Loose weight with Arlene Normand

March 11, 2014

Questions and Answers

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 5:39 am



My main PCOs symptom is depression, what is the best treatments?


Being diagnosed with PCOS can be devastating. You have to find best means for controlling the depression.  You must make diet and lifestyle changes and your mood will start to improve and stabilize. Don’t get me wrong, you will still sometimes wake up irritable for no reason but those days will get fewer. Let’s have a look at some the research about PCOS and Depression.


It seems that there is a strong link between androgen excess, insulin resistance and depression. One study found that women who suffer the symptoms of androgen excess (which are pretty much the symptoms of PCOS) are more likely to struggle with depression than women without PCOS. They also found that carbohydrate craving, excess hair and weight gain impact on our well-being and interfere with daily life. Another article I thought was really interesting explores the link between depression and insulin resistance. We know that PCOS is primarily thought to be an endocrine disorder with irregularities in insulin and carbohydrate processing. Not all women with PCOS are insulin resistant but many are. So, if you do have insulin resistance, you are also more likely to suffer from depression or mood disorders. So, the bottom line is that if you are suffering from depression with PCOS, you are not alone and it is not all in your head. Depression is another facet to this multi-faceted syndrome. Now that I have established that depression in indeed linked to PCOS, let’s look at how it can be treated so that you can live the life of joy, colour and sunshine you are meant to live.


Before getting into specifics, I want to share with you a story of a woman who suffered from severe depression. She also had untreated PCOS. She was on anti-depressants for a year and saw little improvement in her mood. Her mood only normalized when her PCOS was treated and she remained stable even when she stopped taking anti-depressants. The moral of the story is that it is important to treat your PCOS. I’m not saying that you should not take anti-depressants if you are depressed – you need to be led by your doctor (remember that I am not a doctor and you need to seek medical help if you are suffering from depression). I am saying that treating your PCOS may hold an invaluable key to overcoming your depression. Lifestyle changes are recommended as the first course of treatment in the management of PCOS. By lifestyle changes, we often refer to a change in diet and more regular exercise. Well, lifestyle changes have also shown to have a significant improvement on mood and depression in women with PCOS. One study found that if women followed a PCOS diet and exercised, they would see a significant improvement in their mood as well as other symptoms of PCOS. Somehow diet seems to be the foundation of any sort of intervention! If you can lower insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity; you should be able to improve androgen levels. This will lead to improvement in all of your PCOS symptoms, including depression. Here’s another thing you may find interesting: recent research has shown that following a low carb, high protein (LCHP) diet improves mood significantly more than following a low protein, high carb (LPHC) diet.  The researchers divided women in to two groups, one following LPHC diet and the other following a LCHP diet. The women followed the diet for 16 weeks. What is key here is that neither group lost weight so improvement in their mood wasn’t down to that. Maybe it had to do with the fact that insulin levels tend to be lower and more manageable on a high protein, low carb diet?


Some supplements may help. Omega 3 – has been shown to lower testosterone in women with PCOS and improved testosterone levels = improved mood.
Inositol – Important for the metabolism of glucose and women have shown improve insulin sensitivity and decrease in free testosterone levels.

Vitamin D – The sunshine vitamin is important in insulin sensitivity and mood. Eating a good PCOS diet and taking regular supplements seems to help depression and keep mood more stable. Work on doing more exercise to improve my PCOS symptoms even more.

If you are suffering from PCOS and depression, it really may be worth your while changing your diet and making sure you’re doing some exercise, as well as taking your supplements. It is possible to find your spring in your step and see colour in your days!



Are all additives harmful?


No, in fact some additives may even be good for you. Vitamins and minerals are added to some foods to help increase our daily intake. Vitamin D which aids bone, muscle and brain health, is added to dairy food. Folate is added to cereals. It is essential for metabolism as well as being vital for pregnant women to protect against neural tube defects in unborn babies. In addition, Vitamins E and C are powerful antioxidants that help to keep food fresh and can support your immune system and healing. These vitamins may be added to margarine, dips, juice, bread and cereals.



Is MSG really toxic?


Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG has had a bad rap for causing reactions such as IBS and migraines. In fact, MSG is one of a widely used group of flavor enhancers called glutamates which are found in many packet foods like soups, flavoured noodles, Asian sauces and savoury snacks as they enhance the ‘umami’ or hearty flavor. For most people, MSG and other glutamates are harmless. However, glutamates may cause problems for a small number of people, so if you are sensitive to glutamates, check labels for the numbers 621-635 and try to reduce how much you have.



Do diet soft drinks cause cancer?


Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin and aspartame, have been linked to cancer in animal studies, but the risk to humans has not been confirmed. In fact, reviews of the scientific evidence have lead to their continued approval for use in Australia by FSANZ and many regulatory bodies across the world. In saying that, there is a small minority of people with a rare condition that makes them unable to digest aspartame. Many soft drinks and even other ‘light drinks’ from cordials to fruit-flavoured drinks, are now being sweetened by flavourings which are derived from the stevia plant, which passes as a ‘natural’ sweetener.



I am worried about my eye sight and risk of macular degeneration as I age. Can my diet help keep my eyes healthy? If so, what should I be eating?


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when the macula (the centr of the retina) deteriorates, causing vision loss in the centre of your field of vision. A healthy diet can definitely help reduce your risk. Studies have shown eating lots of the antioxidants lutein and zeanthin are key. These are found in dark green, leafy veggies, such as kale, spinach, and silverbeet and also in peasem pumpkin, brussel sprouts, broccoli, corn and beans. Other ‘eye-healthy’ nutrients include zinc (found in oysters, nuts and legumes), vitamin E (from nuts and vegetable oils), vitamin C (in citrus fruit, berries and tomatoes), selenium (in Brazil nuts) and omega-3’s (found in oily fish like tuna and salmon).




Filed under: Diet Menu — Arlene @ 5:38 am




Day 1

Breakfast:                     125g tinned fruit with 200g low fat yoghurt

Morning Tea:                1 peach

Lunch:                          Bagel with smoked salmon and salad

Afternoon Tea: 1 small nectarine

Dinner:             150g grilled fish with vegies (2cups)

Supper:                        ice block / 1 cup rockmelon cubed

Day 2

Breakfast:                     1 scrambled egg and tomato

Morning Tea:                1 plum

Lunch:                          Cheese and salad wrap

Afternoon Tea: 1 nectarine

Dinner:             120g Roast chicken breast and salad

Supper:                        Jarrah hot chocolate/ small orange

Day 3

Breakfast:                     1 grapefruit

Morning Tea:                100g fruche-lite

Lunch:                          Sandwich with Turkey, salad and cranberry jelly

Afternoon Tea: 1 corn on the cob

Dinner:             100g Grilled steak and salad

Supper:                        Jarrah/Swiss Miss/Cadbury Lite hot/125g tinned fruit

Day 4

Breakfast:                     2/3 cup cereal

Morning Tea:                1 peach

Lunch:                          Tuna salad

Afternoon Tea: 1 slice raisin toast

Dinner:             1 cup pasta with Napolitano sauce with salad

Supper:                        3 squares chocolate / 2 apricots


Day 5

Breakfast:                     1 banana with 5 Tblsp cottage cheese and a drizzle of honey

Morning Tea:                1 small apple

Lunch:                          miso soup, 2 sushi rolls

Afternoon Tea: 15 grapes/3 squares chocolate

Dinner:             150g Grilled fish and salad

Supper:                        low joule jelly

Day 6

Breakfast:                     1 toast with 30g cheese and tomato

Morning Tea:                2 sweet biscuits/ 200g low fat yoghurt

Lunch:                          Chicken burger

Afternoon Tea: 5 passionfruit

Dinner:             Stir fry chicken and vegetables

Supper:                        1 poached pear with ½ cup low fat custard



Day 7

Breakfast:                     1 cup cereal

Morning Tea:                1 orange

Lunch:                          Chicken salad

Afternoon Tea: peach

Dinner:             Stir fry vegetables with 100g tofu/100g beef

Supper:                        jarrah hot chocolate/swiss miss/ lite ovaltine and low joule jelly


Daily:  2 cups low fat milk; 2 teaspoons fat


Tips to Stay Fuller

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 5:36 am

Tips to Stay Full Longer

Beat Hunger and Boost Satisfaction

No doubt about it, hunger is unpleasant. In fact, it can be downright embarrassing when your tummy grumbles for your attention at the most inopportune times. When you’re watching your calorie intake to lose or manage your weight, there will be days when you might experience ongoing hunger, even when you’re eating at the top of your calorie range. It can be so distracting and debilitating that you’re ready to throw in the towel. If deprivation is what eating healthy is all about, then forget it!Not so fast. Don’t give up on your new way of eating until you add what could be the missing ingredient back into your eating and weight loss program. What’s the elusive “secret” to feeling fuller, longer? Satiety.

Satiety is that wonderfully pleasant feeling of fullness you get as you eat, when you’re no longer hungry, but aren’t overly stuffed or uncomfortable. You are just satisfied beyond desire. The more satisfied you feel after a meal, the less you’ll eat later. So how do you increase satiety without eating MORE?

When making food choices, it’s still important to meet the nutrition recommendations. But if you’re having problems staying full, adjust your meals and snacks to incorporate these tips:

Eat More Low Density Foods
Calorie density refers to the number of calories per gram of food. Foods that are HIGH in calorie density contain a high number of calories per gram; foods that are LOW in calorie density contain a low number of calories per gram. Calorie density is the key to feel full without overeating.

When you eat too many calorie dense foods, you’ll end up consuming a lot of calories to fill your belly. If you focus on low calorie density foods, you can fill up on fewer calories because low density foods contain a lot more water, which adds weight and volume to the food, but no calories.

Just drinking a glass of water along with the meal does not provide the same degree of satiety. Research has shown that to reduce hunger and boost fullness, the water has to be in the food. Why? Because there are separate mechanisms in the brain to control hunger and thirst. If the food you eat contains the water, it will stay in the stomach longer while the food is being digested. Beyond that, there is also the psychological component of eating food versus drinking water. When you eat food, even water-rich food, you get more sensory stimulation because you have more food going through your mouth and you’re eating for a longer period of time, both of which help you feel more satisfied with your meal.

The following are all water-rich food choices with about 90% bound water. They can have a great impact on the calorie density of your diet.

EAT MORE broth-based soups like chicken broth and vegetable broth.

EAT MORE leafy greens like lettuce, baby spinach and mixed salad greens with fat-free dressing.

EAT MORE fruits like apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, strawberries and watermelon.

EAT MORE non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes and winter squash.

TIP: Start your meal with a bowl of broth-based soup or low calorie-leafy green salad to fill up on fewer calories. Turn to non-starchy vegetables when you get the munchies.

Fill Up on Fibre
Fibre contains only 1.5 to 2.5 calories per gram, while other carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. Fibre-rich foods also necessitate more chewing and slow the passage of food through the digestive tract. The fibre in carbohydrates helps prevent those peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels that can cause cravings and poor food choices. They also may stimulate a satiety hormone in the brain.

EAT MORE fibre from whole grains, fruits and vegetables with skins, beans, lentils and legumes. Aim for 25-35 grams each day to help reduce your calorie intake and increase your satiety level.

TIP: Avoid refined carbohydrates (like white bread, white rice, white pasta and sugar). When eaten alone, refined and simple carbohydrates can wreak havoc on satiety by causing rises and falls in blood sugar which trigger hunger every few hours.

Lean on Protein
Studies suggest that lean protein appears to help prolong satiety more than carbohydrates or fat can..

EAT MORE lean protein from meats, chicken, seafood, low-fat dairy, legumes, lentils and soy products.

TIP: Prepare your meat using low-fat cooking methods like grilling and baking.

Fit in the Fat
Cutting fat intake reduces the calorie density of a food. In other words, you get a bigger portion of food for the same calories when it has fewer fat grams. However, if you go too low in fat you won’t enjoy the flavour, texture or satiety of your food. Plus dietary fat is essential for staying healthy.

EAT ENOUGH fat to meet the fat recommendations. This will bring the pleasure and satisfaction back to your meals so you’re less likely to overeat later.

TIP: Eliminate fat where you don’t need it, opting for reduced fat foods instead of full fat versions. Select low-fat dairy products, low-fat salad dressings, low-fat mayonnaise, etc. and limit saturated and trans fats.

Go Nuts
Nuts have been shown to have a very positive impact on satiety because of their protein and fibre content. A SMALL handful of these nutritious nuggets will often hold you over until your next meal. Of course, portion control is important because nuts and seeds are high density foods.

Choose nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews and others. Even seeds make good choices.

TIP: Keep your portions in check! One serving of nuts or seeds is about the size of a golf ball.

Drink Up!
Drinking plain old water can help with your weight management program, especially if you are substituting calorie-containing beverages like regular soft soda, juice and sweetened coffee for water, which is healthy and calorie-free. For some people, drinking water throughout the day also keeps their hands busy so that they’re less likely to eat out of habit or boredom.

DRINK MORE water throughout the day, aiming for about 8 cups total. Some calorie-free beverages can make good choices, but moderation is important.

TIP: Don’t drink your calories. Calories from beverages add up quickly and affect your weight. Most people don’t pay attention to the number of calories they drink, and that can hurt your weight loss efforts. Watch the number of coffees you have during the day!.

Make It Work
Now that you know which foods have the staying power, it is important to spread these satisfying foods throughout the day into designated meals and snacks. Then you’ll be reaping the benefits all day long.

Even better, slow down and savour every bite. Research has shown that it can take 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you have reached satiety. So take your time and enjoy every delicious bite along the way.

Get in touch with your satiety centre by giving your stomach time to signal your brain that you have had enough to eat, and by selecting the right kinds of foods when you do eat. Finding ways to feel fuller while eating fewer calories—now that’s the secret to success!



Filed under: Messages — Arlene @ 5:35 am


When you eat better, you feel better.  When you gorge you feel bloated and awful.  When you drink too much alcohol you feel hung over and spoil the following day.  Don’t waste a minute of happiness and well being!


When you exercise regularly, your mood improves, which helps you stay on track with your healthier lifestyle.


Whenever you have thoughts that starts with “I have to….I ought to…I need to…I should…I’d better”, change it to “I want to” or “I choose to”.  Altering to a healthy lifestyle in a place full of negative temptations involves discipline and hard work.  Set goals, make plans and look for the opportunities that can help you get the results you want in life.


Great weather gives you the inspiration to feel fit and strong.  Make your daily life healthy, happy and balanced.



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