Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fitness Insights by Jamie Atlas

jamie atlas

Personal Australian Trainer and Health expert blogger...
Former professional athlete, some fun weight loss comments, and bits of humor.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” - Julia Child

“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” - Julia Child
The primary advantage, besides losing weight, of a low-carb diet? Ask men who love their meat.

Living with a killer diet

To others, the diet you are attempting is about as tedious a subject one can imagine. 
Low-Carb diets are a curious exemplary of tedium to the uninitiated. 
What... you eat primarily meat and green vegetables? No white stuff like sugar, potato, rice, spaghetti, or bread? Is that suppose to be a balanced diet? 
Well ... yes ... it has actually proven effective, there has been weight loss. 
But mostly water weight and of course you have reduced your calories? 
Yes, all diets lose water weight initially, and, with the removal of the highly sugary mass-marketed junk foods, calories are seriously reduced... but there is more to it than that. It has something to do with insulin, and how we burn fat when on a low carbohydrate regime.
But how long can you maintain such a discipline, and what about the inevitable bounce-back, when you take down your guard?
We shall see. But considering the dangerous collection of physical symptoms we obese suffer, and the obvious self-esteeme issues, what real choices do any of us have? The low-carbohydrate diet allows me to feel satiated, and to enjoy my meals, while simultaneously keeping my weight in check. Raw Veganism, calorie counting, and all the variations between, could never leave me feeling satisfied... none ever fit into my lifestyle, nor complimented my sense of self. Paleo is plausible, and is more me, than the mathematics of weighing foods and counting calories. 
The final ingredient in the dietary mix is being physical. 
Exercise is my last frontier and most elusive nemesis.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Much of Dieting...

Much of dieting is standing in place. Simply holding on to the dietary principals established, and avoiding one's lazy-boy addictions to quick-fix satiation. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break Readings on Health and Dieting

Continuing my research, into the delirious smörgåsbord of dietary options, keeps my head spinning and my stomach confused. Here is a bit of my recent reads: 
To the moderate middle of Paleo-Atkins is The Sugar Busters written by a team of sympathetic doctors, with concrete advice on our cultural abuse of sweeteners... and some half-way measures negotiating between both the pro and anti-fat consumption communities. The scientific dietary debate, whether fat is best enthusiastically consumed or rabidly avoided, still simmers on the stove.
 An enjoyable journalistic approach to the conflicting dietary sciences is New York Times author Gina Kolata's Rethinking Thin. I can not say I felt any more reassured, to the correct dietary solution, but I was told being fat may not be as dangerous as I fear. Is that an encouragement to diet or to surrender, like most, in the plateaus of dietary futility? Perhaps I need to read her Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise or, better still, Sex in America: A Definitive Survey.
But beyond my reading in the Zoned world of South Beach Dieting  there was a temporary diversion into HGH (Human Growth Hormone) introduced to me with enthusiasm by a fellow traveler in the Philippines. Another massive topic and one requiring still more research. If I insist on not eating when reading, while continuing a steady diet of weight-loss podcasts when walking on my treadmill, perhaps there is still hope in all this nutritional and fitness research.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Calorie Creeps

From Dr. Bert Herring's Fast-5 lifestyle:
"Calorie creeps are foods that are casually consumed when location or labeling obscures the calorie content of the food, letting a lot of calories creep into your body, hampering your efforts to lose weight...
Calories can also creep into your diet using alternative names for sugar or substitutes that have significant calorie content, such as dextrose, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, lactose, maltodextrin, maltose, sorbitol, sucrose, invert sugar, juice concentrate, and molasses. Check the nutrition label for calorie content if you’re not sure."
At a restaurant with friends:
"Eat, but practice damage control. Restaurant chefs pile on the calories to make the food taste the best possible at the lowest practical cost. The portions are often excessive because the food cost for a typical restaurant is only about 10 percent of the total. Serving large portions lets the restaurant boost apparent value without adding much in cost. It’s culturally Un-American to serve a plate with room on it for more food. 
One method of damage control is to order the thing on the menu that you like the least. It’s likely to still be palatable fare, but it won’t compel you to push any more of it into your belly than necessary. Choosing from the low-carb options or the salads can help with damage control, too.
Apply the Sunk Cost Rule. Once you’ve ordered an entrée, the economic principle of sunk cost applies. No matter how much of the entrée you eat, the amount you have to pay will be the same, so you should make choices that maximize your benefit. Enjoy the food and savor each bite. There is no reason to eat it all. You’re better off with the excess in the trash than on your waist. If millions of people eat less, the portion size may decrease, leaving more supply at the source for the starving people of the world."
"An imaginary friend can help. As a last line of defense, try to mentally divide the portions in half, and imagine you are sharing with someone who is expecting to eat the other half. Leave half of everything behind."

The Lemonade Diet (Master Cleanse Diet)

I am a child of the 60's, so new-age fads were an integral part of my development. The Lemonade Diet, Master Cleanse Diet, or similar variations, were always around in the greater alternative medicine/life-style community.

What could be more 'natural' than Lemons? Throw in some cayenne pepper for zing, and organic maple syrup or perhaps honey for that sugar rush, filtered water for authenticity and, in the words of the great guru Steve Jobs, "Magical and Revolutionary" things happen.

Usually diet blogs and diet analysis are tailored to the prejudices of the author, often with an e-book to sell... but occasionally I find a review impeccable. This one on the Lemonade Diet by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD for WebMD feels quite reasonable!

" The Lemonade Diet has been around for more than 50 years, but its popularity soared a few years ago after Beyonce announced she'd lost 20 pounds on the diet for the movie Dreamgirls.

The Lemonade Diet, also known as the Master Cleanse, was developed by the late Stanley Burroughs as a detoxification and fasting program. Originally intended to rid the body of toxins and internal wastes brought on by "improper diet, lack of exercise, and negative mental attitude," it's now also touted as a quick weight loss plan. "
Read the whole article for a deeper understanding of this classic de-tox. 

The Fast-5 Diet

"Living a Fast-5 lifestyle means setting a window of five consecutive hours in which you do all your eating for the day. It doesn't mean binge eating or overeating. The long fasting period (19 hours) lets your body use stored fuel instead of fuel being delivered from digestion. That time also lets your body measure how much fat is stored and turn your appetite down if there's too much around. With a lower appetite, weight loss becomes easy." The Fast-5 Diet is available on line for free or as a book. There is a Facebook community experimenting with this life-style diet, as well as a forum. Both seem to be carefully monitored by the creator Bert W. Herring M. D. 

He does have his detractors, like Alan Aragon, yet the muscle-building blogger world, and various testimonials, all seem to take much of what he says to heart and have applied variations in their own lives.

Intermittent fasting and Lean-gains

Fasting and feeding cycles are used by body builders such as Leangains blogger Martin Berkhan. I won't describe his receipt here, as extreme body development is well outside my area of expertise... my life being mostly a 'BEFORE' photo. Yet 'doing without' is 'food for thought'. Consider Intermittent fasting, after all it wasn't long ago the entire Christian world practiced fasting once a week (prior to communion, Fish on Friday) and something the Islamic community still practices with one month of Ramadan. Throw in most of the other world religions and the practice of some animals and there seems a great deal of circumstantial evidence for... 

Intermittent fasting.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Birthday Parties as a test of concept in low-carb dieting

Last night was my first test of my new low-carb diet at a social engagement. The 60th birthday of a good friend couldn't be missed, and I, and another friend, were first to arrive at the French Restaurant in downtown Kyoto. The first test question was "Drinks?" "Do you have diet soda?" I ask. "No... " so, no rum and coke.  No diet beer either, though that too would hardly be Atkins.

 I suppose I could have ordered whisky and water, but not being much of a drinker that would have pushed me over the top too early. There was Perrier, but I personally hate carbonated water. I suppose I could have had a glass of water... but it was a party after-all. The moral of the story 'next time be prepared', with a greater knowledge of  appropriate liquid refreshments. Thus a new reference book...
Robert Cameron at 93 author of The Drinking Man's Diet. A book written in 1964 but still relevant today.

Drinking Man's Diet: Sample Menu ( from Alan Farnham's article The Drinking Man's Diet )

(With grams of carbohydrate) 

Menu planning, the Dean Martin way! 


1/4 cantaloupe or 4 ounces of tomato juice (5)
Ham or bacon, 2 slices (0)
Egg, fried, boiled or poached (trace)
Coffee or tea (0) 


Dry martini or whiskey and soda, if desired (trace)
Broiled fish or steak or roast chicken (0)
2 glasses dry wine, if you wish (trace)
Green beans or asparagus (1)
Lettuce and tomato salad with French or Roquefort dressing (4)
Coffee or tea (0) 


Martinis or highballs, if you desire (trace)
Hors d'oeuvres of 2 stalks of celery stuffed with pâté (5)
Shrimp cocktail (4)
Beef, pork, lamb, veal chicken or turkey (0)
Green beans, 1 cup, brussels sprouts, 1/2 cup, or cauliflower, 1 cup (6)
2 glasses dry wine (trace)
1/2 avocado with French dressing (8)
Cheese: Roquefort, Camembert, Swiss or cheddar (trace)
Coffee or tea (0)
Brandy (trace) 

Total grams of carbohydrate: 33 

Robert W. Cameron, died November 10, 2009 at his home in San Francisco at age 98.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Many Promises but no Guarantees

Thanks to the 'psychology of returns', customers seldom return unsuccessful products, for weight-loss companies offering a guarantee provides promotional advantage with little risk. The world of weight-loss products has an additional built-in advantage. If you lose weight you 'shout to the heavens,' but if you fail you fail alone, secretly, and often in shame.

I remain enthusiastic about my Low-carb experiment. Primarily I like the simplicity of avoiding white, that is, all sugar-added products, and high-carbohydrate staples such as bread, rice, potato, and pasta. Sacrificing the convenience foods of quick-rush satisfaction, many of which I have woven into my daily routine, remains a challenge. I need to be creative and on-guard to remain true to the low-carb formula.

Fiber too is a real issue. Meats are accessible, but green vegetable consumption relies on having time and access to cooking. I may need to habituate raw-food consumption of high fiber vegetables to guarantee regularity and a nutritional balance. This feels the most challenging and reminds me of my false start as a raw-vegan. 

I had been in a sad state of hopelessness and now, at least, I feel there are ways I can be proactive.  I see what I am doing, what the implications are, and what alternatives I can muster. It may be a fool's strategy in the end, there are no guarantees, yet I am enjoying experimenting, and that at least is better than before.