MYST 170: Reducing Your Cholesterol (part 2)

How to help your cholesterol numbers without medication?

Studies show that some foods, when consumed regularly over a 6-week period, can reduce our LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol, and others can increase our HDL. Some of these studies suggest percentages of improvement. Remember that a study is not necessarily real life, so you can’t assume you will achieve those values, but it is a start. First things first:

Limit Sat Fat: Why is saturated fat so bad for your heart and blood vessels? The liver uses saturated fat to make cholesterol, so eating foods with too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels, especially LDL. Saturated fats are usually found in animal products such as whole milk, cream, butter, and cheese, and meats, such as beef, lamb, and pork. There are some plant-based saturated fats you should avoid too, notably palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and vegetable shortening.

Yes, that means I am telling you to stop using coconut oil. I know that some research suggests it may be different and not as bad as other saturated fats. Personally, I’ll err on the side of caution. I know saturated fats will cause problems, and that outweighs the fact that it may not cause as many problems as thought.

Now, what should you eat?

If you know you want menu ideas, just click here.

Whole grains like oatmeal barley and brown rice have lots of soluble fiber, which has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream and can drop LDL up to 5%  Try switching out your regular pasta for the whole-grain version, or use brown rice instead of white. You can add dry oatmeal to your fruit smoothie for added body, but no change in flavor.

Red wine drops LDL 9-12% Red wine contains resveratrol, which may prevent damage to blood vessels by reducing the risk of blood clots.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause a host of other health issues, however; while a glass of red wine at dinner is fine, don’t overdo it. Also, wine has calories to consider. On average, wine is about 25 calories per fluid ounce (per 30mL). If you are going to drink wine, measure it every time, don’t just pour it into your goblet. A five-ounce portion will add 125 calories. If you free-pour and end up with just six ounces in your glass, that is 25 calories extra. Over a full year, that adds up to 9.125 calories, or the equivalent to 2.6 pounds!

Photos via Pixabay by Eagletonc

High Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fish raise HDL up to 4%. Fish like salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, mackerel and river trout are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce triglycerides in the blood. Aim for 8 ounces of fish a week, and bake or grill the fish — don’t fry it — to keep it healthy. Non-fatty fish (cod, haddock, tilapia, are healthy sources of protein, and still offer some omega-3 benefit, but not as much.)

Photos via Pixabay by Meditations

Tree Nuts drops LDL up to 5%. Nuts are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, so almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or pistachios can help reduce your LDL levels with their high levels of plant sterols. Try sprinkling them on your salad, or eat them right out of hand as a snack. Just be sure to choose the low-salt option, and keep it to about 1 ounce a day — nuts are also high in calories. For almonds, that’s about 28 almonds or 1/4 cup, and will add 180-200 calories to your daily consumption. That isn’t terrible, but you need to plan for it. (Peanuts do not have the same effect.)

Tea (especially green, but white an black are good, too—but not herbal) reduces total lipids by up to 10% Both black and green teas contain powerful antioxidants that may reduce cholesterol levels. Green tea typically contains more of these antioxidant powerhouses, as it is made from unfermented leaves and is less processed. Note: you need to drink 6-12 cups a day for this beneficial effect to occur. Remember that this will add caffeine to your day. If you are sensitive to caffeine or have high blood pressure, this may not be a good choice. I enjoy green tea with fresh ginger, and maybe just a bit of raw honey (1 teaspoon).

Fruit Pears and apples have a lot of pectin, which is a type of fiber that can lower cholesterol. So do citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Berries are also high in fiber. I add 1/4 cup blueberries to my morning oatmeal. One study showed a daily grapefruit can reduce total cholesterol by 15%, LDL by 20% and triglycerides by 17%. Two-three kiwi fruits a day for 28 days has shown a 15% triglyceride reduction. The key here is not that you must eat the same fruit every day, but that you eat some sort of fruit every day.

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/pear-and-red-onion-gratin

Vegetables Most vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories. Let’s get specific. Which are the BEST vegetables for this goal of reducing cholesterol?

Photos via Pixabay by Jill111

Eggplant and okra contain high amounts of soluble fiber. Eggplants are also high in antioxidants. (Personal confession here: I detest okra. I’ve tried it in several different dishes, and have yet to find a reason to add this to my diet.)

Radishes Their red hue is due to anthocyanins, a group of phytochemical compounds that has been shown to reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, and bad cholesterol. In a Japanese study, rats fed radishes for three weeks showed reduced levels of bad cholesterol and insulin and a boost in good cholesterol. Use them as a salad garnish, taco-topper, or my preference:  eatinng them whole as a high-fiber, belly-filling snack. (If you want to start a garden, radishes will go from seed to ready for harvest in about three weeks.)

Onions Thanks to their bioactive sulfur-containing compounds, the culinary staple can help lower cholesterol, ward off hardening of the arteries, and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, onions may lower cholesterol by decreasing your body’s synthesis of the compound as well as increasing conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. Onions are easy to throw into just about anything, and I use onions in just about every meal. Just make sure to cook them first. The same study found that heat-treated onions were more effective at lowering cholesterol compared to raw onions.

Ginger has also been found to help reduce total cholesterol and LDL. Researchers attribute ginger’s health benefits to gingerols, compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial.

Legumes (Beans: black, kidney, navy, pinto, garbanzo, lentil, etc.) All are rich in soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol in the blood and moves it out of the body. Recent studies show eating 4.5 ounces (1/2 cup) of cooked beans a day can reduce LDL levels by 5 percent. Try black bean burritos, or dip some veggies in hummus, which is made with chickpeas, for an afternoon snack.

Try this Caramelized Onion and White Bean Flatbread  https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/caramelized-onion-and-white-bean-flatbread 

Dark Chocolate increases HDL by up to 24% (Give up the milk chocolate, as that doesn’t help cholesterol at all.)  Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help lower LDL levels. Just make sure to eat in moderation, as chocolate is also high in saturated fat and sugar. You can also use dark, unsweetened cocoa powder in your cooking to get similar heart-healthy effects. (Mix with vanilla yogurt with some sweetener for a chocolate treat!) Like nuts, chocolate is a high calorie snack. An ounce will cost about 150 calories. Plan ahead!

Photos via Pixabay by TheChocolateWedsite

Spinach: This leafy green contains a large amount of lutein, a pigment found in vegetables that have been shown to protect the arteries from cholesterol accumulation. It’s recommended that you try to get at least half a cup of lutein-containing foods every day. It also is high in alpha-lipoic acid, which may reduce triglycerides 25-60%. An easy way to get there: Add half a cup (or more, I tend to use 3 cups) of spinach to your smoothie. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes and peas have a similar effects

Olive Oil: is a plant-based fat, so it’s a better choice when you’re trying to lower your “bad” cholesterol than fats that come from animals. It’s great mixed with red wine vinegar, a minced garlic clove, and a little ground pepper for a salad dressing. I like to roast my vegetables: Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over vegetables in a snug baking dish, scatter some herbs (especially garlic), and put in a 400F degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Photos via Pixabay by CongerDesign

Avocado is not just guacamole. They have oleic acid, which helps lower the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream. Try putting a few slices on your turkey sandwich, or add them to a salad. Some small studies have suggested that regular consumption can reduce LDL 10-22%, reduce triglycerides 10-20%, and increase HDL 5-11%. Avocado is high in calories, so plan ahead in your budget.

Fresh garlic Its nutritional value and flavor have made it a kitchen staple. Garlic has been found to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, and protect against infections.

Soy Products Edamame, soy milk, and tofu are high in protein and is very low in saturated fat. Eating just 25 grams a day can reduce your cholesterol by 5 to 6 percent. Snack on edamame, top off your bowl of cereal with soy milk, or use tofu instead of meat in your stir-fries.  Beyond replacing saturated fat-filled meats, research suggests that compounds called isoflavones may also work to reduce LDL cholesterol.

Kimchi is Korean fermented cabbage, but many other fermented foods can also help lower bad cholesterol levels. There is a strain of lactic acid bacteria (lactobacillus) that gives fermented foods their characteristic sour taste. A study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology found that the specific strain in kimchi was able to lower cholesterol levels by preventing cholesterol from being picked up by your bloodstream.

Flax and Chia Seeds One of the hallmarks of a balanced diet is to have a good ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. A 1:4 ratio is ideal, but the modern American diet is more like 1:20. That leads to inflammation, which can trigger weight gain. One of the easiest ways to upgrade your diet is by sprinkling some ground chia seeds or flaxseed into your overnight oats, on top of baked goods, or mixed into your smoothies. A recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that when patients who were susceptible to cardiovascular disease ate just 30 grams (about four tablespoons) of ground flaxseed daily, they could reduce circulating LDL cholesterol levels by 15 percent in as early as one month. You must grind flax seed to receive any benefit. The human body cannot breakdown and digest whole flax seed.

The end result?

In the previous episode, I made the assumption that your blood lipid levels were just barely into the “high” category. They are at the level where your primary care provider may consider treating with medications.

If you made all of these changes, you will see some reduction in your numbers. How much is very dependent upon many things (age, gender, genetics, and how many of these are new changes for your eating habits.)

And remember, you need to eat like this on a regular basis. What does that mean? There is no firm answer, but I’d suggest this:

  • Whole grains (oatmeal, barley) every day
  • Fruit (2 servings) every day
  • Vegetable (at least 5 servings) every day. And remember: color is important. The brighter the color, the greater the health benefit. Try to “eat the rainbow” (to steal from Skittles) and have many different vegetables.
  • Spinach daily
  • Legumes at least 4 times a week (daily is better)
  • Fatty fish twice a week. Lean meats, fish or vegetarian the remaining days.
  • Nuts, dark chocolate, and red wine at least 3 times a week. (Measure carefully and log it!)
  • Olive as your only oil.
  • Tea (at least 6 cups a day)

If you make those changes and stick with it for at least 6 weeks, you will have some positive results.

My working assumption was:

  • Total Cholesterol 240
  • LDL 160
  • HDL 40
  • Triglycerides 150

If you made all the suggested improvements, and if you only were able to achieve half of the lowest suggested improvements, your new values would be:

  • Total cholesterol 240 – 36 = 206
  • LDL 160 – 51 = 109
  • HDL 40 + 7 = 47
  • Triglycerides 150 – 70 = 80

Those new numbers are not yet in the ideal range (except triglycerides) but they are at the point where your physician would not recommend medications.

Look at that! You made simple changes to what you eat, you avoided a disease that is dangerous, all without medications!

If you want me to send you a menu (with recipes, instructions, nutritional data and a shopping list) that will help you get started on your low cholesterol lifestyle, click here! The menu will have three breakfasts, three lunches, three main dishes, seven side dishes and three snacks. That is enough for a full week of eating!

References:

http://www.eatthis.com/foods-to-lower-cholesterol/

https://www.prevention.com/health/how-to-lower-cholesterol-naturally/slide/12

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-to-lower-your-cholesterol-without-drugs

https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/ss/slideshow-cholesterol-lowering-foods

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.

MYST 169: Reducing your Cholesterol (part 1)

All right, we are all trying to lose weight and get healthy. We use the scale to gauge our progress, as well as using the fit of our clothes as another marker of success.

We also may notice that your blood pressure drops. Maybe your diabetes becomes controlled. Maybe your strength and endurance show improvement.

But what about cholesterol? What is happening to that? Is it still building up in the blood vessels around your heart, putting you at risk of a heart attack? Is it starting to clog your carotid arteries, which could bring a stroke? Is it blocking arteries in your legs, causing pain when you walk?

You probably have no symptoms of a heart attack or stroke or even peripheral vascular disease. Not yet. But the problem is that when you have overt symptoms, the damage is being done and the risk is suddenly great.

What’s Normal?

Total cholesterol HDL cholesterol LDL cholesterol Triglycerides
Good Less than 200 40 or higher Less than 100 Less than 149
Borderline 200–239 n/a 130–159 150–199
High 240 or higher n/a 160 or higher 200 or higher
Low n/a less than 40 n/a n/a

https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/levels-by-age#adults

Note: HDL over 40 is good, but studies suggest that HDL more than 60 acts in a cardio-protective fashion. Your HDL goal should be >60.

I’m not going to be pessimistic and assume it’s far beyond normal. Let’s assume that all of your cholesterol numbers are just at the beginning of high. Your total cholesterol is 240, your HDL is 40, your LDL is 160, and your triglycerides are 200. All those numbers are borderline high. Not bad. Not yet.

How can we change these numbers?

The way people process cholesterol differs. Some people appear to be more vulnerable to cholesterol-rich diets. Research is beginning to show that your genetic makeup – not diet – is the driving force behind cholesterol levels, says cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD. Of the Cleveland Clinic

The body creates cholesterol in amounts much larger than what you can eat, Dr. Nissen says. So avoiding foods that are high in cholesterol won’t affect your blood cholesterol levels very much.

“About 85 percent of the cholesterol in the circulation is manufactured by the body in the liver,” he says. “It isn’t coming directly from the cholesterol that you eat.”

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/why-you-should-no-longer-worry-about-cholesterol-in-food/

Cholesterol isn’t evil

But to fully explain cholesterol, you need to realize that it’s also vital to your health and well-being. Although we measure cholesterol production in the blood, it’s found in every cell in the body. Cholesterol is a waxy, whitish-yellow fat and a crucial building block in cell membranes. It’s also used to make vitamin D, hormones (including testosterone and estrogen), and fat-dissolving bile acids. In fact, cholesterol production is so important that your liver and intestines make about 80% of the cholesterol you need to stay healthy. Only about 20% comes from the foods you eat.

If you eat only 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day (one egg yolk has about 200 mg), your liver will produce an additional 800 milligrams per day from raw materials such as fat, sugars, and proteins.

Since cholesterol is a fat, it can’t travel alone in the bloodstream. It would end up as useless globs (imagine bacon fat floating in a pot of water). To get around this problem, the body packages cholesterol and other lipids into minuscule protein-covered particles that mix easily with blood. These tiny particles, called lipoproteins (lipid plus protein), move cholesterol and other fats throughout the body.

Cholesterol and other lipids circulate in the bloodstream in several different forms. Of these, the one that gets the most attention is low-density lipoprotein— better known as LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. But lipoproteins come in a range of shapes and sizes, and each type has its own tasks. They also morph from one form into another. These are the five main types:

Triglycerides (fatty acids from your food) are made in the digestive system and so are influenced by what you eat.

Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles also carry triglycerides to tissues. But they are made by the liver. As the body’s cells extract fatty acids from VLDLs, the particles turn into LDL particles.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles are even richer in pure cholesterol since most of the triglycerides and proteins they carried are gone. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because it delivers cholesterol to tissues and is strongly associated with the buildup of artery-clogging plaque.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles are called “good” cholesterol because they remove cholesterol from circulation and from artery walls and return it to the liver for excretion. These are also particles that have more protein than cholesterol, which is why they are able to gather the LDL and pull it back to the liver.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-its-made-cholesterol-production-in-your-body

Photo via Unsplash, by Edgar Castrejon

Things outside of your control that also can affect cholesterol levels include:

Age and Gender. As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise. Before the age of menopause, women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After the age of menopause, women’s LDL levels tend to rise.

Heredity. Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.

These are things you can do something about:

Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as raise your HDL and lower your triglyceride levels.

Physical Activity. Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should aim to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.

Food. It used to be thought that dietary cholesterol is the primary cause of elevated blood cholesterol, and for some people who are genetically predisposed to that, it is a problem. However, most people are affected very little by the cholesterol in their food. The problem is the saturated fat food that you eat makes your blood cholesterol level rise. Saturated fat is the main problem. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level, while other foods can help pull cholesterol out of your body, and prevent cholesterol building blocks from being absorbed.

To lower total cholesterol:

  • Eliminate trans-fats and reduce saturated fats as much as possible.
  • Use oils high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats
  • Vegetables, especially brightly colored. Try to eat the color spectrum–the darker the color the healthier.
  • Reduce/avoid refined sugars and simple starches.

Great. We hear that all the time. But what specific foods should we add to our diet? What do we need to reduce or eliminate?

Come back next week for the specific foods you need to make sure are in prominent in your weekly menus.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.

MYST 168: Recommended Weight Loss Plans

Losing Slow and Losing Fast. Which is the plan for you?

120+ Ways to Lose Weight. Which One Fits You?

You know that I believe (and has used for the past 8 years) the “slow and steady” approach to weight loss. For me, portion control with LoseIt works for me. I believe that it can work for anyone, but it requires a “Big Picture” approach. I consider weight loss to be the long game, the “rest of my life” game. It never ends.

My approach allows me a donut occasionally, and does not require excessive exercise. I literally can have my cake and eat it, too. What is the down side? It is very slow. I don’t see the rapid changes on the scale, and I do not need to buy smaller clothes frequently.

That can be disheartening, discouraging and frustrating for some people. I totally understand that. And there were days where I also feel that.

Just like I refuse to accept compensation for commercials for products that I do not use (and I have turned down many offers) I only promote methods that I know will work, and that I would use. That means I promote the “slow to go” approach. And that’s it.

Methods other than “slow to go”.

Does that mean I think that all other methods are wrong and will lead to failure? No, not at all. It’s just that if I can’t say “this worked because I used it, and I would recommend it to my friends” then I can’t recommend it to you., because you are all my friends.

I use an iPhone. I can’t recommend the new Samsung Galaxy 8 (or whatever) because I don’t know anything about it. (But my son loves his!)

So what about all the other weight loss methods?

Here is what I believe:

  • All weight loss plans can work.
  • All weight loss plans have worked for some people.
  • There is no guarantee that any single plan will work for you.
  • You won’t know if something works until you give it an honest attempt.

If you want to lose weight fast, there are many plans that suggest it is possible, and for every plan, there is at least one person who says it worked for them. That means it might also work for you. I don’t know if it will, and I also don’t know that it won’t.

Which plan fits you?

Here is a link to a PDF of 120 promising weight loss plans. Included are links to neutral/non-biased sites so that you can evaluate the merits of the plan. In many cases, there is a name associated with the plan. That might mean there is a book available from that person. When I created this list, there were many that I had not heard of before, so it is likely that when you read it, you will find a new idea to try.

I received no compensation for including plans on this list.

Photos via Unsplash, by Thomas Kelley (Donut) and Audi Nissen (Wheelchair Athlete)

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.

MYST 167: Grazing and Grazing at the Fridge

Mindless grazing is a bad habit and it seems to pop up frequently in the evening. How can we stop that habit?

First, we need to identify why you are eating. Are you hungry? Or is it a bad habit? And if it is a habit, what can you do to make it easier to break–or rather, how can you change your actions so that your habit leads to a better choice?

Photos via Pixabay by JuanitaL57  (Man eating) Momentmal (Fruit) and Jacquiosa (Vegetables)

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.

MYST 166: One Step

“The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”

You have just started a new weight loss plan! That is always exciting, and maybe a little daunting, but you are full of enthusiasm.

You went to CostCo bought drums of protein powder to refuel post-workout, as well as new shoes and a new yoga matt (okay, your first yoga matt). You bought a membership at an “Anytime Fitness Center” so you can exercise either before or after work. You saw some secret supplements on Dr. Oz that are guaranteed to boost your metabolism and burn fat, so you bought a monthly subscription for delivery. Amazon will deliver the exercise bike that is wifi-linked to Alexa. You found some excellent recipes on Pinterest, and bought a 50-pack storage container set for all the food prep and home-cooking that you will do. And you bought Premium LoseIt.

And for a few days, you actually follow your plan.

Then, on day four, you wake up late and skip the gym. You can’t go on your way home because you need to pick up the kids. You think protein powder tastes terrible. You were the only student in the yoga class, so the class was canceled. The supplements gave you heartburn and diarrhea, and Alexa yells at you because you are using your bike as an auxiliary closet. Cooking in real life is not like Food Network, and you needed to take the battery out of the smoke alarm. The kids—and your spouse—won’t eat the crappy low-calorie foods you make anyway. You don’t like logging all the food—who can remember everything?

Don’t do what I just described. Don’t try to change everything in your life. Weight management is a lifelong process. I don’t care what event is on your calendar, trying to tackle weight loss from every possible angle will not work.

Take a single step. Do one thing that is new on your weight loss journey. The first thing morning, the day of your “first step” weigh yourself. Write that number down. Now ignore the bathroom scale. Set a reasonable budget (for most, that will be 1 pound a week.) Eat those calories. Log the food. That’s it. Develop a new skill set—measure and log all your food. Do that for a month. Don’t worry about “special diet foods”. Make the food everyone loves, just make certain you portion your plates correctly and log it all. Do that for a full 30 days.

On day 31, weigh yourself again. Compare this number to the first number. You probably lost weight. Maybe you lost three pounds. Maybe six or more. That doesn’t really matter. What matters is you’ve taken the first step.

Now, take your next step. Find an activity you enjoy. Do it. Keep eating the foods you love, and logging everything you eat, but don’t eat your exercise calories. Whichever activity you’ve chosen, try to gradually increase your workouts, but only as possible and tolerated. Do that for 30 days.

On the next “day 31”, weigh yourself. You probably lost three to six pounds. You finished step two.

Now you will either reduce or eliminate one food, or make one other food change. Maybe stop drinking diet soda. Maybe drink more water. Maybe you want to stop eating foods with added sugar. Pick one food change. Focus on that new change (while continuing to log your food, good portion control, and increased activity) for 30 days.

On the next “day 31”, weigh yourself.

By now, you understand my plan. One change for 30 days, then a new change every 30 days. And you only weigh yourself the day of a new change. That concept is the most significant part of this. By making a single change and then measuring at set intervals, you can determine if the change you made had the effect you wanted. If you eliminated added sugar and that month only lost 1 pound, maybe that change isn’t worth the effort. But you cannot know if you change everything at once.

Will you lose weight as fast as the Biggest Loser? No, but as I said in part nine, the speed of loss is unimportant. Continued loss, or continued maintenance, is the goal of this entire journey.

Photos via Pixabay by 5132824

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero

MYST 165 Lose Weight Fast

Everyone wants to lose weight fast! People join competitions at work to see who loses the most in the shortest period of time. There are websites where people can bet money that they can success while others fail.

Guess what?

None of that matters. I don’t care how fast I lose. I don’t care how fast you lose. And until I reach my goal weight, I don’t care how much I lose each week. The only thing that matters is that I continue to lose.

You don’t need to eat special (okay, the first photo isn’t “special” it’s just strange” food to lose weight. You don’t need smoothies, or powders, or apple cider vinegar or fat-melting detoxes.

You just need to eat correctly. Today. And tomorrow. And every day after that.

Photos via Pixabay by primalfuture (Cricket Powder) and creativet (Smoothies)

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero

MYST 164 Losing Weight During an Illness

It’s cold and flu season. That means at some point, you might get sick. How are you going to lose weight while ill?

You’re not! Don’t worry about it right now. Get healthy! The same applies if you are recovering from an injury or surgery. You need to get healthy before you can worry about losing weight.

Photo via Pixabay, by gfhjkm123

An excellent comparison between cold and flu (influenza) symptoms. From https://www.medicinenet.com/cold_vs_flu/article.htm

Chart Comparing Cold vs. Flu Symptoms and Signs
Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever (and/or chills) Rare Mild to high
Body/muscle aches and pains Occasionally, mild Usually moderate to severe
Headache Unusual Usually moderate to severe
Cough Mild to moderate Moderate to severe
Fatigue/weakness Mild to moderate Usually moderate to severe
Sore throat Usually Usually
Runny and/or stuffy nose Usually On occasion
Sneezing Usually On occasion
Vomiting/diarrhea Rare Occasionally
Abrupt onset of symptoms Gradual onset Sometimes within three to six hours
Severity of symptoms Mild Moderate to severe

 

More information, this from the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have very serious associated complications.

How can you tell the difference between a cold and the flu?
Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Special tests that usually must be done within the first few days of illness can tell if a person has the flu.

What are the symptoms of the flu versus the symptoms of a cold?
The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.

MYST 163 Medical Conditions

These conditions do not make you fat. But they are great excuses you might use!

Photo via Pixabay, by Maialisa

Quick! Take this one question quiz. Which is the correct answer (there is only one correct answer)

I’m overweight because:

a) I take medications that make me fat.

b) I have an underactive thyroid.

c) I have a medical condition.

d) because I eat too much.

(Spoiler: If you believe a, b, or c is the primary reason you are overweight, you are only fooling yourself.)

These don’t make you fat.

Photo via Pixabay, by Quimono 

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.

 

MYST 162: Portion Control Made Easy

Ready to eat meals.

This is an easy way to stay on budget because the calories are known and predictable. There are many options from which to choose. From meals that are shipped ready-to-cook, to Jenny Craig, to frozen dinners, to fast food restaurants.

Even President Trump eats at fast food places because he prefers to eat what he loves, and he wants his food to be predictable and reliable.

                          

A Meal Ready to Cook                                                 The Finished Meal

        

Icelandic Hot Dog                                    The Best Hot Dog Stand in Reykjavik

Photos are from Trevor LaRene

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

 

MYST 161 Just Say No

What are you going to do when you are offered a special treat during this holiday season?

Photo via Pixabay, by Silviarita

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.