Category: Health

Why Gamble with Diabetes?

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Are you a gambler? Do you love the thrill of placing a Vegas bet on the craps or card tables? How much are you willing to gamble at a time? Would you be willing to bet your home on a sure bet? Or are you more of a small time gambler who see’s no harm in the benign scratcher tickets and occasional Powerball game. You know, nothing harmful ever comes from scratching tickets at the local convenience store. Heck that $20 purchase of tickets is going to actually pay off big time one day, right?

How about gambling with your life and or your health? We see this every day when smokers walk out to smoking areas and light up their cigarettes. To a non-smoker, those types are a special fucking kind of stupid aren’t they? After all, we are only gifted with one set of lungs when we are born. How many roll the dice with alcohol by taking their first drink while knowing that it affects some to the point of losing everything. You have likely seen hobo’s panhandling on street corners for enough scratch to purchase a bottle of Wild Irish Rose to swill down under the bridge with Ol Smokey and their pal affectionately referred to as Zoo Breath. Yeah, those bums gambled and lost with that one didn’t they? Of course, we are all better than those stew bums, right?

We can all take relatively safe gambles with our lives, and not have to pay the Piper for several years. Hell, most of us live for today and cannot fathom the future 30 years later when we can not see past the ends of our own noses. It’s not like we are playing Russian Roulette with a .357 Magnum when we bite into a Snickers Bar. Or are we…

Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family. Family members on both sides have suffered it, therefore it is only prudent that I do everything I can in order to avoid it myself. Knowing that it runs in my family, it would be a dick move if I throw caution to the wind and gamble on my life that I can eat tons of sugar and carbs and never get it myself. For all my reasons “Why” for losing weight and committing myself to a life style of health and wellness, avoiding Type 2 Diabetes ranks right there at the top of the list for living the way I do. It is why I promote a diet high in protein and low in carbs. Complex carbs only. No sugar or processed foods. Avoiding those foods are now just a part of my lifestyle which has been given the title David’s Way by my friend.

WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES

Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.(1)

You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or obese. Diabetes is more common in people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.

Physical inactivity and certain health problems such as high blood pressure affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. (1)

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include

  • increased thirst and urination
  • increased hunger
  • feeling tired
  • blurred vision
  • numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • sores that do not heal
  • unexplained weight loss

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly—over the course of several years—and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart disease.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including

  • overweight and obesity
  • not being physically active
  • insulin resistance
  • genes

(1) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

On Weight Watcher’s social media Connect, I have responded to people who have trouble with losing weight by telling them they should quit sugar all together. It is unbelievable how pissed some of them get when I make this suggestion despite the fact it will work for them if only they try. Hell, their panties can get in such a twist, you would think I had barged into their home and removed every source of their sugar. Because sugar is seen as a food source which is added to just about everything now days, many can not see how harmful it can be for some folks. Not just in the problems which stem from obesity, but the even uglier problems which can be prevented just by not eating sugar and by watching your intake of even complex carbohydrates.

If you look at the top causes of Type 2 Diabetes, you will see that being over weight, obese and not being physically active are the top causes. Fixing the third item will help to fix the first two, but is not enough by itself if you still like to indulge in sweet treats on a regular basis. You can not outrun or out work a bad diet as a permanent fix to being over weight or obese. You have to fix your diet and mind set first and foremost. If you need a reason, just look at those feet afflicted with diabetic ulcers with the understanding that your diet can either cause the same for you, or it could correct this course before you get there by simply eating whole and healthy foods and cutting out sugar and processed foods from your diet. Every time you stick a spoonful of sugary crap in your mouth, you are gambling that you will never be stricken with that horrible condition.

Besides ugly ulcers on your extremities which can often lead to amputations, are pints of your favorite ice cream or Little Debby Cakes, worth your eye sight? Do you value your vision enough to clean up your diet? The above pictures are eyes with Diabetic Retinopathy. When your child or grandchild looks into your eyes, do you care if these eyes are what they peer into? Would you ever want to gaze into your child or grand children’s eyes and see these looking back at you? Probably not, but if you do not fix your diet, quit or at least greatly reduce your sugar intake, and increase your physical activity, those eyes might just become your reality. Bad things happen to all of us, not just the other guy.

The costs of Type 2 Diabetes to us personally and financially are devastating to our lives and causes preventable heart ache and stress. Nobody need suffer from Type 2 Diabetes if only they eat healthy whole foods and incorporate vigorous exercise into their lives.

According to American Diabetes Association:

The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 is $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.

The largest components of medical expenditures are:

  • hospital inpatient care (30% of the total medical cost),
  • prescription medications to treat complications of diabetes (30%),
  • anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies (15%), and
  • physician office visits (13%).

People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $16,752 per year, of which about $9,601is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for 1 in 4 health care dollars in the U.S. and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.

Indirect costs include:

  • increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion) and
  • reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion) for the employed population,
  • reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.3 billion),
  • inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($37.5 billion), and
  • lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($19.9 billion).

Diabetes Costs in Specific Populations

  • Most of the cost for diabetes care in the U.S., 66%, is provided by government insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, and the military). The rest is paid for by private insurance (60%) or by the uninsured (2%).
  • People with diabetes who do not have health insurance have 60% fewer physician office visits and are prescribed 52% fewer medications than people with insurance coverage—but they also have 168% more emergency department visits than people who have insurance.
  • Total per-capita health expenditures are higher among men than women ($10,060 vs. $9,110).
  • Total per-capita health care expenditures are lower among Hispanics ($8,050) and higher among non-Hispanic blacks ($10,470) and among non-Hispanic whites ($9,800).
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, per capita hospital inpatient costs are 23% higher among non-Hispanic blacks and 29% lower among Hispanics. Non-Hispanic blacks also have 65% more emergency department visits than the population with diabetes as a whole.
  • Among states, California has the largest population with diabetes and thus the highest costs, at $39.47 billion. Texas ($25.60 billion), Florida ($24.80 billion), and New York ($21.23 billion) round out the top four states in terms of total annual cost.

(2) American Diabetes Association

I can not imagine any caring individual wanting to burden their family with these problems, nor can I see anyone truly wanting to risk this for themselves. Yet, every time we indulge in unhealthy eating practices, we take a huge gamble that at some point this will be our lives and not just the life of the other guy. When you take your little girl down to the Dairy Queen on a hot summer day, it is inconceivable that anyone would want this for their sweet child, yet as a society, our children are being lead down this path every day when we feed them sugary foods that might taste really good but have zero nutritional value to man kind.

Friends reading this, know that if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, there are things you can do to improve your quality of life. Quit eating sugar, and or drinking alcohol. Get on a proven weight loss program, and commit yourself to not losing weight so much as just living a healthy life style. The weight loss will come if you make this commitment. Next, get your ass moving with some kind of exercise. Create a plan for exercise and stick to it. Create a long term goal with as many short term goals as you need to get to the long term one. Be specific in what you are going to do. Do not say I will walk more, or I will try to lose weight. That is too vague to be of any good. Say I will walk briskly 15 minutes a day, or I will walk briskly 2 miles per day 4 days a week. With weight loss, I will lose how ever many pounds you need to lose. Lets say 50 for the long term. But in the short term, break that down to 5 pound incremental short term goals and only concentrate on those until you get to your long term goal. Learn to make your world small in order to reduce stress which leads to binge eating. The less mental clutter in your life, the less stress you will have in order to fully commit yourself to a life style of health and wellness.

No Access to a Gym?

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So I have folks ask me all the time what they can do to get toned while either not having access to a gym, or maybe they just do not want to go with my preferred route of getting after it with a barbell. Well, I have some good word for you. You do not have to have anything fancy at your disposal and you do not have to lift weights to get a good toned body Everything you need is right at your disposal and will cost you little to nothing.

Folks, in the military it is not practical to PT your unit in a gym full of equipment so we would rise early and PT with calisthenics followed by a run. Access to equipment not required. When I worked as a Correctional Officer, we had inmates who also had no access to equipment such as when they were in lock down. What would they do? Calisthenics, I have seen inmates who were in lock down for months at a time that were still specimens of physical fitness because they used their body weight and still had means to improvise weights. One improvisation being the use of a plastic trash bag filled with water and then wrapped in a blanket to use as a weight for for curling and pressing. There are always things at your disposal for resistance training in almost any circumstance. Try saving a couple of 1 gallon milk jugs and fill them with water for a couple of ten pound weights, or close to it anyhow. You can always find something if you open your eyes to what is around you.

You do not need fancy or heavy equipment in order to lose weight and to improve your strength, appearance and over all health. All you need is the will to do so. Here is an example of a workout you can do that will be effective in getting you strong and fit. This will tone your body well, as long as you also eat right. Remember, while it is not necessarily impossible to out exercise a bad diet, it is difficult to do over an extended period of time.

Put on a good pair of sneakers and get yourself into some comfortable work out clothing and do the following at least four to five mornings a week. Give yourself a couple rest days either with two days in a row or separated. However works best with your schedule. I have not been one to workout early in the morning since retiring from the military, but if you do, then it is out of the way for the rest of the day. You can do this routine in an hour and get great results.

Spend a couple minutes stretching your muscles and getting loose and then;

  1. Push Ups, shoot for 30 or as many as you can in one set. Take yourself to failure when you r arms can no longer push your weight. Make it hurt.
  2. Jumping Jacks, perform 50 of these to get your heart rate up.
  3. Bent Knee Crunches, Do 25 to 30
  4. Diamond Push Ups, again aim for 30 reps or push until your muscles are burning.
  5. Jumping Jacks, for another 50
  6. Reverse Crunches for 25 reps
  7. Wide Arm Push Ups, Again, go until the lactic acid burns
  8. Jumping Jacks for another 50
  9. Sit Ups, for 25 to 30 reps
  10. Burpees, go for 30 reps or as many as you can get
  11. Run, go out and run for a minimum of 30 minutes. If you can not run 30 minutes, then run as long as you can and push it a little further every day you exercise. Even if the added distance is just to the next telephone pole.

If you do this simple exercise routine, you will build physical strength and cardiovascular endurance. Your body will become fit and toned. This exercise routine is tough to do at first, but you have to push through that first week and it will get simpler every day. Do not give yourself much if any rest time between exercises. Go straight from one to the next. If you can not do it all at first, just do the best you can to get at least a little of each exercise until you can.

I recommend this be done before breakfast in the morning, but you can do this routine anytime you want. Ensure you stay well hydrated and as with any strenuous exercise, make sure to consume protein shortly after you finish working out. A good protein shake following exercise can be as refreshing as it is good for the body.

Always consult your doctor before beginning any new physical fitness program.

Balanced Nutrition, Balanced Life

It is a little after noon time and I am sitting in beautiful Liberal Kansas while my co-driver finishes our second to last freight delivery for this run. I will soon be taking the helm of our semi here soon, and only want to get this trip over as we have had heavy rains on the road all this week. Rain is not much of an issue for daytime driving over short distances, but a large portion of my running is at night where the oncoming lights from other motorists gets magnified in the rain drops on the windshield only to cause eye strain after a while. That last hour before the sunrises when your circadiam rythem says you are supposed to be asleep anyhow is the roughest period for most truckers.

Early this morning, it was 2:30 am when I pulled my rig away from our loading dock in Kansas City. A full two hour late departure time that seems to be a regular occurrence and with no relief in sight for improvement. It is a systemic problem with my employer which has come from an expansion of our operations. Now to add to our lateness Kansas Highway 54 is down to one lane for road construction, at least is not raining for the time…

Whether you live a busy life or not, being able to draw a balance is key to your well being. Balance in nutrition, your stress levels and physical fitness. Let your balance in any of these areas get off, and your sense of well being will only suffer for it. A large component in keeping stress levels and your physical fitness in balance is through proper nutrition.

In a perfect world, we would not be so busy that there is a need for foods of convenience which do little to nourish us properly. In a perfect world, we could all sit down each day to a dinner which fits the standards set by http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov where we get the perfect balance of protein, vegetables, fruit, grain and dairy with every plate of food we consume. If you are like myself, you do not live in a perfect world. I know for sure that in a perfect world, I would not be working a 60 to 80 hour work week 52 weeks a year. However, this is no excuse to not take care of eating right and maintaining a good nutritional balance.

No matter how busy your life may be, you should really consider your daily caloric needs by your Basal Metabolic Rate. Your caloric needs will depend on your age, gender, weight and activity level. Once you know your caloric needs, you can then figure your macro-nutrient needs in order to lose or maintain your weight. You owe it to yourself to know these numbers for healthful living which will enable you to work productively, enjoy life and to feel your best. For weight management, or to maintain your current weight, government standards for macro-nutrients per AFPA Cengage Learning is 10-25% protein, 45-65% complex carbohydrates and 20-35% of total calories come from fats. Preferably liquid fats over solids. The current consumption trend for most Americans is 15% protein, 49% carbs with 16% coming from refined sugar and 34% fats. This trend has resulted in our current obesity epidemic. For weight loss, and for those who strength train or participate in other vigorous physical exercise I recommend consuming 50-60% of calories from protein, with complex carbs not exceeding 25-30% and the remaining calories coming from fat. I recommend this for a couple of reasons. First, we need protein to build and or repair muscle mass which is not only needed for strength and endurance athletes, but is also important as a part of weight loss. You do not want to lose your lean muscle mass while losing your body fat. Losing lean muscle will happen during a caloric deficit which will only serve to slow your metabolism. Know that the more lean muscle your body retains, the more efficient you will be at burning fat. The next reason I advise the higher protein intake is it will keep you satiated much longer than carbohydrates, especially simple carbs. The more your hunger is satisfied, the less likely it is that you will want to snack between meals.

If your life is remotely as busy as mine where you find yourself eating on the go a lot, then by all means ensure that your food choices are healthy. Ensure that you are getting a good variety where you will consume your recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals in order to maintain your nutritional balance. Unlike carbohydrates, fats and proteins, vitamins and minerals do not supply energy or calories. Instead, they regulate the release of energy and other aspects of your metabolism. Minerals also perform important functions. Calcium makes up the structure of bones and teeth. Others such as sodium help regulate crucial body functions such as heartbeat and muscle contractions. You can meet all these nutritional needs by eating fresh fruits and vegetables and by reading labels on your canned goods. While this may seem inconvenient for a little bit, after a short time, you will have most of this information remembered. It helps also to have regular staples that you buy from your grocery store each week. If you keep basic regular food items, you can always add to them with other foods or change your flavor profiles by experimenting with different seasonings. For example, I might use a half dozen different seasonings on boiled eggs in order to never get bored with them.

No matter how busy your life, there are always healthy alternatives you can choose over unhealthy. If you must eat on the run, ensure that you consume whole grain breads over eating white bread. Be sure to read the labels with wheat breads as sometimes, these breads do not contain whole grains and are only brown because of food colorings and are no more good for you than white bread. Whole grain breads will provide good nutritional value with protein and complex carbs along with fiber. Choose lean meats for your sandwich and pile on the vegetable fixings such as lettuce, tomatoes and onions. If you like a little something to crunch on during the day, pack 1-1 1/2 ounce of nuts such as almonds. Almonds are a great source of magnesium which regulates diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation. As a supplementation to cover anything that may be missing from the meals I consume on the road in my semi and at home, I like to have protein shakes made from 2% milk and flavored whey protein. There are many great tasting whey proteins on the market which are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals as well as branch chain amino acids which help boost muscle growth, enhance exercise performance, and help reduce fatigue after exercise or hard work.

Last but not least in nutritional balance is by all means do not over eat your caloric needs as the obvious weight gain will happen. Next is do not under eat your caloric needs by too much of a margin as your metabolism will only slow which will impede your weight loss. A good rule of thumb to lose 1 pound per week is to consume 500 calories a day less than you daily needs to maintain your current body fat levels. This is the most healthy rate of loss for most people. If you keep your nutrition in balance, you will find that it is much easier to keep the rest of your life in balance. By keeping nutritional balance, you will feel much healthier, more energetic and your mental focus will be much sharper.

Stay balanced my friends, stay balanced.

How to Make Positive Changes

 

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Stasis

If we never change, we will die, and yet most people resist change like it is the certain death. This resistance to change is at the root of many health problems. We grew up eating sugar-laden desserts as a reward and as an adult, we want to continue doing just that. Never mind that this single habit can keep us from our health goals. In the case of diabetes, that habit can be more quickly debilitating. I have personally witnessed a person with his hand in a bag of candy wondering why his blood sugar was so high. I have had people ask me why they are suffering the long term effects of elevated, uncontrolled blood sugar when they have been diabetic for fifty years and never adhered to the diabetic diet. Resistance to change is an instrument of death.

 

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Causes

We tend to do the things that make us feel secure. Old habits that may be detrimental to our health have been our source of comfort for so long that we want to keep repeating those behaviors even if we know that they are not in our best interest. When life gets as tough as it gets, we tend to run for shelter in the places that we know will shield us from the storm. If a carton of ice cream or a case of beer has been our go-to in the past, a stressful event just might send us running back into the coziness of the familiarity of that toxic behavior.

While we tend to think of inertia, which is merely a resistance to change, as affecting the physical world of nature, we are very susceptible to this law of physics. Inertia helps us to maintain a homeostatic environment in our bodies so that our temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respirations will be regular and healthy. When we try to introduce change, we resist it to our core, even if it’s good for us. When I heft a loaded barbell onto my shoulders to squat, there is something in my brain that tells me that I have lost my mind. Nothing will bring about physiological changes in our bodies as quickly as a heavy weight. Sometimes, no, every time, that I put that bar on my shoulders, for several reps I think that I am going to surely die. My body is screaming for me to stop. It’s craving homeostasis, or to remain the same. That heavy weight will not ever allow me to remain the same and that’s why I feel that way. My brain is resisting change. I can never let it win.

There are various mental and emotional states that can also make change very difficult for many people. I am not addressing those issues. Medications and therapy can help with many behavioral issues. My son is autistic and change for him is one of the worst things in life. I am speaking to the average individual’s difficulty when you are attempting to improve eating habits or incorporate exercise into your life.

 

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What Do I Do?

When I first began weight training, David told me to do my workouts like I do my job, make them non-negotiable, part of my life. In doing this, I have developed cues to work out. When we first start driving, we learn that the first thing that we do when we get into our vehicle is fasten our seatbelt. It is non-negotiable. We don’t question it. It very quickly becomes a part of our lives. When we get behind that driver’s wheel, we automatically buckle up. Avoiding sugar, counting our calories and working out has to be cued. If we repeat these good habits through sheer will for a period of time, they will become second nature. Now, I know that until I get my mandatory workouts in every week, I will not have peace. In the beginning, doing the workouts was a stress inducing behavior. Now, although I may procrastinate, or dread the weight, I know that skipping a workout is not an option. I have seven days to get in four hard workouts and some extra, easier accessory work. My cue to begin is the fulfillment of my days “off”, my rest days. As soon as those days are done, I am cued to work out. When I first stopped eating sugar, it was a hard habit to break. Now, after withdrawing from sugar a few years ago, avoiding sugar is my normal. The behavior is cued by the very presence of sugar. I automatically recoil. It is my new normal.

 

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Nike Says It Best

The way to develop cues is to consciously perform an action until it becomes routine. When we forcibly learn something new such as better eating habits or exercising, we are using a different part of our brain from the part that cues us. After repeating these good habits through will and perseverance for a while, the controlling mechanism will move to another part of our brain. In the beginning, new habits are much like forging iron. It takes strength, will and force. After a while, the habit, like the iron, is forged and you can use it to hammer out good health. So when Nike says, “Just Do It.” they summed it up. Sometimes people ask us how to quit eating sugar. David always says, “Quit eating it.” It’s really that simple. Yes, at first it’s very hard, just like that iron in the forge. There’s great pressure and difficulty but before you know it, a useable tool will emerge.

 

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Reinforcement

As you practice your good habits willfully and then with cues, you will begin to reap the rewards. You may notice increased energy and better skin. Your clothes will fit differently and people will begin to notice and pay you compliments. Shopping and trying on clothes in the dreaded dressing room mirror will become your friend instead of your nemesis. These positive reinforcements can keep you moving in the right direction because they will activate the reward center of your brain just like those bad habits of yesterday once did. You will have changed your habits and even your personality to some degree. Instead of being the one who always wants to avoid anything active, you will be the leader in active, leisurely activities for your friends and families. Instead of being the one who always burdens the digestive systems of loved ones with sugar and excess calories, you will be helping them achieve their health goals.

I want you to understand that nowhere have I said that the process would be easy. In the beginning, it’s incredibly hard and even after you have developed new habits, you will still have free will to do either good or bad for yourself. Most of the time when I face the Squat or Deadlift, I feel like I’m going to my execution, but I go. It is not easy, but it is worth it. Why barely survive when you can thrive?

The choice, as always, is yours.

 

 

 

 

COVID 19 and Metabolic Syndrome

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As some of you might already know, I very recently recovered from a bout with COVID 19. I am here to tell you, this sickness is no joking matter and it needs to be taken quite seriously despite the fact some people will display little to only a few symptoms. I am in excellent physical condition and it affected me pretty good for three weeks. While I was fortunate to not experience troubles with my lungs consolidating, the virus made my entire body hurt. My body hurt in a way to where it was like I could feel pain in every fiber of every muscle in my body. Even the tendons and ligaments were painful to me. And then, the fatigue was enough to have me sleeping more than half of the hours of each day for two weeks, and after the third week, I was still feeling weak when I resumed my weight training. Being quarantined to the house (my wife Loraine had this too) became difficult when we were running low on groceries and trying to find a store or business that could deliver goods to our home.

There are so many ways this virus affects us that we cannot truly appreciate until we have been impacted by it. I love to eat, but for three weeks I hated food. Instead of losing my sense of taste and smell, everything I ate or drank tasted and smelled kind of earthy and pungent to me. My coffee tasted the same as my scrambled eggs, which tasted the same as anything else I consumed. Everything tasted the same, and none of it tasted good. A month later, my sense of taste is still a little bit off, but at least my coffee is once again tasting like coffee instead of like brewing peat moss scraped off a rock in the forest into a hot drink.

Overall, Loraine and I got off easy compared to some. I was fearful for her being as she still has a compromised immune system from her breast cancer. We have both recovered without hospitalization, yet my friends wife just got out of an extended stay in the hospital as a result of contracting this virus. I know a few other people who have lost loved ones to this sickness and despite this, I still know a few who are not taking it seriously. Common sense has to prevail my friends. I’m not suggesting we should run around looking for death under every rock, but we must still take care of our health and take precautions against the virus.

How does COVID 19 affect those with Metabolic Syndrome?

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First, what is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, which increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to overweight or obesity and inactivity, and it is also linked to insulin resistance.

Patients with metabolic syndrome exhibited an almost 4-times greater odds of fatal Covid-19 outcomes, compared to patients without metabolic syndrome in the multivariable analysis.

Among the patients hospitalized for Covid-19, having three common comorbidities associated with metabolic syndrome – hypertension, obesity and diabetes – was associated with an almost 5-fold increase in risk for requiring treatment in an ICU, being placed on mechanical ventilation and developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The findings suggest that metabolic syndrome is a “composite predictor of Covid-19 lethal outcome,” wrote researcher Joshua Denson, MD, of Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, and colleagues. (1)

“Together, obesity, diabetes and pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels are all predictive of higher incidents of death in these patients. The more of these diagnoses that you have, the worse the outcomes,” said lead investigator Joshua Denson, MD, assistant professor of medicine and pulmonary and critical care medicine physician at Tulane University School of Medicine, in a statement. “The underlying inflammation that is seen with metabolic syndrome may be the driver that is leading to these more severe cases.”

While many observational studies have examined the impact of diabetes, obesity, and other risk factors with COVID-19 outcomes, Denson and a team of colleagues sought to further this understanding by assessing the impact of metabolic syndrome and each of its individual components on outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Using the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for metabolic syndrome, investigators designed their study as an assessment of data collected from a pair of Tulane-affiliated hospitals in New Orleans. (2)

Metabolic Syndrome is Preventable!

Preventing metabolic syndrome is most certainly possible. you can prevent yourself from getting this condition by maintaining a healthy waist circumference, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, a huge obstacle blocking the way to prevention is there are far too many people who are apathetic about their weight and health until it actually does make them uncomfortable. Sadly, some never get over their apathy.  In talking to people about nutrition and fitness, it is not uncommon to hear people say they “do not do healthy” and that “they are going to enjoy life by eating whatever the hell they want”. It is not rocket science that our immune system is our defense against disease, and poor nutrition is the most common cause of immunodeficiencies. Maintaining your immune system requires an intake of proper vitamins and minerals. Eating a well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables and food low in unhealthy fats, will help support a *healthy immune system. Yet, quick junk foods still are the go to for a majority of western society of today. We can see the evidence of this each day by the long drive through lines at any fast food joint you might drive past in America on any given day.

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Exercise and weight loss will aid in preventing Metabolic Syndrome. You can begin by consuming a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while excluding sugar and processed foods. Leading a sedentary life leads to Metabolic Syndrome, therefore exercise of some sort is also important when it comes to preventing this condition. Regular physical activity will reduce your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. The key is to try to maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program or radically changing your diet.

It Is Expensive to be Unhealthy!

Nearly two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a healthier diet could prevent at least $71 billion per year in medical costs and lost lives. That number may be underestimated because it only accounts for diet-related coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. It does not include other diet-related illnesses.

Seventy-five percent of health care dollars are spent on treating preventable diseases. (3)

(1) https://www.physiciansweekly.com/covid-19-metabolic-syndrome-strong-risk-factor-for-death/

(2) https://www.endocrinologynetwork.com/view/impact-of-metabolic-syndrome-on-covid-19-outcomes-in-black-patients

(3) https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=ff0de079-682c-4f1a-b686-6b5b50e2f541

Losing Muscle Mass as We Age

When we are young and full of health and vitality, it is easy to live in the moment without any consideration of what our quality of life will be like as we age. When we are twenty years old and full of spunk, we cannot see ourselves being old and frail. However, as grains of time in the hour glass continue to rapidly drain from the top, we find that time has gotten past us and thirty years or better have flown by in the blink of an eye. None of us are immune from this.

Aging can come with some great benefits, such as wisdom from life experience and memories, whether good or bad.  However, one challenge we can all face over time is the loss of lean muscle mass. This is a condition known as sarcopenia. Losing strength as we get older can make daily tasks harder and over time can cause you to become less independent.

Photo by Fillipe Gomes from Pexels

Can it be stopped?

Yes, this condition can be stopped, but you have to make lifestyle changes early on in order to get the best results out of your actions.

By keeping your muscles strong, you can stay independent longer and continue doing the things you love without needing much help from others. When we are twenty years old, we never want to see ourselves as being old and frail in a nursing home because we no longer have the capability to take care of our basic functions of life. When we are young, who ever stops to consider they might need a care taker in order to get on and off the toilet and to help us with our basic hygiene needs. Yet, this happens every day, and the people this happens to are getting younger and younger all the time. It is not uncommon today to see people laid up in nursing homes  during their fifties for  ailments that we used to only think of being issues for the true senior citizens among us.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Things that accelerate muscle loss

As you age, your body can change in ways that surprise you. One of the most noticeable changes is weakness and ease of motion. Your lifestyle and overall health play a key role in how fast those changes occur. Factors that can increase muscle loss include:

Inactive lifestyle: People with sarcopenia who lead sedentary lives are also at greater risk of osteoporosis. This is because active muscles send signals to bones that help them stay strong. The drop in strength from sarcopenia means people may be more prone to falls and bone fractures. muscle loss is largely accelerated by inactivity. As we get older, we tend to move less. But exercise is one of the key signals that our body needs to keep our muscles strong and healthy. Without that signal our muscles start getting smaller and weaker over time. None of us are immune from this!

An unbalanced diet, low in proteins: Eating protein also acts as a signal to grow and maintain muscle. However, as we age, we tend to have smaller appetites and eat less protein, increasing the risk of muscle loss. Protein is an important nutrient for everyone, not just athletes and body builders. Humans can’t survive without all nine essential amino acids. Protein is essential to building bones, and body tissues, such as muscles, but protein does much more than that. Protein participates in practically every process of a cell. It plays a part in metabolic reactions, immune response, provides a source of energy, assists in cellular repair, forms blood cells, and more. As we age, these issues become even more critical to our health and well being.

Inflammation or swelling:  Medical conditions that cause muscle loss can often be avoided through proper diet and exercise. Lower levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen, higher levels of body fat, insulin resistance and higher levels of inflammation are other reasons why older people lose muscle more easily than younger people. In fact, all of these factors combined lead to something called “anabolic resistance”. This means the body doesn’t respond as well to the signals that normally cause muscles to grow. However, you do not need to be a victim to these conditions when you have committed yourself to a healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet and regular exercise.

You can control many of the factors linked to muscle loss. Managing your health conditions and making the right lifestyle changes can help you build and keep your strength. We can’t stop ourselves from aging, but we can slow down some of its effects. While increased physical activity is important to maintain your overall health and well-being, engaging in strengthening exercises at least 2 to 3 times each week is your best defense against muscle loss. By continuing to use your muscles, you’ll be working to keep them strong.

You don’t need expensive exercise equipment, a personal trainer, or even a gym membership. Common forms of physical activity and exercise that can help build strength and keep you mobile include:

Walking, stair climbing, and biking

Strength training with resistance tubes and bands

Yard work (mowing, gardening, and planting)

Becoming more active can energize your mood, relieve stress, help you manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve your overall sense of well-being. And reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t have to involve strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. You can gain the benefits from adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways. No matter your age or physical condition, it’s never too late to get your body moving, boost your health and outlook, and improve how well you age.

Save your hard earned money and follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness.

We are free of charge to everyone as we truly want to help you to successfully lose those unwanted pounds and for you to keep them off. We can also now be found on Facebook @ David’s Way to Health and Fitness, Sugar Free Living!

Stop by and give us a like and a follow!

Surviving the Holiday Season 2020

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We have just celebrated Halloween and all the scary little Trick or Treaters. Now we find ourselves slipping down the slippery slope straight into the rest of our fall and winter holidays.

How are you going to fare this year?

Are you going to maintain your weight, or, are you going to gain or lose this year?

It is said, the average American gains 5 to 10 pounds during this holiday season, but is this true?

Although there are many claims that the average weight gain during the holidays is 5-10 pounds, most Americans actually only gain about 1 or 2 pounds during the holidays. The problem is, they don’t lose the extra weight over the year, but instead continue to gradually gain weight, so over 10 years that adds up to an extra 10 – 20 pounds or more, increasing the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer to name just a few. Our problem in America is that we actually never quit having a holiday season. We have birthdays year round, and after New Years Eve, we have at least 5 more celebrations that center around food and sweets before Halloween even rolls around again in October. your lifestyle is the problem for weight gain, not a couple of holidays at the end of the year.

Which appetizer has the fewest calories?

a. 1 oz. of brie cheese + 4 crackers

b. ¼ cup of nuts

c. 2 Tablespoons of hummus with 1 cup of vegetables

 C. 2 Tablespoons of hummus with 1 cup of vegetables. I know this appears pretty obvious to most of you, but it’s an important point. Load up on vegetables when they’re available as an appetizer. They take longer to eat and add so few calories that you can eat them while socializing and no harm done to your waistline. Then, when the dessert trays come out, you can legitimately say you have no room for the sweet treats now.

Which cocktail has the least calories?

a. A rum and Coke

b. A martini

c. A whiskey sour

B. A martini contains 135 calories, the whiskey sour contains 158 calories, and the rum and Coke contains 211 calories. But really, just do not indulge in any alcohol. While the amount of calories in each drink is not huge in themselves, the larger problem is the alcohol is going to lower your inhibitions and you will find it much easier to gorge on those foods that are full of sugar and unhealthy fats. Alcohol only serves to leave you with regret the next day. You should not require alcohol in order to enjoy yourself when surrounded by loved ones.

 Which food has the most sodium?

a. ½ cup packaged bread stuffing

b. ½ cup homemade mashed potatoes

c. 1 dinner roll

A. ½ cup packaged bread stuffing. A serving of the stuffing contains 400-450mg of sodium, while homemade mashed potatoes typically contain about 120mg- 350mg, depending on how much salt you add, and a dinner roll contains 130mg-170 mg. Remember, you have little to no control over the amount of sodium that comes in pre-packaged foods, but you do have full control over the foods you prepare yourself at home. You have more control during the holidays than you may believe!

Which meat contains the LEAST amount of fat?

a. 3 ounces of boneless ham

b. 3 ounces of boneless duck with skin

c. 3 ounces of turkey leg no skin

 A & C.  Both the ham and the turkey leg, no skin contain 8 grams of fat, while duck contains a whopping 25 grams of fat. However, if you choose turkey breast without the skin (or gravy) it only has 1 gram of fat per 3 ounces. If you enjoy having duck for a holiday meal, then by all means go ahead and have the duck. After all, your problem with weight gain during the holidays does not come from having meat, your weight gain comes from the mindless of cakes, cookies and pies more than anything. Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies are more of your problem than a fatty cut of meat, you can take that to the bank.

Which side dish offers the most nutrition?

a. Roasted sweet potatoes

b. Sautéed green beans

c. Tossed green salad with vinaigrette

d. All of the above

 D. All of the above. These are all great choices when prepared with a moderate amount of oil because you maximize the nutrition while minimizing the extra calories from sugar and fat. Consider preparing one or more of these side dishes instead of traditional sweet potatoes with sugar and marshmallows, green bean casserole or other vegetable casseroles.

Which pie has the fewest calories and fat? (Serving = 1/8th of 9-inch pie)

a. Pumpkin Pie w. 2 Tablespoons whipped cream

b. Apple Pie w. ½ cup vanilla ice cream

c. Pecan Pie

 A. Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream has about 320 calories + 14g fat; Apple Pie with ice cream has about 495 calories + 23g fat; Pecan Pie with no toppings has 500 calories. But the beautiful thing is, we have sugar free alternative recipes for each of the desserts under our healthy recipe menu tabs.  We have a very wide selection of dessert recipes to get you through the holidays.

Be the life of the party
Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

Cheers to good health
Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices. Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

Tweak the sweet
For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of Splenda or Swerve instead of apple pie. Top with a few crushed pecans for a little more flavor and texture!

Pay attention to what really matters.

It’s easy to get swept up in the holiday season. This combination of religious and national celebrations can help keep the cold winter away. But the feasts and parties that mark it can tax the arteries and strain the waistline. By eating just 200 extra calories a day — a piece of pecan pie and a tumbler of eggnog here, a couple latkes and some butter cookies there — you could pack on two to three pounds over this five- to six-week period. That doesn’t sound like much, except few people shed that extra weight in the following months and years. Although food is an integral part of the holidays, put the focus on family and friends, laughter and cheer. If balance and moderation are your usual guides, it’s okay to indulge or overeat once in a while. This is why we encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. When your good health is your lifestyle, then it is much easier to fall back into when you have allowed yourself to stray. Of course, when healthy living is already your default position, this makes getting through the holidays much easier with no worries or stress of weight gain.

Save your hard earned money and follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. We are free of charge to everyone as we truly want to help you to successfully lose those unwanted pounds and for you to keep them off. We can also now be found on Facebook @ David’s Way to Health and Fitness, Sugar Free Living! Stop by and give us a like and a follow!

Getting Bogged Down in The Minutiae

The very concept of losing weight is really very simple – just do the opposite of what made you gain weight in the first place. Consuming fewer calories than you expend should be straight forward enough for all to grasp, yet when it comes to losing weight, most people over complicate the process and will not find success in meeting their goal.

Cutting calories is a must!

Your level of body fat is  directly proportional to the amount of calories you consume as opposed to the amount of calories you burn each day. This is a universal truth for everyone, no one is special in this regard. One pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories and in order to burn off that one pound of fat in a weeks time, you must cut your daily caloric intake by 500 calories.

Pretty simple concept, right?

Yes, the concept is quite simple, yet the execution of it seems to be impossible for most people to accomplish over the long term. The reality behind why so many people struggle to keep their caloric intake down is because they are still attempting to keep the foods in their diet which got them fat in the first place. They are still trying to eat foods with added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients, all while expecting a change that is not going to happen for them. The best and easiest way to not consuming more calories than your body can burn is to commit to only eating whole, healthy foods that provide your body with actual nutrition with each bite you take. You must quit eating low nutrition, high calorie foods if you want to permanently lose weight. If you want a fit, trim and healthy body, then you must only eat foods that will sustain this. You cannot continue to eat processed foods and or foods that are full of added sugars, unhealthy fats, high levels of sodium and preservatives. Anyone who tells you different is steering you wrong. We truly are what we eat! Instead of giving you a list of 20 ways to cut calories, I will tell you all you need to know – do not eat sugar and  or processed foods and you will find the calories will take care of themselves.

Should I practice Intermittent Fasting?

With the exception of people with medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, we advocate Intermittent Fasting on the 16:8 protocol simply because it is a manner of more disciplined eating. While there is a lot of information which can be found all over the internet regarding Intermittent Fasting as if it is a new found weight loss gimmick, it is really nothing new. Intermittent Fasting used to be the norm in America even though it did not have a name. For example, when I was a child we used to get up in the morning and have breakfast, lunch and then dinner. Once the dinner dishes were cleaned up and put away, we did not eat again until the next morning’s breakfast. If your mother caught you eating after the dinner dishes had been put away, you might get a little reprimanding for not eating either all of your dinner, or not enough. Intermittent Fasting was just a normal part of American life before this era of our obesity epidemic. By practicing Intermittent fasting, you will consume all the calories you require for the day in order to lose or maintain your weight, and then you are done eating until tomorrow. This eliminates grazing in the kitchen which always leads to the consumption of excessive calories beyond what you require.

Daily weighing is not helpful!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you’re tracking progress, you might be tempted to hop on the scale on a daily basis — just stop this madness. There is no reason to weigh yourself more than once a week. With daily water fluctuations, body weight can change drastically on a day-to-day basis. Watching these daily fluctuations each day are actually doing very little for you, but it will keep you stressed. It is only long term trends you need to concern yourself with when it comes to weight loss and weight management. Be consistent when you weigh yourself. Weigh yourself at the same time. If you go to the bathroom before you jump on the scale, go before you do it again next time. Weighing yourself without clothes? Keep it that way, or try wearing the same clothes week to week. If you want the number on the scale to have a significant meaning, then have to be consistent in your methods.

Do not get hung up on what internet models and bodybuilders say they do for weight loss!

Face it, if you are overweight, the methods being used by Instagram models and professional bodybuilders are not anything remotely close to what you need to be concerning yourself with. Their methods do not apply to you, and in most cases, they should not apply to anyone. Some of these people achieve their looks through extreme dieting, the use of performance enhancing drugs, laxatives and diuretics.

At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, instead of trying to hit a certain weight, what we would like to see you concentrate on, is getting your body to a healthy body fat percentage – no more, no less.

The American Council on Exercise Body Fat Categorization

I would encourage you to aim for a body fat percentage that falls into the Fitness category as this is achievable and maintainable for most people. By concentrating on a healthy body fat percentage over body weight, it takes off some of the stress and anxiety that comes with fluctuations on the bathroom scale. Less stress, combined with good nutrition and exercise results in healthy body fat levels!

Save your hard earned money and follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. We are free of charge to everyone as we truly want to help you to successfully lose those unwanted pounds and for you to keep them off. We can also now be found on Facebook @ David’s Way to Health and Fitness, Sugar Free Living! Stop by and give us a like and a follow!

 

It’s a New Day!

 

I originally wrote this on Halloween to encourage people who may have indulged in Halloween candy. This also applies to every holiday and special event that you celebrate. It also applies to an ordinary day where you just lost control. The premise being that the sun actually will come up the “morning after”. Winning the war against obesity is a lifetime commitment. Always remember that getting , and staying, healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. When you have a healthy lifestyle you always have a way to get back on track. A healthy lifestyle is your normal, so when you deviate from normal, all you have to do to get back on track is practice what you know. Fall into the rhythm of the healthy habits that give you the results that you want, and need, to live your best life. Don’t wallow in your transgressions, just learn from them and get up and go again. Do remember the bad feeling that you had when you ate the junk though, and ask yourself when the temptation strikes again if you want to feel like that, or do you want to feel energetic and confident. The choice is yours alone. Now put some Dawn dishwashing liquid on the rest of that Halloween candy, or whatever you have binged on at this point in time, and THEN throw it in the trash. Odds are you won’t eat any more…  😉

Lifestyle Tips for Autoimmune Disease

Hard Road to Travel

Some of my earliest memories involve my beautiful mother sitting, painting a product called, “Heet” on her wrists. She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 19 soon after giving birth to me. Although she suffered immensely her entire life, that dreadful disease did not stop her from living a full and productive life, which says something for her and her doctor. The day that she was diagnosed, he told her, “Bobbie, there’s not much we can do about this. You have to make up your mind right now that it will not stop you. Do not ever sit down and stay there for long, because if you do, you will spend the rest of your life in a wheel chair and never be independent again.” It scared her and honestly, I almost NEVER saw her sitting down. She got up at 7AM every day and worked like a maniac. Her house was spotless and she looked like a million bucks, always primping and preening and beautiful. She put her make-up on right after her first cup of coffee and proceeded to attack the day. Through the years, she tried several prescription medications aimed at helping RA, but they all made her deathly ill and finally settled in with prednisone being her only relief. While that drug is good for a lot, the effects of long-term use had some devastating effects. I watched her health deteriorate her whole life until she passed away at age 68 from sepsis brought on by a bone infection from a surgery site that was performed to correct a bone deformity that was so bad that something had to be done.

Lifestyle

While my mother was skinny and adhered to a very restrictive diet, she would not drink water, did eat sugar and was obsessed with what other people thought of her and our family to the point that if I got into any kind of trouble whatsoever, she could barely hold her head up in public. I have always believed that her lifestyle may have impacted her health in a very negative way. Human beings have to have water. Adequate intake can help fight inflammation. (1) Sugar is a horribly inflammatory agent and obsession with other people’s opinion will negatively impact you every time. We teach making your world small because you can’t please most people, and constantly trying to please them, will make you produce stress hormones which are also inflammatory.

Practical Tips

Autoimmune Disease of all types can be life-threatening and you MUST be under a medical doctor’s care! There are lifestyle changes that may ease some of your suffering. Check with your doctor before making any changes to your daily routine.

  • Get Regular Physical Activity That Has Been Approved By Your Doctor. Gradual, gentle exercise usually works best. My mother loved to swim whenever she had a chance. It was about the only exercise that did not cause her pain. My dad was going to build her an in-ground pool but she would not let him and I don’t know why. I truly believe that she would have been so much better off. Some people like yoga or tai chi due to it’s gentle nature and it’s ability to calm the mind. Living with chronic pain creates a stress unlike any other and calming activity is so good.
  • Rest. Good quality sleep is so important for everyone but if you have auto-immune disease, it’s especially beneficial in helping repair tissues and joints that may be affected by the disease process. Without enough sleep, stress levels rise and your mind and body both will feel the damage. Sleep helps regulate the immune system which is imperative. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • REDUCE STRESS. Our ‘Making Your World Small” (David Yochim) motto is one of the best tools for doing this. When stress levels rise, symptoms may be triggered. In my mother’s case, stress was one of the most devastating influential factors in her bad health. She did not seem to have the ability to detach from other people’s opinions and her life was filled with anxiety because of it. When she was stressed, her symptoms always worsened. If someone or something has a negative impact on you, ditch them. If you can’t, find a way to detach from them, or the situation, emotionally. Your struggle for health is more important than ANYBODY’S opinion.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet.  Include lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Limit saturated fats, trans fats, salt and added sugars. In auto-immune disease, new cells may be produced that can cause cholesterol to be trapped inside of blood vessels so in light of that, it is recommended to avoid it also. (2)  Most processed foods contain this list of no-no’s in abundance. Freshly prepared food is always best.

 

 

(1) https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/best-drinks-for-arthritis

(2) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181108130543.htm#:~:text=Summary%3A,become%20trapped%20inside%20blood%20vessels.