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Monday, April 11, 2011

Move More, Eat Less?

I am convinced that we eat too much and move too little.

Unless we're living in poverty, calories are easy and cheap these days.  Going to Costco, a discount supermarket or grocery store easily yields foods loaded in refined carbohydrates, sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils, sweeteners and artificial coloring.  Add to that the upsizing of food portions in North America and we've got a recipe for disaster.

To make it worse, mainstream media and large agri-business food marketing focus on selling "low fat" everything so that the public is being deceived with the message that eating fat makes one fat and eating low fat will make one slim.  Take a good look at food labels and ingredient lists.  Low fat generally mean high carbs in the form of sugar.  There are only three basic nutrient groups: fat, protein and carbohydrates.  To have less of one component, the percentage of the other remaining components must go up.

I see fat, overweight people desperately loading their shopping carts with skimmed milk (thereby depriving their milk of healthy fats), low fat yogurt, magarine (instead of butter), high fiber this and that, diet pop and low fat baked goods all in vain.  They avoid red meat because they think it will make them fat. Don't they realize that if they are eating low fat everything and still not losing weight that something is wrong with the formula?  Healthy animal saturated fat will not make you fat.  Refined carbohydrates, excessive wheat (spikes blood sugar and inflammatory to cells) and sugar is what is making us fat.

If you're eating low fat everything, avoiding eggs, red meat, butter, bacon and still have problem with cholesterol being overweight, perhaps you might consider that you're following some bad advice.  I bet you're eating whole grain muffins, bagels, breads, cereals and diet pop. If your blood profile is healthy and you're happy with the way your body is performing then read no more.  Otherwise, here is some information that might interest you.

The human body seems to support a variety of diets.  The Kitavans eat a high carbohydrate diet consisting of tubers (yams, sweet poatoes, cassava) yet do not suffer from obesity.  Read more about their lifestyle here:

Taken June 1854
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the traditional Inuit diet is extremely high in animal fat and protein with low incidences of cardiovascular disease. However as civilization marches on, more and more Inuit are turning to western diets with its attendant side effects.  Learn more about the Inuit diet here:

This guy called Morgan Spurlock made a documentary called Supersize Me by eating 5,000 calories from McDonalds per day.  I don't care where you get the 5,000 calories from, but if you consume 5,000 calories a day without exercising, you're going to gain weight.  Period.  This doesn't prove anything.  Ultra long distance cyclists subsist on M&M chocolate and Power Bars for the trip.  Does that mean such food is sustainable or optimal for healthy living?   While we're at it, how about Michael Phelps a US Olympic swimmer who eats 12,000 calories a day?  Anyone wager a guess what will happen if he eats like that during the off season when he's not training?

What does all this mean?  We have to eat sensible portions of healthy foods while avoiding or minimizing sugar and wheat.  Doing that while increasing our activity level is the recipe for weight loss and a sustainable plan for living.

You have to start learning more about foods and read food labels. Let me summarize it this way:

- There are no essential foods, only essential nutrients.

- Eat healthy animal saturated fats, protein and lastly carbohydrates.  In that order.  If meat is expensive where you live, eat lots of eggs.  Organic and free range where possible.  Consuming 3 eggs for a meal won't kill you.

- if you want to lose weight, eliminate all forms of wheat and sugar for 3 months. Once you reach your target weight, you can reintroduce them back into your diet if you want to.

- Eat these oils: fish oil, coconut oil, ghee, butter, olive oil.  Avoid hydrogenated oils of any sort.

- Eat red meat, white meat, all kinds of meat.  Its good for you.  Organic, free from antibiotics and growth hormones where possible.

- Eat only when hungry.  Don't eat just because society says you need to eat from this hour to this hour of the day.  Listen to your body.

- Exercise.  Be active.  Stay active.  Active doesn't mean running on a treadmill like a gerbil spinning on a wheel.  The human body was never designed to move at a steady state speed like a machine with repetitive motions in the pursuit of good form. Performing exercise like that is a recipe for repetitive stress injury.

- The body responds best exercising in a stochastic manner with peaks of intense, anaerobic periods followed by longer periods of aerobic exertion at a lower threshold.  The movements can be repetitive, but not steady state mixing up the tempo, with directional changes and frequent periods of rest in between.  It should feel like play and not work.  If it feels like work, it won't be sustainable.  Good sex is like this.

There have been many research studies which indicate that High Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) is more effective for fat loss than Steady State Exercise (SSE).  Here is just one of many:

Note the conclusion:
"HIIE three times per week for 15 weeks compared to the same frequency of SSE exercise was associated with significant reductions in total body fat, subcutaneous leg and trunk fat, and insulin resistance in young women."

- Find an exercise which allows you to have peaks of anaerobic effort with the majority of the time exerting the body at a high aerobic threshold.  The exercise should have a variety movements which may be repeating and entertaining so that it is sustainable.  Additional points if it strengthens muscles and provides a total body workout.  It is weight resistance training (moving the body or weight against the force of gravity) that strengthens bones, muscles and provides an aerobic workout.  Some suggestions for these types of workouts are:

- cycling (for transport or for sport with stretches or sprint intervals)

- if your area is not conducive to cycling on roads or you're not comfortable cycling on the streets, try a spinning class at a gym. Spinning classes vary posture, cadence, speed and resistance.

- Power walking. I define define power walking as walking very very (as fast as some people jog) or walking your normal speed with a weighted vest or backpack filled with water or tinned food.  Walking with weights and proper posture strengthens the legs, arms, back, lungs and heart without the impact damage of jogging.

- High intensity squash or badminton.  Unfortunately unless you are a good player, you won't be exerting yourself enough with squash or badminton. High intensity squash and badminton looks like this:

- Swimming

- Boxing\kickboxing. Here's why I do it:

- active dancing, including pole dancing.  Pole dancing is actually incredibly athletic if your interest lies in that direction.

- hiking.  Wear a backpack with food, water and supplies and hike for at least an hour 3 times a week.

Being active and losing excess weight will increase your fitness and increase your testosterone making you look and feel more attractive.  Boosting testosterone will assist muscle tone and your sex drive possibility eliminating the need for Viagra.  Need I say more?

I used to weigh 170 lbs...



  1. You have a lot to learn about obesity. Obesity is hellishly complex.

    Exercise and diet do NOT solve obesity unfortunately.

    In fact, the studies demonstrate exercise is extremely overrated for fat loss. Only good for one to two pounds.

  2. Razwell, if you read more of the blog, you would see I totally agree that exercise does not create sustainable weight loss. Exercising to lose weight is a myth : (

    Unless one has a hormonal issue, I think the chief issue why one becomes obese, is choice of diet. Exercise plays a much lesser role. For optimal health however, one needs to exercise.

    One could go on about Set Point theories for weight and obesity, but hey if you don't believe you can address obesity by the choices people make, then what hope is there? Carry on.