Category: Health

Dirty Little Secret And PMS

 

Photo by Ba Tik from Pexels

The Myth

As women, we are conditioned to believe that we are helpless and hapless victims of our hormone cycle. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have lived with this lie and it never made any sense. I have studied anatomy and physiology and countless other sciences and there is a truth that remains. All systems seek balance, not only at specific times of the month or when it’s convenient, but all the time, forever seeking balance. Balance is necessary for life or even non-living systems to function properly. Balanced is that state where the chemical reactions in our bodies just naturally move to the next step. Without balance, chaos reigns and chaos is not the natural order. Life seeks to sustain itself. Physical elements in the earth seek synchronization and ease of function. Without balance, life is so hard that we sometimes don’t want to live. Sound familiar?  PMS and the cravings and wild emotions that sometimes accompany it is an unbalanced state.

The Pits

I had such horrible cravings in my 20’s and 30’s that I would eat whatever amount of chocolate, or pound cake or banana pudding or ice cream or barbecue flavored potato chips or…. (well, I think you get the idea…) that I could find. I hid my binges, something that I learned to do growing up with an anorexic mother who seemed to base my value on the number on the scale. At the age of four she put me on the scale and told me that I was fat. I wasn’t. I weighed forty pounds. Google the average weight of a four year old, it’s forty pounds. I cried when I discovered that truth.

My weight bounced all over the scale, ranging from 221# to 118#. I tried every diet on the market  but cravings always caused me to quit. I became borderline anorexic. I’m 5’6″ and believe me, that 118# was no healthier for me than that 221#. I looked like a skeleton. My personal life was a living hell. I was so self-destructive that it’s amazing that I’m even alive. I peaked out in a size 22 dress and I quit wearing pants at size 18 so who knows what size they would have been. If you look at my pictures and think that I don’t understand what you’re going through, guess again.

Knowledge Is Power

One thing that I had learned growing up, even with an unhealthy state of mind being impressed upon me, was that we have the power to change ourselves. My mother and I would get the World Books and look up calisthenics, body weight exercises, and get in the floor and do them. I also learned, due to the endless diets that I was on, that what we put in our mouths makes a difference in everything, not just the scale. I noticed that while I was eating healthy, I just felt better.

I wasn’t happy being a victim of my hormones and eating habits. Believe me, victim is not my default. I began to study everything that I could find concerning PMS, cravings and related mood swings. One of the first bits of information that I uncovered was the sugar connection. When our estrogen and progesterone levels begin to shift during this time, it can cause a change in the level of serotonin in the brain. (https://www.webmd.com/women/pms/features/diet-and-pms#1) Serotonin is one of our feel good neurotransmitters and our brain needs to keep it available in just the right amount, too little and we become horribly depressed and too much and we become whacked out of our minds, maniacal, hysterical with an artificial, scary energy. Again, balance is everything. Dopamine is our strength and excitement neurotransmitter, too little and we are lethargic and too much and we are a fearful thing, all but terrorizing our environment. Sugar lights up the dopamine reward pathway (https://huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/sugar-brain-mental-health_n_6904778.html) and causes us to want to “hit it again”. It feels good, and at this time of month, nothing else does.

This problem is compounded by the fact that as we “hit it again”, multiple times, our serotonin is being released also. When this serotonin system is repeatedly stimulated we can become depleted and fall into a deep depression. Many anti-depressant drugs are serotonin boosters and if we burn this system out with too much sugar, we are in a world of hurt until balance is restored. Salt also affects our serotonin balance and when that one chemical is not balanced in our brains, all hell breaks loose. We will constantly try to self medicate with food, alcohol and prescription medications and sometimes illegal drugs. Balance is so crucial to sustaining life that we will self destruct trying to regain even a shred of “normal”.

I continued my studies and discovered that along with a good, wholesome balanced diet our bodies desperately need activity. Endorphins are produced by hard exercise and endorphins are natural anti-depressants. Getting outside increases GABA levels in the brain (The Edge Effect, Eric R. Braverman, M.D., Sterling Publishing Company., Inc. New York, 2004) and GABA is our calming neurotransmitter.

The Key 

I also discovered that during the luteal phase of our menstrual cycle, the last 7-10 days or so, we burn 2.5-11% more calories! (https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/4-ways-your-mentrual-cycle-affects-your-workouts.html) (Yes, “menstrual is misspelled in that url, but it won’t work if you spell it correctly. It was posted this way.) Yep, MORE calories! Ladies, we just got a break. The golden key had just been handed to me and I rushed to unlock the secret. The Dirty Little Secret was that we were being told that we had no control and it was a lie. The Dirty Little Secret was that we were being told that we couldn’t do anything about weight gain during this tumultuous time and it was a lie. The Dirty Little Secret was that an overall disdain for women’s issues in the mainstream media had never considered this a problem to be dealt with because it was a “Woman’s Issue” and, you know, “It’s All In Their Heads.” The Dirty Little Secret has caused the death of many, and countless others to live an entire lifetime trapped inside a body alien to them, a stranger in a strange land.

Application

I began to put this knowledge together into a workable program for myself. Everybody thought that I was crazy when I joined the YMCA and began swimming 5-7 days/week for 2+ hours/day. Everybody thought that I was crazy when I began to lift weights. I “Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know” (David Yochim) and I just gave those weights a whirl, yes I did. 😉 I was only lifting about 40-60# but no other women that I knew was even considering doing that. (Now, I lift heavy.) They thought that I was really weird, but now I am working a very difficult job full time and they are retiring. Some of them didn’t even make it that far. Some developed serious health problems and had to retire early and some died. I quit eating any and everything that contained sugar or excess salt. I had also learned that the fluid retention from salt would increase my overall level of misery, just turning up the fire on everything that bothered me, so I laid off of that. I began to run, which is an on and off activity for me and Lord, Lo and Behold! I began to LOSE WEIGHT during the time of the month when I usually gained. Every month, pound after pound had been creeping on and I thought that I was helpless to avoid it.

Victory Is Possible!

I want to make this very clear. You do NOT have to become a fitness freak like me to experience the benefits of this increased calorie burn during the last 7-10 days of your menstrual cycle.  But Ladies hear this, if you forget everything else that I’ve said, small tweaks in your daily routine during the luteal phase can turn it into your favorite time for weight management. When I wasn’t working out hard, I would go for a walk most days. When my diet wasn’t spot on I was just very careful to be moderate and to avoid as much sugar and salt as I possibly could and over time stopping sugar altogether got easier. When I began fully experiencing the benefit of these changes in my life, I never went back. I lost weight EVERY MONTH, all the way to the goal that I had set for myself at the time, working this Golden Key to my advantage.

I’m nobody’s victim. Not even my own. You don’t have to be either. You have the Golden Key, now unlock that secret. ;-*

 

Weight Loss and Weight Management Require Commitment for Life!

Man hiding behind scale

Weight loss requires lifetime commitment if you want to be successful. It’s a given that weight management afterwards needs the same focus as when you were still in weight loss mode. The importance of maintaining our new found nutritional and fitness habits will remain just as important twenty years after hitting your goal weight. There is no significant difference in your needs from the first day you began your weight loss journey. You can never again let your guard down when it comes to weight management.

My lifestyle is no different at a low body fat percentage as from when I began losing weight. I still weigh, measure and track everything I consume each day. The only difference today is my body requires fewer calories to maintain my weight than it did when I was significantly heavier. I am not a naturally lean individual, nor do I have a high metabolism. My commitment level to maintaining a fit and trim body can never waiver, and I accept this as my reality. My weight loss requires commitment for the rest of my life to remain healthy over my advancing years.

When we do not manage our diet, we can become over weight pretty quickly. But the reality is most people have been adding girth to their bodies for several years before attempting to lose weight. Each January, we can watch as commercial gyms are packed full of the New Years resolution crowd, By this time in February, those crowds will have dwindled down significantly. By March, they will have almost disappeared completely. This is a hard truth for all to learn.

Yoga group classes inside the gym

Why is it so hard to lose weight?

I believe most people do not understand the level of commitment weight loss and weight management require. Getting through cravings for high carb foods take time to get over when you quit eating them. Most people refuse to give up sugar and will never get over their carb cravings. A majority of people will not dedicate time for regular exercise.

Weight management requires commitment!

There is no getting around the commitment required for losing weight, and then managing it afterwards. When you are carb addicted, you just have to accept that you always will be carb addicted. As with any addiction, this requires that you never partake again, lest you fall completely off the wagon.

Weight loss requires commitment!

People often lament they do not have time for exercise. They will say they are too busy to take the time to weigh, measure and track the foods they consume. Yet, they will find the time to go to a fast food drive through. They will find the time to visit their doctor for ailments that are preventable through good nutrition and regular exercise. We often hear from some of our readers that they are not capable of losing weight. The truth is, everyone can lose weight. It is truly a matter of how committed you are to do so.

Even if you are more prone to being over weight than others. Weight loss and weight management requires lifetime commitment to doing things you might not really want to do. And that is just a reality we all have to face when we begin a weight loss journey. There are no exceptions my friends.

You are worth the commitment required!

Check out our our plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. It is not complicated at all and is really nothing more than a common sense approach to nutrition. I guarantee that anyone who tries our methodology will lose weight, and then keep it off. Best of all, we charge nothing to anyone to follow our methodology, we are entirely free to all.

We also have a a page on Facebook where you can also follow along with David’s Way to Health and Fitness. Give us a like and a follow if you like what you see!

Simple Tips For Permanent Weight Loss

Fitness Hacks

When we’re struggling with weight management, there seems to be some kind of “magic” involved for those who successfully manage their weight. The only “magic” is the choices that we make. Your choices will determine your outcome.

Accountability

A person or a group who will hold you accountable is an incredibly helpful part of a successful fitness program. Without accountability, you can have the best of intentions, buy the best work out gear, plan to work out, make time to work out, plan your meals, buy the right groceries to cook, instead of eating junk and then abandon it all for an afternoon in a cupcake shop with a not so well-meaning “friend”.  Our best bet is to have like minded people as our closest friends and ditch the ones who actively try to sabotage our efforts.  People who work against our goals are not our friends.

Positive Support

If we truly desire to make progress towards our health goals, we will extract the negative people from our lives.  Negativism causes a release of adrenaline which can burn us out if we allow ourselves to be caught up in drama.  The adrenaline surge from negativism can cause a release of cortisol and in turn the cortisol can increase belly fat and cause us to become insulin resistant.  Positive, supportive people increase our feel-good neurotransmitters which helps us focus on our goals without so much distraction. These people can be true friends, supportive family members, weight loss groups or supportive social media. The idea is to find people who understand your efforts to be healthy.

 

Technology

 Even if we have an accountability partner, we make most of our decisions alone.  Others can’t police every move that we make.  Technology engages our mind and in the absence of another person, the smart gadgets can keep us focused on our project at hand. Apps that help us track our food, online workout videos and a plethora of health and fitness information is all right in the palm of our hand. If we fail to avail ourselves of every advantage that we have access to, if and when we fail, we have no one to blame except ourselves. We can find the nutritional information for any food, lengthy discussion about any exercise and a demonstration of that exercise, healthy cooking shows and recipes in a couple of minutes, so ignorance about what it takes to be healthy is not a reality unless we want it to be. Google knows everything, just search a topic of interest and see!

Photo by Jeremy Beadle on Unsplash

Wait for It

One of the biggest challenges to fitness is the habit of instant gratification. When we just “want what we want”, we are unwilling to forgo any pleasurable thing in the present. A fitness program works in the opposite way. We give up unhealthy foods and a lazy lifestyle for the long-range goal of good health and a body that we like to inhabit. To push past this tendency to go for short-range gratification we must (1) Make a clear decision about what we want (2) Make detailed plans for the way to accomplish that goal and (3) Take the first step. Instead of vaguely stating that we need to lose weight, we need to state how much and why and then make menus and a grocery list, cook the food, decide what and when our workout will be,  and make arrangements for a gym or whatever home equipment that we need. To work out, we must actually begin. All the gym memberships in the world won’t help if we don’t use them. A good pair of walking shoes may be the only provision you need, if you use them. Putting our plans into action is being proactive as opposed to reactive, which is merely being unhappy with our present state of affairs but being unwilling to do anything to change it.

Decide and Implement

What we must decide is what do we really want? Most of us want to be healthy and attractive but  want it to come easily. The truth is, we are so accustomed to bad health practices that merely making good food choices usually seems hard. Committing to a regular workout seems hard in a sedentary culture.  The road to success is challenging but the alternative is certain destruction. I’ve heard it said that the harder the battle the sweeter the victory, I believe that is true. When we work hard to reach our goals, there is nothing any more fulfilling than the moment those goals begin to materialize. Do you believe that you can change? It is necessary to believe that you can accomplish what you set out to do, otherwise when it gets hard you will quit. Do you have support from others? If not, find it. You will need it.

 

 

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Reward Yourself!

When I first began lifting weights, I bought a kettlebell that had variable weights up to 50 pounds. After working with that for just a short while, since I was committed to getting strong, I invested in my first bar bell weight set in many years. It was 135 pounds maximum and David told me that I would soon outgrow it, and I did. Before moving on up though I spent several months stacking big, plastic tote boxes for a squat rack. Again, as a reward for being diligent, I bought a weight rack. As I progressed, I realized that I needed the safety of a power rack. It looks like a cage that will catch your weights if you go to muscle failure. That rack was an investment, but a very good one. It gives me the confidence to push a little harder when I would otherwise quit. I moved from a standard bar to an Olympic bar for most of my lifts and added a Power Tower for incline sit-ups and hanging knee raises. I got a pull-up bar, a lifting belt, “Ninja Straps” for the Power Tower and a new pulley system along with other odds and ends. These “Rewards” accelerated my progress. Sometimes people think that returning to old eating habits is a reward. It’s not. The same cupcakes that made you their slave before are waiting to do it again. Don’t give them the opportunity. Reward yourself wisely with things that will build on your progress.

While the deciding factor in weight loss and healthy living is the decisions that you make, if you implement these tips, you will achieve much more than you have ever dreamed that you are capable of doing. The choice is yours and whatever you do, DON’T QUIT. The difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner gets up one more time.

Do you want to change?

 

[1] https://victoryfitnesscamp.com/mindset-thought-life/the-importance-of-accountability-to-achieve-your-fitness-goals/

[2] https://medium.com/the-mission/the-accountability-effect-a-simple-way-to-achieve-your-goals-and-boost-your-performance-8a07c76ef53a

The Power Within

You Have the Power to Change Your Life

Regardless of your circumstances, if you are not content, there are changes that you can make that will increase your contentment. In this article, we will address what we consider to be a “normal” level of discontent, and one of the best strategies to increase your happiness. We are not discussing clinical depression. That is a serious medical problem that requires a professional intervention. See your doctor if you have the signs and symptoms of depression.

Discontent

By “normal” level of discontent I’m referring to the everyday thoughts that we could be doing better. You know, the “I just don’t know how my life turned out this way.” kind of generic misery that is pervasive in American society. It’s an epidemic. For the most part, I think that we’re spoiled. We think that our lives should read like a romance novel or a sitcom and when that is seldom the truth, we decide that we blew it. There may be an element of truth in that, however, we do not, let me repeat, do NOT have to stay that way! Our lot in life is up to us to a great degree. While some people do seem to have better opportunities than others, we can all make changes that will increase our happiness.

A Key to Happiness

One of the most powerful mind/mood altering elements known to man is effective on a daily basis, affordable, legal, available in multi platforms, is not addictive and has no negative side effects. It is, yep, you guessed it, exercise…activity…movement…working out. “Usually within five minutes of working out, you get a mood enhancement effect.”[1] Couple this feel-good, can-do mindset with a healthy body and there is no limit to your capabilities. Your mental strength increases right along with your physical strength. “Exercise could help to ward off panic attacks…”[2] If you suffer from anxiety, PTS, depression or any other mental/emotional/psychological difficulty, exercise can help that. A leisurely stroll will do you some good and any exercise is better than nothing, however, there is a lot of evidence that strenuous exercise can do more. There are exceptions to this. Use common sense. Do whatever empowers you.

Super Hero!

Exercise can awaken the beast that lies within, the source of your strength, the part of you that literally fights for your life. Very soon after I began lifting heavy, I got serious about recreating my entire life. Once you discover that you can do hard things that you never dreamed that you could do, there is no limit to what you will attempt. Mind you, there are those who will not understand what you’re doing. The very nature of “CHANGE” terrifies the tamer soul. When these people, with these mild temperaments see you altering your life to be happy, they will most likely think that you’ve lost your mind. The truth is, you’ve lost THEIR mind. You are finding yours.

There are Rules

When we work out hard our bodies need a day to rest between workouts. I’ve known people who were determined to break this rule and lifted heavy, or ran hard, every single day…for a while…and then the injury hit. Trust me on this. Regardless of your age, gender or physical condition if you train really hard every single day, you will sustain an injury. Then you’ve got to stop the strenuous exercise to heal…and then, in that season, you will get muscle atrophy and lose ground. Don’t you know that it would have been better to just go by the rules to begin with and make slow and steady progress? I have to temper myself here, and I do. I have seen more than one person injure themselves over-training. After injury, the time when you can’t work out is a dangerous time for depression and weight gain. You can lose it all. Just go by the rules, they exist for a reason.

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Metamorphosis

Once you begin to get strong and feel better, there are changes that take place in your mind. There is an area of study that shows strong correlation between exercise and empowerment. It shows that the mastery of the workout and self-determination may trigger a sense of autonomy, or independence. This leads to empowerment.[3] Nothing feels as good as empowerment. It means that I am the captain of my fate. I do not have to take potluck. I decide what’s brought to the table and then I decide if I want it.

Choices

Once you decide on the type of exercise that you want to do, go as hard as your physician will allow. On your off days, walk. “Exercise is the best restorative exercise.” (David Yochim). No truer words have ever been spoken. I truly love my walks. I walk long and hard but it’s nothing compared to rising from a heavy squat, so it’s actually an off day from strenuous activity. Everything works better after those walks. I am invigorated and pumped to do the things that I  tend to put off. After a good walk, I’m ready to conquer the world. After a hard weight workout, I’m ready to rest.

 Commit to Yourself

Choose the days that you will do the hard workout, and do it on those days. David taught me this. He says to make that your job on those days and that is what works best for me. If I start changing my workout days, sooner or later, I’ll miss one. Missing workouts is bad for me mentally and physically. I’ve found that the earlier in the day that I do it, the stronger I am in the workout, providing I have eaten enough calories. Just get it done anyway that you can. I’ve been known to do it in the middle of the night because honestly, anything is better than missing it for me. I have found that I need to do my workouts when I don’t feel rushed. Do what works best for you, but after years of working out, these are some of the things that I have learned.

You may have to miss some social activities to commit to your workout but tell me now… Had you rather be sitting in a room full of mostly unhealthy, unhappy “friends acquaintances and frienemies” sipping sugar and eating salt or had you rather feel the wind in your hair, your muscles pumping, sweating and knowing that you are doing exactly what you should be doing for yourself, challenging the status quo, getting hot and healthy and defying your age, your genetics and all the naysayers that try to tell you to “act your age”…what?… age equals sick and out of shape?…I don’t think so. 64 is better than 40 for me.

After you’ve taken these steps 1-doctor’s permission, 2-type of exercise and 3-commitment, repeat…and repeat again. Never stop. Don’t look back. You will never be the same once you discover the power within.

1,2 http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12exercise.aspx

3 https://pdfs.semanticsscholar.org/523c/a28f920b6a149f5761502b4502ebe1a4bfdc.pdf

Weight Loss and Metabolism

 

Woman photo created by master1305 – www.freepik.com

What if I told you that blaming your metabolism for your weight gain and difficulty in losing weight is just a bunch of hogwash?

Did that get your attention? If so, that was precisely my intent. Yes, your metabolism plays a role in your weight, but it is not the reason you have difficulties with your weight loss. Your troubles with weight loss are because you are consuming more calories than your body burns, no matter your metabolic rate.

Does a high metabolism allow others to eat more than you and not gain weight?

Yes, it does. But when it comes to taking off those unwanted pounds, it still requires the same reductions in calories for one with a higher metabolism as it does for one with a slower metabolism. If one person requires 3000 calories per day to maintain homeostasis and another requires 2000 calories per day, it still requires a reduction of 500 calories per day for both individuals to lose one pound per week, and the struggle to reduce that 500 calories is the same for both individuals. Your body wants to maintain itself at a certain body fat percentage, even  if that percentage is not healthy for you. But, you can not use this as an excuse for not being able to lose weight. You can do little to change your metabolism, but what you do have direct control over is the foods you fuel your body with. As long as you continue to feed your body junk fuels, you will struggle to lose weight. The reason most diets fail you, even the expensive plans you can join, are because they allow you to continue to fuel your body with poor food choices as long as you “track” them. This sets people up for failure every time.

What role exactly does metabolism play in weight gain or weight loss?

Let’s first begin with defining metabolism. Metabolism or metabolic rate is defined as the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life. More simply, it’s the rate at which your body expends energy or burns calories.

Our bodies burn calories in several ways:

  • Through the energy required to keep the body functioning at rest; this is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is partly determined by the genes you inherit.
  • Through everyday activities, including how much or how little you fidget.
  • Through exercise

Your metabolism is not your fault since it is largely based on your genetics. Some people are blessed with a faster metabolism, others are not so blessed. This is the reason why some people can eat more than others without gaining weight. You may not feel this is fair, but that does not change the fact you still have the control over the content and quantity of the foods you consume each day.  It is not even debatable that a person with a slow metabolism will burn fewer calories at rest and during activity and therefore has to eat less to avoid becoming overweight. But the mechanism to lose weight is identical for both individuals and can be just as difficult for each. The struggle to lose body fat is the same for those who want to drop weight no matter whether they are beginning at 40% body fat or 20% body fat. The difference in the ability to lose weight is the discipline it takes to control your food intake which should be high nutrition, low calorie foods and to then not exceed the total amount of calories required to meet your goal.

You have to be an active participant in your weight loss goals, and not by taking bogus supplements that promise to raise your metabolism, or through fad diets. These will fail you every time.

Abstract photo created by freepic.diller – www.freepik.com

The rising tide of obesity in this country cannot be blamed on an inherited tendency to have a slow metabolism. Genes do not change that quickly in any species. The causes can be tied to an abundance of poor food choices coupled with sedentary lifestyles. Consider this, how many times have you ever sat down in front of the television with a plate or bowl full of less than healthy food and then proceeded to continue eating past the point of feeling full? If we are being intellectually honest, every single one of us who have ever had a weight problem have done this. Regardless of whether your metabolism is fast or slow, our bodies are designed to store excess energy in fat cells. When you eat and drink more calories than your body expends  you will gain weight. Conversely, if you eat and drink fewer calories than are burned through everyday activities (including exercise, rest and sleep), you’ll lose weight. While you don’t have much control over the speed of your basal metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are usually just more active and fidgety than others. There’s no easy way to lose weight.

The foundation for weight loss will always be based on physical activity and diet. Take in fewer calories than you burn, and you will lose weight.

How to Keep Losing Weight

Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash

I’m Tired of This!

I wish I had a dollar for every time that I heard that when I worked for a major weight loss company. People commit to programs that allow added sugars and alcohol which keep them doing the same things that got them unhealthy to begin with, and very quickly, weight loss stalls. Although some programs promise easy or fast weight loss, neither can be an effective strategy for getting to your healthiest body fat percentage and staying there. As weight loss stalls, discouragement sets in and you are very likely to just ditch the whole idea of losing weight. There are ways to keep the number on the scale going down with just a little planning.

Photo from Pexels by Olya Kobruseva

Gung Ho, No Mo’

I used to swim endless hours in a YMCA pool. I paid a lot for that membership and used it most days of the week. Whenever January rolled around with all of the New Year’s Resolutions to get in shape, the pool would fill up with all those zealous new gym goers. It was so frustrating! It made it very hard to get a swim lane and seriously interfered with those of us who were somewhat fanatical about swimming. After the second year of watching those numbers plummet between the third and fourth weeks of January, I quit letting it bother me. I had figured out that these newly enthusiastic athletes would soon play out. Are you feeling like giving up on the whole idea of losing weight yet? Most people already have. Weight loss is just like everything else, the more you know, the better your chances of success.

My Passion

The main reason that I write on this website is that I had a weight problem my entire life until coming to David’s Way to Health and Fitness. I know how it feels to be unable to find clothes that I like, that look good on me. I know what Hell swimsuit season can be when you drag another four swimsuits into the dressing room, under fluorescent lights, only to decide that this is just not the day for swimsuit shopping. I know what it’s like to swelter in full length jeans all summer because I couldn’t bear to face myself in the mirror in summer clothes. Since I have discovered the answer to all that, I want to share. So believe me when I tell you these things. They have been tried in the fire.

Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels

The Beginning of The Descent

Many times when I have been at my goal weight, I would decide that I just didn’t feel like cooking one night and went to the drive-thru window. Since I was at my goal weight, I might be a little slack about my order. Sugary, salty foods have an addictive quality and very soon after eating salty fries or a syrupy sweet milkshake, I would want to repeat that behavior. Salt builds serotonin which is your party neurotransmitter and sugar activates dopamine which is your reward center in your brain, so these foods are truly addictive. When we return to these quick “fixes”, the descent into nutrition Hell has begun.

Photo by fu zhichao from Pexels

DON’T SKIP MEALS!!!

Our brains and bodies need a steady supply of energy to perform at optimum levels and if you do not provide it in the form of good nutrition, you will succumb to the dessert buffet or it’s equivalent. It doesn’t matter what you intend. It doesn’t matter how “strong” you think you are or how accomplished you are at your healthy eating program, when your neurochemistry begins to suffer, you will cave.

Image by mcschindler from Pixabay

Eat Protein and Fiber

Every time that I reduced my calories after a long period of not counting them, I would get RAVENOUS! Regardless of how much I wanted to lose weight, the hunger was maddening. Many years ago I discovered that if I ate protein and fiber together, the fiber would bind the protein in my stomach and I would stay full for a long time. I ran experiments with other food and the hands down winner every time to slay hunger was this power combo. I usually carried cheese sticks and an apple with me wherever I went and I was never caught hungry. Which brings us to…

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Always Carry Snacks

Even if you think that you have eaten plenty and you will be home before you need to eat again, carry healthy snacks! You never know when you will get stuck in traffic, remember an extra errand to run or have an emotional meltdown in traffic, all of which will exacerbate hunger. It’s all too easy to whip into a convenience store for a Honey Bun and a cup of coffee flavored sugar and non-dairy coffee creamer to see you home. If you are a coffee drinker, carry coffee. Stopping “for just a cup of coffee” can be disastrous. Have you ever noticed all the cakes and cookies close to the coffee in a convenience store? If you go to the drive-thru for coffee, you just opened the gates of destruction. Individual servings of nuts and seeds and plain full-fat Greek yogurt and apples will see you through anything. Carry your sweetener of choice with you. I also carry a little something extra to add to the yogurt such as water enhancer drops. It works great and can transform a plain cup of yogurt into a culinary delight. My current crush is Tang mixed with vanilla extract added to yogurt for an Orange Dreamsicle Delight that will keep you satisfied for a couple of hours.

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Carry Healthy Food to Events

It doesn’t matter if it’s a family dinner, a church event or a party, carry healthy food. If you go to an outing believing that you will just avoid the trigger foods, guess again. The social atmosphere, traditions, habits and not-so-well-meaning “friends” and family will sway you until you crash. If you have a favorite healthy recipe with you, successfully navigating this nutritional nightmare is much more likely. We have many healthy recipes and if you want something special, just let us know. We have everything from pizza to Low Carb Bacon Stuffing to a Sugar Free Maple Walnut Muffins right here on these links.

Photo by Jenn Simpson on Unsplash

Keep Exercising

Whenever we reach a goal that please us, the temptation is to skip our workout whenever we feel like it. One missed workout will turn into two and then the downward spiral is on. After losing a significant amount of weight our metabolism will naturally be a little slower so rather than slack up on our workouts we need to turn it up a few notches! A lighter weight body requires fewer calories to maintain so after your medical doctor approves, turn up the burn.

Eat Your Protein

Many times whenever we are asked to look at someone’s nutrition, we are appalled at what we see. I have a family member who was eating a mere 20-30 grams of protein a day and was wondering why she wasn’t healing good after surgery. It takes protein to build the tissues of the human body. However you like it, make sure to get it. Read David’s article Protein Supplements for guidelines. Protein will stoke your metabolic fire and keep you satisfied between meals.

Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

Manage Carbs

Eat moderate amounts of complex carbs in the form of beans and other legumes, whole wheat, brown and wild rice, oats, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Carbs are your brain’s main source of fuel and if you try to do without them, you will have terrible brain fog and NO energy. Avoid simple carbohydrates like added sugar, white breads, white rice and white pastas. They quickly degrade into glucose in your body and cause unwanted insulin spikes.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Always Remember

This is not a diet. There is no stopping point. This is simply eating healthy for the rest of your life so don’t get overly emotional if every day is not perfect. The important thing is to actually do the best that you can do each day. That won’t be the same every day, necessarily, because we are not the same every day. Allowing yourself to get upset sets the stage for trouble because it sets off our stress hormones which cause cravings and feelings of self-loathing that make us feel justified to binge. It’s a journey, not a race. Remember what David says, “You don’t own your level of fitness, you are merely paying rent.” which means that it has to be tended to every day, for the rest of your life, so settle down and learn how to be the very best that you can be. We’re here for you, free!

Obesity and its Effect on Children

Background photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

Today, I read a statement on a weight loss social media site that I found to be quite profound.

“Today is the first day in thirty five years that I did not feel like I needed to lose weight”.

The young lady who made this statement has felt ashamed of her weight since she was five years old. Thankfully now, she has finally achieved a healthy body fat percentage and weight. Whether some people will acknowledge feeling ashamed about their weight or not, the reality is, most do feel ashamed to some extent or another. But, the larger point I want to drive home is the fact this woman has felt shame since she was a young child, and she is far from being alone in feeling this way as a child. No child should ever feel ashamed of how they look or feel for any reason. Our children are our most precious and important resource and causing them stress
in early life can affect their dietary, physical activity, and other health behaviors, which increases
their risk of becoming overweight or obese. It is our duty as parents to nurture their every need during the formative years in order for them to grow up to become mentally and physically healthy adults. Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It’s particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once considered adult problems — diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. We owe our children better than this. We allow our children to become obese when we allow too little physical activity and feed them far too many calories from food and drinks which are the main contributors to childhood obesity.

Risk factors we allow for our children!

  • Diet. Regularly eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can cause your child to gain weight. Candy and desserts also can cause weight gain, and more and more evidence points to sugary drinks, including fruit juices and sports drinks, as culprits in obesity in some people.
  • Lack of exercise. Children who don’t exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don’t burn as many calories. Too much time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, also contributes to the problem. TV shows also often feature ads for unhealthy foods.
  • Family factors. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be more likely to put on weight. This is especially true in an environment where high-calorie foods are always available and physical activity isn’t encouraged.
  • Psychological factors. Personal, parental and family stress can increase a child’s risk of obesity. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents might have similar tendencies. (1)

These risk factors above are all factors we as parents have, or should have control over.

Physical complications of childhood obesity include:

  • Type 2 diabetes. This chronic condition affects the way your child’s body uses sugar (glucose). Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • High cholesterol and high blood pressure. A poor diet can cause your child to develop one or both of these conditions. These factors can contribute to the buildup of plaques in the arteries, which can cause arteries to narrow and harden, possibly leading to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
  • Joint pain. Extra weight causes extra stress on hips and knees. Childhood obesity can cause pain and sometimes injuries in the hips, knees and back.
  • Breathing problems. Asthma is more common in children who are overweight. These children are also more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which a child’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disorder, which usually causes no symptoms, causes fatty deposits to build up in the liver. NAFLD can lead to scarring and liver damage. (1)

Be a positive example and role model for the children in your life to follow.

Parents, guardians, and teachers can help children maintain a healthy weight by helping them develop healthy eating habits and limiting calorie-rich temptations. You also want to help children be physically active, have reduced screen time, and get adequate sleep.

“YOU” can help children develop healthy eating habits!

Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.

Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products, including cheese and yogurt.

Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.

Encourage your family to drink lots of water.

“YOU” can limit calorie rich temptations!

You can do this by reducing the availability of high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks which can help your children develop healthy eating habits. Only allow your children to eat these foods rarely, so that they truly will be treats!

By encouraging your children to be active with regular physical activity they will develop many health benefits, including:

Strengthening bones.

Decreasing blood pressure.

Reducing stress and anxiety.

Increasing self-esteem.

Helping with weight management.

Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day. Children ages 3 through 5 years should be active throughout the day. Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day. If your quiet time is more important to you than your child being active, you have failed them.

Children ages 3 through 5 years should be active throughout the day.

Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day.

If we are being honest, sitting your child down in front of the television or video with sugary foods and drink is one of the worst things we have ever began doing as a society. Ask yourself who benefits most by sitting your child down like this, is it you or the child who benefits? If you have ever paid attention to kids on a playground, you have to know that most are naturally physically active and love to move around. This is what children are supposed to do!

No child should ever feel ashamed about how they look. No one should ever wake up one day and no longer feel as if they no longer need to lose weight after thirty five years. As a society, we can and must do better and what is right for our children’s needs if we want them to grow into healthy adults who can raise their own healthy children.

(1)https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20354827

Weight Loss and Bowel Habits

Woman photo created by gpointstudio – www.freepik.com

Whether we want to discuss them or not, we all know that our bowel movements are an integral part of a healthy life. Our movements, or lack thereof, affect how we feel and to an extent how we look in the case of belly bloating. Also, if you have followed weight loss fads and gimmicks, you have seen, or may have even tried, any number of the numerous products available that promise that you will lose weight by better pooping through the use of their magical weight loss pills. These product manufacturers usually market their products through the use of carefully crafted messages where they promise that you are going to be de-toxifying your body with a bowel movement first thing in the morning. But, what is the real scoop an this?

Is pooping an effective weight loss strategy?

Well, of course you are going to weigh a little bit lighter after a bowel movement, but this little bit of difference is about as meaningless as losing water weight from your body during exercise. It has zero impact on your body fat percentage no matter what these product hucksters will tell you. To lose disease-causing body fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. You can do this by exercising more and changing your dietary habits by cutting out added sugars, processed foods and increasing your fiber and water intake. You do not need any type of laxative in your life in order to lose body fat.

Well, if we only lose a little bit of weight when we poop, why do we feel so much slimmer finally pooping after being constipated or after a large meal?

It’s because pooping reduces gas and bloating. This generally helps you feel more comfortable. The longer poop stays in the intestines, the drier and heavier it will become. While most people poop once a day, it’s considered normal to poop as frequently as three times a day or as little as once every three days. All of this can be controlled through good nutritional habits and exercise.

But dietary fiber has been linked to lower body fat by keeping you regular!

Well yes, fiber does help keep you regular in the bathroom, and it is a good weight-management tool. But here is why – high-fiber foods help control blood sugar levels, and they tend to be more filling, which means you’re likely to eat less of them. Fiber-dense foods also tend to be lower in calories than many others.

When we consume unhealthy, processed foods  chronic, low-grade inflammation is often caused . Foods high in processed sugars, like cereals, candy bars and other snack foods, can raise the risk of chronic inflammation in the body and may potentially affect digestion and weight. No amount of laxatives or toxin reducing magic weight loss pills will ever fix this for you if you do not change your nutritional habits. This point is not even close to being medically or scientifically arguable. You have to change your habits! You can help yourself by ensuring you consume enough of two different types of fiber (soluble and insoluble), both of which are important in promoting good health and digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, nuts and beans and is known for slowing digestion. Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains, adds bulk to your stool and helps food to pass more quickly.

A lot of people confuse abdominal distension from bloating as being fat. The reality is that there are certain causes of bloating, such as lactose intolerance, celiac sprue, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth which make an individual feel as if they can’t lose the weight even though they may be.

The bottom line is the most fundamental cause of weight gain is the mismanagement of calories by eating low nutrition, high calorie foods. Everything we do wrong regarding food and exercise is compounded by the lack of this fundamental principle. That is why so many efforts to manage weight appear to be futile.

For access to over 1000 free articles and recipes to help you lose or manage your weight, subscriptions to David’s Way are free and easy. By subscribing, you will receive our newest articles straight to your email. You can also follow along on our Facebook page Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way. Be sure to also check out our Facebook support group for weight loss and management.

 

Be Successful at Weight Loss with Continuity

Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels

The “Magic”

“Continuity” is sometimes defined as “the unbroken or consistent existence of, or operation of something over a period of time” or “the maintenance of continuous action and self consistent detail…”¹ and it is so important that huge studies in sociology have been conducted to determine it’s power in changing not only specific people groups but the course of the history of humankind. How much more power does it have to change the individual?

Years ago I had the opportunity to see this in action on a small scale when I was at work. I usually worked with a man who was pretty slack with the rules. Even though, at first glance, that seemed to create a low stress environment, I discovered different when he was unable to report for duty one day. In his absence, not one but three separate supervisors covered for him. These employees were known for their attention to detail, their strict adherence to the rules. As I entered the workplace, I noticed a completely different atmosphere. There was no drama. There was no confusion. There was no variance. Everyone present knew that in this situation, their only option was to just do their job the way that they were trained. The smoothness of that day was astounding! Everything worked the way it was intended to work. When unique situations presented there was no chaos because guess what? We just went “by the book”. I quickly learned the concept of “continuity”. The outcome was efficient productivity.

This is a key to successful weight/wellness management. Quite often we make a valiant effort to lose weight or work out or improve our sleep…for a while. We “try” every day not knowing exactly how long we can endure. After an enthusiastic start, we slowly lose momentum and when hard things present themselves in our lives, we use those dark times as an excuse to ditch our health initiatives. The changes that were wrought begin to lose their hold and the scale begins to go up or we skip a workout altogether or just forego our sleep initiative and pretty soon, not only have we lost our progress, we have moved in the opposite direction. The variance produces confusion and chaos and we become emotional and dramatic and spin out of control. When we commit to “the rules” with little or no room for variance, we automatically know exactly what we are supposed to do and if a question arises, we pursue the correct answer. We don’t look for excuses to vary from our program. How avidly we pursue continuity is an accurate indication of our sincerity and devotion to our health initiative. Are we really intending to change or are we merely going through the motions, getting through from day to day, working our plan at a very low level and never attaining any goals? If we desire a different life or body or mindset we must do the things required to get those things.

We have all known the individual who was unhappy with his/her life but was unwilling to make the changes necessary to be happy. I was one of those people. I had been beyond unhappy for so many years that I almost didn’t remember being happy. I talked about it, a lot. One day a well- meaning woman looked me in the eye and said, “Brenda, nobody can do anything about that except you.” It was like ice water thrown on me. In one moment, I realized that all the talking in the world would not fix my life. I had to take action. I made a post on social media about wide-sweeping changes coming in my life and set out to do just that. I had not been playing by the rules. A well known definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein) I had been doing just that. The rules dictate that if we want change, we must change and the reality is that it must be a continual change for ongoing change in our lives. I am the happiest that I have ever been after making such drastic changes that my former life is not identifiable anywhere in the life that I have now. Within three months of that  post, my former life was dissolved and I continue to re-enforce this new life daily with the activities necessary to fuel it’s existence. I must be proactive in my ongoing creation of this life. A large focus in my life now is physical strength because it has far reaching positive influences across the board. This strength defines me now. I’m known for it and I follow those rules, working out, pursuing rest and eating healthy. Continuity, or the lack of it, is the key to contentment or chaos. It creates the goal that it moves towards and without it our lives stagnate into pools of depression and inefficiency with our hopes and dreams broken on the rocky shores of the sea of confusion brought on by having no clearly defined plan to see them come to life. I wish that I had made these changes before I did. I challenge you to make a plan to live your best life, now. Without adherence to continuity, your stress and ghrelin levels will soar. Ghrelin is your hunger hormone and excessive amounts will make you ravenous and can cause you to veer off-course from your goal.

The first step to a fulfilled life is to set goals that will give you satisfaction. Again, make those goals attainable. If they are attainable you can easily design a clear course of action to get there. Make your statement of your goals detailed. These details will be some of steps you need to take to get to your ultimate goal. If you want to lose X number of pounds, a detail could be to lose 5% of your body weight which will give you great improvements in your health. Read David’s article, How Incremental 5% Weight Losses Benefit You for information about how this goal can make a lot of difference!

Once you have set your goals, commit. There will be schedule changes. There will be upheavals. There will be every demon in hell trying to prevent your success. Press on. Don’t stop. See it through. Keep seeing it through and do it again. Never stop. That’s how you make sweeping life changes. One commitment to Continuity at a time.

https://www.google.com/search?q=define+continuity&oq=define+continuity&aqs=chrome.0.69i59l3j013.6252j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Weight Loss Tips for 2021!

Food photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

Here are a few good tips to help you in your weight loss journey. This list may not encompass everything, but it should be enough to help most in losing weight initially, getting over a plateau and then maintaining.

Decide your “WHY”

If you are in need of shedding a few pounds off of your glorious body, then one of the first things you need to do is to have a solid reason “WHY” you are doing so. Is it strictly a vanity issue, or is it more a health and wellness problem which needs addressed in order for you to be the best you possible for your family and friends. The best thing for you to plan is that your “Why” is for a solid reason, a reason which is of the upmost importance for you. A reason(s) which truly has a deep and profound meaning to you. The more your “Why” means to you, the more apt you are going to be in achieving and keeping your goals once you have arrived there. You can have many “Why’s” just ensure that you have one identified in your heart which will never lose significance during your battle with the scale. One that will always be your constant, because as your body changes, your mind is likely to begin changing some too.

Set long term goals for yourself!

Unless you only have 5 or 10 pounds to lose, make sure to set yourself a long term goal of where you think you want to be. Once you have set your goal, develop several short term goals to be reached in order to meet your long term. Never completely forget the end point, but if you only concentrate on a few pounds at a time instead of 50 to 100 pounds for example, there is less stress in worrying about lets say 5 pound increments. Remember, you did not gain all of your weight over night, and it is certainly not healthy to try to lose it all over night.

As a part of the short term weight loss goals, while I would advise to weigh yourself once a week, do not, DO NOT, get all hung up on the numbers each week as you will retain some water weight on some weeks and then not retain it on others which accounts for rapid up and down  swings in either direction on the scale. What you want to watch for is a trend for each month where you can take your end of month loss and divide it by the number of weeks and determine if you are actually meeting your weekly goals, If you lose 4 to 8 pounds in a month, then you are on a healthy trajectory with your loss even if you had a week where the number did not budge or may have actually went up. The human body will fluctuate naturally every week even once you have reached your goal. Just getting real here, a few cups of coffee and lack of bowel movement in the morning can make it appear you did not lose any weight. Your monthly trend matters far more than your weekly and for heavens sake, do not think you need to jump onto the scale every morning.

Some people can weigh themselves every morning, yet it seems there are far too many who only cause themselves undo stress every day when they do not see the numbers drop daily. News flash, you should not see a daily drop once you lose that initial weight in your first few days or weeks which are mostly water weight anyhow. That first big weight loss in the first week or two is almost entirely water weight which comes from your body not holding onto it as a result taking in fewer carbohydrates.

Figure out your body fat percentage

You can easily figure your body fat percentage by having a family member or friend take measurements of your body around the neck and belly, then entering those figures and your gender, height and weight into easily accessible military body fat calculators online. If you are female, then you will need to take a measurement around the hips too.

I personally believe most people would be better off concentrating on trying to reach a set body fat percentage over a number on the scale as this can help to keep you from stressing over a number on the scale. Too much stress only increases your cortisol levels which contribute to you retaining body fat. What ever your body fat percentage may be, the scale number can fluctuate a few pounds without changing your percentage. For instance, if you are female, you are at an athletic level of body fat if yours is between 14 to 20 percent. Ladies, if your body fat falls anywhere between those percentages, then you are going to not only look good, you will feel good too, no matter what your weight is. Men, this is true if your body fat falls between 6 and 13 percent. And remember, these figures are for an athletic build. You can be perfectly healthy at a higher percentage. Ladies, a healthy acceptable body fat percentage is between 25 to 32 percent. Men are considered healthy acceptable between 18 to 24 percent.

Educate yourself!

Educate yourself! This is a biggie. Educate yourself on the healthiest manner to reach your weight loss goals and then formulate a plan. The worst thing you can do is blindly follow some fad diet plan which may cause you to rapidly lose weight, only to regain those pounds and possibly more than you lost to begin with. Know the ins and outs of your body’s nutritional needs and then develop a plan to meet those needs every day. Seriously, if there is one thing I would contribute to folks not being able to lose weight besides building a personal discipline to do so, it is a lack of nutritional knowledge. If you want that sweet treat every now and then, you owe it to yourself to know how to meet all of your body’s nutritional needs first so you can work the junk in. Going at weight loss all willy nilly without a shred of nutritional knowledge is about as dangerous to your well being as sending your teen age kid out to drive a car all by themselves for the very first time. This kind of action is highly likely to end with a crash….

Remember that even with a well laid out diet program, good people fail to meet their goals every day because they have no concept of nutrition. Even the best of nutrition programs require some basic knowledge.

Move your body!

If you are new to exercise or have not done so in a long time, first get your doctors clearance. You do not want to find out the hard way that you should have made that visit first.

Next, and this is speaking specifically to exercise newbies, pick an exercise which you are going to not only enjoy, but one that will be sustainable for you. Pick an activity that you can slowly build into in order that you avoid hurting yourself by advancing your body before it is ready. You also want to avoid pushing yourself harder than you can adjust to which will only serve to cause you to burn out.

If you are interesting in running, there are apps out there such as Couch to 5k which will have you begin with walking and then progressing to being able to run a full 5k, or 3 miles. Know that if you progress too fast, you will end up with joint issues in your ankles, knees and hips. And you can stand the risk of developing shin splints which are quite painful and will sideline you from running.

If you are interested in strength training, then by all means begin using light weights, Lighter than you might even feel necessary and also begin an established program based on linear progression where you are able to see and track progress from session to session and week to week. You can remain on a linear progression program for a year or better as you build yourself to an intermediate level of strength.

What is an intermediate level? Probably not what you think. An intermediate level lifter is not based on how much weight they can lift, but this level is based on how well your body can recuperate between sessions and your gains have slowed. IE, you are no longer able to put more weight on your barbell from session to session.

A couple things about most exercise, while most activities you can engage in are not rocket science, there will be many things you do not know that you do not know. Some of these things you do not know will hurt you. For example, you can attack some killer sets and reps with weight training on some random bro advice you picked up from some Schmoe in the gym. You might assume that because this guy has really swole and pumped arms, he must know what he is talking about. You try to follow his lead because it looks easy and you learn the hard lesson that sometimes your muscles gain strength faster than your tendons and connective tissues. Next thing you know, you are sidelined with some sort of tendonitis. You may go out and run in cheap shoes that do not fit your feet properly, which do not provide proper arch support, and next thing you know, you have shin splints or plantar fasciitis.

Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on your new activity first. And by all means, do not bite off more than you can chew at first. You want to enjoy your workouts and to know that you can remain at it for the long run Ensure your activity is sustainable. Make sure it is something you can do year round or at least for half the year and then have a secondary activity that you can pick up on during months of cold and inclement weather.

Be kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself kind of fits in with what has been addressed already with nutrition knowledge and exercise. But, what I really mean is to not beat yourself up with every set back. We all have them. WE ALL HAVE SET BACKS! No exceptions, we will all fall short of our plans from time to time, yet it is the ones who are kind to themselves that will be forgiving of their shortcoming and move on.

One way to be kind to yourself is to know your caloric needs for the day in order to lose, maintain, or to even gain weight depending on your goals. For instance, it takes a 500 calorie a day deficit over 7 days in order to lose 1 pound of body fat. One day of over consumption is not going to hurt you as long as you do not exceed the total you would need in a week to lose a pound. If you have a need of 2000 calories a day to maintain, then you will consume 14,000 calories in a seven day period. As long as you do not exceed that 14,000, your body fat will remain unchanged. Lets say you are going to aim to lose 1 pound per week and you need 1500 calories in a day to do so, then you will have 10,500 for the week. You can eat over your 1500 calories in a day as long as you do not exceed your 10,500 for the week and still lose.

Forgive yourself if you have an over indulgence one day, just move on. It is long term trends which matter.

Do not eat SUGAR

Do not eat sugar, nor processed foods which usually contain added sugars. If you do, you will quite possibly never kick your cravings for sweet foods and will always struggle to lose and keep your weight off. I will not tell you what to eat, only what not to eat. Sugar. I would advise that you eat a higher protein diet with low glycemic index foods during your weight loss phase as the added protein will serve to keep you satiated longer. Once you have met your goal or are closing in on it, then I would advise to add in more complex carbohydrates to your diet as our body’s need them as much as we need protein. I will also advise you to eat fats such as olive and coconut oils, nuts, oily fish, avocados etc.. Our bodies need fats to properly process our vitamins and minerals.

As for the percentages of protein, carbs and fats you need, that is really individual to the amount of vigorous exercise you do. For instance, I strength train quite heavy 4 days per week and try to get in 4 hours of cardio per week. Therefor, my body requires more protein than that of a sedentary man who is only counting calories to lose weight. Know that the percentages of each macronutrient you need can and will change over the course of time as your body composition changes. It is folly to try to make up a set percentage of macronutrients and try to make that fit everyone across the board. You will need to experiment and while doing so, you still must ensure that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs for a healthy body and mind. A problem you will occasionally see with vegans is folks who go at that life style not fully informed will end up unhealthy as a result of not consuming all the essential amino acids the body needs. There are 20 amino acids of which your body produces 11. There are 9 essential amino acids your body has to have which only come from food sources. Your body builds it’s own protein with these amino acids and if some are missing, then some of the proteins your body needs to produce are not going to be produced, replaced or repaired. This can and will have an impact on your health at some point.

Eat a well rounded diet where you fulfill all of your nutritional requirements and you will find that by doing this and eliminating sugar and processed foods, your body and soul will all that much healthier for doing so.

God bless and thank you to all my new readers and a most humble and sincere thank you to my faithful readers who have catapulted David’s Way to Health and Fitness to having been read in 160 countries now.

Much love to all,

David