The comment discussion that followed one of my recent Huffington Post articles was worth sharing…so quoting the conversation verbatim from 118,801 Reasons Dieting Is Fattening:
by Catherine Britell, M.D.
One sunny summer afternoon about 15 years ago, my husband and I were enjoying a double kayak paddle in Seattle’s Lake Union, looking at the houseboats and ducks and conjecturing about the “Sleepless in Seattle” lifestyle, when he suddenly said, “Cathy, you need to paddle us back to the rental place now.” So, I did, and then he said, “Now you need to drive us to the hospital. I’m not feeling well”. And the next day, he had a brand new plastic heart valve to replace the congenitally malformed one that had suddenly started malfunctioning.
In order to prevent formation of blood clots on the artificial valve, it’s necessary for him to take a warfarin anticoagulant. Others need to take anticoagulant medications for other reasons. The dose of this medication needs to be carefully adjusted according to regular blood tests.
Why is this relevant to SANE eating? It’s important because blood clots are formed through a series of chemical reactions in your body, and Vitamin K is necessary for many of those reactions. Warfarin (brand name: Coumadin) works by decreasing the activity of Vitamin K; lengthening the time it takes for a clot to form. Read more
Catherine Britell, M.D.
We love our non-starchy vegetables! And for most of us, eating ten or more servings of non-starchy vegetables (concentrating on the dark green ones) per day is the mainstay of a healthy diet. If you have had kidney stones, however, you’ll need to pay attention to the oxalate contained in the vegetables you eat. The good news: this is not difficult, and armed with the right information you can still enjoy plenty of low-oxalate non-starchy vegetables.
by Catherine W. Britell, M.D.
When we talk about the “calories” in food, what does that really mean? A calorie is defined as enough heat to raise one gram of water one degree centigrade. Dietitians actually use “calorie” to mean the kilocalorie, or large “C” Calorie (equal to 1,000 calories), in measuring the calorific, heating, or metabolizing value of foods. How are calories in foods calculated, anyhow? Originally, the food was completely burned in a sealed container in a water bath, and the resulting rise in water temperature was measured. Read more
Thank you to Catherine W. Britell, M.D. for her amazing smarter success story
“As a physician who specializes in Rehabilitation Medicine, my goal has always been maximizing healthy functioning in my patients – and myself. I was a “chubby” child, always more interested in books than sports, but with puberty, through high school, college and medical school, I worked long hours, ate very little, and I suppose I could have been considered “shapely” but not obese.
But then came pregnancy, with gestational diabetes, two C-sections due to very large babies, and significant weight gain. After our second child was born, I developed hypertension and despite a very low-calorie diet and daily intense walking program, never lost the weight I had gained. As time went on, the hypertension became worse, and hyperlipidemia developed. I was given statins and developed severe muscle inflammation as a result. I continued doggedly following my doctors’ advice, eating a very low-fat, low-calorie diet and exercising moderately every day. With menopause came more weight gain despite continued starvation dieting and long hours of exercise. As I continued a very busy life as a mother and physician and medical educator, I was always quite embarrassed about my body. I thought doctors should know better than to be fat; but despite my very best effort, I was still – well – fat!
Over the years, I’ve attended every mainstream medical educational offering on obesity that I could find; anxious to learn something new that would make me healthier. On my doctor’s recommendation, I maintained my very low-fat, low-calorie diet, keeping food diaries and exercising at least 45 minutes to an hour a day. I worked with a dietitian, who was convinced that I was not being honest about my food intake. She suggested psychological counseling around my “overeating problem”. I was sent to a cardiologist because of some heart rhythm abnormalities and as we talked, I mentioned “I know it would be good if I could lose weight, but I’ve tried everything, and I guess I’m just pretty much a failure at that…” I’ll never forget his comment: “Cathy, don’t beat yourself up about being overweight. I’ve never seen a post-menopausal woman with your numbers who COULD lose weight. You’re just going to have to deal with being the way you are, and I have to try to help you.” At least he believed that I was trying!
Over the next few years, my weight crept up to 230 lb, despite continued dieting. I hated oatmeal but ate it religiously for breakfast every day, because I was a very good girl and the doctor and dietitian said I must. I developed a fatty liver and gallstones, and underwent a cholecystectomy. It took 3 medications to control my blood pressure. My hips became painful, and I was happy that the elliptical trainers became widely available at the gym so that I could get on them for hours, keeping my heart rate in the “target range” prescribed by my trainer, and listen to continuing medical education lectures on my MP3 player.
Then I read that a vegan diet might be useful both in controlling serum lipids and arthritis, as well as weight loss, so I adopted a very low-fat, low-calorie vegan diet. Just a few beans and a lot of gas. I seldom ate at restaurants or friends’ homes, and often made two dinners, because my husband was not enthralled with the vegan fare. I was chronically cold and tired; fighting to get through each day. My blood sugar was continuing to creep up and I started taking metformin, which caused a horrible taste in my mouth, making food completely unappetizing. I was afraid to get to close to people for fear that they would smell my horrible “metformin breath”. I hated the vegan diet and the gym and the elliptical trainer, and the medications…but I was afraid to change anything for fear that I would REALLY balloon up; so continued on that way for two years. I managed to lose 5 lb over that time.
Then one evening in February of 2012 I saw Jonathan Bailor on the evening news. I was intrigued, bought “The Smarter Science of Slim”, read it, and A LIGHT CAME ON! This made sense! How had I missed all the literature he’d reviewed? Why hadn’t any of the courses I’d attended included that? He described my situation perfectly, and outlined a path OUT OF THE QUAGMIRE of starvation and long hours of useless exercise! With more than a little uncertainty, I decided to give it a try. After three weeks, I was sold! My clothing already was becoming looser, I was warm, I was eating wonderful, plentiful meals, and I laughed a lot more! In the first six months, I lost 20 lb, two dress sizes, and half of my blood pressure medications. My blood sugar improved, as did my serum lipids. After a year, I had lost 35 lb and gone from Size 22W to Size 16. Now after 18 months, I’m down to Size 14 and have lost 45 lb. I’m not looking like a skinny model – yet – but in truth, I never did and I don’t really want to! And even though I’m only losing about a pound a month at this point, my body is still changing – adding muscle, losing fat, firming up, and getting smaller. I can now run up hills, lift heavy things, and take part in physically challenging activities just for the fun of it. I sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed. My joints are completely pain-free, my serum lipids and blood sugar are normal, fatty liver is gone, and I’m bursting with energy! At 66, I feel younger and more vibrant and pretty and fun and happy than I did at 45!
I still have some fat loss goals. I’d like to lose a few more pounds, add some muscle, maybe wear a Size 10 dress. Considering my age, history, and hormones, I’m not sure that will ever happen. Whether it does or not, I now have a body that is comfortable to be in, works really well, and is still GETTING HEALTHIER! I have a whole lot more time and energy for FUN! I LOVE eating MORE delicious food than ever, and my husband is thrilled with our lifestyle. I’m still working as a physician, educator and consultant, and lately have had the honor and pleasure of adding my expertise and energy to Jonathan’s team to help bring health and well-being to others. What a JOY!! Thanks, Jonathan!!”
- Catherine W. Britell, M.D.
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
by Dr. MJ Keen MB, BS, LRCP, MRCS, LMCC
I have been a qualified Doctor since 1977, at the beginning of my career I used to work in the ‘prestigious’ Harley Street Diet Clinic in London to earn some pocket money whilst I was slaving away for 120 hours per week for the NHS! The way the diet clinics earned their huge incomes was not by virtue of the client’s success but by hoping for the client to fail. This way there would be at least one repeat consultation, multiply that by thousands of clients……..need I say more. I quickly disengaged myself from this money making concern and I went into General Practice which was, most certainly not a money making concern. As early as 1983 I was espousing the benefits of soluble fiber, high protein and low carbohydrate, not as a ‘diet’ but as a necessary re-education of self for life. I had a number of successes, some shedding 50 lbs. and keeping it off, but the majority insisted going on ‘a diet’ and paying through the nose for advice that was, at best dubious, and not evidence based.
During that time my own weight started to creep up, I failed to practice what I preached and looked at short term weight loss without the long term goal in mind i.e. eating to live rather than living to eat. In April my weight was over 18 stone (252lbs), my BMI was 32 and I felt awful. None of the dread disease had kicked in but I was fearful of metabolic syndrome creeping up on me. I happened upon Jonathan’s website whilst googling around weight-loss, it immediately struck me as honest and evidence based. So I got the book, watched the videos and bought the food, not thinking for a moment that this method would work over everything else I had tried: Atkins, F-Plan, Dukan…….I had already started cardiovascular conditioning exercises in 2011 after suffering from ME/CFS for 6 years, 4 of which were spent in bed unable to walk up stairs or lift a plate. As soon as I started the Smarter Science of Slim my weight began to drop DESPITE eating a handful of Almonds per day!!
The science behind the almond story is fascinatingly logical. So, since April, combining sensible cardiovascular exercise a stationary bike, with asymmetric weight machine exercises I have lost the grand total of 37lbs and I am continuing to lose safely and long term. My BMI has come down to 26.7, my body fat is at the lower limit of normal for a 59 year old and my body muscle is at the upper limit of normal. My resting pulse has come down from 90 to 54(an independent prognostic indicator of cardiovascular disease). I feel ENERGISED, I feel healthier than I’ve ever felt, why would I want to feel any different? So I am sticking to the evidence based, sensible eating and exercising plan I have adopted and I am spreading the word to whoever will listen to my evangelizing. It really works. I am not employed by any part of the Smarter Science of Slim organization, I am an independent individual.
– Dr. MJ Keen MB, BS, LRCP, MRCS, LMCC
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
Here’s a lovely description of the continuing SANE adventures of Ryan Mangipano. This time, he visited Seattle on a business trip. Jonathan and I note that Ryan eats more calories than we would recommend if his goal was to lose as much fat as possible. Generally, we would recommend eating so many non-starchy vegetables and drinking so much water/green tea that a person who is doing moderate weekly eccentric exercise and interval training feels fully satisfied while eating well under 3,000 calories per day. However, Ryan managed to keep his diet SANE, and the fact that he was able to eat this many calories and continue to lose fat is a testimony to the metabolic efficacy of SANE eating. Thanks, Ryan for showing us some great tips for SANEity on the road, and illustrating how we can eat more and still burn more! – Catherine Britell, M.D., SSoS Support Group Moderator
My first Attempt at SANE air travel
by Ryan Mangipano
Day 1 Monday Morning:
I was in a rush upon waking to make sure I left for the airport early. I ate a scoop of whey protein with flax in water for breakfast. I left with only a case of quest bars, bottle of liver pills, and some fish oil. It’s a good thing that I left very early because an exit was closed and we hit extensive traffic. I ended up running to the terminal only to find out that the flight was delayed by 20 minutes (they had to switch planes for some reason). Most of these items were packed in my luggage; however, I carried 4 quest bars onboard. The picture shows the only foods that I brought with me.
At the airport, I grabbed a whole milk unsweetened late at Dunkin’ donuts after confirming there would be nothing added but sugar and milk. There were no SANE options on the menu. I considered grabbing 2 sausage & egg biscuits and discarding the biscuit; however, they were almost $7.00 each. I figured I would starve until the time came to eat my quest bars. Yesterday was Father’s day and my kids bought me a slice of chocolate pudding cream pie. At first I resisted; however, they tried to talk me into it and I gave in. So, my week is not off to a good start yet. I also had trouble sleeping during the last two nights and I only got about 4 hours of sleep each night.
This was my first flight in a couple of years. Once on the plane, I noticed that my hips fit in the seat much better. However, if I would have had someone sitting next to me, my shoulders might still be a problem since they are probably wider now from the weightlifting. the menu had no real options. Everything had crackers, break, chips, or other inSANE garbage. I figured I would have a coffee or water and eat the quest bars when I got hungry. I’ll have to see how it goes once I get to Washington. At home, I know which restaurants will work with me to offer up a mostly SANE dish. This is my first plane trip since going SANE. As a result, I’m going into this trip totally unprepared. Perhaps Jonathan has converted some of the restaurants around Seattle to offering SANE options? Wish me Luck. It’s going to be an interesting trip. My laptop battery is dying on my laptop; therefore, I’m going to use my Windows phone and headphones to listen to the SSOS podcast.
After I got off the plane, there was a Chili’s restaurant in the airport. I ordered salmon, salad with no dressing, broccoli with butter, and an unsweetened tea.
Next, I decided to get a rental car since this would allow me to drive to other restaurants or maybe even a grocery store. The hotel had a small fridge.
After this, I checked out the Microsoft Campus and then searched for Seafood or steak restaurants. I figured a lean fish or steak with veggies would be perfect. The one I found ended up being a fried fast-food restaurant. After this, I took the wrong exit and stumbled alone a very nice lakeside park with a restaurant and a hillside view. Unfortunately, it was the same chain restaurant. So, I decided to just fast during most of the day. After some searching, I found a restaurant named WildFin American Grill (http://www.wildfinamericangrill.com/eat-drink/dinner/) that served wild caught salmon. The dish is normally served with potatoes and asparagus. However, I found that they were willing to double the asparagus as a substitute for the potatoes. The dish came with 2 cherry tomatoes. As always, I ordered the unsweetened tea. I also usually have a refill and then request a tea to-go. I also ordered an appetizer of shrimp. Unfortunately, the shrimp has a thick sauce that I suspect had flour in it. I scraped most off the sauce and the meal remained sane. This meal was a bit overboard on the protein and … Well, so what!
I still had the challenge of eating lots of veggies while on this trip. There was a trader Joes next to the restaurant. Watch the associated video to find out how I picked up a bag full of the essentials to help me out during this 4 day trip. I now have kale, broccoli, green tea, unsweetened tea, Greek yogurt, avocado, an orange, a grapefruit, raw brazil nuts, organic blueberries, spinach, real peanut butter, and celery.
For the last meal of the day, I ate in the hotel room. I had to borrow a spoon from the diner downstairs and use coffee cups as bowls. I ate Peanut Butter, Greek yogurt, some blueberries, 2 fish oil pills, 5 liver pills, green tea, 4 stalks of celery, 1 servings of broccoli, and 1 serving of spinach. I wish I had grabbed a case of water since I have nothing but tea here. Ok. I am ridiculously stuffed now and can’t possibly eat another bite.
SANE grade for day 1: A (based on the fact that I consumed no insane meals and managed to get in a decent amount of veggies for being on the road)
o 1 x celery
o 2 x broccoli
o 1x salad (no dressing)
o 2x asparagus
o 1x spinach
o Total veggie serving for the day =7 (no too bad for being on the road, fasting for a few hours, and taking 2 quick emergency meals like whey and quest bars)
Daily Total Estimates:
· Calories: 2856
· Fat: 139 grams
· Carbs: 140 grams, Sugars: 37 grams
· Protein: 305 grams
Day 2 Tuesday Morning:
I woke up and figured that I would start the day off right. While getting dressed, I had 2 serving of non-starchy veggies. I also drank an unsweetened tea. I ate broccoli& kale. I also had 5 liver pills (about 2 grams of protein each) and 2 fish oil pills (about 20 calories of healthy fats). I went down to the hotel breakfast. After speaking to the cook, I found that they have egg whites. I asked him to mix 1 egg in with a bunch of egg whites. When the food arrived, it looked like it was pure egg white with no yokes at all. Anyway, I also got a side of bacon.
From the buffet, I picked out a very small serving of cottage cheese (not sure if it was lowfat—I put it in my phone app as .25 servings of 2%), cantaloupe/honeydew, and an orange.
I drank a glass of water and 2 cups of coffee. My phone estimate shows 61.43 grams of protein, 51 grams of cabs (29 sugar), and 19 grams of fat for 630 calories. The high sugars were mostly from the citrus and melon, so at least I got a lot of nutrition with it. I wanted to point out that my protein intake was double the recommended serving. Nevertheless, I think my day is off to a mostly SANE start for a travel day.
After arriving at the class, I found that there was a coffee shop in the Microsoft building. I ordered a large late after confirming that the only ingredients were 2% milk and coffee. After this, I drank 1 glass of water, 1 Green tea (made double strong with 2 bags), and 1 coffee.
For Lunch, I went to the café. At the café, they have multiple lines (sort of like some school lunch cafeteria). I got complex and went through 3 different lines to build a SANE lunch (see the picture).
I got a grilled salmon (not sure if was farm raised), but I had them skip the fries and bread. Instead, they let me substitute 2 veggies from another line. I waited in the other line while they cooked the salmon. Then, I went through the salad line and made a salad with lots of SANE veggies and blueberries. When I sat down, the people at the table commented on how much food it was. I estimate 4 to 5 servings of veggies. As always, I had unsweetened tea.
During class, around 3 hours after lunch, I ate some of the veggies that I had brought to class from the hotel fridge (broccoli, spinach & celery). I also ate 2 quest bars.
For dinner, I figured the easiest way to ensure that I stayed SANE was to return to the same restaurant and order the same thing. I can’t think of any way to stay SANEr than to eat wild caught salmon with asparagus while traveling. This time, instead of the somewhat inSANE shrimp appetizer that had the gravy on it, I ordered a salad with no dressing (I’ll discard the croutons also is it has some). So dinner ended up being Wild Salmon grilled with a little olive oil and seasoning on top, double the asparagus grilled (perhaps a little bit of oil or butter on the asparagus), 2 cherry tomatoes, a house salad with no dressing or croutons, and an unsweetened tea. This is the same strategy that I use at home. Once I find a restaurant that will work with me, I eat there over and over (until my family gets sick of it). And I just dropped and cracked my cellphone at the restaurant (thankfully I bought the insurance). This might make it a little harder to enter my foods into the phone!
I started to get extremely hungry before bedtime. I am eating less calories and fat than I usually do. This is probably because I am not working out. I went to eat my Greek yogurt and it was frozen! I guess I set the fridge to cold. I microwaved it a little and stirred it and it seems fine. I’m very hungry, so I’m going to eat the fats last. Usually, I always eat my Greek yogurt the same way. With Flax, Nuts, and berries all mixed in. However, after a year and a half, I am used to the taste and can just eat it straight. I ate some blueberries, 1.5 servings of peanut butter, 2 brazil nuts, 5 liver pills, iced tea, spinach, 2 fish oil pills, and a tiny bit of kale.
So far it appears that I am being SANEr on some days of this trip that I am on some days at home. I think it has to do with the fact that I know all you SANE people will be reading this! Remember, I’m just a normal person just like you all who is trying to get this right. Nonetheless, I feel like I need to set a good example of being SANE. Also, my appetite is much smaller since I haven’t worked out any. After a 3-6 hour gym session, I eat a lot. There is a weight room at the hotel with some light dumbbells. There are also some gyms around the area. However, I have decided to give my body a rest during this trip. I have been working out too hard and too much over the last few weeks and I felt my body could benefit from the rest.
SANE score: A+ (And this A even includes the bacon that I ate for breakfast!)
· Fat: 120g
· Carbs 202g
· Sugars 78g
· Protein 272
Veggie Count seems to be around 10 for the day.
Remember that all these numbers are estimates. While they maybe off a bit, I certainly didn’t eat 2000 calories or 3500. I don’t think its practical to get better estimates due to the variance in foods, dishes, etc. It’s enough to allow me to adjust my strategy and see what effects changes have towards getting me to my goals.
Day 3 Wednesday Morning:
Woke up and ate spinach, broccoli, 3 liver pills, and 1 fish oil pill. Then I went down to the hotel breakfast and ordered egg whites with garlic, pepper, and onion. The egg whites look a bit like they added some whole eggs. I also got 2 strips of bacon, a bit of cottage cheese, and some cantaloupe. I drank was coffee and water. I brought the bag of kale to class in a bag. When arriving at class, I ordered a 2% milk late. Breakfast summary: 2 servings of veggies, 919 calories, 80g of protein, 61g carbs, 33g sugars, 39g fat. In my opinion, if I wanted to be better, I would have ate half the bacon, half the fruit, skipped the milk filled late, ate another serving of veggies, and a bit less cottage cheese and eggs to lower the protein a bit. But, good enough works! Besides, this nutrition strategy is not about not enjoying food or depriving yourself. In the past, when I was inSANE, I would have avoided the bacon and replaced it with whole grain bagel, whole grain cereal, sugar filled yogurt, milk, and a banana. I know because I looked around the buffet for a while in order to see what foods I would have chosen in the past. During class, I had a double green tea (2 bags steeped in 1 cup), a coffee, and a glass of water.
For lunch I ate Fish, broccoli, veggies, and berries at the cafe.
Well, I came to Seattle for training. I am learning a lot since the teacher wrote some of the old AppleTalk network protocol in the 1980s. Anyway, I can’t visit the Seattle area without stopping to say thanks to the man who showed me how to improve my health. So, I’m off to skip an hour of class to go visit the awesome Jonathan Bailor.
When I returned to class after my amazing chat with Jonathan, there was a party that was offering cake and ice cream. I skipped that and grabbed the blackberries and blueberries that were offered as a topping. Then I ate the rest of the bag of kale (about2 full servings of kale) while listening to the lectures.
Ok. I planned to hunt down a steak & veggie dinner; however, I took the easy way out instead. I went to the same restaurant AGAIN and ordered the same thing. 3 days in a row, my dinner has been Salmon. Just like last night, I got the double asparagus and a salad with no dressing. I guess this is ok, since there were times in my life where I probably ate a double whopper from Burger King 3 nights in a row. Also, wind caught salmon is a superfood! One thing to mention is that real food is more expensive. I have a meal allowance during this trip. If I was on a tighter budget or was rushed for time during the trip, I would have to alter my strategy.
I stopped at the grocery to pick up 1 pack of broccoli mixed with cauliflower and 2 small containers of Greek yogurt. I figured this would be a snack for later. After this, I watched the play “Chicago”.
I ate my snack totally out of order (fats, then protein, then fruits, then veggies), so I ate a lot. I was also trying to get rid of some of this food without wasting (can’t bring all the items on the plane). I ate 1.5 servings of peanut butter, 2 fish oil pills, 4 brazil nuts, 5 liver pills, 1.5 servings of non-fat Greek Yogurt, green tea, blueberries, grapefruit. I didn’t have a knife; I peeled the grapefruit with my fingers. After this, I ate broccoli and celery (7 stalks). I ate so much during this meal that I am ridiculously stuffed. My stomach almost hurts from over eating.
Ate again just before bed. 1 scoop of peanut butter, 1 quest bar, 3 brazil nuts, 1 fish oil pill, 4 liver pills, a few blueberries, and spinach.
I counted 10-12 servings of veggies for the day
Day 3 totals
· 153g fat
· 230g carbs
· 292g protein
Day 4: Thursday
Breakfast: I didn’t eat any veggies before going down for breakfast this morning. Breakfast consisted of: Peanut butter, 3 liver pills, 2 fish oil, 3 eggs with sweet pepper, onion, garlic, egg whites, 3 strips of bacon, melon, small serving of cottage cheese.
Lunch: Main Microsoft campus has a mini-mall with a food court. There was a cafeteria style line that was selling items by the pound. I got roasted turkey breast with a selection of SANE foods including 2 servings of squash, a salad, and some mixed veggies.
Dinner: I arrived at the Seattle International Airport an hour early and ate at Anthony’s Seafood Restaurant. There were not many SANE selections. Everything seems to come with rice and green beans are the only vegetable available. I decided to ordered a dozen oysters and a salad.
I was able to get my mixed bag of broccoli and cauliflower through the TSA checkpoint. Now on the plane, I was able to order a coffee and skip the snacks. I was a little short on my veggy servings for the day. As such, I spent the first two hours of the flight eating the entire 4 serving bag of broccoli and cauliflower. Sometime later, I ate 2 quest bars.
When I got home, I ate some baked fish, mixed nuts, and veggies
This ends my trip. I was able to remain very SANE throughout this trip. In fact, I feel that this trip went even better than the road trip. However, it is noteworthy to point out that I was alone. As such, I was able to choose restaurants without having to consider the needs of others. I can see how this might be more challenging. For example, if you are with a group that wants to eat Italian! We have a vacation coming up with the entire family. That might be more challenging
Here’s a movie I made on my trip, showing some of the things I learned:
A SANE Success Story by Henry Lim
It all started on July 10th 2012. After years and months of deliberating, I realized that I was fat. The final straw was when I could not wrap my headphones around my neck! Sweating from the double chin also contributed to this realization. I also hated taking photos as I didn’t look as good as I thought I should.
I am 180cm( 5ft 11”) and was 82kg(181pounds). Basically overweight, if you use the BMI at 25.2. But personally I think that is a useless number as it’s not measuring the body fat% (as I later learned).
My first approach was calorie counting — believing that I needed to eat less and exercise more. So I started my regime of eating less and running. But I quickly saw that the amount of calories I could lose from running compared to the calories I could eat easily meant that this approach was not going to be very effective in the long term. Heck, drinking a latte adds 250 kcal and I do not even burn that much from running. And the worst part is that I did not see any results from all of my effort.
Then I was introduced to Intermittent Fasting (IF) from Leagains. I did the “18/6” method and skipped breakfast, having only lunch and dinner. Before that, I was consuming a big breakfast since I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, so I was wondering what to do in the morning to keep myself from feeling weak and hungry. After a week or so, I went to a dietitian and started eating, lo and behold, “healthy whole grains”. And like Jonathan says in the podcasts, it is just like smoking with filter but it is still smoking. Then I cut down somewhat on my carb intake and began to see some loss in weight.
But the weight loss seemed to stop after a short time. Then I tried out “Eat Stop Eat” by Brad Pillon. In this program, one fasts for 24 hrs once or twice a week. But you can eat anything you want during the days when you do eat. Although it became clear to me that you could not really eat anything you want and still get good results.
I then began to research on diets and those like the Adkins diet and the LCHF (low-carb high-fat) I worked on figuring out how to apply this information to suit my lifestyle. I must admit it is really hard to believe LCHF is true, but the good thing about science is that it works whether you believe it or not.
In my research I came across the movie “Fat Head”, The “Eat Fast Live Longer”, the Diet Doctor site , “Good Calories Bad Calories” and videos like Slim is Simple. I read lots of reports on IF and diet. I checked out sites like Daily Apple from Mark Sission, Nerd Fitness. I agreed with Tom Naughton’s opinions on baby powder and the tons of carbs that we feed our kids and maybe why they are all falling sick before they even grow up. Parents nowadays have no idea what they are doing and only listen to food companies selling what they want to and thinking they are healthy. I heard somewhere that nutrition should be a subject that we teach in school early to children. I think that is a good idea as prevention is better then cure.
Now I do weight training 2-3 times a week and maintain a low carb diet throughout the week.
Right now I weigh a slightly below average of 66kg(145 pounds). I also went for a check up and my blood work came back good. My thyroid tests are a bit high but I feel fine.
I am glad to say that I feel stronger and leaner then before, I actually weigh in as when I was an 18year old.
Here are some things I’ve learned on my journey to discover the most healthy lifestyle:
- Move on. It’s important to understand that there are options out there besides drugs to treat a condition. We must stop blaming ourselves and others for the current obesity situation and move on by dealing with it. Learn and understand the information about health and nutrition and then find a realistic approach that you can use to change your lifestyle and not just consider it a diet. Keep moving forward to read, learn and listen. Always do some due diligences to research on what people is saying and if it makes sense before jumping straight onboard.
- Respect and communicate with your parents. Most of us grow up being fed by our parents and some of us still do. Food served by them is based on their best knowledge but may not be the best. By communicating with them on your intention and why you are doing this, you are respecting them and they should respect your healthy food decisions.
Here are few sites that I find useful:
- http://thesmarteerscienceofslim.com – podcast and video is really useful. Nowadays I always use the smoking with and without filter analogy for eating complex carbs vs refined.
- Fathead.com — really entertaining and useful movie
- Marksdailyapple — good information on nutrition and exercise
- Nerdfitness.com — very creative presentation and good info
- Bradpilon.com — always insightful and ready to answer your questions.
- Examine.com, — if you are into supplements this site reviews the available studies and gives you good information that allows you to make a decision based on the papers they have linked.
- Dietdoctor.com — fantastic videos and info and updates.
- The Smarter Science of Slim, Jonathan Bailor
- Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
- Fat Chance by Dr.Robert Lustig
- Wheatbelly by Dr. Willam Davis
- The Ketogenic Diet by Lyle Mcdonald
- Body by Science by Doug McGuff
Roadblocks and challenges that I have encountered, and things I have learned:
- Cost . The cost of eating really healthy is not really as affordable as carbs and processed food. But we need to look at options like eating more vegetables. Do not be too hard on yourself if you cannot find the best food.
- Peer/ family pressure and others thinking you are crazy. As long as you have made an educated and scientific approach towards what you are intending to do, go ahead and ignore the nay-sayers. As Jonathan will know there will always be haters.
- Genetics,. You are bounded by your genetics but you can maximize the potential. It may take a longer time for you to succeed but a small step forward is better than none. Keep moving forward.
- Time and patience. Everything takes time and there is no quick fix. So do not expect miracles or to lose 10kg in a day. Some people may react better to certain techniques than others so don’t panic and give it a chance. The body takes some time to get used to a LCHF diet and initial dizziness or hunger will go away.
- Adaptability. Do not keep holding on to previous knowledge like religion. In the face of good scientific data, it could prove your theory otherwise. Use a scientific approach and see where you go wrong and adjust accordingly. Do not be ashamed to adjust because science is always evolving, what is known to be correct can be proven wrong in the future.
- Communication and respect. Most of us grow up being fed by our parents and some of us still stay with our parents. Food serve by them is based on their best knowledge but may not be the best. By communicating with them on your intention and why you are doing this, you are respecting them and they should respect your decision doing it. We respect them by telling them about our diet so we would not waste food. We should tell them it is not about liking the food just that the content needs to change. Work with them to let them know why and maybe work out a recipe that still taste as good but less or no carbs.
- Weight loss stopped, depending on your target body fat. There is a lot of methods like IF and nutrition and exercise which can be applied.
- Targets. Set some realistic targets and something quantifiable. Like lose 10kgs in 3 months or reach 15% body fat. And not like I want to lose weight and exercise more. Plan it and work towards it.
- Exercise and weight training. For me a healthy body should also look good and function well. I strongly recommend even women to do some weight training to make the now slimmer body look good. Or take up some interval training like basketball or sports.
- Health and fitness is not the same (Mark Sission), you can look like a slob and still run 42k. I can be healthy but cannot run even 10k. Fitness can mean you can do a triathlon but may still be suffering from some disease and being healthy just means you are free of disease.
- Make a lifestyle change and not a diet change. Diets are meant to crash.
- Do not make everyday a cheat day.
- Lastly, do something that you like and live with. Everybody is different. Do not follow blindly. Keep trying and do not give up easily.
A SANE Success Story by Ryan Mangipano
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in New Orleans with my family for my awesome brother’s wedding. The drive from Dallas to New Orleans takes me about 10 hours (or 8 if my wife is driving!). However, past road trips have often resulted in me gaining a lot of non-muscular weight. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I started planning ways to try to increase the SANEity of my trip. I have a large family and we enjoy eating on the rare occasions that we are all able to get together. Therefore, I figured that I would eat out several times during the trip. However, I suspected that with a bit of planning, I might be able to improve the ratio of SANE vs. inSANE foods consumed.
I purchased an ice chest and filled it full of SANE foods. I bought plastic cups, spoons, and paper towels. I ordered several healthy snack selections online and had them shipped to my door. I filled up 2 thermoses with black coffee, bought a case of bottled water, and 4 jugs of unsweetened tea. I booked a hotel that had a full kitchen with a refrigerator, a workout machine that had a heavy weight stack, and a pool in case the weather was nice. Along the way, me and Justin recorded a short video showing all the SANE foods we brought along.
Day 1: We left on Wednesday. Before the road trip, I consumed all SANE meals at home and at work. I left in the evening. It was about a ten hour drive from Dallas to New Orleans. I was able to avoid eating out during the entire day. Every 3 hours, we snacked on the veggies and healthy fats in the ice chest. To get my 30 grams of protein each meal, I consumed whey, Greek yogurt, Quest Bars, and Nicks Sticks (grass fed beef jerky sticks). At night when we arrived we made a meal that contained only SANE foods. However, after preparing the plates (see the attached picture), I realized that I didn’t include any veggies in this meal (don’t tell Jonathan!). SANITY grade for the day: A+
Day 2: I woke up and ate some celery and kale. I headed downstairs for the hotel breakfast. I wasn’t sure how well this would work out since the selection of SANE foods is often limited at hotel buffets. I ate a hard boiled egg, a cheese omelet, an orange, ½ an apple, and a black coffee. I’m not sure if the omelet had any insane oil (or even flour) in it. After this, we swam in the pool for a while. I ate a SANE lunch full of lots of Kale, broccoli, natural peanut butter, whey protein, flax, etc. My brother had a rehearsal dinner that night at a very nice restaurant. I figured this would be my first inSANE meal of the trip. When the menu arrived, I felt like it was a quiz asking me to select the SANEst option. The menu is pictured below. Can you guess what I ordered?
I had the Filet. Unfortunately, I did eat each course including the bread pudding desert and the Parmesan Risotto. I also drank half a beer and a very small glass of Wine. Those crab cakes were so good! That night, I used the hotel fitness center to lift some heavy weights. I followed this up with one last SANE meal post-workout meal. SANITY grade for the day: B- (since I went pretty inSANE during one meal and all other meals were sane)
Day3: I skipped the hotel breakfast buffet (actually overslept through it!) and ate a SANE breakfast from the foods I brought along.
The hotel puts oranges out so I supplemented my meals with an orange at times. We had plans to meet for lunch at a seafood restaurant. I went totally inSANE and had a fried shrimp and oyster 12” po-boy.
This was due to the fact that I grew up in New Orleans and that was one of my favorite foods. And now that I live in Texas, you simply cannot get the same type of sandwich where I live. For a side, I got the steamed veggies. I also had an unsweetened tea. All of my other meals were SANE for this day. We also spent a lot of time at the hotel pool. Justin gave me a C- SANE grade for the day: (due to the po-boy and breaded/fried seafood being so inSANE)
Day4: After a SANE breakfast (made up of more of the foods that were in the ice chest video), I decided to return to the seafood restaurant again for lunch. However, this time I ordered a dozen raw oysters, an unsweetened tea, and a side of steamed veggies. This helped me to stay SANE.
This was also the day of the wedding. My brother must have been thinking of me when planning the menu. There was brisket, pork, and an assortment of raw vegetables. I had 1 beer on this day also. After the wedding, we ate at waffle house. I got my usual inSANE order of a 3 egg greasy cheesesteak omelet, grits, and a side of wheat toast, coffee, 2% milk. What do you think my SANEity grade should be for this day? I gave myself a D+; Justin gives me a B+.
Day5: I showed up at a my parents’ house with a bouquet of Kale.
My mom wasn’t sure what I had, so I took a bit of it. She wasn’t sure what to make of me eating a bunch of strange greens. I tried to give some tiny pieces of kale to my brother’s young children, but they complained that it was too bitter (and then ran for the cookies). My mom still makes fun of me walking around with a bouquet of kale. Mom, I took this picture just for you! We had plans to eat out with my Uncle that night at a restaurant. I was able to get a Steak, salad without dressing, and cabbage. They agreed to hold the sauce and butter off any meals. So, I stayed SANE during this meal. I worked out again and snacked on foods from my SANE stash back at the hotel. A+ for a totally SANE day.
Day6: We travelled back on Monday. I ate SANE all day except for when we stopped at a gas station. The best option was to get a small link of sausage and then snack on some blueberries and other sane foods in the truck. Almost every meal this day had quest bars, raw nuts, and nick’s beef sticks. Chewing kale and celery often takes a long time, but when driving, you can eat a lot of it. SANE Grade A-
Overall, I feel the trip was a success. I ate out several times; however, only three occasions were very inSANE. Considering that I eat every 3 hours whenever possible, this is a large percentage of the meals. I consumed very little alcohol, visited the hotel weight room, and ate a fair amount of veggies. Most meals had 30+ grams of protein. I ate frequently; I avoided fast food. I feel that this was worth the effort. We are in the process of planning a family vacation. I will try this stategy again for that trip. However, I will be taking a flight tomorrow to Washington for a few days of training. This will surely be more difficult and I have yet to do any planning!
by Ryan Mangipano
Part 1 | Part 2
Unfortunately, I had a setback following this progress. My digestive system problem from 2011 gave me further problems and I required an outpatient surgery. For a few months, I was unable to tolerate excessive fiber or hard foods. I went mostly off the SSOS nutrition plan and the weight loss abruptly stopped. I avoided vegetables and nuts; they were replaced with starches, applesauce, and banana’s. I was also very busy with a differential equations class and I sometimes choose to eat fast food. I fell into the trap of telling myself, “today is already ruined, I’ll just have a bowl of cheerios, sandwich, or a biscuit”. Of course, after eating one serving of these foods, I was hungrier than before I started. The only good thing is that I was able to frequently use my Blendtec blender to make nutrient dense (but high sugar) fruit shakes. Also during the second half of the year, I reduced my weightlifting and I lost muscle mass. I kept my weekly cardio class during much of the year, but wasn’t able to play much basketball. I’m not advocating cardio; however, one cannot ignore the potential impact of this changing variable on my story. Read more