Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Obsessive Compulsive Eating vs. Eating Responsibly

Obsessive Compulsive Eating vs. Eating Responsibly

It probably comes as no surprise that I don't get along to well with many other health and nutrition experts.

For the most part, I blame a lot of them for today's rampant outbreak of obsessive compulsive eating (OCE).

In my opinion people are worrying way too much about how to eat, when to eat, what to eat and why they should eat.

Eating is supposed to be healthy. And, it is supposed to be just as psychologically healthy as it is physically healthy.

Getting super stressed over the fact that you want to eat 9 times today, cycling your carbohydrates, making sure to only eat fat with your protein, to make sure there's no carrots in you salad, and that your post workout shake contained exactly 45.445476% protein makes no sense to me at all. I'd go so far as to say that the psychological damage that extreme OCE can do to you mentally far out weighs the damage an extra diner roll with supper can do to you physically.

While many health and nutrition professionals like to complicate matters as much as possible, every once in a while I get an email that makes a lot of sense, because its simple, logical and effective.

The most recent one came from Craig Ballantyne.

One of the most common questions I get regarding Eat Stop Eat is people asking how to eat during the days they aren't fasting. My answer is always to try and eat responsibly. If you want a good definition of what 'eating responsibly' should look like, see Craig's 5 steps in his email below.

Even step 5, (which may sound a little OCE) is definitely not an example of OCE. Sure, if you think of it like a bodybuilder freezing 49 individually weighed meals in his freezer then its probably OCE. But, if you think about someone who shops for their family, this is a very important piece of the healthy eating puzzle.

Simply put, if you run out of healthy foods on Thursday, and you have a family to feed, Thursday night will quickly become 'pizza night'. Have this happen 5 or 6 weeks in a row, and you are looking at recipe of an entire family overeating and putting on the pounds. Being prepared is different than being obsessed.

Here's a copy of Craig's e-mail in case you missed it...

I truly believe that nutrition is the biggest, by far, component of a good fat loss program.

There's a saying in the fitness industry, "you can't out-train a bad diet", and that hold's true almost 100% of the time (and especially as you get older).

Fortunately, I also believe that good nutrition for fat loss is very simple. And here are my 5 steps to building a fast fat burning diet.

1) Find out how much you are eating now. Use

2) If you are not losing weight, eat less.

3) Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and good protein sources. Don't eat junk from a bag or a box.

4) Give yourself one treat meal per week to look forward to - not a treat day, just a treat meal.

5) Plan ahead. Prepare your meals (spend 1-2 hours on the weekend getting your meals and meal plan ready for the week). Identify
obstacles and come up with solutions to avoid them.

That is it.

Very simple. Most people do pretty well on 1-3 and even 5, but mess up on number 4. I often hear how well someone did all day long, but then while making dinner they snack on upwards of 500 calories of their kid's treats, or other processed carbohydrates they have lying around the house.

The little things can add up to big time problems. So take a good long look at everything you eat.

And all of this can be avoided if you follow rule #5.

Combine my five simple nutrition rules with three short workouts per week of resistance training and interval training, and you have a very manageable fat loss plan that can fit any busy lifestyle.

Get started with the fast Turbulence Training fat burning workouts:

There are NO negative calorie foods,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

Couldn't have said it better myself,


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Cost of a Weeks Worth Of Food...

Here's an interesting exert from an email I received yesterday (I think it may have originally been an article in Time Magazine). Not only is the amount of money each family spends on food very interesting so is the make up of their diets, and the number of people they are feeding....

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most American
families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca

Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna

Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

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For Any Candadian Parents...

For any Canadian parents who have young children, the following press release was sent to me this morning....

Four varieties of My Organic Baby cereal recalled, possibly rancid

OTTAWA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and a Vaughan, Ont.,-based company are warning the public not to consume four types of My Organic Baby cereal for infants, saying the product may be rancid.

My Organic Baby has issued a voluntary recall for 227 gram boxes of Barley, Brown Rice, Oatmeal and Multigrain cereal - all with 'Best By' dates of April 2008 and June 2008.
The affected product has been distributed nationally in Canada.

There has been one reported reaction associated with consumption of the cereal.
Consumers are warned that if the cereal has an unusual odour, or smells 'off' it should not be consumed. If an infant has been fed any of the products, parents are advised to monitor for possible symptoms of illness, and discontinue use.

Consumption of rancid food can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How Working-out and Fasting Effects Your Blood Sugar

Here is another great post about fasting, workouts and your blood sugar.


PS- Please remember, all of these experiments and recommendations are for healthy individuals, if you are diabetic your physiology is different.

PPS- I'm toying with the idea of making Eat Stop Eat Advanced into a DVD as opposed to making it a really big book. Let me know which you would like better...

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Friday, January 18, 2008

More info on Working out while Fasting

John Barban did a similar experiment to mine, measuring his blood sugar while completing a workout.

You can read about his finding by visiting here==> 


You can learn more about the combined effects of exercise and fasting for weight loss by visiting

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fasting and Exercise

I've had a number of people ask me about the effects that fasting and exercise have on blood sugar.

In clinical research there generally isn't a concern that exercising while fasting will cause an ill effects to a persons blood sugar. The body is remarkably good at regulating blood sugar levels, even in the face of intense exercise.

In fact, most of the research on weight training and protein synthesis is conducted on people who have been fasted for anywhere between 12 and 16 hours. And, we know that there are professional athletes who play full NFL games in the fasted state.

However, as I have stated before, there is a difference between research and the real world. Most importantly, in research the people who participate as the subjects are always screened to make sure they are healthy, and that they do not have any underlying medical conditions that may effect the results of the study.

So, I figured this would be another great time to experiment on myself, using my dreaded glucometer.

After I was fasted for 22 hours, went to my Krav Maga class and took part in an hour of practicing leg kicks, body kicks and kicking and striking combinations. It was a hard class and I definitely sacrificed the health of my shins in the name of research!

Here are the results.

I started the class with a blood sugar of 4.7 mmol/L, pretty typical for me during fasting.

After an intense 15 minute warm-up of sprints, sprawls and various body weight exercises I retested by blood sugar and had a reading of 3.9 mmol/L (This is the lower end of normal, however I felt fine).

After the warm up we went right into shins kicks and defences with lots of moving around and striking, I was definitely sweating, and working hard, I took a quick break and tested my blood sugar which was at 5.6 mmol/L (This score is about the same as I would see after a meal)

We followed up with more pad work, throwing in some body kicks and more combinations and making sure our footwork was good, right at the end of the class I measured my blood sugar again and it was at 5.3 mmol/L (looks like I'm already returning to normal)

15 minutes after class my blood sugar was back down to 4.2 mmol/L. thirty minutes later it was 4.7 mmol/L and then right before my fast ended at 2 pm my blood sugar was 4.4 mmol/L. (Right back to where I should be. Time to eat.)

Just another example of the bodies ability to regulate blood sugar, even while fasted and exercising intensely.


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Monday, January 14, 2008

Brad's Predictions for 2008

Alright, I know I'm a little late on this one, but here it goes...these are my predictions for the health and fitness industry in 2008.

1)Eat Stop Eat will be the next Atkins Diet

This prediction may sound a little conceited, but the idea of using short periods of fasting for weight loss is definitely catching on. And it shares a number of similarities with the Atkins Diet - it is incredibly effective and it is controversial because it flies in the face of some of our current nutrition fads, just as the Atkins Diet did. The only difference is, Eat Stop Eat is flexible and easy, so for this reason it may become quite as popular as Atkins (for some reason, people love complexity).

(The next big thing?)

2)People you trust are going to start pushing supplements on you

eTrainers and other on-line fitness experts who used to "rage against the supplement industry" will soon start pushing you on supplements as they begin to realize what the supplement industry has known for a longtime - the reoccurring income these products can generate is a quick and easy way to make a lot of money.

(These guys are Different...this stuff is great)

3) We will start to realize that our obsessive compulsive relationship with food is slowly ruining our lives.

Eat six times a day. Only eat protein with fat. Eat low glycemic. Eat to "fuel the machine". I think this year people will finally start to realize that the obsession with trying to figure out what and how to eat to lose weight has left us as a group of neurotic eaters who are more confused and frightened of food than we ever were before.

(I don't care how much it weighs, I'm eating the whole apple!)

4) Everyone will be taking pictures of their food and blogging it.

I think it may have been either Art Devany or Dr. Eades who started this trend, and they both did it with good intentions. It started off as a way of showing people that eating lower carb foods can still involve very appealing looking foods. In 2008 this idea will be bastardized and turned into a competition of "look how healthy I eat" between health and fitness bloggers.

(I'd post a pic of what I ate today, but I was fasting)

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fasting for Weight Loss and its Effect on Blood Sugar

In the last couple days I've received a number of emails and posts about using short periods of fasting for weight loss and its effect on blood sugar.

In a post to my blog I was told that a couple people who are diabetic have been using short periods of fasting with a lot of success and have actually been able to lower the dosages of their medications.

I also received an email from a personal trainer who wants to use Eat Stop Eat with her clients but is worried about the effects that using short periods of fasting for weight loss would have on blood sugar levels. Mostly, she was concerned about hypoglycemia.

Throughout the 24 hour cycles of eating, digestion, and fasting, the amount of glucose in your blood is generally maintained within a range of 70-140 mg/dL (3.9-7.8 mmol/L) as long as you are healthy.

Hypoglycemia is another way of saying "low blood sugar". While many people claim to suffer from low blood sugar, as little as 5-10% of the population actually have a malfunction in their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels. There is no actual "cut off" value for blood glucose levels that truly defines hypoglycemia for all people and purposes.

Research in healthy adults shows that mental efficiency declines slightly but measurably as blood glucose falls below about 65 mg/dL (3.6 mmol/L). However, the precise level of glucose considered low enough to define hypoglycemia is dependent on the age of the person, the health of the person, the measurement method, and the presence or absence of negative effects.

According to the research on using fasting for weight loss, a 24 hour fast should not place you into a hypoglycemic state, and I have not seen any research that has shown a subject going below 3.6 mmol/L blood sugar during a short term fast. However, I'm the first to admit that there is a difference between research and real life, so I decided to experiment on myself.

I took blood glucose measurements on myself during a 24 hour fast. It's important to note that this investigation only had one subject (me) and that testing hypoglycemia with the finger prick technology is prone to misleadingly low numbers. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but be intrigued with what I may find.

(Good for research, bad for my fingers)

I started my experiment at 1:10 pm with a Bowl of Chili, a whole wheat bun an old fashion dip donut and a large coffee with two cream and one sugar, all courtesy of my friends at Tim Hortons ( ~750 Kcals, 40 g fat, 70 g Carbs, 30 g Protein)

I began measuring at 2:15, exactly 45 minutes after my last sip of coffee. The first numbers are my blood glucose in mmol/L, the number in brackets is my blood glucose levels in mg/Dl.

2:15 PM TUES- 5.9 (106.2)

4:15 PM TUES- 4.8 (86.4)

6:15 PM TUES- 4.4 (79.2)

8:15 PM TUES- 4.3 (77.4)

10:15 PM TUES- 4.6 (82.8)

12:15 AM WED- 4.0 (72) (Bed Time)

3:15 AM WED- 4.4 (79.2)

6:15 AM WED- 4.7 (84.6) (Right after I woke up)

8:15 AM WED- 4.6 (82.8)

9:00 AM WED- 4.4 (79.2) (A little bit of hunger here)

10:15 AM WED- 4.1 (73.8)

12:15 PM WED- 3.9 (70.2)

1:30 PM WED- 3.9 (70.2)

At 1:30 I ate my first post-fast meal, which was supposed to be a small chicken salad, but unfortunately it was a 1,200 Kcal Bomb of a salad from Boston Pizza (1,200 Kcals, 86 g Fat, 45 g Carbs, 62 g Protein)...My mistake, I was at a business meeting, but still, I should have known better.

Twenty minutes after finishing my heart attack of a salad, I started recording again.

2:00 PM WED- 5.9 (106.2) 20 minutes after my last bite

2:20 PM WED- 5.8 (104.4) 4o minutes after my last bite

2:45 PM WED- 4.8 (86.4) 65 minutes after my last bite

4:45 PM WED- 4.4 (79.2)

The interesting things I learnt from this study were that my feelings of hunger were not related to my blood sugar levels, nor was any feeling of light-headedness.

I was also very surprised that despite the massive amounts of sugar, my blood sugar never went above 6, and dropped pretty quickly after my meals. It stayed pretty tightly controlled between 3.9 and 5.9.

All in all, this experiment showed me that while I am fasting my blood sugar stays within the normal range. I will repeat the experiment during my next fast and study what happens when I workout while fasted.


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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

How I eat on non-fasting days

I received an email today that said:

"I noticed someone commented on one of your blogs asking about what your diet is like on your non-fasting days, but you didn't answer so it actually made me curious as to what your non-fasting day diet really is like."

Oops. I Apologize for missing that one.

I've never really stopped to think about how I would describe how I eat, but I'll give it a try...

On my non-fasting days I eat for taste and I try to eat responsibly.

I tend to avoid fast food and I make a conscious effort to eat fruits and veggies when possible. I drink way to much coffee and I think I may be addicted to chocolate milk. I don't eat "low carb" or "high protein" or follow any other plan. I think I probably eat a little more protein than the average person and probably less sugar, but really I don't think about it too much.

(It just tastes good)

In all honesty, I think the obsessive compulsive approach to nutrition that is so prominent these days does more harm than good. Think about it, when fitness models and bodybuilders bring electronic scales to resturaunts to weigh the tuna on their salads, we commend them for being dedicated?!? To me this represents everything that is wrong with nutrition today.

It doesn't have to be this complicated.


learn more about fasting for weight loss

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Monday, January 07, 2008

The 3 Keys of Exercise and How to Lose 200 Pounds

Once a year, NCAA football comes to Canada, and this year, I was there.

My wife and I met some friends in Toronto Ontario to watch Rutgers take on Ball State in the International Bowl. We had a great time watching Ray Rice run for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns.

While not everyone thinks attending a football game is an amazing event, I think everyone will agree that losing 200pounds with Eat Stop Eat definitely classifies as amazing.

3 of the people we were sitting with had been following EatStop Eat since the summer, and these three guys had combined for over 200 pounds worth of weight loss. I barely recognized two of them the change was so dramatic!

When it comes to diets I think that Eat Stop Eat could very well be the easiest path to weight loss. Not the only path, but the easiest and the most flexible.

You can think of diets the same as we do exercise; to make it work you have to adapt it so that it fits into your life. If youdon't then you are setting yourself up for failure.

With exercise there are three 'master components' to your workouts and the adaptations they cause your body to undergo.

These components are - Frequency, Volume, and Stress

You need to hit a minimum amount of all three to get an effect, and this minimum continually increases as your bodyadapts to the workouts. In other words, the bigger and stronger your muscles get, the harder and harder you have towork to make them continue to get stronger.
Thus, the absolute best scenario would be for all three components to be at their maximum. Maximum stress,maximum volume and maximum frequency (and maximum recovery in between workouts).

Multiple training sessions per day (frequency) at a maximalweight (stress), with as much sets and reps as possible while maintaining above the minimum stress level (volume).

You have real responsibilities in life, so this just isn't possible. So you do that best you can with these 3 factors ina method that fits your lifestyle. Whether it's 3 times perweek, 4 times per week, 2 times per day twice a week, you should do what fits into your life style.

The same principle applies to your diet. Ideally you would control every single days worth of nutrition. In fact, ideally you would control every single hour. You would measure exactly how much food you take in (volume) how often youeat (frequency) and what you are eating (stress). But again,this just isn't possible for 99.9% of the population. (elite athletes are an exception)

This is why Eat Stop Eat works so well for weight loss. It is aflexible adaptation to the rules of dieting that actually worksin real life scenarios.

Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to find a wayto fit exercise and nutrition into your lifestyle.


PS- For a really good critique of Eat Stop Eat you can readRichard Nikoley's review by going HERE

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