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Want to lose weight?

March 10, 2010

Someone recently e-mailed me and asked for some advice on how to lose weight.  It got me wondering, with all the blogs, websites, books, e-books, videos on diet out there, why is it still so hard to find good, yet easy to understand information on how to lose weight?

Firstly we have to realise that people who write diet books are in it to make money, which is fair enough.   Gotta make a living hey?

But if you give someone a diet plan that is too simple, then the information is quite easy to pass on to family members and friends, so that means less in the authors coffers.  Einstein would be scratching his head at some of these diet books, and its any wonder that most people just give out of sheer frustration at the amount of work they have to do to just be healthy.

Let me fill you in on a little secret.

It ain’t brain surgery.

Here’s how I replied to person that e-mailed me.

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Hi <name removed>,

Thanks for your e-mail and really appreciate your kind words!

I’m not sure you are aware of the basic reason that people store body fat?  The reason is insulin.  It has nothing to do with the amount of calories you are eating (which is what most people think).

Insulin is the hormone in the body that regulates fat storage.  Its job is to clear excess blood sugar from your blood stream.  If your body has high levels of blood sugar continuously, this is extremely bad and can cause damage to your liver, eyes, kidneys and can have shocking long term effects (this is basically diabetes, and why people with diabetes are higher risk of cancer, heart disease).  This is the reason that insulin is so important.

If your body is producing lots of insulin you are in fat storage mode.   If its not producing insulin, your body will be in fat burning mode.  Fat is the best energy source, and what we want to be using most of the time for our body to run on.  Again its a misnomer that carbohydrates are the best energy source.  Humans have lived for millions of years using fat as the main energy source.

So we know, high blood sugar -> high insulin -> fat storage

The best way to lose fat is to lower our blood sugar levels.  The only thing that raises blood sugar levels to excessive levels is an excess of carbohydratesCarbohydrate are sugars, and also come in the form of starches and alcohol.  When they hit your liver they quickly become blood sugar.

So to lower your blood sugar we should try to avoid things high in carbohydrates like bread, pasta, anything with sugar, grains, alcohol.

Here are some simple rules you can follow to help you get started.

  1. Only eat unprocessed, whole foods and drinks.  This means real foods, like fresh vegetables and meats, water, tea.
    1. I eat dairy too, only because I’m happy with where my weight is now and I’m trying to build lean muscle mass.  If you’re going to eat dairy make sure its high quality dairy, not stuff made in a big factory.  I drink raw milk from pastured Jersey cows, eat high quality, hand made cheese and eat natural, Greek style yoghurt with no additives or sugar..
    2. The reason for eating unprocessed foods is that processed foods have lots of sugar, chemicals added.
  2. Limit intake of fruits – Fruits have a lot of sugar in them, even though they also have good vitamins and nutrients, these can be replaced with good quality vegetables and meats.  If you want to keep eating fruits, try berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc), as these have the lower sugar levels of all fruits.
  3. Definitely no fruit juice! – Fruit without the fibre.  Its like drinking liquid sugar.
  4. No grains or anything made from grains – Grains are high carb food which spike your blood sugar leading to high insulin levels to clear the excess blood sugar.  Not only will this lead to fat storage, it may also lead to blood sugar crashes. The feeling of “I need something sweet!”
  5. No high starch vegetables – No beans, potatoes or carrots.  These are High starch, high carb vegies.  All other vegies are fine.
  6. Definitely no sugar or alcohol – at least until you are at a healthy weight range, then we can indulge now and again as a cheat meal.
  7. Eat Healthy Fats – Fat does not make you fat, try to eat the healthier, natural fats from meat and eggs.  Cook your food in natural oils like coconut oil, lard, olive oil or butter.
  8. Don’t graze, eat a lot at meals – Eat until you are full.  Lots of small meals through the day only increases your blood sugar levels, Try to eat 2-3 really big meals in your day with nothing in between.  If you’re eating good quality food, you won’t be hungry in between.
  9. Eat protein with every meal – Eggs or meat, make sure you are eating protein at every meal.  Protein is filling and it also increases your metabolism because protein takes the body more energy to break down in energy.

These are some pretty simple rules to help you get started.  You might be worried about things like not having energy, or your cholesterol levels being raised but I can tell you that everyone who does this kind of diet has positive results, loses weight and gets rid of a host of health issues.

I will also mention that changing your diet radically like this, you may feel low energy levels for the first couple of weeks while your body adjusts.  If this is the case, your body is going through withdrawal symptoms from sugar and carbs.  Just stay strong and get through it, because after you get through that you’ll start to experience feelings of energy and health that you never knew you had!

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There you have it.  Some simple, easy to follow rules that will get your metabolism firing and the fat dripping off you in only a matter of weeks.  You don’t need to do any punishing, gut wrenching exercise (walking a few times a week is good enough, if you want to push weights, even better).  And best of al, its absolutely free.

Feel fee to pass this on to your friends, loved ones, or just keep it a secret and enjoy it when people’s eyes pop out of their heads at the transformed and leaner you!

The Nourishing Cook Blog

February 4, 2010

Here’s an interesting blog!

http://thenourishingcook.com

The writer Kim Knoch is cooking 1 recipe a day from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook put out by Sally Fallon of the Weston A Price Organisation, much like Julie Powell who cooked 1 recipe a day from Julia Childs cookbook, and was followed by the Julie and Julie movie (which is also a great flick).

Interesting she has a page dedicated to the guidelines that the Weston A Price Foundation puts out about diet.

1. Eat whole, natural foods.
2. Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do.
3. Eat naturally-raised meat including fish, seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, game, organ meats and eggs.
4. Eat whole, naturally-produced milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as whole yogurt, cultured butter, whole cheeses and fresh and sour cream.
5. Use only traditional fats and oils including butter and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame and flax oil and the tropical oils-coconut and palm.
6. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, in salads and soups, or lightly steamed.
7. Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients.
8. Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
9. Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish and use liberally in soups and sauces.
10. Use herb teas and coffee substitutes in moderation.
11. Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
12. Use unrefined Celtic seasalt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
13. Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and expeller expressed flax oil.
14. Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice and stevia powder.
15. Use only unpasteurized wine or beer in strict moderation with meals.
16. Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass or good quality enamel.
17. Use only natural supplements.
18. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural light.
19. Think positive thoughts and minimize stress.
20. Practice forgiveness

Lately I’ve been getting into organic fermented grain breads (like Rye and Spelt) , as they don’t give me the blood sugar spikes that I used to get with wheat based breads and they are also really filling.  It helps that I’m eating them with other protein foods like meat, yoghurt and eggs.

I’ve updated my current eating plan on the page “How I do it” as with my move to Gold Coast in Australia I am eating a lot of different foods.

Back in Australia

January 25, 2010

I made the big move back to Australia last week, my lack of posting due to having to move apartments 2 times and get all of my things together.  I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I can pack all of me and my wife’s posessions into 4 giant suitcases but I’ve enjoyed living lean, both posession wise and health wise!

I’ve moved to the Gold Coast which is a lovely city about 100kms south of Brisbane and we’ll be staying here for the next year while I get my Personal Trainer accreditation and my wife gets her yoga teaching accreditation.

I’ve really noticed just in this week how bad the obesity problem is here.  Just walking around seeing a high percentage of clearly overweight adults and worse yet, overweight children has made me realise just how poorly the government and medical services have treated this problem over the years.  The high carb, high sugar diet approved by governments and nutritionists is partly to blame, but the bigger blame should go to each individual who is responsible for their own health.

Over the next year I’m going to start a boutique health clinic advising clients in fat loss, muscle building and general health and wellness through eating.  I hope I can change the life of people who really want to change, and who are motivated to do it.  The worst thing is trying to help people who in the end revert back to their old habits because of whatever excuse they give themselves.  So I want to attract those who will follow through and change their lives forever.

Puzzle Path – iPhone game

January 5, 2010

So you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about a Puzzle game for iPhone on my health and fitness blog.  As well as being a health and fitness enthusiast, I also make video games for a living.

We just released a game called Puzzle Path, and if you like Tetris, Bejeweled and Sudoku, but feeling a bit sick of playing those great games over and over then Puzzle Path will really fill that void for you.

I don’t want to talk about it too much on here, but if you’re interested in buying our game here’s an iTunes link – http://tinyurl.com/yc9bpr5

How to burn fat while you sleep

January 4, 2010

Sounds like the start of an infomercial that’s trying to sell you some miracle cure extracted painfully from the genitals of a near extinct animal doesn’t it?

Well this comes to you free, and it’s what I’ve been doing to lower my body fat ratio and increase my energy levels.  As I type this it’s 6.30am.  I slept about 6 hours and I couldn’t sleep anymore.  I’m wide awake, feel great and have total clarity.  I haven’t eaten for 12 hours and I don’t feel hungry at all.  I won’t eat for another 6 hours.

It’s called Intermittent Fasting (IF), although I don’t like that term because it conjures up images and thoughts of starvation.   IF is not about starvation, its about regulating insulin levels to promote the body using releasing fat from fat cells to use as energy.

It’s all about the insulin.

Insulin is the hormone that regulates fat storage in the body.  If your insulin is high, your body will store excess energy as fat.  If your insulin is low, your body will instruct your fat cells to release the fat and convert it into usable energy.  So how do you keep insulin levels low?

Firstly by restricting carbohydrates. Carbs (especially refined carbohydrates like sugars and starches) spike blood sugar and the body reacts by producing insulin to clear the excess blood sugar and store it in fat cells.

Secondly, by regularly being in a fasting state.  There’s no better way to lower your fasting insulin levels by just not eating for short periods of time.  If you’re eating a low-carb, high protein and fat diet this should be relatively easy as your body will have stable blood sugar levels, and proteins and fat take longer to breakdown into energy, so you have a nice, slow release of energy over a longer period of time.  If you’re eating a high carb diet, fasting will be very difficult as your body will go into a low blood sugar mode and you’ll most likely feel starving and craving sweet foods.

How do you do it?

There’s a lot of different methods out there, but try it out and find one that works for you.  My personal routine is an 18 / 6.  Thats an 18 hour fast and 6 hours of time where I can eat as much and as often as I want.  I start eating at 12pm, and have my last meal by 6pm.

It sounds tough at first, but its really not that hard once you do it a few times, your body will get used to it.

The upside:

  • I find I fall asleep much, much easier than I used to.
  • My sleep is far more peaceful, and I’m not needing as much sleep to feel refreshed. (I wish I could sleep more)
  • I wake up feeling energetic, whereas I used to wakeup feeling groggy and needing food and coffee to get that energetic feeling.
  • Autophagy (cell destruction and reproduction) occurs during low energy state, which the helps anti-aging process.
  • Flexibility – It’s not like I have to do it every day.  If there is a special dinner for my friends, I can go.  If sometimes I want to have breakfast I can.  But most days I will do this and you can build a plan to fit in with your lifestyle.
  • I really look forward to my eating “window”.   I probably take in the same amount of calories I would if I ate smaller meals throughout the day, but usually my diet is 2 big meals (breakfast and dinner) with a bunch of small snacks in between.

The downside:

  • It’s hard to start, and you do need some willpower to get through it.
  • May be hard to fit around your lifestyle, however you don’t need to do it every day, just find something that works for you.

Caveats

  • Never fast for more than 24 hours.  Some people will do longer than 24 hour fasts, but I don’t recommend it.
  • Discontinue your fast if you feel dizzy, low on blood sugar, extremely hungry or if you feel poor in any way.  In a fasting state you should feel good, energetic and buzzing!

Other links for self-research:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-intermittent-fasting/

http://www.criticalbench.com/fasting_anti_aging_diet.htm

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/intermittent-fasting/fast-way-to-better-health/

The Paleo Diet hits the Washington Post

January 3, 2010

As the Paleo Diet gathers more and more people, it’s getting more press.  Eventually it will hit a tipping point where it will start an Atkins like craze, but that’s probably 5 – 10 years away. Here’s a piece from today’s Washington Post.  Notice the journalist manage to get in a few of their own pre-programmed viewpoints, but all in all some publicity is better than none.  A little bit more research would discover the numerous blogs and thousands (maybe even tens of thousands) of people who have had success stories with a Paleo lifestyle.

Washington Post Story on Paleo Diet

But, seriously, what if we ate like our Paleolithic ancestors? That would be lots of lean meats, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables; no grains, salt, sugar, legumes or dairy products.

As most of us know, our paleo ancestors went for the more fatty organs and left the lean muscle meat.  The fatty organs are where most of the good nutrients are and our paleo ancestors knew this.   Again, this is just pre-programming that saturated fats are bad, and the only way to eat meat is to eat lean meat.

Depending on where you were, there may not have been an abundance of fruit either and in fact many paleo’ers don’t eat much fruit at all because its quite high in sugar (fructose).

Cordain writes that our Paleolithic ancestors were “lean, fit and free from heart disease and other ailments that plague Western countries.” Now, he adds: “Look at us. We’re a mess. We eat too much, we eat the wrong foods, and we’re fat.”

No argument on that last part.

So even still the journalist instead of reporting just the story has to let their own pre-programming invade what is a very enlightening piece.   Obviously they still believe this is some kind of fad diet, instead of digging deeper where they could have found thousands of stories of people who have changed their health and turned around their health using the Paleo Diet, not to mention the people who have reversed type-2 diabetes.

2010 – Official year of trusting my body

January 2, 2010

In 2009 I finally took responsibility for my body.  And all of those preconceptions that I have been programmed with finally disappeared.

“I’m genetically prone to being fat”
“I’m too busy to be healthy”
“I just need to exercise more”
“It’s big businesses fault”
“It’s the governments fault”

and so the list of shirking responsibility went on and on.  2009 was the year I finally took responsibility for own health and it paid off.  Paid off big.

I lost 24kgs and counting.  My energy levels have improved beyond sight.  I remained healthy all year and I did not get one single cold, flu, bug or virus.

This is the first time in my life I have been sickness-free.

And what I realised out of all of this, If I treat my body with respect and health, it will return the favor ten fold.  I used to hate my body for being fat and being sick all the time, for having IBS, psoriasis, dandriff, pimples.  Now I love my body, and I realise that the only person to blame for the way my body was, was me.  I’m going to treat my body even better in 2010, and the first thing I’m going to do is stop using moisturisers and soap which are full of chemicals which are absorbed straight into your body.  In fact I was I heading this way towards the end of last year, and funnily enough Paleo bloggers are starting to talk about the “no soap” lifestyle right now.

I haven’t told my wife yet as she is a clean freak, but I keep asking her “Do I smell ok?” and “Is my skin clear?”.  No complaints so far.  I’m trusting that my body will produce the oils and nutrients to keep my skin healthy.  It’s winter here now and really cold, and typically I get really dry skin in the winter, especially on my legs and arms and around my ears.   Let’s see how this little experiment goes.