December 30, 2011

Losing Weight without Losing Your Head!

This is my latest "can't-put
it down" book. It's a bit of
a heavy read, but if you are
interested in nutritional
research and the history
of why we believe what
we believe...pick this up.
I hope you are having a restful Christmas holiday. I have to be honest, I'm looking forward to getting back to "real life" as I feel like a tick about to pop with all the crap I have inhaled over the week.  My sister's place was peppered with chocolaty land mines as I tried so desperately to navigate around them...with little success. I had caramels and chocolate for breakfast (it seemed like such a good idea at the time....). 

I have also had a lot of time to read and research the latest and greatest related to my line of work. Sometimes I believe that ignorance really is bliss and this is certainly one of those times. I have been reading "Good Calories; Bad Calories" written by science writer Gary Taubes.  It has blown my mind and changed my way of thinking about nutrition and exercise as they both relate to weight loss. I have to admit, I have been a believer in "low fat" and exercise to maintain (or lose weight)......not anymore.

In consideration of the fact that many people are starting to ready themselves to eating more of the good stuff and exercising (something that I know many people dread) to lose weight, I think I may have some good news (and perhaps a little bad) for you......

I highly recommend this DVD
for anyone interested in taking
a critical look at nutrition. It's
also very funny and entertaining.
First, when it comes to changing your diet the key to shedding poundage is getting rid of the refined carbs (pastas, rices, breads, crackers, chips, tortillas and all those comfort foods). I know they are loved, worshipped, and there for us when times get tough, but they do promote fat gain.  If you can limit your intake (especially if you are one of the many that has a passion for bread) you will be seeing some positive changes.  Add more vegetables! Learn to cook them, stir fry them, steam them, add sauce to them, love them, and embrace their nutritional goodness! You can't achieve weight loss unless you become friendly with veggies! 

Cook with meat! There....I said it. Me, a vegetarian since the age of 12 just grilled her first beef tenderloin steak at home for the first time in my life. Why? Because I'm tired of being tired and I thought I might give eating meat a try. I'm choosing local, lean, and small servings (the size of a deck of cards) but OMG...did I love that steak the other night. My personal plan for the new year will be to add meat every night to veggies (beef, pork, fish, chicken, seafood) and cook enough to add to a salad for lunch.
Toss the bread and pick up the broccoli!

I used to think that anything fat free (but sugar loaded) didn't contribute to fat gain. I used to think that pasta was a health food (of course, I was in my 30's but still....). After reading this book and researching myself, I understand that fat isn't the enemy. In fact, there is much research suggesting a diet that includes saturated fat (animal fat) is a part of a healthy diet (yes...healthy!). Of course, not being a biochemist and/or nutritionist, I am not telling anyone to drop their breads and cereals and fill their plate with meat, cheese, and butter - but I am suggesting that the research is all about the benefits and not the evils (like I have been believing all this time) of saturated fat.

We have certainly cultivated a fear of fat over the years (I believe one of the first "fat loss" books was written in 1850) and there are many reasons for that that I won't get into now. Ironically, it's looking like all this fat free, highly processed food is making us fat! Not only that, research also tells us that obesity and overweight is NOT due to sloth and gluttony but to genetic factors we are just starting to understand now (so no more judgements of self and others...fat is not about overeating and laziness!!!!) Wow, eh? That's going to be a hard pill to swallow in the fitness and diet industry.

So what about exercise for weight loss? Again, research suggests that the more calories you burn through exercise, the more the body requires it through nutrition. Therefore, if you burn 400 calories on the StairMaster, you will find a way to eat 400 extra calories after (and that's not hard...just a few pieces of bread or a muffin will do the trick). In other words, exercise does not decrease the appetite (like I learned through all those years of Kinesiology) but increases the appetite! Duh...I know...I'm a slow learner.
Exercise is NOT a weight loss tool!

The benefits of physical activity definitely makes it worth your time (increases in muscle and bone strength, maintains agility, balance, alertness, increases heart strength and overall health...just to name a few great things). But as a weight loss tool, exercise falls short. This is great news for you if you are dreading the gym next week.

So if you are considering a lifestyle change, maybe losing a few pounds, my suggestions to you are this;

1. Slowly begin to eliminate the refined carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugar) from your diet.
2. Do not use exercise as a weight loss tool. Use it as a way to increase your health.
3. Research this stuff yourself. There are so many ways to get reliable information now anyone can do it.

Yup. It was hard for me to see this at first, but the more and more I read and understand nutrition and the effects of exercise on weight loss, the more I understand the myth about exercise. Exercise (like everything else) is about balance and health...not about 60 minutes of crazy-ass cardio with a 45 minutes in the weight room.
I highly recommend "Scholar Google" (you can find this if you go to the "more" link where you find "images"). I also recommend the DVD "Fat Head" and the book "Good Calories; Bad Calories".

Unfortunately, the average weight loss regimen will likely involve cutting the fat out, eating bran flakes for breakfast, and going to the gym as much as possible. This will only lead to increased hunger, decreased energy, a growing hatred for spandex, and the feelings of discouragement when the results don't match the expectation. 

Over the new year weekend sit down with a pen and a notepad and construct a healthy menu plan for your week. Once that is realistic and includes your busy schedule. In addition, plan to go for a walk two days of the week. Keep to this, and I promise, you will feel better in your body and your jeans.

Happy 2012!


  1. Thank you KC again! Luv your posts. I have fund something that has been working for me to un-plateau me thank god! Xmas was hit with chocalates (damn quality street!!) but went back to this higher protein clean vegetable, brown rice plan since boxing day and already see results (no hunger). And still work out like crazy! I'll do this until my goal weight then I need another plan. Switching it up continually and I am going to buy this book today! And yours! When is that book signing????? xoxox Happy New Year to you!

  2. Hey Anon! great to hear from you. It hasn't been the same since you left. I am happy to hear about your pleateau defeat and you have a great holiday. Quality Street rocks! I'm assuming you are keeping it in check and balance and enjoying the process. YOu sound like you are.
    I think buying that book is a great idea and you will really get something out of it. I know I did. As far as my will be happy to know that I"m 150 pages in and have to produce a hard copy by the end of February.
    My goal for 2012 is final submission to a publisher! I have a good feeling about it and will most certainly let you know when it gets published (thanks for asking).
    Have a great 2012!

  3. waaazzzzuuuupppp

  4. waaaazzzzzuuuuuppppp!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN