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.

Was this helpful?

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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MAKING YOUR DAY AT THE SPA COUNT

skin care

“One of the secrets to a happy life is giving yourself continuous small treats.”

The other day my  girlfriends  took me out for a treat,a day at some swanky spa at an address in Upperhill. To be honest I have never gone to a spa ,never thought it was necessary but hey there is always a first time for everything and I and my body loved every minute of it.

Getting myself a heady and aromatic coffee scrub , followed by a dead sea wrap that took me back ,way back to what babies must feel like when they are tucked into their mothers wombs had my skin pores absorbing the moisturizing cream and oil that was  used thereafter.A  massage followed  and my skin and body loved every minute of it as my tense muscles responded to the massage therapist  gentle coaxing by relaxing under her touch.

As we sat at the terrace of the restaurant enjoying a view of the garden I thought of the millions   of women who all want glowing skin .How could I be able to talk to them about incorporating nutrition as part of maintaining the glow that followed spa treatments.How would I make it easier for them as well as for myself to maintain the  smooth glowing skin that followed a spa treatment as part of living a healthier lifestyle?

What you eat ,you wear in public and your skin being the largest organ is the first point of call when you want to gauge how healthy your lifestyle is.Making some small changes in your diet can improve the look and feel of your skin and it starts with  what you put on your plate.

1.Eating  5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily

Ensure your fruits and vegetables  come in a variety of colors,make you plate a rainbow of colors .Fruits and vegetables are essential as part of a daily skin care regimen because they help protect your skin from  damage that is caused by free radicals .The vitamins present in abundance  in  fruits and vegetables help boost your immune system making it easy for your skin to heal from blemishes and support growth of collagen which provides your skin with the elasticity needed to prevent formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

2.Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins and especially Vitamin E that is good for your skin and helps support healthy skin growth as well as gives protection from the damage caused as we age.An intake of nuts and seed,you just a need a handful daily will help provide much needed nourishment to your skin.

3.Stop with the  crash diets

Crash diets play havoc on your skin,constantly losing then regaining your weight  will show on your skin with the presence of wrinkled and sagging skin.That is why it is really important to maintain a healthy weight by making healthy eating a lifestyle decision that is not reliant on a diet that you cannot sustain in the long term.

4.Cut out the junk food

We know that junk is bad for your body ,and it is bad on your skin as well.A diet high in carbohydrates and sugar may result in breakouts on your skin .Make sure your plate is filled with the right kinds of foods at every meal.

5.Drink water.

Your skin needs water to stay supple ,drinking your 6-8 glasses of water will help flush out the toxins from your body and aids in nourishing your skin cells and improving circulation .This  will help prevent premature aging and wrinkles.

In addition avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and taking moderate amounts of tea and coffee which all dehydrate your body will help your skin maintain its glow.

If you really do have to take alcohol and love your morning cup of coffee, then make sure you take a glass of water with each serving of alcohol or cup of coffee that you take.

6.Exercise

Surprised exercise is on the list?It had to be.

Exercise is great for your whole body and our skin which covers that body  will benefit greatly when you take up a regular exercise schedule.When your exercise you improve the circulation of blood in your body and your blood carries oxygen,nutrients to the cells in your body.By exercising you are increasing blood flow through out  your body and helping your liver flush out the toxins from your system which can mean nothing but good news to your body and your skin as well.

7.Wearing sunscreen

We live in the tropics and for those that enjoy a day out in the sun  wearing sunscreen  to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun is necessary.Yes ,even for us who live in the tropics and think our darker skins can withstand the heat, we do need sun screen.

Making a few changes in your life  can greatly  improve the condition of your skin which when done together with your  spa treatments  can work towards giving you a better and healthier  looking skin for longer.

SKIN CARE:FOODS TO TAKE IN MODERATION

In case of any skin conditions that require treatment be sure to see a qualified dermatologist or medical provider  for treatment.

Does this help?Please let us know in the comments section,see you there.

 

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.

 

READING UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN….

bramasole
Bramasole,photo credits www.hookedonhouse.net

In the past few months I have been struggling with writers block.I haven’t written a post in a long while and have used the time to read some books I have not had time to even start.Truth be told it is quite a pile,some I started reading but halfway through lost interest.Some I have not even started and it seemed a good use of my time to use my period in the purgatory of creativity to catch up on my reading.

If you are walking along the streets of Nairobi,you may have come across second hand book sellers who sell their wares along some of the main streets in the Central Business District.

And so it was that I was drawn to the this book by Frances Mayes,an American  University Professor,who together with her husband Edward Hayes bought a house in Cortona ,Italy.The house ,more of a villa really even has a name,Bramasole which in Italian  means “to yearn for the sun.”

Imagine moving your life from a country you had grown up in and worked to go renovate a 200 year old villa,that is a labor of love I say.Italy would be a great place to start life over I think,the history,culture and la  dolce  vita attitude of   the Italians  would definitely be tempting enough for me to pack my bags.

The journey of renovating the abandoned villa they bought in Tuscany is what inspired the book,Under the Tuscan Sun which was turned into a romcom in 2003.There are also delicious recipes from her kitchen using local ingredients which are included in the book.You can actually smell the olive oil,garlic  as you walk with Frances through her kitchen and meals with her family and friends.

It is a fabulous read and made me want to pack my bags and move to Bramasole for a bit of sun and vino.

What are you reading and where do you get your books from ?

 

 

LAUNCH OF SIRA EVENTS

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