Category: Health

The Benefits of Resveratrol

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Magic Potion

Ah, resveratrol…the magic bullet that was touted as having the ability to cure about anything just a few years ago. It’s a naturally occuring phytochemical that several plants produce in response to an injury, a chemical band-aid for the plants that make it. It’s present in grapes, wines, apples, raspberries, blueberries, pistachios, plums, peanuts and many other plants that are considered medicinal. It is believed to have properties that can protect the heart, prevent certain cancers and even extend the lifespan of some of the lower organisms. It is a potent free radical scavenger which means that it can destroy “bad” cells in the human body. It’s been discussed as having the ability to protect nerve cells and prevent diabetes. There was even some publicity that indicated that it could mitigate the negative effects of the unhealthy lifestyle that results from high caloric intake. The problem with all this is simply that most of it has never been proven to be true. There are not proper clinical trials to substantiate most of these claims. (1) All of this  theorizing has resulted in a culture of increased alcohol consumption, which carries it’s own significant health risks including the obvious increased caloric intake. With increased calories comes an abundance of health problems and mobility issues that can negatively impact your life.

How Much?

The proposed therapeutic dose of resveratrol is 1 gram per day. A whopping 31.7 Liters of red wine is equal to 0.2 milligrams per day uptake. So you can see here that if resveratrol is the cure-all that some believe it to be, it would take much more than anyone could possibly consume in red wine to supply the therepeutic dosage. The amount that you can absorb from this large amount of red wine is 5000 times less than the amount believed to be medicinal. (2) It is not possible to get the amount that is considered therapeutic from food and drink. While the foods that contain resveratrol can be a part of a healthy diet, you will never get those magic bullet benefits from what you eat and drink.

So, What’s The Hype?

Resveratrol has been rumored to protect against the negative effects of drug-induced cardio toxicity. It’s believed to be good for your heart. While there are some small studies that may indicate that it can positively influence the outcome in a breast cancer diagnosis, increased weight is a risk factor in this insidious disease, so where do the benefits of the added calories from wine consumption overtake the risks? There have been reports of resveratrol positively impacting bone loss and osteoarthritis. If you choose to get your resveratrol from a non-calorie source such as a supplement prescribed by your doctor then you won’t have to be concerned about those extra calories just giving you more heft to carry around that can cause certain mobility problems. Extra weight will always aggravate arthritis. A positive influence on the pancreas was noted to improve glucose homeostasis and decrease insulin resistance. Again, these effects are observed from a therapeutic dosage, not the amount that you can get in your diet. There is some evidence that therapeutic doses of resveratrol have the ability to protect the kidneys from fibrosis and drug toxicity. Resveratrol has been reported to protect the eyes from the damage that can be caused from diabetes. It has even been reported to be good for the reproductive system in both men and women. It has been observed to have suppressed the growth of lung tumors in mice. It is believed to protect the nervous system, your brain, against damage such as the loss of the myelin sheath. While the list of possible benefits of a therapeutic dose of resveratrol is quite impressive, it’s very hard to ingest this amount of resveratrol any way except through a good supplement and these claims are not adequately substantiated to warrant supplementation in everyone. This is an issue to be considered with your doctor. Random supplementation of poor quality supplements can be dangerous.

Benefits of Alcohol?

The American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute don’t recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. (3) The negative risks outweigh any possible benefits for most people. If you already drink red wine, or some other form of alcohol, only one drink per day for women, or men over 65, should be allowed. Men aged 65 and younger can usually safely drink up to two drinks per day. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. We never advocate drinking alcohol due to the empty calories and the addictive potential of this sneaky substance. If you do drink, these should be your guidelines.

Fluff

In many weight control programs, alcohol is categorized with desserts due to the fact that these calories are considered a mere indulgence. Since the serving size and recommendations for the number of drinks allowed in a day are as sparse as they are, there is very little beneficial nutrition to be derived from most alcoholic drinks. Occasionally healthy mixers are incorporated, but for the most part, alcohol is more of a drug than a food, relatively void of good nutrition in the recommended serving allowances. If you have extra calories to use then you might possibly get away with a bit of alcohol on occasion but if you are a serious athlete, intent on increasing your fitness and muscle mass, you would be wise to spend your calories on foods that will build and nourish your body.

Bottom Line

While resveratrol is deemed to have health benefits, adequate clinical trials have not been performed to prove all of the claims that have been made. It’s impossible to get what is considered a therapeutic dose through food and drink. While a small amount of alcohol can be safely consumed by some people, there is always the possibility of addiction when you ingest any addictive substance. At it’s best, it’s still empty calories. If you are interested in the benefits of resveratrol, consult your doctor about the possibility of supplementation. Even then, it’s still very difficult to get therapeutic doses that you can absorb and utilize in most supplements. As always, your most direct route to good health is nutritionally dense foods that are low on the glycemic index. They will nourish you for the long run and support your fitness goals and after all, the long run is what counts. How long will it take to get fit? The rest of your life. Get going, with your doctor’s permission, of course.

 

 

 

(1), (2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942868/

(3) https://www.drugs.com/mca/red-wine-and-resveratrol-good-for-your-heart

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Why Am I Always Hungry?

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Common Complaint

I can remember, many years ago before I started eating David’s Way, trying to control my eating and being so hungry so much of the time. Frequently I hear people complain that they might try to lose weight but they are NOT going hungry. I don’t blame them. I’m not either and you don’t have to go hungry to manage your waistline. As a matter of fact, allowing yourself to get hungry and stay hungry will undermine your efforts at weight loss. You will automatically binge if you let your blood sugar get too low for too long. Always have healthy meals and snacks available.

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This was my breakfast today. Birchbender’s Keto Pancakes , scrambled eggs with homemade cheese sauce, Hormel Black Label Thick Slice Bacon, Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Syrup and watermelon, 573 calories of paradise.

There are common, known reasons for chronic hunger.  Address these basic needs and watch your hunger disappear.

1-You’re not eating enough protein. Read David’s article, Protein Supplements to discover how much protein you should be eating. Sometimes I am appalled when I look at someone’s diet and find they are eating almost no protein. You will never be satisfied if you are skimping on protein. It’s the basic building blocks that our bodies use to build and repair everything. If you aren’t eating enough, your body will provoke you to eat  until you are. Protein is involved in regulating the hormones that signal hunger and fullness. Make sure to include a protein source in every meal and snack.

2-You’re eating too many refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs are lacking in fiber so you digest them too quickly to provide a sense of satisfaction. They just don’t “stick to your ribs”. This may cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar which can stimulate an insulin release. As the insulin does it’s job to remove sugar from your bloodstream, your blood sugar falls and you may feel hungry again very quickly. Just think about how much cake you can eat and never get full! It’s not just because you like it. It’s also because all that sugar demands a lot of insulin which metabolizes the sugar and you just keep on eating in this vicious circle but always feel hungry. Do yourself a favor and dump the simple carbs.

3- You avoid fat. I remember the low-fat fad of years ago. We had a terrible time trying to control our weight. We could drop it pretty fast because when we quit eating most fat, our caloric intake dropped. The problem was, we were never satisfied and ate way too much to compensate for giving up fat. We also felt justified to over-indulge because everything tasted like cardboard and we were constantly looking for something that tasted good. Healthy high-fat foods include, but are not limited to, coconut oil, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, walnuts, avocados, olive oil, eggs, flaxseeds and full-fat yogurt.

4- You’re not getting enough sleep. Sleep is necessary to help regulate the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin. If you skimp on sleep, you will produce more ghrelin and be hungry all the time. Catch some zzz’s.

5-You’re not drinking enough water. Water is necessary for you to feel full and quite often thirst is mistaken for hunger, provoking you to eat when you are not hungry. Read David’s article How Much Water Do I Need?  for a good, quick reference concerning hydration. There’s no need to get on the possibly dangerous bandwagon of drinking X amount of water per day. Some of those programs are deadly. David breaks it down very well in the aforementioned article. Consult your physician for recommendations on hydration if you have any health issues whatsoever. Some medications require a specific fluid balance in the body to work properly and some medical conditions require careful measuring of your fluid intake.

6-You work out, a LOT! David and I are both avid exercisers and we record every bite that we eat because we eat all the calories that we need every day. Use the Calorie Counter Pro to determine your caloric needs and eat those calories! Starvation diets never work  in the long run. We advise losing no more than a pound a week for comfort and practical application. If you try to lose too fast, you will give up due to being miserable all the time. Always consult your physician before beginning any weight loss program.

7- You drink alcohol. Alcohol has been shown to possibly inhibit the hormone, leptin, when it is drank before or with meals. Leptin is one of the hormones that tells you when to stop eating. Along with alcohol stimulating hunger, it also lowers your inhibitions and impairs your judgement so it’s much easier to overeat. Avoid alcohol if you want to be truly fit.

8-You drink too many of your calories. The smoothie craze did not produce healthy, lean people. Think about it. Most of the people at a smoothie bar are overweight. There’s a reason for that. When we drink our calories, they pass through our stomachs so fast, we don’t even have time to register satiety. We finish those calories quickly, before our brain has time to register fullness and we  get hungry again very soon, but we are out of calories for that meal and we have just ingested tons of carbs with little to no fiber to slow their absorption into our system, so next is the insulin dump. Make sure to chew your calories by eating solid, whole foods.

9-You have chronic, acute stress. Stress causes you to have more cortisol in your body and cortisol is a “fight or flight” hormone that makes you crave food. Here at David’s Way we teach and live, “Make Your Life Small”, which means to cut away excess stress and everything and everybody that is a negative force in your life. It’s amazing how quickly this lowers stress levels. I have recreated my life entirely and continually work on this concept of “tossing out the garbage”. It’s amazing how much this lifestyle helps with major stressors.

10-You eat too fast! Fast eaters are more likely to be overweight. When we wolf down our food, we don’t chew it well. Chewing our food slowly allows our brain to have time to send out signals to stop eating. Try calming down before you eat with a few breathing exercises and pause between bites to allow yourself time to chew your food. If your brain never signals that you are full, you will always be hungry. Learn to slow down.

While hunger is real, and can be a huge stumbling block when we’re trying to lose weight or even maintain our weight, it can be managed. There was a time in my life when I felt like I was never full and it seemed that I was always hungry. These are the strategies that worked for me then and the same ones that I still use today. I have a motto: “NO EMPTY CALORIES!!!” That one thing alone can fix your hunger. I employed all of these tactics at one time or another but if I eat NO empty calories, calories devoid of good nutrition, I am never hungry. Oh, yeah…did I tell you?

11-Don’t eat added sugars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get to Your Best Weight Once and for All

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You Have “The Power”

 I know what it is to let year after year pass with all good intentions of finally, once and for all, learning to control my weight. I know what it’s like to never have anything to wear that I actually want to wear. I know what it’s like to dread swimsuit season, yet again, and live in jeans all summer, sweltering away because I felt self-conscious in summer clothes. Your life does not have to be this way. The power to change is in your hands.

Decisions, Decisions

The first thing that you have to decide is what do you truly want? This has to be a definitive decision. Because most of us live in a place where food is abundant and we can get it, this decision will be your rudder in the storms of life. Once you have made this decision, navigation is easier. You will ask yourself the question, “Does this comply with my goals?” whenever you encounter a nutritional/fitness challenge. I am frequently bombarded with nutrition bombs at work by well-meaning people who “gift” us with food, all kinds of food. I don’t have to consider whether or not I will eat 99% of that food because at least 99% simply does not meet the nutritional standards that I have set for myself. This decision will be your pivot point. Make it realistic and stick to your guns. Never allow people who are unhealthy and have unhealthy habits to sway you once this decision is made.

Be Ready

One problem that I always encountered before learning to eat David’s Way, is that I would “go on a diet” and be full of hope, promise and a giddy euphoria. I mean, after all, this was IT. I was going to get skinny! There! I decided…then, mealtime came. For some reason, we think that if we just say it, it will happen. You know, a sort of “build it and they will come” mentality. I once worked for a major weight loss company and I saw this every, single meeting and event. People would come in and buy a membership, buy the cookbooks, buy a kitchen gadget or two and God knows what else they would buy, sometimes spending a massive amount of money…and be pleased as punch that FINALLY, they were going to lose weight! The next week, and sometimes the next…, they would come to my table angry or sad, unable to understand why the scale was not cooperating. They would say, “But, I bought all this stuff!” as if buying the stuff would somehow make weight loss easy. It’s not easy. If you are addicted to sugar and refined carbs, you may experience terrible feelings of loss and depression when you give them up. I did. It was hard. I cried. I lay awake at night. Human beings are creatures of habit and when we have been medicating ourselves with excessive carbohydrates that increase serotonin, we miss those damnable molecules when we walk away. Just expect a measure of hardship going in. Get your big girl/boy panties on and grin and bear it. You can’t sport a 6-pack while guzzling a 6-pack and a pizza. That only happens in beer commercials. If you want a trim, toned body, you have to put in some work.

SLOW DOWN

I have mentioned the conversation that David and I had when I first began weight training and eating correctly. I asked the same dumb question that I always ask whenever I began a weight loss program, “How long will it take?” I wanted to get ripped FAST! While I knew that I could not build the muscle that I wanted overnight nor lose the extra body fat that was left over from my employer’s program, I still wanted a quick fix. David’s wise advice, “The rest of your life.” was exactly what I needed to hear. It made me focus on the task at hand and quickly dismiss all of those whims that we can have about just tolerating a program for a while to achieve our goals. I instantly realized that the goals that I had in mind were far-reaching and hugely demanding. I realized that the sensation of “holding my breath til I get there” that is so common in most weight loss programs, was not going to get it anymore. If our goal is to truly be the best that we can be, then shouldn’t it take the rest of our lives? We can’t be our best unless we perform at our optimum day in and day out. There will be blips on the radar. There will be tragedies and sickness and stress and all of the ups and downs that are a part of life. There will be birthday parties and vacations and Holidays. Your rudder will allow you to navigate these normal parts of daily life with finesse. Your goal is to make it to a safe harbor, a place where good nutrition and good fitness habits have designed and honed the body that you want to live in for the rest of your life. There is no rush. The harbor is not going anywhere. Just head that way. Repeat. Know that giving up is not an option and that knowledge will help you stay on course. You will get there if you never give up.

Ever Learning

Always search for more information to help you along your way. We have over 800 articles, recipes and product reviews here at David’s Way. We have the Calorie Counter Pro to help you determine your caloric needs. We highly recommend attempting to lose no more than one pound per week and always only with your doctor’s permission. We have the Body Fat Pictorial Estimator  that can help you determine about how much body fat you may be carrying. Everything on this website is free, take advantage. Our goal is to help educate the world about the dangers of obesity and self-neglect/abuse. We hope to play a part in making people more responsible for their well-being. That is our mission.

Plan to Succeed

1-The long range effectiveness of strategic planning is usually related to the practicality of the plan. (1) Keep it simple. Decide on you number of calories, track them, eat them. Don’t over-complicate your nutrition. It’s fine to try some new recipes, we have a lot of great ones, but don’t throw out all the ordinary, healthy food in your house and go buy all “diet food”. That’s too complicated. Incorporate a few workable, healthy changes at a time.

2-Look ahead. Know that as you accomplish specific goals, your goals will change. Have an idea of where you are going and as you meet each new milestone, check it off and move ahead. When I first began lifting, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought a kettlebell. I worked hard and soon I asked David if he thought that I could use a barbell. He said yes. I bought a Beginner’s Set. I used that standard barbell until I needed more weight and then got an Olympic bar and a power rack for safety. I met small goals and moved up. If I had made the investment of the equipment that I have now at the beginning, I wouldn’t have known what to do with it. I couldn’t have used the Olympic bar. It would have been easy to get discouraged at that rate. Since then I have added a few other pieces of equipment that have made my workouts more effective but I had to grow into these changes. Plan your path and work hard.

3-Be clear about your goals. Clarify your goals with yourself, your family, your physician and your nutritionist or trainer. If people don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, they can’t help you. If you don’t know then you won’t accomplish anything. Attaining a good body fat ratio is admirable and recommended but if you work like that is your only goal then that is all you will ever get. I want a bit more and I create my entire life to accomplish those goals.

4-Remember that being healthy is not usually complicated for most people. Eat right, get some exercise and rest. See your doctor for specific recommendations. Don’t make this harder than it has to be. This is the main reason that we tell you to avoid added sugars and simple carbs. It’s a very simple thing that has a profound potential to make positive changes in your health. Refined, added sugars are a source of empty calories that provide you with no benefits so why waste your calories on poor nutrition. Don’t overthink healthy. Our bodies want to be healthy. Quit overloading them with garbage and seek out nutritionally dense foods that build and nurture your body for a lifetime of good health.

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790676/

Bathroom Scales: Friend, Foe or Both?

Of course, if one is interested in losing, maintaining, or even gaining weight, bathroom scales are pretty much a must have item. Without scales, we have no way to measure our success, nor do we have a good method of knowing when we need to adjust our nutrition when the weight is not coming down as we hope. But, the scale can also be one of the worse items you can have for monitoring your weight. One of the hugest mistakes you can make when losing weight is to have an erratic approach to weighing yourself. Some dieters lose their blooming minds by jumping onto their scales as often as they open the door to their refrigerator. They will weigh themselves multiple times a day, not out of any kind of rational thought, but more out of a fear that they might once again fail themselves in their weight loss endeavor. Many people will weigh themselves after every time they go to the bathroom to see if they lost any weight. Many will weigh after each meal in order to see if they gained. None of this constant weighing will give you any tangible information that will help you over the long haul. All that constant weighing will accomplish is to drive you mad, it will add to your stress, which will once again lead you to the refrigerator or pantry.

What I advise, and what I do for myself is to only weigh one time per week at the very most. I get up on Saturday morning and step up on my scale one time and see what it reads and then step off. No matter what the scale reads, I do not get back onto it. I note the number and move on with my day. I do not react to the numbers unless I see a trend of it either rising or going lower over the course of about four to six weeks. One high reading is nothing, one high reading can simply be a result of water retention because something I ate had a little higher sodium content than what I normally consume.

Are you aware of how much your body weight can fluctuate just by water retention?

I have seen my own weight fluctuate by as much as nine pounds in a single day.

When you weigh yourself too often to judge your success or failure with weight loss, you are setting yourself up for aggravation or a false sense of success. You might experience critical self judgement based on a momentary reading, or, you might believe you can cheat a little because you have done so well for the week.  If you begin having self doubt over a temporary gain, or begin creating a reason to reward for a significant loss, you are only setting yourself up for failure. It is the trends that matter, not single readings.

Skip the scale ballet!

If you are the type who weighs too often, you have likely done what I call the “scale ballet”. The “scale ballet” is where you try to coax your scale into giving you the best reading when you step onto it. You might try stepping onto it very gingerly, you might try balancing your self fore or aft to manipulate the reading, you might even try keeping some of your body weight off of one foot as if this is going to help bring the weight down. Given that bathroom scales can be off in their accuracy, you are only hurting yourself by doing the “scale ballet”. Here are a couple of considerations if you are prone to doing this:

By trying to cheat the scale, you are only cheating yourself.

If your scales can be manipulated by how you stand on them, you need to chuck them in the trash and buy good scales that are accurate.

Stay Focused on being SMART!

Set yourself a “Specific” weight loss goal that focuses more on your level of body fat as a percentage of your weight rather than on a random number you would like to see on the scale.

Make tracking towards your goal “Measurable” in more than one way. Of course you want to see the number on the scale go down, but pay more attention to how you look and how your clothing fits. Your percentage of body fat matters far more than the number on the scale.

Make your long term goal “Achievable” by setting yourself many short term goals in order to get there. If you need to lose one hundred pounds, you need to only focus on ten pounds at a time. But, at some point your focus will need to shift to your overall body fat rather than your actual weight.

Make your goal be “Realistic”. Focus on being the best that you can possibly be rather than trying to be like someone you saw in a movie or on Instagram. It serves no good purpose to set yourself up with an unachievable goal. When you are not realistic, you are only setting yourself up for a miserable failure, you will crash and burn every time.

Make an effort to be “Timely” in achieving your goal. No, I am not saying to rush yourself, but you should set yourself up with a reasonable timeline to get to your goal. We recommend you set a goal of one pound per week for weight loss. This is realistic and very doable. But remember, single readings on the scale should not be the reason for making drastic changes to your nutrition and exercise.  It is long term trends that matter, not single scale readings.

Please, help us to spread the word about      David’s Way to Health and Fitness!

Brenda Sue and I put in a ton of work in bringing excellent information to our readers to help with nutrition and fitness. The contents of this website will always be free to our readers. If you enjoy our work, and find benefits from it, please subscribe if you have not already. Subscriptions are free and easy and each new article will come straight to your email. Please, pass the word about us to all your family and friends.

How to Achieve Your Goals

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Born a Health Freak

As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be healthy. At the age of 4 years, my doctor diagnosed me as anemic and told my Mother to feed me spinach and liver. At that time, in the deep, country hills of Alabama where I grew up, almost nobody ate spinach. It didn’t grow well here due to high temperatures and if it hadn’t been for the cartoon character, “Popeye”, it would have seemed like science fiction. My Mother bought Del Monte Canned Spinich and I learned to eat it, gagging after each bite until I didn’t. I had occasionally eaten liver but again, I didn’t like it. I ate it anyway and my anemia cleared up. I seemed to have been born with a desire to be healthy. I had been sick a lot as a young child and when I figured out that I could do something to possibly prevent sickness, I felt like there was no choice. I mean, why would we choose sickness, right?

Convoluted Journey

Although I had always wanted to be healthy, I also wanted chocolate, and as I grew up, rich desserts and all manner of “good food” called my name. I fell into the living to eat mentality more than once and ballooned to a size 22. Still, the absolute knowledge that this was within my control, would always pull me back before I developed any significant health problems. We have a responsibility to ourselves and those who we love and care for, to be the best that we can be. Even Hippocrates stated that “The function of protecting and developing health must rank even above that of restoring it when it is impaired.” In other words, it’s better to get and stay healthy than to get sick and then try to fix it. At 63, I lift heavy, work full-time as a nurse and care for a special needs family member. Staying healthy pays off in real cash and quality time on this Earth. I have learned some things along the way.

Killers

Tobacco use is the single most avoidable cause of disease, disability and death in the U.S. Alcohol use, lack of physical activity and poor dietary habits finish rounding that list as the four most modifiable health behaviors that are killing people daily. How can you stick your head in the sand, expect others to pick up your broken pieces and go on about your toxic, merry way? The ball is in your court.

1-Make a new plan with long and short-term goals. Say “I want to avoid eating sugar.” (Or whatever you choose) as a short-term goal and then set a long-term goal of weighing in at a good, healthy weight for you or improving your lab results.

2-Write these goals down and look at them often. Keep them in the forefront of your mind.

3-Make small changes to begin and allow them to build into larger changes. Start tracking every bite that goes into your mouth, become accountable and then gradually use that tracking to make broad, sweeping changes in your food intake. If the way that you are eating now got you unhealthy then you have to change to be healthy.

4-Let the small changes become natural before you make new ones. Build on each small change and rebuild your life.

5-Associate with people who support your health initiative and avoid those who don’t.

6-If you like technology then use it to stay informed and learn about health. Follow us here at David’s Way. We have over 800 articles and recipes here that are all devoted to good health, all free. Take advantage. Read David’s article “Fitness Triad” to discover the basic components of a good, healthy fitness program. Always consult your physician before beginning any weight loss or fitness program.

Super-Sonic World

In this drive-thru, instant world that we live in, people have become accustomed to the dark. Many assume that they cannot change because they try if for an afternoon, crave cake and quit trying. They assume that it’s “easier” for some of us. I can assure you that it is not. I know all about baking a cake, eating it and making another one so that no one would know that I ate the first one. Having healthy habits is no easier for those who have them than they are for those who don’t. It takes time and a bit of suffering to keep practicing the healthy habits over and over until they are your default. In the process of change, there will be blood, sweat and tears…but…it’s worth it. No one has ever been more addicted to sweets than either me or David. We changed our lives. You can too. You have to make a decision and then work at it. In time, some aspects of your program will get a bit easier, but you will always have to exercise control. Begin by deciding today that you want to be healthy. The rest is history. Make it a sweet story of victory, hard fought and won with relish. You will love the results!

 

Food as Entertainment

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Epiphany

I remember one night about 15 years ago when I had finished up a plate loaded with a homemade cheeseburger, a ton of fries and a slab of Mounds cake that was enough for two people and waddled to the kitchen and literally threw that plate up on the counter and said out loud, “Why am I doing this to myself? I wasn’t the slightest bit hungry!” The answer was painfully obvious and I said “Because you don’t enjoy anything else.” Food had become my entertainment and so much more.

Sad But True

The amount that I ate that night for that one meal was not really significant in itself. The kicker was that I had eaten all day, everything in sight, including several Little Debbie Cakes. For those of you who don’t know Little Debbie, they are snack cakes in every abominable, delicious variety that you can think of and a few that you can’t. In most of the United States, they are the downfall of many people who say that they want to lose weight but are absolutely unwilling to forego their frozen Swiss Cake or Oatmeal Cream Pie. I had eaten a large breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits and grits and a lunch of a huge cold cut sandwich full of crunchy bread and butter pickles, which were loaded with sugar, and about a quarter cup of mayonnaise and lots of cheese, accompanied by most of a bag of Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips. All of this was interspersed with several Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. As you can see, I was not hungry when I delved into that monster burger. I was entertaining myself. I just wanted to eat. Sometimes people think that I don’t identify with their food struggles. That’s amusing. I was unable to control what I ate my entire life until learning to eat David’s Way. When I gave up sugar and other refined carbs, I finally gained control. Until then, food was way more than a source of sustenance. It was entertainment.

Lessons Learned

My Mother had started putting me on diets at the age of four years and I equated sensible eating to starvation and misery. I had tried every miserable fad diet that there was and none of them worked in the long run. I had to get to the bottom of my problem to survive into adulthood. I knew that I had to understand why I was doing this. That’s a necessary step towards changing this behavior. You know what the food is a substitute for if you search your heart. What’s bothering you? You must answer this question to get past the binge behavior that turns into a form of entertainment.

No Man Is An Island

Loneliness and isolation are often culprits in emotional eating. Find ways to connect with others that you identify with or who are involved in activities that interest you. I ziplined the first time at age 62. It was a blast! Find activities that you enjoy. Even a pet can give you a different focus and help to increase your activity. It’s hard to eat at the end of a leash.

Stress Less

It’s easy to view eating as entertainment when you are stressed to the max. If you find  yourself turning to food for fun only when you are stressed out, you need to find ways to decrease your stress. I have been known to take drastic action to do this. I was living in a situation that kept me so stressed out that life was barely worth living and binge eating was the only thing that gave me any sense of control at times. I dumped the abusive relationship and acquired a healthy relationship with food. While there are different types of stress associated with my new life, I am not a victim. I am in control of my destiny. I don’t have the need to stuff excessive amounts of food into my mouth just to exert autonomy. Decide where your stress is coming from and take steps to rectify what you can and see if you still feel the need to stuff yourself into a coma. If your stress is something that you choose to live with, find ways to ease it a bit. Before I made the giant leap into autonomy, I started swimming. This was years before coming to David’s Way and I didn’t know enough about heavy lifting to choose that option. I did know how to swim though. I joined a local YMCA and swam 2 hours a day for 5-7 days a week for 10 years. It made an immediate difference. I was still struggling with my weight because I was still eating sugar but the pleasant afternoons in the pool did give me a measure of control.

Bored Out of Your Mind

Boredom is a common excuse to overeat and to choose poor nutrition over good whole foods. The sugar and sodium laden allure of junk food engages our neurotransmitters in a playful dance as we load up on sugar that stimulates a dopamine release and salt that increases our playful serotonin. Make a list of activities that sound appealing and when you feel boredom setting in, go to your bucket list and get a real boost. There is nothing like an endorphin release from a hard workout or serious play. Be creative. You are not dead yet, don’t act like it.

Accountability Is Important

Find a friend or family member who will hold you accountable and keep them posted on your progress. They may also get involved in your leisure activities or work out with you. Dump those who openly defy your healthy initiative. If they are so close that you can’t get away from them, then refuse to allow them to set the course of your days. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one will.

Responsibility to Others

If you are still tempted to over-indulge as entertainment, remember this. If you damage your health to the point of chronic illness and disability, those who you love the most will be tasked with your care. If these people love you, they will lovingly care for you but do you really want to put this responsibility on your loved ones? Personally, I want to be the one who can care for those around me. I want to be strong and healthy and be the one that others can depend on to be around when they need me. You choose. Sometimes, tragedy befalls us that we don’t have any input into. In those cases, your conscience should be clear. You did your best. Decide if you want to be the patient or the caregiver. A lot of it is in the choices that you make every day.

If You Don’t Have It…

If you cannot resist specific trigger foods that initiate binge eating, don’t have them in your house! It seems obvious, but quite often people find excuses to bring those foods in knowing what’s going to happen. You’re not fooling anyone. Get rid of it and when you do, make sure to restock with healthy foods that you enjoy. When I was growing up, I loved fresh fruit but most people only bought bananas and apples. While I limit the amount of fruit that I eat, when I first started getting a grip on this, I replaced Swiss Cakes with grapes or blackberries. They were a treat and it was a pretty easy adjustment.

If You Bite It, Write It

You simply MUST keep a journal of what you eat. Write it down or track it in your phone but this is your best way to become truly accountable. When you begin to run low on calories, stop eating. Use the Calorie Counter Pro to determine how many calories that you should eat in a day. We recommend attempting to lose a mere one pound per week. It’s easier and your not in a race. It’s the rest of your life.

Pop “The Question”

A good measure of why you’re eating is to ask yourself the question, “Am I hungry?” If you are not and you still want to eat, you may be eating for entertainment. Get out your bucket list and find something to do.

Give It A Minute

If you find yourself about to eat something that may not be in your best interest, wait about 10 minutes. In that time, you can analyze your behavior. Most uncontrolled, binge eating occurs quickly, without thought. Think about what your actions that you are about to commit will do in your plan to move towards healthy goals. Will it fit into that plan?

And of course, we all like to eat. That’s normal. Sometimes that’s the only reason that we want to eat but always remember, food is fuel. Choose wisely and live to reap the rewards.

 

Know Your Carbs

I sometimes find it simply incredulous that in this modern world, where all the information known to mankind can be found right in the phone in our hand, there is so little knowledge of basic nutrition. Don’t believe me? Then check out any of the big weight loss forums such as Weight Watchers Connect, My Fitness Pal or Spark People to name just a few. Many people have little to no idea what makes them fat, nor can they figure out how to lose it. We see evidence of this here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness too when we receive private emails from our readers wanting specific advice to help them lose weight. We encounter people almost daily who have no understanding of macronutrients and the role they play in our bodies. It is not uncommon for the question to arise regarding just what is the difference between sugar, simple and complex carbohydrates. It gives me a laugh when I have people tell me that my methodology is too restrictive because I advise to not eat sugar and simple carbs, only for them to tell me they are just going to do “My Keto:.

This in itself tells me they have little understanding of nutrition. And, what in the world is the difference between “My Keto” and just doing Keto anyway…

What are carbohydrates?  

Carbohydrates are forms of sugars, fibers, and starches. They can be found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods—bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie.  Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet as they provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity.

The healthiest sources are complex carbohydrates which come from unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. These foods promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. Unhealthy sources of carbohydrates, or simple carbs, include added sugars, white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods.  These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

Simple Carbs are simplistic nutrition!

Simple carbs are sugars. While some of these occur naturally in milk, most of the simple carbs in the American diet are added to foods.

Common simple carbs added to foods include:

raw sugar

brown sugar

corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup

glucose, fructose, and sucrose

fruit juice concentrate

When metabolized, carbohydrates get broken down and turn into sugar. The hormone insulin gets produced by the pancreas and takes sugar from the blood to the cells to use for energy. Because simple or refined carbohydrates, such as white breads and sweets, have little to no fiber content, they are broken down more quickly, creating a faster blood sugar surge and placing more demand on the pancreas. When you have diabetes, either your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or the insulin it is making isn’t being used efficiently. Over time, excess stress on the pancreas can cause it to burn out, making it difficult to keep up with the glucose load, resulting in high blood sugars. Having too much sugar in the blood for long periods of time can cause serious health problems if it’s not treated. Hyperglycemia can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems. For these reasons along with the addictive nature of simple carbohydrates, we recommend not consuming them at all. I can guarantee when you get completely off of sugar and simple carbs, you will find that you feel much better and that weight loss comes easy.

Complex Carbohydrates are smart nutrition.

Complex carbs pack in far more nutrients than simple carbs. They’re higher in fiber and digest more slowly. This also makes them more filling, which means they’re a good option for weight control. In limited quantities, they are also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes because the fiber component helps manage blood sugar spikes after meals. Fiber and starch are the two types of complex carbohydrates. Fiber is especially important because it promotes bowel regularity and helps to control cholesterol.

The main sources of dietary fiber include:

fruits

vegetables

nuts

beans

whole grains

For better blood sugar control its best to choose more complex carbohydrates, rich in fiber such as whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, etc. These types of carbohydrates produce a slower glucose rise. In addition, these types of foods are also more nutrient and fiber-rich, making them better choices for weight loss and overall health.

Do not assume you can pig out on complex carbs just because they are healthier than simple carbs!

While  complex carbohydrates are certainly healthier than simple carbs, you cannot eat an endless amount without negatively impacting your blood sugars. The quantity of carbohydrates is just as important as which carbohydrates you choose to eat. Healthy carbohydrate foods are not free foods as Weight Watchers would have their followers believe. All carbohydrates count in your overall nutrition and calorie consumption. For example, oatmeal is a complex, high fiber carbohydrate, but it is still a carbohydrate that will raise blood sugar. Therefore, it’s important to portion control how much you eat. The amount of carbohydrates you should eat per meal varies from person to person and is determined by a variety of factors such as gender, calorie needs, weight, blood sugar control, and activity level. For most people following a consistent carbohydrate meal plan, they are able to eat about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and obtain good blood sugar control. If you consume more carbohydrates than your body requires, you will find that your odds of experiencing future health problems will increase.

Besides type 2 diabetes and weight gain, long-term complications include:

heart attack or stroke

damage to the eye and loss of vision

kidney disease or failure

nerve problems in the skin, especially the feet, leading to sores, infections, and wound healing problems

You Know You Want It

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Forbidden Fruit

Ahhh…if it were only just an apple, right?… It’s on your mind all day. You go about your daily business as if nothing is bothering you but it’s always there, taunting, tempting. No matter how determined you are to do better, sooner or later you know you will give in. You have to have it, can’t live without it. It consumes you. You manage to get through your usual evening routine and escape safely to the shelter of your bed but it calls your name. It’s just a moment away. You can’t sleep. In desperation you rise from the soft covers and hurry down the hall. The house is dark but you know where to find it. You’ve been there before. There, just a step away! You rip open the door and behold the pizza and brownies left over from NeNe’s birthday party and rush in! For just a moment, it was worth it… Sound familiar? This is food addiction.

I Just Like to Eat

Well of course you do! If you don’t then there’s something seriously wrong with you. Somehow, the media has made people believe that eating is a bad thing that only bad people could possibly enjoy. Although we are flooded with food commercials that tempt us to the point of tears, the media also floods us with false images of male and female bodies that are frequently altered in so many ways that we have no idea of what the original body looked like. This has been going on for much longer than most of us realize. In 1988, the star of “Earth Girls Are Easy”, Geena Davis, made a reference to the number of inches “they” removed from her thighs in the film. Men are constantly bombarded with those gargoyle-looking, freaky guys who use everything from steroids to Synthol, an oil that is injected directly into the muscle to blow it up, to attain that weird action figure appearance. As a result of all this false programming about what a human body should look like, we have become ashamed to admit that we like to eat. That’s just ridiculous. David and I both eat a specific number of calories every day and we eat more often than anyone that we know. Merely enjoying food is not food addiction. If you don’t enjoy food, you will die. Sooner or later, you will become malnourished and rob your body of essential nutrients. There are distinct differences in the normal enjoyment of food and food addiction.

So, What Is the Difference?

If the introductory paragraph strikes a chord with you, you know the difference. Food addiction is using food to meet needs that are not nutritional, like a drug addiction. Although cocaine has medical applications, the addict is not using it medicinally. It’s an addiction. If you:

1-Get cravings despite feeling full-While cravings alone are not an indication, if the cravings happen often and either satisfying them or ignoring them becomes hard, they may be an indicator of a problem. In that case, your brain may be calling for that dopamine rush that addiction triggers in the pleasure center of the brain.

2-Eat much more than intended-If you intend to take one bite of chocolate cake but you don’t stop until the cake is gone then that can be a symptom of food addiction. It’s like telling an alcoholic to drink in moderation. It can’t be done.

3-Eating until you are stuffed-Binge eating is common in food addiction.

4-Feeling guilty soon afterward but doing it again soon-All of us who have battled this disorder know this feeling.

5-Making excuses-You know, the “I’m buying this for the kids.” malarky, or “I don’t want to waste food so I’ll eat that.” Seriously?

6-Repeated failures at setting rules-Deciding that you will exert a measure of control over your eating in a given situation and repeatedly failing to do that. An example might be that you will not eat sugar but continuing to do so.

7-Hiding eating from others-This is a big red flag! This is classic behavior of an addict.

8-Unable to quit despite physical problems-Has your doctor told you to lose weight or change the way that you’re eating but you continue in your self-destructive ways? We all know the diabetics who thrive on candy and soda but there are many other people with many other health conditions that are dying quicker because of what they eat. This is the ultimate insult to the human body. You are already sick and you are making yourself sicker. You have a serious problem. Poor food choices have been linked to almost every disease and malady that can affect mankind. Wise up. Seek help today. A lifetime of junk food consumption can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia and even some types of cancer. (1)

I struggled with this disorder my entire life until I began eating David’s Way and stopped eating sugar. Sugar was the most addictive thing that I ever ingested and it is socially accepted. It creates terrible cravings of all kinds and causes inflammation in the body that sets the stage for almost every disease known to man. This disorder is life-threatening however, and if you recognize yourself in this information seek professional help. Talk to your medical doctor today. Our articles are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. We exist only to help educate the public to the inherent dangers of poor nutrition. The average American eats 63 dozen doughnuts a year. (2) People, we have a problem.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-symptoms-of-food-addiction(1)

(2) https://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-mtblog-2009-03-the_average_american_eats_63_d-story.html

The Role of Habits

When I was in the military, we meticulously and methodically drilled and trained in order to ingrain habits into how we would fight to win battles. Our training was designed to place us into auto-pilot when bad situations might arise. Even in the fight for your life, those ingrained habits would kick in automatically, without thought, in order to get you through a tough fight. Simply through the development of safe habits, there was no need for deep thought to know not to place your finger on the trigger of your weapon until ready to fire. The act of switching the fire selector back to “Safe” after firing just became an automatic step through muscle memory instilled into habit through constant training. A pilot in combat, or any type emergency, does not get bogged down with decision making, they automatically know which switches to flip, because their training has instilled the actions deep into their mind.

What does all this have to do with weight loss and management?

We humans are creatures of habit. We may not always be cognizant of our personal habits, but good or bad, we still have them. Our habits can help us, or they can hurt us, they can destroy our health over a course of time. The habit of smoking is obvious of course, but just as damaging is our habit of eating calorie dense, nutritionally poor foods. When we are happy, we are in the habit of celebrating with food. When we are sad, we are in the habit of eating away our sorrow. When we are stressed, the dump of endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine from some foods make us feel better in the moment, therefore it is easy to become habituated to eating poor foods when we are having a bad day. Your body releases dopamine and serotonin to accompany the sugar rush that comes from simple carbohydrates, which is why, at first, you’ll feel happier, and perhaps even calmer. However, these receptor sites slow production to regulate the same endorphins that had you feeling so good. This causes a crash in mood and even depression, thus a vicious cycle begins and we reach for more sugar.

According to research from Princeton University, “food addiction” evolves as a result of changes in brain pathways. Therefore, we must be mindful of what we consume each day. Sugar causes the release of the hormone dopamine in the brain, which is no different than the response activated by addictive drugs. These chemical adaptations cause changes in dopamine release over time. In this study, rats actually became sugar-dependent, which lead to the theory that sugar can be physiologically addictive. The study displayed that the rats experienced withdrawal similar to drug withdrawals through low levels of dopamine and anxiety. Given this, it’s not hard to believe that in brain scans, sugar appears to be as addictive as cocaine.

The importance of adopting healthy habits.

As a society, we have sadly made food a habit that is driving our obesity epidemic.  We make poor nutritional food choices and then eat these foods for every occasion as a habit.  Often, we do not even need any specific occasion to eat poorly, we will simply do it because we are more bored than we are hungry.

It’s not just willpower, or a lack thereof, that makes us overeat and gain weight. It’s often because of that sneaky bad habit you developed such as running out the door some mornings without breakfast, or mindlessly munching chips in front of your television. The next thing you know, one little bad habit can equal a lot of body fat gained.

When you are having  a bad day, are you prone to opening the refrigerator and eating? You know it is not a good diet strategy to put food in your mouth as a coping mechanism. A number of studies confirm that emotions, both positive and negative, can cause people to eat more than they should, an easy weight-loss stumbling block.

The obvious solution is to drop the habit of eating bad foods for coping or celebrations, yet just dropping the habit is not enough. You must also begin working at instilling healthy habits to replace the unhealthy. When you just quit a habit, it leaves a void that must be filled. When you do not fill that void with a healthy alternative, you will find that vacuum will be once again filled the first time you encounter any of life’s adversities. If you have not developed new healthy habits, the first thing you are prone to do is to return to what is familiar to you, unhealthy eating. We see this often, someone might be having a great year and then maybe a tragedy happens. Just like ex-smokers can be quick to pick up a cigarette, food junkies are quick to reach for junk foods for an emotional lift.

What you can do.

1. Recognize patterns for food cravings: Your cravings often develop when your desire to eat a certain food is paired with a stimulus such as watching a favorite TV show, or feeling sad or lonely. When you stick to a healthy dietary plan, it can help to reduce the temptation to seek out tempting foods you are trying to avoid, so your cravings really do decrease, or may completely disappear. In fact, when you restrict your calories overall, especially when you eliminate sugar and white flour-based products, food cravings can greatly decline or even disappear altogether.

2. Remove any temptations. If you cannot stop at one….don’t tease yourself. It’s simply better to avoid bringing these foods—cookies, chips, crackers—into the house.  If you walk by a vending machine at work, and are drawn to a candy bar or those cheese crackers,  change your route if you can. Then, move on to other processed, prepared foods. Swap out the Danish or donut for  eggs  or oatmeal. The less sugar you have, the less you are likely to crave the foods high in it.

3. Plan Meals with Protein. The fix for hunger cravings is to plan your meals around protein and vegetables to fortify your metabolism. By doing this, your appetite will remain steady and you’ll feel satisfied from one meal to the next. Those ravenous cravings will no longer strike. The goal is to make sure your meals include chicken, fish, or beans at lunch and dinner along with a hearty salad and/or a big serving of vegetables to fill you up and keep your blood sugar even and your nutritional needs met.

4. Dump sugar and be prepared for the moment that hunger strikes:

    • Always have a piece of fruit and some nuts on hand.
    • Pack some hummus and carrots, red pepper, or celery, for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
    • Keep a tin of roasted almonds in your desk drawer at the office
    • Have a bag of peanuts and dried mango in the car, and in your handbag or backpack.
    • Keeping a low sugar, protein bar at the ready so if you miss a meal, you can keep your blood sugar even, and avoid being blindsided with an insatiable hunger.

5. Work towards a healthy weight through good nutrition. When you are committed to managing your weight through high protein, low carb nutrition with zero sugar or processed foods. you will have fewer food cravings. When you are feeding your body the foods that it needs to function well, you will remain satiated far longer than when you eat foods full of sugar or simple carbs coupled with unhealthy fats and high amounts of sodium and preservatives..

Life with COVID

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New World

We find ourselves in a different world recently. The threat of contracting this virus is real. We can respond in one of two ways. We can either be paralyzed with fear or find ways to live our best, healthy life in this new environment. From what I understand, this is not expected to go away very soon. I choose the latter

Either Way

Those of you who are dedicated health and fitness enthusiasts know that this life is it’s own kind of hard sometimes. People who are not dedicated to health usually do not appreciate or respect your efforts to be healthy, much less your efforts to look good. Quite often, it’s perceived as merely vain. I present this question, who cares what they think? You will, most likely, be around to bury them. Even with this COVID issue, it’s pretty well accepted that healthier people fight this off better than those with pre-existing health issues. So, the situation exists that we cannot allow this “new” microbe to change our health initiative unless it is to make us more determined than ever to be healthy. With or without this virus in the world, we have to continue with our self-care.

Are You Serious?

Although I’m sure that most of the memes and comments that I have seen are a joke, I also know that most people are continually looking for any excuse that they can find to just quit working out and eating healthy. Sometimes I am shocked at the people who so nonchalantly abandon their healthy eating on a whim and then actually post about it like it’s acceptable. It’s not acceptable. Bad habits are addictive. Everything always looks for the easiest route. Even water will always flow downhill, it’s easier. We know about inertia, a body at rest (or in motion!) tends to remain at rest (or in motion!) until acted upon by an outward force to change it. It is merely a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged. It’s a law of nature. You don’t need COVID as an excuse to do nothing, it comes naturally. Yes, the gyms are closed, so what? If you lift weights, find something heavy. If you are a cardio bunny, then either run out your front door or run in your house. The only thing that should determine whether or not you work out is your will to do so. In the aftermath of a tornado outbreak that destroyed everything except my Iron, I stayed in a motel and stacked plastic totes to make a squat rack. Believe me, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I had to eat carry-out for weeks. I bought extra protein and shunned the carbs, still eating sugar-free and high protein and low-carb. I made good progress during that time. Living in a world that has a new virus cannot destroy your health initiative unless you allow it to do so.

Methods to My Madness

I am a healthcare worker. I live in Alabama. Alabama is predicted to have the highest death rate of all the States when this is all done, not the highest number of deaths. The rate is a ratio based on number of cases and population. We are going through this because our brilliant citizens of this fine Southern State would not quit assembling for party time or church when they should. Our stubborn streak is going to kill a lot of people. I am living the same life that I was living before this happened. I eat the same. I work out the same. I lift heavy at home and walk outside. My progress has been wrought with blood, sweat and tears, literally, and no damn rogue virus is going to take that away from me unless it kills me. I have not, nor will I ever, look for excuses to transgress. If you are constantly looking for excuses to quit or give up I find it hard to believe that your progress came as hard as mine has come. Again, this life is not easy but it’s a Hell of a lot easier than being sick or getting old and decrepit. At 63, I’m the nurse that people look for when they need someone physically strong. There is nothing worth giving that honor up. Nothing tastes that good and no level of difficulty in a workout is enough to make me quit. I will progress or die trying. If you can even begin to fathom that this outbreak is any kind of an excuse to gain weight and get flabby, I strongly admonish you to get real with yourself about your motivation.

Nothing has changed. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you still can. I am in “Plague Central” for the States and work in health care almost every single day. It hasn’t changed a thing.

Create Your Life. Be Healthy.