Monday, February 28, 2011

Pray It Off 02/24/11 Christian Weight Loss-Serenity Now! And S.E.L.F.

Christian Weight Loss - Serenity Now!by Daniel Wychor

I like to watch interviews of top athletes after big games. While it's easy to tell by watching the fans' reaction who won, you often times can't tell by looking at the athletes. Fans often criticize the players, saying they need to show more emotion; not realizing just the opposite is true. The athletes know they need to stay calm and on an even keel if they are to be successful in the long run. Those that let their emotions get the best of them most often do not achieve the top level of success long term.

Staying calm allows you to stay focused on the task at hand and gives you a much better chance at success.
You'll often hear people refer to being in "a zone" when they accomplish something great. When you ask them about details you'll find they were in a calm relaxed state while they did the task.

Let's do a quick exercise. Think back in your past to accomplishments you are proud of. Now think about the emotional state you were in while you were accomplishing the task. Were your emotions under control? Was all of your energy focused on the task at hand or were you distracted by other things?

When I think back on my life those moments always involved me being in a calm focused state. I need to state that it is possible to be in an intense state of mind and calm at the same time. Intensity and calmness are not mutually exclusive; in fact it is the combination of the two that causes people to do great things.

So how does this apply to weight loss? To succeed long term at weight loss you must stay in a calm, focused state. How many people do you know that every January make a resolution to lose weight. They are all excited, they start out with great intensity but they are not in a calm state. They may last anywhere from a few days to a month or two on whatever they are doing. As soon as their weight loss slows or they get distracted by something, they get depressed and give up. They then fall back into their old destructive eating habits. Do you know anyone like this, maybe someone you see in the mirror each day?

So how can you get into a calm state and stay there? First you have to realize you are not living a fairy tale, life happens. Like a sailboat going across a lake that has to adjust the rudder and sails due to currents and wind, to get where they want to go, you have to do the same in life. Keep the goal in mind, realizing that there will be obstacles along the way. Second, when those obstacles appear do not let them get you out of your calm, focused state. Call in for reinforcements and I don't mean comfort foods that ruin your diet (I can't stand that term, more on that in another article).

Call on God. How many times have you heard in church or read in your Bible to cast the burden? How many times have you heard to let go and let God? When other things in life happen, don't let them be an excuse to ruin your weight loss plans. Get in the habit of when stuff happens calling on God and asking him to take the burden. You may still have to deal with the problem but with God in your corner you are more likely to retain your calm state. You can add strength to your prayer by actually visualizing handing the problem off to God and letting him carry it for you. To get yourself into the habit of doing this, start with little problems so when the bigger problems pop into your life you'll automatically do this.

This will allow you to separate your task of losing weight from everything else going on in your life and give you a much better chance at success.

Cast the burden and give yourself a chance to stay in a calm focused state, and remember to keep smiling, because stuff happens.

God Bless.

S. – E. – L. – F. by Dr. Kathleen Hall

Question 1: "Is it really possible to experience balance in my busy, chaotic life with a husband, children and a career?"

Answer: Yes you can.

Balance is about becoming whole. About choosing to live a life in wholeness, not in pieces that look like a puzzle in a box. To achieve balance, begin by listing your sources of happiness and love and then list them by priority. How often during the day are you visiting these sources for love and support?

Your next step is to learn to practice self care. You must learn to take care of your mind and body because it is the vehicle in which you experience this amazing life.

Your children mirror your behavior. If you live as a victim or martyr, and create no time for yourself, your children will develop your negating behavior. Set the example of practicing self care for yourself and those you love.

Learn the four roots of balance and happiness in this simple acronym, S.E.L.F. care. This is an easy to remember acronym that I created to help us remember your four roots of happiness, health and balance.

S is for Serenity, It is the opposite of stress. When you achieve serenity, your body experiences the relaxation response affirmed by many research studies.
Meditation decreases your heart rate, boosts your immune system as well as reducing depression, anxiety, and response to pain. In addition to meditation, music and laughter are healthy practices, and are well known to relieve stress. Find your own sources of calm and use them regularly. Serenity practices help preserve the mind, body and soul.

E is for Exercise. Our bodies and minds were created for motion. People who exercise three times a week reduce their risk of Alzheimer's and dementia by a third. Regular walking 20 minutes a day reduces your risk of death from all diseases by a third. Put your treadmill in front of your television and watch the morning or evening news, or your favorite program while you walk for 20 minutes. Get your family moving. Have daily walks after dinner; you might even consider putting up a badminton net or basketball hoop!

L is for Love. We are designed to live in community with others. We know that people who have strong relationships with others have better health outcomes. So spend more time with those you love and get in a group that meets often. Be creative - join a book club, card group, or combine two important elements of a healthy lifestyle and become a part of a walking group. Discovering new ways to share your life with others preserves your mind, body and soul.

F is for Food. Food is medicine and food changes your mood. We are getting new research of the effect of food on your health every day. Fish oil, which contains Omega 3, helps with numerous diseases. Plan to eat fish three times a week or take capsules. Blueberries are called "brain berries" or "youth food." Blueberries help neuron reproduction and neural communication. Blueberries are great for mental health and anti-aging and have been proven to be effective in disease prevention. Nourishing your body with the blessing of healthy life-giving food preserves your mind, body and spirit.

Preservation of our health and well being is essential to living a long, productive balanced life. Discover how to live a life of mental, physical and spiritual health by simply remembering your four roots of S.E.L.F. care every day of your life - then you will achieve your much deserved balance.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pray It Off 02/24/11 SERENITY and Weight Loss

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Serenity Prayer: What does it mean?*

This beautiful prayer was written by a man named Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943. The words have special meaning to those who are often “looking for peace” at a time of turmoil, despair, or uncertainty in their lives. This prayer has become closely associated with 12 Step programs, offering strength and calm in pursuit of a more stable life.

First, through uttering these words, we are acknowledging God’s existence and recognizing that He is truly the only one who can bring us inner peace regardless of chaotic circumstances. His wonderful presence in our lives brings ‘serenity’ that can be found nowhere else. There is a Bible verse that says the peace of God is beyond all human understanding. “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Until we allow the ‘peace of God’ to enter into our mind, heart, and soul, we will never experience that ultimate peace that defies the most severe circumstances in life.

The prayer goes on to speak of accepting, courage, and wisdom. It all comes down to asking and allowing God to give us these things. In other words, it is surrendering to Him. The second part reminds us that our trust needs to be in God to work things out and recognizing that we usually don’t have any real control over hardships in this sinful world or the actions of others. Trust Him and live one day at a time, enjoying each moment.

Serenity Prayer: How do I put this into practice?

Perseverance and successes aren’t born out of good times. They are born out of trials. 1 Peter 4:12 says “. . .don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” The Bible tells us that we will go through trials and going through them makes us stronger. In our times of weakness, we learn to rely on God’s strength and He takes great delight when we trust in Him. We all desire to be needed and wanted; God wants this from us as well. He wants for us to turn to Him and trust Him.

Be encouraged -- Christ Jesus is faithful; we can rest on Him, trusting Him always for the outcome. We don’t always understand the “why” of things that happen and we don’t always need to. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” And in Hebrew 13:5, God says He will never leave us or forsake us. Never is long time. . .He is always there for us if we come to Him.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I carry is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

In these Scriptures, we can see the relevance of the last phrase in the Serenity Prayer. If we surrender to Him, we can be supremely happy in Him, in this life and forever after.


Serenity Prayer
Jenny’s Version for the Weight-Challenged of the World

God grant me the serenity
To make good food choices;
Courage to turn away from baked goods;
And energy to exercise daily.
Living healthy one day at a time;
Enjoying my journey;
Accepting that the road to wellness can be hard;
Taking the tools of better eating out into the world
As I should, free from the bad habits of the past;
Trusting that making wise decisions today will pay off tomorrow;
If I surrender to my will
I will not beat myself up in this life and the next
But I will remember that this is a life long journey;
A journey that is well worth every pound lost.

All kidding aside, I think that really sums it up. It will be hard to make good choices every day, but just take it one day at a time and never give up. And don't beat yourself up so much! Life is hard, weight loss is hard, being healthy takes a lot of time and effort, so any energy you put into it is awesome! Pat yourself on the back! This is a life long journey of many tiny changes to your old habits. I'm a firm believer in making VERY small changes. Clearly all those fad diets didn't work for us. Sure maybe you lost a little weight, but did you keep it off? I think it's all about the little changes. You can sustain little changes forever. An extra glass of water a day? Easy peasy. An extra serving or two of veggies daily? Piece of cake (oh God, don't let me get started on cake... ). OK then... a smaller piece of cake at the next birthday party. Simple. You get the idea. It just takes teenie tiny changes like these, that over time will add up to something significant - a more healthy you! Sure you won't lose weight as fast as that fasting diet, but the changes in your body will last a life time.

Hi. My name is Jenny. And I'm a recovering fat-a-holic.


The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets

The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets

Three in the morning,
And I'm still awake,
So I picked up a pen and a page,
And I started writing,
Just what I'd say,
If we were face to face,
I'd tell you just what you mean to me,
I'd tell you these simple truths,

CHORUS: Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Last time we spoke,
You said you were hurting,
And I felt your pain in my heart,
I want to tell you,
That I keep on praying,
Love will find you where you are,
I know cause I've already been there,
So please hear these simple truths,


From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Thank God for each day,
His love will find a way,
These are the words I would say

Pray it Off 02/17/11 Consistent Exercise & Sleep

How to Create a Consistent Exercise Routine*
By Elizabeth McGuire

Create a Consistent Exercise Routine

You know the drill about how great exercise is for you, but perhaps you struggle with making it a priority in your life. Consistency is the key to making exercise a lifelong habit. Here are some tips on building workouts into your regular routine.

Get out early. Research shows that people who exercise first thing in the morning are most consistent. Nothing except your alarm clock
gets in the way-not an urgent deadline, a traffic jam or a happy hour gathering. For extra tips, see Resources below for a link to my eHow: "How to Exercise Early in the Morning."

Be realistic. Set small, achievable goals at first. If you are new to exercise, plan to work out three times a week. Then move to every other day. As you progress you may build up to a 5-day (or more) weekly routine.

Have a specific plan before you start. You'll want to build in a variety of workouts to keep things fresh (for example, strength one day, cardio the next) but the trick is planning ahead. Every Sunday night, map out your week of workouts and stick with it like it's a doctor's prescription. Your plan can even be as simple as "Mon: Walk 30 min., Wed: Walk 30 min. plus 15 min. push-ups and sit-ups."

Find someone to keep you accountable. This can be a workout buddy or a personal trainer. Either way, pair up with someone who is inspiring and reliable. For extra tips, see Resources below for links to these eHow articles: "How to Find an Exercise Partner" and "How to Hire a Personal Trainer."

Set goals and keep track of your progress. Maybe your goal is to lose weight or run 5 miles. It could also be as simple as "exercise every other day for a month." Seeing progress will keep you motivated and consistent.

Find inspiration or distraction. If exercise goals don't engage you, pick a favorite diversion and build that into your exercise routine. Listen to music, watch TV or read a magazine while you exercise.


Benefits Of Sleep*

The benefits of sleep impact nearly every area of daily life. While it may be obvious that sleep is beneficial, most people don’t realize how much sleep they need and why it is so important.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating, drinking, and breathing. Extensive research has been done on the effects of sleep. These studies have consistently shown that sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity, and emotional well-being.

This explains why, after a good night's sleep, you feel better, your thoughts are clearer, and your emotions are less fragile. Without adequate sleep, judgment, mood, and ability to learn and retain information are weakened. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to an array of serious medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even early mortality.


While sleep requirements vary by individual, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that most adults need seven to eight hours a night. Though, some people may need as few as 5 hours per night and others may need up to nine or ten hours of sleep each day for proper functioning.

Sleep Requirements by Age

Newborns (0-2 months old) 12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months old) 14-15 Hours
Toddlers (1-3 years old)l 12-14 Hours
Pre-schoolers (3-5 years old) 11-13 Hours
School-aged Children (5-10 years old) 10-11 Hours
Teens (11-17 years old) 8-9 Hours
Adults 7-9 Hours

Studies show that people who get the appropriate amount of sleep on a regular basis tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who sleep too few or even too many hours each night. This underscores the importance of making sleep a top priority.


Following are some of the benefits of sleep and how it improves the quality and the length of your life.

Sleep helps to repair your body.

Your body produces extra protein molecules while you're sleeping that helps strengthen your ability to fight infection and stay healthy. These molecules help your immune system mend your body at a cellular level when you are stressed or have been exposed to compromising elements such as pollutants and infectious bacteria.

Sleep helps keep your heart healthy.

Your cardiovascular system is constantly under pressure and sleep helps to reduce the levels of stress and inflammation in your body.
High levels of "inflammatory markers" are linked to heart disease and strokes. Sleep can also help keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels (which play a role in heart disease) in check.

Sleep reduces stress.

A good night's sleep can help lower blood pressure and elevated levels of stress hormones, which are a natural result of today's fast paced lifestyle. High blood pressure can be life threatening and the physical effects of stress can produce "'wear and tear" on your body and degenerate cells, which propel the aging process. Sleep helps to slow these effects and encourages a state of relaxation.

Sleep improves your memory.

That 'foggy' feeling that you struggle with when deprived of sleep makes it difficult to concentrate. This often leads to memory problems with facts, faces, lessons, or even conversations. Sleeping well eliminates these difficulties because, as you sleep, your brain is busy organizing and correlating memories.

One of the great benefits of sleep is that it allows your brain to better process new experiences and knowledge, increasing your understanding and retention. So, next time you hear someone say "why don't you sleep on it," take their advice.

Sleep helps control body weight issues.

Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. Studies have shown that when your body is deprived of sleep, the normal hormone balances are interrupted and your appetite increases. Unfortunately this increase in appetite doesn't lead to a craving for fruits and veggies. Rather, your body longs for foods high in calories, fats, and carbohydrates.

So, if you're trying to lose those stubborn few pounds that just keep hanging around, consider the benefits of sleep on weight control and make sure that getting enough sleep each day. For more information on sleep and body weight, click here.

Sleep reduces your chances of diabetes

Researchers have shown that lack of sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by affecting how your body processes glucose, which is the carbohydrate your cells use for fuel.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School reports that a study showed a healthy group of people who had reduced their sleep from eight to four hours per night processed glucose more slowly. Other research initiatives have revealed that adults who usually sleep less than five hours per night have a greatly increased risk of developing diabetes.

Sleep reduces the occurrence of mood disorders.

With insufficient sleep during the night, many people become agitated or moody the following day. Yet, when limited sleep becomes a chronic issue, studies have shown it can lead to long-term mood disorders such as depression or anxiety.
The benefits of sleep are extensive and can make a difference in your quality of life, as well as the length of your life. Therefore, it is vital to place a priority on getting ample, consistent sleep.


Fish with Red Onion and Red Pepper*

This is one of my easiest fish fillet recipes. It cooks up easily on the stovetop, uses simple ingredients, looks great and tastes wonderful! You can use any mild white fish: sole, flounder, haddock, cod, or whatever is available where you live.

You can use any mild white fish fillets in this recipe.
If you have fresh parsley available, use 2 Tbsp/30 mL of fresh instead of the dried parsley.

These cooking times are only approximate. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets, their temperature, and the freshness of the fish. The fish is ready when it is opaque (solid white in color) and when it flakes easily with a fork.

1 Tbsp/15 mL olive oil
1 sweet red pepper, cut in thin strips
1 small red onion, cut in thin slices
2 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp/2 mL dried oregano
1 lb/500 g fish fillets
1 tsp/5 mL dried parsley, pepper

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the red pepper. Sauté until the red pepper softens (aboaut 2 minutes).

Separate the red onion slices into rings. Add the onion rings,garlic and oregano to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft (about 3 minutes).
Push the vegetables to the edge of the pan (or remove them to a small skillet and keep them warm.)

Add the fish to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the fish over.
Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork (about 5 more minutes).

Remove the fish to the serving platter or plates. Sprinkle with parsley and season with pepper to taste. Spoon the red pepper mixture over the fish and serve immediately.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pray It Off 02/17/11 Consistency - Small, Frequent Meals

Consistency: Key to Successful Weightloss*

Have you ever accomplished anything great with an inconsistent effort? Unless failure is considered a great achievement, you probably haven't. You must exercise consistently to get the results you want! It blows my mind how many people don't even try to be consistent with their diet and exercise programs and complain about not seeing results. Even the best programs are ineffectual if they are not followed on a consistent basis.

Women are sometimes afraid at the idea of adding muscle due to their fear of becoming "bulky." Relax; it's a little harder to add that kind of muscle mass than you think.

Consistent spaced small meals – One of the most important things that you can do with your health in general is to keep a nice even keel with respect to your blood sugar.
When you eat a donut and coffee for breakfast and then nothing until lunch then you will get a big blood sugar spike and then a drop soon after and be just dragging your way until lunch. If you eat consistently small but evenly spaced meals every couple of hours during the day then you will not have this blood sugar problem.

Consistent meal sizes – If you make sure that you eat 200 – 400 calorie meals then this will go hand in hand with the point above. Having even sized meals will mean that you are not bloated after one meal and then hungry after the next. Of course there may be a problem with dinner being a little bigger and an evening meal being a little smaller but overall this consistent eating will make you feel much better and your weight loss will be more consistent.

Consistent exercise – Some people will exercise a lot on the weekend but get nearly no exercise during the week. This is really quite dangerous. If your body is not being exercised at least somewhat on a daily basis then these big events on the weekends can be damaging to your muscles and also lead to more injuries because of the stress you are putting the muscles through. Much better to have a quick workout in the morning and evening and then still push it on the weekend, then to takes four or five days off in a stretch and not get any exercise until Saturday. Not just any exercise program will do for weight loss. Just burning calories is not good enough. The program must be planned to draw out specific hormonal responses that are conducive to weight loss. The key is NOT hours and hours of cardio. You must do exercise at an intensity that raises your heart rate and keeps it there for at least twenty minutes at a time and go from there.

Consistent rest – This is important to your well being as well as the healing of your muscles after exercise. Stretch daily, sleep well most nights and if you need it a hot tub, heating pad, or massage can do wonders to get rid of those little aches and pains that may not be going away quickly and holding you back a bit from going all out when you want to.

Remember that consistency is the key. Focus on changing your lifestyle. Do not focus on "dieting". When you focus on dieting, you are looking at this whole weight loss thing as something temporary. Diets work ONLY to get those pounds off, but what are you going to do after the diet is done? "Living a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a short sprint down the road."

Learning How to build Consistency

There are a lot of ways you can gradually build momentum. Here are some examples:

Start with something that’s pretty easy to manage and build up from there. Set a goal of one 10-minute exercise session per week. Then increase it to two 10-minute sessions. Gradually add minutes to each workout (and eventually add one or more additional workouts to your week), until you're exercising as long and as frequently as you should in order to reach your goals. The simple act of setting aside some time for exercise every day, no matter how little, and sticking to it is enough to start building the habit.

Find an accountability buddy—someone who knows about your plan and is willing to give you a push when you feel like slacking off.

Join a Team or make a Fitness Friend. It’s always harder to let someone else down than it is to let yourself off the hook.

Employ an excuse buster. Find a friend, family member whose judgment and opinion you respect. Each time you find yourself thinking about skipping an exercise session or blowing your meal plan, write down the reason for your choice. Share this reason with your excuse buster and get her honest opinion about whether the reason for your choice is reasonable or just an excuse. You’ll probably find that this makes it a lot harder for you to believe your own rationalizations.

Take it one day at a time, stay focused, and stay consistent.


Small Frequent Meals*
By Dino Paul Pierce, CFT, CPT, RD, CDE

Benefits/Significance of Small Frequent Meals

Most of us were raised with the idea of three squares (meals) a day for good health. For this, we owe thanks to the Great Depression! The idea behind three squares a day is, and always has been, a very good concept. However, the dietary habits of today’s society have changed how we actually follow the three squares concept. As a result, people have gained more weight & nutritional intake has worsened.

Convenience is a killer and survival is too easy. A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that 6+ intakes (properly balanced) each day had beneficial total and LDL-cholesterol lowering properties when compared to two or fewer intakes each day. This study showed that healthful eating patterns spread out over 4hr increments (2-4hrs is preferable), in addition to other healthy lifestyle behaviors, can lower cholesterol. Furthermore, the body is better able to metabolize food in small increments vs. large ones = successful wt loss & better cholesterol levels.

What do frequent meals do for you? Here are a few of the benefits:

• Increased metabolic rate (Thermogenic Effect of Food)
• Increased energy level
• Reduced storage of calories as body fat (The liver & Kidneys can only hold so much energy)
• Reduced hunger and cravings (Satiety)
• Better regulation of blood sugar and blood insulin levels
• Better absorption and utilization of nutrients
• Keeps us in a positive nitrogen balance and anabolic vs. catabolic in concerns of muscle

To help you begin eating small, frequent, meals/snacks throughout the day, consider these pointers:

1. Be consistent with your caloric intake and spread your calories evenly among meals and snacks throughout the day. Try to eat every 2-4hrs that you are awake. Being consistent also helps measure progress.

2. To lower cholesterol cut out high saturated fat foods (like marbled meats, butter, cheese, baked goods and fast foods) and high cholesterol foods (animal products like butter, cheese, & cream)

3. Note that successful cholesterol lowering and weight loss strategies include engaging in intense and sustained aerobic activity 5-7 days of the week. Do your HIIT cardio!

4. Portion control is key! Small, frequent meals mean – small, controlled portions of energy. If you feel hungry eat more “free” veggies they will assist you in elevating the metabolism and are packed with benefits! A meal can be as big as you want it to be if you build it the right way.

5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day throughout the day to augment fat loss. Drinking 1 qt = energy expenditure of 100 Kcal daily. This = about 10# a year.
If you currently eat only one or two meals each day and find yourself skipping breakfast or lunch, gaining weight, and have low energy levels it is of no surprise. Start adding small quantities of healthful foods during these meal and snack times (Free Veggies, Nuts/seeds, Fruit, Low Fat Cheese). Make a meal plan and stock up on quick and healthy snack items so that you can “grab and go”. Being prepared in advance can make or break a meal plan! Small changes in your meal pattern can have a huge and positive impact on your weight, metabolism, and cholesterol.


Understanding the Thermogenic Effects of Food*
By Sly Navreet

• Protein has a thermogenic factor of 27%.
• Carbohydrate has a thermogenic factor of 7%.
• Fat has a thermogenic factor of 3%.

It might come as quite a surprise to many health-conscious people that not all calories are created equally. Depending on where you get your calories from, you may actually be getting less calories than you think.
The Thermogenic Effect as it pertains to food is a term used to refer to the way that the foods you eat can increase the amount of heat your body generates as it digests them, resulting in an increased metabolism for a short amount of time.

At its most basic level, the Thermogenic Effect is a result of your body having to consume energy in order to digest your food. Some sources of energy are less available than others, and thus require more effort to make use of in the body. It is important to note that this effect only applies on a macronutritional level--it will make either no difference or a ridiculously negligible difference if you try to make it harder for your body to digest foods by not chewing them as well. The rule still applies: liquify it. As you seek an increased metabolic rate, you'll likely end up with indigestion and bloating.

Protein is at the top of the hierarchy of macronutrients, as far as the Thermogenic Effect goes. A whopping 27% (on average) of the calories you consume from protein are used in the process of digesting the protein. Most of this is attributed to the fact that the protein has to be broken down into amino acids which then can be made use of, which is a labor-intensive process intracellularly. If you were to consume 300 Calories in pure protein (such as by a pure protein powder, or eggwhites, or something similar), the Thermogenic Effect would burn off 81 of those calories just during the act of digestion, leaving you with 219 calories.

Carbohydrates come in the middle of the hierarchy, or in second place, if you're the glass-half-full type. Calories consumed from carbohydrates experience a 7% (on average) Thermogenic Effect. This is quite a bit less than calories from protein, but it's still one more strike against the "carbohydrates make you fat" theory. Part of the reason the Thermogenic Effect is so much lower for carbohydrates is that carbohydrates, in terms of human physiology, has been the food of choice longer than proteins. It tends to be more bioavailable, and depending on the glycemic index of the carbohydrate (whether the energy is released very quickly or very slowly), the Thermogenic Effect may be more or less than 7.

Low GI carbohydrates tend to have a slightly higher Thermogenic Effect because they are actively dispersing energy over a longer period of time. Yet another reason to avoid refined sugars--they're all very high up on the glycemic index.

Fats are in third place of the hierarchy, and I'm not saying last because I happen to place a large amount of value on fats. They have a pretty low Thermogenic Effect of 3%, on average, meaning that the calories you think you're getting are, for the most part, the calories you are getting.

Fat is the most bioavailable macronutrient, hence the low amount of energy needed to make use of it. However, this does mean that it is a good idea to not eat many fats. Fats will help you stave off hunger longer, and during the early stages of human evolution, fat was rare and very nutritionally valuable. With 9 Calories per gram and only 3% of those calories being consumed during digestion, it was an extremely portable, nutritionally dense treat. It is possible to survive on a very high-fat diet, and even mostly replacing all protein with fat, as the Inuit and Eskimo have done for thousands of years. While this is not advisible or even ideal, it is possible.

In addition to having to do with the macronutrient origins of your calories, the Thermogenic Effect also has a lot to do with your actual eating pattern. If you eat only one meal a day and don't eat breakfast, you are greatly reducing your potential to see gains from the Thermogenic Effect (which, in this context, is nearly indistinguishable from simply increasing metabolism). Instead, it is advisible to eat several (6-8) smaller meals, spreading out your daily caloric intake throughout those meals, and spacing them as evenly apart as possible. Eating in this pattern consistently can further increase the metabolism via the Thermogenic Effect by an upwards of 10%.

This information is interesting, but do not let it pilot your inherent nutritional compass. If eating more protein is not working for you to lose weight, and you find you thrive on a higher fat diet, do that. No one can thrive on a low-carbohydrate diet, and very high carbohydrate diets accompanied by a lack of physical activity often result in apathy, depression, and generally feeling down.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Pray it Off 2/17/11 Consistency

Consistency Theory*


When our inner systems (beliefs, attitudes, values, etc.) all support one another and when these are also supported by external evidence, then we have a comfortable state of affairs.
The discomfort of cognitive dissonance occurs when things fall out of alignment, which leads us to try to achieve a maximum practical level of consistency in our world.

We also have a very strong need to believe we are being consistent with social norms. When there is conflict between behaviors that are consistent with inner systems and behaviors that are consistent with social norms, the potential threat of social exclusion often sways us towards the latter, even though it may cause significant inner dissonance.

Ways we achieve consistency between conflicting items include:

• Denial or ignoring : 'I didn't see it happen.'
• Rationalization and excuses : 'It was going to fall anyway.'
• Separation of items :'I don't use my car enough to make a difference .'
• Transcendence : 'Nobody is perfect.'
• Changing item : 'I'll be more careful next time.'
• Persuasion : 'I'm good, really, aren't I?'

Example - If you make a promise, you will feel bad if you do not keep it.

Using - Highlight where people are acting inconsistently with beliefs, etc. that support your arguments. Show how what you want is consistent with the other person’s inner systems and social norms.

Defending - You will always be inconsistent in some areas. When changing to fit in with the inconsistencies that someone else is pointing out, think about the other, potentially more serious, inconsistencies that you will be opening up.


Gratitude is a Sign of Consistency Between One’s Exterior and Interior Life*

Reflections on the Gospel, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lk. 17:11-19

Getting the outside and the inside of things (and even people) to be consistent with each other can be difficult at times. At other moments (and for certain kinds of people perhaps), it can seem almost impossible. Think, for instance, of the Pharisees whom Jesus called "whitewashed tombs", for looking outwardly pious and holy while being inwardly filled with contempt for their fellow human beings.

Why did the nine lepers who were also healed by Jesus, fail to return to say ‘thank you’ for the miracle he had done for them? Were they that ungrateful? Were they forgetful? Or were they healed on the outside, but still unhealed on the inside?

One thing’s for sure, despite their bitter experience of leprosy, and despite the good deed Jesus had done to them, very little seems to have changed in these nine. Unlike the Samaritan who came back and gave thanks, they merely went back to their old ways, their old selves, and their old lives.

Perhaps their illness went much deeper than the leprosy they suffered on their skin. Their inability to show gratitude shows a deeper kind of illness—one that afflicted their heart and their soul. And it’s a disease they continued to suffer, and from which they will most likely never be cured. That’s why they never came back.

On the other hand, the Samaritan’s gratefulness was a sign that he wasn’t only healed of his external disease. He was also healed inwardly. For he had also found himself converted to Christ.

Today’s gospel reading isn’t just about gratitude, it’s also about why some persons are capable of thanks and why others are not. Why one returned to give thanks, and nine others didn’t. And the answer is simple. What had happened to the nine didn’t really sink deep enough as it did for the Samartian who returned.

The comparison between him and the ungrateful nine leads us to reflect on our own lives as well. It leads us to ask ourselves how deep into our own hearts and souls have our religious practices sunk. How much of what we do externally as Christians, transforms what we are—internally—as persons?

It challenges us, for instance, to ask ourselves how much of our behavior, our attitude, and our way of dealing with others is consistent with our faith and practice of our religion? Is our weekend religious observance consistent perhaps with our weekday secular life? Are the external manifestations of our faith consistent with our internal dispositions and intentions?

The bible tells us that God searches the mind and the heart. He looks not at externals, but at what truly lies within each human heart, and what he looks for most is consistency in a person’s faith and life.

The leper who came back was good on the outside because he had allowed himself to be transformed on the inside as well. His gratitude was a sign that internally and externally, he was well. There was a consistency to his life: mind and heart, body and soul.

Today the gospel puts before us a choice. Are we to be like the grateful Samaritan whose life was consistent, inside and out? Or are we going to join the other nine?



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Congratulations to Dan - 70 Pounds Gone - 100 TOTAL!!

Praying It Off, One Day At A Time

Why Do I Do by Jump5

Pray It Off 2/10/11 10 Ways To Exercise at Home and Padre Pio Novena

10 Ways You CAN Exercise At Home without Any Equipment*

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to afford all of that fancy equipment used in the gyms? Well, as nice as it sounds, it just isn’t an option for most people. And since exercise is so important, you need to find exercises that are effective and don’t require any equipment at all.

Now you have no more excuses! Here are 10 great exercises that you can do at home, without the need for any equipment:

1. Walking – If the weather is nice, it’s wonderful to get outside and enjoy the scenery around you while you exercise. However, if the weather has other ideas, you can just as easily get an effective walking workout at home. If you have a flight of stairs, go up and down them a few times. (You could even grab a load of laundry as you’re going that way anyway!) This will help to tone up your legs, while getting some low impact aerobic exercise as well. If you don’t have any stairs available, just walk around the house a few times – it may not be very exciting, but it will do the job!

2. Jumping Jacks – These are always fun, as they bring back memories of being a kid! Who hasn’t done jumping jacks for fun as a child? Well, surprise – they are also great cardio exercises, and good for warming up, too.

3. Pushups – These are probably not the most favorite exercise of many people, but while they can be hard to do, you can find easier ways to do them. You don’t need to pretend you’re “Rocky”, and do them with one hand; just do what works for you. Do them on your knees, instead of keeping your legs straight. Or, do them standing up against a wall. You will be building up arm strength and working out muscles in your chest area.

4. Leg Lifts – These are great for building up strength and muscles in your legs. If you find it hard to do the exercises with your legs straight, try bending them slightly.

5. Crunches – The best exercise for building up and strengthening abdominal muscles. When you’re just getting started, don’t worry about getting your head all the way up. So long as you’re going up until you feel the stretching of the muscles, you will see some benefit.

6. Jogging In Place – Jogging is a great exercise for your heart. You can jog in place at home while watching TV
or listening to music. The only equipment you will require is a good pair of shoes, to eliminate any stress to your legs.

7. Squats – These are wonderful exercises for your legs and buttocks. You can even just try these by sitting and standing up again from a regular chair, if you’re finding them to be too difficult. As long as you’re able to do a few repetitions, you will be providing some benefit to your body.

8. Light Weight Lifting – No, you don’t need to go out and buy expensive weights for this! Just use whatever you can find in your house. Start out with something lighter, such as a can of peas, and work yourself up to heavier items. You can use milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles or even water jugs.

9. Dancing – Dancing is a wonderful exercise, which is great for your heart. Not only that, but it can lift your spirits as well, and give your overall feeling a boost.

10. Step Exercises – Using the steps in your home, you can do repetitions which will tone your leg muscles. (Just remember to be careful!)
Getting some exercise is important, but you don’t need to go out and join a gym, paying a large amount in membership fees each month. You don’t even need the expensive equipment in order to give your body an effective workout. Use what you have in your house, and work out in the comfort of your home. You will be more likely to keep up with the exercises when you’re comfortable, so just get up and start exercising!


Novena to St. Padre Pio

First Day

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you had the signs of the Passion of Christ on your body. You carried the stigmata for everyone, enduring both the physical and mental sufferings in a continual sacrifice. We ask you to pray for us, so that we may be able to accept the crosses we too must bear during our life here and offer our sufferings to God.

“It is to your advantage to commit yourself to the sufferings that Jesus will send to you. Jesus cannot tolerate seeing you afflicted and he will come to you and comfort you, blessing you with many graces for your soul”. Padre Pio

Novena to the Sacred Heart

1. O my Jesus, You have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you". Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of (name your request)

Say the: Our Father - Hail Mary - Glory be to the Father
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.

2. O my Jesus, You have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of My Father in My Name, He will give it to you." Behold in Your Name I ask the Father for the grace of (name your request).

Say the: Our Father - Hail Mary - Glory be to the Father
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.

3. O my Jesus, You have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away." Encouraged by Your infallible words I now ask for the grace of (name your request)

Say the: Our Father - Hail Mary - Glory be to the Father
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom one thing alone is impossible, namely, not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of Thee through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your and our tender Mother. St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

Second Day

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, together with Our Lord, you were able to withstand the temptations of the Evil One. You suffered beatings and oppression from the demon of hell, who wanted to have you abandon your journey of holiness. We ask you to pray for us so that, with your help and the help of all of the Heavenly Kingdom, we will find the strength to renounce sin and persevere in faith until the moment of our death.
“Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will”. Padre Pio


Third Day

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you love Our Lady and you received graces and consolations daily through her intercession. We ask you to pray to Mary for us. Place our petitions in her hands, so that, as at Cana, her Son may say ‘yes’ to her and grant our prayers.
“Mary has to be the star that illuminates your path and she will show you the secure way to go to the Celestial Father. She will be an anchor to which you must cling in the hour of temptation”. Padre Pio


Fourth Day

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you loved your guardian angel, who served you well as your guide, defender and messenger. Angels would often bring to you the prayers and petitions of your spiritual children. Pray for us, that we may learn to call on our own guardian angel, who is always ready to inspire us to what is truly good and holy.
“Invoke your Guardian Angel, who will enlighten you and guide you. God has given him to you for your protection, therefore, you should use him accordingly”. Padre Pio


Fifth Day

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you had a great devotion to the souls in purgatory, for whom you offered yourself in order to cancel their debt. Pray for us, and ask God to send us the same interest, compassion and love that you have for these souls. In this way, we will also contribute to reducing their suffering and, with our sacrifices and prayers, win for them their necessary Indulgences.
“My God, I beg you; let me bear the punishments that have been prepared for sinners and the souls in Purgatory. Multiply these punishments for me, so that you may forgive and save the sinners and free their souls from purgatory”. Padre Pio


Sixth Day

Obedient St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you loved the sick more than yourself, because you saw Jesus in them. You performed miracles by healing patients in the name of Jesus, thereby giving them peace of mind. We beg you to pray for us, so that sick patients, through the intercession of Mary, can be healed and their bodies restored so that they may thank and praise God forever.

“If I knew that a person was afflicted in his mind, body or soul, I would beg God to set him free of his affliction. I would gladly accept the transfer of his affliction to myself, so that he may be saved, and I would ask that he benefit from the fruits of these sufferings... if the Lord would allow me to do it”. Padre Pio


Seventh Day

Blessed St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you have worked in “God’s Plan for Salvation”, by offering your sufferings to free sinners from the chains of the Devil. We beg you to pray for us, so that unbelievers will be converted to the faith, that all sinners will repent in their hearts and that those with lukewarm hearts will find renewed enthusiasm for a Christian life. Finally, pray for all those who are faithful, so that they will persevere on their way to salvation.
“If the people of the World could only see the beauty of ones soul when it is in the grace of God, all sinners and unbelievers of this world would be instantly converted”. Padre Pio


Eighth Day

Pure St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you experienced great love for your spiritual children and have helped them by purchasing them for Christ with the giving of your blood. Please grant us, who have not met you personally, the opportunity to be considered your spiritual children. In this way, with your protection, guidance and strength, you will obtain for us a special blessing from God, so that we may meet Him on the day of our death at the gates of Heaven.
“It would be most fulfilling, if God would grant me just one wish (if it were possible); that He would say, “Enter Heaven!” This is my one true wish; “That God would take me to Heaven at the same time that the last of my children and the last of the people who submitted to my priestly care have entered”. Padre Pio


Ninth Day

Humble St. Pio of Pietrelcina, you who loved the Roman Catholic Church, pray for us. May the Master send workers to the harvest and give them the strength and knowledge needed to be children of God. Pray that Our Holy Lady will unite Christian people everywhere, comforting all of them in one great house of the Lord, the lighthouse of our salvation in the storm of life, as a lighthouse is a beacon for safe return when there is a storm at sea.
“You must always keep yourself on the straight and narrow path in the Holy Catholic Church because She is the only Bride of Christ and can bring you peace. She alone possesses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, who is the true Prince of Peace”. Padre Pio



Monday, February 14, 2011

Pray It Off 02/10/11 Food Pushers, Carbonated Drinks, Fish Benefits

Coping With Food Pushers
By Katherine Tallmadge*

One of my clients, who came to me to lose about 30 pounds, has a real problem. He loves to eat, and he loves to please people. In fact, he said pleasing people is the main reason he overeats. This tendency becomes especially troublesome during the holidays when friends, family and colleagues invite him for meals. My kind-hearted client literally cannot say no.

As a result, he says holidays are a time of joy but also frustration, because his need to be polite is in stark conflict with his goal of trimming down. Many of us can appreciate his dilemma. Holiday delicacies can be difficult to navigate, especially if you're trying to avoid gaining weight from Thanksgiving to the New Year. And that can bring out the best and the worst in people.

We all know hosts who aren't satisfied until they convince us, beg us, to eat more, more, more. Their entreaties are hard to resist, if only because we want to be polite.

To be fair, "food pushers," as I call them, aren't necessarily bad people. Your mom, your spouse, your friends -- they just want to please you. They are people who think they have your best interests at heart and know more than you do about what and how much food (and drink) you should be consuming.

My clients and I have tried various tactics through the years, most of them utter failures. I've tried explaining that I wasn't hungry. I even went through a phase of telling people I was allergic to this or that. That didn't work, either. And I learned that the worst thing you can say to a food pusher is, "No thanks, I'm on a diet" or "Thanks, I'm watching it."

You might as well say, "Talk me into it!" Your excuse is giving the food pusher a double signal -- that you really want it but have to refuse. It might also sound insulting, implying that the food isn't good enough for your refined tastes. And finally your response might make the pusher feel guilty, as if he or she should be "watching it," too. All of these things challenge the food pusher to seduce you.

But I finally began to make headway when I learned the most basic rule of all: Never give excuses. I'm delighted to say that one of the foremost authorities on etiquette told me that this approach is both appropriate and wise.
"The best answer is a simple but firm 'No thank you,'" declared Judith Martin, the syndicated columnist who writes as Miss Manners. "Once you give an excuse, you open yourself to argument."

Martin also offered clear advice in her column to food pushers, and their "endless patter of coercion -- 'Oh, come on, one won't hurt you . . . I made this especially for you . . . it doesn't have any calories . . . you're too thin anyway . . . it's good for you . . . you're not going to make me eat leftovers tomorrow.' Miss Manners asks them to cut it out."

"To offer and provide food is lovely, but to badger people into eating it isn't pleasant," Martin told me. "Politeness consists of offering food and drink without cajoling or embarrassing people into taking it."

While "no thank you" is fine for hosts, I learned I had to use a different tactic with my family.

During visits to my grandparents in Sweden, for instance, every day I felt overstuffed from too many fattening (and, yes, delicious) Swedish meatballs, cheeses and cakes. Inevitably with each visit I came home several pounds heavier.

I decided I'd drop subtle hints and compliments to guide them into serving me food that wasn't going to make me look and feel like a Swedish meatball.

This technique of continued positive reinforcement took several years (in psychology, it's called "shaping"), but it eventually worked. When they served seafood, salads, fruits -- food I wanted more of -- I complimented lavishly. "Sweden has the best fish in the world!" or "I just love your salads!" (which was all true, by the way). Over time, whenever I'd visit, they'd feed me what they learned I loved: seafood, salads and fruits. (Yes, I also loved the fattening stuff, but that was easily obtained, and I wanted to limit my indulgences without announcing it.)

The same technique can work with your colleagues, friends and family, and it doesn't have to take years. At Thanksgiving or during the holidays, instead of focusing on what you don't want or can't have, and using turn-off words such as "healthy" or "diet," simply compliment your hosts and stay positive. Instead of saying "I can't have dessert, I'm watching it," say "The meal was so satisfying, I can't have another bite!"

When given a choice at, say, the Thanksgiving meal, a work party, a potluck, or in restaurants, instead of, "I don't eat mashed potatoes and gravy," say: "The green beans look fabulous!"

My client tried these tactics with his family and friends and has been losing weight ever since. He was surprised at how a simple compliment could stop food pushers in their tracks.

Even Miss Manners agrees that this approach is okay as long as you don't go into too much detail. In the end, no food pusher can resist a happy guest.

Katherine Tallmadge is a Washington nutritionist and the author of "Diet Simple"


How to Take Carbonated Drinks Out of Your Diet*By Cynthia Measom, eHow Contributor
updated: January 12, 2011

Wean yourself off of carbonated drinks instead of abruptly cutting them out.

For some, the fizzy nirvana of a carbonated drink is the perfect pick-me-up -- especially if it's caffeinated. Yet, whether you drink sugar-laden soda or a diet version, too much is never healthy. Bloating and weight gain can be side effects of carbonated beverage consumption, which sometimes make people uncomfortable enough to kick the habit. Once you decide to take carbonated drinks out of your diet, it's best not to go cold turkey if you want to taste success. Instead, tell yourself that this will be a gradual process.

Things You'll Need:

• Caffeine-free diet drinks
• Black tea
• Green tea
• Water

• Coffee
• Sucralose

Make up your mind to work toward completely eliminating carbonated drinks from your diet. If you're not fully committed to the goal, it won't work in the long run.

Switch to a lesser evil. For instance, if you drink two regular carbonated drinks per day, trade one for a diet, caffeine-free version for three or four days, then trade the other. Caffeine is part of the addiction, and it will take approximately three weeks to kick the addiction, according to Web MD.

Eliminate one diet, caffeine-free soda after three or four days and replace it with chilled water with a slice of fresh fruit, green tea, black tea or coffee. Keep drinking the other soda if you wish for three or four days, then make the switch to a non-carbonated beverage.

Stock your refrigerator and your workplace with plenty of non-carbonated beverage selections. That way, you won't be tempted by the soda machine.

Tips & Warnings

• If you can't live without caffeine during Step 2, trade a carbonated beverage for black tea or coffee. Use an artificial sweetener such as sucralose if you can't stomach it plain.
• Not a water lover? Non-carbonated drink mixes are available to add to a bottle of water. Low-calorie and no-calorie versions exist.
• Be careful when substituting other beverages for carbonated drinks. For instance, 100 percent fruit juice may have Vitamin C value, but check out the sugar content and calories.

Fish: Natural Weight-Loss Food*

The best plan for achieving a healthy weight and maintaining it is to change your eating and exercise habits. Replace foods that expand your waistline with healthy foods, like fish. Fish is a food that is full of satisfying flavor, low in calories, and stocked with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids are essential fats that your body can't make. They help keep the blood from clotting too easily and add to a better cholesterol ratio.

Fish is a fabulous addition to any healthful diet because its low saturated fat content makes it the perfect protein substitute for fatty cuts of beef and pork. Even shellfish is low in saturated fat and isn't as high in cholesterol as many believe.

Learn how to incorporate fish into your healthy lifestyle.

Health Benefits

Although fish is lean, it does contain some healthy oil. Known as omega-3 fatty acids, these fish oils are thought to offer some amazing health benefits, such as helping to prevent heart disease and cancer, treating psoriasis and arthritis, and relieving the agony of migraine headaches and helping with weight control. Fatty fish tend to have more omega-3s than leaner fish, but even "fatty" fish contain less fat than lean beef or chicken. Even canned fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon, when eaten bones and all, pack your meal with plenty of good-for-your-bones calcium, too.

Nutritional Values
Coho Salmon

Serving Size: 3 oz, cooked
Calories: 157
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 0 g
Protein: 21 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Sodium: 44 mg
Potassium: 391 mg


Serving Size: 3 oz, cooked
Calories: 109
Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: <1 g
Cholesterol: 40 mg
Carbohydrate: 0 g
Protein: 22 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Sodium: 48 g
Magnesium: 31 mg
Potassium: 444 g

Selection and Storage

When buying fresh fish, always smell it. If you detect a "fishy" odor, don't buy it. Whether you buy whole fish, fish fillets, or steaks, the fish should be firm to the touch. The scales should be shiny and clean, not slimy. Check the eyes: They should be clear, not cloudy and bulging, and not sunken. Fish fillets and steaks should be moist. If they look dried or curled around the edges, they probably aren't fresh.

It's best to cook fresh fish the same day you buy it. (Fish generally spoil faster than beef or chicken, and whole fish generally keeps better than steaks or fillets.) But fish will keep in the refrigerator overnight if you store it in an airtight container over a bowl of ice.

If you need to keep it longer than a day, freeze it. The quality of thawed, frozen fish is better when it freezes quickly, so freeze whole fish only if it weighs two pounds or less. Larger fish should be cut into pieces, steaks, or fillets to ensure a quick freeze. Lean fish will keep in the freezer up to six months -- three months for fatty fish.

When buying most shellfish -- clams, oysters, lobsters, crabs, and crayfish -- it's imperative they still be alive. Live lobsters and crabs are easy to spot. Clams and oysters are trickier, though; you must be sure the shell is closed tightly or closes when you tap the shell.

Fish and shellfish have been dogged by safety questions, including those arising from man-made contaminants. Oysters and clams, if eaten raw, carry a particular risk of passing on diseases such as hepatitis or Norwalk-like viruses. Cook them thoroughly to avoid food-borne illness. Partially cooked shellfish can still harbor harmful bacteria.

Pesticides, mercury, and chemicals like PCB sometimes find their way into fish. Though fatty fish is richer in omega-3s, they're also more likely to harbor environmental contaminants.

Here are some precautions you can take to reduce the odds of eating contaminated fish:

• Eat fish from a variety of sources.

• Choose open-ocean fish and farmed fish over freshwater; they are less likely to harbor toxins.

• Eat smaller, young fish. Older fish are more likely to have accumulated chemicals in their fatty tissues.

• Before you fish, check with your own state's advisories about which waters are unsafe for fishing. Try the Department of Public Health or the Department of Environmental Conservation.

• Don't make a habit of eating the fish you catch for sport if you fish in the same place over and over again.

• Avoid swordfish and albacore. They may be contaminated with mercury.

Preparation and Serving Tips

For the uninitiated, fish is most perplexing to prepare. But the number one rule is: Preserve moistness. That means avoiding direct heat, especially when preparing low-fat varieties of fish; you'll get the best results if you use moist-heat methods such as poaching, steaming, or baking with vegetables or in a sauce. Dry-heat methods such as baking, broiling, and grilling work well for fattier fish.

Fish cooks fast, so it's easy to overcook it. You can tell fish is done when it looks opaque and the flesh just begins to flake with the touch of a fork. If it falls apart when you touch it, it's too late; the fish is overdone. The rule of thumb for baking fish is to cook 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the fish's thickest point. For grilling and pan-frying or broiling, cook 4 to 5 minutes per inch of thickness.

For fish soups, stews, and chowders, use lean fish. An oily fish will overpower the flavor of the broth. Citrus juices enhance the natural flavor of fish. Some favorite fish seasonings are dill, tarragon, basil, paprika, parsley, and thyme.

To succeed at long-term weight loss, it's important to learn new ways of eating that you enjoy. You can lose weight easily when you enjoy healthy foods, like fish, and prepare delicious, yet low-fat, fish recipes.


Tilapia Twist

Nutritional Info

• Fat: 1.6g
• Carbohydrates: 31.4g
• Calories: 224.2
• Protein: 23.3g


4 - tilapia filets
1 - jar of a fruit based salsa
2 - large apples, cored and sliced into 4 sections
1 - can of pineapple rings
1/4 - cup of banana pepper rings


Makes 4 filets or 4 servings

Heat oven to 350 degrees

~Place the 4 tiapia filets in a deep cassarole dish
~Arrange the apple sections around the filets
~Place 1 or 2 pinapple rings on each fillet
~Pour the jar of fruit salsa over the tilapia filets, and apples
~Place the 1/4 cup of banna pepper rings randomly over the filets and apples

Place cassarole dish in oven and bake for 45 min
After 45 min, broil for a golden top for about 3-5 minutes

Number of Servings: 4


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pray It Off 02/10/11 Saying "NO" to Food Pushers

How to Say 'No' to Food Pushers
Tips for turning would-be diet sabotage into diet support.*

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

When you're trying to lose weight, it can feel like temptation is everywhere. Sometimes, it comes in the form of friends and family members: Aunt Sally won't stop until you accept a piece of pie; your work friends insist you share their Buffalo wings during happy hour; your spouse complains about the lack of junk food in the house. Instead of providing diet support, it seems like your well-meaning loved ones are trying to commit diet sabotage.

What is it about dieting that can prompt this kind of reaction? Experts say some may not want you to change because they're uncertain how losing weight will affect you. Or your efforts may make them feel guilty about their own weight or eating habits.

Not only that, says Tara Gidus, RD, but food often helps to define relationships. "Sunday night dinners at Grandma's, happy hour with your colleagues, coffee with your friends -- these are rituals that are associated with foods and drinks and can impact the relationship," she says.

Turn Diet Sabotage Into Diet Support

So how do you keep "food pushers" from ruining your diet? When you're offered a food that's not on your diet, the best response is a firm "no, thank you" without any explanation,
because excuses open the door for arguments
, says John Foreyt, PhD, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

If that doesn't work, he says, try, "Thank you, but I'm on a special diet," or simply, "Thank you, but I'm trying to lose a few pounds." However, some people just won't take no for an answer. And saying no to loved ones can be especially hard. That's when it's important to seek support from the would-be saboteurs, experts say. Be honest about what you're going through, and ask them for their understanding and help.

"Food pushers are not bad people. They simply think they know more than you do about how much you should eat," says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Jeannie Moloo, PhD, RD.

Here are some more tips from the experts for keeping your diet intact when you're faced with food pushers in several common situations.

Avoiding Diet Sabotage at Work

When treats are served at the office, ask that they be kept in a place that is not central to the working environment (or put them there yourself). "If you keep those doughnuts in the break room, you have to take a special trip to go in there to get one, whereas if they are sitting on a counter that you pass often, you are much more likely to indulge," says Moloo.

If there's a party at work, you don't have to miss out on the camaraderie. Instead, bring a healthy dish to share. Or eat before the party so you can say: "No, thank you; I just ate and I'm full." You could also follow the "take and toss" rule: Take a small piece of cake, enjoy a few bites, and then toss it. (If necessary, do the tossing in the privacy of your office or in some other discreet location.)

Avoiding Diet Sabotage at Family Gatherings

Chances are, you have a pretty good idea of what's likely to be served at your mother's or grandmother's for those Sunday dinners. So why not offer to bring a salad, vegetable, or healthy dessert?

"Who can resist an offer to help with the meal?" says Gidus. "And this way, you know there will be some food that you can eat and [you can] just take small portions of the other offerings." If they insist you take that piece of pie, it doesn't mean you have to devour a huge slab. Just accept a small portion, eat it slowly, and enjoy it. Or even just take a single bite.

Another option: "You can always graciously accept the food, saying something like, 'I'm full right now, but I'd love to take it home and have it later," says Foreyt. (Then you can ditch the decadent item at the first opportunity.)

Avoiding Diet Sabotage From a Spouse or Partner

Coping with your diet and changing size may be difficult for your partner, especially if he or she also could stand to lose some weight. Some may fear that if you get thinner, you may draw more romantic attention from others, or develop a wandering eye yourself. "Feeling threatened can cause partners to react negatively and not be supportive," says Gidus. To prevent this, make sure to reassure your partner that you love him or her, and ask for support for your weight loss efforts.

If having the house stocked with tempting goodies makes it harder on you, ask your partner to please enjoy these treats outside the house when you are not around. And what if your partner loves to cook? In particular, says Gidus, "many women show their love through food just like mom did, and cooking is their way of making their partner happy."

She suggests asking these nurturing types to find ways to show their love other than through food. And let them know that preparing healthy foods - even healthier versions of the family's favorite comfort foods - is a great way to show their love while supporting your health goals.

Avoiding Diet Sabotage During Happy Hour

If you're headed out to the bar with your friends, make a plan in advance for how you will navigate the alcohol, snacks, and pressure to consume both. "Knowing your temptations and being prepared with a strategy will help you enjoy the happy hour without feeling guilty afterwards," says Moloo.

Her advice: Drink one or two light beers or wine spritzers, then spend the rest of happy hour sipping club soda with lime (it looks like a cocktail). If you eat high-calorie appetizers, consider them dinner. Don't let friends pressure you into making bad decisions. Stick to your drink limit, and order some healthy appetizers for the table for everyone to enjoy. "Be careful when you are drinking alcohol, because you can let your guard down and before you know it, you have devoured the appetizer loaded with fat and calories," says Moloo.

Avoiding Diet Sabotage When Eating Out

When you're eating out with family or friends, experts advise, try to keep the attention on the conversation and away from what you are eating (or not eating).

"If you don't make a big deal about it, you are less likely to hear any comments from friends," says Moloo.

It's also a good idea to plan ahead of time what you'll order, if you have an idea of what is on the menu. You might want to have a lighter lunch or a more intense workout that day so you can splurge a little at the restaurant.

"You know you will be tempted by the menu and what everyone else is eating, so strategize your day so you can eat a little more than usual," Gidus says.


6 Ways to Say No to Food Pushers By Jennifer R. Scott*

"Just a little piece," my Mom says, as hot apple pie wafts under my nose, "You can't live on salads forever." I am feeling tempted. "You don't want any of my Black Forest cake?" my aunt asks, looking dejected. "You've always loved my cake. Come on, it's a special occasion." I start to think she may have a point.

Do these scenarios seem familiar to you? They aren't unusual. Whether it's a normal dinner or a holiday meal, food pushers seem to be around when you are least prepared.
This situation doesn't have to cause you to overeat. By being diplomatic about how you "just say no"
you can avoid both causing hurt feelings and doing damage to your waistline. Here are six ways to deal with food pushers:

1. Be Honest

Talk to family and friends about your weight-loss efforts. If your family get-togethers always center on a meal, they're going to find out anyway. If your friends always meet at restaurants, it's going to come up.

Explain: You are really committed to losing weight and want it to work. By saying no, you're not trying to offend anyone, it's just really important for you to keep a close eye on what and how much you eat.

2. Use Stall Tactics

If dessert starts making its way around the table, say something along the lines of, "I would, but right now I'm stuffed and I just wouldn't enjoy it." or "Maybe after a while I'll have some." In other words... stall.

I use the stall tactic if my Mom has been on a baking kick when we get together for our traditional Sunday family lunch. Sometimes I will say that I'll come back for a piece of cake or pie after I've had my walk; once I walk, my craving for something sweet has passed and it's easier to give a firm no.

3. "Mm-mm, Good!"

If you anticipate a dessert offer that you can't refuse, try to eat smaller portions of higher-calorie items during your meal. Then, take a small portion of the dessert. As you take the first few bites of your treat, make sure you give the chef your compliments; she will be less likely to assume that you disliked the dish when you say that firm no to a second helping.

4. Get it "To Go"

When offered seconds one too many times, ask for them to be wrapped up so you can take them home. You can always tell the cook you want to be able to enjoy the food later, or that it was so good you want to share it with someone else at home. Whether you eat it later or not is completely up to you -- there's no peer pressure when you are alone!

5. Get Prepared

Sad, but true: In some cases, a food pusher may be hoping you will fail at weight loss. There are those who are driven to sabotage someone trying to lose weight. They may be uncomfortable with your weight loss because of their own weight issues, they might dislike eating "bad" food without you, or they could be jealous or threatened by attention you may be receiving.

Whatever the cause, it is important that you are assertive, but not aggressive (which will only worsen the situation), when you say no. Practice being assertive in similar situations or maybe even while looking into the mirror. It may look silly, but if doing so will help you be stronger when the real thing happens, it's worth it.

6. The Bottom Line

Even if you can't find the "right" way to say no, chances are no permanent damage will be done to the relationships in your life when you do, so stick to your guns. It's not worth avoiding a few ruffled feathers to eat something you truly don't want to take into your body. You have the right to make your health top priority. Remember, no one but you is in control of your own behavior, so don't let pressure from anyone else sway you from your weight-loss efforts.


Dan Commemorates 100 Pounds GONE with Companion Blog!

Praying It Off, One Day At A Time

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Starry Night by Chris August

Pray It Off 02/03/11 Exercise Benefits at Any Size

Exercise Benefits - Staying Active At Any Size*

Do you feel that you can barely do any activity at all? That you cannot exercise, play sports, or become more fit? If you are a very large person, you can still be physically active.

Very large people face special challenges in trying to be active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being physically active around other people.

Facing these challenges is hard—but it can be done! The information on this page may help you start being more active and healthier—no matter what your size!

Why should I be active? Being physically active may help you live longer and protect you from:

• diabetes
• heart disease and stroke
• high blood pressure
• osteoporosis (a disease leading to weak bones that may break easily)

If you have any of these health problems, being physically active may help control or improve your symptoms. Regular physical activity helps you feel better because it:

• lowers your stress and boosts your mood
• increases your strength
• helps control blood pressure and blood sugar
• helps build healthy bones, muscles, and joints
• helps your heart and lungs work better
• improves your self-esteem.

Being physically active can be big fun! How do I get started? Appreciate Yourself!

If you cannot do an activity, don't be hard on yourself. Feel good about what you can do. Be proud of pushing yourself up out of a chair or walking a short distance.
Pat yourself on the back for trying even if you can't do it the first time. It may be easier the next time! To start being more active and keep at it:

• Start slowly. Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.
• Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You should spend a few minutes warming up for any physical activity—even walking. Walk more slowly for the first few minutes.
• Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly or stretch for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.
• Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 minutes on at least 3 days for 1 week. It may not seem like a lot, but any activity is better than none. A long-term goal may be to walk 30 minutes on most days of the week by the end of 6 months.
• Get support. Get a family member or friend to be physically active with you. It may be more fun, and your buddy can cheer you on.
• Track progress. Keep a journal of your physical activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised!
• Have fun! Try different activities to find the ones you really enjoy..

Most very large people can do some or all of the physical activities in this booklet. You do not need special skills or a lot of equipment. You can do:

• Weight-bearing activities, like walking and golfing, which involve lifting or pushing your own body weight.
• Non-weight-bearing activities, like swimming and water workouts, which put less stress on your joints because you do not have to lift or push your own weight. If your feet or joints hurt when you stand, non-weight-bearing activities may be best for you.
• Lifestyle activities, like gardening, which do not have to be planned.

Physical activity does not have to be hard or boring to be good for you. Anything that gets you moving around—even for only a few minutes a day—is a healthy start to getting more fit.

Chances are your health care provider will be pleased with your decision to start an activity program. It is unlikely that you will need a complete medical exam before you go out for a short walk!

Gentle physical activity is healthy. You do not have to push yourself to benefit from physical activity. Thirty minutes of gentle physical activity (like walking) can be just as healthy as 15 minutes of intense physical activity (like fast dancing).

Walking (weightbearing) The walking that you do during the day (like doing chores around the house or in the yard) can help you be more fit. But regular, steady walking that makes you breathe heavier can help you to be healthier. It will give your heart and lungs—as well as your leg muscles—a good workout.

If you are not active now, start slowly. Try to walk 5 minutes a day for the first week. Walk 8 minutes the next week. Stay at 8–minute walks until you feel comfortable. Then increase your walks to 11 minutes. Slowly lengthen each walk by 3 minutes—or walk faster.

Tips for walking:

• Wear comfortable walking shoes with a lot of support. If you walk often, you may need to buy new shoes every 6 to 8 months.
• Wear garments that prevent inner thigh chafing, such as tights or spandex shorts.
• Make walking fun. Walk with a friend or pet. Walk in places you enjoy, like a park or shopping mall.

Where to work out. You can do many activities in your home. But there are other fun ways to be active in health clubs, in recreation centers, or outdoors. It may be hard to be physically active around other people. Keep in mind that you have just as much right to be healthy and active as anyone else.

Dancing (weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing) Dancing may help:

• tone your muscles
• improve your flexibility
• make your heart stronger
• make your lungs work better.

You can dance in a health club, in a nightclub, or at home. To dance at home, just move your body to some lively music!

Dancing on your feet is a weight-bearing activity. Dancing while seated lets you move your arms and legs to music while taking the weight off your feet. This may be a good choice if you can't stand on your feet very long.

See the list of additional resources at the end of this booklet for seated workout videos.

Water Workouts (non-weight-bearing) Exercising in water helps you feel:

• Flexible. You can bend and move your body in water in ways you cannot on land.
• Strong. Working against the water will help your body get stronger.
• At less risk of injury. Water makes your body float. This keeps your joints from being pounded or jarred and helps prevent sore muscles and injury.
• Refreshed. You can keep cooler in water—even when you are working hard.

You do not need to know how to swim to work out in water—you can do shallow-water or deep-water exercises without swimming.

For shallow-water exercise, the water level should be between your waist and your chest. If the water is too shallow, it will be hard to move your arms underwater. If the water is deeper than chest height, it will be hard to keep your feet touching the pool bottom.

For deep-water exercise, most of your body is underwater. This means that your whole body will get a good workout. For safety and comfort, wear a foam belt or life jacket.

Many swim centers offer classes in water workouts. Check with the pools in your area to find the best water workout for you.

Weight training rule of thumb.

If you cannot lift a weight 6 times in a row, the weight you are lifting is too heavy. If you can easily lift a weight 15 times in a row, your weight is too light.

Weight Training (weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing)

Weight training builds strong muscles and bones. Getting stronger can also help prepare you for other kinds of physical activity. You can weight train at home or at a fitness center.

You do not need benches or bars to begin weight training at home. You can use a pair of hand weights or even two soup cans.

Make sure you know the correct posture and that your movements are slow and controlled.
Before you buy a home gym, check its weight rating (the number of pounds it can support) to make sure it is safe for your size. If you want to join a fitness center where you can use weights, shop around for one where you feel at ease.

Bicycling (non-weight-bearing) You can bicycle indoors on a stationary bike, or outdoors on a road bike. Biking does not stress any one part of the body—your weight is spread between your arms, back, and hips.

You may want to use a recumbent bike. On this type of bike, you sit low to the ground with your legs reaching forward to the pedals. This may feel better than sitting upright. The seat on a recumbent bike is also wider than the seat on an upright bike.

For biking outdoors, you may want to try a mountain bike. These bikes have wider tires and are heavy. You can also buy a larger seat to put on your bike.
Make sure the bike you buy has a weight rating at least as high as your own weight.

Questions to ask when choosing a fitness center.
• Can the treadmills or benches support people who are large?
• Do the fitness staff know how to work with people of larger sizes?
• Can I take time to see how I like the center before I sign up?
• Is the aim to have fun and get healthy—not to lose weight?

Stretching (weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing) Stretching may help you:
• be more flexible
• feel more relaxed
• improve your blood flow
• keep your muscles from getting tight after doing other physical activities.

You do not have to set aside a special time or place to stretch. At home or at work, stand up, push your arms toward the ceiling, and stretch. Stretch slowly and only enough to feel tightness—not until you feel pain. Hold the stretch, without bouncing, for about 30 seconds. Do not stretch cold muscles.

Yoga and tai chi are types of stretching. They help you breathe deeply, relax, and get rid of stress.

Your local fitness center may offer yoga, tai chi, or other stretching classes. You may want to start with "gentle" classes, like those aimed at seniors.
See the list of additional resources at the end of this booklet to learn more about these physical activities for large people.

Applaud yourself! If you can do only a few or none of these activities, it's OK. Remember to appreciate what you can do, even if you think it's a small amount. Just moving any part of your body—even for a short time—can make you healthier.

Lifestyle Activities Lifestyle physical activities do not have to be planned. You can make small changes to make your day more physically active and improve your health. For example,

• Take 2- to 3-minute walking breaks at work a few times a day.
• Put away the TV remote control—get up to change the channel.
• March in place during TV commercials.
• Sit in a rocking chair and push off the floor with your feet.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Doing chores like lawn mowing, leaf raking, gardening, and housework may also improve your health.

Safety Tips Drink plenty of water.

Water helps every cell and organ in your body work. It cushions your joints, helps keep you regular, and keeps your body cool.
Try these tips for safe physical activity.

Stop your activity right away if you:

• have pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest or left neck, shoulder, or arm
• feel dizzy or sick
• break out in a cold sweat
• have muscle cramps
• feel pain in your joints, feet, ankles, or legs. You could hurt yourself if you ignore the pain.

Ask your health care provider what to do if you have any of these symptoms.

• Slow down if you feel out of breath. You should be able to talk during your activity, without gasping for breath.

• Drink lots of water before, during, and after physical activity (even water workouts) to replace the water you lose by sweating.

• Do not do hard exercise for 2 hours after a big meal (but taking a walk is OK). If you eat small meals, you can be physically active more often.

Wear the right clothes:

• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting tops so you can move easily.
• Wear clothes made of fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
• Never wear rubber or plastic suits. Plastic suits could hold the sweat on your skin and make your body overheat.
• Women should wear a good support bra.
• Wear supportive athletic shoes for weight-bearing activities.
• Wear a knit hat to keep you warm when you are physically active outdoors in cold weather. Wear a tightly woven, wide-brimmed hat in hot weather to help keep you cool and protect you from the sun.
• Wear sunscreen when you are physically active outdoors.

Healthy, fit bodies come in all sizes. Whatever your size or shape, get physically active now and keep moving for a healthier life!