The Fraud of Social Media Influencers

social media influencer making video
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If you are one who pays attention to social media influencers for health and fitness advice, just stop it. Looking at Instagram fitness models and others like them for inspiration is akin to girls of past decades looking at their Barbie dolls with envy of their figures. You are  not going to become like them without extreme dieting, drugs, surgical procedures, or a combination of each. It just is not going to happen naturally.

Some Social Media Influencers are Not What They Appear to Be.

Some of the super hot fitness models you see on sites such as Instagram are not what you think. In fact, some of the biggest name models you can find there are actually male to female transsexuals. I have no problem with that, except for the fact if  you are a biological female, you are not going to achieve the same results as these ladies.

Drugs, Surgical Procedures, and Extreme Dieting

 No matter their gender, performance enhancing drugs are common with fitness influencers on social media. What you have to understand is many of them are not just taking diet pills, in order to get lean. Trenbolone is the drug of choice for a lot of them.

Trenbolone  is an Anabolic Androgenic Steroid that was first created by German Lifesciences brand ‘Hoechst-Roussel’ as a veterinary product. Trenbolone is designed to build muscle while simultaneously ridding the body of fat. This drug is very efficient at what it does. However, Trenbolone is a powerful drug, and any conversion in the body is going to bring serious consequences to your health. Many of these fit and trim looking models are going to actually die young from the use of anabolics.

Surgical procedures are quite common with these social media influencers. One popular, transgender female on Instagram has not only had breast and glute implants. She has also had ribs removed in order to give her a curvier, more female like appearance. The removal of ribs is a permanent procedure. Ribs do not grow back and cannot be replaced. Even under the care of a certified and experienced surgeon, it is a dangerous procedure and the risks of complications are high.

When you see pictures of a social media influencer with a very low body fat percentage, this is often accomplished not only with drugs, but through extreme dieting. These practices are actually not good for your body. Some of those extremely lean models have also lost too much essential body fat which we actually need for good health.

Essential fat is exactly that. This fat is essential for your life and a healthy body. This fat is found in your:

  • brain
  • bone marrow
  • nerves
  • membranes that protect your organs

Essential fat plays a major role in hormone regulation, including the hormones that control fertility, vitamin absorption, and temperature regulation.

According to the American Council on Exercise, women need at least 10 to 13 percent of their body composition to come from essential fat to be in good health, while men require at least 2 to 5 percent.

body fat chart
https://www.acefitness.org

While you might think that extremely lean and muscular bodies look great, many of these people are not actually healthy. Additionally, if you are losing enough fat to have an effect on your essential body fat, you are going to feel very poorly. Getting that lean is not sustainable and you should never consider trying to get there.

Lastly, you have to keep in mind that social media influencers do what they do as their full time job. You will find that some of them are promoting their images in order to sell you worthless diet and fitness plans for hundreds of dollars per plan. They will sell you a plan that is difficult to follow, and when you do not get the promised results, you are simply poorer for their scam. Save your time and money my friends.

The Flip Side to The Extra Lean Social Media Influencers
Four obese women
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First, I have to say that I cannot, nor will I tolerate bullying behavior out of anyone for any reason. I do not want anyone to ever feel shame about their body, but there is something that must be said about “Self Lovely”, “Fat Acceptance” or any other means of promoting obesity as being a healthy choice. It’s not a healthy choice no matter how you feel.

There is now a trend with social media influencers who are promoting obesity as being a healthy thing when nothing could be further from the truth. There are influencers now who claim to be nutritionists that are saying it is perfectly okay to eat not only what you want, but also how much of it you desire. For example here are a few excerpts from one of these social media influencers:

“Stop telling healthy people they are unhealthy due to the size of their body.”

“But listening to your body, and eating whatever, whenever you are hungry will start to heal the trust of your body”

“Did you gain weight in the last year? Cool, me too.”

“So if you’ve gained weight, thank your body for protecting you, instead of shaming it.”

I will never tolerate anyone fat shaming anyone in my presence. Because we truly care, our mission at David’s Way to Health and Fitness is to help people with weight loss and weight management. People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Many types of cancer
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

What these social media influencers who promote obesity as being healthy do not tell you is they are only trying to feel better about themselves instead of doing what is right for themselves. Their health is at risk, and while there are medical therapies that can address most of the cardiac risk factors associated with obesity (such as medications for diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol), losing weight will move all of your associated risk factors in the right direction.

If you are overweight or obese, losing weight is the key to living a longer, healthier life.

Easy Weight Loss

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Disclaimer: Before beginning any new diet or fitness plan, always consult with your doctor.

Cheating Yourself With Cheat Meals

woman unpacking fast food meal
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I am just going to be blunt and say that if you are enjoying cheat meals while trying to lose weight, you are only cheating yourself. Sure, you may have success with weight loss for a little while, but sooner or later, you are going to put that lost weight right back on. Seriously, if anyone tells you that you should eat cheat meals at least once a week, they do not have your best interest at heart. Or, they simply do not have the knowledge, nor experience to be advising anyone about weight loss.

Successful Weight Loss Requires Lifestyle Change

I will never spare your feelings when it comes to weight loss by telling you what you want to hear. What I will tell you is the simple, hardcore truth that successful and permanent weight loss requires a lifestyle change. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you cannot continue eating as you have while becoming overweight. When you eat cheat meals, what you are doing is an attempt at keeping a portion of your former life that you and I both know was not good for you in the first place.

Alcoholics can’t have occasional drinks. Ex-smokers can’t enjoy an occasional cigarette. Alcohol and tobacco are addicting, and so are a lot of the foods you have enjoyed over the years. Like an alcoholic, if you had no control over certain foods in the past, what makes you believe that you will have any control over those foods in the future?

You’re not, and you know it.

Alcoholics can’t have the cheat drink. Ex-smokers can’t enjoy the cheat cigarette. The obese can’t enjoy the cheat meal. You only cheat yourself when you do.

Doing the Caloric Math of Cheat Meals

No matter what you may think about weight loss, it all comes down to eating fewer calories than you burn.

You might feel otherwise, but facts don’t care about feelings.

You have to eat fewer calories. Weight loss does not work when you enjoy those cheat meals, or cheat days. Just because you ate at, or under maintenance all week, it does not mean that you can splurge for one or two days. The calories in a day are important, but what really counts is the average of how many you have consumed all week. That cheat meal, or cheat day can quite easily push you above the maximum calories you require to lose or maintain weight. None of us are special snowflakes that can change the laws of thermodynamics my friends.

Now for the simple math equation:

If you need to eat 1600 calories a day in order to lose one pound per week, your weekly sum is 11,200 calories. Anything more than this weekly sum will cause you to gain weight.

Now we will throw in a cheat meal and see where it takes us:

You eat 1600 calories per day for six days of the week, then on Saturday you have a cheat meal by going out with your friends for pizza. This should be no big deal since you have done so well all week long. However the math does not add up for successful weight loss.

1600 calories times 6 days equal 9600 calories.

If on Saturday you ate 1000 calories between breakfast and lunch and then consumed another 2500 to 3000 calories while out for dinner with your friends, you have consumed  3500 to 4000 calories that day. Or, for the week you have consumed 13,100 to 13,600 calories.

13,600 calories minus 11,200 calories equal a difference of 1900 calories over your maintenance needs. Or when we consider that it takes only 3500 calories over your needs to gain 1 pound of fat per week,  that cheat meal means you will gain one half pound of fat. Do this cheat meal routine each week for a year, and you will gain 28 pounds in that year when you were trying to lose instead. Now, consider what you are doing to yourself if you have two cheat meals over the weekend.

Facts don’t care about feelings.

You have to do yourself right all the time, or you had better be good at planning in your cheat meals. Since cheat meals are the last vestige of your former obese lifestyle, you really need to quit cheating yourself out of good health altogether.

10 Tips to Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau

Love Yourself to Wellness

Photo by Vanessa Kintaudi on Unsplash love

Deadly Culture

If I see or hear one more person attempting to explain why giving in to every craving and eating yourself into oblivion is just as healthy as eating nutritionally dense foods and avoiding sugar, I think I will scream. This idea is so absurd, I won’t even quote stats and discuss diseases caused by this self-indulgent lifestyle. You don’t have to look far to see more than one example of unhealthy people with little to no self-control contrasted by people who are healthy because they work at it. I know what I’m talking about because I have been both of those people.

Very recently, someone told me to “Eat that doughnut! Live your best life!!!” I told her “I AM living my best life and it definitely does NOT involve a doughnut.” The willful ignorance surrounding what has become a doctrine is staggering.

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Love Your Cardiovascular System!

When I was both obese and overweight, I had dangerously high blood pressure. Don’t waste your time arguing this with me because my experience is what it is. I know that there may not be a link between obesity and high blood pressure for everyone but it is for me. I have the medical records to prove it. Regardless of anything else that I did to try to lower that number, as long as my weight was high, the blood pressure cuff was NOT my friend. During the time that I was a size 22 my blood pressure stayed at stroke level, I sometimes had heart palpitations and suffered with blood pressure related headaches. As soon as I got my weight onto the BMI chart, I came off of the medicine for my blood pressure because I no longer needed it. If you love your life, why would you want to take this chance? Are you familiar with the difficulties that stroke victims face in their daily lives, IF they survive? Learning to say “NO!” to cravings and food bullies is a small thing compared to the hard lives of these people.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Love Your Bones and Joints!

When I was fat, my knees, back and ankles hurt all the time. I developed bulging discs in my lower back and could barely move for weeks. Thank God I found a great chiropractor who was thrilled when I began to lose weight. As the weight came off, so did my dependency on my chiropractor. Although he had helped me immensely, possibly even to avoid back surgery, I was determined to regain my back health. After I lost the excess pounds, I gradually quit going to him and have never looked back. That was over 10 years ago. Three and a half years ago I began lifting heavy weights and strengthened my back even more. I have never had an injury from lifting. When I was heavier, I could barely move much less strength train. The difference is that I don’t have excess weight pulling on my frame. I can just focus on getting my form the best it can be and getting that Iron to move.

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Love Your State of Mind!

Yes, I’ve seen and heard the media personalities who portray a happy image that is supposed to be based on abandoning rules for food. Again, I’ve lived that way. While I was scarfing down the brownies and mac and cheese, I was pretty happy I must say. As soon as I swallowed however, I was NOT. I was bloated and miserable. I was lethargic and had no energy to do anything. All those simple carbohydrates that almost immediately turned to sugar in my bloodstream had me riding the crazy train. While many antidepressants are SSRI’s that raise serotonin, binge eating raises and lowers it too often, too fast for me. I was on a roller coaster that I could not exit from, forever on the highest peak that would soon crash into the terrifying curve below. As I quit eating sugar and other simple carbs, my moods began to stabilize.

Photo by Park Street on Unsplash

Love Your Skin!

Sugar causes glycation in your skin. Glycation is the bonding of a sugar molecule to proteins or fats with no enzyme regulation. As these sugar molecules adhere to the elastin in the skin, the skin loses it’s elasticity and aging results. When I stopped eating sugar I got a few years rolled back off of my appearance. Glycation is also involved in some disease processes including diabetes. Thank God, I never had to deal with that dreadful disease!

I think you see the pattern here. I could go on. I DO love myself so I make a sincere effort to be healthy. I want the best life that I can have, free of disease and disability. While some may try to argue that obesity does not cause these things, it did for me.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Love Your Independence!

Three and a half years ago at the age of 61, I tore my life to the ground and rebuilt it brick by brick. While this has not been easy, it was absolutely necessary for me and my special needs son. At that time I was working for a major weight loss company that had me driving a lot and I was missing workouts. I was getting out of shape fast and I was still soft and fat enough that when I went up and down the THREE steps at my back door, I would nearly fall. As the pounds came off and I got stronger the steps became a non-existent challenge. Now I can climb flights of stairs carrying 20-30plus pounds with no problem. Had I continued down the path I was treading, I would most definitely be headed for a broken hip. With a broken hip comes surgery and, if you’re lucky, rehabilitation. NO, THANK YOU. I’d rather lose weight.

The next time you see these people who have made it their mission in life to drag you down the road to obesity, and all that goes with it, remember that misery loves company. I had a “frienenemy” one time who told me outright that she did NOT like me being smaller than her and if people like me would just forget about trying to be thin then her and her daughters would be more readily accepted into society. I thought that we were friends. We were not. She’s morbidly obese now and has full-blown diabetes and the complications that go with it. I don’t remember the last time that I went to the doctor because I was sick.

We all have important decisions to make every day. LOVE YOURSELF and make good ones. You will live, or die, with those decisions.

Brain Gut Connection

illustration of brain
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How aware are you that there is an actual brain gut connection?

Tied together they are akin to a super computer.

For most of history, our bodies have been viewed by doctors as complicated machines built with independent parts that come together to make a whole. The thought was, that like a machine, if you took proper care of your body, it would last about 75 years. But, you had to ensure it was always fed the proper fuel and maintained in order to get there. When your body broke down, you can have surgical procedures and medicines to get you back into as optimal operating condition again as possible.

The problem though, is over the last 40 to 50 years, our health has been taking a downturn, and the old ways of thinking about our bodies is now recognized as being outdated. We now have health problems that are not always easy to diagnose and fix. Doctors can no longer explain away our ailments by blaming a malfunctioning organ or gene. We now have a health problem where the regulatory mechanisms that help our bodies and brains adapt to our rapidly changing environments are being impacted by our changing lifestyles.

When it comes to our health and wellbeing, it is painfully obvious that our lifestyles of today are making us obese and unhealthy. It is not enough to think that you can simply reduce your calories and your weight is going to decrease. When it comes to your obesity, you must think of treating yourself as a whole. This is where the brain, gut connection comes into play.

The Brain Gut Connection

Our brain and gut are part of a mechanism that works as a whole. They are not independent of each other.  The brain gut connection regulates our food intake, metabolism and body weight, our immune system, and the development and health of our brains. What ties the brain and gut together are the microbes that live in our gut. This gut microbiota and the signaling they produce from their vast number of genes constitute one of the major components of the regulatory systems.

The entire medical field has actually done an extraordinary job with certain acute diseases that come on suddenly. Our medical community should be applauded for how well they have done with treating infections, heart attacks, and surgical procedures. We now have diseases that can be cured through the use of antibiotics. Internal organs can now be replaced through routine surgical procedures. The problem is, the minute engineering details of our body’s individual parts that make the machine work is still somewhat of a mystery. Even so, our medical professionals are quite optimistic that even the most chronic and deadly health problems will eventually be solved.

We Have a Problem!

The medical community has relied heavily on broad spectrum antibiotics to treat, or wipe out disease causing bacteria. Collateral damage from the use of antibiotics has become an acceptable risk of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

As a society, our thinking about medical treatments has become too simplistic. We get sick, and we want cured and care very little about the underlying cause of our sickness. We just want the doctor to fix us, and for them to do this quickly. Now, people will not change their lifestyles to fix themselves as long as they  can get medicines to lower their high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Because these approaches have worked, there has been too little emphasis placed on changing the approach to treating them.

Nor has there been enough pressure placed on patients to do anything themselves to order to help themselves.  Not enough emphasis has been placed on the brain, gut connection that plays a role in most of what ails us. Most of what ails us can be prevented if we as a society were willing to give up the self destructive lifestyles we have adopted.

Modern medicine needs to make some changes, as do we the people who rely on the medical community when we become sick with chronic ailments. Despite all the advances we have seen in medicine, there is actually little progress in treating chronic pain conditions, brain gut disorders like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and mental illnesses including neurodegenerative disorders.

Our Declining Health

Since the 1970’s there have been new challenges to our health, and a good portion of that is related to our rising rates of obesity. With the rise of obesity has come metabolic disorders, autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma, allergies, and diseases such autism, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease.

The obesity rate in America has risen from 13% of the population in 1972 to 35% in 2012. Today, 68% of our population is either overweight or obese, including 17% of our children ages 2 to 19. At least 2.8 million people each year die as a result of being overweight  or obese. Now, let that number sink in for a minute. Around the world, 44% of diabetes, 23% of ischemic heart disease, and 7 to 41% of cancers are a direct result of being overweight or obese. When does it all end?

What is the role of the two most critical systems in our bodies?

When it comes to maintaining our overall health, the gut (digestive system) and brain (the nervous system) cannot be ignored. The brain gut connection is not a myth that can be ignored my friends. This connection is a biological fact and an essential link that needs understood when it comes to our whole body health.

We all know that we chew and swallow our food which is then transported to our stomachs where it is further broken down. In our stomach the food is broken down with mechanical grinding forces assisted by concentrated hydrochloric acid before dumping the food paste into the small intestine. Inside the small intestine, the calories and nutrients are absorbed by our body. Once this is complete, what remains is sent to the large intestine and later excreted from our bodies. Pretty straight forward and simple, right?

Actually, that is a simplistic explanation of what happens when we eat. But it ignores the brain gut connection.  Our brain and our gut are intricately connected with each other.  Realizing this, we should know that this system is actually rather complex and powerful. When we feed our gut, we are also feeding microbes that exist within it. And these microbes are now known to influence our basic emotions, our pain sensitivity, and our social interactions.  You probably never knew that your gut instinct was a real thing did you? The complex connection between our brain and our gut plays a role when we make some of the most important decisions in our lives.

The brain gut connection is hardwired in the form of anatomical connections between the brain and the gut. This connection is facilitated by biological communication signals carried through our bloodstream. My friends, your gut is actually far more complex than just a place to process the foods you eat.

Our gut actually has capabilities that surpass all your other organs and even rivals that of your brain.

Did  you know that your gut has its own nervous system which is known as the enteric nervous system (ENS) which is referred to as your second brain? The ENS is comprised of 50 to 100 million nerve cells, or as many that are contained in your spinal cord.

The immune cells that live in your gut make up the largest component of your body’s immune system. There are more immune cells living in the lining of your gut than anywhere else in your body. This gut based immune system is capable of identifying and destroying a single species of bacterial invaders that make their way into our digestive system when we consume contaminated food or drink. Out of trillions of benevolent microbes in your gut, small amounts of lethal bacteria can be identified and destroyed. This is why it is critical for us to keep our gut microbiome in balance and good working order.

Are you aware of all the endocrine cells that contain up to 20 different types of of hormones that can be released into the bloodstream if called upon? Also, did you know that the gut is the largest storage facility for serotonin in your body, and not the brain? 95% of the serotonin in your body is actually stored in your gut.

In numerous articles here at David’s Way, we have discussed how the foods we eat affect our serotonin. Serotonin is the signaling molecule that plays a crucial role in the gut-brain axis. Serotonin not only controls our moods, it also is essential for normal intestinal functions, such as the coordinated contractions that move food through our digestive system. Because of the widespread involvement in our brain systems, serotonin is the main target of the major classes of antidepressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

What Happens When the Brain Gut Connection Become Out of Balance? 

The foods we eat, and the lifestyle we live are responsible for the balance or out of balance conditions of our gut microbiota. When you eat and drink just anything your heart desires on a regular basis, you will eventually throw this system out of balance and your health will suffer. When we get our gut microbiota out of whack, we can experience several gut disorders. One of these is a direct result of treatments with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria, remember when I mentioned collateral damage?

Antibiotics get our gut microbes out of balance and can result in Clostridium difficile colitis. C-Diff for short. When this sickness occurs, the diversity and abundance of the guts normal bacteria are diminished which allows the invasion of C-Diff. When we get C-Diff, we get gut inflammation and diarrhea. When our gut microbiota is not right, we also become susceptible to disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or the brain-gut disorder irritable bowel syndrome.

As much as 15% of the world wide population suffers from IBS, altered bowel habits, and abdominal pain and discomfort.

You Are What You Eat

Your gut gathers information about your food and your environment every millisecond. It does this even as you sleep. The well being of your your gut microbes depends on the foods that you eat. No matter what you eat, these microbes will use their enormous amount of information stored in their millions of genes to transform partially digested food into hundreds of thousands of metabolites. When we make poor food choices, microbe-produced molecules induce a state of low grade inflammation in their target organs, which has been implicated in obesity, heart disease, chronic pain, and degenerative diseases of the brain.

It is a fact that we need to take care of our brain gut connection. Science is showing how the integrated gut microbiota-brain system is being kept intact, or not fully intact, by the foods that we consume. The foods we consume can either keep us healthy, or they can leave us vulnerable to a growing number of diseases.

How you live your life is your choice. Choose wisely.

Loraine’s Cabbage (Mock) Spaghetti

Photo by David Yochim

What in the world is Mock spaghetti? Well, obviously it is not spaghetti which is really just a vehicle that carries the delicious sauce to our belly’s.

I am not normally a fan of cooked cabbage, but my beautiful wife Loraine discovered that if you chopped cabbage, cooked and drained it, and then added it to her homemade sauce, the cabbage did not impart too much flavor as, it was just a part of the flavor profile as a whole. It also has a soft texture to it just like spaghetti. This recipe might just be the perfect way to add cabbage to your picky eaters diet, and have them enjoy it. This meal is also perfect for the diabetic in your life as it contains zero added sugar and is low in carbs.

This recipe makes 8 servings:

Calories: 208   Carbs: 16.2 grams total  10.9 grams net   Fiber: 5.3 grams   Fat: 9.3 grams Protein: 15 grams

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound 93/3 ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1.75 cup (1 can) diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage
  • basil and oregano to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  1. Chop the cabbage, place in a large microwave safe bowl and cook until done. Drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté the chopped onion in olive oil with crushed garlic until the onion is soft and then add in ground beef. Cook until beef is done, and then drain.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients, including the cabbage and let simmer for a half hour before serving.

This dish is as simple as it is delicious and healthy. Let us know how you like it!

Hydration in the Summertime

 

woman drinking water
Freepik.com

Do you only think about hydration when you are feeling parched in the summertime heat? Or, is hydration  something you consciously think of as a part of your healthy lifestyle?

Either way, you should know that how well you hydrate your body is as important as the foods you eat. Your body contains something akin to primordial life, in that half of our body weight is made up of a briny fluid that gives us life. This briny fluid bathes, cushions, and lubricates cells, tissues and organs. It is what gives our cells their shape, and provides their substance. It forms the internal watery highway that transports nutrients, wastes, hormones, and other substances throughout the body. Your hydration is kind of important to your health and wellness.

Hydration Equals Life!

Early on in our school years, we learn the importance of hydrating our bodies. We learn that if we become too dehydrated, that we will die. Just staving off dehydration is not enough, you need to take in enough water to carry out a variety of metabolic tasks in your body such as making enough urine to carry away toxic by-products of digestion and metabolism. Good hydration also maintains proper blood volume, prevents body salts from becoming too concentrated, and replenishes whatever water we lose through the course of the day.

How Much Water Do We Need?

The average person requires about a milliliter of fluid for every calorie they burn. This equals approximately eight 8 ounce glasses of water for a 2000 calorie a day diet for maintenance of weight. However, the amount of water you need is also individual to your needs. Those needs are largely dependent on your diet, environment, and your activity level.

  1. Diet. If you are one who eats lots of fruits and vegetables, which contain a good amount of water, you might not need to drink as much water as someone who does not eat these foods.
  2. Environment/Weather. When the temperatures are comfortable, we might only lose about 4 pints of water in a day. We lose this water through our skin when we perspire, through the moist air we exhale, and of course through our urine output. Of course, when we are uncomfortably hot, we lose a lot more water. Conversely, we also lose a lot of water during the cold months of winter when the relative humidity drops and the dry air draws water from us.
  3. Activity. And of course, the more we move our bodies, the more water we lose from it. As your muscles burn glucose, they generate heat. This extra heat must be dealt with or we risk cooking the temperature sensitive proteins that make you be you. Sweating is our natural cooling mechanism that lowers the extra heat we generate when we are moving our bodies. As it forms on your skin and evaporates, it carries heat away.

When we are very active with a workout, or just work in general, we can lose up to a quart of fluid per hour. Because we do not always realize when we are becoming dehydrated, we should drink when we are thirsty. Drink before we become thirsty. And drink enough to keep your urine consistently clear or yellow rather than bright or dark yellow.

Our thirst is not always a good guide to rely on to gauge our level of hydration. By the time we feel thirsty, we might already be dehydrated. This is a problem when we are working or playing hard in the summertime heat. We often do not realize that our hydration is running on empty. The older we get, the bigger problem this becomes as older folks do often become dehydrated while never realizing it.

The Consequences of Dehydration

The consequences of becoming dehydrated range from life threatening to mildly irritating. Extreme dehydration can be deadly, and occurs mostly in children and older people during very hot weather. This is also a problem with endurance athletes. Minor dehydration can simply make us grumpy and tired. It also can make it hard to concentrate. And lastly, chronic dehydration can be a cause of constipation, and may lead to kidney stones and bladder cancer. The bottom line is it is imperative that we always keep our bodies well hydrated for a plethora of reasons.

Heat Cramps, Exhaustion and Stroke

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Sun Protection from Nutrition

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash sun

Oh, the Pain!

Some of my earliest memories revolve around the beach, Panama City Beach in Florida! I loved that place as a young child although I knew that a trip to the beach would likely result in an excruciating  sunburn. My mother would slather me with sunscreen to no avail. Within the week that we were there, a searing burn was almost inevitable. Sunscreens were not as good as they are now and now we know that we must use them profusely and reapply often. Then, we would put it on and stay out until mid-day and go inside until mid-afternoon when the sun’s rays were not as intense. Without fail, that morning coat would fail us at some point. I believe that we might have stayed out just a few minutes too long. That’s all it took in the glaring summer sun on those stark white beaches. Inevitably, I would get cooked. Severe sunburns before the age of 18 are associated with an increased risk of the deadly melanoma skin cancer. (1) We need to do everything in our power to protect ourselves and those that we love when we are soaking up the sunny days of summer.

Secret Weapon

We all know to apply sunscreen frequently but nutrition is an often overlooked weapon in the skin care arsenal. The right nutrients can make a huge difference in your skin’s ability to fend off sunburn. Poor nutrition ages us in many ways and lowered sun protection is just one.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Watermelon

Watermelon is high in lycopene which actually absorbs UVA and UVB radiation. It’s necessary to eat watermelon every day for a few weeks to make the skin photoprotective. Even then, still use sunscreen, hats and protective clothing.

Photo by rajat sarki on Unsplash

Green Tea

Green tea is truly a powerful gift from nature. Some studies show that it has the ability to protect us from tumors caused by too much sun. It contains a powerful flavanol called EGCG that is believed to reduce skin damage caused by UVA light. As it reduces this destruction of the skin , it protects the all-important collagen that prevents sagging and wrinkling of the skin. Although I have never cared for the taste of this stuff, I chug it down like medicine.

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Carrots and Greens

Both carrots and leafy greens are rich in beta carotene which can provide sun protection after eating them regularly for 10 weeks. (2) Along with beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are also skin miracle workers. They are known to protect us against sun damage and even skin cancer. Mom was right when she said “Eat your spinach. It’s good for you!”

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Cauliflower

This pale, bland food is a nutritional powerhouse! Most of the time the colorful pigments in foods are a sure signal to us that they are nutritionally dense. In this case however this white vegetable packs the potent amino acid histidine which causes the body to produce urocanic acid which absorbs UV radiation. Eat up!

 

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Blueberries

In order to keep the body’s biological clock in good working order, eat at regular mealtimes. Deviations in the times that we eat can disrupt chemical cycles that help to protect our skin. While some fruits and vegetables do actually create chemicals that absorb the harmful rays, there are others that help to prevent wrinkles and fight inflammation in the skin.

Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants that fight free radicals that can damage skin. The vitamin C in blueberries helps to build and protect your collagen which is the framework for your skin. Healthy collagen means smooth skin. Blueberries are also good for memory and low in calories so find ways to incorporate these sweet treats into your everyday menus.

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Nuts and Seeds

I use a product called Trilogy seeds that contain hemp, chia and flax seeds. They are full of omega-3 essential fatty acids that we have to get from our diet. They strengthen our skin’s structure and fight inflammation. By fighting inflammation they naturally decrease the damage done by the sun. Fish and eggs are also good sources of these miracle-working fats in our diet. Walnuts are a tasty source of omega-3’s and nothing is much better than a handful of walnuts in our morning oats. Start your day off right with these superfoods. I add seeds and nuts to my  oats every morning.

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We always think of skincare as something that we do on the outside. Many of the products that we use for that are insanely expensive. Start on the inside and build a cheap arsenal to fight the signs of aging and damage from the sun. When others your age are mourning their lost youth, you’ll be glad you did.

Winter Skin Care

 

(1)   How Sun Burns & Overexposure to Sun Causes Skin Cancer (webmd.com)

(2) 6 Foods That’ll Repair and Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage (healthline.com)

Cycling Benefits

Photo by Jeromey Balderrama on Unsplash cycling

Inspiration from Cycling!

A few years ago I knew a man who went to his doctor frequently for help with his varicose veins. The doctor prescribed him some custom-made support hose and told him to start riding a bike for long distances. He told him to wear the support hose while he rode. I thought this was odd. I couldn’t imagine wearing support hose while riding a bike but agreed that he should do exactly what his doctor said. We were casual acquaintances and I didn’t see this fellow for quite a while. Years later I asked him how that advice worked for him and he said that he didn’t have any trouble with his legs anymore, that the veins were barely visible and didn’t hurt at all. I was amazed!

More recently I met a woman in her sixties who had a lot of stress in her life. As she took steps to alleviate some of this killer stress, she began riding for long distances. Within about a year, this woman appeared to lose about 20 years! She trimmed down and instead of stress and worry lines, she developed a permanent, peaceful smile. Now she travels across country to ride in major events and loves her life.

As a child I rode long distances simply for fun. The freedom of the wind in my hair and the quiet countryside where I rode was exhilarating. I had a stressful childhood and was always trying to lose weight. My bicycle was my ticket to peace and helped me keep the ever-creeping scale in it’s rightful place for a few years.

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Cycling Health Benefits

Cycling is low impact which makes it ideal for some people who avoid high impact exercise. It’s an aerobic activity so your heart and lungs get an excellent workout! All of the major skeletal muscles are engaged during cycling and the calf of the leg is utilized to return blood to your heart efficiently during a ride. The calf muscles are called the second heart because they are so important in circulating the blood back to the heart from your lower extremities. Read about them in the article, Sexy Strong Legs to better understand the importance of keeping your calf muscles healthy.

Cycling is known to increase stamina and overall strength and can be performed at the level you choose. There’s no one-size-fits-all to reap the benefits of cycling. It’s versatile and will provide benefits regardless of the intensity that you ride. Always consult your doctor for guidelines about how hard you should exercise and before beginning any exercise or weight loss program.

Joint mobility is improved by regular cycling and bones are strengthened. Aerobic activities burn body fat and a 14-15.9 mile per hour ride will torch up to 372 calories in an hour for a 155 pound person. (1) There is even evidence that suggests that colon and breast cancer risks may be reduced by regular cycling. (2) Since a lack of physical activity is thought to play a part in the development of Type 2 Diabetes, cycling may reduce your risk of developing that dreadful disease by as much as 40%.

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Safety First!

There’s nothing as frustrating or as dangerous as rounding a curve on a mountain road and suddenly realizing that there are bicycles EVERYWHERE! I don’t know how I have missed hitting a cyclist that was riding close to the center line, more than once. Use some common sense. It doesn’t matter what your rights are if you have put yourself in danger!

Ride in lanes and on tracks that are specially designated to cyclists. Follow all traffic laws including signaling before a turn. Be especially careful at busy intersections and always wear a good helmet and other protective gear as you see fit. The reason that cyclists wear those tight clothes is safety! Loose clothing caught in chains or spokes can be deadly. Wear reflective gear at night and always have your bike lit. Use sunscreen, hats and good UV-resistant sunglasses. You can even buy clothing with UV protection built right in to help. Clothing is not a replacement for sunscreen. Use both. If you have any condition that is worsened by cycling then by all means, don’t do it. If you really get hooked on cycling then when the weather is bad you can ride a stationary bike indoors. You can read my review of the Xterra Dual Action Bike to get an idea about a good mid-price bike that exercises your entire body. Always have plenty of water for hydration or if you like, you might try an electrolyte replacement drink, especially for long distances or in hot weather. Rediscover your inner child and get lean and healthy while you’re doing it.

Happy Trails!

How Many Calories Do You Burn Biking? (healthline.com)

Cycling – health benefits – Better Health Channel

Health Maintenance 101

Health Maintenance 101

The picture you see above is of me and my daughter from about ten years ago. That was from a period of time when I was not at my healthiest. I was overweight, my blood pressure was elevated, my cholesterol and triglycerides were high and I was prediabetic. So, for those who have never seen me at my worst weight, yes, I do know the struggle of losing and keeping off undesirable body fat. In that picture, I weighed in at about 240 pounds at a height of only five foot seven inches. I was carrying too much weight, and beginning to feel the affects of it.

How did I get so out of shape?

Well, the obvious answer is I was not only eating too many calories for my daily needs, I was also eating and drinking too many of the wrong foods and drinks. I was in the recovery process following a spinal injury, and was also suffering from depression and PTSD. I wasn’t lazy by any stretch, I was just not taking care of my nutrition, nor my body as I should have. I was consuming massive amounts of calories each day to fuel my training in powerlifting. Although I was physically stronger than ever before in my life, internally, I was a train wreck. I was self medicating my depression with food and drink, and believed I could out exercise my bad diet. The trick was on me, as my health was beginning to suffer.

Not only were my blood pressure high and my blood labs beginning to show bad readings, I also suffered from horrible acid reflux which would wake me up gagging almost nightly. The acid reflux was bad enough that it made my sinuses run constantly like a waterfall down the back of my throat, and I was always coughing as a result of it. The result of not properly maintaining my body was taking a toll on me. I have learned through the school of hard knocks that health maintenance is the key to our well being. If we do not care for our bodies, no one else is going to do it for us.

Health Maintenance is Imperative!

As you can clearly see, there is a big difference in the way I look now compared to the first picture above. I am lean as a result of living a lifestyle centered on healthy nutrition and exercise. I went yesterday and had my annual checkup with my doctor, which includes having my blood labs completed as well. I get checked out as a part of my healthy lifestyle initiative each and every year.  This is a part of my health maintenance that is always my first priority in life. We care for our cars, and homes. Our cars get oil changes and tune ups on a regular basis, it only makes sense we do the same for our bodies. When we do not take the time, nor the worry of our health maintenance, we will always find ourselves paying the piper at some point.

We were not meant to sit idly by while feeding our faces and then expecting someone else to fix us at some point. Yet, this is exactly what we do. Humans seem to want to live vicariously in the moment without a care in the world, that is, until we get sick. Sadly, most of what ails us, is entirely preventable through good nutrition and exercise. But life is easier while chilling with Netflix while eating a large bowl of ice cream or your treat of choice.

And, why is it that people will go to the doctor for prescriptions, yet never want to follow their doctors advice to change their habits? I always wonder if it even occurs to some people that their sky high medical expenses could be entirely eliminated if they would only choose to live their lives more wisely. For me, I can honestly say that I always knew better than to live how I was living. The problem was, as many do, I was self medicating my depression and PTSD in the hope of making it all feel better. Fortunately, I had an epiphany one day and decided that I must do what was necessary to repair my health in order to not die young.

It is imperative that people understand that poor nutritional habits are just as dangerous to our health as being a smoker. If you are at a weight to where you can’t move your body without wheezing and getting out of breath, you might as well be smoking since the results to your body are the same. You are out of breath because your body has to work too hard to move around, and your heart is not strong nor healthy enough to do so with ease. Think about this the next time you look at a sack of cookies or a cake.

The ill effect of eating poorly is like those of smoking in that the effects often take years to catch up with us. This is the problem with living only in the moment and not looking into your own future. If you could see yourself in the future morbidly obese and unable to take care of your basic functions of life, would you care better for your body? Or, will you continue on the path you have chosen for yourself?

Health Maintenance Works!

Yesterday at my annual check up with my doctor, my blood pressure was 108/64 with a pulse rate of 66 bpm. My blood pressure when I was heavy averaged about 140/89.

I have weighed 240 pounds with a body fat percentage over 30%. Today at almost 58 years old, I weigh 180 pounds with a body fat percentage of 10%.

I no longer suffer from chronic acid reflux since my belly fat no longer squeezes stomach acid up into my esophagus.  Additionally, without the extra belly fat, I can now bend over and tie my shoes without having difficulty in breathing. The weight of the fat on the chest wall decreases the amount of room for the lungs. It also pushes up on the diaphragm, restricting its movement, particularly when bending over or lying down. Carrying around extra weight is work.  Excess fat is known to constrict the lungs, which makes it harder to breathe!

Although I still suffer the effects of depression and PTSD, it is not as bad as it used to be. Studies have shown that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies have also found that unhealthy diets have been linked to an increased risk of dementia or stroke. It is a fact that when you stick to a diet of healthy food, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus.

You don’t have to make every healthy change immediately. You may find it easier to take it week by week. The important thing is that you begin doing something for your health maintenance. It may take days or week before you start to feel the mood-boosting effects of a better diet, depending on how many changes you implement. But, it will happen.

The Importance of Knowing Your Blood Lab Numbers

Yesterday, all of the readings from my blood labs were well within the healthy ranges where they should be, except for two of my liver enzymes which were slightly elevated. By catching these slight elevations, I had more testing to rule out disease, or to verify damage to my liver from my days of alcohol consumption. The good thing is, if there is something wrong, it is being caught early.

I also am being routinely screened for colorectal cancer. This type of cancer is the most treatable form there is when caught early enough. The problem is, most people do not want to undergo a colonoscopy to find out their colon health. The good news is, you do not have to do that anymore. Now, you can collect a small stool sample from home, and simply mail it in to a lab for analysis.

I highly recommend that everyone gets routine checkups by their doctor. As with good nutrition, you may feel as if you can’t afford this. To that I say, “you can’t afford not to”. Trust me when I say that medical bills for chronic illness or disease far outweighs what it cost for a little bit of preventive health maintenance. Take care of your body!

Feeling Weak, It’s Your Diet

Maintaining Weight Loss

How I Lost the Weight for Good

Brenda Sue’s Before and After Lost Weight

Lifetime Struggle

By the time that I was 4 years old, my mother was convinced that I was fat. She believed that I would grow into a morbidly obese adult. Although I was not fat as a child, weighing 40 pounds at age 4, my mother took me to the doctor to see if he could “do something”. He said that I would lose weight whenever I felt the need, that he couldn’t put a 4 year old child on a weight reduction program.

Years of diets followed. I lost and regained the weight many times. I left home at the age of 16 and I had probably been on at least a dozen different diets. The worst diet that I was on was the “Low Carb Diet”, which would now be called strict keto. I could only eat 20 grams of carbohydrates a day. By the third day my ears were ringing and I was in a stupor. I felt like I was dying. Since I was in school, struggling with my first Algebra class, that diet was devastating. I couldn’t think and had no energy. I was a straight A student and I made a D in Algebra that Fall. P.E. was horrible because I didn’t have the energy to do anything. Eventually I refused to dress out and sat on the bleachers the entire first 6 weeks of school. I got a D in P.E. too. My life was being destroyed by dieting.

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Upward Trend

After I left home and my eating was no longer being scrutinized by my mother, my weight started climbing. I went from being a normal sized teenager to being obese in about 6 months. I ate huge meals and rich desserts every day. All of the snacks and extra servings that I was not allowed to have growing up became an everyday occurrence. My weight spiraled totally out of control and I found myself a size 22 even though I lost weight at times.

The terrible irony here is my mother had done everything that she knew to help me lose weight. She paid joining fees and weekly membership fees for me to be in a well-known weight loss group. I had literally dieted for 12 years only to rebel against it all and balloon up to the person you see in the picture above on the left. You would think that in twelve years I would have learned something about weight control, especially after having lost weight more than once.

I learned to read by reading medical books. Ignorance was not my problem. I made good grades, especially in the sciences. Biology, Physiology and Anatomy were all easy for me. I am a health freak by nature but all of that knowledge did nothing to help me conquer the beast of obesity. The lost pounds would always return with a few extra.

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

Common Thread

One thing that all of the diets that I had been on had in common was they all allowed me to eat the foods that made me fat. Even on the strict keto, I could choose anything that I wanted for the few carbs that I was allowed to eat. Inevitably, that would be something containing added sugar. As long as I ate any added sugars, I wanted more added sugars. As soon as the rush of endorphins that I got from a small amount of sugar subsided, I was searching for more. Eventually, I would abandon any diet because the desire for more and more sweets became overwhelming. Any weight that I had lost would quickly return. When the amount of added sugars that I was eating overwhelmed my calorie or carb allowance for a day or so, I ditched the diet. The cycle repeated itself for so many years and I developed high blood pressure, depression and arthritis throughout my body.

At intervals during those dreadful years I would sometimes quit eating sugar. During those times, my weight would drop, my blood pressure would stabilize and I would escape the mind-numbing cloud of depression that had become my constant companion. Sooner or later however, I would succumb to the lure of a brownie, thinking that I had “learned how to eat” and the next thing that I knew I was drowning in cake frosting and ice cream again and the scale would skyrocket.

Photo by Danilo Ćalić on Unsplash

Freedom!

As members of a large weight loss group, David and I began to realize that the yo-yo dieting syndrome that was so common within that group was being fueled by sugar. Other members talked openly about their struggles with the scale week after week. Strangely enough, no one in the group advised avoiding sugar. The addictive nature of sugar has been studied extensively. In a 2007 paper, (1) in the Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institute of Health the last line reads, “In the aggregate, this is evidence that sugar can be addictive.” You don’t have to read much else to discover the damaging effects that sugar has on our health. Since it can be addictive in nature and it is high in calories, as we eat more and more of this deadly white, crystalline powder, our weight and body fat continually increase. With increased body fat comes a multitude of problems ranging from arthritic knees to a predisposition to cancer. (2)

Before I began eating David’s Way, I  was avoiding sugar most of the time. I knew that it was addictive and that it impacted the scale in a negative way. The problem was, I still ate it occasionally. This behavior kept me addicted to the white stuff and caused me to never truly reach my fitness goals. Although the scale would drop to an acceptable level at the top of the BMI chart, I struggled intensely to keep it there. It was not until I completely eliminated sugar from my diet that I found my inner athlete.

Since I began avoiding it at all costs, I have become a strength trainer and have conquered obstacles that I never dreamed that I could crush. This newfound strength pushed me to recreate my life from a miserable existence to a functional, self-supporting, healthy lifestyle. The addiction to sugar and the resultant bad health that was beginning to develop had destroyed my confidence. I lived in an abusive situation and felt powerless to extract myself. As my strength grew, I became highly confident and coined the phrase, “Create Your Life.” It’s hard to imagine that a love of any (non)food could so negatively impact anyone’s life but since I have lived that life, I can tell you, it did mine.

As my mind travelled farther into health and wellness, I completely changed every aspect of my life. People who have known me since birth are shocked at the person that I have become. Most people my age are retired and live vicariously through their children and grandchildren. That is not the case with me. My life is new every day. If I had not changed my diet, that would not be so. By now, I’m pretty sure that either the high blood pressure or the depression and anxiety would have finished me off. Not to mention that I would most likely be living with an abuser. Better nutrition and strength training gave me a new lease on life.

I changed the direction that I was heading just in the nick of time. The health problems that were increasing could be reversed at that time. There is a point where it becomes much more difficult to turn these things around. I encourage you today to examine yourself. While my path may not be the exact path for you, better nutrition is always the foundation for health, longevity, happiness and true success.

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It’s All In Our Choices

The decision is yours. What will you do?

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/obesity-fact-sheet

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/