Cutting sugar out of my diet

images

 

It’s a difficult thing considering I am addicted to this wonderful sweet substance.

Yes…addicted.

I take after both parents who absolutely love sugary snacks.  I realized last night I have a problem when I was scooping Nesquik powder for my hot chocolate and savoring the delectable  sweetness of it all. Indeed a tasty reward which is a tough habit to break. A relationship I need to end and terminate now!            😦

I decided to do a little research on this topic and found the following article written by Dr. Mark Hyman, which states there may indeed be a genetic connection:

The Genetics of Pleasure

In our brain, a little receptor, the dopamine receptor D2 (or DRD2 for short), must be activated or switched on for us to feel pleasure. The amino acid dopamine triggers this response. Sugar and other stimulating addictions increase dopamine in the short term.

The only problem is it appears that those with sugar addictions, compulsive eating, and obesity have DRD2 systems that need much more stimulation to feel pleasure. Those who have sugar addiction, it seems have fewer D2 dopamine receptors and they need extra stimulation to make them “turn on”.(i)

Functional MRI studies of teenagers, both lean and obese, found that the obese teenagers whose brains didn’t light up as much in the dopamine reward centers were more likely to be obese and gain weight later.(ii) They also were more likely to have the DRD2 gene that coded for fewer receptors.

(source)

Makes sense, especially when I have seen my parents eating habits.  There’s something existential about sugary rewards.

 

He goes on to discuss 5 signs you may be addicted to sugar, flour, and processed food:

  1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
  2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
  5. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

(source)

Time for me to detox

Hyprocrisy at its finest

1800422_584586928312276_5829320478725468737_n

hy·poc·ri·sy
hiˈpäkrisē/
noun
noun: hypocrisy; plural noun: hypocrisies
The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
What I can never understand is how people can go around acting in a certain manner but God forbid if you did the exact same thing there’s hell to pay.

I’ve seen various relationships affected by this so-called “double standard” from family, marriages, friendships and yes, even coworkers.

If said individuals cannot get a grip on themselves then it’s best to either discover the root of the problem (if possible) and if solve it.

 
HOW they can justify their behavior and yet criticize you for doing the same is beyond my mental and emotional capacity.

If said person continues to be a toxic element in your life the best (and at least for me…most L.O.G.I.C.A.L. solution is to simply get rid of them by leaving or if forced to interact (such as with a coworker) do so as sparingly as possible–if only to to simply preserve your own precarious sanity.  🙂

Lifestyle change

Sometimes it’s harder to implement than to delve up a solution.  Struggling with my weight has always been a constant factor.  Unfortunately I am not blessed with genes which enabled me (in the past and now in the present) to eat whatever I want whenever I want.

Living in a society which markets to the American consumer in such an overindulgent (and unhealthy way) can prove to be quite challenging.

I do admire my husband for his will-power and fortitude to do what’s right and maintain his health.  I, on the other hand, can sometimes talk a lot of hot air. Receiving a recent health scare has made me pause to reconsider what truly is important at this junction of my life.

Do I wish to continue this self-destructive path of glutton want or do I wish to live a healthier and more fruitful life?

It’s quite easy to give in to your desires.  Stress can make you reach for the most unhealthy choices. Every day life happenstance gives us all that comfortable excuse to indulge just a little bit more, that it won’t hurt…for now.

The problem why most diets fail is that again, our American need to “have it right now” fails us.  We expect miraculous results the instant we start changing.

But our bodies, and life…really do not run like that.

We have to be patient, kind with ourselves.  Learn to pace, to give up the sinfully good snacking, incorporate some form of exercise.

But……..WHY does living a healthier lifestyle mean bland choices?????

Also, it’s far cheaper to grab that burger when organics always come with a steep price. Who hasn’t visited a wholefood’s store and seen those jaw-dropping prices?

If I could grow my own produce I would. But since I can’t I have to really work harder to ensure I don’t end up like my parents with their milieu of health problems.

And overcome any mental obstacles along the way.

index

Can stress kill you?

…yes….yes it can:

Stress is a well-known contributor to heart disease with elevated adrenaline levels and increases cortisol (secreted by the adrenal glands) and then there is arterial inflammation within the blood vessels causing the narrowing of the arteries and build up of plaque.

And those who are emotional eaters will gravitate towards sinfully delicious foods which typically contain sugary or fatty goodness.

According to Dr. Ashly and Dr. Michael Arn, in their article: “What are Symptoms of Stress?” these are the symptoms of stress (how many of you can check mark these items off?).

The key is finding manageable and healthy ways to deal with the every day stresses in life. Those that you can control, find a way to manage such as finding a better job if your current employment is the epicenter of your discontent, talk to your partner if there are issues in the relationship, fix your finances etc, those you cannot learn new coping skills that can make you better able to deal such as exercise, better eating habits, change your current sleeping pattern…whatever it takes to “fix” you.

What are long-term symptoms of stress?

  • All of the Short Term Symptoms
  • Aches and Pains
  • Frequent Colds and Viruses
  • Depression
  • Sexual Disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Lethargy
  • Obesity
  • Premature Aging
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Drinking Alcohol/smoking
  • Taking Medications
  • Unhealthy Eating Habits
  • Heart Disease
  • Ulcers
  • Restlessness
  • Skin Conditions

Short-term symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Elevated Heart Beat
  • Increased Sweating
  • Cool Skin
  • Cold Hands and Feet
  • Mood Swings
  • Recent Unhealthy Eating Habits
  • Poor Memory
  • Poor Concentration
  • Pessimistic Attitude
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Constant Urination
  • Feelings of Nausea or Butterflies in your stomach
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Tense Muscles
  • Dry Mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with Digestion
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Decreased Sex Drive
  • Constantly feeling Tired or Worn out

WHAT EXACTLY IS FIBROMYALGIA?????

It’s a life sucking chronic condition that makes you wish you could teleport right out of your body.

fi·bro·my·al·gia
ˌfībrōmīˈalj(ē)ə/
noun
noun: fibromyalgia
a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized area.
Those who have it (mostly diagnosed in women) usually push through their days, plaster a smile on their face and figure out how to patiently deal with something that makes you feel like you’re going crazy at times.
According to WebMD, symptoms of this condition include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Hypersensitivity to cold and/or heat
  • Inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”)
  • Incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
  • Stiffness

(I think they forgot to add:  SEVERE pain!)  😦

There are currently drugs out there (albeit pricey co-pays) which can help alleviate some of the nerve pain. Hopefully (soon) these pharmaceutical companies will take pity and drop these outrageous prices so the average American is able to afford some comfort.

In the meantime exercise, healthy diet, and a good working support system are keys to dealing. If you are able……

You can read more about individualized stories here to help you better understand what these people go through (daily) when trying to live out a normal day.

As we grow older

I spent a few days up in the Chicago area with my family.  My mother is doing quite well from her surgery. The doctor ended up taking her left kidney which contained a cancerous tumor.  Luckily she is a spunky little Puerto Rican.

Glad she is doing well and praying she makes a full recovery.  Going on 75 years old she is and always has been quite spunky and a character.  It’s upsetting she has to go through all this, but was necessary. The doctor used the Da Vinci Robot to remove the kidney. What a godsend.  A medical techno piece of “incredibleness”!

 

1a1e92b18080bba2c970ff5e5064fe54

Fighting Chronic Fibromyalgia Fatigue

imagesSome people think this is a “woman’s disease however men, in general, will not report such conditions to their doctor whenever they do visit.

This type of malady can be debilitating.

According to WebMD:

If you have fibromyalgia and work outside the home, on the days when fatigue slams down on you like a lead blanket, how do you cope? This kind of fatigue isn’t just about being tired because you didn’t sleep well the night before, says a community member — it’s like being starved of food or oxygen. Another says that the fatigue of fibromyalgia is often more difficult to deal with than the pain.

So what do you do? How do you get out of bed when you don’t really have a choice?

Several people say they have found some relief by taking regular doses of vitamin D, which they feel gives them more energy. “Be sure to ask your doctor to check out your vitamin D level,” urges one. One woman suggests also having your doctor check your iron levels at the same time. “Being low on iron can definitely make your butt drag,” she says. “I felt the same way you are feeling and no amount of vitamins or caffeine or anything helped me. Once I was given meds to fix my low iron I pepped up.” Many people suggest the strategy of building rest into your day. “A one-hour nap is usually helpful,” says one man. A woman notes, “On my days where I am completely exhausted, I give myself permission to go to bed at 8 p.m. and leave the chores for another day.” (Sounds like a wonderful idea. Vitamin D does work and when those of us who’ve reached middle age, finding some kind of therapeutic remedy is a m.u.s.t.!)

Others confess they haven’t really found any reasonable solutions for combating the fatigue, other than “a mind thing.” “It’s either do this, or not have a house and be homeless. Not something I want to do,” says one woman.

Other community members have tried complementary approaches, like acupuncture and chiropractic, to help manage their fatigue and get more sleep. “It saved my life. I could only stay awake for about 3 hours during the day and I’d have to take a 2-hour nap,” says one man. “I’m self-employed, so that was a blessing in one regard, but I don’t make money unless I’m working so it was also very frightening.” He suggests looking for an acupuncturist who also does electromagnetic therapy, which might facilitate some coverage by health insurance.

Nearly as bad as the physical fatigue is the mental fatigue, say many people. (True) One woman reports that she’s resorted to taking down notes of her conversations. Another woman is relieved to learn from other community members that not being able to comprehend what she’s just read doesn’t mean she’s losing her mind — instead, it’s “just another symptom of fibro.”


Those of us who work, fighting this fatigue indeed is a daily battle.  There are times I wish I could simply curl up in a ball and stay in bed however, as was previously stated, even when am completely exhausted, down to the bone, I have to find that motivation…(and sometimes I need to dig waaaay deep) to get out of bed, start the day and get to work so I can pay my bills.  Lying in bed isn’t a luxury I can afford to keep.

I also wonder if all the synthetic foods we eat (it’s everywhere), livestock injections (i.e. hormones and antibiotics), processed foods (the list goes on and on) doesn’t add up and pollute our bodies? And while we’re at it since when did raising plants and animals in a clean “organic” environment get to be so freaking expensive???

If you think you may suffer from Fibro, please see your doctor. Listed below are the signs and symptoms of this chronic illness and should be addressed as soon as possible:

What Is Fatigue With Fibromyalgia?

Fatigue with fibromyalgia is described as crippling, exhausting, and flu-like. You may experience fatigue on arising, even after hours of bed rest. And many people with fibromyalgia have disturbances in deep-level or restful sleep, so the fatigue they feel is not easy to treat.

The fatigue with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) often coincides with mood disturbances, anxiety, or depression. People with fibromyalgia may describe their sleep as unrefreshing or light. Some people with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the joints in the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it even more difficult to sleep and worsens their daytime feelings of sleepiness and fatigue.

Experts theorize that there are similarities between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, which is a condition primarily characterized by ongoing, debilitating fatigue. Often, people with fibromyalgia describe the fatigue they feel as “brain fatigue.” They report a total loss of energy and difficulty concentrating, a condition called “fibro fog.”

What Are the Other Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

In addition to chronic fatigue, symptoms of fibromyalgia may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Hypersensitivity to cold and/or heat
  • Inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”)
  • Incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Painful trigger points
  • Poor circulation in hands and feet (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Stiffness

Fibromyalgia can cause signs and feelings similar to what people experience with osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. But unlike the localized pain with bursitis or tendinitis, the feelings of pain and stiffness with fibromyalgia are widespread.

(Source)

 

 

NO ONE SHOULD SUFFER IN SILENCE!     😦

 

 

 

 

For the love of a mother

Yesterday I received some disturbing news regarding my mom.  A kidney lesion was found, about an inch long, and her gallbladder findings were suspicious to also suspect cancer. As her eldest child I, of course, was devastated and feel a deep sense of responsibility for her.  I wished she lived closer so I could visit her more often, take care of her as she did me.  However, mom is of the type she does not like to “interfere” with her married children and thus seeks independent living.  With that being said, I seriously doubt after this diagnosis she will be able to do that.

Thankfully, according to my sister, the nephrologist is quite confident he can remove the lesion by taking part of her affected kidney leaving the rest to prevent future renal failure.  She also has the choice to remove this kidney entirely and she is seeking the opinion of her children to make a decision.

My mother has always been the center of my world. Good or bad, meddling, and always loving….she is my mother and I love her dearly.  She is also the very typical Latina mom who dotes on her children, spoiled us when we were young, and loves us like no other.  My mother taught me what unconditionally love is.  No matter how irritated we got with her (because Latina mothers are infamous at striking that last nerve) she kept on loving us, fiercely protective of her young.

In the face of all of this I know I have to be strong for her, for myself.  Since this cancer was caught early she should have a good survival rate.  My prayers are with her and our family during these times.  Am sure God is watching over her and will lead us in the right direction.

Though sometimes our mothers can drive us crazy who knows us better than them? My mother has given us kids and grand kids her sweet unconditional love. Sometimes life can get in the way and force us to take pause. If you ever wronged your mother or felt she was too meddling, remember she did it out of love.

 

parents-love-quotes-thoughts-mother-son-best-great

Baby cravings

I love children. I always wanted to be a mother. My only child turns 26 next month. Of course she is no longer a baby, though she looks very young for her age, (a blessing in disguise for I too suffered from this “malady.”)

Sometimes I see babies and I crave to have another. However, at 45 that would be an unwise decision.

When the kid reaches 18 I would be 63 and my husband 68.  Not fair to the kid and to us. It would have been nice to be able to have a child with my husband. My first pregnancy was most difficult and I handled it alone. Raised my kid in a single parent household and never knew the joys of having a “complete” family. However, the experience made me stronger and I’ll never regret my prolife choice. My daughter gave me that singular opportunity to be a mother and I was able to create wonderful memories with her and my family.

Perhaps as I reach the later stages of life and I know I will experience a sense of loss once “the change” is complete, I can come to terms with not having another child.  I heard many women experience what I am currently going through. It’s a emotional roller coaster ride. However, am quite lucky that I have a man whose right there beside me through this change.

 

The following study was conducted on a group of Chinese women experiencing menopause.  It seems my genetic and lifestyle predictors indicate my “time” will be later in life:

Reproductive history
Evidence suggests that women who have never had children will experience menopause earlier than those who have.10 The timing of babies also influences the age at menopause. In studies of Chinese21 and British19 women, those who had their first baby at a younger age and those who had their last baby at an older age, experienced menopause later in life than women with other childbearing patterns. Duration of breastfeeding was also found to influence age at menopause in these women; those who breastfed for longer experienced menopause slightly later than other women.19,21

Age of first menstrual period also influences the age of menopause. Amongst the Chinese women studied, those who began menstruating when they were 16 years or older experienced menopause later than those who began menstruating before they turned 16 years old.21 Women who experienced short menstrual cycles during adolescence also experience menopause, one average, earlier than those who don’t.18


Contraception use
Use of contraceptives (including oral contraceptive, an intrauterine device or tubal ligation) slightly increased the age of menopause amongst Chinese women.21 A study amongst women from the United States also reported that oral contraceptive use was associated with an older age at menopause.23


Other factors
A higher level of education appears to protect against the early onset of menopause,23 as does being married (compared to widowed, single or divorced) and employed (as opposed to unemployed).23 However, it is not clear whether these relationships are direct or are affected by other factors. For example, the relationship between education and menopause timing may occur simply because better educated women are less likely to smoke.10 Being widowed in associated with almost twice the likelihood of early menopause compared to being married, as is poorer general health.10

(source)

Getting older + Losing Weight = one frustrated lady

Going through “the change” is no picnic. There’s the hot-flashes, weight gain…oh yes the weight gain, mood swings, and overall “blahness” when you’re experiencing the middle-age rite of passage into the next stage of your life.

No matter how I’ve previously tried slewing off the pounds, it does NOT work. Not the way it used to at least.  Before I could cut down on my calories, go to the gym, and watch the weight just slide off.

Not this time.

This time it’s much more difficult.  I find myself wishing for some magic pill to simply give me the energy (which the change does robs) to get through the day, to not crave sugary sweets and carbs so much…to find the motivation to work out.

Having a partner whose 100% on board helps.

Having a gym partner helps.

But we don’t always get the latter and we must find the fortitude to push forward and do it ourselves and at this rate if I continue on this path I’ll weigh 200 pounds in no time.

Not good.

The Mayo Clinic has a good article for women like me who are going through this different lifestyle change (or for you curious men who want to find out why your wife all of a sudden is not your sweet love any longer):

What causes menopause weight gain?

The hormonal changes of menopause might make you more likely to gain weight around your abdomen than around your hips and thighs. Hormonal changes alone don’t necessarily trigger menopause weight gain, however. Instead, the weight gain is usually related to aging, as well as lifestyle and genetic factors.

For example, muscle mass typically diminishes with age, while fat increases. Loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. If you continue to eat as you always have and don’t increase your physical activity, you’re likely to gain weight.

Genetic factors also might play a role in menopause weight gain. If your parents or other close relatives carry extra weight around the abdomen, you’re likely to do the same.

Sometimes factors such as the stress of children leaving — or returning — home, divorce, the death of a spouse, or other life changes might change your diet or exercise habits and contribute to menopause weight gain.

 

(source)

————————————————————————————————————-

In summary, it’s simple as the article states, move more, eat less and find support. Simple.

Sometimes but it takes the right frame of mind to change.