Posted in For You

11 Simple Ways to Passively Lose Weight

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This is not another diet article that tells you to cut out all foods that taste better than rice cakes, ice chips or the air in your mouth. Neither I am an amazing health fanatic who claims to eat kale at every meal and have a perfect calorie-intake.

As a young teenager, I cared squat about how I ate and so eventually I did put on the pounds. I remember often eating half a box of cinnamon wafers with a large glass of milk, or eating a rich mini swiss-roll way too late at night, or eating microwave meals every day after school (you know those ones with the mac ‘n’ cheese and brownies?).

So I looked at myself in the mirror, and I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a pale, pudgy teenager and it was pretty frustrating for me – because I loved food so much!

If you have been trying to lose weight, let me share with you a couple of the things I learned in my teen years to shed 20 pounds in small, easy lifestyle changes so that I could still enjoy all foods. I call it passive ways to lose weight, but it doesn’t mean that it requires zero effort at all. These are simple lifestyle changes you can make as an alternative to a depressing hard-core diet.

*Disclaimer: Please always first speak to your doctor or dietician before implementing any changes to your lifestyle and diet. 

  1. Eat What You Like Until 8pm

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Yes! Eat that donut! Well, you obviously shouldn’t eat donuts or the like every day, but whatever you choose to eat, make sure you stop eating latest by 8pm. Earlier is even better, say 7 or 6pm. Then eat your breakfast 12 hours later, so if you ate supper at 6pm, have breakfast at 6am.  This will give your weight-loss a boost for sure. You’ll sleep better, too. It was so exciting for me to see what the bathroom scale said the morning after I had had an early dinner. It really works!

  1. Drink Only Water

Yes, I get that some people cannot stand plain old boring water, but people, it’s what your engine needs. Develop the skill of gulping down a solid glass of water like those crazy water-drinking competitions and your body will thank you. If you forget about water, try downloading an app like WaterMinder that reminds you to drink every 1 or 2 hours to reach your water goal for the day.

Regarding diet soda, the fake sugars in them upsets your gastrointestinal bacteria and these little guys play a huge role in your weight loss and overall health. Plus, research has found that carbonated drinks actually make you feel hungrier. If you do want a nice drink, dilute some fruit juice or flavour your water with infusions of strawberries or mint.

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  1. Drink A Glass of Water Before Meals

This will help you to understand how hungry you actually are. Too often do we feel hungry but it is more our thirst that is the culprit. Our body sometimes cannot distinguish between the two demands, thirst or hunger.

  1. Please Do Not Skip Meals

People, eat your breakfast! Not at 10am, but ideally 12 hours after you had dinner the night before. If you aren’t hungry or feel nauseas to eat early, just eat something small and nutritious. Breakfast literally kick-starts your metabolism for the day.  If you are not hungry for lunch, have something small to keep your metabolism going. If there is any meal that you could skip, it’s dinner. Remember the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and supper like a pauper.”

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If you don’t have time to eat or you forget to eat, get into the habit of always having nutritious snacks that keep for a while in your office or bag. If you eat nothing, your body’s poor metabolism will decrease in order to try conserve its limited energy resource.

  1. No Second Helpings

Yes, no second helpings of the divine stuff you just ate. This is going to take a bit of discipline, but after a while it will become a habit. Plus, you will save money on groceries because you won’t be eating so much. So if you really are desperate for a second helping, just wait a little, drink a glass of water and you may find yourself realizing you’re not actually hungry anymore. Calories and money saved!

  1. Take Your Multivitamins

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I believe that supplements give us a little boost in our metabolisms because so many of the B-vitamins are responsible for digestion that our diets may lack. In addition, stress hormones need certain supplements to be broken down. If we have all of these nutrients, we may not feel so stressed anymore and won’t resort to food cravings. This brings me to my next point.

  1. Replace Your Emotional/Boredom Eating

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If you are feeling depressed or bored, rather ask yourself what else you could do that would help you feel better instead of stuffing your face. If you struggle with depression, get help. If you don’t deal with the core of your problems  correctly, those emotions will fester inside of you and you may resort to unhealthy ways to cope, one of which may be over-eating.

  1. Add Variety to Your Diet

Eating the same foods day after day, month after month, year after year could leave your body deficient in some nutrients (not to mention bored). Come on, live a little! Try recipes that use different vegetables or fruits that you don’t usually eat and you may discover some new favourite dishes. Your body needs a varied diet to acquire all of its nutrient demands.

  1. A Little Cardio Goes A Long Way

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What I loved as a teen and even now as an adult is riding my bike. When I was pudgy, I didn’t go on long rides, maybe they were only a couple of minutes going around the block. But the point is that it got my heart rate way up.  You may not like to cycle, but maybe you like to run, or skip rope or jump on the trampoline. There’s really nifty 5-minute workout apps that you can use too. What it does is it increases your basal metabolic rate as you get fit as well as decreases your cravings for unhealthy food. Just a few minutes of good, hard cardio a few times a week is enough to help start weight loss.

  1. Get Your Zz’s

Getting good sleep every night is crucial to weight loss. If you get a bad night’s rest, you will feel lethargic and you will want to eat junk to make you feel better. You will also lack the willpower to make healthy choices. Getting good sleep at night involves going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Try not to have day naps, but if very necessary only a 15-minute power-nap.

  1. Remember Not All Calories Are Equal

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Lastly, there is a big different between the 100 calories you get in a brownie versus the 100 calories in a chicken salad. The very refined ingredients in the brownie get digested very quickly in comparison to the nutritious chicken salad. Opt for foods that are high in fibre and more nutrient-dense because these get digested slowly – keeping you fuller for longer.

 

It’s funny how so many people only start trying to live healthier lives when disaster strikes, like when they have serious health issues. Do you want to put yourself and your family through that? I know I don’t.

I truly believe that every one of us can glow with health and happiness if  we took better care of our health more. And it doesn’t have to be hard! We just have to start trying. Take the challenge to implement these small changes one day at a time. It may be a bit difficult at first, but try starting just one of them, and then add more when you feel ready.

So take care of yourself and invest in your future! You can do it! I will also try harder to do so.

Have any experiences about what worked for your weight-loss? Comment below!

 

Posted in For Family, For You

Using Hydrogen Peroxide in your Ears : Good or Bad Idea?

To all you Pinterest life-hackers out there, I am sure you have come across this hack for beating colds and ear infections: administering a few drops of a 3% solution of Hydrogen Peroxide in your ears. The result is most satisfying and dramatic – a bubbling chemical reaction that creates a froth in your ear as a result of the bacteria actually being killed by this powerful solution.

It’s fantastic actually, and it can help stop a cold in its tracks when you try it. You feel so much better afterwards and it has also helped our kids when their ears have bothered them too.

However, it does not cure middle ear infections, obviously, because it cannot get into the middle ear. But it certainly helps to relieve the infection. This handy solution has been our favorite go-to medication and I swear by it, as well as many others on Pinterest.

Like I mentioned, using hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal will not cure a middle ear infection. Which was why I eventually did take my toddler to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. I decided to cautiously ask the ENT about using hydrogen peroxide in ears for ear infections and colds.

With a lot of adamance, he replied, “Never again!”.

Oops! I thought, thinking back on all those times I so casually used the stuff. So I asked, “Why not?”

He explained that we do not know at all if there is a perforation or a hole leading into the middle ear that would allow fluids to enter the middle ear. Sometimes a person may be completely oblivious to the fact. Because hydrogen peroxide is corrosive, it could potentially destroy the nerve-endings present in the middle ear and lead to some degree of deafness. He concluded that hydrogen peroxide should pretty much be left to sterilizing wounds.

Okay, you gotta listen to the doc, don’t you?

I had previously thought I would be cured of colds for the rest of my life, using this awesome hydrogen peroxide hack. Although, I do value my hearing too much to risk it all for a little cold-cure, but I still feel disappointed that I have not cracked the code of curing colds!

If Not Hydrogen Peroxide, What Else?

If not hydrogen peroxide, what else helps to fight infection happening in our sinuses and ears? Here’s a list of what you can do to relieve the aches and pains:

*Disclaimer: The following ideas are only motherly advice – I am not a doctor!*

  1. Try making and using a Magic Salt Sock – this is something invented by a chiropractor and somehow it works. She also suggests making an appointment with a chiropractor in order to help re-align the upper neck bones. Misalignments in the upper neck area have been related to ear infections in children.
  2. I found a pretty cool hands-on technique that The Motivational Doc shows in a video that you can do to help drain your Eustachian tube, thus helping to relieve the middle-ear a little. The Eustachian tube is pretty much responsible for draining all the gunk from our ears into the nasopharynx (where we can swallow it, great!). The technique looks pretty ridiculous and I was laughing while I tried it, but it helped me to clear the gunk when I tried it! Have a look at the video here.
  3. Home-made herbal ear oil with mullein & garlic ear-drops. Herbal ear drops may be mild enough to administer in the ear. But first get a green-light from your doctor or homeopath.
  4. An obvious alternative is plain-old pain medication and the prescribed medicated ear drops from your doctor. Some pain medication may lower fever which may or may not be a good idea. A fever is the body’s way of fighting the infection, however, if the fever is too high, it may need to be brought down. Again, ask your doctor!
  5. Antibiotics may be necessary if the situation has gotten really bad. Antibiotics are not ideal, and should be a last resort, but they have their time and place in our health.
  6. If pain and infection persists, you need to go see an ENT. If left too long untreated, it may result in long-term middle-ear damage, plus hampering speech development in young children.

Lessons Learned

Why are there so many people then, who, like I used to, swear by using hydrogen peroxide in your ears when it is potentially quite harmful?

It boils down to the principle that advice-givers and advice-takers should verify facts from expert sources before giving or taking advice. Hey, you should even verify what I am telling you in this article! What we can learn is that we all have a responsibility to exercise caution with the self-treatment ideas we get on the Internet. Scrutinize the logic, learn the facts and science behind things, and ask the experts.

What if I had a perforation in my middle ear unbeknown to me? Which, by the way, is a possibility and it is not always painful. I could have suffered with damage to my hearing for the rest of my life! No way!

Perhaps you should also ask your doctor or ENT for their thoughts on using hydrogen peroxide. Or, if you have any wonderful ways to banish ear-aches and infections, feel free to comment below!

You may also want to check out my other post, What To Do When You Are Sick (But Still Trying to Function), it has some great tips for trying to recover while keeping your life going, plus a free cute Whatsapp profile picture you can use to let people know when you are unwell.

For all of you who are struggling with ear infections – you or your little ones – Good Luck!

Posted in For Family, For Food

How Having Eggs For Breakfast Changed Our Lives

As a teen, some of my friends at school would often tell me that they hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning. Me on the other hand was totally like, “Man, breakfast was the reason I got out of bed this morning!”

And I’ve been that way even as a young adult, BK – Before Kids.

Now, AK – After Kids, my kids are the reason I get out of bed. And then the second reason I get out of bed is to make breakfast for my kids. So things haven’t changed too much I suppose.

Breakfasts for me mean high-fibre, not too much sugar, full cream milk or yogurt and maybe a little fresh or dried fruit on the side. Sounds good, right? And yes, it is a pretty good breakfast I think, compared to all the boxes of colourful carbs advertised with popular characters that they call “breakfast”.

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But, it’s only half of what a good breakfast should be.

By 9am, I am starving. Starving as in “Hey, it’s time for second breakfast!” You know, like hobbits do. Because seriously, my body burns up all the breakfast carbs so quickly. Even if they are full of fibre and more complex carbs, it’s just not enough.

Then, one morning, the obvious dawned upon my husband and I:

We should do some eggs!

That morning was the dawn of our Breakfast Revolution and wonderful things happened.

Here’s What Happened

First off, it changed our kids. My youngest son’s moods have always been somewhat erratic. However, when I picked him up from school the morning we gave him eggs, the teacher asked me: “What did you give your son for breakfast this morning? He is a different child!” Those were her exact words! She told me how happy and energetic he had been that day. I couldn’t believe what a difference a little plate of scrambled eggs made!

Then for me – I became less of a hobbit and I no longer needed “Second Breakfast” at 9am. I still may eat lunches slightly early, but my body’s blood sugar levels are much more even and happier. This also has helped curb my carb-cravings at 9am, which my waist-line is definitely thankful for.

My husband loved how satiated he felt even a while after breakfast. He also appreciates the fact that eggs are such an economical yet nutritious form of protein that we can afford to eat every morning. Although the question has now evolved to, how can you not afford a good breakfast? 

I recently came across this saying:

“If you think Wellness is expensive, try Illness”

Here’s some of the nutritional benefits of eggs:

  • Each egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein
  • all nine essential amino acids (which are the building blocks of cells in the body)
  • choline (important for liver function, brain development, nerve and muscle function and metabolism)
  • selenium (important for immunity and thyroid functioning)
  • vitamin D (for healthy strong bones)
  • phosphorus (important for the kidneys, metabolism, endocrine system, digestive system and muscle functioning)
  • riboflavin (plays a role in energy production)

Now, you may be wondering: What about the cholesterol that all those dietitians warned us about?

Nowadays, studies show that the cholesterol eggs contain is actually dietary cholesterol – different from the blood cholesterol in your body. Despite the warnings of the past, eating eggs will not increase your blood cholesterol levels. Not convinced? Here’s an article that the National Heart Foundation of Australia wrote about Eggs and Cholesterol.

There are so many wonderful articles out there about all the benefits of eggs. But, if you cannot see yourself eating eggs every morning, do try some other form of healthy protein that you enjoy. Your breakfasts need not be time-consuming to prepare, but make sure they contain nutritious foods high in fibre and protein.

Plus, you won’t be feeling so starving by lunch time. If you are super busy during the day and you usually don’t get time to have a good lunch, or at all, you can at least take comfort in the fact that your breakfast was AWESOME. So it’s not a train-smash if lunch was a bit rushed, or skipped.

In conclusion, may I add my disclaimer: I am not a dietician, so if what I am saying doesn’t suit you, please consult a qualified dietician! However, my ultimate point that I am trying to make is to convince you to make your breakfasts better by adding some good form of protein. You will surely see the difference over time. (I am quite confident that any dietician will agree).

Having a good breakfast has really helped our family in our daily lives to feel more energized and capable of completing the day’s tasks. If you contemplate the growing bodies and minds of your children, there is no question that you will want to give them the best. And for the rest of us adults growing older through the years, our bodies need natural and nutritious foods that serves us well and keeps us healthy.

Feel free to comment below about super nutritious breakfast ideas that you love, I’d really enjoy to hear from you!