10 Ways To Stay Focused During Stressful Times

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Temporary First-Aid

Until I adopted a lifestyle of wellness, I allowed stress to derail my health and fitness incentive. I would be chugging away towards extreme wellness and there would be a blip on the radar and I would slowly but surely go off the tracks and lose all the ground that I had fought for and won in the battle of the bulge. The key to the problem was that I was viewing the battle as temporary, something that I had to get done. My good behaviors that I adapted to struggle along towards my goals were forced, against the grain, and any additional stress would cause me to ditch these good behaviors. As long as I viewed these new habits as temporary actions to accomplish a specific thing, it was easy to let them go when the normal stresses of everyday living turned the heat up on my efforts. If a truly serious event occurred, I would not only lose the newly won ground, I would backtrack and add extra pounds as I stress ate my way into unconsciousness every night and shunned workouts because it was “just too much”.

New Life

The last two years  have presented unique challenges as I have created my life anew. I escaped a psychologically abusive environment the night that my home was destroyed by tornadoes. After 24 years of raising my special needs son, including 14 years of home schooling and then getting him through college, I was pretty burnt out. I reinstated my nursing license and began working a 12 hour shift in a nursing home that was not exactly an ideal place to work. The residents care was good but the working conditions for the employees could have been better and I was working from 7PM until 7AM. During this time, I was getting acquainted with “The Iron”. I had plenty of reasons to skip workouts or stress eat but instead, I made the decision to press into hard things to create the life that I wanted. At 61, I could not afford to let this opportunity for a great life get away from me. My window of opportunity for learning new job skills and getting really good at a job was getting dangerously close to closing. I had to decide if I wanted to do what seemed easier and live in Hell or do the hard thing and reap the life that I knew that I could have. I chose to do the hard thing. Today, I have peace in my home and a good job. I finally know what it’s like to look forward to going home. The reason that I have been able to find this peace is that I chose to stay focused on my goals.

Time Will Pass Either Way

A key to my success has been to realize that time will pass regardless of whether I am building towards my goals or destroying them. By choosing to focus on a positive outcome, day in and day out, I am seeing an increase in strength, definition and overall confidence. When stressful events occur, I don’t have that feeling of instability that trying times can bring. I already know what I am going to do. I am going to lift weights, eat well, track my food and get as much rest as I can work into my tight schedule. A rogue virus doesn’t change that. I have put some weights into my car so if I get quarantined somewhere, I have some Iron to work with. I am carrying extra protein and regardless of where I find myself, I will be doing the same things that I do now. My goals and focus will not change.

Simple Steps

There’s a method to my madness that anyone can learn. It’s not easy but it’s easier than being manipulated by circumstances and losing your health or living in a terrible situation. Unless you take care of yourself, you will suffer. Nobody else can do this for you. It’s a personal choice.

1-Decide what you want. Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to have a good fat to muscle ratio? Do you like your living situation now? Be truthful with yourself. Pretense and posturing are not your friend. Time is running out. Your health is at stake.

2-Analyze your habits and motives. Are they in line with your goals? If not, change them.

3-Decide what changes you need to make to achieve your goals. At my darkest hour, I realized that I had to make drastic, scary changes if I was to ever have the life that I wanted.

4-Make plans. You will need immediate plans that work into long range plans. Begin to live with purpose and don’t waste time complaining and feeling sorry for yourself.

5-Commit to HARD work. Great things are hard fought and won. If you want a mediocre life then you will exert mediocre effort. If you want a spectacular life, you will have to exert spectacular effort. You will have to make spectacular leaps of faith and sacrifices. Awesome does not come easy.

6-Work it…and keep working it. I had to get over wanting ANYTHING to ever be easy. It won’t be. A diamond is made under great pressure, otherwise it will remain a lump of coal. Coal is fine if that’s what you like, but I like shiny things.

7-Take care of yourself. Learn to say “No.” to other people’s ideas, demands, opinions and manipulation. If someone can upset you with a text, don’t read it. Plan your work and work your plan and let the rest of the world pass by. Focus on your health and well-being and anything that has a negative impact on that must fall away. If there is a stressful element that you cannot escape, learn to make it work for, not against, you.

8-Glory in your victories. Be proud of your success and finesse your lifestyle to create more of the same.

9-Enjoy your off days. Yes, you should have days off of everything except eating well. Good nutrition should just be a part of who you are.

10- Do it all again.

That’s focus.

 

 

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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…

Sleep Apnea

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Not a Good Night

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts. Loud snoring and daytime tiredness are signs that you may have sleep apnea. There are different types.

Different Causes

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. Since they support the soft palate, uvula, tonsils and sides of your throat and tongue, when they relax, these tissues tend to push inward and occlude the airway. Excess weight increases the risk for sleep apnea. When fat deposits around the upper airway, breathing can be obstructed. A large neck measurement may mean that you are more inclined to have sleep apnea due to this fat hidden around the upper airway. Occasionally a narrow airway is inherited and sometimes swollen tonsils or adenoids can block the airway. Children are particularly prone to obstruction due to swollen tonsils and adenoids. Men are more likely than women to have obstructive sleep apnea but women’s risk rises if they become overweight. Aging also raises the likelihood of having this type of sleep apnea. Alcohol, tranquilizers and other sedating drugs also increase the risk due to the relaxation of the muscles in the throat. Smoking increases your risk three times greater than that for someone who has never smoked due to the inflammation that is caused by smoking. If you have nasal congestion you are also more prone to have obstructive sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain simply does not send the proper signals to breath.

It is also possible to have a combination of both of these types of sleep apnea which is called complex sleep apnea.

Symptoms

The symptoms of these different types tend to overlap. In order to know what type you have, it’s necessary to see your doctor for testing. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, episodes of stopping breathing, gasping during sleep, awakening with a dry mouth, morning headache, difficulty staying asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, attention problems and irritability.

Complications

High blood pressure and heart problems can be caused by sudden drops in blood oxygen levels brought on by sleep apnea. Stroke and atrial fibrillation can also be associated with this disorder. If you have heart disease, this disorder can lead to sudden death from irregular heartbeat. (1) Sleep apnea also raises your risk for Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and complications with medications and surgery. Strangely enough, your sleep apnea can also affect the health of your partner who sleeps with you becsuse your loud snoring may prevent them from getting adequate sleep. I have known more than one person who slept with a snorer and went without sleep until they developed serious health problems of their own.

Incentive to Lose the Fat!

The list of health problems caused by overweight and obesity is almost endless. Some of those disorders are more serious than others. This particular one is deadly. While central sleep apnea is not weight related, obstructive and complex sleep apnea are usually related to the amount of fat on your body. This is just one more reason to create a new, healthy lifestyle that is based on good health with a good body fat percentage. Always consult your medical doctor before beginning any weight loss program. With his permission, you can go to our Calorie Counter Pro and discover how many calories you need to eat to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. We always suggest shooting for 1 pound per week. It’s easier and healthier to lose slowly and you are more likely to stick with your program. Losing slowly enables you to create a new lifestyle rather than just trying to “get it over with”. You won’t “get it over with”. These new behaviors should become a part of your daily habits and help you finally master the balance that creates a healthy lifestyle.

Extra Issues

See your doctor today if you think that you may have this deadly disorder. Poor sleep quality has the ability to affect every area of our lives in a negative way. Our job performance is impacted. Our relationships can suffer. Driving skills are impaired and academic pursuits can be difficult without a good night’s sleep. When we deceive ourselves that we are “getting away with” the excess fat that can contribute to obstructive or complex sleep apnea, we are setting ourselves up for destruction. Rationalization will not change reality. What we say we believe to be true does not change the truth. As my Grandmother often said, “The Truth will stand when the world’s on fire.” Embrace reality and start getting healthy today.

(1) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631

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 Free Snickerdoodle Pancakes

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Nutritional Info

Servings 12

Calories 120

Protein 5 grams

Fat 10 grams

Net Carbs 1 gram

Ingredients

1 cup almond flour

1/3 coconut flour

1/4 cup Swerve, Granular

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon “Sugar”

2 teaspoons Swerve, Granular

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, Swerve, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Stir in eggs, almond milk, melted butter and vanilla extract until well combined.

Grease a skillet with butter or coconut oil. Use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and spread into 4 inch circles. Cook until bubbles begin to appear on top and bottom is set and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Gently flip and continue to cook until the second side is golden brown.

Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on pancakes before serving.

Serve with sugar free maple syrup.

The “F” Word

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Shut Your Mouth!

There is no word in the world that evokes such strong emotions as this three letter word that begins with “F”. Yes, you read me right, three letter word. The word is the dreaded adjective that almost everyone fears and holds in disdain, FAT. However, there are different types of fat in our bodies and visceral fat is a killer.

Childhood Crush

I grew up with a boy named Jeremy who was a delightful child. He was my crush in the third grade. As Jeremy grew up, he turned into quite the handsome man. He married a woman who became morbidly obese and Jeremy gained slowly, right along with her. While she gained much more than he did, he finally became obese enough that his doctors told him that his fat was crushing his internal organs.  He was muscular and he had so much visceral fat that, as he gained weight, this stealthy fat that wraps around your internal organs, was slowly exerting more and more force inside his body. Jeremy had a gastric bypass to lose weight, and did lose weight, but as is the case in many weight loss surgeries, he gained it all back. Jeremy died in his 50’s from complications of the visceral fat that had literally squeezed the life out of him. Visceral fat also contributes to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even dementia.  Visceral fat contributes to belly fat and leptin, a hormone which plays a part in learning and memory, is produced by belly fat so there is a possible link to dementia from visceral and belly fat. Since I work with dementia patients, this is not a risk that I want to take.

Big Belly Is Spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E

Belly fat is both visceral and subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is found just under the skin. It’s the fat that is measured with a caliper or that you pinch up to see how fat you are. While subcutaneous fat on the thighs and butt is not considered dangerous, when this fat deposits on the belly it contributes to all of the problems associated with belly fat such as insulin resistance, diabetes, poor blood lipid profiles and also increasing risks for both stroke and heart attack. A “beer belly” is a warning sign that you need to take control of your appetite. A protruding belly and large waist are signs that you may have excess visceral fat. A woman should have a waist measurement of less than 35 inches and a man should keep his waistline at less than 40 inches. A bigger measurement indicates that you are at increased disease risk because visceral fat is associated with an increase in inflammation in the body which is associated with chronic disease including heart disease, insulin resistance and diabetes among many other deadly diseases, including cancer.

What To Do?

Low carb diets like we promote at David’s Way are more effective at reducing visceral fat than low-fat diets.  Regular aerobic exercise is also effective in reducing this deadly tissue. All heavy weight lifters know that heavy weights produce aerobic exercise. If my heart beat any harder or my breathing got any heavier during exercise, I don’t believe that I would remain conscious. Choose your aerobic activity and burn, Baby, burn. Soluble fiber such as the fiber found in flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, legumes and grains also contribute to visceral fat loss. Soluble fiber supplements are also available. Increasing your soluble fiber intake to 10 grams per day may help you shed visceral fat by helping suppress your appetite and contributing to healthy gut bacteria which produce short-chain fatty acids. Fatty acids help increase satiety so you may eat less. We also promote a high protein diet which has been found to fend off hunger by increasing the levels of the hormones that make you feel full. Protein can also boost your metabolism and studies show that people who eat more protein have less visceral fat. Limiting your sugar intake will help you to lose this deadly fat. We advocate eating absolutely no added sugars. In one study where the simple sugar, fructose, was replaced by starch in 41 children’s diet, visceral fat was reduced by 10.6% in only 10 days. (1) Limit your alcohol intake. The empty calories will pack on the pounds and increase your visceral fat stores. Trans fats which are found in some processed foods are also linked to increased visceral fat. If you eat processed foods, read labels carefully to avoid them. Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep increases visceral fat by causing an increase in cortisol production. Excess cortisol will always increase your belly fat. Increased stress also cause an increase in cortisol production so find a way to create a calm life. As we always say at David’s Way, “Keep your world small.” Cut excess drama and strife and reap the benefits in your waistline. Probiotics may help reduce visceral fat by increasing good bacteria in your gut that is associated with a reduction in abdominal fat. We also promote intermittent fasting with your doctor’s approval. Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce visceral fat by 4-7% over a 6-24 week period. (2) Intermittent fasting is simply the way that people ate before we had access to 24 hour food. You eat all of your food in a 8, 10 or 12 hour window and then you just don’t eat again for the remainder of that 24 hour period. It’s not new but it is effective.

White Death

White fat is the type of fat that we tend to put on when we gain excess weight. White fat inhibits the production of the good hormone, adiponectin, which makes our liver and muscles sensitive to insulin. This sensitivity makes us less likely to develop diabetes and heart disease. When the scale goes down, we are losing white fat.

Mystery Morphing Fat

We have small stores of brown fat which is being researched extensively to understand it’s function in our bodies. Lean people tend to have more brown fat than others and children have more than adults. When brown fat is activated, it burns white fat. This area of research may lead to medical interventions to help with obesity.

David’s Way

As you see here, David’s Way of eating is exactly what helps reduce visceral fat. This is a free website. Go to our Home Page and read about how to get started on your healthy journey. What have you got to lose? Always have your doctor’s permission before starting any weight loss program.

(1), (2) https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-about-fat#1

 

 

Low Carb Lemon Poppyseed Cake

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Nutritional Info

Serves 12

Calories 230

Net Carbs 3 grams

Fat 21 grams

Protein 5 grams

Ingredients

1 box Swerve Vanilla Cake Mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons lemon zest

2 Tablespoons poppyseeds

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Icing

3 oz. softened cream cheese

1/4 cup softened butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup Swerve Confectioner’s

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. and line an 8 inch round cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the cake mix, eggs, coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and poppyseeds.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and transfer to the oven to  bake for 25-30 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack.

While the cake is cooling make the  icing by beating together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla til light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the Swerve Confectioner’s.

Ice the cake with an offset spatula and store in the refrigerator til ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving.

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.

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(1) centeronaddiction.org

 (2) healthline.com

Realgood Low Carb Pizzas and Poppers Review

Disclaimer

I must begin this review by stating the obvious. My opinion may not be yours. If a low carb, chicken crust pizza snack interests you, you might want to try these for yourself. Personally, I had to wrangle with the idea that “If you can’t say anyting good, say nothing at all.” before writing this review. Even my autistic son,who normally doesn’t struggle with trying to spare my feelings about anything, was less than enthusiastic where these products were concerned.

Late Night Discovery

As I rambled through the aisles of frozen food looking for frozen peas, the various new pizza inventions caught my eye. Always looking for new products to review, I was thrilled when my eyes fell on these pizzas. Wow! Low carb, no sugar added and high protein all rolled up into pizza and pizza rolls. The crust is made from chicken so they looked promising. I hurriedly threw them in my cart, checked out and drove home. They only take a few minutes to prepare in the microwave and I was preparing food for two so in about 15 minutes, I had both boxes ready. I had a lot of calories left for the day so I was able to sample both products. The sad thing was that I didn’t fix anything else and after one bite, I had eaten all of these products that I wanted. Had I not been hungry, which is pretty rare, I would have thrown them out and started over. At only $5.67 per box, the “dinner” was cheap enough but so is dogfood. I think that I might have liked that better.

Pizza?

If you absolutely LOVE salty chicken then you might really go for these processed foods but remember, I said SALTY. One serving of the Snack Size Pizzas contain 750 mg. of sodium which is 31% of the Daily Value of what our government recommends that we should eat. There are 2 servings in a box. Although the poppers contain 10%, you must realize that is for only 3 poppers. There’s 9 in a box. There was nothing about this salty, processed chicken concoction that reminded me of pizza. The texture was rubbery and seemed to chew back. The flavor was just chicken. When I asked my son how he liked them, with as much tact as an autistic man can muster, he said, “Uh, they’re a little bland.” The boy loves pizza… all pizza. This was not pizza to him.

Binge Food?

I understand that sometimes we may look for a substitute for a “trigger food”. If you are craving pizza and you don’t trust yourself with the real thing then you might find a use for these products, but what you should do is try our  pizza casserole recipe. It’s quick and easy to make and guaranteed to satisfy your craving. You control the ingredients so sodium is your choice. While the recipe calls for turkey pepperoni, you can modify that with any meat or other protein that you like. I frequently make it with ground beef which has only 306 mg for an entire pound of meat. You can serve this to your family with confidence that they will like it. My son loves for me to make this delectable recipe. Sometimes I modify it to make a Mexican inspired taco casserole with taco sauce and Mexican spices instead of tomato sauce and Italian seasonings. It’s your choice! The recipe is quite versatile. If you actually binge on these Realgood products, you’re going to ingest a lot of salt.

Overall Impression

I will not buy any of these products again. I buy very few processed foods to begin with and these will not make that list. While I was full and the high protein kept me satisfied, it was like taking bad medicine to choke that stuff down. I kept thinking that it “would get better’. It didn’t. I know we’re always looking for something that’s quick to fix but still meets the low-carb, high protein, no sugar added criteria but this ain’t it for me. I think I’ll fire up my crock pot so that supper will be waiting when I get here. Hopefully, I’ll get good reviews from my son on that. I think he may lock the door if he knows I’m coming in with this stuff. Again, you may like these products. If so, go for it if you can tolerate the salt. Personally, when I want pizza, I’m making my own with the aforementioned recipe. If there’s any recipe that you would like to see featured here on David’s Way, comment here or drop us an email on the “Contact” tab. We will find one just for you!

Sodium

Wow! I wanted to give you a good, online photo of the nutritional information of these products, but the full label for the Snack Size Pizza is incredibly difficult to find! I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of the massive amount of sodium in this product. Even Walmart has a limited label available on their website. It doesn’t show the sodium, so I fished this box out of the garbage. See for yourself.

 

 

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.