Posts Tagged health

Are You Addicted to Sugar? – Diet and Nutrition Center – EverydayHealth.com

The first step in recovery is admitting that there is a problem…. The one thing this article doesn’t discuss is if the cravings will go away over time.. As with drug users, once the withdrawals are over it takes a good amount of time befo

re the need for the drug dissipates… and certain triggers- people, places, memories, smells will set of the addiction even years later. I don’t know if there is good research on Sugar Addiction Recovery just yet…

Are You Addicted to Sugar?

Yes, it’s possible your sweet treat cravings could be a sign of sugar addiction. Here’s what you should know about the addiction — and whether it’s time to get help.

If you’re like many people, most nights after dinner, you get a craving for a little something sweet. But a chronic sweet tooth — an increasing problem for Americans, who are conditioned to crave sugar because of constant exposure from processed foods — isn’t just bad for your teeth or your waistline. More and more research links excessive sugar intake to serious health issues, includingtype 2 diabetes, blood pressure, stroke, and dementia.

So how much sugar is too much sugar? The amount your body can metabolize is slightly different for everyone, but the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women — less than the amount of sugar in a single 12-ounce can of non-diet soda — and no more than 9 teaspoons a day for men. A 2009 survey by the American Heart Association found that adult Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily, mostly from soft drinks. You can calculate the number of teaspoons of sugar you’re getting per serving of a particular food or drink by taking the number of sugar grams in one serving as listed on the product’s nutritional label and dividing it by four.

A Sweet ‘Drug’ Habit

Once you’re in the habit of eating too much sugar, it becomes harder and harder to stop. “Sugar addiction is a real phenomenon,” says Nicole Avena, PhD, a food addiction researcher and assistant professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. “Research indicates that changes to brain chemicals after sugar consumption are similar to changes seen after drug use, and constantly overeating sugar leads to addiction andobesity.” Sugary foods and drinks activate the “reward” centers of the brain, which lead to more cravings for the sweet stuff.

The issue isn’t limited to obviously sweet snacks like candy and soda — it’s also the sugar added to processed foods that don’t even taste sweet, like ketchup and salad dressing, and also those found within white starchy foods like pasta and bread.

So how do you know if your hankering for sweets is harmless, or if you’re consuming an unhealthy — and possibly addictive — level of sugar?

Do You Have a Problem With Sugar?

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of Beat Sugar Addiction NOW!, is an internist who studies sugar addiction and has identified four types of sugar addicts:

  • People who are constantly tired and turn to sugar for an energy boost
  • People who are extremely irritable when they go without eating for too long and turn to sugar for a quick snack
  • People who constantly crave “a little something sweet”
  • People with hormonal imbalances who turn to sugar as a way to boost their mood

“Constant anxiety, fatigue, and constant sugar cravings are all signs of an addiction,” Dr. Teitelbaum says. “There’s no one amount of daily sugar that is a sign of sugar addiction, it all depends on whether a person feels poorly and exhibits the symptoms of the four types of sugar addicts. At that point, it’s time to figure out your addiction type and how you can treat it.”

If you’re constantly turning to sugar for an energy boost or craving a sweet treat, Teitelbaum says you can typically treat your addiction by drinking more water, eating a more balanced diet, eliminating soda, and sleeping more. Some addicts are triggered by stress, so identifying and eliminating the source of your stress is key. If you’re suffering from a hormonal imbalance, you might want to talk to your doctor about hormone therapy or supplements.

7 Ways to Control Your Sugar Cravings

Whether it’s bread and pasta or chocolate and cookies you crave, here are seven easy ways to take control of your sugar habit — and your health.

If you think your habit is out of control, take a step back, analyze how you feel, and figure out what’s at the root of your sugar cravings. One way to properly assess your sugar intake is by using a food journal such as My Calorie Counter that calculates the total amount of sugar you’re consuming. Once you’ve done that, Everyday Health nutritionist Kelly MacDonald, MS, RD, LDN, suggests a few easy adjustments that will help you survive the sugar season that begins at Halloween and continues through the end of the year — and help you keep your sugar intake (and the scale) in check year-round:

  1. “Psychoanalyze” your eating habits. Ask yourself why you’re reaching for carbs and soda. Do you really want the food itself, or is it an emotional response triggered by stress or habit? Eating carbs and sugar triggers the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, which can make you think you want the sugar when what you really want are the calm, happy feelings it produces.
  2. Switch to whole grains. Compared to white bread and rice, the complex carbs in whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats are packed with filling fiber, which prevents the blood sugar spikes and dips that lead to sugar cravings. Eating whole grains has been linked to a lower diabetes risk and sustained weight loss over time.
  3. Reach for healthier sweet snacks. When sugar cravings hit, try to satisfy them with a healthier option such as whole fresh fruit or nonfat yogurt. Although both contain natural sugar, they also have other healthy nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, protein, and fiber.
  4. Keep sugar out of the house. On Halloween, it’s tempting to fill up on candy for trick-or-treaters or leftovers from your kids’ loot. Avoid temptation by handing out non-sugar options to trick-or-treaters, such as school supplies, small toys, or small bags of nuts.
  5. Plan your meals. As holiday season begins, it’s hard to avoid sugar temptation. Plan ahead to make sure you’re not caught around the office cookie plate on an empty stomach. If you’re throwing or cooking for a holiday party, bring a fresh fruit salad instead of a pecan pie, for example. Chances are, there are other sugar-minded dieters at the party who will thank you for it.
  6. Be honest with yourself. The only way you’ll really stop or prevent a sugar addiction is to constantly keep yourself honest. Use a food journal to keep tabs on your diet. If you’re eating more sugar than usual or find yourself constantly battling cravings, add more fresh produce and whole grains.
  7. Stop after a few bites. Teitelbaum says a little dessert every night is fine, but the key is to limit the portion. Your taste buds are saturated with sugar after just a few bites, so it’s best to have a few spoonfuls of Ben and Jerry’s to satisfy your sweet tooth and put the rest back in the freezer.

Are You Addicted to Sugar? – Diet and Nutrition Center – EverydayHealth.com.

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It’s ABOUT TIME! :) The Personal Fitness & Diet update…

Oh my goodness!  I have been a WP Slacker!  There is so much to post… It gets overwhelming when you have so much to say and don’t know where to begin!  So, if you want a full update go stalk my Tumblr or my Facebook (feel free to ‘friend’ me!) 

So- where to begin?!

Exercise:

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Whew!  This is an INTENSE workout!  I thought I would be a PRO after doing Turbo Fire but OH NO… not even close!  The first time I couldn’t even get through the warmup!  (I really stopped like 4 times!  By the end of the first month I could USUALLY get through it but not every time.  I definitely saw improvement in my Fit Test at the end of month 1:

Switch Kicks: 107 v 113, Power Jacks: 44 v 47, Power Knees: 83 v 94, Power Jumps: 29 v 28, Globe Jumps: 5 v 7 (That is A LOT of Globe Jumps!  Those suckers are HARD!), Suicide Jumps: 15 v 18, Push-up Jacks: 20 v 26 (wow!), Low Plank Oblique: 46 v 60.  So yeah, definite improvement!! 🙂

But, I haven’t seen significant changes in weight or measurements… but I do suspect that I have greater muscle mass vs. fat.  I’m going to invest in a scale that does BF% or one of those hand-held devices that measures it.  I’d really like to be able to track that!  I believe it is one of the best ways to measure progress along w/ Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Fitness ability and Heart Rate.

Diet:

Sadly, I have not been tracking what I eat… which I know has worked against me!  Mostly I have been eating clean- not a ton of junk food.  Still using Shakeology almost every day and have come to the conclusion after much research (including reading Dr. Weil’s Books- which I highly recommend) that supplementation w/ superfoods, probiotics etc. is essential to establishing and maintaining optimum health.  

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You just can’t POSSIBLY get all of these nutrients from your diet!  You can’t physically eat enough!  I can’t even FIND maitake mushrooms to cook for myself- and wouldn’t WANT to eat them every day…  If I didn’t use this supplement I would absolutely be using at the very least a probiotic, an adaptogen, a phytonutrient and an antioxidant blend.  I know these would cost me $$. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that Shakeo is worth it to me.  Also adding flax seed (see previous post). Let’s see… have been eating less: breads, rice, red meat, lunch meats, ice cream, cereal, milk, yogurt, cheese (learning that dairy is not so excellent for you and the good yogurts are actually really high in sugars….  Eating more: quinoa, kale (roasted- YUMMO), sauteed veggies (onions, snap peas, zucchini (love!), peppers, korean sweet potatoes, LOTS of fruit including berries, mangos, bananas, more TEA (excited about this new addition!!  Decaf Herbals at night mostly- so far really like STASH’s blueberry the best), and more oatmeal (trying out stone ground).  Also eating Clif Bars as a mid-afternoon “on-the-way-home” from work ‘meal’ – trying to get ready to workout & also prevent the craving when I get home – doesn’t always work..

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Buuuuutt… in between meals have not been as fabulous and have included such items as: PEANUT BUTTER (especially when I arrive home… and before bed… WHY? I add 1 Tbsp to my Shakeo in the AM which would be OK except then if I have 1 TBSP when I get home & then another before bed I am eating nearly 300 cal/day in PB..), jelly bellies (they were on sale…?), marshmallows (hungry at the store..), rice cakes (on sale.. why did I buy those yesterday?), dog biscuits (Just kidding!  Making sure you were reading!), skittles (lunch was gross that day- didn’t have a mint to cover up the taste..) and luigi’s italian ice.  Now, I don’t think these things would be so bad BUT I shouldn’t be having them every day… I fool myself into thinking that “This is my ‘treat’ today.” and I usually don’t have more than one (I don’t have skittles & jelly bellies on the same day- for instance.)  But, I still shouldn’t be eating a ‘treat’ every day of the week.

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What am I doing to try to counter these poor choices?  Well…. I learned how to make Shakeology no-bake cookies & peanut butter cup candies!  & YUM – YES, YUM!!  Using PB2 instead of regular PB- 1/4 the calories, all natural, less sugar & fat, no preservatives & junk!  Trying to replace nighttime cravings w/ herbal tea (not quite working just yet…) I need something to ‘chew on’… Any suggestions what I could add to my tea?!?  Like… a chewable stick or something?!  lol

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And yes, I really did make those beautiful candies!  They were not nearly as difficult as I thought they would be- I’ve never made candy before. 🙂  I’ve also been carrying fruit with me (mostly apples but also peaches, bananas, cherries or blueberries)  Problem: when they are not ripe… 😦  I get very disappointed & discouraged… Hmm should try carrying pears too.. those are pretty tough suckers & not too sensitive to heat… (peaches & other soft fruits can be problematic.)

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Ok- That’s enough for this post.  I won’t overwhelm you with everything all at once!! 🙂  

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50 Fitness Facts you Need to Know

50 Fitness Facts

  1. Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol have 4, 4, 9, and 7 calories per gram respectively.
  2. It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound.
  3. Insulin and growth hormone have an inverse relationship.
  4. The average person can store 500 grams of glycogen.
  5. Only fat and protein are essential macronutrients – carbohydrates aren’t.
  6. Muscle glycogen is about 3 parts water to 1 part glucose.
  7. You burn more calories during the 23 hours you don’t exercise than the 1 hour you do.
  8. You don’t need to do cardio to lose weight.
  9. The fat burning zone does not burn more total fat calories – only a higher percentage of calories from fat.
  10. You’re never too old to do squats.
  11. Weight loss is not a physical challenge – it’s a mental one.
  12. The scale cannot measure body fat percentage.
  13. You can eat anything you want and still lose weight – but weight doesn’t always equal fat.
  14. You can’t target fat loss – fat loss is systemic.
  15. Muscle does not weigh more than fat – it’s just denser than it.
  16. 0 grams of fat on a label doesn’t always mean there’s no fat in the food product.
  17. Whole grain bread is still a processed food.
  18. Eating healthy is not more expensive than a junk food diet.
  19. You can’t calculate body fat percentage from height and weight alone – you need to physically measure it.
  20. You can get glucose from both protein and glycerol – not just carbohydrates.
  21. Just because a box says “whole grain” on it, it doesn’t make it healthy.
  22. You should never attempt weight loss at the expense of your health.
  23. Being vegetarian doesn’t just mean you don’t eat meat – it means you follow a plant-based diet.
  24. Workout times and negative side effects are positively correlated.
  25. Gym membership prices are negotiable.
  26. Cooking your food can both lower some nutrient content, and make some more bioavailable.
  27. There’s a high correlation between the fitness level of the people close to you, and your own physical fitness.
  28. It’s harder to put on 10 pounds of muscle than it is to lose 10 pounds of fat.
  29. Once an adult, fat cells can be created, but they cannot be lost – only shrunken.
  30. Eating at night does not make you fat – overeating does.
  31. You don’t need to do curls to get good biceps.
  32. Being skinny does not automatically mean you have a low body fat.
  33. The perimeter of the grocery store is where 90% of the healthy food is.
  34. If bad food is in the house, you’ll be more likely to eat it.
  35. Thyroid hormone output and exercise intensity are positively correlated.
  36. Healthy levels of testosterone are good for both men and women.
  37. You don’t need a gym membership to strength train.
  38. Unless you weigh less than 100 pounds, it’s unlikely you need less than 1000 calories to lose weight.
  39. Workout intensity is positively correlated with the degree of EPOC – the afterburn effect.
  40. There are 3 types of skeletal muscle fibers – type I, type II-A, and type II-B.
  41. 80% of people who begin an exercise program will quit.
  42. The body has 3 energy systems – ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis, and aerobic.
  43. Strength gains come from muscle hypertrophy and improved muscle fiber recruitment.
  44. Dehydrating a muscle by 3% can cause a 10% loss of strength.
  45. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is highest for protein.
  46. Lactic acid is not the cause of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  47. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
  48. Direct abdominal exercises are not necessary to get good abs.
  49. You can lose weight and still gain muscle; likewise, you can also gain weight while still losing fat.
  50. Consistency and patience are key to long term successful weight loss.

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What I am learning about Flax Seed….

Is flaxseed the new wonder food? Preliminary studies show that flaxseed may help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer.

King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it.  –   WHAAAT?? Wow!

Cancer- Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against cancer, particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. (and likely endometrial cancer)

Cardiovascular – “Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%,”

Cholesterol – Eating flaxseed daily may help your cholesterol levels, too. Small particles of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Inflammation – Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma) by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents

How to use it – “Ground flaxseed, in general, is a great first choice but there may be specific situations where flax oil or the lignans (taken in amounts naturally found in flaxseed) might be as good,”

How much? – 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day is currently the suggested dose

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“Eating Well for Optimum Health”

Have you read this book? Thoughts?

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Pharmacy School Graduate! Pharm.D, Folks!


GRADUATED!

Take medications? Considering taking medications?  Have a friend/loved one who takes medications? Have a health condition?  Have a friend/loved one who has a health condition?  Have some strange symptoms?  Ask me questions!! 🙂

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May 5th: 11 Weeks to ULTIMATE FITNESS

May 5th– The day I GRADUATE from 4 long years (actually… they have gone by SO FAST) of Pharmacy School!!  That is 2 1/2 months away.. or to be more specific, 11 weeks.

11 WEEKS.

I have decided to give myself a specific objective with a specific deadline.  That deadline is May 5th.  The objective: ULTIMATE FITNESS.  I want to feel AMAZING on that day!  I don’t like to talk numbers… (You may have noticed that I haven’t posted my actual weight or measurements anywhere on this blog…) I do have an ‘idea’ of what I ‘think’ I would like to weigh but I really won’t know until I get closer… I just know that I want to keep pushing into Awesomeness!

But, I do need something specific..  A fast weight loss for 11 weeks would be 22 lbs, a slow loss would be 11 pounds.  So, I’ll aim for somewhere in between- say, 16 lbs (I like even numbers..)  Mostly, I’d like to have some killer arms and fit into a slinky Spring graduation dress comfortably even if that’s only a loss of 5 lbs.

How will I do this? Turbo Fire, WATER (still struggling with this… ) and… Shakeology?  

I’ve had people ask me about it, other beachbody coaches swear by it and I figure I should give it a shot- at least 1 solid month. I’ve used it 4 days in a row as of today.  I do enjoy it and it may just be a placebo effect but I have the sense that I am doing something healthy.. it’s certainly better than cereal, crackers or cookies…

Here’s to GRADUATION and ULTIMATE FITNESS (Wish I could play some dramatic music here…) 🙂

11 WEEKS

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Considering a Paleo Diet?


So… as a health, fitness and weight loss blog I have come across some interesting trends.  One of them being the so-called “Paleo” diet/lifestyle.  I wasn’t familiar with it so did a little reading…

According to http://www.paleolifestyle.com:

Paleo diet, also known as paleolithic diet or caveman diet, is all about natural foods to help achieve great health and a perfect physique. The human body evolved for more than 2 million years with the food found in nature: game meat, fish, vegetables, wild fruits, eggs and nuts. The human race was thriving on this diet high in animal fat and proteins and low in carbohydrates, but things changed when we introduced unnatural foods to our bodies.It sounds warm and fuzzy and appeals to our sense of ‘natural’ and is a sort of throw-back to our ancestors.

My Critique

1. Eliminating Entire Food Groups – I am generally not a fan of diets that eliminate entire food groups.  Paleo recommends that you do not eat any: dairy, grains, vegetable oil, legumes, and ‘excess’ sugar.  The premise is that these products were not available to the paleolithic man and so our genetic makeup does not properly accept them as a food source.  All of these products have been shown to provide essential nutrition.  Dairy is a great source of probiotics (yogurt), calcium, and protein.  Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber.  Olive oil and legumes are excellent sources of essential fatty acids.  I’m not sure what ‘excess’ sugar means…

2. Evolution – In doing research for “Are Starchy Foods Making You Fat?” – I found that research has shown that we have, in fact, evolved.  Just because the paleolithic man (supposedly) did not have these foods available to him does not mean that he would not have benefited from them.  Neither does not mean that he would not have been able to process them.  Even if paleolithic man could not process these foods – it does not mean that WE can’t.

3. Availability of Foods – I find it highly doubtful that paleolithic man did not have access to legumes (peas, beans, lentils and soy are pretty easy to find…)  No access to dairy products?  Really?  If they were eating goats I’m pretty sure they knew that it produced milk… The paleo diet also promotes eating eggs… ummm… that would qualify as a ‘cultivated’ food by farming… probably not commonly eaten by hunter-gatherers.  Grains are also pretty difficult to avoid – have you seen the rice fields in asia?

4. Health – So, yes, we know that “Syndrome X/ Metabolic Syndrome” that encompasses Obesity, Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, Cardiovascular disease etc. has been increasing over the past 100 years.  Does this mean that the paleolithic man had a longer lifespan?  Was he healthier?  Have you ever met one?  Exactly how are we supposed to know that these ancient people didn’t die at 35 due to a heart attack from atherosclerosis?  Perhaps they all died from wars with neighbors, being eaten by giant tigers or other accidents before they died of heart attacks.  In other words, how much do we actually KNOW about the health of ancient people?  Last I heard we didn’t have any of their electronic medical records…

Conclusion

With all that said, yes, I do take issue with the premise of the diet.  I don’t think it is founded on solid scientific evidence.  Just because our ancestors believed in tree spirits doesn’t mean it was right or that it was better for the human race…  And, just because they ate certain things then doesn’t mean that it is the right way for us to eat NOW.

HOWEVER: I do agree that the way we CURRENTLY eat is seriously flawed.  The scientific community is trying to determine exactly what we are doing wrong.  What makes sense?  We know that fruits and vegetables are good for us.  Lean meats and whole grains.  Antioxidants and Probiotics.  Reasonable portion sizes and regular exercise.  (Yes, those are fragments – just making a point.)

But, I don’t think it is a BAD diet… I think you could get all of your nutrition within the limitations of this diet provided that you ate the right balance of foods.  Moderate portion sizes and regular exercise would still be essential.  Animal fat DOES increase cholesterol and is high in calories.  I don’t think it is better, nutritionally than other ‘healthy’ diet.  I don’t think it is the answer to all of your health conditions or to magical weight loss.  But, if you wanted to try it I wouldn’t try to talk you out of it.  I would just encourage you to visit your MD on a regular basis to get your cholesterol checked. 🙂

What are your thoughts?

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Some disturbing truth…

pharmacy 2.0 and 1/2

God heals, and the Doctor takes the Fees…
Benjamin Franklin: Poor Richard’s Almanack , 1736. 

Maybe old Ben Franklin even recognized the beginning of a trend in healthcare. It’s not the fault of the doctors per se but healthcare is not always focused on patient care, it’s business… big business. Non-profit hospitals used to be dedicated to giving appropriate healthcare to all, even those who could not pay. Now we see non-profit hospitals, formerly operated by faith based organizations, being turned into for profit corporate systems providing care to a community based on direction from share holders and management teams.

In Ben’s day the physician, more times than not, received payment in kind  from his patients.  A basket of eggs or sack of potatoes from the garden for minor services. Possibly the chicken itself; a goat, pig or cow for more major transactions. If the patient couldn’t pay…

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Turbo Fire: Week 4 Reflection

Yes, yes, yes!  🙂  I finished the 1st month!

Exercise:  Still enjoying it!  The only problem I have (if you can call it a problem…) is that some of the days are so SHORT!  I just want to keep going and have to FORCE myself not to pop in another DVD…  It’s just really fun…

 

Favorite move: Ski in Fire 55 EZ – there’s some funky music that makes me giggle 🙂

Diet:  Improvements this week!  I am proud to report that I have been consistently using my Loseit! app since Wednesday (So, only 5 1/2 days) but I have logged everything.  It definitely makes me pay more attention to what I am eating!!  And, those little psych games you play with yourself – if I eat that, I’m going to have to log it… and then my little bar will turn red… or I’m too lazy to log it or don’t have my phone on me so I can’t..  According to the app I went over my weekly ‘budget’ by 636 cals.  It’s hard to tell though b/c I think Turbo Fire burns more calories than Kickboxing (how I enter it) but there’s really no way to know for sure.  I set my ‘program’ to lose 1 1/2 lbs/week.  I’ve been eating plenty of fruits & veggies, small amounts of meats & rice, a few ‘treat’ chips & chocolates… Overall, I’m pleased.

Results: Well… if I take the ‘average’ of the scale when I arrived in the UK compared to the ‘average’ now I’ve lost 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) since I arrived! 🙂 (that’s only a week and a half!!) Must be doing something right!

 

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