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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

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Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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