Can You Be Fit AND Fat : Research Says NO

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

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

The Science

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

Here’s what they found…

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

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

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

is it possible to be fat and fit

What does this mean to you?

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

Reference

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

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

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

tumblr_lbvabxXijT1qbi71b

But wait…before everyone flips out…

Let’s take a closer look at the study

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

Here are the three diet plans

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

How did they measure the environmental impact?

To compare the three diets, the researchers calculated how…

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

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

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

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

Their findings?

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

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

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

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

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

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

bacon

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

This can’t be true, can it?

Yup…it’s true. But here’s why.

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

We are incredibly efficient at producing crap food. 

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

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

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

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

karl_smile

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

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

Reference

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LEPTIN

Is Leptin Gene Therapy the Future of Weight Loss?

Every year, millions of “weight loss” dollars are spent by pharmaceutical companies in the search for a drug that can prevent and/or reverse obesity. And every year, billions of “weight loss” dollars are spent by consumers on supplements, gym memberships, pills, potions & lotions.

Unfortunately, every year…almost all of that money is wasted as obesity rates creep higher & higher…pushing up the number of people with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.

But what if instead of looking for a drug or a vitamin or a diet or a workout…the solution to obesity was genetic therapy?

  • What if there was a way to reverse obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc thanks to a combination of leptin genes and a “safe” adeno-associated virus delivered to you via an IV injection?
  • What if researchers were already working on this?
  • What if the research has already seen success in lab mice studies?

Would that get you excited about a scientific cure for obesity & it’s related lifestyle diseases?

Assuming you answered yes to the above question, I will continue with a brief overview of the science for all you weight-loss geeks.

LEPTIN

A Very Brief Overview of the Science

  • Researchers use adeno-associated viruses as a vehicle to deliver leptin into your body
  • The virus/leptin combo is injected into test subjects (mice) via an IV
  • The nonpathogenic virus infects the host’s cells with the leptin gene
  • The expression of the leptin gene is played out over a long period of time
  • Unlike a direct injection of leptin into the host’s brain, the adenovirus delivery method circumvents the “normal” leptin resistance feedback loop

Allowing for a sustained drop in appetite, a sustained drop in food consumption, a sustained drop in body-fat, reduced blood sugar levels, reduced triglyceride levels, improved glucose tolerance, etc, etc, etc…

What does this mean to YOU?

Unfortunately not very much right now. All of this research is being conducted on mice…meaning that you shouldn’t expect to get an anti-obesity injection from your doctor anytime soon.

Still, as a health & fitness nerd, this science is pretty darn cool. If you think so too, pass it on.

Public interest via social media, means more attention via mainstream media, which means an increased chance that someone / some company with deep pockets will fund additional research.

And additional research can’t help but speed up the process and maybe, just maybe…we’ll have a safe & effective treatment for obesity & it’s related diseases.

And that is pretty darn cool too.

Reference

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How many BURPEES does it take to burn off 1 grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Here at @HealthHabits, I like to try and answer the big questions that have been plaguing mankind since the beginning of time.

  • Where do we come from?
  • Where do we go when we die?
  • How many burpees does it take to burn off 1 grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream?

Today, we’re focusing on the PSL…

Note:

It takes a “fit” person approximately 10 minutes to do 100 burpees. That means, burning off the calories in just one grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte will take Mr. or Ms. Fitness 34 minutes of non-stop burpee action.

34 minutes of this…

burpees

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10 Ways to Burn 1 Pound of Body Fat – Vol. 4

Welcome to the fourth edition of 10 Ways to Burn 1 Pound of Body-Fat.

The following list will highlight different physical activities and tell you how long they will take to burn 500 calories….which is a convenient number because a pound of body fat is 3500 calories and there are 7 days in the week.

And if my Grade 3 math skills are still up to date, 500 calories burned  x 7 days in the week = 3500 calories burned per week = 1 pound of body fat burned off per week.

And that’s pretty cool. So, here we go….

THE LIST

Zumba

  • It will take the average American Male (191 lbs) 62 minutes of Zumbafying to burn 500 calories
  • It will take the average American Female (164 lbs) 72 minutes of shaking her booty to burn 500 calories

zumba

To find out how long it will take YOU to burn 500 calories…

  • take your weight (ex 200 lbs),
  • divide by the average American weight – male or female ( ex 200 lb male / 191 lbs = 1.047),
  • and multiply the result by the average time that I calculated (ex 1.047 x 62 mintes = 65 minutes)

Exercise List

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The Journey from Fat to Fit

Every January, bookstore shelves groan under the weight of the hundreds of brand-new weight loss/diet/exercise/nutrition/snake-oil books.

And every January, millions of people…unhappy with their bodies…spend bazillions of dollars…in the hope that one of those books will contain some magical insight that will allow them to transform their bodies from fat to fit…without having to sweat…eat spinach…or lever their butts off the sofa.

Unfortunately…

The journey from fat to fit is never going to be that easy.

  • You’re going to sweat.
  • You’re going to eat healthy.
  • And you’re going to stop spending every night on the couch watching tv and/or playing XBox.

But in return, you’re going to…

And to help you get there, I have put together the “From Fat to Fit” roadmap…

Consisting of a series of 4 meta-steps, this DIY infographic will make your transformation from fat to fit simpler, faster and much, much, much more effective….I promise.

TheJourneyfromFattoFit

Step 1 – Follow a plan

I don’t really care which plan you follow.

  • If you want to combine an Atkins diet with a yoga routine, go for it.
  • If you want to become a Vegan who does Crossfit, go for it.
  • If you want to count calories and do exercise videos at home, go for it.
  • If you want to join Weight Watchers, perform EFT tapping, go to AquaFit classes with the little old ladies at my gym, go for it.

In my 20+ years as a personal trainer, I have helped people transform their bodies using all sorts of different plans. In my experience, finding a plan that works best with the client’s lifestyle is infinitely more important than the plan itself.

And science finally agrees with me.

According to researchers at McMaster University, all diets work…if you can stick to them.

Conducting a meta-analysis of 48 randomized clinical trials of branded diets – Atkins, Weight Watchers, Zone, Jenny Craig, LEARN, Nutrisystem, Ornish, Volumetrics, Rosemary Conley, Slimming World and South Beach – Mac researchers found that any weight loss differences between these popular diets are minimal and likely of little importance to those wanting to lose weight.

What was important for weight-loss success is the ability of people to stick with the diet.

  • People who stuck with the diet, lost weight.
  • People who didn’t…didn’t.

What this means to you

This means that instead of following the latest & greatest weight loss program, find a program that works best with YOUR current lifestyle.

  • How much time do you have for exercise, meal prep, etc?
  • How much money can you put into the program?
  • What kind of foods do you love/like/hate?
  • Do you prefer group activities or are you a lone wolf?
  • Do you like lifting weights & sprinting or would you rather go for a walk with your dog/spouse?

Be picky. For the plan to work, we NEED it to be a custom-fit it to YOUR lifestyle.

It’s like buying a new pair of shoes. No matter how awesome they look on the shelf, if they don’t have your size, you’re not buying them. 

Step 2 – Cook & eat real food

Back in the olden days, Moms taught their daughters how to shop for, prepare and cook complete, nutritious & yummy meals from scratch. Aside from the obvious gender role sexism, this was a great thing for the health, wealth & appearance of the whole family.

And it’s going to be a great thing for you too.

  • Cooking real food costs less than frozen diet meals
  • Cooking real food costs less than diet-delivery meals
  • Cooking real food lets you modify meals to fit perfectly with your tastebuds
  • Cooking real food will give you complete ownership of your plan and will make you proud of yourself
  • Cooking real food gives you control over the quality of ingredients
  • Cooking real food gives you control over calories
  • Cooking real food gives you control over macro & micronutrients
  • Cooking real food teaches you a skill that you can give to others (kids, friends)
  • Cooking real food can be a very calming, zen experience…helping to reduce day to day stress
  • Cooking real food for friends & family is great for expressing & receiving love…and that’s a heck of a great feeling
  • Cooking real food means no more artificial flavors & colors
  • Cooking real food means you can invent new recipes and try new flavors
  • Cooking real food means that your kids will learn how to cook real food, eat healthy, be healthy, be fit

And that’s just off the top of my head. There are so many more benefits to learning how to cook like Grandma did.

Luckily for you, Youtube has a ton of “How to Cook” instructional videos. Here are a few to check out.

Step 3 – Non-Workout physical activity

On the infographic, I ask the question: After dinner, are you more likely to go for a walk, or sit on the couch and watch tv?

If you answered sit on the couch and watch tv, I am 99.99% sure that you will never achieve your weight loss goals.

There are two reasons why I believe that:

  1. Sitting on the couch at night watching tv (or playing XBox, or surfing the net, or some other form of inactivity) means more calories consumed via snacking & less calories burned as you sit on your keester. Over time, this caloric sabotage is going to make a major difference in your body transformation.
  2. Being inactive during your “leisure time” means much more than just calories in : calories out. It is a symbol that bleeds into the rest of your life, sabotaging your food choices and influencing your decision to skip your early-morning workout or replace your home-made healthy breakfast with a muffin from Starbucks.

On the flipside, being physically active (walking, cycling, cleaning the house,etc) after dinner is guaranteed to have a positive impact on your body transformation.

  • In addition to the calories burned and the snack foods not consumed, going for a walk with your spouse/kids/friend is hugely beneficial to your mental and emotional health.
  • As well, this “non-exercise” exercise has a sneaky way transforming your overall point of view towards leisure time. Watching becomes doing. Instead of staring at a screen, shared experiences become the new normal. The entire family becomes more active and interactive.

Step 4 – What do you do when stress hits?

Nothing wrecks a healthy diet faster than a crappy day at work…or a sick kid…or an overdue pile of bills…or some other emotional catastrophe.

While your logical mind is calmly & rationally telling you how important it is to stick with the plan and eat healthy…your out of control emotions are screaming at you to wolf down a dozen donuts, an extra-large pizza and a six-pack of beer.

Can you guess who is going to win that argument?

Without a pre-existing plan to handle life’s rainy days, your weight loss / getting healthy plans are going to take the occasional beating from your emotions.

Here are a few techniques for controlling your emotions when life punches you in the face

Note: All of these techniques may seem different but they all work on the same principles:

  1. They distract you from the emotional thoughts
  2. They prevent you from obsessing & bring you back into the present moment
  3. They give you time for the emotions to die down & your conscious mind to regain control

My advice: find something that works best for you & your unique lifestyle

  • If you’re religious…pray
  • If you carry a smartphone with headphones…load it up with meditation or brain wave entrainment mp3s
  • If you don’t buy into this new-agey, crunchy-granola stuff…drop to the floor and do push-ups & ab exercises until you are a sweaty mess.

The how is irrelevant…all we care about is short-circuiting your emotions & regaining conscious control of your mind.

Conclusion

Getting lean, fit & healthy isn’t rocket science.

  1. Find a plan that works for YOU
  2. Cook real / healthy food
  3. Increase your “non-exercise” physical activity
  4. Learn to control your emotions

And feel free to contact me with questions (Twitter / Facebook) if you need to chat.

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Truvia is NOT Stevia…but it is a fantastic insecticide

Wait a second. How can Truvia be safe for me to eat and yet it kills fruit flies like Dexter Morgan on crystal meth???

According to study authors Sean O’Donnell and Daniel Marenda, “during an examination of the effects of commonly used non-nutritive sweeteners on the longevity of Drosophila melanogaster (aka the Fruit Fly), they discovered that erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, was toxic when ingested by fruit flies as compared to similar concentrations of nutritive sugar controls (sucrose, corn syrup) and other non-nutritive sweeteners.”

  • In their study, they found that fruit flies raised in tubes containing Truvia (see above), lived for an average of 5.8 days.
  • The average fruit fly lives 45 to 60 days.

They also found that Truvia-fed flies had difficulty in climbing up a small vial, indicating impaired motor function.

The problem, the team discovered, lies in an ingredient present in Truvia but not in the other six sweeteners: erythritol, a commonly used food additive approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

This is the same erythritol that has been found to be safe for rats, dogs, humans, etc in previous studies referenced by the fine people at Coca-Cola and Cargill.

What does all this science this mean???

  • If you’re a fly, this is bad news.
  • If you’re a human who hates fruit flies buzzing around the bananas on your kitchen counter, it’s good news. According to the science, we now have evidence that erythritol baits could be used as effective insecticide against fruit flies.

However, if you’re a consumer of food products containing Truvia, you have a choice to make.

One of the core assumptions of modern toxicology is “the dose makes the poison.” Drinking a glass of water is good for you – Drinking a barrel of water is toxic to you. Conversely, the most acutely lethal toxin known to science is the botulinum toxin – the same toxin used millions of times around the world to get rid of wrinkles.

Based upon this assumption (and the safety studies mentioned previously), Erythritol, and by extension Truvia, is…

  1. Safe to humans
  2. Deadly to fruit flies

However, not every scientist in the world believes in the infallibility of “the dose makes the poison.”

  • Some scientists question whether doses that are “safe for human consumption” are equally safe for babies in the womb.

For example, this study found that a dose of atrazine (a commonly used herbicide) 20,000 times lower than the lowest level known to affect adult frogs caused 20% of tadpoles to become hermaphroditic in adulthood.

And it’s not just the effect of toxins on our little frog babies. Not all toxins follow the “normal” monotonic curve in which the response to a dose of toxin increases with the size of the dose. Some toxins respond as per the non-monotonic curves pictured below.

For example, this study found that lower doses of BPA (bisphenol A) can have larger impacts upon the proliferation of prostate tumors in adult male humans than higher doses. Weird but true.

At the end of the day, what does all of this mean to you???

  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol?
  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant?
  • Should you buy a jar of Truvia and leave it open in your kitchen to kill fruit flies?

Me?

  • I would rather drink water
  • If I had to choose a calorie-free sweetener, I would choose stevia over Truvia
  • I would also advise all potential parents to follow my lead.

What about you?

  • What do you think of the research?
  • Do you consume Truvia?
  • Will you continue to consume Truvia?

Reference

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Weight Loss is 99% Mental, 1% Physical

  • Every year, hundreds of new diet / weight loss books hit the shelves of your local Amazon…promising that they have discovered the elusive secret to rapid & permanent weight loss.
  • Every year, thousands & thousands of desperate people plunk down their hard earned cash to buy one (or more) of these masterpieces of weight loss literature.
  • Every year, 97.2% of those good people are left disappointed, overweight and yet strangely hopeful that the next diet book they buy will work as advertised.

And if the diet books weren’t bad enough, the internet is chock-full of experts, gurus and weight loss motivators telling you that weight loss is…

abs are earned in the kitchen (1)

Too bad they are 100% wrong. Because…

Weight loss is 99% Mental…1% Physical.

99% mental because until you gain control of your mind, emotions, feelings, urges, etc…all of the diets, exercise programs, supplements, lotions, potions and notions are 100% useless.

Weight Loss is 99 Mental

So….how do you gain control of your brain, emotions, feelings, urges, etc?

That’s where it becomes interesting.

Over the past 20+ years as a personal trainer and tireless student of scientific research, new age-y techniques and real-world success stories, I have come to realize that, like a snowflake, each of us has a unique mental & emotional state. A state created by a combination of genetic inheritance, adopted parental habits and all of the stuff that has happened to us during our time on planet Earth.

What is this stuff that am I talking about?

Your stuff is made up of all the traumatic experiences that you have ever had, all the advice you’ve been given, books you’ve read, meals you’ve ate, tv shows you’ve watched, arguments you’ve had, images you’ve seen, songs you’ve heard, friends you’ve had, enemies you’ve hated, people you’ve lusted after, clothes you couldn’t fit into, etc, etc, etc…

All of this stuff gets mixed & mashed together to create a big bunch of unconscious habits that have shaped the person you are today. And for the purposes of this article, let’s assume that that person is overweight and looking for a way to drop some pounds.

How does that person…

  • overcome all of their unconscious programming?
  • take control of their thoughts, emotions, feelings, urges??
  • and transform their body from fat to fit???

 

That IS the billion dollar question.

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Finding Your Fitness / Fat Loss Fingerprint

For over 26 years, I have been helping people transform their bodies…melting body-fat, getting stronger, getting fitter, getting healthier, etc.

During that time, I have employed about a bazillion different strategies…meal plans, supplement protocols, training programs, mind-body techniques, psychological counselling, pharmaceuticals…the list goes on and on and on.

While most of those techniques were “borrowed” from other trainers, medical professionals, workout buddies and scientific research, the most important part of my education came from the people I worked with.

Because no matter how effective my transformation programs are, as soon as you introduce the human element into the equation, all bets are off.

What works for one person almost never works with the next victim/client.

There are so many factors at play – physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, legal and of course genetic/epigenetic.

Unlike an exact science like physics and chemistry, transforming an adult human being from this….

fitness fat loss

… into this, is not as simple as…

fitness fat loss(Diet #1 + Training Program #2) x (Motivation / Peer Pressure) = Successful Physique Transformation

Like our fingerprints, all of us are unique. Each of us has…

  • A unique genetic makeup
  • Unique life experiences
  • A unique social life
  • Unique belief systems
  • A unique knowledge base
  • Unique financial resources
  • Etc, etc, etc…

And because of this uniqueness, applying a one-size-fits-all solution to a complex problem like permanent fat loss is usually doomed to failure.

Like our fingerprints, we are complex…full of unique loops, whorls and arches.

So….before you run out and spend some cash on the latest diet book, weight loss supplement or fitness program, I want you to stop, take a long hard look at yourself.

Will this one-size-fits-all solution fit YOUR fitness / fat loss fingerprint?

NOTE: I hope this article didn’t discourage you. While I truly believe that physique transformation can be complicated at times, it isn’t rocket science. If you’re having trouble getting yourself in shape, there are lots of great people out there with the knowledge of what needs to be done. Renting their knowledge, confidence and support may cost you some cash up-front, but the pay-off at the end is definitely worth it.

It’s the same reason I don’t try to do my own car repairs. I need my car for work and I suck as a mechanic. 

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Use Your Mindset to Lose Weight, Get Fit and Be Healthy

Why do some people seem to lose weight easily while others fail year after year?

  • Is it genetics? Money? Willpower?

While it’s true these may play a small part, there’s something else that has a much larger role.

  • It’s mindset.

And yours may be holding you back.

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind your mindset and underlying philosophy, and show you some proven ways to take action to improve it–so you can finally use your mindset to lose weight, get fit and be healthy.

What Is “Mindset”?

  • Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities.

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who wrote a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, says there are two different types of mindsets: fixed and growth-oriented.

People with a fixed mindset think talent alone creates success. When faced with a challenge, they tend to take the easy way out to avoid failure and embarrassment. This is a psychological principle known as self-handicapping.

People with a growth mindset believe they can improve their abilities and create successes by working hard, practicing, and learning. They take on challenges even at the risk of failing. They embrace failure because they know they’ll learn valuable lessons from it.

mindset health healthhabits

How Mindset Affects Your Health

Research shows your mindset can profoundly impact your life—especially your health. Here are several studies that prove it.

In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, hotel cleaning crews were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Subjects in the control group were not given this information. Four weeks later, the first group perceived themselves to be getting significantly more exercise than before. As a result, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. Mindset alone caused physiological changes in their body.

In another study published in the journal Health Psychology, participants were divided into two groups. Each group received a 380-calorie milkshake but one group was told they were drinking a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake and the other was told they were drinking a 140-calorie “sensible” shake.

The researchers then measured participants’ levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your brain to increase appetite.

Those who thought they drank the 620-calorie shake experienced a dramatically steeper decline in ghrelin after consuming the shake. The study authors concluded that “Participants’ satiety was consistent with what they believed they were consuming rather than the actual nutritional value of what they consumed.”

In other words, your mindset about a particular food can affect your hunger and levels of fullness. If your mind tells your body you’re drinking a “skinny” shake, you won’t feel as full. You CAN use your mindset to lose weight, get fit and be healthy.

Finally, in a study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review that looked at the science of optimism, researchers found that an optimistic mindset can lead to better health outcomes too—optimistic people tend to be healthier on average.

How to Change Your Philosophy and Mindset

So the science clearly tells us that your mindset can have a dramatic impact on your health. The question is, how do you change a mindset that may be holding you back?

This is what Dweck suggests in her book:

Step 1. Recognize fixed mindset thinking.

Even if you have a growth mindset, that pesky little fixed mindset voice will sneak its way in once in a while. You know … the one that produces these types of thoughts:

  • “I have bad genes, there’s no way I can lose that much weight.”
  • “What if I fail?”
  • “I don’t want to embarrass myself.”
  • “I don’t have the willpower to stick with a healthy diet.”
  • “I’m just not as smart/lucky/talented.”

When this happens, simply recognize and accept it. Then do this …

Step 2. Reframe negative, fixed mindset thinking with a growth mindset voice.

Once you recognize a fixed mindset thought, you have a choice: believe those negative thoughts … or reframe them. For example:

  • No excuses this time … I’m getting started.”
  • If I fail, it’s okay. Great accomplishments don’t happen without risk.”
  • Forget diets. I’ll take it slow and making eating healthy a lifestyle.
  • If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll learn.

Step 3. Take action.

Once you reframe a fixed mindset thought, the next step is to take action.

Here are some strategies that will help you:

1. Write it down. One of the most effective ways to improve your philosophy and mindset is to keep a journal or planner. Use it to capture your thoughts, plan your day, and track your goals. For example, here’s what I do:

  • At the start of every day I write a positive quote at the top of my daily planner (today’s quote is “Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it”).
  • Next, I write down everything I plan to do over the course of the day to accomplish my goals (for example, “Write new blog post, network with 3 people, lift weights for 45 minutes, find recipe for healthy dinner”).
  • Then, I evaluate what I accomplished at the end of each day.

Writing things down feels good, and it’s proven to help you cultivate positive mental and physical changes in your body. In one study, participants wrote for 20 minutes each day for three consecutive days about either a positive life experience or a control topic.

Three months later, the students who wrote about positive experiences had improved physical health and higher levels of focus—just from writing about it. That’s powerful stuff. If you want to change your mindset, write.

2. Embrace learning. We all consume massive amounts of information every day. You have a choice whether that information helps you or holds you back. Checking your Facebook page 10 times a day may be mindless fun, but what if you spent that time reading books that helped you cultivate a growth mindset?

I recommend Mind Is The Master by James Allen, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and Make Today Count by John Maxwell. Even if you don’t like to read, buy audio books and listen to them while you drive. Imagine the impact those books and others you’re interested in can have on your mindset over time.

3. Take calculated risks. Whether you want to start your own business or get in the best shape of your life, ask yourself this question: will you be better off by never starting or by taking a chance and risking failing?

It’s an easy answer. Embrace failure. Because it will give you the most valuable feedback in the world. The foundation of the growth mindset is the ability to learn from your failures and become a person who continuously improves.

On Carol Dweck’s website, she says, “Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

In other words, your mindset is like a muscle: the more you use it to both learn and focus on positive thoughts, the stronger it becomes.

Dream big but start small. Focus on your mindset first and you will open doors to anything and everything you want to accomplish in life….perhaps starting with losing weight, getting fit and being healthy.

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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…

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The Truth About Feminine Fitness

A long, long time ago, women’s workouts meant aggressive arm circles, bouncy stretching, and hundreds of step-touches. We got crazy flexibility, ceaseless endurance, and if our diet lined up properly, a lithe, slender body (just like Jane Fonda).

Fast-forward to today’s savvy women and we’ve graduated to wanting a lean, strong body. “Fit” and “skinny” aren’t synonymous anymore – we want a healthy, bullet-proof physique (and gorgeous muscle definition wouldn’t hurt)….aka the NEW feminine fitness.

If you’re still caught in the cardio-only rut or listening to celebrity trainers who admonish us to “never lift heavy weights” lest it make us “bulky,” read on to see what women’s workouts should look like today.

jane fonda workout

The New Paradigm

The updated heavy hitter in fat loss, health, and fitness is, without a doubt, strength training. I’m not talking about bodybuilding here, and you don’t have to be an athlete to strength train. You most certainly don’t have to be a guy to strength train, either!

Experts and scientists now agree that while the right nutrition and cardio-respiratory training are important to health and fat loss, strength training is the third most critical component.

In case you’re wondering, you definitely won’t become the She-Hulk of your neighborhood if you lift weights heavier than three pounds (or 100!). Women have much less testosterone than men and we have to work hard to build even a small amount of muscle. Even then, we can never build muscles as big as guys unless we’re juiced up on steroids – not likely in your case, I’m betting.

This may surprise you, but strength training helps me express my femininity. Being strong and fit is an important way I define myself. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that strength training has increased my self-confidence in ways I can’t even begin to explain.

Take a look at how strength training is a smart strategy for your body and mind.

Burn Mega Calories

If you’ve ever done a strength-training circuit, you know it can get your heart pumping. Squats, lunges, chest presses, bent-over rows, and shoulder presses back to back without rest is a major calorie burner!

Not only that, but strength training burns calories when you’re not exercising, too. This “afterburn” effect results when your muscles are busy repairing themselves after a good, heavy lifting session.

Since muscle is metabolically active tissue that burns fat even when you’re at rest, strength training increases your metabolism. This means the more muscle, the more fat burning!

Rock Functional Strength

You don’t have to be a bench-pressing beast to benefit from increased strength. Even lifting moderate weights can make you feel stronger and fitter for everyday activities like carrying your kids, pushing the lawnmower, or changing a tire.

Stay Youthful

We can stay strong and active into old age by integrating resistance training into our routine. One study at McMaster University showed that strength training actually reversed the effects of aging by changing tissue at the cellular level in healthy senior citizens [1].

It’s important to understand that unless we counteract it, losing muscle mass is an inevitable part of aging. Feminine fitness weight training helps us stay strong and mobile instead of becoming injured and inactive (which almost always leads to weight gain, too).

Since women are especially susceptible to bone loss, resistance training is also a must for stimulating growth in our bone density as we age.

Look Hot

Of course, when you’ve been strength training awhile, along with eating nutritious foods and managing your caloric intake, you’ll see muscle definition pop on your arms, abs, and legs. Feeling good about your body might be your top motivator, and that’s perfectly fine, too.

I used to have the flattest behind around – affectionately (or not) known as a “mom butt.” But doing heavy squats, lunges, kettle bell swings, and hip thrusts completely transformed my backside into one I am truly proud of (shake it!).

The benefits of feminine fitness strength training don’t stop there – try increased energy, better sleep, improved posture, and yes – even greater flexibility.

Let’s Go!

Getting started with strength training is easier than you might think. If you’re a beginner, I recommend checking out the articles here at Health Habits, my beginner’s guide, and “The New Rules of Lifting for Women,” by Lou Schuler.

Simply keep three things in mind and you can’t go wrong:

  1. Your top priority will always be impeccable form.
  2. You will keep progressing as long as you continue to add weight.
  3. Allowing your muscles to recover is just as important as your workouts.

Enjoy the benefits of feminine fitness strength training, and I’ll see you in the weight room.

About the Author

Suzanne Digre is a NASM-certified personal trainer who coaches clients online and in-person. With over 15 years of lifting experience, Suzanne writes at workoutnirvana.com, where she shares her passion for strength training and clean eating.

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10 Ways to Workout Smarter….not Harder

Every day I go to the gym and I see the same people doing the same workouts.

  • Runners get on a treadmill and run
  • Yoginis perform their poses
  • Bodybuilders squeeze & flex their muscles
  • Powerlifters lift heavy stuff
  • Aerobicizers attend their group fitness classes
  • And the dude at my gym who wears Adidas soccer shorts from 1978 stretches out his hamstrings threatening to dislodge his “fellas” from their cotton prison (the horror…the horror)

And while all of these activities are laudable and are infinitely better for you than sitting on the couch eating chips and watching reality tv, they all have their limitations. And since it is a new year, I thought it was the perfect time to outline 10 ways to workout smarter…achieving better results, in less time, with fewer aches & pains.

Tip # 1 – High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT

There is an ever growing body of evidence showing that HIIT workouts are superior to traditional cardio training in almost every conceivable way.

  • Less time required per workout – I never, ever perform more than 20 min on a HIIT workout
  • Reduced chance of overuse injuries – just ask a runner about their aches & pains
  • Faster & greater improvements to the cardio-vascular system
  • Increased fat loss due to increased levels of EPOC  (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)
  • Increased total body strength
HIIT sprints
Before HIIT – After HIIT

To recap, HIIT takes up less of your time, is easier on your body, is better at improving the function of your heart & lungs and will help make you stronger and leaner more efficiently than cardio training. Sounds pretty smart to me.

Here are a bunch of articles I have written on HIIT to get you started:

Next Page : Movements not Muscles…

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healthy is happy

Fitspiration Friday

On a person’s journey from fat to fit, there is going to come a time when personal motivation wanes and the possibility of missing workouts and cheating on the healthy-eating plan becomes all too real.

That’s when we all need a little external motivation.

That motivation can come in two very different forms : the carrot & the stick.

fitspiration
An example of “stick” motivation
  • As a personal trainer, I use a lot of stick motivation with my clients (a little bit of carrot…but mostly stick)
  • One of the most effective forms of carrot motivation is fitspiration…motivational images designed to light a fire under a temporarily lazy ass…
  • Pictures of ultra-fit people…
  • Motivational sayings…
  • Before : after transformation pics…

…serve to help a lot of people (myself included) stay focused on their goals and give them the external motivation that they need periodically to recharge their own internal motivation.

If that sounds like something that might work for you, check out these fitspiration images that I created and/or “borrowed” from around the internet.

And if you feel that these images present unrealistic expectations and do nothing to motivate you, stop reading this post, find something else that can light a fire under your ass and/or find a personal trainer to do it for you. Or leave a snarky comment…your choice.

discipline (2)
Every January, health clubs around the world are swarmed by millions of people who have resolved that this will be the year that they get lean, fit & healthy.

Unfortunately for the vast majority of them, once the initial enthusiasm has worn off and the realization that getting fit is hard work becomes painfully real…they quit…leaving the gym to those of us with the discipline to do what needs to be done…even when we don’t want to.

ultimate weight loss transformation

The Ultimate Weight Loss Transformation

For the record, I like my Santa to be fat, jolly and full of cookies & milk, but around this time last year, our dear old Mrs. Claus was getting a little worried about old Saint Nick’s rising blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Terrified that she was going to lose her man to a heart attack or complications of diabetes, she decided to make some lifestyle changes…and since this past January, it’s been goodbye to the Coca-Cola, cookies, pizza, McDonalds Meal Deals and non-stop reality tv while parked in the La-Z-Boy….and hello to the Paleo Diet, hill sprints and High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT).

most amazing weight loss transformation

Note – If you need help with your own ultimate weight loss transformation, feel free to stay up and weight for Santa on Christmas Eve…or do some surfing through my archives

fatdavid obesity health healthhabits

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

It seems like I hear some version of this question each and every day. Just this past weekend, it was posed to me by Angela.

  • Angela is a forty-something year old woman, with two kids and an executive position at an insurance company.
  • Angela is 5’6″ and weighs approximately 170 lbs.
  • Angela doesn’t want to weigh approximately 170 lbs.

Maybe, some of you can sympathize with her story.

Why Can't I Lose Weight?

Angela’s Story

All the way through high school, Angela was an average, healthy weight. Not thin; healthy. She participated in gym class and enjoyed playing tennis. In university, she fell victim to the dreaded “freshman fifteen”. By the time she graduated, it was more like 20 lbs.

After graduation, she lost most of that weight by exercising at a health club and watching what she ate.

Why Can't I Lose Weight?

Next came the babies…

After the birth of her two children, Angela found herself reunited with that extra 20 lbs. Throwing herself back into that same exercise and nutrition program, Angela managed to lose most of that 20 lbs….And then gain it all back….and then lose most of it again…..and then gain it all back plus a little bit extra.

This takes us back to the present day.

  • Angela has 35 lbs. of excess fat that she wants to be rid of.
  • And she feels completely lost.
  • She has read every diet book.
  • She has exercised like an Olympic athlete.
  • She has cleansed.
  • She has popped dietary supplements.
  • She has joined and quit three different diet programs.

Nothing works anymore. So she asks me, “Why can’t I lose weight”?

So Why Can’t She Lose Weight?

The truth is; when it comes to burning off excess body-fat, Angela has no idea what she is doing. But it’s not her fault.

  • The multi-billion dollar diet industry sets people up for failure. If every dieter was successful, who would buy the next best selling diet book? Who would buy the pills or the bars or the shakes or the… Well, you get the point.
  • The diet industry promises you easy weight loss. But when you fail, it is always due to your lack of will-power. So why don’t the diet gurus help you generate that will power?

Why don’t they give you a complete weight loss program involving:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise, and
  • Mental / Emotional / Spiritual Strategies

Starting on the next page, I will attempt to do that

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How to get in the best shape of your life by actually trying less, not more.

How many times have we all started a diet or an exercise program, only to call ourselves “lazy” in the end?

  • When we start an exercise program but feel way too tired to get off the couch and “just do it”, we feel we lack self-discipline. We should try harder.
  • When we start a diet but accidentally slip…we feel terrible. It was our responsibility to take care of what we eat, and we are now letting ourselves down by not eating the right foods. We have to try more.

But what if I told you, that you could enjoy more success if you tried…less?

What if I told you that you can easily stick to exercise and avoid the “couch temptation” even when you’re tired…without having to use self-control, or self-discipline?

Or, what if you could easily eat the right thing, even when you go to a restaurant and all your friends around you are having a culinary feast?

That’s exactly what I am thoroughly describing in my healthy habits book “Surprisingly…Unstuck”, and what I’m including in my 10-week 5-min exercise video service Exercise Bliss to make exercise ridiculously easy to stick to.

You see, there are “little things” that have a major impact in what you do or don’t do. However, even though they have a major influence on you, you have no idea you’re under their spell!

Using these “little things” in your favor can you help you get in the best shape of your life by actually trying less, not harder.

Yes, you read that right. LESS.

The “little things” to get in the best shape of your life by actually trying less.

Do you want to know why watching TV instead of exercising, or eating more when you’re out with friends, are both so irresistible?

It’s because our habits take over. And when habits take over, we find ourselves doing things without even realizing them!

You see, our habits are unconscious. They make us do stuff almost automatically without even thinking about them. That’s how fast they can be. Just like when you accidentally ate meat during your “going vegetarian” experiment. Ooops! You realized it only when you had already swallowed.

eating too much food - restaurant

If you master what habits get activated vs. what habits don’t get activated, then you can easily find yourself doing the right thing…no matter how tired you are and without using any self-discipline.

Habits get initiated by cues in your environment, aka triggers. A trigger can be any kind of sensory cue (something you see, hear, smell, feel, or taste), something you remembered, or even one of your existing routines. They are little things that are all around you, yet powerfully affect what you do.

For instance, when you get in the car, you wear your seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt is the habit, but your brain gets the message to do it when you first experience the car setting environment: The movement of getting in the car, feeling the seat beneath you, leaving your bag at the back of the car, etc.

Your day is inundated with habits: brushing teeth, having breakfast, even how to put on hot water in your shower is an established habit. Even eating is a habit.

Just like triggers can initiate bad habits – without you being consciously aware of that, they can also initiate good habits. Learning how to identify the right triggers and manipulate them in your favor can make the difference between you EASILY getting in the best shape of your life, or you trying really HARD but still failing.

Next Page….How to stick to exercise…even when you’re tired

 

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What Happens When Superstar Athletes Endorse Junk Food

  • In a free market, superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams are free to negotiate celebrity endorsement contracts with any company that they choose.

lebron sprite

  • In a free market, parents, pediatricians, anti-obesity advocates and health & fitness nerds like myself are free to be peeved that superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams choose to endorse products with a direct link to childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.

fat-kits-eating-mcdonalds

  • In a free market, anti-obesity advocates like Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity are free to research which superstar athletes are most likely to trade their celebrity status with children for big endorsement contracts with companies who market  products with a direct link to childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.

athletes market junk food

  • In a free market, anti-obesity advocates like Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity are also free to distribute that research to the media in an attempt to shame superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams about their decision to endorse products that threaten the health of their young fans.

freeoreos1

  • In a free market, public health experts are free to postulate what would happen if superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams had been exposed to the same kind of celebrity endorsed messages that today’s kids are exposed to.

fat lebron

  • In a free market, we are free to absolve Big Food corporations of any & all responsibility and choose to heap all the blame on the parents who buy their children junk food.
  • In a free market, we are also free to recognize that childhood obesity isn’t as simple as “blame the parents” or “blame the corporations” or “blame the government”, and that parents, government, food producers and superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams have all played a role in the obesification of our children.
  1. Parents feed their kids too much junk food.
  2. Government officials are manipulated by the lobbyists of Big Food producers into placing corporate profits ahead of the health of our children as well as the exploding healthcare costs that threaten the financial health of our countries.
  3. And superstar athletes (and other celebrity endorsers) ignore the reality that the kids who look up to them are being harmed by their financial decisions.
  • In a free market, we are free to use social media to tell our sports heroes that we want them to stop selling junk food to our kids
Click to expand
Click to expand
  • In a free market, we are free to tell our politicians to cut junk food subsidies, promote healthy eating and to force Big Food producers to stop advertising junk food to our pre-teen children.

twinkies1

  • In a free market, we are also free to accept our share of the responsibility and stop feeding our children huge quantities of junk food.

choose-real-food

Childhood obesity is a real threat to the future health of our children and there is more than enough blame to go around.

What Now???

  • If you want to check out the study looking at superstar athletes and their involvement shilling for junk food companies, head over to the Rudd Center website and read it – Athlete Endorsements in Food Marketing – Pediatrics
  • If you want to apply some pressure on the athletes named in the study, go to their social media profiles (Twitter & Facebook are a good place to start) and tell them that you are not impressed. You can also contact the teams that they play for and tell them that you are not impressed with the behaviour of their employee.
  • If you want to apply pressure to the government, write/email/call your representatives directly and tell them that you expect them to start putting the health of young kids ahead of the health of corporate balance sheets.
  • And if you want to apply pressure to the producers of junk food….STOP BUYING JUNK FOOD FOR YOUR KIDS.

.

What do you think?

  • As a parent, do you appreciate Peyton, LeBron and Serena telling your kids to eat junk food?
  • How would you feel if they were advertising cigarettes or alcohol?
  • Should today’s athletes be expected to project an positive image of health & fitness?
  • If an athlete’s image is tarnished for taking PEDs, shouldn’t it be tarnished for marketing junk food to children?
  • Do athletes in team sports have a duty to their team to project an image of sportsmanship, athleticism,etc?
  • Do you consider the modern athlete a positive role model for our kids?
  • Do you appreciate junk food producers running advertisements on programs/websites dedicated to pre-teens?
  • Do employees of junk food producers have an ethical responsibility to not manipulate pre-teens?
  • Tobacco, alcohol and firearm producers are prohibited from marketing to children…why not producers of products that promote obesity, diabetes and heart disease?
  • Should our political representatives be placing the health of our children above the profits of junk food producers?
  • Should our politicians be placing the profits and jobs of junk food producers over the health of our children?
  • Should parents stop their kids from watching tv shows with ads for junk food?
  • Should parents contact tv networks to complain about junk food advertising aimed at their kids?
  • Should parents contact their politicians and demand expanded limitations on marketing products to children?
  • Should parents teach their kids about what advertisers are trying to do by running ads during Sesame Street et al?
  • Should parents be teaching their kids about living a healthy lifestyle?
  • Should parents ignore their kids demands for junk food?
  • Should parents feed their kids healthy food most of the time?
  • Should parents eat healthy and teach their kids by example?
  • Should I take a chill pill and stop stressing about junk food producers trying to brainwash our kids, politicians placing their financial wants over the health of our kids and parents abandoning their responsibilities and feeding their kids junk food every day???

Reference

What Happens When A Skinny Person Gets Fat

No one ever said the world was fair.

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

Victorias-Secret-vs-Dove-women

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

NOT FAIR….especially in a society which:

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

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

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

Here’s what happened

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Result?

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

The Moral(s) of the Story?

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

Reference

Who is Your Favorite Fitness Blogger / Tweeter / Tumblr / FBer / Pinner???

Believe it or not, in just four short months, it will be January 2014…and just like every other January since the beginning of time, millions of people are going to:

  • Resolve to “get into shape”…
  • Go shopping for the latest celebrity diet/fitness book
  • While ignoring all of the amazing non-celebrity fitness bloggers / tweeters / tumblrs / pinners scattered all over the internet.

Missing out on some health & fitness advice that actually works and costs a whole lot less than a delivery from Amazon.

So, as a personal service to everyone involved, I am asking for a little feedback from you – my fitness friends. Tell em about your favorite fitness sources by leaving their name, websites, social media profiles, reviews, testimonials, etc in the comment section below.

[colored_box color=”yellow”]Come late December of this year, I will take all your comments and assemble a “Best Of” article with links to all your hidden gems. [/colored_box]

And with the awesome power of social media, we can spread that list far and wide, helping all those January 1st fitness virgins while simultaneously rewarding your favorite fitness bloggers / tweeters / tumblrs / face bookerspinners with new readers and followers.

It’s going to be a real win/win/win….unless you don’t leave a comment 😦

Who is your favorite fitness blogger / tweeter / tumblr / pinner???

(and don’t say me…my ego can’t get any bigger)

Lose Weight with Cocaine

As the world’s biggest health & fitness nerd, I read dozens of research papers every day…looking for any new ideas that could help my clients, readers and social media followers transform themselves into healthier, fitter, stronger, better versions of themselves.

Today…I came across one of the weirdest studies related to body weight and fat storage that I have ever seen.

cocaine tony montana

Entitled “The Skinny on Cocaine: insights into eating behavior and body weight in cocaine-dependent men”, the study was designed to confirm or debunk the general assumption that weight loss associated with cocaine is due to its appetite suppressing properties.

The researchers recruited 65 male volunteers, half cocaine users and the other half non-users. Eating behaviour, food intake, body composition and plasma leptin levels were measured. And although the cocaine users reported…

  1. Significantly higher levels of dietary fat consumption
  2. Significantly higher levels of dietary carbohydrate consumption
  3. Patterns of uncontrolled eating

…their body fat mass was significantly lower than the non-cocaine users.

cocaine body fat

They also found that the levels of the hormone leptin were lower in cocaine users and trended lower as the duration of the user’s stimulant use increased. This decrease in plasma leptin together with a high fat diet suggests an impaired energy balance, which typically leads to weight gain rather than weight loss.

Because of these surprising new findings, the researchers believe that regular cocaine abuse directly interferes with metabolic processes and thereby reduces body fat.

For addicts looking to kick their coke habit, this explains why they are prone to significant weight gain when they stop using cocaine.

But what about all those dieters desperate to drop some significant weight?

Do they wait a decade or more for Big Pharma to jump all over this research and start investigating a new pathway towards that elusive safe & effective weight loss drug?

Or do they try to self-modify their metabolism with a little Bolivian marching powder?

Reference

Will Obesity Bankrupt the USA?

Last month, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease.

The very next day, representatives of both the Senate and House of Reps introduced bipartisan bills that would require Medicare to pick up the tab for obesity treatments…including prescriptions, counselling and bariatric surgeries.

One of those bills, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, presents the following findings:

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) According to the Centers for Disease Control, [highlight color=”yellow”]about 35 percent of adults aged 65 and over were obese[/highlight] in the period of 2007 through 2010, representing over 8 million adults aged 65 through 74.

(2) Obesity [highlight color=”green”]increases the risk for chronic diseases and conditions[/highlight], including high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

(3) More than half of Medicare beneficiaries are treated for 5 or more chronic conditions per year. The [highlight color=”yellow”]rate of obesity among Medicare patients doubled from 1987 to 2002, and spending on those individuals more than doubled[/highlight].

(4) Obese men and women at age 65 have decreased life expectancy of 1.6 years for men and 1.4 years for women.

(5) The [highlight color=”pink”]direct and indirect cost of obesity is more than $450 billion annually[/highlight].

(6) On average, an obese Medicare beneficiary costs [highlight color=”green”]$1,964 more than a normal-weight beneficiary[/highlight].

(7) The prevalence of obesity among older Americans is growing at a linear rate and, left unchanged, [highlight color=” blue”]nearly half of the elderly population will be obese in 2030[/highlight] according to a Congressional Research Report on obesity.

And that’s just America’s seniors we’re talking about.

  • What about the huge glut of boomers just entering their senior years?
  • What about all of America’s children raised on a diet of processed food and soda?
  • What about all of America’s poor who can’t afford to eat healthy food?

What happens when they become seniors and medicare starts footing the bill? What happens when medicare coverage evolves into Obamacare coverage and everyone in America becomes eligible for government funded obesity treatments?

And we haven’t even discussed health conditions related to obesity that are already covered by medicare and Obamacare.

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Certain forms of cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis and joint replacement
  • Liver disease
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Depression
  • Etc, etc, etc…

Because all of these medical conditions are related to obesity and primarily caused by the same “modern” lifestyle that causes obesity….

  • Inactive
  • Stressed out
  • Low nutrition diet
  • High calorie diet
  • High consumption of processed food

And it’s not getting any better. According to the OECD and CDC, 35% of Americans were obese as of 2010…and that percentage is climbing year after year after year.

obesity-rates

What happens if we keep getting fatter?

Projections indicate that if we keep getting heavier at the projected rate, “the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030”.  

This means that America could be looking at “more than 6 million cases of type 2 diabetes, 5 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next two decades”.

Obesity could contribute to more than 6 million cases of type 2 diabetes, 5 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next two decades.

And just in case you’re one of those few people who looks after themselves and doesn’t have to worry about obesity, heart disease, etc…

Remember that these health conditions are costing all of us real money…

obesity costs

As you can see in the chart above (look at the SOLID line), total medical expenditure costs per person increase exponentially as individual Body Mass Index rate rise linearly.

Which is not good considering the public cost of obesity is going to keep rising…which means [highlight color=”yellow”]your insurance premiums and tax burden is going to keep rising[/highlight]…even if you’re in tip-top shape.

More Obesity Economic Data

  1. Estimates of the medical cost of adult obesity in the US range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per annum.
  2. Obesity costs Medicare $61.8 billion per year
  3. Obesity makes up 8.5% of the Medicare budget
  4. Obesity makes up 11.8% of the Medicaid budget
  5. Based on current trends, the cost of obesity to the US are expected to increase by between $50 and $70 billion per year

And that’s not including indirect costs such as lost productivity, insurance premiums and lost wages. It has been estimated that [highlight color=”yellow”]America could be losing up to $580 billion in GDP per year[/highlight] thanks to lost productivity due to obesity.

The following infographic, created by the Public Health Dept. of George Washington U highlights these financial costs (and future cost estimates). The full infographic is available here.

obesity financial cost

Is there hope for America’s economic waistline?

YES. Analysis of the current data indicates that if the average American BMI was reduced by just 5% by the year 2030, rates of disease would drop significantly and nearly every state in the nation would save between 6.5 to 7.9% in healthcare costs.

For a giant state like California, this would mean an additional $81.7 billion dollars not spent on obesity & related illnesses.

And how do we reduce those obesity rates???

That’s the $81.7 billion dollar question.

  • You’ve got nutrition experts saying that they need to educate the public on how to eat healthfully.
  • You’ve got politicians eager to enact taxes and bans to force us to stop eating junk food
  • You’ve got diet gurus publishing a new crop of diet books every January
  • You’ve got celebrity personal trainers willing to sell you their master plan

And so far, it ain’t working 😦

fat-couple walking 

Reference

The Bruce Lee Workout

In the world of bodybuilding and physique transformation, one of the most highly respected physiques of all time belonged to a guy who stood 5’7″ and weighed between 130 and 165 lbs.

That’s right…at his heaviest, Bruce Lee weighed only 165 lbs.

And yet, bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger were in awe of the body he built.

So, how did he do it?

And more importantly, how can you do it?

How can you build a body like this?

Well, if you want to learn about the weightlifting routine he used to build his strength and increase his muscle mass….pick up a copy of The Art of Expressing the Human Body.

But…you will be wasting your time.

If Bruce Lee was alive today, he would not be using the training routines found inside that book.

Bruce Lee believed that as a warrior and as a person, one should never “get set into one form. One should adapt and create your own style, and let it grow, be like water”.

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water.

When you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup;

When you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle;

When you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.

Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

At this point, you may be asking…what the heck does being formless like water have to do with fitness, working out and getting a wicked set of abs like Bruce Lee?

Well, I’m going to tell you.

Bruce_Lee

Being formless like water means using those training techniques that work for your particular goals…and to not get all wrapped up in dogma.

  • There is no perfect workout
  • There is no perfect diet.

What there is, is….

  • your body as it currently exists,
  • your vision of how you want your body to be
  • and a whole bunch of tools & techniques that may or may not help you achieve your goals.

Becoming attached to a certain training method (bodybuilding, yoga, pilates, crossfit, cardio, walking, aerobic classes, Tae-Bo, P 90X, etc…) is a sure path to stagnation and unattained goals.

The same goes for nutrition.

If the tool is ineffective, find a way to make it effective or replace it with another tool.

Be like water

Unique goals require unique solutions.

One size does not fit all.

Be fluid like water…and get a wicked set of abs like Bruce Lee

bruce-lee-lats

Happy Canada Day 2013!!!

Anniversaries are a great time to re-evaluate…looking forward to the future while learning from the lessons of the past.

And as today is Canada Day, and all Canadians are celebrating our national birthday, maybe it’s a good time to take a good, hard, long look at ourselves in the mirror and commit to making the coming year a healthier, fitter year for all Canadians.

canada-fat-fit-2

After all, none of us want to look like the guy on the left.

How Often Should I Exercise?

Q. How Often Should I Exercise?

A. According to Dr. Pietro Tonino, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Loyola University Hospital, “celebrities look the way they do because they’ve followed their intense regimes for a long time. They also can afford ace trainers who make sure they don’t hurt themselves, vary their routines and keep them motivated”.

Another difference: “Most people that I know don’t have that amount of time to work out every day,” Tonino says.

Overexercising can be dangerous, warns the doctor. You might see some short-term benefit, but at the risk of long-term damage.

Among the hazards:

  • degenerative damage to tendons,
  • ruptured biceps or pectorals
  • and muscle strain.
And all it takes is an hour a day...
And all it takes is an hour a day…

“Thirty minutes a day to an hour a day would be a good workout,” Tonino says.

Which kinda makes sense.

  • Americans are told to perform moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 min on three days each week.
I'm too sexy for this shirt...
I’m too sexy for this shirt…

ooops, that’s only 60 minutes a week. And that only keeps you from dying, it doesn’t give you a six-pack.

  • In Canada, Big Brother recommends that all good little Canadians accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity every day to stay healthy or improve your health. Time needed depends on effort – as you progress to moderate activities, you can cut down to 30 minutes, 4 days a week.

Alright, 2 hours of moderate activity each week….making us twice as fit as the Yanks?

What about the Brits?

  • For general health benefit, adults should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes a day of at least moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week.  The recommended levels of activity can be achieved either by doing all the daily activity in one session, or through several shorter bouts of activity of 10 minutes or more. The activity can be lifestyle activity or structured exercise or sport, or a combination of these.

We have a Winner!!!

150 or more minutes of moderate intensity activity each and every week.

Okay, that’s it then, 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week is your exercise prescription.

Wait a minute, what’s this?

In a new study, published July 28 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers tracked 191 overweight and obese women to determine the exercise prescription required to maintain a weight loss of 10% or more of initial body weight over two years.

The Study

  • The women were instructed to eat between 1200 and 1500 calories a day.
  • They were assigned to one of four groups. The groups were based on exercise intensity (moderate v.s. vigorous) as well as the number of calories burned through exercise – 1000 to 2000 kcal per week.
  • The participants were encouraged to divide their exercise over five days a week and to exercise for at least ten minutes per session.
  • They also had regular contact with members of the Health and Physical Activity Dept at the U of Pittsburgh.

The Results

  • After six months, all of the women had lost weight.
  • About half of the group lost 10% or more of their starting weight.
  • However, after 2 years, only 47 (25%) of the overachievers were able to maintain their weight loss.

So how did the Fantastic Forty-Seven do it?

Researchers found that the women were averaging 275 minutes (1835 calories) of exercise per week. That’s 55 minutes a day on a 5 day schedule, or 40 minutes a day if you exercise every day.

As well, the women who exercised the most were also eating the least. On average, they ate 444 less calories than the women who exercised the least. It should also be noted that after crunching the numbers, the super group was eating 3108 less calories per week than the slacker group. And then when you add in the fact that they were also burning 1100 more calories per week, it’s no surprise that they did better than their chubby sisters.

Conclusion

Theirs: The addition of 275 mins/wk of physical activity,in combination with a reduction in energy intake, is importantin allowing overweight women to sustain a weight loss of morethan 10%. Interventions to facilitate this level of physicalactivity are needed.

Mine: Keeping in mind that I am a personal trainer and that I spend a good part of my day screaming for “one more rep”; I think that this research paints a realistic picture of the type and amount of activity needed to keep our society from getting fatter and fatter.

And before you say it, you do have 40-55 minutes of free time each day.

According to data collected from the annual Health Surveys for England between 1997 and 2006, rich old white people are more likely to participate in sporting activities than other demographic groups.

This also happens to be the demographic that carries the least amount of excess fat. Even worse, the fitness participation gap between rich and poor, black and white, old and young appears to be growing wider. So it seems that while more and more lily-white baby boomers are trying to get fit, the rest of the general population is getting fatter and lazier.

And before you say it, the rich actually have less free time than the rest of the great unwashed.

“Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman has found, however, that being wealthy is often a powerful predictor that people spend less time doing pleasurable things, and more time doing compulsory things and feeling stressed”.

“People who make less than $20,000 a year, for example, told Kahneman and his colleagues that they spend more than a third of their time in passive leisure — watching television, for example. Those making more than $100,000 spent less than one-fifth of their time in this way — putting their legs up and relaxing”.

“Rich people spent much more time commuting and engaging in activities that were required as opposed to optional. The richest people spent nearly twice as much time as the poorest people in leisure activities that were active, structured and often stressful — shopping, child care and exercise”.

So, no more excuses, get your rear in gear.

Here’s your inspiration…

Get off the couch!!!
Get off the couch!!!

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No Time to Exercise?

  • Every January, approximately 3 billion people make a resolution to make exercise a daily part of their lives.
  • Every February, approximately 2.99 billion people abandon their resolution because…they have no time to exercise.

Their lives are just too busy…work, kids, home, groceries, more work, youtube, etc, etc, etc… They just don’t have ANY free time…or at least that’s what they tell themselves.

What if I told you thanks to HIIT, HIRT and my gigantic fitness brain, even the world’s busiest person has more than enough time in their day to get enough exercise to be fit, healthy and outrageously super-sexy.

You would probably say prove it…so prove it I will.

outdoor gym suspension trainer

THE PROOF

Last week, I was standing in the driveway speaking to one of my neighbours. After trying to squeeze me for free training advice, “Jim” proceeded to tell me how even though he paid almost $200 per month for a gym membership, he just didn’t have enough time in his day to get to the gym.

After giving “Jim” a serious eye roll, I suggested to him that he had more than enough time in his day to exercise and that he was full of BS. And after an thoroughly uncomfortable silence, I dragged him into my backyard to show him the suspension trainer that I had hanging from a tree branch.

Two minutes later, I had Jim cranking out set after set of push-ups, bodyweight rows, chin-ups and a variety of core-torturing exercises. And in less than 5 minutes, Jim was a sweaty, tired mess…and thoroughly in love with my suspension trainer.

Once Jim caught his breath, I suggested that…

  1. He borrow my Jungle Gym for the week
  2. Hook it up on the fire escape in his backyard/driveway
  3. Agree to do a 5 min mini-workout every time he walked past the Jungle Gym.

Fast forward seven days…

  • Jim has averaged 3 x 5 minute mini-workouts per day
  • He feels physically great – lots of energy, stronger, etc
  • He feels mentally great – less grumpy, less stressed out
  • He has lost a little body-fat
  • He has pumped up his flabby little-girl muscles
  • And he’s buying his own Jungle Gym.

Most importantly, he admitted that I am a fitness genius and the best neighbour on the street 🙂

BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A JUNGLE GYM or SOMETHING TO HANG ONE OFF OF???

Have no fear my friends.  You don’t need any fitness equipment to take advantage of these mini-workouts. Here’s the plan.

  1. Select a place or activity that you visit/perform on a regular basis every day – (walk past the tv, walk into the kitchen, go to the bathroom, answer the phone, etc)
  2. Every time you visit that place or perform that activity, commit to doing a mini-workout. This could be as simple as 10 push-ups off of the kitchen counter or 5 body-weight squats or 30 seconds of step-ups or as involved as a 5 minute HIRT workout on your backyard Jungle Gym.
  3. The length/intensity of workout depends on how many mini-workouts you will perform over the course of your day and your personal fitness level. If you choose an activity that you perform 20 times per day, keep the workouts very short. For Jim, he started out with 2 workouts per day – walking to get his car in the morning and again when he returned home from work. As he got to enjoy his mini-workouts, he began to make excuses to head out into the backyard.

If you’re just starting out, make the individual workouts very easy…and perform a lot of them throughout the day. If you’re fitter, make the mini-workouts longer (5 min max), tougher and less frequent.

Most important, this plan needs to work with YOUR schedule if it’s going to work. We’re trying to make these workouts fit seamlessly into the rest of your day so that they become part of your “new normal”. After a few months of this, you can begin to consider a gym membership or extending your “at home” workouts into longer duration (30 min) and/or higher intensity sessions.

Here is a List of Bodyweight Exercises to get you started

  • 2 leg squats
  • 1 leg squats
  • Assisted 1 leg squats (hold onto something stable)
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • Lateral squats (side to side)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Shuffle Lunges (like JJs, but moving front to back instead of side to side)
  • Burpees
  • Single Leg Bodyweight Deadlifts
  • Step Ups – use the stairs in your house or a chair
  • Hip Thrusts – 2 leg or 1 leg
  • Standing Leg Kickbacks – for glutes
  • Standing Leg Side Kicks
  • Standing Straight Leg Front Kicks
  • Bridge / Plank – Face down, face up or sideways
  • Toes to the Ceiling ab exercise
  • Windshield Wipers – lying on back
  • Push Ups
  • Back Rows – use kitchen table to hold on to
  • Shoulder Press

I have included a lot of exercises for variety, but if you are just starting out, I would suggest you stick to a rotation of…

  1. 2 Leg Squats
  2. Push Ups
  3. Back Rows
  4. Lateral Squats
  5. Bridge / Planks
  6. 2 Leg Hip Thrusts

Click links for exercise videos

For more info, feel free to comment and/or check out the following posts.

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

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

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Coca Cola to End Canadian Obesity Epidemic

Today is an important day in the history of Canada. From this day forward, Canadians will recognize April 23 as the day Coca Cola came to our rescue and helped us save ourselves from the medical scourge known as obesity.

Because on this day, Coca-Cola Canada announced the launch of a national campaign to inspire Canadians to come together to find real solutions to this important issue affecting our society.

“This campaign aims to inform people about the concept of energy balance, educate them on our products and inspire Canadians to live more active, healthy lives,” said Nicola Kettlitz, president Coca-Cola Ltd.

Wait a second…that sounds like a big pile of marketing BS to me…let’s check the BS detector…

bullshit_detector4

Yup, just as I suspected…total marketing BS.

If only we could have a little honesty injected into the discussion.

So…what do YOU think?

  • Is Coca-Cola being honest?
  • Or is it just marketing BS?

Reference

Super Scary Obesity Statistics

  • Until 1980, fewer than one in ten people were obese.
  • In 2010, 35% of Americans were classified as obese.

obesity-rates

And it’s not just the US of A.

  • In 19 of the 34 OECD countries, the majority of the population is now overweight or obese.
  • OECD projections suggest that more than two out of three people will be overweight or obese in some OECD countries by 2020.

overweight-rates

Maybe it’s time to do something about this???

A Plan to Reverse Childhood Obesity

In January 2012, the Ontario Government got serious about childhood obesity and created the multisectoral Healthy Kids Panel …asking them to sketch out a framework designed to help us reduce childhood obesity by 20 per cent within five years.

Here is what they came back with:

1. Start All Kids on the Path to Health

1.1 Educate women of child-bearing age about the impact of their health and weight on their own well-being and on the health and well-being of their children.
1.2 Enhance primary and obstetrical care to include a standard pre-pregnancy health check and wellness visit for women planning a pregnancy and their partners.
1.3 Adopt a standardized prenatal education curriculum and ensure courses are accessible and affordable for all women.
1.4 Support and encourage breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life.
1.5 Leverage well-baby and childhood immunization visits to promote healthy weights and enhance surveillance and early intervention.

the-Healthy-Kids-Strategy

2. Change the Food Environment

2.1 Ban the marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.
2.2 Ban point-of-sale promotions and displays of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages in retail settings, beginning with sugar-sweetened beverages.
2.3 Require all restaurants, including fast food outlets and retail grocery stores, to list the calories in each item on their menus and to make this information visible on menu boards.
2.4 Encourage food retailers to adopt transparent, easy-to-understand, standard, objective nutrition rating systems for the products in their stores.
2.5 Support the use of Canada’s Food Guide and the nutrition facts panel.
2.6 Provide incentives for Ontario food growers and producers, food distributors, corporate food retailers, and non-governmental organizations to support community-based food distribution programs.
2.7 Provide incentives for food retailers to develop stores in food deserts.
2.8 Establish a universal school nutrition program for all Ontario publicly funded elementary and secondary schools.
2.9 Establish a universal school nutrition program for First Nations communities.
2.10 Develop a single standard guideline for food and beverages served or sold where children play and learn.

healthy-kids

3. Create Healthy Communities

3.1 Develop a comprehensive healthy kids social marketing program that focuses on healthy eating, active living – including active transportation – mental health and adequate sleep.
3.2 Join EPODE (Ensemble Prévenons l’Obesité des Enfants – Together Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity) International and adopt a co-ordinated, communitydriven approach to developing healthy communities for kids.
3.3 Make schools hubs for child health and community engagement.
3.4 Create healthy environments for preschool children.
3.5 Develop the knowledge and skills of key professions to support parents in raising healthy kids.
3.6 Speed implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
3.7 Continue to implement the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
3.8 Ensure families have timely access to specialized obesity programs when needed.

Unfortunately,  Canadian media ignored the entire report, except for the proposed ban on marketing high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.

Instead of focusing on the health of our kids, they decided that the real story was the potential restriction of the rights of processed food producers to convince our children to crave ‘food’ that promotes obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Well done Canadian media…I’m looking forward to your next story on childhood obesity and how we have to do something about it.

Jerks.

Reference 

The Cure for Obesity

Earlier today, I discovered the cure for obesity… and it isn’t a diet or a fitness program or a supplement or a drug or a surgery, medical device, hypnotism or magic pill.

It’s a single paragraph from little self-help/positivity book that I have never read and is wrongly attributed to Charlie Chaplin.

And it goes like this…

“As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF“.

And IMHO, love of oneself means…

  • Eating food that nourishes your body…not junk-food programmed to activate the pleasure centers in your brain
  • Being physically active every day…not sitting on your butt watch crap tv shows
  • Spending time with ‘real-world’ friends…not just your Facebook ‘friends’
  • Getting enough sleep to recharge for the next day
  • Drinking more water and less soda
  • Resisting negative peer pressure
  • Developing positive willpower
  • Ignoring what you want…for what you need
  • Etc, etc, etc….

just say no mcdonalds

Reference

When I Loved Myself Enough

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY“.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody. As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me.
Today I call it “RESPECT“.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to
grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY“.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE“.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.
Today I call it “SIMPLICITY“.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF“.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY“.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where  everything is happening.
Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT“.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART“.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.
Today I know “THAT IS LIFE“!

When it comes to HIIT – Quality trumps Quantity

Anyone familiar with Health Habits knows that I am a big fan of HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

I love HIIT is because…

  • HIIT makes you faster
  • HIIT saves time with short workouts
  • HIIT make you more powerful
  • HIIT burns calories for hours after you’ve finished your workout
  • HIIT is challenging
  • HIIT makes a workout more fun
  • HIIT improves your aerobic endurance
  • HIIT improves heart function
  • HIIT improves your aerobic endurance
  • HIIT helps heart disease patients regain their health
  • HIIT is appropriate for almost all trainees
  • HIIT makes you look like a total BADASS in the gym

Unfortunately, just as soon as HIIT left the fringes of exercise science and moved into the mainstream and your local YMCA, the central concept behind the success of HIIT came under attack.

HIIT works as well as it does because of intensity of effort. Not length of sprint…or length of training session…or number of sprints performed…or restricting rest periods…HIIT works because of a complete 100%, pit-bull chasing you down the street type of intensity.

Each HIIT sprint should feel FAST. When your sprints start to slow down, you need to…

  1. Increase rest period length, or
  2. Shorten sprint duration, or
  3. Reduce resistance, or
  4. All of the above

Remember – When it comes to HIIT – Quality trumps Quantity

the flash bw

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Canker Cure Cures Obesity?

Back in 2009, U of Michigan researcher Dr. Alan Saltiel published a study indicating that the genes IKKE and TBK1 have a major impact on metabolic balance and obesity.

His research indicated that when someone cuts calories in an attempt to lose weight, IKKE and TBK1 become active and “act together as a sort of brake on metabolism.”

  • You want to lose weight
  • You go on a diet
  • You cut calories
  • IKKE and TBK1 become active
  • Your metabolism slows down
  • Weight loss stops
  • You get frustrated…
  • Eat a box of Krispy Kremes
  • And gain back all that body fat

Based on his thesis, Dr. Saltiel went searching for compounds that…

  • would inhibit the expression of IKKE and TBK1
  • prevent reduced-calorie metabolism slowdown
  • help calorie-counting dieters lose weight

Using high-throughput chemical screening, the researchers came upon an approved off-patent drug – AmlexanoxCurrently, amlexanox is being used to treat canker sores in the US  and asthma in Japan for the past 25 years.

Here Comes the New Research

After discovering that amlexanox may be a cure to the IKKE and TBK1 weight loss dilemma , Dr. Saltiel organized a study of the effectiveness of amlexanox as a weight-loss drug on a group of lab mice.

Credit: Shannon Reilly
Credit: Shannon Reilly

Here’s what they found…

Treatment of obese mice with amlexanox…

  • elevated energy expenditure (caloric burn)
  • through increased thermogenesis (heat production),
  • producing weight loss,
  • improved insulin sensitivity (lowering risk of type 2 diabetes)
  • and decreased steatosis (fatty liver).

As if that wasn’t enough: Because of its record of safety in patients, amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

amlexanox-graph-1

Conclusion: Because of its record of safety in patients, Dr. Saltiel believes that amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

What’s Next?

As it stands right now, Dr. Saltiel doesn’t know “if humans respond with the same pathway, or if the discovery of amlexanox’s effectiveness in mice can lead to a compound that is safe and effective for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.

To find out, Saltiel is…

  1. Teaming up with clinical-trial specialists at U-M to test whether amlexanox will be useful for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.
  2. Working with medicinal chemists at U-M to develop a new compound based on the drug that optimizes its formula.

Fingers crossed people. If we’re lucky, this canker cure could cure corpulence (aka obesity).

Reference

Reebok: Live With Fire

Back in the olden days, before I started blogging as Health Habits, I ran a pretty darn successful personal training business up here in Toronto.  I trained clients six days a week and helped other trainers grow their knowledge & client base.  And I felt pretty good about my contribution to make the world just a little bit healthier, fitter & sexier.

But it wasn’t enough. There were only so many hours in the day that I could work with clients.

  • So…I started Health Habits. And after a few months, I started interacting with all these awesome people who had found my blog.

But that wasn’t enough. It’s really hard for us wee fitness bloggers to get noticed by Google. (Google still favors the big guys Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Livestrong, etc).

  • So…I started messing around with social media…Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest.  And after another few months, I started interacting with a whole new group of people interested in talking about health & fitness.

But it still isn’t enough.

To really have an major effect on the health & fitness of people around the world, you need money and global brand recognition and celebrities and more money for advertising…print, online & tv.

And that’s where a company like Reebok can play a super-important role in helping turn around our current global culture of obesity, inactivity and poor health.

reebok-live-with-fire-1

Here’s the deal…Reebok has recently launched a new brand/clothing line/advertising campaign called Live with Fire.

And as with most sport/fitness ad campaigns, Reebok has put together a bunch of extremely motivational commercials focusing on a bunch of uber-fit athletes. Believe me, this first commercial will get you pumped.

However…unlike the typical sporting goods ad campaigns, Reebok is going beyond the typical hero worship commercial. Reebok seems to be really, really serious about getting Joe Six-Pack and Suzy Soda-Pop to see these athletes not only as role models…but as actual human beings who have to work really hard to be as fit as they are.

  • Reebok isn’t selling us the dream of being a pro athlete.
  • They’re trying to sell us a potential reality….of what we can be if we work at it….if we Live with Fire.

And of course….if we choose to buy a whole bunch of Reebok gear, then I’m sure that’s fine with them too. They are a business after all.

It’s brilliant. We all know that we need to eat better…and move better…and live better. But most of us are also lazy as hell.

And that’s where the mega-bucks and brand recognition of Reebok can have an effect far greater than anything little ole Health Habits can do.

So, check out the Live with Fire videos and spread the word to all your friends who NEED some motivation to get in shape.

And if you want to tell them about Health Habits at the same time…I would appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

reebok-live-with-fire-2

Lose Weight with Electro-Shock Therapy

A new study, published in the journal Obesity and Weight Loss Therapy, has found that cranial electrotherapy stimulation was able to amplify the weight loss effects of both…

  • Low Calorie diets
  • Low Carbohydrate diets

Cranial-electrotherapy-stim

The Science

After 2 months of simultaneous treatment with electric stimulation and diet there was an average weight loss of…

  • 7.07 kg in the reduced calorie diet group
  • 9.48 kg in the ketogenic/low-carb diet group

whereas in the non-electric stim groups, the researchers observed an average weight loss of…

  • 5.9 kg in the reduced calorie diet group
  • 7.17 kg in the ketogenic/low-carb diet group

This means that the electric stimulation participants lost…

  • 20% more body-fat on a low-cal diet
  • 32% more body-fat on a ketogenic/low-carb diet

electroshock-diet-graph

What does this mean to you?

Maybe nothing. If you take a look at how the experiment was conducted, you will notice that in addition to following the prescribed diet, the “Food-Watcher” group were asked to use the device twice a day before meals. The control group were not provided with a “fake” version of the “Food-Watcher” to simulate cranial electrotherapy stimulation.

electroshock-diet-measureme

In my mind, this lack of blinding presents a significant problem.

On one hand, you have a group of people being asked to cut calories and/or cut calories and eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. On the other hand, you have a group of people being handed a magic box designed to help potentiate their diet.

  • Which group is going to be more motivated?
  • Which group is going to be more hopeful?
  • Which group is going to lose more weight?

So, do we ignore this research?

Nope…we accept it with all it’s flaws, and wait for another study…without an obvious a placebo effect to cast doubt upon it’s findings.

‘Cause the idea of a magic weight-loss machine seems pretty cool to me.

Reference

Best Body Transformation 2013

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

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

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

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

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

His goals are as follows:

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

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

Here’s what we’re starting with…

Measurements : Day # 1

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

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

Pictures: Day 1

Transformation---1---Front

Transformation-1-Side-right

Transformation---1---Back

Transformation--1--Side-Lef

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

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

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

The Immorality of Obesity

Last week, media mogul Rupert Murdoch pissed off a whole bunch of people with the following tweet about a woman in New York who suffered injuries when the sidewalk she was walking on collapsed out from under her.

rupert-murdoch

Obesity apologists all around the twitterverse were freaking out…hunting and pecking out expletive-filled anti-Murdoch tweets and blog posts. It was a veritable orgy of obese indignation.

And yet…it got me thinking.

  • Why is it that so many people in our society feel free to mean so damn nasty to fat people?
  • Why is it a character flaw to be fat?

We all have bad habits. We all do things that aren’t 100% healthy for our bodies.

Even personal trainers like me.

For example, this past Saturday night, I spent about 5 hours…

  • sitting on my butt
  • watching Hockey Night in Canada
  • and drinking beer with friends and having one heck of a fun evening.

Does this make me a bad person?

Would it have made me a bad person if (instead of being an uber-healthy personal trainer) I had been that 400 lb woman who fell through the sidewalk?

Maybe it’s time we create a little separation between people and their actions.

Obesity and related lifestyle medical conditions ARE a significant medical problem….costing millions and millions of dollars. But instead of being a giant A-hole like Rupert Murdoch or a Fat-Apologist like the Jezebel blogger I linked to, maybe we should focus on the actions that have led to increased rates of obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, etc…

  • Maybe we have a little more sympathy for people who make poor decisions,
  • And a little less sympathy for people who exploit those bad decisions for financial & political gain

America-obesity-epidemic

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.

The Best Exercise for a Fit Sexy Body

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

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

Fit Sexy Body

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

leg-warmer-spandex-newton-j

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

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

What does this mean to you???

It means that if you want to…

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

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

Fit Sexy Body

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

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

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

Fit Sexy Body

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

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

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

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

Reference

The 2013 Fitness Bullshit Detector

Every January, millions of people resolve to…

  • Lose weight
  • Get fit
  • Get strong
  • Get healthy

And every January, a bunch of  douchebags try to take advantage of those people with their bullshit health & fitness products.

This year, I thought that I would help everyone who has resolved to make 2013 they year that they finally get in shape by creating a 2013 Fitness Bullshit Detector (FBD).

FBD Tip #1

If someone promises that you can lose 7 pounds in 7 days…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-4

FBD Tip #2

If someone offers a revolutionary new “shortcut”…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-1

FBD Tip #3

If someone has a secret for “killing lower abdominal fat”…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-2

FBD Tip #4

If someone has gone from “string-bean” to “bodybuilder” all thanks to one weird secret…it’s bullshit.

bullshit fitness ad 6

FBD Tip #5

If someone has discovered a “weird spice” or suggests that cinnamon rolls can make you lean…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-5

FBD Tip #6

And if someone tries to convince you that 7 Odd Foods are the secret to an uber-lean belly…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-3

FBD Tip #7

I hope these specific examples have helped make my point…..that if it sounds just a little too good to be true, it probably is…or in other words…it’s bullshit.

Five Weight Loss Secrets the Experts Will Never Tell You

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which combines recycled weight-loss theories with new celebrities year after year. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which sells the promise of transformation…while secretly hoping that you never succeed.

Today, I thought I would let you in on a few of the secrets that they will never mention in their weight loss books.

  • All Diets Work

Whether they have you counting calories, restricting food groups or modifying when you’re allowed to eat, almost everybody will lose weight at the beginning of a new weight loss program. Their program is not nearly as special as they want you to believe.

  • All Diets Fail

Most people already know the difference between diets that make you lean and diets that make you fat. The problem isn’t lack of knowledge…it’s lack of consistency. The world’s most perfect weight loss diet is 100% useless if you don’t follow the rules.

  • Following the Rules Can Be Extremely Uncomfortable

In addition to being affordable and almost-always available, a large percentage of us rely on junk food to modulate hormones and neuro-chemicals in an attempt to reduce stress levels and make raw nerves feel…less raw. It’s the same reason why other people drink, do drugs, beat their spouses, etc. When you take away your emotion-soothing foods, you may be able to rely on willpower for a while as you try to ignore your “stuff”, but eventually, your willpower won’t be strong enough…and the siren’s call of Ben & Jerry may just be too strong for even the most awesome of celebrity endorsed diets.

  • Uncomfortable Doesn’t Mean Impossible

No matter how much you rely on junk food, there are psychological, neurological and nutritional approaches that can help reduce your dependence on food to modulate your emotions. And most of them are free or at least very reasonable. MP3s of guided meditations, brain wave entrainment and/or hypnosis require very little cash and almost zero effort from you…and can be very, very helpful. Supplements like Chill Pills cost less than $1 a day and can have a profound effect on your mood. Dr. Judith Beck lowers the cost of using Cognitive Behavior Therapy as a weight loss aid by laying out her techniques in her book – The Complete Beck Diet for Life.

  • You are Your Best Diet Guru

No weight loss expert will ever know what it’s like for YOU to lose weight. They won’t feel your cravings…or have to resist your urges to snack late at night…or have tell your friends that you will be eating a bowl of chicken vegetable soup instead of sharing their giant platter of Nachos Supreme!!! But then again, they can’t judge how your body responds to a week of Intermittent fasting or how peri-workout nutrition has helped you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. They can’t make the very specific observations and adjustments that will help you overcome your weakness while maximizing your strengths and advantages.

What should you do with this info?

I have met and talked with a lot of weight loss gurus over the past decade…and most of them are pretty decent people with an honest desire to help overweight people lose weight and get fit. They realize that there is no perfect diet. They realize that what works for you might not work for me. They realize that weight loss can be a long, drawn-out, incredibly frustrating endeavor.

Unfortunately, if they wrote that in their book… NO ONE would buy it.

So…take what you read in a diet book with a giant grain of salt. Think about the theory behind the weight loss plan. Think about how easily you would be able to integrate that plan into your lifestyle. And if you decide to take the plunge, pay attention to how your body, mind and emotions respond. And be ready to make tweaks to customize a “one-size-fits-all” diet to make it fit your life.

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Body Transformation 2013

Starting next month, I am beginning a series of articles detailing all of the nasty details involved in the transformation of a new client of mine.

We will be looking at all of the interconnected factors involved in this process:

  • Dietary
  • Physical activity – amount, type, etc
  • Psychological / Emotional / Motivational
  • Medical
  • Social

The client is a 40-something year old man who…

  • needs to lose 50 pounds
  • suffers from insulin insensitivity
  • is clinically depressed
  • and has hypertension

This series will blend into other HH articles as he will be performing the Best Body 2013 workouts. This means that the BB 2013 workouts will initially be designed for an obese, de-trained client and will be increasing in intensity & complexity as the transformation will allow.

Note – We will be posting pictures, but since my client is well known here in Toronto, we will be cropping his head out of the images.

Why do Health Insurance Companies Cover Weight Loss Drugs but not Fresh Fruit and Vegetables?

Last month, Reuters reported that America’s third-largest health insurer, Aetna Inc would provide coverage for weight loss drugs sold by Vivus (Qsymia / Qnexa) and Arena Pharmaceuticals (Belviq).

WBB Securities LLC analyst Stephen Brozak commented that “this is probably the simplest business decision on Aetna’s plate in all of 2012, because to not reimburse this would have put them in the crosshairs of every single healthcare decision maker in the United States. Everyone acknowledges that we have a pandemic obesity problem, and to not be a part of a solution even if its a marginal solution, means you are part of the problem,” he added.

Hmmmm…marginal solution???

Why would Aetna choose to cover their costs of a marginal obesity solution while ignoring weight-loss / disease prevention solutions that actually work?

  • Like a diet high in fresh fruit & vegetables

Maybe it’s like my Twitter buddy @powerfulhunger said…that it’s too impractical to administer.

But then again…maybe it isn’t.

Maybe it isn’t impractical for Aetna et al to partner with America’s  food retailers to provide an instant percentage discount on all fresh/frozen fruit and vegetables.

Let’s use an imaginary Aetna client to test my hypothesis…

  1. Aetna client walks into WalMart, Kroger, Costco, etc…
  2. Aetna client picks up prescription from pharmacy
  3. Aetna client presents Aetna insurance card to pharmacist
  4. Aetna client pays discounted price for their prescription
  5. Aetna client walks over to the WalMart, Kroger, Costco fresh/frozen produce section
  6. Aetna client loads up their cart with produce
  7. Aetna client presents Aetna insurance card to cashier
  8. Aetna client pays discounted price for their produce

Doesn’t seem that impractical to me.

But then again…what the heck do I know about HEALTH insurance?

Reference

Does Ketone Drink = EZ Weight Loss?

Oxford researcher, Dr. Kieran Clarke has created a new type of ketone-based endurance drink designed to…

  • Generate significant weight loss
  • Improve mental alertness
  • Improve cognitive function

…as well as treat, prevent or reduce the effects of…

In short, this supplement MAY make you leaner, smarter, healthier, faster, stronger and less prone to diabetes, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, huntington’s, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Note that I say MAY.

The science is all very new. According to Doc Clarke:

“We are very excited about our research, which we think shows great promise. Our primary interest so far has been to understand how the body’s metabolism responds and makes use of our ketone drink.

We are a long way yet from showing meaningful benefits as a treatment for disease or in aiding athletes’ endurance, and while we think it is possible that the ketone drink may have benefits in slowing Alzheimer’s progression, no one has done much research on this as yet…although this remains of great interest to us.”

How great an interest???

Great enough to apply for a US patent.

Can you imagine how much money Dr. Clarke will make if this product lives up to it’s potential?

The Science

  • Previous research indicates that a state of elevated ketones may improve physical and cognitive performance.
  • Unfortunately, direct administration of ketone bodies is unpractical and potentially dangerous
  • Fortunately, there are ketone precursors that might give her the same effect without any of the downsides.

On of those ketone precursors is  (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, the ketone monoester that Dr. Clarke has been administering in the form of a meal replacement drink to her healthy human volunteers.

In one pilot study, eight adults with type 2 diabetes to see whether the drink produced any effect. The volunteers had three ketone drinks a day for five days and had their weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar monitored. Their weight dropped an average of nearly two per cent (in 5 days), as did their levels of glucose, cholesterol and fat in the blood.

In another study, Dr. Clarke gave 22 elite rowers the ketone drink and monitored the distances they achieved in 30 minutes on an indoor rowing machine.

One rower broke a world record and five others beat their personal best.

Conclusion

I am thoroughly geeked-up about the potential of this supplement.

Fingers crossed people.

Reference

5 Ways to Jump Start Your Weight Loss

In the 12+ years I have been working as a personal trainer, I have met a lot of very smart, very successful people with a broad knowledge of weight loss tips, tricks & secrets….and yet most of them weren’t able to get the results they wanted.

And sometimes, the answer to their weight-loss problems was as simple as one little tweak.

Here are some of my favourite “tweaks” to jump start your weight loss.

Cleansing

Most people think that cleansing is all about…

  • starving yourself, and/or
  • drinking a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup & hot sauce, and/or
  • shoving a colonic tube up your butt

WRONG.

In it’s essence, cleansing is all about…

  1. ignoring our taste buds for a SHORT period of time, and
  2. putting our Gastro-Intestinal tract in the spotlight for a SHORT period of time

And as un-fun as that sounds, your guts will thank you.

Without getting all alternative-health-y on you, just about every client of mine has seen health & weight-loss improvements via the occasional use of cleansing protocols.

HIIT

The beauty of HIIT training is that you don’t need to mess with your usual routine to reap the benefits.

For example, I worked with a cyclist a couple of years ago who was interested in increasing his power. Unfortunately, he and his coach weren’t willing to cut back on his high-volume cycling regimen. So, I integrated a series of HIIT sprints into his cycling program.

And while we weren’t able to test his strength improvements in the gym as I usually do, he did see a vast improvement in performance and a perceived improvement in power when race season began.

Nutrient Cycling

There are many different ways to cycle nutrients to maximize recovery from exercise and encourage fat loss. This is my favorite method:

  1. Simple carbs during workouts – Gatorade, Fruit Juice, etc.
  2. “Fill you up” carbs post workout – starchy veg, grains, etc.
  3. Crunchy carbs & greens the rest of the day – spinach, broccoli, etc.

The idea behind this plan is to manipulate insulin secretion to minimize fat storage and maximize muscle recovery via the re-filling of muscle cells with blood sugar & micronutrients.

Eat Dinner Like A King

This sounds counter-intuitive to common sense…and it is..sort of.

Normally, I advise clients against eating a big dinner because their day is winding down and that big blob of dinner calories is going to get stored as fat while they watch tv and drift off to sleep.

However, with this dietary tweak…

  • I ask them to have a medium sized breakfast made up of protein & fat foods with next to no carbs (ex scrambled eggs & peppers)
  • I ask them to have a small lunch consisting of protein & fat foods with next to no carbs (ex Greek salad with 1/2 chicken breast)

NOTEThis plans works best with people who are busy throughout the day. We’re trying to take advantage of the appetite killing effect of a busy work-day.

At the end of their work-day and before they eat dinner, I ask them to exercise. It might be a trip to the weight room or a group exercise class or 20 minutes of swimming or even a 10 min session of HIIT bike sprints.

After the workout, they get to eat a nice big satisfying dinner consisting of whatever foods they want. This big meal results in a ton of pleasurable brain chemicals and related hormones being dumped into the body…resulting in emotional pleasure and no sense of dietary deprivation.

 Have an Open Mind

There is a Chinese proverb that states “a closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood”.

And when I look at the mainstream approaches to weight loss, I see a whole lot of closed minds recycling the same old inefficient weight loss techniques year after year after year… with little real-world success.

What I want you to do is come at your weight-loss with an open mind.

  • Think of yourself as a really small-scale science experiment.
  • Stop repeating the same old weight-loss techniques that have failed you in the past.
  • Try something new for a month or two
  • Evaluate it
  • If it’s not working…dump it
  • Try something else…until you find something that works.

And if you still can’t find something that works, come back to Health Habits. I have lots more weight-loss tips & tricks to jump start your weight loss.

Jump Start Your Weight Loss
Be like water my friend…like water

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Can You Lose Weight with Virtual Reality???

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

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

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

The Science

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

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

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

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

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

And that is pretty darn cool.

Reference

Get Fit & Lose Weight – Emotional Jeet Kune Do

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

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

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

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

  • 319lbs – 185 lbs = 134 lbs

Small carb-free meals for breakfast and lunch

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

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

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

Large Paleo meal at dinner after her evening workout

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

She was full after dinner every single night.

Supplements

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

Emotional Jeet Kune Do

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s where the Jeet Kune Do comes in.

  • I asked her to start lying to herself

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

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

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

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

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

An Amazing Real Life Weight Loss Story

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. And to make sure that those billions keep rolling in, weight loss companies pay celebrities huge piles of cash to convince you that only they have the secret to rapid & permanent weight loss.

And I have to call BULLSHIT on that.

You want to know how to lose weight…. you need to talk to Pedro Oliva.

Pedro is a Twitter buddy of mine who has managed to radically transform his body/health/attitude over the past year. Here is his story…in his own words.

  • Q –  From your before & after picture, it’s obvious that you have lost a LOT of weight…how much and how long have you been working at it?

It’s been a year and I have rid over 100 lbs.

  • Q – Do you have a goal weight and if so, have you reached it?

My Goal weight is somewhere around 230. All time high was 385

  • Q – What changes (pro/con) have you experienced in your life as the pounds came off?

The pros are way more energy, I’m more active. The cons is some of the loose skin.

  • Q – What made you decide to lose the weight?

My kids are my inspiration. I did not want to die young.

  • Q – What made your efforts so successful?

I gave up soda. I was a huge soda drinker, also gave up fried foods.

  • Q – What tips would you give to someone who has tried to lose weight but has never been successful?

Stay focused and give yourself little goals. Take your time, results will come

  • Q – What’s more important to you…weight or health?

Health, being alive is the key

  • Q – Did you follow a specific diet?

I try to eat the right foods, lots of chicken and fish, vegetables

  • Q – Do you still follow that diet?

I do but some times I reward myself.

  • Q – Anything else you want to add?

Do not let anyone say you can’t do it alone. I am proof you can if you dedicate yourself and have a realistic approach, this will not happen overnight.

Reference

The “Eat Like a Dog” Diet

One of my clients had an epiphany yesterday.

  • For the past 4 months, she has been busting her butt losing weight and transforming her body.
  • For the past 3 months, her husband and her dog (not pictured) have also been put on a healthier diet (not by their choice).

And after 3 months, the unofficial winner of the familial weight loss challenge has been….THE DOG.

WTF?  How did the dog emerge as the weight loss champ?

It’s simple…the dog never cheated on his diet. Not once in 3 months.

  • He ate the food that his “Mom” put in his bowl
  • Lacking opposable digits, he was unable to open his bag of kibble or work the can opener to get more wet dog food.
  • He went for a walk everytime someone grabbed his leash.

In short, he was the perfect personal training client.

Unfortunately for us humans, we have opposable thumbs that are capable of ordering an XL pizza for delivery…ruining our diet and causing us to lose a weight loss challenge to a dog.

So….here’s my question for you…how can you modify your lifestyle so you eat & move more like a dog and less like a human???

Harness Your Emotions to Lose Weight

The experts who say that the key to weight loss is education are wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • Every obese person in the world knows that eating pizza at every meal will make them fat and sick.
  • They also know that eating a lot of fresh vegetables will make them lean & healthy.

Lack of education isn’t the problem…emotions are the problem.

  • Negative emotions that drive them to inhale an entire tub of ice cream
  • Positive emotions that motivate them to live a healthier lifestyle

So…how do we learn to harness these emotions and use them to our advantage?

Here are two tricks that have worked for my clients over the past 12+ years.

The Carrot
  1. Put together a collection of images that inspire you to live an uber-fit healthy life.
  2. Look at these images EVERY morning before you start your day
  3. Look at them periodically throughout the day – save images on your phone, make them your screen-saver, post them on the fridge, tape them to the inside of your gym locker, etc…

Here are a bunch of images to get you started.

NOTE: Some people have “issues” with motivational images making them look silly. My advice: unless you’re still in high school, stop worrying about being judged by other people. Most people spend too much time thinking about themselves to be concerned with your silly physique pics

The Stick

Nobody says mean things about a fat person…like that fat person says about themselves. Seriously, you would not believe how mean overweight people are to themselves. It’s like masochism & obesity go hand in hand. What makes it even worse is that all of those feelings of self-hatred often end up reinforcing the very behaviors which led to the obesity in the first place. What we need to do is turn those negative feelings around so they help motivate you to stick with your new healthy lifestyle.

Here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Write yourself a letter – about how you feel right now…about your body, about your health, about your emotional state, your relationships…and how your obesity & poor health negatively impacts your life
  2. Print out the letter
  3. Sign the letter
  4. Read that letter EVERY morning before you start your day
  5. Read that letter EVERY night before you go back to bed
  6. Take some very unflattering pictures of yourself and stuff them away in the back of your sock drawer
  7. Every 30 days, take new picks & stuff them back in the drawer
  8. After a year, pull out all the pics and review the changes

One More Thing

  • You are going to blow your “diet”, skip a workout, forget to read your letter, inhale an entire cheesecake.
  • It’s expected and it will happen
  • It happens to everybody
  • You’re not a loser
  • After cheating, read your letter again and again and again.
  • One cheat doesn’t negate all the hard work you have done since starting this transformation.
  • One cheat doesn’t negate all the improvements you have made to your health, fitness & physique.
  • Dust yourself off, pick yourself up, look at your motivation pics and go get some exercise

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