Tag Archives: weight loss

The Pandemic Ten

Remember the “freshman 15”, aka the pounds everyone seemed to gain their first year at college? It’s déjà vu all over again.

Back in the day, the culprits were pizza, beer (and/or weed), and nerve-wracking new experiences like late-night cramming and unprecedented freedom.

This is different, and not just because I’m older. Month after month of the same old, same old has led to inertia and tedium with a constant low hum of anxiety buzzing along underneath.

I don’t really care what the government is recommending… Dear Husband and I are staying put except for essential and unavoidable tasks. Since we can’t travel or eat out with friends, we’ve amused ourselves by cooking food from different cultures and pretending to be elsewhere. Unlike traveling, however, we are not burning calories by walking extra miles through cities, museums, and the like. Even my Fitbit is bored.  The result: packing on extra poundage like a wild animal in captivity.

Like many of you, I eat when I’m stressed even if I’m not physically hungry. And what I’ve realized, as my own little world keeps shrinking — while I’m not — is how many of my essential needs aren’t being met… which leads to stress… which leads to snacking.

  • Order and control. Toss this one right out the window. We have no idea when this will end and can’t do much about it except to continue social distancing and wearing a mask. Plus, staying informed is highly overrated when so much of the news is just plain sickening.
  • Anticipation. It’s hard to plan for a trip or special event when there’s nothing on the calendar.  And being worried about catching the virus en route does dim one’s enthusiasm.
  • Personal space.  If you’re someone who needs lots of alone time, a pandemic is not your friend.
  • Sleep. Stress and worry make sleep elusive, or fitful at best. Which in turn affects your body’s balance of the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin decreases it. When the body is sleep-deprived, ghrelin levels spike, while the level of leptin falls, leading to an increase in hunger, especially for junk food. (I don’t know how it knows, but it does.)
  • Variety of experiences. When going to the grocery store is the weekly highlight, life’s a little blah no matter how nice your home or neighborhood is.

Anyway, it’s useful to know the triggers. Now I need to get serious about my action plan, as I refuse to buy a larger-size wardrobe. Who’s with me?

photo of a burn fat text on round blue plate

Photo by Natasha Spencer on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Good News Monday: You Can Skip These 7 Wellness Trends

If endless days stuck at home have you spending extra time on the Internet, you’ve probably come across some of these trends. Many wellness crazes travel quickly — courtesy of celebrities and influencers — with little to no evidence to support their claims.

I’ve been interested to see a number of articles popping up recently with similar advice from doctors and nutritionists — you know, actual experts. They say we can safely ignore the following, no matter how popular they may seem at the moment.

Keto Diets

Sure, limiting carbs helps you lose weight in the short term. But that’s simply because 1) you’re eating less in general, and 2) your body will burn fat in the absence of glucose.

The keto diet — emphasizing high fat, medium protein, and low carbs — was originally used to treat epilepsy in children. (I did not know that!) But we need carbohydrates for proper brain function and energy.  Meanwhile, excess saturated fat is linked with serious issues such as heart disease, and too much protein can stress our kidneys.

This way of eating is hard to sustain. Doctors say we’re better off eating a balanced diet, limiting empty carbs in favor of fruits and veggies, and substituting healthy fats like olive oil for too much cheese and butter.

Activated Charcoal Detox

It’s probably been awhile since you spent a wild night binge eating or drinking. But this trend remains popular as a way to supposedly get rid of toxins or induce a bowel cleanse.

One nutritionist explains that eating coal will not bind up your toxins, as your body is already designed to metabolize these substances. Further, charcoal can be downright dangerous and bind nutrients you do need, potentially leading to digestive and motility issues, such as difficulty swallowing or using the bathroom.

Instead, we should be getting daily exercise, drinking lots of water, and eating fiber-rich foods to keep our digestive systems running smoothly.  Good sources like fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans and whole grains are safer and more effective.

Charcoal Toothpaste

I admit I was seduced by this one. No more! If we shouldn’t eat charcoal, why risk any problem for your digestive system if you swallow a bit in your mouth? One dentist writes: “[Charcoal] will not take out the stains or internal pigments from the pores of your enamel, only peroxide can do that. Charcoal toothpaste is grainy and abrasive and has been shown to wear away healthy enamel and gum tissue.” It’s back to Crest Whitening for me.

Kombucha

Probiotics support our immune system and feed our gut with healthy bacteria that aids digestion and helps neutralize inflammation.  But kombucha is high in sugar, outweighing any probiotic benefits, so it’s best saved as a treat.

If you want to try a probiotic drink, nutritionists suggest kefir — a fermented liquid that’s like a thin yogurt and is high in protein and calcium. Boost your probiotic intake with a daily supplement, and add 0% or lowfat plain yogurt, and sauerkraut to your diet.

Natural Exfoliators

I’ve read that YouTubers like Michelle Phan advocate mixing kitty litter with coconut oil to create a natural solution. Yuck! Supposedly, this combo breaks through grime due to its texture. But doctors say this can cause upper respiratory or lung issues from the silica dust that is often in the litter.  Plus, scrubbing with large particles is really rough on your skin. Don’t even consider this one!

CBD Skin Care

The ingredient in marijuana that doesn’t get you high, topical CBD is great for muscle aches and pains.  However, even though it might help with inflammation, there are no peer-reviewed clinical studies to show any  significant skin benefits.  You’re better off with a well-established anti-inflammatory such as niacinamide.  Check with your dermatologist.

Drinkable Collagen

Can you drink your way to firmer skin? Sorry, that’s an urban myth. Collagen can’t travel through your stomach to your bloodstream to improve your skin — your digestive enzymes will break it down long before it can do anything. Topicals don’t work either, because collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the dermis. Proven ways to stimulate collagen include retinoids such as retin-A, peptides, vitamin C, and pulsed light treatments.

silhouette of mountains

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

 

Good News Monday: Monotony Helps People Lose Weight.

Well, maybe.  The general idea is that eating the same thing every day emphasizes food as nutrition, not entertainment.  When meals are less exciting, we’re less likely to overeat.

The caveat: mix it up to avoid both nutritional deficiencies and bingeing when the boredom gets to be too much.

Here’s an interesting POV on the subject: https://www.healthline.com/health/eating-the-same-thing-pros-and-cons

 

Good News Monday: An Easy Way to Reduce Bloating

We all know that sodium (salt) causes water retention: think how bloated we feel after overindulging in soda, chips, or peanuts — even if we didn’t devour the entire bag. (Who, me?!)

But did you know that increasing potassium intake can help? I didn’t. Potassium has a diuretic effect that counteracts sodium. And it’s abundant in foods such as spinach, watercress, broccoli, bananas, papaya and strawberries.

p.s., If you’re making a fruit smoothie with those bananas or strawberries, use 2% Greek yogurt instead of a fat-free version. The extra fat slows the absorption of sugar, which helps keep it from being stored as body fat.

 

Resolutions for 2017

Happy New Year, dear readers! I’m back after a non-vacation “vacation” spent doing errands and waiting for the weather to improve so more could get done. Hopefully your holidays were restful and relaxing, and I hope 2017 brings you peace, happiness, good health and prosperity. (And good riddance, 2016 – you were crap.)

Right now, the TV is full of ads for self-improvement (diet, fitness, financial etc.) to make us all feel guilty about the holiday season’s excesses. In the spirit of making New Year’s Resolutions — an activity I generally resist — here are some of mine:

SPEND MORE time with my favorite people

EAT MORE whole grains and fish

WORRY MORE about things I can actually do something about, and ignore the rest

PAY LESS ATTENTION to crazies on the news

EXERCISE LESS anxiety over issues that are out of my control

COMPLAIN only to people who can fix the problem

SIT ON MY BUTT and watch more sunsets

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Seriously, though, I do want to share that I’ve lucked into a weight loss program (through my husband’s employer) that actually works: Naturally Slim. If you’d like to lose a few pounds or kilos, or have ever dieted with only short-term success , I wholeheartedly recommend their approach.

Naturally Slim is not a diet, there are no special foods or potions to buy, and there are no group weigh-ins or mass flagellations. You simply log on weekly and watch a series of videos that help educate you about different topics to ultimately change your behavior and attitudes toward food. It is remarkably simple, smart and easy.

I’ve lost 17 pounds since mid-September and can tell you enthusiastically that I have never once “dieted”, felt deprived, or found it difficult to stay with the program. I can eat “fattening” foods like pizza or grilled cheese and still lose weight because of when and how I’m eating them. Miraculous! Happy to share more details if anyone’s interested.

Cheers, Alisa

(As always, this is not a sponsored post– I wish it were!)