Paleo is Just Bad Science

Renegade-Diet-Review-Paleo-ProtocolsIf one more person at work asks me if I am “On Paleo” I might scream. No, its not a drug, it is the newest Fad Diet. And everyone know that Fad Diets come with groupies. This diet is not different than the others in that it tells you that restricting certain foods will make you lose weight. No shit, Sherlock.

The Paleo diet maintains that healthiest way to eat is to avoid the ground grain products that were unavailable to our cave man ancestors. People all over the world are changing the way they eat because some dude name Dr. Loren Cordain. PhD, of course. I think he’s a total nut who is selling folks a bill of goods.

Author Laura Miller agrees with me. At least about the diet. She states that thinking the human species hasn’t evolved in billions of years is just plain silly. Humans (and animals) have been evolving and changing for a really long time. She also points out that many species evolve quite quickly (humans being one of them) so basing a diet on “science” of evolution doesn’t hold water. Think about it. Humans have been grinding grains for close to 40,000 years – that’s a really long time to not get used to something. There are a great deal of foods that are included on the Paleo Diet that were NOT around in the hunter gatherer time. Foods such as the Brussel Sprout are only a few hundred years old. They were first written about in 1587, around the time Mary Queen of Scots was executed. That’s a far cry from hunter gather time.

013c97cfaca511f81c14671acd036e88

Of course, people claim that the diet “works”. Yeah, maybe it does, but that doesn’t mean it is good for you. Bulimia “works” too, but I’m steering clear of that as well. The reason the “diet” works is because you are severely limiting your calorie intake. Anytime you put restraints on what you consume, you will lose weight. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that. Wanna lose weight and keep it off? Exercise  30 minutes 5x a week, and watch your calorie & sugar intake. Easy.

The Paleo concept is an idea with very little basis in fact. It’s a gimmick to get you to buy the book. If you follow his plan you’re cutting out low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt (calcium), lentils and black beans (some of the healthiest stuff around), whole-grain carbs and heart-healthy oils. Sure, our bodies weren’t originally designed to eat these foods, but we (and every other species that is still in existence) have evolved since then.

e76f12b58f27ebddca23ef9e2c51e9f9If you feel the need to lose weight, you don’t need to follow a diet that restricts carbs, or limits grains and legumes (both of which are healthy for humans to consume).  Here is my easy 5 Point Plan for weight-loss.

  • Decide that you are ready to make permanent changes in your life. Yep, life. Loosing weight should be about changing the habits that led you to lose weight in the first place. It’s not about “giving up” foods of any kind. If you think you are not ready to stop eating ice-cream out of the container, then you are not ready. You need to be in a head space of moving forward and of positive change.
  • Once you have decided that you are serious you may begin to make small changes. When I dropped a significant amount of weight I made 1 positive change per week until I got in the habit of just knowing how to make good choices. For example, the first week I cut out all soda. I switched to fizzy water with fruit. Next week I walked for at least 30 minutes daily. You get the picture. You don’t have to make yourself crazy, or into a cave person to see results.
  • Portion control. Do it. Food served and prepared in the states is so big, it could be used as two (sometimes three!) different meals. Eww. If you ordered fries, don’t eat them all. If you want dessert, share it with a buddy. If the plate is as big as your head, then don’t eat everything on it. At home, get smaller plates so you feel like you are eating more.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise! In order to loose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. It’s that simple. If you are not exercising you probably won’t lose much weight. You also need to lift weights, or do some sort of resistance training. Remember, there is no such thing as “spot reduction” so stop running the treadmill for an hour, doing crunches and walking out the door. You need to work your whole body.
  • Eat enough calories. I see women all of the time who think that by starving themselves they will loose weight. Yeah, you might. But you’ll also be loosing lean muscle mass, which is want you want to keep. Diets that severely restricts caloric intake result in loss of lean body weight as opposed to fat weight. This can result in a person who isn’t overweight, but has a high body fat composition. Not my idea of healthy. Just be mindful of what you eat, when you eat it and how you feel about it. Keep a food journal if it helps. I used an online food tracker at myfittnesspal.com to help me see my bad eating habits and take the necessary steps to 86 ’em.

I hope you enjoyed this little rant. And I hope that maybe you’ll do a little research of your own, if you are so inclined. The idea is balance, not restriction – with food and the rest of life.

And, in case you are wondering – I do know what I am talking about. I am studying to be a personal trainer which means I have read tons and tons of material about the human body and what it needs to perform, what it needs to drop weight, and what it takes to keep it in good condition. 

Advertisements

Shoot for the Stars

Once in a while I set a goal for myself that seems, when I set it,  totally doable. For example, I once decided that I would  go to the gym and work out at least 3x a week. That seemed like t totally attainable goal. But that didn’t last long. I was either too tired to go, or I thought the gym would be too busy, or maybe I just didn’t feel like going. Whatever the reason I lasted about 2 weeks and I was over it. It seemed vastly more important for me to watch The Biggest Loser than actually go and workout. I couldn’t find the motivation I needed to stick to it. Until now.

I accidentally stumbled upon the biggest motivator I could ever ask for by wasting time playing video games. See, over Christmas break I started playing Angry Birds. I loved it. Since then it became my mission to achieve three gold stars on every possible level. And I did it. I found everything that was on offer to find in that game and I did it to completion. I was super proud of myself. I still am actually.

About the same time that I was making Angry Birds my bitch, I signed up for the President’s Challenge – it is a lifestyle and fitness challenge aimed at lazy Americans. Basically you sign up for an 8 week lifestyle overhaul, committing to put in at least 30 minutes of exercise 5x per week + you make a small change to your diet each week. By the end of the 8 weeks you are supposed to look and feel great, and you get some sort of certificate from President Obama. As if that were not incentive enough, each week you complete you are awarded a big old GOLD STAR. I love it! I have three of them already and I am working toward my 4th, which means I am half way done. I am seeing awesome results like hottie toned legs, and the discovery of my abs. I had always figured they were in there somewhere.

I realized that I need more than just a goal for my efforts, I need a reward. I know that the gold stars I receive from Angry Birds, or the Presidential Challenge are not real in the tangible sense, but I still feel like I earned something and it makes me feel good. I like to be able to track my progress and see how far I have come. I also like to collect gold stars and feel like a total badass, which I do.

I guess the moral here is that if you want to get me to do something, offer me a Gold Star chart and a reward system.  So far I  found out that I am able to kill ALL OF the green pigs, that I can write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, and that I can work out 5x a week every week. Not bad. Who knows what else I can do? I’m shooting for the stars.

10 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy

A friend of mine posted a link to FaceBook for an article called “15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy”. I clicked on it and found one of those fluffy, hippy dippy  lists that included things like ‘Give up your need to always be right’,  ‘Give up your need to impress others’, ‘Give up your resistance to change’. Ugh. The solution to all of those issues is simple – move to a new country and stay there. Want to feel a loss of control? Just try to get a Visa in a foreign country. As for the need to impress others, I have never understood that. People should feel the need to impress me, not the other way around. I am THAT awesome.  Anyway, that list was lame and totally unhelpful. But it did inspire me to make my own list of things you should give up in order to have a happier life. I only have 10 because lists of 10 are better than lists of 15.

  1. Give up your job – Wouldn’t more time in your day be great? Wouldn’t waking up every morning naturally be fantastic? I would love to have time to workout when I wanted, take a walk to the Farmer’s Market and buy some fresh veggies and then maybe read for a while before cooking a beautiful dinner. I am sure not working at my stupid job would make me happier. That’s why I sent in my notice.
  2. Give up watching the news – I honestly can’t believe there is still network news. It’s full of silly stories designed to scare you, or full of blatant lies. (FOX News, I’m talking to you.) If you really want to be happy, turn off the news and just watch The Daily Show. You’ll still get news, but it will be entertaining, funny and have actual facts involved.
  3. Give up your cable TV – Why do people still pay for this service? Everything you need is online now from television to movies. Cancel your cable, save some money and feel the happy flow over you.
  4. speaking of TV… Give up watching True Blood – It’s bloody awful. No pun intended. I can think of dozens of things more worth your time than that crappy show. Maybe read a book or get a root canal? Both of those things would make you happier than watching bad actors recite bad dialogue in really bad costumes.
  5. Give up Crocs – First off, let me state the obvious – Crocs are ugly. They are the shoe equivalent of a moomoo. Why not just put on a house coat, put your hair up in sponge curlers and finish the look? I don’t care if they are comfortable. Wearing Crocs tells the world “I have given up on myself”.
  6. Give up knowing people who use the word “bro” while wearing khakis & a button-up – These people are trouble. “Bros” don’t make anyone happier, they make people miserable. These guys are a Bud Light away from starting a fight at any given time. If you know anyone that fits this description terminate relationship ASAP. If you are married to, or dating one of them  – you have bigger issues.
  7. Give up shopping at major chain grocery stores – Big grocery stores are full of processed food containing high fructose corn syrup. And that shit is bad for you. Really bad. If you get your beef or chicken from there you are probably eating about 100 different cows all mashed up together and soaked in bleach, and chickens that have been fed antibiotics, other chickens and poop. Gross. If you want to be happy, be healthy. Take the time to find a Farmer’s Market that sells local fruits and veggies or plant a garden. A healthy you is a happy you.
  8. Give up trying to be perfect – This one should be easy. You are not perfect. – nobody is.  There is no such thing as a perfect body, or perfect hair, or a perfect man or even a perfect outfit. Perfection is an illusion, so give it up. You’ll feel happier when you realize how badass you are. 
  9. Give up smoking – Seriously. It’s gross and super bad for you, and so totally over and passé. Nobody smokes anymore. Unless of course you happen to be in Europe. Then everybody and their grandmother still smokes. But, it’s also the equivalent of 1983 in some parts of Europe, so I guess its ok.
  10. Give up making excuses – If there is one thing that I have learned from watching ‘The Biggest Loser’ its that excuses are for losers. You can do whatever you put your tiny little mind to. You are not fat because of stress in your life, or you don’t have time, or the kids make you so darned tired – you are fat because you eat too much and you don’t exercise. The reason you haven’t had that talk with your boss or your wife is because you are scared, not because you are just “waiting for the right moment.” The right moment is always now. Stop whining and just get ‘er done. 

Michelle Obama is a Super Badass

If you follow my blog you already know a little bit about me. You already know that I am an advocate for women’s rights, and gay rights. You already know I love movies and I love talking about them. You might have gleaned that I like to watch TV shows and that  I think The Biggest Loser is pretty much the best thing to happen to TV since Alan Alda. And, knowing my love for The Biggest Loser it only stand to reason that I would be passionate about health and fitness.

You know who else is passionate about health and fitness? Only Michelle Obama! You know who was a special guest on the best TV show ever? You guessed it, the First Lady herself – Michelle Obama. She came on the show to congratulate the contestants on their monumental achievement and to tell them how awesome they looked after their makeovers. She was quite personable with the contestants and their families. She hugged them, smiled at them and spoke to them like she knew them, which she kind of does since she watches the show. All in all she was very approachable and down to earth.

After the meet and greet, The Fisrt Lady and all of the contestants (and their families) put on their workout gear and had a sweat session right there in the White House. Both Bob and Dolvett were on hand to make sure that Mrs. Obama felt the burn and got a taste of what a Biggest Loser workout was like.

I have alway liked Mrs. Obama, but seeing her on The Biggest Loser made me a fan. It is nice to see a first lady using her powers for good. I liked Hillary for the same reason. Michelle Obama is everything that a role model for girls should be. She is a professional in her own right, she is talented, smart and well spoken. The fact that she has taken fitness as her platform in the White House is just a bonus.

I think we need more women like Michelle Obama. I wish when I was little there was a strong badass babe in the White House. I was stuck with Nancy Reagan. I mean I’m sure she is a swell lady and all, but her big thing was “Just Say NO!” an anti drug campaign seemingly aimed at teens. All it really did was make drinking in them really fun and ironic. If there had been a Michelle Obama in the White House when I was a kid I think I might have paid attention. She is teaching girls of today to take care of themselves and educate themselves. She is teaching them that you don’t have to sit passively next to your man in order to support him, you can be your own person at the same time.