January 28 2014: Molokai Dispatch article

It's Makahiki time!

Makahiki is the the ancient Hawaiian festival in honor of the god Lono. I love the Makahiki season - nowadays it means fun games, seeing everyone, watching the kids happy faces. And FOOD!

We definitely need to support everyone who cooks all the food for the festival. Mahalo!
Here are some tips - for the Makahiki, or any time you go out to a party or a meal - on how you can still eat healthily and at the same time have fun.

First, make sure you eat well before you go, so you're not so hungry. When you get there everything looks and smells so delicious, there's food all around you and everyone else is eating. It's cheap, tasty and convenient. But it's also loaded with calories, sodium and fat - often enough in one meal for an entire day! If you eat well at home before you go then you won't feel too hungry, you can still enjoy the food but you won't over eat.

Keep you eye on the portion size too. For example one serving of rice is 1/2 cup - that's about the size of a tennis ball. One serving of beef or chicken is 3oz, that's about the size of the palm of your hand. Stay away from the extra large portions!

Really try to pay attention to how the food is cooked - deep fried, pan fried, batter dipped, breaded, creamy or crispy are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats and too much sodium. And don't be afraid to ask for a special, healthier order, for example you can ask for no added sauce or dressing, or just ask to serve it on the side so you can add a little yourself. If you ask for something that they don't have now then maybe they can get it for next time!

Be aware of the sides that can quickly add calories, for example fries, chips, rice, noodles, coleslaw, macaroni cheese. Better choices are side salads with a light dressing, baked potato (easy on the toppings!), fresh fruit cups, corn on the cob, or apple slices.

Watch what you drink - water is the best option. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories and so high in sugar, the average large soda packs around 300 calories. If you drink diet soda then it's just filled with artificial sweeteners (aspartame). After you drink you will be hungry sooner than you think.
Smoothies are so high in sugar too, some have almost 120g of sugar (our bodies need 24 to 36g per day!).

Make sure you drink water throughout the meal. This will help you eat less.

Really try and pay attention to what you are eating and drinking. You don't have anywhere else to live, so take care of your body and your body will thank you for it.

Enjoy the Makahiki Festival !!!

January 21 2014: Molokai Dispatch article

New Year, New Start!

How are your New Year's Resolutions going? Or didn't you make one? Studies show that 95% of New Year's Resolutions will have already been broken by now. Most people actually don't even make a new year goal.
Why? Because if you make a resolution and then you break if you feel as if you've failed, and you give up. You need a really strong reason to pull you forward. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Think now about your health or diet goals! Probably in the past you decided to start a diet “on Monday morning”, right? But why do you want to start “on Monday”? Why not Friday or Tuesday, or even better NOW? We tend to think that we'll eat more at the weekend, then we can start a diet on Monday and hope that by the next weekend it's going well, but the next weekend comes and we break the diet. Does this sound familiar? That's because you're putting your body through so much stress by just cutting out all of your favorite foods and restricting your calories too much. You're trying to change everything too soon, but you can't change everything in one go, it takes time and patience.

If you decide to start a diet when you are already full then most likely you won't be able to hold your commitment long enough to succeed. But if you decide while you are already hungry…. most likely you will reach your goal! Why? Because then you have urgency. You want to be healthy. You are so tired of making medication, going to the doctor, feeling pain and low energy.

First, be honest with yourself. Is everything exactly the way you want it to be? If not, and you realize that you need to change something, then congratulations on your first step! Because you can't make a change unless you are aware of what's most important in your life. This is real freedom - finally you can turn off the “autopilot” inside you. Think about how many times you ate something when you weren't even hungry, or you keep eating and didn't even realize you'd finished your meal. You'll understand what I mean!

Now, the SOLUTION:

1. Decide what you really want. Be very clear about your goals.
2. Change just one thing from your daily habit, and keep doing it for at least 3 weeks.
3. Don't think that you are “dieting”. Don't tell anyone, make it your secret.
4. Try to change your thinking - you can eat whatever you want, just you don't want to. What you're doing is your choice.
5. Commit yourself to do whatever it takes to be healthy.
6. The most important one - love yourself enough to remember you're doing this just for YOU.

Always remember this is so much more than just a diet. You're getting healthy! You're getting energized, taking control of your life and not letting anyone tell you what to do or what to eat. The only way you can do this is by committing to use this weight loss as a learning opportunity.

If you have questions about your health, nutrition, fitness or you just need motivation then email me or come and join my free nutrition workshop (where you'll learn how to discover a healthier lifestyle without missing out on the foods you love, and how to make it permanent!).

Happy, healthy and awesome 2015!

December 17 2014: Molokai Dispatch article

New Year Plan

Do you remember your last New Years Resolutions? You decided you wanted to change something, you were so excited... Then maybe after a week or 2 you'd already forgotten about it. Am I right?

Let's do it differently this year! First, you don't need to wait for anything to start on your goals. Maybe your goal is to no longer take medication, or to lose weight, or even to reverse your diabetes. Yes, you read that correctly - a recent scientific study showed that you CAN reverse your diabetes just by changing your eating habits!

We are living in paradise. I mean REALLY in paradise! We have everything we need - fresh food, friendly supporting ohana, sunshine, free open parks. You have no idea what you are missing!
Don't worry, I am not asking you to change your lifestyle. You can eat whatever you like. But did you ever think before why alternative medicine is called “alternative”? Actually, “alternative” medicine - healthy nutrition - is the natural way! Why don't we call modern (western) medicine “alternative”? Think of your grandmother, or great grandmother - for every ailment they had one plant or food to take. And it worked. Nowadays for every problem we have one pill… All we need to do is take care of the inside of our body with the correct nutrients, and our body will heal itself.

First of all, try using real food as your solution. Use food as your medicine. I'm certainly not telling you to stop taking your medications, or stop going to your doctor, but if you can find the root of your illness and clean your body just trough healthy eating then try it and see how you feel after.
For example taro is one of the best, most nutritious foods here on Molokai. 1 cup of cooked taro (104g) contains 28g carbs, 1.6g protein and has 4.3g of fiber - that's enough nutrients for one meal. It's also high in potassium and vitamin E and it's a great source for magnesium. So it's great for your heart. And it's a low glycemic index food so when you eat it you will feel full for longer and your blood sugar will rise slowly.
But wait before you eat lots of taro, you need to know how much. Make sure you measure your food before you eat - just for a few days, to learn what you're really eating. I strongly recommend that you buy one kitchen scale, they are not expensive, you can get one between $10 and $25.

So I suggest you start weighing your food and paying attention to the serving size. If you pay attention to what you are eating at each meal then you're already 50% on the way to your goal.
My second suggestion: with every meal add 1 or 2 servings of veggies. Any kind you like. And you don't need to change or remove anything else, just add a few vegetables.
The best diet in the world is the one you stick to! If you can see yourself eating the same diet in 2 years, 5 years, then it's the best one for you. Whatever you choose should be sustainable for you, so you don't fail.

My favorite taro recipe: take 1 medium sized taro root, slice or cut to fries/chips shape, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of Molokai sea salt. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 16-18 minutes. Enjoy your healthy meal!

I love Molokai and I love you all! I don't want to see any one of you in pain or sick. Please pay attention to what you are eating. I you need help just ASK me!

Have an awesome holiday season, Mele Kalikimaka everyone!

November 26 2014: Molokai Dispatch article

Thanksgiving Dinner

Would you like the good news or the bad news first?

Ok, the good news: just by reading this I know that you are already thinking about your health!
Yes, it's Thanksgiving - turkey time, a perfect time to eat together with our ohana and be grateful for what we already have.
But are you also ready to gain 5lb or more in one night? If you plan the day before then you don't need to. Of course I'm not suggesting you follow a crazy strict diet, you just need to be sensible and use your intuition. I have some tips for you, but first lets remember that you need to correct knowledge to make the correct decisions. If you eat more than you need in one meal then you will store new body fat - that's the way your body works! Also remember that one gram of carbs (bread, rice, potato, pasta etc) makes your bodies cells hold three extra grams of water. So when you gain weight you will also be gaining water weight. And if you've been dieting then you'll push your body back to its starting point.

So what can you do?

- Make sure that you don't miss your breakfast on Thanksgiving day. Eat more lean protein (for example eggs, cottage cheese, greek yoghurt, protein powder...) to help keep your blood sugar stable.

- Drink tons of water!

- Don't eat or drink any type of sugar. That means sugary drinks like soda too!

- Don't do extra exercise before your dinner. This will just make you more hungry than before. Instead do extra exercise the next day.

- When you start filling up your plate, start with lots of veggies. This will help you eat more slowly.

- Reduce oil and butter wherever you can. Try just 1tbsp of gravy.

- Try to eat your dessert at least one hour after your dinner.

- If you choose potatoes then don't also choose bread or rice.

- Think differently! You can eat all the food you want but after you will not feel good. It's better to enjoy your meal, so try and eat mindfully. When you start to feel full, stop eating! You can always eat more later if you're still hungry.

If you want to succeed at permanent weight management then you need to learn how to eat during holidays, birthday parties etc. It doesn't have to be try that you always gain weight after your Thanksgiving dinner.

So, what's the bad news? It is your choice, to watch what you're eating or to choose not to care. It's really that simple. Whatever you choose, you need to take the responsibility - don't blame anyone or anything, it's really up to you.
Be objective. Remind yourself what you want to do, and what your motivation is for doing it.

Be grateful, be thankful, enjoy your dinner!

Happy holidays!

November 19 2014: Molokai Dispatch article

Why do you do exercise?

Exercise has so many health benefits - it can improve your posture, decrease stress, help you sleep better, improve your memory, you’ll have more energy, live longer and be happier! Sounds pretty good, right!
But… many people exercise just to lose weight. That should not be your main reason to exercise though. Yes, if you burn more calories in one day than you consume then eventually you will lose weight. But in reality most people do not achieve - and sustain - weight loss just through exercise, no matter what they try.
So do you want to lose weight temporarily? Or do you want to be healthy and at your ideal weight permanently?

If you do the correct exercises regularly then yes, you can increase muscle mass. But if you don’t support this with the correct nutrition then you’ll lose everything that you gained. And you’ll lose it faster than you think!
If you’re doing exercise because you want to lose weight, unfortunately you are on the wrong path. You should look closely at your diet. What types of foods are you choosing? Are you eating enough foods with good nutritional value? Do you eat the correct food after your workout?
Think about it - if you are going to a party and you know there will be amazing food there that you want to enjoy, what do you do before? Maybe you go to the gym to try and burn a few extra calories? Or maybe you miss one meal, so you can eat more when you’re there? When you exercise with the purpose of losing weight you are doing the same thing - exercise more, eat more, you want to go to the gym regularly so that you deserve to eat more…. Does that sound familiar?

A very recent scientific study said: 'In many interventions that are based on an exercise program intended to induce weight loss, the mean weight loss observed is modest and sometimes far less than what the individual expected. The individual responses are also widely variable, with some individuals losing a substantial amount of weight, others maintaining weight, and a few actually gaining weight.'

Your health is much more important than just how much you weigh. Exercise is far more important for your health than just reducing your weight.
Do your exercise for your soul, for your health. And most importantly, combine it with a nutritious, healthy diet.
Try and find a type of exercise that you like, so that you’ll enjoy it and you can stick to it. Exercise will give you confidence, joy and it will help you connect with yourself. You are doing something just for yourself! And you are the only expert for your body - only YOU can really know what’s best!

Train hard, keep smiling :)

November 5 2014: Molokai Dispatch article

Why we are getting overweight?

Do we get fat because we overeat? Or do we overeat because our fat tissue and our genetics effect our body and cause it to accumulate excess fat? Actually both are true to some extent.

Remember that anything that you eat that’s beyond your immediate need for energy creates new body fat.

A study by Colorado University showed that one third of all women and one quarter of all men in the US are on a diet right now!

I could tell you endless reasons why we struggle with our weight, and why being overweight is connected with so many other health problems, here are a few of them:

1 - Increased portion size of restaurant food and grocery products
2 - Mislabeling on the packaged food
3 - Artificial sweeteners
4 - Soft drinks
5 - Consuming many more calories than we need
6 - Sedentary lifestyle
7 - Increased intake of processed food
8 - Increased sugar intake
9 - Using food for our emotional needs, or giving it as a 'gift” to our kids
10 - We are not paying attention to our bodies actual need for food

Most importantly though is that we are forgetting to eat REAL food. Real food means SINGLE ingredients, not processed, packaged, pre-prepared food.

I can keep going on with many more reasons. Yes, there are so many reasons why people are getting overweight, even obese.
But what if you start by changing just one reason. Can you do it? If you can see how much benefit you’ll get from just changing one thing, then yes, you definitely CAN!

Think about it this way - food is your fuel. The energy your body needs to keep going.
You can learn about the right types of food that fit your body type. Educate yourself, and learn which foods are better for your body.
Wouldn’t it be great to get your life in control? To be free from dieting? To not have to think about food all the time?

I know it takes time, and lots of work. But maybe not? Remember everything is your choice. Maybe just we need to take responsibility, and decide what we can do now?

I am here for you, to help and teach you about the correct food choices and a healthy lifestyle. This is the reason I’m holding free nutrition workshops every couple of weeks (the next one is November 18) - my goal is to educate you with the science behind nutrition, so you are able to help yourself and your ohana.

Also I have great news for you. If you want to be healthy and lose weight then please email me - tell me your story, your diet history, why you want to lose weight, and what is your motivation. I would like to give away my 50 days program here on Molokai for FREE!!! Keep in mind that you will need to work closely with me. But don’t worry. I will be next to you all the way on your journey. And it’s fine if you don’t want to tell anyone - this can be totally anonymous, I will not give your name anywhere, I respect your decision. I just want to help!

We all deserve a healthy, happy life. So keep smiling and stay healthy!

October 29 2014: Molokai Dispatch article

Behavior Change

Why do we create habits? If something feels good, then most likely we will do it again and again, even if it is not really doing us good. But our body starts automatically doing it, without thinking about it. Our body takes control over our mind.

And why then is it so hard when we try to break our habits? Because a change, or a new habit, feels uncomfortable, unfamiliar. We are trying to change ourselves without changing the way we think. We can’t change the way we feel, or what we do, if we don’t first change the way we think.

First, you need to understand that in order to change a habit, you have to change your perception. And you should ask yourself the real reason why you want to change.

For example, if you want to lose weight, then first identify what that means to you. Yes, you want to be healthy, but what does it really mean to be healthy? Tell yourself why you want to lose weight, and write down the reasons. Be specific. Then, if you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, think what it was that stopped you before. Be totally honest with yourself — maybe you failed before, but you don’t want to fail again. Maybe your environment affected you. Or maybe you’ve been in that state and it didn’t feel right or familiar.

Don’t you agree that if you positively change the way that you think, you can change your habits?

I can hear you now saying, “I understand everything, but how?” Here’re a few tips.

Be aware, be present. What does that mean? When you are present, and really aware of what you’re doing, you will realize quickly when you go back to your old habits. Of course it’s not easy to begin with, but if you repeat over and over again then you can create a new, better habit.

Identify what you want to change, and remind yourself what the exact reasons are. If you think any negative thoughts, then say out loud why you can’t do it. When you hear your voice, you’ll realize that you are just making excuses. You can do it!

You have to have a plan. This will keep you on track and help you do what you’re actually thinking about. You can create a new you!

Remind yourself what you are proud of — maybe your career, or your kids, or just the way you help other people. You should be proud of yourself. You are stronger than what you think about yourself.

Today is an amazing day, so start right now, today, don’t wait until tomorrow.

Remember, my next free nutrition workshop is Tuesday Nov. 4, 5:30 p.m., at Home Pumehana. I will talk more there about behavior change while you are dieting, and how you can keep on track. Keep smiling, stay healthy!

You can read my older Molokai Dispatch articles here.


Welcome to MolokaiFitness.com!

Aloha! My name is Ayda, welcome to my website :)

I'm a nutritional consultant and fitness coach, and I'm doing my best to make Molokai the fittest, healthiest island!

I regularly hold free nutrition classes on Molokai - check out the current schedule on my business website DietDocHawaii.com, enter your email address below to get my newsletter updates, or like my Facebook page to stay up to date!

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