DO YOU KNOW YOUR GAP?IT’S WHERE EVERYTHING HAPPENS

Life is lived .IN THE GAP (1)

What do you do when you have tried every diet on the planet,even your friends diets and still have not lost weight?

What do you do when the diet and lifestyle you started in January does not work in February?

What do you do when going to the gym becomes a drag and you have stopped trying?

What do you do when you are stuck in the gap between where you are and where you want to be ?

You move forward.

Because life is lived in the gap,where the  challenges and battles to eat healthier every day is a battle between what you feel you want and what your body really needs.

It is lived in the gap where being faithful to your daily exercises is a battle.

You may want to read:WHY YOU ARE NOT LOSING WEIGHT

But let’s go back to the beginning shall we and allow me to tell you about myself.

In order to keep writing,even when I do not post a daily bog post I have to write,in my journal or on a slip of paper or somewhere.Whenever I have kept off writing I have seen my creativity take a slump and it becomes harder each day to write the more I keep off it.

Same thing applies to keeping and staying faithful to the decision to eat healthier as well as exercise,it is hard and it is a choice you have to make every day.

And everyday you wake up to that gap that exists between where you are and where you want to be.That GAP is not an easy thing to wake up to everyday but it is a reminder that there exists within it the opportunity to grow as well as challenge yourself.

Even if you have  tried everything under the sun and you feel  you are  not there yet,do not give up.

That gap you see is a friend,an ally and a  source of  the  energy as well as the motivation to keep going at it,towards your goal.

Now,you may be asking,since you know what your goal is,how do you start towards making this goal a reality,a reality you are aware of everyday and one that keeps you motivated enough to stay the course ?

1.Knowing how you got there.

Real change is achieved when we know where we are and how we got there.

When we understand where we are then we are better prepared to start the journey towards creating the kind of future we would like for ourselves.

Maybe we started having pizza for lunch as well as dinner once too often or it could be that we started  neglecting a regular exercise regime or gave up on the second week of going to the gym when we thought we would die from the muscle aches(muscle aches are actually  a good sign that your muscles  are working as they should).

2.Know what is on your plate every day.

Keeping a food diary for a week of what you eat is a good way of tracking your eating habits.

A food diary will help you see what you are eating more or less off and what you should cut out altogether.You may just find that it is the 4 cups of coffee or tea with sugar that are contributing to all the extra calories your body is storing up as fat.

Maybe it is the extra glasses of wine every weekend that are making it hard to lose the weight .

A food diary is a good way of tracking whatever it is you eat and will give you an idea of how much you are consuming versus what your body really needs.

You will be surprised by what you see after keeping it for at least 2 weeks.

Sharing the details of your food diary with a nutritionist or dietitian will help them create a meal plan that will cater to the kind of lifestyle you are living.Each and every person is different and what diet  works for one person may give very different results to someone else.

By having a diet personalized for you,then you are more likely to stick to it as it incorporates food you can actually eat and not gag over.

Any weight loss program will only be sustainable when you eat food that you enjoy.

3.Knowing what your body needs

In school children are taught the basics of good nutrition ,most people actually know how a good meal should look like. It just seems easier to ignore all the good advice that we know and just eat the food we feel like eating at that particular time.

Every individual is different and a construction worker will not require the same kind of food as someone sitting in the office the whole day.

A woman needs her  food intake  to meet some dietary requirements that a mans body does not require.

The body’s nutritional needs are determined by age, gender,genes,occupation and any medical conditions we may be having.

This is where I would like to challenge anyone reading this to know how your body works and  what your body needs.

When you  know how your body works,what it needs you will know what to give it as fuel in the form of the food you eat.

In case of any medical conditions you may be having with,please see a qualified medical doctor.

4.Know who to seek advice from

The nutrition sector in the country is pretty much unregulated and one should be careful about whom they take advice about weight loss,a change in diet and living healthy from.

Mot public and private hospitals do have resident nutritionists and there are nutritionists like myself who give counselling services to individuals.It is prudent to do some research as well as background checks of people who claim to give out advice on what you should and should not be eating.

And read up as much as you can before you make a visit to your nutritionist or any medical provider.

5.Remember the gap

This gap,this seemingly huge gap that we seem to see before us, that is between where we are and where we want to be is all a matter of perspective.

Always remember that.

That gap can either be the source of a lot of frustration or the starting point towards real change.

Be easy on yourself and celebrate each milestone,even those that seem little,like eating an extra serving of vegetables or fruit or spending an extra half an hour at the gym.

 

When you are grateful for how far you have come ,you are giving yourself the energy and push to keep on running towards the goal of where you want to be.

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We would love to hear your comments and any questions you may have as well.

TURN UP THE HEAT ON YOUR METABOLISM

Metabolism

“What do you do when you metabolism is slow and you want to increase it ?”

One of the surest way to increase your metabolism is through exercise.

Burn more calories by burning  (pun intended) the soles off your gym shoes is a sure fire way to lose weight.

A slow metabolism may be due to lack of physical activity,genes or hyperthyroidism  which is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone and your metabolism slows down.

The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck and produces the thyroid hormone which helps regulate your metabolism which is the way your body uses energy.

Th thyroid gland uses iodine from your diet to produce its two main hormones that are important for some very important bodily functions like;

  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Breathing
  • Body temperature
  • Body weight
  • Menstrual cycle …

The two hormones produced by the thyroid are T3 (Triiodothyronineand) T4 (Thyroxine).

The levels of these two hormones in your body should neither be too high nor too low as they regulate how fast or slow your metabolism is.

These two hormones also work together with insulin which is the hormone that tells the body cells to take up the glucose to be used as energy fuel.

See how a slow metabolism affects your weight ?

If you have no underlying medical conditions, becoming more physically active is a great way to boost your metabolism and now thanks to science there are foods that together with regular physical exercise can help increase your metabolism.

Increasing your metabolism means that you burn more calories as you turn your food into energy that keeps your heart beating, your breathing constant ,your body temperature just right   as well as making sure your body functions as it should.All these things are using up energy which comes from the food you eat.

Thanks to one of the blog’s readers Susan,  who asked about how she could increase her metabolism.I thought about all the other readers who without any underlying medical reason may be having the same question and are wondering how to speed up their metabolism.then I should mention and here.

Exercise should be the first point of callas a means to increasing your metabolism but mother nature does provide means and ways with which we can help her along .

It is worth repeating that while our metabolism is affected by our genes and gender , exercising and eating right will go some way in helping us burn some extra more and who would not want that.

1.Do eat Breakfast

Sounds like a no brainer but you will be surprised by the number of people who do not take breakfast because they do not think it is important or even necessary.

By not eating breakfast you set your body into starvation mode and your metabolism slows and starts crawling at a snails pace to conserve energy.

(Yes,your body is that intelligent)

For breakfast try having foods that are slower to digest and leave you feeling fuller for longer so that you are not craving sugary things.

Try whole wheat bread with a vegetable omelette and a cup of tea or coffee with a fruit as a mid morning snack.

2.Do eat iron rich foods

Every month women  lose some amount of blood through their periods and blood contains the red blood cells that are  responsible for carrying oxygen into your body cells.

Remember the class 6 science lessons on the components of blood?

The red blood cells in your body contain Hemoglobin which  carry 70% of the iron in your body and hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your tissues.n.

If the levels of iron in your body are low,your muscles do not have enough oxygen,you start feeling lethargic and your  body activity slows down.

What to do ?

Eat foods that will  boost the level of iron in your body and aid in its functions.

Great sources of iron are of course  dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli , spinach,kales,peas and beans as well as lean cuts of meat and poultry.

3.Do take dairy

Dairy products like milk and yoghurt are great sources of calcium ,an adult needs about 1000mgs of calcium daily,pregnant and lactating women as well as those over 50 will need more .You can meet your daily requirement of calcium with your breakfast,having a serving of yoghurt and with your tea or coffee.

A glass of milk is equal to 300 mgs of calcium.

Calcium helps metabolize your fat more efficiently and if you are wary of dairy because of the fat it contains there are now brands of milk with a skim version that will give you the calcium without the fat.

4.Do cut back on alcohol

If you drink at least two glasses of wine in a sitting or 2 beers you slow down the process of fat burning by your body as much as 70 %.Instead of having the liver ,the organ in your body at the center of metabolism  turning  the food you take into nutrients that the body can use it instead turns to the  acetate in alcohol as a fuel source.

5.Do take more protein

When paired with exercise  intake of  protein as part of your daily meals will help increase your muscles and muscles burn more calories than fat.

Having protein in your meals will help curb hunger as well as help you maintain a healthy weight and your body does burn more calories by digesting it.

Great sources of protein are beans,eggs,milk,chicken,fish and peanut butter.

6.Do sleep for at least 8 hours

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism and makes your body more sluggish which means you are less likely to engage in any physical activity.A sluggish body equals a slowed metabolism.

Make sure you get at least 7- hours sleep daily and you will wake up hale and hearty ready to tackle the challenges of the day .You will see and find that you are more active after a good nights sleep than otherwise.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to the hunger hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite,an increased food intake and fat storage.

 

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A NUTRITION DISRUPTION

nutritionist poster

Eating healthy is a form of self love,only you can give it to yourself.

When you make up your mind to start eating healthy,the most difficult hurdle you will have to get over everyday is the hurdle of staying motivated to eat healthy.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle decision that will not be solved by going on a diet.It has to be a conscious decision every day to be mindful about what ends up on your plate.

When I started writing and talking about nutrition I was excited to share my knowledge and experience in the kitchen with my readers and I had a lot of fun.But the very same reason I started writing ,started to wane off because somehow I got demotivated.

Suddenly everywhere I looked,everyone was dishing out nutrition advice based on nothing but what was trending in social media groups.Everyone was selling slimming teas,juicing,keeping off carbohydrates,eating only proteins and making a mess of the beautiful science of why and  how food is used by our bodies.

Everyone was lapping up the myths as gospel truths and my interest in writing started to wane off.My only involvement in nutrition came when I took part in the medical camps organized by our church and I would give nutritional advice and counsel to the people i Met during those medical camps

It was  interesting to see people quickly becoming health experts of sorts from reading just a few articles and without any formal training on what nutrition is, how various conditions would influence how food was absorbed in the body,they would start giving out nutritional advice.

More interesting was to find myself dishing out nutrition advice even without thinking about it and bursting a few myths that were being bandied around as means to weight loss and health .So why did I stop writing again…..

And so I found myself back where I started writing about nutrition because the information  being being bandied about was that staying healthy was a 15 or 21 day affair of eating certain kinds of foods and avoiding others.

But is it …..really?

Staying healthy is a lifestyle choice,a reason most diets do not work is that they promise you  quick results that do not last because somehow you fall off the diet wagon.And so you will find yourself trying every diet that promises to give you quick results when instead you should be using your energy to make healthier lifestyle choices.

And that is the reason I am back to nutrition ,I  got tired of looking at food as if it was an enemy to be fought  instead of something to be enjoyed.

It was time to  burst some myths that I had come across on what living  and eating healthy was all about.You may want to read Why you are not losing weight and why you may not be gluten intolerant.

Here is what I would like to do for you ,as a nutritionist I would like to disrupt the way you see and think about healthy eating.How can you make food your partner in living a healthier life and not see it as something you should be afraid of?

There are many places,people ,pills and teas that promise you quick results but do they really work at keeping you there..at making healthy eating a lifestyle choice?

I have spent years reading about what eating healthy is all about and how we can use food to manage as well as maybe avoid certain conditions.Those same years have been spent seeing how blessed we are as a country because we have such a wide variety of foods and fresh foods to choose from.

Is there a way I can help you live healthier,make wiser food choices,maybe a   topic you would really like me to talk about or maybe write about that you think you need clarity on?

Write it in the comments section and let us see how we can start you on eating more healthy as well as keep you there.

ARE YOU REALLY GLUTEN INTOLERANT ?

Bread gluten

Have you recently met someone who has sworn  to you that they are off eating  any wheat related products ?

Thousands of Kenyan women are going off wheat and for some brief period of time they have gotten rid of the bloated feeling that comes after eating bread.

At the moment we even have producers of  gluten free baked  products for consumers that have celiac disease which is the an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the protein we call gluten,found in most products made from wheat,barley,rye.

What is gluten you may ask ?

Gluten is a protein found in cereals like wheat,oats and rye and when consumed results in inflammation of the gut and specifically the small intestines .It is estimated to affect 1 out of every 100  people world wide is a hereditary condition. Read more about it at Celiac Org.

Gluten is the “glue” that helps baked food and other products made from cereals that contain this protein retain their shape.Some foods that you may not think of but contain gluten include beer,food coloring,salad dressings and commercial soups and sauces.

You may consider getting a doctors or nutritionists advice and counsel before you confirm an intolerance to gluten.

To confirm a  gluten intolerance you may want to keep a food diary for a period of 2 weeks and even after you confirm that bread is the culprit,remember that bread  is made with yeast which helps bread rise.You already have some good bacteria living in your gut  which in the presence of refined  sugars multiplies and when you add bread that contains more yeast into your gut,it causes the yeast to multiply,producing gas and causing that  bloated feeling you are now familiar with.

This  explains the relief you feel when you keep off wheat products especially bread.

If you really do feel you have to cut bread off from your diet,there are many healthy breakfast options available-boiled arrow roots or sweet potatoes .You may want to read the post we did a couple of years back on Kenyan food classics .

So are you really gluten intolerant ?Keep a food diary and keep a track  of all the foods you eat and you will easily pin point the ones to  blame for the bloatedness. You will be surprised to find fruits among the list ,especially if you skip lunch and have nothing but fruits instead you will get bloated as well.

Fruits contain fructose,a sugar and as we said yeast which is present in low amounts in your gut thrives on sugar,more sugar,more yeast growth more gas hence the bloated stomach.

As soon as you pin point the foods that are the cause of your bloated feeling,try eliminating them over the course of 2 weeks and afterwards try including them into your diet one at a time and in reasonable  amounts .

Does this post help?

Do you think a food diary would help you point out the foods that are the cause of your bloatedness and discomfort?

Do let us know,we love feedback.

WHY YOU ARE NOT LOSING WEIGHT….

 

Take care

A few years back, I showed my now  pre teen daughter ,photos of myself while at the university.

She could not believe it was me.

To be honest she laughed until she cried.

And still did not believe it was me.

I had to take a look at that photo again to confirm that indeed it was me in all my chubby glory.

I was so round ,bouncing off a wall if inadvertently someone knocked me against one would have been pretty easy.

Looking at that picture now,I almost doubt that it is me ,struggling with my weight and pretending I was fine with it.

For every 10  women you meet 9 are struggling with some weight issue.It is never evident at first glance, but we are all as women struggling with something and it manifests itself through the food we indulge in or deny ourselves.

My fluctuating weight was  evidence of the emotional turmoil I was going through on the inside.

I was an emotional eater.Most women are emotional eaters.

We eat and drink when we are happy,unhappy and when we are really really happy with life,we do not even feel hungry.We just feed of our emotional high (like when we are in love) to keep on going  and when the high goes,we can really eat .

My go to foods were  chocolate,ice cream or anything deep fried at  the drop of   a hat    which in a heartbeat were my pick me ups  whenever I was going through some emotional upheaval.

It could be a breakup you are going through,stress at work or just the  feeling that you are stuck in  some area of your life,it does not matter what it is but your body tells you there is something wrong and the only way to “fix “it is get something in your mouth or so we think.

I know I did that several times, taking comfort in food,much easier and tastes really good at the time.

These  experiences taught me something about food,the struggle with weight and wellness.

That sometimes the battle you are fighting is not what people see on the outside,it is what is going on from  the inside that will determine what eventually lands on your plate.

No matter how many diets you go through,how much you read about the benefits of healthy eating,nothing will start working until you fix what is not right from the inside.

The journey to a healthier life starts from the inside and even when you do not feel like it,eat the apple,take the salads,drink more water,cut back on the unhealthy foods and replace them with more fresh vegetables and fruits and magic starts to happen.

It takes some getting used to,remembering that the body you have is the only one you will ever have to take you through life as well as achieve your dreams helps some.

Take care of it.

Have  you ever  struggled with weight and would you call yourself an emotional eater,what helped you get back on your journey to living healthier?I would love to hear from you.

 

HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD

The holiday season is almost here and taste buds all over the world are getting ready to get tantalized,wooed and swooned with all manner of delicacies.

The holiday season is when we indulge and party like it was 1999.

That is when decisions made earlier in the year on healthy eating eating,great food choices are thrown out of the window to be picked up in January of the next year.

But it does not have to be that way.

Healthy eating can be lifestyle you can keep for the rest of your life.

Here is a guide to get your started.

1.Make your food choices consciously not based on your emotions.

Always know what goes in your mouth and what it is going to do to your body.

2.Mange your food portions

Once you have made the conscious decision to eat well,mind your portion choices.

We all know too much of a good thing is not good at all,so keep your portions sizes reasonable.

3.Chew your food,slowly.

Don’t just swallow your food,taste it ,chew it deliberately and swallow it

You will be surprised that you eat less this way.

It will help you know when you have had your fill.

4.Drink drink drink water

Yes the 6-8 glasses of water daily,make sure your body is hydrated,sometimes those hunger pangs are a sign your o needs more water.

Take water 15 minutes before your main meal or an hour after meals.

5.Exercise

exercise guide
exercise guide

Moderate exercises of between 60-90 minutes daily will help you keep the kilos off.

The cheapest way to exercise is taking daily walks.

Keep moving.

 

WHEN NOT TO LOSE WEIGHT

A while back someone asked me if she could loose weight.

I told her she could not.

She was still breastfeeding.

no

I know it sounds unreasonable but breastfeeding women and pregnant women are a special group of women to me.

Unless after a thorough examination by a doctor who absolutely recommends that one should loose weight,i would not advise anyone to do so.

Reason for this is that the bodies of pregnant and breastfeeding women require more nourishment and putting on extra demands on them to loose weight ultimately affects their nutrition in the long term.

As women we have been known to take drastic measures especially when we want to lose weight,we fast,go on fad diets,we try everything to loose the extra kilo.

When you are breastfeeding or pregnant and are not eating healthy,it is your body that will bear the brunt of it.

Your baby will still get their milk,your growing bump will be nourished all at your nutritional expense.

Other people who need a doctors approval before trying to lose weight are people who have heart conditions,hypertension,diabetes as well as people undergoing chemotherapy and radio therapy.

Please seek medical advise and a nutritionist advise  if you intend to lose weight and are in any of these groups.

LIVING WITH GOUT

An increasing number of young Kenyans are getting diagnosed with gout.

What was once called a rich man’s disease is now affecting a large number of both men and women.

Factors that may increase your chances of developing gout include family history ,being overweight,consuming more than 2 drinks a day if you are a man and more than 1 drink for women,diets high in meat and fats which are high in purine and result in production of uric acid.

Gout develops when your body produces too much uric acid.

Uric acid is a waste product the human body produces,when produced in excess by the body it finds its way into  crystallizes and joints where it causes the swellings commonly associated with gout.

A simple blood test at a medical facility will confirm if you have gout.

Image

For anyone with a family history of gout or already having the condition some guidelines on living with gout and managing it with diet are:

1.  Avoid alcohol  especially beer and distilled spirits,if you have to drink take just a glass of wine.

2.Take meat,meat products,sea food,poultry in moderation.

3.Keep a high intake of water,6-8 glasses a day is ideal.

4.At every meal ensure you have vegetables and fruit..

5.If you are over  weight ,exercise and adopt healthier food choices.

Here is a link to a diet plan i recently made for a client.

Consumption of diets

INTRODUCING YOUR BABY TO SOLIDS

Weaning is a really exciting time for both mother and baby.

After 6 months your baby’s nutritional needs cannot be adequately catered for with just breast milk or formula.

That is why a careful choice  of first foods is important

Your little bubba at 6 months is  ready to be introduced to solid foods….gradually.

Breast milk should still remain the main source of nourishment for your baby but she needs some extra nutrients which is why t is very important to make informed choices on what the best foods for weaning your baby are.

You will find a lot of   ready made baby food,ignore them.

Jar of ready to eat baby food
Jar of ready to eat baby food

Nature provides some of the best foods for baby,remember too that you are also setting the foundation for  future food choices.

Always follow the lead pattern of your child when it comes to introducing solids to your baby,introduce a  teaspoon or two of just one kind of food at a time.

Sauteing  or steaming your baby food are the best methods when it comes to preparing your baby’s food.

Here is a guide on foods that are perfect starter foods for your baby.

Cereals

When introducing cereals to a baby when introducing baby porridge always make sure it is of a thin consistency and should be mixed with your breast milk/formula as cereals do tend to be pretty bland.

Cooked green baby bananas not the matoke variety are also a very common and easily accessible first food for babies within the east African region.

Because they are low in calories ,once cooked puree them and add some breast milk till you have a thin consistency your baby can swallow.

With time you can mix your bananas with vegetables like pumpkin ,peas,carrots in order to increase their nutritional value.

There is no need to add any sweeteners to your baby’s cereal at this point.

 

Fruit

This should be added when baby is already used to solids,most babies take to fruits like fish to water.

Fruits like pawpaw,bananas which should be really ripe then mashed  with a  fork and some breast milk/formula added to thin it out,also do try avocado.

Stay away from citrus fruits till your baby is one year.

Other fruits like apples and pears  can be introduced after 8 months need to be steamed to make it easier for your baby digest them.

 

Vegetables

Peas,pumpkin,carrots and even sweet potatoes are a great source of nourishment for baby during the  first months.

Cook then then strain or blend making sure you add milk to ensure your baby is able to swallow them.

stay away from strong tasting vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli till a little later when your baby has formed a consistent eating pattern.

Watch the  stool pattern of your baby  when you start them on vegetables and in case of any loose bowel movements or mucus in their stool omit it and try again after a month.

For further assistance i  can be reached  here.

NUTRITION IN YOUR 3RD TRIMESTER

Finally it is week 28 and you have kicked into your third trimester.

What do you eat….?

Food guide during pregnancy....
Food guide during pregnancy….

Find out if you have been eating well during your first and second trimesters.

First let us get to understand what happens during this time.

Your body is storing fat to help in your body’s growth as well as for production of breast milk.

Your baby during this trimester will gain a layer of sub cutaneous fat giving them a chubby appearance.

It is important to continue with your intake of healthy and nutritious food as both you and baby need it.

Because your uterus is pressing on your stomach,you may find you feel fuller sooner,scatter your meals through out the day and have smaller portions .

Ensure you are covering all your nutrition basics that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

Your 5 nutritional needs that should be covered in all your meals are protein,calcium,folate,fiber and fat  which is not only an energy source but a transport medium for vitamins  A,D,E  and K.