Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Conclusion

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

Previous posts:
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 1
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 3
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 4

Now that I have given you information from nearly half the book, I would like to encourage you to get this book for the whole story. It is loaded with much more information!
If you don't want to buy it, your library should have it. (If they don't, they still might be able to get it for you, just ask them.)

I would like to point out that there are many low-carb diets that many of us have heard of. I've tried the Suzanne Somers diet. She teaches the same concept as this book – that without insulin (from carbs), your body cannot store fat.
I really liked it and I did lose weight using her method, but it wasn't something I could stick with. I might have been eating lots of great things, but there is so much that you just can't have on this diet. The reason I failed was deprivation.
Diets like Atkins are not healthy because there are too many foods you can't have that your body needs.

For now, I am using coconut oil with everything I can and cooking with olive oil and butter.
I'm taking fish and flax seed oil supplements.
I'm eating as many of my carbs in their whole grain form as possible (I can't believe how good the 100% whole wheat pancakes were) and cutting down as much as I can on simple carbs.
Last but not least, I eat low-carb meals whenever I can. This may be 2-3 times a week and definitely when I'm eating buffet or breakfast at a restaurant. This is also helpful after eating too much the meal before.

Here's a little tip I used when on Weight Watchers that really helped when I read this book over Thanksgiving:
Buy a bottle of baby Tylenol liquid (brand doesn't matter). Empty the contents and wash it out. Fill it up with olive oil and carry it with you. Then when you're in a situation where your menu is out of your control and you know you're likely to overeat, use the little dropper to add olive oil to your food. It really helps curb your appetite (remember it's an MUFA). This was an excellent way of getting in the recommended 2 teaspoons.
Consider measuring to find out how many droppers it takes to make a teaspoon. I believe mine is 3 droppers full per teaspoon.

I'll leave you with a great recipe...
Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
This is THE best pancake recipe. Replace all the flour with whole wheat flour instead and add a tsp of vital wheat gluten (easily found in the flour section). Vital gluten improves the texture of recipes using whole wheat flour. Read more here: Vital Wheat Gluten
I like my pancake batter a little more runny so I add more milk.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weigh In Tuesday!

Last week I gained 1.2 lbs. This week I lost 1 lb.  I would really love to see 50 lbs lost very soon. I am only 2 lbs away!

Stop Dieting!

Quotes from the book I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna:

The common belief that eating is controllable has led us to expect people to "behave" or pay the price of public shame. But diets don't work: eating is not due to the lack of willpower. Eating, ultimately, is under the control of the brain.
In our world, where food is freely available, maintaining weight loss by dieting requires a continuous conscious effort to eat less. Like our inability to resist sleep, our brains will override our minds and make us eat. This is in the nature of any living organism where the brain dictates behavior.

Diets are the enemy of weight loss!

A diet is any system that attempts to exert external control over what, where, when, or how much you eat.

Whenever somebody comes up to tell me about the weight they've lost on this great new diet, I ask them to come back and tell me about it in six months' time. If they are still happy about their weight and their diet in six months I am ready to listen. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for anybody to come back.

The more diets people try and fail at, the more they convince themselves they will never be able to lose weight.

About his NON-Diet weight loss plan: The NON-Diet Way To Lose Weight

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 4

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

Previous posts:
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 1
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 3

This article is about fats. I would like to point out that this is a Weight Watcher Good Health Guideline. You are supposed to consume 2 teaspoons of healthy oil every day. This is WHY!

I'm going to quote the book here because he says it so well:
On Friday, January 14, 1977, Senator George McGovern announced the publication of the first Dietary Goals for the United States. He called them “the first comprehensive statement by any branch of the federal government on risk factors in the American diet.” It was also the first time the government had sent a message to all Americans that they could better their health by eating less fat. Their intention was to diminish the fat content of the diet from approx 40 percent, what it was at the time, to 30 percent. Although the Dietary Goals admitted the existence of a scientific dietary controversy regarding their sweeping recommendations, it was insisted that Americans had nothing to lose by following them.
The government was strikingly successful in achieving its objective. Current fat intake is about 30 percent of calories consumed. However, if one examines obesity statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control over the ensuing years, there has been a progressive rise in the number of obese children and adults. Adult and childhood obesity have more than doubled since the Dietary Goals were announced. This bears repeating: a 100 percent increase in obesity that correlated with a 10 percent decrease in fat content in the diet. Although calorie consumption has increased a bit, it alone cannot account for the obesity epidemic we are experiencing today.
Included in the most recent (2010) dietary recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are additional impassioned pleas to purge still more fat from our plates – recommendations inextricably linked with a reciprocal increase in carbohydrate calories in the diet. Given the soaring obesity rates, the committee that approves the recommendations must be thinking they haven't restricted fat enough to make us all thin.

Sounds to me like we can blame Senator George and his bad idea for a lot of these poor little kids who are seriously overweight. They even said in that ridiculous statement that there was scientific controversy regarding their recommendations and they STILL sent it out. Goodness!
Am I the only one who is bothered by the fact that they are still thinking that we should cut our fat intake even more?

Fat Is Good!!

Fat has many important functions as a nutrient. It is a concentrated source of energy and provides essential building blocks for the cells in the body. Fat is a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and it contains the essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). It is also needed by the body to support natural growth, and for the maintenance of healthy skin, reproduction, immune function and development of the brain and visual systems. Dietary fat also improves the taste and texture of food.

Different Kinds of Fats

There are different kinds of fat. One type of fat that should never be eaten because it is so damaging to your health is trans fat (aka partially hydrogenated oil). Your body can't tell the difference between healthy and bad fats and will use either one. Your body's cells are built using fat and when you consume bad fats, your body will use it anyway since it doesn’t see it as toxic. You can imagine the havoc this can cause for your body, being built with bad materials.

Animal Fats

Although he notes that animal fats should be minimized, he goes on to say that it has  nutritional benefits. It has the ability to raise your good cholesterol. Also, “it is one of the few ways to lower lipoprotein(a), a potent risk factor for heart disease – something that no medications currently on the market can accomplish.” That's really something!
I would agree that our animals have more fat than they should due to farmers fattening their animals on purpose and we probably get more on our steak than we should. However, I know that animal fat is good for us (as he stated). This is great news if you love bacon, sausage, juicy burgers and a big juicy steak – right?

Omega 6 and 3

I'm sure you've heard of the omegas. But do you know what they are and why you need them? Fish oil... flaxseed oil... blah, blah, blah.

Omega's are EFA, or essential fatty acids, meaning our body does not produce them and they have to be obtained from our food. They are essential and not consuming enough can cause all kinds of health problems.

Omega's need to be balanced. He says we should be getting a 1:1 ratio of omega 6 and 3. Unfortunately, we get a lot of 6 but not much 3. (Omega 6 sources include safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oil as well as nuts and seeds).
The reason people take fish oil is because the fats in fish is a good source of omega 3 fat. Other good sources of omega 3 are walnuts, flaxseed (especially flaxseed oil), deer and buffalo. Chicken, eggs and beef used to be good sources, but because most are grain fed instead of grass fed, they're not so much any more.

By the way – here are some symptoms of low omega 3 levels:
Fatigue, poor memory, immune weakness, dry skin, eczema, hair loss, heart problems, reproductive problems, mood swings or depression, poor circulation.


...Or monounsaturated fat is a very healthy kind of fat. It is a liquid at room temp and becomes solid when refrigerated. Olive oil is one example.

“MUFA's can speed up belly fat loss. In one study, dieters who consumed MUFA's lost 56 percent more central body fat than those on a low-fat diet. And this was accomplished without cutting calories or doing additional exercise! Findings in another study showed that a meal containing MUFA's enhanced fat-burning for the next five hours.”
How incredible is that?!

MUFA's help normalize blood sugar levels.

Good MUFA sources: Flax oil, olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts. Avocados, dark chocolate, olives. (No wonder Weight Watchers talk so much about eating almonds and really push the oil Good Health Guideline).

Coconut Oil

I am so excited about coconut oil. I have kept it on hand for a while now but didn't really use it. For one thing, I didn't really understand just how good it was for me, and another reason is my husband is allergic to coconut oil. He's allergic to a lot of things, but especially coconut oil. So I have to be careful when and how I use it.
Now that I have been using coconut oil, I literally have noticed being able to think more clearly. I'm sure there's more benefits that I haven't noticed as specific to coconut oil too.

Dr McCleary calls it a miracle oil. He says “Olive oil is good, but coconut oil is truly superb.”

Benefits include:
Increases metabolism
Stress relief
Improves cholesterol levels
Weight loss
Increased immunity
Improves digestion
Relieves problems in kidneys, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, cancer
Builds stronger bones
It is antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial
May treat Alzheimer’s disease
Treats candida

Read more about coconut oil in this article: Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

When farmers tried to use coconut oil to fatten their cows because it was inexpensive, the cows lost weight. I find this hilarious fact very helpful.

Note: Coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. Dr McCleary points out that not all saturated fats are the same. The lengths of the chains (blah, blah, blah) are the good kind. :)

Coconut oil is a bit pricey but well worth it since it is not only going to help you lose weight, but has many more health benefits than I listed here.

Bottom line: Add coconut oil to your shopping list, stop eating low-fat food as a habit and start eating fat to lose weight!!

Next post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly - Conclusion

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Weekend Eats... And Buffets

Weekends have always been the most difficult part of weight loss for me. As long as I watch my eating through the week, and don't gorge on junk food and dessert over the weekend, I can get by with some 'weekend eating'.

These are some of the ways I keep from sabatoging my efforts without feeling deprived:

  1. Make breakfast count. Eat those pancakes, just make sure you eat eggs or another good source of lean protein with them (better yet, BEFORE them).
  2. Plan for desserts. When visiting a friend, I sometimes take a weight friendly dessert with me. If I know they're going to serve my favorite cookies or brownies, I've taken a dessert like fat-free whipped topping and frozen fruit with me. It keeps me from over doing it on the desserts.
  3. Watch the carbs. Eat 1 pancake instead of 2 (or 2 instead of 3). Eat the fried chicken and pile on the veggies, but watch the roll - eat half of it if you can't avoid it altogether.
  4. Load up on veggies and fruit. Eating the green beans or salad first curbs my appetite making it easier to eat less of the rest of the meal.
  5. Eat between meals. Grab a weight loss friendly food before it's time to eat to curb your appetite.
  6. Make the buffet count! When you're in a situation (obviously out of your control) where your going to be eating buffet, there are two ways to look at it. I'll explain below.
  7. Remember your goal. You're working to change your eating habits. They have to be reasonable and long term changes. Changing your habits 5 days a week is not very helpful when you totally let go on the weekend. Weight gaining habits like eating 2 pieces of cake or 2 donuts isn't even an option for me. It just doesn't taste as good as thin feels. 
  8. And last but not least... Make up for botched efforts on Monday. I can't prove my little secret with any resource, however, I'm convinced this works. When they've served my favorite cookie and there was NO way I could eat any less than like... 17, and I completely messed up by eating all those yummy cookies, I eat a NO carb meal as many times in a row as I can after that. Usually just one meal, I'll eat no carbs for that meal and I swear it voids the cookies. I do NOT recommend this as a habit, rather as a way of making up when you have messed up.


Eating Buffet

Buffets pose a problem because you are unlimited, the foods are loaded with yummy fat and sugar, and because you feel you have to get your money's worth and end up over eating.
I have to decide between two ways to look at the buffet to avoid sabotaging my weight loss.

1) Limit fat and control my portions.
2) Eat as much as I wanted of low/no carb foods. (I explain this concept in this series)

Last time at KFC, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pass on the biscuits and dessert but I figured I stood a better chance eating more (option 2) because of the buffet mentality I have. I started out with chicken, coleslaw, green beans and a pickle and worried that I wouldn't be able to pass up the 'good stuff' (mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits, hot apple pie...). After my first plate though, I wasn't nearly as hungry and avoiding carbs wasn't nearly as difficult.

Do your best on the weekends and please... let me know how you did and what worked for you.

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 3

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

Previous posts in this series:
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 1
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2

The Difference in Carbs

After eating, glucose levels rise, insulin levels also rise to process the glucose and store fat for use between meals. This design keeps us from needing to eat constantly and gives us energy to run or be active when we need to.
Once the glucose is taken care of, insulin goes back down and your body starts burning fat for energy until you eat again. Well, that's what's supposed to happen...

When we eat refined carbs, they are rapidly absorbed, causing insulin levels to spike. What goes up must come down, and the higher it goes, the longer it takes to come back down. Your glucose ends up coming back down before your insulin can and since your insulin is still very high, your body can't access stored fat so.... you feel hungry again. Your brain is telling you it needs more food/energy.
Note: The brain is in control of your appetite. Cravings, hunger, the munchies... these are messages from your brain.

Ideally your meals should include a small amount of complex carbs that are high in fiber. Fiber causes the glucose to release slower, avoiding the insulin spike. Most of the time though, our meals include quite a bit of carbs (sometimes they're almost completely carbs) most of which are simple or refined. Not only are simple carbs making us fat, they require nutrients from our body to be processed, bringing our health down as well.

In an example where two people ate the same number of calories, one ate good carbs and fat (i.e. nuts, oil, yogurt, fruit), the other ate mostly processed carbs (i.e. cereal, toast, juice).
By 10:30 the first example would be in fat burning mode.
The person in the second example begins to feel hungry at 10:30. Their insulin is still coming down and now they need another energy source because their stored fat is inaccessible (because insulin is present).

You'll know a bad carb when you see it, because it will include ingredients like these:
White flour
White rice

Examples of bad carbs: white bread, cereal, bagels, pasta, chips, cake, cookies, donuts, pastries, soda, etc.

Examples of good carbs: whole grains and foods made from them (bread, cereal, pasta), fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and beans

FYI - Only 100% whole wheat is 100% whole wheat. Marketing techniques include using words like wheat, multi-grain, and whole grain to make it sound healthy. If it doesn't say 100% whole wheat, it is only partially made using whole grain.

I recommend researching and trying whole grains you've never tried before. Ever heard of quinoa? Try this Guide to Whole Grains

Next post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 4

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Weigh-In Tuesday!

I lost 1.6 pounds this week.

Have you considered blogging or journaling your weight loss efforts? It is really neat to go back and see the difference in the way I thought at the beginning and see how I changed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

Previous post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly - Part 1

5 Diets Compared

Studies were done on five different ways of eating. These studies were conducted by various people and he was able to use their results to show us some very interesting concepts. The results were actually very interesting.

1) Calorie-restricted, Low-fat Diet
    Diet consisted of about 57% carbs, 17% fat, 25% protein – 1570 calories
    The goal of this study was to document the psychological response
    to low-cal diets.
    Participants lost about a pound per week.
    They constantly thought about food and complained of being cold.

2) Calorie-restricted, Higher-fat Diet
    Consisted of 25% carbs, 60% fat, 15% protein – 1850 calories
    Lost 1-2 pounds per week
    Never felt hungry

3) Total Starvation Diet
    Consumed water but no food
    Calories burned – 70% from fat cells, 30% from muscle breakdown and glucose
    After a few days – no hunger or food cravings, weight loss

4) Cruise Ship Diet
    Typically about 50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein – 4500 calories
    Weight gain
    Eat large meals, frequent hunger

5) Typical American Diet
    Typically about 55% carbs, 30% fat, 15% protein – approx 2500 calories
    Like diet #1 but with more calories
    Typically full of bad carbs and low in good fats, proteins, and fiber
    Typically overweight
    Frequent hunger

Understanding the concepts:

Metabolic rate. When your brain thinks it's starving, one of its first responses is to lower your metabolic rate to burn less calories. This also makes you feel cold. Sometimes your brain thinks you are starving when you are not.

Internal vs external energy source. Food is your external source of energy. Stored fat is your internal source. Your brain tells your body when to use the internal source or makes you hungry when you need an external source. Sometimes your body is unable to access your internal energy.

Calories are not all the same. You would think that eating more (cruise ship diet) would make you less hungry and eating less (starvation diet) would make you more hungry. But your body responds differently to different types of calories – the higher fat-to-carb ratio diet results in less hunger.

In the calorie reduced diet, the metabolism drops and the body is not able to access internal fat stores because of elevated insulin from carbs.

In the higher-fat diet, fat provides satiety (keeps you full longer). Less carbs results in the body accessing stored fat.

The purpose of the starvation diet was used to show the brains response to no food at all. Insulin levels drop, fat cells become accessible and even though you're not eating, you don't get hungry (hunger is a brain response).

The most interesting part of this diet comparison is that the type of “cruise ship diet” that we've all experienced at some point doesn't make you less hungry. You're eating way more than you usually would, but you're just as hungry or more so!
The types of carbs you are eating cause your insulin to shoot through the roof, you're stuck in a persistent fat storing mode and never able to access stored fat, creating frequent hunger.

Bottom line:
Eating more doesn't make you less hungry, eating less isn't what makes you more hungry. It is the kind of foods you eat that determines how much you will need and how long it will keep you full.

Next post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly - Part 3

Friday, February 10, 2012

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 1

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

The world of medical and natural remedies seem to be nearly enemies. Medical doctors are threatened by the bodies ability to heal itself, especially with the aid of nutrition, herbs and supplements. They lose money when people heal themselves naturally.

I love that this author was a medical doctor first and discovered something natural while tending to his patients. Instead of throwing it out because he couldn't make money off his new theory, he cared enough about you and I to look into it, prove it and write a book about it. I respect that a lot.

That being said, I've been very excited to share what he has taught me with you. I read this book, and although I know you will benefit more from reading it, I'll give you the general idea.

Fat Storage and Insulin

Fat storage is our built in pantry that allows us to survive under dire circumstances. On fat cells there is a “switch” that determines whether fat flows in or out. Insulin regulates the  “switch”.

After eating, insulin puts your body in fat storage mode to store it for later use. As insulin falls, the cells switch to fat burning mode and our body uses the fat for energy between meals.

Because of the food we eat, we are stuck in persistent fat storing mode. When insulin levels remain elevated, our body can't use the fat in the fat cells so we have to eat again for more energy. That is what he calls 'sticky' fat cells – they get stuck in fat storing mode, and keep getting bigger and bigger.

Insulin has two roles. It also regulates blood sugar – glucose. The more glucose that enters the blood, the more insulin is required to regulate it. Refined carbohydrates require excessive amounts of insulin. Unfortunately, while your body is trying to process the glucose, it is also keeping your fat cells from releasing fat to be used as energy.

In a nut shell...
More carbs = higher insulin. High insulin = locked fat cells. Locked fat cells (internal energy source) = requiring an external energy source (more food).

The problem - we eat too many carbs, the wrong kinds of carbs and our body can't use the energy (fat) it stored.

The good news - without the presence of insulin, your body cannot store fat.

Next post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Skinny Habit: Breakfast

Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are healthier and more likely to lose weight. Excuses for not eating breakfast like “I'm not hungry”, “I don't have time” and “I don't like breakfast foods” do not make breakfast any less important.

These are facts, proven by research.

Here are some quotes by respected experts on the subject:

"People who skip breakfast altogether are 450 percent more likely to become overweight," - David Zinczenko, Author of Eat This, Not That
Research results in his words

Women who don't eat breakfast are four and a half times more likely to be obese than women who do.” - Jillian Michaels, fitness expert, author of Master Your Metabolism

Skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity.” - Katherine Zeratsky, nutritionist

"Breakfast skippers set themselves up for failure." - Milton Stokes, dietician

Skipping breakfast, after fasting for 16 hours, causes your body to rely on adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline is the fight or flight hormone that gives your body energy in a crisis, however adrenaline causes stress to your body and depletes it further of its resources. This is damaging to your body.
Cortisol is high in the morning. It increases energy by breaking down body tissue. If you don't eat breakfast, cortisol increases. When this hormone is elevated for too long, it also is very damaging to our bodies. Apparently this not only causes soft round tummies but increases stress AND causes brain cell damage too (which might be why you're still not eating breakfast :).
More information on cortisol from

Not eating breakfast creates unstable blood sugar causing greater hunger later, resulting in overeating at lunch and dinner. 

And naturally, if I don’t eat when I get hungry – then by the afternoon I'm so preoccupied wanting food, my eating is out of control. I grab the first food in sight (often nothing nutritious) and guzzle it down. From Ditch Diets Live Light

You're putting yourself into starvation mode (your body is hanging on to fat – a natural response built in for times when your next meal is unknown) your body is more likely to hang on to what you eat.
I read somewhere that starvation mode is a myth so I've posted an excerpt from a book written by a neurosurgeon who suggests otherwise.
She Eats Like a Bird and Still Gains Weight!

Research shows that eating breakfast results in overall less calorie and fat intake throughout the day.

By the way – for those who aren't hungry in the morning, I found this (annoying yet helpful) article interesting:

No appetite or no desire for food in the morning is a sign of excess cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. What this means is that your body is holding so much stress that it was not able to recover effectively throughout the night. Your hectic or stress-driven lifestyle - or just too many coffees - has charged you up so well throughout the day that your body was unable to release 'winding down' hormones at night.
From Why You're Not Hungry In The Morning

Make breakfast count by including nourishing foods such as fruits, veggies, and foods high in protein and fiber.

Eating high carb foods like sugary cereals, bagels, pancakes or donuts are likely to cause a blood sugar crash later resulting in cravings, feeling tired and eating too much.

Suggested reading:

Don't let the words like vegan and sprouting scare you off. This article has some valuable advice:
Eat This Not That: Breakfast Edition
(Not to be confused with David Zinczenko's Eat This Not That)

Healthy Breakfast Ideas (WebMD)
(Note: I do not recommend eating unnatural foods such as products made from soy and egg substitutes as a habit.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

She Eats Like a Bird and Still Gains Weight!

Excerpt from neurosurgeon Larry McLeary, MD's book Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly:

Can this really happen? And if so, how can it possibly be explained? Let's see if we can make sense of this scenario using some of the principles discussed earlier.

If we haven't eaten in a while, hunger intensifies because the brain senses an impending food shortage. When insulin levels remain high, preventing us from accessing the fat stored in our bellies, this can also increase appetite. One occurs because of a shortage of “external” calories (food) and the other from a shortage of “internal” calories (stored fat).

If such conditions persist, the brain reacts by slowing down the rate at which calories are burned. This is what happens when people describe having a slow metabolism. It is how the body goes into “starvation mode,” which allows it to survive longer using its fat stores. It was this process that allowed Helen Klaben and Ralph Flores to successfully endure their harrowing plan crash discussed in chapter 1. However, while a slower metabolism allows us to survive for a longer time when we are starving, it also means that it takes longer to burn fat and lose weight while dieting.

We are all familiar with people who ostensibly eat very few calories, are hungry all the time, and, in spite of this, gain weight. Whenever I was confronted with this scenario in the past, I found it difficult to believe. As a matter of fact, my initial reaction was that they were eating much more than they thought and that was the logical explanation for their weight gain.

We now have the tools to postulate another mechanism to explain how it might happen. Imagine someone eating a reduced calorie diet to lose weight. At first the pounds come off. Then a weight-loss plateau frequently occurs. One explanation for this is that the metabolic rate has slowed down and the number of calories being consumed just matches the number being burned - now a smaller number per day because of the slower metabolism.

To start the weight-loss process again, even fewer calories must be consumed. After a while the metabolism slows further and weight loss again sputters. The cycle must be repeated with even fewer calories. This is frequently how birdlike diets are initiated.

Now consider being on this type of diet and, in addition, mostly consume foods that repeatedly spike insulin levels. These are bread, cookies, soda pop, and other other comfort-type foods that will cause the calories being consumed to go directly to fat cells where they are stored rather than burned (because of the insulin spikes). In this example, if the number of calories being consumed is about 1,600 and 200 of them end up being locked in fat cells, it is really equivalent to eating only 1,400 calories since that is what the body has available to use.

That is truly eating like a bird – a starving bird. Under these circumstances, metabolism slows drastically, possibly to the point where the body is burning only 1,400 calories in a twenty-four-hour period. This would mean that 200 calories are being stored each day, a situation in which weight is being gained while eating like a bird!

Hence, by restricting calories and making wrong food choices, two things happen: metabolism slows, and we starve internally (meaning we store calories in fat cells where they are locked up and become inaccessible). Together, these conspire to enable us to store fat, gain weight, feel constantly hungry, and do so while on a starvation diet!

How is this situation to be avoided? First, don't start out by cutting calories. This merely serves as a signal for your metabolism to slow. Second, prevent the body from sending what you eat to fat cells for storage. The way to achieve this is by choosing foods that keep insulin levels low – slow-release carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. When you do this, your body makes the transition from burning external calories to burning internal calories – your fat stores. The result is that metabolism doesn't slow down, hunger doesn't develop, and fat cells shrink. This is what must be accomplished if weight loss is to be achieved.

If you know someone in this situation, do them a favor and tell them what to do about it.

Taken from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McLeary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weigh-In Tuesday!

Lost .4 pounds this week. Not a gain. I'll take it!

Let me know if you weighed in today. (You don't have to post your weight. ;)

Why I weigh in on Tuesdays

Think Long Term

Something that seriously bothered me while at Weight Watchers - they constantly remind you that people who stop going to the meetings are not very likely to keep the weight off. Does this seem like a problem to anyone?
I'm positive that the reason it doesn't work after you quit Weight Watchers is because you didn't understand WHY it worked. I understand why it works and that is why I'm writing this blog for you.

Your weight loss efforts have got to be ones that are doable long term. You can't lose weight fast and expect to keep it off because those methods are not sustainable. If you can't quit eating donuts for the rest of your life, then you've got to find a way to put donuts in your weight loss plans. (Like once every 6 months maybe? :)

Can you restrict calories for the rest of your life? Can you follow a no carb or low carb diet the rest of your life? How about that HCG diet where you eat 500 calories and take a pregnancy hormone - can you do that longer than.... a month?

I saw an article yesterday about Jonah Hill losing weight. I wanted to see how he had lost weight. He said that he went to a dietician who told him how to eat right. Well that's boring. Or is it? That makes sense. He changed his eating habits and lost weight.
He said "I just had a moment in my life where I said I wanted to become a man." :)

There's plenty of ways to lose weight, but if you want to maintain that weight loss, you have got to change the habits that are creating weight gain.

Do this today: Go through your kitchen and pantry and get rid of 'fat' foods. Get rid of junk foods, sugary cereals, high cal, high sugar, low fiber, high fat foods. Clean up your food supply and try to keep it that way. Don't shop hungry and avoid buying those things.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Superbowl Eats

Hot wings - deep fried then rolled in butter... with ranch. Cheesy nachos and beef. Potato chips and dip. Butterscotch cream cheese dessert loaded with calories and deliciousness. AND.... donuts - deep fried then rolled in margarine and sugar.

That is what was on MY superbowl menu. I'd bet it wasn't the worst of the menus around though.

I'd have to say, I think I did pretty well considering. Feeling deprived wasn't an option and I would be eating the 'good stuff' so here is what I did:
  1. Made hummus. I love hummus! It is a delicious snack food and is loaded with protein, fiber and nutrients. It helps that I really don't care for the taste of nachos made from Velveeta so passing on them wasn't too difficult, but hummus was a good stand in. I didn't limit myself on the hummus. The more hummus I ate, the less I would eat of all the other stuff. I ate about 2 tablespoons (2 servings) with tortilla chips.
  2. When it came to chicken wings, I tried to limit myself. I ate four. I made sure to eat plenty of celery (and one red bell pepper slice) with it. Every bite of veggies equals less of the fattening things I was eating.
  3. I made bread. I've got this recipe that is super quick, no kneading, loaded with everything good and nutritious. I made this whole wheat bread with lots of fiber to help fill me up. I served it with margarine and most of it was gone at the end of the day.
So, adding veggies and snack foods that were delicious as well as high in protein and fiber was really helpful to my Superbowl eating.

I am actually still surprised that I was able to eat as well as I did. I guess we'll see just how well it really was, on the scales. :)

BTW - I do NOT recommend eating margarine. I bought it to make the donuts and it was convenient to serve with the bread as well. It is more damaging to your health than you can imagine. I plan to cover the topic soon in a post about eating fat to lose weight.

You guys haven't had good bread until you've tried this recipe:
Healthy Bread in Five on YouTube
Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

(Note: I use regular salt. Vital wheat gluten is easy to find - look next to the flour at Walmart.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quick Update - Tips

I love a post I did in July last year about breakfast. Why say it again, when this post says it so well?

Exciting news - we are now proud owners of a Berkey water filter! Why is this such good news? Because we have never had a permanent water filtering solution before now. Drinking water is such an important part of weight loss and being healthy. I am ecstatic that I will now have an unlimited water supply and no more hang ups about drinking water. I expect this to really boost my weight loss efforts!

I've been considering portions. Being on Weight Watchers taught me about proper portions. Before that, I ate whatever, whenever (as I mentioned in my first blog post). For now, don't worry too much about eating a lot less. You don't have to eat a lot less when you eat the right kinds of food (protein/fiber = weight down  fat/carbs = weight up).
Changing the way I think about food has created the most success. I used to see food as fun and tasty. Now I realize that I want to lose weight more than I want to eat unlimited amounts of fun tasty food.
I eat just about anything. I just eat as little of the waist/butt builders as I can manage.
In this post about the first day I weighed in, I remember I was eating a lot of food. It surprised me that I could eat so much food, as long as I ate the right ones, and still lose weight. I thought I had to eat less, be hungry, and feel deprived to lose weight.
You're supposed to try to eat half your weight in grams of protein everyday. I've never figured out how to track protein easily, but the days I looked at how much I had eaten, I wasn't getting near that much.

Check food labels to know the actual serving sizes.

Buy a food scale. I know it's a bit of an expense but not only is it a lot of fun using a food scale but a BIG help when you're losing weight. Some people use measuring cups. That would have defeated me. I used my food scale for everything - especially cereal and milk. The grams or ounces are right on the box making it easy to see how much to pour.

Think about...
Your body cannot store fat without the presence of insulin (from carbs).