Living Lite

Keeping Appetite in Control While Losing Weight

September 18, 2016

Trying to lose weight and stay fit seems daunting at times. The proof of our universal difficulties is evident when you consider that most of us -two-thirds of the U.S. population - tip the scales with numbers higher than medical authorities say is healthful.

The origin of the frustrations we're facing today can be traced back 100,000 or more years. By then, our genetic code had been established during millions of years of evolution, and it hasn't changed much since. We evolved in an environment where food was scarce; and we faced regular famines. To overcome these obstacles, we developed a strong appetite for food which enabled us to survive. If you didn't have a strong appetite, you didn't survive through the regular famines. And we, my friends, are descended from the survivors! We have very strong appetites and love our food! Think about it: a loss of appetite is usually a sign of sickness, or even dying.

But in the relative affluence of modern life, our appetites may now cause us grief - and girth.  So how do we lose weight, that is - take in fewer calories than we burn - and not feel hungry? A recent study looked at this question. It pitted increased exercise against a 25% calorie restriction to see which one would made us feel hungrier (that means calorie intake was 25% lower than the level of calories that would maintain weight).

Compared with exercise alone, a 25% calorie restriction "created a greater challenge to appetite," according to the study recently published in the Amerian Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It increased the hunger hormone, ghrelin, which upped appetite, made food more attractive, caused more snacking, and less successful weight loss.

But this study had a major downfall - the severe calorie restriction - 25% - in the calorie restricted group. I don't recommend a 25% calorie reduction as it's much too low to be sustainable.  In fact, I've found if meals are balanced correctly with the right kinds of foods, including foods you enjoy, if the timing of meals is right, and there's at least a minimal amount of physical activity, you can lose weight while feeling satisfied. But, I also agree with the study: if there is no physical activity at all, then a stricter calorie reduction would probably be necessary - making your program impossible to have lasting results.

Interestingly, most diet studies which conclude that diets don't work, use very restrictive regimens (as this one did), that are almost guaranteed to fail. Just something to think about the next time you read another doomsday report about how weight loss doesn't last! As there is plenty of proof that many people lose weight and keep it off successfully.

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September 5, 2016

Ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for 5,000 years; first by the Chinese and Indians, then exported to the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago. Queen Elizabeth I of England created the Gingerbread Man, now a popular holiday treat. Ginger can be fresh, dried and candied

There are 115 compounds in various forms of ginger contributing to its distinct flavor and aroma. Many of these compounds are also responsible for ginger's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties. Depending on the form of and purpose for the ginger, the recommended daily dose is about one fifth to one teaspoon per day.

Historically, ginger was regarded as the great medicine or "mahaoushadha" in India. In ayurvedic medicine, ginger is used for digestive issues, fever and respiratory conditions. Modern science has confirmed many of these long-held beliefs. 

Several studies have found ginger reduces nausea. Others show it increases stomach emptying and intestinal motility; characteristics which decrease constipation. New research found that just 1 gram (one fifth of a teaspoon) of ginger reduced 26 percent of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms after 28 days. It also reduces pain during menstruation. 

Three clinical studies showed about 2 grams (About one quarter of a teaspoon) of ginger was effective in treating colorectal cancer. Apparently, the bioactive compounds in ginger reduce cellular proliferation in the colorectal lining. 

My advice? Find ways to add ginger to your diet

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Music On The Lawn Every Thursday in September at Grace Church

August 31, 2016

Grace Episcopal Church, Georgetown will present “Music on the Lawn,” a series of Thursday evening concerts, during the month of September 2016.  All performances will take place on the lawn at Grace Church at 1041 Wisconsin Avenue.  For each event, gates will open at 5:30 pm, with music from 6:00 to 7:15 pm.    Suggested donation for each event is $10.

Bring a picnic supper, or buy something from the on-site Dog Tag Bakery concession – sandwiches, salads, cold drinks.   Seating (chairs) will be available. 

Performances are as follows:

September 1:   Squeeze Bayou – Cajun & Zydeco dance music of Southwestern Louisiana

September 8:  Ira Gitlin & the Backroads Band – Bluegrass & Country; one of the DC area’s top honky-tonk country groups

September 15:  Machaya  (Yiddish word describing something that gives great joy) – Klezmer & more performed by Washington and Baltimore's most experienced, nationally acclaimed, klezmer and rock band

September 22:  Cloudburst - Vocalese a la Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Manhattan Transfer

September 29:  Marshall Keys, sax and Herman Burney, bass - great musicians, longtime faithful friends of Grace

 For additional information visit Grace Episcopal Church or 202.333.7100 or e-mail

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