Friday, June 29, 2007

Why Drinking Water Is Important for Weight Loss

This is a great article from that I wanted to share here on my blog. I am usually pretty good about drinking water, but some days it will suddenly dawn on me that I haven't had any! I think I might need to make a sticky to put on my computer screen to remind me to drink more!

Why Drinking Water Is Important for Weight Loss

There are many reasons why it is important to drink water, especially if you are dieting:

  • Initial weight loss is largely due to loss of water, and you need to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration.

  • The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.

  • Burning calories creates toxins (think of the exhaust coming out of your car), and water plays a vital role in flushing them out of your body.

  • Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.

  • Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract, and it lubricates your joints. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.

  • A healthy (weight loss) diet includes a good amount of fiber. But while fiber is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it.

  • Drinking water with a meal may make you feel full sooner and therefore satisfied eating less. Note, however, that drinking water alone may not have this effect. In order to feel satiated (not hungry), our bodies need bulk, calories and nutrients.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

You have probably heard that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. How much water you actually need depends on your weight, level of activity, the temperature and humidity of your environment, and your diet. Your diet makes a difference because if you eat plenty of water-dense foods like fruits and vegetables your need to drink water will be diminished.

You can do some research and use a calculator and measuring cup if you like, but nature's pretty good at letting you know the right amount to drink. When you drink enough water, your urine will usually be pale yellow, though vitamin supplements and antibiotics can discolor it. On the other hand, you shouldn't need to run to the bathroom too frequently. When in doubt, drink a little more.

Do not worry that drinking water will give your body a bloated look. There are a number of causes of water retention, including consuming too much salt. But drinking water is not one of them.

It is possible to harm yourself by drinking too much water, but it takes quite an effort. Either through obsessive-compulsive behavior or extended athletic activity, drinking large amounts of water can dilute the electrolytes (sodium and potassium) in your blood to the point that it interferes with brain, heart and muscle function. Athletes compound the problem with the loss of sodium (salt) through sweating, but can drink electrolyte replacement drinks like Gatorade Endurance Formula to help keep things in balance.

Tips on Drinking Water

  • Drinking other liquids also provides your body with a source of water, but note that diuretics cause your body to expel water. Diuretics include caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea and soda) and alcohol. When drinking diuretics, drink more water to compensate.

    When drinking alcohol, drinking water along with it as well as before and afterward may eliminate a hangover headache and feeling of tiredness. The water is optional; driving is not.

  • When you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Try to avoid this situation by drinking in advance. Be especially careful when participating in activities where you won't be able to stop to get caught up.

  • You've heard countless advertisements telling you what product to start your day with. We recommend a couple of glasses of water to rehydrate your body. No charge.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We're Back!

We've been off on vacation for Becca's Make A Wish trip to Orlando! Check out my Bev's Bits blog to read all about it and see some of the pictures that Becca and I took.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

TOPS going well...

Well, our local TOPS group has been going strong for 6 months now! We have 10 ladies coming on a regular basis and most of them are doing fantastic! Our top loser has lost just over 35 pounds since February and is averaging about 7 pounds a month. She looks fantastic! I think she only has about 20 pounds to reach her goal.

I started the group in our church for both Becca and I, but unfortunately, Becca has to work every Thursday evening, so she hasn't been to a meeting in quite some time. She still continues to lose though, which is awesome! She's lost almost 20 pounds since February, so about 5 pounds a month. That's not a lot, but it sure is better than nothing!

I'm about 8 pounds away from my goal weight and I keep going up and down and up and down each week. I'm the same weight now as I was at the beginning of April.... so I've got to get my butt in gear and get serious, but not till we get back from vacation next week! lol!

If you are stuck with your weight loss, and need some encouragement, I strongly recommend seeing if there is a local TOPS group near you. It's a support group, not a weight loss plan, and it is much, much less expensive than weight watchers or other programs.

When I was looking for a TOPS group near me, the closest one was about 20 minutes from my house and to be honest, it was filled with a bunch of older women who had been going for years and were in it more for the socializing than they were for the weight loss. So I called the area coordinator and she told me that with 4 ladies, I could start my own group! So that's what I did. I found 3 other friends and we started our own group. It has now grown to 10 active ladies and we have a great time. The programs that TOPS provides for us to follow are very simple and easy.

Let me know if you're a TOPS member and how your group is doing!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day

Tricks for Healthy Treats
-- By Laura Bofinger, Staff Writer at SparkPeople
"Eat your fruits and vegetables." We've heard it all of our lives. If only it were so simple.

Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need. We often think we'd survive just fine on 2-3 servings a day – or less. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA both recommend at least 5 servings per day! What you’re missing could be the difference between just surviving and all out thriving.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible.

Tips and Tricks
  • Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
  • Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
  • Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in your car, your office or your backpack.
  • Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
  • Drink 100% juice instead of addictive coffee, tea, or soda.
  • Going out to lunch? Take a trip to the grocery salad bar. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese.
  • Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It's an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table. If you see them, you will eat them.
  • Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips -- and less messy. It tastes especially good when added to basic trail mix.
  • When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow. It'll save you time later on.
  • Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
  • If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies and pineapple instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.
  • Try berries, melons or dates for a naturally sweet dessert rather than the usual candy bar, cookie, or ice cream sandwich.
  • Frozen fruit and veggies are nearly as healthy as the fresh stuff, and only take minutes to prepare.
  • Combine fruit with your main meal courses. Raisins, apples and tangerine slices add sweet, crunchy variety to a salad. Apples complement pork, pineapple is great with fish, and orange slices are perfect with chicken.
Besides being packed full of nutrients, fruits and vegetables can also be quite filling. They may even ward off any empty calorie snacking that might follow! Don’t be discouraged by the recommended 5 servings a day. The guide below shows that one serving is less than what you might think.

One serving equals:
1 medium piece of fruit
½ cup fruit or vegetables (raw, cooked, canned, or frozen)
1 cup of leafy salad greens
¼ cup of dried fruit
¾ cup or 6 oz. of 100% juice
½ cup cooked peas or beans (from canned or dried)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

A lower-fat version of a perennial favorite. Prep and bake in less than 25 minutes!

1 cup unsweetened blueberries, fresh or frozen
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly spray a muffin tin with vegetable spray.
2. Wash and drain blueberries. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and 1/3 cup sugar together.
4. In a small bowl, combine egg, oil and milk.
5. Pour all at once into dry ingredients. Stir just enough to blend. Gently stir in blueberries.
6. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 full. Sprinkle lightly with 1 teaspoon sugar and bake 17 minutes, or until light brown. Allow muffins to cool 2 minutes before removing from pan.

NUTRITION INFO (per 1 muffin serving)
Calories: 119.4
Fat: 0.8 g
Carbohydrates: 24.9 g
Protein: 3.1 g

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Prayer Improves IVF Pregnancy Rate

Even though at this stage in my daughter's life, we aren't concerned about pregnancy and her PCOS, I know that it is something she'll have to think about in the future when she is married and wants kids.

I read an article about how prayer has helped improve the pregnancy rate in women who are undergoing IVF! Well duh! Of course it helps! lol! Anyway, here's the article. You can read it right from the website by clicking here.

By the way, I love this picture of a woman's pregnant belly and the little foot imprint!

Prayer Improves IVF Pregnancy Rate

ARTICLE: Does prayer influence the success of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer?, Cha, KY et al, J Reprod Med, 2001; 46(9):781-7

ARTICLE SUMMARY: 219 South Korean women (age 26-46) undergoing in-vitro fertilization-embryo transfer were randomly assigned to one of two groups: One group received intercessory prayer; the other group did not. The intercessory prayers were carried out by groups in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Those receiving prayers experienced a pregnancy rate of 50% vs. 26% in the no-prayer control group. These results were independent of any other clinical variables.

DOCTOR'S COMMENTS: Regardless of whether you believe in prayer, this article does demonstrate that you can benefit from outside support, in whatever form it may take. Whether your goal is to become pregnant, lose weight, stay on a healthy diet, or be consistent with your exercise, support from other people will help you to get where you want to go. Or possibly you're experiencing emotional pain because of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). It's important to find others who can understand how you feel.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cheesy Recipes

My family has always been big on cheese and pasta....

I found this recipe for Mac and cheese and I can't wait to try it!

Creamy Two Cheese Macaroni

1/4 Cup Flour
2 1/2 Cups Fat Free Milk
1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
6 oz Velveeta Light Processed Cheese, cubed
6 Cups Elbow Macaroni, cooked
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 375. Spoon flour into a cup and level. Heat a large pan on medium heat. Add flour and gradually add milk. Stir with a whisk to blend. Cook until thick. About 8 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup of the cheddar cheese, and the velveeta. Cook 3 minutes until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and add the macaroni. Stir until blended. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon mixture into it. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve.

Serves 9
Per Serving: 1 cup = 260 Calories
Food Points: 5.5


Here's another one for Fettuccine Alfredo that sounds delicious!

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 Can evaporated skimmed milk
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 stalk celery
2 cloves garlic -- (cut in 1/2)
1/2 cup onion -- (cut in large chunks)
1/2 each green pepper -- cut in strips
4 Cups Fettuccine Noodles -- cooked
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese -- shredded fresh

Combine milk, oil, garlic and veggies; simmer 10 minutes. Boil Fettuccine according to package. Drain. Put pasta and milk/veggies back into pan (the idea is that this should be hot enough to melt the cheese). Add cheese (Take some time with this, otherwise you will end up with a glob of cheese). Cover pan and let set 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4
Per Serving: 1 Cup = 283 Calories
Food Points: 6


Friday, June 1, 2007

It's Blogtipping Day!

Yep, it’s Blogtipping day! The first calendar day of each month is a new Blogtipping Day. I first started this on my Craft Blog, but this month, I'm planning to participate with all 4 of my blogs!

Here’s my list for June. Since dieting, weight loss and good nutrition are very important to women with PCOS, I'm going to concentrate on blogs that deal with those topics. Enjoy!

Blogtippee #1: Pinch of...

This blog is written by an Australian mom of 2 and tells about her weight loss journey. She's got a lot of great posts about carbs and other interesting topics.

Blogtippee #2 The Diet Pulpit

What a humorous blog! It's filled with silly stories, pictures and some great recipes! It's a fairly new blog, but she's doing a great job!

Blogtippee #3 A New You, NOW!

Another fairly new blog, but she's got some great information included already! Her posts really make you think... which is a really good thing!

That’s it for this month! Take a moment to check out each of these fantastic craft blogs! Come back next month to see who I Blogtipped!