Emotional Eating

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To fix a problem, we must first understand the problem. This is a true statement for all that we encounter in life. And one problem that is quite prevalent with those of us who have ever had a weight problem is that of emotional eating.

According to the American Psychological Association:

  1. Many adults report engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors as a result of stress and say that these behaviors can lead to undesirable consequences, such as feeling sluggish or lazy and feeling bad about their bodies.
  2. Thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. Half of these adults (49 percent) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more.
  3. Thirty-three percent of adults who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say they do so because it helps distract them from stress.
  4. Twenty-seven percent of adults say they eat to manage stress and 34 percent of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say this behavior is a habit.
  5. After having overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods, half of adults (49 percent) report feeling disappointed in themselves, 46 percent report feeling bad about their bodies and more than one-third (36 percent) say they feel sluggish or lazy. After skipping meals due to stress, 24 percent say they feel sluggish or lazy and 22 percent report being irritable. (1)

Do you find yourself racing to the pantry when you’re feeling down or otherwise upset?

Finding comfort in food is common, and it’s part of a practice called emotional eating. Quite often, our strongest food cravings hit when we are feeling at our weakest points emotionally. Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. When we eat to soothe our emotions, this action often leads to eating high-calorie, sweet and fatty foods. Emotional eating is how we often attempt to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Major life events or, more commonly, the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating and disrupt your weight-loss efforts. The downside to emotional eating is that while it might make us feel better in the moment, the harm it causes far outweighs a momentary benefit. It is not rocket science to conclude that overeating causes  us to become overweight or obese, therefore increasing our risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Obesity is a major contributor to preventive death in the U.S. and greatly raises our morbidity risks associated with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, stroke, respiratory problems and various cancers.

Can you distinguish between physical and emotional hunger?

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I know from personal experience just how difficult it is to overcome emotional eating. While it is not an easy thing to do, it is far from impossible. I know how eating to pass the moment has only left me more stressed and depressed than before I sat down and began stuffing unhealthy food choices down my throat. I have experienced feeling like a junkie looking for the next fix while scrounging through the refrigerator or pantry looking for sugary and fatty foods. I also know for certain this can be overcome, but it takes full commitment of self in order to do so. It requires a change in thinking and lifestyle. It requires a change in your relationship with food when you have this problem. You can still enjoy food, but it needs to be viewed as a fuel for your body and physical health rather than a short term fix for your stress or emotions. If you are prone to emotional eating, then you must make a permanent change to your lifestyle for you will eventually fall back into this rut. It happens every day, and the evidence is clearly visible if you follow any weight loss forums for any length of time. I have read and studied many of them, and this is the common thread in them all.

But, what can we do?

Find other ways to cope with stress!

Discovering another way to deal with negative emotions is often the first step toward overcoming emotional eating. This could mean writing in a journal, reading a book, or finding a few minutes to otherwise relax and decompress from the day. It takes time to shift your mindset from reaching for food to engaging in other forms of stress relief, so experiment with a variety of activities to find what works for you.

Some people find relief in getting regular exercise. A walk or jog around the block or a quick round of calisthenics may help in particularly emotional moments.

  • Exercise helps chronic depression by increasing serotonin (which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep and appetite) or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which helps neurons to grow).
  • Exercise reduces immune system chemicals that can make depression worse.
  • Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
  • Exercise helps by getting your sleep patterns back to normal. We know getting enough sleep can protect the brain from damage.
  • Exercise gives you a focused activity that can help you feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Exercise limits the effect of stress on your brain.

It is helpful to keep a detailed log of what you eat and when and why you eat. This can help you identify triggers that lead to emotional eating. When we log what we eat, it is a form of accountability to ourselves and it allows us to reframe the question in our mind if we are really hungry or are we going to eat out of boredom or emotional reasons.

Successful and long term weight management require that you ensure that you get enough healthy nutrients to fuel your body. Yes, it can be difficult to distinguish between true and emotional hunger, but if you eat only foods that bring nutritional value to your body throughout the day, it will be easier to still manage your weight.

Acknowledge Behaviors

Practice becoming more aware of your emotional triggers for eating. The next time you pick up a “comfort food,” stop and ask yourself why you’re reaching for it.

Feeling sad, anxious, or lonely?  Identify your feelings, then pause and reflect on the action you usually take (such as reaching for a sweet treat).

Talk to Your Doctor

If you’ve tried addressing your cravings on your own without success, you may want to talk to your doctor. Sometimes, cravings for certain foods can be a sign of an underlying health condition. For example, you might crave certain foods if you are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Medications can stimulate appetite or cause blood sugar problems, including drugs used to treat depression and bipolar disorder. Other prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect your appetite as well.  Once your doctor is on board, you’ll be able to work together on developing strategies for coping with cravings and their cause.

(1)https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/eating#:~:text=Twenty%2Dseven%20percent%20of%20adults,this%20behavior%20is%20a%20habit.

 

Plans or Resolutions?

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New Year’s Resolutions are deceptive and usually ineffective. Merely making a statement will not accomplish a goal. You have to plan and put that plan into action. I can remember making New Year’s Resolutions before I was old enough to know better. There is a sense that you have accomplished the resolution when you make it that can actually prevent positive action. Once that statement is made strongly in the affirmative, we feel like we’ve made up our mind and that in itself will get us to our goal. I remember working at a major weight loss company when people would join, buy all kinds of products and come back the next week angry because they had not lost weight. When I asked them what they had been doing, it became painfully clear that they had not been on plan. They would answer that they bought X number of dollars worth of products and they still didn’t lose weight. The answer was obvious. I had to tell them that they had to work the plan.

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First Thing

Sometimes the trouble begins the moment we wake up. As the day’s responsibilities press in on us, we jump out of bed and GO! Watching the clock as we listen to the sounds all around, sometimes bad news on T.V., sometimes family members being needy, we feel an urgency to just get on with the day. This can be a critical time if proper planning has not made breakfast automatic. Know what you will eat for breakfast. Have it either ready the night before or have all of the ingredients readily accessible, laid our with the cookware and dishes that you need. That way you just walk into your kitchen and cook, or if your breakfast is ready, grab it and go. There, one landmine successfully navigated due to planning.

Danger Zone!

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If we have thought of weight management as a task to be accomplished rather than a lifestyle, when the junk food at work begins to show up, we think, “Oh well, just this time won’t hurt anything. I’ll start my “diet” tomorrow and dig in. Seeing eating healthy as a temporary state of deprivation encourages binge eating as an act of defiance. A resolution to lose weight is fine but only if you realize that it will only happen as a result of a change that will encompass the rest of your life. There has to be a turning point for weight loss to be permanent otherwise junk food will always hold a special allure. Go into these dangerous situations armed with the knowledge that those pastries will never get you what you want in life. When you see foods that are not a part of your healthy lifestyle as something that you just don’t eat, they will be just that. Instead of walking into your workplace simply trying to avoid all of the sugar-laden garbage, be pro-active and have your healthy foods with you. I pack a huge backpack with nuts, seeds, whole-milk Greek yogurt,  meats, eggs, apples and sweet potatoes. There is always something to eat and I seldom allow myself to get hungry, so when the junk food shows up, I’m already full of the good stuff that builds my body and I’m not tempted. Pack the snacks!

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Midday Madness

Years ago before I discovered David’s Way, I went to my doctor pretty often. He had an office staff that took very long lunches. He would be in his office and the staff would open the office after lunch and let patients in while the doctor was getting ready to see them. Over time, it got to where the ladies opened the door to let us in later and later. One day I noticed that the office staff was laughing loudly and just acting outright inappropriate for their position. In a moment, I realized that those women were quite inebriated. As it turns out, they were taking longer and longer lunches in restaurants that served wine and they were getting drunk every day at lunch. They also gained a LOT of weight during this time. If you find yourself getting caught in the eating lunch out every day trap, just say “NO!”. Carry your lunch to work and avoid the social outings during lunchtime. You can make a good lunch in minutes with some forethought. I buy canned red beans and when it’s time to go to work, I brown some lean ground beef, add sugar-free catsup and the beef to a half can of red beans and in less time than it takes to go to the drive-thru, I have lunch. Carrying your lunch will save you tons of cash too. Lunch with wine is quite expensive. Those ladies all got fired so they wound up morbidly obese and without an income or decent reference for another job so their lunches were even more costly. I also make a vegetable- beef soup that packs nicely. Many days I carry tuna or salmon salad which gives me mega protein because I add in two eggs along with the tuna. I always carry a protein shake. With just a little planning you can come up with lunches that are nutritious, portable and cheap but…you must PLAN.

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Afternoon Munchies

Unless we come to think of weight management as our routine, we will almost never be satiated throughout the afternoon because we tend to skip breakfast, saving those calories for “something that we want”. In the afternoon, energy drops and a quick sugar-laden snack can look very appealing. Avoid that trap with your handy stash of healthy foods and stop eating even those healthy foods if you have eaten all of the calories allotted to you that day. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds see me through many days at work. They are filling, nutritious and readily available. I usually add some of my allotment to yogurt and that makes a powerful bowl of highly nutritious food that will keep you going until you can get home. Apples are a natural energizer so add a couple of cheese sticks  to the apple or have a protein drink with a cup of coffee to keep your spirits and your energy high. Just make sure that your protein drink has no added sugars.

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Dinner Disaster

After a long day, it’s easy to think that you deserve a good meal. You do, but don’t fall into the pasta and wine trap! I have had many conversations with people who ate well throughout the day, only to blow it all at night. Pasta dishes are quick, cheap and easy and delicious. All too often they are paired with wine and then comes dessert. With your senses dulled and your appetite whetted by alcohol, moderation is pushed aside for instant gratification. Night after night of these dinners will take you to a place that you don’t want to go, morbid obesity. Again, plan your meals. Plan for success. Make menus for the week and shop for ingredients that are nutritious and quick and easy to fix. A hamburger steak, baked potato and green vegetable is an easy meal to prepare in a flash. If you like your sirloin or strip steak cooked medium, you can do that on your stovetop in as little as 15 minutes. While your steak is cooking, put the potato in the microwave and get that salad ready. BAM! Dinner. Frozen chicken tenderloins will cook in about 15-20 minutes in a seasoned cast iron skillet with a tight lid. Season them with the flavor palate that you like. Avoid alcohol. It will make you gain weight by adding empty calories and impairing your judgement. If you really want dessert, look at our menu and find a recipe. Here is our recipe for Sugar-Free Red Velvet Cake. As David said yesterday, there’s plenty of good sugar-free desserts nowadays. Try different ones until you find one that  you like.

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Safely Home

After dinner many people want to eat in front of the television. If you enjoy eating while you watch your favorite sitcom, then save some calories. PLAN your snacks. Celery can be a substitute for chips if you are serious about getting healthy. It’s crunchy and can be made either sweet or savory. Add peanut butter or reconstituted peanut butter powder or serve it with salsa. A piece of fruit, sliced into bites can go a long way and give you a sweet tooth fix. A weighed serving of your favorite nuts and a cup of full-fat Greek yogurt will spike your nutrition and fill you up. By planning your meals and snacks and avoiding empty calories, you can have enough good food to eat from the time you get up until you go to bed and never feel deprived.

My daddy says, “Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan.” It has guided him through some dark times. When you’re struggling with the  hard things in life, a plan will keep you sane and just might get you healthy. You have nothing to lose except the fat and everything to gain by trying. Give it a try and see what happens. I’ll bet you like it.

Successful Tactics for Weight Loss

It is a new year, therefore you might be planning on creating a new you as well. After all, New Years Day is the big day for all when it comes to beginning a new weight loss journey.  I know that we all can encounter many pitfalls when trying to lose unhealthy weight. We are surrounded by delicious foods, time seems to be short and we also often have well meaning family and friends who will derail us from our plans with a swiftness.

I am a firm believer that when we plan ahead for problems we might encounter while trying to achieve success in any endeavor, we are more apt to conquer our obstacles if we are first aware of them and have thought through a plan of action before ever encountering them. When we have thought through counter plans,  we can then sidestep most hindrances we may encounter. It is when we have not thought through the actions we can take that cause us to fail. If you have ever managed anything, you know this to be true. And when we look at weight loss as what it is, “management” of our weight, the same principles apply as they do with managing any other endeavor you might take on whether it is managing your children or your business.

Successful weight management requires long term planning!

A short term attitude about losing or managing your weight is only going to result in failure. This I will guarantee you. It may be a hard truth, but when you care enough to want to lose weight, you need to care enough to make these changes in your life a permanent lifestyle rather than a temporary diet you just want to get over with. When you go on a short term diet, you are going to lose about 10 pounds of water weight pretty quickly as a result of taking in fewer carbohydrates, and then when you realize that the fad diet or gimmick you just started is not realistic, you will soon regain all that you have lost or more. Truthfully, the only people who should ever think about short term diets are professional bodybuilders who are already down to very low body fat percentages. But truth be told, even as healthy as most of them look, short term extreme diets also take a negative toll on their health the same as they will for you. Your best bet is always thinking in the long term, and always thinking ahead and making plans of action. Successful weight loss that is permanent will require the consumption of a well rounded diet. When you plan ahead, you can get past the occasional deviation of a poor food choice on occasion.

Successful management of your weight requires that you know and understand there are no miracle quick fixes or cures that are going to make you look good, fit, trim and healthy. Fad diets do not work, supplements do not work. Healthy weight loss requires a long term thinking that supports long term healthy habits.

Do not have an all or nothing attitude!

Often, we set ourselves up for failure through all or nothing thinking. You might think that you have to cut out far too many foods, which will often only serve to make you crave them even more. While we do advocate cutting out added sugars, we do not believe you therefore have to cut out all sweet treats. There are plenty of sugar free snacks today that are just as tasty as anything else that contains sugar. The days of sugar free meaning the food or drink will have that nasty, bitter saccharine taste are far behind us now. Though my taste for sweets has greatly diminished over the years, I still occasionally enjoy a cup of Breyers sugar free ice cream, as well as cookies, sugar free plain Greek yogurt that I flavor how I want and even sugar free pancake syrups.

We advocate cutting out processed foods for whole foods, but understand that on occasion we might have processed foods anyhow. When this happens, just be sure to read the labels and try to find foods that have zero added sugar and are not full of ingredients that you cannot pronounce, nor know what they are. We advocate holding ourselves to a high standard, but recognize that we are also imperfect humans. It is when we have come to believe that anything short of perfection is failure that we create an unsustainable set of beliefs for ourselves. Remember, it is not what happens in one day that affects your weight and health, it is what you do all the time that affects you good or bad.

What often happens with all or nothing thinking is that we can go all out with our restrictive eating, and then when we go off the rails, we derail the whole train instead of just the caboose. Not only do we sabotage ourselves with food with all or nothing thinking, we also do this with exercise. We cannot out exercise a bad diet, and there are some things you need to understand about exercise before you go all out every day with it. Your rest, nutrition and exercise of choice all have equal value when it comes to your physical fitness. You have to eat good foods, and enough of them to fuel your body. And you must give your body time for rest and recovery between exercise sessions, especially if you go at it vigorously. I have written an article on this specific topic, Fitness Triad.

We often over estimate our calorie burn and under estimate our calorie consumption!

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Forget about eating back your exercise calories.

This is a hard truth for many to accept, but most of us do not burn near as many calories from vigorous exercise as we might want to believe. Conversely, it is very easy to consume more calories than we might assume that we are eating. Many pieces of fitness equipment will tell you an estimated calorie burn from your time on them, but these estimates can be wildly inaccurate. If you are new to exercise and get onto a treadmill for an hour and it tells you that you burned 1000 calories, I can guarantee that you did not burn 1000 calories in an hour. Maybe a seasoned athlete will burn that many, but if you are out of shape and new to exercise, you need to know that you are not burning those kinds of calories from your exercise. No one with any integrity who knows will ever tell you that either.

One of the biggest errors I have seen on different weight loss apps and such is people eating back their exercise calories and then not understanding why their scale number is not going down as it should. The result of this, is people will often begin to believe there is something unique and wrong about themselves to not be able to lose weight. Losing weight all comes down to calories consumed verses calories actually burned. If you are not losing weight, you are eating more calories than your body needs in a day, it really is as simple as that.

Now, you might not believe that you are eating too many calories, but I would ask how do you know this? Do you truly know how many calories per day you actually require? Do you weigh and measure your foods as you prepare them, or do you just guess at it? How do you account for what you eat in a day? It only takes 500 calories per day over the amount you need to gain one pound of body fat per week. So, to lose one pound per week, you must cut your caloric intake by 500 calories per day under what you require to maintain your current body fat percentage. Your best bet  is to visit our Calorie Counter Pro page and find out exactly how many calories per day you require to meet your goals. We do not advocate anyone losing more than 1 to 2 pounds per week unless under your doctors supervision. Once you know how many calories you need, you need to stick to them until you find yourself starting to plateau. At that time, you will need to refigure your calories  simply because the calories required to lose weight at 250 pounds is higher than what they are when you reach 175 pounds.

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

90 Second Low Carb Bread

The slice on the right has been made into cinnamon toast with Swerve Granulated, Cinnamon and butter. If you make cinnamon toast, adjust the nutritional information.

Nutritional Info

Serves 1

Calories 292

Net Carbs 2.7 grams

Protein 10.8 grams

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon butter or coconut oil (liquid or solid)

3 Tablespoons almond flour

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder

Instructions

Melt butter in a microwave safe ramekin and add flour, egg and baking powder. Beat with a fork until completely mixed.

Microwave for about 90 seconds, until firm. Loosen with a knife and flip over a plate to release. Slice in half then toast.

You may bake them in a conventional oven instead for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

Party Gingery Shrimp Salad

Nutritional Info

Serving Size  2 Tablespoons

Calories 40

Protein 4 grams

Carbs 0

Fat 2.4 grams

Sat. Fat .2 grams

Ingredients

2 t. Dark sesame oil divided

8 oz. Peeled, deveined medium shrimp

2 t. Minced, peeled ginger

1/8 t. salt

2 T. Sugar-free mayonnaise

1 t. Sriracha sauce

1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Heat skillet to medium high, add 1 1/2 t. Oil and swirl. Add shrimp and saute 2 minutes. Add ginger and salt and saute 2 more minutes or until done. Combine mayo, Sriraca, 1/2 t. Oil, and shrimp and serve in shot glasses, about 2 Tablespoons per serving. 😋

Savory Party Chicken Taquitos

Image by ALFONSO CHARLES from Pixabay

 

Nutritional Information
 Serves 4

Calories 262

Net Carbs 28 grams

Protein 15 grams

Ingredients

1 10 oz. can chunk white chicken breast in water, drained and flaked

1/2 cup salsa plus extra for dip

1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon dry taco seasoning mix

8 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas

 Sour Cream, as dip, optional (Add to Nutritional Information)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Mix the chicken and salsa, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator, drain and add the cheese and taco seasoning.

This is your filling, set aside.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.

Dampen 2 paper towels and put tortillas between them.

Microwave about 1 minute, until tortillas are warm and pliable.

Place a tortilla on a clean , dry surface, (keeping the rest in the moist paper towels) and spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons filling onto the tortilla and roll. Secure with toothpicks and place seam side down.

Bake until crispy, about 14-16 minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Enjoy!

 

 

Fine Tuning our Body

People photo created by shurkin_son – www.freepik.com

I am huge believer that in order to solve a problem, you must first understand your problem. Or at least understand the operating system to which the problem is wreaking havoc. If we understand operating systems, it becomes a much simpler task to fix malfunctions when they occur. If we comprehend theories of operation, we almost never need to rely on others to finely tune our systems for us, unless they have something specialized beyond the basics. This is a truth with our health and wellness as well.

For the vast majority of us, when we have a problem with our car, we usually resort to taking the car to a repair shop where we are at the mercy of the mechanic to fix the breakdown while hoping he does not bankrupt us in the process. We go to the shop for repairs because we either lack the expertise, or the specialized tools required for the task at hand. If we had the same knowledge and tools as the mechanic, we would probably save ourselves money and time and do the repairs for ourselves. We do not do this simply because it is easier and quicker to hand money over to another individual to fix the breakdown for us. And hopefully we can go on our merry way and our problems have gone away. But, if you watch your local news, you likely have seen the fairly common story where a local mechanic charged a high fee, only for the car to still have the same issue arise soon afterwards. If this has happened to you, are you comfortable with going back to that mechanic, or are you going to try another one, and maybe another few until your problem is resolved?

Why do we treat our body’s the same way?

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

Have you ever made the observation that some folks treat their car better than they do their own body?

They do their preventive maintenance,  they fine tune their machines before major repairs are required, and they keep it looking good. For many guys, their car can become an extension of who they are. Yet, while they are fueling their car with premium fuel, they are fueling their own body with low grade foods. They will place expensive oils in the engine, while putting unhealthy oils into their body. Our body is much like that car though, when we put bad fuel and poor quality oil into it, we are soon going to have major issues which require fixing by someone with more expertise and equipment than ourselves.

Man photo created by drobotdean – www.freepik.com

Something any reputable mechanic will tell you about your car is that if you take care of it, most oil and fuel additives are not necessary. In fact, if you just add them randomly without no true understanding of why, you can cause damage to your engine. This is true with supplements we buy for ourselves. Some help us when we have good reason to take them, while others can actually bring us harm when they interact with medications in a bad way, or we take too much. The thing is, we often take supplements to help us feel better, or to help with losing weight. Just the same, when our car might be running rough after years of neglect, we will begin pouring additives into our motors to hopefully make them run better. This works in the short term, but long term, nothing works as good as taking good care of your motor in the first place.

People photo created by marymarkevich – www.freepik.com

The take away message is that with a little bit of thought and basic knowledge of nutrition and fitness, we can almost all have a healthy body at a healthy weight or body fat percentage. When we understand proper nutrition and apply that knowledge to our dietary habits, we can fix ourselves of many ailments that are a direct result of our nutritional lifestyles. When we fuel our body with wholesome foods and cut out foods that are full of added sugars and unhealthy fats, we instantly begin to feel better. Like how a car runs better when it is driven often, when we lay about and never exercise, our body runs inefficiently. The power to fine tune your body is in your hands, you do not need anything special to make your motor purr like a kitten. Fuel it with good fuel and then get it out of the garage on a regular basis, and it will run just fine.

Check out our Facebook page Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way and give us a like and a follow. We also have a new Facebook weight loss and wellness support group too. Just look for David’s Way to Health and Fitness (weightloss) Our support group is private in order to keep out the trolls, just send a request to join if you care to join us.  

Spicy Onion Tartlets

These versatile bites make fabulous hor d’oevres and are an excellent complement to a steak or roast. They can be made an hour ahead and kept at room temperature, then baked to order.

  • 2 medium-large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, cut into very thin wedges (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp hot paprika (preferably Hungarian)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated reduced fat Gruyere or Jarisburg cheese
  • 2 (2.1-ounce) packages frozen mini phyllo pastry shells
  1. To prepare the filling, spray a 12 inch non-stick skillet with non-stick spray and set over medium heat. Add the onions, cover and cook until they are tender and have released their liquid. Uncover and cook until the onions are golden, 30 minutes. Stir in the broth, paprika, and salt; cook until the broth has evaporated and the onions are very tender. (You should have about 2 3/4 cups) Cool 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Stir the Gruyere into the cooled filling. Place the pastry shells on a baking sheet; spoon a level 1 1/2 tsp of filling into each shell. Bake until the pastry is lightly crisped and the filling is hot. 6 to 8 minutes. Serve at once

Makes 30 servings, 38 calories, 5g carbs, 1g fat, 1g protein

 

What to Eat to Get Over Your Holiday Binge

Photo by Ilana Lahav on Unsplash

I saw this headline in a local newspaper yesterday and seriously laughed out loud. This has got to be one of the most ridiculous headlines that I have ever seen.

The problem with this headline is that it buys into and perpetuates the gimmick mentality in health, wellness and weight management. There are no magical solutions to a season of overindulgence. We never promote a quick fix. The only way to “get over” a binge is to stop doing it. When you want to change your life from revolving around sugar and salt and into healthy eating, you do just that. Begin at the beginning, right now. Whatever came before this moment is irrelevant. Use our Calorie Counter Pro to determine your caloric needs and fill those calories with good, healthy, whole foods. There are no special foods for this simple program. It’s the way that humans have eaten since the beginning of time, until the advent of fast food and way too many over-priced fancy chain restaurants that serve little more than glorified frozen dinners. Have you ever noticed the peculiar uniformity of many pasta dinners and comfort food entrees in these restaurants? It’s because so many of them actually use pre-cooked, frozen food and serve it as a freshly prepared dinner. Is the equivalent of left-overs worth your health?

This particular article in the newspaper was talking about eggs. Well, duh. Yes, eggs are a good, healthy, whole food. Simply eating a meal of eggs after stuffing yourself for months on end is not going to change anything for you. Now, if you continue the trend of eating this type of food, it will make a difference. Change is not the result of one big act or behaviour. Change is the result of multiple smaller changes over a long period of time. David has a saying, “Trust the process.”. Unless we do exactly that, tweaking our program and working it religiously day in and day out, we will never see victory.

Our bodies are designed to maintain homeostasis, a tendency to seek stability between the systems in our body. Because we are constantly seeking stability, we resist sudden change. We have many biochemical processes that are supposed to do just that. Any sudden change can be dangerous for us so when we seek to make fast changes in our bodies, we are working against nature. Our health is maintained by stability. Knowing this, you can see how fad diets and gimmicks can and frequently do damage our health. They stress every system which causes adrenaline production. Adrenaline is in the cortisol circuit and cortisol is associated with belly fat. Is there any wonder that all those years of “Lose Weight Fast!” gimmicks have left you in the worst shape of your life?

The reason that people seek those fast-loss gimmicks is that they just “want to get it over with”. Guess what. If you are going to win in this weight management battle, it is never “over”. This is not something that you do like a performance or a set of exercises or activities that you check off of a numbered list. This is your life from now on. You have to refocus yourself to appreciate the wonderful feeling that succeeding at your health goals brings instead of the joy of a doughnut. Will that doughnut sustain your health, energy and mental acuity as you age? A healthy body will. The choice is all yours. There are ways to steer away from the instant gratification of the doughnut:

1-Know what you really want. Decide how to accomplish your goal and why you want it. Had you rather have the doughnut be healthy and able to rock that bikini?

2-Identify possible obstacles. If Sally is always sabotaging you, ditch Sally. If you can’t resist the Blizzard at Dairy Queen, don’t drive by the building. Go around the block.

3-Have a strong support network. We’re open 24/7 at no charge to you. We answer all comments and questions. Associate with like-minded people rather than those who don’t support your health initiative.

4-Set clear goals. Instead of saying, “I’m going to try to do better.” say, “I’m changing my life to be healthy, regardless of what it takes. I will eat good, healthy, whole foods and avoid added sugars.”

5-Reward yourself in ways that won’t derail your progress. (1)

6-Always remember, YOU are in control, not the cravings.

7-Learn how to distract yourself from the temptations to give into instant gratification. Get in touch with your support system and think logically about your dilemma. Give it some time and wait. The cravings may dissipate, especially if you engage with positive influences. To begin with, this will be extremely difficult but after successfully navigating this a few times, you will get the hang of it.

8-Get all temptations out of your house. Don’t temp fate.

9-Don’t try to justify bad behavior. It is what it is. Do not rationalize.

10-Invest in the future that you want. In my case, I have acquired a decent home gym. I have too much invested to let it just set. You may need some good workout clothes, buy them.

When all else is said, it comes back to what David has taught me, “Trust the process.” Good things take time.

(1) https://blog.iqmatrix.com/instant-gratification

What Do You Want to Hear From a Nutritionist?

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If you have recently decided that you either want to, or need to lose weight, what do you want to hear from either a nutritionist, or a weight loss program representative?

Do you want to hear a hard truth that will get you to your desired goal?

Or would you want the nutritionist, or weight loss program representative to tell you that they have a program that will not demand any type of real change to the foods you eat?

Do you want a temporary diet where you are likely at some point to regain your weight?

Or, do you want to make a lifestyle change that will bring you lasting, successful results of a healthy, fit, and trim body?

People photo created by shurkin_son – www.freepik.com

If you have become sick and tired of being sick and tired of how you might look or feel, I would think it would be obvious you would choose a new lifestyle that is sure to work. Yet, every day of the week, people who eagerly want to lose weight seem to get suckered into paying for weight loss programs that do not bring lasting change to their lives. It ought to be criminal to tell people that they do not need to cut out sugar, sweets and simple carb foods when it should be obvious to a professional the individual has gotten into the shape they are in because of these foods. I was watching a “nutritionist” in a video today talking about not cutting out sweets and having balance in our nutrition. If a major part of your weight problem has been a result of consuming calorically dense and nutritionally poor foods, I truly want to know what “balance” with these foods means. Are we to interpret that balance in our diet is a condition in which different foods are equal in nutrition? Can we balance the nutritional and caloric value of a milk shake with the nutritional and caloric value of a meal consisting of proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats? A large McDonalds milk shake has 520 calories with 67 grams of sugar in it.  Maybe you never get the milk shakes, but do get the Quarter Pound Cheeseburger Value Meal a couple of times per week or more for lunch. What kind of balance is there when this meal brings 1050 calories and 66 grams of sugar for a medium size meal? The caloric value of this meal alone comprises 47% of my daily calories that I consume. How much balance is there if I have a couple pieces of pie or cake in a week?  How much balance is there if I decide to forgo the McDonalds and eat pasta meals a few times a week that also bring a low nutritional value to the foods I eat?

The point  I really want to drive home is the nutritionists and weight loss businesses that tell you that you do not need to cut out any of your favorite foods, that you can eat them as long as your track them, are selling you a bunch of hogwash. It is a less than honest disservice to you that they would tell you this. I am here to tell you, the reason most diet plans fail you is because they do not insist that you make a permanent change to your lifestyle in order to get your body fat down to a healthy level and to then maintain it there. I have been at an unhealthy body fat level and I totally get how hard it is to conceive of giving up certain foods. But from personal experience, I can say that as your taste changes with a change of dietary habits, there comes a point where some of those foods no longer even taste good.

Why do we say to give up sugar?

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Giving up sugar is a tough thing to do, but the reward for doing so is entirely worth the effort when it comes to how how sugar affects your health.  Research studies have linked a high added sugar intake with various medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as poor dental health. It is an undeniable fact, sugar is simply not good for us! Even if you are not suffering from any of the bad outward effects, sugar can reduce your energy levels,  which leads to fatigue and reduced alertness during the day.  A diet that includes too much sugar may also be a factor in your depression if you suffer from it. Just think, if you eat that medium value meal from above, you have just consumed right at about 16 teaspoons of sugar in one meal. This is considerably more than recommended daily maximums, which are 6 teaspoons (about 24 grams) for females and 9 teaspoons (about 36 grams) for males

You might believe there is no reason to quit eating sugar. Sugar is a naturally occurring substance that is in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. I want to make it a point that you know that consuming whole foods which contain natural sugar is perfectly fine. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. Because your body digests these foods slowly, the natural sugar in them offers a steady energy supply to your cells. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. What we want you to cut out is added sugars and simple carbohydrates that are calorie dense, low in nutrition and have no fiber component to help regulate the absorption of sugar into your blood and cells.

With far too many foods we can find on our grocers shelves, we have a problem where the manufactures add sugar to improve taste  or to extend shelf life. In the Standard American Diet (SAD), the top sources of sugar in our food and drink are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. But added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.

The result: we consume way too much added sugar!

In a study published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Hu and his colleagues found an association between a high-sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease. Over the course of the 15-year study, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar. (1)

Have you ever looked at someone smoking a cigarette and thought about how harmful cigarettes are to our heart health, as you were washing down a few cookies with a soft drink?

Consumption of added sugars has been implicated in increased risk of a variety of chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as well as cognitive decline and even some cancers. (2)

Think for a minute about what the last few paragraphs said. As we age, it is not uncommon that many of us will be afflicted by one or more of these conditions. The sad thing is, these conditions are brought on through poor nutritional habits. They are self inflicted just the same as those conditions that are brought on by smoking. Now, consider what you are doing to your health if you are a smoker who also has a sweet tooth!

Sugar is an addictive substance!

When we consume sugar, it creates a short-term high and a spark of energy in the body. Some studies have suggested sugar is as addictive as cocaine.  This is because we enjoy the dopamine release sugar brings. Dopamine makes us feel good. Sugar also releases endorphins in the body which combine with other chemicals in the body that result in a surge of energy. The problem is, once we mentally connect sugar with help providing energy, we very likely may become dependent on it. We may also begin to crave sugar to balance out irritability, emotional lows, and other conditions. Eventually, many of us find that we have little to no control over avoiding sugary foods, and a sugar addiction has developed.

People who are enduring breakups or other emotionally stressful situations often turn to chocolate or pints of ice cream to comfort themselves during difficult times. It is quite common that those who turn to sugar to deal with emotional issues are more likely to become addicted. Another particularly worrisome aspect of sugar addiction is when we binge eat. Binge eating is when we eat too much, too rapidly, and then we often suffer feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust with ourselves.  We often can find ourselves binge eating for emotional regulation and self-medication. It is critical to remember that food, especially sugar, is a short-term fix for emotional conditions.

What to look for on food labels.

Reading food labels is one of the best ways to monitor your intake of added sugar. Look for the following names for added sugar and try to either avoid, or cut back on the amount or frequency of the foods where they are found:

  • brown sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • fruit juice concentrates
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • malt sugar
  • molasses
  • syrup sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).

Total sugar, which includes added sugar, is often listed in grams. Note the number of grams of sugar per serving as well as the total number of servings. “It might only say 5 grams of sugar per serving, but if the normal amount you eat is actually three or four servings, you can easily consume 20 grams of sugar and thus a lot of added sugar.

In closing, I ask again; What do you want to hear from a nutritionist or weight loss business?

Do you want to hear it is perfectly fine to continue eating the same foods as before as long as you keep it in balance?

Or, would you rather hear the straight truth, as I will tell you why this talk of continuing to eat the same foods is a disservice to you and your health?

What kind of results do you really want for yourself?

 

(1)https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar#:~:text=%22The%20effects%20of%20added%20sugar,Hu.

(2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133084/#:~:text=Consumption%20of%20added%20sugars%20has,decline%20and%20even%20some%20cancers.