PS- Happy Halloween!
PPS- Here's another quick tip. Enjoy your candy tonight, but then get rid of it. It's better to overeat for one day then to overeat for 7!!
It's funny how sometimes slight exaggerations can create stories that justify extreme measures.
Take for instance the idea that:
Your weight is something that is closely regulated by your body and that in cases of obesity this regulation maintains weight at a high than normal level.On the surface this tends to make sense. And, the truth is, while fundamentally flawed, if someone were to say this to me at a party, I would probably just let it slide.
The process of weight loss activates mechanisms in our bodies that are designed to return a person to their pre-weight loss weight.And after this giant leap of faith we could quickly end up moving to the conclusion that:
And because of this, life-long drug therapy is justified for those with significant weight problems.I hope you see the trend here.
You really can't go wrong by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
They are full of nutrients, and provide very little calories relative to their bulk.
But are they essential to a healthy diet?
Right now, the North American obsession with the idea that there is only one true 'perfect' way to eat is pretty consistent in stating that a healthy diet MUST consist of a combination of lean meats with ample fruits and green leafy vegetables.
Even my own guidelines run pretty close to this statement:
Eat less while enjoying the food you eat. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and herbs and spices...
My appearance on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet has helped rid me of my camera shyness...and as result I am going to start answering the most popular Eat Stop Eat questions with Videos.
You can check out my first two videos here:
Can you drink Juice while following Eat Stop Eat: Juice Fasting
What can you drink while following Eat Stop Eat: Water Fasting
How to schedule your fasts: How to Stop Eating
What I think of the BMI: BMI (body mass index)
More QnA's to come.
There is a very large difference between Eat Stop Eat and some other forms of strict fasting - Namely with Eat Stop Eat you are allowed (and encouraged) to drink fluids during the fasting periods.
This makes Eat Stop Eat a form of water fasting, but you are allowed to drink more than just water. I list of a bunch of different options in the video below.
Here is a fantastic post that really exemplifies what I believe to be the best philosophy for working out while following Eat Stop Eat.
Actually, it is a great philosophy for working out regardless of whether or not you are following Eat Stop Eat.
Of course, the actual article has NOTHING to do with working out, so you will need to replace the word "WORK" with "WORKING OUT" to apply it to exercise.
Even though it wasn't written as a guide for working out, this quick substitution works beautifully.
You can check out the article here:
The Zen of Working Out
PS - Remember replace "work" with "working out"
PPS - Take point 3 with a grain of salt. Remember, this isn't actually an article on working out or nutrition, nor was it written by an expert in these areas.
Occasionally I get the question "how much should I eat on the days I'm not fasting"
Since I don't believe in complex mathematical equations that involve counting calories (within reason), I have a simple approach to this problem.
Take 2 weeks off of from fasting.
On day three weigh yourself. On day four weigh yourself again. Take the average of these two number as your starting point. Then on days 13 and 14 weigh yourself again and average these two numbers.
If your weight has gone up more than three or four pounds between your starting average and you final average then you are eating slightly more than you need too.
If your weight has stayed within three or four pounds during these two weeks you are eating the right amount.
If your weight has gone down by three or four pounds then you have some room to add some more food into your life.
(Remember to weigh yourself in the morning before eating.)
This technique works very well for men, but woman will have to keep in mind that their monthly changes in hormones may affect their body water levels. So for men I would use the 3 pound limit, for woman I would allow myself up to 4 pounds.
This technique works very well for people who have lost considerable weight with fasting and need to figure out how much food would be eating responsibly for their new weight.
PS - Please keep in mind, the reason I use 3 or 4 pounds is to account for the daily fluctuations in weight. Due to the weight of water and food, most of us will see our weight change by one or two pounds over the course of the day, so the 3 or 4 pounds includes this fluctuation.
I think I have finally figured out why I love lifting weights.
Obviously, there's the health benefits and the way it makes me look, but I actually like the act of lifting weights, and this has nothing to do with any of the long term benefits.
I was in the gym yesterday and decided to do a "back in the day" workout. I pulled out one of my favorites from my university days, 20 rep squats and 20 rep standing barbell shoulder press.
In was in between my second and third set of squats when it hit me:
When I'm really pushing it in the gym, my mind is quiet.
No inner dialogue, no thinking about things I need to get done, no thinking about things I have read or things I want to write. Nope, when I'm really into a workout, my mind is a whole lot of empty.
I'm doing without doing, as they say.
For a person who thinks waaay to much, this could be the best part of working out - The amazing feeling you get when you realize you are accomplishing things without really thinking about it, or thinking at all.
This was more of a ramble then a blog post, but hopefully the next time you are working out, you experience the same thing.
PS- Here's a great post that Suzanne left on my blog:
I thought I post my results so far too.I am ~ 5 weeks in to fasting 24 hours 2 times a week. So far I have lost 12 pounds, 1.5 inches off my waist and 1 inch off my hips. I really look forward to my fasts and enjoy my results so far!
Dietitian Kerri Gans made a very good point about Eat Stop Eat while we were chatting backstage after filming our segment on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet.
Apparently, nowhere on the Eat Stop Eat website do I mention how you are supposed to eat during the times you aren't fasting.
So to make sure this information is available to everyone, here is my super complex list of things you must and must no do in order to lose weight and to ensure you are eating 'healthy':
1. Eat less while enjoying the foods you Eat. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and herbs and spices. And, maybe most importantly - stop stressing about the foods you eat.
That it. If you can follow this one guideline then in my opinion you are eating perfectly.
Sure, we could talk about the importance of eating real food over food-like-substances, but if you are eating lots of fruits and vegetables then you are probably already doing this.
We could also talk about avoiding flavoring your food with salt and sugar, but if you are eating lots of herbs and spices you are already doing this too.
And lastly we could talk about the very important (and VERY underrated) role of having a good healthy relationship with the foods you eat. I know this sounds very 'new age' but I assure you that a lot of today's overeating and obsessive compulsive eating comes from unhealthy relationships with food, where people feel stressed and guilty every single time they eat.
If you are enjoying the foods you eat, and not stressing about your food choices, than you are doing an amazing job avoiding this problem too.
So with the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle, (where rational simplicity is always the goal), this one simple guideline is all you need to guide your eating habits.
PS- If you are curious if Eat Stop Eat is right for you, you can CLICK HERE to find out more.
As a response to this post, a reader (Darren) asked a really good question:
I am curious about a comment you made...
"The truth is, our love affair with our metabolisms is a main cause of obsessive compulsive eating."
I Would love you to elaborate on that, as on the face of it, I am skeptical that it is the MAIN cause of obsessive compulsive eating.
My point was that it was 'A' main cause, not 'THE' main cause.
However I beleive this point to still be very valid...if we are afraid to eat less because we are worried about our metabolism slowing down, we are doomed to continue to overeat.
If we eat extra foods because we think they will speed up our metabolism, we are doomed to continue to overeat (There are NO negative calorie foods).
And if we rely on eating styles that don't cut our calories, but simply rely on metabolism boosting foods, then we are doomed to continue to overeat.
So it may not be THE main cause, but I beleive it is A main cause.
Here is a very simple test that you can use to see if you are eating food, or if you are eating food-like substances.
Take the food in question and put it into a bowl. Next, leave the bowl on your kitchen counter for two weeks.
If after two weeks your bowl is full a disgusting mushy mess of mold then what was in the bowl was definitely food. It was something that can support life..in this case the life comes in the form of mold.
If after two weeks the stuff you put in your bowl looks EXACTLY THE SAME, then it is not food, it is a well preserved food like substance.
Even the overly villainafied white break gets moldy...oddly enough I tried this with a bowl of a popular breakfast cereal and it lasted more than a month!
The one exception to this rule would probably be nuts..but I'd be willing to bet if you removed their protective layer, they'd go bad just like everything else.
It's not a perfect rule, but it can definitely help.
I’m back home after a whirlwind trip down to New York City to film a spot on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet.
From my experience this was a win. Not a giant win, but a small significant one.
After all, the point of my appearance on that show wasn’t to win the approval of a dietitian and a medical doctor (It's not like this was a scientific debate), and I fully expected them to be skeptical….(after all, they got to hear a 30 second hyped up montage, me talk for about 1 minute and then were asked to give an opinion.)
Instead, my plan was to expose a large audience of people to a style of eating that can help them lose weight, and to help them understand that this method is incredibly simple and effective.
No supplements, no phases, no stress, no guilt, no unhealthy obsession with 'eating clean', just a simple way to eat less while enjoying the foods you eat.
Given the time I had, I think I did a fairly good job.
OK, so now lets get to the good stuff, here is the behind the scenes info:
First, let’s start with the evil dietitian and the mean medical Doctor – They were actually both super nice, open minded women. I kid you not! Off the air they were both very likable people.
And, Dr. London is no stranger to the weight room, that lady had some muscle!
As for their on-air personalities and their concerns about Eat Stop Eat, well we’ve all heard them before. “Your metabolism will slow down and you will lose muscle.”...nothing new here.
I knew this was what they were going to say, after all, I thought the EXACT SAME THING before I went back to school.
And as I said before, my goal wasn’t to convince these two people that I was right and they were wrong…because you simply can't change a person's way of thinking in only 30 seconds.
But just for the sake of argument and to show that I'm not just cherry picking one random unnamed, unreferenced study... here is a snapshot of just a few of the papers that I review in Eat Stop Eat that show that your metabolism does NOT slow down and that you do NOT lose muscle:
It is very easy to get caught up in all the health and nutrition information that is available today.
It seems like every web page, every magazine cover, every T.V. newscast, and every email newsletter wants to help you lose fat.
So here's something I want to you to remember, that will help simplify your life, and your fat burning goals:
Since the day you were born, your body has known EXACTLY how to burn body fat.
It's true. Unless you have some ultra-rare metabolic disease, your body is already AMAZING at burning body fat...you just have to give it the opportunity.
It does not matter how many books on fat loss you read, how many articles you review or how may experts you question, this will not change how well your body burns fat.
If you give your body the opportunity, it will do exactly what it is built to do.
So do yourself a favor, find the easiest possible way to eat a little less than you need to (I recommend Eat Stop Eat), then step back and watch your body do its job.
You have better things to do with your time than to stress over trying to learn about things you are already an expert at doing.
Fat loss can be incredibly simple, if you let it be.
Right from the day it was designed (In the early 1800's), the Body Mass Index has been limited.
It was supposed to be a way to calculate and ideal weight for your height..if you moved above or below the 'optimal' range you were considered to be 'less healthy'
However, its shortcomings are very apparent. It's a tough equation (Your weight in KG divided by your height in meters squared), it doesn't account for people with higher than average lean mass, and its ability to predict health is often disputed.
So if the BMI is confusing and doesn't really tell us what we want to know, what else can we use?
Here is a simple, simple equation - your waist circumference should be no more that half your height.
Simple, easy and effective.
So for me, at a generous 5 foot 11 or (71 inches) my waist should be no more than 71 divided by 2, or 35.5 inches.
The great thing about this equation is that it is inline with a lot of the aesthetics research that shows that a man's body is aesthetically pleasing when the waist circumference is just a little below 45% of height, and a woman's body becomes more aesthetically pleasing the closer her waist circumference gets to 40% of her height.
The best part about this equation is that there is no mention of an ideal weight, and there doesn't need to be.
Simply, you cannot be a 6 foot tall man with a 33 inch waist and have a dangerously high body fat level. The same goes for being a 5 foot 5 inch woman with a 28 inch waist.
So remember- as a rule of thumb, try to keep your waist circumference to less than half of your height.
I’ve got some bad news from you.
Despite what all the OCE Diets tell you, at a given weight and muscle mass, your metabolism isn’t going to go up, (or down) a whole bunch.
If you are 170 pounds with 150 pounds of lean mass…your resting metabolism is not going to fluctuate more than the equivalent of 100 or 200 calories worth of calorie burning over a 24 hour period.
I’ll admit that it fluctuates throughout the day, depending on your workouts and eating habits and sleeping habits...but when added up over 24 hours the total effect of these fluctuations is VERY SMALL, and it is MINISCULE compared to the fluctuations in the amount of food you eat.
It is very easy to overeat by 2,000 calories during a given day.
It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to raise your resting metabolic rate by even 1,000 calories above normal…Not with a high protein diet, not with ephedrine, not by adding ten pounds of muscle, not even by experimenting with drugs like Clenbuterol.
This begs the question -if the fluctuations that are possible with metabolic rate are minuscule compared to the fluctuations that occur with calorie intake, then why does ‘metabolism’ get all sorts of attention?
It’s because it sounds mystical, magical, and to a certain extend…down right sexy.
It is great media fodder.
It is a great buzz word.
Put “boost metabolism” in the headline of an article…and it will get read guaranteed.
What do you think would sell more copies of Cosmo -
“3 secrets to losing weight by boosting your metabolism”or
“3 secrets to losing weight by eating less”The truth is, our love affair with our metabolisms is a main cause of obsessive compulsive eating.
Occasionally I get email from people who have difficulties with there fasts.
Fasting is like every other aspect of your life. You are going to have easy fasts and you are going to have days that are a little tougher.
But here is the beauty of flexible intermittent fasting - you can tailor your fasts to your own individual needs.
For instance, let's say..you tend to get hungry around 16 hours into your fast. In this scenario I would suggest a 11 am to 11 am fast.
This way you are asleep at the 17 hour mark (around 4 AM), and by the time you do get up, you only have a couple of hours left in your fast.
Another example is when people have problems eating too much after their fasts.
In this scenario you could use later start and stop times, such as 9 pm to 9 pm. This way, once your fast is completed you only have 2 or 3 hours before it's time for bed..which means less time for eating.
By tailoring your fasts to your own personal needs you can guarantee weight loss success with as little effort as possible.
I just wanted to give you some feedback on the fasting suggestions you gave me the other day. The noon to noon fast is perfect for me!
I even did an intense weight training session and had SO much energy that evening and the following day. It's helped to keep my blood sugar levels more stable when I'm not fasting too.
I've realised that I actually feel better when I'm fasting, and you can see the changes in my body already! My mum told me last night that my abs were amazing! Always room for improvements though. So given all of that I can't wait for my next fast tomorrow.
Thanks again Brad.
It was back on March 12 of 2007 that I first wrote about the now famous A to Z weight loss trial (you can see my original blog post HERE ).
In this ground breaking study, 311 overweight women were recruited to follow one of the following popular diet programs: The Atkins Diet, The Zone Diet, the LEARN diet or the Ornish Diet.
To start the study, each woman was given a copy of the popular diet book that she was randomly assigned to follow.
Then, to make sure she was an “expert” on her program before she started dieting, each woman attended a series of 8 classes (each lasting an hour) explaining exactly how to follow her assigned diet.
(Side note- This just shows how OCE these diets are considering that it takes EIGHT classes for these women to know how to properly follow each diet!)
After the courses were completed the women then set off to follow their assigned diet plan for a total of 1 year.
The results were pretty much exactly what I expected – everybody lost a lot of weight in the first two months, after that the diets tended to even out and by the end of the trial the weight loss was far from impressive – none of the groups averaged more than 10 pounds of weight loss after an entire year of dieting.
And while many people used this study to ‘prove’ that diets simply didn’t work, or that the body somehow adapted to dieting, my take was much simpler – Firstly, this trial is in agreement with most research that shows it is very hard to accurately measure how many calories a person eats in a day, and secondly I thought that these results showed that the number one reason diets fail is compliance.
In other words, the more complicated and the more rigid the diet is (or the more OCE it is), the more likely it is going to fail in the long term. – People just can’t stick to these types of diets for long periods of time.
Apparently I wasn’t alone with my analysis.
In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity titled “Dietary adherence and weight loss success among overweight women: results from the A to Z weight loss study” researchers re-examined the A to Z weight loss trial to see if there was an association between the level of compliance and the amount of weight that was lost.
Guess what they found?
Astonishingly only ONE subject in the ENTIRE study followed the diet as directed for the whole 12 months. This means that every other subject was not following her assigned diet properly at some point during the research trial!
The researchers also found that adherence was significantly correlated with 12-month weight change for all three-diet groups. So the better a woman was at following her diet, the more weight she lost.
The fact that adherence was so low is very interesting considering that these women spent eight class sessions reviewing their assigned diets with a registered dietitian before they even started the diet…you can imagine what adherence must be like for someone who simply bought one of those books, read it cover to cover and then gave it a try!
The findings from this follow-up analysis also suggest that the difference in dietary macronutrients had only negligible effects on the participants weight loss success.
The bottom line is that you can generally figure out how successful a diet will be by looking at how complicated it is.
More rules = more complicated = low chance of success
Less rules = less complicated = high chance of success
In my opinion weight loss can be incredibly simple if you let it.
Find the easiest, most comfortable way to reduce the total amount of calories that you eat. The less intrusive a diet is on your lifestyle the greater chance you have of sticking to it long term.
For me, this is flexible intermittent fasting. After all if you can fast for 24 hours once, you know you will always be able to do it. Some fasts maybe harder or easier than others, but you know you can do it!
Obsessive Compulsive Eating habits that make diets complicated and difficult spell doom for long-term weight loss.
I like to bake.
I like to bake ALMOST as much as I like to eat baked goods.
Muffins, cookies, cakes and brownies...I love them all!
The secret to enjoying baking and staying lean is simple - Baked goods are for sharing.
And with the more people the better.
Since I do bake a lot, and I enjoy sharing my baked goods, I take a certain pride in both their taste and appearance. Which is why I was really happy when I received stone cookware from the pampered chef last Christmas.
Over the past couple of years the potential marketing tragedy that was trans fats has been turned into a marketing edge for the food industry.
It seems that by simply reducing the amounts of trans fats in its food products…a food company can market the fact that they are a “health conscious company” that is “looking out for their customer.”
Surely, we missed the important lesson to be learned from trans fats.
Artificially manufactured Trans fatty acids are produced when vegetable oils are “hydrogenated” a processing technique that transforms liquid oils into solids. You will find artificial trans fats in everything from margarine to cookies and fast food.
Natural Trans fats can be found in milk, and most other dairy products as well as the highly popular weight loss supplement CLA.
So our problem wasn’t trans fats, it was an overabundance of artificially manufactured trans fats appearing in our food supply.
So, how do we solve the Artificial Trans fatty acids problem?
Well the food industry has decided that new techniques of product blending and further chemically transforming oils to create solid oils that are “virtually trans fat free” is the best solution to this problem.
But the other, less talked about option is a simple one:
Recognize that this problem was caused when we started to over-process our foods. And, that if we moved back to using whole foods and whole foods ingredients in our foods, this problem would be eliminated.
However, it is important to note that this is not the fault of the food companies.
Food companies simply react to the demands of their customers. We want healthy food options, and we want healthy food options that meet the trend of the day, and we want them NOW.
In my opinion, Artificially manufactured Trans fatty acids are just another example of the widespread damaging effects of obsessive compulsive eating and our addiction to the idea of creating super nutritious foods.
After all, Artificially manufactured Trans fatty acids were born from the OCE decision that butter was EVIL and had to be replaced in our diets at all costs…(and that’s exactly what happened)
Nutrition should not be difficult and eating should not be complicated.
If the idea of making foods healthy involve massive amounts of processing and making conscious decisions to eat a food based on its supposed health value, then we are going down wrong path.
Keeping it simple will always be the healthiest answer