I bought a book a long time ago called Wheat Belly.
As you might expect, it talks largely about wheat and the negative effects that it has on our bodies.
….Yep, even whole wheat.
Granted, this isn’t anything extremely new. If you’ve learned about the paleo diet at all, you probably already know that millions of people try to minimize their wheat intake.
And generally, it works to make us healthier.
First off, let me say that I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, or scientist.
I haven’t spent a lifetime studying wheat, nor have I ever spent much time looking through the medical journals and studies related to wheat.
I do know the effects that it has on my body.
I do know that if I eat a lunch with wheat, I feel more sluggish afterwards.
I also know that if I eat wheat, I tend to want more. This leads to eating way too much junk food if I hit a fast food or donut place in the morning.
Something I need to test more is how eliminating wheat affects my weight loss and how well I sleep. I’ve been told that people generally sleep deeper and lose weight quickly, so I need to give it a shot.
After all, these are 2 things I definitely need. I don’t sleep extremely poorly, but it takes me a while to fall asleep, and I generally wake up at least once at night.
Could wheat be the cause? I’m not sure- but it definitely isn’t helping.
Anyways- all of that said, the thing with wheat is that what we eat today is EXTREMELY different than what we used to eat.
Since the time I was born (1985), wheat has changed a heck of a lot. We no longer allow it to grow tall and naturally. Instead, we’ve created hybrids that only grow 1-2 feet high, have extremely large heads of grain, and can be grown twice a year.
Doesn’t really sound like a natural food or process anymore considering what wheat used to look/act like.
All of this hybridization has actually created new types of genetics and proteins not found in parent plants. In other words, all of this cross-breeding has created a bit of a Frankenstein wheat.
Not something I want to keep eating.
You’re right- it is. Which is exactly why it takes a bit more preparation and planning time to figure out my meals.
Before, I wasn’t limiting myself. I could have a sandwich on whole-grain bread, a small frozen pizza, or get a burger from Burger King.
But if I’m going to eliminate wheat, I’ll need to find a different way to eat that sandwich, forgo the pizza, and get a burger without the bun (which Burger King does let you do- they put it in a salad bowl).
To be honest, eliminating wheat from your diet isn’t as hard as you may think. Sure, it means cutting back on all of the junk food, but you were gonna do that anyways, right?
And as far as bread and pasta are concerned- there are gluten-free pastas and breads out there you can consider.
Or you can simply experiment with eating lots of different other foods.
But you by NO means have a lack of variety to choose from.
For lunch, you can have eggs and a piece of fruit instead of a bagel or toast.
Lunch can be a healthy salad with chicken or steak strips.
Dinner can be a hamburger without the bun, a few toppings and some sweet potato fries and a small salad on the side.
And since some diets like the paleo diet are getting more and more popular, there are TONS of amazing recipes online these days for all of your favorites.
So stop thinking that you’ll never eat a brownie again. You definitely can- just find a good recipe that doesn’t include wheat flour.
What about them?
Even though my family thinks its a bit weird, they understand. If you just explain that you have a wheat allergy, or you’re sensitive to gluten (found in wheat), then they’ll understand.
And you aren’t lying either. In fact they’re probably experiencing negative effects from eating the wheat themselves, they just don’t realize it.
Just try to do what you can and eat what’s available to you. One time I went to a potluck where EVERY dish had some kind of meat in it.
Well we had a vegetarian coming to these potlucks, so all he could eat was the rolls he’d brought.
…that may be a bad example since he just stuffed his face with wheat, but you get my point. Don’t get hung up on what you can’t eat. Instead, be thankful that there’s stuff you are able to eat.
It’s tough to say- but my guess is pretty quickly.
I’m currently in the process of eliminating wheat and dairy except for 1 or 2 meals on the weekends. That’s it.
And after just a few days, I already feel better and have more energy. I don’t feel sluggish in the afternoons, although my sleep hasn’t improved much yet.
The scale also says I’ve lost a few pounds, but that could largely be water weight. I won’t believe the numbers until they stabilize a bit and are consistently lower each week.
But I encourage you to try it out. Eliminating wheat from you diet really isn’t as difficult as you might think, and your body will thank you for it.
I’ve just recently re-discovered the art of cooking in batches.
Last night I prepared a lot of food for the rest of the week. I cooked brown rice, cut up strawberries, froze bananas, and peeled carrots.
Now- I know that may not sound like much. But I essentially prepared snacks for most of the week, and all I need for a quick meal is to add some beans to the rice and heat it up.
Remember a few posts ago when I talked about how I’m addicted to fast food? Well- this may be the solution to that problem.
A lot of people really don’t understand why you should bother cooking, or preparing food, in batches.
The thing is- even if it may not feel like it, you will save a TON of time.
Because besides the mental “getting ready” energy you have to spend preparing food, you also have the actual time spent preparing to… prepare the food.
If that makes sense.
For example, what do you need to prepare carrots?
-Knife (cut the ends off)
-Cup or tupperware
It takes a little bit of time to get all of the stuff out and ready. Not much, no-but over the weeks, months and years- an extra minute or 2 of prep time adds up.
Another thing is just the convenience. If I have a fridge full of healthy snacks like strawberries or carrots- it’s very easy to just grab the tupperware and head out the door.
But what if I don’t have anything like that? I may decide that it’s faster to stop at McDonalds for a burger or something.
It sounds silly, but it’s really not. We tend to get this idea that to cut up that apple, or peel that orange takes SO much time that it isn’t worth it.
But if you do it all at once, you not only realize that it’s super fast and easy- it’s just the better, healthier option overall.
Finally- I like cooking in batches because it gives me back a lot of that mental energy I lose if I don’t plan my meals. Instead of wondering “What am I gonna have for dinner tonight?”, it just becomes “When am I going to heat up my rice and beans?”
Or chicken, or soup- whatever.
Some foods work a lot better than others.
For example, I don’t recommend preparing a lot of stuff with avocado in big batches. Avocado is very sensitive to oxidization, and turns brown just hours after you expose it to the air.
Bananas are the same way actually- even if they were frozen. I’ve left a smoothie in the fridge overnight before, and the next morning it was completely brown.
Instead, here are a few good options to consider cutting up and preparing in batches:
Some of these work better than others, and there’s definitely more stuff out there. You just have to try stuff out and see what works well and what doesn’t.
When I was a kid, my dad got the idea to make big batches of waffles every other week, then freeze most of them.
We were pretty poor, so we did this to save money yet have readily available, quality waffles anytime we wanted.
It worked pretty darn well.
While not all foods are conducive to freezing, I definitely recommend it if you want to save yourself time in the future.
The best way to do this is to prepare 2 of the exact same meal at one time. You already have the directions, ingredients, etc. in front of you, so this is easy.
Then, you simply prepare one to be frozen (aka stick it in freezer bags) and toss it in the freezer.
The thing to watch out for is freezer burn. Even freezer bags don’t protect a food forever, so you’ll want to date the bag before you throw it in.
Also, you should know that frozen meals will NOT be as healthy as a fresh-cooked meal. Freezing any time of food destroys some of the nutrients and changes the physical structure of the food.
Still, it’s a much healthier alternative than hitting up a fast food or pizza joint.
I mean, unless it’s organic pizza or something.
Right now my favorite thing to freeze is bananas. If you stick em in the freezer for a few hours (or days), then take them out and throw ‘em in the blender…
You’ve got some VERY good imitation ice cream. You can blend lots of good flavors in there too like chocolate chips, Nutella, peanut butter, vanilla, etc.
The only problem with freezing is that if you don’t have a large chest freezer, you’re pretty limited as to how many meals you can keep prepared. Especially if you’re like my family and have multiple bags of frozen veggies laying around in there.
It’s almost my bedtime, so I gotta end this bad boy.
I’m pretty excited, as you can probably tell, that I re-discovered the art of cooking in batches. It’s so easy to do, but it saves a lot of time and I definitely eat healthier when I do it.
Have fun and good night!
One extremely popular tip from successful people- in any field- is to get an accountability partner.
Usually this means finding someone who cares for you enough to give you a hard time if you don’t achieve your short-term goals.
The idea is that by having someone stay on you about your goals, you’ll be more motivated to do them, and ultimately you’ll achieve whatever you’re aiming for. Or at least, you’ll be a lot closer to it than if you didn’t do any work towards those goals.
Accountability partners are great- if they’re done correctly. Unfortunately, I’ve had multiple accountability partners that just didn’t work.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way about what NOT to do- and what you can do- to make sure your partner is up to the task.
I used to think that having my wife as an accountability partner would be great! I mean, I see her every day, she loves me more than anyone else does, and she wants to see me succeed.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out all that well. When we’d talk to each other about our daily tasks, it came across more like nagging than anything else.
Maybe it was just the way we went about it- I’m not sure. But we just found that it’s difficult because we don’t want to get frustrated with each other as accountability partners, then turn around and put our “husband and wife” hats back on. That’s tough.
This is just something I’ve noticed in my own life. If your spouse is the best accountability partner you’ve ever had, great! But I just know that for my family, it didn’t work well.
I’ve tried meeting accountability partners online. It seems to work okay for the first few weeks, but then it tapers off.
I think there are a few reasons for this.
For one thing, the fact that I never see this person face-to-face lowers the incentive a bit. If they give me a hard time through Skype or email, who cares? They’re on the other side of the world, they’re not a great friend, etc.
Another thing is that it can be difficult to be consistent. When you have regular face-to-face meetings with someone, you get into a routine. You don’t want to stand someone up, so you always go.
If you do everything online, there are a few more things to consider. Are you in the same timezone? If not, what works for you may not work for them.
Again, I know some people can make this work- but I haven’t been able to. Not yet.
Like I discussed earlier, most accountability partners don’t come with a huge incentive.
Sure, they may give you a hard time- but unless you really hate criticism, many times that just won’t be enough. You need a bit more skin in the game.
One good incentive to consider is financial. You and your accountability partner may agree that every time you don’t reach your goals, you have to give your partner ten bucks!
That may not sound like much, but it will add up if you keep skipping your goals.
You can also make it a lot more, like twenty or fifty dollars- or more. It’s up to you of course. Just remember that the goal is NOT to make you broke- not by any means.
Instead, the goal is to give you some extra “oomph” to reach your goals every single day.
This may seem like common sense to some people, but I think a lot of people miss this.
Humans are creatures of habit- plain and simple. Chances are you routine each weekday is very similar to those of last week, and the week before.
This goes for eating habits, sleeping, exercise, time with family, EVERYTHING.
Successful people know this, and use it to their advantage. They make sure to develop good habits (such as drinking lots of water and eating a healthy breakfast) over bad ones (eating 2 donuts for breakfast and drinking soda all day).
You should do the same with your accountability partner.
When I was in college, my partner and I would meet at the gym every MWF, same time, same place. We didn’t even have to call each other to remind the other person- we just knew that was our routine.
Having a regular time/place leaves you one less thing to worry about, and more mental energy to focus on getting your stuff done!
Humans are fickle, strange creatures.
You probably think you know some people very well, right? But then they surprise you with an action that take, or job they pursue, etc.
It’s extremely difficult to really understand how other people tick sometimes. This is part of what makes finding a good accountability partner tough.
Some people want to be yelled at.
Others don’t respond well to yelling, so you gotta treat em gently and encourage them softly.
Personally, I’ve determined that because I’ve had so much bad luck in the past with accountability partners, I’m done with them.
Well, except for one. Because I’ve found that the best accountability partner is SOFTWARE.
Yup- that phone in your hand, or computer you’re looking at right now, can be the best accountability partner in the world.
There’s more benefits, but you get the point.
Personally, right now I’m loving an app called Lift. It’s great because it’s mainly for people trying to achieve new goals, so it’s FULL of very positive, encouraging people.
Compare that to Facebook, where even a lot of your friends are probably not always encouraging.
“Why are you trying to lose weight?”
“Why are you trying to get promoted? Money doesn’t make you happy.”
“Who cares about getting up early? Sleep in and enjoy life.”
This is the kinda stuff a lot of people hear from friends and family who like being where they are, and don’t want to see others achieve their goals.
It’s funny that people who love us sometimes do that, but they do.
Anyways, I digress.
Keep moving towards your goals. Even just 30 minutes of reading per day, a 10 minute walk, 20 pushups, or whatever else is a LOT more than most people are probably doing!
If you need an accountability partner to keep you on track, check out Lift. It’s helping thousands of people already, and I think it can help you too.
A few years ago, I had this idea that I was going to eat a lot more raw food.
I got the idea from a few diet books that I thought were a bit extreme, but also made sense.
Until that time, I’d just kinda eaten whatever I felt like eating.
Maybe a burger today, chicken tomorrow, pizza on Saturday, etc. (Back then, I wasn’t quite as addicted to pizza as I am now).
But these nutrition books really made a lot of sense, so I figured it was worth a shot.
For breakfast, I started having 2-3 raw eggs, Rocky style. In other words, I’d just crack em into a cup and swallow em down whole.
Throughout the day I’d snack on food I brought to work with me- a tomato, apple, banana, avocado, etc.
Dinner was usually more veggies than I’d eaten before, and a bit less meat. I’d learned that cooked meat was extremely damaged and unsafe, whereas raw meat was optimal.
That said- my wife wouldn’t eat raw meat, or stomach me eating it, so I just stuck with eating the cooked stuff for now.
And that was it. I still had a little junk food, and wasn’t counting my calories or anything. I just ate a lot more raw food.
A few weeks after I started doing this, I ran into a buddy I hadn’t seen in a while.
The first thing he said was “Man- you’ve really lost weight! What have you been doing?”
Now, I wasn’t exactly overweight before. I was perfectly healthy, although losing 5-10 pounds of fat wouldn’t have killed me. Well, apparently I’d lost those 10 pounds, and it made a huge difference- especially in my face.
I told him that I’d just been eating more fruits and veggies, and that was about it. He asked if I was working out at all, and my wife just laughed.
She knew that the only time I worked out was the 2 mandatory workouts we did at work (since I was in the military).
They were decent workouts, but 2 workouts at just 45 minutes a week didn’t explain how I dropped the weight so fast.
Instead, it was simply eating a lot more clean, fresh foods. I got my protein and fat from eggs, avocado, nuts and some meat. Tons of fiber, vitamins, and minerals were coming in through the fruits and veggies.
And I was happy.
Today- I’m in the worst shape of my life.
I’m overweight, sluggish in the evenings, and in the habit of eating too much junk food.
Even when I get consistent with my workouts, I don’t get great results because I typically am stuffing my face with junk. I’ll say that it’s okay, I burned off the calories earlier.
…well, even though it’d be nice to think that way, it’s just not reality.
I felt good about myself back in the day, eating all those fruits and veggies. I knew I was healthy and doing the right thing. But now- I know that I’m not doing it the right way.
I’ll start the day off intending to fast. Since intermittent fasting has proven very helpful to some people for weight loss, I’ll plan to only eat dinner.
…but then lunch comes around, I give in, and go get food. But its not healthy, because I didn’t bring a healthy lunch. I left it at home.
It’s time to get my body back into burning fat, not piling it on. I need to stop trying intermittent fasting- at least for now.
Maybe I’ll try the Warrior Diet method again, where you eat fresh fruits and veggies all day, then consume your meat and grains at night.
It makes sense, and it’s essentially what I did a few years ago when I lost all that weight.
AND, it can actually be very paleo-friendly if I leave out the grains at night, instead focusing on meat and veggies.
What do you think? Sound like a plan?
I think so.
So let’s do it. I won’t just pack healthy breakfasts and lunches- they’ll be fresh fruits and veggies.
Then at night, I’ll have some kind of quality meat like steak, chicken or fish with some steamed veggies.
After a workout of course.
I’m actually realling looking forward to it. This will let me get my snack on during the day, then get my taste of some meat at night!
I’m addicted to pizza- especially when I have a really stressful day at work.
Now in my last post where I confessed that I’m addicted to fast food, I talked about how my obsession with fast food started when I was a kid.
The thing is- we really didn’t eat much pizza when I was little.
Sure, we’d get it every few weeks. Black olives was our favorite topping by far.
…actually, it was the only topping, besides the extra cheese.
And even in college, when most people are eating pizza 3-5 times a week, I had pizza only 1-2 times a month.
That’s actually pretty weird too, considering that just about every event at Georgia Tech enticed poor students to the event by offering free pizza.
And as for frozen pizza? Hardly ate the stuff. It was more cooking than I wanted to do (sad but true).
So how’d this obsession with pizza come about? It started the first time I saw Stevie B’s.
I have to tell you something- I lied earlier.
Even though we didn’t eat much pizza as a little kid, between about 8-14, I ate a pretty good amount of the stuff. Not delivery though, or the frozen kind.
I’d pig out at CiCi’s Pizza 2-3 times a month.
We wouldn’t necessarily go on days that my Mom had a rough day or anything- it just seemed like we’d randomly find ourselves close to the place, so we’d stop in for dinner.
I came to associate CiCi’s as a great place to have fun and hang out with friends (since between 8-14, we were ALWAYS with friends).
But once I hit high school and college, we didn’t go much anymore. We were too busy doing other stuff, and just stopped going.
It wasn’t until about 13 years later, when I first moved back to Georgia after living in California, that I got the urge to visit a pizza buffet again. Since they didn’t have any pizza buffets where I lived in Cali, I just wanted to pig out “like the good ol’ days” at a pizza buffet here in Georgia.
Even though pizza buffets don’t exactly have the highest quality stuff- they do offer a lot of variety. And its the variety that I really loved, and made me go back a second time.
And a third time.
Now since moving back about a year and a half ago, I’ve eaten at pizza buffets probably 10 times.
Obviously that’s not enough to make me gain 100 pounds, but with all of that extra salt, sugar and fat coming into my body- it definitely hasn’t helped my weight loss.
Couple that with the fact that I make myself a frozen pizza probably 2-3 times a month.
Again- not a ton, but it all adds up.
So yeah- I’m addicted to pizza.
But you know what? That’s okay. Since most eating plans these days incorporate a cheat day or meal, I just have to be strategic with how I use that cheat meal.
So maybe this weekend I have myself a nice piping-hot frozen pizza for dinner on Saturday. Then the next Saturday I have a meal from Wendy’s, or a huge ice cream sundae.
It doesn’t really matter- as long as I keep my calories in control, exercise regularly, and eat clean for 90% of my meals.
Granted- those aren’t always easy, but I am getting better. I’ve hit the treadmill 3 days in a row, and don’t plan on stopping. Even when I go out of town this weekend, I’m going to make sure I run/walk for at least 20 minutes each day.
Because it’s really not about how many calories I burn.
It’s about building healthy habits.
I’ll be the first to tell you that just walking or jogging isn’t going to burn tons and tons of calories. You can burn fat walking or lose weight jogging, but there’s more to it than that.
If I exercise daily for just 21 days, the habit of daily workouts will become very natural to me.
When I was in high school running track, logging miles was the same as brushing my teeth. It was a natural part of my daily routine. It would feel more weird not running one day that it felt to run.
I specifically remember one time when I was hanging out with friends on Sunday. I hadn’t run yet, and I REALLY wanted to. So I went home just for 1 hour to get in a 30 minute run, shower, and then go back to their house.
Okay- I’m getting off track here.
Time to end this post.
I’m addicted to pizza- it’s one of my “coping” foods. I eat it when I feel like “I deserve it”, and then I justify it by saying something like “I’ll just eat less tomorrow”, or “I’ll work out longer.”
But it doesn’t really work like that. Instead, I should be MUCH more strategic, only planning on eating it once a week, and then using a whole WEEK to make up for it- not just 1 day, or one meal.
You can’t just eat junk food like pizza and expect there to be no consequences. You have to realize you aren’t helping your body, you’re making your goals harder to reach, and you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, just eat consciously.
And enjoy some black olive pizza every once in a while.
Yup- I’m addicted to fast food.
Obviously I didn’t plan for this to happen. Nor did I ever expect it to happen, even once I did start eating it a bit more.
But it did.
Well without keeping a long story too long, let’s give a little background.
It probably all started when I was a little kid.
My parents got divorced when I was 5, but they didn’t want that to completely ruin our childhood. My sister still got to take dance classes, my brother and I took karate classes and both got into basketball.
That’s great and all- but for a single Mom to do all of that, along with some help from my Grandma took a TON of time.
…in other words, we ate very few home-cooked meals.
Breakfast was Pop-Tarts or cereal. Lunch was decent, as I got a hot lunch at the school cafeteria.
Dinner? Usually some fast food.
Fast forward to middle school and early high school. I was pretty chubby, at least 20 pounds overweight. The years of eating junk food had caught up to me.
My junior year of high school I lost a ton of weight by running every morning and cutting back on junk food. My healthy habits continued throughout college and for my first few years in the “real world”.
Then one December… I decided to “reward” myself a few times during a stressful day of work with fast food.
Now, I ate fast food 1-2 times a week up until this point- but once I started eating it a lot more, things just went downhill.
I stopped exercising, because I had less energy. I also started eating even more fast food, because it gave me a temporary high (even though I didn’t realize it at the time).
After doing this for almost 3 years now- eating tons of junk food without exercising to burn it off- I’m sitting at about 40 pounds overweight, and could probably stand to lose about 50 pounds (and pack on some more muscle).
So that’s why I’m addicted to fast food.
Obviously not all fast food is horrible for you. But if you have a sweet or salt tooth and get tons of ice cream, french fries or soda…
You’re in trouble.
For example, just today I got a small fry, double cheeseburger, and small milkshake from one major chain.
Guess how many calories that added up to?
Yup- in just one meal, I ate more calories than some diets allow every day.
And that meal included almost zero vitamins and minerals, because most of the calories came from sugar (174 carbs in that ONE meal).
Isn’t that insane?
Meanwhile if I’d have just gotten 2 double burgers, I could’ve saved over 100 grams of carbs and 500 calories.
That’s exactly why I was able to maintain weight in high school and college- I wouldn’t eat fries, ice cream or drink soda from fast food places. I’d just get burgers or chicken sandwiches.
Again- these burgers aren’t exactly amazing for your health. But compared to the other junk you can eat- it’s definitely the better choice.
Or you can go one step further and always get a salad of some kind.
So besides just the high salt and sugar contents, there are other reasons why fat food is bad for you. I won’t go into a ton of details here, but there are a ton of great resources out there to learn more about the stuff that goes into fast food.
Luckily for me, my wife is starting to get tired of fast food- as am I.
We always feel crappy when we eat it, plus it is definitely not fueling our bodies with everything they need to be healthy.
That’s why I’m implementing a few new rules into how I approach fast food:
I think that cutting out these 3 categories will give extraordinary gains in my health. I’ll cut way back on calories, sugar and salt consumed.
Another good way to shave off unnecessary calories is to only eat the top half of the bun. This can usually shave at least 50 calories and a few grams of sugar.
Granted- now you’re holding on to the hamburger or chicken, but hey- its better than a kick in the face.
I need to get back to the good ol’ times of viewing fast food as a rarity, not a regular source of fuel. If I didn’t pack enough food for lunch or my breakfast wasn’t big enough, too bad. I can’t rush out to get fast food just because my stomach is fussing at me.
I can wait until I get home, or just stop by the grocery store to get a healthier snack.
Seriously- I know that if I just implement these 3 ideas, my bodyfat will plummet and I will feel a lot happier and energetic throughout the day.
I’m addicted to fast food- but it’s time to break that addiction.
And if you eat fast food more than 1-2 times a week, I challenge you to cut way back. Because you and I both know that it’s not doing anything beneficial for your body.
Sure, it gives you the calories to get through the day. But you aren’t improving, and the toxins, sugar and salt coming into your body aren’t really setting you up for success for your goals.
So what do you say? Are you gonna fight your fast food addiction?
Or let it keep controlling you?
Last night I read this book I checked out from the library called This is Why You’re Fat by Jackie Warner. I’m a pretty fast reader, so even though the main content of the book is 207 pages long, I was able to read through the whole thing in less than 3 hours.
Here’s what I thought. (and no, I don’t have any kind of relationship with this book besides the fat that I’ve read it!)
If I had to summarize the whole book in just a few concepts, here’s what they’d be:
Obviously that’s a huge summarization since this is 207 pages long, along with a ton of recipes, but these are the primary concepts I walked away with.
Now let me break it down a bit more about each of the subjects.
In This is Why You’re Fat, one of the first things that Jackie talks about is taking better care of your hormones. As we get older, some hormones tend to decline, while others accumulate to unhealthy levels.
Growth hormone production, for example, starts to decline in our 30s and 40s. This hormone is extremely important for our bodies, as it helps us build muscle, burn fat, give us more energy, better sex drive, and healthy skin/hair.
Another example is testosterone, a very important hormone for building muscles, burning fat and boosting sex drive (along with a few other things).
On the flip side, we have some bad hormones that, in excess, can make us fatter. Estrogen is one example, and our bodies tend to accumulate too much due to the foods that we eat, toxins we breathe, and stress.
Jackie has a ton of great information on how to take better care of yourself by increasing the good hormones, and lowering the “bad” ones.
The #1 thing that Jackie attacks in her book is sugar.
We all know that sugar is extremely bad for us, right? I mean, I’ve been told that sugar was bad for me since I was a kid.
The funny thing is that even though we all know it’s bad, the vast majority of processed foods we eat (bread, pasta, pastries, muffins, cereal, etc.) are LOADED with sugar.
Some of these foods even have a higher glycemic load than pure sugar, which means eating that food raises your blood sugar level higher than eating pure sugar.
…this isn’t in the book, I’m just going off on a tangent.
Jackie covers why and how sugar makes you fat, kills your energy levels, causes cancer, makes you dumber, causes wrinkles, and a lot more.
Besides just attacking sugar, Jackie recommends 7 foods to start eating immediately to get started losing weight. The idea is that simply by adding these into your current diet, you’ll start having fewer cravings for the junk and crave more of the good stuff.
Jackie also covers a few other foods you may want to avoid, such as anything with gluten, alcohol or most dairy (such as milk or cheese).
The 3 main organs that Jackie talks about are the liver, thyroid and adrenal glands.
Your liver is one of the most underrated organs in your body. As the body’s filter, it is constantly working to remove all of the crap we eat, breathe, and absorb through our skin.
If your liver is unhealthy, it can result in almost 2 dozen health conditions, from weight gain to itchiness or skin disorders. Jackie recommends that you do everything you can to clean out your liver, from supplements to cutting back on certain foods.
As for your thyroid, many people don’t realize it’s affect on our metabolism. I actually have a friend who had to get thyroid surgery, and he’ll be taking pills to boost his metabolism for the rest of his life. Without a completely healthy thyroid, his metabolism would be too slow and he’d gain a ton of weight.
If your thyroid is unhealthy, you may gain weight, have very little energy, have a slow heart rate, or develop another condition. By eating right and exercising, you can help your thyroid stay healthy.
Finally, your adrenal glands need to keep pumping the good stuff (like DHEA), and less of the bad stuff. If this doesnt happen, and your glands get overworked, you can feel weak, experience insomnia (from too much cortisol at night), feel lethargic, etc.
The author ends with a very good section with actionable steps to help keep your adrenal glands healthy. She explains what to do and why it helps in language that all of us can understand.
From what I’ve seen, most successful diets incorporate cheat meals. Even though they definitely aren’t necessary, they do reduce a lot of the stress on the person trying to change their eating habits.
Jackie says that she used to encourage one cheat meal per weak, but found it to be less sustainable. Instead, by having 2 meals a week, people tend to “get their fill” of the junk food, and go right back to the healthy eating habits for the rest of the week.
The key is to keep these meals under 1,500 calories. That may sound like a lot- and it is- but if you’re eating a ton of sugar and fat, the calories add up FAST. One fast food meal, a few pizza, or even certain appetizers can reach that 1,500 mark all by themselves.
I know that personally, this is an appealing part of this program. Most people in my circle of friends aren’t extremely health-conscious, so they tend to eat junk food. Since I get 2 cheat meals, I can feel okay eating with them, enjoying a nice Thanksgiving dinner, etc.
I really like the exercise program outlined in This is Why You’re Fat. The basic premise is that you should do short periods of intense cardio 5 times a week. Once you’ve done that for at least 2 weeks, you should start doing resistance workouts.
The cardio workouts that Jackie recommends are super tough. I actually did one this afternoon, and it kicked my butt! I know that the calorie calculators on exercise machines exaggerate a bit, but my workout today registered at over 700 calories burned in 20 minutes.
I did exactly what Jackie recommends for a treadmill workout, where you walk up a very steep incline for 2 minutes, run for 2 minutes on an (almost) flat setting for 2 minutes, and then recover by walking at a slightly higher incline for 1 minute.
You repeat this process 4 times, and that brings the total workout to 20 minutes.
To be honest I’d never walked with the incline set to 15, and it is TOUGH. You’re basically walking up a steep hill at that level, so doing it for 2 minutes wears you out.
The only thing I don’t quite agree with is that Jackie recommends doing cardio first, then immediately doing your resistance workout. In my experience, for what it’s worth, it’s better to do the opposite.
If I do a cardio workout and immediately follow it with resistance workouts, I don’t have the energy to do as many reps.
Meanwhile, if I do weights or calisthenics first, I’m starting at maximum energy and can do more overall work.
That said- I’m not nearly as experience as Jackie so I’m sure her method works. I just wanted to share my experience, but I’ll definitely give her method a go.
Jackie devotes an entire section of the book to mindset and overcoming negative thoughts that come between you and success.
Personally, I thought this was one of the most important chapters.
Most people don’t realize how much their mindset affects what they do. Since we don’t typically sit back and think about it, we just let it carry us through each day.
The thing is- most of us have negative thoughts or opinions which block us from success.
Maybe you feel like everyone at the gym judges you.
Or maybe you’re afraid that if you lose weight, some of your overweight friends or family will resent you (which is true, by the way).
It could be that you feel like you don’t have the time, and make every excuse not to even fit in a 20 minute workout.
Whatever it is, most of it starts in your mind. Once you begin to shift how you think of dieting, losing weight, etc. then you will start to see success much faster.
Personally, this is something I’ve struggled with for years. I’d feel like if I screwed up at lunch and ate junk food, the rest of the day is down the drain. I’d then gorge myself on junk at night, eating way too many calories and sabotage my weight loss efforts.
If you’ve ever done something similar, this will be one of the most important chapters for you.
Overall, I definitely recommend This is Why You’re Fat (and How to Get Thin Forever) by Jackie Warner to anyone who either wants to lose weight or is interested in nutrition, health and/or fitness.
Jackie covers a bit about everything, including things that most diets don’t discuss such as toxins, hormones, organs and adrenal glands. In my opinion, these are extremely important because we need to view our bodies as one large system. If one part of the system is broken or sick, everything else is also affected.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the book!
Okay, it’s time to get more serious about this.
I’ve actually done multiple “first posts”, but then I’m not consistent with the blog. Usually I just end up forgetting about it, and then I’ll come back to it a month or so later.
Since updating it just once a month is a bit silly- and I don’t make nearly as much progress in reaching my goals- I decide that it isn’t worth it, delete the whole blog, and then start back over.
Well starting today, I’ve blocked out a set block of time each day just for this blog. Even if I only work on it for 30 minutes, that adds up to about 177.5 hours each year- not too shabby.
And by working on my blog, learning more about nutrition/fitness, and finding people to keep me accountable, I know I’ll finally start reaching my health goals.
As I write this, we have 3 months left in 2013. My goal is to reach a weight of 180 pounds by Dec 31st, which means losing about 10 pounds a month, or a 1,000 calorie deficit per day.
I know this is possible, because I’ve dropped weight VERY quickly before. Twice, actually.
Both times, the key was to remove junk food from my diet and move more (aka run, elliptical machine, lift weights, etc.)
The first time I did this was in high school. I’d been overweight for years, and was just tired of it. I stopped eating sugar, drank no more soda, and would run every single morning.
Then when I was about 23, I changed my diet for a little while. I ate a lot more fruits and vegetables and cut back on processed foods. The weight came off pretty quickly, and I got a lot of positive comments from coworkers and friends.
The trap I’ve fallen into over the last few years is skipping workouts plus using food as a way to deal with stress. This usually means picking up some fast food on the way home from work, or gorging on a ton of food when I get home (…or sometimes, both).
Obviously neither of these habits are good, and there are much better ways to deal with a bad day at work. I need to strengthen these habits, plus learn how to separate different aspects of my life better.
For example, I shouldn’t let a stressful day at work affect my home life. I don’t want my family or health to suffer from a bad day at work.
This is a very easy trap to fall into, and I think almost everyone does this. We all have our own ways of dealing with stress, and unfortunately I believe most people (such as myself) deal with it by taking it out the wrong way.
Well- that’s changing now.
I’ve read at least a dozen books on diet and weight loss over the years. Maybe 2 dozen.
One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that there are trends. Even though they all have their own “flavor”, for the most part they focus on just a few things:
Other aspects, such as the health benefits of eating meat or dairy, are very much up for debate. Some authors/nutritionists swear by these foods, others say to stay far, far away.
Personally, I think we need meat to thrive. Books like The Paleo Solution have a TON of research backing them up, showing how important meat is for our development and maintenance.
That said, I don’t plan on eating much dairy. I tend to feel better when I minimize consumption of milk and cheese, which kinda stinks because they’re some of my favorite foods.
…I mean, I’ll still have some pizza every once in a while, or milk and cookies. But dairy won’t be a part of my daily diet.
Besides just the diet aspect, I also plan on fasting at least 2 days a week for 24 hours, and regular exercise. I’m getting back into running, which is a nice way to either start the day or help me re-energize for the evening after work. It’s also a great way to deal with stress- MUCH better than just pigging out on a bunch of junk food.
The fasting serves 2 primary functions- lower my calorie intake while also giving my body a chance to heal and maintain itself. If you never fast for more than 8 hours at a time, your digestive system never gets to take a break.
But when you start to fast for 16-24 hours, it lets your body go into ketosis (aka burn fat), lets your digestive system rest, and (usually) reduces your calorie intake.
It sounds difficult, but it’s really not. I’ve always found that if I skip breakfast, I don’t get as hungry in the afternoon. So I can actually work all day without really feeling hungry- it might come for a minute or so, but it passes quickly.
So yeah, that’s the plan- eat better, exercise more, and throw in some fasting.
I already get a reasonable amount of sleep, but that might increase too to help me reach my goals faster.
This blog will serve 3 main roles-
Even though I’ve spent a LOT of time learning about health, diet, weight loss, etc., I haven’t retained most of the information that I’ve read.
I believe that’s because if you just read something once, you are not very likely to remember it. Meanwhile if you teach it, or write down notes on it, and really begin to understand it- then you’re able to retain the knowledge.
By keeping track of everything I read, making notes on it, and even teaching it to others, I know I’ll actually learn the material a lot better.
And since so many people out there are struggling with similar problems as I am (breaking fat loss plateaus, getting into a routine, etc.), I know that my success will help motivate others to make progress.
I don’t have a device to measure body fat, so instead I’ll have to take a guess at my BMI.
I know that these types of online calculators aren’t extremely accurate, because they can’t account for muscle.
But because I haven’t done much weight lifting at all for the last 5 years, I know that my muscles have deteriorated a lot anyways. For now, these types of calculators are what I’ll use, although I may invest in a better method as my success snowballs.
This morning, the scale read 213.4 pounds. I’ll round down to 213, and use my height of 72 inches which leads to a BMI of 28.9. This is on the high end of the “overweight” category, almost pushing me into the obese category.
Hence, why I have some progress to make.
As I said earlier- I know I can do this, because I’ve done it before. The key will just be to develop a sound program, stick with it, and find people who encourage me.
Thanks for reading, and I hope that you find this blog educational, motivating and inspirational to helping you reach your health goals!