Is There a Genetic Cause for Binge Eating?

Before we dive into all the scienc-y goodness of a potential genetic cause for binge eating, I want to address all the people who believe that…

  • Obesity isn’t genetic, and…
  • Obesity is as simple as calories in vs calories out, and…
  • Fat people use genetics as an excuse for their slothful behaviour

Here are the FACTS….as I see them:

  • There is a link between obesity & genetics.

Prader-Willi syndrome is caused by a gene missing on part of chromosome 15. Normally, your parents each pass down a copy of this chromosome. Most patients with Prader-Willi syndrome are missing the genetic material on part of the father’s chromosome. The rest of patients with this condition often have two copies of the mother’s chromosome 15.

The genetic changes occur randomly. Patients usually do not have a family history of the condition.

This doesn’t mean that all cases of obesity are due to genetics. All it means is that there is a confirmed link between obesity & genetics. Whether this current study will establish another link and expand our knowledge of human obesity is yet to be determined.

  • Obesity is not as simple as calories in vs calories out.

A growing body of scientific evidence + over 20 years of helping people get fit has led me to believe that obesity is due to a messy combination of genetic inheritance, eating too much food, eating the ‘wrong’ foods, eating at the wrong time of day, peer pressure, environmental conditions, advertising, etc, etc, etc….

And even if obesity was as simple as calories in vs calories out, it isn’t simple to get people to live the rest of their lives counting calories…thanks to all that peer pressure, environmental conditions, advertising, etc.

  • Fat people quite often use genetics as an excuse for their obesity.

Just like the rest of us who also blame our shortcomings on outside influences. If it isn’t over-eating, it’s over-drinking or over-smoking or over-screwing or secretly being addicted to the music of Justin Bieber. We all BS ourselves. That’s part of being human.

And even if we find that there is a genetic cause for binge eating, that doesn’t mean we will find a “cure”. Obesity isn’t a simple condition with a simple solution…IMHO.

Anyway, them’s the facts as I see ’em….for now. Future science may prove me completely wrong. Let’s try to keep an open mind and we might just find a solution to our weighty problem.

Let’s Get Back to the Science

In this latest study, Dr. Kelly Klump used “two strains of rats, numerous cans of vanilla frosting and a theory to move one step closer to finding a genetic cause for binge eating.”

“Based upon our previous research, we know that binge eating is influenced by genes, but we have been unable to identify in humans which genes contribute to binge eating. With this research, we decided to study two different strains of rats instead of humans,” Klump said. “Unlike humans, animals do not have the cultural, psychological or psychosocial risk factors for binge eating, so they are simpler to study. A rat could care less what it looks like.”

  • Dr. K used two strains of rats (23 Wistar females, 30 Sprague–Dawley females, 30 Sprague–Dawley males) to determine if one/both/neither strain was prone to binge eating.
  • For two week, the rats were fed their normal ‘rat chow’ along with intermittent feedings of vanilla cake frosting.

“We only gave the rats the vanilla frosting every other day because that mimics human binge eating habits,” said Britny Hildebrandt, a grad student in the Klump lab.

What did they find?

  • Dr. Klump et al found that the rate of vanilla frosting binge eating was much higher in female Sprague-Dawley rats.

Wistar females and Sprague–Dawley males had similar responses to the frosting and were classified as binge eating resistant…unlike the female Sprague-Dawley rats…who were classified by Dr. Klump as binge eating prone.

What does this mean & where do we go next?

According to Dr. Klump, “now that we know that the female Sprague-Dawley rats are prone to binge eating, this helps narrow the scope of the thousands of possible genes that could contribute to this disorder. We can now study the strain to identify the genes that might contribute to the disease.

From there, we can map these genes in humans. If we can narrow down to 20 or so genes, then we are one step closer to finding an effective treatment for binge eating.”

Of course, all of this science is going to take time. Even if they find a treatment for binge eating, it’s going to be years from now.

Just enough time for current binge eaters to stop BS-ing themselves and look for ways to help control their own binge eating tendencies….even if their genetics are fighting against them.

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Your Unconscious Mind is Making You Fat

There I am.

  • Sitting on the couch watching NHL playoff hockey at the end of a long day.
  • The wife offers me some of her potato chips.
  • I decline

I’m a personal trainer dammit, and personal trainers don’t eat potato chips.

Fast forward 20 minutes…..

I am now sprawled out on the couch…..totally immersed in the game…..screaming at the referees for blowing another call….and absent mindedly reaching over and grabbing a handful of potato chips out of the bag…and then another…and then another

your unconscious mind is making you fat

WTF!!! What just happened?

I don’t eat potato chips….seriously. So what happened? Where did my will power go?

I’ll tell you what happened.

  • When my wife first offered the chips, my conscious mind did a quick pro/con calculation and decided to take a pass on the salty/greasy delight.
  • Soon after, my conscious mind became fixated on the hockey game.
  • Soon after that, my unconscious mind snuck behind the back of my conscious mind, and by using a mixture of sensory inputs, old memories, emotions, brain chemicals and hormones, managed to hijack my body and convince it that eating those chips was suddenly a great idea.

Damn you unconscious mind!!!.

  • This is a big reason why diets fail.
  • Your bad habits live in your unconscious mind.
  • Your bad habits have built up powerful connections within your mind and body.

And if you let your unconscious mind run the show, you WILL return time and again to your old habits…your over-eating, under-exercising, making you fat kind of bad habits…

Next PageThe Unconscious Mind…and why it loves making you fat…

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Can my friends make me fat?

Can my friends make me fat?

Q:   Can my friends make me fat?

  • A1:   Yes
  • A2:   No
  • A3:   Sort of

According to this meta-analysis of fifteen experimental studies, the type and quantity of food that your peers (friends, family, etc) consume does have fairly strong influence on the type and quantity of food that YOU eat.

  • In short, if your friends eat healthy, you will feel the influence of positive peer pressure to eat healthy.
  • Conversely, if your friends eat piles of junk food and drink gallons of sugary beverages, you will feel that influence as well.

Can my friends make me fat?

Of course, just because your friends choose to re-enact an episode of Man v. Food every time they sit down for dinner doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to their bad habits & peer pressure.

  • You have free will.
  • You have the ability to transcend your unconscious need to “be one of the gang”.

Even if that means your friends get upset, launch into a major guilt trip and unfairly accuse you of judging their poor eating habits and thinking that they are a bunch of fat losers with no willpower. Seriously, I have seen this happen many, many times with my personal training clients.

Let’s take a closer look at the science…

This meta-analysis, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looked at fifteen different studies from eleven different scientific journals.

What they found is that “if participants were given information indicating that others were making low-calorie or high-calorie food choices, it significantly increased the likelihood that participants made similar choices.”

In other words, if I am presented with a healthy food option and an unhealthy food option, I am more likely to eat healthy if I am told that everyone else is eating healthy. The same holds true if I am told that everyone is choosing pizza over salad.  

And it’s not just the quality of food. The same peer-pressure effect holds true for quantity of food eaten. When participants were told that everyone was pigging out, they were more likely to strap on the feed-bag as well.

According to the psychology researchers conducting the study, “It appears that in some contexts, conforming to informational eating norms may be a way of reinforcing identity to a social group, which is in line with social identity theory. By this social identity account, if a person’s sense of self is strongly guided by their identity as a member of their local community and that community is perceived to eat healthily, then that person would be hypothesized to eat healthily in order to maintain a consistent sense of social identity.”

What happens when you alone?

According to the shrinks, the “analysis also revealed that the social mechanisms that influence what we decide to consume are present even when we eat alone or are at work, whether or not we are aware of it.”

“Norms influence behaviour by altering the extent to which an individual perceives the behaviour in question to be beneficial to them. Human behaviour can be guided by a perceived group norm, even when people have little or no motivation to please other people,” says Dr. Robinson.

“Given that in some studies the participants did not believe that their behaviour was influenced by the informational eating norms, it seems that participants may not have been consciously considering the norm information when making food choices.”

What does this mean to YOU?

It depends.

If you have terrible willpower AND you want to start living a healthier lifestyle, you may want to consider adding some new healthy friends into your posse and hope that their positive peer pressure rubs off on you.

Of course, you should probably also scan through my blog archives for articles on nutrition and exercise. And feel free to include me in your new healthy-eating posse.

obesity-warning-pizza

Reference

 

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

The Science Behind Ice Cream Addiction

Most of you can look at this picture of an ice cream sundae, appreciate it’s creamy goodness and move on with the rest of the article.

However, for an unlucky minority, just the very sight of this frozen delight is enough to set off a powerful dopamine response in their brain – leading to a burst of neuro-chemical happiness and an almost irresistible desire to find the nearest ice cream parlor.

For those people, the mental association between this picture of an ice cream sundae and the real thing is so powerful (due to the dopamine), that they can already imagine the pleasure they will receive as they dive into that giant bowl of ice creamy goodness….leading to an actual ice cream addiction…or potato chip addiction…or candy addiction…or chocolate addiction…

And, considering we live in a world where ice cream sundaes aren’t hard to come by, a large percentage of those dopamine-flooded individuals are going to indulge in a bowl or two.

And it’s not just ice cream.

Scientists believe that this study points the way to figuring out why some people are more strongly motivated by environmental cues and therefore at a greater risk of compulsive/addictive behavior.

And it’s not just over-eating…this research could apply to all manner of addictions – food, drugs, sex, danger, my blog, etc…

Reference

Is Magnesium a Cure for Insomnia and Restless Legs?

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of clinical conditions including hypertension, myocardial infarction, cardiac dysrhythmias, coronary spasm, premature artherosclerosis and diabetes.

It is also used as a treatment for angina, asthma, gall stones, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, glucose intolerance, diabetes, hypoglycemia, fatigue, fibromyalgia, prevention of hearing loss, kidney stones, leg cramps, migraine, osteoporosis, PMS, prostate issues and INSOMNIA.

And according to government data, 68% of Americans do not consume the recommended intakes of magnesium and 19% of Americans do not consume even half of the recommended intakes.

Not good….and up until 5 years ago, that was me.

Until I was introduced to magnesium supplements during a health & fitness trade show.

A rep for Natural Calm gave me a bunch of samples and while I sleep pretty well, I did notice an immediate effect on my sleep. My mind stopped obsessing over what I did or didn’t do that day or what I had to do tomorrow. Just calm.

And it made me wonder…could something as simple as magnesium be a cure for insomnia?

Since then, I have had no qualms recommending this product to clients & friends who are having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or just getting their busy minds to quiet so they can relax.

A mug of their lemon flavor drink about an hour before bed does the trick for me every time.

And recently, while searching for a natural treatment for a friend with neuropathy in both legs, I found a bunch of research about magnesium oil helping to relieve muscle spasms, tension and various forms of neuropathy – pain, restless legs, itching, tingling, etc.

Google also told me that Natural Calm makes a magnesium oil.

So, I emailed the fine folks at Natural Calm and told them about my friend and they sent me a bunch of samples – Magnesium Oil & Gel. (being a blogger can have its perks)

And knock on wood, it’s been a great success. Applied on her legs after a  hot bath and just before bed, my friend has seen a significant reduction in pain, tingling and restlessness.

Conclusion

I was a fan before trying the oil…and I am an even bigger fan now.

So, if you think that supplementing with magnesium may be helpful to you, I can honestly & wholeheartedly recommend both the Natural Calm drink and their Magnesium Oil.

NOTE – You can buy Natural Calm and Magnesium Oil at these links

NOTE #2 – I would love to hear about your experiences (good or bad) with magnesium.

Reference

Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

I’ve got some bad news for everyone who started off their morning with a big bowl of sugary cereal…or a couple of donuts…or cinnamon-raisin bagels…or a giant coffee shop muffin…or a high-cal-caffeine-sugar bomb from Starbucks.

In a new study, Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez has discovered that “high sugar levels increases the activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer progression”.

Dr Garcia Jimenez’s research investigates “how cells in the intestine respond to sugars and signal to the pancreas to release insulin, the key hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Sugars in the intestine trigger cells to release a hormone called GIP that enhances insulin release by the pancreas.

His research showed “that the ability of the intestinal cells to secrete GIP is controlled by a protein called β-catenin, and that the activity of β-catenin is strictly dependent on sugar levels.

sugar-diabetes-cancer

What Does This Mean To YOU?… 

  • Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, a key step in early stages of cancer progression.
  • Dr Garcia Jimenez’s study tells us that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation.
  • Ergo…high sugar = increased activity of β-catenin = normal cells become cancerous

Which means…if you are eating the Standard American Diet (high in processed carbs & sugar)…not only are you increasing your odds of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes…you ARE increasing your odds of dying from pancreatic cancer or colon cancer.

If this bothers you, and you want to make a change, might I suggest you download my FREE eBook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

Reference

Like this article?

Subscribe to @healthhabits and my friends at Mail Chimp will make sure that every time I scribble an article for @healthhabits, it will end up in your email inbox.

In addition to the articles, I will be writing a series of Special Reports this year exclusively for @healthhabits subscribers.

Subscribe now and make sure you don’t miss out.

button subscribe

Aspire Assist = Medically Assisted Bulimia

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but we now live in a topsy-turvy world where….

  1. Obesity is a major medical and financial problem.
  2. Young girls (and now boys) are under a lot of peer pressure to NOT BE FAT.

As a result of #2, doctors tell our kids that bulimia is very, very, very bad and that instead of binging & purging, they should eat a healthy diet and be more physically active.

bulimia-2

Unfortunately, as a result of #1…

  • We have also seen an explosion in the number of people undergoing major surgery to help them lose weight, and
  • We have the creation and medical approval of the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System…

aspire-assist

A medical device which replaces a bulimic’s fingers with….

  1. A tube which is surgically implanted in the stomach and is attached to…
  2. A Skin-Port which is equipped with a valve which is attached to…
  3. A battery operated pump which…
  4. Sucks a portion of your stomach contents out of your gut…
  5. And mechanically vomits/poops them into your toilet.

Don’t believe me?

If that wasn’t gross enough for you…here is a real-life example of the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System in action.

Does anyone else see the irony here???

  • Self-directed bulimia is BAD
  • Medically-assisted bulimia is GOOD

confused-emoticon

This is quite a society we are building here. Idiocracy…here we come.

Change Your Body Language Change Your Life

There is a large body of research which shows us that your body language tells us lot about your state of mind.

In fact, we all make split second decisions about other people based on their body language each & every day.

  • Do we like that person?
  • Do we trust them?
  • Do they give us the creeps?

What you may not know is that…

And you don’t even need to believe me for it to work.

Because “our bodies change our minds, our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”

power-posing-hormones

Spending 60 seconds in a “power pose” WILL increase your test, decrease your cortisol and make you feel and act like your best self.

Seriously…this stuff works.

Like Dr. Cuddy says…“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”

Reference

Feel Great with Micro Workouts

What is your typical day like?

  1. Relaxed, fulfilling and full of moments where you nourish your body, mind & spirit
  2. Stressed, fast paced, hectic and hurried

If you said #1…congratulations…and stop reading

If you said #2…you really, really need to take the next 60 seconds and learn about micro workouts.

Jumping_Jack

 

What are Micro Workouts?

  • short bursts of fairly intense exercise…lasting between 30-120 seconds.

What can Micro Workouts do for ME?

  • Micro workouts can give you the mood-improving effects outlined in the articles referenced below.

But I already go to the gym three times per week

  • That’s great, but what happens when the mood-improving effect of yesterday’s workout wears off? Micro workouts take very little time and provides mood-boosting results immediately….when you need them.

What do I do?

  • Micro workouts are short in duration – 30-120 seconds
  • Micro workouts are fairly high in intensity
  • Micro workouts require lots of muscle to be involved – no bicep curls

Examples please….

  • Jumping Jacks (fast paced) for 30 seconds…rest 30 seconds…Jumping Jacks for 30 seconds…rest 30 seconds
  • Bodyweight squats for 60 seconds
  • Push-Ups for 20 seconds…rest 20 seconds…push-ups 20 seconds….
  • Racing up a flight of stairs…rest…race up another flight..rest….

We’re not trying to get a “real” workout here…we’re just trying to break up your stressed out thought patterns with a burst of physical activity and activate your natural  mood-boosting hormone production

While this technique has been used with a number of different mood disorders, you should probably consider talking to a mental health professional if you’re having problems coping with this crazy world we live on.

Reference

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe

Just Say No to Seitan

Four months ago I started working with a new PT client.

  • The client is a 42 year old woman
  • Who has been a vegan / vegetarian for the past 18 years
  • Whose goals were to drop some stubborn baby weight and improve her overall health & fitness.

The first month involved setting up her program, training & teaching 3x per week, 3 cardio & joint mobility sessions per week….and a never-ending argument about her diet.

  • Because…as a modern vegetarian, 60-80 % of her calories were coming from grains and soy.
  • And as the local Paleo guru, my clients are all “encouraged” to ditch the grains and soy and embrace the Paleo Diet.

Fast forward to today….

I finally convinced her to ditch the grains & beans and go Paleo for the past three months. During that time, she has seen massive improvements in:

  • Fat loss
  • Stomach bloat
  • Face bloat
  • Back fat
  • Sinus allergy symptoms
  • Rosacea
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Afternoon sleepiness
  • Blue moods – no clinical diagnosis, she just “feels better”
  • And some lady issues that she didn’t elaborate on  🙂

And she credits most of that improvement to her elimination of grains….especially wheat.

In the last month, she has played with re-introducing various “forbidden” foods. And the one that provoked the most noticeable “side effect” was wheat products – seitan, bread and wheat noodles. Almost instantly, she experienced stomach upset prompting a trip to the bathroom.

This prompted her to do a bunch of research on gluten intolerance. Part of that research involved contacting  my online friend Jaqui Karr. Jaqui is my go to source for gluten info.

Jaqui is as obsessed with gluten as a tween is with Justin Bieber.

[box type=”important”]If you want more info on gluten and the horrible stuff it’s doing to your body, check out Jaqui’s blog… or better yet, learn everything she knows about gluten via her Gluten Demystified program. Jaqui blends scientific research & common sense really, really well.[/box]

[box type=”note”]My client is such a big fan of Jaqui’s work that she has started promoting the Gluten Demystified program on her Facebook page and on a new Tumblog devoted to gluten intolerance[/box]

Reference

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

Iyashi Rock Bathing = Ultimate Relaxation

  • Your life is busy
  • Your life is hectic
  • Your life is stressful

Your life needs the kind of ultra-relaxation that only a Japanese Ganbanyoku (rock bathing) spa can provide.

And lucky for me, Toronto is blessed with an authentic  rock bathing spa – the Iyashi  Bedrock Spa. And on days when I am feeling that life has kicked me around a little bit, I book a rock bathing session and let all of my stress melt away.

What is Rock Bathing?

[box type=”info”]Originating from Thailand, Rock Bathing – uses a special stone, called Black Silica, to heat your body from the inside out. These black silica stones are unique in that they naturally release Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and Negative Ions to help the body perspire and “detoxify” and are found in only one mountain in Hokkaido Japan. Unlike regular saunas, the silica rock beds that you lie on are kept between 42° to 44° C with the humidity at about 60%, providing for a comfortable temperature that is incredibly soothing and relaxing. Other clients have referred to it as being in a “Rain Forest”.[/box]

And while I can’t verify the validity of the health claims associated with Ganbanyoku, I can tell you that you WILL:

  • Sweat a LOT
  • Feel more relaxed than you have ever felt
  • Feel amazing for hours after the session – my skin tingles for a few hours…weird but pleasureable

I have also spoken with other clients who claim that weekly rock bathing sessions have dramatically improved their symptoms of arthritis, allergies and fibromyalgia.

[box type=”info”]Rock Bathing is nothing like a regular sauna or steam bath. One of the first things you will notice is your sweat – you will sweat a LOT – but there is no odour, saltiness or stickiness to it. And if you take the opportunity to stretch or do some yoga poses during your session, you will find that your muscles are unbelievably supple and receptive to stretching.[/box]

Note – As with all my reviews, I only tell you guys about products and services that I completely believe in and would recommend to clients, friends and family. I am a paying client of Iyashi and a huge fan. If you’re in the Toronto area, check out Iyashi. If not, do a google search for Ganbanyoku [your city].

Reference

What to do when Life Sucks

Sometimes life sucks.

  • You have a bad day at work
  • You sat in traffic for hours
  • Your “fat clothes” are fitting way too tight
  • You’re sick of being single
  • You’re sick of being married
  • A dog pooped on your front lawn

In response, you:

  • Smack-talk your boss behind their back, or
  • Give the finger to the jerk who cut you off in traffic, or
  • Eat an entire bag of Oreos, or
  • Cry, scream, punch, swear, drink, etc…

And after all that…your life still kinda sucks…maybe even a little worse.

If this sounds like you (me) and you are open to breaking a few of your bad habits, you might want to listen to the words of Pema Chödrön – an American Buddhist who is the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia.

In her book Taking the Leap, Pema Chödrön talks a lot about the Tibetan Buddhist concept of shenpa.

Shenpa is that feeling of being very uncomfortable and having an immediate desire to get away from that feeling as fast as possible. It’s kind of like we are like little kids stricken with a nasty case of poison ivy. The itch is horrible and all we want to do is scratch and scratch and scratch. Unfortunately, scratching makes poison ivy worse.

In real life, when we experience something unpleasant, shenpa kicks in and instigates a strong desire to do “something” to try and make the unpleasantness stop.

That “something” could include the aforementioned smack-talking, finger-waving, over-eating, bad tv watching, cigarette smoking, etc, etc, etc…

Unfortunately for you, giving into shenpa usually makes things worse in real life too.

  1. It relieves our suffering for only a very short amount of time, and
  2. After which, we return to the same problems we had before we inhaled those Oreos
  3. Only now we have to deal with the after-effects of our shenpa over-reaction.

Obesity, traffic tickets, unemployment, alcoholism, a punch in the nose, etc…

Chödrön suggests a different approach.

Instead of running away from life’s bad news….sit with it.

Pay attention to what has just happened and how it makes you feel. Don’t react. Pay attention. And then do what you can to make the crappy stuff a little bit better.

Kind of like putting calamine lotion on poison ivy instead of scratching it.

Canada's Health Ranking Falls Like a Fat Guy Through an Wicker Chair

Canadians love to talk about their healthcare system.

  • We love to brag about how much better it is than the American system, yet
  • We also love to complain about the long wait times and the imminent bankruptcy of the system.

Lately, it’s been more complaining than bragging.

  • We blame the nurses’ union for being greedy.
  • We blame the hospital bureaucrats for their big salaries and “obvious” incompetence.
  • We blame illegal immigrants and the poor for clogging up the emergency room instead of going to their GP.

We blame. We blame. We blame.

Problem is….we should be blaming ourselves.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, the real problem with the Canadian healthcare system isn’t the system…it’s the Canadian public and their lazy lifestyle that is ruining the healthcare system.

Canada’s 2012 Health Report Card

The Conference Board of Canada takes an annual look at 17 industrialized nations and compares them using 11 different markers of health.

  • In the 1990s, Canada was ranked 4th.
  • Today, Canada has fallen to 10th.

What gives? 

According to the research, while top-ranking countries like Japan, Switzerland & Norway have invested in programs designed to promote a healthy lifestyle, thereby lowering the economic impact of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, depression, dementia, osteoarthritis, and heart disease, Canada has virtually ignored health promotion.

And according to the Conference Board of Canada, “most top-performing countries have achieved better health outcomes through actions on the broader determinants of health such as environmental stewardship and health-promotion programs focusing on changes in lifestyle, including smoking cessation, increased activity, healthier diets, and safer driving habits.

Leading countries also focus on other determinants of health—such as education, early childhood development, income, and social status—to improve health outcomes”.

It’s a novel concept…spend a small amount of money preventing disease instead of spending a large amount of money treating disease.

What now?

The cynic in me believes that nobody is going to pay attention to this report and that the status quo will rule the day.

However, just last week, the federal government announced $4 million in additional federal money for Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Awareness and Education Initiative.  And while $4 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the total spending on healthcare, it’s a start and may represent a shift in government thinking.

Time will tell.

What can we do NOW?

You could write a letter to your MP or MPP or the appropriate federal/provincial Health Minister….and they might send you a nice form letter telling you how they take the health of Canadians seriously…yadda yadda.

Or you could use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to put a little heat under their seats.

  • Canada – Leona Aglukkaq – Federal Minister of Health and Long-Term Care – Facebook – Twitter
  • Alberta – Fred Horne – Minister of Health and Wellness – Facebook – Twitter
  • British Columbia – Michael de Jong – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
  • Manitoba – Jim Rondeau – Minister of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors – Facebook
  • New Brunswick – Madeline Dubé – Minister of Health – Facebook
  • Newfoundland – Susan Sullivan  – Minister of Health and Community Services – Facebook – Twitter
  • Northwest Territories – Tom Beaulieu – Minister of Health and Social Services  – website
  • Nova Scotia – Maureen MacDonald – Minister of Health and Wellness  – FacebookTwitter
  • Nunavut – Keith Peterson – Minister of Health and Social Services – website
  • Ontario –  Deb Matthews – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
  • Prince Edward Island – Doug Currie – Minister of Health and Wellness – Facebook – Twitter
  • Quebec – Yves Bolduc  – Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux – Facebook
  • Saskatchewan – Don McMorris – Minister of Health – Facebook – Twitter
  • Yukon – Minister of Health and Social Services- Facebook – Twitter

NOTE – this problem isn’t unique to Canada. Other countries (like the US of A – #17 of 17) could use with a healthy dose of health promotion.

Stop Sugarcoating Childhood Obesity

The State of Georgia has created an anti-childhood obesity program that has upset various:

  • fat-acceptance groups
  • anti-obesity advocates, and
  • child-protection experts

They’re concerned that the print/tv/online ads used in this campaign will backfire and cause obese kids to face increased bullying and result in lower self-esteem, depression, and even worse eating behaviors…resulting in even greater levels of obesity and decreased levels of overall health.

And they might be right…if these ads were the only tool being used by the people at Strong4Life.

But it isn’t…as explained during this interview on The Today Show

  • Phase 1 is designed to grab attention…which it has done.
  • Phase 1 is designed to help parents understand that childhood obesity has very real consequences upon the health and happiness of their children
  • Phase 1 is NOT about solutions.

The solutions being proposed by Strong4Life come in Phases 2 & 3.

Hopefully they’ll be spending just as much money and receiving just as much media attention on their message of healthy eating and increased physical activity.

America's Lifestyle Diseases Cost the Economy over $153 Billion per Year

Lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and depression are costing the American economy $153 billion per year in lost productivity.

Based on data collected via the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, researchers concluded that chronic health conditions such as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, asthma, depression and recurring physical pain resulted in 449,847,652 days missed from work… and an estimated productivity loss of $153,398,049,221 per year.

And it gets worse.

  • This calculation doesn’t include productivity lost when employees show up at work but are less productive because of their poor health.
  • As well, the Gallup people didn’t speak with part-time workers.

Previous research which included these factors found that America’s chronic lifestyle diseases cost the nation up to $1.1 trillion per year.

And that’s a lot of money.

.

Maybe enough money for the government to start throwing some cash into health promotion programs?

.

Reference

 

Improve Your Bad Mood with Fatty Food

A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed that this great big delicious, chocolate-fudge ice cream sundae has the power to reduce feelings of sadness.

Congratulations science…..you now know what every Mom with a crying child has known for millenia.

Food soothes raw emotions.

In particular, fatty foods can reduce feelings of sadness or stress or depression…

The Science

The researchers took a group of twelve healthy human volunteers and:

  1. Put them on a 12 hour fast
  2. Induced either neutral or sad emotions (via music & visual images)
  3. Delivered an intragastric infusion of either fatty acids of saline
  4. Measured their levels of fullness, hunger, nausea and mood
  5. Performed a 40-minute fMRI scan, while
  6. Measuring fullness, hunger, nausea and mood 3 more times during the fMRI scan.

Here’s what they found

  • Hunger scores increased during sad emotion and decreased during neutral emotion conditions (main effect of emotion).
  • The difference in hunger ratings between the emotions was much smaller in fat compared with that in saline vehicle conditions (fat-by-emotion interaction effect)
  • This indicates that the effect of sad mood on hunger is attenuated by fatty acids.
  • The fMRI results agreed with these findings – showing that the behavioral and nerve cell responses to sad emotions were also lessened.

  • Mood ratings decreased during the sad conditions, with no change or a slight increase during the neutral conditions (main effect of emotion).
  • The difference between emotions was smaller in the fat than in the saline vehicle conditions (fat-by-emotion interaction effect).
  • This difference confirms that fatty acids successfully moderate feelings of sadness.

Conclusion

Previous research has shown that sugary, high-carb foods are effective in attenuating moods – ie making sad people less sad.

This study shows that dietary fat has the same effect.

However, it neglects to mention that drowning your sorrows in lasagna & ice cream sundaes is not a fool-proof solution.

.

Reference

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.

How to Beat Emotional Eating

Food affects Mood : Mood affects Food

A new client of mine is getting over a VERY stressful weekend.

A weekend in which her emotions got the better of her….and as a result, she found herself face to face with some pretty intense cravings for pizza, coca-cola and tubs of double-churned chocolate ice cream.

The cravings won.

By Monday morning, the stress was at least partially under control, but she was now feeling a ton of guilt & nausea from pigging out on all that food.

After reminding her that she should have called me instead inhaling all that food, we had a nice long chat about:

  1. how our moods affect the food we eat
  2. how the food we eat affect our moods

She was already quite aware of how her moods affected the quantity and quality of the food she ate.

When she felt sad or mad or glad, she also felt like eating pizza & coca-cola and ice cream.

What she wasn’t aware of was how her emotional diet of pizza, coca-cola & ice cream:

  1. set off a flood of hormones & neurochemicals designed to
  2. make her crave more of the high sugar, high salt, high fat foods she had just inhaled.

She also wasn’t aware that when we combine her diet-induced hormonal & neurochemical triggers with the ones caused by her emotions, she was doomed to end up with a truly vicious circle of poor eating choices.

Because in addition to the physical sensations of hunger and the specific cravings for sweet, salty & fatty caused by her hormones & neurochemicals, my client also got to experience the incredibly crappy mood altering effects of her weekend emotional eating binge.

She actually felt worse than before she pigged out.

Sad. Angry. Frustrated.

Plus she regained 3 of the pounds she lost in the previous week.

A Different Kind of Health Habits…..The I CAN DO IT Conference

This weekend, I will be attending the I CAN DO IT conference in Toronto.

Founded by Louise L. Hay four years ago as a forum for kindred spirits to gather, commune, and heal themselves and each other. The I Can Do It! Conference is intended to revitalize your soul, charge your body’s subtle energy centers, and bring a sparkle to your eyes.

And while my friends and family will tell you that I am not the typical sparkly eyes kind of guy, I do have an open mind and an obsession for improving my health, fitness, knowledge, etc…

So, starting tomorrow and running through Sunday, I am going to head down to the Metro Toronto Conference Centre to improve my emotional & spiritual health, boost my energy centers, and perhaps run into Oprah.

Here are some of the speakers attending the conference.

.

I hope to see you there.

.

Is Senobi Breathing the Cure for Depression, Obesity and Asthma?

The Senobi Breathing Exercise has been shown to:

  1. Reduce the symptoms of asthma
  2. Reduce the symptoms of depression
  3. Reduce levels of obesity

Not too shabby for a simple breathing exercise that takes all of 30 seconds to do.

What is the Senobi Breathing Exercise?

The Senobi Breathing Exercise can be performed in a 4 different ways:

  • Standing
  • Sitting
  • Hands together & fingers intertwined
  • Hands apart

In the standing position, the exerciser stands still with the feet at shoulder width. The arms are extended firmly, initially without uniting the palms. The neck is bent into the back, and the upper body is bent so as to face the ceiling (Fig. 1). The exerciser must take care to avoid overexertion.

  • Air is inhaled for 5 seconds, then exhaled for 5 seconds.
  • This respiration pattern should be done three times;
  • therefore 30 seconds are spent in the posture described.

During this posture, the scapulas shut automatically, so breathing occurs mainly from the abdomen.

To achieve thoracic respiration, we can switch to the hands held together – fingers intertwined –  and the palms turned to the ceiling version. In this posture, the scapulas are open, so the breathing that unites the palms is thoracic respiration.

The seated posture is identical to the standing posture, except for the fact that you’re sitting instead of standing.

Check out this Senobi – Obesity Study

After 1 min of the “Senobi” breathing, substantial up-regulation of sympathetic nerve activity and increased urinary hormone secretion were observed in the overweight women but not in the healthy controls. Moreover, after repeating the exercise for a month, the obese patients showed significant loss of body fat. The “Senobi” breathing exercise was found to be effective for weight loss in obesity possibly by regulating the autonomic nervous system and the hormone secretion.

Senobi – Asthma Study

After 1 month of regularly performing this exercise, most patients showed a decrease in the frequency of asthma rescue medication use. They also showed a recovery of forced expiratory volume in 1 second. These results suggest that the Senobi stretch is a useful exercise for asthmatic patients to perform to achieve a desirable improvement in symptoms.

Senobi – Depression Study

After one minute of SBE, significant up-regulation of sympathetic nerve activity and increased concentrations of catecholamines, estradiol, and growth hormone were observed in OWD (depressed) group. After 30 days of SBE, the sympathetic nerve activity and hormone levels had recovered in OWD group, and the depressive state, as evaluated by the Hamilton Depression Scale, had ameliorated. The “Senobi” breathing exercise was found to be effective for amelioration of depression in obese women possibly through up-regulation of sympathetic nerve activity and hormone secretion.

Conclusion

While the Senobi Breathing Exercise seems a little too good to be true…..it only takes 30 seconds, it’s free and if you’re asthmatic, overweight & depressed…what do you have to lose?

Reference

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me fat

Purdue University researchers have found that people, especially men, who feel any kind of discrimination, are more likely to become obese.

“The study found that males who persistently experienced high levels of discrimination during a nine-year period were more likely to see their waist circumference increase by an inch compared to those who did not report discrimination,” said Haslyn E.R. Hunte, an assistant professor of health and kinesiology.

“Females who reported similar experiences also saw their waistlines grow by more than half an inch.

This shows how discrimination hurts people physically, and it’s a reminder how people’s unfair treatment of others can be very powerful.

Hunte is planning to investigate this further by studying biomarkers, such as cortisol, which is a stress-induced hormone, in relationship to effects of discrimination.

And as I mentioned in the following  posts, high levels of cortisol have been shown to lead to body-fat deposits around the belly.

Additionally, I wouldn’t be surprised if future research discovered that high levels of cortisol and feelings of discrimination are also related to alcoholism, drug use and all the other coping mechanisms that people use when times are tough.

Conclusion

According to Dr. Hunte:

“People who feel unfairly treated should be aware of this connection between the stress related to their perception and consider coping strategies like exercise or other healthy behaviors as a coping mechanism for such stress.

More importantly, as a society we must become more aware of how we treat people and that treating others unfairly matters beyond hurt feelings.”

Reference

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.

.

But not for much longer.

.

FYI – More info on Emotional Eating

.

This is Why You Need to Take Astragalus

Astragalus Membranaceus has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine.

And even though us Westerners are a few thousand years late to the game, our scientists are working hard to get us up to speed.

In particular, an interesting study just came across my desk which showed how a decoction of the dried root of the Astragalus plant was very effective in:

  • reducing body weight
  • improving insulin sensitivity, and
  • improving the severity of fatty liver disease

Which is kind of a big deal considering that excessive body weight, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease is fast becoming the new normal in North America and Europe.

So, I decided to do a little more research into Astragalus and it’s effect on insulin sensitivity et al.

And I found a pile of research.

Research which showed how Astragalus was effective at:

  • boosting immune system function – cold, flu, infection, fever, allergies
  • reducing hypertension via a diuretic effect
  • eliminating free radicals
  • improving cardiac function
  • improving chronic fatigue
  • improving heart function
  • improving kidney function
  • improving symptoms of asthma
  • improving stomach ulcers
  • reducing inflammation
  • improving your body’s ability to handle stress

as well as…

  • reducing body weight
  • improving insulin sensitivity, and
  • improving the severity of fatty liver disease

All with no chance of toxicity.

Which is kind of important when you start messing around with herbs and roots.

So…where can you get this Astragalus stuff?

The Dreaded Kraft Dinner Hangover

I did something really stupid yesterday.

It was just one of those days where I was:

  • short on time
  • running low on healthy food
  • hungry as a bear
  • and in a bad mood (crappy day, don’t even ask)

As a result of my crappy day, my stress levels were sky high and my serotonin levels were down in the dumps.

As a result of that, I began to have a wicked craving for carbs and was experiencing a generally crappy mood which also caused a craving for a great big dietary hug from Mom.

So, in a moment of emotional weakness, I ripped open a dusty old box of Kraft Dinner from the pantry.

And I ate that glow in the dark orange, mushy, creamy, full of chemicals, pasta slop.

And I loved every spoon/shovelful.

Unfortunately, for the rest of the evening I was craving carbs like a heroin junkie craves heroin.

And this morning, I woke up with everything aching…my head, my back, my muscles feel stiff and sore and I am still craving carbs and feeling generally like crap.

So, what did I do to get rid of my Kraft Dinner hangover?

  1. Exercise – at 4:30 this morn, I woke up and did 30 minutes of joint mobility and muscle flexibility exercises. Nothing too intense – just working the stiffness out of my body
  2. While exercising, I drank a serving of Athletic Greens
  3. I also choked down a Vitamin B Complex pill and another herbal adaptogen product to help get my hormones back in order.

The result:

At 6:30 this morning, I started writing this post and…

  • my headache is gone,
  • my craving for carbs is 82% gone,
  • my muscles feel normal – not optimal, but okay.

.

Overall, I feel 91% less crappy and ready to go train another 6 clients.

Conclusion

Just Say No to Kraft Dinner

.

Oprah Ain't Gonna Diet No More

No she isn’t.

Oprah has given up on dieting after reading  Women Food and God, the latest book by Geneen Roth.

And, if history holds true, millions and millions of women may soon be putting down their diet books and picking up this new approach to mindful eating.

At the present time, I am waiting on a copy of this book to be delivered, so I can’t give you a complete review.

But, I am a big fan of mindful eating as a powerful weight loss tool.

So, you can wait for the review or you can take a chance, spend $15 and see if Oprah & Geneen are onto something here.

The following video should give you a pretty good idea of what the book is about

.

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates

.

Related Posts

Do you have a case of the Beer Belly Blues?

A few weeks ago, I received an advance copy of Brad King’s latest book – Beer Belly Blues: What Every Aging Man and the Women in his Life Need to Know.

 

Note – I receive about one book a week from publishers & PR firms. Most of them you never hear about because…..they suck. And since Health Habits is all about ideas/products that don’t suck, I don’t blog about them.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the book, or you wouldn’t be hearing about it.

In fact, I liked it so much, I tweeted Brad to tell him I enjoyed it. Brad tweeted back and it was all very pleasant – two Canadian fitness geeks talking fitness. very exciting.

A couple of days later, I get an email from his publicist asking if I would like to submit an electronic “bonus gift” as part of the big book launch extravaganza.

It was kind of a good news/bad news situation.

On one hand, good because I admired Brad’s work and to be honest, was a little flattered to be asked – and yes, I know that sounds pretty geeky.

Bad, because I didn’t have any finished product to offer as my free electronic bonus gift. I had three different things in the partially done stage but nothing finished.

Long story short, I kicked it into high gear this weekend and finished my ebook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century

.

But, enough about me and my amazing little ebook/pamphlet – let’s get back to Beer Belly Blues.

.

In BBB, Brad shines a spotlight on a sight that is far to common these days – the beer belly. And while the majority of people don’t find a beer belly an attractive feature, Brad is more concerned about what the beer belly is actually telling you about one’s health.

Drawing on his experience as a nutritional researcher and over 200 scientific studies, Brad draws attention to the hormonal dysfunction that exists behind every big ole beer belly.

After the ripe old age of 30 the majority of men in North America can expect to experience depression, increased body fat (especially in the belly area), difficulty sleeping, hair loss, low libido, erectile dysfunction and so much more, but Beer Belly Blues shows us that it doesn’t have to be this way… in fact, the book will explain how you can safely and naturally stop and/or reverse these conditions.

And where I can be a little bit sarcastic and argumentative at times, Brad seems to have the unique ability to make obesity, male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction funny.

Seriously.

At least 2 or 3 times, I actually laughed out loud…while reading the book at Starbucks.

And there’s nothing like being stared at by a bunch of coffee shop hipsters who think you’re a crazy person laughing at imaginary voices.

So, If you or someone you know is a male over the age of 30 (with a burgeoning belly), I would really recommend that you buy a copy of Beer Belly Blues … and ladies, this book is not just for men, if you want to know what the heck is taking place in your husbands/fathers/brothers/friends body… you will learn a lot from Beer Belly Blues.

Plus, you will also receive 30 free bonus gifts to boot.

.

One of them slightly better than all the others

.

Related Posts

An Exercise Prescription to Cure Depression

For the past 6 years, I have devoted a large part of my personal training business to clients suffering with mild to moderate depression.

Referred by a growing network of mental health professionals, people who have been suffering with depression (and to a lesser extent – anxiety) have had tremendous success reducing their symptoms of depression using a very simple yet labor intensive exercise prescription.

At first, it was very difficult to get mental health professionals to consider that exercise might help where drugs & talk therapy were failing.

depression

 

But slowly, as scientific research began to catch up with common sense, exercise therapy for depression became a slightly more acceptable treatment modality.

Flash forward to 2010…and we see the director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University telling his peers that “exercise has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health, and that the more therapists who are trained in exercise therapy, the better off patients will be.”

Speaking at the annual conference of the Anxiety Disorder Association of America, professors Jasper Smits and Michael Otto reported that “individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger. Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors.

For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing.”

“Exercise can fill the gap for people who can’t receive traditional therapies because of cost or lack of access, or who don’t want to because of the perceived social stigma associated with these treatments,” he says. “Exercise also can supplement traditional treatments, helping patients become more focused and engaged.”

But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

In a world where more and more “normal” people never find the time to be active, imagine how difficult it is for a person suffering from depression to begin and continue with a new exercise program.

It’s not as simple as their doctor telling them to take a few laps around the high school running track.

Dr. Smits believes that “rather than emphasize the long-term health benefits of an exercise program – which can be difficult to sustain – we urge providers to focus with their patients on the immediate benefits,” he says. “After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy – and you’ll be motivated to exercise again tomorrow. A bad mood is no longer a barrier to exercise; it is the very reason to exercise.

Smits says health care providers who prescribe exercise also must give their patients the tools they need to succeed, such as the daily schedules, problem-solving strategies and goal-setting featured in his guide for therapists.

“Therapists can help their patients take specific, achievable steps,” he says. “This isn’t about working out five times a week for the next year. It’s about exercising for 20 or 30 minutes and feeling better today.”

In my personal, grassroots (entirely non-medical / non-scientific) opinion, that is a great start…but I would also recommend that if the patient wants to improve their odds of success, they…

  • Get the support of their family. Organize family outings that require physical activity, go for nightly walks, etc..
  • Get the support of other depression/anxiety sufferers. Organize regular exercise sessions. While everyone’s experience with depression is unique, fellow sufferers are going to “get you” in a way that your family never will. Sharing the exercise experience with them can also improve the likelihood of adherence.
  • Get the support of an exercise professional who is sensitive to your situation. For a lot of my clients who can’t afford one on one personal training, I provide training programs designed specifically for their needs.

.

If you need more info, check out Drs. Smits & Otto’s book on the subject.

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe

Think Yourself Thin….The Complete Beck Diet for Life

A few days ago, I introduced you to my Better than the “Best Life” Weight Loss Plan.

In that post, I told you why diets and workouts simply don’t work for most people.

I told you that unless you address your personal weight loss roadblocks, you may be trapped forever in a cycle of yo-yo dieting….well, that sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

I told you how it all comes down to lifestyle. And to make things just a little bit easier, I divided those lifestyle factors into 3 groups:

  1. Physical Factors
  2. Mental / Emotional / Spiritual Factors
  3. External Factors

Today, I will be discussing your mental/emotional roadblocks to successful weight loss.

In particular, I will be discussing Dr. Judith Beck’s psychological approach to successful weight loss.

beck-diet-for-life

Who is Dr. Judith Beck?

Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., is:

  • judith-beckThe author of the textbook, Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond, which has been translated into 20 languages and is the basic textbook in the field for most students in psychiatry, psychology, social work, and psychiatric nursing in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania
  • The Director of the non-profit Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research
  • The daughter of  Aaron T. Beck, M.D., the founder of cognitive therapy, with whom she has worked closely in developing its clinical applications and theoretical advancements.
  • A consultant for research studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health
  • The past president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy

And what is the Beck Diet all about?

According to Dr. Beck, the Beck Diet:

  • Frees you from guilt, worry, self-consciousness and self-blame
  • Frees you from your fear of hunger and your fear of losing control
  • Frees you from overwhelming temptation and emotional eating
  • Frees you from feelings of deprivation, unfairness and discouragement
  • Frees you from obsession about your food choices, weight and appearance.

In short, Dr. Beck’s CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) approach to weight loss attempts to free you from your controlling thoughts and emotions. There techniques taught in this book have been successfully used as a treatment for many clinical disorders, personality conditions and behavioral problems.

To this point, only Dr. Beck has applied these techniques to treat the mental issues behind obesity.

Her step by step approach allows you to make gradual changes to your thoughts and behaviors. Over time, her techniques build upon themselves and “lead you to make the psychological changes you need to be satisfied with your food choices, your ultimate weight and yourself.”

I have used these techniques on a number of my clients, and what I love about Dr. Beck’s techniques is how they help dieters avoid the pitfalls that happen to all of us.

She teaches you how to transform your psychological “giving-in” into a psychological “stick to it” muscle.

The Plan

There are 5 stages to Dr. Beck’s program.

Stage 1 – The Success Skills Plan

In Stage 1, you will learn and practice Dr. Beck’s  nine “success skills”.  Those skills include:

  1. scale-weight-feetMotivate yourself daily
  2. Weigh yourself daily
  3. Eat slowly or mindfully
  4. Give yourself credit
  5. Get moving
  6. Overcome hunger, cravings and emotional eating
  7. Plan and monitor your eating
  8. Follow your plan, no matter what
  9. Get back on track – right away

To help you develop these skills, you will have to complete various tasks and techniques.

And believe it or not, in Stage 1, there is no dieting. That begins in Stage 2.

And before you can proceed to Stage 2, you HAVE to master the 9 success skills.

Stage 2 – The Think Thin Initial Eating Plan

In Stage 2, Dr. Beck introduces her “Think Thin Eating Plan”.

I will go into more detail on Dr. Beck’s eating plan in a future post.

However, I have to say that this is the one area of Dr. Beck’s book that I disagree with. Her recommendations are typical of most of the other diet books on the market. It all comes down to the typical Food Pyramid / Caloric Restriction theory that has been failing dieters for decades.

Obviously, the nutritional guidelines weren’t drafted by Dr. Beck. I can only assume that a nutritionist associated with her practice put this together.

In her defense, I have heard through the grapevine that Dr. Beck’s readers complained that her previous book didn’t have this information and that they were shocked that a “diet” book wasn’t telling them what foods to eat. So, in an attempt to make them happy, Dr. Beck added this chapter.

Personally, I still recommend that you complete Stage 2. I just think that you should follow another diet. This one or this one.

You will spend 2 to 3 weeks in Stage 2. And like Stage 1, you need to fulfill specific requirements before moving on to Stage 3.

You will also continue to work on the 9 Success Skills from Stage 1.

Stage 3 – The Challenging Situations Plan

emotionaleatingDuring this stage, you will learn how to apply the skills you have learned in Stages 1 & 2 to various challenging situations:

  • Eating outside the house
  • Entertaining at home
  • Or when you are psychologically or emotionally stressed out.

There are a wide variety of skills to work on in this section. I will go into these skills in greater detail in a future post.

In my opinion, the skills you will learn in this stage should be required reading for anyone trying to lose weight and still have some semblance of a social life.

Stage 4 – The Think Thin Lifetime Eating Plan

To enter Stage 4, you need to know that you can follow your plan in any situation.

If you have achieved that level of self control, you can now loosen things up a bit, knowing that you are in charge of your thoughts and feelings and that if you start to put on some extra weight, you have the skills necessary to turn things around.

And not that she doesn’t trust you, but Dr. Beck still has a few more experiments to make sure that you are ready to graduate to Stage 5.

Stage 5 – The Motivation for Life Plan

Stage 5 is Dr. Beck’s Maintenance Stage.

During this stage, she asks you to follow 1 of 3 different plans:

  1. Daily Motivation Plan – when dieting/maintenance is going well
  2. Re-Motivation Plan – when dieting/maintenance becomes difficult
  3. Get back on Track Plan – when your skills slip and you gain weight

And like all of the other stages, Dr. beck has a series of daily tasks designed to maintain your success skills and your weight loss.

Conclusion

Some of you out there don’t need this book. Those extra holiday pounds are probably already melting away as you have returned to a more “normal” day to day schedule.

This book is written for those people who need to re-gain control over their thoughts and emotions.

If that sounds like you, I can heartily recommend Dr. Beck’s new book…..Except for the dietary recommendations..

Related Posts

Emotional Eating: When Diets Don't Work

  • Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food in response to feelings instead of hunger.
  • Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.

And believe it or not, 100% of experts believe that obesity is caused by overeating.

And with researchers forecasting that by 2030, 86.3% of American adults will be overweight or obese, maybe, just maybe we should take a closer look at Emotional Eating and it’s cousin Binge Eating.

A Closer Look

Over the centuries, human beings have evolved to thrive on certain types of food. Sure, we can survive on lesser quality food, but our health will suffer for it.

The Good Stuff:

Vegetables, Fruit, unprocessed Animal Protein, and smaller quantities of Seeds, Nuts, Grains and Dairy.

Keep in mind that there is a wide variety of human dietary practices based upon geography and food availability. But this list encompasses pretty much all of the good stuff.

The Bad Stuff:

Processed foods – The more processed they are, the worse they are for our health. e.g. Trans Fats, High Fructose Corn Syrup and just about any kid’s meal at a fast-food restaurant.

So, how come “when you’re happy, your food of choice could be steak or pizza, when you’re sad it could be ice cream or cookies and when you’re bored it could be potato chips.

Food does more than fill our stomachs. It also satisfies feelings, and when you quench those feelings with comfort food when your stomach isn’t growling, that’s emotional eating.

And emotional eating seldom involves the good stuff. Our bad moods drive use towards the processed foods that satisfy our taste buds, defective insulin receptors and most importantly our serotonin receptors.

Ahhh serotonin. Wonderful stuff. Powerful stuff.

So what’s the big deal?

What’s wrong with treating myself after a hard day?

Well, this tendency to use certain foods as though they were drugs is a frequent cause of weight gain, and can also be seen in patients who become fat when exposed to stress

So, How Can I Tell The Difference Between Real Hunger And Emotional Hunger?

There are several differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger:

1. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly; physical hunger occurs gradually.

2. When you are eating to fill a void that isn’t related to an empty stomach, you crave a specific food, usually something creamy or sweet or salty or crunchy or all of the above. And only that particular food will meet your need. Actual hunger usually doesn’t involve such specific cravings.

3. Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you crave; physical hunger can wait.

4. Even when you are full, if you’re eating to satisfy an emotional need, you’re more likely to keep eating. When you’re eating because you’re hungry, you’re more likely to stop when you’re full.

5. Emotional eating can leave behind feelings of guilt; eating when you are physically hungry does not.

Are You An Emotional Eater?

Maybe, maybe not.

If you want to be sure, here is a test from our good friends at Psychology Today that will let you know if you are an Emotional Eater.

Eating Disorders &
Emotional Eating Test

62 questions, 30-35 min

Do you have issues with food? Do you overeat, binge or obsess over calories? The Eating Disorders and Emotional Eating Test will assess your eating habits. It will evaluate whether your relationship to food is mentally healthy or damaging. It will also assess whether you have tendencies towards certain documented eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.

After finishing the Eating Disorders & Emotional Eating Test, you will receive a detailed, personalized interpretation of your score that includes diagrams, information on the test topic and tips.

So, Are you an Emotional Eater?

If so, come back tomorrow.

I hate to do this to you, but I am going to have to split this topic into a couple of posts.

In my next post, I will cover the strategies that are being used to combat Emotional Eating. I will also spend some time looking at the phenomena of Intuitive Eating.

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe

Pricecheck on Obesity: $2 Trillion Dollars

As published in this past Sunday’s Observer, Zoe Wood reports that “the market for products derived from the obesity ‘epidemic’ could be worth £1 trillion within four years”. That is $2 trillion in US dollars.

$2 000 000 000 000

According to the World Health Organization, almost 1/3 of the world’s population is overweight, while 400 million are clinically obese. The numbers for “first world” nations are even worse.

2005 WHO obesity estimates pegged the United States as the world’s fattest nation. (see chart below)

However, in a perverse show of nationalistic pride, a recent report by the Baker Heart Research Institute, claims that Australia has overtaken America as the world’s fattest nation.

To further cloud the issue, the WHO estimates for obesity rates in the year 2020 still show America as #1. And Australia lagging far behind.

Obviously someone has got their numbers wrong. Here are the WHO estimates.

Let’s move away from obesity for a minute. What about those individuals that are merely “overweight“.

Not obese; just fat, chubby, big boned, pleasantly plump…

According to the WHO, the world’s most overweight nations, regardless of economic, political or military dominance are:

Rank Country %
1. Nauru 94.5
2. Micronesia, Federated States of 91.1
3. Cook Islands 90.9
4. Tonga 90.8
5. Niue 81.7
6. Samoa 80.4
7. Palau 78.4
8. Kuwait 74.2
9. United States 74.1
10. Kiribati 73.6
11. Dominica 71.0
12. Barbados 69.7
13. Argentina 69.4
14. Egypt 69.4
15. Malta 68.7
16. Greece 68.5
17. New Zealand 68.4
18. United Arab Emirates 68.3
19. Mexico 68.1
20. Trinidad and Tobago 67.9
21. Australia 67.4
22. Belarus 66.8
23. Chile 65.3
24. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 65.2
25. Seychelles 64.6
26. Bahrain 64.1
27. Andorra 63.8
28. United Kingdom 63.8
29. Saudi Arabia 63.5
30. Monaco 62.4
31. Bolivia 62.2
32. San Marino 62.1
33. Guatemala 61.2
34. Mongolia 61.2
35. Canada 61.1
36. Qatar 61.0
37. Uruguay 60.9
38. Jordan 60.5
39. Bahamas 60.4
40. Iceland 60.4
41. Nicaragua 60.4
42. Cuba 60.1
43. Germany 60.1
44. Brunei Darussalam 59.8
45. Slovenia 59.8
46. Peru 59.6
47. Vanuatu 59.6
48. Finland 58.7
49. Jamaica 57.4

What the heck is going on in the South Pacific? Those are some crazy obesity stats.

What about the money?

In a report issued by Credit Suisse, analysts said “The global obesity “epidemic” will have a material impact on global business strategy over the next decade. A greater awareness about its costs is not only changing society but infiltrating the business world in health care and other major industries”.

In English, “the larger a problem gets, the more attention and resources it gets”

Credit Suisse claims that the “companies best placed to benefit from the development are those devising products that either help people to lead healthier lives or that treat the symptoms of obesity”.

So who are these companies best placed to capitalize on our expanding waistlines?

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Credit Suisse has assembled an index of 15 stocks that they feel will “experience outsized revenue and earnings growth over the next 5 years compared to their peers.”

This “Healthier Living 15″ includes:

Health Care:

  • Allergan sells a “Lap-Band” used in an increasingly popular type of obesity surgery.
  • Novo Nordisk is big in the diabetes market
  • Merck sells drugs for diabetes and high cholesterol
  • CVS may benefit by selling vitamins and prescription weight-loss drugs
  • Healthways contracts with employers and government entities to manage preventive care, among other things.

Food:

  • General Mills should benefit from a move to “healthier, more convenient foods”
  • Kellogg and Danone also make the list
  • Grocery chain Safeway, which is rolling out “lifestyle” stores

If you want a wild card, go for Kuala Lumpur Kepong, a Malaysian palm-oil company that may see an uptick in business as food makers look for alternatives to trans fats

Athletics:

  • Under Armour sells athletic clothing and shoes
  • Lululemon athletica sells “yoga-inspired apparel”
  • Nike is Nike
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods is a big U.S. retailer
  • Life Time Fitness, a chain of health clubs, could outcompete smaller gyms to gain market share.

So what does this mean to me?

If you are looking for a growth market to invest your life savings in, the obesity industry might a good idea. Think about it. People are getting fatter and fatter with no end in sight.

For years, authors have promised miracle diets while drug and supplement companies have given us miracle pills. And yet, we get fatter and fatter.

So, we have a marketplace that is eager to believe in miracle solutions and apparently never becomes disillusioned when they don’t work. The dieters, pill poppers and frantic exercisers just blame themselves, their poor genetics, their lack of self-discipline….and hop right back into their SUV, drive down to the mall and pick up the latest best selling diet book and wash it down with a triple Venti half-caf mocha caramel frappuchino with extra whipped cream and a dollop of irony.

Methinks $2 000 000 000 000 is a gross underestimation.

Why is America so Fat

You’re Fat?… It’s your Fault

As reported in the Daily Telegraph, British politician David Cameron openly declared war on the “culture of moral neutrality” by “calling on the obese, the idle and even the poor to accept some responsibility for their plight.” (see video here)

Going further, Cameron says that “Britain risks creating a society where nobody is prepared to tell the truth about what is good and bad, right and wrong… Society has become far too sensitive to people’s feelings with no one prepared to say what needs to be said…. Instead, we prefer moral neutrality, a refusal to make judgments about what is good and bad behaviour, right and wrong behaviour. Bad. Good. Right. Wrong.”

About obesity in particular, Cameron said “We talk about people being at risk of obesity instead of people who eat too much and take too little exercise. We talk about people being at risk of poverty or social exclusion. It’s as if these things – obesity, alcohol abuse, drug addiction – are purely external events like a plague or bad weather.”

He went on to speak about personal responsibility – “We have seen a decades-long erosion of responsibility, of social virtue, of self-discipline, respect for others, and of deferring gratification instead of instant gratification.”

Wow, strong words indeed. I can only imagine the nasty emails in his Inbox after this went public.

If the comments from this blog post are any indication, then the honorable Mr. Cameron will definitely need a shovel to clean up all of the @$%#& and &$%#@* and ^#$$@& when he is finished sifting through his Inbox.

So, Is He Right or Wrong?

IMHO, he is…

  • 100% politically incorrect and…
  • 100% right on the facts.

Barring any genetic abnormality, such as a congenital leptin deficiency, we ARE responsible for our weight gain.

  • We choose which food we eat
  • We choose which beverages we drink
  • We choose how much we eat
  • We choose when we eat
  • We choose where we eat
  • We choose how much physical activity we get
  • We choose how long we sit on our butts
  • We choose our leisure time activities
  • WE CHOOSE…no one else chooses for us.

So…is this the end of story? Is it all my fault? your fault? the lady with the morbidly obese kids’ fault?

YES

And NO.

Obesity is not the same as alcohol or drug abuse. I don’t need to drink or smoke, but I do need to eat.

I just don’t need to eat bacon and Bagel-fuls and processed food-like products and high fructose corn syrup and Big Macs and Beefaroni and Slurpees and Frosted Flakes and triple latte mocha sugar bomb coffee desserts and……

And while it is 100% my fault if I choose to eat obesogenic processed foods, there is a systemic problem that contributes to the obesification of modern humans.

Tax dollars.

Western governments have decided to subsidize the production of obesogenic foods with your tax dollars. This has allowed big food producing companies to become giant food producing conglomerates able to pump out cheap calories that are nutrient deficient leading to a perpetual hunger for more cheap calories.

And those tax subsidies are unlikely to ever be repealed. The American (processed) food lobby spends a LOT of money and applies a LOT of pressure on government representatives to keep pumping tax dollars toward the big food corporations. This keeps the price of processed foods artificially low and the price of healthy foods comparatively higher.

Which…if you are on a strict food budget (and have kids addicted to processed food), makes it difficult to break the habit of buying obesogenic food.

Difficult…but not impossible. It is still YOUR choice to buy food that makes you and your fault that your kids are fat and unhealthy.

NOTE: In addition to voting with your wallet, feel free to combat the lobbyists by writing all your political representatives a “sternly-worded” letter threatening to organize a campaign against their re-election unless they start taking the health of your kids into consideration.

Or…like most of us, you can do nothing and be surprised when your kids become fat & unhealthy.

 

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe

How to Beat Emotional Eating

How to beat Emotional Eating

Are you an Emotional Eater?

  • Do your feelings drive your appetite and your eating behavior?
  • Do you eat when you are not hungry?
  • Do you continue to eat when you are full?…stuffed?…about to explode?
  • Do you ever find yourself on the couch with your hand at the bottom of a LARGE bag of chips?
  • Do you eat like this while you are alone?
  • When you are bored
  • When you are stressed?
  • To take your mind off of your problem
  • Do you feel guilty about this behavior?

If you answered YES, then you, my friend, are an Emotional Eater. And you’re not alone.

      

Janet Jackson and Britney Spears are celebrity examples of Emotional Eaters

So What Do I Do?

If you think that your manner of eating may constitute a threat to your health, please contact your doctor.

And here is some solid reference info:

What Do I Do Right Now?!

One tool you should look into right away is Mindful Eating.

Here are some great books to get you started:  Dr.Susan Albers – Eating Mindfully, Amazon book list

In the past few years, the practice of mindful eating has grown out of the more generalized psychiatric practice of Mindfulness Meditation, made popular by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It finds it’s origin in Buddhist teachings. The Buddhist practice of Mindfulness can be defined as “awareness of one’s thoughts, actions or motivations”.

  • A similar practice is currently being espoused by Oprah’s protege, Mr. Eckhart Tolle.
  • I Can Make You Thin with Paul McKenna employed mindful eating in it’s weight loss plan.
  • In the 1920’s, Horace Fletcher was the diet guru of the day with his theory of Fletcherizing.

Mindful Eating – The Basics

Eat consciously. By this I mean:

  • Take a bite of food
  • Put down your implements/sandwich/glass/etc…
  • Chew your food
  • Taste your food
  • Enjoy your food
  • Repeat until you ‘think’ you are starting to feel full
  • Stop Eating
  • Eat again when you are hungry – not bored or nervous – listen for a ‘grumbly tummy’

That’s It.

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe

Fat Phobia

The Wild, Wacky & Wonderful World of Fat Phobias

We have officially gone crazy.

  • In Japan, employers are forcing their employees to eat fish sausages, participate in a “lifestyle reform programs,” and attend boot camps designed to reduce the incidence of metabolic disease or metabo.
  • Not to be upstaged, the Japanese government has addressed their fat phobia  by introducing compulsory ‘fat checks‘ for people over 40 years of age.

It’s not just the Japanese that are panicky about obesity. This article in The Independent brought my attention to all of the medical classifications we now have for obesity and supposedly aberrant eating behaviors. We all know about bulimia and anorexia.

But did you know about the following medical conditions?

and my personal favorite

  • Rumination – Like a cow, ‘bringing up’ partially digested food and then spitting it out or digesting it.

Or how about:

Maybe, for simplicity’s sake, we could lump all of these conditions together under one banner:

  • Obesophobia – a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of gaining weight

I am not for one second suggesting that people have legitimate mental & physical issues concerning food and their bodies. But, why oh why, does every human peculiarity have to become a syndrome or a condition? Why do we have to be afraid of everything? Why do we have a fat phobia?

health healthhabits exercise fitness Energy System Training Makes Your Heart Healthier and Stronger

Energy System Training Makes Your Heart Healthier and Stronger

On April 17, I wrote an introductory article to Energy System Training. In that article:

  • I explained how each of your body’s three energy system pathways provide energy for bodily functions.
  • I also explained how each energy system could be developed through exercise.

Since that time, there has been new research conducted which proves that not only will exercise affect the function of your energy systems, it will affect the function and structure of your heart.

In this latest study, researchers have “concluded that participation in 90 days of competitive athletics produces significant training-specific changes in cardiac structure and function.”

  • Endurance Athletes (40 university rowers) expanded both the left and right ventricles of their hearts (bi-ventricular dilation).
  • As well, they improved the relaxation of the heart muscle between beats (Diastolic relaxation).
  • In contrast, Strength Athletes (35 football players) thickened the heart muscle at the site of the left ventricle.
  • Additionally, the football players experienced diminished diastolic relaxation.

What does this mean?

  • For athletes, this indicates that dramatic changes to the function of the heart’s function and structure can be achieved in a very short amount of time. Future studies will be looking at how different exercise protocols affect both the function and structure of the heart.
  • For heart disease patients, this study should indicate that as not all heart dysfunctions are the same, not all exercise prescriptions are the same. Like different drugs are prescribed for different conditions, in the future unique exercise prescriptions may be dispensed based on the patient’s unique physical condition…allowing you to make your heart healthier and stronger and more capable of the specific tasks you might ask it to do.
  • For you and the rest of the health conscious public at-large, Energy System Training Makes Your Heart Healthier and Stronger

Your prescription:  go take a long walk with some short HIIT sprints, and call me in the morning.

Energy System Training Makes Your Heart Healthier and Stronger

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe

Newsflash! – Junk food advertising is misleading!!!

The BBC has reported that 83% of U.K. consumers “believed irresponsible marketing was making it harder to encourage children to eat well”. The survey was conducted by Which?, the U.K.’s largest independent consumer organization.

The survey also found that “most of the 2,000 questioned want the government to do more to control the marketing of unhealthy food to children”.

Currently, the Brits have banned television commercials promoting junk food programmes aimed at children under 16.

Supporters of this survey are now calling for complete ban on junk food advertising on ALL programmes aired before 9 p.m. Additionally, they are requesting the government impose rules addressing junk food advertising on the internet and on packaging.

The ‘icing on the cake’ argument was offered by Clare Corbett, a food campaigner at Which? Corbett said “With childhood obesity and diet-related health problems on the increase, the government must take serious action and soon.”

health-fitness-obesity

To summarize:

  • Junk food is bad
  • Advertisers brainwash children into wanting junk food
  • Children pester their parents
  • Parents feed their children junk food
  • Children get fat eating junk food while watching television ads about junk food
  • The U.K.’s largest consumer protection group asks parents if the government should be doing more to keep their children safe from obesity
  • Parents overwhelmingly agree, demanding that the government solve childhood obesity by removing the offending advertisements.
  • Advertisers produce another survey indicating that “76% of UK adults believe that introducing a 9pm watershed on food advertising would not reduce the level of childhood obesity”.
  • The government is left to decide if banning all junk food ads on t.v. before 9 p.m. will win them the next election.

Your daily dose of reality

  • Junk food is bad
  • We are genetically disposed to prefer sweet, salty, greasy, calorie dense foods. We crave these things as a mechanism of survival. Genetics. Millions of years.
  • Advertisers know this. Food manufacturers know this. They sell us what we want. If we don’t want it, we won’t buy it. If we don’t buy it, they won’t sell it.
  • Every parent knows that feeding your children junk food while sitting them in front of the t.v. is guaranteed to make them fat.

What to do, what to do

  • Parents set the example for their children.
  • Stop buying junk food. Not just for your children, you too.
  • Stop watching t.v. Get outside and exercise. If it’s too cold, read a book.
  • Stop expecting the government to do everything for you.

The rant endeth.

The Link Between Genetics and Obesity

The American Society for Addiction Medicine held their annual conference in Toronto this past weekend. One of the attendees, Dr. Carolyn Ross spoke about the link between human genetics and obesity. In an interview with a local radio station, 680 News, Dr. Ross said that “70 per cent of obesity is genetic”.

Dr. Ross hopes that this linkage between obesity and genetics will ‘take away some of the stigma and shame associated with obesity’.

A related newspaper article appeared in this past Sunday’s Toronto Star. In this article, the link between anorexia nervosa and human genetics was discussed. In this article, the point was made that over the past 30 years, the rate of anorexia has remained unchanged while the rate of bulimia has risen sharply. The point being made here is that while bulimia may indeed be driven by a societal demand for thinness, anorexia may be driven by a genetic flaw.

While research into a genetic cause of anorexia (or bulimia, binge eating, etc) is only in it’s infancy, “results of the first genetic studies, released in the past five years, reveal that genetic vulnerability for anorexia nervosa lies on chromosome 1 of the 24 chromosomes that make up the human genome”.

So what do we take from this?

If Dr. Ross is correct and genetics has a huge impact on obesity, do we ignore the smaller role of our own behaviour? If you knew that you had inherited a genetic propensity towards obesity, do you give up trying to eat a healthy diet and engage in physical exercise? Do you wait for science to come up with a genetic cure?

While I agree with Dr. Ross that the social stigma attached to obesity is cruel and thoughtless ( if there is a genetic component to both obesity & cancer, why is it acceptable to mock the obese but not a cancer patient?), obese individuals still have to accept responsibility for their own health.

For every person who was born with a congenital leptin deficiency, there are thousands upon thousands of obese individuals who have a simple genetic predisposition towards obesity. A PREDISPOSITION.

Genetics is not Destiny.

Learn how to keep your body healthy, learn how to train your body to overcome cravings, eat well, exercise, and make the most with the genetic hand that you were dealt.

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe

diet-soda-obesity-health-healthhabits-fitness-obesity

Everything You Need to Know About Dieting

Do a Google search of the word “diet” …and you will get approximately thirteen bazillion hits. Thirteen bazillion articles and websites created by thousands upon thousands of individuals & corporations who are trying to sell you their miracle solution to your weight loss dreams…all for the low, low price of….over $60 billion per year

In today’s post, I am going to start laying out a weight-loss framework that will…

  • tell you everything you need to know about dieting,
  • help you understand the theories behind any diet,
  • help you design a diet that works for YOU, and
  • not spend any money

To begin with, we’re going to divide ALL of the possible dieting methods into their 2 main camps.

  1. Eat Less
  2. Burn More

Then, we’re going to break down these two main dieting philosophies into their numerous sub-categories, and so on and so on…until you are a veritable expert on diets and weight loss.

Notewhile I don’t believe that an Eat Less / Burn More approach to weight loss is the correct approach, this is how the current weight loss industry is constructed…so we will stick to that format as we delve deep into the diet /weight loss industry

Eat Less

Eat less food and you WILL lose weight…This is the basis for most diets.

It’s a simple theory, based on the concept in physics that energy can neither be created nor destroyed…and as a result, if you consume less energy (food), you have to lose the exact same amount of body-fat. Unfortunately, as every seasoned dieter knows, our bodies are not as straightforward as the laws of physics and are incredibly stubborn about holding onto our fat and that unless we are willing to keep dropping caloric intake until we are literally starving ourselves, we need to build upon the Eat Less theory of dieting if we want long-term success.

To that end, here are the major sub-categories of Eat Less dieting techniques created by the weight loss industry.

Structured Diets

This category dominates the weight loss industry. In fact, when I say the word diet, structured calorie-reduction diets are what everybody thinks of. Whether it’s a soup diet or a cabbage diet or a detox diet or a juice diet or any of the other  79,o45 different types of diets that Wikipedia categorizes, the theory is the same. Eat Less. How you do it is nothing but a marketing ploy. They are all the same.

diet-booksAlmost all diet books are variations of the Eat Less theory. Save your money and re-use last years diet books before you rush out and buy the latest best-seller.

Next Page – Behaviour Modification Techniques…

Quick Nav

Like this article???

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.

button subscribe