Healthy Byte: Saying Goodbye

ORIGINAL CONTENT:

It has been almost six years since I have reached my weight loss goal and maintained it. Maintenance has been challenging and complicated with the burdens of getting older.

Along with the natural aging process of added wrinkles and sprouting of salt in our pepper the physical evolution is both noticeable and impactful. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

One of the most striking effects of age is the involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function, termed sarcopenia [13]. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60 [4,5].

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20striking,60%20%5B4%2C5%5D.

Some basic knowledge about muscle verses fat: #1 Muscles burns more calories than fat #2 Muscles weigh more than fat #3 We naturally lose muscles as we age

Therefore the true fountain of youth is to at a minimum, do enough strength training to mitigate the rate of natural muscle loss. Sounds simple enough but for someone who has been overweight and have been groomed to attribute success to set numbers, numbers on the scale and number of the BMI calculation, purposely engaging in an activity which would result in weight gain was very difficult task to embark upon.

But embarked I did … repeatedly … and failed. My vicious cycle of starting regular strength training, gain weight, panic, and quit continued through the majority of my weight maintenance. Until one day, a Facebook ad for a free class at OrangeTheory Fitness changed everything. OrangeTheory is HIIT training classes where every class has a session on the treadmill, rower, and strength training. It is the first time that I’ve stuck with regularly strength training for more than a few months. I absolutely adore the muscle definition on my shoulders and arms & every time I glanced at myself in the studio mirrors, I internally giggle a little.

HOWEVER, along with the muscles, my weight crept up … uncomfortably so. My old struggles with weight resurfaced and I continued to battle with a higher BMI and how the number on the scale was defining my alleged failure. I weigh myself on a weekly bases and if I had lost weight I was emotionally elated, relieved, empowered. But when I gained weight, I was defeated, depressed, and felt incredibly fat. It was heartbreaking to watch the numbers on the scale continue to climb even though I religiously attended OrangeTheory classes a minimum of four times a week.

This passed spring I completed my first full DriTri at OrangeTheory. DriTri is intended to simulate a triathlon with 2000 meters on the rower, a total of 300 body weight exercises on the floor, topped of with a 5K on the treads. I was stunned that I was not the last to finish in my heat, but more importantly I noticed that my overall finish time was better than some members 10 -20 years my junior! It was a testament to all the sweat equity I had invested for the last 4 years but it was also a validation that despite what the scale stated, I had no reason to feel defeated or be depressed about and I certainly was not fat.

And with that, I made the decision to forego the scale going forward. I have stopped my weekly weigh ins and as a matter of fact, I haven’t weigh myself for a little over a month now its quite liberating. I figured if I continue to eat responsibly and continue being physically active, the scale is a tool I no longer needed with my weight loss maintenance journey.

Healthy Byte: Day 3045

ORIGINAL CONTENT

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist or a trainer of any kind. The following is simply my opinion from what has been true for me on my weight loss / long-term maintenance journey. I have completed extensive research from credible sources, however, the information below is my interpretation of that information. So read with a grain of salt.

It has been 3,045 consecutive days since I have been logging my nutritional choices on MyFitnessPal which calculates to a little over 8 years of logging.

I read an article recently on Intermittent Fasting (“IF”) and it was an interesting read. Intermittent Fasting dictates the number of hours of fasting verses the number of hours of eating within a 24-hour period or week – depending on the version. The theory is that by prolonging the period of no food consumption, it forces the body to burn through the calories consumed during the last meal and begin burning fat. There are also research which shows that the period of fasting not only induces Human Growth Hormone levels which benefits fat loss and muscle gain, improves insulin levels, impact gene functions related to protection against disease, but also allows the body to initiate cellular repair because it is not burdened with processing food. Please see Healthline & Hopkins for additional details.

Over the years, I have had to continue to adjust both my nutritional and fitness plans in order to maintain – it’s just what it takes as we get older. I had followed the 80/20 Rule (eating on plan 80% of the time) for years but since I’ve hit the half-century milestone I noticed that the impact on regulating my weight was decreasing. So I transitioned to IF and found that 14:10 works best for me and my schedule. IF has made a noticeable difference in easing long-term weight management but it also has alleviated my angst in extensive meal planning.

Article Summary: The writer had been on 16:8 IF for years but was experimenting with a new version of IF called the “Warrior Diet.” The Warrior Diet consists of fasting for 20-hours and limiting eating to only 4-hours a day which I thought was utter madness. However as I read on, she explained that by only eating 4-hours a day, she was liberated to eat larger quantities and whatever she wanted which relieved a lot of the stress related to counting calories and feeling deprived. She also claimed that eating only 4-hours a day essentially eradicated the possibility of overeating which for her, helped reduced her sugar cravings and feeling bloated. The writer seemed to have success with the Warrior Diet after trying it for 2-weeks.

My Perspective: What stood out to me was her mention of bloating and admitted struggle with it. In reviewing a sample day of foods she consumed,

” … tofu kale salad … a bowl of roasted tofu, sweet potatoes, and red peppers … banana, raw almonds or cashews, black-bean burritos, avocado pasta with Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs and steamed broccoli, lentil soup and bread, or veggie burgers with roasted veggies. If I felt like it, I’d eat a little dessert after. Sometimes it was some trail mix and fresh fruit, and sometimes it was a vegan brownie sundae”

https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/warrior-diet-1-week-2-weeks-43966339

I can’t help but to think that perhaps she maybe is FODMAP intolerant.

As I had incrementally phased out nutrition-poor food options, for the first time in my life I made the decision to incorporate vegetables with each dinner meal. Not being a vegetable person, I defaulted to the four vegetables I didn’t mind eating – green beans, carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli. I was so proud of myself for eating lean protein and vegetables but after a few weeks, my waistline increased, I gained weight, had severe constipation, and was constantly uncomfortably bloated – sometimes so painful that all I could do was curl up in the fetal position until the pain passed. I was very upset, frustrated, and couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong.

Around the same time, one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with Celiac. Her unfortunate diagnosis gave me the idea that perhaps I had some form of gluten or carbohydrate sensitivity. After hours of research, I had concluded that I was FODMAP intolerant. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols and unlike Celiac, FODMAP intolerance is not an immune reaction but an intolerance to certain types of foods. High FODMAP foods are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine absorbs poorly which can result in the large intestine retaining too much water causing sometime unbearable bloating. Please see Cleveland Clinic; Healthline; Hopkins for additional details.

And to my surprise, many healthy foods are also high-FODMAP foods. Foods like wheat, soft & silken tofu, legumes, lentils, fruits like apples, avocados, ripe banana, and vegetables like mushrooms, snow peas, onion, cauliflower, and broccoli. And sadly, FODMAP intolerance varies greatly from person-to-person, therefore there really is no one-list to definitively identify all high-FODMAP foods for all people. To further complicate things, each person can have a certain persona tolerance to certain high-FODMAP foods. For example, onion and broccoli are both a high-FODMAP foods, but I can consume a small amount with no ill-effects. So it is truly a matter of persistent trial & error with a lot of patience in determining what the trigger FODMAP foods are.

Given the sample of foods the writer listed, there’s a possibility that perhaps all the Warrior Diet accomplished was to reduce her consumption of high-FODMAP foods within her tolerance level like onions & broccoli are for me.

Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Ugly Chang

ORIGINAL CONTENT – HARRY POTTER BOOK SERIES SPOILERS (So if haven’t finished the series come back when you’re done)

Unexpectedly, I was on a 3-hour layover in Chicago and I was simply looking for something to pass the time. This was the days before smartphones and free Wi-Fi. I saw a huge display in the airport bookshop of the Harry Potter series. Apparently the first two books were 20% off in anticipation of the release of the third book. I had heard so much hoopla that I thought, why not – I have nothing to do for the next three hours anyway so might as well see what all the fuss was about. So I purchased both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

This was the beginning of my descent into the magical world of all things Harry Potter, Hogwarts, and Sorting Hat. I loved the books, the story, the mystery wrapped in magic, family, and friends. JK Rowling is a maestro, effortlessly and elegantly guiding us readers into a fictional world which we collectively want to will into reality. She arranges her words with such cadence that lures me to read on, ‘one more chapter,’ I would say to myself. ‘A few more pages,’ I would promise myself. ‘Another paragraph or two,’ I would continue to negotiate with myself. And before I knew it, it was 0230 and I had to get the boys ready for school in 4 hours. It was an escape from being the mom, the wife, and the household CEO. It was as if I was invited to temporarily indulge in the lives of these characters which I just could not abandon in their hour of need. Rowling is a true artistic master of the written word and with such regards, established an air of perfection – whether true or not.

On September 8, 1999, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in the United States. I forego to lines of Harry Potter fanatics and waited until after work to pick up my copy. Despite many not particularly fond of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it was my personal favorite. I intensely identified with Harry with his longing for family and against all odds, crossed paths with Sirius Black – his feared champion against a cruel world. Perhaps I was even a bit envious of Harry as I had to grow up being my own champion.

The third book in the series was also the introduction of the one and only Chinese character, Cho Chang. Cho was introduced during the Ravenclaw verses Griffindor Quidditch match.

“The Ravenclaw team, dressed in blue, were already standing in the middle of the field. Their Seeker, Cho Chang, was the only girl on their team. She was shorter than Harry by about a head, and Harry couldn’t help noticing, nervous as he was, that she was extremely pretty. She smiled at Harry as the teams faced each other behind their captains, and he felt a slight lurch in the region of his stomach that he didn’t think had anything to do with nerves.”

JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I remember how excited I was that a Chinese character was going to be a part of this world. Cho was the perfect combination of intelligence, athletic, and pretty. If I had a bone to pick, I would say her name had always bothered me. Although Cho was described as “extremely pretty” her name disappointedly failed to reflect that. For many years I wasn’t sure if Rowling was being clever or just ironic, ironic in terms like nicknaming Hagrid ‘Tiny’ or Gregory Goyle ‘Einstein.’

The name “Cho” to a native Chinese (Mandarin) speaker can be interpreted to two very common words and neither are flattering. The first is “Chǒu” (醜) with the “ǒ” in the third tone, meaning “ugly” as in Ugly Chang. The second is “Chòu” (臭) with the “ò” in the fourth tone, meaning “smelly” as in Smelly Chang. I had considered that perhaps Rowling was confused and had intended for “Cho” to be the last name, as traditional East-Asian names often are arranged with the last name first and the first name last. So if Westernized, it would be Chang Cho – Change being the first name and Cho being the last name. However, that is not what Rowling had written or how Cho Chang was introduced. Granted, Google didn’t launch until 1998, but I can’t imagine that any amount of research would have avoided such a peculiar choice.

Perhaps Cho could have been Zhūbǎo (珠寶) Chang. Zhūbǎo (珠寶) is a rather common girls’ name meaning “jewels” as in the child is the parents’ precious jewel, which is a lovely sentiment. Or better yet, perhaps Cho could have been Měilì (美麗) Chang. Měilì (美麗) is also a very common girls’ name literally meaning “beautiful” and easily Westernized to “May Lee” or “May Li.” Perhaps those were too common or too ordinary or even boring. However, the main character’s name is “Harry” which was ranked 30th most popular boys’ name in 1994 and had never fallen out of top 50.

So if commonality is not the concern then I can’t help but wonder why Rowling felt compelled to emphasize a Chinese character in such a manner. Names likes Emily Chang, or Sarah Chang, or Olivia Chang seem not to be quite Chinese enough. It certainly seem to be a misguided notion that Chinese characters have-to-have a traditional Chinese name in order to be Chinese enough. It all seems a bit thoughtless. It also leads me to speculate whether Rowling have any Chinese friends or acquaintance or even someone at the Chinese take-out to bounce names off of before going with “Cho.”

Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Girls’ Trip Complicated

ORIGINAL CONTENT

Anyone who knows me know three things about me – #1- I love Harry Potter, #2- I have embraced being fun sized, and #3- if I had to declare a role model, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be it.

So when the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, Ohio announced that there would be a Notorious RBG exhibit, almost immediately I texted M to make a girls’ trip out of it. She secured a lovely Airbnb, our exhibit tickets purchased, and we had a tentative agenda for two-days of food indulgence and good conversations.

However, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but to be burdened with safety concerns. Being of Mongolian-Chinese descent, in the year 2021, I had thought being verbally and physically bullied were just bad memories growing up in Flushing, New York. Never would have I dreamt such concerns would arise again in such ferocity. But sadly, I was wrong.

The previous administration routinely engaged in inflammatory language to rile up their cult following while stroking their own egos and disregarded the consequences. It does not take much for any minority group to be the scapegoated, much less being called out in the midst of a world-wide pandemic. A Korean GOP candidate recently joined in the tirade singling out Chinese immigrants hoping to endear herself to the cult members. She brazenly made incendiary statements followed with a pompous declaration that she was entitled to say such things because she was Korean. However, what she fails to understand, is that it makes no difference if one is Korean or Chinese or Japanese because to some, we are all chinks & gooks and all should go back to China, although many of us has never been.

After serving 11-years in the United States Army, I feel like I have earned the right to feeling safe in my own country. I shouldn’t have to warn my elderly mother to only leave her house if it was on fire. And a perfectly simple girls’ trip shouldn’t be complicated with strategies of how to minimize my Chinese-ness so that I am not targeted.

I use to ponder when I will be American enough. But now I understand it was never about assimilating in order to be American. No. It always has been about how to minimize my foreignness.

Scooter Girl 411: The Addiction of Scooter Mods

ORIGINAL CONTENT

One knows when spring is here based on two things – #1 all the blooming buds on trees, flowers, grass and #2 the insatiable urge to ride or get one, whether it be a motorcycle, trike, or scooter.

Perhaps one of the best part of owning a scooter is the ability to customize it and like tattoos, once you start, it’s difficult to stop.

My inspiration was an orange Vespa, complete with racing stripes and white wall tires. I absolutely adore the vintage look of Vespas but I am much too petite to ever ride one, much too poor to ever afford one, and THIS is probably the only Vespa I will ever be able to ride. 🙂

Many of the customizations on my Genuine Buddy 125 I was able to do myself accompanied by hours of YouTube videos. It made me feel rather mechanically inclined … which I am not. LOL

The absolute first thing I did was to model my plain orange Buddy with a combination of car decal stripes and reflective tape from Amazon. It was a very inexpensive mod which made an immediate WOW impact. The first thing I changed which required a screwdriver, was out of necessity rather than esthetics. The stock Genuine Buddy seat is very stiff and unforgiving. Since I only have a 27″ inseam, I took the opportunity of swapping out the seat for the low profile seat which reduced the seat height (inseam) by a good inch or so. One of the down side is that with the lower seat, some under seat storage is lost.

The second item I replaced was also out of necessity – the stock rear shocks is brutally unforgiving and the ride can be compared to bouncing on a cement bench, feeling every nuke and cranny of the road. It was so severe that for the first time in my life I had lower back pain after a longer ride. I installed the NCY Adjustable Lower Rear Shocks which lowered the seat height by an additional inch or so. Being able to comfortably rest both feet at a full stop is a luxury fun-size riders really have to work for, not only for safety reasons but to increase overall confidence. However, one of the downfall of the lower shocks is that I can no longer sustain enough leverage to use the center stand which is a bit of a bummer. The other downfall is that I didn’t do enough research and made a costly mistake. I’ve now learned that when one installs the lower rear shocks, one has to remove the rear fender. Otherwise the rear fender will consistently knock against the fuel tank and eventually crack it right where the petcock connects causing the need for the entire fuel tank to be replaced. VERY expensive mistake. I also opted for a new set of Prima white wall tires which I felt not only improved ride quality and control on turns, but it completed the retro look.

The third item I added was a wind screen which I initially did not want. Being a petite rider (under 4′ and flirting near 100 lbs) I needed a wind screen to help stabilize the scooter at higher speeds and winds. Otherwise, the front wheel at higher speeds felt like it was floating on the road and a good stiff breeze would be able to blow the scooter right out from under me – which is not a fun feeling for a new rider. I did have to change the wind screen to a shorter, sportier model so that I am not looking through two layers (face shield & wind screen).

Perhaps one of the most functional additions was the rear rack. With a few bungie cords I have carried dinners, brownies, tripod, and many other things which cannot fit under the seat storage. And I think the chrome is just more snazzy looking. The other fun & fairly inexpensive ways to get a new look are seat covers. Suzy from Cheeky Seats is wonderful to work with and has an amazing assortment of fabrics. I have two vinyl ones and will be purchasing a third in carbon fiber. It will be awesome.

And if all that wasn’t enough customization, I even customized my helmet! After years of nagging from the Hubs, I finally retired my first helmet, the AFX-76 3/4 with a Biltwell bubble face shield in smoke. It protected me well enough but every once in awhile a small pebble sneaks up and projectiles onto my chin which at 45+ mph doesn’t feel all that great. Since I have such an obscenely round head, my choices for a full helmet was quite limited. I ended up with an Arai Quantum-X with the Aria Vas V-Pro face shield in dark smoke. Again, with both helmets I used a variety of car-grade decal stripes, reflective tape, and car decals to make it my own. I am most happy with how nicely the Hello Kitty turned out.

I am considering in replacing the front performance forks to further enhance the ride but that will be an investment for another day.

Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Just Write

ORIGINAL CONTENT

Stories swirls about my brain like an annoying nag. So many had come to me but I ignorantly denied the compulsion to give them life. ‘I’ll get to it later,’ I’d reassure myself. The words gradually visited less and less often often, forcing to annotate the fleeting sparks of creativity at its’ convenience rather than mine. To my disappointment, I have not made much in the way of progress in finishing my book since obtaining my MA. As a matter of fact, for all my plans of grandeur, I have not even had the motivation to submit the publishable essays to editors to be considered to be published.

My line of thinking was that I didn’t want to piece-meal my best work by publishing them prior to my book being ready. My reservation was that I didn’t want to write new book-worthy essays and have them disqualified to be published because they were previously published on my blog. My fear was that I couldn’t present the perfect, publishable essay in every blog post, hence ruining any chances of book agents, editors, or anyone in the publishing world to see me as a worthy undiscovered author. My strategy was to segregate book-worthy essays, from blog-worthy essays, and to only post the most perfect essay that will go viral & effortlessly lead to being a published author. However, what resulted in all my extravagant planning and strategy was being too overwhelmed to write at all. The very idea of reserving one set of writing for this and other writing for that caused me to forego writing all together.

Until one of my best friends in the world inspired me to do something different. I seem to have an odd talent in making friends with those younger than myself … sometimes by decades. This persistent phenomena perhaps is an attestation to the maturity of all the wonderful brilliant women I call my best friends, or its an attestation to my own lack of maturity … who really knows. Nevertheless, my best friend M is probably the most ambitious person I know. To witness such conscious, proactive, and strategic effort in self-advocacy in a male-dominated industry was awe-inspiring.

So much so that it forced me to re-evaluate my ultimate goal(s) as a writer. Do I need the validation of having a published book in order for me to be a writer? Do I want to write because I feel like I have worthwhile stories to share or do I only write with the aspiration of being published? What is my definition of a successful writer?

That is when the concept of Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) (roughly translated to I Write for Myself) came into fruition. At a bare minimum I have to actually write to be any resemblance of a writer. And in order for me to write, I have to let go my personal mandate that being published is the only worthy reason to tell my stories. I cannot continue to create an infinite amount of hoops for myself to jump through in order to start writing. So here I am. Writing. First time in years. Feels rather good.

HEALTHY BYTE: Day 3020

That number signifies the number of consecutive days I have logged into MyFitnessPal. I have not missed logging my meals for a little over 8 years. MyFitnessPal was the game-changer which forever impacted the way I eat, what I eat, and how much I eat. To physically see the number of calories I consumed in ratio to my physical activities (or lack there of), it educated me and held me accountable for my choices.

It’s like balancing a check book but instead of money, the currency is calories. So for example, if I had 340 calories to spend, do I want to drink it away via a Starbucks Tall (12 fl oz) White Chocolate Mocha at 340 calories or would I rather eat a 4oz turkey sandwich on Brioche bread for about 270 calories? When put into those terms, I would always opt to eat my calories over drinking my calories. And its small incremental lifestyle changes like this which allowed me to lose close to 62 lbs and keep it off for almost 8 years – refusing to be a participant to the weight loss statistic of weight regain.

I often still struggle will the little things because the inner fat girl is never far behind. I distinctively remember being particularly excited in purchasing a brilliant orange red sweater from the Loft after stalking it to go on sale for months. When it finally arrived, I pulled it out of the packaging and instantly a wave of cold sweat poured over me, a knot developed in my stomach, and I felt fat. I held up the XS sweater and it looked so ridiculously small that I was convinced that I was too fat to fit in it – not that the sweater was too small but that I was too fat. I tossed it down on the bed and was disgusted with myself for having that extra slice pizza a week ago. It took a few days before I would gather enough nerve to try it on and it did fit me perfectly but instead of taking pride that fitting into an XS was the result of my hard work, I discounted it and chalked it up to luck. And to some, this all may sound utterly ridiculous because I didn’t have 100+ or 200+ lbs to lose, but losing almost 40% of my original body weight and keeping it off should be a celebration in it of itself.

Being in weight loss maintenance, I have had to continuously make slight adjustments to my nutrition with little effort. However, finding a regular physical activity to keep me active & motivated has been challenging because I am naturally lazy and a homebody. From hours of research, I know that losing muscle is a natural part of aging and since muscle burns more fat it means that it makes no difference what nutrition choices I make, unless I consciously counter the muscle loss, as I get older, I will continue to put on weight even if my food choices doesn’t change at all. Strength training has been an Achilles heel, my personal kryptonite. Intellectually, I understand the importance of strength training, that muscle weighs more than fat, and that non-scale victories should be my weight loss maintenance goal. But emotionally, its really difficult to let that number on the scale go – to let that number on the scale not trigger fear of getting fat. Every time I regularly strength trained (3 times a week) I gained weight. I would see a number on the scale that frightened me and I would quit. This vicious cycle continued until I found OrangeTheory Fitness . It is HIIT training which incorporates two forms of cardio and regular strength training. It is highly effective. It provides a wide range of goals for me to work towards. It has helped me develop nice muscle definition on my shoulders and my arms. But it is at the expense of my weight – or at least the weight I would prefer to be rather than what I currently am. I have to learn to redefine what thin should look like for me and it is an ongoing struggle but I see role models like Ernestine Shepherd that keeps me pushing forward through the fear.

Healthy Byte: Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Breast Cancer

Image result for mammogram

Originally Posted HERE

(Reuters Health) – Screening mammograms don’t benefit women aged 75 and older with chronic health problems – such as heart disease or diabetes – that are likely to end their lives before they develop cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 222,088 women who had at least one screening mammogram between 1999 and 2010 when they were between 66 and 94 years old. Researchers followed most women for nine years or more.

During the study, 7,583 women, or about 3%, were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 1,742 women, less than 1%, were diagnosed with pre-invasive malignancies known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). While 471 women died of breast cancer during the study, 42,229 died of other causes.

This means women were 90 times more likely to die of causes other than breast cancer, researchers report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“Having more chronic illnesses increases the risk of dying from non-breast cancer causes, while having no impact on the risk of breast cancer or breast cancer death,” said Dejana Braithwaite, senior author of the study and a researcher at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

“This is a big deal because, while younger women might have a more justifiable reason to undergo screening mammograms to detect breast cancer because their risk of dying from other causes is relatively low, this is not the case in older women, particularly those with one or more chronic illnesses,” Braithwaite said by email.

Women ages 75 to 84 were 123 times more likely to die of causes other than breast cancer; this estimate was even higher among women age 85 and older.

The 10-year risk of dying from breast cancer was small and did not vary by age; it stayed about the same from age 66 to 94, accounting for just 0.2% -0.3% of all deaths in the study.

By contrast, the risk of dying from other causes increased with age and also climbed with each additional chronic medical problem a woman had.

The goal of screening mammography is to detect tumors before they can be felt in a physical breast exam, catching cancer sooner when it’s easier to treat. Ideally, this should mean fewer women are diagnosed when tumors are bigger, rapidly growing and harder to attack.

But some research suggests that screening too early or too often can also catch more small, slow-growing tumors that are unlikely to be fatal – without curbing the diagnosis of advanced cancer cases. Harms of too much screening can include unnecessary invasive follow-up tests and cancer treatments for tumors that never would have made women sick or led to their death.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force notes that there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against screening women age 75 or older. Many breast cancer programs in Europe stop screening women between the ages of 69 and 74.

In the U.S., despite these recommendations, many women in their 80s and 90s still get screening mammograms, the study team notes.

One limitation of the analysis is that it only included women who continued to get screening mammograms as they aged, and it’s possible results for all women in the population, including those who stopped getting mammograms, might be different, researchers note.

“Our study included large numbers of older women unlikely to benefit from screening mammography,” Braithwaite said. “Women ages 75 and older with chronic illnesses are unlikely to benefit from continuing mammograms, however, these findings underscore the need for more individualized screening strategies, rather than making sweeping recommendations.”

Healthy Byte: The Unicorn for Women – Flat Belly

 

Image result for skinny fat pooch women

Originally Posted HERE

The idea that for a woman to be beautiful and healthy she must have a flat stomach has infiltrated mainstream society. Not only is this far from the truth – women are beautiful regardless of stomach size – but it is also a rarity to have a perfectly flat stomach.

“This belief is setting women up for failure because a woman’s stomach isn’t meant to be flat,” Ashley Wood, RN, BSN, contributor at Demystifying Your Health, told Grateful, part of the USA TODAY Network.

Over and over again, I see friends and strangers killing themselves to suck any bit of bulge from their stomach, feeling inadequate any time they see a stomach roll. For years, I felt the same way, terrified to put on a bathing suit, feeling exposed and ugly, desperate to fit the standards society had told me I needed to meet.

It feels like every day I see another article that perpetuates this narrative, promising a certain food or exercise move will finally allow me to achieve this mystical flat stomach. It suggests that any problems in life would be solved if I could simply accomplish that goal. Well, I can’t, and that’s actually OK. In fact, it’s great! Letting go of a goal you can’t achieve and allowing yourself to focus on those you can gives you back control of your life.

This may be hard to believe after what feels like a lifetime of hearing that a flat stomach is gold. So, as with any myth, the best way to tackle it is with facts. Here’s why some women are not biologically built for a flat stomach.

WOMEN HAVE EXTRA PADDING TO PROTECT VITAL ORGANS

There is a very big reason why some women cannot achieve a flat stomach, and it is called reproductive organs.

“The design of a woman’s anatomy is different than men,” Wood says. “In addition to having room for digestive organs, like your stomach, liver and intestines, it has to have space for your reproductive organs and needs extra padding to protect all of these vital organs. This process of naturally storing fat cells in the stomach area begins during adolescence and young adulthood in preparation for childbearing later in life.”

Yes, right when we enter adolescence and start being told exactly what our body should look like is when it starts to take on a mind of its own.

Visceral fat vs. subcutaneous fat
Visceral fat vs. subcutaneous fat

Men and women also lose fat in different ways.

“When men lose weight, they tend to lose their visceral fat, which is the layer of fat behind their abdominal muscles, while women typically lose subcutaneous fat, which is the layer of fat just below the skin,” said Caleb Backe, a certified personal trainer and health expert for Maple Holistics. “Both your visceral and subcutaneous fat contribute to your achieving a flat stomach, which is why some women find it harder to do so than others. Furthermore, factors like hormone regulation play a role in storing visceral fat, which is why many women are not biologically built for a flat stomach.”

TRUST HOW YOUR BODY IS BUILT

Just like it protects your organs, each thing your body does is for a reason. As you fight what your body does, it puts you at odds with what it needs, sometimes to the point of danger.

Ariel Johnston, a registered dietitian who specializes in treating eating disorders, cautions clients that they’ll likely see fat accumulate around their stomachs.

“When weight restoring through increased nutrition, the weight is distributed unevenly and goes to the stomach first,” she said. “This is amazing because it is the body’s way of telling us that it needs the extra fat layer there to protect itself. The mechanism behind this isn’t fully understood, but after adequate time and nourishment, the fat is redistributed throughout the body.”

Yes, your stomach will go up and down, looking different at certain times than others. “It is normal for the stomach to expand after a big meal to accommodate for the food nourishing your body. This isn’t necessarily bloating; just your body doing it’s work to break down food in the stomach,” Johnston says.

Having a flat stomach is not the key to being healthy or happy. There are some days in which I see my stomach poke out in my shirt or still cringe at first look when I’m in my undergarments, but life is simply too short to go after something unattainable while hating myself.

“I tell my clients that a slightly rounded tummy or some rolls is normal and that their worth is so much more than what they look like in a swimsuit,” Johnston says.

Instead of diets and habits that promise women something they don’t need to and can’t achieve, let’s start celebrating women for who they are.

Healthy Byte: What You May Not Know About Menopause

Image result for menopause symptoms hot flashes

Originally Posted HERE

Menopause mostly deserves its bad rap, what with frustration-inducing symptoms like hot flashes, brain fog, weight gain, and mood swings. But take this to heart: The change doesn’t have to be this big, awful thing you fear or must suffer through.

Unfortunately, 65 percent of women say they feel unprepared for what menopause may bring, reports a study in the journal MaturitasBut unlike other hormonally tumultuous times like puberty and pregnancy, you’ve actually got a lot more control over how you weather this one, says Sarah De La Torre, M.D., an ob/gyn in Seattle.

The facts and the tips that follow will help you feel ready and empowered to deal with menopause — and make these years your best yet.

1. Symptoms could last for 7+ years.

You officially reach the big M after 12 months without a period, a milestone most women hit around age 51. “But it’s not a hard stop — it’s a gradual process,” explains Felice Gersh, M.D., an ob/gyn, director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine in Irvine, CA, and author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness.

2. No, hot flashes aren’t random.

Up to 80 percent of pre-menopausal women and 65 percent of post-menopausal women experience this trademark symptom. And while you may not be able to entirely avoid hot flashes, there are ways to minimize their impact.

“Triggers such as stress, hot drinks, caffeine, and sleep deprivation can definitely kick off hot flashes and make them worse and more frequent,” Dr. De La Torre says.

Spicy foods, hot rooms, and tight clothing also turn up the heat. So avoid those things, and swap them for more sleep, healthy foods, and plenty of exercise.

3. You can still have sex — and enjoy it.

“A lot of women feel like sex won’t be as good after menopause or that it will be painful,” Dr. De La Torre says. Sure, waning hormones can leave the vagina naturally drier and less elastic, but you don’t have to live with it or let it kill your sex life any more than you have to live with a headache in the age of ibuprofen.

“Vaginal estrogen inserts, lubricants, and red light therapy can all help improve the health of your vagina and maintain your sex life,” Dr. De La Torre says. Surprisingly, while 50 percent of women experience vaginal dryness and painful sex, as many as 90 percent don’t seek help, reports Harvard Women’s Health Watch. So be like the 10 percent, and talk to your doctor.

4. You can still get pregnant.

“I’ve had quite a few 44-year-olds with surprise pregnancies,” Dr. De La Torre says. “I think some women get more casual about birth control in their 40s, thinking there’s no way they could get pregnant — but you’re still fertile, just less so.”

There’s another reason to keep taking hormonal birth control: It could help smooth your path through menopause. The steady dose of hormones in pills and IUDs means your body may not fully register the decline of natural estrogen and progesterone. In other words, symptoms might not be as erratic. “A lot of women have ridiculously heavy or erratic periods in perimenopause, and progesterone-releasing IUDs, especially, help avoid that,” Dr. De La Torre says.

5. Menopause doesn’t just affect your reproductive system.

Estrogen is the “master of metabolic homeostasis [a.k.a balance] and function,” Gersh says. So when production ceases, it impacts everything from fat production and distribution, appetite hormones and thyroid function to energy levels, sleep, mood, inflammation, and so much more.

That’s partly why up to 90 percent of women gain weight after menopause and why you may feel hungrier or more fatigued, Dr. Gersh says. Estrogen also helps manage cholesterol levels and keeps artery walls and blood vessels flexible and healthy, which is one reason the risk of heart disease jumps as the hormone declines. But you’re only in real trouble if you do nothing.

“Now is the time to start taking really good care of yourself,” Dr. De La Torre says. That means eating lots of fruits and veggies, exercising, practicing good sleep hygiene (no more scrolling social media in bed!), and reducing stress. All help prevent a dangerous pile-on of risk factors, keeping you healthy.

6. Your mental health might take a hit.

“Taking care of your mental health should be a huge priority,” Dr. Gersh says. “Women already have twice the risk of depression and anxiety as men, and that can escalate during the menopause transition.” Menopause symptoms also bring about extra stress (as if your kids flying the nest and aging parents who need care weren’t stressful enough).

You already know it feels good to vent or laugh your way through the tough parts of life, but research suggests positive social support can increase longevity in post-menopausal women, too.