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Disordered Eating

Eating disorders are a common topic of discussion among nutrition minded people but few of us have heard the term, “Disordered Eating”. It can be a precursor to a full-blown eating disorder which can be life-threatening. If you believe that you have an eating disorder, seek professional help immediately.

In a culture that is obsessed with appearances, many of us develop quirks and strange habits and rituals centered around food. Because we are blessed with more than enough in the United States, we are possibly the most likely to develop these habits. Symptoms of Disordered Eating include, but may not be limited to, (1)

1-Self-worth being based almost exclusively on the size, weight or shape of your body. While we all want to look good, our value is not determined by our bodies. If that was the case, an “evil dictator” that looked great would be more valuable than an average- looking person who is loved and appreciated by everyone who knows them. This is ridiculous. If you believe your worth to be equal to your looks, seek help today.

2-Body dysmorphia or a discrepancy or disturbance in the way you see your body. While this is common in full-blown eating disorders it may show up before they develop. It is a warning sign that you may be susceptible to a disorder. An example is “feeling fat” even though you are not.

3-Excessive exercise can be a symptom. David and I both work out hard. We make it a priority. It is an important aspect of our lives. The difference in good, hard, regular workouts and this symptom is regular programming. If you are doing a recognized program that has been designed by a trainer, you are okay if you have cleared this with  your doctor. You know that you are in trouble when you can’t stop with that. Excessive is when you go beyond normal. My normal, two years into heavy weight training is much more than what I started with but it is still a set program. When it is done, it is done and I don’t want to do more. If you can’t stop exercising, something is wrong.

4-Anxiety about certain foods or food groups can be a symptom. David has written extensively about the danger of fad diets. Often someone says to me, “I’m doing keto and I feel terrible.” Of course you do. It’s a fad diet. We advocate eating from all food groups and merely eliminating added sugars and simple carbs from the diet. We encourage you to eat good, healthy complex carbs. We do.

5-If you have such rigid rules concerning your nutrition that you sometimes find yourself unable to eat in a variety of situations, you may have a problem. I believe that you can almost always find something to eat in most situations. It may not be a full meal but you should be able to find something to eat when you are hungry. I can go into a convenience store and buy a pack of nuts. At a social event where I may not want most of the food served, there is almost always a good protein source available. I look for meat and cheese. There’s usually fruit or vegetables available. If you find yourself at Aunt Martha’s unable to eat a bite of anything, you may have a problem. While you might want to wait until you get home for the bulk of your calories, there should be something there to eat.

A key component of disordered eating is that, as David has said, we have abandoned the way that people used to eat. There was little to no anxiety about eating when we ate a well-rounded breakfast based on protein and complex carbs, had a sane protein based lunch and a dinner that was prepared at home that consisted of a protein, a starch such as a potato, and green and/or yellow vegetables. Some people added bread and even that was not a problem because there was no dessert most nights and never in the middle of the day. Desserts were for special occasions or at the very most, the weekend. There would be just enough for the family to have a modest serving or two and when it was gone, it was gone.

We couldn’t develop disordered eating under normal circumstances eating that way. Our eating was planned. It didn’t require a lot of decision-making. A problem today is that we eat randomly. There is no set pattern and every meal, or the daily graze of eating from awakening to slumber, is a spontaneous choice. Have you ever been setting at one meal thinking about what you would eat at your next? If we plan menu’s and shop according to those menus, we don’t think that way. It eases our national obsession with food. It also saves tons of money. If you plan your menus and buy your food from those menus, you remove spontaneous purchases. Your bank account will show the difference and so will your waistline.

 I recently read a statement on a weight loss social media app that said that “I hope this is the year that I find the discipline that I’ve been lacking.” If you develop good nutritional habits, planning your meals and shopping accordingly, you will need less discipline. Yesterday I got to work and thought “Oh boy, I don’t have enough food with me.” I eat a specific number of calories to fuel my workouts and don’t go without eating. I ate the two ounces of mixed nuts that I had with me and when hunger hit, I began to plunder through my backpack. Wow! Was I ever surprised! I had gotten ready for work at light speed, throwing stuff into my bag in a hurry. As it turned out, I had a lean ground beef patty, a baked sweet potato, an apple and full-fat Greek yogurt in my bag along with those nuts. I had plenty of food because I have developed good nutritional habits. Throwing that good nutrition into my backpack was something that I did on auto-pilot. While I never eat the nutritional bombs that are frequently laying around my nurses station, without good habits if you find yourself hungry at work those Krispy Kremes might look good. Plan you meals and you will have little to no wiggle room and are less likely to develop disordered eating because you will be adhering to known rules of good nutrition.

A problem that I have noticed is that sometimes people specialize in “cheating”. They try to see just how much they can get away with. Let me ask you, who are you cheating? I know a woman whose doctor put her on a reduced calorie regimen and the first night that she didn’t have access to double dessert she ordered a pizza. Her statement to the other people in the room was “The diet backfired!” She said these words with venom. She was quite pleased that she had managed to get those extra calories of an entire large pizza with the works. This is how we are. It’s so much easier to just do the right thing where our nutrition is concerned than to straddle the fence, waiting and wanting for someone to fix us. She went to the doctor and refused his advice. After consuming copious amounts of simple carbs, getting our fix and striking back in fury at the very idea that anyone would try to tell us what to eat, we wonder why we’re not ready for swimsuit season and try to wrangle a fad diet to get what we want. We feel worthless, believe ourselves to be unattractive and try to exercise ourselves to death. This is disordered eating. It would have been so much better to just listen to our doctor and our grandmothers in the first place and just eat a sensible amount of good nutritious food and work out responsibly.

The tools to navigate good nutrition and healthy habits are at your fingertips. This website is free. Use it. Get to know it. Talk to your doctor and get an approved exercise that you can do. Discuss nutrition with your doctor and then comply with what he says. We’re always here to assist you in any way that we can. Eat healthy, be healthy. Always remember, “You are what you eat.”

(1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201402/disordered-eating-or-eating-disorder-what-s-the

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and decade to all of our incredible readers around the globe. Brenda Sue and I greatly appreciate each and everyone of you!

In the last year, we have grown our website to include:

  • Calorie Counter Pro Menu   With this menu function, you can easily enter your personal information to have your daily caloric needs figured for you. This feature is entirely private. No one, not even Brenda Sue or myself, can ever see your private information which you enter. Your privacy is safe with us as we adhere to all U.S. HIPAA privacy laws to protect you.
  • You can estimate your body fat percentage with our new Body Fat Estimator which is a pictorial guide that displays what different body fat ranges appear on the male and female bodies. We always advise concentrating on achieving a healthy body fat percentage over trying to randomly lose weight to a specific number on the scale.
  • Our new Calorie / Macro-nutrient Chart can help you figure your caloric and macro-nutrient needs with about 600 common food items. This feature is a work in progress and will continue to expand.
  • Curious about how many calories different activities cause you to burn. You can find it all, from walking to lawn mowing, on our Activity Caloric Burn Chart.
  • We have broken down and segregated our articles into their own menu categories. We will be working at making this feature even easier to navigate in the future for you.

I began building David’s Way to Health and Fitness about one year and seven months ago. About two and a half months after I began this website, I asked Brenda Sue to write a few pieces for me to give a woman’s perspective to the topics we address in our articles. She jumped right in and has been a tremendous asset ever since. Together, we have built up this website, despite many personal challenges that have jumped into our path’s along the way. Brenda Sue had her house blown down around her by a tornado, and then she had a major career change a few months later. For me, I have been a care taker to a family member with liver cancer for almost the last year , and very recently my dear wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be undergoing a double mastectomy on Monday, January 6th.

Despite our own personal challenges in life, along with working demanding full time jobs atop of our health, nutrition and fitness writing, Brenda Sue and I have authored almost 700 articles between us, and we will continue to keep chugging away at this labor of love. It is only the two of us who have created this website. Our work has now reached 92 countries around the world.

My pledge to our readers is the information in this website will always be free to our readers and subscribers. I will never charge you a penny to access and read our work. That being said;

I have toyed with beginning a shopping feature in order to help offset the cost of operating this website, and to help pay the ever piling medical bills that keep coming in for my wife’s breast cancer. This shopping feature, once incorporated will include nutritional supplements and other items that are health and fitness related.

Again, my pledge is to keep all the articles and other features of this website entirely free to our readers and subscribers. Our mission is to help as many people in achieving fit and healthy body’s as we can.

Subscription to David’s Way to Health and Fitness is free and easy. Each new article we publish can come straight to your email, and again, this is all free to you. Please, if you enjoy our work, have benefited from our articles, share our David’s Way to Health and Fitness with all of your family and friends.

May each and everyone of you have a wonderful new year ahead of you.

Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Review

I have tried other Quest brand protein bars and despite all the favorable hype I have seen regarding them on a couple weight loss social media apps, I never cared for the very strong, over powering artificial sweetness I tasted with each that I have tried. However, I understand and accept that everyone has different likes and dislikes. You might just love this artificial taste.

I do not buy protein bars or cookies very often as they often have an off taste from the vitamins the producer has incorporated into the ingredients. However, while out on the road in my semi yesterday, this product caught my eye during a stop at a service plaza. I almost walked on past it since I do not care for their protein bars, but the look of a chocolate chip cookie that has 15 grams protein, 4 net grams of carbs, less than one gram of sugar while containing 9 grams of fiber caught my attention. For all intents and purposes, the nutritional values meet what I look for in foods, and after all, who can resist a good chewy chocolate chip cookie that is also a healthier choice than any other cookies stocked on the truck stop shelves.

I finished my purchase and walked back out to my truck for the final leg of my 945 mile trip. Once back behind the wheel of my truck, I slipped it into gear and began unwrapping the cookie as I was merging back onto the interstate highway. The cookie looked delicious. It had a soft texture to it which was a bonus for me too. I was anticipating a little something tasty and healthy with a hot cup of coffee to hold me over until I got home as I took my first bite.

OK, at first bite, the cookie was soft and firm enough to be chewy! I have always loved a good chewy chocolate chip cookie over those that are crisp. Just a personal preference of mine. The initial taste was pleasant enough. The flavor kind of reminded me of a chewy Chip’s Ahoy. Except, it had a sickening artificially sweet undertone, that actually became over powering with each additional bite. To be honest, I am not 100% sure, but I cannot help but to assume this sweetness comes from their use of stevia as a sweetener. I know it does not come from the erythritol as I bake and cook with erythritol products at least once or twice a week.

You may like this taste, I do not. Again, it is just a matter of personal taste and opinion. There is no wrong or right to what flavors we like or do not like. But for me, Quest took a perfectly good cookie and ruined it with whatever the ingredient is that causes this over bearing sweetness. In fairness, I must say that by my having been entirely sugar free for a few years now, my taste for sweet treats has declined. Just like eating a low sodium diet, it gets where just a little salt can totally ruin a meal for me too. The last I will say on this sweetness is the taste in my mouth did not leave for quite some time. Thank god I had a few pieces of spearmint gum to finally get rid of it, I was tempted to pull over and get a mouthful of dirt to make it go away…   🙂

Quest Chocolate Chip Cookies are nutritionally sound, and you might really enjoy them. Try these before buying some sugar laden cookie that will only serve to fatten your belly while spiking your blood sugar and insulin. These cookies might fit your needs for a sugar free sweet treat on occasion. I feel if there was no stevia in these cookies, they would be a really good, wholesome snack to treat yourself with. For $3.74 for one cookie, you are also not likely to gorge yourself on them.

Ingredients:

Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), Butter (Cream, Natural Flavor), Soluble Corn Fiber, Erythritol, Palm Oil, Unsweetened Chocolate, Calcium Caseinate, Natural Flavors, Water, Cocoa Butter. Contains less than 2% of the following: Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Sodium Caseinate, Xanthan Gum, Steviol Glycosides (Stevia)

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories: 250

Total fat: 17 grams

Saturated fat: 10 grams

Trans fats: 0 grams

Cholesterol: 30 mg

Sodium: 220 mg

Total Carbs: 19 grams

Net Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 9 grams

Total sugar less than 1 gram

Added sugar: 0 grams

Erythritol 6 grams

Protein: 15 grams

Vitamin D: 0 mcg

Calcium: 150 mg

Iron: .4 mg

Potassium: 100 mg

 

Avoid a Stroke!

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What Is A Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced. The lack of oxygen carrying blood causes the death of brain cells in mere minutes. A stroke is a medical emergency and immediate treatment is mandatory. Early treatment may reduce brain damage and increase your chance of survival.

Who Is Vulnerable?

Anyone can have a stroke. Never think that because you are young or at a perfect weight that you are safe from this destroyer.

Symptoms You May Experience

1-Trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying to you.

2-Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. This often affects only one side of your body.

3-Problems seeing in one or both eyes. You may have reduced vision or you may see double.

4-Headache- A sudden severe headache that may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness may indicate you are having a stroke.

5-Trouble walking.

Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke.

If you think someone else is having a stroke remember the acronyme “F.A.S.T” and do this:

F.ace-Ask the person to smile. Does one side if the face droop?

A.rms-Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is one arm unable to rise?

S.peech-Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his speech slurred or strange?

T.ime-If you observe ANY of these signs, call 911 right away.

There are five different types of stroke but the end result of all of them is death of brain cells. Quick medical attention may limit the number of brain cells lost.

Lifestyle Risk Factors

1-Being overweight or obese

2-Physical inactivity

3-Heavy or binge drinking

4-Use of illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine

Here at David’s Way we teach a healthy lifestyle that is designed to alleviate overweight and physical inactivity. We always discourage you from drinking alcohol because of the empty calories and the tendency that it has to lower inhibitions and enable you to binge eat and drink after just a small amount. Illegal drugs are never part of a healthy lifestyle.

Medical Risk Factors

1-High blood pressure

2-Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke

3-High cholesterol

4-Diabetes

5-Obstructive sleep apnea

6-Cardiovascular disease

7-Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack

David’s Way is diabetic friendly and since we discourage sodium laden processed foods, it may help you with high blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by excess tissue, quite often fat, pressing in on your airway. Lose the weight and see if that helps your sleep apnea. Excess weight and inactivity can exacerbate cardiovascular disease and make it worse. If you have a personal history of, or genetic tendency towards, stroke talk to your doctor about weight loss and exercise.

People over age 55 have a higher risk of stroke. Get healthy early in life and practice good health habits for the rest of your life to take the edge off of this risk factor. Men, African Americans and women who use birth control or hormone therapies that contain estrogen are also at greater risk.

In order to decrease your risk of stroke it’s mandatory that you control high blood pressure and lower the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Quit smoking and get your diabetes under control. Some people can eventually come off of diabetic medications, with their doctor’s approval, when they lose weight and become attentive to their diet, while adding in some doctor approved activity. If you have sleep apnea, do whatever you have to do to fix that. Weight loss will help. Your doctor may prescribe a device that delivers positive airway pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that can help with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

We always encourage you to be proactive concerning your health. Be vigilant in your efforts to decrease your risk of stroke. I recently read about a 38 year old female who was an avid runner who had a devastating stroke. She had always been careful to eat a healthy diet to fuel her running but at a point, she said that she let her nutrition slip, a little. She believed that this decision was crucial to the devastating event that changed her life forever, a stroke. She has made a good recovery and her former high level of fitness is believed to have enabled her to come back much quicker and stronger than most people. The moral of the story here is get healthy and STAY healthy. Don’t give a stroke a chance. Be a fanatic about your health. Don’t let anyone sway you. Make every effort to avoid this life stealing thief in the night.

As a result of trying to be healthy to avoid a stroke, you just might build the healthiest body that you’ve ever lived in, and look good doing it. That, my friends, is a win/win situation.

Note from David, Regarding Our Recipes

Today I became aware that we had a huge glitch in our recipes menu where all the dessert recipes were appearing under the entree recipe menu. This glitch was causing confusion, but has now been fixed for easier navigation.

Friends, I apologize for any confusion regarding this administrative problem that was in our website settings that had escaped my attention. This is my first website I have ever built, so there has been a huge learning curve along the way as I have zero formal training in website development. This, on top of also working a 60 plus hour work week for my primary means of income.

Please, should any of you, our wonderful readers ever notice any area of this website that could be improved, let us know. As the builders and authors, Brenda Sue and I do not always see the website in the same light as you, the reader.

Sincerely,

David

The Cost of “Comfort”

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Many years ago,  my Grandmother and I were talking about a family  member who really  needed to make some changes for her health, and my Grandmother said, “She’ll never lose weight or quit smoking because she’s  not  going to  do  anything  that  makes  her  uncomfortable.” No truer words have ever been  spoken.  Although my Grandmother is gone now, she was right. That person has continued her unhealthy habits and although she’s much younger than me, she has the health and life of a much older person than I do. She also looks much older. Her body has taken on the stereotypical “old lady” traits of bulging belly and huge, sagging breasts. She stays in the doctor’s  office  a lot and has serious health problems. She takes a lot of medication and still refuses to change her ways. The empty calories, cigarettes, alcohol and lack of fitness have changed her into someone who is barely reminiscent of her former self. She wouldn’t do the hard stuff like controlling her appetite or working out. She wanted comfort. Her medical bills are exorbitant.

Healthy habits can be learned and developed but there will always be a measure of discomfort when we push ourselves beyond our primal needs of a full belly and ease. I do not have any cravings now because I eat David’s Way. When I first quit eating  sugar, however, I  thought I would crack up for a few days. I was undoubtedly addicted. In a few days, however, the misery ended and now, years later, I’m the healthiest  and most fit that I have ever been. Without that struggle to kick sugar, I would not be where I am today. I was uncomfortable for a little while. One of the lessons that I had to learn is that good health and fitness take work and work is merely a skillset that can be learned.

In the case of my relative, she never would give up or limit any of her “comfort” foods. She thought it was just too hard. As a result, the pounds piled on over  the  years and her once beautiful figure became a burden to carry around with about 50 pounds of fat added to her frame. Her back, pelvis and neck gave way to injury and pain and she has had numerous surgeries in an attempt to be pain free. As a result of this ongoing pain issue, she has become addicted to opiates. Opiate addiction causes constipation and her belly is always huge and bloated. The extra weight and disproportionate distribution of her weight has furthur injured her back and the cascade of symptoms continues. It appears that she will live out her life as an opiate addict. Surely it would have been easier to have done without a few goodies. Her smoking has left her with ever worsening emphysema. A single breath comes hard. Was the eating with abandon and the momentary rush of the nicotine really worth the price?

There are methods to change our behaviors that really work but we must be willing to acknowledge that we need and want to change.

1-Clearly state what habits you truly want to change.  Be truthful  and focus on one habit at a time.

2- Analyze your bad behavior. Why are you doing it? At one time I asked myself that question and the sad answer was that I didn’t enjoy anything  else. I changed that.

3-Listen to your inner voice. We usually recognize our bad behaviors. Be truthful with yourself and allow that wisdom to guide you into better habits.

4-Every time you stop a bad behavior, replace it with a good one.

5-Remove triggers from your life. Whether it’s a person, a song, an old picture or simply a memory that you allows to ride roughshod through your brain, just say “NO!!!” Avoid negative triggers and be instantly happier and healthier.

6-Keep an ever upgraded visualization of yourself front and foremost in your mind. We can change the way our brain works and thinks with focus on the positive changes that we are willing to make.

7-Stop self talking yourself in a negative way. We tend to believe our thoughts. Make them good ones.

8- Break your goal down into manageable bits and pieces. When I began strength training I knew that I had to start small. I have lofty goals but they are not being obtained overnight. Build your good habits piece by piece. I had to decide where to lift and then what to buy. I had to commit to excellence in order to be safe. I had to be willing to work towards my goals slowly. I had to be willing  to work hard and then work harder. I had to make the decision to eat right. Making these practical decisions were a building block that had to go into the foundation of my program. If I had not done this first, I could have never successfully trained.

9-Give yourself Grace. Life happens. If you botch a workout or your nutrition one day, keep going. Stay committed and learn from your mistakes.

10-Remember, changing destructive habits takes time. You have to keep repeating the better behavior until the change is made in your brain. It won’t happen overnight but if you remain diligent, it will happen. I never crave sugar anymore. It may take several weeks to change some habits. Be patient. Your discomfort will pass and you will be free of the destructive behavior and free to create a better life.

Holiday Heart Attack Season

At this time of year as the weather cools down and the nights get longer, the holidays begin rapidly approaching until the next thing we know, they are right upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day are supposed to be filled with love and joy with our family and friends. These days are supposed to be full of good times and cheer. A time of fellowship, a time of gift giving, a time to eat, drink and be merry. And for most of us, the holidays are exactly that. But, for anyone with heart disease—or who is at an increased risk of heart disease, the holidays instead may be a time of special risk. A joyful day may easily turn into a day of great tragedy.

Several studies have shown that during the winter holidays not only are heart problems more likely to occur but when they do, they are more likely to be fatal. The months of December and January are especially risky for people with heart disease. (1)

Imagine if you will, over the years you have been putting on weight and you have ignored your doctors admonition to lose weight simply because you feel like you are carrying it well for someone your size. You have not had any major health issues, so why worry about a little bulge at the belly, after all, you have more important things to worry about such as taking care of your family over your own needs.

It’s your life, who the hell is that doctor to tell you how to live when they are not the one paying your bills. All they need to do is shut up and give you your medicines to fix your ailments. All you wanted was medicine and not a judgmental opinion about your obesity. It’s your life, you will live it any way you see damn fit to. That is until you cannot…

Now imagine if you will, you have been working hard since sunrise, preparing  to give your family a wonderful Thanksgiving or Christmas Day meal. Your adult kids and the grandchildren have arrived a few hours ago to a warm home full of love and the aroma of a baking turkey in the oven. The smells that bring back happy memories of the past when you were a young child visiting your own grand parents. The kids are all catching up with each other in the living room while the grandchildren are running all around the house bringing joy to your heart despite the fat you are feeling a bit tired now and have a case of heartburn that you have not bee able to kill with antacids. And for some damn reason, your jaw aches too. But regardless of this, nothing is going to ruin your day.

You have worked hard all day in preparation of your family gathering. You awoke to a heavy, wet snow coming down, covering the ground in a thick, cold blanket. Once you got the turkey into the oven, you pulled on your snow boots, put on your heavy coat and shoveled the drive for your loved ones.  And the snow kept coming down, covering the drive about as fast as you could clear it. Once you finally removed the most of the snow and spread your ice melt, you return to the kitchen and finish the final meal preparation.

What a joyous day, surrounded by loved ones. The table has been set, the delicious and hearty food has all been put out and as you begin to carve the turkey with your youngest grand daughter at your side waiting in anticipation, as you slice into the turkey, you all of a sudden feel a crushing pain in your chest and everything goes black…

My friends, if this scenario ever happens to you, if you are lucky, you will be able to go home after from the hospital after a few days of tests and observations. If you are not so lucky, this may be the last day of your life.

Are your personal affairs in order?

Did you get a final chance to tell your family how much you loved them before you passed on?

Is your family going to ever live with guilt or regret that they signed a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order?

If you spend a few days in ICU, is your family going to go bankrupt trying to save your life? Even if you die, they could still go bankrupt…

Heart attack symptoms

  • Tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain, most often in the center of the chest
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Cold sweat or clammy skin
  • Lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, indigestion, and sometimes vomiting

Factors that contribute to heart attack.

  • Exposure to cold weather
  • Exposure to sudden and unusual levels of exertion, such as shoveling snow
  • Exposure to emotional stress, which is very common and is often fairly severe during the holidays
  • Obesity
  • Becoming sedentary over the winter months
  • Exposure to illness, especially influenza, which can produce inflammatory changes in the blood vessels
  • Over-indulging in food, alcohol and/or tobacco
  • Exposure to indoor pollution, such as cigarette smoke, or even a poorly-drafted log-burning fireplace
  • Reluctance to seek medical help during the holidays
  • Decreased exposure to light

What to expect if you have a heart attack.

For starters, always call 911 to be transported via ambulance rather than going by car. Contrary to what you might assume, speed isn’t the only rationale. “If you’re having a heart attack, there are two reasons why you want to be in an ambulance,” says Dr. Joshua Kosowsky, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. One is that in the unlikely event of cardiac arrest, the ambulance has the equipment and trained personnel to restart your heart. Cardiac arrest, which results from an electrical malfunction that stops the heart’s pumping ability, is fatal without prompt treatment. However, most heart attacks do not cause cardiac arrest, Dr. Kosowsky stresses. “It’s rare, but it’s certainly not a risk you want to take while you’re driving or riding in a car.” (2)

The other reason to travel via ambulance is that in many places in the United States, if a person calls 911 complaining of chest pain, the dispatcher will send paramedics who are trained to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG). This simple, painless test records your heart’s electrical activity through 12 small electrodes placed on your chest, arms, and legs. A six-second recording can then be transmitted to the receiving emergency department, which can help speed up the process of getting you the care you need.

Some people don’t experience the typical symptom of crushing chest pain during a heart attack, however, so they may hesitate to call 911. People with pain that waxes and wanes or who have subtler symptoms (such as jaw pain or shortness of breath) may show up at the emergency room on their own. Even if you do this, you’re still likely to get rapid care. The person who greets you might be a receptionist rather than a doctor or nurse, but most emergency departments follow a specific protocol for a suspected heart attack. “If you mention any symptom that sounds like it might be a heart attack, the first thing they’ll do is to get you an ECG, ideally within 10 minutes of your arrival,” says Dr. Kosowsky.

A doctor then interprets the ECG, which will reveal if you’re having a major heart attack, in which an artery feeding your heart is blocked, choking off the blood supply to part of your heart muscle. This usually creates a distinct signature on the ECG and means you’ll quickly receive treatment to open the blocked artery. (2)

But not all heart attacks show up on the first ECG. So even if it looks normal, you’re still not out of the woods, says Dr. Kosowsky. The next step is an evaluation by a doctor or other clinician, who will ask about your medical history and details about the location, duration, and intensity of your symptoms. You’ll also have a blood test to measure troponin, a protein that rises in response to heart muscle damage. This blood test is very sensitive. But keep in mind that elevated levels don’t always show up right away. That’s why doctors sometimes have people stay for several hours to get a follow-up troponin measurement.

Other possible tests include a chest x-ray to look for alternative causes of chest discomfort, such as pneumonia or heart failure. A doctor also might give you a trial of medication to see whether it relieves your symptoms, and additional ECGs may be performed over time.

Often, if several troponin tests come back normal, the doctor may want to check your risk of a future heart attack with an exercise stress test. This test can reveal how your heart responds to the demands of increased blood flow needed during exercise. During a standard exercise test, you walk on a treadmill at progressively faster speeds, while trained staff monitors your heart’s electrical activity, your heart rate, and your blood pressure.

An imaging test may also be performed to quantify the degree of blood flow to the heart. One option is an echocardiogram, a noninvasive test that involves placing an ultrasound probe on your chest to create a moving image of your beating heart. Restricted blood flow in the heart’s arteries changes the movement of the heart, which an experienced echocardiographer can detect.

Another option is a nuclear perfusion test, which entails injecting a radioactive substance called a tracer into a vein. The tracer then travels through your blood to your heart. A special camera that records the radioactive particles emitted from the tracer circles around the heart, taking images from multiple angles. A computer then combines these images to create a detailed picture of the blood flow to the heart.

In certain situations, if the source of your symptoms remains unclear, a physician might order a computed tomography angiography (CTA) scan. For this test, you receive an injection of a contrast dye into your arm or hand. The dye “lights up” in an image to reveal a three-dimensional view of your heart’s arteries, courtesy of multiple rapid-fire x-rays taken during the scan.

Sometimes, even after all the testing, doctors don’t know for certain what’s causing your chest pain. “If that’s the case, it’s still worth asking the doctor what his or her best guess is, because that will help you determine what next steps to take,” says Dr. Kosowsky. (2)

Common treatment procedures for heart attack.

  • Angioplasty: Special tubing with an attached deflated balloon is threaded up to the coronary arteries.
  • Angioplasty, Laser: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a laser tip that opens the blocked artery.
  • Artificial heart valve surgery: Replaces an abnormal or diseased heart valve with a healthy one.
  • Atherectomy: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a rotating shaver on its tip to cut away plaque from the artery.
  • Bypass surgery: Treats blocked heart arteries by creating new passages for blood to flow to your heart muscle.
  • Cardiomyoplasty: An experimental procedure in which skeletal muscles are taken from a patient’s back or abdomen.
  • Heart transplant: Removes a diseased heart and replaces it with a donated healthy human heart.
  • Minimally invasive heart surgery: An alternative to standard bypass surgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided through the veins to the heart muscle to destroy carefully selected heart muscle cells in a very small area.
  • Stent procedure: A stent is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty.
  • Transmyocardial revascularization (TMR): A laser is used to drill a series of holes from the outside of the heart into the heart’s pumping chamber.

Reduce your risk of heart attack through healthy nutritional practices coupled with exercise that is approved by your doctor. Do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones. You might believe that your life is yours to live as you see fit. However, never forget that someone is going to have to pick up the broken pieces behind you when your health fails or when you pass on. Taking care of your health is only the right thing to do. Doing otherwise is a selfish act that only serves to cause pain and hurt in your loved ones at a later time and place. Be well, embrace your loved ones and love them like there is no tomorrow. You never know, there may be no tomorrow for you.

(1) verywellhealth.com

(2) health.harvard,edu

Peaceful Inspiration from Nature

My personal favorite physical fitness activity is strength training, while my second favorite, by a fairly narrow margin, is getting out into the great outdoors on a good hike on dirt trails that meander through out our local woodlands here in north eastern Kansas and north western Missouri. Today, on an off day from weight training, I got in a most excellent hike of a little over seven miles on some really great trails at Weston Bend Park in Missouri, about 25 miles north of Kansas City.

This particular trail head begins at a prepared asphalt trail and then meanders through a wooded ravine and then gradually takes you upwards to the top of a high ridge that overlooks the Missouri River Valley and the river itself. This time of year is a beautiful time to hike there as the leaves on the trees are beginning to change to their fall colors before dropping to the ground for the winter months. The falling leaves will lay on the ground and rot before being absorbed into the soil as nutrients for next springs new growth. Much in the same manner as how our own body’s absorb nutrients for growth and cellular repairs when we are at rest.

Getting out on the trail is a relaxing method of vigorous exercise for myself. It is vigorous, as I make it a point to hike at a rate that keeps my heart rate within the aerobic fat burning zone for my body over the entire course of my outing. Yet as my heart rate comes up, I can only feel relaxed in mind, body and soul as my eyes take in the beautiful surrounding sights while my ears pick up on the subtle sounds of nature living all around me. I am but a small microcosm of all the life around me despite the fact I only encountered a couple other hikers out on the trail this morning. Surrounded by life, yet alone where I can bring upon an inner peace to settle my post traumatic stress.

Looking out, over the Mighty Missouri River from atop the ridge.

The hills and ridges in this part of America were cut by glaciers during the last ice age. I look upon these two humongous slabs of stone and wonder if they were one piece many centuries or thousands of years ago. Maybe this huge rock was split by the awe inspiring force of nature when water found it’s way into a small crack, and with each cycle of freezing, the rock split more and more until it was separated enough for a seedling to become a sapling, which eventually grew into a mature tree in the center of these massive stones.

When out hiking in the woods, my mind is freed which allows me to find inspiration to write just about anywhere about anything. You might find it odd, but the inspiration which came from this split rock was the thoughts of how just like water seeping into a small crack, and eventually breaking the rock apart, we do the same thing within our body’s when we eat a diet that is calorie dense and nutritionally poor. Too many simple carbohydrates with cookies, cupcakes and other junk foods cause our pancreas to release floods of insulin as a result of high blood sugar.

The rocks, with their cracks remind me of our cellular structure, which opens up to the entry of blood sugar when signaled by our insulin. Over time, with centuries of thawing and freezing cycles, the rock become fractured until it finally breaks apart. In the same manner, when our blood sugar remains high for too long, and our body’s begin suffering ill effects such as damage to your nerves, blood vessels and internal organs. It can also cause:

  • vaginal and skin infections
  • slow healing cuts and sores
  • loss of vision
  • nerve damage
  • and erectile dysfunction

Whether you realize it or not, our body is just another element of the nature which surrounds us, It is a shame, a sad reality that far too many people never give the health of their own glorious body the same care as they might give to plant or animal life out in the nature.

Some people shake their heads in disbelief when I speak of going out and hiking anywhere from 5 to 10 miles or better, or when I talk about dedicating no less than four days a week to strength train for two hours at a time. Some assume that to follow my way of living, they might have to go to the same physical extremes as myself in order to get the same results.

You do not have to go to my extremes to get fit and healthy, There is no one size fits all exercise regimen. However, you do need to be active at a level that is appropriate for your level of fitness and capabilities. Your activity needs to match your needs and preferences.

You need to know, that while you can lose body fat and be healthy without exercise, you are only selling yourself short in your efforts. Regular activity reduces both insulin levels and insulin resistance. Regular physical fitness activities can and will help with lowering high blood pressure, improve your total blood fat level, elevate your good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL). Exercise on a consistent basis will lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, while decreasing your body fat and your risk of insulin related heart disease such as Coronary Artery and Coronary Heart Diseases.

Exercise does not, nor should it ever be a chore to suffer through. You should select an activity that is fun and easy to fit into your busy schedule. Instead of going all out hardcore like, you need to start slow and easy and increase your intensity over time in order to not burn out before you have derived any benefit from your activity.

Consistency is going to be key to your success with any physical fitness activity/program. Again, you will need to select an activity that is fun for you and easy to fit into your schedule in order to make being consistent easier on yourself. You do not require a daily commitment in order to be consistent. You can pick 3 to 5 days a week to exercise and use your off days as time for rest and recovery. These two elements, along with nutrition are as important as the physical activity itself.

By giving yourself a break a few days per week away from exercise, you will be more inclined to stick with it as it is not an every day chore. By taking a few days off you will always be able to attack a new exercise session with a fully rested body which will give you the best results, more bang for your buck if you will.

Again, find an activity that you will enjoy. Never force yourself to do something you really do not want to do as you will come to resent it. By all means, while you need to push yourself to always excel at your activity, never push yourself past your level of endurance as you are likely to come to hate what you are doing. This is not helpful in helping you to achieve your goals.

My advice is to please try to be loving, understanding, firm and compassionate with yourself. In the end, it makes good heart sense on all levels.

Active minds and active bodies never grow old. – Lee Salk

 

Sweet Deception

I began my weight management journey at the age of 4 years. My anorexic mother told me I was fat and put me on a diet. As it turns out, I was not fat. My weight was perfect for my age and height. I weighed 40 pounds. However, starting life out like that left it’s impression and had me trying every fad diet that came down the track for the rest of my life until I discovered David’s Way. It’s the only permanent solution to weight management because it fuels your body with good, whole, high protein, low carbohydrate food and does not leave you hungry and craving desserts and other simple carbs.

Something that I discovered along the way is that I could eat different menus with the same calories and get different results. This flies in the face of many weight loss plans, and of individuals, who perpetuate the myth that you can continue to eat added sugar and successfully manage your weight. While this line sells, in the long run it is not a successful weight management strategy because sugar creates cravings for more sugar. Sugar is so calorie dense that it leaves you without enough calories to adequately feed yourself so you will be perpetually hungry. Although you might be satiated for a little while, the hunger will return with a vengeance.

Along with robbing you of healthy foods while keeping you within your daily caloric needs, sugar also causes you to dump insulin into your bloodstream and promotes fat storage. When you get that insulin dump, your body will try to stabilize and you will get hungry again to give all that insulin something to metabolize. If you reach for sweets again then the cycle continues. Does this sound familiar? When I ate sugar, this was my experience. Even if I was able to lose pounds, I could never keep them off. After reaching my “Goal”, I would indulge a bit more in those sweets that I never completely abandoned and before long, my appetite would be completely out of control. That’s why most people don’t keep the weight off when they lose it. Their sugar addiction has to be fed and it takes over again.

When we are constantly hungry we feel justified to eat anything that we want. After all, we’re HUNGRY. When we leave off sugar and use those calories to fill up on nutritious, whole, high protein foods and complex carbs, we have trouble eating all of our calories. Complex carbs have fiber in them that slows their absorption into your bloodstream and sustains you longer. Protein is harder to digest and keeps you satisfied for the long run. The combination of a high protein food with a high fiber food is wonderful for staving off hunger with minimal calories.

A six month study was conducted at John’s Hopkins to compare a low-carb diet and a low-fat diet. (1) The results showed that the low-carb group lost more fat and less muscle while the low-fat group lost more muscle and less fat. As a result of this study the researchers concluded that a low-carb diet is better for weight loss than a low-fat diet consisting of the same calories. We add high protein to that idea to keep you full and help build more muscle.

Along with slowing weight loss, following a high-carb diet that includes sugar and other simple carbs which are high in the glycemic index, can lead to insulin resistance. When this occurs your body can’t effectively use the insulin that it produces and you may become pre-diabetic or even Type 2 Diabetic. Is that slice of birthday cake really worth it?

Everyone is obsessed with getting abs. Everyone wants a shortcut to a six pack. The saying that abs are made in the kitchen is true. The fat storage that comes from eating simple carbs is usually stored in the belly which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even stroke and some cancers. Too many simple carbs can also upset your gut bacteria in a way that will cause you to absorb more calories from your food.

Couple the extra calories from the constant hunger with absorbing more of those calories, and toss in the brain fog and lethargy associated with a high carb diet and you have a recipe for disaster. David and I aim for about 100 grams of net carbs in a day and eat a lot of protein, about 1.2-2 grams per kilogram of body weight because we are strength trainers. Non-athletes can go as low as .9 grams per kilogram of body weight and be satisfied and healthy.

The choice is yours. You can continue to deceive yourself and eat sugar and other high carb processed foods if you so choose, or you can decide to get off of the hamster wheel and take control of your life. What will it be, triumph or tragedy? Get real about weight management and your overall health today. We are here and it’s free. Take advantage of all that we have to offer. Read the Home Page to discover all the tools available to you here at David’s Way.

(1) https://www.livestrong.com/article/362968-why-do-carbohydrates-make-you-gain-weight/