What’s Your Diet Kryptonite?

Even Superman had something that brought him down. When I consult clients that want to lose weight, lose fat, get toned, and change their bodies forever, there is one thing that’s a given – everybody has some form of food kryptonite.

Diet Kryptonite

For some it’s cookies and cakes, for others it’s pizza and pasta, or rolls and bagels.

Whatever your addiction is, the first step in solving the problem is admitting that there are certain foods, snacks, or food groups that cause you to go into a temporary state of insanity and become powerless against their forces.

You what I mean – these are the foods that you cannot, even with all your will and discipline, stay away from.

These are the foods that you say to yourself, “I’ll just have one, or I’ll just take a bite or two”, and before you know it, you have completely gorged yourself. This food kryptonite is so powerful and energy draining that even when you really want to stop – you can’t.

How Can We Fight Food Kryptonite?

1. Be aware of the foods and snacks that you cannot stop eating, that you are addicted to – that you have no control over – write a list if you must

2. Don’t bring them into your home – EVER

3. If they are present when you dine out – be aware and take a moment by saying this little mantra in your head – “Only one of us will win. It’s going to be me”

4. If you have a slip, journal it. Write down where it was, when it was, which food beat you, who you were with, and any other points you may find significant. After that, just move on. Nobody is perfect. The fact that you recognized you had a slip means you’re becoming more aware, and the fact that you took the time to write in your journal means you are willing to feel some pain which will only strengthen you in the long run.

Wanna know my diet kryptonite? Pizza and chocolate cake!

Portion Control without Portion Control?

portion controlI want to be clear from the start. The amount of food you eat is important in your quest for permanent weight loss and should undoubtedly be considered.

However, I don’t feel teaching or observing portion control is the best way to get you to your goal. Why in the world am I saying this?

The 3 biggest problems I have with portion control:

1. Everyone is different. Portion size for a 30-year-old woman who is 150 pounds and 5′3″ is different than a portion size for a 45-year-old male who is 225 pounds and 6′2″. It just does not work well in the real world in my expert opinion.

2. It’s negative. People are more likely to break their habits when their focus is on what they CAN do instead of what they can’t do or can’t have. Deprivation is not a good motivator.

3. Portion control does not address the “real” problem. The real problem (with the vast majority of my clients anyway), is that their metabolisms are slow from not eating frequently enough, not getting enough protein, and not exercising anywhere near as much as they should.

My #1 goal for my clients is to get their metabolisms up – I focus on getting their bodies to burn more so they can eat a good deal of food and still lose weight. Simply taking your 2 or 3 large meals and cutting them in half is not a long-term solution. As a matter of fact, the severe overuse of portion control as your only strategy for achieving weight loss will eventually cause your energy and focus to plummet, your cravings to increase, and your friends to stop picking up the phone when you call because your mood will flat-out suck. Once your willpower runs out, put a fork in you because you’re done.

Ask yourself this question – Why do people overeat?

People overeat because they go long periods without food and are starving by the time they sit down to eat and/or their meals are unbalanced – meaning they don’t have a balance of protein, carbs, and fat that affect blood sugar levels. You see, eating more often and eating balanced meals and snacks naturally control your appetite. This is not my opinion- this is scientific fact. If you can put your focus on eating more frequently and balancing your meals better – than guess what?

PORTION CONTROL WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF WITHOUT FOCUSING ON IT – A MUCH BETTER WAY TO GO AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED!

One last point to drill into your mind: Eating more often and increasing your intake of a dietary protein boost your metabolism. Portion control does not increase your metabolism at all. Eating huge meals is a symptom that the way you are eating is off. If anything, eating significantly less than you should, could cause your metabolism to slow down even more.

Be careful before you say something silly like, “I know what I need to do, I just need to watch my portions” – Big diet mistake if you want lasting weight loss

I love food, and I’m sure you do too. I prefer to have my clients eat their way thin, but the choice is yours!

8 Reasons Why the Pritikin Diet Stinks

When I wrote my last blog post called “Protein without Breakfast Stinks“, I received an email from a former client of mine who disagreed with me completely. She didn’t want to go against me by posting a comment so she sent me a private email outlining why she thought I was wrong.

Controversy is good because it stimulates interesting debates, gets my clients and followers to think, and it’s one of the reasons I love blogging. While I will keep her privacy of course, I’ve decided to post her comment to me right here:

Hey,

I didn’t want to post this to your blog and openly contradict you but there are some all carb breakfasts that are healthy, filling and won’t create those spikes that you were talking about for instance – whole grain oatmeal with fresh fruit.

Pritikin recommends this highly and feels that the protein craze is overrated – we as a nation are consuming far too much protein (even the lean chicken and fish options). They deal with (even specialize with) diabetics check it out…let me know what you think. I’d be happy to get you more info and share details if you have the interest and the open mind to learn… All the best,

My turn:

Yes, there are carbs that absorb slower, keep you more full and are more healthy for you, and yes, diets like Atkins have pushed protein so hard that some have a diet that is way too high in protein, but Pritikin has major drawbacks.

8 Reasons Why the Pritikin Diet Stinks

1. The Pritikin diet is severely low in total calories aiming at 1000-1200 calories for women and men respectively. I would never recommend anyone going on a diet this low.

2. The Pritikin diet calls for an extremely low-fat intake (10% of total calories). This is an inadequate amount of essential fatty acids according to current research.

3. The Pritikin diet does not work in the “real” world. Who can keep this kind or unrealistic total fat and total calorie range for more than a few weeks. If anyone goes out to eat 2-3 times per week for dinner – they would never be able to follow the rules. That’s not a life. Sounds like torture to me.

4. Caffeine and alcohol are restricted. Come on – are you serious? I love my coffee, and while I choose not to drink – people don’t want to hear the word restricted. I see no reason why someone can’t enjoy their morning “joe”, have a glass of wine from time to time AND still lose body-fat. This diet sounds like torture if you ask me.

5. This diet calls for a 60% or greater carb intake – way too high for people interesting in fat-loss. I don’t know anyone (including my clients, friends, family, gym buddies) who look lean, tight and fit with a carb intake that high. It just can’t happen.

6. Since this diet is so high in carbs, it’s too low in protein. Protein is crucial for suppressing appetite, controlling calories and cravings, bumping up your metabolism, and supported muscle tissue. The research is so vast – this will have to be another post.

7. This diet is like most others: It focuses on a thread of the truth – part of the story – and then blows it out of proportion because that what sells – that’s what people buy into. There is more to the fat loss/weight loss/obesity epidemic than just total calories.

8. Robert Pritikin is the son of Nathan Pritikin, the founder of the original Pritikin program (founded in 1974). Robert is carrying on his father’s legacy but has no formal training in nutrition. That always scares me and should scare you too.

Don’t believe me? Here is what Dr. Arthur Agatston, M.D., author of “The South Beach Diet” (a diet with much more success) said about The Pritikin Diet:

“The regimen requires severe total fat restriction. In recent years, Pritikin has liberalized its view of nonsaturated fats. The problem with the Pritikin Diet, which its proponents acknowledge, is that it is hard to follow and requires a tremendous commitment on the part of the patient. Also, the high carbohydrate content of the diet can worsen cholesterol and TG’s in certain patients. It definitely is not a diet for the general public.” pg. 21 of his book

Take home message – This is not a long-term solution diet. The “high carb, low-fat” fad has been dead for years.

Even if people go to the Pritikin center and initially lose weight – this proves nothing to me because it’s not the real world. These centers are like scientific experiments keeping you in a bubble – an air-tight environment. One problem – we don’t live our lives in a bubble.

When we get home from our stress-free “vacation”, we’re not going to have chefs cooking our meals, trainers teaching classes every hour, and we have to go back to work and our very busy lives. The Pritikin Diet gets 2 big thumbs down from me.

The Downside to Breakfast without Protein

“Pancakes can’t be that bad right? I thought low-fat meals were good if you’re watching your weight. I have a diet book that says low-fat is the way to go.” Well, let me tell you a story.

I just got back from hanging out with my father who happens to be a type 2 diabetic and about 10-15 pounds from a healthy weight (sound familiar?)

Recently, on my advice, he has been having an omelett with a slice of whole-wheat toast (maybe 2) and a fruit if he feel he needs it – This is a nice balance of both protein and carbs. He’s a big guy at 6′4″ so he needs a good dose of calories. He has been feeling great and his blood-sugar has been normal both before breakfast and on the random times he checks it throughout the day.

Then, he made a switch this weekend. He decided that pancakes would be ok because he’s been good and afterall – how much damage can come from 1 “all-carb” meal? He initially felt a surge of energy after the pancakes because of the high amount of carbs, but 2 hours later something happened? He got very sweaty, nervous, and weak.

You see, because the meal wasn’t balanced with protein (a point I will repeat until I’m blue in the face), his blood sugar levels skyrocketed and then soon dropped very rapidly causing these hypoglycemic symptoms. 

He took his blood sugar and it was something like 65 (very low for his situation). What do you think someone goes for when their blood-sugar levels are really low like this? You guessed it – more carbs to bring their levels back to normal. This a vicious cycle that can cause weight gain and diabetes down the line.

My point?

If you want to avoid the roller coaster ride of high and low blood sugar – if you want to feel a steady flow of energy all day long – if you want to avoid type 2 diabetes – and ESPECIALLY if you want to control your weight (or lose weight) – you must add protein to your meals and snacks.

Just because a meal is low-fat, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. The low-fat craze is over and for good reasons. It’s a watered-down approach to weight loss that focuses on calories only. There is more you need to consider if you want to lose weight and feel good. Again, focus on balance. You will be better off.

3 more terrible breakfasts:

1. Bagel with orange juice (all carbs)

2. Fruit alone (all carbs)

3. Cheerios with banana (all carbs)

Why You Can’t Turn Fat into Muscle

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people who want to get into shape say they’re going to turn their fat into muscle. Well, unless you’re a magician or a hocus-pocus specialist, you can’t turn fat into muscle just like you can’t turn water into oil or a cat into a dog.

Muscle and fat are different types of tissue. Muscle is commonly referred to as “lean muscle” because it takes up less space on the body than fat tissue – about 18% less space to be precise. Fat tissue – as known as – Body fat – just kinda sits on us like a big, yellow blob. This is one of the reasons I’m always telling people who want to lose weight to weight train but that’s another story.

So where does the confusion come from?

When you add lean muscle tissue to your body by strength training (or resistance training if that sounds better to you) – you increase your RMR (resting metabolic rate) – the biggest component of your metabolism.

The more muscle you possess on your body → the higher your metabolism → the more fat your body burns → the leaner and tighter you look → period

So because you’re adding lean muscle tissue and burning body fat, it may seem as if you’re “turning” fat into muscle, but you’re not – you are “burning” more fat off your body by adding calorie-consuming muscle which gives you a leaner appearance.

Think of it this way – remember that old Atari game Pacman?

Muscle is Pacman. It goes around eating up those little white dots we can compare to body fat cells.

By the way, the opposite is also right – when we become out of shape, our muscles don’t become fat – we just wind up losing muscle and gaining fat.

Hope this clears that myth up!

How To Get Fat In Ten Easy Steps

I am a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, though I would prefer to be called a Renaissance Woman.  (I suspect I am lacking some of the necessary ingredients to be that.)  I can play the piano, but I’m no concert pianist.  I write, yet, no Pulitzer Prize.  I sing, but have I ever won an audition in my life?  Uh, no.

get fat faster

I taught myself to knit, cross-stitch, scrapbook photographs, sew, bake a souffle, and take photographs without a flash.  I’m good at a lot of things, mostly because I had the good fortune of growing up with a father who taught me that if you can read, you can do anything.  I can read, so I can do stuff.

Yet, I’m not the Best in the World at anything, much to the chagrin of my formerly yearning-to-be-perfect-heart.  (Because if you aren’t the Best in the World, what point is there in going on? says the perfectionist in my head just before I stuff a sock in her mouth.)

But I am an expert in the art of gaining weight.  And so, without further ado, I offer you these handy-dandy weight-gain tips.  Feel free to post them on your fridge and print them on a t-shirt.

1)  Eat fast-food in the car.  Be sure to get the extra-large whatever, because it makes better fiscal sense to spend an extra fifty cents for an extra two thousand calories.  Always order fries or the fried side-dish of your choice.

2)  Never pass up an opportunity to purchase holiday candy during after-holiday sales.  If you pace yourself, your Halloween candy will last until Christmas candy goes on sale.  Then, you just have to buy enough (on clearance, because who doesn’t like a bargain?) to last until Easter.  Eat it without really paying attention, though, because it tastes better that way.

3)  By all means, don’t do what she does.  She lost over a hundred pounds by joining and following Weight Watchers on-line.  Did I mention she runs marathons now?  Do not put on sneakers and do not run.  I’m warning you!  Sit down!  Now!  Feet up!

4)  When you feels miserable and maybe just a little bloated, repeat after me:  “I am a miserable failure. Where is something salty to eat?”  Then find some potato chips and eat them straight out of the bag.

5)  When you’re feeling down (or when you’re feeling jubilant) go to a movie.  At the snack-bar, order a large popcorn and Diet Coke.  (I know everyone kids, but Diet Coke negates the popcorn calories.  Really.  I read that somewhere.)  Never deviate from this order, unless, of course, you add a bag of Pop’ables or Almond M&Ms.

6)  Have Chinese food for dinner.  Get something high in fat, like Cashew Chicken.  Eat it until you can’t move, then save the rest for lunch the next day, only eat it as a bedtime snack.

7)  Bake brownies.  I have the best recipe in the world, I kid you not.  Always be sure to lick the batter, then cut them into gigantic squares.  Only eat one!  (Okay, eat the rest of the pan after the kids go to bed and the next day, when they say, “Where are the brownies?” say, “What brownies?”  Look puzzled.)

Don’t like brownies?  (Huh?  Then we are no longer friends!)  Make fantastic chocolate chip cookies to cheer up or celebrate with “the kids.”  (Kids optional.)  Then eat the dough and a handful of cookies, too.  Did you know cookie dough and broken cookies don’t count in your overall caloric count?  (You heard it here first.)

8)  When out and about at night running errands, say to yourself, “Oh, wouldn’t some ice cream be good? I could stop at Dairy Queen. It’s so close.”

Then, in the drive-thru line, say to yourself, “Oh, what the hell. I’ll get a Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard since I’m here anyway. Next time, I’ll get a small cone, but I deserve a Blizzard. Yum. Who cares, anyway?”

Then hide the cup in the outside trash can when you get home.

9)  Do not underestimate the importance of second (and third helpings).  Change into elastic-waisted pants, if you need, but do not stop when you feel full.  Just eat a little more.  And by little, I mean two more slices of pizza.  Or three if they’re small.

10)  At lunchtime, if you can’t figure out what to eat and you’re out of salad or bored with salad, eat a generous slice of pecan pie.  Or two.  Nuts have protein.  Protein is good.  Eat up!

And a bonus:  Be sure to eat when you are hungry and–most importantly–when you are not.