Tag Archives: Weight

Getting Past Your Plateau (Podcast)

A new episode of A Mind For Fitness Podcast is now available. In this episode, Ean talks about why we hit plateaus. And what we should and should not do about it. Enjoy!

5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight For the New Year

Did you resolve to lose weight for the new year? Great! Here are five easy ways to lose weight for the new year and the new you!

Eat Clean

One of the reason people are overweight has to do with how much toxins are in our food. Part of the body’s natural protection is to store those unwanted toxins in our fat cells, particularly in our belly fat. Switching to organic food (and any food without toxins) will shut down the need for the body to hold onto extra fat. As a result, excess weight will come off.

Save Your Carbs For Dinner

Your body is naturally more insulin sensitive in the evening. This means that it takes less of the hormone insulin to get the excess sugar out of your blood. Less insulin means less fat storage.

Now this is not an excuse to eat all the carbs you want as long as it is night. Ideally it is best to keep your carb count to 25 grams at the low end and 50 at the high end. And it is best to spread them out over two meals. However, the majority of those  carbs should come at night. Controlling how much carbs you eat is a great way to lose weight. But controlling when you eat those carbs also matters a great deal!

Skip Breakfast

I know that we have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; however, this is simply not true. While I do not have the time here to go into all the benefits of intermittent fasting, let me say that it has done wonders for weight loss. In short, your body has gone through all its blood sugar while you sleep and you start burning fat for fuel the first half of the day.

All you have to do to make this work is finish eating dinner by seven or eight the night before. Then skip breakfast. After that, eat lunch around 12:30 or 1:00. It’s really that easy!

Walk After Meals

Now you may not be able to walk after lunch because, lets face it, most of us have to get back to work. However, walking after dinner should not be a problem for most. Walking after meals lowers your blood sugar without a large amount of unnecessary insulin. In other words, it is a natural way to help you become more insulin sensitive.

Eat Slowly

Weight management is not simply a matter of calories in and calories out. In fact, it is more important to track your carb intake and your chemical intake than it is to track your overall calorie intake.

That said, it is still not good to overeat. It’s not good hormonally and it is not good for digestion–two key factors in weight management. In addition, if you eat less and you are eating the right types of food you will see weight loss.

So how do you eat less food without feeling like you are hungry? The answer is to eat slowly. This is a technique that I have used often and it works great.

Often we overeat because we eat too fast. The food is already in our stomach and we are back for seconds before the brain can tell us that we have had enough. By the time the satiety signal hits us, we have overeaten.

By eating slowly you allow your brain to tell your body that you are full before you overeat. You can still eat until you are full. You do not have to be hungry. It is just that you feel full on much less.

Closing Thoughts

Any one of the above suggestions will most likely help in losing weight. However, if you are serious about dropping those unwanted pounds, then do all of these together and you will get the best results. Best wishes for you in this new year!

And please don’t forget to like, comment, and share.

The Carb Cycling Wars

Not that long ago in our own galaxy, in fact, on our own planet, there was an obesity epidemic. In response to this epidemic, an evil empire of dietitions arose and ceased power. This evil empire insisted that a low-fat, calorie restrictive diet was the answer to this problem. However, they were wrong.

In response to the evil empire, there was a rag-tag group of rebels who fought against the dogma of the day. These people insisted that the answer  to obesity were low-carb, ketogenic, and Paleo diets.

Those who followed these diets had great success. But often they did not meet their ultimate weight-loss goals. The Rebels came to realize that cycling carbs was one of the solutions to this problem. What follows is a small portion of their story:

All Kidding Aside 

All kidding aside, the truth is there are health benefits for cycling carbs. That is to say it is beneficial at times to have more carbs. In fact, if you have hit a plateau in your weight-loss, this is a great way to re-ignite your fat burning hormones.

The fact of the matter is that there are a number of carb-cycling plans to choose from. These plans differ on the amount of days you should carb-cycle, as well as what kinds of carbs you should have.

What follows is a list of some of the major proponents of carb-cycling and the way the do it. However, this is not an exhaustive list. This is just a list that I am acquainted with.

Ethical Disclaimer 

I cannot share every detail of the methods listed below due to ethical reasons.  The authors I have researched draw their income from the books they sell. Therefore, I have tried my best to offer a fair evaluation of their method while not revealing everything they recommend. In other words, what is listed below is just an outline. To get a fuller understanding, you need to buy the books.

That said, some of these authors have publicly  shared much more about their diets than others. For those who have shared more openly, I have revealed more about their protocols.

Kiefer

Kiefer is the author of Carb Nite Solution and Carb Back-Loading. Both are carb-cycling diets. Here is what you need to know

Carb Nite Solution Essentials

This is an ultra low-carb diet for 6 days of the week. One day of the week, or more appropriately, one night of the week you can have as many carbs as you want. In fact you can have as many carbs as you want from any source that you want. This is to say that Kiefer allows for “dirty” carbs. You are not just carb-loading with sweet-potatoes and fruit, you can have cake and ice cream as well. No food is off limits.

However, it is important to note that you don’t have to have dirty carbs. You can do this protocol with clean carbs as well. He just does not restrict to clean carbs only.

Carb Back-Loading Essentials

This diet is very similar to Carb Nite. But it differs in that there is more than just one night a week you carb-load. On this diet, you can carb-load, in the evening or after noon, but only after an extremely heavy workout. You can also have dirty carbs on this diet too.

One important difference between these diets is the intention. Carb Nite is inteded for weight-loss, while Carb Back-Loading is intended for bulking.

Dave Asprey

Dave Asprey is the creator of the Bulletproof Diet. He also runs a company and has a podcast of the same name.

Bulletproof Carb-Cycling Essentials

This is basically a low-carb diet, but not an ultra low-carb diet. This diet focuses more on the quality of food you eat. It allows for some clean carbs at night in order to help sleep and other functions.

On this diet, Dave recommends that one day a week you carb-load. Also, on the day you carb-load, you are suppose to protean fast. Meaning you have very, very little protean. Dave very highly recommends carb-loading with only clean carbs. That is lots of white rice, certain fruits, and other clean sources of carbohydrates. That said, he does allow for the occasional (very occasional) dirty carbs. But it should not be the main source of your carb-loading and you need to be prepared to accept the consequences.

Chris Powell

Chris Powell is most famous for tuning fat people into fit people on his television show, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. He has written a couple of books but I am only going to deal with one of them here, Choose To Loose: The 7 Day Carb Cycling Solution.

7 Day Carb Cyceling Solution Essentials

This method is the most liberal when it comes to carbs. Basically the diet is one day of high carbs and one day of low carbs. Sounds easy but things do get complicated. Even on the low-carb days, he recommends that you eat a carb portion at breakfast. Your meals are also split into five small meals throughout the day. All carbs during this cycle are clean.

However, one day a week, you can have anything you want. This includes dirty cabs. So it is high-carb, low-carb (except for breakfast)….. until Sunday. On Sunday, no food is off limits.

Jason Seab

Our final player is Jason Seab, aself proclaimed Paleo proponent. He is the newest contributor on the list with his book Alt Shift.

Alt Shift Essentials

The Alt Shift protocol recommends a few days on an extremely low-carb diet, followed by a few days on a high carb-diet. There are no dirty carbs on this diet.

Conclusion 

Which carb-cycling is right for you. The truth is, if you are already fat-adapted, and you have stalled out on your weight-loss, just about any one of these diets will help. But self experimentation is always the best way to find out. So give each of them a fair shot and see what works.

The Importance of Food Journaling

One thing that people overlook when they are trying to lose weight is the importance of keeping a food journal. In fact, I highly recommend that if you are serious about losing weight, a food journal is a must. In other words it is not an option! Why is this so important? Why do so many people benefit from writing down what they eat? Here are three reasons:

It Keeps You From Cheating (As Much)

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Even the best of us cheat from time to time. I’m not talking about the regularly scheduled cheat meal or carb-nite. I’m taking about those times when you eat something (or a lot of something) you know you shouldn’t. Food journaling can help with this problem.

The objective of a food journal is to write down everything you eat and when you eat it. When you keep track of what you eat in this way, you really have to think twice about what you put in your mouth.

Why is that? Well, One of the reasons we cheat is due to the fact that there is an immediate pleasurable experience. But that is not all. For many people, they do not have to face any negative consequence for their bad behavior right away. They can eat that brownie and not think about it for some time.

However, a food journal provides an immediate negative consequence. It is much like a health coach or an accountability partner that you have to confess to right away. If you had to confess every time you ate something bad for you, and you had to confess it immediately, you most likely would not do it.

Even though no else has to see your food journal, simply having one is still a deterrent for most. The very fact that you have to write your bad behavior down creates an objective reality to the behavior that cannot be ignored. This, in and of itself, is enough of an immediate negative consequence. As a result, it reduces cheating.

It Will Keep You Form Over Eating 

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Even if you are only eating the right food, the amount of food you eat counts. No, I’m not promoting the calories in calories out myth. But an over abundance of nutrients in your system has to be dealt with. Often your body will eliminate it though waste or store it to fat. Not only this, but there are bad hormonal reactions to stuffing yourself. How much you eat does count. Food journaling helps regulate your overall intake.

The truth is that your overall food intake can get away from you fairly quickly. For example, it’s pretty easy to have four eggs for breakfast instead of two, and a double cheese burger (lettuce wrap, of course) instead of a single; a little more chicken than necessary at dinner, in addition to that bag of almonds you ate for snack. Please do not misunderstand me. All this food is fine if you are really that hungry. However, many people do in fact eat well past satiety.

Overeating becomes more of a problem when you are trying to lose those last 10-15 pounds. At the beginning of your weight-loss journey, simply switching to the right foods will often be enough to lose a significant amount of weight. But if you have stalled out on your progress, the amount of food you eat is often the issue. Food journaling tracks your overall caloric intake. When you write down what you have eaten, you can objectively evaluate what you may need to cut out.

It Keeps You Honest With Yourself

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This last point is really a combination of the two points listed above. But it is important to note that when we are not losing weight we expect, it is often due to the fact that we are deceiving ourselves. We lie to ourselves about what we have eaten and how much we have eaten.

The fact of the matter is most people who do not keep a food journal cannot recount with accuracy what they ate. To complicate the matter it’s easy for us to lie to ourselves about these issues. This becomes a big problem when a person is not getting the results they are expecting. Wondering what went wrong or what is going wrong becomes common.

A food journal  helps in keeping one from self delusion. After all, there is (or at least there should be) an objective record. This record keeps you honest.

In closing, there is only one question you need to ask yourself: Do you want to lose weight? If you do, then a food journal will tremendous help with your goal.

Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, What’s The Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the Low-carb, Ketogenic, and Paleo diets. Sometimes it is difficult to tell. In fact, when explaining the the various aspects of these diets, these three diets in particular overlap significantly.

This overlap hit home for me when on one occasion a friend of mine was explaining his diet. He was telling me all the foods he could and could not eat. He mentioned that he could meet, fish, veggies, and some fruit. He said he needed to stay away from grains, sugar, and a few other foods.

Upon his explanation, I thought this was simply a low-carb diet. He was trying to control insulin in an attempt to shred some unwanted weight. However, this was not simply a low-carb diet. Later when we were having lunch, I ordered a salad with Ranch dressing. On the salad was some cheese. My friend said that you cannot have ranch dressing or cheese on this diet.

This shocked me. The serving of ranch on my salad had no more than about four carbs. The cheese was probably about a two carb serving. This was not going to effect my blood sugar! This was not going to rise my insulin! So what was the problem?

The problem was that my friend was not simply on a low-carb diet. Nor was he was recommending a low-carb diet per-se. In fact, his diet was more-or-less incidentally low-carb. He was on a Paleo diet. That was when I realized that there was a difference between low-carb and Paleo. Later, I realized that there is also a difference between a Ketogenic diet and these other diets as well.

Another complication in distinguishing between these three diets is the fact that celebrity proponents of these diets run in the same circles. For example Jimmy Moore, Able James, Dave Asprey, Robb Wolf, and others will often speak at the same conferences as well as appear on each other’s podcasts.

So what is the difference and is that difference significant?

What’s the Focus, What’s Incidental?

The difference comes down to two things The first is what is the main focus of these diets. Or to put it another way, what is the driving theory behind their dietary protocol.

Second has to do with what is incidental. In other words, what are the results of the theory and how do those results workout in the dietary protocol.

Before I break this down in each diet, let me say that low-carb and Ketogenic have much more in common in their focus than Paleo. Because of that, I will start with Paleo.

Paleo

The driving force behind Paleo is the idea that the diet of original man is optimal for health. Therefore, there is a strong emphasis on meat, fat, and organic, non- processed food. Original man did not get their food from a factory. They got it from hunting and gathering. Fruit and vegetables could only be eaten in season and therefore sparingly.

According to this view, original men were not farmers so grains and other farming byproducts are not part of this diet.

So, is this diet low-carb and/or ketogenic? Yes, but only incidentally so. In other words, lo- carb and ketoses is not focus but the byproduct. For example, in the winter, original man (in many regions) would not have access to fruit and vegetables. Therefore, they would have eaten meat and fat which would have lowered their insulin and put them in ketoses for a large segment of the year. The focus is eat like original man and as a result you will (at least at times) be in a state of ketoses and have steady blood sugar.

Keto and Low-Carb 

Again these two are more closely related because their focus and driving theory are almost identical. Also, their byproducts have much in common. However, that said, they are not completely the same.

The main focus of a Ketogenic diet is to achieve ketoses pure and simple. But in order to achieve ketoses you must eat very, very few carbs which will keep your insulin at bay. Insulin (with exception of carb re-feedings) is the enemy because it will keep you out of ketoses.

In a low-carb diet, insulin is also the enemy not necessarily because it will keep you out of ketoses but because insulin is a hormone that stores fat. You keep this hormone at bay by avoiding high-carbohydrate food.

As a result of this, these diets are both high in fat and moderate in protein and low in sugar and foods that turn to sugar in the body. However, for the most part a Ketogenic diet will slightly put more emphasis on fat than a Low-carb diet. But there is so much similarity that where you find the emphasis really depends on the author you are reading.

Things Get Tricky and Lines Get Blured

Having a diet high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in sugar is where these diets overlap with Paleo. However, it overlaps with Paleo it is not yet incidentally Paleo. These kinds of foods are essential to both the Paleo and Keto communities. Where then do these become incidentally Paleo?

This is where things get a bit complex. Paleo will always overlap with low-carb food and be incidentally ketogenic at times. But Ketogeinic and low-carb diets do not have to be incidentally Paleo. This is due to the fact that being ketogenic and low-carb does not necessitate the belief that “original man’s diet” is optimal. Nor does it necessitate that food must come from an organic source.

To give an example, when I had my salad with ranch and cheese I was being low-carb, and given my overall low-carb count of the day, I was also being ketogenic. However, I was not being Paleo because I was eating that which original man would not have eaten.  My friend, on the other hand, who also had a salad but without cheese and cream based dressing was being Paleo as well and low-carb.

So when do Low-carb and Ketogenic diets become incidentally Paleo? The answer comes in what a particular dieter believes about original man and from where he decides to get his food. When a low-carber and/or a ketoer believes that original man had the best diet they have also become Paleo. If a low carber, ketoer decides that they will only eat organic food (for the most part) they have become incidentally Paleo.

Can Someone Be All Three? 

The answer to the above question is yes with qualifications. There are many who believe that original man’s diet is the best option for health, who eat only organic food, and also actively try to achieve a state of ketoses. These people often consider themselves both Paleo and Keto (incidently low-carb).  And they are correct in a sense. However, one view will often override the other.

For example, there has been much conversation about tubers in the Paleo community. Some believe they are OK to eat and some do not. But let’s say one believes that original man did eat tubers. If this person believes this, but is trying to get into ketoses, he will avoid them. His desire to gain ketoses has dictated his diet.

Concluding Thoughts

As anyone can see, where these diets overlap and where these diets differ from each other is a complex issue. There are many who are Keto friendly, but Paleo in their overall outlook on health and vice-versa. This complexity gives rise to the fact that most people in these communities will share information and speak at each others events and podcasts.

I hope this helped. If it did please share this on your favorite social media as well as leave a comment.

Fit for Christmas Challenge!

So it’s 67 days until Christmas; what are your plans? For many years, what I use to do (back when I was overweight), is say something like this, “It’s the holidays! We have Oct. 31, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. There is no point in getting in shape now, I’ll just weight for the new year.”

But guess what? Year after year new year would come and I would make some progress, but eventually I fall back into old habits. The next holiday season would come around once again and I was just as fat and miserable as I was before.  In some cases I was more unhappy.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, then the Fit For Christmas Challenge is for you! This challenge starts now! It is designed to break old habits and old programs you’ve been running in your head your whole life. How are we doing this? Step one is by starting at the beginning of the holiday season rather than the end. You’ve seen what happens when you wait. Don’t repeat the same process–try something new!

The Plan 

This plan is based on two basic concepts that everyone knows–Diet and Exercise.

Diet

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Here is the plan. First you must limit your carb intake to between 25 and 35 a day. It is not important right now where those carbs come form, just as long as you do not exceed 35 a day. This starts now!

Oct. 31 will be your first cheat day. You will not start this cheat day until after 1:00 PM, and it can last until you go to sleep.

The first week of November you will need to back to limiting your carbs to 25-35 a day. However, after the fist week, you can bump your carbs to 50. But you must never go beyond 50!

Your next cheat day will be Thanksgiving! And if you have been good, go a head and take that Friday as well.

After Thanksgiving, go back to 25-35 carbs a day for one one week. After that week, you can have up to 50 grams once more.

Your final cheat will be Christmas Eve and Christmas. Start on Christmas Eve as late as you possibly can, then cheat for 24 hours.

After Christmas, you will have to re-evaluate and see what’s next and what is right for you.

BTW, you do not have to count any carbs that come from green vegetables.

Exercise Plan

This is where there is some flexibility. In other words, it is up to you to choose a plan. However, you must choose a plan not make one up from day to day. For example, I’ve just started Insanity.

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Other plans may include P90X, or most anything from Beach Body is good.

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If however, you cannot afford these or you don’t have them and need to start now, you can go down to wal-mart, target…. and pick up something like this:

 

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I cannot remember how much it was, but It was under $30.

Whatever you choose, you must workout 6 days a week.

A Few Things To Keep In Mind

First is that on your cheat days it is important to work out the day of and the day after. No exceptions!

It’s fine if you choose to work out twice a day to get better results; however, you do not need to do this.

And if you decide to go to the gym, create a plan and go at least 6 days a week.

Finally, monitor your body. If you are working out too much and need some extra carbs that’s OK. However, get them from fruit and vegetables. And make sure this is a need and not a craving.

Finally

I would love to hear about the workout plan you chose. Also, make sure to take some before pictures so you can monitor your progress. Best wishes and stay strong!

Why Breaking Bad Habits is So Difficult

A new episode of A Mind For Fitness Podcast. In this episode, I talk about the difficulty of braking bad habits and creating new ones and what you can do about it. Enjoy!

Eating for Taste

A while back, I wrote a post on eating with your stomach. In that post, I talked about the importance of paying attention to how full you are while you are eating to avoid over consumption.

The way you monitor how full you are is by eating slowly. However, when you eat slowly there is also an added benefit–tasting your food. In other words, not only are you able to monitor how full you are, you also get to enjoy your food.

People are often supersized by how quickly they get full when they eat slowly and pay attention to their stomach. Likewise, it is shocking what you actually taste when you eat with the intention of enjoying your food.

What is the reason for the shock? It is due to the fact that often food you think you like turns out to taste gross.

When we eat too fast, not only do we overeat, but often times we only get the rush of salt and/or sugar (and other flavors) over our tongues. Because of this, we often do not recognize it when we do not like something.

This hit home for me some years ago when I decided to eat slowly and enjoy my food. At the time I was following the Paul McKenna diet. I went to one of my favorite restaurant and ordered the stake fries. But instead of gobbling them down I attempted to enjoy every bite. I did not succeed in that attempt. They were horrible. As a result, I have not eaten them since.

On the flip side, there are now many foods that I now enjoy that I did not before. For example, baby carrots are very sweet. By slowing down and enjoying the flavor, eating these items is a great way to curb your sweet tooth.

In closing, I encourage the reader to try it for themselves. You will be supersized and what you do and do not like.

All Or Nothing

I have seen many people fail on diets for a verity of reasons. However, recently I have noticed an attitude or belief that I have not recognized in the past. Since I have noticed this belief, I have come to see it in many. I have even come to recognize that I have fell into this trap from time to time.

So what is this belief? It is simply this: That adhering to part of a diet should give an individual part of the results of that diet. In practical terms it looks something like this. A person starts a low-carb diet. After a few weeks he notices that he is not losing anything. However, upon review, he realizes that he is really only adhering to about half or three quarters of the diet. He thinks to himself (and here is where the poor belief system comes into play), “I should be losing something. I know I’m not following the diet perfectly but I am following about 75% of it. I should be losing something–shouldn’t I?” Can you relate to this story? I know I can.

To complicate things, perhaps you have seen a friend who needs to lose a some weight and got results by cutting back just a bit on their carb intake. The question, then, needs to be asked: Why does following part of diet work for some and not others? The answer to this lies in what kind of body style one has and how much one needs to lose.

For example, someone with a bean-pole body style who has only 20 pounds to lose can see great results from only following part of a diet. But, even a bean-pole who has 50 pounds to lose is going to have to do better than 50 or even 70% of a diet.

However, for those of us who put on weight easily and have more than 25 pounds to lose, we need to be super strict on the low-carb protocol particularly at the beginning. Why is this? Simply put, doing 50% or even 75% of a diet is not enough to reset your fat burning hormones.

The truth is you need 10 days to 2 weeks in order to down regulate your fat storing hormones and up regulate your fat burning ones. So, if you are strict for three days, but on that forth day you eat a meal that spikes your insulin levels, you are not going to lose weight. If you repeat this process for a few weeks, you might get discouraged.

Fixing this is a matter of being honest with yourself. Are you the type of a person who puts on weight easily? Do you have more than 20 pounds to lose? Are you just starting out on a low-carb diet? If any or all three of these are true, then you need to be as strict as possible. The results will be worth it?

Reviewing Chris Powell’s Choose To Lose: The Seven Day Carb Cycle Solution (audio)

A new episode of A Mind For Fitness Podcast is now available. In this podcast I review Chris Powell’s book Choose to Lose The Seven Day Carb Cycle Solution. 

Also, I talk about my experience in a one on one Yoga class!

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