My Fitness Journey, Part 2

By cassandrwiley / On / In Healthy Eating, Self-Improvement

You may recall that I have been on a fitness journey for about 2 years now.  My starting weight in December 2015 was 146 lbs. I had some weight loss by early 2016.  It was 6 pounds that I recall.  My family and I moved in June 2016, and for some reason, we started eating out more frequently; I gained that weight back.  Later that year, I found out that I was pre-diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure at age 25.  I started working with a personal trainer  and began working to change my diet. My husband and I decided to go vegan for one month and take herbal supplements to improve our health.  Early last year, I had my annual physical exam.  My weight was stable at 143 lbs., but my blood work results were the best ever in a long time.  I didn’t have pre-diabetes or high cholesterol anymore!  The combination of diet and herbal supplements improved my health!

In October of last year, we decided to go back to eating vegan for one month.  We noticed a big difference in our health and overall well being.  After that month, we decided that we would only eat meat twice weekly. Usually, it’s fish, but also chicken, turkey, and grass-fed beef.  We rarely eat dairy.

In the past month, we learned about “wheat belly” .  Today, the majority of the  wheat  is genetically modified.  Since the body does not know how to digest this genetically modified wheat, it’s stored as fat in our brains and in our stomachs.  Gluten is also something that we try to avoid.  I don’t eat wheat unless it is organic.  Since I eat dairy and organic wheat products rarely, my stomach does not look like a “muffin top”.   I can wear a dress without being paranoid that I look pregnant.  I get on the scale this morning, and I weigh 133 lbs!  I haven’t been working out in the last few months. It’s all from diet!  Working out will only enhance.  This is a weight that I am happy to stay at.  If you want to lose weight, you must change your lifestyle.

Hello Readers, I’m Back

By cassandrwiley / On / In Hobbies

Hi There!

I know that it’s been months since I posted my last update. I have been busy with work and family. Yes, I am still working on my fitness and health. I admit that I have been on a roller coaster with the weight loss. Once I lost 10 lbs. this past April,  I ended up gaining 5 lbs. back over the summer.  We moved and it was somewhat stressful, and I was indulging in pastries and other goodies. After getting back on track recently, I was able to lose 7 lbs. in 6 weeks.

There have been so many changes for my family and I this year. I cannot talk about everything in one blog post; however, I will fill you in on the things that  I’ve learned.  I hope that some of these principles and life lessons will be an encouragement to you as well!

Staying Fit While Snowed In

By cassandrwiley / On / In Healthy Eating, Hobbies, Self-Improvement

My 2016 had a weird, but interesting start, but I am back on track with my fitness goals.  One of the reasons that I love my gym is that they give you “bucks” to spend just for being a member. I’ve used them for personal training sessions.  I think I will use the remaining bucks for a massage in the coming weeks.  My personal trainer recommended her massage therapist to me.

My workouts have been consistent, and I’m starting to see some changes in my weight.  I lost 2 pounds this past week. I had to revamp my eating habits since I wasn’t seeing a physical change. I’m eating smaller portions for each meal.

With more than 1 foot of snow hitting the DC Metro area, everything is pretty much shut down.  I will have to be creative with my at-home workouts.  Most likely, I will do crunches and some push ups. There was a time that I could barely do one push up.  My mid-section still needs toning.  If I can trim my waistline and burn away my “muffin top”, that will help my health tremendously.  I took a hour-long cycling class one morning a couple of weeks ago. I took one a few years ago; this one was a lot harder. Surprisingly, the next day, my muscles weren’t sore.

To recap,  I’ll see my doctor in March, so I need to stay focused so he can see the positive changes. My blood pressure readings have been excellent. My reading today was 119/74.  For information purposes, a reading below 120/80 is optimal.  Always ask your doctor if you are unsure.  My cholesterol levels were normal on my last doctor visit in September.  The goal is for the pre-diabetes to reverse.  In the meantime, I will do my best to stay warm and catch up on my writing and sleep. Maybe even read a good book!

 

Turn Fat into Lean Body Mass

By cassandrwiley / On / In Self-Improvement

I am happy to report that I didn’t overeat this Thanksgiving.  I had one plate, and I did not go back for seconds.

I met with my dietician again this past Monday.  My weight is still the same at 146 pounds, but my percent body fat has dropped from 33.1% to 32.0%.  My lean body mass has increased from 98.21 to 100.16.  My clothes fit differently.  This is very good; however, I need to increase my activity and add whey protein with carb meals to balance.  Breakfast is my only struggle since oatmeal is always my first choice, but I don’t have an equal balance of protein if I eat it by itself.  Starting this past week, I drank a protein shake with my oatmeal to balance.

My snacks are healthy overall, but sometimes I would skip snacking during the day if I’m busy with work. Since I work in the lab 90% of the time, it’s difficult to have a snack.  The vending machine doesn’t offer many healthy choices, so I bring my own snacks to work. When I take a bathroom break, I also take a snack break.

As far as increasing my activity, I will start working out 3 times per week. I meet  with my trainer twice weekly; on my third visit, I can do cardio. When I work with my trainer, the focus is primarily weights.  I am getting better at lunges, by the way.    I was also able to do 100 crunches!  That is definitely the most I’ve ever done in one workout. The more you practice, the better one becomes.  Of course, monitoring my eating is always important.  I will see if the pounds come off this time. I will still work to turn fat pounds into lean muscle.IMG_0082

 

How I Will Make Time for Workouts

By cassandrwiley / On / In Self-Improvement

imageOn Friday, I had a 30-minute session with my personal trainer at 6:30 am. (Yes, 6:30 am).  I hadn’t done that in a few years, so I wasn’t sure if I could adjust. My body is already programmed to wake up at 6:00 am for work; if I know that I need to get up, I will usually wake up a little earlier anyway.

My session started with a 5-minute warm-up on the treadmill followed by push-ups, leg presses, and other exercises.  The majority of them was easy to moderate.  I was able to work up a good sweat.  I felt awesome as I drove to work.  Being a wife and working mother, 6:30 am is an excellent option twice weekly, with my third weekly workout being after work or on Saturday.

In the past month, I’ve lost 3 pounds. I eat well-balanced meals, healthier snacks, like fruit or nuts, and I drink a cup of green tea everyday. I make sure that I drink enough water during the day…8-10 glasses per day.  I will still meet with a dietician. He contacted me and sent a questionnaire to fill out before we meet.  I’ve decided to go with private training sessions. If I’m not working with the same one, he will be able to match me with a compatible trainer.

Will You Follow Me on my Fitness Journey?

By cassandrwiley / On / In Health and Illnesses, Healthy Eating, Self-Improvement

Last month after having my yearly physical, I found out that I am pre-diabetic. That means that I am at risk for getting diabetes in the next 2 years.  I do have a family history of it, and I also gained 11 pounds this past year.  It’s time for a change!

I took my first step today and started working with a personal trainer. It was a great session. I truly have to be disciplined in all areas.  I work at a place that has free lunch often, chocolate laying around, and everything in the vending machines is $0.25.  Since I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll be working out at 6:30am at least twice a week. Working out 3 days per week is the only way that I can realistically achieve my goals. I’ll be following up with my doctor in 6 months, so I want a positive report.

I’ll also be meeting with a dietician. He will be able to tell me which foods I can eat and which ones to avoid. I know mostly what’s “bad”, but I would like another prospective.  I’ll need some guidance in the beginning, so I have to decide if one-on-one sessions are best, or would group sessions work best for me. It’s always nice to have others on that journey with you. I will keep you updated on my progress. Maybe even motivate some of you out there.  I look forward to this weight loss and diabetes-free journey.

Why Regular and Natural Detox is so Important For Your Body

By cassandrwiley / On / In Alternative Therapies, Health and Illnesses, Healthy Eating

The word “toxins” has sort of become the newest boogeyman in the world of health and wellness. People blame them for health disorders, stress, aging, and many other things, and there are many products meant to help you detox.

But why is it important to get rid of toxins? Does it even matter? Here are a few reasons you should detox regularly:

  1. Fight chronic disease — Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and many neurological diseases have been linked to toxic buildup in the human body, so detoxing can help to reduce your risk of developing these diseases. Toxins can also causes these diseases to worsen, which is why it’s a good idea to detox regularly if you suffer from a chronic illness.
  2. Promote weight loss –– Did you know that toxins stop you from losing weight? Toxic buildup in your body causes your metabolism to slow down, and it can even prevent our bodies from being able to burn fat properly. By detoxing, you get rid of the toxins that are stored in fat cells and which slow down your metabolism.
  3. Improve immune function –– Toxins are difficult for your body to get rid of, so your immune system is often called in to fight off these invading chemicals. This distracts it from its true threat–infections and bacteria–and it may cause you to get sick. Detoxing frees up your immune system to focus on keeping you healthy and free of disease.
  4. Reduce signs of aging — When you age, your skin, organs, hair, bones, and muscles degrade, and that degradation is only made worse by toxins. Toxins can cause free radicals to form, and those free radicals can cause the aging to worsen. By detoxing, you increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from the food you eat.
  5. Improve the health of your skin and hair –– When your skin begins to wrinkle, fade, and sag, it is often the result of toxins building up beneath the skin’s surface. Toxins stop your body from producing the collagen and elastin that keeps your skin looking great, so it’s important to detox for your skin and hair’s sake!
  6. Boost digestive health — When you have a lot of toxins built up in your body, your digestive system is unable to function properly. You’ll find that problems like IBS or leaky gut syndrome are often the result of toxic build-up in the intestines or stomach, so detoxing regularly can reduce the risk of digestive health issues.
  7. Improve quality of life — When you use detoxing products like detox foot patches or baths, you reduce the risk of toxins causing headaches, sleep problems, joint pains, digestive disorders, fatigue, and so many other problems that can reduce the quality of life.

Need any more reasons to detox? It’s so vital to your health that it’s hard to imagine a month going by without a natural detox!

Written by Chris Miller

Did You Drink Your Juice Today?

By cassandrwiley / On / In Alternative Therapies, Healthy Eating, Self-Improvement

20140101-154132.jpg

A couple of years ago, I started experimenting with juicing. I found an old juicer that my mother-in-law had laying around the house, and I decided to try it out. It still worked even though it was old. I tried a combination of watermelon and lime. It didn’t taste bad at all, but I made quite a mess. (No big deal if you clean all the time). It wasn’t until my husband and I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” that juicing became part of our lives. (If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it on Netflix). In this documentary, Joe Cross goes on a 60-day juice fast to lose weight. He also has an autoimmune disease that causes him to break out in a hive-like rash. He was successful in his weight loss; he was 90 lbs. lighter after 6 months and was able to better manage his disease. He was also able to help others do the same. They didn’t all fast for 60 days; it was either 10 days or 30 days.

Our cells need micronutrients, which are found in fruits and vegetables. Besides weight loss, juicing has many other benefits such as increased energy levels and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Basically, you will see a difference in your overall health across the board.

Now , you may be wondering if it’s better to eat those fruits and veggies instead of juicing them. Well, when you see the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that it takes to make one or two glasses of juice, you’ll understand. It would be better to drink all of that than to eat it. Don’t get me wrong, you should still eat fresh fruits and veggies. At the time that we saw this documentary, my husband was struggling with his health. The doctors had run all sorts of tests. Finally, a specialist told him that he just needed to lose weight. He decided to try a modified version of the 60-day juice fast. Even though I didn’t need to lose weight, I wanted to support my husband. I found some juice recipes online at http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com. We had juice in the mornings along with 2 liters of water. I would also have a bowl of oatmeal or Special K with fruit. We would take family walks since the weather was nice at that time. For lunch, we would have salad usually, to get our raw vegetable intake. We would have regular dinners, which consisted of eating fish three times per week. On the other days, we would have chicken or turkey. Very seldom did we eat beef or pork. Half of our plates would consist of veggies with one quarter meat and one quarter of a starch if at all. We ate healthy snacks, like nuts or granola. In 3 months, my husband had lost 30 pounds and had more energy. His blood profile numbers were excellent. His doctor was even able to take him off a few of his medications. I was proud of the way that he took charge of his health.

If you’d like to try juicing, it’s best to experiment with fruits and vegetables that you like. Apples, oranges, carrots, mangos, and pineapple add sweetness. Add ginger root for some flavor as well. For some green, add spinach or kale. Beets are good also with the beet leaves; the leaves actually are flavorful. Beet juice has also been shown to lower blood pressure (Graedon). As I previously mentioned, you may find additional juicing tips and recipes at http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com.

As far as purchasing a juicer, a Jack LaLanne is best since he was the one that started it all. If that’s not within your budget, there are many other juicers out there. Some people don’t necessarily want to invest their money into buying one, but this is for your health. Some have said that juicing is too messy and involves so much clean up; again, this is for better health. Folks are always talking about the new diets that they trying in hopes of losing weight. Those solutions are only temporary. Once you go back to your old habits, the weight will come back as well. You need to make permanent changes to keep those results that you want. I saw first hand the benefits of juicing. If it can help my husband, it can help you, too. There’s no harm in giving juicing a try.

Works Cited

http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com

Graedon, Joe and Terry. National Geographic. Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies. Washington: National Geographic Society, 2012. Print.

20140101-154141.jpg

How to Avoid Diabetes

By cassandrwiley / On / In Healthy Eating

Having a family history of diabetes does not necessarily mean that one will automatically inherit it. There are ways that it can be prevented. One way is by lifestyle changes. Losing 10 percent of your body weight can make a big difference (Collier, 154). For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 20 pounds would be a great start. Exercise is also recommended; thirty minutes of activity per day is sufficient. Walking is the best way to start if you’re not used to exercising. The treadmill or even group exercise is also effective.
Losing weight is not always easy, so it is better to start making gradual changes. Here are some tips:

Cut back on junk food. Instead of eating that jelly donut or chocolate chip cookies as a snack, opt for a healthier snack, like almonds. Research has shown that almonds can prevent blood sugar spikes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol (National Geographic, 168).

Eat smaller portions. It has been said to only eat what can fit on your plate. So, it is best to use smaller plates; don’t go back for seconds (Collier, 154). It is also best to have more vegetables on the plate than starches.

Drink a glass of water ten minutes before eating. When you do this, it curbs the appetite (Collier, 155).

Cut back on fried foods. The fat tastes good, but too much is not good for you.

Don’t add additional salt to your food. It is an insult to a chef or cook when you add salt to your food before you taste it. Also, many processed foods are high in sodium.

Make the switch from white rice to brown rice. Eating white rice increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 10 to 27 percent. White rice has a “high glycemic index”, which means that it raises blood sugar levels (Roberts-Grey). Brown rice has four times the fiber per cup, and fiber makes you feel full longer(Roberts-Grey).

Load up on spices. USDA studies have shown that cinnamon and curcumin have shown to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Curcumin is a substance found in chili powder (WebMD). Chili powder is often used in a lot of Indian dishes.

Works Cited

Collier, Andrea King and Willarda V. Edwards, MD. “The Black Woman’s Guide to Black Men’s Health”. New York: Warner Wellness, 2007. Print.

National Geographic. Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies. Washington: National Geographic Society, 2012. Print

Roberts-Grey, Gina. “Body & Spirit: Changing Your Health Destiny”. Essence. Publishing Solutions, June 2012, Volume 43, Number 2. Web. 04 Feb 2013.

WebMD Diabetes. “Hot Topics! What You Need to Know About Diabetes”.