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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Session 9 on How to Solve Problems

It's been a week so have you kept track of weight, food and drink consumption, most especially the fat gram? Did you increase your physical activity to 150 minutes? And now for the most important question. Did you lose weight? I know it's quite difficult this time of the year but we've got to try; our health depends on it.

Now let's proceed to Session 9 where we will address the question of problem solving regarding our effort to lose weight. The keys to problem solving are in the steps that we already know. Don't worry, we will review them in detail.

There are five steps to problem solving. Here they are:

  • 1. Describe the problem in detail.

  • 2. Brainstorm the different options.

  • 3. Try to follow one of the options.

  • 4. Work out a positive action strategy.

  • 5. Try the positive action strategy and see if it works.

Now let's take the steps one at a time and work on a specific problem. Okay, I'm embarrassed but let's do my problem as an example. The problem I have regarding losing weight is I just can't stay away from buffets. There's just something there that lures me. That's the problem in detail.

Let's brainstorm some possible solutions. I could just use my strong will not to go to buffets. I could stay away from friends who tempt me to go there. Or I could go but head to the salad section and stay away from fatty foods. And last but not least, I could prepare a favorite food at home that will really want me to stay home.

I will try to follow the first option and that is use my will to stay away from buffets. What strong will? That's exactly my problem. When I think of buffets, my strong will just goes out the window. So, sorry that's not going to work for me.

My friends? No way am I going to give them up. I love them much too much to stay away from them. Besides we need each other to go through life. There you go; perhaps they're going to help me if I tell them my problem regarding buffets. We've always been there for each other since kindergarten. Okay, okay I'll talk to them.

What do you know, this option worked! Apparently, they've been worried about the same thing. So we met each other halfway. Instead of going to buffets once a week, we will just go there once a month. Problem solved! Let's see if it will translate into lost weight. Meantime, going over this may help too: Diabetes Diet.

We'll see you in a week's time. Meantime, please keep track of the weight, activity minutes of 150 a week, food especially fat gram intake. Try to keep tipping the calorie balance and I promise I will not visit any buffet places this week.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Session 8 on Taking Charge of What's Around

A week has passed since we last got together. Are you eating more sensibly now? Have you increased your activity level to 120 minutes this week? Are you recording this daily including your fat gram intake? If you're doing all these, you can't help but lose some weight. If not, don't despair for there's help on how to take charge of what's around you.

What are the things that make us want to eat and move less? Is it watching TV or reading? The next one does me in; it's my Waterloo. I swear that just the smell of food makes me gain weight. So what do we do to take charge of all of these?

For one thing, let's keep the food items that are high in fat and calories out of our environment whether it is at home or at work. Instead buy healthy foods like apples, oranges; the list is endless. Check this out if you like and then when you're done there, just hit the back browser arrow to come back here. Diabetes Food List.

Let's limit our eating in one place, shall we? And here's another thing. Let's not combine eating with another activity. To keep unhealthy foods out of our environment, let's make a shopping list before going to the supermarket. And for goodness sake, let's not go there when we're hungry.

Let's keep watching TV at a minimum and let's watch TV only if we're doing something like you know what. Exercise, that's what. Just walking or jogging in place will add to the number of minutes of exercise we have to do a week. Also, we can put things we need for exercise in plain sight like sneakers and workout clothes.

Now you have the ways to take charge of the things around you. Let's show diabetes who is the boss here. Remember that diabetes does not control us; on the contrary, we control diabetes. This type of positive thinking will take us on our way to beating diabetes.

For homework, identify what makes you want to eat and get rid of one. Then add a cue to make you more active. Increase your physical activity to 150 minutes this week. And please keep a record of your weight, food and drink consumption, fat gram intake and the number of minutes of the physical activity. Next week we'll deal with session 9 out of 14.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Session 7 on Keys to Winning the Calorie Balance

December 11, 2007

I left you alone for a week so you can have a week to show what progress has been made. So did you keep a record of your weight, activities, food and drink intake, and the fat grams consumed? How did you make out weight-wise? You didn't do well? Well, let's see how we can tip the calorie balance in Session 7.

There are 3500 calories stored in every pound of body fat so in order to tip the calorie balance in our favor, we will have to consume 500 less calories each and every day for the whole week. This sacrifice will net us one pound of lost weight a week.

If we want to lose two pounds, do the math and you will find that we will have to generate a deficit of 1000 calories per day for a whole week. How can we accomplish this? By eating less and moving more, that's how. Thank goodness it's not just by eating less or we won't have enough energy to keep going. Move more? I can live with that.

Don't get me wrong; there's something we can do about food. Knowing that the highest provider of calories is fat can spell the difference. Hmm, they didn't call that food group "fat" for nothing, did they? You see fat provides 9 calories per gram while the rest gives 4 calories per gram.

What message does this tell us? That's right, lower the calorie goal for fat by one. No, don't eliminate it altogether for our body needs some too. Check the fat content of what you buy to eat by reading the food labels or follow sample menu plans at Diabetes Food List .

Compare your current weight with your starting weight and see if you need to tip the calorie balance further. For the homework, keep recording daily the weight, fond and drink consumption, fat gram intake and the activity level. By this time, you can increase your activity level to 120 minutes per week. And we will see you in a week's time. Until then, be happy and active.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Session 6 on Keys to Become Active

Were you able to be active for sixty minutes this past week? What type of activity did you do to achieve that? Make sure you have written this down in your record book, just like you're doing for your food and drink intake, fat grams and your weight.

Let's sail along to Session 6. Here we will learn to set aside a period of time when you will be active. Find out which twenty or thirty minute period of your day to do an activity that you enjoy. Perhaps you can park your car farther away from your place of work and walk for ten minutes to get there.

And at night, while watching TV try to run in place or do jumping jacks or walk on your treading machine if you have one. The beauty of this is you have a timer in the program itself for usually each lasts for thirty minutes. You will feel better in the long run, no pun intended.

Now take care that you don't get sore muscles in the process. How can we prevent sore muscles and cramps? Drink plenty of water, do stretching, warming up before starting the exercise and cooling down exercises at the end of your physical activity. For the disclaimer and more information on diabetes, please go to this site:
Exercise and Diabetes

Make sure you watch for signs when you stop exercising like chest pain, shortness of breath, acute nausea, and feeling of light-headedness. Before changing your physical activity, make sure you discuss this with your doctor. And if you've diabetes and taking insulin and other medications, run these facts with your health care team.

And now for the homework. Save a block of twenty to thirty minutes every day to do a physical activity or two or more ten to fifteen minutes to do an activity you enjoy but should be equivalent to a brisk walk. Your goal this time is to have ninety minutes of physical activity this week and keep a record of this.

Continue keeping track of your weight, food and drink intake and get as near as possible to your fat grams goal. When doing your activities, make sure you start by stretching and warming up and at the end, do cooling down activities. So you'll have time to reach your goal, we'll see you in a week for Session 7.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Session 5 on Moving Those Muscles

Are you keeping track of your weight and recording it? How are you making out? Don't despair if you're not succeeding yet. As long as we keep on to persevere, we will be okay. How about your food and drink consumption? Have you been diligent in recording them? Good, so let’s proceed to Session 5.

Increasing one’s physical activity, that’s what’s important. Start your program of physical activity. Build it up to 150 minutes, but don’t do it all at once. Do it gradually for the next four weeks. Select activities that you enjoy but is of reasonable force like that of walking briskly.

Think of what physical activities that you engaged in in the past. What did you like? What did you enjoy? Which ones worked for you? Which ones did you have to give up? Stick to the ones you liked and get rid of the ones you did not like.

Remember that being active has its benefits. Not only will it help you lose weight and lower the blood glucose level, but also physical activity makes you feel better, look better and healthier. Physical activity also lowers the risk for heart disease.

Lower risk for heart disease? How does physical activity do it? Well, physical activity lowers the blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol. With lower cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides, so does the risk for heart attack and stroke go down.

For the homework, be active for sixty minutes next week. Do it over three or four days. For instance, walk briskly for twenty minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or plan to do activities that you like and do that for ten minutes a day with a friend or family member. And don’t forget to record your food and drink intake, physical activity, weight and fat grams.
For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Friday, November 30, 2007

Session 4 on Keys to Eating Healthy

November 30, 2007

Now we're on to Session 4 but make sure you're doing your homework. Did you record your weight and food and drink intake? Did you pick foods that have high fat content and find out how to eat less fat? Well, then on to Session 4.

Regulate the time we eat as this will avoid getting too hungry. This we will have to avoid at all cost because watch out, we will be tempted to eat large portions of the wrong kinds of foods. Slow down and chew your food well. This will have a double benefit in not getting indigestion.

Get smaller portions of what to eat so you will not be tempted to consume more than you need to especially if you're like me. I like to clean my plate thinking of all the hungry people in the world. I don't know if that's just my excuse. I will have to revisit that issue someday and think hard whether that's just my excuse to eat more.

Make sure you eat a well-balanced meal, a variety of them as follows:

1. two or three servings of fish, lean meat or poultry, each serving being two to three ounces

2. Two to three servings of low-fat milk (one serving is one cup) or dairy products (a serving is two to three ounces)

3. Two to four servings of fruits (a serving is 1/2 cup or a small fruit)

4. Three to five servings of vegetables ( a serving is 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked)

5. Up to six servings of grains in the form of bread (1 slice), cereals, rice or pasta (serving is 1/2 cup)

6. A little fat (one serving is a teaspoon of regular fat or if it is reduced fat, one tablespoon will do for a serving)

7. Limited sweets and alcohol (1 beer or four oz of wine or 1/2 oz of alcohol)

Now that's a lot of food to eat in a day. Doesn't that make us feel better? We do not have to starve in order to lose weight; we just have to be careful. Continue keeping track of weight and food and drink consumption. See you at Session 5. Meantime please check this website for more info and the disclaimer:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Want to Know Three Ways to Lose Fat?

Today, we'll deal with Session 3 which is how to eat less fat. But first, let's see if we did our homework. Did we weigh ourselves and record the weight in our notebook? Did we write down all the food and drink we consumed and put down the amount of fat and number of calories we had each day?

Good, so now we're ready to tackle Session 3. By this time, it's good to accept the fact that it's easy to make a mistake in estimating the amount of food we think we are consuming at each meal. Play this little game. Set aside a portion of your favorite food and estimate how much it weighs. Then weigh it and see if you're correct.

I don't know about you but many a time, I make a mistake and think a portion is smaller than what it actually is. The trouble with this is that we may be consuming more fat grams than we think we are. This fact alone will play havoc on our effort to lose weight.

Here are the three ways to eat less fat:

1. Eat foods that are high in fat less frequently. For example, we know that unhealthy fats are abundant in meat and dairy products. So have this type of food just once a week.

2. Eat smaller piece of foods that are high in fat. For example, when you go to a restaurant like Bern's in Tampa and Sam Seltzer's in Clearwater, instead of ordering the 12 oz steak, just order an 8 oz one. Chew it slowly and savor every bite.

3. Use an alternate method of preparing food. Grill instead of fry, steam vegetables instead of sautéing in oil or such similar substitute way of preparing food.

There you have the three ways to eat less fat. We no longer have an excuse not to consume less fat. So on to the homework. Continue keeping a record of the weight and consumption of food and drink. Write three foods you eat that are high in fat. Find a way to consume less fat from the these foods by employing one of the three ways to eat less fat. See you next time!

For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Monday, November 26, 2007

How To Become a Fat Detective

We are trying to go through the DPP Lifestyle Change Program. Today, we will deal with Session 2 which is on Becoming a Fat Detective. But first, let's see if we did our homework. Did we write down all the food we ate and all the drink we had? Did you circle the food you think had the most fat? Good. Now we're on to becoming fat detectives.

We will start to monitor our weight regularly. We will do it at least once a week. I weigh myself every day before I eat breakfast. Try to weigh yourself at the same time and record it in a notebook. We are going to try to follow the DPP target for fat and calorie intake depending on our weight at the start of this program. Here's what they recommend:

DPP Daily Amounts for Fat and Calories
Starting WeightFat (Grams)Calories

Find your weight and try to stick to the number of grams of fat and the number of calories for your daily intake. Try to eat every four hours as getting too hungry will just lead to overeating. How will you calculate the number of grams of fat? Read the food labels or use a fat and calorie counter.

The DPP fat and calorie counter can be accessed in the website of the National Diabetes Education Program at or you can buy your own at a bookstore. When reading food labels, make sure you get the serving size, the total fat grams per serving and the calories per serving.

And now for the dreaded homework: Continue weighing yourself at least once or twice a week at the same time of the day and record it. Keep recording everything you eat and drink and the amount of fat and calories you consume. Try to keep within the daily amount recommended above.

Don't panic if you go over the limit. Just figure out which food is the culprit and try to limit its consumption. Next time, after checking the homework, we will deal with the ways to eat less fat. There are at least three ways. Hush! Don't tell anybody else for that will be our secret weapon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Want to Bid at Ebay?

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Diabetes Prevention Program To Change Lifestyle

This lifestyle program is composed of sixteen sessions to be followed by the participants with the help of a lifestyle coach. Let us try to follow these sessions and pretend we have a coach, shall we? It is better than not doing anything at all.

Section 1 is the introduction to the Lifestyle Program. We have to look into ourselves and find our reasons why we want to go through with this program. Why do we want to lose weight? Why do we want to be more active? That is easy enough to answer, isn't it?

Remember what we learned before that the weight loss goal is 7% and for physical activity we will aim for 150 minutes a week. Now weigh yourself and write it down. Say one weighs 200 pounds. Take 7% of that and we will arrive at 14. So one will have to lose 14 pounds.

Think of what this loss will do to you and your family. You will look and feel better and above all, be healthier. We will prevent diabetes and be a good example to everyone around us. Now let us start to monitor what we eat.

This part you will not like but is essential for the success we are trying to achieve. Believe it or not, DPP has a homework for us. Don't worry, the homework is easy. All we have to do is write down everything we eat and drink. Then circle the foods that you think have the highest fat content.

Next time we blog, we will check the homework and see how we did and then proceed to Session 2 which, believe it or not, will help us become fat detectives. Fat detectives? This I've got to see. It's becoming more interesting, isn't it?
For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Changing Eating Behavior is Not Easy

Changing eating behavior? It's not easy despite the flood of advertisements purporting the loss of weight in no time at all. I'm sure you've tried to lose weight. We've all been down that road before except for the very privileged few whose metabolism is everyone’s envy.

But let’s not let the above deter us from changing our eating behavior. This is too important not to give up this issue. Our health is at stake. Losing weight is paramount in trying to keep diabetes and its complications at bay. And we can succeed at this as DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program) has shown.

The DPP lifestyle program was tried in more than one thousand people of different background. It shows that people can lose weight and keep it off. There are about three thousand people in the National Weight Control Registry who lost a bare minimum of thirty pounds and kept them off for more than a year.

How did they do it? On average, their diet had calories of about 55% from carbohydrate, 21% from protein, and 24% from fat. They also participated in regular exercise that used up 2500 to 3600 calories each week. What will do this? Well, a daily walk of three and a half to five miles will do it.

The DPP lifestyle program advocates a weight loss that is gradual which translates to one to two pounds a week. This is about less than 500 to 1000 calories below the regular diet for weight maintenance. For this, 25% of calories is from fat.

Exercise is part and parcel of the DPP lifestyle program. The goal for this is set at 150 minutes of exercise or physical activity each week. The physical activity should have a pace just like that of a fast walk. For the next blog, we will go through the DPP program in detail and hopefully we will achieve our weight loss goal.
For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Regarding Diets, What is One to Do?

Now that we have covered almost all aspects of dieting, what is one to do? How does one find the weight loss regimen that is best? When one is overweight, there is no time to wait for the results of all the trials to find the best one.

Just remember that the diet that will help in taking in less calories but at the same time maintaining optimum health is the one to keep. It does not matter whether it is low or high in this or that nutrient, if it keeps one healthy while losing weight, it is the ideal diet to keep.

Choose one that matches the need and personality. If it works, continue using it. If it doesn't work, don't consider it a failure. Learn from it and go on to the next one that will work. Don't lose time on what-might-have been for what is important is the diet that will be good for the long term.

When considering the diet to use, keep the following in mind and check to see if it meets these essentials of a healthy diet:

1. The healthy diet should consist of an assortment of foods that contain the protein, carbohydrate, fat, minerals and vitamins the body needs.

2. The healthy diet is one that consists of a balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat.

3. The healthy diet is one that is recommended by a proven and respected professional.

4. The healthy diet is one that is easy to follow whether one is home or on vacation.

5. The healthy diet should not exclude so-called bad foods and instead should center on proper portions.

6. The healthy diet should promote monitoring of both the eating and physical activity.

7. The healthy diet should also include a plan for an exercise program.

For the disclaimer and more information on diabetes, please go to this site:
Free Diabetes Alert

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Is it Good to Lose Weight Via Surgery?

Does surgery work in attaining weight loss goal? It looks like this is the only treatment that results in long term weight loss. The loss is sustained and significant. In this surgery, the stomach is stapled or sewn so that only a small amount of food can go through.

Because the stomach is smaller, one feels fuller. This slows down the appetite and inhibits eating. There's another way the appetite is reduced. Usually, four hours after eating, a hormone called ghrelin is released by the intestine and the stomach into the blood.

Ghrelin is the hormone that travels to the brain and sends a signal to make one feel hungry again. Studies have shown that with the stapling of the stomach, ghrelin is reduced thus reducing also the appetite. This naturally leads to weight loss.

During the first year after the gastric surgery, 75 to 100 lbs is lost. And the weight loss is maintained for at least several years. The weight loss has remarkable results. Type 2 diabetes sometimes disappears. Medication sometimes is no longer needed.

If this is good, why not give people a chance to beat diabetes by going through weight loss surgery? Well, surgery has risks, one of them being death. The recovery may be slow and there are complications so they screen the candidates who can undergo this procedure.

Candidates for this surgery are the ones who can gain a lot from it. That would mean someone who is extra obese. The guidelines recommend only those whose BMI is over 45 or if less, they have complications linked to obesity should undergo this surgery.

How about liposuction? Does this work? Studies revealed that weight reduction this way where fat is removed from certain areas of the body is only temporary. In addition, this way does not have the same benefit that losing weight the old-fashioned way has. And it is dangerous to boot.
For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Friday, November 16, 2007

Does Losing Weight Via the Pill Work?

November 16, 2007

Lose weight via the pill? How much easier will this be than following a strict diet if there are no side effects? Won't it be great to lose the appetite with the pills? Will they really make us lose our addiction to food and increase our metabolism as well? Let's explore the matter, shall we?

There are researches galore that increase people's understanding of the body that directs the metabolism and appetite. Pretty soon, this could lead to a pill that indeed will work magic and make losing weight a breeze. But that time has not come yet.

The current drugs we have now either do not work or have side effects the body cannot tolerate. Pondimin and Meridia work by rousing the nervous system while Xenical gets in the way with the absorption of fat. The results of these drugs after two years is fairly small at best.

Comparing the results from the drugs with exercise and diet alone, people may lose an extra two to eight pounds. Some people lose more than this but they are the ones who also change their lifestyle by eating less and moving more.

Some people may not lose weight at all. So you see, there's a reason why there's a statement in the advertisement that says the end result may not be typical. The Food and Drug Administration knows that while the advertisement will make the pills sound good, it may not be accurate for all.

The pros and cons have to be weighed before taking weight loss pills. Why? The safety record is poor just like what happened to fen-phen and amphetamine combination. People can become addictive to amphetamines and can result in high blood pressure and irregular heart beats.

Although amphetamines are good for treating some conditions, they should not be used to lose weight. Fen-phen was found to be effective in losing weight but it was also found to cause heart damage and abnormalities in the valves of the heart.

We still have hope for someday a pill will come that will be both safe and effective in losing weight. Studies on animals are already successful so these pills cannot be far behind.

For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diets, Do They Work?

Diets make one lose weight but it is not due to any detailed pattern. Weight loss happens because these diets advocate consuming low calories. They work because generally people eat too much food. When this food intake is not matched by energy output, naturally the result is weight gain.

Let's look at some of the popular diets that support the right combination of food. These do not stress concentrating or avoiding a particular type of food. Some of the most popular ones of this type of diet are Eat Right for Your Type Diet, the Zone Diet, and Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution Diet.

The Eat Right Diet is based on the belief that the blood type decides the right diet, the right exercise regimen and the right supplements to keep a person healthy, attain the ideal weight and live longer. If one does not eat the correct food according to blood type, he will be at risk for developing some diseases.

The fact is that the blood type has nothing to do with consuming a healthy diet with low calories in order to lose weight. This type of diet may make one unnecessarily avoid foods that one enjoys. Some people might even use this diet to treat a serious condition.

On to the Zone diet which assures that if one eats small meals with carbohydrates, protein and fat in the correct ratio of 1:1:1, one's hormones and insulin will be balanced to the point the body will function at its best. One will lose weight and will be able to fight the diseases.

The trouble with this diet is that there are too many rules. One has to eat within one hour from wake-up, a snack before thirty minutes before exercise and a snack before bedtime. This is so strictly controlled that it may discourage one when all that is needed is to eat less of healthy food and move more.

How about Dr. Phil's diet? He recommends eating the right foods he calls "high-response cost, high-yield foods" and avoid the wrong foods he calls "low-response cost, low-yield foods" to lose weight. It is true one should eat slowly and to plan food four hours apart and to include fiber as he recommends.

Diabetics could benefit from Dr. Phil's diet but will have to monitor blood sugar to avoid hypoglycemia. Also be careful because the "high-response cost, high-yield foods" and the "low-response cost, low-yield foods" may not include food choices for diabetics.

For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit

Monday, November 12, 2007

How Much Protein Do We Need

The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of the amount of protein we need is important. Healthy women need forty-six to fifty grams of protein each day while the healthy men need fifty-eight to sixty grams of protein each day. Why is it important to know this? Read on.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, people should not eat more than twice the amount recommended. Why? Because people who do raise the risk for gout, kidney stones and calcium loss. They can also put too much strain on the liver and the kidney as these two process the protein intake.

Too little protein is not good either because one can become easily tired and lethargic. In fact, eating too little protein for a long period can compromise the immune system, decreased organ size and muscle mass and can cause anemia, hair loss and malnutrition.

The suggestion from the Institute of Medicine is for people to eat 10 to 35% of the calories from protein while the American Diabetes Association's recommendation is 15 to 20%. Now let's not get stressed out over all these figures. The key is moderation.

Now that we have covered how much protein we need, let's turn our attention to what proteins to eat for optimal health. Unlike fats, there are no such things as unhealthy protein, thank goodness, but there are proteins that contain unhealthy fats like red meat. So choose wisely.

In my humble opinion, this does not mean you can't have steak once in a while as a treat. Just don't overdo it. Besides, there are substitutes that taste just as good as meat. I had a vegetarian burger at Hard Rock Cafe in New York City that tastes so good I dream about it sometimes.

The best thing to do is to choose low-fat sources for protein. Vegetarians do not have to worry about their protein intake either. Why? Because there are a wide choice of food rich in protein at their finger tips. There are grains, legumes, vegetables and soy products.

For the disclaimer and more information on diabetes, please go to this site:

Free Diabetes Alert

Friday, November 9, 2007

Are there Healthy Fats?

Are all fats the same? Do we avoid all kinds of fats? Just look around the grocery and you will find labels of low-fat. Fats have really gotten a bad rap. Let's see if we can turn the tide around for poor old fat. It isn't true that all fats are bad for us because they raise the risk for heart disease and other conditions.

It is true though that we get more calories from one gram of fat than from one gram of carbohydrate. That's how the news started to spread around that all fats are bad. But in reality, we need fats because they furnish us with fuel to run the functions of the body cells.

Now don't go all out and eat all the fats you can get. Moderation is the key. It is good to remember that we should not avoid fats like the plague they are not because some fats are good for us. They are an important part in keeping us healthy.

What we have to do is eat the healthy fats and avoid the bad ones. But let's not forget that our goal is to keep our weight within normal limit in order to avoid diabetes and the complications that might come along. Now what are the unhealthy fats? I thought you'd never ask.

Two unhealthy fats are the trans fats and saturated fats. They are abundant in dairy products, meats and animal fat and in some oils. Saturated fats clog the arteries and raise the LDL or bad cholesterol. Trans fats are man-made where chemists changed the liquid oil to solid so products will be easier to transport.

So read the food labels. Before 2006, the labels did not specify the amount of trans fats. Be on the lookout for words partially hydrogenated because this would mean trans fats are present. Like their cousin the saturated fats, trans fats increase the risk for heart disease and other conditions.

Now here come the good guys, the healthy fats. the monounsaturated fats found in olive, canola and peanut oils, and polyunsaturated fats found in soybean and corn oil, salmon, tuna, seeds and whole grain. Don't shy away from them for they lower the bad cholesterol.

For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Low-Carbohydrate Diets, Are They Good?

Low-carb diets have become trendy and well-liked. The Atkins diet is an example. It encourages eating red meat which contains lots of saturated fat. This sounds weird but the authors of this type of diet believe that high-carb diets lead to higher insulin levels, increased appetite, obesity and insulin resistance.

How do these diets work? They have low calories, that's true, but the loss is in the release of water due to restriction of carbohydrate intake. Despite the fact that much of the loss of weight in the first two weeks is due to water weight loss, people believe it's the way to go.

The trouble is as soon as one uses up the stored carbohydrate, the body starts using the fat in the fat cells. When broken down, they form ketones and this can be dangerous to people with diabetes. Why? Because this can lead to a condition called ketoacidosis.

So should one go on a low-carb diet? Well, to lose weight when one is obese is healthy. When the lost weight can be long-lasting, then the health is improved but there are no long-term studies to prove this point. Besides consuming foods high in saturated foods can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke so the benefit of weight loss can be outweighed by the harmful health effects of the saturated fats.

Another problem is that as the body excretes water so do minerals flush out that could lead to kidney stones and bone loss. That's why this diet suggests buying a long list of supplements. The benefit of this diet lowers blood sugar level, but if one is on insulin and medications, careful monitoring is vital to prevent hypoglycemia.

Be careful of foods that are sold for people on a low-carb diet. Often they're expensive and high in calories. And watch out for the high amount of protein in this diet as this can make the kidney work too hard. And the diabetics have enough problem with kidney risk.

For more information on diabetes and the disclaimer, please visit:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Low Fat Diets

There are diets with very low fat content that promise the moon. One example is Dr. Dean Orbish's Eat More, Weigh Less. In this diet of very low fat content, the hype is that one has quite a selection to choose. There will be a sense of abundance. And one will never feel deprived. They say further that the diet has such low fat content one will get full before consuming more calories.

How about the Pritkin diet? How does that measure up? The promise here is that it is the world's healthiest diet. It promises a lot. Apparently, it touts itself as a secure and reasonable way to change one's lifestyle. It is supposed to add years to one's life and help reverse symptoms of a number of diseases including diabetes.

Do very low food diets work? This type of diet recommends food consumption from fat to be 10%. We know that some people food consumption with calories from fat is as much as 30%. Others even consume as much as 40% of calories from fat.

Diets with very low fat can help lose weight. Fat has nine calories per gram compared to proteins and carbohydrates which have 4 calories per gram. So reducing the calories from fat to only 10% will give you room to eat more while consuming lower calories.

There another reason why diets with very low fat can help lose weight. The body burns more energy in digesting proteins and carbohydrates than it does so with fat. The third reason is that diets with very low fats contain more fiber so one feels full earlier in the meal.

Are diets containing very low fat healthy though? These diets are about 70% carbohydrates. This can increase the blood sugar and triglyceride levels and lower the good cholesterol so this type of diet is not advisable for those with diabetes or prediabetes.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Do Diets Work?

Trying to lose weight is not as easy as going on a diet. In fact if our goal is to lose weight on a permanent basis, diet alone does not work. It is not as simple as this. It involves the what, when, where, why and how we eat. We will be committed to it on a long term basis.

There are so many diets that tout to be the best, the one with the magic formula that will make one get thin quickly. They may help some lose weight but they are not miraculous nor are they the right diets for every one. Let us review the basic rules on losing weight.

1. Weight loss is all about calories. We lose weight when we burn off more calories than our food intake. No matter what we eat, whether the food we eat is healthy or not, it is still all about calories. Any diet works only if it helps us reduce the amount of calories we consume.

2. Wise choice of healthy foods becomes more important. Why? Because being on a low-calorie diet, it is imperative to select healthy foods. Being on a 1800 calorie diet, there is not much flexibility. So to maintain good health the choice is for foods that contain the nutrients the body needs.

3. Exercise is a part of any weight loss program. Exercise is good whether or not it will make one lose weight. Why? Because it raises the good cholesterol level and reduces the risk for diabetes and many other diseases. But the thing is it does help burn off calories.

4. Long term commitment is what matters in any weight loss program. Losing weight and then gaining it back is not healthy. Rather, it has been found to be harmful. Losing weight is only good if it can be kept off. Any weight loss program can make one lose weight for a few weeks but remember the goal is for the long term.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Preventing Relapse to Maintain New Lifestyle

Lapses do happen despite our best intention and effort. We will try to take quick steps to go back to the road of healthy living. To refocus, there are steps we can follow. They are proven to work and have been employed by the Diabetes Prevention Program.

1. Talk back to negative self-talk. The first thing some people do in a relapse is blame themselves. We will not do this. Instead we will counteract this by talking positively to ourselves. Say that it will not ruin everything and then let's get back on track. Talking this way will make us feel better and help us refocus on our goal.

2. Ask why the lapse happened and learn from the experience. We will turn this slip into a learning experience. We will know why and learn what triggered the situation. This way, next time the same situation comes up, we will be ready to meet and resist it.

3. Refocus again and next meal time, get back on track and eat healthy instead of saying we will start tomorrow.

4. Talk to the support system. Family and friends will be a good source of help. Let us tell them what happened and why it happened. Then let's tell them that we have learned from this situation and what we plan to do so we can avoid any slips.

5. As the last step, let us keep things in perspective. We will concentrate on the positive changes we have made. We will remember that slips are learning opportunities and that if we haven't made progress, we would not have slipped. We will understand that lapses are part and parcel of lifestyle change.

What are the situations where we could lapse? We must identify these as they may disrupt our routines on when and how much do we eat and exercise. What are they? Here they come: Eating in restaurants, stressful situations, emotional triggers like anger and boredom, vacations, holidays and social events.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maintaining Weight and Activity Goals

We started our lifestyle change by setting goals. Then we monitored our own progress ourselves. And when there were problems, we coped with the unexpected situations and tried to solve our problems to the best of our ability. Okay, we did all that. Are we home free yet?

No, for the simple reason that the aforementioned steps are just the beginning. We will have to do some follow-up so we can maintain our changing lifestyle. A coach will be a good one to have. It's a good feeling to know that we can check in with our coach at the end of the week and get some feedback.

And believe it or not, we do not stop here. As we move toward achieving our weight and activity goals, we will need an accountability plan that will name the person who we will check in to see how we are doing and how often we have to check in with this person.

Once we achieve our weight and activity goals, we may have to meet with our coach less often. This may mean, instead of a weekly check-up, we may just have to see him every two weeks. As we progress, we will keep spacing out the follow-up schedule. With this scenario, we can't help but succeed, eh?

Let us see what else we can do to ensure success. One tool that will certainly be good to have in our corner is a support system that will cheer us on, encourage us and pick us up when we fall. We will make a list of family members, co-workers and friends who will be willing to support us.

We will surround ourselves with these positive people instead of the ones who will disapprove and resent our effort. People who will not tease us into eating more and breaking our new-found healthy lifestyle habits will be good to have around.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Maintaining Weight and Activity Goals

We started our lifestyle change by setting goals. Then we monitored our own progress ourselves. And when there were problems, we coped with the unexpected situations and tried to solve our problems to the best of our ability. Okay, we did all that. Are we home free yet?

No, for the simple reason that the aforementioned steps are just the beginning. We will have to do some follow-up so we can maintain our changing lifestyle. A coach will be a good one to have. To know that we can check in with our coach at the end of the week and get some feedback.

And believe it or not, we do not stop here. As we move toward achieving our weight and activity goals, we will need an accountability plan that will name the person who we will check in to see how we are doing and how often we have to check in with this person.

Once we achieve our weight and activity goals, we may have to meet with our coach less often. This may mean, instead of a weekly check-up, we may just have to see him every two weeks. As we progress, we will keep spacing out the follow-up schedule. With this scenario, we can't help but succeed, eh?

Let us see what else we can do to ensure success. One tool that will certainly be good to have in our corner is a support system that will cheer us on, encourage us and pick us up when we fall. We will make a list of family members, co-workers and friends who will be willing to support us.

We will surround ourselves with these positive people instead of the ones who will disapprove and resent our effort. People who will not tease us into eating more and breaking our new-found healthy lifestyle habits will be good to have around.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Coping with the Unexpected

The highways to a successful lifestyle change is full of road blocks. Even though we're ready for the change and have set reasonable goals, they can still sneak in. We're doing our part and writing down all we eat and the exercise we do. We're making progress and then wham! Something is stopping us from going ahead.

That is why any plans need to expect impediments that can sabotage the achievement. With our plans we need to anticipate problems that may come up and think of what we can do to solve them before they come. This kind of thinking is part and parcel of our plan to beat diabetes at its game.

So let us see what we can do when a problem does arise. First we have to describe the specifics of the problem which could be skipping breakfast and eating foods that can sabotage our reaching our weight loss goal. What is triggering the situation?

Then plan on possible solutions. If waking up late is behind skipping breakfast, maybe setting up the alarm earlier will help. Also if we are in a rush, we can grab an apple to eat on the way to work. If at the meeting, Danish pastries are served, we can have a muffin instead.

If we are tempted to eat the pastries, then let's eat a light lunch. But some will feel guilty and skip lunch. Not us, for we will have a salad. When we are tired and hungry when we get home, we can have a snack and rest. Still too tired to prepare supper? Heat up a light frozen dinner in the microwave.

At TV time when we are tempted to eat potato chips, we will have pretzels and carrots instead. If a friend comes to visit and suggest a take out of fried chicken, order a salad with it. If we are tempted to have some of the fried chicken, we will just have to plan for a better tomorrow.

Now we know there are possible solutions. We can try one solution and if it does not work, we can try the next one in the list. Then we can make a plan that will work against the triggers that make us overeat. Try the first plan and if that does not work, try the next one or make adjustments, but what we will not do is stop trying.

For instance, with the problem of skipping breakfast, the plan perhaps is to buy fruits, English muffins, pretzels, and carrots we can keep at home and take some to the work place. And then if we do our part and have a healthy breakfast at least four out of five mornings, a week, we can plan to reward ourselves. We can see a movie in the weekend. Hurrah!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Recording Food Consumption and Activity

Let's keep a journal on the food we eat. Research has shown that those who keep track of their food intake are likely to jot down lower than the actual consumption. And this is not because we want to cheat but that it is easy to forget what we have eaten in the morning when we do our log in the evening.

This honest mistake is as much as 20%. So if our record shows we've eaten 1000 calories, the real consumption is more likely close to 1200 calories. It is understandable to make this mistake especially if we are multi-tasking. We tend to forget how much we've eaten when we're socializing.

When recording the activity minutes, let us bear in mind to record those activities that are similar to brisk walking for ten minutes or more. Aerobic and strength training activities should be recorded separately and let's record the days when we don't exercise as well.

Exercise makes one's muscle respond better to insulin and goes on for thirty six hours and less so it's good to exercise at least every other day. It should not be any less than this. The best way is to exercise at least five to six days a week.

When recording the food intake, it's good to note the time and the mood we're in and how hungry we were before the meal, and how satisfied after the meal. It is not good either to eat two big meals. What is better is to spread the calories around.

Let us be careful also of the beverage as they contribute a lot of calories. Mind you, diet drinks are better than regular sodas. And there's something much better than this. Eating fruits is better because aside from the fiber, they help lower blood sugar level. Be careful of alcohol that can add calories too and worst, reduce self-control.

When we look back to the journal of foods and exercise, we will notice a pattern. We will see how our eating habits are linked to how we feel. Then we can try to make some adjustments. We will get rid of the ones that give us trouble and emphasize those that allow us to be healthy.

Don't get me wrong. Not everything will go as planned. There will be days when we may step back. But really let us accept that for an endeavor such as this, it may be more like two steps forward and one step back. And anyway, we will be there for each other, won't we?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Action Time to Lose Weight

Now that we have set our goals for weight and activity, it's action time. And while we're putting our plans to reach our goals, let's not forget that ultimately, we want to prevent or delay diabetes and the complications that may come with the disease.

In our effort, we will use a program that has been proven effective in a clinical test called the Diabetes Prevention Program. If we employ the principles that have been successfully tested by DPP, we will be on the road to realizing our goals.

Now let's review the recommended goals of the Diabetes Prevention Program or DPP. The recommended weight goal to lose one or two pounds a week are as follows. They are between 500 t0 1000 calories lower than the number needed to maintain the weight:

Recommended Daily Amounts of Fat and Calories

Starting Weight in Pounds; Fat in Grams; Calories;
250-300; 55; 2000;
220-245; 50; 1800;
175-215; 42; 1500;
120-170; 33; 1200;

The numbers of fat and calories are what we need to lose one or two pounds a week. To achieve our goal, we will have to shop better to make sure we buy foods that will not go over the numbers recommended for our starting weight.

We will also have to learn to prepare food in healthier way like broiling instead of frying and using low-fat products. We may have to change our eating habits. We may have to eat every four hours so we don't get too hungry. Why? Because getting too hungry could make us overeat.

We don't stop here. We will have to jot down what we eat and the activity we do to monitor closely our effort to reach our goal. And let's weigh ourselves every day at the same time and wearing the same type of clothing, preferably in the morning before the first meal.

If after three weeks we have not lost weight, then we will have to look back to see what's holding us up. Perhaps we are making a mistake in recording what we eat. It is easy to mistake portions between 3 and 5 ounces of steak. We may also be using one tablespoon of butter instead of one teaspoon.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Our Goals for Moving More

We also have to set a goal for the activities we plan to undertake. What? Goals again? Why do we have to set these goals, you asked? Well, we can't just approach any change without a plan of action. We can't be like Speedy Gonzales and go on helter-skelter, willy-nilly or whatever you call it.

First we will do is assess where we are. The starting point of where we are will determine what we will do as we begin this life-changing endeavor. Are we on the couch potato stage or are training to join a marathon? Two different stages will need to start at a different level.

We want to set goals that are within reach. If we are not presently active, do we insist on getting ready for a marathon? Of course not. We will just be setting ourselves up for failure. The best way is to start slow. Perhaps take a walk for ten minutes a day, three times a week.

Then make that five days a week. Once we get comfortable we can graduate to twenty minutes a day, and so on. We can keep increasing our goal. And as we become comfortable, have established the habit and have built our strength, then we can increase our activity to 30 minutes a day.

We can congratulate ourselves then because 30 minutes a day is the minimum exercise goal that has been advocated by authorities in the field. It will be good for us to record our activity in the journal for then we will be able to track our progress better.

Did you know we can use a pedometer to record the number of steps we take each day? What is a pedometer? It is a small inexpensive contraption that will record our steps. This way, we will have real help in measuring our level of activity.

It is also a good idea to let the doctor know about the plan. We never know if we have a condition that can be exacerbated by exercise. Disease of the eyes will be a good reason not to do any strenuous activity but the doctor may approve walking as a form of exercise.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

How Fast Do We Lose the Weight?

Now that we have set the goal as to how much weight to lose, we will set the rate as to how fast do we lose it. So what weekly weight loss do we try to set? We will try to lose the weight in a most reasonable rate. We do not want to do it too fast.

The trouble in setting a rate for a weekly weight loss is that most are not happy with a loss of just one pound a week. No, not even with a weekly weight loss of two pounds. They want to lose weight at a fast and furious rate.

Is it wise to lose weight as fast as one can do it? No, for the safe and healthy way to lose weight is a gradual loss of one or two pounds a week. Some people find this too slow but really if they lose one or two pounds a week, most will lose at least 5 to 10% of their weight in just six months.

Now, we have to admit that losing 5 to 10% of the body weight is quite remarkable. Let us just think of how long it took us to gain that weight. And let us also think of how many calories do we cut in order to lose that weight gain. Convinced? Not yet? Okay, just read on.

If we want to lose one pound per week, we need to reduce our food consumption by 500 calories a day, seven days a week. That's a total of 3500 calories per week. Why is that? For the simple reason that one pound of fat has 3500 calories of energy. Wait, I am not finished yet. We have another option.

We may elect to burn up those 500 calories per day by walking fast every day for five miles. How many of us can do this especially at the start of our weight loss program when we are used to the sedentary life style for so long? I'm telling you, this fact alone will make us want to quit before we even get started.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. We can expend this energy some other way. We can do it by combining some form of less energy consumption and more energy usage. That just makes me tired before I can even start trying to lose the weight I set.

And don't get me started on trying to lose two pounds a week instead of the one pound illustrated above. Why? Because then I will have to eat less than 1000 calories a day or walk briskly for 10 miles a day, both for seven days a week. Not on your life! I will not have time for anything else if I do it this way.

So you see, losing one or two pounds a week already requires a lot of effort. It is better for us to set our weekly rate of weight loss at one or two pounds a week. It is more sensible, healthier this way. Insisting on doing it faster will just set the stage for failure. And we do not want to fail. This is too important for our health to prevent or delay diabetes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How Much Weight to Lose

How much weight do we want to lose? That is the question that baffles a lot of people but this matter needs not confuse us. This will just keep us moving around and around a circle and not work on the actual need we have to change our lifestyle.

Now let's see. The first thing to do is to study the information that is out there. We know that the recommendation is a weight loss of 10% of the body weight. Why did the experts recommend this figure? Because researches on this issue have shown that this 10% loss has demonstrated cardiovascular risk improvement.

Now, don't go all way out and set goals according to the above pronouncement. Let's use it as a guide because it does not mean that losing more will not bring benefit. It also depends on one's body mass to start with. Besides, studies have also shown that a loss of 5 to 7% resulted in 58% decrease in the development of diabetes.

Some obese people will not want to achieve just a 10% weight loss. They want to lose more than that despite counseling that 10 to 15% reduction is reasonable enough. As a matter of fact a 10% loss for the overweight is easily achieved. And it will make a difference as well.

So how do we figure out how much weight to lose? Experts say the formula is to multiply the current weight by the percentage of the desired weight loss. For example if our weight is 200 pounds and we want to lose 10%, we multiply those two figures and arrive at 20 pounds as the goal of weight loss.

The loss of 20 pounds will reduce the risk for diabetes and make the cardiovascular risk better. But so would a 5% weight loss which in this case is only 10 pounds. Isn’t that great? To think that losing 10 pounds may prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease is awesome.

So let’s roll our sleeves and get going. And we do not have to stop at 10 pounds for this is only our first goal. Once we reach this goal of 190 pounds, we can start over with another goal of 5% weight and so on and so on until we reach our dream weight. Wow! Bikini, here I come.

This is great because we are not setting our goal too high (not the bikini goal, mind you). This way we will not be discouraged and have to give up on something that will be of enormous benefit for our health. This is so within our reach it is empowering.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Setting the Goals to Change Lifestyle

Goal setting is important in every endeavor but I believe nowhere is it more vital than in plans to change the lifestyle. For one thing it will give us not only the way to change but also the target we want to reach. Like with other things, this goal setting will have essentials to make it a success. Here they are:

  • Set goals that are specific enough so that they can be assessed easily as to whether they are being achieved. For example, saying "I will eat healthy food" is not specific enough but "I will consume 1500 calories a day" is better because that is something we can measure.

  • Set goals with the time specified as to when the target should be reached. For example, saying "I will lose weight" is not as good as "I will lose four pounds in one month."

  • Set goals that are realistic where we can be confident that we can achieve those goals. For instance, let's not say "I will never go to buffets again" but instead let's say "I'll try not to go to buffets but if I find myself there with friends or family, I will eat smaller portions and choose foods that will make me healthy."

  • Set goals that stress the positive rather than the negative. Instead of saying "I will not eat desserts" say "I will eat fruits for dessert."

  • Set goals that consider winning in small ways rather than giant leaps. Why? Because trying to change one's lifestyle requires planning that takes time and effort.

  • Set goals that recognize and reward small gains. For example, saying "I will cut down my restaurant meals to two a week" is not as good as "If I cut down my restaurant meals to twice a week, I will buy myself a nice scarf with the money I save".

There you have the elements that will lead to a successful goal setting. Hopefully, this will stop us from talking to ourselves in a negative way and avoid the use of "should" as this word could just make us resentful later on. Next time I blog, I will focus on how much weight loss to set as a goal.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getting Ready to Set Goals

Setting goals is part and parcel of lifestyle change. If they are clear, then all self-talks could be eliminated. Talking to oneself like oh, this is delicious, I may not see this again so I better eat a lot of it. I paid for this buffet; I better eat as much as I can so I can get my money's worth.

When setting goals, it is wise to avoid extremes. I will never touch dessert again. I will walk for half an hour every day after lunch. Pronouncements like these are unrealistic. Then we fall back, we may just go back to our task on hand, that is to continue on our effort to change our lifestyle.

We have to remember that if we slip back, all we have to do is get up and get going again. We have to accept the fact this endeavor usually consists of two steps forward and one step back. Now that give us a full step forward, doesn't it? That is something to celebrate.

It is easy to make excuses and blame someone else for our inability to focus on our goal. Oh, I have to buy these chips because my family loves them. Why not buy them a healthy snack so everyone can be healthy? This way we are accepting our responsibility instead of blaming something else.

Here's another one. Oh, I can't walk, it's too cold outside. Hey, go to the mall and walk there. Or dress in layers and start walking. Chances are as we walk, we will feel warmer. How is that for turning a negative into something positive?

Let us get rid of the word should in our dictionary for that word might just make us feel guilty. Instead of saying I should eat fruits, let's say I want to eat fruits because they will make me healthy. Instead of saying I should exercise, say I want to exercise because it will make feel better.

Going on a cruise? Watch out for statistics shows a passenger gains 1.25 pounds each day while cruising. After the cruise and we find out we've gained four pounds, we'll just feel like giving up. What's the point, I might as well eat everything I want.

Why not say, I did well. I only gained four pounds when statistics says I should have gained 9.75 pounds. I did well; it must be because I walked their running track every day. Now I will focus more on my losing weight. I enjoyed that cruise. I am prepared to do as much as I can to lose weight now. Isn't that helpful way to look at it? Positives, my friends, I will take them anytime over the negatives.

Some people criticize themselves all the time. I am fat and a failure. I didn't even exercise all week. I am really lazy. Instead, think of it as just a slip. Having a slip is okay. Accept it and go back to the goal. Don't give up and say instead that you've learned that something from the slip and be determined to try again.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Role Emotions Play in Eating

October 9, 2007

Have you heard about comfort food? That's what we sometimes do. Turn to food for comfort. Often, what we eat and how much we eat depend on how we feel. We eat to soothe the pain we feel whether it's physical or emotional hurt.

And the bad thing is turning to food does not really completely heal us. Whatever we're feeling is just temporarily covered up and because it's temporary, we do it again and again until it becomes a habit. We cope with the pain by eating.

We also use food as a reward, don't we? Had a bad day in the office? Well, just have a good meal to forget the hurt. We have to reward ourselves somehow. What could be better than having a special meal? We need this treat after a long hard day at work. Not!

Some of us may have too much time and so we get bored. And what do we do to cope with this monotonous life? Food, there's always food. The thrill of eating something new will make life more interesting. We take a break from the tediousness of responsibilities and there is food.

They say that angry people eat food that is harder to chew. Sad and depressed people turn to comfort foods. These bring back happy memories of a carefree childhood. Feeling stressed? Have cookies and milk, the way mother used to give us after school.

We have just dealt with the bad feelings. How about the good ones like Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners? That's when we eat the most, almost like eating ourselves to death. We get so uncomfortably full, all we can do is drop on a couch and take a nap.

So you see both good and bad emotions can lead us to overeating. Is there something we can do to fight this? Of course, there are things we can do. Every challenge comes with a solution. And of course we will try our best to be part of any solution.

We'll write about our feelings. We'll a journal or blog about it like what I'm doing now. This way we're putting them out in the open instead of covering them up with food. If you don't like writing, talk about it with a friend or a family member you trust.

Make a list of how you can reward yourself with other things instead of just food. Reward yourself by going to the library where you can read a magazine or a book or surf the net. Take a hot bath or go for a swim. Take a walk or go ride a bike or fly a kite. The list is endless.

Do you have a counselor or a therapist? Talk to this person about your feelings. Maybe both of you can come up with other options to do when you're sad and lonely. Or call a long-lost friend long distance. If you're worried about the cost, get yourself a Yak account that will cost you pennies for long distance calls. Whatever it is, just do something instead of eat.

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Value Meals and Caffe Latte

A quarter pounder with cheese has about 530 calories at least at the last time it was analyzed. But convert that into a medium value with fries and medium drink added and what have we got? A whopping 1190 calories, that's what. And don't even make me start thinking of a large value meal because that will add up to 1380 calories.

Now black coffee does not have calories. In fact, it's one of the free foods in the exchange diet. And usually, a latte is not made with cream but with milk. This sounds like it is a wise choice for us but don't jump into conclusion just yet.

If we graduate from a coffee that has low-fat milk to a grand caffe latte each and every day, we will be richer by 250 calories. And what does this translate into, weight-wise? A half a pound weight gain per week. That's 26 pounds a year!

How about if we stick to a tall latte with skim milk that is only 120 calories? And this healthier choice has zero grams of fat? If we have this every day, we will cut our weight gain by half. We will gain thirteen pounds a year instead of the scary 26 pounds.

So how do we eat in this type of environment when we dream of the quarter pounder at night and crave for a caffe lattee all day long? Well, it will take a lot of determination, doesn't it? We will switch off those marketing strategies and build our own plethora of plans to fight this.

I am not talking about suing these places for making us fat because they did not put the food and drink into our system. We did that all ourselves. What I want us to do is to think of ways and means to fight these temptations so we can be healthier and stop diabetes along with its complications.

Let us make a pact to be careful of beverages. These can supply us with a lot of calories. Let’s take this example. A small drink of 16 ounces (They call that small? Small used to be 6 ounces.) has 150 calories. But if we supersize that to 42 ounces, what do we get? Calories of 410! Oh, okay there’s still zero fat but 410 calories, give me a break!

Let’s review the nutrition information before we buy anything. We will be able to make wise choices to keep us healthy. Most restaurants have this information as well. I know Swiss Chalet has it if you ask for it. This way you will know what we’ll put in our body before we put out the wallet.

Let’s stay away from buffets. I don’t know about you, but they make me eat more. Oh, okay once a month, as a treat. But don’t go for seconds on the drink just because they come with the meals. Just get a glass and sip, don’t gulp.

Try not to skip meals too. Those who eat one or two big meals a day tend to lose less than those who eat more frequently but small meals even when the same amount of calories is consumed. So let’s try having three small meals and two snacks a day for this spells more success. Don’t ask me why because I don’t understand it myself. It’s just one of those things in life we have to accept as a gospel truth.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Preparing For Success

Many factors affect our eating habits. There are many reasons why we eat. Hunger is not the only motive for eating. Just the smell of something frying in the kitchen makes our mouth water. And it is enough to trigger an eating frenzy.

It is therefore vital that we recognize what makes us eat. What are the signals in our environment that spur us to eat? It is only after we have recognized both the physical and emotional environment cues will we be able to manage to the point of success.

Let us first take a look at our environment. Let us look around and what do we see? Food here, there, and everywhere. It is readily available, isn't it? No wonder we eat so much. To top it all, we were brought up not to waste food. We have to eat everything in our plate, no matter how uncomfortably full we are.

To be successful, we have to look around at home, in the office, everywhere. Find out when and how much food we have at these places including our car. When are all these foods available to us? Who buys them? Who makes them available?

After we have surveyed our environment, it is time for some clean-up if we are really committed to lose weight. What kinds of food do we buy? Are they healthy foods? What can we do to clean up this environment so we can succeed in our effort to lose weight?

Let us remove all foods that are not healthy for us. Cook only enough portions. Whatever extras we have, put them away for another meal. This will not be easy at first but once you get going, you'll feel better and healthier too.

Just think of what happened to our eating habits in our communities. It used to be that a serving of juice is just four ounces and a serving of cereal is just a cup. Now the juice has become eight to twelve ounces and our bowl of cereals has at least two cups. And we wonder why we gain weight.

Have you been to the movies lately? Have you seen the choices of popcorn and drinks we have? Of course we buy the large option because the refills are free. And let's not talk about soft drinks. From the 1955 choice of 7 oz, now the top choice is 42 oz. And we have to get this because it's a bargain, right? Wrong!

So you see, we really have to work hard to turn the tide around. Sure, we've come a long way and have gotten good deals, super-sized wise. But how about our body? We do not want to super-size that as well. Hopefully, this will set the stage to our changing our environment to ensure success.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Are We Ready to Lose Weight?

Here are ten questions to ponder on and answer to make sure:

  • Are we willing to take an objective look at ourselves and our attitudes toward food and exercise?

  • Will we be willing to weigh ourselves at least once a week?

  • Are we going to commit the time needed to lose weight like preparing to eat healthy meals and exercising?

  • Are we willing to give up our quest for the next diet for a quick-lose plan?

  • Will we be able to accept losing one or two pounds a week?

  • Will we be able to accept that some weeks we will not lose weight?

  • Do we possess a good attitude toward the effort we will have to exert and have reasonable expectations?

The aforementioned questions are the things we have to make sure we can honestly answer affirmatively to be ready to embark on this journey to good health. Losing weight may be important but is it important enough for all the energy and effort to achieve our goal?

It is not realistic to want to lose weight if we do not know the changes that are required. Other people eat because they enjoy it. But some people use it as an escape from something unpleasant in their lives. Food sometimes have a calming effect on people. We have to ponder all of these issues so they will not stand in our way.

Let's give ourselves a readiness test to see if we are prepared to do what it takes. How important is this losing weight? Are we confident we could lose weight? Will we be willing to reduce the food portions we eat now, and more importantly, will we be confident we can do this?

Regarding exercise which is an integral part of losing weight, how important is it to us to increase our physical activity? Are we confident we can do this? Are we going to make excuses and rationalizations if we cannot exercise on some days?

Once we have these issues out of the way, we will be better prepared to start the regiment of losing weight by eating less and moving more. Just think of what we are trying to avoid. Diabetes and its complications. This should be enough motivation to spur us on.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Preparing for Lifestyle Change and Success

Why do we eat? Do we eat to live or do we live to eat? There's quite a difference for there are factors that influence our eating. Eating only when one is hungry and stopping when full will be an excellent habit to adopt. Then there will be fewer overweight people.

Let us ask ourselves. What makes us want to eat? Is there an emotional reason behind our eating? Let's identify all these reasons and try to manage them. Then we will be able to manage our environment so we can be successful in our endeavor to lose weight.

We overeat because food is readily available. Look around and you will see food everywhere. Then the sight and smell of these foods make our mouth water and we will want to eat them whether we are hungry or not. On top of this, we have been programmed to clean up our plate and not waste food.

What kinds of food do we buy and keep around the house? Will they make us healthy and lose weight? Or will the foods we keep handy just tempt us to eat? So the first thing we should do is clean up our pantry shelves and the cupboards where we keep these foods:

  • Find out what healthy foods to keep and get rid of the ones that will make us gain weight and unhealthy.

  • Find out enough portions to cook for us and our family and stick to it. If we find you have some extra, let's put them in the freezer to save for another meal.

  • Wrap portions of snacks enough for each time so we will not overeat. I don't know about you but when I opened (not now, anymore, honest!) a bag of chips, I couldn't stop eating until I finished it all.

This is not easy to do, but we have to control what we buy and serve to make sure we eat only enough. After we have managed this part of our eating habit, the next challenge for us is what to do when we eat out. There will be strategies to keep in mind in this case and I will blog about it next time.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Are You Ready to Change Your Lifestyle?



September 29, 2007

Are you ready to lose weight? Are you ready to exercise? Are you ready to change your lifestyle? It is easy to say one wants to lose weight. People can even enumerate the reasons behind the desire to lose weight. But the more important question is, are you really ready to do what it takes to lose weight?

Researchers have recognized the five changes that people have to go through in order to change the lifestyle. They say that these are the considerations-before stage, the actual consideration-stage, the laying the groundwork stage, action, and maintenance. These are the steps one has to go through when embarking on the journey to change one's lifestyle.

During the pre-consideration stage, the person may not be ready to make the adjustment for at least six months. They may think that the weight does not really pose a big problem or they may have too many things on their plate and so have no more room for another priority.

In the second stage of the actual consideration, people may be thinking of making the change soon. They may not have a good knowledge of the problem but at least they are weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the planned lifestyle change.

At this second stage, they're waiting for further motivation but they don't think there is an urgent need to start. There's still hope for a cure-all pill is what they're thinking. They say aloud that they'll change someday. And they'll ask about the exercise plan or the diet plan that might help with the lifestyle change.

In the third step of preparation, they're now thinking of starting within a month. They're not sure how to get started but may have made some effort. They're motivated to change but after trying a bit, they slip back. They're now saying they're ready and want to change and are asking how to get started.

In the fourth step of action, they have made changes during the past six months. They believe it's possible to change the lifestyle and are making the effort to change. They have modified their ways and heading for success but need support. They now say they can do it or it's getting easier and think they're doing well.

Now on the last stage of maintenance is where they have shown documented changes for six months. They're now confident they can do it and the change has become part of their daily schedule. They're trying not to get back to the old ways and have to cope with unexpected situations like parties, eating out and going on vacations.

Which stage are you in? Find out where you are and get a buddy. The friend will spur you on to take a walk every day and it will be more fun to talk while taking a stroll. You can exchange meal plans while you do so and motivate each other besides. Pretty soon you will look forward to this part of your day.

There will be slip backs but get up and get started again. It will be easier this time because you are now a veteran at this for haven't you gone through all the stages? Just think of the goal of feeling and looking better but most of all what I like the best for you is to avoid the complications of diabetes.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

A1c Test Helps to Diagnose Diabetes

September 27, 2007

A1c test is not the only tool to help diagnose diabetes but it is the one mostly used. This test finds out how the blood glucose is controlled for the last three months. It will show how close to the target level the blood sugar has been.

How is the A1c test done? The physician takes a small sample of blood. This is analyzed in the laboratory for sugar in the blood. All have this in the blood since this plays an important role in the production of energy. The body needs this energy in order to function.. For some people though over a period of time, the glucose attaches itself to the hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is the red pigment present in the red blood cells which brings oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Mind you, the glucose gets attached to the hemoglobin depending on its amount in the blood. The higher the glucose level, the more gets attached to the hemoglobin.

Now where does the A1c test come in? Well, it tells how high the glucose level is. This will alert us that there is then more glucose that gets attached to the hemoglobin. The test shows the result as a percentage of the total amount with the normal values in the range of 6 to 7.5%.

Those whose diabetes is uncontrolled will show the A1c test result 16% or more. As soon as the blood glucose is controlled, the result will go down to normal level. It is important to set one's goal to as normal as possible. This way the risk for diabetes complications will lower as well. Remember that the A1c result is only an estimate .

This just reiterates the importance of monitoring one's blood glucose level. Whenever there is a change in the physical activity and in one's meal plans, test the blood glucose level. We are lucky that we live in this day and age when we can self monitor our blood sugar level. Unlike before when people had to run to the hospital every time they needed to find out the blood sugar level. For we need this information in order to make the necessary adjustment.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Safety Issues for Physical Activity and Exercise

Before starting any change in physical activity and exercise, consult with your doctor first to be sure there are no health issues involved. For example, if you have heart disease, you may feel chest pain or have a heart attack when your physical activity is increased. Walking is safe for everyone but checking with your doctor is a good idea.

It is also a good idea to warm-up first for five to ten minutes before each exercise session. Have some stretching exercises of the muscles you will be using. Likewise, a cooling period at the end of each session will help prevent joint and muscles aches.

Use comfortable shoes when walking to protect your joints and your feet. If you're biking, try doing so on flat surface as going uphill is anaerobic while you're coasting when going downhill. It is more consistent to use a stationary bike.

Take good care of your feet. Examine them thoroughly before and after each session. Diabetes affects the nerves and you may be unable to sense minor problems in your feet. This could lead to abrasions and infections that could spread to the bones and result in amputation.

Take good care of your eyes. If you have a serious diabetic eye disease, some high-impact exercises are a no, no. Why? Because this could cause bleeding in the eye. This is not a common situation but checking with the doctor to see if you have this condition is certainly in your best interest.

Diabetics have more than twice the risk for heart disease than the average population. The trouble is that the diabetics have less warning symptoms than those without diabetes. The first time they find out they have a heart problem maybe when they have a heart attack.

You may have a hypoglycemia attack during exercise or even for up to four to eight hours after exercise. So you should have with you a snack that contains sugar to ward off this episode. If the hypoglycemic episode happens during or after exercise, you are ready to treat it with the snack.

Listen to your body as you exercise. It will tell you when you’re exercising too hard or too long. Slow down as soon as you feel shortness of breath. If it doesn’t go away, then think of it as an emergency. Stop exercising and get emergency help.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Benefits of Exercise

We know the benefits of exercise. For one thing, it will make us feel better. Oh, not at the start, I admit. For all the things we have to do each day, what time is there left for exercise? But then, just think. Once you incorporate exercise in your daily routine, it gets easier and that's when you feel better.

In addition, exercise is our hope to reverse the destructive effects of the inactive lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. It will contribute weight loss and then our response to insulin will get better and have cardiovascular conditioning to boot.

There are two types of exercise. They are strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. Strength training is what they call anaerobic exercise which is of high intensity that makes one breathe hard and increases the heart and blood pressure. So although this burns calories, this is not for us especially at the start of our exercise program.

So it looks like cardiovascular conditioning is what we will focus on first. This is an aerobic exercise that uses large muscles and are of reasonable force to the point that one can still talk to somebody while doing the exercise. Walking, rowing, swimming, and bike riding fall under this category.

A personalized exercise prescription will enable one to get the correct amount of exercise as it will consider the following items:

  • Type of exercise

  • Length of exercise

  • Number of occurrence

  • Intensity of exercise

The type or mode of exercise involves free-moving and large muscle movement. It could be walking either on land or treadmill, biking on land or stationary bike, rowing either in a boat or machine, swimming and cross-country skiing.

Length of time of exercise is for thirty minutes or more each time. Number of occurrence is usually at least three times a week and at the start, not on consecutive days. It is good to build up on this first thirty minutes a day by starting for ten minutes, adding ten minutes at a time until one has the full thirty minutes.

As for intensity, for most people, start with light exercise at a relaxed pace. One can continue talking while exercising and feels like he can go on and on. When this starts to feel too easy, one can graduate to a higher intensity which is a good indication that one is making progress.

This type of exercise will help control the weight and lower the risk for diabetes. One may then want to add some anaerobic strengthening exercise such as lifting light weights (two to four pounds). One can lift these weights above the head a number of times and then increase the repetitions until one gets to a set of twenty repetitions.

Once one reaches five sets of repetitions, then increasing the weights can be considered like from three pounds to four pounds. But there are safety tips to consider. Before starting to graduate to any level, one will have to consult with his doctor as there may be personal issues, for example with people with heart disease. That is what I will blog on in the next issue. Please visit the following site for the disclaimer and more information:

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Which is better: Physical Activity or Exercise?

Certainly, on can always opt to have an effective option other than the strictly controlled exercise. Make small changes in your activities. Walk up or down stairs in place of going via the elevator, walking after lunch at the office instead of sitting around and gossiping with friends. The list is endless.

You will be surprised at how much calories you will burn just by incorporating some moving activities in you daily life. It is not that hard. It will not require you to set aside half an hour to one hour a day, three times a week. Let us see what guidelines we have to follow.

Let’s see first the difference between incorporating physical activity into the daily routine compared to exercise. The physical activity can be done as part of the daily lifestyle whereas for the exercise, you have to set aside a certain time.

The physical activity can be done at home, at work or anywhere else and there is no need to buy equipment and outfits. So, there is practically no cost. Often times, the exercise has to be done in the gym and you may have to buy equipments and outfits. In addition there will be fees to pay.

You burn off small quantities of calories often with physical activity while with exercise, you burn off larger quantities of calories but less often. With physical activity, there is little risk of injury while with exercise, you could twist your ankles or incur other injuries that may stop you from exercising until you heal.

Household chores burn calories. For example digging in the garden will burn 6 - 7 calories per minute. You will burn 11 calories per minute that you’re shoveling dirt and 5 -6 calories per minute that you’re painting the kitchen walls.

Walking is a physical activity everyone can do. As a matter of fact, on any given day, we do some walking. Programs have recommended trying to increase an extra thousand steps a day. This will burn an extra 50 calories and may not mean much to you. But think about it. How many calories will that be after a year? Right, over 18,250 calories.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Get walking, that’s what. Is there proof that this works? You bet! The Diabetes Prevention Program did a study on this very issue and found that the participants who put on an intensive lifetime lifestyle intervention program did better than those who did not walk.

The participants were even encouraged to increase their walking to more than ten thousand steps per day. This is the equivalent of five miles. They wore pedometers that kept track of the number of steps they made on any given day.

Remember that each step you take spends energy so walking a mile after lunch will help achieve the balance between food intake and energy output. This will certainly ward off weight gain and diabetes. Granted this will not take us back to pre-industrialization age but it will help us get nearer the goal of getting the energy level better and reduce the risk for weight gain and diabetes.

I know what I’m blogging about next time. Have you guessed? Yes, that’s right. I will talk about exercise. Only then will we be able to see the complete picture on the differences between physical activity and exercise. We have some ideas, but let’s give exercise a chance.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Physical Activity, More of this Please

September 19, 2007

Just as it is easy to eat too much, it is easy to move too little. This is what is causing the health problems we are facing in this modern age. With the advent of food processing accompanied by blatant advertising, it is just easy to eat too much of what is not the right kind of food.

In the same way, with the advent of machineries that make all work for us easy, we succumb to an easier way of life. Why walk to the corner store when you can ride in a car? Why wash the clothes by hand when we have the washing machine to do that for us?

So you see with eating too much of the wrong thing and moving too little, is it any wonder that we suffer from these ailments? For these two are the double whammy of our modern world. And don’t blame the fast food places for the predicament we are in. For do we not patronize the super sized food they entice us to eat? We asked for it and we got it. It’s time we make a change.

We have covered the eating part. Now let’s deal with physical activity. What do we know about this? There have been studies galore on this very topic. And four main studies have successfully found that increased physical activity has prevented the development of diabetes. Let’s summarize what we know about this:

. Physical activity contributes the most when done often at least three or four times a week with six and seven, even producing better result.

. Physical activity makes the muscles more sensitive to insulin thus making it easier to store the insulin in the muscles rather than having it rise.

. Physical activity helps with any weight loss program.

. Physical activity has helped make diabetes prevention a success.

. Physical activity should include both the aerobic exercise that improves metabolism and cardiovascular training and strengthening exercise.

. It is better to integrate physical activity in one’s routine as opposed to picking specific schedules.

There are quite a large number of exercise programs out there waiting for you to try them out. There are equipments for you to buy. But let’s face it, all of these require your attention and some effort on your part. There will be scheduling to do but finding the time is not easy.

How about going to the gym, you asked? Well, you may elect to do that but again that requires some time. You will have to get into your gym clothes, drive to the gym, exercise there and then take a shower after you cool down a bit.

How much better is it to do your exercise at home as soon as you wake up? You can even do your exercise in your pajamas. You can have the clock in front of you to time your exercise from aerobic to yoga to tai chi and weight lifting all in one hour. And best of all, you can keep up with the news at the same time.

There is another problem in signing up for vigorous exercise. Yes, that’s right. You could suffer from exercise-related injuries. This will set anyone back. This, along with lack of time, is it any wonder that 40% of the population does not have leisure physical activity weekly?

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