The Elephant In The Room

Welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. While I was going to do a Dementia article today, I have been reading a lot about Obesity and how it is affecting people who get Covid. This has kind of been known in the medical field, but now others are starting to talk about it more with data becoming more available. But, in general, people don’t want to discuss the issues of obesity and Covid or any health-related issue. Did you know that body fat is important, but that you should not be carrying more than 20% body fat on your body? There will be 3 websites for you to visit and read more about this, with all of the various studies done.

Did you know, regardless of age, if you are obese you have a 48% increased chance of dying from Covid 19? Even if you are overweight, and not obese, your chances of getting a serious infection and becoming hospitalized increase exponentially. Plus, according to this article, fast food in 2020 increased by like 40%. Fast food is one of the worst things you can eat if you are trying to avoid obesity. In general, and I would say almost all, fast food is high in fat, salt, calories, and sugar.

So, when I thought about this I thought well it must be due to breathing issues due to obesity and chest wall expansion. But, it actually is way more complicated than that. Excessive adipose tissue increases inflammation which can cause the Cytokine Storm that is so deadly for people who get Covid. It also decreases Immunity, causes thicker blood which makes you more prone to blood clots, and other complicated factors. They think this is why younger people are starting to die from Covid, due to Obesity. Plus, if you are obese you are more likely to have other comorbidities like Heart Disease, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome in general.

So, why should you care? Well, for one thing, if you are overweight or obese, you may not be ready to die or be in the hospital for an extended period of time. It is imperative that you socially distance, wear a mask, and get vaccinated at least until Herd Immunity can be reached. While none of these things are perfect, used together they can protect you quite well. I also think due to the massive mishandling of Covid in the US we are most likely heading towards seasonal bouts of Covid. That means we most likely will need to learn to watch for flare-ups and take proper precautions as needed. While masks are a huge, contentious issue, I don’t see them going away any time soon.

This should be a wake-up call to anyone who needs to work towards a healthier weight and better metabolic health. Trust me I am one of those people, too. I have never been thin, and I carry the pudge around the middle especially after having children. But, I also work hard every day to modify my diet, lifestyle, and exercise habits to constantly improve. You can too! It is hard work, no doubt, but it is worth it.

https://immunityageing.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12979-020-00212-x

https://www.science.org/content/article/why-covid-19-more-deadly-people-obesity-even-if-theyre-young

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/if-you-are-at-higher-risk

Disclaimer

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Sugar and Obesity!

Hello, and welcome to another Healthy Tips on Tuesday post. October is Obesity Awareness Month, or improve your Metabolic Syndrome Health Marker if you prefer. You will find two videos below. I urge you to watch them both. Remember not only fat people have Metabolic Syndrome, and not all Obese people do either. But, if you are on a weight loss journey you simply can not ignore sugars.

Why can you not ignore sugars if you are on a weight loss journey, especially added sugars? I will give you some examples below, and what to try to limit your sugars to, to lose weight. Please note if you are a Diabetic this could be dangerous for you. Please talk to your doctor about Carb control, rather than sugar consumption.

Here is an example. When I look at a box of pasta, which is high in carbs, it only has 2 grams of total sugar per serving, zero of which are added sugars. The same thing with a baked potato, not sweet potato though. A baked potato has only 2 grams of total sugar, per potato, and of course none are added sugars. I used those two examples because pasta, and potatoes, are the arch nemesis of many weight loss diets. Pasta, enriched pasta especially, is a good source of nutrients, as are baked potatoes.

Now, the evidence is mixed on whether added sugars cause Obesity or not, or at least that is what the sugar industry say. I think the evidence is stark. Since the 1980’s when Obesity really started to take off, is when Americans started to eat more processed, readily available, easy to make meals. Watch the videos the stats are right there.

Quitting sugar is hard. It might even be addicting, read my post on this topic. My research shows that discretionary sugar may be the very reason you can’t lose weight. Wait, what? Discretionary sugar, what is that? After you have consumed all of the nutrients your body needs for a day you might have discretionary sugar left to eat in your day. WTH! That sounds horrible to have to try and track, understand, or even care about. Here is an easier method. For women you can eat up to 50 grams sugar, total, in a day, only 25 grams of that 50 should be added sugars. For men just double it. One thing to be careful of, though, is like for me I drink a Welch’s juice that does have sugars, but they are not added sugars. This does not mean I can drink as much as I want. I add only a small amount to my regular water to add flavor. Most processed foods, even organic processed foods, will most likely have added sugars in them. For me, right now, I am not focusing on the total sugars, but rather the added sugars. I am tracking that, ok only 1 day so far, to see if I notice any difference in weight loss, and more importantly waist circumference, as that is actually my goal. It is going to be tough to stick to 25 grams today, because it is family cookoff challenge night and I have to eat two sandwiches. But, I think the bread I bought will be OK. Yesterday, my tracking app said I ate 59 grams of total sugars, but I didn’t keep track of added sugars. But, I still lost some ounces when I weighed myself this morning.

I will be looking more into this sugar topic in upcoming posts, especially in relation to Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Disclaimer

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Stop Calling It Obesity?

Hello, and welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. For the whole month of October I am discussing Obesity. But, as you can see in my title I posed the topic as a question. However, by the end of the post I think you will see why I think it should be a statement. If you feel like you will be triggered by this topic, please stop reading now.

If we should stop calling it Obesity, what do I think influencers, health coaches, fitness coaches, doctors, etc. should call it? I think it should be referred to as Metabolic Syndrome. Why? Keep reading.

Obesity is a word that implies fat, unhealthy, lazy, over eating, etc. Instead we should be focusing on obesity as a health marker, because honestly that is all it is. You can be obese and be fit, and even healthy, especially in your younger years. You don’t have to like that statement, but it is technically true. It doesn’t mean you will be fit, or healthy forever, though, if you stay obese. Fat shaming, fat phobia, name calling, berating, using other people’s struggles to make yourself money on Youtube, Instagram, Tiktock, Snap Chat, I don’t even know what all of the platforms are, but you really should be ashamed of yourself. First of all, if you really care about obesity as a topic, and a health marker, bringing attention to the healthy at every size, feeders, mukbangs, and other such content that so offends you, is only making them more money and gives them no incentive whatsoever to change their undesirable health marker, ie. obesity. Plus, for all you fat shamers just because you might be thin does not mean you are healthy. The public sees weight visually and it implies health to them, but that is not necessarily true. You can be thin and have Metabolic Syndrome, and make no mistake once you have allowed your body, through bad lifestyle choices to put on a lot of fat, it is extremely hard to get it off. Please do not read part of this post and then leave me a nasty comment. Read the whole thing and make sure you understand what I wrote.

So, for the rest of this month’s topic on Obesity, I will refer to it from here on out, as Metabolic Syndrome Awareness, and yes, Obesity is a huge part of Metabolic Syndrome.

Now, before I go into what Metabolic Syndrome is, and how to tell if you have it, let me say a word about waste measurement, or the dreaded BMI. If you are short, whether you are a man or a woman, keeping a normal BMI is going to be a much bigger challenge than if you are tall. That does not mean it should not be a goal for you, just because it is hard. 140 pounds on a 5 foot 4 woman, is going to be much different looking, and measurement, than on a 5 foot 10 woman. It is very easy to carry excess weight in your abdomen when you are short. However, again, this does not mean you should not have a goal to decrease your abdominal fat, even if it is subcutaneous fat, vs visceral fat.

Metabolic Syndrome in it’s easiest to understand definition is a set of health markers that point to an increased risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes etc. The markers are below is how the US defines Metabolic Syndrome, other countries use other markers.

To be diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome you must have 3 out of the 5 markers listed below. If you do not know your markers, then you should. If you are claiming Health at any Size, or whatever mantra people use, then you can’t claim that without knowing your health markers.

  1. A waist measurement of more than 35 inches around in women, and 40 inches around in men. To measure your waist accurately use a tape measure on naked skin right above the belly button. Pull it snug, like your jeans would fit nice, not tight like your jeans will make you not breathe. That is your waist measurement. I personally have this marker, and I am working hard to get it below 35. I am 5 feet tall, on my tiptoes, lol, and I carry my weight in my abdomen and chest. I have already lost 3 inches off my waist, but I still have a way to go.
  2. A fasting glucose of 100 or higher, or if you are taking medications to control your blood glucose. You should fast, ie not eat for at least 12 hours before doing a glucose level for this purpose. I do not have this marker.
  3. A Triglyceride level at or above 150, again you should be fasting for at least 12 hours for this number to be accurate. I do not have this marker either. However, I must mention that when I was eating a low carb diet, and had increased my fat intake to get enough calories, my Triglycerides were quite high. I have since corrected this with diet modification. If you are on the Keto diet you should be monitoring this marker. Being thin, but ending up with Heart Disease, or Stroke, is not exactly a healthy thing now is it. There are different types of Keto diets, so there is that.
  4. A HDL Cholesterol level below 50 for women, and below 40 for men. This is the so called good cholesterol. This is a hot topic issue, but again it is a marker or risk. My HDL was 46, three months ago, and I am going to be retested tomorrow and I am hoping it has gone up. If you take medications to improve HDL then you are also considered as having this health marker.
  5. A blood pressure at, or above 130/85 regardless of gender. Systolic is your top number, and Diastolic is your bottom number. If you are young, you may only see your doctor yearly. So, measuring your own blood pressure regularly at home should be an important health goal for you, especially if you have any of the other markers. Be sure you are not in an excited mood, sitting comfortable, and legs are not crossed at the knees or ankles to get an accurate blood pressure. Your arm should be at heart level. If you already take medications to control blood pressure, than you are automatically positive for this marker. Even with Kidney Disease I do not have this marker, nor do I take medication to control it.

So, if you read all that, I have 2 out of 5 of the markers. I can not make myself taller, so I have to work harder to reduce my waist measurement. I do not have Metabolic Syndrome, but I am overweight, and by the charts obese. I am not ashamed of that. The best I can do is keep trying to improve. But, I am active, and fitness goals are a huge part of my regime. I do not smoke, genetics do play a role in some of my markers, and I can not change that either. I will discuss more about that in the coming weeks as we continue down the path of preventing Metabolic Syndrome, and how to treat it once you have it.

That should be the focus of anyone who is concerned about the health of others. Not their body size, what they think of how they look, how they feel about what they eat, etc. Your feelings do not matter when discussing someone else’s health and wellbeing. Feeling are just that, and opinions are feelings, by the way. It is not tough love, either. It is intrusive, that is what it is. Start revealing your own numbers, and put it as a disclaimer, if you really feel the need to criticize someone you see as obese, fat, disgusting, lazy, or whatever. Please don’t call me a Snowflake, politically correct, or whatever other label you might want to give me. You don’t have to agree with me, just as I find some of these infuencers content dangerous, inappropriate, and having nothing to do with promoting health.

If you are looking to start a gentle exercise regime, towards a goal of being more fit, check out my Walking Buddy Plan, and take advantage of the discount available.

Disclaimer

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

cooking methods for ckd to help reduce phosphorus, potassium, sodium and fat

Happy World Kidney Day! I hope you are celebrating this day by loving your kidneys just a little bit more. I have talked in previous posts about soaking vegetables to leach potassium, and boiling meats to decrease phosphorus. Today, I am going to discuss some actual studies that show that different cooking methods can help reduce phosphorus, potassium, sodium and fat. Namely soaking, boiling, using a pressure cooker, and stewing. The three main things I took away from these articles are: 1- a pressure cooker is the best method to use, 2- slicing your meat, rather than leaving it one solid piece works best, and 3- be sure and discard any of the water, juices, gravies, etc that the meat will produce. Do not consume it.

Below are the articles that I found that are the easiest to read, and the easiest to understand. There is also a video you can watch. 2 of the articles I read were from one website, and I can not upload them here. But, if you are interested in reading them leave me a note in the comments and I will try to get them to you.

Always remember to discuss any dietary changes you wish to make with your doctor, so you can be properly monitored to be sure the changes do not have any negative effects on your health.

Always remember, whole, unprocessed foods are going to give you the healthiest options of food choices.

https://www.kidneybuzz.com/dialysis-cooking-methods-to-cut-phosphorus-levels-help-reduce-death-rates-in-ckd-patients

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/boiling-meat-rid-fat-11546.html

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-to-reduce-sodium#:~:text=Foods%20that%20are%20steamed%2C%20baked,usually%20cut%20the%20sodium%20too.

Disclaimer

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

is society obsessed with body size?

Welcome to Monday, and February! I hope everyone finds themselves well on this freezing cold day here in Florida. I am seriously starting to think I really don’t live in Florida.

So, what do you think, is society obsessed with body size? I say absolutely and if you watch the video below you will see that throughout history it always has been. However, what makes it different now is social media. 24 hours a day, seven days a week people can post their likes, dislikes, judge, give rude comments, project from their own flaws onto others, etc. A lot of what society has found body size attractive through the years has been based on men and their fantasies. Why would women care, especially after the Women’s Movement, what men think of how a woman should look? But, it is way beyond that now. Women are shaming women now, both for being too thin, and too fat. Why are women doing this to other women? Is there a shortage of viable partners that we have to cut each other down based on our opinions of what is attractive, beautiful or perceived health? The fact that we have all these hours in a day to bring people down, rather than raise them up, doesn’t say much for society and productiveness. But, I think it goes even farther than that. People do this in part because there is the potential to get attention and also to make money. Now people don’t have to look at it, obviously, but there is a kind of addictive behavior attached to social media it seems.

That brings me to a question posed to me on Pinterest. I get interesting messages both here and on Pinterest. Most of the time they are spam, or strange men looking for some kind of strange relationship that has nothing to do with Health Coaching. That is another good question to ask. Is any attention better than no attention? I don’t know I have to think about that one. So, I was asked why do I want to lose weight? I am still not sure exactly why they were asking as that was all the question was, in reference to my Lose Weight With Melissa subscription plan. Maybe they were going to refer me to some product they were pushing to sell I don’t know. First of all let me say that plan is meant to be encouragement to anyone struggling with weight loss, or who has CKD and wonders about losing weight. What works for me may not work for others, but it also might. It might give them the encouragement they need to begin a weight loss journey. It may help someone to see that one on one coaching may be a better fit for them as well, to lose weight. 1- I am not body insecure. Yes, I have some jiggly bits that I would like to see go away, and that is why I set exercise goals. 2- losing weight is so much more than body image. I choose to lose weight because actual studies with facts show that losing weight can improve my kidney function. Since a main goal of mine is to get back to stage 2, losing weight is a huge part of that objective. 3- Actual studies with facts show that anybody who is obese has an increased risk of chronic diseases in their future. BMI is not a perfect tool, nor is it meant to be the end all be all to measuring someone’s overall health. But, it is a tool, and a good tool. It is a frustrating tool as well, especially since most doctors do not even consider other tools in the shed to monitor overall health. I can understand that frustration that many people have. 4- I find most people don’t want to know truths and facts they want to feed their denials and fantasies instead. 5- Eating real food and changing our eating lifestyle is a major goal for me and my family. 6- I have no interest in people promoting Fad Diets, herbal pills, or other whacky weight loss gimmicks to me, or my readers. I work in facts and I know that real sustainable weight loss takes time and effort. It is a marathon not a sprint.

No one likes to be body shamed, told they are fat, or too thin. Neither do people like to feel they have to answer for every single decision they make in life. I suppose some people like that or they wouldn’t put their personal life out there for the whole world to see. Having a weight issue, whether too much or too little, is hard enough on the psyche as it is. Unless you are an expert on the topic, which most people are not, then you are just passing your opinions, beliefs and projections onto others, then you should probably just say nothing and worry about your own issues. We all have issues, by the way. whether you believe it or not. If you think you are free from flaws then that is an issue. On the flip side no one likes to be told they are ignorant, or stupid. None of these tactics work for most people. You have to approach these things with love, kindness and actual facts. Then you have to provide a way forward that will actually help. If you can’t offer that, or you only offer things that make money and don’t really work in the long run, then you are part of the problem not the solution.

We are all different that is what makes us all beautiful. Reach out a hand in loving support rather than pointing the finger of shame. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There is so much more that goes into this very broad topic. Self image and self confidence are such a fragile part of humanity. Think how much more humane we could be if we just accepted each other as we are. Be Mindful and think before you speak about people.

Disclaimer

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a topic.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Moving Beyond Body Size Monday: Am I Ugly?

That is a completely rhetorical question and I am way beyond the age of caring what people think.  But, the question is a two-fold topic.  One, and most importantly, 10,000 people a month ask that question each month either by a search engine or posting to social media.  The video below is a TED talk video and you will see why I asked the question.  Two will people just look at the meme and comment without actually reading the article that goes with the meme?

We are cruel to ourselves, and we tolerate the media, other people’s opinions, and perceptions to define how we should look, feel and act.  Why do we care so much?  Why can’t we just love ourselves and be comfortable with the way we look no matter what other’s say.  Watch the video to learn more.  It is short, about 15 minutes and it is very much worth it.  This is not an affiliate post but is part of my new series on Mondays:  Moving Beyond Body Size.

body1

https://www.ted.com/talks/meaghan_ramsey_why_thinking_you_re_ugly_is_bad_for_you

Disclaimer

 

Mindful Monday: You Are What You Eat!

How many times have you heard that in your life?  Do you believe it?  Does it offend you?  I have two ways that I used to look at this idea, one good, one bad.

First the bad.  I used to get offended by this statement.  Mostly because I was ignorant of what the people who would say these things meant.  What does that mean, even?  Well, even though nurses get  Nutrition education in school, Dietitians do most of the counseling, educating, and advising.  So nurses never really get to explore more about Nutrition and how it really affects the body. You know if you don’t use it you lose it.   Plus, let’s admit it, there is a new study every week with a new do this, and not that, or go back to doing that.    It is confusing, time-consuming and downright frustrating.  Working, raising kids, and not really understanding what is really in the food we were eating, led us to eat fast, convenient, easy, processed foods instead of cooking which was more time consuming and took a lot of energy.  Plus those processed foods a lot of times were in fact cheaper.  Living on a tight budget, so I could homeschool my kids I was convinced fast and convenient was OK.  But, it really isn’t.  All the salt, fat, and preservatives in these foods can be very unhealthy and pretty void of nutrients.  I had to relearn what I learned 30 years ago in my Nutrition class, plus update all that for all the changes.  We now mostly cook fresh foods, at least my husband and I do, the kids are a bit tougher.  They are at the stage where fast and convenient works for them.  I am working on them through education.  Knowledge is power!

Now for the good thought.  I knew deep down in my heart the way we had been eating was not healthy for any of us.  I let commercials, other people, and convenience rule my mind.  I had to become more mindful of what I was putting in my body and the bodies of my family.  Some of you may be wondering if that way of eating caused my Kidney Disease.  No, according to my Nephrologist there is no proof of that.  My kidney had slowly been feeling probably since my teen years and is probably genetic.  Plus, thank goodness we didn’t eat awful too many years.  But, eating all the processed, cheap and convenient foods did nothing good for my kidneys.   My family and I still have lots to learn.  It is hard to break old habits and replace with new ones.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.   I don’t eat the way I used to.  I have conformed myself.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t cheat or fall of the good eating wagon.  That would be a lie.  I still have a weakness for potato chips and salty snacks. But, by being mindful of what I put into my body, and yes I now realize it is true, I am what I eat, has helped transform my thought process.   It helps to just not buy them, lol,  I wish I had a Health Coach back when work and life started getting more stressful, to help me learn to cook healthy easy fast meals that didn’t cost a fortune.    My husband and daughter are doing ok, and it is my son that I worry about the most.  He is in college and working full time.  The perfect scenario to eat awful foods, and yes that includes fast food and most restaurants.

Do you want to learn how to be more mindful of what you put in your body?  Do you need to learn how to cook, shop on a budget, create a meal plan?  These are all things that I as a Health Coach, can help you with.  If you would like to learn more about what plans I offer, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.  I am running an October special, so be sure and ask about that.  I am still doing signups for the November small group weekly sessions, also.  You can see all of my available plans here, and feel free to message me with any questions.  I am always adding new plans, and a new monthly special each month.  So check back often.  I will be offering gift certificates for Christmas, starting November 1 for people to purchase.  Yes, my prices are probably more affordable than others.  I do that for a reason.  I can’t help people if they can’t afford to pay me.  I don’t want to be a millionaire, or make 6 figures.  This is an extension of my nursing career to grow and help others in a changing market for Health Care.

Disclaimer

monday

Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol is a type of fat.  It can build up in arteries causing decreased blood flow to the heart.  Cholesterol is found in highest amounts, in dairy products, meat, and eggs.  I can remember the days of nursing when Cholesterol was the only type of fat discussed.  Now there is Trigylcerides, LDL, HDL, etc.   Saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and on and on it goes.  So do we need any Cholesterol, or should it just be removed from all diets?  Actually, like any other nutrition item, Cholesterol plays a very important part of the normal function of a human body.  Cholesterol helps the body build new cells.  Well that sounds pretty important.  Cholesterol also insulates nerves, and helps produce hormones.  Again, two very important functions to the human body.  We need Cholesterol.  We just don’t need too much of it.

So, now comes the blah, blah, part.  You should be having your Cholesterol checked every single year starting in your teens.  Even though a lot of high Cholesterol comes from foods we consume, for some people it can be hereditary.  Even the most fit people, with excellent diets can have high Cholesterol due to Genetics.  I am not a fan of Statins, they have a high risk of damaging the liver, but if I needed one I would  take one.  Exercise, controlling blood pressure, and following a low fat and high fiber diet, can help lower Cholesterol levels.  Oatmeal is a great way to increase fiber in your diet. If you really like eggs, for your morning meal, the egg yolk is where all the Cholesterol is.  So, egg whites are a better option, and only have one or two whole eggs a week, if that.   I have switched to egg whites, because the egg yolk is also where all the Phosphorous is.  Make sure you get actual egg whites, not made from egg white substance.  I don’t even know what that means, egg white substance.   Even if you were to decide to try other options, before a Statin, you would need to do it under the care of a doctor.  This is not something to mess with.

An optimal Cholesterol level is 200 or below, but I can promise you if you are sneaking around 190, or so, the doctor is going to start the blah blah part.  You can’t live without your heart, and one heart attack can be very debilitating, if it doesn’t kill you.

Take care of yourself, and if you need a Health Coach to help you meet your goals, along with your doctor, contact me for a free meet and greet.  Don’t forget about my 2 new programs, Walking Buddy, and Medication Reminders.

Disclaimer

March Calendar and Special

orion2