Revisiting “Have You Ever Noticed . . .?”

Connecting to last week’s post on Metabolic Typing®, I’m returning to a request I made last June.

For the next week please write down all the foods you eat and all the beverages you drink. You do not have to count calories, weigh food, or record the amounts of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. First, just make note of the foods and drinks you consume.

Then, one to two hours after eating record how you feel. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • “Am I still hungry?”
  • “Do I have certain cravings?”
  • “How’s my energy level?”
  • “What’s my mood?”
  • “Is my thinking focused and clear or just the opposite?”

I ask people to do this exercise because I discovered, in working with them, many individuals have lost touch with their bodies, and the clues it provides them. We often eat mindlessly and never make the connection between the foods we consume and how we feel afterwards.

After a week, take time to review your reactions. Some new questions to consider:

  • “Do certain foods always create the same reactions, moods, and feelings within you?”
  • “Do you feel full and satisfied or do you feel physically full, but still hungry?”
  • “Which foods produced cravings and what types?”
  • “Which foods improve your energy, and which ones drain it?”

Take note. Do you notice any patterns emerging?

As an example, I had a client who regularly ate frozen dinners from a “healthy” company.

Her records revealed that whenever she consumed these frozen meals she had reactions such as stomach upset, low energy, slight headaches, and feeling unsatisfied. Like many of us, she had never thought about how her body reacts to the food she eats. When I pointed out the negative reactions she had associated with those meals, she finally made the connection. She dropped those “healthy” frozen entrees from her diet.

As a follow-up, for one week eat/drink only the foods and beverages that gave you positive reactions, and again, record how you feel one or two hours after eating. Be aware of and really observe the changes in your body.

The foods that work for you and those that don’t work reflect your uniqueness. Chances are if a family member or friend did this exercise with the same foods/beverages, they would have different results/reactions. Thus, this connects to Metabolic Typing’s® philosophy that we are all biochemically unique.

I hope this exercise assists you in making new and healthy decisions around your food and drink choices.

“One Man’s Food Is Another Man’s Poison”

The above quote is by Hippocrates. As you read the following, please keep his words in mind as well as forgetting everything you’ve heard or have read about diet/nutrition. Basically, keep an open mind.

In connection to my previous three posts on obesity/weight, I want to bring the Metabolic Typing® approach to your attention.

Has This Ever Happened to You?

  • You want to lose weight, so you try your best friend’s diet. She loses 35 pounds quickly, but you can’t seem to shed an ounce.
  • Your friend, the vegetarian, thrives on pasta and vegetables and has boundless energy. But when you imitate his diet, your energy plummets, and you can hardly drag yourself out of bed.
  • You eat all the best foods, take only the finest quality supplements, you exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle. Yet you still don’t feel well.
  • You believe in nutrition, but you’ve given up on it. It’s impossible to make sense of the confusing and contradictory information flooding the market.

Metabolic Typing® helps to put an end to the confusion about what diet is right for you.

You are actually very different, biochemically speaking, from every other person—your body’s biochemical makeup is as unique as your fingerprints.

For genetic reasons, we all vary in the way that our bodies process foods and utilize nutrients. Throughout man’s evolutionary history, people all over the world have been forced to adapt to widely varying environmental circumstances, including very different climates and food supplies.

As an example, the traditional Inuit thrive on very large quantities of meat and fat, while people born in the tropics stay healthy eating fruits and grains and other light vegetarian fare. Do you know your unique nutritional needs?

Over the last few decades, there has been an extraordinary nutrition revolution in the U.S. Yet at this time, the health of Americans has greatly declined. Obesity, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, digestive maladies, chronic fatigue—all these problems have reached epidemic proportions.

From the Metabolic Typing® perspective, our poor health is, in part, a result of serious dietary deficiencies and imbalances. Dietary solutions need to be tailored to individuals, because what works for one person may have no effect on another person, and may, in fact, make a third person worse (see Hippocrates’s quote).

Could this be the one of the reasons why your diet attempts have failed you? Also, please remember, the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business—could they want and need you to fail?

Through Metabolic Typing® you can discover your own highly-individualized dietary needs. With this approach, you’ll know how to select just the right “body fuel:” foods, food combinations, and nutrients that will enable your body to function at peak efficiency. Through Metabolic Typing® you may:

  • End dieting, counting calories, punishing exercise, and/or deprivation to achieve permanent fat loss.
  • Lose weight without restricting calories.
  • End the cravings for junk food, sugar, and processed food.
  • Eat foods that convert into energy instead of being stored as fat.
  • Let go of dieting forever to rediscover how to enjoy your food and end your guilt.
  • Freedom from food cravings.
  • Determine your unique dietary needs and examine your relationship with food.
  • Personalized eating plans that provide an escape from crazed dieting.
  • Eliminate mood swings, lose body fat, have mental clarity, and energy throughout the day.

If you would like information on Metabolic Typing®, please contact me at rob@mybodyphysics.com. Thank you.

While we emphasize an integrated, personalized approach to health, fitness, & lifestyle, My Body Physics’ programs are not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, manage, or cure any disease/condition. We strongly recommend you consult with your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any exercise and/or health/wellness program.

 

Beyond Calories

I’m continuing to build on my two previous posts regarding obesity. In my last one, I discussed the outdated approach of “eat less, exercise more” and advocated looking for other connections to obesity mentioned in Time magazine’s special obesity issue such as genetics, the biochemistry of hunger/fat metabolism, fast/junk food, food psychology, and a metabolic disorder.

An important item to add to the above list is hormones. You might ask what do they exactly have to do with our weight? In The Schwarzbein Principle II, Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. provides straight-forward, user-friendly information on the role three major hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, and insulin) and minor ones (growth hormones) play in our weight.

Insulin and growth hormones are used for rebuilding your body’s biochemicals while adrenaline and cortisol use up your body’s biochemicals: “The ideal is to have all you regeneration reactions in balance—what you use up, you rebuild. Since your hormones determine how your body regenerates, you need to balance the hormones that use up your biochemicals and the hormones that rebuild your biochemicals to keep these reactions in balance.”  Schwarzbein reminds us all hormones work together; for ease of understanding she considers the actions of the each hormone alone.

Thus, it’s a question of balance. Think back to when you were a kid, and with a friend, you tried to balance on a seesaw—keeping your feet off the ground. Not always an easy thing to do. Now think about keeping your body’s hormones in balance: “If you use up your biochemicals faster than your body can rebuild them, you are destroying your metabolism and accelerating your aging process. Therefore, you do not want to use up your biochemicals more than you can rebuild them for too long.”

For a brief example of how “rebuilding” and “using up” hormones interact, take a look at adrenaline/cortisol (“using up”) and insulin (“rebuilding”): “If the ratio of your adrenaline/cortisol levels is higher than your insulin levels, you will use up your biochemicals faster than you can rebuild them, especially if your insulin levels are low or normal. If the ratio of adrenaline/cortisol is lower than your insulin levels, you will rebuild your biochemicals faster than you can use them up, especially if your adrenaline/cortisol levels are low or normal.”

Schwarzbein continues: “If you chronically diet, overexercise, ingest too many stimulants and are under too much stress, you will use up you functional, structural and energy (including storage) biochemicals faster than you can rebuild them. If this were to go unchecked, you would not survive.”

Now, how does the “eat less, exercise more” approach hold up?

I used a number of quotes today. One of the purposes is for providing information, and another is to show how readable and user-friendly Schwarzbein’s writing is. By telling her own story as well as those of some of her patients, Schwarzbein creates a connection with the reader—“That’s me.” I highly recommend her work especially for an alternative perspective on our diet-crazed nation her books provide.

What Not To Count

I’m continuing with my thoughts on Time magazine’s June 7, 2004 special issue “Overcoming Obesity” and reflecting on the progress that has been made and not been made on the topic.

The lead article asks: “So why is this [obesity] happening? The obvious, almost trivial answer is that we eat too much high-calorie food and don’t burn it off with enough exercise.” The articles in this issue do mention other connections to obesity such as genetics, the biochemistry of hunger/fat metabolism, fast/junk food, food psychology, and a metabolic disorder—“what they are finding is an exquisitely fine-tuned system of chemical and neurological checks and balances that regulate what we eat and how much our bodies store fat.”

Even with these additional connections being made to obesity, “calorie” and “eat less, exercise more” appear in the issue’s various articles:

  • “How about eat less, move more, and eat your fruits and vegetables.”
  • “If you’re dealing with obesity, people have to eat less.”
  • On a woman’s weight loss: “. . . what she did was buy a couple of books that listed  the nutritional value and calorie content of the food she ate.”
  • “After reaching their goal, most long-term losers followed a single general strategy toward nutrition: limiting the calories and to a lesser extent the amount of fat in their diet.”

For a moment, let’s return to high school science—what is a calorie? According to Webster it’s “the amount of heat required at the pressure of one atmosphere to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius.” Our calorie obsession is based on turning us into a calculation.

Why the calorie focus? We are creatures of habit. For more than half a century, we’ve been repetitively told and have heard calories, calories, calories. Think about the TV/magazine ads highlighting this aspect of foods. Exactly how many 100-calories food/snacks exist today? This approach makes all calories seem equal. But does your body treat 100 calories of potato chips the same way it treats a 100-calorie apple? I don’t think so.

In The Schwarzbein Principle, Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. reminds us that a one-hundred calorie snack doesn’t equal one hundred calories worth of available energy: “If the snack is composed of carbohydrates, your body has to use the hundred calories for immediate energy or store that energy as fat. But if the snack is made up of protein and fats, your body can use these foods first for building materials (cells, enzymes, hormones and so on), leaving fewer calories to be used as energy or stored as fat.”

Schwarzbein also provides nine points on why you can’t lose body fat by restricting calories. One of these points: “If you continue with the low-calorie diet, your body is forced to take material from bones and muscle to keep your brain and kidneys going.” Not something I would be comfortable with doing. Think of damage we’ve caused to ourselves by our obsession with low-calorie dieting.

With the above point in mind, Gary Taubes, in Good Calories, Bad Calories, reminds us of the contradiction of “eat less, exercise more:” “Though more strenuous exercise would burn more calories, it would lead to a significant increase in appetite. This is the implication of the phrase ‘working up an appetite.’”

The time has more than come to drop the antiquated, decades-old “eat less, exercise more” mentality and turn our attention to other potential causes such as genetics, the biochemistry of hunger/fat metabolism, fast/junk food, food psychology, and a metabolic disorder.

Percentages Escalating

Recently, while sorting through my files, I came across a special issue of Time magazine from June 7, 2004:

Time Cover

The issue is a fascinating read as well as a measure of how far we have or have not come regarding obesity in America.

The lead article states: “There’s no doubt that the obesity epidemic is real and our collective health is getting worse.” Also, included in this piece is the statement: “But the following pages will make it clear that there is plenty of hope.”

From a 2016 perspective, one can ask how much hope?

Some of the obesity statistics from this Time issue:

  •  Fully 2/3 of U.S. adults are officially overweight.
  •  About 1/3 of the above can be classified as full-blown obesity.
  •  In kids 6-19, 1 in 6 (15%) are overweight, and an additional 15% are heading that way  (notice no mention is made of obesity in this age bracket).
  • The total medical cost for obesity-related disease is $117 billion/year.

Roughly six years later, information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-10 states:

  • More than 2 in 3 adults (68.8%) are considered to be overweight.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults (35.7%) are considered to be obese.
  • 1/3 of children and adolescents 6-19 are overweight or obese.
  • 1 in 6 of children and adolescents 6-19 are considered to be obese.

As the above 2009-10 figures point out, the number of overweight and obese American adults and children reflects an increase from the Time statistics.

More recently, figures from a 2014 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study state: 36% of adults and 17% of children are obese.

Bringing additional focus on the above information, obesitycampaign.org states: “If the rate stays constant by 2030, 51% of Americans will be obese.” While, according to the Trust for American Health: “20 years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15%—today 41 states have an obesity rate over 25%.”

Interestingly, the figures for the yearly total medical costs vary widely. Some of the calculations I came across are:

  • In 2005, the Harvard School for Public Health estimated the cost to be $190 billion.
  • In 2008, the total cost was $147 billion (a $30 billion increase over the Time’s estimate), and an absenteeism from work cost of $6.38 billion.
  • A 2011 Gallop Poll points out obese people miss an estimated 450 million days of work each year compared with healthy [sic] workers—for an estimated cost of $153 billion annually in lost productivity.

The above statistics show we have not made progress curtailing the rates of obesity. If these rates continue to rise, the Trust for American Health’s estimate that 51% of Americans will be obese by 2030 will become as reality as well as Dr. David Katz’s, current President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, prediction that “today’s kids may be the first generation in history whose life expectancy is projected to be less than that of their parents.”

Sorry for the above bombardment of statistics. Has the promise of “plenty of hope” in the Time article disappeared?

In this post, I’ve concentrated on a general overview of the facts/figures/percentages regarding obesity. In future ones, also based on Time’s special issue on obesity, I’ll narrow my focus.

“Begin It”

In the spirit of the beginning of 2016, please take a moment to read the following quote from William Hutchinson Murray’s The Scottish Himalayan Expedition:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then, providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

You just have to take action. As I have mentioned in the past, begin with a small, positive change and then, watch the ripple effect that change has on your life.

Again, Happy New Year!

Weighing The Percentages

In November of 2015, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), released statistics for the “Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youths: United States, 2011-2014.

During this time period, the prevalence of obesity was:

  • For adults: slightly over 36%
  • For youths: 17%
  • For women: 38.3%
  • For men: 34.3%
  • For youths: no difference was seen by sex.
  • Obesity was higher for middle-aged, 40.2%, and older, 37.0%, adults than for younger adults, 32.3%

For detailed information, please visit the CDC link.

We know the obesity rates having been going up despite the heavy emphasis on calories in/calories out, exercising more, watching your fat intake, (feel free to add your own), etc.

I like this quote from Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories: “Once the ‘truth’ has been declared, even if it’s based on incomplete evidence, the overwhelming tendency is to interpret all future observations in support of that preconception. Those who know what the answer is lack the motivation to continue looking for it. Entire fields of science may then be ignored, on the assumption that they can’t possibly be relevant.”

With Taubes’ thought in mind, I believe the time has come to take a step back and acknowledge the fact that the above beliefs (calories in/calories out, exercising more, watching your fat intake, etc.) about weight loss/obesity that have been drummed into our heads for decades are wrong. Think about it. The result of using these beliefs as the basis for fat loss for all these years—obesity rates still continue to rise.

Let’s break the cycle. The time has come for a new perspective. More on this in 2016.