Category Archives: Intuitive Weight Loss

AHA Moment

I truly believe that cracking the weight loss code is like trying to crack the DaVinci Code.  Seriously.  I know tons of people, myself included, that at some point have been doing everything right only to get zip in terms of results.

Here we are, day 12 of the new year and I’m guessing some of you may already be feeling frustrated by your fitness regimen and are perhaps grabbing for a doughnut as you read this in disgust.

STOP!

Read this great article instead!  It has photos and more importantly, answers as to why long term aerobic exercise doesn’t work for fat loss.  Sure it’ll help your heart and that’s wonderful, but if you’re hoping to drop the pounds by spending hours upon hours at the gym on treadmills, ellipticals, or training for marathons or triathalons…trainer Rachel Cosgrove says, “Don’t get your hopes up, crazy lady.”  Instead, she suggests interval training and uses her own experience training for an Iron Man to back up her claims.

Thank you Michelle for posting this (and for somehow making a Prune Truffle look and sound good – didn’t know that was possible).

I’m very interested to know if others have had this same experience as well. I know I have and I can think of people that literally run their asses off but never seem to run their asses off.

Happy Health Everyone.

See Michelle Cook

My cooking was at it’s healthiest (and my weight at it’s lowest, ironically) when I lived in Hoboken, NJ and attended the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. But looking back I’m realizing that I had 2 friends that were into healthy cooking at the time as well.  Anja, my Danish friend, only used fresh, organic ingredients, cooked from scratch and was pretty much appalled by the convenience foods of the American diet.  Michelle was less appalled by Americans (she’s Canadian for God’s sake).  She just happened to be a fitness, cooking, and health food junkie.  She worked out.  She cooked tofu.  She had a strange obsession with hot peppers. She put zucchini in her chocolate cake recipe.  But most importantly, she was the first health nut I had ever met that didn’t necessarily hug trees while wearing a lot of clothes made of hemp.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m feeling strangely drawn to healthy cooking again. After returning to work and allowing my wifely and motherly cooking duties to seriously slide, I’m pulling out old recipes, making longer grocery lists and revisiting my healthier ways.  Hmm…I can’t help but wonder if it’s because I’ve recently reconnected with Michelle who’s now living in Australia.  Besides emailing one another, I’ve been reading her cooking blog and it’s as if we’re hanging out again – she just happens to be living on the other side of the planet instead of in the apartment building next door.

So was it the school or Michelle that got my ass in shape back then?  Who knows?  What I do know is that she’s wonderfully adept at updating recipes and making them as healthy as possible.  Since healthy eating will be on everyone’s mind in about 10 days, check out her blog for lots of great recipe ideas and wonderful food photos. But before before heading over to her corner of the blogosphere, I thought you all might like to get to know my friend Michelle a little better.

LBP:  When did you start your blog?
MP:  I started my blog a little over a year ago after my husband finally convinced me that this would be a fun way to make my own personalized cookbook.    I was worried about starting one because I am in no way a writer but over the year I’ve really come to enjoy just focusing on food and adding a bit of quirky family stories every once in a while.

Are the recipes from other cookbooks or ones you’ve adapted yourself?
To be honest, I was once a huge cookbook collector and would read them like one would a novel but since we began to travel more and more I donated most of them and my favorites are now sitting in a storage warehouse in Quebec.    I try to create my own recipes but many are certainly adapted from memories of cooking shows and books that I’ve read.   I will often just “healthify” every day recipes but if I use an original I do always give credit where credit is due.   It’s also fun to give a shout out to other bloggers when you try out their ideas.  It’s a respect thing.

Do you have a favorite cookbook you return to often?
I love Janet and Greta PodleskiEat Shrink and Be Merry along with Crazy Plates are probably my favorite cookbooks. They’re fun to read and the recipes are simple every day meals made a little healthier which is basically what I try to do.  I don’t like to make dishes that are too complicated.  Instead I try to encourage people to stay away from foods you didn’t make yourself.  Frozen, prepared meals, take out and restaurant food are the biggest problems today as far as I’m concerned.

Do you really lay in bed thinking about food / cooking?
You have no idea!  Just the other night I had to finally get up and watch television so that I could stop dreaming about dates.  I was doing a blog on a new date butter recipe and it was all I could think about.   I try to get a blog out at least 6 days a week so I am constantly thinking about new food ideas.   Thank God thinking about food is calorie free or I’d be in trouble!

Would you rather cook or bake?
Bake hands down.  I get a weird pleasure out of watching a cake rise, especially one that is full of healthier substitutions.  Baking bread to me is like an art and I am still surprised each time it works!  I have two teenage girls. Baking is therapeutic 🙂

Would you rather cook or work out?
That’s an easy one!  I cook because I love it.  I work out because I have to.  Like probably 90% of people, I don’t really enjoy spending an hour in a stinky gym with grunting monkeys trying to suck in my stomach but I do enjoy the mood enhancing effects exercising has on me.   Leaving the gym and feeling fit is a definite high.

Since you’re into fitness…
To lose weight do you think it’s a 50/50 split between food and nutrition?  Or is the stuff you eat more important than the calories you burn?
Food is 80-90% for the average person. I have seen and trained women who bust their butts in the gym every day (far more than me) and never lose a pound or change their body shape.  The simple reason is that they consume more calories than they work off and often those calories come from low nutrient dense foods as well as alcohol.  People will often maintain their weight and fitness levels for years and train like an athlete simply because they refuse to change their diets.    I think that’s a huge waste of time in a gym.  I would rather eat a healthy diet and exercise as little as possible.

I ask because I know a lot of people that lose weight without exercising, just by dramatically changing their diet.  But I’ve yet to meet a WOMAN that loses weight from dramatically changing her exercise.  Men on the other hand seem to be able to do either and lose weight.
Yes, sadly it is true that men can drop their doughnut a day habit and lose 10 lbs in the first week while we lucky ladies hold on to our muffin tops for dear life!  But here’s the thing, although it is clearly easier for men to drop weight quicker, it is just as hard for them to maintain that loss if they don’t eventually change their diets and add exercise.  As we get older the combination of the two become more and more important since our calorie needs get lower and lower. I see women lower their calories each year to maintain their weight until they are consuming 900-1200 calories a day.  These low numbers mean that they are missing out on important nutrients in their diets, bone saving exercise and the simple pleasure of eating.  Food and exercise go hand in hand for both men and women even if one plays a bigger role.

Tell me about the nutrition counseling you offer.
I offer 1:1 daily monitoring through an online food journal.  I watch what you eat each day because you record everything on this website.  In doing that you are able to see exactly what you consume and I then recommend changes and let you know where you should actually be with the macro numbers (fat, carbs, protein, etc.)  I also send nutrition information for you to read  regularly and use my blog to direct you to recipes

This is something that only works for people really willing to take the time to search a data base and log every single thing they eat and drink every day for at least the month.   It’s a bit time consuming at the beginning but I know for a fact that seeing and being honest with a food journal is very eye opening for people.  I have a client right now down 85lbs in 6 months.  He’s under 300lbs for the first time since he was in his 20s and he is now 51.  I sound like an infomercial 😦  I just really believe in the journaling process.

Thanks Michelle!  I’ve eaten Michelle’s food and made many of her recipes – they are always tasty and easy to make.  If you want to overhaul your diet or would like to work with Michelle, check out her blog, See Michelle Cook.  Happy Eating!

Fembot Future: Favorable or Fiasco?

Usually when I get an idea for a blog, I need a moment to determine how I feel about an issue.  However, when I saw this video clip, featuring Le Tung’s female android creation, Aiko, my issue wasn’t what to write as much as where to begin.

As a scientist, I’m pretty impressed with the fact that such a realistic android has been invented.  But I gotta tell you, as a parent I’m disturbed by how young Aiko looks.

What kind of creep makes a 12-year-old looking fembot?

She's looks like she's 12-years-old! Does anyone else find that to be creepy?

As a feminist, I’m grossed out by the way in which the inventor chose to illustrate his creation’s understanding of perversity.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As a pretty blunt and straightforward person, I’m annoyed that when asked if he has sex with his creation he replies, “Yes, Aiko has sensors in her body including her private parts, and yes even down there.  AND yes Aiko is still a virgin, AND NO I do not sleep with her.”

Listen Le Tung.  If you’re smart enough to invent a robot, you’re smart enough to say the word “vagina”.  And if you took the time to put sensors in said vagina and give her a G-spot, don’t tell me that you’re not having sex with her.  And on the off chance that you are telling the truth and Aiko has turned you down, then at least admit that you hope to market her as a sex toy.  Why else would you have this picture of Aiko on your homepage?

Clearly, they're just friends.

Clearly, they're just friends.

My final annoyance comes from Le Tung’s “wish list” of Aiko’s future skills and abilities that he hopes for her to master:

  1. Facial Expressions
  2. Make tea and coffee
  3. Feed me sushi
  4. Make simple breakfast: eggs and bacon
  5. If I lie my head down on Aiko lap, have her clean my ears with a Q-tip.
  6. Ability to massage my shoulders and neck.
  7. Able to do print and write
  8. Clean the windows
  9. Dust the shelves
  10. Clean my toilet. (I hate cleaning the bathroom, might as well have someone else do it for me)

Hey, I’ve got one.  Let’s teach Aiko to puncture his eardrum with her Q-tip and then shove it up his ass.  She’s a high functioning, bilingual computer for Christ’s sake.  The bitch can do calculus.  The selfish bastard could at least have her working on the cure for cancer while she’s clipping his toenails.

But the more I explored my outrage with Le Tung, I wondered if perhaps he was more than a computer genius, but also the answer to our pervert and pedophilia ending prayers.  Could realistic looking androids be created and given to all of the psychos out there?  Would sick bastards leave real kids alone if they had fake ones?  Would rapists steal fembots to dominate instead of pulling living and breathing women into bushes?

Considering that 90% of sex trafficking involves women and girls, 50,000 females are trafficked into the United States and 2 million children worldwide are in forced into prostitution each year, would fembots do for the sex industry what automation did for the car industry?

Imagine the productivity and profit margins.  You don’t have to feed a fembot – just charge her batteries.  No more smuggling humans across state lines – just buy one at Costco.  She certainly wont run off and if she dies you don’t have to bury the body,  just recycle her parts.  An android could probably service twice if not three times as many Johns as a real woman and from a public health standpoint, you could disinfect Aiko, “down there” and voila,  no more sexually transmitted diseases.

Or would androids used for sexual satisfaction simply perpetuate more perversity in the world? Will fembots that never age, need no foreplay, and never say no (or can at least be unplugged if they do) create such an unrealistic feminine ideal that even more psychos and perverts will be created?  Will it merely take porn to even more unrealistic and dangerous, three dimensional level?

I really don’t know the answer but I think with guys like Le Tung having access to the technology that’s available today, we’re about to find out sooner than we thought.

more about “fembot“, posted with vodpod

Finally Seeing The Light

My daughter celebrated her birthday last month and I actually got in one of the photos due to carrying the cake out to the birthday girl.  I didn’t pose or even think about how I looked.  It was my daughter’s birthday, not mine and the focus of the picture was her, not me.

When I downloaded the photos and came across the one that included me I couldn’t help but notice that I looked like shit!  But a funny thing happened next.  Instead of silently, bitching and moaning about how fat I am, a logical, sensible thought went through my brain.  Truth be told, I was wearing the most unflattering, ugly, poorly proportioned, boxy, sweatshirt that I owned.  To add insult to injury, it had a sheepskin-like texture which would add girth to anyone.

Please allow the following photo to be placed into evidence:

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Me wearing non-Tim Gunn approved apparel.

The old me would have used the moment as an excuse to pig out on left-over birthday cake or run out in desperation to the As Seen On TV kiosk at the mall to buy an Ab-Roller.  But the post-40, smart, fabulous, I’ve watched enough Tim Gunn to know better, me did something very out of character.  I made the connection that many items in my closet in no way represented my body or style and therefore are not a personification of who I am.

Because I knew the truth about my body underneath that ugly sweatshirt, the next day I prayed to the fashion Gods, asked myself, “What Would Tim Gunn Do?” and within a few hours had removed every outdated, poorly fitting piece of clothing from my wardrobe.  I had a pile of pants and skirts to take to be altered, a large pile for Good Will as well as a pile for the garbage.  All aspirational clothes (you know, the clothes you’re going to wear just as soon as you lose five pounds) were also given away.  I was left with a much smaller selection, a lot of black and a clear idea of what I need to purchase (jackets, wrap dresses, a few more skirts, more colorful items and at least 2 more bras).

Further photographic proof that the clothes make the woman:

See, I do have a waist.

See, I do have a waist.

Here’s another photo that I didn’t pose for because when you’re letting it all hang out, things tend to, well, all hang out.  Yet as you can see above, when I wore a shirt that better flattered my shape, even an unflattering photo (of me drunk singing karaoke no less) turned out okay.

So dear reader, I ask you.  Do you need to see the light?  Are you too hard on yourself when it comes to your body?  Does your closet need a makeover?  Are you waiting to lose weight and looking like hell in the meantime?

Get some damn clothes that fit!  The economy is collapsing around us, so give away what you don’t want or need and you’ll make someone’s day.  Most importantly, tune in to Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style so you too can learn that it’s not always your body that’s the problem.  Often times it is what you choose to put on your body that’s the problem.

What I love about Tim’s show is that no one loses weight, they simply learn how to dress and they look absolutely phenomenal by the end of the hour.  Sure they get a new haircut and makeup tips but the only bodily changes are due to dressing correctly for their sillohuette and proportions.  It really is must-see TV for anyone that struggles with their body image.

Orthorexia

I’m off to give a talk at the Women’s Outdoor Weekend in Montgomery County. Ironically, my talk is one of the few indoor offerings which is probably why it’s still on considering the weather from Hannah headed our way. Until I blog again, I wanted to leave you with this article from ABCnews regarding orthorexia.  Orthorexia is an eating disorder in which the person is obsessed with healthy eating.  It’s not about being thin as much as it’s about being pure.  Since the person is so focused on organic, non-toxic, healthy, whole foods living – at first it comes off as a rather noble pursuit.  However, as the condition worsens, the person’s food intake decreases because their meals must meet such high standards.  Eventually these folks can’t eat out. Can’t sit at a dinner party with friends. Can’t invite folks over because their foods are foreign to many people.   

It’s an interesting look at what happens when something  healthy for you like healthy eating becomes deadly to you.  Being healthy is super.  Being obsessed with being healthy is a bad idea.  If you’re unsure if you know the difference, check out this article and see if any of it resonates with you.  If it does, go to Steven Bratman’s website.  Bratman, a physician who coined the term Orthorexia after diagnosing himself with the disorder, broke free from his obsession, and wrote a book about it as well.

Fit By 40

A year ago I set a goal to be fit by 40. If you’re a guy then you might mistake that statement to mean, fitness as in survival of. But if you’re a woman, you know that’s code for “skinny”.

Actually both definitions aren’t too far off because if you’re a woman, skinny is the expectation if you want to survive in this day and age. Skinny means beautiful, smart and disciplined. It means that you’re worthy. It means that you’re good.

Good is important, because to get skinny you have to be good! Very, very good. You have to eat good foods and be good about exercising (at a good intensity level damn it) if you want to keep your girlish figure.

Girlish is another important part of skinny, because the majority of skinny females that exist in nature are girls that haven’t gone through puberty yet. Girls without breasts, hips or the flesh stores required to populate the planet. Inexperienced girls, trying to decipher their world and tap into their destiny. Girls working toward becoming confident women that, lets face it, really aren’t welcome around here anymore.

In The Good Body Eve Ensler postulates that the billion dollar weight loss industry is designed to keep women small, literally. When women focus all of their attention on being “good” in the context of body image and weight loss, they have no time, energy or patience left over to live a great life.

She’s right. When women starve themselves down to a zero, they ultimately become one on all sorts of levels. They regress back to being girl-like instead of owning their womanhood, which is perfect because besides having curves, real women have opinions, ideas and (gasp) demands so we wouldn’t want them taking up too much space.

Truth be told, lithe girls with low blood sugar levels can be pushed about and easily distracted by a snack cake. Hungry gals calculating the fat percentage of a serving of almonds, don’t have time to cure cancer or balance their check book for that matter.

Now I know this all sounds militant and extreme, but if you think about it – it’s not far off base. By creating an unreachable ideal, women are so collectively distracted they can’t accomplish everything else that needs to get done. When you add to that the fact that many women put their lives on hold until they become skinny (that same skinny that’s impossible to reach) well, you see the dilemma here.

I’ve spent the last year diligently working towards weight loss. (Click here, here, here, and here if you don’t believe me). I’ve honestly been very good. I’ve cut calories, increased my movement, created fitness goals, signed up for races, lifted weights and cooked healthier meals only to fail by most standards. Eleven months of healthy choices should have resulted in a lot more than only 9 lost pounds and looking better in a tank top. But an interesting thing happened on my way to 40 – I got smarter.

Now the old (or should I say, younger) me would have quit many times this past year. I would’ve gotten frustrated,then given myself permission to binge until I felt guilty enough to start another diet until I got frustrated again – yada, yada, yada. But this past year was the year I made promises to others. By being forced to continuously tweak or change what I was doing rather than giving up, I finally figured out what worked for me which to be very honest, is quite different then what the experts say.

It’s been an interesting year and I’ve got a lot more to say on this topic, but for now, here’s what I know:

  1. I definitely know more about myself than I did 365 days ago.
  2. I have finally figured out a “maintainable” system of food / movement that works for my lifestyle.
  3. Although it’s taking a hell of a lot longer than I had expected, I’m fitter than I was this time last year.
  4. I have no idea what Fit at 40 looks like because I never actually see her in magazines, on TV or in the movies. So I stopped looking there and starting looking for her in real life and interestingly enough she’s a lot less perfect than what the weight loss industry wants you to believe.
  5. Because of this, all I can do is what works for me and stop sweating the outcome. More importantly, I have no attachment to the outcome what so ever because I’m sure as shit never going to be a zero. In fact, if I’m ever a size zero, pray for me, because I’m close to death and something very terrible has happened.
  6. Good has nothing to do with this. I know I’m good. In fact, I’m damn good.
  7. For the first time in 4 decades there’s no drama involved in getting dressed.
  8. After spending a year being “good” only to not reap the promised results, I’m seeing the whole weight trade as the bullshit, anti-woman industry that it is.

So this year the gift I’m giving myself is to simply continue doing what I’m doing, trust the process, let go of the outcome and frankly – enjoy taking up a little space in the process.

Eat This Not That

In my last post I told you to save money on new books by dusting off and rediscovering old favorites. But if you’re going to buy one book this summer, I strongly suggest you buy this one:

Keep this book in your car and refer to it before you eat out. Basically it tells you what you should order at most major fast food and chain restaurants as well as what to choose when hitting the ball park, the mall, a super bowl party or having a beer with friends.

What this book taught me more than anything is that when eating out, common sense doesn’t always prevail. For example, if you find yourself at McDonalds wouldn’t you choose the grilled chicken sandwich over a burger to save calories and fat? Yea, me too. But guess what? That’s a bad idea because the quarter-pounder saves you 160 calories, 2 grams of fat and almost 1000 milligrams of sodium.

If you eat out often and want to lose weight, this book would aid you in your quest. In fact it’s marketed as a diet plan, although I view it as a resource that I can refer to when I find myself eating on the run. Written by the editor’s of Men’s Health Magazine there’s a companion Eat This Not That web site that you can peruse with lots of lists like the 20 worst foods in America and the top 125 grocery items but beware, there’s a lot of clicking required on this site. The top 125 grocery items are listed per category, so you must click on “best cereal” to find the best cereal instead of reading a list of 125 items.

When it comes to being healthy when eating out, the other thing that you can do is go online and download the nutritional information of your favorite restaurants, cafes and coffee houses. For example, if you go to Panera Bread every day and order the Chipotle Chicken on Artisan French Bread for lunch don’t kid yourself into thinking that because you ordered something with chicken in it, you’re suddenly Ms Health. That sandwich has over a 1000 calories and 50 grams of fat which is why many people are so damn frustrated. They think they’re making good choices and can’t figure out why they’re gaining weight yet they’ve never taken the time to investigate what it is that they’re eating.

Then there are the people that know that they’re making a bad choice, but feel as though they’re giving themselves a well deserved treat. It never occurs to them that they’re treat is so horribly bad for them. For example, I know someone that buys a Venti Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream from Starbucks every day. At 500 calories and 16 grams of fat she has the potential to gain 1 pound per week just from this drink purchase. She’s knows that she’s not ordering a health food, but I doubt she realizes that this one treat per day risks adding 50lbs to her frame each year.

Look, if you want to run five miles to burn those 500 calories and keep your Starbuck’s habit, knock yourself out. But if you think that your frappuccino is just “a little treat” and not having a big impact on your diet and wonder why all of your running isn’t paying off, make sure that you’re aware of the math.

The bottom line: Don’t trust the food industry. Don’t assume that they’re looking out for your health and wellness. Their only requirement is to provide tasty food, fast and at a decent price. It’s not their job to provide you with a healthy option. Rather it’s your job to be a consumer of the information and find one for yourself. So if there are food and beverage items that you order frequently, you owe it to your arteries and waistline to get the low down on your favorite stomping grounds before your next fast food order. Eat This, Not That is an excellent addition to your health and wellness tool box to keep you grounded in reality and help you make better choices every time you leave the house.