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don’t give up.

12 Apr

hellooo!

hope everyone is well.

today, i want to share a little about weight loss journey.

we all have been there. we wanted to lose weight so badly and when the scale doesn’t move at all… we gets disappointed and discouraged .

i mean…really..how many of you have succeeded to lose weight in one attempt? some people do lose the weight on their very first attempt. unfortunately the second, third…and following weight loss are not easy as the first one. but today, i just want to point out that it is okay to fail. and it is okay to try again. don’t give up. know that weight loss does not happen over night, and be aware that it does take a lot of effort, and it requires full commitment and consistency from you.

weight-loss-tips-fun-food

okay, the first thing i want to say is that a healthy weight loss is about 0.5-1kg loss per week. too dramatic weight loss often only leads you to weight regain. also, too fast weight loss may indicate water and muscle loss, which are not what we really want. we want fat loss, not muscle loss. we want our muscle to be present and strong to do our daily activities, and it’s getting more important as we get older, to live healthy and independent (to stay at our own house longer, and delay moving to nursing home).

a couple months ago, the Dietitians Association of Australia released If at first you don’t succeed- try, try again, say dietitians. and I can’t agree more. a new survey has shown that most Australians (25-49yo) have attempted weight loss in the past year, however only 2 out of 10 were happy with their results. women and those aged over 40 yo found it hard to be in a healthy weight range.

based on the survey, 1 in 4 adults (who tried losing weight in the past year) had tried 1 of the 9 listed popular diets (meal replacement shakes, fasting and Atkins diet)- and men and women were equally likely to have tried one of those diets. this is not surprising, really. from experience, most clients i saw have tried losing weight using those methods. and as we can see ourselves, those fad diets may work for a short period of time, however more often than not, the weight will creep back on.

so, what do we do? just like when we try to quit smoking, it is expected to be more than just one single attempt. don’t expect miracle to happen overnight. and just like that- you won’t lose weight in 1 night. so, start small. expect about 0.5-1kg of weight loss each week. and put it in perspective, start sooner than later. if you know you have wedding to attend in December, don’t wait until November to start losing weight.

a wedding/party/overseas trip may be a great motivation to lose weight, but remember, always think about all the health benefits you get from weight loss! put your health first. i think this is a very important key that people often forget. weight loss is not only about getting into a size 8 dress or to be skinny. think about it as lifestyle change. this mindset is more likely to sustain than a “diet”. you need time, consistency and perseverence in weight loss.

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a healthy weight loss diet should always include all the core food groups: fruit, vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. there is no need to avoid 1 particular food group because they all provide us with different health benefits.

AGHE 2013

lastly, get support. get as much support as you can, from your family and friends. support is important. speak with your local dietitian to work out a healthy, sustainable and individualized meal plan that is tailored to you. this will keep up your motivation, too!

APD Logo_PMS_348good luck!

 

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More about diabetes type II. STOP it!

24 Mar

hi everyone!

hope all is well. it’s quite a Monday here in Sydney. it has been all gloomy since morning- and now it’s pouring.

i have started running diabetes education group session at the clinic i work- Mt Druitt Medical Centre. If you have type 2 diabetes, and if you’re interested, do give us a call.  or you can drop a comment and i’ll follow up.

since i am the one who is running the group, i have been researching a lot about diabetes and it’s management. so i would like to share it with you.

i have talked about diabetes in the past. read here.

so, as we all know, diabetes has its complications. generally, if we have diabetes type II and we control our diabetes well, our risks of complications are minimal. however, most people i have met in my practice do not control their diabetes well. it can be damaging to our health.

we probably don’t feel it now, but having uncontrolled diabetes may cause many severe complications later on in life such as:

1. kidney damage (nephropathy), can lead to kidney failure

2. eye damage (retinopathy), can also lead to blindness

3. nerve damage to the feet and other parts of body (neuropathy), can also lead to amputation

4. sexual problems

we also cannot disregard that as we have diabetes, our risk of developing heart disease are much greater. this is because we often have abnormal lipid profile- meaning we have high blood cholesterol/LDL/triglycerides.

so what do we do?

healthy lifestyle is essential in diabetes management. proper diet and exercise has significant impact on our blood glucose control. our GP or endocrinologist will be able to tell us our blood glucose target. once we know our target, then we aim to achieve them through diet and exercise.

healthy eating has been shown to: improve blood glucose control and modify cardiovascular risk factors. modest weight loss (<10% body weight, for example if you weigh 90kg, a modest weight loss is 9kg) in overweight/obese person has been shown to: improve insulin sensitivity, improve blood glucose control, reduce body fat percentage, improve blood pressure and other cardiovascular factors, may reduce or even eliminate the need for medications and may reduce insulin dose. 

basic healthy eating:

1. eat regular meals: 3 main meals and 1-2 snacks

2. evenly spread your carbohydrate intake throughout the day. it is unnecessary to eliminate all carbohydrate from your diet. carbohydrate is main source of energy for us. be consistent and eat mostly from complex carbohydrate such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables.

3. portion control. a healthy plate consists of 1/2 plate of vegetables, 1/4 plate of low GI complex carbohydrate and 1/4 plate of lean protein.

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4. switch to healthy fats, from oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, canola oil, avocado.

be sure that you go to your GP regularly- every 3 months to check your HbA1C which shows your glucose control in the past 3 months. and check your sugar level at home daily if you have the equipment.

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so, to be a healthy diabetic:

1. achieve normal and stable blood glucose control (target should be discussed with your GP/endocrinologist)

2. achieve normal lipid profile (tot cholesterol <4.0mmol/L; LDL cholesterol <2.0mmol/L; HDL cholesterol >1.0mmol/L; triglycerides <2.0mmol/L)

3. achieve normal blood pressure (<130 systolic /90 diastolic)

4. eat healthy

5. be active (try to exercise every second day, as simple as walking- and work your way up gradually)

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References:

Diabetes. 2011. Better Health Channel.
Diabetes facts. 2010. Australian Diabetes Council.
Mahan and Escott-Stump. 2008. Krause’s food and nutrition therapy, 12e. Canada: Elsevier.
Mann and Truswell. 2007. Essentials of human nutrition 3rd edition. US: Oxford University Press Inc

Can we really reduce our risk of dementia?

23 Sep

Hi everyone!

Does everyone know what dementia is?

According to Alzheimer’s Australia, dementia is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Unlike common perception, dementia is not one specific disease. It affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks- basically it affects all the functionality of a brain.

image from http://www.qualityoflifecare.com/?p=284

Is it a serious condition? Yes, it could be. Imagine if we can’t perform our daily tasks any more- imagine forgetting things. It could be a minor one- when someone could forget where he/she puts his/her keys. but what about more serious ones such as forgetting where they live or what they were doing at a particular place. It could be daunting!

I, for one, am very very scared of dementia. We all thought that it only affect older people, however dementia can happen to any body. Although it is more commonly happen in people 65 years and older, people in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

Click here to know more about dementia.

What’s more important? reducing our risk of dementia. can we?

YES! the evidence indicates that we can!

it’s all about looking after ourselves- our brain, health and our lifestyle.

mental activity

mental complexity and new learning assist with the maintenance and even regrowth of brain cells. higher levels of mental activity throughout life are consistently associated with better brain function and reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

so? it’s time to challenge ourselves- young or old, we need new challenge every now and then!

image from http://news.softpedia.com/newsImage/Sudoku-Diet-Intense-Brain-Activity-to-Lose-Weight-2.jpg/

social activity

social activity, particularly one involving mental stimulation and physical activity can benefit our cognitive functioning, therefore reducing dementia risk.

so? time to take up new sports on the weekend- find a bushwalking group or join a local netball/volleyball- even lawn ball!

image from http://www.dva.gov.au/health_and_wellbeing/activities/Pages/index.aspx

physical activity

physical activity is never ever bad for you. an exercise, as simple as walking has been shown to be beneficial for better brain function and reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia. being active increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the growth of brain cells. more brain cells- more brain volume!

diet

this is my area of interest. can we really modify our diet to reduce the risk of dementia? i believe that healthy diet and lifestyle is beneficial across all chronic diseases- not only reducing the risk of dementia, but also other disease. as of this particular disease, more research is needed to understand if there is any specific food that may be able to reduce the risk of dementia. i doubt there is- it’s all about balance! balanced diet, covering all the food groups- feeding our body and brain and mind with the best possible nutrition can only occur from all different food groups.

we all know that high intake of saturated fats (found in meat, take away foods, pies, cakes) is associated with many chronic diseases and this is true for dementia. on the other hand, high intake of polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats (found in fish, nuts and olive oil) is good for you. the same goes for reducing dementia risk.

so what’s the conclusion? well. there is no one miracle food that can prevent dementia. it’s all about balanced. looking after yourself- avoid saturated fats (bad for you anyway- for any chronic diseases risk) and include appropriate amount of healthy poly- and mono-unsaturated fats in you daily diet!

what about alcohol? moderate alcohol consumption is the answer. if you already drink- always remember to have no more than two standard drinks per day and always have 2 alcohol-free days in your week. if you do not drink- well, good for you! don’t start!

hearthealthyfood

body weight

healthy body weight is good for the heart and circulation- meaning better brain function and reduced dementia risk. again- just like other chronic diseases- maintaining healthy body weight is quite an essential factor! make sure you lead an active lifestyle- does not mean joining the gym- it could be as simple as daily walking, taking up stairs instead of elevators and gardening (or even walking your puppies!)

if you would like to read more about brain health program, click here.

i hope you find this information useful- and if you do, please share it with your loved ones- because we want to increase awareness of dementia- and because we care about people around us<3

your brain matters!

References:

Alzheimer’s Australia. http://www.fightdementia.org.au

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Your Brain Matters. http://www.yourbrainmatters.org.au

STOP diabetes!

10 Jul

Hi everyone 🙂

How are you today?

This week is Diabetes Awareness Week in Australia- Sunday 8- Sunday 15 July 2012. Today, the new research and approaches to battle diabetes will be discussed at the Diabetes and Sustainable Population Forum (by Australian Diabetes Council) at NSW Parliament House.

The latest population health surveys and newly released census data shows that diabetes is the Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease with 1 person diagnosed every 5minutes. Can you imagine?! To be honest with you, that is more regular than my train interval! It’s 12 people in 1 hour, 288 people everyday!! And at that rate, diabetes will be (almost) double by 2016, at which point it will become the major cause of morbidity and mortality in Australia.

It goes without saying- we don’t want to ever reach that point. If we were at that point, there won’t be a turn back. But, what we can do now, is to raise awareness as much as possible in order to prevent that from happening. And, I think this is relevant for everyone, regardless where you live- be it Australia, America, Indonesia, UK, etc.

Why? ..because we care!

A Shared Voice For Diabetes

We want to stop it from happening. Apart from the risk of complication, people with diabetes are also 3-4times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, than those without diabetes.

Basically, diabetes is high blood sugar level. There are two types- diabetes type I and II. Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or obesity (especially central adiposity or around the waist), lack of physical activity (sedentary lifestyle) and poor diet. Unlike type I diabetes where the pancreas is not able to make insulin, in type II diabetes, the pancreas is able to make insulin however it does not work effectively. The insulin is not sensitive anymore to the sugars in the blood, as it is too high.

If you can imagine it this way- insulin is like a bouncer of a night club, sugar is like a pretty girl. In normal situation, after meal times, where the sugar level is high, pretty girls are walking down the street, and the bouncer (insulin) will try to get them into the club (cell). In people with diabetes, the sugar level is always high, there are too many pretty girls walking pass, and the bouncer doesn’t care anymore- he is no longer allowing those pretty girls into the club!

I hope I didn’t confuse you with my imagination- let me know if you are (I’m sorry). I am more than happy to explain it again. I am no good in explaining things, excuse me 🙂 but I want to keep practicing so I can become better!

Anyway, the good news is that type 2 diabetes are preventable through healthy eating and regular physical activity. To celebrate Diabetes Awareness Week 2012, Australian Diabetes Council has released the ‘Diabetes and Healthy Hearts’ booklet, which includes a healthy eating plan. It is available on its website. You can download them here: Diabetes and Healthy Hearts booklet. 

The Plan suggests that we aim for 5serves of vegetables, 2serves of fruit, 2-3serves of low-fat dairy, and a variety of whole grain bread and cereals per day. The Plan also recommends no more than 65–100g of cooked lean red meat or poultry per day and 2-3serves of oily fish per week, to ensure your omega 3 intake.

I highly recommend you to have a quick read of the booklet- and maybe save it! It’s really helpful 🙂

I hope you are now aware of diabetes. Please feel free to ask any question 🙂 I will get back to you as soon as possible. Enjoy!

If you find this post useful, why don’t you share it with your family and friends 🙂

References:

  1. Australian Diabetes Council. Diabetes and a healthy heart. 2012. Available from http://www.australiandiabetescouncil.com/AustralianDiabetesCounil/media/PDFs/DAW_2012_Diabetes-and-Healthy-Heart_Booklet.pdf.
  2. Brown, Amy. Diabetes set to double by 2016 in Australia. 2012. Australian Food News. Available from http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2012/07/10/diabetes-set-to-double-by-2016-in-australia.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AustralianFoodNews+%28Australian+Food+News%29.

All images are from Australian Diabetes Council website. For more information, please see Australian Diabetes Council website.

This post is for the purpose of education only.

Nutrition Resources: Hypertension

30 Oct

Hi everyone!

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day~ at least that’s what it looks like from my window 🙂

I’ve been sick for a few days and been resting continuously. Not a good timing! I’m supposed to go for the Seven Bridges Walk today, and I had to pass ><

Anyway, I made this hypertension resource for one of my assignments. I thought I should share it with all of you, following a few blog posts on hypertension. This resource is a simple, carry-with-you pamphlet.

Please click Hypertension Resource.

Hopefully it will help everyone to understand hypertension better.

Have a good Sunday~

this resource was developed to serve the best intention of education only

STOP hypertension!

27 Aug

About 30% of Australia and New-Zealand population over 25 years of age has hypertension, or high blood pressure. It’s not very surprising as our diet contains too many processed foods which are high in salt, fat and sugar. The good news is that hypertension can often be treated without medication by making some simple diet and lifestyle changes.

My first experience with hypertension was a few years ago, when my mom was diagnosed with hypertension. Since then, hypertension has always been my area of interest. 🙂

Hypertension is often associated with bland and tasteless food. Well, I can’t argue with that. I’ve been there myself. As my mom was diagnosed with hypertension, she cut down the salt in her cooking. It was bland and tasteless, but after a while (maybe 6-7months), we all are used to it. This told me that everyone can teach their tastebud! I personally think that I can appreciate natural flavour in food now more than ever.

So, what is hypertension? Hypertension is high blood pressure, which is defined by systolic pressure (pressure when the heart contracts) and diastolic pressure (pressure when the heart relax). To be diagnosed as hypertension, one should have >140mmHg systolic blood pressure and >90mmHg diastolic blood pressure.

Is it dangerous? This is a bit tricky to answer, but yes, hypertension can be dangerous, it certainly is not a benign disease. Hypertension is a major contributing factor to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. In adults with high blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles!

Don’t panic!! By changing your lifestyle, you definitely can reduce your blood pressure, risk of complications and even better, prevent it! For example, for each kg that you lose, the blood pressure also drops by approximately 1mmHg. Imagine when you lose 10kg your blood pressure will automatically drop by 10mmHg (ie. From 140/100 to 130/90)! It is also beneficial for someone who takes medicine. Weight loss lowers the dose required to control blood pressure. And, it’s never too late to change your lifestyle. Here are some changes you can make:

Modification Recommendation
Weight reduction Maintain normal body weight (BMI 18.5-24.9)
Adopt DASH eating plan Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products with a reduced content of saturated and total fat
Dietary sodium reduction Reduce dietary sodium intake to no more than 100mmol per day (2.4g sodium or 6g of sodium chloride)
Physical activity Engage in regular aerobical physical activity such as brisk walking (at least 30min/day most days of the week
Moderation of alcohol consumption Limit consumption to no more than 2 drinks (24oz beer, 10oz wine or 3oz spirit) per day in most men and to no more than1 drink per day in women and lighter weight persons

DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension can be used to prevent and control hypertension. It includes several changes, which might be daunting and very difficult to follow. However, it was proven to be beneficial for you. So, it is important to make the changes gradually and slowly, allowing your body to adapt. If you do all at once, your body will be in shock and the changes tend to be not sustainable. Importantly, because DASH diet is really high in fibre, gradual increase in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products should be made over time. Slow changes can reduce potential discomfort like bloating and diarrhoea.

Stay tuned for more info on DASH diet and feel free to drop a comment or any question 🙂

Are you ready to change?

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