Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Three ways to enjoy good for you foods....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-28-2012

Recently I got an email from Jillian Michaels titled: “Get Creative With Your Healthier Meals.”

It had examples from her weight loss customers of how they had made healthier versions of some of their old favorites with less health supporting ingredients by switching to better or less harmful ingredients.

That does work. Sometimes the healthier version tastes better than the original and it usually is as good or close to it.

That strategy we will come back to in the third part of this post.

But there are two other ways to enjoy good for you foods that weren’t in her email I wanted to add first.

1. The first way is simply to list and add to those foods you actually like from the list of foods that are unusually good for your health.

These “superfoods” are worth eating more of for health and for keeping fat off in most cases.

So, the more of them you find you like and have regularly, you win twice. You enjoy these foods and improve your health at the same time.

So to get a big list of such foods that work for you, list as many as you can that you like now. Find others and try them and keep buying and eating the ones you like.

Except for soy which is often in health harmful versions, the foods in the book, the SuperFoods books by Steven Pratt are a good place to start.

I’ve found I like unsweetened cocoa and dark chocolate and several kinds of tea and green tea. Kale cooked down at moderate temperature in extra virgin olive oil with garlic occasionally is good.

I like moderate amount of many kinds of red wine. (I would like more than that; but find it doesn’t like me and is not that health OK.)

I like pecans, walnuts, toasted almonds and almond butter, and Brazil nuts.

I like yams and sweet potatoes.

I like salads made with dark greens like romaine lettuce with extra virgin olive oil, diced onions, garlic, spices, and highlights like walnut halves or feta cheese or shrimp.

I really like coleslaw.

I like the mustard from Annie’s Naturals that is one of the very few that is MSG free. (Whole Foods carries it.)

I like organic wild blueberries and lowfat milk and oatmeal.

Though a bit less, I also like strawberries, raspberries, and sour cherries.

I like most flavors of pasta sauce but know to only buy oil free or made with extra virgin olive oil only. (I add the extra virgin olive oil myself to the oil free ones.)

I like most spices including basil, oregano, black pepper, garlic, curry blends, chili powder, and some cayenne pepper.

I actually like cooked pinto beans and lentils and black eyed peas.

I like hummus, avocado, and most guacamoles.

I like them less often but I often like salsas.

I like well cooked salmon and shrimp and scallops and lobster.

My wife has a raisin and tomato sauce and spices Crockpot lamb dish where the lamb is New Zealand grass fed only that I like a lot but not often due to the expense and time to fix it.

I would also like some beef dishes using 100% grass fed beef. But we don’t take time for them often.

And, I do like many recipes with skinless poultry. Chicken can be fixed using Chinese or Italian or American spices and recipes so that each one is different. I eat some of those on occasion.

Many people though not all also like many of these foods and drinks. But I wanted to give you an example of the variety of foods you can start with and the larger list you can build up to where all the foods are good for you and you actually enjoy them too.

2. Get used to eating the best health OK foods until they become like old friends.

I found out that eating raw broccoli florets a few times a week can cut my chances of getting the aggressive form of prostate cancer in half.

So, I just began eating some for my weekday lunches each day.

I eat them early in my lunch while I’m still hungry.

No I don’t like them as much as many of the foods on the first list. Sometimes they taste a bit grassy or harsher than normal. But I’ve always liked their crunch and how they fill me up and turn down my hunger quickly.

Now between being used them – like old friends – and how many health benefits I know they have, I look forward to them and would miss them if I couldn’t get them.

Dr Daniel Amen has a new weight loss book out. In that book, he relates how when his patients switch from fast foods to healthy foods, they find it hard at first. But many, many of them have reported this effect to him.

They tell him that it was a challenge at first to eat many of the foods on his very large health OK list instead of the junk foods they had been eating. But due to this effect, they now like the health OK foods and would miss them if they couldn’t eat them.

So, for the foods that aren’t great for your taste at first but aren’t really bad tasting either and are really good for you, pick several of the best for you ones and eat them until you get used to them.

3. Remake recipes you like but with health OK or almost OK ingredients instead of health damaging or fattening ingredients.

For example, many people like a spicy meatloaf.

But it’s not that great for you to eat the fatty hamburger from grain fed cows, bread crumbs from refined grain bread, and ketchup or BBQ sauce with high fructose corn syrup that is in some meat loaf recipes.

But like one of Jillian’s readers realized, you don’t have to make meatloaf that way.

You can get ground beef made from cows fed only grass. Since that kind of ground beef is a bit leaner, you can add some extra virgin olive oil to compensate.

You can use rolled oats, a whole grain food with no additives or bad oils in it, instead of bread crumbs from refined grain breads many of which do have things in them like high fructose corn syrup or soy oil or even hydrogenated oils.

You can use a good pasta sauce that does NOT contain high fructose corn syrup or MSG instead of a ketchup that contains high fructose corn syrup or MSG.

And, you can add canned sour cherries or walnut halves or diced onion or diced green onion for variety.

You can also try different spices. Garlic and basil for a pesto taste could work. Chili powder and a bit of cayenne pepper and some jalapeno peppers and some diced green pepper and some diced green onion would produce a different tasting meat loaf. A garlicky pasta sauce with added oregano would produce yet another taste.

In some recipes you can use no sugar apple sauce for some of the fat and extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. You can even do that and add a pat of butter after it’s cooked but still warm to add the butter flavor back using a sixth as much butter and half the total fat.

If you need a low glycemic substitute for wheat flour, you can use quinoa, pecan meal if those eating the food aren’t allergic to tree nuts, and there is even an almond flour.

If you need a gluten free version, you can use those things and you can get a gluten free buckwheat flour from the company Bob’s Red Mill.

You can change most recipes for healthier versions by deleting the bad for you ingredients and using a much healthier substitute instead.

That does work. Sometimes the healthier version tastes better than the original and it usually is as good or close to it.

But you often have to take your knowledge of what to edit out and substitutes that are not harmful or even good for you and try the new versions.

That’s why it’s a creative process as Jillian Michael’s email title suggests.

Or you can collect regular recipes where you can see easy ways to do this kind of substitution.

I also find it fun to take recipes that already are better than the older and less health OK versions and then upgrade them in two or three more ways.

Between these three methods you CAN work out ways to eat many kinds of food you like every day without eating stuff that will make you fat or sick.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Important weight loss news a key to fat loss....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-23-2012

Last week there was a story about managing fat loss that was very important for causing permanent fat loss and for keeping it off.

Since it usually is needed to produce a net calorie decrease to lose fat, the commonly used guide is to predict how much you will lose for each 100 calories you achieve removing from your net calories per day.

The common way to do this is to note that a pound of fat contains 3500 calories. So, subtracting that net drop would predict that for each 100 calorie net drop each day you will lose a pound in about 35 days. So, in 6 months, you would lose about 5 pounds.

The news report said that obesity expert and analyst, Dr Kevin Hall says the data he has seen show that this model does work for about the first 6 months to a year in real life.

But at that point the model begins to stop working in real life. If people maintain the 100 calorie daily net drop, they do keep losing fat. But his data suggest that instead of losing the second 5 pounds in a second 6 months, it takes about another two and a half years for most people. The weight loss does continue but it takes five times longer.

He says the reason for this five to one slow down at this point is due to slowing or decreasing metabolism in people who have lost weight for 6 months or more.

Dr Hall works in the Laboratory of Biological Modeling in Maryland.

(Laboratory of Biological Modeling in Maryland http://mrb.niddk.nih.gov/

It's part of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

To see the news story, look up, the “Laboratory of Biological Modelling” because the name of the group had that double L typo in the story.)

Here’s why the story is so important.

1. Reading it, it’s clear that two things are likely the case. First, to keep the fat off, the 100 calorie daily net decrease must stay in place. And, it’s important to think in terms of at least a 3 year plan to remove the fat initially.

There are people who do better than that. And, we’ll next describe how they manage it.

But the two general statements ARE accurate and important.

The term “diet” and what most people mean by it is treacherous and tends to lead to fat loss failure.

a) One key reason is that most people define it as temporarily not eating as many calories after which they assume the fat loss will stay off once the temporary period ends.

b) The other is that most people presume that “going on a diet” for 6 months will remove all their excess fat and to plan on a 6 month effort.

Dr Hall is saying in very fact based way that the data show that both these beliefs are both proven to be false.

That’s why most people who write about permanent weight loss or permanent fat loss, talk about permanent lifestyle upgrades and do NOT talk much about diets! They don’t always use the term, “permanent lifestyle upgrades,” but what they recommend is always just that.

2. To do well with fat loss, his data show that having your body slow your metabolism less than the rate his data show can be a huge help in losing all your fat and in keeping it off.

3. To do well with fat loss his data show that doing things that tend to increase your metabolism can be a huge help in losing all your fat and in keeping it off.

These last two points are exactly what you need after you understand the first one to do well.

The people who do better than his model and those who succeed in losing all their excess fat and in keeping it off do those last two things.

2. How do you have your body slow your metabolism less than the rate his data show?

If you cut back your calories eaten too much and with no breaks and for too long at that level, your body’s failsafe famine response kicks in. You feel you have less energy because your body cuts back on what you feel like using and your metabolism drops so you burn fewer calories even at rest!

If you cut back on protein or fiber, this happens sooner and more severely.

He doesn’t talk about the fact that your famine response also makes you so much hungrier that you no longer eat that many fewer calories if you have access to food.

Cutting back that way causes failure. Most of us are the descendants of people who were the survivors during famines many times over.

So, you cut back less initially and plan to take longer. His data suggest planning a multi-year plan already. But cutting back to moderate intake instead of tiny intake helps you prevent triggering this famine response.

And, that’s true even though you cut back more on some days. The first time I lost weight cutting back less overall was one of the reasons I succeeded.

Second, the people we are descended from for hundreds of thousands of years – even when there was no famine – varied from day to day in how much they got to eat. So if your protein supply is excellent and you get enough fiber and then eat a bit low on the moderate side some days and moderate some days, your body may slow your metabolism a bit, but the massive slowdown doesn’t happen nor does the extreme hunger that you can’t resist.

I learned this idea initially from author Jon Benson. His version he calls the, “Every Other Day Diet.”

There are other effective ways; but his method works and I used it myself for the fat and weight I lost recently. The fact that I still have kept most of it off is due in part to my continuing to follow my version of his plan.

And just within the last few months there was a news story that cutting back to low moderate calorie intake and a bit higher in protein for just TWO nonconsecutive days a week, people in that group lost something like two or three times as much weight as people who cut back all 7 days.

Third, getting enough health OK protein foods and fiber mostly from nonstarchy vegetables and beans and lentils helps keep you from getting too hungry. Since being too hungry is hard on you and ALSO helps trigger your famine response, that too is extremely useful.

So what to cut back on instead? To some extent, everything else.

But for sure, every single thing you can stop eating or drinking that cuts your hunger very little when you have it or actually makes you hungrier, stop entirely or as close to it as you can manage – as in 95 % of the time or more!

Regular and diet soft drinks are exactly that. Regular adds calories without lowering your hunger and they both tend to make you hungrier later!

And, since one goal of weight loss and fat loss is good health and feeling better, anything that tends to cause disease or makes you feel bad, stop entirely or as close to it as you can manage – as in 95 % of the time or more! High fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and refined grains and the foods made from them are good examples of this one.

3. How can you actually work to avoid the other cause of the metabolism slowdown or even speed yours up?

There are several ways to do that too.

Have you heard that exercise doesn’t help with fat loss? That’s false!

Other than the fact that you will also need to eat a bit less and a lot better to lose weight and lose fat at all, to lose ONLY fat and to keep it off, exercise is essential.

It’s also essential to have your life work well and to stay healthy.

Walking is something your body is set up to do from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. It’s a mild enough exercise that you can do a lot of it and not have your body trigger your famine response.

And if you can walk an hour a day or burn 300 calories a day by walking, you can cut back on food by 200 or 300 calories less and still lose fat which enables you to eat more and be less hungry while still losing fat.

But after doing all the walking you have time for, you may not be able to do that much of it.

The better news is that strength training and interval cardio can be done in less time than walking. And, they both add muscle and prevent you from losing it if you eat enough protein.

Muscle gained and/or none lost help prevent your metabolism from slowing!

But it gets better! If you do some of your strength training and interval cardio at a moderately intense or vigorous level, you burn more calories for up to several hours after you stop.

You might burn 100 calories by doing 15 minutes of interval cardio and then burn 50 extra calories an hour for another five hours.

In short, exercise, and particularly vigorous interval cardio and strength training both prevent metabolism drop off from losing muscle instead of fat, AND they also boost your metabolism by a good bit they day you do them!

Plus, when you succeed in adding muscle, your metabolism is higher even when you are resting and on your days off because that muscle burns more calories than fat does!

The research backs this up too. In one study I read of recently, the group that only ate less lost a bit; but the matched group that ate a bit less AND did strength training too, lost 9 more pounds on the average in the same time period and they lost a lot more inches.

So, they not only lost more, the extra they lost was fat!

Conclusion, eating a bit less by eating better for you food plus just a bit more cut backs on some days plus getting strength training and interval cardio; having a long term approach; and making each part a permanent lifestyle upgrade, DOES work.

Permanent fat loss and losing most or all of your fat IS possible.

So, Dr Hall’s data can be good news if you know what to do about it!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ideas to achieve your health goals....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-21-2012

Of course you need to have health goals -- or health related ways you want your life to go or to go better.

Most people have some of these.

They want to stay healthy or get healthier. They want to live longer and have those extra years be healthy. So they want to avoid diseases that happen in later years if they can. They want to slow aging if they can.

They want to look better, feel better, and have their current quality of life get better.

You find out effective actions you can do to achieve partial goals or help reach your goals.

Those things to achieve have to be doable. And for them to work for you, they have to be doable for you, because you have to do them!

BUT, as you do those actions, things happen. You may find you have trouble doing those actions or do them poorly – or you may find you did those actions just fine but didn’t get your goal result or all of it.

Last Sunday’s Parade Magazine had an article, “Revive Your New Year’s Resolutions” that had several kinds of solutions to just these kinds of obstacles.

I’ll list those but in my own words in a way that I think & hope may make them more doable for you.

1. When you are new to working on a health goal, create some early success to build on!

It’s dramatically easier to improve initial successes than restart after doing horribly.

a) So list things that you for sure can do that are relatively easy and quick. Do those to create some momentum.

If you’ve been drinking soft drinks and eating packaged snacks and desserts and have already stopped having any for a week or so or are just fed up with how fat they’ve made you, just toss them all in the garbage. Stop buying more at the store.

If there is a supplement that you can buy and easily afford that will help, buy it and begin taking it every day.

b) For more challenging things to do, start at a very easy or easy level. Then do it and cheer yourself for doing it!

Then, decide based on how easy that was if and by how much to increase your effort next time. When you do that, again guess on the low side. If you feel you can do three times as much, hold set a goal to do 50% more or try twice as much with a planned fall back to 50%. Set goals in the first few months that ensure your success.

With exercise too, if you only increase by 5 or 10 % a week once you come closer to what you can actually do, you avoid injury. So, go for small but consistent improvements that you keep doing. If you feel you are going too slow, project out your slow bite progress for a year or two.

You’ll see substantial progress towards reaching your goals when you do. Then just keep making those smaller improvements.

At first, doing these actions at all and feeling successful or having an “I can do this” feeling – even if it’s still a bit too easy is the essential thing to accomplish.

This set of things is specially effective with beginning exercise.

2. Other than the things that are so easy that you can just do them and fit them in already, for the more challenging things, set priorities.

Fine, pick two to five things to work on if you like. But know which are most important to you. AND, within each area, set priorities on what actions you’ll take.
What will I do first?

If I only have time to work on one or two things for a week, which ones will those be?

If I have to cut out working on something temporarily on occasion, what will I cut out?

(I just used that one last night. Unless it’s a real emergency, I never cut my first thing in the morning exercises. But I do kettlebell exercises on Monday and Wednesday nights. To avoid losing ground, IU make a special effort to not skip both sessions. But sometimes on Monday evening particularly, I’ll skip Monday night. Last night I did that. I was tired and it was a Holiday and I wanted to add to my time off.)

3. If you mess up or your initial results aren’t good enough yet, focus on doing better next time. Focus on what you did well otherwise. Focus on finding a better or more doable way to get results.

THOSE will help you reach your goals.

BUT, if you find yourself mentally calling yourself names or thinking “What’s the use?”, that’s something to literally tell yourself “STOP!” as soon as you realize you did that.

Then either focus on the first group of things or why you want the result –OR find out the hidden and inaccurate self talk that came just before.

Albert Ellis PhD founded an effective therapy method that focused on what these hidden negative messages were and then challenging them.

Dr Daniel Amen calls them “ANTs”, Automatic Negative Thoughts. I like his name since it makes it easy to think of putting them out of your life just like brushing off real ants from your food at a picnic.

Dr Amen found that helping people get rid of those and focusing instead on things like these really helps people succeed: “Doing better next time. Focus on what you did well otherwise. Focus on finding a better or more doable way to get results.”

Two ideas that I liked in the Parade article were:

4. Set up your environment to support your goals.

We listed one of those already, “If you’ve been drinking soft drinks and eating packaged snacks and desserts and have already stopped having any for a week or so or are just fed up with how fat they’ve made you, just toss them all in the garbage. Stop buying more at the store.“

Another is to set up a seated bicycle exerciser in your TV room to use during commercials and less challenging TV programs.

Another is to set up all or most of your exercise equipment in the room where you exercise so it takes virtually no time to access it when you exercise.


5. Ask for help when you need it.

Having a friend or family member working on the same thing has helped many people. You can let them know what you did that worked or ask them what they do to overcome a problem you had or think might work.

Reading information on how to do things often provides you with needed help. That’s particularly true if the person you read or ask was successful at what you are trying or reports actual tests of the methods involved.

Getting a person like that who was successful themselves as a mentor or coach can help.

Or, in some cases, pay for professional help if you can find good quality and can afford it, this can be a HUGE help!

Some people get into exercise best and do the right amount of it better if they get a personal trainer for example.

Some people need a professional “ANT” killer to help them get rid of those!

Psychotherapists that use the Rational Emotional talk therapy well that Albert Ellis created or use the work of Martin Seligman well can make a dramatic difference for if you need them, find a good one, and can afford it.

6. Expect some fast results because some are achievable but plan for the long term too.

With some things you can get good progress in 3 months but very good progress in a year and astounding progress in 3 years.

People who realize some things will take longer and persist long enough can do things people who expect everything to be fast cannot.

7. Keep records of your results and your exercise routines. When you are a little down or doing a bit less well, it can really improve your spirits to see that the level that you went down to was better than your all time record just a few months ago!

That just happened to me! So, I kept doing that exercise anyway and am back to a much better level.

Or as in my yesterday’s report on my own fat loss, your records may show you need to do more and show you what you need to improve.

They are more doable if you keep them as you go, make the log entry easy to do, and use key abbreviations to save the time it takes to enter the records.

8. “Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey.

The Parade article suggested focusing on the feeling you’ll have when you get what you want as a way to boost your motivation to make an effort now.

That does often work.

But I like Covey’s idea and phrase better because while it includes that, it also helps in two other ways.

a) If you begin to do things that take time and effort but don’t move you toward the end result you want, having your desired end result in mind can help you get back on track.

b) You can use focusing on the end result you want to find out how to get there!

It’s called “reverse engineering.”

“I’ve no idea what to do to get that result.” Fine, from what set of circumstances could I get that result? What assets or preliminary achievements would make my end result possible?

You may find there are two and realize that you can achieve the first one and could achieve the second one with help.

Now, instead of a desirable but unreachable goal, you have two doable goals you can reach that will deliver the end result you want.

Then ask yourself,

“What can I do now or schedule for the next few days that will begin moving me towards the first thing I can achieve? When will I do it?”

“What can I do now or schedule for the next few days that will begin moving me towards the help I need? When will I do it?

This kind of reverse engineering starts with the end in mind and starts you on your way to having it.

So, use Stephen Covey’s idea!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

My monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-20-2012

Since last month, The good news is on building more muscle. And, so far, that news is VERY good.

On my one-legged squats while holding a dumbbell, I went from 12 for each leg while holding a 25 lb dbl to 14 for each leg while holding the 25 lb dbl AND a 15 lb dbl in my other hand. Since the one legged style is like doing about 165 lbs on a barbell two legged squat, that's possibly as much as now doing 245 lbs.

I bought a 30 lb dbl last month just after my January measuring session. Then that Monday, I replaced the 25 lb dbl I'd been doing all my one handed upper body exercises with using that 30 lb dbl. It took some getting used to but I'm already about where I was with the 25 since that upgrade was long overdue.

Then, the Saturday I measured this time, I bought a 50 lb dbl to use with one handed shoulder shrugs and bent over rows. And, I bought a 35 lb dbl to begin to work up to on the 30 pound exercises now.

When I went to the gym I used 55 lb dbls for shrugs and 75 lb dbls for bent over rows. So the 50 pound dbl is also long overdue. But since I've not used it for a good bit, it will take getting used to AND between the two newest dbls and the 30 lb one from last month, I think I can add some muscle.

For example, if I can manage building up to one legged squats, getting into and standing up from a lunge position holding the 35 lb dbl in one hand and the 50 in the other, that will be somewhat similar to doing squats with 330 lb. If I manage to do that and not have any injuries achieving that WILL add muscle to my legs and butt and likely enough to shrink my waist!

That’s the good news.

However, since last month I gained one & a half pounds on the scale. That’s the bad news. It's even worse news too since in addition, the month before, I'd gained two and a half pounds. So although I'd lost two pounds the two months before that, in the past two months, I gained four pounds despite maintaining my basic fat loss eating pattern that initially lost me close to 20 pounds. I have kept half that off. But to be at my goal weight I now need to lose at least 8 pounds and have it all be fat.

But that's not all the bad news. Last month I'd lost some on my waist the month before. This time, I gained that back & about a quarter of an inch more. Since my goal is to lose 4 to 6 inches on my waist, clearly I need to lose the 8 pounds AND at least 15 pounds more of fat more that I replace with 15 pounds of muscle.

I may be on track for the muscle gain. But I need to do a good bit more to lose fat too.

The last two months was my holiday weight gain as you'll see. But had my fat loss program been on track, I'd have not gained any or just a pound or two NOT four pounds.

So, I need to boost my fat loss efforts.

First, here's why it was my holiday weight gain. I was really under the weather for Thanksgiving. So although I managed to go and enjoy the people, I had no appetite to eat much or enjoy the dinner. SO, I made up for that at Christmas dinner (on purpose) & ate a Thanksgiving sized meal when I'd have been a bit more restrained had Thanksgiving been normal.

Then at the end of last month, the local football team, was in the playoffs on a day I could go to the sports bar for crab cakes and beer. They lost but played well enough to win and very nearly did.

Then I watched the Superbowl at the sports bar and had crab cakes and a bit more beer.

Lastly, a week ago yesterday, there was a family dinner for my birthday. I ate well at that and had extra of the superb & very chocolate-y brownies they had for dessert!

I ate enough at those 3 dinners since I measured last month to and the Christmas dinner the month before, that had I not ate right the rest of the time and exercised, I could easily have gained more than 4 pounds!

But clearly I wasn't eating well enough to gain no pounds to replace the four pounds of fat I was losing the rest of that time.

Plus now I need to lose 8 pounds instead of 4 to get back to my goal weight.

What to do?

Because my breakfasts lunches and dinners are mostly OK and virtually the same from week to week, what varies for me is my after dinner snacks.

The better news is that the past two month I kept the journal I began about 2 months ago.

But the other part of the plan was a no show. My planned increase in broccoli was low and sporadic although I DID manage some. But it wasn't virtually every day by a long ways! And, eating less almond butter simply did NOT happen at all.

So, it's clear I need a larger and more easily accessible supply of raw broccoli florets to fill me up virtually every evening and to be far more strict on eating the spoons of almond butter. The two are solidly linked. I can eat only one serving of the almond butter on my less strict every other day and none at all on my strict days. But to be full enough to manage that, I need the larger and more easily accessible supply of raw broccoli florets to fill me up available each evening which it has not yet been.

I have a new plan to make the larger and more easily accessible supply of raw broccoli florets available each evening. Let's see by next month how I do.

I think I'll lose a pound or two a month once that's in place. What I don't know is if it will lose me all of the 8 pounds before it stops causing fat loss. We certainly will find out!

Part of the 4 pound gain over the two months was from the extra wine at the two family dinners and the beer two times that was in addition to what I normally drink.

Last week that was back to normal and it will be quite a while before those special occasions happen again.

So last month offers some promise and had some progress despite the bad news on the scale and tape measure.

(I now need to lose 8 pounds total to return to my goal weight. And, I still need to lose at least four to 6 inches off my waist.

According to pictures I’ve seen, I’m now at about 25 % bodyfat. To remove my abdominal fat, according to those same pictures, I also need to add enough muscle to stay at or just slightly below my goal weight AND lose about 12% to 15% of my current bodyweight as fat.

This translates into losing 20 to 28 pounds of fat while gaining 12 to 20 pounds of muscle.)

I'm finally putting the initial plan in place to add the muscle. But the fat loss part still needs some work. And so does my total calories of exercise and activity. I average 1400 calories a week now. But 3500 would be better. The good news is that there may be a 2100 calorie a week fix I can actually do. The next section repeats that from last time.

* X * X *X *

(Future improvements still planned:

Eventually I’ll also need to get a specialized minibike or other seated leg exerciser I can use while seated at my desk and another I can use while reading at home or at my home computer.

They don’t yet make those that I know of but most people today need them. Given the health harm of sitting too much and how many people do that, these minibikes or other seated exerciser for your legs and chairs that match them well are coming soon I think.

Walking burns about 300 calories an hour. (200 if you are skinny and walk slowly to over 500 if you walk really fast or walk somewhat fast but are much heavier.)

Using a seated minibike or other seated exerciser that you use much less effort on but keep moving slowly most of the time you sit can easily burn 50 calories an hour.

Then if like many people today you sit for 6 hours a day, you could easily add an extra 2100 calories a week by using a seated minibike exerciser most of the time you sit at home or at work. That would help people lose about 2 and a half pounds a month for a few months once they got into the habit of always using one.

If I’d used one of the seated minibikes since I began my current fatloss plan, I’d still need to add the extra muscle to be at my goal weight. But I’d be trying to add muscle weight to get back to my goal weight! That’s because I’d be 10 to 15 pounds less fat.)

I’ve also had an idea for awhile. Before sewing machines had electric power, they had an under the work area treadle that was designed to be effective but avoid distracting the person sewing from doing their sewing.

It may be possible to find an antique sewing machine and find a manufacturer to make a design of that treadle mechanism that would do the same for people working at a desk.

It’s proven to do the job needed in actual use!)

I’ll let you know how my additional planned changes and efforts work next month.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Why a fast start for fat loss is essential....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-17-2012

There are two reasons a fast start for fat loss is essential.

1. If you don’t start fast, you may not start at all!

No start equals NO effort at successful strategies which equals zero fat loss or fat gain instead.

So far, statistics show that half of all adults in the United States are fat.

In round numbers, a third of us have a BMI of over 30.0. (Except for something like half of one percent of men, where the extra weight is muscle from LOTS of heavy strength training, for virtually the whole third it’s from excess fat.)

Of the remaining two thirds or 4/6 1 out of 6 are just under a 30.0 BMI AND have a fat enough tummy to be clearly fat. (For men, that’s over 40 inches on their waist measurement and for women over 35 inches.)

So, 3 out of 6 or one half are too fat by one or both of these measures.

And many of the remaining half are chubby enough to be very close to being in the fat half and still gaining!

Many of these people have thought about trying to lose fat. Some have even decided to try it. But without a fast start of actual effort after deciding to or thinking about it, NO fat is lost.

2. Successful and permanent fat loss takes doing many different but small and doable strategies or efforts.

To achieve a fast start, you need to begin several of these that are quite easy to do but definitely work.

Each one at the start needs to be simple and not too challenging to do at least at first. And, each one must be effective for most people who use it.

After doing this for a month, if you find each one doable and sustainable and you lose inches or pounds or both in that first month, you realize you can lose fat and that the methods ARE sustainable.

And that’s the foundation for successful and permanent fat loss.

At that point as I once realized myself, you will realize, “I can continue doing these things; and since I hardly want the fat to come back!, I’ll just keep doing them.”

Important Warning:

But it’s ALSO essential to use only fat loss methods that tend to not make you more hungry and that are permanent lifestyle upgrades and not a temporary “diet.”

The problem is that too many people include sharp and temporary cut backs of total calories by simply eating less of almost everything or by being extremely strict to the point that they become too hungry.

Even some otherwise good fat loss and weight loss and programs otherwise do this such as Weight Watchers and the South Beach Diet.

The good news is that people do lose enough to notice just in the first few weeks by doing this. At first, that’s fun and people continue the effort which helps the provider make money.

The far worse news is that over ninety percent of these people won’t keep it off because they slashed calories so much initially, the high level of their body’s fail safe emergency famine response kicks in. When that happens their perceived energy level drops to avoid using calories and their hunger more than triples. If they have access to food, they’ll gain it all back!

a) In fact, this looks to be why so many people think diet soft drinks can help you lose fat!

A recent study provides the information that supports this conclusion while seeming to be a paradox.

That study had 3 groups of people who began while they normally drank soft drinks.

One group just tried to lose fat on an overall program that sounds like it was mostly a good program.

The second group just switched from regular soft drinks to diet soft drinks only.

The third group just switched from regular soft drinks to water only.

Each group lost about the same amount of weight during the few months of the study.

The result for the diet soft drink group clashes with the other studies that found that people who drink diet soft drinks for a few years are fatter with thicker waists than people who drink regular soft drinks!

We know why that happens -- because the artificial sweeteners act as a strong appetite booster and one focused on eating more sweet things besides!

But in the new study, the clue or smoking gun was that the people who switched to diet soft drinks began to have too high blood sugar readings while the people who switched to water stayed normal or improved.

The people in the study were able it seems initially to override the appetite boost. But the blood sugar readings show that the extra sugar and insulin that tend to make fat loss hard to sustain and keep for people who need to lose more fat to keep losing it WERE there.

That means that diet soft drinks are just like cutting calories too much, they look good at first because fat comes off—at first. But they are virtually guaranteed to cause the fat you lose to come back by making you too hungry.

So, to get a fast start on PERMANENT fat loss, you need several doable methods to lose fat that do NOT boost the heck out of how hungry you are all day long.

So the key or “money” question is this: What ARE those things?

Good news! You just read one.

People who drank regular soft drinks and stopped entirely and just drank water instead lost as much fat as people on a seemingly more comprehensive program!

How can that be? And will they be able to keep the fat off that way?

Switching from regular soft drinks to water—or tea or green tea or unsweetened soda or carbonated water or coffee black or with some lowfat milk only—makes you LESS hungry!

Really!? Yes, really.

When you drink regular soft drinks, you do NOT get less hungry despite taking in a good bit of the most fattening kind of calories. Then your blood sugar surges and your body surges your insulin to turn it down so much it overdoes and your blood sugar becomes low. As soon as that happens you get HUNGRIER.

With water, you get no calories AND you don’t get that surge of rebound hunger. The result is you are less hungry.

Your famine response stays turned completely off! But if you keep drinking only water over a year or two you will effortlessly lose 10 to 50 pounds of fat that will never return!

All this means that if you drink regular or diet soft drinks now, by far the most effective and in many ways easiest hunger free fat loss method you can do FIRST, is to throw out any you have in your house if you can, stop buying more, and never drink them again.

If you live where other people still drink soft drinks, it’s harder to be sure. But explain you are working to lose fat permanently and never drinking soft drinks is the best hunger free fat loss strategy, so you no longer are willing to make yourself fat by drinking them.

b) The second method to be sure to include if you aren’t already doing it is to begin regular exercise including some kind of strength training and interval cardio.

Do these at home if you can. And do at least some of them first thing in the morning.

Why? Even though many people won’t do enough exercise at first -- and likely should not -- to lose much fat at first, that’s a good question.

It has two answers.

WHY do you want to lose fat?

Do you want to feel better about yourself? Do you want to feel better generally and less depressed? Do you want to feel and be more in control of your life? Do you want to look better? If you have a sex life, do you want it to improve? Do you want to be less stressed?

In your fat loss plan, wouldn’t it help if all or almost all of the weight you lost was fat?

In your fat loss plan, wouldn’t it help if some of your net calorie cutting required NO cuts in how much you eat?


Exercise begins to deliver every one of the first set of things within just days or weeks of beginning to do it regularly!

You may have only lost a pound or two or five but not that much. BUT, you’ll already begin to HAVE many of the things you are losing fat to get! THAT does make you a success right away.

Better, you do begin to be more in control of your life and able to make the other upgrades you need to lose fat


Best of all, you get the next two things. AND that’s huge. Those two things are key strategies to keeping off the fat you lose permanently.

And starting is doable.

If you have to, start your walking program with five 3 second walks and do that three times a week. Just always do those 3 walks and build up to more over time. If you can start with four ten minute walks and it will easily fit in your current schedule do that.

If you have to, once you can walk for a few minutes, speed up until it’s a bit of an effort for 30 seconds several times during the walk. Sure, if you are young enough and healthy enough to do five sets of 30 seconds of fast jump rope too for interval cardio that’s better. But start with something easy, safe, and doable and build up to it if you are too heavy or have existing heart disease or are a good bit older and haven’t exercised or done it for 20 years!

If you have to, start your strength training by getting up out of your chair two or three times or doing part of just one pushup from your knees or use 5 pound dumbbells.

The key is it has to be easily doable. You have to begin doing it regularly and keep it up. It is close to essential that you keep a log so you can see your progress or see early if you miss too often. And it’s essential that you gradually keep improving.

c) EAT MORE! That won’t make you hungrier either!

Eat more nonstarchy vegetables. And, if you aren’t allergic eat more beans, lentils, and black eyed peas.

If you’ve not been doing this, just add one of these things a week but eat it four days a week to every day for at a week or two.

Build up to a serving or two of beans, lentils, or black eyed peas most days; and five to seven servings a day of nonstarchy vegetables.

The beans, lentils, and black eyed peas will turn off your hunger longer because they have so much more protein and fiber.

But the raw cruciferous and other nonstarchy vegetables both raw and cooked are a key way to be healthy and stay that way. And they turn off hunger far better than no food at all despite having almost that few calories!

d). Are there any foods that like soft drinks tend to make you hungrier that you can make fast progress by just no longer eating?

You bet there are!

There’s a big list! Some of the things you’d do best to just never eat again. Some, you might like a lot and are not that bad if you eat them seldom enough.

Chips, French fries, and other salty snack foods made mostly from refined grains and bad for you fats and oils besides the salt are a good choice to join soft drinks on the virtually never eat again list. They are proven fatteners for people who eat them every week of every year. Save your calories for real food.

Nuts if you aren’t allergic are so filling they’ve been found to not add net calories when you eat them and the raw and unsalted ones make great health-OK snacks. Some raw nonstarchy vegetables make great snacks. So do some low glycemic fruits. If you are really hungry and it will be a couple of hours or more, before your next meal try some raw walnut halves, some raw broccoli or cauliflower florets, and an organic apple.

There are also some ingredients that are so fattening or bad for your health, it makes sense to never eat anything they are in ever again if you can possibly manage it.

If it has refined grains or hydrogenated oils or oils high in omega 6 like corn and soy or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners or colors, take a pass totally virtually every time.

That stuff is dreadfully bad for you and proven to fatten you. And, the oils are high in calories and the other things tend to be like regular soft drinks and have little or no fiber and cause rebound hunger.

Most bread and rolls and buns and virtually all commercially baked goods and desserts simply disappears off your menu if you follow that rule.

The sooner you do it and the more completely you stick to it, the more fat you will lose and the less will ever return.

Desserts are a special case because they can be so enjoyable. But when you do eat them, try extra hard to have them be home made, make sure they contain only real sugar and refined grains at worst and NO high fructose corn syrup or harmful fats and oils. AND have them be a few times a year or a month and never several times every single day!

e) In addition, to eating more beans, lentils, and black eyed peas, eat more health OK protein foods.

Wild caught fish, unpolluted seafood, low fat and nonfat dairy, naturally fed, 100% grass beef or lamb sometimes and naturally or pasture fed poultry and eggs are the best choices. Very lean and fat trimmed grain fed meat and poultry is not as good; but is far healthier for you and with fewer calories than the fattier versions.


Avoid all preserved meats such as salami, pastrami, lunch meats, bacon, sausage AND hot dogs AND regular hamburger and the like at least 99% of the time. They all tend to be from grain fed animals and fattiest plus the preservatives in them apparently help cause heart disease quite strongly according to recent research.

Avoid all farmed fish. It turns out to be usually fed grains and is too polluted to be safe to eat.

A solid intake of protein helps you be less hungry AND it slashes getting the famine response or turns it way down – plus it helps ensure you lose fat instead of muscle when you lose pounds on the scale.

Each and every one of those is a huge asset to permanent fat loss.

f) You’ll notice that most of the things to remove tend to make you sick or cause disease and most to all of the things the to eat or drink more of support or cause good health.

That’s another key to permanent fat loss.

Every calorie of bad stuff you stop taking in is less excess fat you’ll have. And every time you chose to support your health, you’ll tend to produce permanent fat loss.

Then too, when you are not that motivated by the fat loss temporarily a focus on health will also keep you on track so your fat loss will be permanent and add to your motivation also.

So, for a fast start, simply make plans for several of these methods and begin them with easy actions you start this week or schedule today.

Choose five or six or seven small things you know you CAN do and begin them all.

You can lose almost as much as the poor fools that cut too much out of what they eat in the first few weeks if you do that many and do them well.

But unlike them, you won’t be extra hungry all the time, you can keep doing the things you began and do them better and better, and your fat loss will continue and be permanent!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exercise works for both men and women to improve your love life....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-16-2012

Valentine’s day is about love and the heart. It just happened last Tuesday & everyone thinks of February as the month of love and the heart because of it.

We did a post Monday on foods to protect your heart.

On Tuesday, Valentine’s day, we posted on ideas to help your relationship and Valentine’s day go better that day & ideas to help your relationship go better always

But love also is about physical love making and pleasuring each other.

Eating well enough you stay healthy and having a good relationship helps in this area too.

But exercise is not yet as well known as it deserves in improving physical love making for both sexes.

It’s gotten relatively good publicity. But there are many who don’t yet know how much regular exercise can improve your enjoyment and satisfaction with physical love making. And, despite solid research that it’s very effective even more people don’t know that it works for women too!

Simply put, if your state of mind is good and your nerves and blood flow are working really well, sex works dramatically better.

And, exercise is one of the most powerful ways known to improve all 3 of these areas!

You get more turned on. You feel more mellow and enjoy the pleasure more and you feel the higher levels more intensely. And you feel more relaxed and satisfied afterwards.

State of mind:

People who exercise regularly and even more so, people who do vigorous exercise regularly, feel better and are less depressed. And that communicates to your lover and helps them feel positive with you.

People who exercise can deal with more stress without feeling stressed. So you’ll feel less stress and have that slow you down less.

But exercise is even more effective than that because exercise helps you release more endorphins and dopamine and oxytocin, the feel good neurotransmitters.

You feel less pain, you feel more pleasure and your mood brightens and your feelings for your partner become more happy and caring.

In men -- and likely to a lesser extent in women based on its proven track record, regular exercise and particularly more vigorous exercise such as strength training and interval cardio and fast dancing causes your body to release more testosterone which is programmed to improve your desire for sex and your enjoyment of it.

Even from the first few weeks of doing it, studies show that strength training increases self-esteem.

And, if you do regular exercise long enough, you will look better than you would if you had been sedentary all that time. You’ll be less fat and you’ll move better and look better in motion too.


They transmit the sensation of touch and pleasure to your brain. If they are healthy and transmitting well and the nerves in your brain are working well, sex will work better too.

Do your nerves tend to stay in good repair? Does your body grow new nerves when needed?

If you exercise, the answer to both of these is yes!

When you exercise, research recently found your body releases BDNF a growth hormone that causes your body to grow new nerves. Other research finds that regular exercise, even regular walking, prevents your brain from shrinking. Yet other research found that exercise tends to help your myelin or the protective covering of your nerves healthy and intact.

Instead of a fuzzy, low volume message, your nerves transmit loud and clear.

Simply put, if you exercise, you will literally feel more pleasure in sex than you will if you are sedentary!

Blood flow.

Your brain and nerves work badly if they get to little blood flow. All exercise improves blood flow. (Such exercise lowers the kind of small particle LDL and prevent damage to your blood vessels which keeps your blood vessels clear and open. So it has good long term effects.)

And interval and sustained but not overdone vigorous cardio improve circulation immediately.

In a lighter skinned person, you can literally see this. After a vigorous session, they will literally look pink from the extra blood flow.

But besides the benefits for your brain and nerves, good blood flow is essential for sex response.

When you feel sexual or are having sex, your body sends extra blood to that area in both men and women. Your body responds to that extra blood flow by turning on and turning up the volume on the nerves to that area as your nerves detect the extra blood flow. Then your body gets that message and turns on more blood flow. And that postive feedback loop keeps going for a while!

Here again, exercise causes more circulation when needed right away.

And exercise helps prevent your blood circulation from getting less as time goes by.

(Eating right as we just posted on last Monday helps do that too.)


If you have sex at all, it will be significantly to dramatically better if you exercise than it will if you do not.

And research has found this is as true for women as it is for men!

(Many women and some men as they get older may also need Bioidentical hormone replacement to ensure desire and the best sex response. It looks as if this kind of hormone replacement avoid the problems the synthetic hormone replacement drugs were found to cause.

And older women may need a sexual lubricant to avoid irritation.)

But the conclusion is the same:

If you have sex at all, it will be significantly to dramatically better if you exercise than it will if you do not.

And research has found this is as true for women as it is for men!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines day ideas and info....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-14-2012

Valentine’s day is about love and the heart.

We did a post yesterday on foods to protect your heart.

Today though is Valentine’s day.

So this post is a mix.

1. Ideas to help your relationship and Valentine’s day go better.:

a) So far as I know, despite the science fiction I’ve read and enjoyed, people can’t read minds.

BUT, did you know you can read people accurately 99 % of the time and they can read you?

No, so far thoughts don’t come through. What does come through that well?

What is this person’s level of energy or lack of energy?

Is what this person feeling a positive feeling or a negative one?

Hopefully the Valentine’s day cards and treats you got your valentine will please your valentine.

But two things almost always work. Most people like being treated as special and liked.

So, think about reasons why you like your Valentine and are happy with them. With that in your mind look directly at him or her and smile and radiate warmth and acceptance.

Make your energy level the same or a bit more positive than theirs but not too much more.

If they are sad or depressed, they’ll respond to the warmth and attention but may be unable to deal with too much energy and need a lower key and gentler touch.

Conversely if they are feeling GREAT and energetic, you may need to come up to their level a bit.

The key is to focus on the positive with direct attention on them.

b) Some foods tend to do well on Valentine’s Day.

One size does NOT fit all.

But you can often compensate.

Chocolate does tend to cause people to feel better and is traditional for Valentine’s day.

Not only that, dark chocolate has more of the ingredients that deliver that feeling and is actually good for you and your heart.

What if your valentine can’t have sugar or is trying to lose fat and would feel sabotaged a bit by a 5 pound box of chocolates with sugar?

You can get unsweetened cocoa and unsweetened chocolate and make them a very chocolatey cup of hot cocoa.

Or you can get them one 8 oz bar of dark chocolate with raspberries or ginger if just having a smaller amount will work. (I think the company that makes the ones I found at Whole Foods was Choco-love.)

And, a company called Monique’s in Palo Alto, California makes chocolate with coconut oil and no sugar. You still need to restrain how much due to the calories but there is NO sugar. And the taste is superb.

If you are going out to dinner and your valentine likes fish or seafood, that can help.

The omega 3 oils in fish help turn down any feelings of irritation and soothe people who have jangled nerves.

With salmon you have to be careful because if it doesn’t say wild caught or Alaskan it’s almost certainly farmed salmon. Farmed salmon can taste good; but it has too little omega 3 to produce this effect well. Worse, it’s so high in pollutants, you’d never eat it if you read what was in it!

All Alaskan salmon is wild caught by state policy I’ve read. And many better restaurants do have real wild caught salmon at least sometimes.

Halibut is lower in omega 3 but has some and is wild caught. It also tends to cost less than salmon if you need that.

Oysters if you both like them are quite high in omega 3 and have zinc which helps boost testosterone in men.

And, at some restaurants if you have a bit of extra money, lobster is a nice treat! Lobster tail is even pricier but great eating.

Scallops and shrimp are both good. (But be sure you and your valentine can eat them safely since some people are quite allergic to them. Valentines day is NOT the right time to experiment if you don’t know!)

Also, red wine is good for you in small amounts. And even one glass each can help. More than one for women and two for men can be problematic. So avoid going over that. You want to stay awake and get home from dinner safely too! (If your valentine prefers white wine or dark beer or a mixed drink though, go with that!)

c) Flowers. Some women and a few men REALLY like flowers. (My wife loves them!)

Whole foods carries organic roses so you don’t bring in flowers loaded with pesticides. Also, if your valentine is allergic to roses or roses are a bit pricey for you, carnations are very pretty and also come in colors. So you can make a red and white carnation combo for example.

2. Ideas to help your relationship go well.

There are three ways.

a) Be kind.

A famous very large family in China was renowned for what a happy family they had. They said it was because everyone knew to always follow that rule. So, be kind. To be sure that can be hard at times. But do it 100% of the time anyway. It does make that much difference.

b) It can be different if your valentine is just a one time affair. But in a lasting relationship, the second way is simple to say but also quite challenging to do at times.

But it is extremely effective.

Do what your significant other asks you to do.

Do it promptly if you can or at least say when you will and do it when you said. If you do it, do it cheerfully. There’s no sense doing something to please them and messing it up! You may need to do a bit of acting at times. But it makes a HUGE postive difference.

It was once thought that listening well and feeding back what you heard was important. And to avoid misunderstandings it certainly doesn’t hurt.

But it’s not enough if you fail to do what your significant other asks you to do! That turns out to be 10 times more important.

What happens if you really can’t do it or really have issues such as it’s illegal or dangerous or you just can’t make yourself do it? Ask why they want that done and reassure them you want to please them first. You still may be unable to do the action requested. But you may be able to give them the result they actually want another way. As a fall back, sometimes you can’t do all of it. But you can and would be happy to do part of it. Say you’ll do that and do it right away.

If on occasion you do say no, if you almost always do as asked and try to please them in these ways, you can hope you’ll be forgiven the very occasional no. But don’t have that happen at all if you can avoid it. And never allow it to happen often.

c) Value them for the things they do well and know what they are! Even if they have been grouchy and hard to live with lately, remember why you like them and review those things often.

(Our whole last post, Friday, 2-10-2012, was on this subject. If you do this with virtually everyone and your significant other most of all, your whole life will be better!)

I was going to add the reasons why exercise improves your lovemaking for both men and women. But I think I’ll do that another time. For one thing, it takes a while to work if you haven’t yet been doing it. So Valentines day may not quite be a fit for a long term plan.

And, I decided that leaving on the note that the same skill that can make your Valentine’s day and relationship better also can make all the rest of your life better was a good place to stop!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Foods to protect your heart....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-13-2012

I saw an article recently on foods that can benefit your heart.

It may be more important to know what foods and drinks are proven to harm your heart & we will summarize that here. That’s because almost any other food or drink will protect your heart better than they will.

But if you are going to replace those foods and drinks anyway, why not eat and drink the foods that protect your heart well and have other health benefits too?

So that’s most of this post.

1. Some foods or drinks increase the kind of small particle LDL that causes heart disease. Some tend to make you fat increasing your blood pressure too much. Some cause you to get high blood sugar that sticks abrasive sugar particles on your LDL which damages the inside surfaces of your blood vessels and can even destroy the smallest ones.

And, some foods cause excessive chronic inflammation which also damages the inside surfaces of your blood vessels.

So, to avoid all that:

Don’t drink ANY soft drinks or more than one or two a year—either diet or regular.

Always read labels and decline to buy or eat any foods that list any trans fat content OR list any hydrogenated oils as ingredients.

Always read labels and decline to buy or eat any foods or drinks containing high fructose corn syrup or “corn sugar.”

Virtually eliminate eating refined grain foods or only eat them a few times a year.

Cut back dramatically on eating real sugar or foods that contain it. Eat it a few times a month instead of several times a day.

Stop eating or buying oils high in omega 6 AND stop eating or buying the foods that contain them to the maximum extent you can. (These include soy, saffola, corn, and canola oils.)

Make a strong effort to eat no farmed fish. And, when you eat dairy products or meat or poultry from animals fed grain, do everything possible to remove their fat from what you eat or drink or eat or drink far less or both.

2. So, you can see why after that list of do NOT’s a list of foods good for you and your heart why a list of what to eat and drink instead is so valuable.

Here’s that list: (It has 12, repeat 12, kinds of heart OK or beneficial foods.)

a) Heart OK drinks include water, tea, green tea, coffee black or with just a bit of lowfat milk or occasional half and half (light cream), soda water – carbonated only, & occasional flavored soda water with no sweetener or other additives of any kind. Water is usually the least expensive. And tea, green tea, & coffee each supply caffeine and other health benefits.

Red wine and to a lesser extent white wine and even dark beer in moderation are actually good for your heart for people who can drink them safely.

Nice to know just before Valentine’s day!

b) Real butter in low moderate amounts, particularly if from cows fed no grain, is OK.

>>> c) Dark chocolate in low but regular amounts each week is actually good for your heart.

(Just be sure that butter and not hydrogenated oils are in it! And that real sugar and not high fructose corn syrup are not in it.)

Nice to know just before Valentine’s day!

d) Extra virgin olive oil protects your heart in several ways! Besides replacing oils high in omega 6, it helps replace butter and other fats from grain fed animals AND it boosts your HDL while lowering your LDL a bit. It’s the ideal choice and worth the extra expense by about 20 times!

e) For those who aren’t allergic, real raw, unsalted nuts and avocados are superfoods with similar oils to extra olive oil and add other heart protective ingredients too!

f) Wild caught fish and seafood not high in mercury protects your heart by replacing bad fats and grain fed protein foods AND supplies the heart protective omega 3 oils AND have other health benefits.

g) Beans and lentils and black-eyed peas protect your heart by replacing grain fed protein foods, lowering LDL, and saving you so much money you can more easily afford things like wild caught fish and extra virgin olive oil.

h) Occasional to very occasional poultry from chickens only pasture fed on pollution free pastures or from beef or lamb fed ONLY grass is OK for your heart. (Up to once a week for that kind of poultry and once or twice a month for that kind of meat can be OK, particularly if you eat the other things on this list and NOT the bad for you stuff in the first list.)

i) If you eat grains or foods based on them, eat ONLY 100 % whole grains and no more than once or twice a day most days. And, if you eat those, try to be sure to exercise most days of every week. Less processed oatmeal, steel cut or rolled oats is number one since it is proven to lower LDL cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

For those that need gluten free, quinoa and certified gluten free buckwheat work as do nut flours and meals for those not allergic as a grain substitute that’s also good for your heart. Barley is also somewhat good for your heart and may be least fattening.

j) One of THE best kinds of food for your heart and the rest of your health are raw and cooked vegetables. And organic vegetables are a bit safer to eat and usually a good bit more nutritious. (Both French fries and white potatoes do NOT make this list by the way.)

Try never to eat less than two servings a day. Try to eat one or two servings of a raw cruciferous vegetable and one or two servings of onion, garlic, or similar foods each day.

Cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, water cress, radishes, etc and onion, garlic, and similar foods like leeks, protect your heart. They lower your LDL cholesterol two ways and by help you avoid foods that harm you and making you fat by filling you up—all of which protects your heart. Eating those two kinds of foods also prevents many if not most cancers!

Eat both raw tomatoes and cooked tomatoes on most days.

And, try to add other green, white, red, and orange other vegetables many days each week in addition to the first kinds!

If you eat 6 to 8 servings of vegetables overall on most days, that gives you the most heart protection and it protects all the rest of you and your health best too!

k) Organic fruit in moderation each day but eating some every day protects your heart.

It does this best with organic berries, grapes, and cherries. Try to eat one serving a day of one of those. Blueberries and dark red or sour cherries are particularly protective.

One or two more servings of fruit a day are OK on occasion. For those, organic plums and organic unwaxed apples are best. (Such apples or no sugar added applesauce also protect your heart by lowering your LDL cholesterol.)

Fruit juice tends to be fattening so usually eat the whole fruit instead since that gives you better heart protection too. But if you want a single serving of juice each day, organic 100 % cranberry juice is least fattening and has the least sugars and calories. (For people who want juice, vegetable juice made with the whole vegetable including the fiber can also be a good choice.)

l) Many spices are also good for your heart.

Turmeric plus black pepper or a curry spice containing turmeric plus black pepper protects your heart by lowering inflammation and your LDL AND helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and many cancers too!

Ginger is related to turmeric and may be even better at protecting your heart.

Cinnamon helps your body process any real sugar or sugars in fruits or juices and protects your heart in other ways.

And, spices like basil, oregano, sage, cayenne pepper, black pepper, chili powder, nutmeg and more help protect your heart.

They do this directly in part because many of them contain ursolic acid that strengthens the muscles in your heart. And eating them also protects your heart because they enable you, along with onions and garlic, to make your food taste good without adding too much salt.


You can easily eat and drink as much as you are hungry for of these good for your heart and health foods and drinks and leave no room at all for the bad for you things on the first list!

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Friday, February 10, 2012

New way to better resilience and health....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-10-2012

We start with this:

Many people already know that if you think right towards other people, you’ll get all kinds of good results.

They’ll cause you less stress. You’ll spend less time arguing and be more likely to find solutions to difficulties. You’ll be more likely to be hired when you apply for a job. Other people be more likely to help you when you need it. You’ll spend a lot less time being angry or upset with people. You’ll be more persuasive when it counts most. You’ll be more likely to have a good relationship or marriage and have it last.

These are huge and postive, even life changing effects.

Overall your life will be dramatically better.

You’ll be less stressed physically and less often, and because of that we now know your telomeres on your DNA will be longer and you will age more slowly.

I got lucky and learned this skill in several places.

a) Author David Schwartz wrote the hype-y sounding but profoundly valuable book, The Magic of Thinking Big. I read it. In it he recommends what he calls “Thinking right towards people.”

It’s not that complicated when you see it explained. When you are about to meet someone or are with them, you can remember and even amplify to yourself one of two sets of things.:

You can think about what you dislike about them and remember when they acted that way. You can assume they are permanently that way and that will be how things always will be.

Or you can think about and remember what you like about them or respect about them and their strengths and what you have in common and be willing for them to be less than perfect without forgetting what you like about them and that they may do better in the future.

He gives specific examples how thinking the first way causes horrible results because the other person can sense how you are thinking and feeling about them.

And, he gives specific examples of how thinking the second way usually gets good results and can even turn a bad situation into an OK one.

b) In Dale Carnegie’s books he quotes one of his most successful students as saying he always gives people he has issues with the benefit of the doubt and tries to see the legitimate reasons they feel as they do and why. He said that he found he avoided making things worse every time he did this and was far more successful in turning the situation around. He said that sometimes this didn’t work. But the longer he did this, the less often that happened.

c) Studies found that in marriages that last, both people knew the real strengths of the other person, remembered them, and valued the other person for them.

d) Did you know that if you apply for a job and they ask why you left your last job, if you totally bad mouth the people you worked with, the person interviewing you will stop the interview and say you’ll not be considered?

Practical experience has shown employers that people who see the strengths of the people they work with and forgive them their weaknesses will work well with their other employees and do a better job. But worse, people who miss those strengths and make trouble for the people who they work with who aren’t perfect or who catch them at a bad time, will cut the productivity of everyone they work with.

So, as you can see, doing these things and learning to become good at them, is a huge asset and can benefit you enormously.

But I found out a few days ago, all this is just the tip of the iceberg and maybe only a third of its value!

It seems that when you habitually treat other people this way, you multiply your OWN ability by as much as a factor of ten!

Without realizing it, you treat yourself better too! You get so used to this way of thinking, you begin to do it with yourself also!

You find the people around you automatically treat you better to reciprocate which helps you think of yourself better as well.

You begin to see your own strengths better and give yourself credit for them. You then are more likely to see ways to use them to achieve your goals. You begin to stop over-reacting when you make a mistake and realize you can do better next time.

It seems that new research verifies this.

I read it in this Scientific American article.:

“What You Need to Succeed and How To Find Out If You Have It By Ingrid Wickelgren Scientific American Weds, 2-8-2012”

In the article they point out that people who are more hopeful, confident, resilient, and optimistic are much better getting things done and achieving their goals.

They repeat the findings of other research that shows people who are high in this set of things get better results in almost everything. Martin Seligman, PhD found that such people have more friends, have much better health, and make more money than people who are very low. The Scientific American article added that such people tend to stay married more often and live longer.

But how do prospective employers test for this?

People may not know themselves. Peter Drucker once pointed out that people who are extremely good at things find them so easy they often don’t realize those things are hard for other people.

Or other people may deliberately overstate how good they are.

So how can employers measure this accurately?

You just read about it! They can measure how you think about other people. That turns out to be close to 100 % accurate.

“New research suggests that your own ability to get things done not to mention your success in non-work relationships is highly correlated with how you see others. Are your coworkers capable and kind, or are they, dare I say, incompetent jerks?”

Peter Harms, a psychologist and management scholar at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska management scholar Fred Luthans decided:

“Rather than using real people, some of whom may actually be jerks, they asked subjects to conjure up imaginary people, on whom they could impose their own… mindsets. The result is a world they have completely made up.”

They had people describe characters in job situations that they made up themselves and then answered these questions about those people.

“Is he feeling confident and self-assured in his ability? Does she believe she can bounce back from setbacks? Does he believe he can accomplish his goal? Does she expect good things to happen in the future?”

People who always think right towards people tended to be pretty positive about their imaginary people.

But they also were dramatically higher on these traits themselves.

In real life they did their work and finished it well. They helped and were an asset to other employees.

They rarely caused avoidable problems on the job.

The article then goes on to give several specific examples of how Thinking right towards people tended to produce better results in the workplace and how doing the reverse tends to destroy productivity.

It seems that David Schwartz’s original advice was correct.

Always make a special effort to think right towards people until it becomes a habit.

It always pays to do so.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Jawbone fitness tracker may be very helpful....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-9-2012

I heard it existed last Saturday in a talk by the doctor who founded the Stanford Center for Disease Prevention, Dr John Farquhar.

See http://jawbone.com/up/product .

1. Keeps track of your activity all day long from walking to your car to go to work to jumping rope fast. 2. It can be set to prompt you to stand up if you have been sitting too long!

The bad news first.

Currently it is only for people who have an iPhone and are tech savvy and into social media.

If you lack any part of that, you can’t yet use this product. BOO! That means I can’t use it.

The measurement device and programming could easily be put into a product the rest of us could use that would need no mobile device. I saw no listing of plans to do so however.

Hopefully they will realize they are leaving more than half their potential income on the table and change that. But I saw no sign that they intend to do this so far.

The three things it has to recommend it most are that:

1. You can get a real picture of how much effect you are producing from your exercise program and how active you are the rest of the time.

Most people who exercise keep track in a log; but some people don’t and almost no one keeps track of their other activity. This device can give you extra data to put into your exercise log. But most importantly, it can help you keep track of how much you move the rest of the time and help you improve it.

This is like being able to see out when you drive on the freeway. If you can’t, you have no data to use to stay in control. With exercise logs and some knowledge of calories burned by different exercises you can get more than half way to the data you need for exercise. But for your other activities, this device can give you a 100 % picture instead of hardly any idea. That’s a huge positive improvement.

2. I read that sitting too long was a bad idea and tried an idea to get me up more often. I forgot to do it. Then I developed a couple of sets of easy but vigorous standing exercise and a log to help me ensure I remember to stand up an extra time and do these five times every weekday. In 5 more months, I’ll have used this for 24 months. It’s worked out well. (I already got up 5 times a day to go make tea and at least that often to visit the bathroom from the extra water.)

But sitting long is so bad for you that just standing up and sitting down about 10 times a day besides that would help. Now, I’m simply to busy to mess with it.

If you have their device, you can set it to buzz you every 15 minutes to remind you to stand up briefly. As busy as I am I don’t have the mental bandwidth to remember to do that and do my work too. But I just stood up and sat down and timed it. It took two seconds! THAT I would have time for. The reminder function this device has for that is worth the whole price of the device and its “App” software based on the research I’ve read on the health harm of sitting too long.

Also, if you take really long air flights, this function could save your life. Sitting for over 5 hours without getting up more than once or twice can cause life threatening blood clots. But if you get up every 15 minutes extra, you may never get these clots.

3. The device also can track how well you sleep. Do you sleep well now?

If not, you might benefit a lot from getting into exercise every day if you don’t already to that. You might sleep better if you took a tiny dose of melatonin at bedtime. You might sleep better in a darker room. You likely would sleep better if you usually drink more than two drinks a day and might if you cut your average to closer to one a day.

You can try these positive changes one at a time and see exactly how much each one helps.

You might even find you have sleep apnea in time to fix it before its effects kill you.

This again is worth the whole price.

The added feature that it can get you up at a time you aren’t in the deepest sleep might appeal to some people.

That one I’d have to try. But I doubt I’d use it.

Yes if you get up at the exact same time each day and sleep closer to 6 hours a day than 7 or 8, you do wake up some mornings feeling as if you need someone with a crane to get you up and a bit groggy at first or have the alarm slam a dream you like to a full stop.

But when you need all the sleep you can get and find this alarm gets you up 7 to 10 minutes before your alarm setting when you need that sleep, that is something I find horribly obnoxious when it happens to me by itself now! I’d have to try it. But I doubt I’d use it.

A device to shape your sleep sections to optimize getting up would be nice so you’d get up right on time but from a light sleep. But I suspect this device isn’t quite up to that. Using it for a month might have that effect though with a gradual training effect. But again, I'd have to try it to see.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Soft drinks are as bad as smoking and diet soft drinks are worse....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-7-2012

Most people know that smoking is harmful to your health.

(Although few yet know how certain the harm is or that tobacco causing 30% of all cancers is its LITTLE problem. The BIG problem with smoking is the certain increase in heart disease and cut backs in your blood circulation from tobacco smoke exposure.)

But how many people know that drinking soft drinks is very close to that harmful?

It should be close to 100 %. Needless to say it’s dramatically less than that.

Then too, millions of people drink diet soft drinks in hopes of getting less fat than if they drank regular soft drinks. Oops!!

How many of THOSE people know diet soft drinks fatten MORE than regular and are also that harmful?

Both the sweeteners and many of the other ingredients in soft drinks are harmful.

Here’s the summary in three parts.

Ingesting excess sugar, once thought to be relatively harmless even by doctors, turns out to lower HDL and increase triglycerides. But, thanks to research done at Harvard, we now know that means that ingesting things that do that increase the amount of small particle LDL which is a direct cause of heart disease.

The main single source of excess sugar today is from people drinking regular soft drinks. And the high fructose corn syrup in them is a form of sugar that is even more fattening than regular sugar. A recent study found that excess calories even from healthy foods can make you fat. BUT, a study found that high fructose corn syrup is a bad exception -- with the same number of calories you will get a LOT fatter from high fructose corn syrup calories!

What about diet soft drinks? People who drink them don’t know they act as triple strength drugs to massively boost their appetite for real sugar. Based on the research results, they then find a way to eat even more sugary calories than they would have from drinking regular soft drinks. And, so far, the health impact is as bad or worse. Research has documented diet soft drinkers get fatter and grow the fat in their waist area even more than people who drink regular soft drinks.

In addition to these drinks most people think are normal and harmless being a direct cause of getting fat and causing heart disease, these same metabolic effects help cause type 2 diabetes.

Two other key points.

1. Like tobacco and its smoke, drinking soft drinks helps cause many other health problems.

But two are worth special mention because they are unusually nasty to the people who get them. (The others aren’t far behind.)

a) Imagine being unable to move because your leg bones are broken and can’t support your weight. Also imagine having pains all over your body from small breaks in your other bones. It’s called osteoporosis and the drugs for it have dreadful side effects and do little to fix it.

If you eat enough foods with calcium and magnesium and get enough walking and other exercise and take or get enough sunlight to wind up with 3,000 or more iu of vitamin D3 a day, normally you’d not get osteoporosis.

(Drug hormone replacement for women at menopause was thought to help prevent it but was proven to be harmful for other reasons. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is thought by many to be as effective in preventing osteoporosis and to not have those side effects.)

But today in BOTH men and women many people already have some or a lot of osteoporosis. Most of them have no clue they do either. Why?

Every day they drink soft drinks that taste a bit spicier and refreshing because they contain phosphoric acid. Oops! Phosphoric acid leaches both calcium and phosphorous from bones. It’s like taking a daily drug that causes your bones to weaken structurally and doing it every day of every week for years. (Both regular and diet soft drinks contain phosphoric acid.)

b) Imagine getting someone to get thousands of tiny stainless steel needles and somehow firing them into many of the smaller joints in your hands and feet. Sounds like something out of a horror movie. It’s called gout. And the needles in your joints are actually crystals of uric acid.

Something that horrible would be worth missing wouldn’t you say?

Men who ingested the most fructose, more than doubled their chances of getting gout researchers in two separate locations found.

Who ingests the most fructose today?

People who drink regular soft drinks more than 7 times a week and people who drink diet soft drinks that often and then eat foods sweetened with high fructose corn syrup because of how much their craving for sugar went up.

2. The MUCH better news.

If you have been drinking soft drinks for years because you thought like most people still do that they are normal and harmless, you have a way to lose a good bit of fat without getting hungrier at all!

Ten to fifty pounds or more of fat now on your body is there from drinking soft drinks. But if you switch to water, soda water only, tea, or coffee without sugar or excess cream, you’ll cut off all that calorie intake. But not only will you not be hungrier, you’ll actually be somewhat less hungry and with fewer sugar cravings. That’s true if you have been drinking regular soft drinks. But the huge drop in sugar cravings you’ll get from stopping diet soft drinks is even more.

Hunger free fat loss is the main key to losing fat and never having it return – permanent fat loss.

Simply not drinking any soft drinks any more for people who drink them now is just about the most effective and hunger free way to do just that.

As extra benefits, your heart health protection will go up and your chances of getting type 2 diabetes and several other diseases will go down.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Why tax fattening food and drink components....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-6-2012

UCSF is the University of California medical school campus in San Francisco.

It is at the state of the art in many areas of medicine and preventive medicine. And, since I live in the area it’s local to me. So I see information often about their research.

Dr Robert Lustig, a doctor specializing in obesity studies, and health policy researchers Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis authored an article in the journal Nature that appeared last Thursday, February 1, 2012.

It was covered in the online health news that day and the following Friday.

Their article highlights the cost of treating obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancers caused by excess sugar intake.

They explain that taxing sugars would reduce the amount of such diseases that recent increases in sugar intake have caused to go up. And, they point out that the money raised can also help pay for the costs of treating these diseases.

We’ve posted on this before. A study was done that found that making healthy foods less expensive caused people uneducated on this issue to buy more sugary treats with the money saved!

In contrast, increasing the cost of the sugary treats caused people to buy less of them and buy more health supporting foods. And, no time consuming and inefficient educational efforts were needed. So the effect was virtually instant.

That study supports their position!

I’ve also posted that today most governments are short on revenue and that virtually all other taxes slow the economy and cost jobs.

In contrast to that, taxing harmful food ingredients saves so much in the medical costs avoided that:


That was their point in their article.

The United States federal government is apparently considering a soda tax that would raise the price of a can of soft drink by around 10-12 US cents, bringing in about 14 billion dollars a year.

The authors say that the statistical analysis they used suggests that the price would have to double to significantly reduce soft drink consumption – “so a one-dollar can of soft drink now should cost two dollars.”

No, having a tax of 10 cents an ounce for both regular and diet soft drinks, wouldn’t raise ten to 12 times as much because people would buy and drink less.

But the cost of the treating the diseases now produced, currently about $165 billion a year would also drop that much.

So instead of $165 billion a year in health care costs and no tax, we might have something like $70 billion a year in yearly tax income and have the health care costs drop to $82.5 billion a year.

It’s important that the tax per ounce on soft drinks include diet soft drinks since despite their zero calorie content they act as a strong drug boosting sugar cravings reliably increasing sugar intake as much or more than the regular soft drinks multiple studies have found! (Literally tens of millions of people who do not yet know this now drink diet soft drinks!)

Comparable taxes on sugar and other sweeteners by themselves and as ingredients in other foods make sense as well.

The comments in the news coverage focused on soft drinks; but their underlying focus was on the health harm from fructose which is in both regular sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

They did not cover the comparable health harm from eating refined grains. But the glycemic effect of refined grains is actually higher than sugar delivers!

So comparable taxes on refined grain foods also make sense.

Imagine if both all states and the federal government imposed taxes on all soft drinks, all sugars, and all refined grain foods and those drinks and foods all cost four times as much.

The governments would rake in some serious money. And, the amount of these things people would buy and ingest and be harmed by would drop like a stone.

These foods and drinks would still be available. But they would be the occasional treat people have a few times a month or a year instead of the two or three times a day intake some people now have.

The coverage of the article didn’t cover the specifics of why sugary foods and refined grains in excess cause disease.

But the research shows these effects, though little known by most people, are quite real.

Eating lots of sugary foods and refined grains in massively excess quantities reliably cause dramatic increases in triglyceride levels and substantial decreases in the beneficial HDL cholesterol.

But that effect, researchers at Harvard found, means that the small particle LDL that causes heart disease goes up that much too. So eating lots of sugary foods and refined grains in massively excess quantities is heart attack starter just like eating trans fats and hydrogenated oils is.

Secondly, research has found that the high triglyceride levels and roller coaster blood sugar levels eating lots of sugary foods and refined grains in massively excess quantities causes insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

So, these three authors are quite right.

Cutting back on how much of this stuff people ingest by taxing it enough would dramatically cut the amount of people with heart disease and type 2 diabetes and the medical costs we now are paying to treat them.

By the way, I personally love sugar and the treats it’s in. But after learning this information I’ve cut back by over 8 to one in how often I allow myself to eat it. And, I drink no soft drinks as a firm policy.

These taxes are for the people who don’t know this information or refuse to believe it or can’t get themselves to cut back even after they find out.

And these taxes are for the cash strapped governments that now are paying for some of these avoidable health care costs!

The evidence shows they are badly needed; long overdue; and should be enacted immediately!

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