Here is a sampling of favorite meals these past few weeks:
What a difference a
day moment makes…
My employer offers discounted rates on our health insurance if we (my husband and I) go in for a thorough annual physical. Two weeks ago I completed my physical. Last week my blood work results came in and I received a phone call from my doctor. Everything looked really good except my cholesterol.
My total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol are very high. Combine these results with my family history of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke, it does not look good for me at all. It is so bad that my doctor wanted me on multiple cholesterol lowering medications immediately. I requested to change my diet and start exercising more, a chance to lower my cholesterol naturally. I have been given three months to lower my cholesterol. I have until June 30, 2017 to lower my cholesterol or I will be placed on medication. Challenge accepted.
I have joined a Beachbody Challenge Group and the group of women I am virtually working with are amazing and help keep me accountable. It makes this process fun.
I am on a low cholesterol diet and exercising daily. I have to diligently watch my saturated and trans fat levels as well as my sodium and cholesterol intake. Also, I make sure to get the good fats (poly and mono-unsaturated fats, omega-3’s) in my diet and take my omega-3 pill.
It is definitely a change. I really miss cheese. and fried foods. and baked goods. and delicious processed foods. But I am staying strong. This isn’t going to be easy but I know I can beat this with hard work and a positive attitude.
Well ladies and gents, I am going to have to hold off on The 17 Day Diet for a bit. I have been fighting with (what I think is) the stomach bug since late last night and I am absolutely miserable. If you want to continue with the plan by all means go for it and let me know your thoughts and results. I will update you upon my return.
Cycle 1: Accelerate: Day 1
- Breakfast – strawberry meal replacement shake and I use one cup of TruMoo chocolate milk and one cup of ice in my shake.
- Lunch – turkey sausage, chicken breast, onions, and quinoa with steamed cauliflower that had a little hot sauce on them. I mixed all these items in a pan together and ate until I felt comfortably full. (The book has a guide on “fullness meter” and “hunger meter” to assist in overeating or not eating enough). I had two cups of hot green tea with lunch.
- Snack #1 – six ounces of Greek Gods Greek Yogurt Honey with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. The six ounces (or 3/4 cup) is a LOT of yogurt, so I took my time eating it.
- Snack #2 – Yoplait Lite Key Lime Pie Yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Dinner – my leftover’s from lunch, salmon filet, chicken breast (which I wasn’t able to finish), and spinach sauteed with garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil. I had two cups of green tea with dinner.
My first day was a good day. I did not get my fruit servings in before 2:00PM so I skipped the fruit servings. Mild headache for most of the afternoon but I ate slower and drank a lot of water. I tried to keep my hands busy (because I get bored) so I crocheted when I was sitting. I wasn’t hungry but still had cravings; cheesy enchiladas and chips LOL It was mind over matter.
I got 30 minutes of mild swimming for my exercise. The book requires 17 minutes of mild to moderate exercise per day so I am ahead of the game today.
I am not counting calories, which is nice, so I am not using My Fitness Pal during this time. I will still be getting my weight and measurements but at the end of each 17-day cycle. I am anticipating reaching (or getting very close to) my goal weight after the first cycle, but we will have to see how things go and if I need to move to the second cycle before going to maintenance mode, I would be okay with that too.
I am hoping the rest of the cycle continues to go smoothly.
Jump Start the Body
I need to seriously jump start this weight loss process. I haven’t had to lose this much weight in a really long time and the traditional measures I have used in the recent past are not working as effectively. This is probably because the amount of weight I need to lose as well as my body has become very comfortable on the nutrition plan.
Many years ago I purchased a book, The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno. At that time it did not apply to me because I was already very close to my goal weight so I stored the book and just rediscovered it yesterday when I was rummaging through boxes under our stairs. I reread the box to refresh my memory and this nutrition plan is definitely the wake-up call my body needs to get going and stay on track (fingers crossed).
The 17 Day Diet is four separate cycles of 17 days per cycle. Each cycle is different to keep the body guessing and prevents plateaus. It is focused on nutrition and putting the right foods into your body. Each cycle adds different foods gradually. This plan specifically targets belly and visceral fat (which is where I carry my stubborn fat). Visceral fat is very unhealthy and my large amounts of belly fat is creating a high BMI that I need to lower to be healthier and maintain the low rates on my health insurance.
What I like about this plan (so far) is the diet is thoroughly researched and developed by a doctor who has been involved in his patients’ weight loss for many years. He designed The 17 Day Diet to promote eating healthy, focus on foods that promote weight loss and removal of visceral fat, and so you can see results quickly. He even has considerations for different cultural diets, PMS week, and carbohydrate sensitive individuals (like me). So far, I cannot find a way out of this nutrition plan (other than not doing it or giving up). It really is simple; there are grocery lists, menus, guides, considerations, etc. The only thing I do not like about this book is the weight guide. I disagree with the chart. I am 5’3″ and small framed/boned. The chart says I should weigh 109 – 115 pounds. Not a chance that I even want to weigh that much and I know I would be uncomfortable weighing that little. So I am going to keep to my goal weight (125 pounds) and when I feel great in my skin I will move to the maintenance mode. That is the good thing about the plan as well; you can move through the phases as you see fit. It is a flexible plan.
The first cycle starts with unlimited lean proteins and cleansing vegetables with two servings of low-sugar fruit, two servings of probiotic, and one to two tablespoons per day of friendly fats. Also, three cups of green tea and at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
The second cycle adds additional protein (lean cuts of meat), some natural starches (i.e. grains), and some starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes).
The third cycle adds additional protein, some different natural starches, some more starchy vegetables, and new friendly fats. This cycle adds portion control and varies the calorie intake daily to keep your body guessing.
The fourth cycle is all about maintenance. There are many tips and guides on how to maintain your weight loss.
I am going to document and track my experiences with The 17 Day Diet and you will see those posts every day going forward. Keep checking back every day to see my progress and join me if you like!
Don’t Diet! Just Eat Healthy and Exercise
I was reading through my Glamour magazine and came across a wonderful article in the Body section about a weight loss plan from Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. Dr. Freedhoff has been a dedicated obesity specialist since 2004 and believes weight loss should not be rapid and dramatic with food deprivation. Here are some of his major points for healthy weight loss:
- Don’t Go Hungry: Always have breakfast within 60 minutes of waking up; control your appetite by having three meals and two small snacks per day (even if you don’t feel hungry) as this will ward off hunger pangs and cravings.
- Keep a Judgement Free Food Diary: People who keep food journals lose twice as much weight as those who don’t; keep your journal positive, don’t note whether you’ve “good” or “bad” but rather monitor each day’s degree of difficult and spot patterns to adjust food choices for more successful eating.
- Clean Your Kitchen: Literally; people who maintain a clean and organized kitchen are more often to actually use their kitchen; clean out your pantry and fridge of unhealthy food choices, stock up on healthy choices, commit to cooking and trying one new recipe a week.
- Have Protein Every Time You Eat: Protein is the best deterrent of hunger and cravings; be sure you are having 20 grams of protein per meal.
- Take a Vacation From Weighing Yourself: Remember that the number on the scale doesn’t equal a healthy body; you are the best measurement of your health; success is sustaining a healthy lifestyle where you feel happy with your body, and keeping the weight off.
By following Dr. Freedhoff’s methods, his patients have lost an average of one pound per week (safely) and 81% of his patients have kept their weight loss off consistently and permanently.
For more information about Glamour’s health and fitness section, click here.
For those individuals who do not know what H.Pylori is or don’t understand the destruction this little spiral shaped bacteria does to one’s body, here is a crash course in Helicobacter Pylori.
H.Pylori is a bacteria that more than 50% of the world’s population harbors in their gastrointestinal (GI) track, with infection rates more prevalent in underdeveloped countries. It is primarily contracted through contaminated water or food. Due to the bacteria’s shape (think of a corkscrew), H.Pylori easily buries itself into the layers of the stomach and upper intestinal track (duodenum). The bacteria will remain dormant or begin rapidly reproducing throughout the stomach and duodenum. H.Pylori destroys the protective lining of your stomach and intestines and “feeds” (thrives) on the stomach and intestinal lining. This destruction leaves the stomach and duodenum with large open sores throughout. These sores are called ulcers.
Duodenal ulcers are located in/on the first few inches of the intestine. Duodenal ulcers cannot be cured with antacid medications. The antacid medication must be taken infinitely to maintain a better quality of life (not present with symptoms).
Gastric (or peptic) ulcers are located in/on the stomach. Gastric ulcers cannot be cured with antacid medications. The antacid medication must be taken infinitely to maintain a better quality of life (not present with symptoms).
If ulcers are left unattended, they can lead to internal bleeding, surgical repair of the stomach or duodenum, and/or cancer of the stomach or duodenum.
Symptoms of H.Pylori
- Constant burning pain in the stomach and abdomen
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
- Nausea, vomiting
- Black stool
- Constipation, bowel blockage (due to swelling of intestines)
Treatment of Active H.Pylori Infection
- High dose antibiotics, usually given in two to three separate pills
- Pills are taken twice daily for 10 to 14 days
- The treatment of an active infection is usually worse than the disease. The type of antibiotics used leave your body fatigued, nauseated, and unable to eat.
- My GI doctor prescribes narcotic pain medication to help with the pain of both the active H.Pylori infection and the antibiotics. Also, he prescribes an anti-emetic (anti-nausea) medication to help with the intense nausea and vomiting.
Daily Treatment of H.Pylori Aftermath (Ulcers)
- Antacid; prescribed for the ulcers. Dosage depends on the severity of the ulcers and usually declines as time progresses and your ulcers start to heal. For example, I started on 80+ mg a day of omeprazole after my initial diagnosis/treatment and then my relapse. Currently, I take 40 mg a day of omeprazole.
- Magnesium; due to the antacid severely depleting magnesium levels, I take 600 mg per day of a magnesium supplement to avoid chronic migraine headaches.
In order to prevent a relapse (or outbreak) of active H.Pylori, it was highly recommended by my GI doctor to follow a healthy diet and avoid certain foods that can irritate the ulcers and cause the bacteria to reproduce and become active (causing further ulcers and damage to my stomach and duodenum). A healthy diet significantly helps to minimize symptoms and can assist in fighting off (and possibly killing off) the bacteria.
- Foods to Avoid: tomatoes and tomato products, large amounts of chocolate, large amounts of coffee, high-fat dairy products, fried foods, sugar, processed foods, limited salt, cabbage.
- Foods to Eat: lots of high fiber foods, whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins (chicken and fish), low sodium foods, legumes/lentils, fruits (especially cranberries and apples), lowest-fat dairy products.
A diet full of foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids are great at healing ulcers and keeping the H.Pylori from returning (reproducing). Cranberries (sugar free cranberry juice or 100% natural cranberry juice) have been proven to attack and kill the bacteria. Other foods to eat lots of if you have H.Pylori (or other ulcer diseases) are: apples, raspberries, prunes, pears, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, celery, onion, garlic, 100% whole grains, and lean chicken breast and fish. I was given a comprehensive list for my dietary needs. If you want a copy of it, contact me and I would be happy to share.
I hope this information was helpful in understanding H.Pylori and gives you a little more insight into my life and the need to eat more hippie food.