments. I have to wonder if that would heal her any faster than waiting on natural healing. I really hope Loaine does not have to undergo another surgical procedure anytime soon, it seems she has been through enough already. I will be getting answers for this question Tuesday when we go back to see the wound care doctor, hopefully he will no longer be sick next week.

Cancer is a tiresome bitch. While we are very optimistic that Loraine is going to beat this, every day can still be a grind. Doctors appointments every week so far, and there will be many more going into the future. We have had daily wound drain care for the first three weeks after her mastectomy, and now we have daily care of this wound created by the infection. Thank God I have good insurance to cover a good portion of our expenses that we have incurred thus far. Each day we get up and are thankful for the life we have, even with these kinds of setbacks. We know there are others out there who have life much harder than we. We know from experience that you can never take your good health or life for granted, all can change on the drop of a dime. Therefore you must live a humble and grateful life and appreciate all the blessings which do come your way. Cancer is a bitch without a doubt, but it has also introduced us to some of the most caring people we have ever met. We can always look up at a cloudy sky and get down and out because of a gloomy day. But we can also look up at that cloudy sky with the knowledge that soon, the sun will be burning back through to give us the days we can fully enjoy. I love the old adage about how some can view a glass of water as half empty or half full depending on their perspective. What many of those people miss, is that same glass is refillable. We fight the good fight each and every day. The best rewards in life come from the hardest fought battles.

Be healthy and well, never let life take you down without first giving it a good hard fight.

Don’t Die Too Young My Friend

Last week, a lifelong friend of mine had a heart attack at 56 years old. He went to the doctor for a stress test of his heart and did not pass. He had a heart attack while on the treadmill and was wheeled straight into emergency surgery where it was discovered he had a 99.9 percent blockage. Thankfully he was in a hospital already and the doctors were able to put in a place a stent to save his life. If he had been home or on the job, this could very well have been the sad end to a good man and a great tragedy to his family and friends who all love him dearly.

Take action now!

This concept is not rocket science; no matter what you might think, a healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. This concept is nowhere near as hard as you may believe it to be!  You do not have to die young and cause pain and anguish to your family and friends, you can make smart choices to change the overall pattern of your choices that will make improve your heart health. Make the simple steps below part of your life for long-term benefits to your health and your heart:

Quit consuming excess, empty calories and lose some weight!

  • Start by knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. Nutrition and calorie information on food labels is typically based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. You can learn your daily caloric needs simply by going to our Calorie Counter Pro menu where you simply enter your age, gender, weight, and activity level to see how many calories per day you need for your goals whether they are weight loss, gain, or maintenance.
  • If you are trying not to gain weight, don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day. This is a simple concept, eat more than you burn, and you gain weight. This is true for everyone. By eating only 500 calories per day in excess of your caloric needs, you will gain one pound of fat per week. Conversely, if you eat 500 calories less than you need, you will lose that one pound of fat.
  • Increase the amount and intensity of your doctor approved physical activity to burn more calories.
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (or an equal combination of both) each week. What ever you do, do not over rate the intensity of your exercise in order to be able to eat more. We have seen it time and again where people will rate their physical activity as intense when it was moderate at best. To rate your intensity remember this:
    1. Intense exercise will have our heart pounding hard and you will not be able to breath or speak. The odds of you doing this for more than a minute or two if you are not a trained athlete are very slim.
    2. Moderate intensity is where your heart rate is elevated and your breathing is deep and hard, but you can still carry on a labored conversation. This is a great zone to be in as this where fat burning takes place. It takes the average person twenty minutes to burn through their glycogen stores before burning fat, so try to go at it for at least 30 minutes at a time.
    3. Low intensity means your heart rate is not elevated and you can breath and speak easy. While this is better than sitting on the couch, you should work yourself up to where you can enter the moderate intensity zone.

Make everything you eat count towards good health!

You may be eating plenty of food to satisfy your immediate hunger, but that is not enough. Being full does not equate your body getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have minerals, protein, whole grains and other nutrients but are lower in calories. They help you control your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Quit eating calorie dense, low nutrition foods!

The right number of calories to eat each day is based on your age and physical activity level and whether you’re trying to gain, lose or maintain your weight. You could use your daily allotment of calories on a few high-calorie foods and beverages, but you are not likely to get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Do not waste your calories on sugar filled junk foods that will only serve to drive you crazy with cravings for more later in the day. Eliminate, or greatly reduce foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients in your diet. Also limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium you eat. Read nutrition labels on your food choices very carefully – the Nutrition Facts panel tells you the amount of healthy and unhealthy nutrients are in a food or beverage.

  • Eat a variety of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars. Replace high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose fiber-rich whole grains for most grain servings.
  • Choose poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways without added saturated and trans fat. If you choose to eat meat, look for the leanest cuts available and prepare them in healthy and delicious ways.
  • Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week, especially fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout and herring).
  • Select fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products.
  • Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat and replace them with the better fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. If you need to lower your blood cholesterol, reduce saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s about 13 grams of saturated fat.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further. If you can’t meet these goals right now, even reducing sodium intake by 1,000 mg per day can benefit blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man.
  • Follow the American Heart Association recommendations when you eat out, and keep an eye on your portion sizes. (1)

Do yourself and your family a favor and get your health together today. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we freely provide all the information you need to live a healthy life. Subscription is free and easy, join us today and get each of our new articles straight to your email inbox. Please feel free to comment or ask questions in either our comments section or privately through our contact menu. We answer everyone and encourage conversation!

(1) American Heart Association