Our Amazing Bodies

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

What do you suppose made King David say that in Psalm 139?

He didn’t have access to the science we do today. Sure, you don’t need to know the details of how our bodies function to see that our bodies function amazingly. Still, I happen to love learning about the science of our bodies.

What about you? Do you like to learn science facts? Are you fascinated by how our bodies work?

Here are some facts that I learned from the video below:

  • Microbes outnumber human cells in our body by a factor of 10:1 [That was news to me.]
  • The medical paradigm for the last 70 years can work to disrupt the way microbes work in our body [I knew that. Bet you do too.]
  • Restoring the balance of microbes in our body is possible through the use of prebiotics and probiotics
  • Not all probiotics are effective

What do you think? Who knew we were more microbial than human?

Click on this link to learn more.

Feel free to message me to discuss this.

 

 

5 Health Benefits of Probiotics You Should Know About

Portrait of happy pretty young woman doctor using stethoscope

You’ve heard of antibiotics. And now “probiotics” are big in the news. If you’re wondering what they are and why you might want them, read on!

“Probiotic” is a word with Greek roots: “pro” meaning “promoting” and “biotic” meaning “life.” The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”

We usually think of bacteria as bad for us, and the wrong bacteria in the wrong place can certainly cause problems. But the right bacteria in the right place can be helpful in many ways. They can keep your digestive and immune systems healthy, help you manage weight, boost your mood, and possibly even keep you feeling and looking younger.

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1. PROBIOTICS AND GUT HEALTH

The most common reason to use probiotics is to support gut health. Research shows that probiotics work to restore the gut back to a healthy, optimally functioning state. Once the gut is in full working order, it can do its job to help support the immune system and maintain normal functions of the gut.

People who have used antibiotics long-term, or those with other gut issues, may benefit from adding a dose of healthy bacteria to their gut. But there are many other reasons to use a probiotic every day. 

2. PROBIOTICS AND WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

The idea that probiotics can assist in weight management is based on the theory that the type and amount of bacteria in the gut has a major impact on a person’s health. One study looking at the effects of probiotics on weight showed that when people used specific strains of bacteria, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis, they had an overall reduction in fat mass, body weight, and weight gain. In a review of 82 probiotic-related studies, the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum appeared to be associated with weight loss.

In another review, researchers compiled the findings from 25 randomized human trials with over 1,900 healthy adults, investigating what kind of impact consuming probiotics had on body weight and BMI. They found modest reductions in BMI and body weight. But there was also enough evidence that even these modest reductions could have a positive impact on overall health and reduce the risk of conditions related to BMI and body weight. This study found that taking more than one type of probiotic for more than 8 weeks was most helpful.

Even though some still dispute the idea that probiotics can help with weight management, there are plenty of other good reasons to make one part of your daily routine.

3. PROBIOTICS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Probiotics have been shown to support the immune system. Researchers recommend starting probiotics at least two weeks before the cold and flu season starts. Some researchers believe that probiotics interact with a person’s genetic makeup to actually change the immune system, making it function more efficiently. Harvard researchers recognized a connection between the bacteria in the gut and how well the immune system functions, but currently they aren’t exactly sure how this connection works.

A study of New Zealand rugby players showed that these athletes had 40 percent fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic as compared to those who took a placebo. An extra healthy immune system to help you fight off colds and flu is just one more good reason to take a probiotic.

4. PROBIOTICS AND MOOD

Everyone knows that what you eat has an effect on how you feel physically. But how about mentally? Plenty of us get an upset stomach when we’re worried about something, and there’s growing evidence that the mind-body connection centers on gut health. According to Kelly Brogan, a psychiatrist who uses probiotics to help her patients, “Probiotic supplements and a change in diet can, in effect, rewire the brain.” Another study found that probiotics can help relieve the symptoms of people who are feeling anxious.

5. PROBIOTICS AND SKIN

If you’re still not convinced you need probiotics, maybe this will change your mind: probiotics have been linked to antiaging effects, including skin improvements. You’ve probably heard of spa treatments like putting yogurt directly on the skin. But a study showed that taking probiotics orally can help protect the skin from the sun and help promote the quality of your skin and hair.

Dr. Whitney Bowe, an NYC dermatologist who studies probiotics, uses probiotics to help patients with antiaging and also to help with chronic skin conditions. Looking and feeling younger is a great reason to use a probiotic.

THE RIGHT PROBIOTICS

The human body carries around 100 trillion microorganisms in the gut. How do you know which are the right ones to help you? The studies quoted above have thoroughly investigated the strains of probiotics found to support gut and immune system function, lift mood, manage weight, and feel all-around better. These are the exact strains of probiotics found in PhysIQ ProBio by LifeVantage.

PhysIQ ProBio provides 6 billion CFUs of healthy bacteria to support your digestive system. This product uses proven ingredients as well as controlled-release technology, known as BIO-Tract®, which delivers live probiotics deep into your gut over a 10–12 hour period. The probiotic also includes Wellmune® which helps boost your immune system to bring you closer to your health goals. PhysIQ ProBio includes six different strains of probiotics: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Lacotbacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum. Each strain provides unique benefits to many systems in the body.

PhysIQ™ ProBio

A healthy gut for a healthier you.

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A Beginners Guide to Protein Shakes

Protein shakes aren’t just for weightlifters and aerobics instructors. If you’ve always wanted to get in on the protein shake takeover, but weren’t sure where to start, our guide is the kickstart you’ve been looking for.

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WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT PROTEIN SHAKES?

Some of the misconceptions about protein shakes probably come from the mass-marketed meal replacement shakes, so let’s get that out of the way first: we’re not talking about the kind of meal replacement shakes advertised on television. Those shakes are often full of chemicals and sugar and promise fast weight loss without any substantiation. The general rule is this: if it’s a protein shake that comes in a can, stay away.

The kind of shakes we’ll be talking about here are loaded with fresh, healthy ingredients. They have zero preservatives, no added sugar, no fake colors or flavorings, and no chemicals. The only downside is that you’ll have to make them yourself, but it’s much, much easier than you may imagine.

So why would you even bother making protein shakes? Because protein is the building block of life, and there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough of it. Most Americans rely on fatty red meats instead of lean protein, and it’s so much easier and cheaper to grab carbohydrates that many of us skip protein for our snacks (or meals) altogether.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, protein is so powerful that when men were put on a high-protein diet, their thoughts about food were lessened, they had less desire to eat at night, and they experienced increased fullness throughout the day. A separate study on high-protein diets found that protein was so effective at increasing feelings of fullness that the study participants consumed an average of 441 fewer calories than their low-protein counterparts.

On a metabolic level, protein takes much more work for your body to digest than other forms of food like simple carbohydrates, so you’ll use more calories digesting a piece of chicken than you would a bagel.  Protein also contains the amino acids your body needs to build lean muscle that will burn calories even when you’re at rest, unlike fat.

Interestingly enough, however, protein isn’t just for getting thin: if you’re trying to pack on muscle, plan on becoming fast friends with protein—it’s the only way to repair muscle and build new tissue. If you’re intent on building bulk, plan on making protein a key player in your new diet; specifically, shoot for at least 20-30 grams of protein in each of your main meals.

Protein is vital but depending on the source, may not be as portable or easy to prepare. It’s not very cheap, either: a cut of salmon can easily run you $10, while a Snickers candy bar is about $1 and doesn’t involve cooking. Cheap carbohydrates are everywhere while meaningful nutrition is difficult to grab on the go.

This is why protein shakes are a good solution: they’re portable, inexpensive, and delicious. They’ll help you reach your recommended level of protein (use this interactive protein calculator to find out how much is right for you). Oh, and did we mention that making a protein shake is much easier than figuring out how to grill the perfect steak?

DIFFERENCES IN TYPES OF PROTEIN

The most important component of your protein shake is, obviously, the protein powder. Though if you’ve ever looked for a protein powder, you know how overwhelming it can be. Walk into any health food store and you’ll find a dizzying amount of powdered protein, often in giant tubs that run anywhere from $10 to over $80.

Here’s the difference in types of protein:

Whey – Whey protein is derived from milk (remember Little Miss Muffet who was fond of her curds and whey?) and is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. Whey protein can be found in three forms: whey protein concentrate (low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates), whey protein isolate (processed to remove all fat and lactose; usually about 90% protein), and whey proteinhydrolysate (easy to digest due to being “predigested” and has very low allergy potential).

If you are on a low-calorie diet but still want as much protein as you can get, go with whey protein isolate. If you’re working out, you’ll need both the fat and the carbohydrates found in whey protein concentrate. If you are vegan, avoid whey protein. If you are allergic to milk, avoid whey protein.

Plant Protein – Protein doesn’t just come from animals. You may find all sorts of plant-based protein powders in the supermarket—soy, pea, rice, hemp, and even pumpkin all contain protein. Plant protein is a solid choice if you’re vegan or allergic to milk or have a gluten intolerance. However, they tend to be supplemented with sugars and fillers to make them more palatable. Some, like hemp protein powders, are naturally higher in calories due to a higher fat content and don’t make a good choice if your goal is weight loss. Also important to note is that soy (if you’re considering a soy protein powder) can interfere with hormones (especially estrogen) if used in excess. If you choose a plant-based protein, choose one that isn’t laden with chemicals, carbs, and sugars.

Beef Protein – Beef protein does not actually come from the meat of the cow, but rather powdered bits of other parts (ligaments, ears, etc.). This means that most beef protein powders are actually gelatin and don’t contain the amino acids found in milk or beef meat; these are often added to the powder. Beef protein powder is fine for those sticking to a paleo diet and who are willing to pay the extra price, but don’t be fooled into believing that beef protein powder is just as nutritionally beneficial as a grass-fed steak. If you are allergic to milk and can’t find a plant-based protein powder you enjoy, beef protein powder is a viable option.

Egg Protein – If you’ve ever seen a bodybuilder crack a whole raw egg into his smoothie, it shouldn’t surprise you that egg protein powder exists. Egg protein is normally made from egg whites and has a very high amount of protein per scoop. However, since the yolk is not used, you do miss out on its nutrients and minerals. The other issue is that many people are allergic to eggs, especially children and young adults, so if you have an egg sensitivity, avoid egg protein. Egg protein is also a much pricier protein supplement. If you’re looking for a complete protein without the fats, sugar, or calories of other proteins and you don’t mind paying more for it, egg protein may be right for you.

WHAT’S IN THAT SHAKE?

Once you’ve found your perfect protein powder, it’s time to add in some other yummy ingredients.

All protein shakes need a liquid base, which means you’ll need to start with water or some type of milk. Here’s a breakdown of the effect your liquid base will have on your shake:

  • Water – Tasteless, helps “cut” the shake to make it runnier.
  • Ice – Will chill your shake without having to refrigerate it; adds some crunch.
  • Almond Milk – Great for those who are lactose intolerant. Has a smoother, creamier texture than regular milk and goes well with strawberries, bananas, and mangoes.
  • Rice Milk – Not as thick as almond milk. Great for those with nut allergies. Goes well with chocolate protein and denser fruits.
  • Coconut Milk – Doesn’t have an overwhelming coconut flavor, but adds a tropical feel to your protein shake. Goes well with pineapple and melons.
  • Hemp Milk – The heaviest of milks. Good for thick, desserty protein shakes.

In general, you’ll want to avoid fruit juices and stick primarily to milks and water in your shakes. For a treat, you can also try chocolate or strawberry milks.

Next, decide which solids you’d like to add in. Protein powder acts as a thickener and will take on the flavors of whatever fruits or other solids you add, so even though you may have more protein powder than strawberries, for instance, you’ll end up with a strawberry shake. If you don’t know where to start, here are the most often-used fruits: strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and mangoes. If you have fresh fruit, that’s fine, but it’s easier and cheaper to buy frozen fruit.

Take a look at this basic recipe for a strawberry protein shake:

  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1 cup strawberries

Pretty simple, right? Milk, ice, solids (the strawberries), and protein powder. You can take this basic recipe for a protein shake and do whatever you’d like with it—add some peanut butter, put in blueberries instead of strawberries, substitute sugar-free pudding mix for one scoop of the protein powder, or drop in a handful of chocolate chips (if you are looking for a sweet treat). The only rule with a protein shake is that it needs to contain protein; beyond that, you’re only limited by the size and power of your blender. Which brings us to…

BLENDER TIPS

There’s a correct order for loading your ingredients into your blender, and it’s important to follow or else you’re likely to have a mess on your hands. Put your liquids in first. This acts as a lubricant so the blades can work through the rest of the ingredients. Next, put in softer, high-moisture foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Last, put in the solids: frozen fruits, vegetables (if you are into that sort of thing) and ice.

If your protein shake is too thick (and/or the blades are having difficulty turning), add more liquid. If you notice that the shake is too watery, add in more protein powder or more solids.

This is basic, but bears repeating: never remove the lid of the blender while it is on. And never, ever reach your hand into a blender that is plugged in. If you wish to add ingredients to your smoothie, most blenders have a large clear plastic plug in the lid that can be twisted to allow for the easy addition of more ingredients while the blender is running.

SUPERFOODS

Ready to take your smoothie to the next level? Here are ten superfoods that add flavor, texture, and a whole lot of goodness to your protein shake:

  1. Acai – This delicious Brazilian berry is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and protein. It has a creamy consistency and tastes almost like chocolate. Add it to your shake, then top it with granola for a spectacular breakfast.
  2. Camu Powder – This powder has more vitamin C than an orange and has a delicious tartness that pairs well with many fruits.
  3. Avocado – The beloved creamy green gem is packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals to give your smoothie an extra nutritional boost.
  4. Cacao Powder and Nibs – It’s chocolate. Do you need any more persuasion? Oh, and it’s loaded with antioxidants. Cacao nibs go well with Acai berries and are delicious sprinkled over any smoothie.
  5. Spirulina – Yes, it’s algae. However, it’s filled with protein and omega fatty acids and its flavor can be hidden in any protein shake.
  6. Flax seeds – Contain fatty acids and fiber. Flax seeds have been shown to help with bowel regularity and immune system health.
  7. Chia – These miraculous little seeds are full of health benefits. They contain iron, calcium, minerals, and antioxidants.

You can add one, two, or all of the above to your protein shake for a little extra boost.

YOUR NEW ROUTINE

Now that you’re a protein shake champion, it’s time to incorporate shakes into your daily routine. After all, finding ways to get extra protein in your diet is a must if you’re trying to lose weight or bulk up. If you can’t bear the thought of having a shake for breakfast, then have one for a snack or for dessert. The timing isn’t as important as committing to your new healthy habit. And this is one healthy habit that’s just downright delicious.

PhysIQ Protein Shake

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How Do You Restart Your System?

So how do you make that jump from unhealthy to healthy?

Try rewiring your taste buds and your brain with new healthy habits is hands down the best way to start.

Here are seven simple suggestions on how to do just that:

1. CARVE OUT TIME TO GET GOOD SLEEP

Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night—especially pre-midnight sleep—is the foundation of a healthy life. It’s while you sleep that your muscles, your tissues, and especially your brain matter rejuvenates itself for another day, so do what you must to make time for sleep. It will give you the mental clarity to make healthy choices throughout your day.

2. MAKE YOUR MORNINGS COUNT

Starting your day out right will lay the groundwork for you to be healthier all day long. So wake up early and take time to read the news or meditate as you’re getting ready for the day. Also, start the day out with a hearty, healthy breakfast. Eating a high-protein breakfast every morning is the single most important factor to jump starting your body for the day and helping you lose weight.

3. SIP ON DIGESTION-PROMOTING DRINKS

Your digestive system is the core of your body, so take steps to cleanse and prep your system to take in the good stuff and let go of the bad. Choose beverages like ginger tea or hot water with lemon because both will clear out your intestines, banish nausea, and make your stomach happy.

4. GO FOR THE GOOD FOODS

What you take into your body directly impacts how you feel and how your body performs. Avoid refined sugars and seek out whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean poultry and fish, and lots of fiber like raw almonds and bran.

5. CHOOSE HEALTHY SNACKS

You’ve probably been told that snacking is the enemy, but if you’re really trying to balance your eating habits, eating smaller portions more frequently during the day is the way to go. The key is to pick snacks that will help your body instead of hurt it. Pack healthy choices like Greek yogurt, bananas, chopped vegetables, or raw nuts to keep your appetite balanced and your metabolism cycling throughout the day.

6. UNPLUG AND GET MOVING

What you eat and drink isn’t the only thing that contributes to how your body feels. How many hours a day are you spending on mindless entertainment? How often are you slumped on the couch or your office chair staring at a screen? If you’re really serious about improving your health, take some advice and unplug from technology. Replace those two hours of TV and internet surfing with a physical outdoor activity or an invigorating social event. Cleansing your mental palate with nature and friendship is exactly what you need.

7. DRINK, DRINK, DRINK

Nothing will clean and refresh your system like good old-fashioned water. Start your day out with a glass of water and drink continuously throughout the day rather than slamming down two glasses in the evening. Drinking a glass of water before each meal will also help your metabolism know exactly how hungry you are and help you eat only as much as you need.

Resetting your system is just the thing to try if you’ve struggled to lose the weight in the past. It’s like pushing the reboot button and can help your body to better respond to the lifestyle changes you are making.


Need some extra help losing stubborn pounds? Our PhysIQ smart weight management line can be the ally you’re looking for. Click the button below for more.

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Ten Steps to Losing Belly Fat

Do you want to keep belly fat from building up?

Belly fat is so much more than unsightly. It is, as you already know, terribly unhealthy. Belly fat crowds out your vital organs. That is bad enough; but belly fat – visceral fat – also creates toxins that can cause heart disease and make your body less sensitive to diabetes.

Belly fat is why, at 70, I am still interested in weight management. Belly fat is why I make PhysIQ part of my weight management plan. Belly fat is why I decided to register for the PhysIQ Body Transformation for $25,000 plus prizes. Winning the prize may be a long shot but I will lose belly fat and that will make me a winner. Want to join me? Message me.

Here are 10 ways to get rid of belly fat:

  1. Choose your drinks intelligently. EliminateQ diet drinks. In a 10-year study University of Texas Health Science Center found that participants who drank diet soda saw 70 per cent increase in waist circumference compared to those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas had a 500 per cent increase in their waist. Switch to fat burning teas. oolong-827397White tea breaks down stored fat; barberry tea blocks fat cells from growing; Pu-erh tea reduces belly flab; Oolong tea improves the body’s ability to metabolize fat; Rooibos cuts new fat cell growth.
    • I am not insensitive to the difficulty of breaking the soda habit. Try motivating yourself by visualizing the visceral fat being added with every soda you drink. Just as you gained the habit of drinking soda, you can become happy with one or more of these teas.
  2. Move it. You need thirty minutes of exercise that will cause you to sweat or breathe hard. If you step up the pace you can do it in less than thirty minutes. Try metabolic training. I have one such program on DVD that takes twenty minutes three times a week. It allows for all levels of fitness and I feel energized.
  3. Choose your dining partners well. Eating with a group can increase your consumption by 44 per cent. Realize that your partner, spouse, friends all influence your eating choices. Get the people you regularly eat with on the same healthy eating page as you.
  4. Diet. Practically any diet that helps you lose weight will help reduce belly fat but a diet including high fiber is better. One study suggests that even changing to a higher fiber bread may help.
  5. Make your meal time pleasurable. We are wired to seek pleasure. At mealtime, don’t let your food choices be the only source of pleasure. Set the table with a fun tableware and dishes. Or make the mood romantic. Play pleasant music. Be intentional about dinner conversation. Make your meal a relationship event. That will make it easier to exclude some of your food favorites that are not healthy for you. Play chef; try a gourmet recipe and plate your meal creatively
  6. Slow down and pay attention to how much you are eating. Slower eating helps you pay attention to your body’s clues that you are full. Practice leaving food on the plate.
  7. Don’t keep nonessential calories in the house. I seldom have potato chips in the house. They are on the permanent nonessential calorie list. I know the foods that tempt me and I keep them out of my reach. Out of sight; out of mind.
  8. Don’t overdo protein. Although high protein, low carb diets can initially be effective one study found that over a long period they lose their effectiveness. Moderation is a good rule.
  9. Two veggie facts that will help. Frozen veggies have a nutrient density that is greater than fresh and you may save money by avoiding fresh veggies from going bad. When you fill a plate use the half rule. Make sure that half of your plate is veggies.
  10. Manage stress in your life. Stress hormones can wreak havoc with your diet. Use stress reduction activities like meditation, Bible reading, exercise, relaxing with family and friends. Get enough sleep. In one study people who got 6 – 7 hours of sleep over five years gained less visceral fat than those who slept 5 or fewer hours.

The worst thing about belly fat is the health consequences; but the best thing about losing belly fat is how good it feels to experience that freedom as you lose the belly fat. As you lose belly fat your joints will be less stressed and you will feel lighter. Use that as motivation to make the changes needed to lose your belly fat.

More information about PhysIQ.

When I Turn Seventy . . .

. . . I will eat what I want.

That’s what I used to say.

Well, here I am. I am seventy and I must be wiser because I know the rest of the story.

True, I can eat whatever I want.

If I am willing to live with the consequences.

Let me give a real example.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. We had company here to help celebrate. I had a lunch that accommodated different dietary requirements. The spread on our buffet table included foods that I know are not good for me.

I did practice moderation but not restriction.

I probably went above my daily allowance of calories but not enough to feel guilty. I felt that overall I had “been good.”

But when bedtime came I was experiencing consequences of the food I had eaten earlier.

The result was that I did not sleep well.

Today I am dragging. And although I should not be surprised, I am surprised to realize that my commitment to healthy eating is challenged.

Counting calories and returning to healthy food is not coming easily.

So if you are saying to yourself that someday you will eat whatever you want, that is your choice. Just be warned that no matter how old we are, our eating choices shape not only our bodies but our lives.

It’s your choice.

Join me in using a smart weight management program for the next 90 days and compete to win a $25,000 prize. Click here to message me.

 

 

Essential Calories

Connie Suarez

Or Disclaimer to Nonessential Calories

Just so you know. I don’t believe maintaining an ideal weight is as easy as substituting chocolate for vanilla. Ah, if it only were.

Truth be told, I do believe it is as simple as burning more calories than we consume. Simple but far from easy.

I have achieved only partial success. Since my decision to change my lifestyle instead of dieting I have not gained, with one exception. Two years ago I was within fifteen pounds of my goal. Then my allergies flared up and required that I take steroids. Steroids have no understanding of the rules. They made me ravenous and I gained ten pounds.

Those ten pounds have been stubborn. I haven’t gained since then; but I haven’t lost.

I am not deterred from what I believe to be the best plan for me. I strive to be active and eat healthy…

View original post 180 more words

Nonessential Calories

Connie Suarez

I’ve always struggled with my weight. As a college student my busy schedule and lack of a car kept me from gaining weight.

I tried to gain; but I stayed so skinny I heard lame jokes like you should sue your legs for nonsupport.

After I had my first child I still wasn’t heavy. But I didn’t go back to the bird legs.

Then I had twins. After my daughters were born the doctor encouraged me to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I never did. Instead with three young children to care for, my life style and metabolism completely changed. As a result pounds slowly increased. I was uncomfortable and self-conscious.

A divorce upset my life and stole my appetite. I lost 35 pounds in a short time. Unfortunately, as I adjusted to my new life I gained it back.

I was in my middle age years and I was…

View original post 579 more words

Essential Calories

Or Disclaimer to Nonessential Calories

Just so you know. I don’t believe maintaining an ideal weight is as easy as substituting chocolate for vanilla. Ah, if it only were.

Truth be told, I do believe it is as simple as burning more calories than we consume. Simple but far from easy.

I have achieved only partial success. Since my decision to change my lifestyle instead of dieting I have not gained, with one exception. Two years ago I was within fifteen pounds of my goal. Then my allergies flared up and required that I take steroids. Steroids have no understanding of the rules. They made me ravenous and I gained ten pounds.

Those ten pounds have been stubborn. I haven’t gained since then; but I haven’t lost.

I am not deterred from what I believe to be the best plan for me. I strive to be active and eat healthy foods. I sort through a lot of fads. I am seeking the closest to the natural diet that was enjoyed millennia ago without being ridiculous. I am looking for balance.

I have my nonessential calories that I avoid so I can eat the essential calories that make me happy and less likely to binge (if I am not on steroids).

There are other essential calories besides chocolate included in my menu.

These essential calories are more likely to receive the approval of the dieticians of the world. Green leafy vegetables. All vegetables with wonderful colors. Whole grains. Food that doesn’t come in a box.

Food that actually tastes great and is satisfying while meeting my nutritional needs.

Foods that are followed by a small portion of my brownie recipe that uses whole grains and healthy sweeteners or dark M & M’s.

Fortunately, I am not looking for a bikini figure. Some of you are smiling at the notion of me in a bikini. Never has happened. Never will. And I am stingy with my use of the word never.

 

Nonessential Calories

I’ve always struggled with my weight. As a college student my busy schedule and lack of a car kept me from gaining weight.

I tried to gain; but I stayed so skinny I heard lame jokes like you should sue your legs for nonsupport.

After I had my first child I still wasn’t heavy. But I didn’t go back to the bird legs.

Then I had twins. After my daughters were born the doctor encouraged me to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I never did. Instead with three young children to care for, my life style and metabolism completely changed. As a result pounds slowly increased. I was uncomfortable and self-conscious.

A divorce upset my life and stole my appetite. I lost 35 pounds in a short time. Unfortunately, as I adjusted to my new life I gained it back.

I was in my middle age years and I was slowly gaining no matter what I tried. I  longed for my college days when no matter what I tried I couldn’t gain weight. Now I couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard I tried.

Then I was in a car wreck. A car lost control and caused mine to flip over. Folks helped get me out and following first aid protocol laid me on the ground. I was heavy and I looked like a beached whale in a picture someone took.

I had a fractured vertebrae. I took narcotic drugs for three months. The drugs took away my appetite and I lost weight. But when I quit taking drugs it all came back.

I was in my sixties by then and losing weight wasn’t getting easier. In fact it seemed like I was gaining 5 pounds every year. I knew if I continued on that track I would be in real trouble health wise. Something had to be done. Something had to change.

Diets that worked for others didn’t work for me

Diet shakes that were meant to replace a meal did not satisfy like a meal. They were a great accompaniment for hamburger and fries.

I tried the cabbage soup diet. The result of that diet was that I can’t stand cooked celery.

I tried substituting cauliflower for potatoes. I love to eat cauliflower but I want butter or cheese sauce on top with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy-along with a steak!

And that has been my problem. I will eat healthy food that probably would set me up to lose weight. But it doesn’t satisfy and sooner or later (usually sooner) I add calories that defeat my purpose.

I realized that I didn’t need another diet that didn’t work for me. I needed to make life style changes. I had to keep track of my weight, calories and level of exercise. And my new regimen had to be doable.

I liked both hard boiled eggs and grapefruit. But I could only stick to that restrictive diet so long. I had to have meat and potatoes along with broccoli and green beans. I realized I was happy to give up vanilla ice cream – if I could have dark chocolate.

That was my aha moment. Chocolate was vital to the success of my life style change. Chocolate, for me, is essential for keeping my satisfaction meter in the safe zone.

For me, vanilla ice cream is nonessential. In fact, if you serve me vanilla ice cream I will consume the calories and then at some point, I will eat chocolate – too much chocolate.

Vanilla ice cream is basically nonessential calories that sabotage my plan to consume less.

Any food, especially high calorie food, that does not give me satiety will lead to additional eating until I do feel satisfied. In my experience, it is harder to be satisfied once I have eaten nonessential calories. I suspect this more psychological than physiological. I don’t know of any studies of nonessential calories.

But I don’t need a study. This works for me.

And you don’t need a study.

Either you are saying, what a bunch of nonessential hogwash. In that case this probably isn’t work for you.

Or you are saying, Exactly. That is what I go through with every diet I try. This might work for you. Give it a shot.

Once you identify your nonessential calories, you are empowered to say no to foods that will weigh you down – not lift you up.