It’s not just the elderly dying from COVID-19

city view

Just because you’re not a senior citizen, doesn’t mean you won’t end up in the ER, or can’t die from COVID-19. People of all ages, all backgrounds, and those in great physical condition, have been sent to the hospital and passed away from this insidious disease. No one is immune based on how healthy they are, or how young they are. It’s like cancer, there is no cure, and no one is impervious to becoming severely ill.

Those that are in the higher-risk category of getting sent to the ICU and dying, are the obese, those with cancer, uncontrolled diabetes, asthma, heart disease, lung disease, and/or high blood pressure.

While we all want to resume life back to normal, sending people back to work and infecting others at even higher rates, will result in an many more people dying because there won’t be enough beds, equipment, doctors, or nurses available.

There’s talk that people just need to risk their lives in order to help the economy, but if hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of people, are dying, we won’t have enough workers to keep businesses running, and we won’t have as many people buying goods. Business will go under, more people will lose their jobs, homes will be foreclosed, and we’ll have fewer health care workers to take care of us.

Keeping the world healthy doesn’t just save lives, it’s also interconnected to financial stability.

Sources: CBS, NBC, CNN

Lose weight by changing your bedtime

IMG_4277

We all have good intentions when the goal is weight loss; we start out with a small breakfast, or skip it entirely, have a salad for lunch, soup for dinner, then after dinner, a few snacks: chips, a bowl of ice cream, cookies, deli meat, cheese and crackers and several handfuls of nuts.

When you starve yourself throughout the day, binging at night is inevitable. If you can tolerate breakfast, it’s best to make that your largest meal to set you up for success. Your lunch should be a moderate size. Two to two and half hours after lunch, eat something, like an ounce of almonds and an apple, so you’re not tempted to snack. Your dinner should contain lean protein with green and some starchy vegetables to fill you up.

Lastly, and this will make the biggest difference, is to go to bed earlier. Since we tend to binge before bedtime, determine what time you typically eat more than you wanted. I usually grab whatever is in the house at 7:30 pm, so, to stop that habit of overeating at night, I decided to go upstairs, away from the kitchen, and climb into bed at 7:15 pm. I either read a book in bed or watch TV since 7:15 pm is a bit early for bedtime.

The benefits are that you’ll go to sleep earlier, wake up earlier and get more accomplished, and lose weight quicker.

People are bungling social distancing. Are you one of them?

this is NOT social distancing

Social distancing is difficult because people are social by nature, and need the touch of others to thrive (1), but during this global pandemic, we need to resist our natural impulses. Social distancing orders were put in place by government officials to slow the number of COVID-19 infections. If too many people get sick at once, it will overwhelm hospitals, there won’t be enough beds, ventilators, masks, gloves, or nurses to help everyone. This means, many people will die unnecessarily.

As of March 23rd, there are over 43,000 Coronavirus cases and 545 deaths in the United States alone, and that’s just since February 15th ! (2).

We can all help reduce the spread of this virus by social distancing, but people are not practicing it at all, or, making up their own rules. Social distancing means, the only time you leave the house is to get food, or medicine. If you want to go for a walk, keep at least six feet of space between you and strangers. Don’t invite your friends or family over. You don’t know if they are infected because people who don’t have any symptoms can be carriers and, unbeknownst to them, spread the virus to others. Only physically spend time with people you live with. If your mom, dad, daughter…etc., doesn’t live with you, that means you cannot have them over, and you cannot go to their house either.

It means, don’t exercise in your condo or work gym that’s shared by others. Don’t swim in a pool or sit in a jacuzzi, unless it’s only used by your household. Don’t hang out with your neighbors, or help people with unnecessary home improvement projects at this time. Remember that people who don’t have symptoms can be infectious to others. You don’t know how this virus will affect you until it hits.

The Coronavirus is ten times as worse than the flu, and what makes it even more horrific, is that there is no vaccine, no treatment, and our bodies have no immunity to it. Some people have mild symptoms, while others have to be put on a ventilator in order to breathe, and some people don’t survive.

Don’t be selfish, by putting fun ahead of health. We are all putting our lives on hold, and are scared, and want to be distracted so we don’t have to face the reality that many people are going to die, some will be our friends, some may be our family, but the more we can do now by staying away from each other, will do a lot to keep us safer. Please, do your part.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.khca.org/files/2015/10/8-Reasons-Why-We-Need-Human-Touch-More-Than-Ever.pdf
  2. Worldometers.info
  3. CBS, NBC, CNN

Don’t do high intensity exercise during COVID-19 outbreak

stay calm

Exercise is good for us, but too much of anything can be harmful. During stressful times, all types of intense exercise should be taken down a notch or two, to reduce the chances of getting sick. Whether it be heaving lifting, long workouts, or heart-pounding cardio, these types of workouts negatively affect the central nervous system, wear you down, and increase susceptibility of an lowered immune system. If you are stressed and worn out, this will make it harder for your body to fight a virus.

While exercise is extremely important for a healthy heart and mind, don’t skip exercise, instead, do light cardio, dynamic stretches, moderate weight lifting, and calm breathing exercises for the time being. This pandemic is not a time to overreact, but to be smart and safe. Just like the many diseases over time, this too, will pass.

My new diet caused my hair to fall out & change

Fit girl in a pony tail

Normally I wear my curly hair down, but I decided to blow dry it straight and put it in a pony tail. What alarmed me was how thin my hair was. My hair has been really thick my whole life. On a recent visit to my hairdresser, she asked, “Why is your hair so thin? Did you go on Medifast?” I replied, “No, I went vegan four weeks ago. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, just two pounds.” She put her hands through my hair, lifting up different sections, and said, “This doesn’t even feel like your hair. Look, this is where a chunk of your hair fell out.” She pointed to an entire row of hairs by my forehead. “But it’s growing back.” She said. The hairs were thin and flyaway. She went on to say that when a person makes a drastic change in their diet, it’s common for hair to fall out, because it’s a form of trauma. She said she sees the worst cases when people go on a Medifast diet, and when their hair grows back, it’s completely different than before.

While I am enjoying being vegan, I love being able to eat lots of carbs and more nuts, I know that hair loss is a sign that there is some sort of nutritional deficiency so I’m going to increase my intake of complex B vitamins, and take in more protein powder.

It’s not just Medifast, or a vegan diet that can cause hair loss. “Without adequate fat, women may stop menstruating and hair may turn dull and lifeless and fall out (1).” We do cook our food in a little bit of oil, and we eat lots of seeds and nuts, so I don’t know if my hair loss is due to inadequate fat intake. Hair loss can also be due to eating too few calories, not getting enough protein or iron (2), and excess stress (3).

With the current Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been under a lot of stress, so I’ve stopped in-person training, reduced the intensity of my workouts, added calming short yoga practices, and have been self-isolating, to reduce stress and decrease the chances of contamination.

I really don’t want to add animal products back in my diet, so I’ll increase the vitamin and protein supplements (there’s only so much beans, tofu and grains I can tolerate on a daily basis), and work on eating more calories if I lose too much weight, but if the only way to get my body healthy is to be plant-based instead of vegan, I’ll do what’s necessary to keep myself in tip-top shape.

Photo: This photo was before my hair started thinning. It’s half as thick as it was then!

Add’l sources:

  1. Perkins, Sharon. “Medifast Diet Dangers.” Livestrong. Blog. https://www.livestrong.com/article/334913-medifast-diet-dangers/
  2. https://www.livestrong.com/article/327771-how-to-prevent-hair-loss-when-losing-weight/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress-and-hair-loss/faq-20057820
  4. https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/is-sudden-weight-loss-causing-hair-loss-118042300866_1.html

On-line Forums:

https://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/medifast/133708-medifast-hair-loss.html

http://www.slimkicker.com/threads/growing-hair-back-after-medifast

https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/586428/weight-loss-hair-loss-s

How exercise impacts dietary choices & cravings

spaghetti

From my own personal experience, intense cardio over 15 minutes, makes me hungrier, crave more carbs, and I end up eating more calories than I need to, so I gain weight (mostly fat). Other people have reported the same issues with HIIT workouts, boot camps, cardio classes, running…etc. (you get the drift). Since many people chose cardio to lose bodyfat, yet their cravings increase, crazy-cardio is not the best exercise for weight loss for many people.

I fell in love with weight training about 10 years ago because I found it less intense, more fun, and was able to cut my exercise time in half, with much better results in my body composition. My cravings for carbs reduced so my bodyfat went down.

As a personal trainer, I work with a lot of different people of various ages, and medical issues. I work with anorexics, people of healthy weight, and obese individuals. What I’ve found is that, all of these folks are slow in making changes to their diet, if they make dietary changes at all. The more frequently people train with me, and the longer they train with me (usually after the four-month mark), is when they see training as a lifestyle, and feel comfortable changing their eating habits.

So, to summarize my findings: cut back on intense cardio if you want to lose weight, weight train at least two days a week, be consistent, be open to dietary adjustments, and you’ll see a fitter and more positive you.

Photo: Pasta should be put in the “bad carbs” category. It has little nutritional value, is high in calories, increases blood sugar, and is highly-processed.

Easy way to get stronger

I’m so excited that my weight lifting log book 📖 is done ✅. I created it for myself initially, so I could track my workouts to make sure I was progressing, by lifting more weight, or doing more sets, or doing more challenging exercises. I’ve also included sample workouts and lots of exercises, some of which you may have never tried. It’s 300 pages and on sale for $15.99. It’s available on Amazon (you’ll find the link to it on http://www.thehighfivediet.com).

If you buy it from me directly, I’ll also include the tabs shown here in the video.

Tracking your food intake (that next project is coming soon), and logging your weight training workouts, are really easy ways to get to your goals faster.

If you’re not bending, you’re not strengthening

_L5A0571_Lightroom_Export_Full_Size_JPEG_300dpi_sRGBIn order to get stronger, you have to bend to use those joints the way they were intended. This is why walking doesn’t make you stronger, your whole body is fairly upright the whole time. Our joints were meant to be used. For instance, to get stronger biceps, you have to bend your elbow to get your forearm towards your shoulder. You can squeeze your biceps with that motion, or even better, use resistance such as weights (full grocery bags are great), bands or cables.

If you want the front of your legs stronger, which are the quads, you have to bend your knees. Lunges (pick up something off the floor with one foot in front and the other leg behind, with the back leg bent, with the knee close to the floor), squats (sit on a chair and get up without grabbing onto something, or using momentum to get up), and step-ups (climbing stairs, two at a time are effective, just use your legs, and don’t cheat by pulling up with the railing). If you’re not doing any of the above exercises on a daily basis, your muscles will atrophy and you’ll be more susceptible to falls, knee pain, imbalances, and injury.

If you want your lower back and back of your legs strong, you need to bend at your knees and ankles, and hinge forward with a flat back. That’s why deadlifts are strengthening; the problem is that people go too heavy and use improper form by rounding their back.

We don’t get weaker as we get older because of our age, people get weaker because they stop doing the exercises and sports they did when they were younger. Walking is great for the heart and to get outside, but you want to bend and use every single muscle to be fit and healthy, and to reduce pain, stiffness, instability and fractures.

Photo: me, doing biceps curls

How to avoid Coronavirus

empty gym

As of this writing, on March 1st, there are 71 reported cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and one death in the United States. There have been over 2900 deaths worldwide, with 85,00 cases of this rapidly spreading virus reported to date (source NBC News). There actually could be many more cases and many more deaths due to limited testing, and possibly, concealed information. The Coronavirus is more dangerous than the flu because of its much higher kill rate, which is estimated to be in the range of 1.4% to 2% (2). To contrast this with the flu, which kills .1% of people each season (2). There is no data to suggest that the COVID-19 virus will slow down now or in the warmer months, in fact, evidence suggests that cases will grow exponentially.

There are over 7 billion people in the world today, with over 327 million in the United States (source World Bank). That means, over 4.5 million people in the United States are likely to catch COVID-19; that’s a lot of sick people. With an estimated 15% of people getting severely sick after contracting COVID-19, that’s especially scary (2). How are the hospitals going to handle all those sick people?

Most people don’t freak out about the flu, which comes out with a new strain every year, even though it killed more than 34,000 people in the 2018-2019 season with over 16 million medical visits and over 490,000 hospitalizations (source CDC). Without the flu vaccine, the number of deaths from the flu, would be much higher.

The Coronavirus is spread through particles from coughing or sneezing, saliva (such as sharing a drink), or touching a hard surface that has the virus on it, and/or being in contact with someone who is sick even if they don’t have any symptoms (1). The symptoms are similar to the flu, like a fever and coughing, but the recovery time varies from person to person, which can be from a few days, to a few weeks, to a few months (in extreme cases) (1).

What’s scary is that there is no vaccine available and no treatments either, but if breathing becomes difficult, a person should go to the hospital and be put on a respirator. Medicine to lower a fever, and drinking plenty of fluids are the current recommended courses of action. (1)

Everyone can take precautions to prevent spreading this pandemic, such as staying home when sick, throwing away dirty tissues and washing hands immediately with soap and water. People taking care of the sick should also remain in isolation, since, they can spread the disease even if they don’t have symptoms.

When people’s lives are at stake, taking precautions is an absolute necessity. I hope that this situation doesn’t get out of hand where we in the United States have to close down public events, public places, become trapped in buildings, and being forced to telecommute to work.

Photo: I work as a personal trainer at a large gym. Not being able to train my clients, or work out at the gym would be really bad for me and my client’s mental and physical health.

 

What the Keto diet conceals

pork ribs with BBQ sauceThe ketogenic diet is a high fat, very low carb diet, with moderate amounts of animal-based proteins, that has helped people lose weight and lower blood sugar levels, but while it has those beneficial effects, on some people, it’s an extreme diet that misrepresents itself as healthy.

The keto diet is very high in fat. Nuts are a good source of fat, but, nuts have some carbs, so only a small portion of nuts are included in a true keto diet.

Fat has very few nutrients, and is very high in calories, so unless you’re eating fewer calories on a ketogenic diet plan, you’ll either stay at your current weight, or gain fat. For the general population, no more than 30% of your total calories should come from fat.

The proponents of the keto diet either downplay, or dispute the facts that a ketogenic diet can cause constipation (due to it’s low-fiber), dehydration (due to lack of fruit and whole-food carbs), muscle loss (carbs, not just protein, build muscle), and high cholesterol. Saturated fats, like coconut oil, butter, and meat also increases the risk of vision loss (1).

Companies don’t want to reveal, or refuse to recognize the product they created is harmful because that would mean lawsuits, and decreased earnings. People ignore facts of unhealthy diets because it’s a diet they enjoy, and it works for them, and they don’t believe other diets will work, or they don’t want to give any other plan a chance. Don’t take a company’s overblown claims as fact; do your own research with summaries from reputable organizations, but the bottom line is that you want to eat a variety of fruits, nuts & grains (if tolerated), seeds, lean proteins, greens, and lots of vegetables daily; In addition, keep processed fats, like oils to a minimum, if you want to be healthy and lean.

  1. Source: “Are you at risk for these eye conditions?” Parade Magazine. Stay Healthy. 16 Feb 2020. Page 6. Print.
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