Cutting Down without Feeling Hungry

It is a common fact that one of the ways to help lose weight is to start eating fewer calories.  Pero alam ba ninyo that eating fewer calories does not necessarily mean eating less food?

Madalas na iniisip natin that in order to lose weight, we should cut down on the amount of food we eat.  Kadalasan kapag ginawa natin ito, nakakaranas pa rin tayo nang gutom o parang hindi pa rin satisfied pagtapos kumain.  Eto ang usual na nagiging dahilan kung bakit naggi-give up agad ang mga tao when it comes to losing weight. It’s because of the experience of feeling deprived or hungry when they eat less.  Well.. It doesn’t have to be that way.. 

We can still aim for a slow but steady weight loss. We can do this by decreasing our caloric intake while maintaining adequate nutrients and increasing our physical activity.  

The “secret” is by choosing foods which are lower in fat and increasing the amount of fiber-rich ingredients and those with high water content. Example nito ay mga fruit and vegetables.

Tingnan natin ang isang halimbawa.. 

Image courtesy of http://www.fatoush.net

This is a fried chicken sandwich with cheese and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise. This contains at least 480 calories.

Kung papalitan natin ito ng grilled chicken na may kasamang lettuce at vinaigrette dressing para maging salad, pwede pa din itong maka satisfy ng ating gutom and, at the same time, mapababa natin ang caloric content to 300-400 calories.

Image courtesy of www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

Batay sa mga pag aaral, ang isang tao ay nabubusog batay sa dami na tine-take in na pagkain, at hindi sa dami ng calories.  So, we can take in the same amount of food, but we can replace foods which are low in calories and with higher fiber and water content instead para filling pa din sa stomach

The key is to eat foods that are filling to the stomach without eating a large amount of calories. 

Intindihin ang laman ng mga Food Labels para sa kalusugan

One of the ways on how we can effectively take care of our health is to keep watch of the calories and nutrients from the food we eat.

With this, pwede natin tingnan at gamitin ang information sa mga nutrition labels to evaluate the nutritional value of certain foods.

Ito ang isang example ng isang nutrition label.  

Madalas nating makita ito sa likod ng mga common food products na nabibili natin sa mga tindahan o grocery store.

Pwede nating paghati-hatiin ang parte nito ito 4 main groups.

The first part is usually on the topmost portion.  Dito natin makikita yung tinatawag natin na portion information.  Kapag tumitingin tayo sa mga food labels, ang number of servings ang una nating iche-check. 

The serving size refers to the amount that people typically eat or drink.  Bigyan ng kaukulang attention ang size of the serving.  Lalo na kung ilang serving ang meron sa isang food pack.  Baka kasi kapag naubos ang laman ng isang pakete, 2 to 3 servings na pala ang nakain natin.

The next part is the amount of calories.  Kapag sinabing calories, eto yung how much energy we get from one serving of the food.  Halimbawa, kung ang isang serving ng lasagna ay 280 calories. At kung ang nakalagay sa pakete ay 4 servings.  Kung inubos natin ang laman ng food pack, 280 calories x 4.. Bale 1120 calories na kaagad yun.

Tandaan natin na ang amount of servings na nako-consume natin determines the number of calories sa kinakain natin.   Ang sobrang dami ng calories kada araw na nakukuha natin ay maaring maging sanhi ng overweight o obesity.

The third part of the nutrition label ay yung information on the different nutrients.  Maraming impormasyon ang nakalagay dito.. Pero ang importante is to focus on the nutrients that we should get less and more of.

Nutrients that we should get less of are: SATURATED FATS, SODIUM, and ADDED SUGARS.  Ang pagkosumo ng pagkain na maraming saturated fats at sodium ay nali-link sa pagkakaroon ng mga karamdaman katulad ng heart disease at hypertension.  

Samantala, kapag tumataas ang ating comsumption ng added sugars, mahihirapan tayo na makuha ng sapat ang ibang nutrients nang hindi lumalampas sa ating caloric requirement.

Nutrients that we should get more of are: DIETARY FIBER, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium.  Ang pagkonsumo ng mga pagkaing mataas sa dietary fiber ay nakakatulong sa regular na pag dumi, pagbaba ng blood sugar levels at cholesterol, at pagbabawas ng ating caloric intake.

Ang mga pagkain naman na mataas sa vitamin D, calcium, iron, at potassium ay makatutulong sa pagbaba ng risk natin laban sa osteoporosis, anemia, at high blood pressure.

The next part is the % Daily Value.

This tells us how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to the daily diet.  Dine-determine nito kung ang isang serving ng pagkain ay mataas o mababa sa nutrient na iyon.

Ang general guide natin ay kapag 5% or less ang daily value, considered na mababa iyon.  Kung ang daily value ng isang nutrient ay 20% or more, considered na mataas na iyon.

Tulad nang nasabi natin earlier, pumili tayo ng mga pagkain na mataas ang %DV sa dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, at potassium. At mababang %DV naman sa saturated fats, sodium at added sugars.

Sana makatulong ang input na ito sa pag iintindi ng mga food labels at sa paggabay sa pagpili na masusustansyang mga pagkain para sa ating kalusugan.

Reflecting on our daily eating habits

When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, importante na i-assess natin on a regular basis ang ating eating habits.

It all starts with reflection.  Reflecting the kinds of food we are eating gives us an idea of the quality of the calories we are consuming, including how and when we eat them.

In order to do this, pwede tayong gumawa ng listahan ng ating eating habits kahit for a few days. The food diary may help uncover yung mga habits natin sa pagkain na maaring conscious tayo of doing them or not.

Example of a Food Diary (image courtesy of http://www.myria.com)

Isusulat natin sa food diary kung ano ang kinakain natin at anong oras tayo napapakain.  

Mas maganda na include kung ano ang ating damdamin when we were eating.  Ask ourself, how were we feeling when we decided to eat.  Pagod ba, o nalulungkot, o stressed — kaya ba tayo kumain ?

Highlight natin o markahan natin yung mga habits na pwedeng humantong sa overeating.  

Tingnan natin yung mga karaniwang “cues” na nagti-trigger kung bakit napapakain tayo ng marami na kahit hindi tayo gutom. Pwede itong environmental cues (baka napapadaan tayo sa donut store, o milktea shop kaya napapabili tayo nang di oras); o isang emotional state (maaring na depress o nalungkot).

Being aware of the cues puts our mind on a prepared state next time we are in the same situation. Makakagawa tayo ngayon ng paraan para hindi maulit ito.

Ask ourself these questions: Ano ang pwede ko gawin to avoid the cue or the situation? Baka pwedeng dumaan ng ibang ruta para maiwasan si milktea store.

Para sa mga instances na unavoidable, meron ba akong magagawa differently para maging healthier ang habit? Baka pwedeng mag-fruit na lang instead of ice cream kapag nag crave ng matamis. Or baka pwedeng kumain ka na muna ng konti sa bahay bago pumunta sa handaan o buffet para hindi masyado mapakain ng marami.

Review natin ang food diary  on a regular basis — maaaring nating gawin ito every night bago matulog, or weekend kapag hindi masyado busy.  

Through this process of repeated reflection with the food diary, we can develop better and healthier eating habits for our health.  

The 3Rs to achieving Healthier Eating Habits

Successfully maintaining a healthy weight can be quite a challenge.  Isa sa mga technique ng pag-maintain ng healthy weight is a continuous cycle of evaluating our eating habits.

To achieve this, pwede natin i-apply ang 3Rs.  These are:

REFLECT

REPLACE, and 

REINFORCE

REFLECT – to reflect means na kelangan natin pagnilayan o i-assess ang ating mga eating habits — be it good or bad.  We can do this on a regular basis.  Pwede ito after a day’s work we keep a simple diary.  Or pwedeng on a weekly basis.  Focus natin sa mga karaniwang triggers ng unhealthy eating

REPLACE – replace means na palitan natin yung mga unhealthy habits with healthier ones.  We can slowly put in small changes or practical modifications para hindi naman masyado mabigla ang usual routines natin.

REINFORCE – give ourselves credit for the good work that we’ve done.  Of course, hindi dapat food! Also, don’t forget to congratulate ourself for the small successes in maintaining the changes in our habits.

So that’s it! The 3Rs to help change our eating habits.  In the part, we’ll share with you how we can go about assessing our eating habits. 

Starting the Journey to Good Eating Habits

Our journey to a sustainable more healthy weight involves a change in the way of how we do things.  Pero making drastic and sudden changes to our eating habits, kung minsan, may do more harm than good.  Sure, they can lead to weight loss pero most often, on a short term basis. And more often, the long-term repercussions can lead to more weight kesa nung nag simula tayo.

Para mas maging long-term at sustainable ang ating weight loss journey, kelangan natin ng i-review at i-assess ang ating eating habits.  Meron na kasi tayong mga nakaugalian na pwedeng makatulong sa ating weight loss.  Example nito ang pagkain sa oras at hindi pag skip ng breakfast.  Pero meron din mga habits nakaka-hinder dito.  Halimbawa yung parating inuubos ang laman ng plato natin kahit super busog na tayo.

Kelangan natin i-identify ang mga habits na ito at palitan ang mga nakasanayang bad eating habits.  In other words, the journey to sustaining a healthy weight involves also a constant reflection and improvement in our habits.  Kailangan din kung minsan ng pagbabago sa ating mindset.

On the next part, tingnan natin ang isang simpleng pattern kung paano natin pwedeng mapabago ang eating habits natin.  

Going “Meat-Lite”

Alam naman natin na batay sa mga pag-aaral, ang pagkakaroon ng sobrang taba sa ating tiyan ay sanhi ng hindi balanseng diet. Karaniwan, ito ay dahil sa pagkain ng sobrang saturated fat na nanggagaling sa taba ng hayop — o karne.

Ang pagkain na sobra sa saturated fat ang tinuturing na isa sa mga dahilan ng pagkakaroon ng mga chronic illnesses katulad ng alta presyon, diabetes, sakit sa puso at stroke. Ang pag-iwas sa ito ay makatutulong sa pagbawas sa “risk” sa pagkakaroon ng mga ganitong sakit.

Dahilan dito, nauuso ngayon ang iilang mga diet na walang lamang karne o meat products. Kabilang sa mga tawag dito ay “vegan diet”, vegetarian diet, o “plant-based diet”. Bagamat makakatulong ito sa pagbawas ng saturated fat sa katawan, hindi lahat ng tao ay handa sa ganitong pamamaraan ng pagkain.

Ang pagkain ng “meat-lite” ay transition mula sa usual na diet tungo sa isang diet na mababa o walang meat products. May mga paraan kung paano gawing “meat-lite” ang diet ninyo.

Ways on Gauging how Healthy you are

Bagong Taon na naman and of course most of us want to take the time to rethink and revisit our health goals. In looking how to improve our health, I’ve looked into some ways on how we can measure our health so we can better ourselves.

Body Mass Index

  • Ratio of weight and the square of height.  
  • Normal is from 18.5 to 25
  • More than 25-<30 would mean either overweight or obese; less than 18.5 means undeweight

Waist Circumference

  • Indicator of visceral or belly fat.  And this fat is a predictor of obesity-related disease risk than overall body fat
  • The normal waist circumference for females is  less tthan 35 inches and for men is less than 40 inches.  
  • Some professionals measure the waist hip ratio.  The normal for males is 0.9 females 0.85€

Level of hydration from amount of water you drink.  

  • It is a common notion that 8 glasses is enough but this not always the case
  • Lot of factors to consider such as the gender, activity level, climate.  
  • More practical to gauge using the color of urine.  It should have pale yellow color or lighter

Blood Pressure

  • Increasing blood pressure could be an indication of overall cardiovascular health
  • Anything more than 120/80 would mean regular monitoring

Cholesterol Levels

  • By age 20, cholesterol levels should be checked at least every 5 years; much more frequent if there are other risk factors

Blood Sugar Levels

  • Fasting Blood sugar tells us the amount of sugar that remains in the blood after not eating for 8 hours or so.  FBS of 100 mg/dL is normal
  • People with normal sugar levels should get tested about every 3 years

Servings of Vegetables Eaten

  • The more servings of non starchy vegetables and fruit eaten each day, the better for over all health
  • Eat more vegetables compared to processed food and high glycemic index food
  • Half of your meal plate should be filled with vegetable

Time spent Moving

  • Exercise and physical activity is important to maintain strong bones, reduce risk of diabetes and improve mood
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day to lower risk of early death

Amount of alcohol taken

  • Excessive alcohol can lead to development ceratin cancers, heart disease, liver disease
  • Excessive drinking (CDC) – 3+ drinks in a single occasion for women; 4+ drinks in a single occasion for men; 7+ drinks per week women; 14+ drinks per week for men
  • Drinking moderate is equal to one drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men
  • If you don’t drink alcohol, there is no reason to start

Hours Spent Sleeping

  • Sleep deprivation may lead to hypertension, daibetes and heart disease
  • Adults over 18 should get 7-9 hours of sleep daily

So there you have it. Just by monitoring or looking after these simple ways, you are already helping your body towards being a better you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Weight Changes in Early Adult Life

Being in your early 20s can be both fun and a challenge.  For many, this stage is the beginning of an entirely new phase of life – the prospects of having your first job, entering into new relationships or family, or continuing the challenges of learning new things.

In every new life phase comes new routines.  And this may cause drastic changes in lifestyle.  People may start to become less active in the gym or sports because of new challenges at work, or in the family.  Food habits change because of different environments like being with different set of people with different food habits.

Although some studies may vary in their conclusions (Proper, Picavet, Bogers, Verschuren, & Bemelmans, 2013), the changes in the lifestyle may pose potential problems for some because this may translate to weight gain if unchecked in the long run.  Financial struggles and challenges resulting from new responsibilities from the emerging independent adult can also predispose to weight gain (Conklin, Forouhi, Brunner, & Monsivais, 2014).

Knowing these issues and not losing focus in maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only prevents weight gain, but also decreases the potential for chronic diseases in the future.  Managing your time schedules regularly to incorporate even short periods of physical activity can help burn excess fat from previous overindulgence.  Incorporating mindfulness exercises during meals may decrease the risk of overeating and overconsumption of calories.  Being in the company of health-conscious individuals can further motivate you in carrying on with your fitness goals.

Choose to make your health a priority while in the prime of life. 

References:

Conklin, A. I., Forouhi, N. G., Brunner, E. J., & Monsivais, P. (2014). Persistent financial hardship, 11-year weight gain and health behaviors in the Whitehall II study: Persistent Hardship Increases 11-Year Weight Gain. Obesity, n/a-n/a. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20875

Proper, K. I., Picavet, H. S. J., Bogers, R. P., Verschuren, W. M., & Bemelmans, W. J. (2013). The association between adverse life events and body weight change: results of a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-957

PCOS and Weight Gain

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a heterogenous disorder that is characterized by a state of increased androgen levels (measured either clinically or through laboratory tests), a dysregulation of ovulatory functioning, and polycystic ovarian morphology.

<img src="Embed from Getty Images” alt=”Diagram of ovaries”/>

Although patients may remain without symptoms, most notable characteristics are a state of clinical hyperandrogenism particularly hirsutism (presence of hair overgrowth), menstrual irregularities (often leading to difficulty conceiving), and elevated testosterone levels in the blood.

The cause of PCOS is still unknown but is thought to develop from an interplay of factors from heredity, fetal development, environment, and metabolism.

It because of this relative hormonal and biochemical imbalance that PCOS is associated with a high prevalence of weight gain and obesity. Women with this condition range from 30-70% depending on which part of the world they are. Other conditions in which PCOS is associated with are: metabolic complications (such as type 2 diabetes), pregnancy complications, anxiety and depression, endometrial cancer, and obstructive sleep disorder.

Most medical societies advocate lifestyle modification measures as an important facet in the management of PCOS. Increasing physical activity and exercise together with a sensible diet has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes and improve ovulatory cycles among women with PCOS.

Weight loss may further be achieved by lessening caloric intake by 500 Calories per day. Consuming foods with low glycemic indices may help stave off cravings during the day and help stabilize blood glucose levels. Monitoring water intake to 2 liters per day may also help reduce food cravings. As with any weight loss measure, a daily multivitamin supplement may be necessary to supply nutrients from the restrictive diet.

References:

ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 194: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. (2018). Obstetrics & Gynecology, 131(6), e157–e171. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000002656

Australian National Health and Medical Research Council/American Society for Reproductive Medicine/European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (NHMRC/ASRM/ESHRE). (n.d.). International evidence-based guideline on assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Legro, R. S., Arslanian, S. A., Ehrmann, D. A., Hoeger, K. M., Murad, M. H., Pasquali, R., & Welt, C. K. (2013). Diagnosis and Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98(12), 4565–4592. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2013-2350

Ricardo Azziz, Enrico Carmina, ZiJiang Chen, Andrea Dunaif, Joop S. E. Laven, Richard S. Legro, Daria Lizneva, Barbara Natterson-Horowtiz, Helena J. Teede & Bulent O. Yildiz. (2016). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 2(16057). Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp201657

Effective Meal Planning may help prevent Obesity and Chronic Illness in the Young

Embed from Getty Images

The issue of excessive weight gain is not only a growing problem of adults.  In today’s world, sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly common even in the young.  Instead of being in playgrounds or other activity areas, children mostly stay at home with their computers and tablets.  The influx of Western and instant cuisine also play a role in the diet of children.  Families are more likely seen eating in fast foods during weekends and holidays rather than enjoying home cooked meals.

With the changing lifestyle patterns also comes the increasing incidence of chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Now, it is not uncommon to see many young people suffering from these illnesses as well.

The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that interventions be made as early as the pre-school and school age so as to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.  This may be achieved with awareness of healthy eating practices and maintaining healthy weights for kids.

MyPlate is a visual guide originally made by the US Department of Agriculture to remind families on how much of which should be present in the feeding plates of children.  A similar device has been adapted for Filipinos to make it applicable in the local setting and is named “Pinggang Pinoy“.

In the plate graphic, half of the plate should comprise vegetables and fruits during meals.  Vegetables comprises a majority of this portion.  Children are encouraged to eat more dark-green, red and orange vegetables.  The greater in the variation and contrast in colors can also aid in attracting kids in eating vegetables.

Fruits make up the other portion of the first half in MyPlate.  Pears, oranges, berries, watermelon, peaches and raisins are some examples that can be served on to the plates of kids.  Fruit juices may also substitute during occasions but only if 100% juice is served (and not juice concentrate which contains mostly table sugar).

A quarter of the plate should comprise healthy proteins.  Recommended are healthier sources such as fish, beans and peas.

The last quarter of the plate should be filled up with grains – preferably whole grains.  As such, kids are encouraged to eat oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, tortillas or brown rice more often.

To supplement their meals, children are also encouraged to take dairy in their meals.  This may come in the form of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt for stronger teeth and bones.

Exercise should come in the form of play or any suitable physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.

The way for people to adapt to healthy lifestyles that persist is to imbibe them early.  Encouraging healthy eating using MyPlate or Pinggang Pinoy is one strategy that may help ensure this.

 

References:

Ogata, B. N and Hayes D.  Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Guidance for Health Children Ages 2 to 11 Years.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014-08-01, Volume 114, Issue 8, Pages 1257-1276