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Are You Goal-Minded or Wandering Aimlessly?

My husband and I have crossed this country twelve times, as well as lived and traveled extensively in Europe. During my husband’s military career, when it was necessary to transfer to a new duty station, I would always be curious about our next home. I’d research as much as I could about the area, contacting the Chamber of Commerce for information, search for a realtor and so on.

As we traveled, we always had a map and a daily mileage goal. Without an intentionally defined goal we would have wandered aimlessly. We probably wouldn’t have reached our destination without a lot of frustration.

Doesn’t that also sound like many without a clear health goal?

The same principle applies. Before a smart person can accomplish an objective, they lay out a strategy of how to get there. As much as we’d like a “beam me up Scottie” instantaneous weight loss result, it’s not going to happen this side of Heaven. Besides that, the journey is as important as the destination. If we could have instantly arrived in Monterey, California from Washington DC, we would have missed the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Graceland and so much more! What a loss.

With health goals, you’d also be missing out too. Since 0nly you physically live inside your body, only you can develop strategies, overcome challenges, gain confidence and become victorious.

Don’t make goals complicated. Start with only one and build upon it.

Write out realistic goals and track progress.

In spite of advertising claims proclaiming, “you can lose 10 pounds in a week!” it ain’t gonna happen healthily! It takes 3,500 calories less each day to lose one pound of fat. Do you even consume that many daily calories daily? (Probably the only time I did was on a cruise and I was miserable!)

A slow, steady weight loss of 2, maybe even 3 pounds per week will allow your body to adjust and keep the weight off. If you lose too quickly your metabolism slows; believing you are ill, it attempts to hoard calories as protection.

Remember anyone can lose weight on fad diets but as a nutritional counselor for over twenty years, I haven’t met ONE person who kept it off on a crazy diet. Why?

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire”  (James 1:14)

Analyze why you eat as you do, (another blog.)

Eat for nutrients!

If you consume good quality nutrients, your body receives all you need for healthy living, creating an active metabolism. Then you’ll overcome cravings when, for example, your brain’s hypothalamus nags you for magnesium. Of course broccoli contains magnesium, so does chocolate – which one do you think you’ll choose?

Create small, reachable goals and make them fun!

Create a weekly spread-sheet chart. For each pound lost, fill in a block. For every five pounds you lose, reward yourself with a non-food reward. The more lost, the larger the reward: bath salts, body lotion, nail polish, new scarf, a book (maybe mine?) a CD, DVD . . . then a BRAND NEW CAR . . . sorry just kidding.

One important factor in weight loss: the only good diet is one you’ll be able to live on forever. God doesn’t expect you to suffer through rice cakes, sticks and twigs. He provided a bounty of natural, fantastic foods to enjoy. The more your body consumes nutritious choices, the more junk food cravings will disappear. Trust me, it happened to me.

Lastly, establish a close support group of positive, encouraging friends!

“Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance.” (Proverbs 11:14)

 

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Controlling Blood Sugar Produces Greater Weight Loss

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.”  (Psalm 139:14)

In order to derive the most benefit from nutrients, food must be broken down by enzymes. Specific ones are absorbed through the small intestine. A clean intestinal system will absorb nutrients quickly to jump-start your metabolism. Thus physiologically we lose weight faster.

But how do we do that? By first consuming fiber!

Fiber is essential in fostering good health and here’s why:

Suppose you had a garbage disposal in your home and nonchalantly threw scraps of food particles into it but never turned it on; what would happen?  It would build up, attract bugs and smell horrible!  And then when you finally did flip the switch, it would start grinding so slowly it might even stop if it’s too clogged.  Then you would have to snake out trapped particles or use something chemically to unclog it.

When one consumes mainly meat, fats, processed and low fiber foods, the intestines get clogged.  It’s harder therefore to move those through the colon. Since your body won’t absorb nutrients which are vital to life, your brain’s hypothalamus nags you to eat more food in search of necessary energy, thus you eat more calories but absorb fewer nutrients.

(Our digestive system is extremely complex so this is a simplified explanation.)

Strive to eat more fiber and keep your entire system working on less! Normally we need 25-35 grams of various fibers daily (approximately 4 grams equal one teaspoon.)

God advised Adam in Genesis 1:29 to consume whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs . . .  all fiber producing elements.  That’s why He placed Adam in a Garden – all our life-sustaining nutrients are available!

There is no fiber in protein or fat. Sorry, no matter how tough that meat was, there’s no fiber in its content.

There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Usually fruits, vegetables and whole grains include combinations of both.

Soluble fiber turns into a gel and helps lower one’s cholesterol.  Think apples, oranges, pears, beans and oats – all excellent sources of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber keeps our blood sugar levels steady so it’s easier to stand up to temptations. It also reduces the treacherous LDL cholesterol! Think of it as Liquid Plumr.

Insoluble fiber stays intact, it doesn’t break up as it travels through our system.  Think corn which basically exits intact. Whole grains such as potatoes, legumes, apple peels, beans and bran cereals are other excellent sources. Insoluble fiber  draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier and easier to pass. It’s like Roto-Rooter.

Increase daily water content. If you ever dropped a piece of bread into the sink and watched it swell as water touched it, that’s what happens to fiber in your system. Fiber expands, creating a feeling of fullness. Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into your system, discouraging uncontrolled cravings.

If you consume a piece of fruit, add a bit of protein along with it such as a touch of peanut butter or piece of cheese. When choosing bread, remember the heavier the bread, the more fiber it contains.

If 60% of your daily calorie intake contains fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, obesity, hemorrhoids and many other diseases. Remember, a man reaps what he sows, so strive to eat healthier to increase energy and lose weight.

Warning:  Increase fiber gradually. Excessive fiber intake may decrease the absorption of zinc, iron and calcium as well as promoting more gas. Take vitamin and mineral supplements separately from fiber.

Caffeine and the Coffee Balancing Act

Becoming healthy a personal choice. I’ve often stated that I can’t make anyone healthy. Someone must want a healthy lifestyle more than I want it for them. I attempt to encourage, lead in the right direction, explain physiology, warn against nutritional fallacies and set a good example but ultimately it’s a personal decision as to what one’s diet consists of.

It seems something “new” comes out weekly. A recent study stated that coffee was now the panacea to good health. It’s actually good for us! scientists declared.

Well of course it is good for us – it was already in the Garden of Eden when God told Adam:   “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”  (Genesis 1:29)  The coffee bean comes from a seed-bearing plant, (which depending on the type, grows anywhere from 5-18 feet tall.)

Be careful however. Human nature, being what it is, perceives if something’s good, more has to be even better.This pertains to that “new” eye-opening scientific report on coffee too.

What we choose is not always beneficial to or health. He encouraged us to eat in moderation for He would never encourage us to consume something that would harm us. That’s our Choice!

One of my patients drank 30 cups of coffee per day. That’s certainly not “moderation.” To her it became a very unproductive choice. By consuming that much caffeine it depleted her B vitamins. So what you ask? Well the most important function of B vitamins is to convert fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy.

Therefore, no B vitamins, no metabolic function. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and her B vitamins were lost through urination.  She was spinning her wheels, going nowhere and didn’t realize why.

When metabolic nutrients are lost, the body hungers for extra food to regulate and energize its system. Everything she consumed went directly to caloric intake without outgo; therefore she was gaining weight. No diet plan would help until she got her coffee addiction under control.

A quick withdrawal from coffee addiction wasn’t an option.  Caffeine is a drug and with any drug there are side effects. A cold-turkey approach would leave her shaking, jittery, cranky and downright unpleasant to be around. A gradual reduction was the only alternative. It took months to re-establish her metabolic functions to normal; then she could begin to lose weight.

Imbibing caffeine above normal consumption depletes calcium from bones. I happen to be small boned and am very susceptible to osteoporosis. Therefore, based on my size and weight, I usually limit my coffee intake to 2 cups per day.

Then why do experts say it’s good for us? Because it is in moderation.

Coffee contains many beneficial nutrients including some 50 cent words such as tocopherols, (antioxidants which protect against cell damage) chlorogenic acid (which protects against tumor growth.)

Coffee contains two chemicals, kahweol and cafestrol, which seems to provide some cancer protection as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

Anything extracted from the soil contain valuable nutrients. Coffee beans contain magnesium,  calcium, phosphorus and antioxidants.

Coffee invigorates your brain’s cognitive function which is why we prefer this drink as our morning wake-up call.

It’s a safe stimulant for the bowels and assists the digestive system. It’s a natural diuretic removing excess toxins from the kidneys and liver.

But jumping on the bandwagon thinking, “Great, coffee’s good for me so now I can drink all the coffee I want” is ludicrous.

There must be balance!

 

 

 

 

Fact or Culinary Manipulation?

A patient of mine mistakenly believed in order to lose weight he would have to suffer. He explained he only darkened my office door to please his wife. He promised her he’d listen to me for three weeks and then leave. It reminded me of the old western joke, “We’ll give him a fair trial and then we’ll hang ’em!” I explained contrary to belief, he wouldn’t be eating “sticks and twigs.” Over the next year he and his wife became two of my favorite patients.

Why do some believe the “penance principle?” Anything is fine in moderation!  Remember we are each unique. No specific formula will work for everyone so there is no “one-size fits all” method.

Unfortunately many dieters I’ve counseled have followed diets (some outright dangerous) without thinking. Where are valuable nutrients??? I don’t care if it worked for Oprah or some other famous person; celebrities aren’t always correct. I’ve even seen some well-known health professionals subliminally manipulate results to prove their point.

Take for example a segment I watched on the Dr. Oz show while I waited to see the optometrist. It was on the benefits of chicken skin, long considered to be off-limits.

Okay, I thought, anything is fine in moderation; this will be interesting.

The good doctor chose three women from the audience and asked them which serving plate on the counter looked more appetizing  Displayed were three separate creations of two different recipes. One serving was featured on a paler colored plate and in my estimation looked pretty blah. The other was displayed on a vibrantly colored plate.

Each chose the brightly colored plate every time. To me it seemed the results were skewed to produce a positive result of one over the other. The brightly colored plate made the selection naturally more appealing and you guessed it, the brighter one featured the chicken skin portion.

I was sitting next to a woman who leaned over and quietly revealed, “I’m a nurse; we were required to only take one class in nutrition. I never knew this. Isn’t this amazing?” Then she got called for her appointment. So I continued to watch the program by myself, extolling the benefits of chicken skin.

As I watched, I don’t remember the doctor mentioning portion size, only that chicken skin contained 50 more calories than skinless chicken. So chicken skin only has 5o extra calories? Mmm, I wondered, for how many ounces? I don’t recall hearing that. I’m sure if you purchase chicken breasts, you notice size varies widely.The difference: a 3 ounce breaded, fried chicken breast is around 120 calories.

Nor do I remember him stating or suggesting how the chicken was prepared. That definitely makes a difference! Was the serving floured, breaded,  grilled, deep or battered-fried? Was it prepared in butter, oil, grease, PAM. (FYI: the more natural the better – butter has nutrients, kitchen sprays have artificial chemicals. You make the call.)

Fat will keep us fuller longer, that’s true. Fat remains in our system from 5-7 hours. There are also plenty of vitamins and minerals in chicken skin, including niacin, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, selenium (the feel-good nutrient.)  If I ever consume the skin I prefer it grilled on broasted.

My point is to not condemn Dr. Oz. He has valuable information on his show and a limited time to present it. My intention is to protect against the snare by half-truths. Always question everything and do your research!

“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”  (Proverbs 27: 10,11)

“You believe whaaaat . . . ???

There have been many myths regarding nutrition; many I have already written about over the years.

My Litmus test for truth has always been, “What does God say about it?” Would God instruct us to consume anything in moderation and then say,”Whoops!” I doubt it because my God doesn’t make mistakes.

My go-to for accuracy has been the Bible. Contrary to science and some intellectuals, it holds no mistakes. The Bible declared the Earth round, a fetus has a beating heart and man lived with dinosaurs long before science had to retract their theories.

Over the past 15 years some “bad” foods have come back into acceptance again. Yet some diets still declare certain ones off-limits. For example, the Paleo diet plan claims lentils, beans & potatoes are forbidden. Silly, if God made it for food, it shouldn’t be unless you’re allergic to it.

Let’s address some nutritional fallacies you might have believed in the past.

Nuts: Yes they are loaded with calories but all foods should be eaten in moderation. Walnuts especially are helpful in reducing the bad LDL cholesterol while increasing the good which protects against heart disease.

Red Meat:  Do you know that red meat is one of the few places we can find B12, a vital nutrient in fighting fatigue and neurological damage? When given to dementia patients, most saw improvement. It also contains zinc, iron, B6 and niacin among other important elements. But choose wisely: select anything labeled “round” or “loin” as the best cuts for health. A 3 ounce serving is approximately 150 calories and 4 grams of fat which is less than dark meat chicken.

Eggs: When I first began my career in 1990, eggs were considered unhealthy. I wondered how a God who made everything good could make a mistake. Well, as I researched I discovered that eggs contained, A,D,E, B6, B12, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, iron, choline, folate, selenium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and vital amino acids among other nutrients. Does that sound like something we should avoid? Of course not, my God doesn’t make mistakes!

Chocolate: Any food becomes fattening when we lose control and overindulge but chocolate has gotten a bad wrap. It’s like giving a child a bunch of crayons and when he draws on the walls, blames the wall. Use common sense and set up boundaries. An ounce or two of dark chocolate chips or two Hershey Kisses won’t destroy your health plan. Losing control does and that’s a counseling challenge!

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”   (James 1:14)

Chocolate contains many vital nutrients such as magnesium, iron,  selenium,  and  phenylethylamine which actually affects weight management, stimulates the nervous system and assists in digestion aid. It also of course emits the same emotion as love. When God told us to consume every green plant and tree in the garden, it didn’t surprise me to discover that the cocoa bean comes from a tree.

Pizza:  A good source of calcium and iron if you make your own with limited cheese and plenty of mushrooms, peppers, black olives, etc.. Pizza can be fattening if one consumes an overabundance of sausage, pepperoni, and 80% hamburger. However if you order one with Canadian bacon and pineapple why not enjoy a couple slices?  BBQ chicken is excellent too.

Shrimp: “Too much cholesterol,” they cry! It might surprise you to discover that the cholesterol in shrimp works to increase the good HDL while lowering the bad LDL type. Over the years, similar revelations were found with butter, coconut oil and nut butters.

Anything is fine in moderation (1 Corinthians 10:23) so choose wisely and enjoy God’s Bounty!

Should We Expect Rewards for Bad Behavior?

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”  (1 Corinthians 9:27)

I haven’t posted about our pup, “Mr. No-no” in a while. How quickly times flies. He’s 17 months now and still mischievous. Honestly though, he’s so gosh-darn-fluffy-cute & affectionate, I can’t stay angry at him long.

Unfortunately I must be more stubborn than the pooch or I’d have a very spoiled dog and no one likes that. He gets away with some bad behavior occasionally, but mostly he’s a  joy to be around, sweet but challenging.

In spite of all the toys he has to play with, we’ll still catch him chewing on the edge of our carpet. We know he realizes right from wrong because as soon as I gasp at what he’s doing, he’ll run into his crate and give himself a “time-out” and look absolutely  sorrowful for what he’s done.

Or is perhaps the real reason he’s miserable, is because he got caught?!

How like unruly pooches we are too. Many of my patients were extremely sorry after consuming all those chemically-based, fattening foods which evolved into heart disease or diabetes. But were they really  (???) . . . or was it the fact that their behavior caught up with them and they had to face the consequences of their actions which caused the sorrow?

Everyone realizes that choosing unhealthy foods MOST of the time isn’t good for us – that’s a “duh” statement. But we do it anyway, don’t we? It’s the main reason I enjoy counseling because getting to the root of  why we self-destruct with foods must come first.

Our American diet has become so unhealthy: Breakfast of bacon, 3 egg cheese omelette, hash browns, buttered toast followed by fast-food double cheeseburgers, French fries and shake for lunch. Then for dinner fried chicken and a “diet” coke. (Or the equivalent daily.)

Recently we were visiting at someone’s house and our dog kept jumping up, demanding a treat. I asked the friend not to give it to him unless he sat first. The man laughed, shook his head and stated, “Oh that’s okay, he’s just a puppy.” and promptly gave Mr. “No-no” a treat. So what did our dog learn? That jumping is acceptable and you’ll be rewarded if you keep it up.

That’s so contrary to Scripture. What if God laughed at our ungodly behavior and smirked, “Well, that’s just Fred. He’s a new Christian. Here’s a treat . . .”

No! Actions have consequences. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)  Or as we say in today’s terms, “Garbage in, garbage out.” God stated anything is permissible. but not everything is constructive. (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Sure consuming BBQ ribs, fries, milkshakes, steaks, etc. is permissible. Simply eat less and balance  nutrients out. Personally I avoid most fattening foods because fat actually coats the tongue which prevents us from really tasting our food. Therefore we eat more, trying to derive more flavor. That first bite of ice cream or donut might taste fantastic but after a while, we don’t reap as much enjoyment because our taste buds are covered.

80% of the time choose healthy nutritious foods. What God created in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3, He preferred us to eat. He provided us with excellent and varied choices for our best metabolic function. We should always attempt to honor God with our lifestyle and diet. If we abuse our bodies, remember it was our choice.

Discipline your body! Don’t create an idol out of food, because actions always have consequences.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Fall for “Bait and Switch” Tactics

I must admit to a pet peeve and I’m probably not alone in this.

Occasionally on Twitter, I’ll discover new people are “following” me. Great, love new followers! I’ve developed some fabulous friendships this way. But what really gets me ticked off, are those who only go on “fishing” expeditions.

You know the ones I’m talking about.  Those who “follow” my Twitter account in hopes I’ll click onto theirs and follow back, then unfollow the next day? These are “bait and switchers.” They care nothing about me. (Don’t like phonies, never have, never will.) They only want to add to their numbers (even some Christian sites do this! Shameful!) Sorry I won’t fall for it. I can “unfollow” faster than follow.

I don’t understand their thinking. Why are they only searching for numbers? Do they believe an agent/ publisher will think, wow, so many followers! I’ll sell twelve more copies of their books. I’d rather have a 100 true friends than 74 thousand phony ones, wouldn’t you? My followers become friends and I praise God for some amazing people I’ve met through blogging, Facebook and Twitter.

Well once again, as a nutritional counselor, I connected this to false diet plans and the gurus who create and profess “Join this diet plan and lose ten pounds in the first week as millions have done in the past!”

You see, like those who bait and switch to create a huge false following, those diets are fishing too.

“OVER A MILLION PEOPLE HAVE LOST WEIGHT ON THE __________ DIET PLAN. YOU CAN TOO!”

But you protest, “A million people can’t be wrong!” Sure they can. An old Chinese proverb professes, “Even if 5,000 men are wrong – they’re STILL wrong.” Numbers mean little except when it comes to Heaven.

“There is no salvation by anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10 ISV)

Of course millions have lost weight on diets – any diet will allow you to lose weight. But there’s no easy way to do so. More importantly, how many have kept it off? My guess is not many!

False diet plans can’t be consumed forever because they are unbalanced. It’s physiology. The body’s chemistry would rebel. Those diets lack vital and necessary nutrients for normal physiological functions. The body wants to survive and will do all it can do rectify this false mindset, even shutting down your metabolism in order to conserve caloric energy. Or worse, retaining fat because it perceives the crops have failed and you need rescuing!

False prophets and false diet gurus profess all types of claims because they want followers too. Their false claims aren’t backed up by Truth. And those who snidely remark how naïve I am to believe God’s Word over “science” are the same people who claim it’s unhealthy to eat potatoes, eggs, dairy, avocadoes  . . .  Then physiological truth appears and scientists whisper, “whoops, never mind.”

I declare, some who follow these false teachings are the same people who wistfully believe a hot dog and ice cream diet will make them slimmer and healthier. (Oh, in case you think I’m exaggerating, just ask Oprah who in the mid 1990s set up a false diet center in a mall professing that bogus claim and had 41 people sign up in 2 days!)

“The inexperienced inherit foolishness, but the sensible are crowned with knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:18 HSV) 

What I am asking you to do is research before you act. Signing up for crazy diet plans will only make your wallet slimmer, not your waistline!