Showing posts with label lose weight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lose weight. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

On June 4, 2020, I kicked off a new series of posts reviewing my experiences during My First Year on the Keto Diet and sharing some of my insights and lessons learned over the course of my successful journey so far. Since that post was published, I’ve lost another pound, even though I’m no longer actively trying to lose weight, bringing my total weight loss since May 25, 2019 to 57 pounds. I am healthier and feel better than I have in decades. (Oh, and being able to wear shorts and sleeveless tops this summer without feeling embarrassed feels pretty amazing, too!)

Text "Set Yourself Up for Ketogenic Diet Success" on a background photo collage of keto-friendly foods
©2020 Margaret Schindel. All rights reserved.

Last spring, after a serious medical scare when I learned that being obese and post-menopausal had put me at significantly higher risk for endometrial cancer, among other life-threatening diseases, my doctor stressed the importance of losing my 50+ pounds of excess weight. I had tried many times to strictly limit my consumption of the foods I constantly craved—sugars, grains, and other foods that are high in carbohydrates or highly processed—and failed just as many time.

After reading a lot about what causes those types of food cravings and how to lose weight without giving into them, I realized that I and many others with an obesity problem had become psychologically, emotionally, and in some ways, almost physically addicted to those foods, and in my case, it probably dated back to my childhood. Note: If you're interested in learning more about this phenomenon, the journal articles, "Food Addiction: Implications for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Overeating," Nutrients, September 2019, and "Sugar Addiction: From Evolution to Revolution," Frontiers in Psychiatry, November 2018, discuss it in depth.

The good news: I finally understood why all my previous efforts to lose weight and keep it off had failed. The bad news: Losing enough weight to meaningfully lower my risk for developing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses—and keeping it off—wouldn't be as simple as just cutting back on calories, sugar, and flour, and getting more exercise. Achieving those goals would require an all-in commitment to overcoming my roughly 60-year-long carbohydrate, processed foods, and sugar addiction for good.

Preparing for Success on the Keto Diet

From personal experience, I knew that no matter how badly I wanted and needed to succeed, or how hard I tried, desire and effort without the proper preparation would not be enough to make that success a reality. To quote legendary former college football coach Bobby Knight (who won 902 NCAA Division I men's college basketball games and knows a thing or two about critical success factors), "The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare."

Choosing to spend a few weeks preparing myself mentally, psychologically, socially, and environmentally before giving up the foods I was addicted to "cold turkey," whether temporarily or for good, was one of the best decisions I made.

Following the most important things I focused on during those weeks of preparation that helped me be successful on my keto weight loss journey.

Making a Serious Commitment to Losing Weight and Eating Better

I was overweight and, yes, clinically obese, for decades, and it made me miserable. It badly eroded my self-esteem. And as a former clotheshorse who worked in the fashion industry in New York City for many years, it was painful to try on beautiful clothes and see how bad they looked on me (or how bad I looked in them). In retrospect, even that constant pain and shame must not have been enough motivation to make the dramatic, long-term changes to my eating habits needed to lose the excess pounds, since my many attempts at dieting over the years had all failed.

This time, my serious medical scare provided a powerful enough motivation to make me commit 100% to fundamentally change my way of eating, and choosing better quality, more nutritious, and less processed foods. Without that kick in the butt, I doubt I would have succeeded this time, either. I encourage you to think about what your motivation is to commit to this much more restrictive way of eating.

Many people boast that they have lost a lot of weight following their own version of a ketogenic diet that includes "cheating" on a regular basis, or even a planned rotation schedule of being "on" and "off" keto. Others might lose weight using a less restrictive variation of the classic keto diet approach, such as so-called dirty or lazy keto. If that works for them, great!

I can only share what has worked for me, an approach that I chose based on my own situation, goals, and self-knowledge based on past experience. Everyone is different. As always, your mileage (and your choices) may vary.

Researching the Keto Diet and Understanding Its Basic Concepts

Keto is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein approach to eating, often referred to as LCHF (low carb, high fat). Regardless of whether you follow this dietary approach or what foods you eat, losing weight requires a calorie deficit, i.e., you need to eat fewer calories than your body uses. On a ketogenic diet, most of your calories should come from healthy fats, a smaller percentage should come from from proteins, and very few calories should come from carbohydrates (and, ideally, mostly from low-carb vegetables and berries).

That's a very simplified overview, and I had to do weeks of extensive research and reading before I had a good grasp on all the most important aspects of this way of eating. Here are a few of the many resources that helped me educate myself on this subject.

Helpful Online Guides and Articles

  • "The Ketogenic Diet - A Keto Guide for Beginners" on ruled.me is one of the best places to start familiarizing yourself with the keto or low carb approach to eating. It contains lots of helpful, actionable, easy-to-understand information and advice, including explanations of macros and net carbs.

Here are a few other articles I found helpful in understanding the benefits and risks of this type of diet:

Recommended Books

Although I focused primarily on cookbooks, some also contained helpful information, explanations, and inspiration for anyone interested in living a low-carb lifestyle, like these:

I also own two wonderful cookbooks by well known, highly respected keto diet author and expert Maria Emmerich. I'm also looking forward to adding this book, which she co-wrote with her husband, to my growing collection:

    My Favorite Keto YouTube Channels

    Strict vs. Lazy vs. Dirty Keto

    As I explained in my previous post, there is no such thing as "the" keto diet (or ketogenic diet) outside the context of certain medical treatments. There is only "a" keto/ketogenic diet, which is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat approach to eating based on achieving a metabolic state called ketosis the majority of the time, which enables the body to become fat-adapted.

    Despite this, there are countless self-proclaimed "keto experts" (aka "keto police") who have lost weight using this approach and are on a mission to "educate" (i.e., lecture) everyone else on the "rules" about what they (or another keto "expert") are convinced is the right or wrong to follow a ketogenic diet. They often will argue passionately with other self-appointed "keto police" about whose rules are the "real" rules, which is ridiculous and, more important, extremely confusing for newbies to this way of eating who are trying to figure out whom to trust as a reliable source of information and advice.

    People often break out the high-level differences in ketogenic diet strategies into three groups. (Again, what each approach is called and how those labels are defined can vary, depending on who is doing the labeling and defining.) Most commonly, these three approaches are:

    "Clean Keto" aka Strict or Classic Keto
    The "clean keto" approach focuses on high quality foods and optimal nutrition to support a healthy lifestyle.

    "Lazy Keto"
    Lazy keto" usually refers to tracking carbohydrates and limiting them to 20-25 net carbs per day, without calculating/tracking macros or calories or eating specific types of foods. However, some people use this term to mean simply eating only keto-friendly foods—no calculating or tracking macros or calories.

    "Dirty Keto" aka IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)
    "Dirty keto" is basically eating anything you want, as long as it fits within your daily carbs and calorie limits, protein target, and fat allowance. This approach focuses exclusively on weight loss, simplicity, and freedom of choice, without concern for nutrition or food quality.

    Choosing and Personalizing an Optimal Ketogenic Diet Strategy

    "Lazy keto" and "dirty keto" would have taken less work and were tempting options. Ultimately, however, I decided that the best strategy to help me kick my food addiction and lose the weight I needed to at a reasonable pace would take a mostly "clean keto" approach, but slightly less strict. I would focus primarily on cutting out all added sugars and refined carbohydrates, eating more whole foods, choosing grass-fed, organic, and/or non-GMO foods whenever possible, cutting way down on processed foods, and increasing my daily consumption of fresh, low-carbohydrate vegetables.

    I also decided to track my dietary fiber intake and supplement what I was able to get from food with a safe, gentle, osmotic laxative like MiraLAX, which an endoscopy nurse I met during my most recent colonoscopy visit told me she takes daily to stay "regular." Sometimes I buy an equivalent product from a different brand, such as Member's Mark ClearLAX or Amazon Basic Care ClearLax, that has the same active ingredient (polyethylene glycol 3350) but costs less per dose.

    With so much weight to lose, and a powerful and urgent motivation to do lose it and also lower my health risks, I decided that I didn't want to "cheat" when eating out, or for holidays or special occasions, or when I was under a lot of stress. To support that goal over a long period of time, I knew I would need to be proactive in preventing myself from feeling deprived, and decided to plan homemade or purchased keto-friendly treats, made with high-quality, nutritious, and some minimally and, occasionally, moderately processed ingredients, into my daily menus.

    When I chose to get started on keto, my short-term goal was to lose the weight I needed to in a way that I could sustain as long as necessary. I made a commitment to myself to do whatever it took, for as long as necessary, to achieve that goal. The strategy I chose to follow turned out to work extremely well for me, based on my individual needs, challenges, and goals. Someone else might do better with a significantly different approach.

    I encourage anyone who is seriously considering a ketogenic approach to losing weight to be brutally honest with themselves about how much, how, and for how long they are willing to change their eating habits, and then define their own personal guidelines/rules for their unique keto journey and modify them over time, if needed, as they discover what is and isn't working well for them.

    Consulting With a Doctor

    When the surgeon explained that my being both obese and postmenopausal were the most likely factors in my developing cervical polyps, she also told me that losing my excess body fat was one of the best ways to reduce my risk for developing either additional polyps or uterine cancer. During my pre-op follow-up visit, I told her that I had family members and friends who had lost weight successfully on keto, and that I was considering a "clean keto" diet, with a focus on making healthy, nutritionally sound choices and losing pounds at a moderate rate. She said it sounded like a reasonable approach and one worth trying, at least for a period of time. So, I was fortunate to have her support. Clearly, the risks of obesity appeared higher than any risks associated with such a restricted diet.

    Some medical or nutrition experts, however, are not in favor of a ketogenic diet for weight loss. Some also have misconceptions about keto, and many advise against it because it is so restrictive. But most support adopting a low-carb diet as a permanent lifestyle change. In fact, I don't know of any medical or nutrition professional who would not encourage patients to either cut out or restrict sugar, refined carbs and processed foods from their diet.

    It's also important to understand that keto is not always the best option, or even a good one, for every person. If you have a health condition, eating a very low carb diet might help, but it also could make it worse. So, it's best to have this conversation with your doctor, and to discuss what things should be monitored, how often, and whether you can monitor them yourself or will need a medical professional to run periodic tests.

    Note: If your doctor isn't aware of recent evidence-based studies and their findings regarding the potential health and medical benefits of a keto or LCHF approach to eating, you might consider sharing either of both of the following articles published in professional journals:

    Determining a Daily Calorie Target and Calculating Macros

    Like many other people, I found the not only the concept of macros but also how to calculate what mine should be extremely confusing. 

    In the context of keto, "macros" is short for macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. A person's macros refers to 1) the relative percentages of their target daily calories allocated to each of those macronutrients, and 2) the number of grams of net carbs, protein and fat that person can/should eat daily. 

    One of the most common macronutrient ratios is 5/25/70, i.e., 5% of the person's daily calories come from "net carbs," 25% come from protein, and 70% come from fat. To clarify a common misconception, this does NOT mean that for someone who chooses a 5/25/70 macro ratio, 70% of the amount of foods they eat on keto will consist of fats. Fats have 9 calories per gram, while proteins and carbohydrates each have only 4 calories per gram. So, allocating 70% of your daily calories to fat translates to a much smaller percentage in terms of weight (in grams). 

    For daily tracking purposes, what matters is the daily number of grams of carbohydrate, protein and fat consumed, as well as your total calories.

    Net Carbs vs. Total Carbohydrate Grams

    Most people on keto base their macros calculations and tracking on net carbs, rather than total carbs. The reason is that dietary fiber, most sugar alcohols, as well as two of my favorite keto-friendly sweeteners, Allulose and pentose (e.g., BochaSweet brand sugar replacement) are not digested, so they aren't metabolized and used by the body for energy. This means they don't affect achieving or sustaining a metabolic state of ketosis (which is the core of a ketogenic diet approach). 

    The most common way to calculate "net carbs" (and the formula I use) is: 

    Total Carbohydrate - Fiber - (most) Sugar Alcohols - Allulose or pentose (e.g., BochaSweet) sweetener = Net Carbs 

    Some people only subtract the dietary fiber. Others subtract only half the sugar alcohols and/or Allulose or pentose (e.g., BochaSweet). Still others track total carbohydrate grams rather than calculating net carbs, which is much more restrictive (or is based on a higher percentage of carbohydrates).

    Keto Calculators / Macro Calculators

    When I was preparing to get started on keto, I had no idea how to choose a ratio for my macros, how many calories my body burned, how to decide on a calorie deficit percentage, or how to calculate how many grams of net carbs, protein and fat to eat each day. Fortunately, there were lots of articles and calculators to help.

    Ruled.me's ketogenic macro calculator is one of the most user-friendly of those I've tried. It's a good tool to help you figure out your daily calories target for weight loss and your starting macros, both the ratio (as a percent of calories) and, most importantly, the number of fat, carbohydrate and protein grams and calories you will consume daily on keto).

    Downloading Carb Manager or Another Good App to Track Calories, Macros, and Other Key Nutrients

    The thing I resisted most when starting my keto diet journey, and also the one I knew would be critical to my success, was committing to track every bite of food and every sip of drink that went into my mouth before I consumed it. Lots of people lose weight on keto without doing this. I can only share what was important to my weight loss success on this diet.

    There are a number of good apps for tracking your macros and calories. Some can also help you track other key nutrients. If you have high blood pressure, for example, it might be important for you to track your sodium intake. For me, tracking my fiber intake was a high priority, since many foods that are high in fiber are also high in carbohydrates and/or calories, which makes it hard to get enough dietary fiber daily for gastrointestinal health (and to avoid constipation!).

    My favorite tracking app, which I use every day, several times a day and recommend highly, is Carb Manager. The free version of this app has everything you need to track your macros, other nutrients of your choice, and calories. (I subsequently upgraded to the paid, premium version because it offers additional features I find helpful, but it's absolutely not necessary for keto.)

    Carb Manager has a huge library of foods (many of which were entered by other users, so I always check user-entered nutrition data against the manufacturer's nutrition data from the package label). You can make a custom entry for any food, either by manually entering the nutrition data from the package label or manufacturer's website, or by pointing your camera at the barcode on the packaging, if available, to see whether the data for that product can be imported into the app automatically (or has been entered already by someone else).

    Note: Carb Manager automatically calculates net carbs by subtracting fiber and sugar alcohol grams from the total carbohydrate grams. However, it doesn't yet include Allulose, which is a relatively new keto-friendly sweetener, in its calculations. Also, the USDA doesn't require manufacturers to list Allulose in the nutrition data, so it's not always clear how many grams of Allulose are in some products that use it. Fortunately, when you enter or edit the nutrition information for a food in Carb Manager, you have the ability to choose to enter carbohydrate grams as net carbs or total carbohydrates. Net carbs are often printed on the packaging for foods containing Allulose.

    One of the things I love about Carb Manager is that it has a macro calculator with adjustment sliders that can help you see in advance how changing your macro percentages would affect your daily fat, protein and carbohydrate grams, or how increasing or decreasing your desired calorie deficit percentage would affect the number of calories and net carb, protein and fat grams you can eat and the estimated length of time to reach your weight loss goal.

    Another great aspect of the Carb Manager app is its "Smart Macros" feature option that, if you turn it on, will automatically adjust your daily macros and calories over time, as your weight changes. The app also allows you to enter and track your body measurements, BMI, and other types of metrics to gauge your progress, a feature that I use and find extremely helpful, since the numbers on the scale can (and usually do) fluctuate regularly, often for no apparent reason, but a tape measure doesn't lie.

    This terrific app has many more features and capabilities than I can go into in this post, but the website has a very robust database of articles that explains each feature and how to use it. You can also take a brief tour of the Carb Manager app to get a sense of how it works and what the user experience is like before you download it.

    We're only halfway through the list of things I did to prepare myself for success before starting my keto diet journey. I'll cover the rest in my next post, Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two.

    "The best way to predict your future is to create it." 〜 Abraham Lincoln


    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One by Margaret Schindel


    Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

    My First Year on The Keto Diet

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

    Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

    Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

    Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

    Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

    My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

    Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

    The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

    The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

    The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

    Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

    The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

    The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

    My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

    Luscious Low Carb Keto Triple Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies Recipe


    Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

    My Personal Keto Testimonial

    How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


    Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






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    Sunday, March 8, 2020

    My Personal Keto Testimonial

    My Personal Keto Experience

    So, I'm going to do this ... drumroll ... I'm going to review my experience with the Keto Diet.

    I've been reluctant to write about Keto because most people seem to have an opinion on it already. However, since I feel so much healthier than a year ago, I feel compelled to say something about my experience.

    This review isn't going to include education on Keto, but I'll link to a few useful resources for those interested. This is more of a testimonial.

    I Started Keto May 4th, 2019

    Going on a Keto Diet wasn't planned. In fact, I knew very little about it. For several years previous, I kept seeing "Keto" recipes on Pinterest and wondered 'what the heck is Keto?'.

    I was introduced to Keto by a family member. During our family gathering, we were all extremely impressed with her weight loss and wondered what she was doing. She's very gracious and only volunteered information because we were asking. Her position is that she doesn't talk about it to others because everyone has 'an opinion' and she'd rather not go down that road. We were all curious though, and since I'm an information junkie, I was all ears.

    When I Was Young I Was Thin

    Some people struggle with weight their entire life. My struggles only happened later in life: in my fifties. I wasn't 'thin-thin' in my 40's but, after dieting I would lose weight. In my fifties, things changed drastically, and even though I didn't eat much, I couldn't lose weight - or so I thought!

    I Didn't Eat Much Prior to Keto - I Thought I Was Choosing Wisely, Was I Wrong!

    When I was young, like many people, all I had to do was cut down food and the weight would fall off. After four children and entering mid-life, things changed.

    Keto, it turns out, works for my body. When I reflect back, my young years didn't include a lot of carbs. During those young years, when I cut food down, more than likely I didn't have a lot of stored carbs. Plus, the obvious, I was young and active.

    What food choices were so wrong for me?

    Keto gave me an education on the number of carbs in food. What I thought I knew about food, was all wrong. I had no idea what sugar really is, what it's in, how it works in the body and what it can do to you.

    Here's an example: Prior to Keto, I would start my morning with 2 small yogurts and a banana. Big mistake for me, huge. lol. The yogurts each had about 13 carbs, and the banana approximately 22 carbs. Add the teaspoon of honey in my tea, and my day started with over 50 carbs!

    You may be thinking, so what, 50 carbs should be fine - ahem, on Keto my daily net carb intake is 15 to 20 carbs - that's for the whole day!

    Add my additional daily mistakes prior to Keto - bread, pasta, a sweet treat, and my daily carb intake was a lot! My body couldn't lose weight because I was storing carbs like a squirrel stores nuts for the winter! So when my body needed energy, it would access all my stored carbs - it never got a chance to get to my fat!

    Keto is NOT for everyone. Some people (like my husband) can eat carbs 'til the cows come home and not gain weight. He eats breads, pastas, sweets, and omg doesn't gain weight..ever. I'm not like that. My body doesn't do well with a higher carb intake.

    That's what keto taught me about me. Carbs are not my friend; good fats, proteins, and limited healthy carbs are. That's what works for me. Keto foods are my fave anyway; salmon, chicken, cheese, pickles, dark chocolate, steak and on and on.

    What is Keto?

    The Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein and low carbohydrate diet. Since you're running on low carbs, the diet forces your body into a state of Ketosis. Normally we fuel our body with carbs for energy - on Keto you fuel your body with fats (choose healthy fats).

    Wiki Definition of Ketosis:
    "Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood or urine. Ketosis is a normal response to low glucose availability, such as low-carb diets or fasting"

    Some people do 'dirty keto' where they allow themselves unhealthy fats. I haven't done that. I've been responsible with my fat choices; avocado, almonds, coconut oil, 85% dark chocolate for a treat, and so on. Once in a while, I have bacon, but not that often.

    I Could Have Never Succeeded Without This App

    The App is Carb Manager. That link takes you to the iTunes version of the App. You can also read more about the benefits of Carb Manager at CarbManager.com.

    Follow the directions on the App, input your data, and it will allow you to track everything you eat daily as well as auto-populate the fields of portions for protein, carbs, fats, and calories for you.

    I've never missed a day of entering my food in Carb Manager. Every single thing I eat is entered. I'm brutally honest as well. No point in cheating, because that's just cheating myself.

    My Results on Keto to Date

    My Weight:
    Today is March 8th, 2020. I started Keto on May 4th, 2019. I've lost approximately 55 pounds to date. I want to lose another 20lbs. However, if my body says it's done, I'll stop, but so far, so good.

    My Health
    I was diagnosed in 2016 with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is a serious auto-immune disease. (Most people confuse it with Arthritis). I was so sick in the early stages. Just horribly unwell. Since I've lost all this weight, I'm the healthiest I've been in my fifties. Cutting out all that sugar and gluten has changed my life. It's noticeable.

    I'm not promoting or suggesting this way of eating is for other people. Everybody has to find what works best for them. I wanted to let others know who are on Keto or maybe considering Keto that this lady has had a very positive experience.

    Keto is not a diet for me now, it's a lifestyle - it's a way of eating that my body and health are grateful for.

    So here I am today - I'm 59 years old in this photo taken about a month ago - I turn 60 in August and am planning to be at my goal weight for that big birthday number.

    50 Pounds Down after 9 months on Keto - February 2020
    Life isn't perfect. It never will be. My motto is that I can't control other people, but I can control myself. I've been working hard to live that way in every aspect of my life over the past year. I feel as though I've just woken up and that life is only beginning - self-control, hope, bravery, love, kindness, patience, woman-power, and prayer - that's me at 59.

    Note: This is not meant as medical advice - it's always prudent to check with your doctor before starting a diet.


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    Thursday, January 2, 2020

    Noom Healthy Weight Loss App Review


    Wouldn't it be great to kick off the new year with a five-pound weight loss?  I decided to get a head start on my resolutions and do exactly that.  Five days ago, I started my two-week Noom trial and have already exceeded my expectations for early success.  Here's a quick review of how the Noom healthy weight loss app has helped jumpstart a healthier 2020 for me.

    Noom has been all over the news lately.  I kept seeing the promos and decided to check it out.  There was really nothing to lose in giving it a try (except maybe a little belly fat).

    First, you need to know that I am not a fad dieter.  I was glad to learn that Noom is not a diet.  There's no special food to buy and you can pretty much eat what you want (within certain parameters).

    It was super easy to get started.  I set up a trial account with Noom and downloaded their free app (available for both IOS and Android platforms).  All of that took less than two minutes.

    Next, I was asked a few questions about my health goals.  Noom is a program based on tapping into your motivation and encouraging the behavior changes needed to support what you wish to achieve.  Whether you want to lose weight, feel healthier, be more fit, or eat right, Noom is there to gently nudge you in the right direction.

    I want to do all of those things.  After plugging my answers into the app, I was provided with a two-week plan.  That plan includes eating more nutrient-dense foods, gradually increasing the number of steps I take each day (with an eventual target of walking 10,000 steps), doing a daily weigh-in, and logging my meals.

    After calculating my weight-loss goal, my age, my current weight, and other pertinent factors (like any physical limitations, energy needs, etc.), I was given a target of consuming no more than 1,200 calories per day.  That may seem restrictive, but I have found it reasonable and doable.  I'm not starving or feeling deprived (because I am eating foods that are filling and satisfying).

    Noom wants me to focus on caloric density when I choose my foods.  Eating foods with a low caloric density is one of the keys to successfully achieving my goals.  The app will teach you what you need to know, but essentially, fruits and vegetables typically have the best ratio when it comes to low calories and high nutritional value (think foods with fiber and a decent water content).

    Foods are categorized into three color groups: Green, Yellow, and Red.  I am allowed to eat what I choose within those groups, as long as I don't exceed the calorie recommendations for each.  The Noom app provides me with an instant analysis of my food choices.


    Noom is a research-based program that makes us more conscious of the triggers that guide our actions when it comes to eating and healthier living.  We are shown how triggers lead to thoughts, thoughts to actions, and actions to consequences.  I find myself being more mindful about my choices.

    Who might be drawn to the Noom approach to healthier living?
    • People on the go with a busy lifestyle.  
    • Anyone who enjoys the convenience of interacting with an app rather than having to be in a certain place at a specific time.  
    • Those who enjoy a light-hearted interface that offers up quick, easy-to-understand tidbits of health-related information followed by fun quizzes.  
    • The individual who likes to be affirmed for making progress.  
    Noom provides you with a personal coach who checks in with you at the start of the program (and at least weekly).  You can message your coach any time through the app.  Your coach will make suggestions after reviewing your goals and activities.  I just received these messages from my coach this morning:



    To get the most out of Noom, I choose to engage in all of the opportunities on my daily action list.  When I log in each morning, I take a few minutes to check out these activities because I get a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from doing so.  This was today's checklist:



    In addition to the basics, there are a number of extras that can be added on.  Once your trial concludes, you have the option to continue for a monthly subscription fee.  I'm still in the first week of my trial, but can say it has been working well for me.  I would have been happy losing two pounds my first week.  To lose five pounds makes me ecstatic.

    Having to weigh myself daily as a part of my Noom commitment is not my idea of a good time, but I must say that the accountability of doing so, and logging that weight, makes me try harder.  The same is true of logging my daily meals.  I'm not going to eat junk when I have to post it for someone else to see.  Accountability makes such a difference.

    You know what else keeps me going?  Affirmations.  It is so nice to receive a high five when I do something right.  It's the little things like this that make me want to stay the course and keep on keeping on.



    Earlier today, I asked one of my friends about her Noom experience.  This is what Jan had to say:
    It was easy to lose weight, the daily information was fun to read, the program was/is sustainable.  I didn't participate often in the large group support activities and my personal coach was ok but not great.  I loved that I was able to recover from two knee replacement surgeries (low activity levels for several weeks) and still lose weight! 
    Jan also mentioned that she had referred others to the program and was recently thanked for doing so.  One woman who lost 14 pounds as a result of that referral shared that it had changed her life.  It doesn't get much better than that!

    I have no doubt I will reach my ultimate goals (and sooner rather than later).  Why don't you join me on Noom.  Give it a two-week go to see what you can accomplish in a short window of time.  If you use any link in this review, you will receive a free trial (I paid for mine) and a 20% discount on a Noom subscription.  Click here to try Noom for free.

    Let's make 2020 our best year yet.  We hold the power to do so within us.  All we have to do is unleash it.







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    Monday, September 14, 2015

    Two Things that are Missing from Everyone's Computer Room




    Now I'm sure you are already laughing at the title of this Little Review!  But I must say, that if you love your family, there are two things that you will immediately add to that room where everyone gathers to check out their emails, Facebook postings, Google + pages and anything and everything else that you could possibly do on the computer.

    Have you come up with what those two things are, yet?  Don't worry if you haven't because I'm sure there are lots and lots of people who are scratching their heads right now and  that will never think of these two things.

    Now let me assure you, that they are not the regular things you might think of like, monitors or printers, paper and other computer related items, as a matter of fact, these are not really computer related at all, at least not directly.




    Let me give you a little information that might help you decipher what I am talking about:

    Most Americans and Canadians, are found to live a lifestyle that is far too sedentary.  The minimum of 20 minutes of exercise daily, is not being met by the majority of people over 40.  And that is 20 minutes of accumulated exercise.  Every time you exercise for 5 minutes or more, you add it to the next 5 minutes of exercise until you come to the 20 minute level.


    That doesn't sound too strenuous for anyone, yet we don't do that little bit.  Why?

    Well it seems that  the biggest problem is people come home from work, and sit down at the computer to do just a few "things" and before they know it 3 hours have been whittled out of your life, and it's time for bed.

    Now, if you had these two things in your computer room, you would never get that far behind in your minimum requirements of exercise per day.

    The first item needed, is a Kitchen Timer, and in this case we are going to re-purpose that Kitchen Timer to be our Computer Time Timer.

    Oggi Countdown Stainless Steel 60-Minute Kitchen Timer

     Once you are at the computer, set the Timer to 55 minutes (or 50 minutes for those who are more active already).  Don't cheat, just do it!

    Now when that timer goes off, you need that second piece of equipment in your Computer Room. That equipment is a Stationary Bike.  So the Timer has gone off, it's time to get out of your chair and get on the Stationary Bike.  It won't help if you just look at it, you have to get on it!
    Sunny Health&Fitness SF-B901 Pro Indoor Cycling Bike

    Now if you are really smart and I'm sure that you are, you can load up all those You Tube Videos that you have wanted to watch and let them roll!  You are on your bike, pedalling your way to a healthier lifestyle and still doing what you like to do on the computer.   This is the best WIN-WIN situation, ever!  If you are not into watching You Tube, you can put a movie into your CD ROM and catch up on a movie in the 5 or 10 minutes that you have set the timer for.



    In 5 or 10 minutes you can get off the bike and resume your position in front of the computer again and continue your blogging or catching up with your friends on Face Book or just searching for whatever floats your boat!.

    Two pieces of equipment for your computer room that will cost less than a yearly gym membership, and help you to become healthier, less sedentary and maybe even lose a pound or two in the process.
    Can you think of a better way to do all of that?  

    If you can, let me know and maybe I'll try it your way.  In the meantime, think about it and then do it!  Your body will thank you!








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