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Showing posts from July, 2010

Body for Life: What Went Wrong, Part 3

Previously: Body for Life: What Went Wrong, Part 1 and Body for Life: What Went Wrong, Part 2 I didn’t know anything diet or metabolism or how prehistoric humans ate when I first read BFL. But if I’d only read the book with a more critical eye, I might have questioned its assertions. Little Meals throughout the Day? For example, Phillips claims it’s better to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day, or "graze." He has some iffy reasons for doing so. On p. 44 of Body for Life, Phillips states, It’s revealing to take a look at the animal kingdom and notice the relationship between creatures’ eating patterns and their body “types.” At one end of the spectrum are animals that load up on large amounts of food at one “meal,” then go for days, weeks or even months without eating at all. Bears are a prime example of this type of infrequent feeder....At the other end of the eating-pattern spectrum are the frequent feeders: animals that eat almost constantly but in far lesser

Body for Life: What Went Wrong, Part 2

Previously: Body for Life: What Went Wrong, Part 1 What is a High-Carb and Low-Fat Diet? So if eating a high-carb diet is bad, how does it follow that the solution to balance protein and carbohydrates? Phillips seems to understand that a high carb, low-fat diet hasn’t been good for Americans since they took heed of the Surgeon General's warning about fats (BFL p. 47): In place of fat, more and more carbs were added [to foods]. And the myth that “fat free” means “all you can eat” spread like wildfire. But yet, over the past 10 years [since 1988], we’ve continued to see a dramatic rise in the incidence of obesity....I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years who were consuming a low-fat, high-carb diet and exercising, but they were getting even fatter! Why not just adopt a low-carb or a paleo diet, then? Phillips writes of our ancient ancestors’ health and vigor before the advent of farming and attributes their good health to their diet. But according to what I

Body for Life: What Went Wrong, Part 1

Some readers may know that I was a Body for Life enthusiast for six years. At age 33, I had no workout program, was a little on the fleshy side, and yet I was constantly hungry. A friend showed me a book called Body for Life (BFL) by Bill Phillips, and I was so impressed by the before and after photos that I tried the program. The plan consisted of eating six servings each of carbohydrates and proteins and two servings of green vegetables per day, plus six short but hard workouts per week. (A serving is the size of your fist.) I did, indeed, go down two dress sizes quickly and build muscle while eating more on BFL. Four years later, I had recovered from a sprained neck and back from a car wreck and resumed BFL in earnest. But it stopped working, and by late 2009, I had put on 20 pounds of fat despite following the diet as well as I had before and being diligent about workouts. Why did the same program produce different results at different times? This is the question I’ll explore in

My Dog: Fluffy or a Fattie?

Does Molly's fur coat make her look fat? My dog, Molly, has been to the vet a few times in the past couple of months for an infection and teeth cleaning. The vet recommended that Molly lose some weight and asked how much Molly was eating. "One and a half cups a day of ... dog food and some cabbage," I said. And yes, that's using a measuring cup, I explained, not a slurpee cup. Yes, Molly gets exercise--she runs on the treadmill every day. Nonetheless, the vet suggested giving Molly less food. Is this a good idea? Let's consider some observations, facts and assumptions. First, is Molly fat? Someone at the dog park nicknamed her "Marshmallow," and her hips look quite a bit wider than her chest when she sits down. Yet there aren't rolls of fat on her. When I pinch her fat around her middle, it's only 3/8" thick. Her hind quarters are too firm to pinch. Her midriff is thick and her hips are wide--but maybe that just means she isn't built

Ripping Away the Veil, or Think and Grow Thin

Have you ever had the wrong idea about something, then saw the truth and wondered how you could have been so blind? Most of the common sense people have about weight gain is an illusion. My mother has been overweight most of her life. She's been sedentary since middle age (she started getting arthritis around age 40), but pictures of her in her 20s and 30s from before my time show her on horseback when she and my father went hunting together. She also took care of my brothers and sisters with few modern conveniences. In other words, she was overweight but pretty active. My parents and I always ate dinner together, almost always steak or chicken, potatoes, gravy, bread, corn and green beans. My mom never seemed to overeat. She wasn't a drinker, either. I was an average thin kid (I didn't like my mom's cooking) and a little on the fleshy side as an adult until age 34 when I started Body for Life. After three years on this program, which includes lots of protein, carbs

Exercise without Joint Pain

I've never understood why runners keep running until they wear out their knees. Or why dancers will dance until they have blisters on their feet. Maybe it's good that I get too tired to run that far or dance that long. In spite of this blessing in disguise, I started getting knee pain from weightlifting. Since I didn't get knee pain during weightlifting sessions, it took me awhile to figure out what was causing it. Once I realized it was squats, I stopped doing them and felt better. However, my weightlifting routines became limited to what my joints, not my muscles, would bear, particularly for my lower body. On the recommendation of a few bloggers I read (Dr. Michael Eades and Tom Naughton--see blog roll), I tried Slow Burn by Fred Hahn and Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades. The Drs. Eades explain in the beginning of the book why strength training is good for you (improved metabolism, stronger bones, more flexibility, less back pain and better athletic performance, among

My Mom's Heel has Healed

Time may heal all wounds, but zinc may help them faster. Three years ago, my diabetic mother developed a sore on her heel. According to my father, who has been dressing the wound during those years, it was the size of a silver dollar (1.5" diameter) and all the way to the bone--about 3/4." Their doctors refused to treat it and sent them to the hospital instead. Over the years, doctors, nurses, aides and my father have been dressing it, treating it with medicinal honey, and cutting away crusty skin around it in a painful, weekly doctor's office procedure. In three years, the size of the wound went down to the size of a quarter (1") and 1/16" deep. It still required the aforementioned care. Having had such good results with zinc healing my nose from septoplasy (I'd had nosebleeds for ten years after the surgery), I gave my mom a bottle of 100mg zinc tablets two weeks ago. She's been taking one every day. The results, according to my parents: The wou

Getting Rid of Acne after 30 Years

I've had acne for almost 30 years. It started with a few pimples when I was 12 and escalated into cysts when I was 20. A coworker actually said to me, "God, what happened to your face?" "Oh," I wish I'd replied, "I bet you say that to all the girls." What's the French word for repartee you think of as you're walking out of the party, down the steps? My sister had acne too. She was good-looking until she'd been on meth for about a year, and afterwards lived on coffee, Pepsi and burritos. She blamed her acne on--wait for it--green beans and washcloths. I should have taken a clue from her diet. My poison isn't Pepsi, but Coke. When I stopped drinking Coke in 2007 to help my stomach, my skin cleared up. It was less dry and flaky, too. So except for falling off the wagon and going through caffeine withdrawal again in 2007, all has been well. Then I started drinking Coke Zero a few weeks ago. "Since it doesn't have sugar,"