Category: Health

Emotional Eating

We ALL Tend to Do This!

I remember growing up as an only child, way out in the country of rural Alabama, on a chirt (a type of dirt) road, looking so forward to special meals and desserts prepared either by my mother, grandmother or the church ladies where my daddy pastored. Although my mother was anorexic (undiagnosed) and very strict about what she served us, on special occasions and sometimes on Friday, she made a cake, usually dark chocolate, (Devil’s Food) with a chocolate buttercream icing. It was an emotional event! She monitored how much I ate, so I never got more than one piece at a time, but it was WONDERFUL! As I matured into a pre-teen, I began to get cravings associated with hormonal fluctuations and I began to seek out other sources of sweets, almost like a drug addict, looking for that wonderful feeling. By then, however, I had become very self-conscious about my body. I thought that I was fat. My mother continually told me so and it was an era of “Heroin-Chic” skinny. Mind you that this was fast on the heels of curvaceous Hollywood actresses that brought the house down with their curves. I was one confused young girl about what was attractive. Most of my life those voluptuous Hollywood sirens had been the standard of beauty and now, the standard was Twiggy, an emaciated fashion model that literally looked like a street person who lived on heroin and whatever she could find in restaurant garbage cans. She was beautiful but skeletal. Of course, there was also Cher who didn’t have an ounce of fat on her anywhere. If they were going to change the standard of beauty that drastically, they should have given a whole generation of girls notice, and a damn good explanation. While I was busy trying to look like Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy stole the show. Eating had become a source of shame, disgust and horror. Many girls of that time, and even today, were made to think that unless we were morbidly skinny, we would not be loved, by anyone, ever. We began to eat in secret and diet drastically to try to overcome our “habit”. The next thing we heard of was anorexia and then bulimia.  While I bordered on anorexia for a short period,  I was never afflicted with bulimia. I did have friends who fell victim to both.

Good Stress Too!

A phenomenon that we have noticed is the “Birthday Cake” dilemma. I can’t tell you how many times we have been asked if we eat birthday cake! It is inconceivable to many people that a birthday can be celebrated without a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil, (buttercream frosting). People tend to eat sugar and other unhealthy foods in abundance in response to happy emotions as well as unhappy ones. Again, food and emotions of all kinds, are a hand-in-glove relationship. When we give food the power to regulate how we feel and respond, it has become an addictive substance. Birthdays can be celebrated with plenty of healthy foods and good company. It’s not necessary to pack your arteries with buttercream to show that you are a good Auntie. Take the child a great gift and eat the healthiest offerings at the table. If the birthday is for an older person, take cash. You’ll be the favorite person at the party regardless of what you eat. You might carry Sugar Free Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes if you would like to have a healthier sweet treat at the party. Look into our recipe section and find something that suits your taste.

How to Cope

Look at the chart above and see if what you’re feeling is physical or emotional hunger. Most of us know the difference already. We know that if we’re hungry, our stomach feels empty and we’ll eat anything. We also know that if we’re tired, wired or have our feelings hurt or just plain angry and we want doughnuts then we’re probably not hungry. Notice the item where the chart compares when we stop eating. Have you ever binged on lean chicken or green vegetables? Probably not, but if you’re physically hungry, you will eat those foods until you’re not hungry anymore and stop. If you are eating from emotion, you will have trouble choosing healthy foods and after you give in to the birthday cake, you may not be able to stop with one piece. There’s never enough sugar and fat to fix your life or hold onto that euphoria of a party, so you will usually try to keep the party going by continuing to self-medicate with unhealthy foods.

Methods to Try

Keep a food diary. Write down, or digitally track, every bite that goes into your mouth. Keep records of how much sleep you’ve had, your hydration and your state of mind. Over time, you will begin to notice patterns that will enable you to get, and keep, your guard up during windows of danger.

Get some kind of support. If all of your so-called “friends” try to tempt you to live an unhealthy life, find new friends. We have a  Forum where you can interact with others who have the same goals. Join a gym. Find healthy groups on Facebook. Just make sure to interact with others who encourage your health initiative rather than try to pull you back into the abyss of sickness.

Cope with your stress in other ways. Get your doctor’s approval for an exercise program. He/she will most likely be happy to recommend a type of exercise based on your current abilities and limitations. Again, dissociate from negative people who push all the wrong buttons. That kind of stress is known to trigger binge eating. Practice deep breathing and get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation will make your stress level skyrocket.

Keep your mind engaged. When I was a lonely child, eating was a welcome reprieve from the boredom of a spoiled, slightly privileged child. By the standards in some parts of the world, most of us now are somewhat privileged. We find ourselves bored easily. Keep your mind occupied with productive activities and you’re not as likely to stray to the cookie jar.

DON’T KEEP YOUR TRIGGER FOODS IN YOUR HOUSE! We have ALL bought the ice cream “for the kids”. Don’t lie to yourself. If that’s your weakness, you’ll be in the kitchen at 3AM eating the soft edges of that carton until it’s ALL gone.

Make sure to eat enough healthy food to stay satisfied. After talking with your doctor, you might want to look at our Calorie Counter Pro   to determine how many calories you should eat in a day. We encourage a 1 pound per week loss in order to ensure that you are getting enough food to stay satisfied and have the time to slowly learn new habits. Carry healthy snacks with you all the time. I love string cheese and apples or celery and peanut butter. The combination of protein and fiber is great for seeing you through until your next meal.

DON’T QUIT and You Will Win!

You did not gain extra body fat quickly. You may think that you did because “Time flies when you’re having fun.” and eating that results in weight gain is fun, that’s why we do it. You gained it slowly and you will lose it slowly. Learn from mistakes and avoid the pitfalls that throw you off your game. This is a journey, not a race. In order to live a healthy lifestyle, we must continually learn. There are new foods being made available to us in the ever-expanding world market. There are new snack foods that may be healthy. Grow and learn about what works for you and if you lose ground, just dig in and push harder. That’s how you win this war, persistence. It’s not a temporary “diet” that will end on a set date. It’s a new you.

Always see your doctor before beginning any weight loss program and if necessary seek out a good therapist for emotional eating. We all need all the support we can get.

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My COVID 19 Experience

Like most people, I am about worn slick with this COVID 19 virus. I am not a fan of wearing a damn mask everywhere I go, and always feeling the need to be on guard to try and protect myself from this nasty little bug. I am more that ready for our lives to go back to normal. However, it appears we are going to be living with this bug for who knows how long before there is a cure and or vaccine to protect us. I totally get where some people are coming from when they express the resistance to wearing masks in public.  However, I am going to guess that most who are resistant to taking the mandated precautions have not yet been touched by COVID 19. Maybe some of these people do not have anyone in their lives who have compromised immune systems or comorbidities where the virus can be deadly to them. I agree that we cannot keep our society shut down forever because of COVID 19, however, as I have said in another article or two, we do need to approach this new sickness with rational thinking and plain old fashioned common sense. Until we have a proven vaccine and or treatments, it is only wise to continue taking precautions to avoid getting it. Wear your mask when around other people. If not for yourself, just do it for others. I know that a piece of cloth is not going to stop a microscopic virus, but it can stop your infected spittle from flying through the air when you speak, cough or sneeze. Keeps your hands clean by washing often, and just be courteous to others with social distancing. None of these things are hard to do, yet for some people it seems as if they are being unreasonably inconvenienced. Trust me, a little inconvenience is nothing compared to being sick with this bug. I know this first hand now, I am quarantined to my home now by the Leavenworth County Health Department because my wife and I both have it.

I have maintained from the early days of this virus – even before we knew as much as we do today – the best line of defense against it would be to keep our immune systems as healthy as possible through good nutrition and exercise.  COVID-19, in those with underlying health conditions or comorbidities, has an increasingly rapid and severe progression, often leading to death. From what is known at the moment, patients with COVID-19 disease who have comorbidities, such as hypertension or diabetes mellitus, are more likely to develop a more severe course and progression of the disease. Furthermore, older patients, especially those 65 years old and above who have comorbidities and are infected, have an increased admission rate into the intensive care unit (ICU) and mortality from the COVID-19 disease. This virus is no joke, and with my dear wife Loraine having breast cancer, my worst fear has been that she would contract it since the cancer has had a negative effect on her immune system.

Wearing a damn mask was only a small inconvenience compared to this…

I’m not stupid enough to believe that wearing a mask is foolproof, but with Loraine’s compromised immune system, it has only seemed to be a wise choice to me when I have been out in public and in close proximity to others. Last week, she received word that she had been exposed to COVID 19 while at work, and sure enough, on Saturday she became quite sick to her stomach and had a headache. Sunday morning, Loraine went to a local testing station and got tested while I went on to work delivering construction and industrial supplies for my employer.

I had a pretty good day, despite my load being one that really caused me a lot of extra work getting all of my freight delivered. Once I had dropped off the last of my freight and was facing a 3 hour drive home in my semi truck, I all of a sudden began feeling really fatigued. In less than a half hour after the fatigue had set in, my entire body began hurting. Every joint and muscle in my body became quite painful, I actually have a high tolerance for pain being as I live with chronic sciatic pain from a spinal injury 11 years ago. Today is Friday, and my body is still hurting, although it has subsided a great deal.

Monday morning I knew as soon as I got out of bed that I was sick and I felt pretty confident that it was COVID 19. Loraines test results had not come back yet, but she was still quite sick and I was having a difficult time even putting my thoughts together enough to call into work and let them know I could not work that night – calling in is something I rarely do – I did not feel as if I would be safe behind the wheel of a 80,000 pound truck on the highway. At about 11:30 am, I went back to bed and did not get up until my cat woke me up at about 5:30 am Tuesday morning. At 8:00 am I made an appointment to be tested too. I have to say, testing is not as gruesome as some would have you believe. It was simply a matter of swabbing out one nostril and then the other with a cotton swab and then putting it into a vial which contained some type of liquid. There is no reason to be intimidated about getting tested should you feel the need.

I do not want to get political, but I honestly believe that our government and researchers, as well as others worldwide, are doing their best to come up with a cure and or a vaccine to COVID 19. I believe part of their difficulty is this virus is so different from others in the past, symptoms and severity can be different from person to person, almost as if there is little uniformity to this disease such as can be found with others. While I have not vomited as Loraine has, my entire body hurts really badly, and the fatigue has been horrible. I have bad pain in strange places such as the connective tissues at my ankles and both sides of my hips constantly hurt. Sometime Wednesday, I began noticing that I could smell something strange, and that everything I ate or drank had a taste just like what I was smelling. This odor is emanating from my sinuses. Loraine and I have been fortunate in that the virus has not impacted our lungs as it does so many. The wife of one of my friends has been hospitalized for quite some time now and has had to be on a ventilator.  Another friend of mine recently lost his mother to COVID 19, and another friend of mine had this along with her son. Her son has been displaying mental health issues now that were not there before he had this sickness. He was sick with COVID 19 about 3 or 4 months ago, and the damage done to his mental health has not subsided. Another friend of my friend who had this has been hospitalized for months now, and has specialized treatments to keep her blood oxygenated that cannot be done by ventilator alone. This sickness is serious business for a great many who do go on to survive it as most of us will. I feel fully confident that Loraine and I will both return to work once our quarantines are over. We are both feeling better than we did in the first few days of this, and we will continue to improve. All I ask is that people use a little common sense and courtesy to others during these trying times. How about instead of being defiant in regards to mandated precautions, just consider that even if you are healthy, you can be a carrier among people who have immune system weakness and other comorbidities where this virus can be fatal. Until we have a vaccine or a cure, this virus is obviously not going to go away on its own. God bless all of you and please, as a society, lets try and look out for each others wellbeing.

 

Fat Facts, Check Your Knowledge

1 – What is the first historical event that we can point to as contributing to the rise in excess   pounds?

a. The development of agriculture.

b. The development of whipped cream in coffee.

c. The development of more office jobs.

d. The development of fast food.

Answer – (a) The development of agriculture meant that we could now have foods we wanted along with those we needed. This is what provided the foundation for indulgence.

2 – What is the reason most diets fail?

a. They are designed so that they’re impossible to stick to long term.

b. They’re so complicated that you need a math degree to follow them.

c. There are only so many carrot sticks and celery stalks a person can take.

d. Mozzarella sticks. Mmmm!

Answer – (a) Most diets are not based on permanent lifestyle changes and can often be quite difficult to follow. You will eventually go off the diet as surely as you went on it.

3 – Which of the following strategies should you adopt when trying to lose weight?

a. Weighing yourself once a week.

b. Eating 2 or 3 small meals per day.

c. Eating nuts every day.

d. Ex-Lax smoothies for everyone!

Answer – (c) Eating a handful of nuts has been shown to help you stay full, while skipping meals can be detrimental because your body will go into a fat storing, starvation mode when it does not have enough calories.

4 – What is the most important number for determining whether an increased waist size is putting you at risk for health problems?

a. Bra size

b. Blood pressure

c. Cholesterol

d. Heart rate

Answer – (b) Of these risks, blood pressure is the greatest indicator of health risks associated with being overweight.

5 – What is ghrelin?

a. The name of a Harry Potter character.

b. A hormone that makes you want to eat more.

c. The  name of fat cells in your body.

d. The chemical in your brain that makes you feel good.

Answer – (b) Ghrelin makes you want to eat more.

6 – What is leptin?

a. The name of the dude on  the Lucky Charms cereal box.

b. The muscle-building protein that helps burn fat.

c. The nutrient in fruit that works in conjunction with fiber.

d. A chemical from fat that tells your brain that you are full.

Answer – (d) Leptin tells you that you are full.

7 – Which spice has been shown to be helpful for controlling weight?

a. Cinnamon

b. Thyme

c. Oregano

d. Black pepper

Answer – (a) Cinnamon has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which helps enhance the satiety center in your brain. It has also been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels.

8 – Complete this sentence with the most accurate response. Fructose ___________

a.  Is responsible for decreasing the number of calories in many foods.

b. Tricks your mind to stay hungry longer.

c. Is responsible for increasing the amount of bad-for-you trans fats in foods.

d. Sure makes your Trix taste darn good.

Answer – (b) Fructose, as in high fructose corn syrup, does not appear to turn off your hunger chemicals. so you do not feel full. Therefore you eat more.

9 – What does your body most want to do during periods of extreme stress?

a. Stay away from food.

b. Gorge on food.

c. Seek crunchy foods.

d. Crumple up into a pile of jelly and retreat to a warm bath.

Answer – (a) Extreme stress, such as in the case of an accident, turns off your hunger. Chronic stress can make you crave feel-good carbohydrates.

10 – Which choice should you make to cut your appetite?

a. Whole-grain foods

b. Whole aisles of fruit

c. Whole lot of diet soda

d. Whole boxes of Girl Scout cookies

Answer – (a) Whole-grain foods are filled with filling fiber.

11 – Which organ is most responsible for metabolism?

a. Heart

b. Stomach

c. Liver

d. Kidneys

Answer – (c) You liver is most responsible for metabolic functions in your body.

12 – Calorie for calorie, what fills you up for the longest amount of time?

a. Fat

b. Fiber

c. Fructose

d. French fries

Answer – (b) Fiber fills you. A cup of oatmeal in the morning can prevent you from gorging later in the day.

13 – What is your omentum?

a. A badly misspelled word.

b. The part of your brain that is stimulated to store fat.

c. A chemical that controls hunger.

d. A fat storing tissue

Answer – (d) Located next to your stomach, your omentum is fat that can cause damage to surrounding organs.

14 – Which condition is responsible for weight gain in about 10 to 20 percent of younger women?

a. Vulvodynia

b. Hyperthyroidism

c. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

d. Give me a break, I have had a few kids now.

Answer – (c) PCOS is responsible for weight gain in at least 10 percent of women under age 50. It is now clinically called androgen excess; androgen refers to male hormone.

15 – Health-wise, what is the optimal waist size for a woman?

a. As little as possible.

b. 32 1/2 inches

c. Under 35 inches

d. Whatever slides into a little black dress!

Answer – (b) While 32 1/2 inches is ideal, 37 inches is when women start seeing a greatly increased risk of weight related disorders.

16 – Which part of your body that plays a role in weight gain works most like your brain?

a. Your stomach

b. Your heart

c. Your small intestine

d. Your unmentionables

Answer – (c) Your small intestine, with 100 million neurons, has anatomy similar to your brain.

17 – Of the following, which contributes the most to weight gain?

a. Periods of low levels of will power.

b. Short periods of high intensity stress.

c. Long periods of low intensity stress

d. Periods of high intensity dessert trays.

Answer – (c) Chronic stress makes your body store more fat.

18 – Which activity is most helpful for weight control?

a. Crunches

b. Cardiovascular training like running

c. Resistance training like lifting weights

d. Salsa dancing every other Tuesday night

Answer – (C) Adding more muscle through resistance training helps to increase your metabolism in order to more effectively burn fat.

 

Get the Winning Mindset

All personal struggles are fought, and either won or lost, in the mind. Regardless of where you find yourself right now, the direction that your life will take depends almost entirely on your mindset. You must believe that you are capable of success or you will abandon your efforts when your pursuit gets difficult.

It’s ONE Day

So often, we give up on a goal based on ONE day. Everyone has bad days, days that everything seems harder and our goals seem distant at best, impossible at worst. I remind you, this too will pass. Whatever you are going through that makes you want to quit is a temporary situation. Don’t make life-altering decisions based on a temporary state of mind that will change on a whim. Just like the rain on a sunny day, the hindrance will pass and the light will shine on your goals. Don’t quit in the middle of a rainstorm.

Be Willing to Learn

David has a saying that “Everybody wants to be a body builder until they have to do body builder stuff.” One of the reasons that we fail is that all we want is the final outcome. Most people do not want to gain knowledge or build skills. When I first began weight training, the bench press was like a puzzle to me. I had always thought that all there was to a bench press was taking the bar off the hooks, lowering it to my chest and pushing it back up. Little did I know that the method for doing that is complex and detailed. It has taken me the better part of three years to even begin to master that lift. There are so many elements to be learned to finesse the lift that I felt like it was nearly impossible. Setting my safety pins at the beginning turned out to be the most important point, because I failed to do that one time too many. As I struggled to extract myself from what could have been a deadly accident, I realized that the Bench Press was a lot more than picking it up and putting it down. If all I wanted was to wake up one morning muscular and defined then I would have never done another press, but I want to learn all there is about lifting. Only then will I master the ultimate goal of a well-defined, strong, athletic body. To reach our goals, we must be willing to be a student of the components necessary to achieve them.

Lessons, Not Failure

I read a quote that says, “Never mistakes, always lessons, forever masters.” (Unknown). This means that when you fail, you must see that as a lesson learned, not as a sign that you have failed in pursuit of your goal. When the barbell came down across my throat in the aforementioned bench press, I could have quit, thinking that I just couldn’t do it. Instead, I learned. A year later, I believe that I have finally dissected that press. I am far from mastering it, but I am in hot pursuit. “Forever masters” means that perceiving failure as a lesson learned is the only pathway to mastering a difficult task. If you fail, you have learned another way not to do it. Try the right way. It just might work.

Quit Resisting Change

One of the most self-destructive behaviors is being resistant to change. If you begin a weight loss program or exercise routine that is not suited to you, you should change your program. I have known of people who would not waver from a program that was not working for them because they had developed an identity associated with that program. They had bought the clothes and equipment or paid their dues to the weight loss company so they just kept plugging away, miserable, until they could not make themselves do it anymore and finally just quit. Regardless of how far you’ve come or what you’ve invested, if what you’re doing is not working for you, do something else! Otherwise, you will quit and regain the weight with more to go with it. When we stop changing, we start dying. Change is growth. Since my mother put me on my first diet at age 4, I tried many programs. If I had been determined to stay with any of them until finding David’s Way, I would have never been successful. David’s Way is the only program that has given me long-term success.

Quit Comparing Your Progress to Others

In the online world that we live in, it’s so easy to look at an Instagram model and think, “It’s no use, I’m so far behind him/her that I might as well give up. I’ll never look like that.” Yes, him or her, men do it too. Seriously, there are at least a thousand levels of fitness. All that matters is that you continually put forth your best effort. If you do, you will one day look like the BEST version of YOU. That kind of athleticism is just as fit as anyone on Instagram, unless they have used drugs or had surgical procedures that look good for a while. If you acquire your fitness naturally, it will last as long as you work at it. While the people who make a living on their looks can create quite an image in the media, if their success is due in whole or in part to anything other than hard work, it will not last as long as your home grown hotness. Work hard and reap the rewards of being an all-natural athlete. Whatever you do, don’t get so caught up in someone else’s life that you neglect your own.

Develop Self-Confidence

An average person with above average confidence is practically unstoppable while an exceptional person with low self-esteem is easily defeated. At the age of 6 years, I was told that I was capable of doing ANYTHING that I wanted to do. While the discipline that I received when I did less than my best was hard to grow up with, I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they said was true. I am capable of doing anything that I want to do. I have always believed that and I have never undertaken a task that I could not find a way to accomplish. I believe that I am capable and I am. This is part of the reason that I can work full-time, care for a special needs son, write and work out on a program that is demanding of time and focus. I know that I can do these things so I don’t have an excuse to fail. Believe in your strength to be successful and you will be.

When you control your mindset, you control your destination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Neglect

Our Passion

Every day of my life, I see people who are destroying themselves from the inside-out. I marvel that some of these people are conscientious care-givers to other people and leave no stone unturned in those people’s care, yet neglect themselves. I see young people who are aggressively pursuing their own destruction with food, drink and tobacco. Odds are many of these dear young people will not see middle-age. I am aware of familial tendencies towards severe disease that could be avoided with the right habits, but for some reason, many people refuse to be proactive in their health. It is a source of great angst for me and David both. It’s at the core of why we do what we do, relentlessly, at no charge. Neither of us can even begin to fathom why anyone would choose illness. If you are not actively involved in self-care, you are choosing self-neglect and poor health. Our bodies, minds and spirits must be nurtured. Our parts will wear out and with no self-care that will happen much sooner. If we take an active part in protecting and improving our health, we can make those parts last much longer in good working condition.

Signs and Symptoms

Self-neglect is the inability or unwillingness to attend to one’s personal needs or hygiene. (1) It may manifest in many ways such as poor hygiene and inattention to clothing and medical needs but not attending to your nutrition properly is also a symptom. We all know those people who live on chips and dip or ice cream and cookies or some other such anomaly of nutrition. While you may challenge this by saying that if that’s what they like then it’s okay but that does not make it true. Any thinking person knows better. When we starve ourselves of necessary nutrients and fill up on empty calories that contribute to illness, we have a problem. This has every sign of substance abuse in that we keep reaching for something that is hurting us but we feel powerless to change it. In other types of substance abuse, the expense of the “drug of choice” prevents individuals from having the money to acquire necessities. Spending copious amounts of  money on harmful food items is the same behavior. I know many people who spend their hard-earned cash strictly on harmful substances that range from cigarettes to sugar-laden junk food. Sugar induces a state in the brain that is similar to some illegal street drugs. If we load our grocery carts with snack cakes, sugar-sweetened drinks and refined, simple carbs such as copious amounts of pasta, we may not have the money for the good stuff. The parallels with drug addiction are profound.

 

Treatment 

Any time you have behaviors that are detrimental to your health and feel unable to change them, you should always seek the help of a medical professional. Your doctor may treat you with antidepressants or refer you to a good therapist. If you follow our eating plan as outlined here , you can improve your nutrition and overall health but you must see your medical doctor before beginning any nutritional program or exercise routine. Your doctor may recognize signs and symptoms of medical illness or behavior disorders that can be treated and that will enable you to follow a good nutritional program more effectively. Once you are under the care of a good physician, you will be better prepared to take control of your life. Even major changes usually begin with one very small step towards wellness. If you recognize yourself in this article, seek help immediately as some of these behaviors can be life-threatening. While poor nutrition is not usually a medical emergency, if you tend to neglect yourself in this area, there very well may be bigger issues looming of which even you are unaware., Your doctor may order some tests to determine your level of nutrition at this point. When you see where you stand, you will be more confident to make the necessary changes. Some nutritional deficiencies can be life-threatening and just because you are overweight or obese, that does not mean that you are not suffering from malnutrition. In this fast-food, processed, refined food world that we live in, it’s actually fairly common for an obese person to have severe deficiencies. 

Self-Sacrifice

This article would not be complete without a reminder that regardless of how selfless you are in caring for others, if they actually need you in their lives, you MUST care for yourself first. Otherwise, if you get sick and cannot care for them, you are both down. I grew up in the Bible Belt of The Deep South and self-neglect was considered a sacrificial act of religious caliber. There is even a song called, “Others” which glorifies this behavior. I have been ostracized and criticized by many highly religious people for taking care of myself. The great irony is, I’m still going strong and healthy, many years senior to a great number of those people, while many of them are dead or chronically ill. Any teaching that gives you the impression that you are not important and you should not take care of yourself is bad teaching. Take care of the temple, (your body), it’s truly the only place that you have to live. By caring for yourself you can live a much more functional life and help “Others” for a long time. 

You are important. Treat yourself as such and enjoy a longer, richer, more productive life for many years to come.

Join us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness today! Subscriptions are always free and easy and we can now also be found on Facebook @David’s Way to Health and Fitness, Sugar Free Living.

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(1) https://www.medicinenet.com/self-neglect/symptoms.htm

 

 

Obesity and Fertility

 

I clearly remember the exact moment that I realized that I wanted a baby. Wow! That was a surprise. I had never wanted to have a baby and had made an appointment to get my tubes tied because I was approaching my 35th birthday and thought that I should come off of birth control. I was sitting in a rocking chair after finishing my patient’s bath and morning care and the Johnson & Johnson Baby products commercial came on with the lilting background music and lyrics that said, “Make me…make me your baby…” I burst into tears as a flood of unknown, intense emotion washed over me, wrenching my heart and carrying me downstream to uncharted waters. I had been bitten by the “baby bug”. Against all odds, I realized that I wanted a baby. Until that moment, I had always been adamant that I wasn’t going to do that. Once bitten, I would have done anything to insure a safe pregnancy for me and the baby that I so longed to bring into the world. Although he did not exist in this world, I felt him in my spirit and could not rest until I saw his face. I got pregnant within 5 months and was delighted. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage however and my world was shattered. Again, I got pregnant within the year and this time, I got my baby. The joy and fear of being responsible for that precious soul that has been entrusted to me was immediately overwhelming and terrifying. He is the source of my articles, “Lost In “The Spectrum:” Lucas is autistic and I love him with all my heart. He also graduated from college. As I write about getting pregnant and the trials of this mystical experience, believe me, I understand the torrent of emotion that whirls around all things “baby”. I never intend to hurt your feelings. My objective in writing here at David’s Way is to help you. Believe me, a hard truth is better than a soft lie. We will always “kick you the real deal”. (Henry Rollins)

Impact of Obesity

It is well known that there is an association between obesity and infertility. (1) Although all of the reasons for this phenomenon are not known, it is still a fact. Overweight women have more “female problems” with more difficulties with menstruation and ovulation. They are more affected by anovulation, or difficulty releasing an egg for fertilization. It takes more time for an overweight woman to get pregnant from the time that a couple decides to “try”. Conception rates are lower in overweight women and even assisted pregnancies, such as in vitro fertilization, have the same difficulties. If you are serious about having a baby, it would serve you well to discuss your weight with your obstetrician. ALWAYS see your doctor before beginning any weight loss program.

Not Just You, Ladies

While we at David’s Way want to see the entire world healthy, quite often so many things like this are relegated to “Women’s Health” with women being blamed if anything goes wrong with a pregnancy. In the case of difficulty in conceiving, obesity in men is a problem. “Increased weight in men has been associated with a lower testosterone level, poorer sperm quality and reduced fertility as compared to men of normal weight.” (2) Many factors are believed to affect male fertility in relation to obesity including sexual dysfunction and possible inflammatory elements  of epididymitis. Insulin resistance, sleep apnea and an increase in the temperature inside the scrotum are all associated with affecting sperm quality and production. Metabolic syndrome is also credited with poor sperm quality and quantity. Guys, if you want to be a dad, control your weight.

The good news is that this is usually reversible by getting healthy! See your doctor and get his approval to begin a weight management program. Ask what kind of exercise that he recommends. You can go to our Calorie Counter Pro to see how many calories that you need to eat to lose 1-2 pounds per week. We strongly advise you to aim to lose 1 pound per week because it’s easier and you are more likely to stick with your program and you will learn better habits when you lose the weight over a longer period of time. Talk to your doctor and see if he believes that this will up your odds of having a baby. I truly wish you well with all my heart.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4408383/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456969/

Seven Tips for Persistence

Persistence is one of the biggest keys to success when it comes to any endeavor, but specifically when we are working towards achieving and then maintaining a healthy, fit and trim body. Persistence means that no matter what, you keep moving forward even when you feel like quitting. Many people give up on their dreams at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. Nothing in life worth achieving ever comes easily. The importance of persistence in life is defined as continuing to move on with whatever goal has been planned originally even though an external event or initial losses may have slowed down, or temporarily halt a person while the person is on the way towards achieving their goals.  It requires a person to continue keeping their mental attitude positive no matter what may happen. One of the biggest reasons people regain body fat after successful weight loss, is they become complacent and persistency begins to take a back seat to their original health goals. This is why at David’s Way to Health and Fitness we promote our methodology as a lifestyle over a diet. Diets always have an endpoint, whereas committing to a healthy lifestyle requires persistence for the rest of your life. This is the difference between people who are at a healthy weight and those who are not. This is not meant to be an insult to anyone, it is just a simple fact of life, continued success at any endeavor requires persistency.

Calvin Coolidge

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

 Persistence is the fundamental difference between a successful outcome and a failed outcome!

Decide what you want to accomplish and set goals.

Setting goals is a must for any and all endeavors, most specifically weight loss and physical fitness.  People who set clear, concise goals  are almost always successful in achieving them as long as they continue to be persistent in their endeavors. No matter how many curveballs life might throw your way, you must refuse to quit and continue to work at bouncing back from difficulties you encounter along the way.

 Prepare for Obstacles and Setbacks.

Know and accept that there will be obstacles and setbacks that you will encounter while working towards a fit and healthy body. Prepare for them, and as we used to say in the military, “lean forward and drive on”.

Nothing important was ever accomplished without adversity, setbacks and difficulties to contend with along the way. Henry Ford went bankrupt three times before he managed to design his first automobile. Thomas Edison is said to have tried 10,000 times to create the light bulb before he succeeded. His attitude was: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” Persistence is definitely the difference between a successful outcome and a failed one due to giving up.

You have to be proactive about your health goals.

With a little foresight, you can always prepare yourself for setbacks and obstacles. You know life sometimes will throw obstacles into your path, when these potential problems arise,  you have to have contingency plans already in mind. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you must know that there will be occasions when it may seem to be impossible to stick to your weight loss regimen. In such cases, you will need to prepare alternative meals ahead of time or be mentally prepared to deviate from your regimen. Unfortunately, instead of allowing for and being prepared in such situations,  many people give up too easily and often declare it impossible to stick to any diet. In doing so, they often sabotage all healthy eating and give up in despair. Sticking to a diet is tough, that is why we promote a lifestyle of healthy eating. Once you change your mindset from dieting to lifestyle, it becomes far easier to be proactive in social or emergency situations. Healthy foods can be found just about anywhere, if you take the time to look over, under and around all the junk foods that surround us. If we plan in advance for life’s inevitable ups and downs, we will be psychologically ready when they come upon us.

Take the first step.

You cannot persevere, and will not succeed at anything if you never try to accomplish something. Too many people will procrastinate at trying to improve their lot in life. They quite often fear failure, or are too frozen in their tracks to take the first step towards achievement. To be successful, you have to learn to get out of your comfort zone. You have to be open to trying new things. You will not fail if you don’t try something, however, you will never succeed either. As the popular saying goes, “The only real failure in life is the failure to try.” We have dealt with people who have struggled with losing weight simply because their fear of failure overrode their desire to be healthy.

Review, reevaluate and revise.

If things do not work out the way you hoped then review the steps you took and the process you followed. Reevaluate by examining what went wrong and where. Everyone who has a significant amount of weight to lose will eventually plateau. There are no exceptions to this except for those who are persistent at reviewing, reevaluating, and revising their course of action. If you are a 5′ 4″  sedentary woman who begins her weight loss journey at 250 pounds and stalls out at 220 pounds, this is natural simply because your daily caloric needs have changed. At 250 pounds your body needed about 1650 calories per day in order to lose 1 pound of body fat per week. Once you have achieved 220 pounds, your body now requires only about 1500 calories per day to continue the one pound per week loss of body fat, provided you are still sedentary throughout your day. Your metabolic needs change, therefore you have to adjust accordingly.

Garner support and encouragement.

Stay away from naysayers, they can be like crabs in a bucket who will always try to pull you back down to their level. Instead, surround yourself with supportive and like minded individuals who will encourage you along your path to a healthier body. Be teachable and seek advice from those experienced in your field of endeavor and those who want you to succeed. They can assist you by making suggestions and recommendations based on their experience and expertise. You will still have to do the hard work, but there is nothing more encouraging than having positive reinforcement.

Maintain focus.

One of the obstacles to attaining success at anything is the loss of motivation and focus. Do not let anyone, or anything keep you from visualizing the accomplishment of your goal no matter what it takes. You have to always keep your eye on the prize. Likewise, avoid getting caught up in negative or unproductive thinking such as, “This will never work.” “I can’t do this.” We can become our own worst enemy by allowing negative thinking to cloud our focus. Never lose your focus as to why you decided to make positive changes to your life in the first place, you have no place to go but from whence you came. You may feel comfort at returning to an unhealthy lifestyle, but if you were truly comfortable to begin with, you would have not decided to change your life for the better.

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Choose Your Hard

Choices

The choices you make today will create your tomorrows. Quite often we hear that it’s too hard to try to quit eating sugar or to even keep track of what you eat. The truth is that it will take at least two weeks of various levels of discomfort before you quit craving sugar. It’s an addiction much like alcohol addiction. Tracking your food intake will take a few minutes a couple of times each day but if you allow yourself to become obese, the time in the doctor’s office due to complications caused by obesity will consume much more of your time.

Too Many Choices

Whenever we are faced with too many options, we tend to do nothing at all. (1) In modern times, food choices have increased in many countries. In the not so long ago past, food choices were limited. People ate whatever was readily available, that they could afford,and when anyone began getting overweight, they would merely cut back on their diet staples. I can remember an obese neighbor from my childhood. When her doctor told her to lose weight, he told her to eat less bread, she did and she lost weight. Her choices were limited and the behavior was simple and it worked. Today we have grocery stores stocked with exotic foods from around the world, restaurants, drive-through windows and possibly the most harmful way to get food, delivery. Part of our problem when we decide to get healthy is exactly what kind of food we will eat and where we will get it. Too many choices can be deadly. As a result, we quite often make no changes. As we we ponder our choices, we just return to old habits and the cycle of obesity continues.

HELP!

To possibly offset the paralyzing effect of this availability of food, whenever you embark on your journey to health, decide what your food source will be. If you are going to cook, then plan your menus and make a grocery list. Cook only what is on your menu in the amounts that you are supposed to eat. If you are cooking for others, cook just enough and limit the possibility of having to decide if you want second helpings. If you are going to eat out, decide where and look at the menu online before you go. Make your menu selection beforehand to limit your choices at the dinner table. If you are going to have food delivered, make your selection with your health goals in mind. DO NOT order sugar-laden desserts just because they are on the menu and you don’t have to cook them. Neither breakfast, lunch or dinner are special occasions and a mile-high slice of chocolate cake has just as many calories when it is delivered to your front door as it does coming out of  your oven. If you have food delivered frequently, this is of utmost importance. I have noticed that every restaurant that delivers to your door push their dessert menus strongly, probably because they know that the decision about what’s for dinner is a spontaneous one most of the time and they flood your brain with enticing images knowing that in your undecisive state, you are likely to succumb to them.

Irony

While having too many choices is a wonderful thing in so many ways, it’s a problem for almost everyone. We tend to consider the first few options offered and stop. Our minds naturally move on to something else so, again we have stopped the process of making better decisions. As we ponder multiple options, our reference point changes. When we first decide that we’re hungry, we may automatically know what we want to eat and have a healthy option in mind. As we peruse menus and listen to what other people are talking about eating, our resolve may flounder. Make your decision and be done with it. Take advantage of the Blessing of abundance and find something healthy to eat in a healthy portion. The flip side of this dilemma is that you will either make those positive healthy decisions now or you will make other hard decisions later. Year after year of procrastination and reactive rather than proactive living will eventually take their toll and eventually you will find yourself having to make other hard decisions. You will have to decide which doctor to use, which pharmacy and how to pay your medical bills. Hard decisions are part of life. Make them on this side of the doctor’s office.

Default

A tactic used in sales is to have a default item available to customers. It’s the “suggested” item that you see when you are shopping online. By having a default, your choices are automatically reduced. Have default menus that you can shop for, cook and track without even thinking about it. You will be less likely to consider pizza delivery if you have chicken tenderloins thawed in the fridge and a quick and easy recipe to prepare them. You might like these Sweet and Spicy Chicken Tenders for a delicious, quick and easy dinner entree. We have many recipes that can help you create a default menu so that there’s always a “suggested” item lurking in your mind. It will be much easier to Many people accept that sickness and disability will come to them as their default. While we will all die, we will not all be sick and disabled. If that is your default, however, you may make it come to pass. Change your mindset now. Choose your hard. Choose to make those hard decisions on this side of healthy.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/behind-online-behavior/201410/the-psychology-choice

 

The Insulin and Cholesterol Connection

The sweetness of sugar tastes oh so good, and has brought us great joy in life. It has been fed to us since early childhood by the person in our lives we trust the most – our mothers.

Yet, sugar  is also terribly bad for us.

This white, crystalline goodness not only decays our teeth, it also causes our pancreas to secrete one of the body’s most powerful hormones – insulin. While insulin is necessary for the regulation of our blood sugar, an overabundance of it will eventually result to insulin resistance. The main culprit behind insulin resistance is overeating,  high sugar intake, inflammation, inactivity, genetics and increased body fat. A high level of blood sugar is associated with a host of complications, including cholesterol abnormalities.

The linking factor is insulin resistance!

Have you ever noticed the prevalence of media advertisements for diabetic drugs and statins for high cholesterol? Is it just a coincidence these advertisements have prevailed with the increase of sugar consumption?

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range.

With insulin resistance, you may also develop an abnormal cholesterol profile – low high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good cholesterol”), high low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”), and high triglycerides. These cholesterol abnormalities then greatly increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Even if you are currently healthy, the smart money is on managing your blood sugar as a means of protecting your cardiovascular health.

Insulin Resistance and Cholesterol Changes

Once you have consumed a meal, all of the carbohydrates are then broken down into glucose by your digestive system. This glucose is then absorbed through the wall of your intestines into your bloodstream. Once there, insulin causes the glucose to be absorbed into various cells in order for them to have the energy to function and do their jobs. Insulin also blocks the breakdown of fat into fatty acids (lipolysis) within your body.

Insulin resistance is when the cells become less responsive to this process. As a result, blood sugar eventually increases, which is why it’s considered a precursor to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Fats are also broken down within the body at an increased rate, and this ultimately leads to various cholesterol changes.

Specifically, insulin resistance lowers HDL and raises triglycerides and LDL.

 Insulin resistance increases your risk for both high glucose levels and abnormal cholesterol levels, which then increases your risk for heart disease!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death across the globe! People with insulin resistance are 93% more likely to also develop heart disease.

The following are risk factors for insulin resistance:

  • being overweight or obese, especially when the extra weight is around the midriff
  • a sedentary lifestyle or one that is low in exercise
  • smoking
  • sleep issues
  • high blood pressure has been linked to an increased risk of insulin resistance

You can take steps to reverse insulin resistance:

  • Exercise. Go for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity (like brisk walking) 5 or more days a week. If you’re not active now, work up to that.
  • Get to a healthy weight . If you’re not sure what you should weigh or how to reach a weight loss goal, ask your doctor. You may also want to talk with a nutritionist and a certified personal trainer.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, legumes, and other lean protein. Follow our simple to follow plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness.

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Losing Your Weigh?

I find it saddening that so many people who have been successful at losing weight end up putting their weight back on at some point.

Why does this happen?

There could be an infinite number of reasons to be found, but in truth, there is quite possibly some underlying issues lying under the body fat that may have never been resolved. This is not uncommon, and it does not make you a bad or weak individual if this is the case for you. It happens to lots of us, and it happened to me as well a couple of times in the past. We are only human my friends, even when we fail, there is always tomorrow to begin picking the pieces up again. The key is to never resolve yourself to quitting on yourself. Failing is often the way forward to success. The successful individual has usually failed and tried again far more times than a true failure in life ever has. No matter what anyone has ever told you, no matter what you might think of yourself, you are worth every bit of the time and effort to be at the healthiest you can be. Do not ever sell yourself short my friends.

Your issues with weight loss are not unique to you alone.

Losing weight is a challenge that millions of people all over the world struggle with each and every day. As you go into your journey of weight loss, you need to know that without a healthy mind set, losing weight may leave a negative impact on your mental health.

Yes, this happens more often than not!

With nearly 70% of Americans being overweight or obese, 77% of Americans are attempting to try and lose weight. Unfortunately for far too many, the success rate of weight loss is rather low. If you’re ready to fight the cravings and shed pounds, not only will you need to prepare yourself physically, but mentally as well. It is not unusual for people who are overweight to carry the burden of lower self-esteem. Add to that the social stigma or prejudice that overweight individuals encounter and a psychological cycle for weight gain can be set in motion, or unhealthy eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia) can develop. People, overweight as well as thin, often eat in response to stress, depression, loneliness, and anxiety. This stress-induced or emotional eating can lead to weight gain which in turn leads to lower self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, which leads to more stress-based eating and additional weight gain. It’s easy to see how one can become trapped in a dangerous downward spiral and vicious cycle. If you do not get past these issues, you are likely to regain your lost weight. You have to get your mind right.

We are creatures of habit, and most of us can find it uncomfortable to change our habits even when they are not exactly healthy. Relapse  actually occurs for a majority of people when they attempt to modify their lifestyles. Lifestyle modification programs for weight loss can be especially difficult to maintain over a long period of time. Simply sticking to an exercise program is difficult for many people. Add changes in grocery shopping, cooking, meal planning and food choices, and lifestyle modification becomes a full-time job. You have to get your mind wrapped around the changes you need to make for good health.

Losing weight almost always means swimming upstream in a culture that promotes overeating and a sedentary lifestyle. Dieters are continually challenged by situations requiring self-control, and commitments that squeeze out scheduled exercise sessions.  Because of these circumstances, it’s easy to understand why most people regain the weight they worked so hard to lose. Many of us might be good at losing weight, yet be terrible about learning how to actually manage our lives and the necessary changes we must make.

 We can often find ourselves in situations that tend to be especially difficult for us. Parties, vacations, holidays, visitors, eating out and travel may present circumstances that disrupt our normal routine, or present irresistible temptation. When we lose weight and want to keep it off,  we have to anticipate challenges and then plan effective coping strategies  in order to get through them.

With weight loss, and then the management of our weight, mood is everything. If you feel bad, you are probably going to seek out comfort. Coping with stress and negative moods requires self-control, like learning to just say “no thanks” when a coworker brings a box of donuts to a meeting. Everyone has bad days and bad moods that can jeopardize behavior-change efforts. If you have a mood disorder such as depression and anxiety, chances are high you may have extra difficulty with permanent nutritional change if these changes increase your feelings of stress. If we are to be successful at sticking to our new nutritional lifestyle. then we must develop skills to cope with stress and high-risk situations. It helps immensely to learn to reduce stress with a variety of stress management techniques, such as exercise, meditation or taking time out to participate in enjoyable activities with friends. You must figure out how to incorporate ways to cope with high-risk situations when they arise.

We can all get cravings and unfortunately they often arise when we are facing high-risk situations or when we find ourselves in a negative mood. These cravings can be most difficult to resist. It becomes quite easy to overeat when craved foods are consumed, we often lose all abandon when this happens. One way to avoid this is to be sure to always eat enough calories, drink plenty of fluids, get adequate rest and then stay busy enough to avoid boredom, as it is ever so easy to binge eat when we are bored.

Weight management is about far more than just cutting back on how much food you consume each day. We have to prepare ourselves for not only social situations, but also we have to learn to accept the changes with our bodies. We advise people to not lose more than one pound per week for a few reasons, but one of them is your mind needs time to adapt to the new you. When you lose weight too fast, you will still picture yourself as a fat person. Even when you see a reflection of your thinner self, your mind still thinks you are fat. Not only is a slower weight loss healthier for you from a mental and physical standpoint, you might find yourself still unhappy with your appearance when you are left with an abundance of unsightly loose skin around your body. It is not uncommon that people will still not be satisfied with their lives once they have reached their goal weight. When this happens, they will often resort to old habits of thinking that by eating a big meal, it will make them feel better. When this occurs, it becomes easier and easier to indulge later on. Thus, the cycle of gaining weight begins anew.  This is the same type of behavior of people who resume drinking or drug use after a period of abstinence. Once they break their rule about not using the substance, they feel self-blame and a loss of control, and subsequently fall into a relapse. Dieting can be the same way for some people. Once they “break” their diet, they continue to overeat and abandon their weight-loss programs entirely.

The best way to overcome these obstacles is to cultivate a helpful and supportive social network. Friends and family can either sabotage or support your efforts, but they are usually going to be the first ones to try to get you to give in and have a slice of cake at a birthday party. You have to learn to deal and cope with these circumstances as they are going to happen to you at some point  because the next thing you know, one slice of pizza turns into six, one scoop of ice cream turns into a pint, and you’re banging your head against the wall asking yourself where you went wrong. Somewhere along the line you loosen up. You can’t really pinpoint when, but you realize you haven’t been to the gym and you are also now snacking on junk foods. In short, you’ve given up, even if only temporarily. When this happens, you have to take stock of how you felt when you were overweight, and why did you lose weight in the first place.

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