Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Post baby bloat - The 5:2 diet

I've felt a little on the pudgy side lately.  Pants are getting tight and the kilos are creeping on, and I'm getting older so I thought about whether I should go on a diet or not, and have decided that I will.  I've never really dieted before and exercise is a lifestyle thing - I did try to do it regularly but I just am too lazy.  I need something I can maintain.

One of the people who is in my guild in World of Warcraft, suggested to me to try the Paleo, or Caveman diet.  The diet restricts you from eating processed carbohydrates and dairy but you can eat fruit, vegetables, meat - basically anything that Caveman could eat and gather - and it sounded ok in that it wasn't a starvation diet, you could still eat.  But cutting out carbs entirely is hard.  What would I eat for lunch?  And what about rice?  It was a good idea, but I wasn't sure if I could stick to it.

Then my sister recommended the 5:2 diet.  The principle is that you eat normally for 5 days and fast for 2 non consecutive days.  I wasn't sure about these starving diets because I thought it would slow your metabolism but apparently there are a lot of positive things said about this diet.

I came across an article called Two Day Diets: How Mini Fasts can help Maximise Weight Loss, and they had a lot of positive things to say.  An article in the Daily mail also had similar good reports. Fasting means eating 500 calories (2000kJ) a day (usual daily intake is 2000 calories, or just under 8500kJ).  This fasting appears to cause a drop in levels of growth factor, a hormone linked with cancer and diabetes, as well as a reduction in LDL and triglycerides in the blood.  Free radicals are also reduced, as well as levels of inflammation.

Professor Mattson, head of the neuroscience at the US National Institute on Ageing believes that it can protect the brain as well.  He states that dropping your food intake dramatically triggers protective processes in the brain, similar to the beneficial effects you get form exercise.  This could potentially protect the brain against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Professor Mattson has done a fair bit of research on fasting in rats - he showed that rats got nearly all the benefits of calorie restriction when they fasted every other day when compared to those who were on a low calorie regimen all the time.

In the International Journal of Obesity also reported that fasting for 2 days had more benefit than a persistent lower calorie regime, with reduced insulin resistance in patients.

That was enough convincing for me.  So I've decided that the easiest days to fast are somewhere between Tuesday and Friday - days which I work and don't have much time for lunch. Sat- Mon are days I eat with the family or go out, so I wouldn't be able to stick to it those days.

So what can I eat on my fasting days? There was a great list on Marie Claire about what I can eat:

Muller Light yoghurt (89 cals)
Banana (90 cals)
Boiled egg (89 cals)
45g porridge oats (166 cals)
Orange (59 cals)
Apple (53 cals)
Kiwi fruit (47 cals)
Crumpet (100 cals)
1 slice of brown bread (74 cals)
1/2 tin Heinz Baked Beans (100 cals)
 2 egg white omelette (34cals)
1 rice cake with sugar-free jam (45 cals)
Poached egg with a slice of ham (100cals)
Alpen Fruit and Nut Bar (109 cals)
50g Total 0% Greek Yoghurt (48 cals)
Half a slice of brown bread (37 cals)
Half a grapefruit (39 cals)

Half a carton of New Covent Garden Soup Winter Broth with Bacon and Kale (96cals)
Pitta (147 cals)
Rice cake (38 cals)
Celery (7 cals)
Itsu miso soup sachet (44 cals)
1 tbsp Light Philadelphia soft cheese (28 cals)
Heinz Weight Watchers tomato soup (76 cals)
One slice of smoked salmon on two wheat crackers (48 cals)
87g cauliflower (23 cals)
Tuna salad (175cals)
Waitrose Beetroot and Cheese Salad (172 cals)
Mushrooms on wholemeal toast (110 cals)
Heinz Weight Watchers Carrot & Lentil Soup (87 cals)
1 cherry tomato (4 cals) Cadbury Highlights Hot Chocolate (40 cals)
1 Light Babybel cheese (40 cals)
Quarter of a tin of Heinz Baked Beans (49 cals)
50g cooked prawns (50 cals)

Chicken breast (162 cals)
Cous cous (176 cals)
Young’s cod steak in parsley sauce (101 cals)
Tesco’s chilli chicken noodle salad (195 cals)
Roasted aubergine (18 cals)
38g peas (38 cals)
50g cooked prawns (40 cals)
10 spears of asparagus (50 cals)
Weight Watcher’s Mediterranean Veg Quiche (156 cals)
Morrisons NuMe Cottage Pie (300 cals)
Half fillet of salmon (185 cals)
1 roasted pepper (30 cals) 38g
Feta cheese (100 cals)
100g brown rice (135 cals)

I'll do a weekly update and see how I go!

Children: Speech improving

I am not sure if it is the speech therapy or time, but my son has had a marked improvement in his speaking in the last week or two.

He's been singing songs - lots of songs, not just one or two - which include Baa Baa Black Sheep, Row row row your boat, Big Balloon (Peppa pig), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Fruit Salad... it's so heartwarming and encouraging!

Even last week at Daycare, the teacher said that he was very happy that day, talking a lot and singing, and that he was her favourite boy in the day care.  He is very friendly after all.

I'm supposed to be doing the choice boards with him now, but I find it a little hard as he already knows the words.  The choice boards are good if they aren't talking yet, I can see that, but I am still a little hesitant as to how to give him the most benefit from them.

The other great thing is that he's started looking at books.  He used to hate books, but every night he likes to read Charlie and Lola, and also Room on the Broom as well as his picture ABC book.  He would rather point at the pictures and talk about them than listen to me read the words, but it's a start.

I wonder what he'll be like at the end of the year?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Coming to work when sick - should you just stay at home?

Currently I am in the 4th week of illness with a cold that came on top of me still recovering from a cold.  I have been coughing up green phlegm and my cough is revolting, and my nose is runny and I sound awful.  Why don't I call in sick, people ask.

It's true - I often feel like it's some kind of show of weakness if I call in sick.  Obviously if I am REALLY sick with something dreadfully contagious then I don't go in to work - I don't want to give it to my patients.  But what about that cold that I'm carting around, perhaps I should be calling in sick?

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald made me think about the impact of my going in to work sick.  I mean, obviously I knew this already, working in the health care profession, but because colds just seem to be a part of life when you're in medicine, I hadn't really thought about it.
Turns out this attitude imposes a massive impost on the economy. A 2011 study done by health insurer Medibank Private found that people who went to work when they were sick cost the economy $34.1 billion in the 2009/2010 financial year – yes, you read that right – and lowered GDP by 2.7 per cent.
I guess I hadn't really thought about that aspect of it.  With a son in child care, and both parents working in hospitals, we just take the cycle of colds in stride.  For businesses I can see why they would encourage people to get sick, especially if they don't have much leway for covering sick leave.  This example from the article:
“I once looked after an office where all the team sat in pods down one side of the building. One of my team came back from overseas, where she caught a shocker of a ‘flu. Because she thought it would look suspicious for her not to return to work, she came into the office as pale as a ghost. She literally didn't stop coughing and sneezing until a few of her colleagues came to me complaining and suggesting I send her home,” Slezak says.
“I did send her home – via the doctor who gave her a medical certificate to stay home for the rest of the week. But she came back in the next day, claiming she felt better. Over the next six weeks it was like a domino effect as that ‘flu literally struck my entire team down, pod after pod. I had staff off sick for days at a time and at one point an entire business unit was out for the count. Even I wasn't able to escape it."
However, as a contracter, any day I call in sick, I don't get paid.  And when I work in the private hospital, it's really hard to find someone at last minute to cover you, and the patients you may have to cancel because you are sick have many inconveniences as well because THEY had to take the day off, or get their next of kin to take them in and thus they had to take a day off and having to reorganise all that can be a big drama and you end up with some very disgruntled people.

The best I can do is keep my mask on so that I don't cough my filthy secretions everywhere and wash my hands every time I touch my nose.  The article states that you are being selfish by coming into work when you're ill, but I don't think it's selfish.  There are deadlines and things to meet, and people who are relying on you and the domino effect of you being sick that affects your patients who are awaiting their surgeries.  Perhaps focussing on certain hygiene practices at work to help minimise transmission can help.

In Asian countries, mask wearing when ill seems to be a very common practice.  I think that it would be good if people in Australia did that as well - though it's all very well to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, that hand is covered in germs when you touch a door or a table or a pen, but perhaps with a mask over your face, hopefully most of that is caught in the cloth, and a quick rub of some quick drying antibacterial hand gel after you touch you face or nose would help minimising infecting co-workers.  If businesses could invest in that, so people who do want to come to work and help get their job done (rather than implying they are selfish and irresponsible) then productivity could be maintained.