Interesting stuff

Dieting and The Brain

This post is sparked by the TED Talk by Sandra Aamodt: Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work. Video is embedded at the end of this musing should you want to listen in too.

At the heart of the talk is the fact that the brain, specifically the hypothalamus, acts as a sort of thermostat that signals hunger, energy, and metabolism. Whether you start out thin or fat, when you lose weight, your brain thinks you’re starving. For self-preservation, you will feel hungry and have less energy available.

Because I have been morbidly obese in the past 10 years or so, my body and my brain may very well have learned to think that this is the normal. Going down to a ‘healthy’ weight in the obesity scales will definitely not be a walk in the park because I am no longer wired for a lower number on the weighing scale.

Realizing that doesn’t give me an excuse to not make an effort. In fact, what she says next only encourages me further to continue with the lifestyle changes I’ve committed to recently.

Sandra points out that there are two types of eaters – intuitive eaters: rely on their hunger, and; controlled eaters: rely on willpower. Looks like I’ve been more of the latter. That explains the endless cycle of starving and then binging. Skipping meals and then going on an all-you-can-eat buffet.

When I was in highschool, my grandmother was against my going on a diet. She argued that I just need to stick to a healthy three full meals a day. Don’t skip, but don’t over indulge. If I had just listened to her then, I may have a chance to be 30 pounds lighter today. By the way, looking at my highschool photos now, I realize now that I wasn’t FAT! But at the time? Geez.

Sandra also talks about mindful eating. Listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry. But listen too when it says that the hunger has been satiated. Now that may take me awhile, so smaller portions will also help.

She then shows a graph of a long-term study across people of various weights and their risk of death based on four healthy habits: eating enough fruits and vegetables, exercising 3x a week, not smoking, and drinking moderately. It looks very similar to this:

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Image Source: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/12/31/evidence-that-fat-people-can-be-as-healthy-as-thin-people/

The short story is that the more of the 4 habits you have, the lower risk of death – regardless of weight. For the obese (darkest shaded bar on the graph), even just one healthy habit significantly reduces the risk by almost 50%. And when all four healthy habits are present? Then weight doesn’t matter. The person with the normal weight is just as likely or less likely to die prematurely than the obese person. 

So I guess I am on the right track. Except that when I resolved to make a habit of having green smoothies daily I had weight loss in mind. Now, I’m changing my mindset. My goal is no longer to lose weight, but to just be better. I think that can be achieved without necessarily losing all of my excess weight. If I can lose weight while eating more fruits and veggies and adding exercise in my lifestyle, then that’s a bonus.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

110 Coloring Books and Crayons for Aklan Kids!

My work-in-progress (WIP) craft is a knitting project. I finished my crochet ripple blanket a few months ago and quickly took on my second blankie project. Unfortunately, it has taken the backseat since after Yolanda hit the Philippines in November.

No, my family was not among the victim/survivors. But like many people out there, we were struck by the tragedy and had wanted to help. There was (and still ongoing) a relief project at Mom’s work so she was involved in that. As for me, I chose to come up with my own fund raising program with the latest hobby I took up. The Rainbow Loom.

I enjoyed my Loom Bandz so much that an idea immediately came to me: why not encourage kids/young people to donate by letting them buy the bracelets for 20 pesos each, where 10 pesos is guaranteed to go to a fund for crayons and coloring books for kids who survived Typhoon Yolanda. Thanks to friends and colleagues who thought it was a good idea, we sold over 300 rainbow bands and bought enough crayons and coloring books for 110 kids!

Here are some samples of the bracelets we sold:

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My two helpers: Esban and Michal. They were making bands with me during the SATS fiesta on 11/30. They also came by the house after school to make bands that their classmates ordered.

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Supportive family and friends Smile

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It was really important to me that kids and young people were involved with the project, because the intended recipients were kids too. In the midst of tragedy, we should always think about them first. Since there are already a lot of efforts in providing the necessities, I wanted to make sure that fun stuff – stuff that would help them heal too – were also included.

My niece/goddaughter Hanna accompanied me to the National Book Store that morning of December 21. I was probably the first person she talked to upon waking up, and I’d asked her to dress quickly and accompany me. What a way to start her off on her holidays. Hehe.

After buying all these stuff, we spent an hour in my car removing price tags and packing them into brown envelopes.  

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That same afternoon, the kits were packed into a bus to Aklan where the volunteer distributor was bound for his Christmas holiday with his family. I was so thankful that he was around to make sure these items reached happy little hands.

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This year, I hope I can embark on another meaningful project, and be a real blessing to others. I still have people ordering the bracelets but I’m taking a break for now. Also not sure if I’ll continue it with the charity pledge or make a little profit from the bands. I had zero profit from the November-December project, hehe.

Anyhoo, doing this project has really kept me busy the last several weeks of 2013. Busy, but in a very delightful way too.

A Very Merry Christmas for 2013

I didn’t really write down a proper wishlist this year, but I know I got whatever I would have wished for anyway. Even before I thought it, whatever it is, it’s already been given. That’s what I learned this year. I am blessed beyond measure and that is all I could have really ever wished for this Christmas.

So, from our home to yours – A very Merry Christmas!

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I didn’t even know we still had a Christmas tree. We used to have one filled with so many ornaments. But we had to get rid of them. After the holidays, when decors and ornaments go on sale, I’d get some for our tree next year. Hehe. Amir really liked our simple tree and it would be nice to have a bit more next time.

This reminds me of Lisa Leonard’s Christmas ornaments. If you haven’t seen her work yet, then you should check her out! I follow her on Instagram and see so much that I’d love to have. Sigh. Maybe next time. Here’s an example, a letter Holly ornament, photo lifted from her website:

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On IG she posted an owl ornament, as well as a mitten. Not sure if those are still available until now. These are real keepsakes and the type that become family heirloom.

Anyhoo, those ornaments are nice to have, but they don’t make Christmas. You know what I mean? I may not have them (yet), we had a great and wonderful Christmas anyway.

What makes Christmas is the love we have for each other.  

Rainbow Loom

Ever heard of Rainbow Loom? Apparently it is a popular product for kids and adults and I have seen it mentioned in several family-oriented blogs. Of course I just couldn’t resist checking it out, and so I’ve been watching tutorials for rainbow loom friendship bracelets.

Honestly, reading up on this product and watching the videos was an ultimate throwback to when we were kids. Back then we didn’t have brightly colored rubber bands, but I would go in debt buying the ones available!

We didn’t use them as bracelets or anything though, we just joined them together to make skipping ropes.

So then I began thinking why would anyone spend on a loom when this can be done with just the bands and one’s own fingers? No need for c clips either, we would just tie them off. After watching the vids it began to be clear that with the loom, design options became limitless! Check out this more intricate design. I can also understand how making them can be addicting for adults and not just the kids. The young ones really just want to wear the end product, while the bigger ones may find making them a little therapeutic and keeps their hands busy.

The creator of the Rainbow Loom was a former crash-test engineer with Nissan, and a father of two girls. Read their story of success as told by the New York Times. Fantastic, isn’t it? I love how an idea just blossoms into something really special.

So amazed I was with the bright and cute bands that I went in search for it locally. I found sellers, but they were about twice the retail price on Amazon, and very expensive. There is a knock-off, a different brand, Loom Bandz, at a very low price. I’m ordering and we’ll see if it’s fun to make. Haha. If they’re any good, might give sets as gifts too, or whatever. It is after all, the time to start Christmas shopping. I’m thinking of giving gifts that encourage imagination and creativity. This seems like a good one, and definitely more pocket-friendly for a ninang like me than those exciting student guitars at guitar center. Hehe.

I can’t resist, here’s another video of a design I liked, chevron:

 

Do you find yourself getting hooked to the latest craze like myself? Smile

Beware when Taking a Cab!

I heard from a friend yesterday, but I was nursing a very bad headache so I didn’t really understand what her message was about until a few hours ago.

She was robbed by a taxi driver and his accomplice:

 

She is okay, according to her message, and she just wanted to share the link to the news piece. I said I was glad she’s okay but that I couldn’t load the video so I didn’t know the details. Today I got to see the video, and I am horrified!

I’d taken taxis to and from work at odd hours and one of the things I was fearful for was exactly this kind of modus-operandi. No matter how careful we are, it can get difficult at times. I am just very thankful for her that she had the sense to remember the plate number, and that police acted swiftly and apprehended the thugs on the same night.

I laud my friend for being brave and not letting the bad guys get away with what they did. Others would have given up and just gone home. I want to hug her and reassure her. And to greet her an advanced happy birthday.  But I’ll see her very soon.

To every one else, please stay safe, and beware. Call your trusted cab companies like World/Cord.  Or use that app for iOS/Android called Grab a Taxi or something. I know it’s no guarantee, but it’s a start.

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