Archive for category diet

20 Fitness Tips From Some Experts

looks like Arnold did squats too

looks like Arnold did squats too

the pain shows, doesn't it?

the pain shows, doesn’t it?

This article sounded questionable, when I clicked on it. But it has many familiar suggestions that I agree with, and it also leads to decent videos and other short articles. So check it out. I was especially interested to read that squats are better than crunches for building abs, and that sleep plus decreased carbohydrates should reduce female belly fat.

Let’s hope these ideas will work. I am going to do some squats right now—just after two hours of evening tennis—to get in shape for two more hours of tennis tomorrow morning.

tips for squats

tips for squats

are squats better than crunches?

are squats better than crunches?

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Amy Serfass’s Fitness Camp For Women

Amy Serfass (left) leads her Booty Camp

I met Amy Serfass at a Tough Mudder obstacle course she was traversing and wrote about her abs. Now it’s Amy’s turn to write about her views on fitness, diet and health and especially her group training program for women.

Ladies—Make group training your new gym membership and avoid becoming an overweight statistic.

Two thirds of women are trying to lose weight at any given time, but 64% of women are still overweight and unhappy, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention). Even if you’re not in the fitness industry, the average female acknowledges obesity is on the rise and, in-fact; more women (35%) are obese compared to men (32%). This had me thinking. What is truly keeping women from working out? I polled fellow females and found these common reasons:

Amy is always ready to get tough with her ladies

1. I don’t have time – #1 reason!!!
2. I don’t have anyone to exercise with
3. I don’t feel comfortable working out at a traditional box gym
4. I don’t know where to begin or what to do
5. I don’t have any motivation or energy

I got into this industry and became a certified personal trainer because I wanted to help women from becoming an overweight statistic. I wanted to motivate them to exercise while making them feel better about themselves and their bodies. That’s why I decided to specialize in women and weight loss and create group training experiences specifically for females.

Group training for women provides a platform to meet other females with similar health and fitness goals. In a group setting, you find the energy and motivation that one-on-one training can’t always provide. It eliminates the need to know where to begin or what to do, because you’re following a professional that has your best interests in mind. Group training also reduces the risk of boredom, helps you avoid exercise plateaus, and provides much needed exercise variety to keep you coming back.

Most importantly, you are part of a positive community, creating lifelong friendships, and accomplishing goals you never thought possible. I have had clients complete their first 5k together, their first mud/obstacle run, organize marathon parties, or attend social events as a unit. All of these events have been accomplished from meeting other females at a group fitness program dedicated just for women.

Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight is not just about fitness. Weight loss is at least 80% nutrition, 20% fitness. With my group training program, known as Amy’s Booty Camp, I focus on nutrition by providing guidance from a certified nutritionist. Members are also required to log their food, which keeps them accountable and disciplined. One rule of thumb is cutting carbohydrates past 3pm. It’s necessary to have good carbohydrates in your diet, such as whole grains, because they act as your immediate source of energy for the body. Your brain uses about 450 calories of carbohydrates every day. However, if eaten in excessive amounts, the body changes them into fats and stores them in that form. By eating good carbohydrates before 3pm you allow your body more time to burn them off, so they are less likely to be stored as fat.

Offering nutrition expertise while working out at least 2 days per week has led one female to lose 27 lbs and 14.5 total inches in just 2 months with Amy’s Booty Camp!

group support helps the inches disappear

Many of us feel that we don’t have time to work out. The women in Booty Camp MAKE the time to commit because they are unable to get the results on their own. Booty Camp also provides personal time away from work, family, and the daily stresses of life. By making the class fun, friendly, and full of variety, I am able to keep members continually enrolled. Booty Camp is also for the early risers. We train two days per week for 5 weeks at 6:15 am for an hour. Statistics show that 90% of people who work out in the morning stick to their exercise routines.

After each 5-week Booty Camp program, we take no more than one week off before starting the program over again. I stay in touch with the ladies via email and Facebook during their week off, continually offering them healthy tips and guidance to stay connected and keep them motivated. The program runs exclusively in the Upper East Side area of New York City at a studio on 67th Street & 3rd Avenue.

For more information on my growing Booty Camp program please visit my web site.

Amy Serfass
NASM Certified (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
Master Trainer at Australian Institute of Fitness

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TV Anchor Jennifer Livingston’s Obesity Creates Ruckus

Here is a story about a woman who works out 2-3 times a week, runs in triathlons and 5k races, and is still overweight, called fat, and measures as obese. Her husband said it’s due to a thyroid condition.

But Jennifer Livingston is also a TV morning show news anchor who received a letter criticizing her as a poor role model for the community. She fought back by reading the letter on air and damning the writer’s insensitive bullying. Her actions went viral and national, so here is an ABC segment in which she is quoted and interviewed.

One person who commented on line and defended the letter writer had this to say: “…don’t hide behind bullying, this man is not bullying you, he is just asking you to do something about your excess weight. GIVE UP A FEW BURGERS AND CUT THE CHEESE. START MOVING JENNIFER!”

Oh how confusing life is. How it looks so different to people watching from various angles. I have to admit that I believe one can lose weight by eating less. Exercise can help burn off calories as well. But that doesn’t mean the exercise doesn’t also increase your appetite, and that for some people it’s seemingly impossible to not have the cheese and to skip the dessert. What do you think?

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325 Continuous Days Of Exercise

When I do my 10 minutes of exercise tonight, it will be the 325th day in a row. I am already wondering if I will stop at 365, go for 400, or do it forever? After an evening of tennis, when I was working too actively to exercise before the games, I come home and relax for an hour or two, before I can make myself exercise. Then I eat after 11 pm or so. Not healthy. But I played/practiced tennis six out of seven days from September 18-24. I was tired. Cramming in exercise was NOT easy. Yet I did it.

I have proven to myself and anyone who knows about this challenge that I can be disciplined enough to exercise daily no matter where I am in the world, no matter what the day’s events and demands. At this point, it’s still a source of pride that I made it this far, but it’s also a simple fact. It was the new me before. It’s who I have become at present.

Now my daughter came home for the weekend and brought creamy cheeses like brie and St. Andre. I ate those high-cholesterol bites with great pleasure. Then she made some chocolate sauce with much butter and maple syrup. I ate it on one spoonful of ice cream with extraordinary delight. She is a bad bad influence. I think it would be hopeless to avoid those unhealthy, fattening foods (for me) if she lived here. My secret is to not have the food in the house.

I did see a friend in Manhattan last week who has lost 15 pounds and is walking each day with Heavy Hands. He looks great, is walking more briskly and his posture has improved. He gives my fitness efforts some credit for reminding him to lose weight. His girl friend sees some tone in his arms, and he is feeling better…we all do it whenever we do…if we ever do.

At a dinner party recently with people in their 50’s and 60’s, there was lots of talk about limbs that didn’t work, backs that had been operated on, illnesses that were affecting life styles. I know lots of good health is dumb luck, some genetic proteins that work better, and being blessed by circumstances (like clean water and anti-biotics). While I can play and move, I will. I just won’t brag about it to anyone over 50. Too antagonistic…though it shouldn’t be. I’d rather be an inspiration than a source of depression and resentment. Oh well.

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Obvious Secrets For Living Longer With Minimal Illness

Here’s another Gretchen Reynolds article about the benefits of fitness into old age. The comments are good and predictable too…over 200 of them with first-hand advice. Of course the real goal is to not just live longer, but to delay or minimize infirmity in old age. Middle age fitness helps you do that. Below are some excerpts.

A new study suggests that being or becoming fit in middle age, even if you haven’t previously bothered with exercise, appears to reshape the landscape of aging.

Those adults who had been the least fit at the time of their middle-age checkup also were the most likely to have developed any of eight serious or chronic conditions early in the aging process. These include heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and colon or lung cancer.

The adults who’d been the most fit in their 40s and 50s often developed many of the same conditions, but notably their maladies appeared significantly later in life than for the less fit. Typically, the most aerobically fit people lived with chronic illnesses in the final five years of their lives, instead of the final 10, 15 or even 20 years.

Being physically fit “compresses the time” that someone is likely to spend being debilitated during old age, leaving the earlier post-retirement years free of serious illness and, at least potentially, imbued with a finer quality of life.

Interestingly, the effects of fitness in this study statistically were greater in terms of delaying illness than in prolonging life. While those in the fittest group did tend to live longer than the least fit, perhaps more important was the fact that they were even more likely to live well during more of their older years.

Two Comments:

* ellen
* L.A., CA

This time of life offers so much. If you’re lucky enough to be retired it’s certainly easier. However, having said that, when I turned 50 I made a deal with myself that I would exercise every day. I got to say how much, though. Some days it was 5 minutes, some days an hour. Little by little I got to feel so much better that now I do pilates (at home) for about a half hour and then I walk for about 45 minutes. I eat the paleo diet and, at 63, I can tell you I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life. I have more energy. I have no aches and pains. I kayak and dance, and do art. I’m very lucky to be living this life. I’m also very devoted to making the most of it. Oh yes, I take NO MEDS. I’m hoping to live and long and healthy life. But more than hope, I’m working for it. My body is there for me every day. The least I can do is give it a hand. Start small and trust that it will build. You get to like it after a while, Honest. It’s become so much a part of my life now that on a day I might no get to do my walk, say, I miss it terribly.

* RS Close
* Ventura County, CA

Just the realization that living longer is not the goal, but living better is what happens to someone who exercises should be enough evidence to encourage people to move their bodies. I have been taking workout classes for years. Now, I am 71. I do spinning classes 4X week, at least walk or hike on each of the other days…..I am NEVER sick….I do not take medications…I do take vitamins and supplements…..I have all of my original body parts and best of all….my friends are much younger and lots of fun….people my own age are all falling apart. I also eat a very healthy, almost all organic diet and cook most nights…nothing elaborate, but careful planning…it takes focus but it is well worth the results. Hope more people pay attention to the important findings in the article!

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We See This Guy On TV Alot

do you recognize him?

He’s got a pretty good set of abs and body in general…right? But there is something very unusual about him. His name is Jeff Life, and he is a 72-year-old doctor. See him working out below, something he does at least six times a week in the gym.

In an LA Times article , it says his regimen includes hard cardio, heavy weights pushed to the max, martial arts, Pilates, a strict low-glycemic carb diet and lots of supplements. It has also, for the last seven years, been hormonally enhanced by a program that includes testosterone and human growth hormone—a therapy Life views as entirely appropriate, even necessary despite the medical evidence questioning both its effectiveness and safety…

Like most people, Life didn’t give a thought to his testosterone level, his HGH or his fitness as he built his career as a family practice doctor in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. A lapsed Masters swimmer who became inactive in his mid 40s, the father of five became fat and borderline diabetic—”a typical stressed-out middle-aged doctor who ate, drank and didn’t practice what he preached. It was years and years of sloth.”

Dr. Jeff Life–2010

That changed the day Life, then 60, picked up Muscle Media magazine and read about “the Challenge,” a 12-week, before-and-after fitness contest. His competitive fires lighted, Life sent in his before photo and hit the gym.

Three months later, he’d dropped 25 pounds, cut his body fat from 28% to 10%, got genuinely ripped and was named one of the contest’s 1999 “Body for Life” 10 grand champions…

But by age 64, Life found himself shrinking.

His muscles didn’t respond to workouts like they did a few years before. Abdominal fat started piling up. He began feeling mildly depressed. And he wasn’t waking with an erection as often as he used to.

It was a condition he would soon know as andropause, the insidious creep of declining testosterone.

It was time for his second epiphany—and the photo that would change everything…

the whole Dr. Jeffrey Life

Dr. Jeff's ad for the company he works with

In June 2003, Life became a Cenegenics patient, ultimately taking daily shots of HGH along with once-a-week testosterone shots, a regimen he still maintains.

“I could feel the difference quickly. Clarity of thought, a new, sharper focus, increased sexual function, bigger muscles.” He was so impressed that he packed up, moved to Las Vegas and joined the company.

After six months of seeing clients, Life had an idea to keep them motivated: Show them his body.

“They needed to know that I walked the walk.”

That might have been the end of the story—until a year later, when a writer from GQ magazine, in to do an anti-aging story, walked by Life’s office. His eyes bugged out at the sight of the glossy 8 by 11 of the buffed, bald, jeans-wearing guy hanging on the wall.

The shot ended up in his article in the January 2006 issue of GQ….Now it’s been seen by millions. An old, bald head on the young beefcake body. The claim is that this is not digitally modified. Whats your reaction?

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I Should Have Eaten More Steak!

These were the first words said by a woman who just found out she had incurable cancer and was going to die soon: “I should have eaten more steak!” Seven months later, she was gone…

I heard this anecdote from a friend who knows the widower. My friend (let’s call him Goliath, or G for short) and I were discussing mortality, health, and discipline. G often comments how disciplined I am to avoid foods with cholesterol. I often remind him how I used to eat half a pint of ice cream with chocolate syrup almost every night. Then my cholesterol rose to heart-attack-warning levels, so I gave it up. Eat a lot of sorbet now, almost no cheese, fat-free yogurt, soy milk and olive oil instead of more delicious butter. Now my cholesterol is down. Hopefully I will live longer and more healthfully.

Do I miss those foods. Sometimes, for sure. But knowing they are bad for me, I usually am just fine without them. If I suddenly learn that I will be dead in a few months or days, I don’t think it will bother me that I modified my diet and exercised more to stay healthy, fit, and enjoying these later years. But that’s me.

I remember a smoker saying that he is likely to live just 6 or 7 years less than a non-smoker. “Worth it,” he pronounced. Of course his addictions were no comparison to my giving up butter. But it’s all a balance, G and I decided. What if you live 10 years in good health, rather than 20 years in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices?

Of course you could die tomorrow in an accident. In that case you wouldn’t have time to regret having avoided harmful foods and life style. But working out the balance is quite confronting. Why earn more money for older age and health costs, if you think you will die in a year? Why stay fit and flexible? Why not cheat on your wife or husband? Why spend time helping out friends and supporting unemployed children? Do whatever you want!

It’s almost impossible to live solely for the moment, in spite of movies and novels starring glamorous, smiling hedonists. But is it really tempting to you?

When I was working at my own publishing company in the early years, I was newly divorced and wanted to be as stabilizing as possible for my two little girls. When they had summer and holiday vacations, I took huge amounts of time off, regardless of the business consequences. One year I was with the girls 104 days, including 26 weekends (52 of the days). Of course I felt guilty at first, but then I would tell myself that if any of my staff members complained, I would say I only had six months to live. That would justify the time away, I reasoned. In their minds as well as mine.

So I am familiar with that confrontation of how much we…I…should watch the diet, be responsible, do good deeds, exercise, say NO to another beer, another shirt, another vacation.
We each have to work it out, and it a challenge every time we look at a menu, open the freezer, hear about a friend’s trip to Bora Bora, see a friend divorce his wife of decades and become the playboy of the suburban world.

Good luck with your choices. And may the Force of long, healthy life be with you…

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90 Stories Of Weight Losers

Ryan Norton at 305 pounds—1/15/2012

Just bumped into a slide show (at bottom of the page of this link) of 90 people who lost weight, showing the before and after pictures. Amazing. Also included are the stories of how they gained and lost weight and what it took to finally start dropping the pounds. Pretty inspirational. Check ’em out And here are photos from one of the stories by an ex-marine who lost 74 pounds when his buddies forced him to prepare for a Tough Mudder obstacle course challenge that I have mentioned in an earlier post .

Ryan at 231 in the Tough Mudder—Summer 2012

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Future Benefits For Healthy Eaters?

Was talking to the owner of the B&B I stayed at in Newport. A slightly overweight guy who cooks and serves guests Eggs Benedict and pancakes with fruit in them made with strange flours. He admits that he loves to eat (“look at all the great food here”) and that he can’t stop himself. His stomach seems to have no “I’m Full” feeling. And there I was eating leftovers for breakfast I couldn’t finish from my dinner the night before.

As long as we were talking about eating, I brought up all the people we’d been seeing in the streets and tennis stands who were grossly overweight. I’d been talking with friends about how people should take some responsibility for their obesity, especially when they don’t buy health insurance, use the emergency rooms for free, and raise the premiums of those who do buy insurance.

The innkeeper was reasonable. “People like me should pay higher taxes or premiums. We need new laws. Even constitutional amendments.” But that will take decades, I told him. He said it’s in the new health care law. Not sure he is right. But one good thing about going bankrupt…it forces you to change your spending habits for sure. If you are a good driver, you get a premium discount. Same if you don’t smoke. So shouldn’t fit and healthy people pay less than those who abuse their bodies and ignore good health?

Food for thought!

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Fitness Trainer Drew Manning Gained 70 Pounds On Purpose

Fitness Trainer Drew Manning gained weight (middle) and then lost it (right) to better understand his clients

Here are excerpts from a story about a fitness trainer who gained 70 pounds on purpose (then lost it) to better understand what his clients go through. His journey allowed him to empathize more with his clients and suggest new ways to become fit.

Always a fitness junkie, staying in shape comes naturally for Drew Manning. He’s that guy at the gym the rest of us love to hate. But his wife says he was a “judgmental” trainer who would look at someone who was overweight and say, ‘They must really be lazy.’ ”

In order to better understand the struggles his clients were facing, he had to face them himself. He gave up the gym and started consuming junk food, fast food and soda. In just six months, he went from 193 pounds with a 34-inch waist to 265 pounds with a 48-inch waist.

Manning says he didn’t realize the effects of his weight gain would be more than physical. It altered his relationships and his self-confidence. The fact that he had to do push-ups on his knees was almost humiliating.

Manning suffered through soda deprivation headaches and food cravings on his way back to fit. The journey was easier for him than for most, he’ll admit, but he’s eager now to provide tips for others to follow in his footsteps.

“The biggest thing [I learned] is that it’s not just about the physical. It’s not just about the meal plan and the workouts and those things. The key is the mental and the emotional issues. I realized those issues are real.”

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Why Some Black Women Are Fat

Fitness instructor, Michelle Gibson

There was an interesting article the other day explaining why so many black women are overweight or just plain fat: they want to be. It’s a cultural thing. White girls want to be skinny. Many black women never want to go below 200 pounds, partly because their husbands and boy friends won’t like it. Or so claims Alice Randall as she states candidly, “My goal is to be the last fat black woman in my family.”

She is hoping for a revolution against this desirable large-bodied stereotype, because one in four middle-aged black women has diabetes, which with obesity are causing more cancer deaths in America than smoking. And blacks have 51 percent higher obesity rates than whites do.

A few days later, the Times quoted a Washington Post study that concluded heavier black women have much higher self-esteem than average-sized white women. Fitness instructor, Michelle Gibson, who teaches 10 aerobics classes a week, says “I’m a full-figured woman who would run circles around the average person, and I know it.”

The Times also printed eight short opinions about this whole issue of overweight black women. Here are some excerpts:

“We are all dealt various hands in life through our genes. Some may be more fit than others, and some may have an inherently better self-image. I would suggest it’s how we play the hand we’re dealt that’s important.”

“While there is a greater acceptance of a curvaceous body in the black community, that holds true for other cultures as well — Latino, Armenian, Italian and Greek, to name a few.”

Josephine Baker

“To say that “black women are fat” because they “choose to be,” as Alice Randall says in her Op-Ed, could not be further from the truth…I agree with Randall that Josephine Baker “embodied a curvier form of an ideal black woman.” Similar to Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, Josephine Baker is considered “thick.” But there’s a difference between thick and fat.”

“According to Alice Randall, not dieting is a bad idea. But here’s what current data show:
· Pretty much everyone who loses weight gains it back within a few years. Some regain more.
· Yo-yo dieting is linked to poor health and shortened life.
· Exercise is good for health, not for weight loss. (Fat people who exercise regularly are healthier than thin people who don’t.)
· Nutrition is good for health.”

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How Many Teaspoons Of Sugar In One Can Of Coke?

I recently heard that the average American eats 150 pounds of sugar a year, which is 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. In just one can of coke, there are NINE TEASPOONS OF SUGAR. And sugar is one of the major causes of obesity, which leads to diabetes. In fact more people globally are dying of diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes than from infectious diseases.

There have been quite a few articles and broadcasts recently about how harmful—even poisonous—sugar is for our bodies. I bumped into this article by Mark Bittman this week, and then heard him on the radio being interviewed along with Dr. Robert Lustig, an expert on causes of obesity who has been called the number one enemy of the sugar lobby. Lustig and others just published an article in Nature magazine that the media are picking up on. I can’t link to it, but you can read it by downloading it from this site . It’s titled Nature: the Toxic Truth About Sugar, and it is just above the video.

Anyway there is now talk of sugar being regulated like tobacco, alcohol and drugs. The illness from too much sugar is not only making people obese, it is also costing our societies billions of dollars in hospital and health care treatments. Watch the video above (seen by 3 1/2 million people) for startling facts about how even one-year-olds are being given soft drinks by uninformed parents.

The 15-minute video interview below of Lustig explains in very complex, medical jargon why people gain weight EVEN if they eat less and exercise more. Basically too much insulin promotes further food intake and converts sugar into fat. To reduce insulin, you have to have a low carb diet and one that avoids sugar AND JUICES as much as possible. If you go right to 13:30, you can understand a little of what Lustig is saying.

Here are excerpts from a webMD article :

Some people eat so much sugar that it adds up to half their daily calorie limit for maintaining weight.

A good first step for anyone trying to reduce sugar is to cut back on or cut out sugary drinks.

Models used to regulate alcohol and tobacco could work for sugar, Lustig says.

His suggestions:

* Tax sugary foods. (The soda tax is already being considered, he notes. To work, he says the tax must be hefty, such as a $1 tax on a $1 can of soda.)
* Limit availability. Licensing requirements on vending machines could be stricter.
* Set an age limit for the purchase of sugary drinks and foods.

Reminds me of seat belts, how the government has to help people save themselves from death and illness…otherwise society pays the costs. What do you think?

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Will Wearing Greek Yogurt Give You Great Abs?

In a lazy world, great abs like these would result just by eating the yogurt marketed in the ad

Why am I laughing at myself? I eat a Greek NON-FAT yogurt every day. And this story, sent to me by Stefan Pinto (whom I have written about in the past), makes me wonder if I have just fallen for the hype! Greek yogurt sales are way up, but the product is almost double the price of other brands. I began eating it when my cholesterol count rose too high from regular yogurt. Stefan is the man in the ad, and he does have great abs. And I do think the zero-fat Greek yogurt tastes better than the others. Will I develop abs like Stefan’s if I just eat the yogurt he is wearing? Here are excerpts from the story he sent me.

Greek yogurt, overall, has had one of the fastest growth spurts the food and beverage industry has seen in recent history. In each of the last three years, sales of Greek yogurt have boomed more than 100%, while non-Greek yogurt has crept along at single-digit speeds, according to consumer data tracker Nielsen.

Sales at yogurt maker Chobani Inc. — which claims nearly half of the Greek yogurt market share in the U.S. — soared 2,812% in 2008 alone, according to a report from UBS Investment Research. Greek yogurt now hauls in more than $1 billion in revenue a year in the U.S. — about a quarter of total yogurt sales.

Yogurt of all types is the food trend of the decade, according to research firm NPD Group. Not only is it popular with young adults because it’s perceived as being healthful, it’s also a prominent ingredient in some ethnic cuisines that are increasingly gaining a foothold in the U.S.

Greek-yogurt makers have marketed themselves effectively, analysts said. Danone’s Oikos brand featured actor John Stamos in its Super Bowl ads. Voskos ran print advertisements featuring the rippling, yogurt-slathered muscles of fitness expert Stefan Pinto.

Greek yogurt isn’t known for being particularly tasty and is sometimes 90% more expensive than other yogurts, according to the UBS report.

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Joe Marshall’s Thoughts On Diet, Health And Fasting

In response to my post on January 29th about the diet and health of the super athletes of the Tarahumara Indian tribe in Mexico, Joe Marshall wrote some interesting comments. I should mention that my father was a chiropractor who believed that you are what you eat, and moderation is one path to good health. He was also sick enough to spend a day or two in bed just four times in his life that I knew about, until his late 80’s, when years of smoking and too many pastrami sandwiches caught up to him.

As far as cancer goes, nutrition is key. Everyone must stay within his limitations to stay healthy. We eat un-natural foods. We compromise our digestive systems, so even good foods leak out and give us immune disorders. We are stressed out.

The AMA has contributed to the chronic disease syndrome by pumping us full of unnecessary drugs that mask symptoms, poison us, and ruin our digestive tracts. . Worse, they have been convicted in court of trying to put chiropractic out of business, a science that tries to improve health through natural means, helping the body heal itself, and following the Hippocratic Oath Mantra of “Do No Harm”. This is not to say that the AMA has not done wonders with surgery.

All chiropractors and naturopaths study the art of fasting.

A group of licensed medical experts (some of them MD’s) got together in the mid-20th century to form a group know as the American Natural Hygiene Society. These marvelous healers increased the lives and health of millions of people, promoting breast feeding, vegetarian diets, fasting, sunshine, and avoidance of polluted water (especially water with chlorine and fluoride). I could tell you case after case of people I have met who have gone on to have radiant health after being diagnosed with “incurable” degenerative diseases….arthritis, cystic ovaries, sterility, infertility, colitis, enlarged prostate, heart disease, liver diseases, emphysema, asthma, etc…..and all accomplished WITHOUT ANY medications.

Dr David J Scott fasted over 30,000 patients (including me). He had liver problems as a young man, due in part to a drug he was made to take every day for a year during WW2. He helped break the Japanese code back then. He came down with cancer at the age of 32. He kept the cancer in remission for 66 YEARS, running two full time businesses the whole time, dealing with all kinds of pressures, and never taking any medication. He fasted every winter. He just died at the age of 88, busy and productive until the last 2 weeks of his life.

Dr William Esser, in Florida, was never sick in his life. Never took a drug or had an operation. He lived to be 93, playing excellent SINGLES tennis until then, and died quietly in Florida, after also fasting more than 30,000 people. His mother lived to be 99 living the Natural Hygiene lifestyle. Anyone interested in vibrant health should search Natural Hygiene or David J Scott to be introduced to it. There is a famous book written in the 1950’s called “Health For the Millions” by Herbert J Shelton. It’s a good start, though some of his ideas have been modified by others.

Each of the two doctors I mentioned SUPERVISED over 30,000 fasts. Most were people who came to their establishments and fasted there, staying with them at the facility, under the doctor’s direct care (daily checks of blood pressure and other vital signs, and in Dr Scott’s case, blood tests in his own fully accredted lab, documenting the benefits of fasting). In the early days, some fasts were directed over the phone. Each was in operation about 60 years…..so that’s and average of 500 a year. Seems high, but that is what hey both said, and they were not known to lie. Fasts can range from 3 days to 50+ days. Dr Esser supervised a pro Canadian football player who fasted 70 days on distilled water (he lifted 100 lbs over his head on the 40th day….with one hand). He had been feeling short of breath and fatigued. the next year, he returned to the team and the coach couldn’t believe his evergy, running circles arund the other players….living on a little fruit and two (very big) salads a day. My brother, who is your age, fasted 50 days last summer. My roommate fasted 50 days when I did 30.

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Jason Statham Fight Scenes And Training Approach

In case you aren’t familiar with Jason Statham’s films, above is a sample.

Jason before and after—could this before photo be real?

Jason Statham filled out for Death Race

There is so much interest in Jason’s physical transformation and growth into a top action star that I have collected two interviews. Notice his diet and that his workout routine is not a regular routine at all. Maybe I should shake up my own training activities. In the first interview below, he admits how miserable the training makes him. I can easily relate to that.

Q. You’re in such good shape in this movie (Death Race). What was the training like?

JASON STATHAM: In terms of the training? It changed a lot. The training schedules were put together by a guy called Logan Hood he’s an ex-Navy seal who’s pretty intense. The good thing about his sessions is nothing was ever repeated. We’d hawk back to the old starlets of exercise, using everything that uses your own body weight and the very basic things like pull-ups and pushups and squats and dead lifts, power planes, that kind of thing, sprints, explosive power stuff.
Q. Every day?

JASON STATHAM: Six days a week, yeah.
Q. For how long per day?

JASON STATHAM: Not that long, actually. 40 minutes, 45 minutes, sometimes an hour.
Q. What kind of diet did you have during your shoot?

JASON STATHAM: It was lots of protein, lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts, berries, a little bit of dairy, no refined carbohydrates, no pasta, no bread, no sugar, no juices.
Q. Did you find that difficult?

JASON STATHAM: It makes me very miserable. But you know, it’s in for a penny, in for a pound. You do it for a reason and it’s part of the job, so it’s nice to have that focus and dedication.
Q. Where you up early to train?

JASON STATHAM: Yes, we used to get up at 5, and hit the running machine which is no fun. Then we’d do an hour and then get ready and start the film. It’s amazing how much energy you get once you get into the routine.

Jason talks about his training for Death Race in the clip above.

Now here is the second interview after Transporter 3 came out.

How fit are you out of ten?

It depends. When I was filming Death Race I was extremely fit but right now… If I was a ten then, I’m probably about a six or seven now.

What level martial artist are you?

Movie level.

You recently lost 17lb (7.7kg) in six weeks. What did you eat?

Not much. Mainly protein, nuts and berries. I was a miserable bastard.

You also trained with a former Navy SEAL. Why him?

He leads by example. You see people working out with some trainers and the trainers look like they need a trainer. It’s bizarre how they get the job if they’re not in fucking amazing shape themselves.

What did you do with him?

I trained six days a week, 35 minutes a day. We had two rules: we wouldn’t do the same workout twice and we’d record everything. The main part of the session would be intense and involve heavy compound lifts, circuits, kettlebells and medicine balls. Read the rest of this entry »

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Part 2—The Tarahumara Super Athlete’s Diet

Here is another post about these amazingly healthy Indian athletes who live in a remote Mexican canyon.

Tony Ramirez, a horticulturist in the US, who’s been obsessed with Tarahumara foods for decades says that “Anything the Tarahumara eat, you can obtain easily…It’s mostly beans, squash, chilli peppers, wild greens, ground corn and chia.” (Chia is a seed that can absorb more than 12 times its weight in water, and is available online at www.amazon.com)

The Tarahumara’s favorite drink, apart from home-brewed corn beer, is a little concoction whipped up by dissolving chia seeds in water and adding a little sugar and a squirt of lime. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re packed with omega-3s, protein, fibres and antioxidants. And there’s no arguing with its pedigree: On a diet like that, a 55-year-old Tarahumara runner won a 160km race through the Colorado Rockies.

Is it all true? Change your diet, and you can start running ultra-marathons your whole life? There are other benefits according to references in the book about this tribe, Born To Run.

An MIT professor of cancer research says that one in seven cancer deaths is caused by excess body fat. “Change your life style, and you can reduce your risk of cancer by 60-70%,” says Dr. Robert Weinberg. After eating less, we are told to give up all red meat and animal protein (cheese, eggs, milk, etc). Remove cancer tumors, and they are 300% more likely to grow back with a “traditional Western diet” than they are if the patient eats lots of fruit and vegetables. Because stray cells are stimulated by animal protein.

Reminds me of a fellow in the army who never ate vegetables. He pointed to his sharp teeth designed for ripping meat and refused to eat “grass” like a cow. But here is a link to a Weinberg lecture (one hour long) that you can explore. Unfortunately he admits that avoiding meat will help you avoid cancer, but once you have cancer, there is thin evidence that avoiding animal protein will help you get rid of it. Weinberg also points out that since the connection between eating meat and getting cancer has been demonstrated, the Burger Kings of the world have seen no major decline in customers. So most people aren’t changing their eating habits, and the fat in meat definitely adds to the flavor in my opinion.

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What Are Your Attitudes About Overweight People?

I know this site is mainly about athletic achievements and challenges. But without good health and fitness, you can’t perform at top level. If you’re overweight, you may not even function at bottom level. You may not be able to do anything. So I include weight and diet discussions on the site. Especially when two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese! I know someone who can’t stand being around fat people. She thinks they are disgusting to be near, that they are slobs for not caring about their appearance, and that they should just be better disciplined and stop eating so much.

As someone who has never had to lose significant weight to stay fit, it’s hard for me to appreciate the strain and frustration of people who must constantly watch what they eat to stay slim or not-fat. On the other hand, when friends and family brought food for the holiday celebrations, I felt that I shouldn’t be eating the delicious cheeses, salamis, cakes, pies, cream dishes, meats, quiches, etc, and was not comfortable drinking all the wines offered as pathways to relaxedness and joviality. Jeez. There was almost nothing I could eat (without feeling a tad guilty) as everyone told me that I should not be so strict during the holidays). But I ate their offerings anyway…to enjoy the tastes and put my guests at ease. I am now happily back to my normal, healthier diet and routine.

The NY Times columnist of an article about fat people who either can’t lose weight or gain back the weight they lost had an interesting follow up interview today.

Tara Parker-Pope wrote that “Of all the issues I have written about during my past 12 years as a health writer, I think the topic of weight consistently generates the most interest among readers.

“I think most of the time we talk about weight, the focus is on what the individual is eating or not eating. I think the more important discussion is about how biology and heredity influence why people get fat in the first place, the widespread variation in how individuals respond to food and why pretty much EVERY DIET PLAN HAS VIRTUALLY THE SAME FAILURE RATE (my caps). People who have been unsuccessful at permanent weight loss are very hard on themselves, and I think it’s important to tell people that while it’s certainly possible to lose weight, a number of biological factors that have nothing to do with character or willpower can make it extraordinarily difficult.

“I get so tired of people who say, ‘‘It’s simple, just eat less and move more.” It may be technically true, but it’s not simple, and the point is that some people need to eat a lot less and move a lot more than most people just to maintain a normal weight.”

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Your Body May WANT You To Stay Fat

Janice Bridge before losing 165 pounds. Husband Adam lost 110 pounds—2001

Ahh the joys of the holiday season: food, fun, drinking, friends, family…and lots of stuffing and desserts and cookies and Christmas candy. Sometimes I eat three or four different slices of cake and pies at a time—very thin slices, of course. And with all the company in the house and tennis buddies taking off for warm climes or out-of-state relatives, my tennis games—and all that calorie-burning cardio—evaporate. So I gain my usual 3-5 pounds in a week.

But this year I had already put on five pounds to not look too thin and gaunt and old. So when the scale started to approach 180 pounds, up from 170 a few months ago, I freaked out. That’s just over the top for me. As soon as the visitors let up, I stopped eating those desserts and all the carbohydrates. And the pounds are starting to melt away. I am down to 175-176 again. A real relief.

Then I read this long article in the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope that describes really fat people who might lose weight, but then regain it all back over time. It suggests from a very limited study of just 34 obese people that their bodies just want to be fat, and almost nothing can prevent it. It’s in their genes. So they have a great and rational excuse…if they want to use it.

But a few have been able to keep off the shed pounds…through intense calorie-counting, hours of daily exercise 5-6 days a week, and defying their body’s constant craving for, and focus on, food. Here are some excerpts.

Anyone who has ever dieted knows that lost pounds often return, and most of us assume the reason is a lack of discipline or a failure of willpower.

The Bridges after weight loss—12/2011

For years, the advice to the overweight and obese has been that we simply need to eat less and exercise more. While there is truth to this guidance, it fails to take into account that the human body continues to fight against weight loss long after dieting has stopped. This translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.

The National Weight Control Registry tracks 10,000 people who have lost weight and have kept it off…Anyone who has lost 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year is eligible to join the study, though the average member has lost 70 pounds and remained at that weight for six years.

Wing says that she agrees that physiological changes probably do occur that make permanent weight loss difficult, but she says the larger problem is environmental, and that people struggle to keep weight off because they are surrounded by food, inundated with food messages and constantly presented with opportunities to eat. “We live in an environment with food cues all the time,” Wing says. “We’ve taught ourselves over the years that one of the ways to reward yourself is with food. It’s hard to change the environment and the behavior.”

There is no consistent pattern to how people in the registry lost weight — some did it on Weight Watchers, others with Jenny Craig, some by cutting carbs on the Atkins diet and a very small number lost weight through surgery. But their eating and exercise habits appear to reflect what researchers find in the lab: to lose weight and keep it off, a person must eat fewer calories and exercise far more than a person who maintains the same weight naturally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Surprising Reason Why Fat People Don’t Generally Lose Weight

I spoke with a marketing expert who specializes in social psychology after my dinner with the overweight pu pu platter eaters (See December 3rd article ). “How come,” I asked, “heavy people aren’t influenced or inspired to shed pounds by all the models in the ads, actors in the movies, and cable infomercials selling weight loss and fitness products?”

After all, in addition to thin models and actors, heavy people see that some other overweight people do lose weight—you see their before and after photos in the TV and print promotional ads for zumba, diet programs and exercise equipment.

Now I realize that a lot of poor people have to eat cheap carbs in fast food restaurants, because they can’t afford healthier protein.

I accept that some large folks aren’t aware that certain foods are full of calories (soft drinks, ice cream sundaes, etc), so they have no idea why they have gained weight.

And I also know that many people don’t care if they gain pounds that might mess up their health in the future, because they are living in the moment, can’t worry about tomorrow, and don’t mind if they die earlier after many years of pigging out on tasty foods and feeling good from too many beers.

I also suspect that some cultures (even in America) may subconsciously associate overweight with survival from future food shortages, or that heaviness in earlier times indicated enough affluence to be able to overeat. Or that all their friends are overweight, and that body type is more common. Maybe heaviness is even desirable to be accepted as one of that group.

But my social psychologist friend has an explanation I hadn’t considered: some fat people don’t even think it is possible for them to ever look like the thinner/fitter people the media is constantly holding up as the ideal shape. Whether it be a model’s super svelteness or a normal person’s size. These overweight or obese individuals regard themselves as outside the society’s norms and are often surrounded by others in the same weight class. They accept that they are in the heavy end of the human weight range and don’t relate at all to those humans who are thin. It’s as if they regard themselves as part of another species. Who’d of thunk it? Not me…

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Calorie Counters And Pu Pu Platter Eaters

I drove a friend to a dog show and fell in love with the afghans. Elegant dogs that reminded me of fashion models on the runway or in hair ads. You can compare how the hair moves on the afghan and then the women. Just check out a few seconds of the models’ hair moving in the runway video below to see what I am talking about. And then you can watch the hair product ad below it.

thin and thin

Next I noticed how thin the dogs’ heads are underneath all their long hair. I learned that these show dogs are bred that way, because it supposedly looks good, wins prizes, is what the judges want to see in champions.

Then I flashed back to all the models I ever knew or heard about who are supposed to be ultra thin to make the clothes hang just right…how those models watch every calorie they eat, count them, are always hungry, because their livelihoods depend on it.

Karlie Kloss at 19: too thin

I had just bumped into a photo of a 19-year-old model who has been in the biz for eight years. One article said she is too thin now. Another fashion critic was having difficulty adjusting to seeing a formerly cute teenager posing nude. Karlie Kloss says she is “numb to the nudity. It’s just part of the job.” Do you think she is too thin, just right, or overweight (for a model of course)?

I also thought of three affluent, up-scale women I know who all thought they became a little heavy, started counting calories and lost 10-35 pounds. Thin is good. Thin is desirable. Thin is beautiful. To lose weight, they weigh everything they eat, look up how many calories are in each food item. Make sure they don’t consume more than a predetermined number of total calories per day. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline. Especially if you love to eat.

Then my friend and I went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant near the dog show in upstate Massachusetts in a town of 40,000. The people were heavy…fat…obese. Even many of the kids. The contrast with the afghans and models was mindblowing. It was incredibly upsetting. As we sat down, I saw two people just starting to eat a pu pu platter for two. They also had a big bowl of fried rice. Hopefully it was the whole meal, and not just the starter. Did you ever eat a pu pu platter? It might include an egg roll, spare ribs, chicken wings, chicken fingers, beef teriyaki, skewered beef, fried wontons, crab rangoon, fried shrimp, among other items, accompanied with a small hibachi grill. Here is what it looks like for two people. Can you believe this is just the appetizer for many hungry eaters?

pu pu platter for two

So two people eat all of this as a warm up. But then I saw a huge man walk by the table. He was like a walrus. On the way I out, I noticed that he was sitting by himself beginning his own pu pu for two…plus the bowl of fried rice. HOW CAN THESE PEOPLE EAT SO MUCH! No wonder there is an overweight/obesity epidemic.

What I couldn’t figure out is why so many people are ok about being fat, when all the ads and movies show thin models, TV commercials promote fitness and thinness, and it appears clearly that thin—or at least not being fat—is a desired body type in American culture. What am I missing?

I will tell you in another post what one marketing expert told me recently.

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Too Many Decisions Can Lead To Weight Gain

Here is a very insightful article about decision fatigue. Too many choices wear out your brain. Difficulties in compromising—like shopping among many possibilities, when you have limited money to buy your preferred item—also make you punchy. So guess what happens next? Your brain craves sugar, the real thing, glucose…no artificial sweetener. The result is additional calories. Who’d have thought it? And there are many other consequences as well, unrelated to diet, but affecting judicial sentences, your lack of willpower to keep exercising or reject other temptations (your neighbor’s wife?), your ability to keep on working. Check it out after looking over some of these excerpts.

No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue—you’re not consciously aware of being tired—but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain…

These experiments demonstrated that there is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control. When people fended off the temptation to scarf down M&M’s or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they were then less able to resist other temptations. Willpower really was a form of mental energy that could be exhausted. The experiments confirmed the 19th-century notion of willpower being like a muscle that was fatigued with use, a force that could be conserved by avoiding temptation. When you shop till you drop, your willpower drops, too.

The brain, like the rest of the body, derives energy from glucose, the simple sugar manufactured from all kinds of foods. The sugar restored willpower, but the artificial sweetener had no effect. The restored willpower improved people’s self-control as well as the quality of their decisions:

Your brain does not stop working when glucose is low. It stops doing some things and starts doing others. It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to long-term prospects.

The discoveries about glucose help explain why dieting is a uniquely difficult test of self-control—and why even people with phenomenally strong willpower in the rest of their lives can have such a hard time losing weight. They start out the day with virtuous intentions, resisting croissants at breakfast and dessert at lunch, but each act of resistance further lowers their willpower. As their willpower weakens late in the day, they need to replenish it. But to resupply that energy, they need to give the body glucose. They’re trapped in a nutritional catch-22:

1. In order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower.

2. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.

As the body uses up glucose, it looks for a quick way to replenish the fuel, leading to a craving for sugar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kirstie Alley Can Somehow Lose Weight—Like 100 Pounds!

young thin Kirstie—1979

a lot heavier

slimmed down—9/2011

My “large women” story yesterday led me to Kirstie Alley, a very famous sit com star who I knew almost nothing about and have never seen on TV (can you believe it?). So I learned a few amazing things about this formerly overweight personality who had a show called “Fat Actress” and still has a reality series documenting her weight loss called “Big Life.”

In a year she has lost 100 pounds. Some people have trouble losing 10 pounds, but Kirstie’s weight goes up and down like a yo-yo.

In a February 2010 trailer for her weight loss reality show, she said:

“I was thin my whole life, til I gained 75 pounds,” she says. “Then I lost 75 pounds, then I gained 75 pounds.”

The point of the show is to lose it again, and cameras will be there every step of the way along with her kids and staff. She says she hopes that this is the last time she goes through the process and is looking forward to being the skinny booty call instead of the fat booty call.

“I think it’s stupid to say you’re full figured,” she says. “Fuck you, you’re fucking fat!”

heavier days

The actress and former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, 60, revealed to “Entertainment Tonight” this week that she had bought the same dress in a variety of sizes, from 14 to 4, and made a deal with herself to keep shedding pounds until she fit into the smallest size.

Early in 2010 Kirstie admitted she recently tipped the scales at 230 pounds. She weighed just 143 when she appeared on Oprah in a bikini in 2006.

thin Kirstie

For years I have noticed that people gain weight over time, but just a couple of pounds a year…that adds up to 40 pounds after two decades. And more after 30 years! There is now an epidemic in America: one third of people are overweight, and another third are obese. Leads to all kinds of health issues.

Too bad everyone doesn’t have Kirstie’s ability to be on TV and have the world watching your weight-loss success (or failure) for reinforcement. All that peer pressure. But maybe just telling your friends what you aim to do—and putting yourself on the spot—might be enough. Of course most people are afraid to fail, and certainly not publicly. So we keep our goals to ourselves, especially when it comes to losing weight. Plus…who wants to give up all that good-tasting food, alcohol and milk shakes!

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How Djokovic Lost Pounds And Improved His Game

another victory for Novak—Wimbledon 7/2011

a healthier diet for Djokovic

a healthier diet for Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has gone from number three in tennis rankings to number one in a very short time. How did he do this?

He overcame the mental hurdle, he lost weight by removing wine and pizza from his diet, and he tweaked his service motion to result in 69 more aces and 125 fewer double faults than at the same point last season.

This from Tom Perrotta’s article in The Wall Street Journal: How did Novak Djokovic conquer the tennis world?

Maybe the answer is as simple as this: Since last year, he’s swearing off pasta, pizza, beer, French bread, Corn Flakes, pretzels, empanadas, Mallomars and Twizzlers—anything with gluten…

David Levitsky (a professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University) said a gluten-free diet might have benefits for those with mild allergies, or even no allergy at all. “The other part of the story is, if you believe in a cause of your disorder, it becomes the cause,” he said. “We see this in many different studies. If you believe it, you change your behavior in the direction of being cured.”

In tennis, something small often leads to a big boost in confidence.

Another article by Dr. Barbara Berkeley reports that Andy Murray has adopted the same no carbohydrate diet:

“Is it possible that, in fact, cutting out carbohydrates made Djokovic into a better athlete? Is it possible that everything we’ve believed about the importance of loading our muscles with tons of starches is untrue? Is it possible that we can play endlessly taxing endurance sports without jamming ourselves full of pasta and potatoes? And is it possible that we might be better off for it?

It seems that world number 4 Andy Murray thought so. He has adopted the Djokovic diet. How much do you want to bet that others follow…

I have held a consistent view on diet and it is a view that I believe holds up when one examines Djokovic’s transformation. Rather than worry about individual dietary elements, we should attempt to eat foods that are most like the ones are bodies understand genetically. Since our genes are thousands of generations old, we need to look at the foods that were prevalent in those times: lean proteins, fats that come from natural sources (and thus have higher omega 3-6 ratios), vegetable and fruit matter, seafood, nuts and other naturally occurring plant foods. Suars and starches (including grain) were not a part of that original diet and are processed poorly or even cause overt harm in those of us who are more “original” genetically. In addition, our body has certain fuel expectations. Large amounts of carbohydrate as fuel seem to me to be inconsistent with what our body was fine-tuned to expect.

In my own practice I treat many tennis players and runners who are significantly overweight despite many hours of intense exercise. When they change their diet to one that is primarily Primarian, they not only lose weight but they become more efficient at their sports.”

The new diet has definitely paid off for Djokovic who said, “I have lost some weight but it’s only helped me because my movement is much sharper now and I feel great physically.”

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Strangers Know That Health Enthusiast Jim Lyons Is Diet Conscious

Plastic surgeon, Jim Lyons, has been working out for years, written a book about diet and health, and exudes health and vigor. That’s why his words below are so impactful:

Dr. Jim Lyons works out and watches his diet

As the author of The Brown Fat Revolution, a Diet and Exercise program to lose weight and the sloppy yellow fat, I must say that I take great pride in what I have personally accomplished by living according to my own principles for the last 20 years. The results of consistent training and healthy eating can be so gradual that the individual who lost the weight and gained lean muscle does not see a dramatic difference in the mirror. As a plastic surgeon , I am well aware of the disconnect between what is real and what people see in their mirrors!

I have found that the way that I look makes people react to me in a very interesting way. There is a clear subliminal message that one projects when they look fit. I know that obese individuals tell unfortunate stories on how their physical appearance defines the way the world treats them.

In my case, strangers come up to me and ask me what I eat or how I train. Commonly, both women and men (none of whom know that I wrote a diet and exercise book) approach me in the gym to ask training questions. More subtle and interesting is the way I am treated in restaurants. When I order a meal that comes with fries, the waiter will always say, “you do not want the fries, right” I recently had occasion to order a bagel at a coffee shop and the server said, “you want the “whole wheat” right?”….or…. “Of course, you do not want to see the dessert menu.”

We live an intensely visual world and appearance definitely affects the way people react to us. This is a fact! Beyond the self-gratification and healthiness of being in control of the way you look, the opportunity to say that you are in control without words is extremely empowering….one of the many benefits of respecting yourself by paying attention to the condition of your body. It’s all good!

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Former “Fatso” Ed Koch Writes Kid’s Book Promoting Healthy Eating

fat Eddie Koch book character

This article by former NY City Mayor Ed Koch is based on his growing up as a chubby kid called “fatso.” Ed describes his early years as painful and resigned, but lost 30 pounds to run for Mayor. Now he has co-written a children’s book about good diet and exercise. It’s all very basic, the kind of suggestions this site believes in completely, and it’s nice to hear the mayor joining in with a message sent out by Michelle Obama’s program and hundreds of well-meaning fitness and fat-loss groups promoting wellness.

I also relate to the caption of one illustration that says: “These pants must have shrunk in the wash,” young Eddie thought. It’s exactly what I said in high school, when my pants were tight. But I never made this funny statement: “I still believe, as I said when I was mayor, that a qualifying Fire Department test for men and women should be, can you carry a 210-pound mayor out of a second-story building?”

“What I hope they walk away with is that it’s possible to avoid being the subject of derision or being an outcast simply by leading a healthy life with a healthy diet. It will cause you enormous pain if you let yourself get obese,” added Mr. Koch, whose childhood photos show him as a bit stocky, if not flat-out fat by today’s standards. “You’re not going to worry about it when you’re young, but if it continues, it can shorten your life. You want to have a family, you don’t want to leave them prematurely, and while it’s very unfair, many people in deciding who they’re going to hire will make a decision which includes weight.”

Eddie Shapes Up tells the story of an overweight young boy who hates recess because he is an easy target in dodge ball, tosses the carrot sticks and apple his mother packed for lunch in favor of a classmate’s potato chips, and declares, “I know I’ll never be thin, so I might as well eat what I like and as much as I like.”

But a friend advises Eddie: “Everybody has a different kind of body. What’s important is being healthy and in good shape.”

“Another tip for kids who want to eat between meals,” Mr. Koch added. “I eat sugar snap peas kept in the fridge. I also eat a lot more fish than I did and rarely, but occasionally as a treat, have a big rib steak. Everything else in moderation.

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