Thursday, 27 February 2014

The flawed Fat/cholesterol/calories stigma runs deep

I was in the shop this evening when I met a friend of mine who was shopping for his family.
They are on a "healthy eating plan" and one thing includes cutting down on sugar. Which is a great start. You know when your in the shop though you end up following the same people around, if your shopping at the same speed.
Well he spent his time reading labels and ingredients, which is great! So I stopped and asked him how he was getting on and he added that he was checking the fat and calorie content of all his food.

He saw the 85% chocolate that I had in my trolley along with other meat, fat and vegetables. He checked the label and told me not to buy it because of the high fat content and high calories. He also saw the couple of packets of butter!
He said oh look at the huge amount of fat that is in that. I thought, oh good I'll need that fat!
Oh if only he could see my eggs and bacon lunch that's drowned in butter and cheese!!!

But it's a reminder how strongly entrenched the generation is. Its great the education process has started, but I'm not sure how long its going to take everyone to catch on...

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Feeling rubbish on the Paleo diet? 9 Reasons why

So you've been eating Paleo for a while and you know that your supposed to be feeling better and have more en energy. But you don't. You feel sluggish, with low energy and even think that you'll give up your diet altogether.

I know because I went through this and sometimes I still feel like there's something that I've not yet figured out.
But here are some common things that might be stalling you in your Paleo lifestyle.

For a start, I believe that these symptoms were hidden to a certain extent on the normal unhealthy high carb and sugar diet. Whenever you felt low or sluggish no doubt you stopped for a chocolate break. That's what I did and sure enough I'd get a spurt of energy, and off I'd go again. Here are some of the pointers that I've checked myself against. Perhaps you are struggling because of one of these or maybe a combination of a few of them. I'm going to outline them here and some of them need more time and space to discuss properly so I'll do that in subsequent blog posts.

Too busy/ Not giving yourself rest time.
I Know that when I was living with very high amounts of sugar and carbs that I used those foods as a drug to get me through tired times. So perhaps the tiredness that you are feeling now is the true extent to your actual tiredness. Take time out everyday for yourself. Try to relax and have some downtime for yourself. Don't beat yourself up over having a relax either.

Food allergies.
I'm allergic to wheat and other grains. Which makes being on the paleo diet easier. However I get skin reactions to something else. Whether it's dairy or eggs I'm not sure. If you are suspicious about being allergic to some food stuff, the only way to know is to remove it from your diet for a month and track your progress. Having a food allergy does effect people differently, but if you have Eczema or other skin conditions, there's a high possibility that your still eating something that doesn't agree with you. I'm afraid its a process of elimination. Some centers do offer testing that might be able to give you a head start. But the elimination process is free and works.

Caffeine Intake
I love my coffee. Do you have bulletproof coffee or some other high fat version?
Well caffeine in your system really gives your body a bump start! But if your suffering from adrenal fatigue, then having excess caffeine will do more harm than good. It will make your fatigue worse. I've switched to decaff coffee recently to try to lower the caffeine level I take in. Beware that decaff coffee has roughly 1/5 of the regular coffee, so decaff isn't caffeine free. But if you love your favourite brew its a great first step.

Drink enough water.
Like I said I like drinking my coffee, so I find it hard to drink enough water. I do try though to up my intake of water everyday. A lot of tiredness an headaches comes down to being chronically dehydrated. Try to add water and reduce the tea/ coffee.

Not eating enough fat and nutrients
If you are low carb eating then you will become fat adapted. If you are very low carb make sure that you are getting enough fat in your diet. You also need to ensure that you are getting enough nutrients from nutrient dense foods. Are you eating enough vegetables? There's no harm in taking a good multivitamin either.
As well as a multivitamin I also take magnesium daily. Here's why.

Get enough quality sleep/ sleep quality reducing on Paleo
Again all the time I'd heard that the paleo diet cured so many people's sleep apnea. But I've always slept like a log, that was until I started eating Paleo. I kept waking up nearly every hour. I sometimes suffer from restless legs syndrome, where you get the urge to get up and walk. But even when my legs were fine I just couldn't sleep! This was so frustrating.
I'm supposed to be eating the best way I can and now I can't sleep?!! I tried eating more before going to bed, using blackout curtains, and being in a good routine.

But the cure for me was magnesium. No doubt on my diet of rubbish I was getting near!y enough magnesium but on the Paleo I wasn't, even though I was eating a lot of almonds over the transition point.
After a few days of taking the magnesium supplement the restless legs that I had experienced vanished and my sleep pattern went back to normal. If I forget to take the magnesium for a day or two, sure enough, the poorer sleep and restless legs return. Give it a try!

You will feel like crap for a week or two or three!
If your new to Paleo and you've gone off sugar and most carbs, then your going to have withdrawal symptoms for a couple of weeks. I had headaches and generally felt unwell. But this is to be expected and it will pass.

Having to high of expectations for Paleo weight loss
You want to lose weight, and you want to be healthy. But what happens when you stall? You can stress yourself out and make yourself feel like Paleo is failing you if you seem to stall on a certain weight.
I stalled for a while, but i kept going, and i stopped checking myself so regularly so as not to be disappointed. The result of being patient was that a month later I had lost quite a few pound. If your struggling on a Paleo diet to lose weight, my advice would be to make sure your doing it right for a start, but then don't check yourself so regular.

I'm feeling so stressed
Stress, no matter where it comes from will raise our Cortisol level in our bodies. This makes it hard to lose weight and has a detrimental effect on us. We can feel like crap! Have a look at these two blog posts below. Wait you say, I'm not stressed! Well check them out anyway, the first one is about stress diagnosis. Maybe your stressed and you don't even know it!

Do you feel bad on the Paleo diet? Please comment and give your experience, and include what you found has helped you!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Dr. David Perlmutter - Grain Brain - Part 1 - Diabetes type 2

I've re-listened to Grain Brain the last couple of days for this blog and for my own information.

David Perlmutter MD is a neurologist. He has spent decades studying the brain and has seen how his patients have gotten sicker and sicker. His own father is a retired Neurologist and has Alzheimer's.

He argues that the reason for the modern diseases such as Diabetes type 2 and brain diseases such as Alzheimers is our modern diet. In his book he mentions that Carbohydrates and Grains are the root cause of all of these problems.

So how do our modern foods give us Diabetes (type 2)?
This is David's explanation, I cant do it justice and I encourage you to buy the book and read it a few times in order to understand what hes saying. Its revolutionary.

When we have sugar or Carbohydrates they turn to sugar in our body. The body needs to rapidly get rid of the sugar though, and so the pancreas secretes Insulin in order to bring the level of Glucose down.
But what happens over time is that the cells become Insulin resistant.
So, our cells need more and more Insulin just to handle the same amount of Glucose in our body. The Pancreas can do that for a time period. This is shown by having a fasting blood Insulin test. This shows at rest whether we have a high amount of Insulin in the blood. If we do have to much, it means that our body has far too much Insulin. We are becoming Insulin resistant. The end result of this is that our bodies will need so much Insulin that the only way to get this is to inject it. Diabetes Type 2.

What's interesting about the book though is that the Doctor shows evidence that Alzheimer's and other mental degenerative diseases can be called Diabetes Type 3. He shows how modern grains are doing damage to our brains and how eliminating these and most of our Carbohydrates from our diet can reduce our risk or even reverse the symptoms. That sounds great to me! My Grandmother died and had severe Alzheimer's, so I'm probably at a higher risk than some for the mental degenerative disease. So anything that I can do now to reduce that risk, I'm going to do it.

Doesn't this sound far fetched? It can't be that easy right?

Well, not really. A ketogenic, or a severely restricted Carbohydrate diet has been found to be brain beneficial for years now. Since the early 1900s the ketogenic diet has been given to Epilepsy patients. The result? It drastically reduces and in some cases stops their seizures.

Dr Perlmutter goes on to explain how our brains are like the second stomach. Could it be that a simple change in diet will result in a sharper, focused and healthier brain? Are you willing to make changes now as a preventative? I am, I've been a grain brain far too long...

I urge everyone to read the book or download the audiobook!!

Friday, 21 February 2014

200kg kid on sky

This show is just humiliating.
The young boy on the show today is 200 kilograms he's got there by eating all kinds of junk food and rubbish.
Instead of controlling the young boys eating by means of carbohydrate control they've decided to cut his stomach out. He can't even be trusted to have a stomach.

This kind of TV show makes me sick to be frank.
These operations are dangerous.
Why don't we just have a Proper educational curriculum in schools for them to learn that carbohydrate control is the key to a weight control. If your child is overweight they have to cut back on carbohydrates and i don't mean potatoes, bananas or so called healthy carbohydrates, but you have to cut back on the junk food and the rubbish. I really feel bad for the kids in the show!

Exercise for the right reason - I've been running in the rain...weight loss.

The conditions outside at the moment can only be described as horrible.
Its nearly a storm out there. Gale force winds and a driving rain. To top that off its only 4-5 degrees.
I'm not a good runner but I'm chuffed as Ive just returned from a 6k non stop run. I'm delighted I didn't have to walk any of it. Part of the reason though was because it's such a rotten day and I just wanted to get home!

I'm not sure if you've read my About page, but I've always struggled in my life to keep my weight down.
I've always tried to eat better, and to exercise more. Whether that was running, cycling or walking.
But what I'm here to tell you is to exercise for the right reason. Let the reason be health. (Boyzone song anyone?)

You won't exercise your way thin

I tried for years. Every week I had a rigorous training schedule and tried my best to stick to it.
But it didn't work, and I don't want you to waste your time doing hours and hours of exercise expecting to lose weight. Its soul destroying to work out for so long and not to see any loss in weight!
My problem was that I exercised and didn't change my diet. Saying that I did change my diet slightly, but it wasn't enough to make a difference. I didn't change my diet in a "smart enough" way. I still downed the carbs and sugars. I was giving my body mixed messages. 

Even If you went on the run I did today, you wouldn't lose weight. I ran for 6k (did I mention non stop?) and I probably burned about 400 odd calories. 3-4 chocolate biscuits anyone? A Mars and a packet of crisps? One McDonalds strawberry milkshake? 
The effort needed to run that distance is substantial (remember I'm not a good or regular runner) (PS did I mention I didn't stop?) and yet look how you can undo that amount of work. Exercise also makes you hungrier. 
I don't believe in the calories in verses calories out theory though because I don't believe the body is that simple. I prefer to eat smarter. A lot smarter. That's what has given the weight loss. 

What is the proper reason to exercise then?

Exercise does amazing good in our bodies. It helps growth of bone density, cardiovascular system, muscle growth and structure and even good for our brains!
I find it good to for my mood too. 

So don't exercise to lose weight, exercise to be healthy. If you want to lose weight, my advise is to eat smart.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Isn't eating all that fat dangerous? Cholesterol.

I was talking to a doctor yesterday that eats the Mediterranean diet. He is against the Paleo diet because of the high fat and the moderate protein. My family can see the weight reduction that Ive seen and yet they are suspicious about my diet because of the fat content. They want to see how the blood work comes back first, because they think I'm heading for cardiovascular problems.

Is the doctor and my family right to be afraid of fat? Should you be afraid of fat? Do you chose low fat products over low or full fat versions?
We know we have to do something, heart disease is the number one killer of our generation! But what is the real route cause of our heart problems?

What's the number on Cholesterol?

We are told that the cause of our blocked arteries and heart health problems is in fact Cholesterol. If you go to your local doctor and you have a health check done there's a good chance that they will check your cholesterol level. If your level is high, then you will be prescribed a statin medication. If you don't take this preventative action your in line for a heart attack. I know people in their 30s that are on statin medications. 

Cholesterol is quite a complicated subject. I'll try not to make it too complicated, but is this the cause?


Cholesterol can be broken down into your HDL and your LDL.

For a start, if we didn't have cholesterol we'd be dead. We need cholesterol for life inside our bodies. So we don't want be totally down on cholesterol. The HDL and LDL actually transport cholesterol around your body to perform all the necessary tasks.
Traditionally the HDL is considered "good for your body". My Doc told me that my cholesterol was slightly elevated but she didn't mind because my "good cholesterol" out weighted my bad. My readings were 5.4mm/L for those in the UK, or 209mg per dl for those in the US.

So your LDL is considered to be the bad cholesterol that clogs up your arteries and in the end can lead to heart attack and other fatal conditions.

So how did we learn that this was the cause to plaque in our arteries?

What if I told you that there are actually two types of LDL?
LDL cholesterol can either be small and dense or it can be light and fluffy.
Scientists have found that the small dense particles are the types that do the damage in our Arteries. These because of their small dense nature will cling and stick the artery walls and in the end cause restriction.

But how does our LDL get small and dense or light and fluffy?

Scientists including Dr Krauss have found that the normal high carbohydrate diet is what is responsible for poor LDL characteristics. The high level of carbohydrate and sugar is in fact doing the damage to our arteries. Our LDL gets smaller and then can do damage. When our LDL gets smaller, it allows the fat inside to oxidise. When this happens it allows the LDL to clog. However when the LDL is larger, this oxidation does not happen. So removing a large amount of carbohydrates from your diet will go a long way in improving the condition of your LDL.

So why not just remove all fat just to be on the safe side and then there isn't any confusion or danger from oxidisation in the arteries? Well, we need fat to survive. We need fat or we would die. In fact studies have shown that the amount of cholesterol that we eat has little or no bearing on the cholesterol levels in our bodies.

Its not just me saying these things, have a look at some of these links. You'll find countless reports and studies that indicate that the modern diet is what is doing harm to our numbers. Another thing to remember is that Statin drugs also do a lot of harm in our bodies. They aren't without their side affects. Trust me, go and google side affects to statin drugs.

Its a shame to say it, but in this world money does the talking. It does more than that even.
In America alone cholesterol medication is sold to the value of $14 Billion. Yes 14 Billion. Can you see how these pharma companies would want to keep this information quiet? What sort of lobby groups do you think this industry has? Pretty strong!

So that's why I have no problem eating fat. I'm not afraid of my cholesterol numbers, in fact ill probably not get them tested again. The low fat message of the last 50 years was a mistake...

Monday, 17 February 2014

what is the Paleo Diet and should you be on it?

The definition- The Paleo diet is based upon eating foods that "hunter-gatherer ancestors" would of eaten.
So what can you eat on this diet? Well you can eat meat, non starchy vegetables, fish and seafood, some oil, nuts and seeds, eggs and fresh fruit. I feel that the term Paleo is getting broader and broader all the time, and what some people consider Paleo, wouldn't be called Paleo by someone else.
The Paleo concept is also about eating pure organic produce. Trying to stay away totally from anything GMO and treated with hormones or pesticides. We have a poly tunnel and currently make a lot of our own produce without the use of any pesticides or harmful toxins.

What's missing from that list are grains of all types, be that wheat, barley and even rice. Potatoes would also be under the starchy foods so that's not under Paleo either.That can seem quite limiting. It means cooking a lot of things from scratch, a lot of home cooking and some great dinners.

It also means that you need to prepare in advance if you are travelling or working away from home.
But the benefits are huge, I love eating these dinners as they leave you so satisfied and full. You can eat to your hearts content and not feel lousy afterwards. So what are the benefits to the Paleo diet?

What are the benefits to the Paleo Diet?

If you go back in man's history, people died from many different diseases such as TB, but people years ago also didn't have some of the problems that we have today. My family has been touched by diseases such as Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimers.
Click on my blog post that I made a while ago, it shows research by Dr John McKenna which shows that these diseases are modern and mainly from our western diet.

We didn't have such an obesity problem. Lets face it, we are getting bigger and bigger. We soon are going to collapse under the weight of ourselves. 

But what are we eating today? We are eating man made rubbish. Processed this, refined that and homogenised other. 
Were we made to eat a pizza and fries, washed down with a sugar (if your lucky) and a million other E numbers? I don't think so. Did your grandparents eat this way? Did their parents eat this way? 
Treats were a once off, every now and again, on special occasions they had a treat.

Be honest, how do you feel after eating some take away? It's delicious while your eating it. But afterwards I feel bloated, sore stomached an generally unhealthy. Like I'd just eaten rubbish.

 The Paleo is an excellent diet for weight loss. On this diet you remove a lot of the carbohydrates in your diet. You also remove most sugars, except the Fructose found in fruits. Even then the amount should ideally be kept to a minimum.

You won't believe the benefit that this will do for your body. Ive experienced great results including weight loss. But this isn't the kind of diet where you use it as a quick fad in order to lose weight. Its a philosophy for eating and a healthy life. Once you eat healthily like this, you never want to go back...

I will go into more depth in the following blogs...

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Does it matter where I get my calories from? Calorie Myth

Someone with my height and activity level should eat around 2500 calories the experts say. Eat less than that in order to lose weight and eat more than that, and you'll gain weight.
So two years ago I set my my app to 1750 calories per day and i set off.

I avoided fatty foods because they are high in calories, and instead weighted everything meticulously on a scales. This was torture, but I could still eat my favourite foods. I could eat bread and crisps sandwiches!

But between meals I was hungry. After a couple of months of living this way I ran out of steam. But I lost the stone that I wanted to. But could I keep it off?

Sorry in advance for getting a bit sciencey.

I knew that eating sugar and junk didn't provide me with the nutrients that I needed, but I never knew that a calorie isn't always a calorie. It matters where its from.

Macro nutrients can be broken down into their three types. Carbohydrates, protein and fat. All of our foods can be broken down in this way.

What happens when we eat each of these macro nutrients?

Fat- when we eat fat our bodies can use the fat for fuel. We can burn fatty acids during periods when we aren't running off of glucose or sugar in the body. We also get nutrients and important cholesterol for our bodies to operate.

Protein- this is needed by our bodies for general up keep. Our bodies use protein for muscle production as well as other important processes. Without protein we would waste away and die. Our cells need it to operate. We can even turn protein into glucose for our brains.
When we eat protein we experience a sense of being full.

Carbohydrates- I love my carbs. I love bread and cereals. But I was staggered by what happens in my body when I eat them.
When you eat a carbohydrate, your body converts it into glucose. Yes, your body turns it into sugar. Its not all bad because we can use glucose as a fuel. Glucose is a good explosive fuel source, a lot of sports people fuel this way.

But when we eat sugar or carbohydrates our body gets over run with sugar.
Just to put a picture on how amazing our body is, check this out...
How much sugar do you think we have in our blood? How much blood do we have?

Well we have 5-7 litres of blood depending on our physique.
Our bodies endeavour to keep 5 grams, yes 5 grams at any one time in our blood.

So what happens when we sit and eat a big Mac (I'm not picking on maccy D's Alone here), some fries and wash it all down with a strawberry milkshake? By the way, those milkshakes are amazing aren't they.

Well what happens is that your body produces insulin. This counteracts the affects of sugar so that our bodies can keep on an even keel. But if we do this for years on end, we can become immune to the affects of insulin in our bodies. We then need more and more insulin to control our sugar level. When we can no longer produce all this insulin, we have to inject it. Yes diabetes type 2.

Scientists have found though that insulin has other attributes. Insulin also sends the message in our bodies to store. I won't go into the studies in this blog, but there are numerous studies that have shown that insulin tells our body to store fat.
Shocking news isn't it!!!

So what did I do with this new found knowledge?

This new information hit me like a ton of bricks. No wonder when my blood sugar went low I would become the grumpiest ravenous bear on the planet. I would drop. After eating some carbs my sugars would rise and I'd be away again.

I gave up a lot of carbs.
It wasn't easy at first because I was a carbaholic. But sure enough I've been low carb for the last 6 months and effortlessly I've lost nearly two stone.
Even though I've lost nearly all of the weight that I want to lose I'm not going back on the carbs. For my health I'm avoiding them. Knowing what I know about them, I have to stay away.

I feel so much more satisfied with protein and fat as my fuel. Admittedly I don't have that explosive energy that I had before, but my energy levels are constant, I don't have the highs and lows. I feel hungry sometimes, but it's more of a suggestion to eat rather than an SOS signal.

What do you think about what I've told you so far? There's a lot more research to come so stay tuned.

It matters where you get your calories...

A bit about me!

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog!

If you've tried a million and one diets and failed, If your weight has yoyoed as you diet and binge, if you feel bloated and unhealthy, then your in the right place. I'm not just interested in diet for weight loss, but diet for all round health and longevity. I'm educating myself by a lot of research into modern science and medical revolutions. I would also like to share with you the information I've found! So whether it's weight loss or health your interested in, please check in with me regularly!

From the age of 12 I've struggled with my weight. By the time I was 18 I weighted nearly 18 stone. I'm only 5ft 11.
It wasn't for a lack of exercise either. I loved to cycle, play football, handball and lots of other sports. But I stayed fat. I have a really bad picture of me that I'll have to upload. Ironically I'm sat at McDonalds.
Finally at the age of 18 I decided that I had had enough, and I started another diet. It took a few years, but gradually I got down to 13.5 stone. The weight I am now actually.
I did this by removing all junk food from my diet. I didn't eat or cheat with any junk for years and years. Slowly though I did start to eat poorer again. I topped out at
15 stone. Starvation diet after diet kept my weight going up and down a stone or two.
I have an all or nothing sort of personality I'm afraid.

Recently I lost weight with a phone app, I counted calories religiously and lost a stone again. But I wondered, am I forever doomed to live like this?

The changing point

One day though it all changed for me. I heard about low carbohydrate diets. They weren't too hard for me because I'm allergic to wheat.
I was always sceptical of low carb diets, I had the mental picture of someone eating meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner! You'd kill yourself in the end! Sure,didn't Atkins die over weight in the end?

But the phrase was true. "People are down on, what they're not up on."
That's something I want to change in the rest of my life. If I know little about a matter, then I don't have an opinion of it! Try it first.
That's what I urge you with this blog! Please have an open mind and don't pass judgement until you learn. I'm not just interested in weight, I'm interested in health. My grandmother was one of the sweetest people you could meet. But she died of a combination of cancer and Alzheimer's disease. I want to prevent sicknesses such as these and live as healthy as I can.

I'm not saying that what I'm writing is the truth, the be all and end all, but its (cliché alert) a journey, a educational process! The more I learn, the more I realise I know nothing.

Whose with me?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Diet debate - Are all diets created equal?

I've called this blog my diet - no my diet for a reason.
I've struggled with my weight over the years and I've tried a number of low calorie diets. Calorie restriction has worked for me in losing weight but I've found it a difficult diet to stick to. The deprivation diet needs outrageous determination because its so hard to do.

I have friends that are on Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Vegan and Vegetarian.
Do all these diets have scientific basis? Is it a matter of getting the same result with them all, so just chose the one that suits you best?
How many diets have you tried? Which is the healthiest?

What I've learned though is that there is a difference in the diets.

The first place to start is that a calorie is not just a calorie.
Our body does not work in the over simplified calories in verses calories out manner in which you might think... and in my mind that eliminates a lot of today's diets. It leaves one clear dietary solution.

The Calorie Myth... in the next blog...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

John McKenna's - Good food

I absolutely loved this book. Its written in a clear and informative manner, and importantly - with little waffle!

This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in their health and the food that we put into our body.

This book really makes you think. What are we eating?!!!

One fascinating quote is from Barry Groves. Man is the only species clever enough to make his own food and stupid enough to eat it.
To quote the movie food inc. (Regarding chickens) bigger, fatter, cheaper , faster.

So how did john McKenna come to his conclusions?

In this book Dr. John McKenna starts with his personal experience of good healthy food when growing up in rural Ireland.

John left Ireland and spent years working in Africa and while there, he studied the tribal people and their diet.
He noticed that those who changed their traditional diet for a processed food western diet, soon started to manifest diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and allergies.
This was especially seen in townships around major cities.

After many years in Africa he returned to Europe. He moved to England and was shocked by what he saw. The average person in the street was overweight, even the babies seemed a bit plump. What had happened in the twenty years he was in Africa?

He noticed that people were eating processed foods and mainly carbohydrates - pizza, waffles, breads, biscuits, cakes, breakfast cereals and so on.

John McKenna details the folly of the WHO, and outlines the strength of the lobby groups who have managed to change the food pyramid for the benefit of themselves.

So what should we eat?

On page 57 John outlines his food pyramid, which is the polar opposite to the Standard chart today.
In order off importance ( 1 being the most important and at the bottom of the pyramid) this is how his pyramid looks.

1 Fats and oils!!!
2. Dairy produce and proteins
3. Nuts and seeds
4. Fruit and vegetables
5. Finally starch and sugars, which he mentions is to be totally avoided if possible.

Please buy the book for an in depth discussion on why he has them in this order and the science behind these claims.

I agree with John McKenna. It's time for us to go back to basics. In order to live healthily, we have to remove this modern, fast food, highly processed, soaked in sugar and artificial ingredients - carbage.
Instead we have to go back to the way we've always eaten, eating whole food... Good Food

Monday, 10 February 2014

Anxiety Management - Ways to reduce stress part 1

As I mentioned previously in one way or another we are all stressed.
If we are stressed our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol. These stress hormones give us a boost to perform what we need to do.
But in the long term these hormones can have detrimental effects on us. They can even lead to weight gain and other health problems.

So what are some practical ways to reduce stress? And I'm not talking about turning you into some kind of hippy or some of the overly touchy feely guides you can find on the net. Just practical realistic steps for stress relief.

1. compartmentalise your day.
Live in each moment. When your having breakfast with your family, actually be there in mind and body. Put down the phone, computer and turn off the TV. Don't sit there planning your day or worrying about other matters during the day, live in that moment and try to enjoy it.

Likewise, focus on your work...When your at work. Give yourself definite times in which you think about work. For example, when leaving work, force yourself to leave work at the workplace until the next day. Close the door of your mind. Move on with the next section of your day.

2. Live in each moment, make the most of each moment.
Whatever your doing try your hardest to focus on that thing, and then leave it when you've finished. Each task has its mundane side,but try to see differences, human experience and ways in which you can improve as a person.

3. Worrying about a problem won't solve it.
Perhaps its money worries or what you'll do in a certain situation. Again, use your self control to try to minimise worry time. Talk over any problems or concerns with someone and force yourself to think of less stressful things. This ties in with the next tip.

4. Get enough sleep.
If your tired and feeling stressed, try to get enough sleep. Go to bed as early as you can.if for some reason you've slept poorly,  today might not be the day to make those big life decisions or to make big plans. 40% of Americans lie awake at night because of stress so your not alone. Avoid all electronic stimulation in the bedroom, that means no TV, no lights, and a calm clean cool room.
More sleep = less stress. Less sleep = more stress.
Have you noticed that days that you sleep the least you have the most stress?

5. Its OK to take a break.
All of us, myself included race through our day. Have you ever been driving or shopping and been racing at the speed of light? Sometimes I've gotten into a mood where I have to race. It like a rush of adrenaline. But stop yourself and ask- why am I rushing? Will it make any real difference if I arrive 3 minutes later than if I were rushing? If I take my time will it make any real difference? It takes determination to catch yourself when your in that frame of mind, but try.
If you have chronic stress its even more important for you to really slow down all your activities.
In the middle of your day, take a small 20 minute break just for you. You never know, your productivity might improve for the rest of the day.

6. What do you love to do?
Do you have a hobby or find some activity relaxing or rejuvenating? Do it!
Take some time to enjoy what you like doing. Even if its small things. For instance if you find traffic frustrating and stressful, and yet you love podcasts or music, why not prepare the car or phone the evening before so that you can take advantage of it as a relaxing time?

7. Set limits
This takes time and experience to establish, it may take times of doing too much to realise that you should of stopped earlier.
Whether its at work or any task, set limits to what you can achieve without doing yourself more harm than good. Then stick by those findings.

8. Adjust your diet.
I've never felt calmer and more in control than the time that I've been on a low carb and non sugar diet.
My energy levels don't fluctuate as much and I certainly don't get those awful sugar drops. Instead I feel clear headed and stable.

If you dont feel this way, why not try my handy tips to giving up sugar?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Anxiety Management - stress diagnosis

A good start is to define stress- stress is any uncomfortable "emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioural changes."

I don't have panic attacks or feel especially stressed. If you read title about stress and panic attacks and think, well today's blog doesn't really apply to me, well maybe think again. 

All of us are stressed to some degree, it is affecting our lives and some simple steps can help us to live a lot more carefree and with managed stress.

For example, I have a family member that would describe themselves as not being stressed, but it clearly isn't the case. Its hidden. He can't see it at all even though it affects him throughout his life, diminishing the joy and satisfaction he gets from life.

Could you be stressed and don't know it?

That's totally possible. Many people that arrive in the ER report signs of heart attacks only to be told that they have chronic stress. But before panic attacks come wouldn't it be best to discover this earlier and resolve the situation? 

Even if we haven't got chronic stress, please look at the following symptoms and check yourself honestly. Do I have these feelings or behaviours. Does my wife, husband or family member display these traits? 

This is such an important step, if you cannot be honest with yourself and recognise symptoms, then you'll never be able to help yourself. Be honest and open. Think over these symptoms. How many have you got?

Symptoms of stress

* Insomnia
* frequent fluctuation of your mood
* Always having to justify your time or having to be active.
* A feeling of losing control or needing to be in control.
* seeing only the negative in each situation.
* Racing thoughts 
* fast heart beat
* Constant worrying
* A feeling of being overwhelmed.
* Depression or general unhappiness over an extended time.
* Alcohol or food used as a source of relief from feelings
* Aches and pains
* Nausea
* A poor immune system resulting in frequent colds and flu.

Perhaps you don't have all these symptoms but have a number of them. In the following blog I will outline several ways to reduce the stress's in our lives. 
Just a few easy steps can make all the difference.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

5 reasons behind Emotional eating issues Part 2

3. Bad feelings and experiences

Have you ever had anything bad happen to you, and you think, do you know what, I'm totally tipped off I'm just going to eat in front of the TV and relax and eat that favourite Food?
I think we all have. But how often does this happen? How do you fix this?

Tough things will happen to us all in life, And for Some of us we might habitually take to food for comfort. For example in Hollywood films, whenever there is a breakup the characters typically go home to a Ben and Jerry's ice cream!

No doubt there is comfort to be found this way,but is it the healthy answer? It's not going to help you lose weight for sure, and will make you feel even worse in the long run.

Instead of internalising our problems though try to talk to a friend. Have you had a bad day at work or had a falling out? Try to talk it through, don't go into self destruct mode. A problem shared is a problem halved as they say. Talking to a true friend can Put some perspective on your situation.

Stresses will come, so why not try to teach yourself new habits. The next time your stressed why not put your trainers on and go for a walk or a run? You'll feel so much better for it, trust me. The sense of accomplishment and empowerment that you will feel will spurr you on even more. Try it!

Food and especially the wrong food, Isn't the answer to emotional problems. Instead we have to bury deep sometimes and feel the hurt and try to progress from there. If we can't seem to get satisfaction then don't be afraid to seek professional help from a councillor.

If you do binge in these times then not having the wrong types of food or alcohol available at home can help.

4. I hate being fat but hey, that's me.

I'm always going to be fat, its my genetics, its who I am. Because of that, it makes no difference what I eat. I'm forever doomed.

Have you uttered those words?
Your not alone. I thought the same. But its not true. I was huge at 250 pounds, and I had brief periods where I tried to eat better but it seemed to make no difference, so I would fall back into self hate really if I'm honest. Its like I was in a bad place and in was looking for an answer, and sometimes I wanted a quick soothing one.

Self hate or self loathing isn't the solution. You need to get some help to lift yourself and start a strict program such as the one I'm on. I thought I'd be fat forever, I had huge issues about my weight, but sure enough I managed to turn the tide. I know you can too.

Turn you despair,sadness and depression into something positive, into a deep determination. Its not going to be s quick fix, don't look for quick changes. 

Its a cliché, but life is not a sprint. Its a marathon.

5 reasons behind Emotional eating issues Part 1

For a start, I'm a guy, and I don't think that emotional eating affects us guys the same way that it does you ladies. I could be wrong on that and open to correction.
Myself personally I ha vent had huge problems with emotional eating.

But I have noticed over my eating history that I have fallen into the following traps. I'm not so bad at this now, but when I was more overweight I definitely had these problems. Please feel free to comment on the page and add your own reasonings. In that way we can help each other to break free from emotional eating.

1. Mindful eating.

This is described by psychologists as mindful or mindless eating. Have you ever been watching Tv while eating some of your favourite snacks, and before you know it, you look down and find you've eaten the entire contents of the tin or packet? How did that happen?
This used to happen to me all the time with chocolate digestive biscuits, or any biscuits for that matter. Its a matter of distraction really, but still there's something there that doesn't stop you. With sugary foods, your brain wont get the signal to stop either.
So what can we do? Well, firstly, when do you graze in this way? Is it watching Tv? Late at night?
Would you be better off having something substantial like an egg or something healthy instead of lots of snacks? That's what I do now, I'm not ashamed to say that last night at 10pm I put on a lamb chop for myself as I was feeling like a snack. I was totally satisfied afterwards. How many biscuits and snacks would it of taken to fill like that?
If you do want to snack and its going to be something sugary (I advice against) then maybe just bring a small amount into the Tv room. Don't bring the whole tin! Maybe just a few!

2. Getting too hungry

Have you ever got so hungry that you've come home and eaten the entire house and kitchen sink?
I have. Then you sit back with a heavy bloated stomach and feel really crap about yourself. Why did I do that? Why didn't I stop? I just went mad.
Scientists have found that if we get too hungry that our brain sends out in effect a SOS signal, saying - you need to eat and you need to eat fast, I'm in a bad way!
So how can we prevent this? Well obviously, don't leave yourself that long between meals. What I normally do is bring some nuts or dark chocolate in the car with me or in a bag. Munch on something like that and you can last till your next meal a lot easier.
Eating too much sugar too can lead to this result too, as you send your blood sugars spiking high, and then you experience a dramatic drop.Which lets face it. is horrible.

More to come on numbers 3-5 of reasons behind emotional eating.

Monday, 3 February 2014

I Just can't give up that...

I'm currently writing a blog about the book I'm reading - Grain Brain.

There's a strong movement these days informing us how bad sugar is and how carbohydrates spike our blood sugar and in general aren't good for us. Some agree with this, some don't. Do you?

For a start I use this blog to help people to be healthy, I want us all to be able to have an open mind about diet. I generally don't mention my diet to my friends, I don't feel the need to preach to them about what they are eating or what I'm finding works for me. I generally say, "I'm giving up all the junk food". Which I am. But I'm doing far more than that.

But a few friends and family have actually wanted to know more and Ive told them. But the response has always been two fold. I couldn't give up...(insert your own favourite food). The other argument is that my cholesterol numbers must be through the roof. Which they aren't, and that's a whole different blog for another day.

So could you give up that doughnut? Not forever, but for a month at a time? Could you give up that bagel?

But trust me on this, you can. No matter how much you think you will miss that sugary treat, you can manage it.

Once you get past the first week, it starts getting a whole lot easier...

How big of a change in your diet are you willing to take for your health? Are you willing to cut out certain foods if the research said you would be thinner, stronger and healthier?

Whats more important to you? Short term or long term?

Do you want to deal with a sickness when it comes, hope for a cure or a pill to help or take preventative action now?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter

I'm currently listening to this book by Dr. Perlmutter. I'm nearly finished, and over the next day or two I'll give a review.
Its really enlightening to say the least. I'm all about the science, I want to be persuaded about what is best for me to eat. If you get a chance to read or listen to this book from Audible Id strongly recommend it.

So stay tuned and I'll reveal all in the next couple of days.

My Diet history - You cant force anyone to change their diet.

Growing up in Ireland Ive grown up eating quite a lot of junk. The same as a lot around me I ate a lot of sugar. Not many fizzy drinks but Ive eaten a lot of carbohydrates and sugars.
My parents were great parents, but they are still not aware of the danger of sugar.
So where did all this lead me?

Well by the time I was 12 I started becoming overweight. I was a very thin child, but as I became a teenager the weight came on and on. It wasn't for the lack of exercise either. I loved to play football, handball and cycle. As a child I used to cycle for miles and miles.

So how heavy did I get? By the time I was 17 years of age I weighed 17.5 stone or 245/250 pounds and it was all of fat. I had no muscle whatsoever. I used to get teased by kids at school and even older ones used to tell me to diet.

But no matter how much people used to tell me to diet and to lose weight I just couldn't do it. Nobody can force you to diet. No-one can bully you into losing weight. No-one can lose the weight for you.

I used to down serious amounts of junk food. If I had a biscuit Id have 10. With my children, I'm going to have a stronger force on them and not allow them to eat the junk food in the amount that I was allowed.

One day I decided I was going to lose weight, I hated being fat, and I decided that I was no longer going to continue the way I was. I decided.

Over-eating can often have emotional causes. I think mine did, but lack of food awareness was definitely a problem

Do you have someone in your family or a friend that is over-weight?

Don't force them to lose weight or get frustrated with them and their weight problem. Instead try to talk to them about it calmly. Preferably let them bring the subject up first.

One good step is to keep a food diary to see how bad the eating habits are. But remember, you cant force them to diet or to change their diet at least. They have to decide. You have to decide.

How did I lose the weight? Did I keep it off? What did I use for motivation?

That and more to come, along with some really bad "fat" pictures!