The Way We Eat

Well, it’s been more than a month since those New Year’s resolutions.  How’s it been going?  If you’re like most people, not so well.  My own life has been hectic with our move from the big city to a rural community.  Bernadette and the kids are making a longer commute and I’m left alone most days to plan dinner and this new phase of my life. We are happy though.

One thing that I bet we have in common is figuring out an eating plan.  Notice I didn’t say “diet”?  The longer I’m in this game, the more I hate the word.  I prefer to talk about “a healthy way of eating.”  We’re not going to be successful until we substitute routines and healthy habits for quick, faddish fixes.

Part of this search for a healthy way of eating involves a desire for freedom.  Freedom to wear the clothes we want, freedom gained from more energy, freedom from high blood pressure, freedom from high blood glucose levels (leading to Type 2 diabetes),freedom from cravings, freedom to be sexually attractive, etc.

The health benefits of eating right combined with this annoying tug of vanity that I can’t seem to shake, have gotten me back to a regimen of fasting.  The video below is long but worth watching.  The punchline is that you don’t have to do any of the ridiculous fasts that involve epic deprivation.

Have you fasted before?  What kind?  Did it involve enemas or cabbage?  The method I use is closely related to the one described in the video.  It’s called “Eat Stop Eat.” I have used it off and on with success for body composition over the last few years.  As I get older, I think I am going to make it more of a staple in my routine because that aging well “thing” is tugging at me almost as much as my vanity.

BTW, if you are interested in fasting my way, go to Eat Stop Eat. That’s my affiliate link and I get a couple of dollars to buy myself some sexy yoga shorts.  If you buy through that link and want some help getting started, let me know and I’ll give you a free implementation session over the phone or Skype.  Summer will be here sooner than you know it!

Sure you’re sexy but how’s your insulin sensitivity?

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Big Steve

Big Steve had huge arms – about 20 inches at the biceps. He had always been well proportioned and muscular but there was that one-year when his body seemed to explode.  This was the early-80’s.  Those of us at the gym knew that he had to have had some chemical assistance.  It didn’t matter.  He moved to the elite level in the local bodybuilding circles.  He had hopes of taking it to the national stage.

On one of the slower days at the gym, a few of us sat around and talked about the world of competitive bodybuilding.  I had competed in a few contests and did well enough to compete in Vegas in the “couples” section (that’s me with hair in the photo).  I was tiny compared to these other guys.  They saw that I worked hard and none of them ever tried to pressure me into using steroids.  I was in law school after all, and was going to make my mark in the legal field instead of on the posing dais.

It seems that Big Steve (and a couple of others at the gym) were using ridiculously high levels of oral anabolics.  These were even more dangerous than the injectable steroids.  Someone asked him why he would take such crazy chances with his health.  Wasn’t he afraid of dying in his 20’s from a heart attack, a stroke, or his muscles exploding out of his skin?  Steve gave a quick laugh and said the only thing he cared about was that they “bury me massive.”

Knowing What You Want

You had to respect a guy who was clear about what he wanted.

I’m not sure what happened to Steve.  I don’t know whether he got his wish or revisited his goals.

My health and fitness goals have evolved.  I still have one eye on aesthetics when I train.  I have to maintain a certain level of sexiness so my wife doesn’t leave me.  But I have other concerns that are even more pressing.

Staying Out Of The Home

In my mind, I’m still in my 20’s but I have too many people reminding me that I’ve been here for more than half a century.  I think I told you this before but I’m not relying on any of my children to look after me when I hit an age that most people would consider “old.” I have a pretty good idea of the strength and movement markers that will allow me to remain independent.  I’ve written about them here but let me know if you want more information on staying strong for longevity purposes.

There’s also stuff going on inside that we need to pay attention to.  I measure my heart rate variability (HRV) every morning to determine my level of activity for that day. I try to take my blood pressure regularly. I meditate and listen to binaural beats (ask me next time we talk).  My blood pressure is pretty good although I’d like to lower it down a few points to get in optimal territory.

 

Insulin Sensitivity

Another thing I pay attention to is my blood sugar levels and my insulin sensitivity. You are  insulin sensitive when your body needs only a relatively small amount of insulin to reduce elevated glucose levels.  This is a good thing.

Insulin resistance is associated with obesity and non-alcohol fatty liver disease(NAFLD).  It is also strongly connected to dementia.  You can test your insulin sensitivity by testing your blood glucose levels.  Let me remind you, I’M NOT A DOCTOR.  What I’m laying out for you is how I am bio-hacking my life.

I tested it yesterday shortly after waking up.  This is called fasting glucose. It was over 100.  Most doctors would tell you that a 100 fasting level is nothing to worry about.  A clear picture of the implications is also complicated by the fact that if you eat pretty low carb as I do, you can have paradoxically high glucose levels.

So I have a choice.  I can flex in the mirror and be happy that I have to buy new pants because my waist is a little smaller.  Or, I can pay attention to the research that shows that even if you’re blood sugar is just high normal, it can still be predictive of an up to 30% greater chance of getting Alzheimer’s.

My plan?

  • ONE glass of wine (at most) each evening.  Alcohol can have a negative impact on insulin function.
  • I’m going to slightly increase my carbs but keep them below 150 grams.
  • I’m going to add another 30-45 minutes of walking to my routine.
  • I’m going to increase my sleep by 30 minutes.
  • Take more regular glucose readings.  These will be post-prandial as this is a more accurate measure than a fasted reading or an A1c test.
  • I’m going to bring my omega-6:omega-3 ratio closer to 5:1, which means more fatty fish and paying more attention to my cooking oil which can increase the omega-6 levels.
  • I’m going to supplement with Berberine.  This supplement not only helps blood sugar control but it improves liver health. I’m excited about this one.

My guess is that these measures will also have a positive impact on my body composition and strength.  That’s not why I’m doing it.  I’m sharing this because I want you to take more responsibility for your health, too.  Don’t ever take what I say at face value.  Please understand that where you get your health and fitness information may be the biggest factor in evolutionary selection in the near future.  I can only tell you that I do my homework even if it’s just in pursuit of my n=1 experiment.

I don’t care that you’re younger than me.  After all, Bernadette and I might need you to take care of us one day.

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The Secrets To Long Life And Early Death

Longevity

Here’s a simple formula from a guy in rural Bolivia. He’s reputed to be the world’s oldest person at 123 years of age. Carmelo Flores Laura said his secret was avoiding sugar and pasta, long walks everyday, a local wild grain and a staple of skunk meat (with pork and mutton on rare occasions).

The world's oldest man

Simple, huh?

Preventing Early Death

This one seems a little more complicated than not getting enough skunk meat.

MISS BREAKFAST AND HAVE A HEART ATTACK!
This was a headline from mainstream media reporting on a recent study. What they don’t tell you in the story is that most of the participants who died before their breakfast eating counterparts also smoked, drank a lot of alcohol, were overweight and were old!

We Get What We Ask For

Sensationalism sells. Fear and greed always beat curiosity. So we get the hyped health and nutrition headlines that proclaim the latest finding from poorly designed studies that were paid for by Big Pharma and Big Ag.

You’ll hear about red meat causing cancer until some study claims that it’s actually fish oil that does. There’s a new herb that will “rip the fat off your body” and another supplement that will keep your muscles hard for four hours – after which you’ll need to see a doctor. Fear and greed.

These are all distractions. They’re the kind of things we fight against every day in our business. It’s why we’ve discussed instituting “a red velvet rope policy” for new clients or taking our training completely online. I feel about the fitness industry the way I have come to feel about the mainstream education mills. Self actualization and personal responsibility are the enemies of both industries.

Fitness has become a business that plays to Fear and Greed as it eliminates symptoms without attempting to cultivate wholeness. You have to develop compassion for all the different parts of your body if you want to become something more than an emotional and physical Frankenstein.

The Diet and Exercise Wars hide the fact that adherence is probably the most critical component for positive results. It’s not sexy so it won’t sell.

If you choose to get your news from the popular media you will be on the path to disability and an early death. This is usually what happens when you rely on a combination of “experts” and Fate. I may be aging but I’m not limited and neither are you.

Our Evolution

We will continue to evolve a business model that helps people live the largest story they are capable of telling. We will help the women who want the help to embody their original wholeness. Our plan is to do this through online training, retreats, workshops, and speeches.

For the women who ask “but what can I do about this jiggly part?” You’ll see us smile and give them another exercise for the “burn.

P.S. If you haven’t already, LIKE us on Facebook.
P.P.S. Should we evolve our business or just get better at eliminating the “jiggly parts?” Let me know in the comments or in an email.

The Shocking Truth About Health And Fitness

What do most of us miss on the path to health and fitness?

Healthy relationships, doing work you love, expressing yourself fully, avoiding exposure to environmental toxins, having a spiritual connection – these things are at least as important as your annual physical, how many miles you’ve run, or whether you’re buying organic.

This M.D. talks about how she discovered this for herself.

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If you want help with the “work you love,” spiritual connection,” and relationship parts, you might want to sign up for this.

Looking for a weight loss program?

One of the first things I recommend to someone looking to improve their health or to lose fat, is that they learn how to cook. Being able to cook means that you are taking responsibility and taking control of your health.

Learn how to cook, have the right supplies on hand, and eliminate sugar, wheat and seed oils and you’ll see your health energy, and sex appeal shoot through the roof. Chef Todd Mohr’s videos are educational and entertaining. It will make you want to run to the kitchen!

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Do you have a favorite healthy recipe?

Toned Arms and Flat Abs? Overrated

“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”
― Carl R. Rogers

Don’t talk to Sheila S. about toned arms and flat abs. Sheila S. is about 5’7″ and she weighs about 185 pounds. She’s able to do a full split and pull 300 lbs. from the floor.  Heads turn – male and female – when she’s wearing a summer dress. The looks are admiring and respectful.  She doesn’t need help with her groceries or luggage and the guys who are fixtures on her corner know not to go too far with their comments. Her 11 year-old doesn’t understand why he still can’t beat Mom in their impromptu races in the park – but he brags about it to his classmates.

 

Give ‘Em What They Want?
You won’t find women like Sheila S. in an ad for any major gym or fitness program.  That’s one of the reasons I’m getting ready to resign from the “flat abs” and “toned arms” army.  Crazy, right? Isn’t that how personal trainers and gym owners make a living?

Do we have to be a part of that twisted cultural dream machine to succeed? After all, it’s the dream that people in the fitness profession are supposed to push.  We need to give the market what they want.  What if this isn’t what the larger market wants?

One business model signs people to gym memberships they’ll never use and promises you that Photoshop look.  We can help you get that limited cultural aesthetic but it will be a byproduct of our efforts to make you strong and mobile first.

You may have already gotten a hint of our values  if you read our manifesto (we’ve been nice enough to provide a copy below).

Please understand, I’m as vain as the next person.  I understand vanity. One of the reasons I work out is to look good.  As I’ve gotten older and wiser, my reasons have evolved.  I’m betting that there are other people who, secretly or not, train for more important reasons than looking good.  Are you one of them?

 

Does Size Matter?
It’s encouraging to see the increasing number of women who come to us to improve their running, or to get out of pain, or who just want to get stronger.

You’ve been told that “plus size” is bad. They tell you that you have to be as thin as possible to be healthy and attractive.  The research and experience say otherwise.  There can be problems that go along with being obese.  These problems are trumpeted by all the major media. You might be surprised at the health and longevity difference between overweight (vs. obese) and very thin people. It’s not what most of us think.

But have you also heard about the Female Athlete Triad? It combines eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis.  It’s a growing problem for female athletes who want to achieve extreme leanness – the same kind of leanness that’s held up as the feminine ideal in this country. You don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from these life-shortening conditions.

Do your own survey of the fashion and fitness role models held up as paragons of beauty and health.  Bigger than size 4?  Your supposed to drive a truck instead of walk a runway.

 

The Other Way
Let’s be contrarians.  We want you to help us fight back against the lords of fashion, fitness, and diet.  There’s a larger fight (no pun intended) and a more important message.  It has to do with potency and sovereignty – please don’t say “empowerment.” Let’s demand more inclusive definitions of “sexy,”shapely,” and “fit.”

We welcome women of any size.  If you know someone who wants to be like Sheila S., send her our way. If you want to get stronger and move better, you’ve come to the right place.  When toned arms and flat abs are at the top of someone’s list, we can do that. But we’re gonna do our best to get you to drink from the cup of strength and movement first.

 

Who loves ya, baby?