Thursday, May 29, 2014
I am super busy so am keeping a low profile while still being involved. The task for this period of life is keeping good habits up when the chips are down. When I get harried, I don't plan (i.e. pack meals for when I'm on the run). Yesterday, I spent the whole day on my parents, including taking a car in for repairs in a metropolitan area far from my pastoral rural domicile. But the people were nice.
On my Spark page, both on the landing page and in my photos, I have flowers with what appears to be little bees on them. I wondered what they were. I found out when reading a book on companion plants this morning. Actually, they are insects that we do want to attract to our gardens! They are called hoverflies. They are a family of insects. Mine are a particular type. Other hoverflies look more like bumble bees than mine do.
In the book, they merely described them, but they did it so well, I knew I'd found my answer. I just had to go online for a short jaunt to find photos of them. There is a link at the bottom of this blog if you are curious.
Here are some of my hoverflies. On my Spark Page, I called them bees.
I believe these are hoverflies. They are wonderful pollinators and attack aphids, leafhoppers, caterpillars, thrips, corn earworms, and mealybugs. They need nectar so are flower lovers. If you think they are something other than hoverflies, please let me know.
Here is a violet. They are currently blooming. There is a little bed of them on the walkway to our patio. I took this photo on Monday.
Lastly, I will throw in some perfectly spherical water drops on my newly emerging bleeding hearts about three weeks ago.
I will be around, although you may not know it much. I am still caregiver to 4 people, and I feel it now! My life is going to start getting more hectic over the next few weeks. Thank goodness for gardening! It's a relaxing source of good exercise. I burned 1,190 calories earlier this week, on Tuesday. All in one day. So even though I'm not out running marathons, and appear rather staid in how I go about my fitness, I'm burning serious calories. Later on when the garden is farther along, I will start walking more.
Thanks for stopping!
Monday, April 21, 2014
Dr. Mickey starts out by emphasizing that a little means a lot. Just "1 degree" of increased effort can make a difference.
The simplest way to speed up your metabolism is by increasing your regular daily activity and exercising a little more each day. A fantastic benefit of exercise is that it will increase your metabolism for up to 12 hours postworkout! Exercising and leading an active lifestyle do wonders for the metabolism.
Thermogenic Effect of Exercise (TEE)
Mode - what kind of exercise you do
Duration - how long you exercise
Frequency - how often
Time of day - a.m. versus p.m.
Quantity - Amount each day
Type - strength training with free weights, body weight or machines versus cardio exercise
Sequence - what you do first and what follows
Intensity - how easy or difficult
Mistakes That Sabotage:
Not committing to regular exercise
Not having the right reasons
Using the wrong mode for your goals
Exercising at too high intensity
Routine that is too short or too long
Wrong location or time of day
Guide to Revving Your Metabolism
1. Exercise in the morning. If you exercise in the morning, you will reap the entire day.
2. Make your cardiovascular sessions at least 30 minutes. The first 12-15 minutes is taken up with sugar burning. After 15 minutes there is a transition from sugar to fat burning. After 30 minutes and beyond, you're burning all fat.
3. Remember the postexercise effect. Metabolic rate increases 5-10% after exercise, and it continues for 8-12 hours!
Your attitude can make all the difference. It is here that he advocates the common advice to park farther away in a parking lot, walk instead of drive when you can, take stairs instead of elevator or escalator. Even though we burn fat with longer walks, he still wants us to use little opportunities to move. "The more you do, the more you'll lose."
Even though the average adult woman burns approx. 200 calories walking 2 miles, and a bagel contains approx. 200 calories, it is still worthwhile to exercise. Why? Excess postexercise oxygen consumption dramatically raises your metabolic rate! Again, he reiterates that your increased metabolism will remain for 8-12 hours! He points to a study that says exercising 30-60 minutes dramatically increases your caloric output compared to less than 30 minutes.
When you lose weight by food restriction alone, you lose fat, water and muscle. When you regain the weight, you regain fat and water but NOT the muscle. If you don't exercise while losing weight (thus gaining muscle), you will have much more fat in your body than when you started, if you gain the weight again. This has an incredible lowering effect on your metabolism from then on.
This is why thin people can eat an ice cream cone and still be thin. They move.
The exercise he advocates is walking. Frequency - he prefers 7 days a week, since we eat 7 days a week. But - he'd rather have you walk less at the start, rather than burn out. "I've found that daily exercise produces results that are faster than and superior to those seen with exercising only three or four times a week."
That said, he wants you to take a 3-day break every 4 weeks. Two reasons: 1. he thinks it will keep you motivated. You'll be eager to start back, 2. keeps the body from becoming burned out or injured by overuse. He thinks women tend to exercise too often and too long once they get in the groove.
At this point he repeats you should walk for as long as you can beyond 30 minutes, up to 60 minutes, but it is very important to take your 3 rest days every 4 weeks.
Intensity - you should be able to talk. Once your exercise is easy, you should raise the intensity by walking faster, for a longer time, taking longer strides, taking shorter strides at a quicker pace, holding a pair of light weights in your hands, or attaching weights to your ankles, wrists, or waist. [This sounds like something we naturally do once we have walked for a while. I thought ankle weights invited injury; I will still avoid, as it seems hard on the knees.]
He likes strength training. It should be done IN ADDITION to walking. Walking should come first. He recommends: dumbbells, jump rope, Swiss ball (balance ball), exercise mat. He does not want people spending a lot of money on this, probably because a certain segment of the population won't start if economic outlay is required.
He says the wrong kind of strength training can produce horrible consequences, but the right kind will produce marvelous results. You need just the right amount of stimulation without overtaxing your muscles, connective tissue, nervous system, and hormone levels. When he talks hormone levels, I believe he's referring to the fact that stress raises cortisol and other undesirable hormones.
He wants to add strength training 30 days after starting cardio training. Begin with 3 days a week, in any combination that will allow "2 days of rest between workouts and 3 days of complete rest, meaning no strength or aerobic exercise, after your third workout for the week." [I thought we were supposed to work out 7 days a week. That must refer to the first 30 days when we are doing just walking.]
He recommends a fitness professional to determine your ability to lift weights and do reps. [Then we go back home, because he said earlier to use inexpensive equipment?]
Two weeks after starting weight lifting, he says to use a split routine of 1/2 cardio and 1/2 strength training. He would like the cardio done by 11:30 a.m. and the strength done by 3:30 p.m. Again, the reason is that the earlier you exercise, the more results you will see. The metabolic increase continues all day, but apparently not at night. So, the earlier you work out, the more hours of postexercise effect you will realize.
Aerobics are best for lowering BP, increasing HDL (good cholesterol), decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol), strengthens the heart, lowers body fat, keeps blood sugar stable. [I thought I remember Cory Everson saying strength training burns fat. That was in the 1980s, though].
Now he covers the dangers and symptoms of overtraining, presented Sweet 16 Tips, and nutrition and exercise myths and truths. I won't go over those.
Now you have the gist of this book without reading it yourself, in case you don't have the time or availability. I think he has some food for thought. I will try it. It certainly can't hurt to try walking in the morning. Traditionally, my favorite time was evening around dusk because my chores were over, signaling "my time." But I can change my ways for a good cause and see how it feels.
Best wishes, my friends, and keep Sparking! I know I will!
Monday, March 31, 2014
Dr. Mickey Harpaz, PhD has degrees in applied physiology and nutrition. He has treated more than 10,000 menopausal women.
He starts Diet Reset by repeating that during menopause, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone decrease, while androgen increases. But he says estrogen plays the key role. Loss of it is what causes weight to creep up.
When blood sugar goes up, insulin goes up. That results in no weight loss or weight increase.
Here is what we do in daily life to cause this to happen:
1. Going without food for at least 3 hours. This sharply raises your insulin level the next time you eat.
2. Eating too much at one sitting. This causes a problem for the LIVER. It can't break all that down without increasing triglycerides. The excessive sugar taken in a big meal makes insulin go up. When insulin goes up, the body can't burn fat.
3. Eating more than 10 grams of simple sugar per serving. Same as above. Causes increased insulin and no body fat burned.
4. Eating two carbohydrates in one sitting or near the same time. How many of us eat potatoes and bread at the time meal? Or pasta and bread? The same is true if you eat two serving sizes of one carbohydrate. The liver can't handle that and insulin levels go up too much and fat burning is "demolished." (The word he uses.)
He says you should eat fruits and vegetables ANYTIME you're hungry, even if it hasn't been 2 hours since your last meal or snack.
You want to stop blood sugar spikes, because the higher it spikes, the lower it drops afterward. It is an equally inverse relationship every time!
There is one more part of the picture: lack of exercise. This is number 5. Exercise is VERY important to menopausal women. Not using your muscles is going to make your blood sugar go up too. "Your goal is to burn energy from morning until night." Quote unquote.
Did you know that a woman gains weight from the bottom up? And that she loses weight from the top of the torso first, then from the bottom? I thought the past several months that my midriff seems to be getting smaller, but what about everything else? Dr. Harpaz answered that. I have a way to go, but it will continue and balance out!!!
THE THERMOGENIC EFFECT OF FOOD
Dr. Mick lists three quick tips to create the thermogenic effect of food:
1. Eat a minimum of 6 times per day. Three meals, three snacks.
2. Reduce fat intake, increase carb intake, and eat sufficient protein. In a diet that is 1,200 to 1,800 calories, total fat intake should be between 240 and 300 calories. (This confused me a little, because I thought we were already eating too many carbs).
3. Eat more than 1,000 calories every day.
At this point, he gives specific advice with lots of menu ideas. (I mean pages).
Always eat something within one hour of getting up, even if it's just a small piece of fruit, so your blood sugar doesn't go too low. Snacks should 120 calories or under and less than 10 grams of sugar. Remember, you're eating every 2 hours.
Yesterday, I ate 89 grams of fat, because one meal consisted of guacamole and blue corn tortilla chips. The avocado was 35 grams of fat in itself. So I need to consider his advice and see what happens if I do things differently. Of course, I don't do that very often. No one was home at dinnertime and I was free to be lazy so that's what I ate. Nuts are a part of my daily diet so I need to check into exactly how many grams of fat I am taking in from them. I always thought that as long as my overall calorie expenditure was within limits, I was okay. Apparently not.
I think that vegetarians might protest this. Any vegetarians out there, please share your opinion or experiences. I can see a vegetarian eating beans and grain at one meal, a bean burrito for example. My calories are usually in range, yet I'm not losing weight. I might see what happens now that I am finally exercising again. But I will keep in mind that my fat intake should be dropped, even if it is healthy monounsaturated fat.
Eat a minimum of 5 times and up to 8 times per day. Mix one protein and one carbohydrate. Never have two carbs or a double portion of one carb at one meal. Each meal or snack should be eaten 2 to 2-1/2 hours after the last one. Keep sugar intake under 10 grams. Fat intake should be 10 grams per meal and 20-30 grams per day. (I'm already up to 54 grams today as of lunch. I have to stop this.) Each meal should be 60% carbs, 30% protein, 10% fat. Never have second servings. Never skip meals or snacks.
It's too bad that I didn't finish this chapter on Diet Reset before I started some soup this morning. I put sweet potatoes, corn, lentils, and rice in the pot! Egad! If this guy is right, I have to change my ways! Again, my calorie intake is okay, but between lack of exercise this winter and violating these guidelines, I can see why I'm not making progress.
Next, I will cover Movement Reset.
I already started reading Denise Austin's new book Side Effect: Skinny. I like to get different ideas. I couldn't resist hearing what she has to say these days. It's interesting how different diet and fitness experts have varying approaches and each claim success. I guess that's because everyone is different, just like Spark People has said. I remember early on after I started, they said different things work for different people. I hope you find something useful in this blog.
Have a great day! I'll be out walking my dog this afternoon. The weather is beautiful and it will be cooling off the rest of the week, starting tomorrow already! Until then, it's happy birdwatching and enjoying the balmy breeze!
Friday, March 21, 2014
I am ready to blog on Diet Reset but got distracted with the conflict and time taken to get my dad off the road. His license expired two months ago and with the cold weather, it was easy enough to keep him in their apartment with the icy conditions in their parking lot. As soon as the asphalt was exposed, he drove himself to the doctor on Monday. I followed in my car because I won't sanction him driving. He doesn't think of himself as breaking the law because of the provision to pay a late driver's license fee.
I'm not getting much help. The doctor didn't send in the physician form from the DMV that I personally printed up and drove down to his office last month. He apparently has a policy of not filling them out because a "I don't want you driving" speech is enough for his patients. Not my dad. Dad got that speech on Monday. He went to the DMV the next day and got his license. The nurse and office manager in the clinic said they would do a driving test. They didn't. How he got past them I will never know but it's a satellite office in a very small town. I spent two hours in the clinic that day just sitting around and by the time I drove home, I was trashed for the day. It wasn't until Tuesday night that my daughter called to inform me that she wrung it out of him that he went to the DMV that day and got the license.
So Wednesday, I printed a form that can be filled out by anyone and spent the day writing the things I had seen and heard from my experiences with him. I simply wrote on the form "see attached" on the lines provided and sent them pages delineating his medical problems and what he had done on the highways and streets of this area over the past 18 months. Then I had to drive 10 miles to the nearest fax machine because the DMV told me over the phone it would be better to fax it rather than wait for snail mail. I don't have a scanner connected to this computer.
All of this takes TIME, all diverting me away from taking care of myself and my family. I realize he has rights and we are trying to keep their personal rights intact. That's why they're not in a nursing home yet. But he shouldn't be on the road in his shape. There are enormous numbers of kids who will be on the streets in their town by June, going to library programs, the beach, summer school, riding bikes. It's a hopping place. And my dad has a history of clipping corners. The street from their apartment building comes out onto Main Street about two blocks away from the beach, and two blocks from the library from the other direction. There are always kids on that corner waiting to cross.
Another positive about his staying home all winter is I have been doing all their grocery shopping exclusively. I have not been bringing soda pop, ice cream, candy, baked goods that he had being bringing (two 12-packs of Coke at a time). He has lost 15 pounds over the winter. For a diabetic, that is a big deal. Now I hope he doesn't start going to the store and bringing that stuff back home again. He certainly didn't seem to miss it. I made them guacamole, healthy dips and spreads, brought lots of berries and fruits and veggies, other healthy snacks, and prepared them so they never were in want. He was happy and satisfied.
I'm spending whatever time is required to get him at least a decent evaluation from the state before he commences. I feel it is my responsibility to the community. Let's hope for the best. The DMV will evaluate his situation early next week. If they let him drive after that, then my conscience is clear.
I spent yesterday taking his VPAP machine to the medical supply company because it had died. He was content letting me do that for him and didn't give me any trouble about driving down there. I take him back on Tuesday to get his new one.
Diet Reset will come ASAP. It will be shorter than Mind Reset, I guarantee you.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Overview of Menopause Reset! by Dr. Mickey Harpaz
Installment 2: Mind Reset!
The most important weapon in your fight to get your body back is your mental attitude. Physiological changes of menopause are tough, but when mental and emotional changes are added, a downward spiral can result. A main symptom of this is stress. When stress builds, negative behaviors and actions lead to weight gain.
Stress hormones like cortisol signal to the menopausal woman's body that it should go into an energy storage mode called the famine effect.
Four Strategies to Start the Mental Reset
Strategy 1: Harness the Power of Desire
He focuses on core beliefs, goals, and achievement history. Remember the successful times in your life and your feelings at the time. By focusing on these, you can relight "the fire that can lift you higher." This fire is the beginning of ALL great achievement. You've got to get fired up about something in order to achieve it.
Desire has the power to transform what might happen into what will happen. It has been said that 1 person with desire equals the power of 99 people who just have interest.
See yourself already there. The intensity of your desire will determine how long it will take you to reach your goals. Don't give up if results don't come fast enough. The power of desire will carry you through the good times and the bad, give you the patience to continue, and help you out of the valleys of disappointment and heartache.
Words matter. You cannot and will not rise above your words. You cannot and will not rise above the words you tell yourself each day. The only comparison you should ever make is what you're doing versus what you know you are capable of.
Most people are used to doing just enough to keep things going smoothly. Here's a wee bit of advice: Do just a little bit more than you're dong now, and the results just might astonish you.
Strategy 2: Think of Today as the Beginning
He wants to wipe our mental slate clean of all the diet books, misinformation, unworkable beliefs. Most people focus too much energy on the past instead of looking toward the future. Each day when you wake up, you are given a blank canvas to be anything you choose to be, or to experience.
At this point, he discusses letting go of our past and enjoying today while accepting lessons learned from yesterday. Now he brings up the subject of fear. We were born with every possibility. Over time we accepted limits put on us by society, and they became like fences. We started to believe all these fences were real even though they were only beliefs. You were meant to have the kind of body or life you dream of.
Part of wiping the slate clean is learning to trust yourself. Live by these words: "As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." In the past, we sought answers from anyone and anywhere. Even elite athletes rode the crest to the top, and once they hit the top, they got scared, and lost trust in themselves. Whether it is the exercise you choose, the food you eat, or the body you wish to have, you know deep down inside of you that you can trust yourself to make the best choices for you.
Strategy 3: Know Your Triggers in Order to Reduce Stress
These triggers include: feelings of deprivation, boredom, low self esteem, poor motivation, lack of self trust, unrealistic expectations.
How to reduce these triggers: develop a list of stressors, join a stretching class, create a list of the things you enjoy.
I thought his choices on reducing triggers was interesting. Basically stretching and having fun.
Next, he reiterates that the menopausal body is sensitive to stress. He says he has found a very effective way to diminish the impact of stress. How? By breaking down the things that cause stress into the Changeable and Unchangeable.
First the Changeable. He wants us to rank these stressors from least important to most difficult. Figure out how you can modify them so they won't cause stress. Put your plan into action immediately.
Second the Unchangeable. Rank these stressors. Now look for ways to change our perception of each unchangeable stressor. Example: if someone annoys you, start looking for their behaviors that you like the most.
Strategy 4: Set Your Sights and Stay the Course
Determine Why You Want to Succeed, Set Goals, and Don't Let Setbacks or Slumps Get You Down. If you have enough reason WHY, you'll find enough ways to understand HOW. He says the only reason to lose weight is to feel better and healthier for the rest of our lives!
Determine Exactly What You Want. Determine exactly what you want to look like. What body parts do you especially want to work on? Arms? Smaller waist? Think about the way you want your body to look.
Determine What It Will Take to Get That Body. How many days a week will you work out? What kind of equipment? Be sure that your workout matches the goals that you have. What kind of diet?
Establish a Definite Date for When You Want to Have the Body You've Wanted. Be realistic about this. If you're a beginner, you'll likely need more than a year to become an athlete. So, set short terms goals at first, so you can gauge how your body is responding to the program you have it on. From there, it should be much easier to judge how much time it will take you to reach your big goal.
Begin At Once to Carry Out Your Plans.
"Where the mind goes, the body follows" is a maxim Dr. Harpaz has found to be 100% true. We can only go as high as our thoughts and our beliefs in ourselves let us. If you believe you'll always be overweight, you'll never go beyond those boundaries until you change your thoughts to match the changes you want to see happen.
Never fear making mistakes. Rather, fear NOT making any. You will succeed BECAUSE of experiencing those things. To find the things we want, we first go through the experience of finding the things we don't want. To find things that work, we first go through the experience of discovering the things that don't work.
Follow your instincts, learn from your trials and errors as you fine-tune your approach, and you'll find just the right things that can bring your life great joy.
Cherish the Small Steps. As you move through Menopause Reset, there will be times when you will be very excited about exercising. There will also be times when you won't feel like exercising. But you won't quit, because deep down, you know how good exercising is for you and how it makes you feel when you don't do it. (How many Spark People have said that?)
Then he spends about 4-5 pages explaining what to do about a slump. At the end, he outlines how the four strategies worked in practice for an actual client of his. This covered the last 3 pages of this section.
Next Installment: Diet Reset
SP also does a good job of motivation and emotional aspects of weight loss. It often sounds like parts of this book.
I included as much as I did because different people can find different things that help them. I also wanted to cover Dr. Harpaz's advice thoroughly.
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