Thursday, 20 August 2009


Disclaimer: Please note that there are many theories and even more changes when it comes to diets and nutrition. I do not claim to know everything (or anything at all for that matter) so please take my suggestions and/or thoughts like you should anything you read on the web or hear on TV….do your own research and make an informed decision on what is best for you.

Pardon my French, but what the #*&@ is up with all the carbohydrate confusion out there?? This blog post comes from a few requests of my 10’s of readers. The discussion of carbohydrates comes with much debate and a lot of emotion in regards to the ‘shoulds’ and shouldn’ts’ of this vital nutrient. What kind do we eat? What time of day do we eat them? Is it only in the evening or only before noon? Ack!!! Since it seems carbs are the most popular subject regarding nutrition and food anxieties, I think it’s important to at least touch on the subject. Because carbs are a sensitive subject I leave this discussion open ended as there is more information out there and I am sure there will be feedback and other theories which I am very much open to hearing and discussing….

We now all know that the hyped low fat/high carbohydrate diet of the late 80’s is a huge reason we are so….well, huge today. All of those carbs created insulin resistance and stress to our bodies which increased our cortisol production adding extra padding to our bellies and rolls of fat to our backs. Sexy? Not exactly. Then, in the late 90’s Dr. Atkins came out with The Atkins Revolution suggesting that all carbohydrates, including whole grains, all fruits and most vegetables, are the real causes of excess weight. He pushed high fat meats and dairy such as bacon, heavy cream, fat laden steaks and even copious amounts of butter as “health food”. Though this diet works at shedding pounds initially due to the low sugar intake, it has been known to cause a whole heap of potential health problems such as, kidney problems, chronic bowel disease and some minor discomforts like headaches and toxic gas. Also, not sexy.

So, why is it that some people can eat bread and pastries day in and day out and not gain an ounce while others so much as mention the word ‘muffin’ and our bellies begin to create a muffin-top over our jeans? Honestly, I am not sure. I am sure genetics plays a role but I think a lot of it has to do with the high amount of stress everyone of all ages face these days. Because we are constantly on-call with our Blackberries and iPhones and expected to respond within moments of a text or email everyone is a bit high strung and reaching for more feel good serotonin boosting sugar. Though eating high glycemic index foods (like white flour and sugar) does boost serotonin there is always a crash to follow creating even more stress and more belly fat.

To make it simple, if you have stomach fat (don’t worry…I am speaking to myself here as well) that suggests you have a hard time processing carbohydrates. In order to create more insulin sensitivity and get rid of the lingering stomach fat you may want to try cutting out sugars and all grains for a couple of weeks and eat loads of vegetables and lean protein. This releases your body’s dependence on carbohydrates and forces it to use fat for energy.

Suggested Reading:

The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain is a great book about the health benefits of cutting out grains.

If you carry most of your weight on your hips and thighs stay tuned for my next blog discussing excess estrogen……

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Binge Eating and....Ahem.........Drinking

I just received an email from my dear friend, M, that read:

I'm the beast that consumed two (count them, 2!) double, duty juicy cheeseburgers yesterday! Isn’t that messed up!!!!!! AND…… to top the whole thing off, I ACTUALLY started thinking about making cookie dough, until I nearly slapped myself out of the stupidity!!!!!!!! I feel like I'm in a tub drain and it is starting to spin faster and faster towards the end……….and I wonder how I could have thunder thighs?!?!”

Are you guilty of it? I know I am guilty of it. I know I feel extremely guilty when I binge (though, mine is usually on something chocolate) and then ask myself ‘Why? Why? Why would I do that to myself?’ and then that segues to about an hour of self-loathing, like my friend M, which is never a good thing.

Probably one of the biggest complaints and main reasons people do not obtain the ideal results from training or eating a healthy diet is because of the ‘big binge’.

When we train harder we tend to eat more and usually the wrong foods. Or, we think we deserve a treat and decide dive into that cupcake sitting in the office kitchen or grab a second (or third) helping for working out extra hard. More often than not, these treats turn into binges sabotaging all the effort. No wonder sticking to a workout program can be so challenging!! If you are not seeing or feeling results what’s the point?

The first question to ask yourself is if binging is something you do daily, weekly or on the rare occasion. If it is a daily issue for you or you think it may be an uncontrollable problem then seek professional help from a therapist or group such as Overeaters Anonymous

If binge eating or drinking is something you choose (yes, I said ‘choose’) to do, the hard and fast response is that YOU are CHOOSING the food/drink (be it, cheeseburgers, mojitos, wine, pizza, the all-you-can eat buffet, cake, cookies..and that includes cookie dough, etc.) OVER the health of your own body. That might seem like a harsh response but it is true and THAT simple. There is more that happens in the space between your mouth and that love of (place binge food of choice here). The choice of this food over your health has mostly to do with your current state of emotion rather then an actual need for the food.

How can I stop the binge?

Well, it helps to remember that it is up to you to make the CHOICE. Take a few seconds or minutes to think about what you are eating and start a food journal where you write down everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that you eat. No one has ever made you eat anything you didn’t want to (as an adult, anyway). When a craving starts ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I hungry?

Physical hunger is an actual physical reaction (i.e., stomach growling) and usually any healthful food will fill that void.

If you are not hungry and craving then answer the following questions:

  • What am I feeling?

Are you sad, happy, angry, tired or bored? Try and take a minute to jot down your feelings on a notepad or a nutrition journal. Get into what you are feeling. See if you can resolve what is happening with you emotionally at that moment instead of suppressing these feelings with the temporary sensation of taste. Maybe you need to confront someone you are in relationship with, burn some excess energy by exercising, celebrate by sharing good news with a friend, take a nap if you’re tired or, if you are bored, find a hobby other than seeing what’s in the pantry.

  • What is the craving about?

If you start seeing a pattern with your cravings and emotions when you are not physically hungry confront this fact about yourself EVERY TIME you see it come on. This takes practice and diligence. The more you are aware of it the less power it will have over you and the less likely you will binge and, like a said, CHOOSE the blooming (whatever) over your health and the much coveted bikini body.

Comments, questions and venting are all welcome!!