A Cheap and Effective Diet to Lose Weight Quickly

Recently, one of my clients asked me to assist one of her friends who:

  1. needed to lose weight quickly (in order to be eligible for surgery)
  2. was low on funds

Normally, my training clients are fairly well off, so the diets I usually recommend are loaded with fresh fruits & veg, natural (not factory farmed) meat, healthy oils and a variety of health, performance & weight-loss supplements.

With constraints on time and money, I turned to my good friends…dietary fiber and butyrate.

For those of you that don’t know, butyrate is created as fiber is fermented in your gut. And in addition to a LOT of health benefits generated by this fiber/butyrate process, eating a high fiber/butyrate diet results in:

So here’s what we did

Client Info:

  • 297 lb female
  • Hypertension
  • Exercise limitations
  • No known food allergies or other food constraints
  • Needs to lose weight asap to be eligible for a required surgery
  • No extra income for personal training, supplements, etc

Exercise Plan

Due to her medical issue, the only exercise I could recommend is a daily walking routine (10,000+ steps) and mobility/flexibility training in the evening before bed

Overall Diet Theory

  • Low cost
  • High fiber & butyrate
  • Boring & predictable – making meal prep simple and reducting opportunities to “accidentally” cheat
  • Low time commitment – which is always a bonus

For Breakfast….EVERY day

Oatmeal Custard…..mmmmmmmm good

  • Oatmeal – 1 cup dry large flakes
  • Water – 2 cups
  • 1 XL egg

Recipe here

Optional Toppings

  • Peanut butter & banana – 1 tbsp PB max
  • Raisins & cinnamon – 2 tbsp raisins max
  • Brown sugar & vanilla – 2 tbsp sugar max
  • Frozen berries – big handful
  • Chocolate chips – small handful max

Mix and match toppings as your heart desires…while keeping quantities in line

creamy-oats-4

For Lunch & Dinner….EVERY day

Rice & Lentil Pilaf

This recipe makes enough food for both lunch and dinner combined.

  • 2 cups of dry rice, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, etc
  • 1 cups of lentils (I prefer the French or Puy lentils…great taste)
  • Chopped garlic, onion & spices (to your taste)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (grass-fed if possible) – added after cooking
  • Ajvar sauce (or similar flavorful sauce) to taste – added after cooking

ajvar_sauce

 

To drink throughout the day

  • Water (at least 8 glasses)
  • Tea and/or coffee – no sugar or dairy (herbal tea counts as 1 glass of water – coffee & tea count as 1/2 a glass of water)

Results

  • After 4 weeks, she has lost 18 lbs…from 297 to 279.
  • The first week, she lost only 2 lbs. Not sure why, but after the first week, the weight loss has been consistent from week to week.
  • She was a “little bit” gassy for the first two weeks, but that side-effect has resolved itself
  • Similarly, her trips to the bathroom have become healthier
  • Her appetite, especially at night when she is relaxing, is nothing compared to how it used to be. She has always been a late-night snacker.
  • She also told me that she thinks her allergies & her skin are much improved since starting the diet.

And while we can’t quantify anything other than the weight loss, none of her observations sound unrealistic…but as a science nerd, I am still going to take them with a grain of salt.

So there you go…A Cheap and Effective Diet to Lose Weight Quickly

 

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Obesity in Canada

Yesterday, the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released their report on the state of obesity in Canada.

Included in that report is a series of 21 recommendations.

As a health/fitness/politics junkie, this report is like catnip to me, so I was pretty eager to get my grubby little paws on a copy.

Let’s take a look inside….

obesity in canada

The Cost of Obesity in Canada

The committee’s findings show the vast scope of this epidemic:

  • Each year 48,000 to 66,000 Canadians die from conditions linked to excess weight;
  • Nearly two thirds of adults and one third of children are obese or overweight; and
  • Obesity costs Canada between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion annually in health care and lost productivity

In short: Canada’s obesity problem is way too big to be ignored

How did this happen???

1. Nutrition

In terms of eating habits, the committee was told that since the 1980s, Canadians have decreased their intake of high fat foods and increased intakes of fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the food guide. However, consumption of processed, ready-to-eat and snack foods have shown the largest increase over this period.

Over this period of time (80s – present), a review of Canada’s food guide reveals that Canadians have been told to switch…

  • from a diet of a modest number of daily servings reflecting a balance of whole foods
  • to a low fat diet that permits significantly more servings per day, a large proportion of which should be grain products, or carbohydrates.

The committee was told that, as a result, the food guide may be recommending a diet that is nutritionally insufficient with respect to vitamins D and E, potassium and choline and that only by eating artificially fortified and highly-processed cereals can the diet provide adequate levels of calcium, iron and vitamin B12

  • According to 2012 data only 40% of Canadians are eating even the lower recommended number of fruit and vegetables per day, 5 servings.
  • The food guide recommends that adults should be consuming closer to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

At the same time, Manuel Arango, of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, indicated that as much as 62% of the Canadian diet can be categorized as highly-processed, a percentage that has been rising in recent decades at the expense of whole foods.

As a consequence of the increased intake of highly processed foods, sugar consumption has increased dramatically from 4 pounds annually per person 200 years ago to 151 pounds annually per person today.

The overwhelming consensus among witnesses with respect to food consumption trends was that the consequence of Health Canada’s evolving food guide and the increasing variety and availability of processed and ready-to-eat foods has been a pronounced decrease in consumption of whole foods and alarming increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods.

As a result, Canadians are eating too much calorie-rich and nutrient-poor food.

In short: Canadians eat too much processed food and not enough real food. 

2. Physical Activity (or lack thereof)

Regarding physical activity, the committee heard that the participation rate in organized sport among Canadians has not declined in recent decades, and may have increased. However, several witnesses emphasized that although participation in such activities is encouraged, it does not by itself ensure that Canadians, especially children, are getting sufficient exercise.

They described how many of these activities include a significant amount of sedentary time and that they tend to lead people into thinking that they are doing more than enough to be considered as being physically active. Members heard, for example, sports such as hockey, soccer or basketball include a lot of instruction time outside of games, and a lot of bench time during games, when participants are idle.

More importantly, several witnesses suggested that it is the decline in active, free play among children and a decline in the activities of daily living among adults that have primarily contributed to an overall decrease in physical activity.

In 2011 the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology  developed separate, evidence-based physical activity guidelines for four age-groups; children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

The physical activity guidelines recommend:

  • 180 minutes per day for toddlers and pre-schoolers,
  • 60 minutes a day for children and youth up to 17 years of age,
  • 150 minutes per week for adults aged 18-64 years including some bone and muscle strengthening exercises,
  • and similar guidance for seniors over 65 years with exercises aimed at improving balance and reducing the risk of falls.

In addition the guidelines recommend that:

  • children under four not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time.
  • Children and youth are advised to limit screen time to no more than two hours per day while limiting sedentary behaviour, indoor activities and motorized transport.

Unfortunately, a minority of Canadians are meeting these goals.

Although 50% of Canadians believe they meet the physical activity guidelines when asked, in fact, when objectively measured, only 15% of adults are actually getting the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

On average, Canadian adults obtain only 12 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day.

Similarly, children and youth are largely failing to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. According to Elio Antunes, President of ParticipACTION, less than 9% of children and youth are sufficiently active, and the proportion of active kids decreases with age.

The committee was told that only 7% of 5-11 years olds meet the physical activity guidelines and this proportion drops to only 4% for adolescents.

With respect to the sedentary guidelines, the committee heard that less than 15% of 3-4 year olds and only 24% of 5-17 year olds are meeting the recommendations.

In fact, members were told that children and youth are spending 38 to 42 hours per week in front of television, desktops, laptops, ipads and smartphones.

In short:  While we think we have increased our rates of physical activity via structured exercise (sports leagues, gym memberships, personal trainers, etc), we haven’t….our rates of daily physical activity continue to drop while our rates of sitting on our butts staring at screens have continued to rise.

To make it even worse, we are setting up our kids to be even lazier than we are.

So….what are we going to do about it???

In the discussions of what we can do to reverse the trend of obesity in Canada, participants kept coming back to Canada’s anti-smoking strategy.

Despite the obvious distinction that smoking is a completely unnecessary practice while eating is essential, witnesses noted several lessons that we have learned from the anti-smoking campaign:

  1. the anti-smoking strategy employed several different approaches implemented by different levels of government.
  2. the evidence-base of the negative health consequences had to be elucidated and presented clearly to Canadians.
  3. the strategy had to bring about a societal change in terms of how smoking was viewed.
  4. the change in behaviour would take time.
  5. the strategy would not be popular with the industry.
  6. and finally, the federal government provided the leadership for a pan-Canadian approach.

In their comparison of the anti-smoking strategy to any anti-obesity strategy, witnesses continued to emphasize the need for a comprehensive, health-in-all-policies, whole-of-society approach.

The committee was told that policies, wherever possible, should encourage or facilitate the pursuit of healthy lifestyles. In this regard, witnesses suggested that a health lens, should be applied to a range of policy development, across departments and across all levels of government. An effective all-of government platform would encourage the development of provincial and regional initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles. As such, the committee would like to see the federal government take aggressive measures to help Canadians achieve and maintain healthy weights.

In short:  While Canada’s successful anti-smoking strategy can serve as an effective model, we have to remember that obesity is a much more complex problem and as such requires a more comprehensive solution.

In that spirit, the “Obesity in Canada” Committee has come up with 21 suggestions for reversing Canada’s obesity problem.

Here’s the list….

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that the federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories and in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, create and implement a National Campaign to Combat Obesity which includes goals, timelines and annual progress reports.

@healthhabits says:  This is exactly the kind of thing government should be good at. Bringing all sorts of disparate stakeholders together to work together towards a common goal. IMHO, this is a necessary step.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the federal government:

  • Immediately conduct a thorough assessment of the prohibition on advertising food to children in Quebec; and,
  • Design and implement a prohibition on the advertising of foods and beverages to children based on that assessment.

@healthhabits says:  Quebec has had a prohibition on the advertising of all food and beverages to children under the age of 13 under its Consumer Protection Act11 for many years. Studying the effectiveness of this program to determine if it should be rolled out nationwide makes sense to me.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the federal government:

  • Assess the options for taxation levers with a view to implementing a new tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages; and,
  • Conduct a study, and report back to this committee by December 2016, on potential means of increasing the affordability of healthy foods including, but not limited to, the role of marketing boards, food subsidies and the removal or reduction of existing taxes.

@healthhabits says:  Skip the study and just go ahead and slap a tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages AND take ALL of that money and use it to subsidize un-processed (aka real) food

Recommendation 4

The committee further recommends that the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada immediately:

  • Address the recommendations made by the Auditor General with respect to the Nutrition North program and report back to this committee on its progress by December 2016

@healthhabits says:  Northern communities are much worse off in terms of overall nutrition and the cost of nutritious food in particular. Canada’s north is one giant food desert. As such, it may require special (aka expensive) intervention.

Recommendation 5

The committee further recommends that the federal government conduct assessments of the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the Working Income Tax Benefit and the Universal Child Care Benefit with a view to determining how fiscal measures could be used to help Canadians of lower socio-economic status, including our Aboriginal population, choose healthy lifestyle options.

@healthhabits says:  Skip the assessment, ditch the tax credits. They are designed to reward the well off & ignore the poor…which is just plain stupid as the poor are the ones driving Canada’s obesity epidemic. If we want to save healthcare & improve economic productivity, any physical activity incentives need to be directed primarily at the poor & secondarily at more affluent Canadians.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that the Minister of Health immediately undertake a complete revision of Canada’s food guide in order that it better reflect the current state of scientific evidence. The revised food guide must:

  • Be evidence-based;
  • Apply meal-based rather than nutrient-based principles;
  • Effectively and prominently describe the benefits of fresh, whole foods compared to refined grains, ready-to-eat meals and processed foods; and,
  • Make strong statements about restricting consumption of highly processed foods.

@healthhabits says:  All of these four recommendations sound great. 

Recommendation 7

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health revise the food guide on the guidance of an advisory body which:

  • Comprises experts in relevant areas of study, including but not limited to nutrition, medicine, metabolism, biochemistry, and biology; and,
  • Does not include representatives of the food or agriculture industries.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%. Economic bias should not be allowed in Canada’s Food Guide…even if food lobbyists support an MPs re-election campaign.

Recommendation 8

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oils, to minimize trans fat content in food, unless specifically permitted by regulation.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%

Recommendation 9

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health:

  • Reassess the daily value applied to total carbohydrates based on emerging evidence regarding dietary fat and the fat promoting nature of carbohydrates;
  • Ensure that the regulatory proposals for serving size have addressed all of the concerns raised by stakeholders during public consultation, and,
  • Require that the daily intake value for protein be included in the Nutrition Facts table.

@healthhabits says:  Every few years, nutrition experts flip-flop their positions on the relative healthfullness of the different macronutrients. One decade, we are supposed to avoid fat…then it’s carbs…then it’s “too much” protein, then we’re back to fats…and so on…

My suggestion is to avoid making blanket statements on the healthfullness (or lack thereof) of any macronutrient.

There is nothing wrong with eating fat or carbs or protein.

The problems start when people:

  • start eating excessive quantities of overall calories
  • demonize a single macronutrient and replace it with a highly-processed substitution
  • choose poor quality highly-processed food over real food – fruit, veg, seeds, meat, etc.

With all of this said, I think that the consumer needs as much info about the quality of the food they are eating AND the gov’t can help them by requiring a total nutritional profile of every food product be made available on the company’s website

Recommendation 10

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health assess whether sugar and starch should be combined under the heading of total carbohydrate within the Nutrition Facts table and report back to this committee by December 2016.

@healthhabits says:  Give us sugar totals, starch totals AND total carb totals.

Recommendation 11

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health implement strict limits on the use of permitted health claims and nutrient content claims based on a measure of a food’s energy density relative to its total nutrient content.

@healthhabits says:  Agree 100%. I would also require any nutritional claims require scientific proof. Links to that science should be available from the products page on the company website. Make a claim…back it up.

Recommendation 12

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health:

  • Immediately undertake a review of front-of-package labelling approaches that have been developed in other jurisdictions and identify the most effective one;
  • Report back to this committee on the results of the review by December 2016;
  • Amend the food regulations to mandate the use of the identified front-of-package approach on those foods that are required to display a Nutrition Facts table; and,
  • Encourage the use of this labelling scheme by food retailers and food service establishments on items not required to display a Nutrition Facts table.

@healthhabits says:  If you sell food in a package, you should be required to have a Nutrition Facts table as part of the packaging. As well, a website url pointing to a page with more complete nutrition info about the product should be included as well.

Recommendation 13

The committee therefore recommends that the Minister of Health encourage nutrition labelling on menus and menu boards in food service establishments.

@healthhabits says:  This is a little vague. How about something more specific like…calories, macronutrients, allergens listed in small print on the menu AND a more thorough nutritional analysis for each item on a separate booklet…and on their website as well.

Recommendation 14

The committee therefore recommends that the federal government increase funding to ParticipACTION to a level sufficient for the organization to:

  • Proceed with Active Canada 20/20; and
  • Become the national voice for Canada’s physical activity messaging.

@healthhabits says:  Based upon what I have seen from ParticipACTION in the past few years, I am not sure if giving them more money is the best idea. 

It may be simpler and more effective for Health Canada to hire the same PR flacks that put together Canada’s anti-smoking campaign and get them to focus on a “exercise more : play more : move more” style of message.

I’m not sure why we need ParticipACTION’s added layer of bureaucracy.

Why not…

  • hold a public contest for ad/pr/marketing firms to come up with their best message to get Canadian’s active again
  • have Canadians vote via the contest’s website/FB page/Twitter/etc
  • award the winner the contract
  • promote the heck out of the programs via internet, tv, radio and print.

And while we’re at it, why don’t we throw out a request to Canadian celebrities & athletes asking them to donate their time to film some short PSAs to add to the Health Canada Youtube channel.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about the fine folks who work for ParticipACTION. They may have exactly the kind of expertise to organize the kind of program needed to get Canadians active again.

Recommendation 15

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health and the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities together use the recently established National Health and Fitness Day to promote the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.

@healthhabits says:  I didn’t even know there was a National Health & Fitness Day. I guess that’s why they need the promotion.

Recommendation 16

The committee further recommends that the Public Health Agency of Canada provide sustained or bridged funding for pilot projects that have been assessed as effective.

@healthhabits says:  Hmmmmmmm who’s making the assessments? And what happens when they haven’t be PROVEN effective after a year or two of government $$$$ in their bank accounts?

Recommendation 17

The committee further recommends that the Minister of Health in discussion with provincial and territorial counterparts as well as non-governmental organizations already engaged in these initiatives:

  • Encourage improved training for physicians regarding diet and physical activity; • Promote the use of physician counselling, including the use of prescriptions for exercise;
  • Bridge the gap between exercise professionals and the medical community by preparing and promoting qualified exercise professionals as a valuable part of the healthcare system and healthcare team;
  • Address vulnerable populations, such as Canadians of lower socio-economic status including Canada’s Aboriginal population, and pregnant women;
  • Advocate for childcare facility and school programs related to breakfast and lunch programs, improved physical education, physical activity and nutrition literacy courses; and,
  • Engage provincial governments in discussions about infrastructure requirements for communities that encourage active transportation and active play.

@healthhabits says:  All of the suggestions sound great…and yet they are couched in the kind of government bureaucracy speak that makes me lose all confidence. Can we please get a little less talk about what we want to do and a little more talk about how we’re going to do it!!!

Recommendation 18

The committee further recommends that the federal government provide funding under the New Building Canada Fund to communities for infrastructure that enables, facilitates and encourages an active lifestyle, both indoors and outdoors.

@healthhabits says:  If that means more walking paths, more bike paths and more walkable neighbourhoods…I am on board. If that means funding for arenas & pools…I have to disagree. We need to keep a focus on the cost : benefit ratio. Tax dollars don’t grow on trees.

Recommendation 19

The committee therefore recommends that the Public Health Agency of Canada implement a strategy to increase the visibility, uptake and use of the Best Practices Portal by stakeholders across the country.

@healthhabits says:  Never heard of the Best Practices Portal. At first glance, it seems a little meh, but the idea is solid. Give Canada’s docs a dedicated site to source info on reducing obesity & related diseases seems like a great idea.

Recommendation 20

The committee therefore recommends that Health Canada design and implement a public awareness campaign on healthy eating based on tested, simple messaging. These messages should relate to, but not be limited to:

  • Most of the healthiest food doesn’t require a label;
  • Meal preparation and enjoyment;
  • Reduced consumption of processed foods; and,
  • The link between poor diet and chronic disease.

@healthhabits says:  See my comments on funding ParticipACTION above. We don’t need multiple groups coming up with different public awareness campaigns. Have a contest, using the Canadian people as judges, ask Canadian celebrities & athletes for assistance

As well, bring back Home Ec in school.

Recommendation 21

The committee further recommends that Health Canada and other relevant departments and agencies, together with existing expertise and trusted organizations, implement a comprehensive public awareness campaign on healthy active lifestyles.

@healthhabits says:  See above….physical activity, diet and healthy active lifestyles should all be promoted AT THE SAME TIME.

 

What do you think???

Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you want to discuss.

canada is the worlds fittest country

Reference

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Coronary Heart Disease : New Research Blames Sugar and Exonerates Saturated Fat

For the past 60+ years, doctors have been telling us that saturated fat is responsible for the high number of people dying from coronary heart disease.

These recommendations have been largely based on the observational studies conducted by American scientist Dr. Ancel Keys. In his research, Dr. Keys observed that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat were prone to elevated serum cholesterol and were more likely to expire due to coronary heart disease.

Around the same time that Dr. Keys was presenting his research, another scientist, Dr. John Yudkin, came to a different conclusion – that it was excessive consumption of processed sugars that was driving the increase in coronary heart disease.

And for the next 60 years, both hypotheses have been defended with a succession of studies that:

  1. Observed what people ate
  2. Hypothesized which aspect of that complex diet of carbohydrates, protein, fats, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, etc was responsible for causing coronary heart disease

Unfortunately for us “normal people” who are looking to ways to live longer & better, this kind of science is pretty darn sketchy. Here’s why:

If you have pizza for dinner tonight, Dr. Keys would tell you that the saturated fat found in the cheese & pepperoni is bad for your heart. Conversely, Dr. Yudkin would blame the processed flour used to make the pizza crust.

So…who’s right?

If we rely on observational studies to answer this question, we will never come to a consensus. People don’t eat individual nutritional components…we eat FOOD. We eat meals in which we mix carbs and fats and proteins together.

Observational studies do nothing to separate those components and because of this…this kind of study is next to useless.

Luckily for us health-nerds, in the past fifty years, researchers have added to the observational studies with a giant body of research employing basic science, epidemiology and clinical trial data to provide us with a clearer picture of the relationship between nutrition and CHD risk, CHD events and CHD mortality.

And in their new study, Drs. DiNicolantonio, O’Keefe & Lucan have analyzed the best of that research and concluded that:

  • Saturated fat can raise levels of total serum cholesterol (TC) but TC is only modestly associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) and that some types of saturated fat are actually protective against CHD.
  • Conversely, when saturated fats are replaced with refined carbohydrates, and specifically with added sugars, we see increases in low-density lipoproteins (LDL), increases in triglycerides and decreases in high-density lipoproteins (HDL) that are shown to increase your odds of CHD.

Additionally, diets high in sugar may induce many other abnormalities associated with elevated CHD risk, including elevated levels of glucose, insulin, and uric acid, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin and leptin resistance, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and altered platelet function.

Does this mean that all sugars / carbs are bad?

NO, because while the body of research indicates that “a diet high in added sugars has been found to cause a 3-fold increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease”, that doesn’t mean that all sugar/carbs are created alike.

Like some saturated fats are cardio-protective, we know that natural sugars found in whole fruits, grains and vegetables are not causing coronary heart disease.

It’s the processed fructose-containing sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup found in highly processed junk foods that are the problem.

 

 

For a more detailed look at the research, check out the link below.

Reference

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Chia Seed for Weight Loss

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar giant with hundreds of companies telling thousands of half-truths to separate you and your money.

Which supplements should you buy?

In an attempt to look past some of the supplement companies B.S., I employed the power of big data (via Google Trends) to identify the top 10 weight loss supplements….as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S.
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

Supplement #8

chiabanner

Chia (aka salvia hispanica) is a flowering plant from the mint family, native to Mexico & Guatemala.

Most famously known for the Chia Pets flogged on late-night tv back in the day, the chia seed has been found to be a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and as a treatment for:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease, and
  • Stroke

How does Chia Seed promote weight loss?

The fibre found in Chia is mostly insoluble and as such, absorbs a LOT of water as it travels through your digestive tract.

In addition to the relatively high levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in chia, it is this high fibre content that is responsible for chia being touted as a effective weight loss supplement.

  • As the chia fibre expands in your digestive tract, a feeling of satiety is created & hunger is reduced…leading to a reduction in calories consumed.
  • There is some thought that the high-fibre chia bolus traps other food sources and prevents them from being effectively digested…eventually being eliminated as waste.
  • There is also some research which indicates that chia helps to lower the blood sugar response to other carb-hydrates consumed at the same time as the chia. For this reason, chia is being used as an ingredient in traditional carbs foods (bread, pasta, etc) as a way to lower the glycemic index of those foods.

Chia Seed Research

Want to learn more about chia seeds & weight loss?  

Check out the science….​

Where can I buy Chia Seed supplements?

Here are the best online sources for Chia Seed:

Note: If you make a purchase from one of these online retailers, I receive a 6-10% “finders fee” …almost enough to pay for this site. Thanks in advance 🙂

Like this article?

The info in this article came from my Special Report – The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016.  

The full report is available to @HealthHabits subscribers, so if you want to see numbers 7 – 1, subscribe now by clicking on the button below. Number 10 is available here. Number 9 is here.

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Can You Be Fit AND Fat : Research Says NO

According to Swedish researchers, the idea that you can be Fat and Fit is 100% false.

In this study, it was found that obese men with a high level of aerobic fitness are more likely to die than normal weight men with below average levels of aerobic fitness.

The Science

Looking at a group of 1,317,713 Swedish men with a median age of 29, researchers investigated the association between aerobic fitness, obesity and death.

Here’s what they found…

  • Men in the top 20% of aerobic health had a 48% lower risk of death from any cause as compared to the bottom 20%.

man runningIn regard to the “fit and fat” hypothesis, the researchers found that men of a normal weight, regardless of their fitness level, were at a lower risk of death compared to obese men who were in the top 25% of aerobic fitness.

In fact, the men with extreme levels of obesity lost all of the benefits associated with aerobic fitness.

is it possible to be fat and fit

What does this mean to you?

  1. Fat and fit is a myth.
  2. While this study focused on men, it would be foolish to believe that overweight women are somehow different.
  3. Going for a run after eating a whole pizza is not a solution.
  4. Obesity is a killer.

Reference

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If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

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Caffeine for Weight Loss

 

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar giant with hundreds of companies telling thousands of half-truths to separate you and your money.

Which supplements should you buy?

In an attempt to look past some of the supplement companies B.S., I employed the power of big data (via Google Trends) to identify the top 10 weight loss supplements….as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S.
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

Supplement #10

caffeine banner.jpg

 

Caffeine is the 10th most popular weight loss supplement around the world. But weight loss is not all that caffeine is good for. In addition to being an essential part of my morning coffee ritual, caffeine is a chemical found in tea, cola, guarana, mate, etc…

How does caffeine work?

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, muscles, and the centers that control blood pressure. Caffeine can raise blood pressure, but might not have this effect in people who use it all the time.

Caffeine can also act like a “water pill” that increases urine flow. But again, it may not have this effect in people who use caffeine regularly. Note – drinking caffeine during moderate exercise is not likely to cause dehydration

In addition to weight loss, caffeine has many other health-promoting uses, including:

  • mental alertness
  • pain reliever
  • asthma treatment
  • gallbladder disease treatment
  • ADHD treatment
  • low blood pressure treatment
  • as a cream to reduce skin redness & itching
  • athletic performance enhancer

How does Caffeine promote weight loss?

Caffeine promotes weight loss via two separate pathways:

  1. Appetite suppression. Research shows that caffeine reduces your desire to eat for a moderate period of time.
  2. Calorie burning. Studies have shown that caffeine stimulates thermogenesis — forcing your your body to generate heat and energy from digesting food.

In short, caffeine supplements promise to make you crave less food and burn more calories regardless of exercise.

 Caffeine Research

 Where can I buy Caffeine supplements?

In addition to your local health food or drugstore, I have listed some of the best online sources for Caffeine.

Note: If you make a purchase from one of these online retailers, I receive a 6-10% “finders fee” …almost enough to pay for this site. Thanks in advance 🙂

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The info in this article came from my Special Report – The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016.  

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Fish Oil Switches Fat Storage Cells into Fat Burning Cells

Researchers from Kyoto University have discovered that fish oil can switch your fat storage cells into fat burning cells.

Specifically, they found that consuming fish oil:

  1. Activates receptors in your digestive tract which…
  2. Engages your sympathetic nervous system…
  3. Causing fat storage cells to metabolize your fat

Background Info

Fact #1. You have three types of fat cells 

  • White fat – which stores calories and contributes to obesity
  • Brown fat – initially thought to exist only in babies, brown fat arises from infant muscles and is designed to help keep their little baby-bodies warm. “More recent imaging data suggested that adults, too, maintain some brown fat’.
  • Beige fat – similar looking to brown fat, beige fat doesn’t come from muscle, but is created by the “browning” of white fat in adult humans. It is found in “scattered pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine in adults”

Fact #2. Previous research has shown that fish oil has a number of powerful health benefits…including fat accumulation.

These two facts led the scientists at Kyoto U to investigate how fish oil and brown fat cells interacted.

The Study

Researchers fed a group of mice “fatty food” while feeding other mice “fatty food with fish oil additives.

The researchers found that mice who ate the fish oil supplement gained 5-10% less weight and 15-25% less fat compared to the non-fish oil eating mice.

 Figure 1: Fish oil intake reduced body weight gain and fat accumulation

srep18013-f1

Fish oil intake decreased body weight (A) and abdominal WAT (B) gain in mice. Mice were fed a control diet (C), control diet containing low-dose DHA-enriched fish oil (LD), control diet containing high-dose DHA-enriched fish oil (HD), control diet containing low-dose EPA-enriched fish oil (LE), and control diet containing high-dose EPA-enriched fish oil (HE) for 10 weeks. 

The scientists also found that the fish oil supplements caused an activation of the sympathetic nervous system, forcing white fat cells to transform into beige fat cells.

Figure 2: Fish oil intake induced UCP1 expression in interscapular BAT (brown fat) and inguinal WAT (white fat)

srep18013-f2

Fish oil intake induced UCP1 protein expression in interscapular BAT (A) and inguinal WAT (B). Fish oil intake also induced UCP1 mRNA expression in interscapular BAT (C) and inguinal WAT (D). Fish oil intake induced beige adipocyte-specific gene expression in interscapular BAT (E) and inguinal WAT (F). 

 

The researchers concluded that it was this transformation of white fat storage cells into beige fat burning cells that protected the lab mice from their “fatty food” diet.

What does this mean to you?

If you’re concerned about gaining or losing body fat…start eating more fatty fish and/or supplementing with fatty fish oils.

Fish Oil Supplements

Which Fish Should You Eat?

The following infographic shows which fatty fish are healthiest (re their good oil) and which fat are the healthiest (re low levels of mercury)

fish-omega3-mercury

Reference

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“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon”

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, “eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon.”

As news of this research spread around the web, Vegans reacted like this….

tumblr_lbvabxXijT1qbi71b

But wait…before everyone flips out…

Let’s take a closer look at the study

In this study, the Carnegie Mellon researchers were investigating how three different USDA-esque weight loss plans would impact the environment.

Here are the three diet plans

  1. Reducing caloric intake to achieve “normal” weight without shifting food mix…aka same diet as before, just less of it.
  2. Switching food mix to USDA recommended food patterns without reducing calories…aka “healthy” diet, same calories as before
  3. Reducing calories & switching to USDA recommended food patterns…aka “healthy diet” AND fewer calories

How did they measure the environmental impact?

To compare the three diets, the researchers calculated how…

  • growing,
  • processing,
  • shipping,
  • selling
  • and storing all the foods consumed in the three diets

…impacted energy use, blue water footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

They crunched all that data to arrive at a series of environmental impact scores (energy, blue water, GHG) per kcal for each food.

From there, they calculated the overall energy, blue water & GHG scores for each of the three diets

Their findings?

Dietary Recommendation #1 resulted in a decrease in energy use, blue water footprint and GG emissions by approximately 9%.

Which makes sense…2000 calories of pizza is going to use less energy than 3000 calories of pizza.

Dietary Recommendation #2 increased energy use by 43%, increased blue water footprint by 16% and increased GHG emissions by 9%

The data showed that eating more fruits, vegetables, dairy & seafood bumped up the global footprint because of their relatively higher resource use and emissions per Calorie.

Even when the researchers dropped the caloric intake of the healthy food for Dietary Recommendation #3, they still saw an increase in energy use of 38%, an increase in blue water footprint of 10% and an increase in GHG emissions of 6%

And that’s where we get our headline…“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon”

bacon

Even if you starve yourself on healthy food, you are harming the environment more than if you ate the standard American diet of grains & processed food.

This can’t be true, can it?

Yup…it’s true. But here’s why.

Our current food production system is geared towards producing the food most of us eat…processed grains and cheap fats & protein.

We are incredibly efficient at producing crap food. 

From farm to table, our mainstream food infrastructure is an amazing artificial organism.

Conversely, our infrastructure for healthy food is a joke in comparison. Small-scale healthy food producers give us amazing foodstuffs, but at a per-unit cost (financial & environmental) far in excess of their mainstream competitors.

If our healthy food producers had the infrastructure of our less-than-healthy food producers, they would match them for price & crush them in terms of environmental impact.

But they don’t and as a result, we are left comparing apples & oranges.

karl_smile

So cheer up my vegan brothers & sisters. And keep eating your fruits & veggies.

As more and more “normal” people start eating healthier, the financial & environmental costs of healthy food will drop.

Reference

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Junk Food Can Damage Your Metabolism In Just 5 Days

The human body is an amazing machine. Capable of:

  • Climbing mountains,
  • Adapting to environments as disparate as the arctic and the tropical rain forest.
  • Running for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch,
  • Lifting freakishly heavy weights.
  • Amazing technological advances,
  • Creating art that can elevate the soul

Unfortunately, what your body can’t do is consume junk food – aka the Standard American Diet – without starting to fall apart.

Here’s the science:

According to this new study, after just 5 days of eating a diet that included sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food loaded with butter, healthy college-age students experienced a significant change in how their muscles processed nutrients. And not for the better.

According to the researchers, eating a starchy, fatty diet disrupts how your muscles metabolize glucose, “which could lead to the body’s inability to respond to insulin”, leading to insulin insensitivity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a reduced quantity & quality of life.

NOTE: In the study, the test diet was designed to have fat make up 55% of the calories – as opposed to a “normal” 30% fat diet – with the inclusion of foods such as sausage biscuits and mac & cheese. And while I agree that a diet in which 55% of the calories comes from fat can be called a “high-fat” diet, I would argue that it would be more accurate to call it a “high fat AND carb” diet or a “high fat AND starchy carb” diet or a “high fat AND high gluten” diet.

To infer that fat is the villain here may not be wholly accurate. We need a bit more research before we start blaming a single macronutrient.

What does this mean to you?

  1. As yummy as sausage biscuits smothered in gravy and bacon smells, you may not want to eat it very often. Your body hasn’t evolved (devolved) to handle this type of food.
  2. If you can’t resist the siren song of Mac ‘n Cheese, space it out with some healthy food, like a Big Salad, to help your muscles sensitive to insulin.
  3. The next time you hear about a study saying High-Fat or High-Carb diets are bad, take a closer look at what the researchers consider high-fat or high-carb.dia

Reference

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health diet obesity healthhabits

A Diet for People Who Can’t Stick to a DIet

No one likes dieting.  Just thinking of…

  • Counting calories, or
  • Eating fewer carbs, or
  • Avoiding white foods, or
  • Cutting back on fat, or
  • Living off of lemon juice, cayenne pepper & maple syrup, or
  • Writing down everything you eat, or
  • Eating nothing but kale, or
  • Drinking 20 glasses of water per day, or
  • Chewing each bite of food 20 times, or
  • Popping fat-burners, or
  • Taking pictures of every meal, or
  • Eating nothing but bacon, or
  • Spending too much bathroom time thanks to laxatives, or
  • Loading up on “natural” weight-loss supplements, or
  • Eating only raw foods…

…fills most of us with an almost unbearable sadness.

Let’s face it. Diets suck. 

healthhabits health fitness fat couple fit couple poster

  • Wouldn’t it be cool someone came up with an weight loss plan for people who can’t stick to a diet?
  • And wouldn’t it be cool if that weight loss plan was based on some solid science?
  • And wouldn’t it be cool if that weight loss plan was 100% free?
  • And wouldn’t it be cool if that weight loss plan gave you the weekends off?

Today is your lucky day!!!

Today I am going to tell you about the research conducted by Dr. Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Professor Panda and his associates are interested in understanding the molecular mechanism of the biological clock. In his lab, he “uses genetic, genomics and biochemical approaches to identify genes under circadian regulation in different organs and to understand the mechanism of such regulation.”

Luckily for us, two of his recent studies (see References below) have looked at how a time-restricted diet produces weight loss & prevents metabolic disease.

Here’s how it works

In his 2012 study – Time-Restricted Feeding without Reducing Caloric Intake Prevents Metabolic Diseases in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet  – Dr. Panda found that animals who had their food consumption restricted to an 8-hr window were protected against obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, inflammation and have improved motor coordination….even though they consumed an equivalent amount of calories compare to the control group which was allowed to eat whenever they wanted during the day.

diet health nutrition obesity healthhabits

Think about that…you can eat just as much as you NORMALLY do, but by restricting yourself to an 8 hour feeding window, you will

  • Prevent obesity,
  • Prevent insulin resistance,
  • Prevent leptin resistance,
  • Prevent type 2 diabetes,
  • Have a healthier liver,
  • Have lower levels of inflammation, and
  • Will be physically more coordinated.

But wait…it gets even better.

In his 2014 study – Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges – Dr. Panda looks at how time-restricted feed (8-9 hrs per day) works against PRE-EXISTING OBESITY.

health diet obesity healthhabits

What they found is that, even without restricting calories, instituting a 9-12 hour feeding period…

  • Reduces obesity,
  • Reverses the progression of type 2 diabetes,
  • Improves liver function and high cholesterol

…even when the little lab mice were allowed to…

  • Eat whenever they want on weekends
  • Chow down on high-fat, high-fructose, and high-sucrose diets throughout the week

What Does This Mean For You

It means that by restricting your food consumption to a 9-hour window during the work week, you can…

  • Keep eating your “normal” diet,
  • Lose body-fat,
  • Improve your liver function,
  • Lower your cholesterol,
  • Prevent type 2 diabetes,
  • Drink beer & eat nachos on the weekend

NOTE: I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but even though I am super-excited about this research, I want to prepare you for the possibility that further research may expose flaws in the theory. That’s the nature of science. For now, I suggest cautious optimism. Give this plan a try for a 4-6 week period and see how it works for you. After all, you are your own personal lab mouse.

And if you want to let me know how this plan works for you, contact me via social media. All my social media links are in the footer.

Please share this post via your social media platforms. This is great new science that deserves to be spread as far & wide as possible. Please share on all your platforms.

Reference

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How to Get a Tan Without Risking Skin Cancer

  • You know that you look better with a bit of a tan.
  • But, you’re worried about getting skin cancer.

What would you say if I told you that there is some pretty solid science showing that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is more effecting at improving skin colour than suntanning?

The study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior showed that (Caucasian) people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables have a more golden skin colour thanks to the high levels of carotenoids.

Most widely known for their presence in carrots, carotenoids are a type of antioxidant that helps reverse the oxidative damage we incur in our daily lives. In particular, carotenoids have a powerful effect on our immune and reproductive systems.

Lead author Dr Ian Stephen said: “We found that, given the choice between skin colour caused by suntan and skin colour caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin colour, so if you want a healthier and more attractive skin colour, you are better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun.”

Dr Stephen suggests that the study is important because evolution would favour individuals who choose to form alliances or mate with healthier individuals over unhealthy individuals.

We should note that while this study looked exclusively at Caucasian faces, it may be true that a study of other racial groups would produce similar results.

Previous studies have shown similar preferences for skin yellowness to be found in an African population.

For more info on this study;

If you want to participate in future studies regarding health & beauty, check out The Perception Lab.

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The Best Vitamin C Foods

Back in the 1970’s, Dr.Linus Pauling popularized a theory that high doses of Vitamin C would significantly decrease the incidence of the common cold.

This theory spurred a widespread belief that consuming more vitamin C will reduce the risk of catching a cold and reduce its severity. While that theory has taken a beating in the past few years, no one can deny that Vitamin C is a nutritional superstar.

  • Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen – an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone.
  • Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter – norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood.
  • In addition, vitamin C is required for the synthesis of carnitine, a small molecule that is essential for the transport of fat into cellular organelles called mitochondria, where the fat is converted to energy.
  •  Research also suggests that vitamin C is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, which may have implications for blood cholesterol levels and the incidence of gallstones.
  • Vitamin C is also a highly effective antioxidant. Even in small amounts vitamin C can protect indispensable molecules in the body, such as proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), from damage by free radicals and reactive oxygen species that can be generated during normal metabolism as well as through exposure to toxins and pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke).
  • Vitamin C may also be able to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E. One recent study of cigarette smokers found that vitamin C regenerated vitamin E from its oxidized form.

So…which are the best Vitamin C foods?

Most of us get our Vitamin C from a glass of OJ with our breakfast.

And while that glass of liquid sunshine is a great way to get the “C” into your body, it’s also a great way to get a whole bunch of sugar without all the fiber, vitamins & minerals that goes along with most solid-food sources of Vitamin C.

And for that reason, I am giving you 2 different lists of Best Vitamin C foods sources

The JUICE list….

  • 1 cup of Orange juice – has 124 mg Vitamin C…over twice the daily recommended amount
  • 1 cup of Pineapple and grapefruit juice drink has 115 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Cranberry juice cocktail  has 107 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Grapefruit juice  has 94 mg vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Grape drink has  79 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Vegetable juice cocktail has 67 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Pineapple juice – 1 cup has  25 mg Vitamin C

And the FOOD list…

 

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What Happens When A Skinny Person Gets Fat

No one ever said the world was fair.

  • Some of us can eat and drink whatever we want…and never gain a pound of body-fat.

Victorias-Secret-vs-Dove-women

  • While some of us eat healthy, eat small portions, exercise religiously…and still have to shop for Plus Size clothes.

NOT FAIR….especially in a society which:

  • Rewards women (and men) who are lean, fit and have no need to squeeze into a pair of Spanx.
  • Punishes obese women (and men) with lower pay, bad jokes and outright hostility by a growing army of douche-bags.

So, what happens when the world goes all Freaky Friday and a 39 year old woman who is naturally tall…naturally lean…while being naturally addicted to potato chips & pizza…suddenly gains 30 pounds in less than 3 months…without changing her diet or level of physical activity?

  1. Does she freak out and start snorting diet pills?
  2. Does she go into denial and pretend that she still fits into her uber-skinny “skinny jeans”?
  3. Does she morph into a rabid Fat Acceptance advocate denying that obesity is a symptom of less-than-optimum health?
  4. Or does she step back, look critically at the situation and start looking for causes, cures and support?

Here’s what happened

About two weeks ago, I got a call from Ms. Skinny/Fat to discuss her recent & unexpected weight gain.

She told me that how, after a brief period of denial (#2), she had become concerned that this weight gain might be an indicator of a hormonal imbalance or some other health issue…and that she had better do something about it (#4). She had already booked an appointment with her family doctor, but since she is friends with one of the world’s greatest weight loss experts (moi), she decided to solicit my opinion.

Over a cup of coffee with her and her husband, we discussed the past six months of her life…what she ate, when she ate it, her work life, her home life, her medical history, her stress levels, her husband, her plans for the next six months, etc…

We looked into every nook and cranny of her physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual aspect of her life…trying to find clues for why her body decided to stop being skinny and start being pudgy.

What we found was that a teeny-tiny dose of mirtazapine (1/4th of the normal starting dose – prescribed for anxiety) was most likely the culprit to have caused a significant shift in her appetite, metabolism, insulin sensitivity, leptin sensitivity and ultimately caused this naturally skinny person to get fat

After a quick consultation with her doctor, Ms. Skinny/Fat made 4 immediate changes to her daily routine:

  1. She started bleeding herself off of the mirtazapine
  2. She started taking a new prescription for anxiety
  3. She started a CBT/Mindfulness Mediatation program for anxiety
  4. She removed ALL starchy carbs from her diet in an attempt to compensate for any potential insulin/leptin sensitivty problems

The Result?

  • Her appetite dropped immediately
  • Her weight gain stopped immediately
  • After one week, weight loss has begun

The Moral(s) of the Story?

  1. It doesn’t take much for a naturally skinny person to get booted out of their excluisive little club. A slight shift in hormones or brain chemicals can have a drastic effect upon body composition.
  2. If you are the type of skinny person who thinks that fatties are fat because they are lazy and without self-control, you may want to put down your prejudices and give your brain a shake.
  3. Obesity IS a symptom of something going on in your body. A perfectly healthy body is NOT obese. Whether the cause of your obesity is easy to find and/or easy to correct is another question altogether. In this case, it was pretty easy to find and seems to be on its way to being corrected.
  4. If you are the type of obese person who blames their metabolism for their obesity, you might be correct in the diagnosis, but you are 100% wrong if you think the situation is hopeless. Obesity isn’t a curse. It’s a symptom of imbalance. Discover the imbalance and try to correct it.

Reference

Be the Best You that You Can Be

Every day, I speak with people who want to transform their body from fat to fit. And for the most part, I tell them that the human body is an amazingly adaptable machine that WILL respond to exercise, nutrition, etc.

Unfortunately, sometimes I have to splash a little cold water on their hopes & dreams. Just like Mssrs Ecto, Meso & Endo, we all face unique limitations and restrictions.

  • Mr. Meso’s waist is great for bodybuiding…but not so good for becoming the World’s Strongest Man
  • And while Mr. Endo is built for pulling transport trucks out of ditches, he is never, ever going to be as lean as Mr. Ecto without a boatload of illegal and life-threatening drugs.

We all have limitations…

  • Physical – wide hips, narrow hips, small boobs, big boobs, muscle fiber type, metabolic rate, etc…
  • Mental – self-confidence and belief in their ability to improve
  • Financial – gym memberships, trainers, healthy food & supplements cost money
  • Social – support of friends & family isn’t guaranteed
  • Knowledge – Some people still believe that cardio is the best way to lose weight
  • Time – we are all stuck with this one 😦

And while most of us will never be hired to be the next Calvin Klein model…

calvin-klein-models

…we sure as heck can be better than we are today.

Be the Best You that You Can Be

 

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Best Body Transformation 2013

For the past two years, I have been posting free workouts here at Health Habits

These workouts employed all manner of fitness equipment and as such, were more appropriate for people with gym memberships.

This year, we are going to focus on people who workout at home.

  • To begin with, we will only be doing body-weight exercises.
  • After a month or so, we will add in some strength band workouts. I suggest you buy yours NOW!!!
  • As we go along, I might add in a kettlebell or some other piece of home fitness equipment. I will give you lots of notice OR give you alternative exercises.

The workouts we will be posting online are exact replicas of the ones I am using with one of my newest clients. In fact, to show you how effective these workouts can be, my little guinea pig  has agreed to track his physique transformation as the year progresses.

His goals are as follows:

  1. Reduce body-fat
  2. Get fitter – stronger, more flexible, agile, etc
  3. Get healthier
  4. Look great in the buff

Which are probably the same goals as 93% of y’all.

Here’s what we’re starting with…

Measurements : Day # 1

  • Weight : 283 lbs
  • Waist – landmarked @ Belly Button  : 50″
  • Hips – landmarked @ Butt : 45″
  • Upper Arm – Midpoint between Shoulder & Elbow : 17″ relaxed – 18″ flexed
  • Thigh – Midpoint between Hip & Knee : 28.5″
  • Neck :19″
  • Chest – landmarked @ Nipples : 53″

[colored_box color=”yellow”]There are a few other health issues that we will be tracking, but will not be reporting here at HH (as per client request). Nothing out of the ordinary, but he wants to retain some modicum of privacy. If, in the future, he decides to open up his life a little more, I will report how this transformation has affected these issues.[/colored_box]

Pictures: Day 1

Transformation---1---Front

Transformation-1-Side-right

Transformation---1---Back

Transformation--1--Side-Lef

  • On Monday, I will post the first resistance workout.
  • On Tuesday, I will lay out the dietary / lifestyle plan that I put together for our guinea pig
  • On Wednesday, I will post the second resistance workout.
  • On Thursday, I will make some recommendations about future exercise equipment purchases.
  • On Friday, we have the 3rd resistance workout.

If you have any questions for me or the GP, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter.

alpha-flight-canadian-super
after pic???

The Best Exercise for a Fit Sexy Body

What if I told you that there was a form of exercise that…

  • Raises low self-esteem
  • Burns a ton of calories
  • Is scientifically proven to repair distorted body images
  • Increases functional fitness
  • Is incredibly effective for OBESE participants
  • Is a great way to make new fit friends
  • Makes you stronger
  • Makes you leaner
  • Makes your fitter
  • Makes you more flexible / mobile
  • Makes you sexier
  • And is incredibly FUN!!!

Fit Sexy Body

And what if I told you that this form of exercise is the biggest fitness trend to come along since spandex & leg warmers.

leg-warmer-spandex-newton-j

In fact, led by the market leader (Zumba), dance fitness classes are spreading around the fitness world at an amazing rate. And as a result, there are a lot of women (and a few men) who are transforming their bodies, getting healthy and having a great time while they’re doing it.

Unfortunately, along with all of this fun, there has also been a spike in ankle & knee injuries caused by people doing dance fitness classes in shoes not made for dancing. My physiotherapy buddies here in Toronto have seen their waiting rooms fill up with Zumba injuries over the past couple of years.

What does this mean to you???

It means that if you want to…

  1. create a fit sexy body with dance fitness
  2. while avoiding sprained knees & ankles

…you need to seriously think about buying a pair of dance specific shoes.

Fit Sexy Body

And I can heartily recommend these two brands of dance fitness shoes by Ryka…

… because over the past 5 months, I have had a group of female clients trying out different pairs of dance fitness shoes and these 2 pairs kept getting the best reviews. It wasn’t even close.

They fit better…they look better…and they perform better as dance fitness shoes.

Fit Sexy Body

The official Ryka sales pitch – Ryka designs all their shoes to fit a woman’s foot shape, muscle movement and skeletal structure. For example, the “Q-angle”(quadricep angle) – the anatomical relationship between the hip and knee – measures 5–7 degrees greater for women than men. As a result, women tend to shift more weight to the outside of their feet which leads to over-pronation, instability at foot strike and higher risk of injury. All Ryka sneakers, are designed and developed taking into account a woman’s unique fit needs.

Their dance fitness shoes are further modified with a low profile compression mid-sole, lateral stability and a pivot point (the pink circle) designed to help the shoe respond correctly to dance fitness movements.

These are not running shoes or tennis shoes. They are dance shoes.

NOTE: There are a growing number of dance fitness shoes on the market. I am recommending these 2 pairs of Ryka shoes because my “guinea-pigs” loved them. I have no financial involvement with these products other than they supplied samples free of charge for my experiment. There were 3 other manufacturers who supplied footwear free of charge. Their shoes didn’t test well…so they’re not in the article.

Reference

Can my friends make me fat?

Friends Don’t Let Friends Pig Out

Last night, I had a wicked craving for chicken wings.

So, after my last client, I rounded up some of my buddies, hit my favorite wing joint and cleared out my sinuses with excessive amounts of hot sauce.

While we were there, we couldn’t help overhearing the group of 20-something year old women at the next table as they laid waste to a massive pile of wings, fires, deep fried cheese, beer and fruity cooler drinks.

Impressed we were with their eating prowess…those girls could really put away the chow.

Unimpressed we were with how the ladies treated the one who stayed away from all the starchy stuff and only drank water.

  • They kept nagging at her to eat some fries and deep fried cheese sticks.
  • When she declined, they piled some on her plate.

When she didn’t eat them…

  • One of the big-eaters started to get angry and suggested that she thought she was better than them (did I mention they were drinking).

This went on for about ten minutes with all of the cheese stick eaters joining in and bombarding our heroine with different “mean girl” psychological techniques.

In the end, she gave in, ate some fries and order was restored to the group.

But it left me wondering…is this what it takes to fit in in 2012? If your friends eat like crap, do you have to eat like crap to fit in? Back in the 80’s, there was a anti-drunk driving campaign that said…

friends-dont-let-friends-dr

Maybe we need something like this to reverse the our problems with obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, etc.

Can You Lose Weight with Virtual Reality???

This new study flies in the face of my personal prejudices re video-gamers, but…. according to Dr. Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, when an individual strongly identifies with their online avatar, that avatar can have a strong positive influence on that person’s health and appearance, and may lead to the creation of new forms of obesity treatment and help break down racial and sexual prejudices.

“The creation of an avatar allows an individual to try on a new appearance and persona, with little risk or effort,” said Dr. Behm-Morawitz. “That alter-ego can then have a positive influence on a person’s life.

For example, people seeking to lose weight could create fitter avatars to help visualize themselves as slimmer and healthier.”

The Science

  • Dr. Behm-Morawitz had 279 Second Life users answer a questionnaire about their engagement with their avatar and relationships they developed online, as well as their offline health, appearance and emotional well-being.
  • Self-presence, or the degree to which users experienced their avatars as an extension of themselves, was found to predict the influence of the avatar on people’s physical reality.
  • A strong sense of self-presence in the social virtual world positively promoted health and well-being of study participants. People with high degrees of self-presence in the cyber world reported that their experience with their avatar improved how they felt about themselves offline. Self-presence also correlated to greater satisfaction with online relationships.

Of course…there may be one giant flaw with this plan.

  • Individuals who strongly identify with their uber-fit avatars are probably spending a lot of time online as those avatars…and as we all know, sitting in front of a computer screen has direct connections to obesity, musculo-skeletal pain & overall poor health.

But then again…as computing power increases, who knows how avatar technology could be woven into our lives in a way that would actually encourage living a healthy life.

NOTE – Dr. Behm-Morawitz is in the process of researching “how avatars may be used to encourage tolerance of diversity. A person’s race, gender or ethnicity can be altered in the virtual reality world and they can be put into simulated situations where they suffer prejudice and discrimination.

And that is pretty darn cool.

Reference

Get Fit & Lose Weight – Emotional Jeet Kune Do

Every day I help clients discover & push the buttons that they need to push…. if they are going to…

  1. Get the exercise their body needs
  2. Eat the food their body needs
  3. Think the thoughts they need to think and
  4. Feel the feelings they need to feel

…in order to become the healthiest, fittest, sexiest, most awesomest selves they can possibly be.

Here’s an example of the plan I used to help one of my clients lose 185 lbs over the past two years.

  • 319lbs – 185 lbs = 134 lbs

Small carb-free meals for breakfast and lunch

For example, breakfast would be 3 scrambled eggs with butter AND lunch would be a small Greek salad with feta, olives, lettuce & tomatoes – no dressing.

My reasoning behind this approach was that she was a busy executive and was very, very busy throughout the day. The combination of a busy day and not being around food made it “easy” to focus on work and forget about food.

It took a few weeks for “easy” to become easy. She hated me a little bit at first.

Large Paleo meal at dinner after her evening workout

1 big plate full of paleo-friendly food after her workout. That means loads of veggies and a good sized piece of animal protein. She was also allowed to have a piece of fruit for dinner. One of her favorites was the sauteed apples I posted about here.

She was full after dinner every single night.

Supplements

  • 1 tbsp of fish oil every morning
  • Probiotics with breakfast
  • Digestive enzymes with each meal
  • Multi-vitamin and minerals
  • Workout energy drink – I had her use Scivation Xtend

Emotional Jeet Kune Do

My client is a very, very smart woman. And very self aware. So when I told her that she WOULD transform her body into something even more awesome than what she was asking for…she told me that I was full of shit. Literally…she told me I was full of shit.

And after I finished laughing my ass off…I explained to her that over the 20+ years I have been training people, I have learned two things:

  1. Massive physical change is theoretically possible for just about everyone
  2. I am really, really good at making the theoretical happen

And to make the theoretical come true, I employ a system of emotional Jeet Kune Do on my clients. And like Bruce Lee, my emotional Jeet Kune Do is a style with no style.

This means that since we’re all unique creatures with our own individual thoughts, feeling, emotions and peculiarities…there is no fitness/diet plan that will produce awesome results for all of us.

We all have our own unique buttons that need to be pushed to get us to break and replace our bad habits.

And in her case, I asked her to lie to herself.

  • First, I asked her to imagine herself as a total freak of nature…super healthy, super fit, super sexy, etc…
  • Second, I asked for her reaction to this visual picture
  • She came back with another “you’re full of shit” comment
  • After which, I went into my spiel  about being good at making transforming people and that I truly 100% believed that we can make this change with her body. And that the biggest impediment was that she didn’t believe me.

Here’s where the Jeet Kune Do comes in.

  • I asked her to start lying to herself

Whenever she doubted my plan…or her ability to not eat ice cream…or that she would ever have a butt you could bounce quarters off of…I wanted her to:

  1.  Accept her doubts (past history + emotions will not be ignored or minimized)
  2. Get angry and tell the doubts to “Fuck Off…because  she’s going to do exactly what those doubts say she can’t”

And the reason I think this worked for her is because in her business career she has been faced many times with people, boards, companies & governments who told her that she couldn’t do what she wanted to do.

And most of the time, she responded by getting angry, getting to work and kicking their asses (after telling them to fuck off…inside her head)

The essence of emotional Jeet Kune Do is to search for your buttons…not your friend’s buttons, or the fitness guru’s buttons…YOUR BUTTONS.

What’s YOUR Excuse?

Just in case you needed some extra motivation to put down the chips and get your ass off the couch….

Instant Exercise Motivation #25 – ESPN’s Body Issue 2012 – Pt 3

Here is the 3rd and final installment of ESPN’s collection of incredibly fit, incredibly talented, incredibly sexy human bodies.

Walter Dix – Sprinter
Oksana Masters – Paralympic Rower
Tim Morehouse – Fencer
Ashton Eaton – Decathlete
Anna Tunnifcliffe – Sailor
U.S.A. National Volleyball Team
Destinee Hooker – Volleyball Player
Megan Hodge – Volleyball Player
Alisha Glass – Volleyball Player
Stacy Sykora – Volleyball Player

I am already looking forward to next year’s installment.

Reference

Say Yes to Fitism

Last night on the news, I listened to stories about socialism, racism, creationism, nationalism, and multiculturalism.

How come we never hear about…

Fitism:  the doctrine that fitness and the fit lifestyle are awesome and important. “his fitism allowed him to look great naked”

The #1 reason why people diet and go to the gym

A Real Sophie’s Choice: Baldness or Suicide?

Baldness Sucks!!!

Unfortunately, according to a new study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry….”men who developed persistent sexual side effects while on the anti-baldness drug finasteride (aka Propecia), have a high prevalence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts“.

During their research, the researchers found that:

  • Most former finasteride users exhibited some degree of depressive symptoms
  • 11% had mild symptoms of depression
  • 28% had moderate symptoms of depression
  • 36% had severe symptoms of depression
  • and 44% reported suicidal thoughts

In the control group….

  • 10% had mild depressive symptoms with no cases of moderate or severe symptoms
  • and 3% reported suicidal thoughts.

Study author Dr. Michael S. Irwig concluded that “the potential life-threatening side-effects associated with finasteride should prompt clinicians to have serious discussions with their patients. The preliminary findings of this study warrant further research.”

And if that isn’t an understatement….

Reference

Instant Exercise Motivation #24 – ESPN’s Body Issue 2012 – Pt 2

Just in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics, ESPN has released their Body Issue for 2012.

And what could be better than a collection of incredibly fit, incredibly talented, incredibly sexy human bodies to motivate our collective lazy butt up off our collective couch and get us moving.

Fit = Sexy

Brad Richards – NHL
Ronda Rousey – MMA Champ
Jose Bautista – MLB’s Best Hitter
Maurice Jones-Drew – A cross between the Hulk and Iron Man
Candace Parker – WNBA
Mike Smith – Jockey
Daniela Hantuchova – WTA Tennis pro

WHEN you Eat can make you Fat

It’s nice when scientific research catches up with common sense.

For years, obesity experts have been telling us that losing weight is as simple as calories in v.s. calories out. But even the drunkest college co-ed knows that the calories she eats late at night after partying are going to end up as part of her Freshman 15. Even if she starves herself the rest of the day.

Human metabolism is much more complicated than calories in v.s. calories out. And science is finally catching up to this fact.

In a study presented this month at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, researchers argued that “not only the amount and type of food eaten but the time of day it is eaten is important in contributing to obesity”.

Spurred on by previous studies which showed that when mice consumed all of their calories during their inactive period they gained more weight than when they consumed the same amount of calories during their active period, the researchers chose to investigate how “certain components of the diet, such as sugar or fat, contributed to differences in weight gain during different times of the day”.

The NEW Study

In this new study, the researchers gave rats either rodent chow or chow plus either saturated fat or a sugar solution. One group was allowed to consume the diets freely whereas the other groups were only allowed to eat either the fat or sugar during their inactive period.

They found that rats consuming all of their sugar solution in the inactive period gained more weight than rats consuming all their sugar solution during the active period, even though their total caloric intake was the same. They also gained more weight than rats consuming the saturated fat solely during the inactive period. The greater body weight gain in rats consuming sugar in the inactive period was associated with less heat production.

This research suggests that there are differences in the impact sugar drinking can have on body weight gain, depending on when in the day it is consumed.

For example, when you are sitting on your butt watching late night infomercials, your body doesn’t need food and will store away the majority of the calories you inhale.

Conversely, when you just finished doing one of my super-awesome Health Habits workouts, your body is primed to re-fuel muscle glycogen and begin repairing the micro-damage you just inflicted on your muscles. As well, your hormone profiles will make it highly unlikely that your post-workout calories will be stored as fat.

That’s why my ultra-lean clients eat the majority of their calories surrounding their periods of high physical activity.

It ain’t rocket science…but maybe it doesn’t have to be.

Reference

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As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

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Instant Exercise Motivation #23 – ESPN’s Body Issue – 2012

Just in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics, ESPN has released their “Body Issue” for 2012.

And what could be better than a collection of incredibly fit, incredibly talented, incredibly sexy human bodies to motivate our collective lazy butt up off our collective couch and get us moving.

Fit = Sexy

Carlos Bocanegra – US National Soccer
Maya Gabeira – Big Wave Surfer
Daniel Leyva – US Olympic Gymnast
Suzann Petterson – LPGA Golfer – #6 ranked
Tyson Chandler – NBA pro
Abby Wambach – US National Soccer
Rob Gronkowski – NFL pro

 

45 Reasons Why America is Obese

America…like other countries… is getting fatter day after day after day. And if you listen to the mainstream media / medical “experts”, most will tell you that it’s all about Calories in vs Calories Out. A small minority will reference the power of insulin while some obesity-apologists will blame their DNA.

So, I raise the question….Is there a one size fits all cause and/or cure for obesity?

Or are there a whole bunch of factors coming together to create America’s obesity epidemic?

To aid in the discussion, I have put together a partial list of the factors that I think influence human obesity.

45 Unique Causes of Obesity

Food

  • Quantity of food – Calories
  • Quantity of food – Volume
  • Type and Quality of food – Macronutrients – Carbs, Fat, Protein
  • Type and Quality of food – MicronutrientsVitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, Phytochemicals, etc…
  • Type and Quality of food – Nutrient Density v.s Caloric Density
  • Your beliefs and emotions regarding food – food as pleasure, food as fuel
  • Dining habits – eat on the run vs sit down dinner

Pizza Hut Hot Dog stuffed crust pizza

 

Next Page – Your Body…

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The World’s Best Weight Loss Laboratory…

… is the one between your ears.

There is a ton of great information available online to help you lose weight, get fit and look great naked. But all of that information means nothing if you don’t incorporate it into your life in a way that produces results.

But until you….

  • learn to recognize and manage your destructive emotions & unconscious thoughts
  • learn how to incorporate healthy eating into your life
  • learn which physical activities your body thrives on
  • learn how to handle your obstacles to health & fitness
  • learn how to modify workouts & exercises to suit your body, your fitness level, your aches & pains
  • learn how to manage your time to include daily exercise
  • learn how your body responds to a new diet
  • learn how to shop for healthy food that fits your budget

…you are doomed to failure.

That’s because, even the absolute best health & fitness advice is 100% theoretical, until you:

  1. Put it to work on your body,
  2. Listen to the feedback you’re getting from your body
  3. Adjust your diet/workout in response to that feedback
  4. Repeat #2 & #3 until you get things “perfect”.

It ain’t rocket science. But it does require some practice…and you’re going to make mistakes.

But it’s those mistakes that are going to eventually point you in the direction of tip-top fitness and an ass you could bounce quarters off of.

Instant Exercise Motivation #15

Giving in to temptation is giving up on this summer’s six-pack.

Read This Before You Join A Gym, Buy A Treadmill Or Start A Diet

It’s December 31st.

That means that tomorrow morning, three billion people are going to resolve to:

  • Start exercising
  • Get in shape
  • Lose weight
  • Or some other version of this most popular New Year’s Resolution

And soon after making that resolution, they’re going to spend a bunch of money on a gym membership, weight loss program or a new piece of fitness equipment in the hope that this “thing” will help them to finally transform their body into super-sexy celebrity shape.

ryan-reynolds-jennifer-anis

 

And they couldn’t be more wrong.

The biggest problem facing everyone who wants to transform their body isn’t lack of resources.

It’s lack of consistency.

If you don’t find a way to stick to your plan day in and day out…it ain’t gonna work.

Sorry.

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10 Really Good Diet Hacks

10 Really Good Diet Hacks

Every year, billions of authors publish trillions of diet books with complicated schemes and demands to buy their pills, powders and lotions.

Today, I’m going to give you …10 Really Good Diet Hacks…guaranteed to help you drop a bunch of body-fat…without forcing you to read a 300 page book or buy any diet pills or drinks.

1.    Eat a Big Breakfast

Your grandma was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Egg-Crepe health food nutrition healthhabits

What Grandma didn’t know was that eating a big breakfast helps reduce hunger and promotes weight loss.

In one study comparing a Big Breakfast Diet with the uber-effective low carb / Atkins style diet plan…

After four months of dieting:

  • The Low Carb Dieters lost approximately 28 pounds
  • The Big Breakfast Dieters lost about 23 pounds

Both groups did well, losing between 6 and 7 pounds per month…with Low Carb beating Big Breakfast

However…after eight months of dieting:

  • The low carb dieters had regained an average of 18 pounds. This produced a net loss of 10 pounds over 8 months – an average of 1 1/4 pounds per month.
  • The Big Breakfast Dieters lost another 16 1/2 pounds during the maintenance phase. This produced a net loss of 39 1/2 pounds – an average of 5 pounds per month.

As an added bonus, at the end of the study, the Big Breakfast Dieters reported that they experienced less hunger and fewer cravings for carbohydrates than the low carb group.

Next PageMacronutrient Timing

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Instant Exercise Motivation #10 – ESPN's Body Issue – 2011 – Part 3

ESPN released their “Body Issue” for 2011 earlier this month.

Here is the final installment of the incredibly fit and sexy athletes that they featured.

Julie Chu - Olympic Hockey Medalist
Jose Reyes - MLB All-Star Shortstop
Stephanie Gilmore - World Surfing Champion
Steven Jackson - NFL Pro Bowl Running Back
Hope Solo - Gold Medal Winning Soccer Goalkeeper
Ryan Hall - Olympic Marathoner
Kelly Kulick - U.S. Bowling Champ
Jeremy Campbell - 2x Olympic Gold Medallist
Helio Castroneves - 3x Indy 500 Winner

.

In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Instant Exercise Motivation #9 – ESPN's Body Issue – 2011 – Part 2

ESPN released their “Body Issue” for 2011 earlier this month.

Here are some more of the incredible fit and sexy athletes they featured.

Blake Griffin – Basketball Wunderkind
Natasha Hastings - Olympic Gold Medal Sprint Champion
Sergio Martinez - WBC Middleweight Boxing Champ
Belen Mozo - LPGA pro and 4-time All-American
Louie Vito - Snowboard Champ
Vera Zvonareva - Tennis Superstar

.

If you missed it, Part 1 is here.

 

There Is No "Best Diet"

  • I love the Paleo Diet.
  • I love telling people about the Paleo Diet.
  • I love telling them how great it is for losing weight.
  • I love telling them how great it is for improving blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar…

And yet, when I talk online with a single mom who works two crappy jobs in order to keep a roof over her family’s head, I realize that the Paleo Diet is far from perfect. Availability and cost are a significant barrier for Paleo wannabes.

The same holds true for Atkins and the Zone and the Mediterranean Diets.

And if it isn’t cost or availability, another reason many diets aren’t “best” is that the recipes are too complicated for the general public.

We live in a world where kids are no longer learning how to cook. Take-out and re-heating crap in the microwave has replaced home-ec  and cooking from scratch. Some of today’s youth can’t even identify different varieties of fresh vegetables.

And what about time?

Back in the day, Mrs. Cleaver had all afternoon to whip up dinner for Ward and the boys. Who has that much time on their hands nowadays?

Not our single mom with two kids.

She emailed me last week asking for advice on how she could possibly manage to feed her family Paleo meals on a severely fixed income in a neighborhood without fresh produce. She wants to feed her kids healthy food, but her life is getting in the way.

There Is No Best Diet….not even Paleo

So, what did we do?

We came up with a relatively healthy Paleo-esque hybrid that made the best of her income, free time, cooking skills and food sources. I also put her in contact with some healthy food co-ops in her area and recommended some cooking manuals she could take out from her neighborhood library.

It’s not perfect, but it’s better.

It’s the best possible diet for her current circumstances. And as those circumstances change, so will her diet (I hope).

And that’s how we should be judging the effectiveness of the latest fad diet.

Not just by their amazing claims of rapid weight loss or miracle health improvements. But also by…

  • the TIME required to prepare meals
  • the COST of those meals
  • the AVAILABILITY of the ingredients
  • and the EASE OF PREPARATION

There Is No “Best Diet”…but there is a best diet for your life.

And since my eBook,  A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century is totally free, that should help with the cost element of eating Paleo 🙂

superman-fat-ripped health-fitness-healthhabits

9 Ways to Make Your Workouts Super Awesome

1.  Reduce Rest between Sets

Reducing rest between sets will:

  • improve your anaerobic endurance,
  • allow you to do more work in a shorter period of time,
  • increase your EPOC
  • and force you to burn fat faster.

Unless you’re trying to get huge, cutting your rest periods to 30 seconds or less is a great thing to do.

skinny exercise weightlifter

2.  Start doing some Unilateral Training

Working one limb at a time is a great way to correct muscle imbalances, turn a bench press into a core exercise and get you stronger with less strain on your joints

See the 1 Arm Shoulder Press & 1 Leg Squat in this article

3.  Get Serious about Peri-Workout Nutrition

3 meals a day isn’t going to cut it if you want to get the best results from your workouts.

To maximize performance, recovery & fat loss, you need to get smart about what you eat and when you eat it.

This article goes into lots of detail about Peri-Workout Nutrition

4.  Improve your Joint Mobility

Most gym-goers barely find time to stretch their muscles.

Almost none of them try to mobilize tight or impinged joints.

And that’s too bad. Because I bet 9 out of 10 people at your gym have at least one bad joint that could be magically healed with a proper joint mobility program.

Kelly Starrett is my favorite guru when it comes to joint mobility

5.  Buy a Foam Roller

Seriously…buy a foam roller. Your muscles and your bank account will thank you

Lately, I have been using a Rumble Roller. It’s softer than my previous roller, but those knobs really do the trick on my IT bands and tight hip muscles.

rumble foam roller

As well, one of my clients used it on her tight trap muscles to help eliminate tension headaches.

Next PageTips 6 – 9…

All Diets are High Fat Diets

A pound of body-fat is equal to 3500 calories or 389 grams of ooey-gooey fat.

This means that when you “lose” a  pound of body-fat, you have transformed 3500 calories of fat into usable energy. *

Continuing this argument – if you follow a “sensible diet” and lose 2 lbs per week, you would have metabolized 7000 body-fat calories per week or 1000 body-fat calories per day.

But what about the calories you eat?

For arguments sake, let’s assume that you are someone who can eat 2000 cal per day and still lose 2 lbs of body-fat  in a week.

  • This means that in addition to the 2000 cal of food you eat every day, you are also metabolizing 1000 body-fat calories per day….. for a total caloric burn of 3000 calories per day.
  • And if my math is correct, this means that even if you eat 100% fat-free, your “diet” is still made up of at least 33% body-fat (1000 cal body-fat ÷ 3000 total cal).

And that sounds like a high-fat diet to me.

But what if you can’t lose weight on 2000 calories of food per day?

What if you have to drop calories to 1500 per day to achieve a 2 lb per week fat loss?

  • 1500 cal of totally fat-free  food + 1000 cal of body-fat = 2500 total cal per day
  • 1000 cal of body-fat = 40% of the total daily caloric intake

And if you drop down as low as 1000 cal per day to get your 2 lb per week fat loss?

That’s a 50% fat diet even if all your food is fat-free.

And that’s why I say that All Diets are High Fat Diets.

.

NOTE: The 3500 calories = 1 lb of bodyfat is a generalized estimate. I have worked with lots of clients who would dispute the belief that a reduction of 3500 calories guarantees a loss of 1 lb of body-fat.

health-healthhabits-fitness-nutrition-diet-jillian michaels positive reinforcement diet - shame

Dieting 101 : Say NO to Shame

Believe it or not, you will cheat on your diet.

At some point in the next few weeks:

  • You’re going to eat too much, or
  • Eat right before bed, or
  • Eat the wrong food, or
  • Skip a meal, or
  • Etc, etc, etc….

It’s guaranteed. Everyone does it. Even Jillian.

It’s how you deal with that cheat that’s going to determine the success of your diet.

If you see your cheat as a temporary slip-up and move on to the next meal, next day, next week…you’ll probably be very successful with your weight loss.

However, if you:

  • Obsess over your cheat, and
  • Keep blaming yourself, or
  • Pretend it didn’t happen, or
  • Hide it from others (ie your trainer)
  • Or find some other way to catastrophize your little diet slip-up

I can pretty much guarantee that your diet is doomed.

Shame is the Diet Killer

When you were learning how to drive, you made all sorts of tiny little mistakes & corrections. But you didn’t crash the car.

When you’re learning how to eat healthy & lose body-fat, you’re going to make all sorts of tiny little mistakes & corrections. You’re going to learn which foods work best for you. You’re going to adapt the generic diet to suit your unique lifestyle.

And as long as you don’t turn your little mistakes into big, emotional problems, you will be successful.

Always remember to stay in the present.

When you cheat on your diet:

  • Recognize that you did it.
  • Ask yourself why you did it.
  • Ask yourself how to avoid having it happen again
  • And then move on. Let it go.

There is no shame in making a teeny tiny little mistake. Learn from it, move on to the next meal and stop beating yourself up over a few cookies.

Would you vote for a Ban on Junk Food Advertising aimed at kids under 13?

I think that a ban / restriction is a good idea…in theory.

  • Advertisers would be free to continue to market to everyone over the age of 13
  • Childhood obesity is a growing problem around the world
  • Junk food is called junk food for a reason – it’s junk. And it contributes to making our kids fat, diabetic & lazy.
  • We already ban advertisers from targeting children from cigarette & alcohol.

Obviously, the biggest argument against this act is going to be the cry of “Nanny State”.

And while I agree that government at all levels need to be reminded periodically that their job is to serve the public and not attempt to control or re-engineer the public, we should also remember that the job of advertisers, marketers and manufacturers is to sell products & services to the public.

They have no responsibility to care for the health of our kids.

That’s the job of family.

And when Ontario’s families wanted to stop advertisers from targeting their kids with ads for booze & smokes, they used government legislation to ban the practice.

Reebok ZigTech = Run Faster Longer

Over the past couple of months, I have been beta-testing a pair of Reebok ZigTech running shoes.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I have become a big fan of my wild looking Zigs.

I hate to admit it because I am a big believer in minimalist style training shoes that force the muscles in your feet to do some actual work. I also can’t stand that high-end trunning shoes are sold mainly on hype. They promise a lot but usually deliver very little.

And that’s exactly what I assumed about the ZigTechs when I was contacted by a PR company who represents Reebok.

They wanted to know if I would be interested in reviewing some of their gear for Health Habits.

And while my official policy is to only review products that I like enough to purchase myself as well as recommend to my clients, I decided to give them a try because I was looking to get back into running some real distances and I needed to find a new pair of shoes that would allow my poor surgically reconstructed knees to survive a “run” without swelling up.

And boy am I glad I did.

ZigTech Shoes : The Good

  • Whether it was on an elliptical cardio trainer, a treadmill or outdoors on the frozen Canadian tundra, the Zigs allowed me to increase my mileage while making life much easier on my knees. Also, shin splints were reduced by 84.73%.
  • Comparing apples to apples, my performances on the elliptical & the treadmill improved by around 10% over the past 2 months.
  • Lateral mobility was good during cross-training workouts. I was concerned about this initially.
  • I thought my red & black versions looked pretty snazzy.

ZigTech Shoes : The Bad

  • There was some heel slippage during some of my resistance workouts. I fixed this problem by switching to a “Heel Lock” lacing pattern.

ZigTech Shoes : The Interesting

  • Unlike running shoes equipped with springs, air bags, gel paks etc, the idea behind ZigTech is that the sole absorbs the impact of heel strike and rebounds that energy horizontally along the length of the shoe propelling the athlete forward with each step. That’s the theory. And while I didn’t have some fancy-schmancy lab equipment to test that theory, it did feel like that…like I was being pushed forward. Kinda weird, but pretty cool.

Conclusion

While I am still a big believer in wearing barefoot/minimalist footwear, I like running better in my ZigTechs.

So, here’s my plan:

  • minimalist shoes during the day and during most workouts.
  • Zigtechs when I am running

My Emotions Made Me Fat

About 3 months ago, I tested my body composition.

  • Total body-weight was = 243 lbs
  • Lean body mass (bone, muscle, organs) was = 216 lbs
  • Body-fat was = 27 lbs
  • Body-fat percentage was = 11%

And since winter is my time to focus on strength and ignore body-fat, I was pleased with the numbers.

I was strong as a horse and would worry about the excess blubber in the spring.

And then my Dad went into the hospital.

At first, he seemed to be responding to treatment and we were expecting him home in a few days. Unfortunately, he picked up a couple of drug resistant infections in the hospital and things started to go downhill.

But since my Dad has always been a fighter, he went to war against the drug resistant staph & c-difficile. One day he would be getting better and we would feel hopeful. The next day, he would crash. This went on for over two months.

Until, on Feb 9, 2011, my Dad passed away.

Since that time, I have had the pleasure of organizing services, looking after my Mom and attending memorials and family remembrances.

I also went a little mental during the 3 months and gained 24 lbs of body-fat.

  • Total weight as of yesterday is = 267 lbs
  • Lean Body Mass (bone, muscle, organs) is still = 216 lbs
  • Body-fat weight is = 51 lbs
  • Body-fat percentage is = 19%

And it’s not like I went on some sort of cheesecake bender.

Instead of my normal Paleo diet of meat and vegetables, I was eating more like a normal North American.

  • A giant cookie with my Starbucks coffee
  • Sandwiches instead of salads or stir-frys
  • A can of Coke in the hospital cafeteria.
  • Hard candies and potato chips from my wife’s stash
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • and the occasional giant bowl of ice cream

Combine all this junk with my skyrocketing levels of cortisol and a bad case of the blues – and I have managed to pack on an extra 24 lbs of blubber and a newfound fear of my bathroom mirror.

And if that isn’t the perfect example of how emotions can make you fat, I don’t know what is.

Luckily for me, between my muscle mass and my ultra-casual personal trainer wardrobe, it’s hard to tell that I packed on the weight.

But, I know it’s there.

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But not for much longer.

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FYI – More info on Emotional Eating

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Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 1 – Day 1

PHASE 1

Warm-Up

Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up. The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but as long as your muscles are getting pliable and your joints are feeling “loose”….feel free to do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
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5 Minutes of the following 4 Mobility Exercises:

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1.  Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

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2.  Rolling Like A Ball

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3.  Shin Box

.[y

4.  Lateral Lunges

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5 Minutes of the following Muscle Warm-Up Exercises

I am going to list a bunch of exercises. You choose which ones you want to do….remembering that the goal is to warm up the muscles and make them pliable and ready to handle the following workout

  • 1 Arm Swing Snatch – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Step-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Push – Ups
  • BW Rows
  • Jumping Chins
  • Shuffle Lunges
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PHASE 2

The HIRT Workout

HIRT Superset #1

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 5 minutes per superset
  • NO REST between sets
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 10 reps (10RM)
  • Perform 5 reps per set
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible

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Zercher or Front Squat

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight
  • Goblet squats and band front squats are okay substitutes

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1 Leg Deadlift

  • 5 reps per leg per set

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HIRT Superset #2

Hi-Lo Vertical Cable/Band Slam

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

I need to make a video of this…and I will, but for now, let me describe with the aid of these 2 videos.

Imagine a medicine ball slam

But, instead of using a medicine ball, we used a cable stack (rope handle) or a strength band

The guy in this video is way too spastic for my liking. What I want is a very distinct up and down movement. Nice and powerful like the med ball slam but with the added resistance of the cable stack or the strength bands.

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1 Arm DB Press

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

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HIRT Superset #3

Swing Snatch

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

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Bulgarian Split Squat

  • 5 reps per leg per set @ 10RM weight

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HIRT Superset #4

Standing Cable/Band Row

  • 5 reps per set @ 10RM weight

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Push-Ups

  • 5-10 reps per set

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HIRT Superset #5 – optional

Repeat one of the first 4 Supersets – your choice

HIRT Superset #6 – optional

Repeat one of the first 4 Supersets – your choice

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PHASE 3

10 minutes of DIY

  • If you really want to lose weight, spend 10 minutes doing some HIITsprints on an exercise bike. I would recommend 10 sprints with a 10 sec ON : 50 sec OFF ratio
  • If you want to buff up those biceps, hit the curls for 10 minutes
  • If your hip flexors are really tight, put in 10 minutes stretching them along with your quads and lower lumbars.
  • And if your goal is power & strength, spend 10 minutes doing static holds or partial lifts

PHASE 4

Stretching – minimum 10 minutes

Focus on the muscles you just worked, plus the ones that are tight on just about everyone….hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, chest, neck & traps

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So, that takes care of Monday’s workout.

Wednesday & Friday will be similar in theory but with different exercises hitting different muscles and working different movement patterns.

Tues, Thurs, Sat & Sun are up to you.

It all depends on your goals

  • If your main goal is strength & power, you will perform Neural Recharge workouts –Here is a sample workout
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, do a yoga class or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • But, NO SERIOUS LIFTING on your off days. You’ll screw up your recovery.

You can also rest on those off days. These 3 workouts are pretty intense and will do a lot on their own.

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Your Best Body Workout – 2011

Based upon your feedback, the next 50 weeks of workouts will focus on:

  • Overall Fitness / Athleticism
  • Fat Loss
  • Strength / Power
  • General Health / Disease Prevention

In essence, our goal is to create bodies that can perform at a high level of overall fitness, look great while doing it and potentially live forever.

Alright, so here we go.

Today I am going to lay out an overview of the workouts you are going to be doing for the next 4 weeks.

Later tonight, I will post another article laying out the specifics of Monday’s workout, with videos, etc…

The Plan for the next 4 Weeks

  • 3 resistance training workouts per week
  • Off days will vary depending on your personal goals
  • If your main goal is strength & power, you will perform Neural Recharge workouts – I will post sample workouts
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, do a yoga class or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • But, NO SERIOUS LIFTING on your off days. You’ll screw up your recovery.

The Workouts

  • Each workout will start with a 10 minute warm-up session
  • 5 minutes of joint mobility exercises, and
  • 5 minutes of exercises designed to get your muscles all nice and pliable

From the warm-up, we move immediately to the main part of the workout

  • 4-6 HIRT Supersets (# of sets depends on your current state of fitness)
  • Each superset lasts 5 minutes – buy a timer
  • NO REST between sets
  • Perform the work part of each exercise as quickly as possible
  • Rep schemes will change during the 4 weeks
  • Neural Recharge exercises will be included to supercharge your nervous system
  • As always, the success of HIRT workouts depends on the intensity of your effort – if you’re going to give it 80% effort, don’t bother. I want/need/demand 100% of YOUR best effort to get the most out of these workouts.

After you have completed the 5 min HIRT superset, you will have 3 minutes between sets to get ready for the next superset and perhaps even stretch a little bit. I will suggest a stretch that will help improve the performance of the next superset.

After you have completed all of the HIRT supersets, I want you to spend 10 minutes on a goal specific to you

  • If you really want to lose weight, spend 10 minutes doing some HIIT sprints on an exercise bike. I would recommend 10 sprints with a 10 sec ON : 50 sec OFF ratio
  • If you want to buff up those biceps, hit the curls for 10 minutes
  • If your hip flexors are really tight, put in 10 minutes stretching them along with your quads and lower lumbars.
  • And if your goal is power & strength, spend 10 minutes doing static holds or partial lifts

And after the 10 min specialty phase, I really, really, really want you to spend another 10 minutes stretching…even if you just spent 10 minutes stretching your hip flexors.

Believe me, you’ll thank me later.

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Anyway, that’s the highlights of the coming workouts.

Monday’s workout will be posted tout de suite.

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Is Obesity Socially Contagious?

A new study published in the journal Obesity attempts to answer two questions:

  1. Does obesity tend to “cluster” among young adults?
  2. And if true, what impact does the “cluster” have on the weight and weight-related behaviors of it’s members?

The Study

The researchers took 288 volunteers (66% female, 75% Caucasian) and divided them into two groups – Normal Weight (NW) and Over Weight (OW).

Each test subject filled out a questionnaire to determine weight, height, number of overweight social contacts (friends, lovers, relatives, classmates, etc…) and perceived social norms for obesity and obesity related behaviors.

Members of the OW group were also asked to assess how many of their overweight/obese social contacts:

  1. were currently trying to lose weight
  2. were intending to lose weight in the near future
  3. encouraged weight loss in other overweight contacts
  4. would encourage/approve weight loss in their overweight contacts

The Results

Compared to normal weight young adults, those who were overweight or obese were more likely to:

  • have an overweight romantic partner (25 percent  vs. 14 percent for the NW group)
  • have an overweight best friend (24 percent vs. 14 percent for the NW group)

This led the researchers to conclude that obesity is socially contagious.

It also reinforced previous research published in the NEJM.

However, when they considered that…

  1. “both groups reported similarly low levels of social acceptability for being overweight, eating unhealthy foods and being inactive” and
  2. among OW/OB young adults, having more social contacts trying to lose weight was associated with greater intention to lose weight

…the researchers also concluded that “overweight and obese young adults who had more social contacts trying to lose weight were more likely to want to lose weight themselves”.

And to me, that’s the most important part of this study.

While peer pressure and social structure does have the negative effect of ghettoizing overweight individuals into groups, it can also have a powerful effect on changing weight-related behaviors.

And if anyone is interested in developing a successful weight loss program is listening, this is where they should begin.

With positive peer pressure.

Not with food pyramids or calorie counters or lectures on health & longevity, blah, blah, blah.

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Reference

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The Science behind Beauty Sleep

According to the latest research….your Mom was right.

A good night’s sleep is the best thing you can do to look attractive and healthy.

In this study, researchers looked at the relationship between sleep and our perception of attractiveness and health.

The researchers took 23 participants between the ages of 18 and 31 and photographed them between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. on two separate occasions – once after a normal sleep and once after being deprived of sleep.

A group of 65 observers were then asked to rate the photographs for attractiveness and whether the individuals looked healthy and rested or unhealthy and tired.

Results

  • The sleep deprived photos/people were judged to be less healthy, more tired and less attractive.
  • Conversely, the well rested photos/people were judged to be unbelievably sexy and a veritable picture of health.

Conclusion

The researchers concluded that “humans are sensitive to sleep related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behaviour”.

In short, if you want to look your best…get some beauty sleep.

Reference

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Paleo Diet Good

Is Paleo + Intermittent Fasting the Ultimate Diet for Guys?

In all my years as a personal trainer, I have uncovered a few common truths.

One of those truths is that men & women don’t diet the same way.

Women are generally better at counting calories and men are more effective at restricting food groups. To test this observation, I conducted an experiment with a few of my male clients on what may just be the Ultimate Guys Diet.

Combining my version of the Paleo Diet with Martin Berkhan’s Lean Gains version of Intermittent Fasting, I watched four of my male clients/guinea pigs drop a bunch of body-fat without hearing any of the typical “I hate dieting” bitching and whining.

Amazing…..Here’s what they did.

  • From waking up until 1 or 2:00 p.m., they ate nothing except for one coffee (no sugar) and/or a green food drink sweetened with stevia.
  • They also supplemented their diet with branched chain amino acids (BCAA) throughout the morning – dose dependent upon bodyweight.
  • Between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m., they ate a meal of salad greens, protein (steak, chicken, fish, eggs), balsamic vinegar and some version of healthy oil.

Notesome of my guinea pigs worked out in the afternoon while others in the evening. This would impact when their second meal of the day was consumed. If they worked out in the afternoon, we increased the size of their lunch. If they worked out in the evening, we increased the size of their dinner.

  • 20 minutes prior to their workout, they took another dose of BCAAs.
  • Dinner was consumed between 6:00 and 8:00 pm depending upon the workout schedule with the goal being to eat dinner as soon after working out as possible.
  • Dinner consisted of more protein and either more salad or a plateful of sauteed/grilled vegetables. Everyone’s barbecue got a lot of work during this experiment.
  • No solid food was eaten after 8:00 pm.
  • Between 8:00 p.m. and bedtime, they were only allowed unsweetened, calorie free beverages.
  • Before bed, another dose of BCAAs and a few other supps were taken.

And as I mentioned previously, the end result was fairly significant fat loss without any noticeable bitching, moaning or muscle loss.

Success.

While I am not a big fan of his style of web marketing, his book is the best available for explaining the whys & how-tos of Intermittent Fasting.

Lose 21 Pounds in 7 Days

Lose 21 pounds in 7 days….is a great big fat lie.

Unfortunately…it’s the kind of lie that the almost every successful health & fitness business uses to sell their products & services.

Because, as the saying goes, “if you want to succeed in business, it’s better to sell aspirin instead of vitamins.

Vitamins are fine; they’re healthy…they’re good for you. But aspirin cures your pain. Aspirin isn’t a nice-to-have kind of product, it’s a must-have kind of product.”

And if you’re selling health, fitness, weight loss, longevity, etc…. selling aspirin means selling:

  • Diet books that promise amazing results with little effort
  • TV shows like The Biggest Loser that promise amazing results in a very short time
  • Subliminal audio programs that will re-program your self-conscious mind to melt body-fat while you sleep
  • Health Club memberships that are big on promises and small on results
  • Cheap fitness equipment peddled on late night tv
  • Exercise videos starring ex porn stars
  • and, my favorite….supplements & drugs that promise amazing results with absolutely zero effort

And this brings me to my question o’ the day.

Is it possible to sell Health Habits as aspirin?

Because, right now…for most people….selling a healthy lifestyle is exactly like selling a vitamin. A great big horse-pill of a vitamin that reeks of vitamin B.

Instant Exercise Motivation – Part Two

Patrick Willis - LB, S.F. 49ers - ESPN - The Body Issue

During the last installment of Instant Exercise Motivation, we used a little reverse psychology.

Today, it’s all about positivity.

This month’s issue of ESPN magazine is their annual Body Issue.

So, go ahead and feast your eyes on some of the world’s fittest/sexiest athletes….and then get your butt to the gym.

ESPN - Body Issue 2010 - Diana Taurasi - G/F - Phoenix Mercury
ESPN - Body Issue 2010 - Tim Howard - Goalkeeper - USA Soccer
ESPN - Body Issue 2010 - Rachel Yurkovich - Javelin - USA Track & Field

and, just in case you still aren’t motivated enough to haul your lazy butt into the gym, there’s always this.

Is POM Juice a Scam?

The FTC has charged the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements with making false and unsubstantiated claims that their products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

The FTC Charges…

“Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made.  Contrary to POM Wonderful’s advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses.”

POM’s Response

POM Wonderful said that it disagrees with the FTC and its results have been encouraging. POM said it has a right to share its research as it becomes available, especially because its food products do not have risks associated with pharmaceuticals.

“It’s a shame that the government is unable to understand this fundamental distinction, and instead is wasting taxpayer resources to persecute the pomegranate,” the Los Angeles-based company said.

Persecute the Pomegranate???

The FTC isn’t persecuting the pomegranate.

They’re persecuting a company that took a previously unloved little fruit and with a few million dollars for research & advertising, transformed the image of the “health juice” market from hippie to hipster.

Unfortunately, they went a little too far with their marketing claims.

Statements such as the following caused the FTC’s ears to perk up.

  • “SUPER HEALTH POWERS! … 100% PURE POMEGRANATE JUICE. … Proven to fight for cardiovascular, prostate and erectile health.”
  • “POM WONDERFUL JUICE =  30% DECREASE IN ARTERIAL PLAQUE … 17% IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW … PROMOTES HEALTHY BLOOD VESSELS … ”
  • You have a 50 percent chance of getting [prostate cancer].  Listen to me.  You have to drink pomegranate juice. It is the one thing that will keep your PSA normal.  .  There is nothing else we know of that will keep your PSA in check. … It’s also 40 percent as effective as Viagra.”
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice and POMx prevent, reduce the risk of, and treat heart disease, including by decreasing arterial plaque, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood flow to the heart;
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice and POMx prevent, reduce the risk of, and treat prostate cancer, including by prolonging prostate-specific antigen doubling time;
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice prevents, reduces the risk of, and treats, erectile dysfunction.

So, where does POM go from here?

If they’re smart, they will start acting like other health & fitness supplement companies and….

  1. tone down the health claims
  2. amp up the sex appeal

Apparently they’re pretty smart.

What Does Your Health Club Do For You?

What does your health club (or personal trainer, or iphone app, or online fitness community, or fitness magazine, etc) do for you?

If your club is like my club, then they….

  • provide fitness equipment and space to exercise
  • offer the advice of their in-house fitness professionals
  • blend up the latest in post-workout nutrition
  • schedule fitness classes at convenient times
  • bring in guest speakers to increase your fitness IQ

And, if they do all that, then you’re getting top notch health club service.

So, why is it that after I read this article from marketing guru Seth Godin, I got the feeling that today’s health club industry is doomed for extinction?

Or hopefully…evolution.

Question(s)

Why is it that over 70% of all new health club members stop coming to the gym within 3 months?

And why is it that most of the remaining 30% don’t look much better than we they first joined?

And why is it that today’s health & fitness industry doesn’t seem to care?

The Answer?

Because the current health & fitness industry is still focused on delivering products and services instead of solutions.

Think about it – most people go to a health club to burn off some fat & to get fit.

How they do it is irrelevant.

Or at least it should be.

The goal is what matters……and the health club (or personal trainer, or iphone app, or online fitness community, or fitness magazine, etc) than can shift their focus toward the goals of their clients and away from the latest fitness trend becomes indispensable to their clients.

And in my opinion, this style of thinking is a big part of the reason why Crossfit has become a major player in the health & fitness industry.

They provide results better than anyone else.

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Heart Disease and Stroke Caused By Diet

Ontario is Fat

Up here in Canada (especially in my hometown of Toronto, Ontario), there is a large chunk of the population that considers itself “superior” to our American cousins.

We start fewer wars, we’re better educated, we have lower crime rates, we don’t watch Two and a Half Men, we’ve never elected a Bush and we’re not all fat & addicted to deep fried pizza.

U.S. Obesity Stats for 2009

Unfortunately, as it turns out…we did go to war in Afghanistan, our high school dropout rates are rising year after year, our favorite tv show is Survivor, we elected Stephen Harper and according to this study….

70% of Ontario adults are either overweight or obese, and have a strong prevalence of high blood pressure that could lead to heart attack or stroke.

And if my university mathematics are correct, that means that only 30% of Ontarians should be proud to take their shirts off at the beach.

30%

Just like Mississippi…the fattest state in the republic.

WTF!!!

Perhaps it’s time for my smug Canadian brothers & sisters to put down their wobbly pops, throw out that tub o’ poutine, get up off their rotund derrières and start developing some Health Habits.

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