a word about “dieting”

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 9, 2014 by kirkwestwood

So, the 90dayReboot IS a dieting protocol. It is. It has foods you can eat, can’t eat, times you should eat them, its a whole plan. I designed it over the course of several years trying my very best to incorporate EVERYTHING I know/understand about the human body, physiology, dietetics, nutrition, etc. Its aimed to work at all body types. Its aimed to work for MOST people. I believe it to work wonders, as I have seen it do so on myself and have multiple clients that will sing its praises.

I worked with Bob Harper for a time, and he would rave about his protocols and how they were the best. I worked with Eric Carlson for a time, and he would rave about his methodologies. Mine, I believe work equally/just as good/ better than theirs. Its a matter of research, understanding, personal pride, etc. But here is the thing. We’re all right. We’re all wrong. Remember the weak link in ANY methodology is YOU.

I don’t mean this negatively, or demeaningly. I mean it, if anything, motivationally.  See, here is where diets FAIL!, and By ‘fail’ I mean catastrophically.  People like to “buffet” their diet plans, and here is the thing, that just doesn’t work.  Diets aren’t puzzle pieces that fit together well, most of them are whole plans, and the plans work with themselves, but DON”T necessarily ‘play well’ with others.

Allow me to explain:
Say you are on the NutriSystem diet.  You are eating their food, and losing weight, feeling great and loving life – good for you -. But several times a week, the set food isn’t working for you, so you go out.  Tonights, nutrisystem meal was “spaghetti”, so you head to olive garden and you order a SMALL spaghetti, lets say you even ordered it off the children’s menu.

That isn’t going to be the same thing.  Or even a little close.  Nutrisystem works (sort of), but its based off the glycemic index (no I won’t explain that here) and the food matters, not just the serving size, or the calories, but the ACTUAL FOOD ITSELF.  Thats why it isn’t a nutrisystem cookbook, but a food delivery service.  The FOOD matters.  Too many variables to let you handle yourself.

Lets say you are on “The Zone” diet, and its working like a DREAM, but you like to borrow days, and do Whole30 (a Paleo protocol) that is going to disrupt both systems.  See the problem with MOST of todays dieting methodologies is the rigidity of the system.  They allow for so very little wiggle room, that when people wiggle (which they will) they just crack.

There are SO many systems, protocols, methodologies out there.  They are all so rigidly based on a very specific thing.  And here is the trick:  They all work.  If you do them (and if you are the right body type/blood type/personality type to do them successfully).

The 90dayReboot is no different.  I based mine off of protocols that were as universal as I could.  It works great for those that can do it.   But truly, here is the trick to a long, and healthy life.  You’ve heard me say it before:  Health isn’t a hobby, its a lifestyle.

Let me explain.  I’ve known many diet hobbyists.  They cherry pick and buffet from their favorite diets.  They dabble in veganism, paleo, atkins, south beach.  They try every trend and jump on every bandwagon.  From the freeness of antioxidants, to the horrors of gluten.  They commit to none, but try all.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a correct way to do this, but most people just try and get the maximum benefit from the minimum effort.  They are under the impression that the infomercials are telling the truth and that you really can look like Hugh Jackman in the Wolverine, or Marissa Miller in Sports Illustrated in 3 min a day without diet or exercise.  Its a lie.  Its a horrific lie.

Health being a lifestyle means this:  Stop ‘Dieting’.  Build a lifestyle that promotes wellness for you.  Use the tools at your disposal.  90dayReboot is just that.  A tool.  I have tried to build it to be a protocol that is open format.  It allows you to eat the things you “need” while eliminating the things you don’t and better yet retraining your body not to want them.  I try and steer you away from diets that I think will hurt you, either because they aren’t right for you, don’t work at all, or are unrealistically complicated to do.  I’ll try to write up more about diets.  I’ll try to do better at explaining it all.  I’ll even break down what makes 90day better.

But lets start here:  Start eliminating things from your life you don’t need.  Bring into your life things that its missing.  Start with the right ingredients and we’ll work on how and when and how much to eat later.  For now, just cut out the crap.

A point of Clarity: Cheating v. Failing.

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 8, 2014 by kirkwestwood

So, a few days ago, a friend of mine on FB made a comment about a great celebration she was having and tagged me in the post saying it must be one of the “Cheat” days that drive me up the wall.  This made me realize that I need to clarify what I mean by “cheat days”.  All of this info is hidden in scraps and pieces of my writing over the last few years, but today… I lay it out.

Life happens.  And yes, my mantra is “Health is Not a Hobby, It’s a Lifestyle”, but truth of the matter is, when you are the only one you know living that lifestyle, or at least one of a very few… well.. its gonna make things hard.  You want to go eat at a restaurant every once in a while, you want to have a piece of cake to celebrate a friends birthday, you want …. (insert your vice here).  Whereas I certainly, can’t and WONT condone eating garbage because its easy or popular, sometimes, everyone fails at being perfect.  (even me, i know, you’re SHOCKED)

Cheat days are just plain stupid (and more importantly dietetically invalid).  If you need to better understand my feelings on this, please read nearly any of my posts last week.  But to clarify and simplify my definition of a cheat day:  A day you wholly let yourself off the hook.  A day where you forget your goals, forget yourself, and dive head-first into a vat of whipped cream.  To make matters even stupider, to do this habitually, with some kind of premeditated schedule; “I eat right all week, so on saturdays I treat myself”  <– this is dumb.

We build this wall in our lives, this “binary code of conduct”.  So, to keep us from feeling bad, we add in loopholes, “well, it doesn’t count cuz….”, or “its a weekend, it doesn’t count on the weekend”.  This logic is fairly damaging, both dietetically and certainly psychologically.  But like I said up above, you have to live in the world.  You have friends who eat german chocolate cake, you have friends who want to share their lives with you, but not your lifestyle.  This happens, so, how does it work?

Moderation in all things:
I read a blog once that was ranting about how advantageous cheat days are.  She went on to explain her definition of “cheat days”.  Basically she had set out healthy treats that she would allow herself, and on low will-power days, she’d allow herself to have one.

First off, thats not cheating.  The snacks she had set out as her special treats were COMPLETELY FINE.  And only letting yourself enjoy food on a “I’m gonna crack” day, is WHY YOU FEEL YOU WILL CRACK!  Its so much better to understand what the boogie man is in the world, where your breaking points are and truly truly be weary of that.  But fact of the matter is, two cookies aren’t that big a deal.  SIX IS!

If having a homemade cookie and a small glass of milk, or a piece of dark chocolate and a handful of raspberries, or hell, a piece of pizza, makes you enjoy your dietetic life, then don’t make those off-limits, just understand YOUR limits. Treats are fine, just don’t eat them everyday. Those shouldn’t be cheating, and if you allow yourself to label them as cheating in your head you are setting yourself up for catastrophic failure.  Remember, I said “LIFESTYLE”.  Eating well isn’t a weekend thing, or a 90 day thing, or a ’till i’m thin’ thing.  Its forever, build the diet and the lifestyle that will work for you, for the long haul.

But Kirk, some days, things happen and I lose my mind, it wasn’t “moderation” it was just plain FAILURE.  

AWESOME^  Now you get it, NOW you understand.  The term “cheating” is a way to mitigate your responsibility.  “I’m cheating, but I’ll still pass”.  This is a toxic mentality.  It is so much better to understand:  Perfection is the goal… FAILURE WILL HAPPEN.

Thanksgiving is my ABSOLUTE favorite day of the year… BAR NONE.  I love it, I look forward to it for 364 days.  I start planning Thanksgiving on Black Friday, it is my single happiest day.  Not because of the food, but because of a huge list of reasons that are more suited for a different blog.  But I celebrate those reasons, like everyone else… with food.

I don’t “cheat” on Thanksgiving.  I fail.  Life happens.  Celebrations happen.  Special occasions happen.  And for those brief and INFREQUENT moments, I fail… I fail to see the point of not celebrating.  I fail at being perfect.  It is so much better than cheating.  Cheating I’m giving myself a Pass.  Failing.  Nope.  I’m owning it.

My office should be renamed to the “Department of Homeland Security and Sheetcake”.  There is a birthday here all the time.  Someone is always bringing things in.  Sometimes I have a piece of cake, sometimes I don’t.  Neither of these is failure, neither of these is cheating.  Both are accounting my my behavior, monitoring my intake, understanding my limits, and exercising MODERATION, and choosing my battles.  Heavy workout weeks, I might be more inclined to a piece of cake than lazy week.  Its not cheating, its understanding a lifestyle.

So let me sum this up.  If you sit on a wednesday night, holding a chocolate chip cookie to your face breathing deeply, hoping for a contact sugar high, wishing it was saturday… then on saturday make yourself a PLATE of cookies and indulge, I promise you, I truly swear to you, this is the WRONG way to diet.  You will be chasing your tail.  Regardless of how good you are during the week, regardless of what your body type is.  This type of starvation/gluttony is psychologically, metabolically, and dietetically bad.  You will constantly be losing the same 5 lbs.  Your skin will never tighten up, your stomach and GI tract will never regulate to a new paradigm, you are literally keeping your body from re-regulating.

But if on a wednesday night, your friend just made some cookies, asks you if you’d like one… have  ONE cookie, hell Have TWO.  But know you did it.  Remember you did it.  Work a little harder the next day, eat a slightly smaller helping of dinner.  Build in slack into your daily calories, that would allow you to celebrate a friends birthday without “cheating”.  Health is not a hobby, its a lifestyle.  So build a lifestyle that you can live with.  Don’t “Cheat”.  And know one thing.  KNOW IT.  You will FAIL from time to time.  It happens.  So get back up, brush yourself off, and hit the gym as your penitence.

As always, I write this for you.  Have a question, have a request, let me know.

So…. body typing.

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 7, 2014 by kirkwestwood

On thursday I wrote about Somatyping. It’s a valid and widely used form of body typing to determine a relatively specific form of metabolic process. In that post I mentioned a far more in-depth form of body typing that I use MUCH more aggressively. That of course spurned interest in hearing more about that.

So, I will attempt to informally simplify this concept. Should you be curious in more formal reading as to the studies and findings, I can certainly point you to the books/papers/research that has been done… but that is not the purpose of this post. I will use analogies, that will of course be flawed, and I will use logic to attempt to explain what is better displayed with research. All of these things exist. But here, we’re just gonna have a little chat.

You have a dominant hand. You do. You have a dominant eye, and a dominant foot as well. Most often these three are the same, making someone just “right-side” or “left-side” dominant. However, there ARE people with strange dominance issues. Like people that are “right hand/ Left eye dominant” (this is discovered by people in shooting sports fairly frequently). There are people who are ambidextrous, by birth or training, but even they have a SLIGHT dominance.

Now, just because I happen to be right-handed, or my brother left-handed, it does not, in ANY way affect the effectivity of our non-dominant hand. My left works just fine. Sure, I can’t write as legibly with it. But I can catch a ball, throw a ball, pick something up, button a shirt… Yep, my left works just fine. My body/brain has just “decided” that when it comes to quick reactions and fine motor skills, its gonna put the line-share of the work on Mr. Righty. It’s a concept that is so utterly common-place, that no-one much thinks about it.

So that is the core concept. Your body “selects” things to be the “go to”. Not because its better… just cuz. This doesn’t stop externally. Your body ALSO selects a dominant gland. A hormonal regulator that is selected to be the throttle on your particular metabolism. And, just like an expert can look at hand-writing and definitely tell if a person is right or left handed. Or a Tracking expert can look at foot prints and tell whether someone is right or left footed… so can a person look at a physique and determine which gland is dictating to the rest of the body. There is NO “good” body type, or “bad” body type…. there is just DIFFERENT body types. And these, are they:

Adrenal, Pituitary, Thyroid, Gonadal; or As I will refer to them here out: A, P, T, G. (point of interest, SOME research has a fifth)

Each of the four female body types (males don’t have a G body type), are displayed externally in fairly unique and predictable ways, but to be REALLY clear, there are TONS of strange loopholes and exceptions. Body types are REALLY hard to determine on the very thin, or the very heavy, and genetics can always throw us a weird curve ball. But these are SIMPLY put.

“A” body type. Or sometimes referred to as the “inverted triangle” or “Apple” body type is displayed by broader shoulders, typically larger breasts, narrower hips, a rounder bottom.

“G” body type. Or “Triangle” or “Pear” is displayed by narrower shoulders, typically smaller breasts, wider hips, larger bottom, and thicker legs.

“T” body type. Or “Hourglass” (no fruit for this one), is commonly displayed by wider shoulders, larger breasts, narrow waist to wider hips, and typically a fairly flat bottom.

“P” body type. Or “rectangle” or “banana”, is commonly displayed long and lean. Whether it is narrow or wide it is a relatively straight line.  Hips, to waist to shoulders is pretty straight, typically not curvy in the breasts or bottom.

Quickly for the men, its all fairly similar.  But a few inconsistencies.
T: Broad shoulders, small waist, a little bit like an inverted triangle (don’t be confused, because in WOMEN thats an A.. NOT in men).   (matthew mcconaughey, Channing Tatum)

A: Broad shoulders, straight line to hips.  “Barrel chested” (Hugh Jackman, Laird Hamilton)

G:  NONE (all men have dominant Gonads, not being crude… just science)

P: Longer, leaner, usually gains weight, gains weight all over at first, but then in his stomach/lovehandles.

So, now that you have this information, what are you supposed to do with it?  Here is where it starts to get more complicated to simplify.

Each gland is stimulated by different things.  So, technically speaking, each body type will be prone to different cravings (obviously tastes, and background effect this a lot) but strictly speaking:
“P”s are stimulated by dairy: Craving, cheese, yogurt, milk, etc etc
“T”s are stimulated by Starches: Be it pasta or a snickers, sugar drives the thyroid
“A” is stimulated by FAT/PROTEIN:  Meat, butter, eggs,
“G” is stimulated by fat/oils/spices: Harder to be simplify to specifics, but creamy, robust, or spicy food.

But Kirk, what does this all mean?

Basically, just like if I threw you a ball, and yelled “think fast”, your dominant hand would 9/10 times be the one to reach up and grab it.  It reacts the fastest.  When something needs doing, your dominant hand gets it done.  EVEN if you INJURE your dominant hand, it is usually the stabbing pain of attempting to use it that reminds you to use the other.  Your brain/system just learns to rely on this thing.  So, what does that have to do with the above list of stimulating foods?

When eating regularly, a well balanced meal, your digestive system chooses the “best fuel first”, and saves the rest for later… so, to explain:
I (who am a T body type) go to eat with my buddy Carson (who is an A body type).  We go to an italian restaurant and BOTH order the same Spaghetti in red sauce (no meat).  His body, will take a look, see all the nutrients, but not see anything overly preferably, so it will break down the food appropriately and use it as the fuel it is designed for.  His insulin and glucose will rise, as they should, his energy will peak, as it should and fall, as it should.  It will break down the starches, the proteins, and all other nutrients.  In absence of its stimulant it will behave normally.

 HOWEVER, my body will see the pasta and go, SCREW EVERYTHING ELSE.  It will QUICKLY breakdown the starch, sending it to EVERY part of my body quickly.  My insulin will quickly rise, I will experience a SPIKE in energy, but also because my thyroid is so efficient I will also crash faster than my friend.  My body sees this as a good thing, look how GREAT that fuel was, but in a real world scenario it was far from ideal, especially due to the fact that in the background, all the other food, was told:  “Don’t worry, you chill we got this”… and was turned to fat.  In the presence  of the stimulating nutrient, nearly everything else is ignored.

However, if my friend ordered the spagetti, as he did, and I ordered, chicken marinara.  Our bodies would react very similarly, neither finding its “rocket fuel” both operating as advertised.  If we traded dinners, we’d have effectively BOTH be eating 100% wrong.

Then you add the food addiction angle.

If you are sluggish, tired, depressed, anxious, or in any form of distress physically, your body’s natural reaction is to “self-medicate”.  It knows that it can stimulate a quick, easy endorphin response with a specific type of food.  (Please take note, ice cream, actually falls into ALL FOUR CATEGORIES… just funny).  So now, you are munching on “X” be it beef jerky, or a snickers.  This is stimulating your body and giving it “pure energy”, but now any nutrients you give your body will just turn to fat.

So, if you understand fully what your body is doing with food, in some ways the HEALTHIEST thing to do, is lean on your NON-dominant “hand”.  As a “T” body type, I do have to be very weary of too many carbs, as they negatively effect my bodies readiness and willingness to process other foods, that is not to say I avoid carbs, it just means I have to use them as a tool, and not rely on them as a core nutrient, as other body types can.

I feel we’ve covered the basics today.  I know its all over the place, but that really is the broad strokes.  Ask your questions and I’ll be sure to respond.

an interest in “Morphology”

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 3, 2014 by kirkwestwood

So, a while back when I became interested in “body-typing”, I was reading a LOT about the concepts that all bodies were NOT created equally… or more accurately WERE created “equally”, however, not necessarily identically.

It was clear to me that there were different molds, that there were different types, and even sub-types, but overall there was neither a “one-size-fits-all” solution NOR the “nobody-else-is-like-me” problem. The truth was, of course, in the middle.

So I started with reading “Dr. Abravenel’s Body Type Diet and Lifetime Nutrition Plan” By Dr. Elliot D. Abravanel, M.D. and Elizabeth King Morrison. I have built on that knowledge with many other articles and research, but I’d still consider that work to be a solid about of the base that I draw from. In this book it goes into depth about glandular and hormonal breakdown, causing people to either be a “T”, “P”, “A”, or “G” body type.

But while doing my research, I kept coming across this methodology of dividing people into three main categories, namely Ectomorph, Endomorph, Mesomorph. Thats what I want to discuss a little bit day. Its important information, but, not necessarily useful. Just something for the “good to know” category.

First its important to know, that this branch of body physiology theory was actually developed by a psychologist, in an attempt to link temperament to general stature types. Its official name is “Somatyping” and was developed by Dr. William Herbert Sheldon in the 1940s.

I’m going to break this down as BASICALLY as possible. In 1954 he wrote an entire book called “Atlas of Men”. (Let me be clear here, this theorem and understanding is 60+ years old. It has several overall flaws, but the foundation is fairly solid if used as a guide and not gospel… as I said above “good to know” category)

He divided up a series of body measurements and tests into a set of three categories. Seven specific areas. so “Pure” results would look like this:

Endomorph 7–1–1
Mesomorph 1–7–1
Ectomorph 1–1–7.

Theoretically, he felt he could predict temperament with this information, based purely on body physiology. Having no background in psychology, I can’t comment on that affectivity, but as a trainer, the rest of his data was pretty solid.

So, we’ve all met the perfect “Ectomorph”. Long, thin, minor fat, minor musculature. Has a harder time gaining weight than keeping it off. I have a friend who eats butter with every meal, hits the gym HARD every day and is EXCITED to see the scale go up. Naturally, he is fairly skeletal. We all know one.

Mesomorphs are a bit more average. Average to large bones. They both gain and lose fat appropriate to their intake, but a PURE mesomorph puts on muscle very easily. MANY people at this point say… Oh, well then thats not me. It might be, unless you are actually training to build muscle, you probably have NO IDEA how hard or easy it is for you to gain muscle. I would have WHOLLY denied being a mesomorph, before I started training… then I found that the my weight capacity went up fairly quickly, when I was actually trying at it.

and lastly the Endomorph, what EVERY human over 30 SWEARS they are. Endomorphs are those people that can be careful all day long, but they put on fat FAST. The old saying “a minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips” was invented by endomorphs. We all know this person too. The person who truly truly tries at losing weight, tries WAAY harder than you, but just can’t make it happen. Endomorphs tend towards a rounder figure, they gain weight quickly, have a harder time building muscle, but fat storage is a quick and easy job.

Now, points of interest. As was originally defined, these are not “check boxes” these are sliding scales. You almost DEFINITELY exist SOMEWHERE in-between two of these. Which two? Don’t know.

Why is this information important. It means that comparing yourself to your gym buddy, is just not fair… to either of you… ALMOST EVER. If you and your gym body match BOTH body types… then sure, compare away. But really; the guy pushing hard and jumping up and down when the scale goes up, shouldn’t try and compete with the guy running 12 miles a day to make the scale go down. Their bodies are literally not reacting the same way to stimulus.

So, if you know (or suspect) that you are an endomorph or even endomorph leaning, then I’m sorry, its just gonna be harder for you. Cheat days, enjoyed by your friends will need to be taken a LOT more seriously for you. You could easily gain 10lbs in a day and spend 10 days getting back to center. Your body stores food. Its physiology.

If you are an ectomorph or ectormorph leaning, skipping a gym day is a bigger deal. You’ll lose weight. That awesomely carved out figure you are working on, will deflate like a bad air mattress… FAST.

Mesomorphs in my experience are pretty much average people. You can build muscle, lose muscle, gain fat, lose fat pretty averagely for your body type (of the A,G,T,P variety).

Point of caution: EVERYONE gains fat faster in their 30s and on. Don’t just assume because you aren’t in high school anymore that you are an Endomorph. Its called AGE!

There are some fun little loop holes and tricks, things to know about the mixture of body types, age, diet, lifestyle etc. If you have questions…. just ask.

The Myth of Individuality

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 2, 2014 by kirkwestwood

Okay, so I’ll admit up front, the title was a bit more provocative than was perhaps appropriate. But, it is still a valid point:

You are NOT, repeat NOT a special little snowflake.

So, lets break this down:

Every person alive REGARDLESS of nationality or genetic origin is one of 4 main body types. They are dictated by internal bio-chemistry and are most easily defined by a dominant gland within your body eg. “T” (thyroid), “G” (gonadial), “P” (pituitary), or “A” (adrenaline). Now, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT everyone’s body breaks down fat a little differently into one of three categories commonly known as Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. You ARE one from BOTH of those lists. Then you can throw a dash of individualism, I’m tall like my dad, I’m short like my mom…etc etc.

The mixtures of these two different body type measurements, just like the Myers-Brigs personality test, can put you into a fairly narrow category. However, like it says above… NOT a special little snowflake.

Again, tough love is my thing, so if I’m coming off as a jackass here… cool, I’m on message. A big problem I hear a lot from the people at my gym, or the people that I have trained is this false flag of “well I’m different”, “I have to do what works for me”.

The biggest false flag in the community is “That doesn’t work for me”… *cough cough* yes it does. The single exception being, you don’t have the personal strength to make yourself do it. Not that the diet/exercise/lifestyle doesn’t work, but that you can’t do it, but then say that.

Please don’t misunderstand me here, I know that some things don’t work for people on a PERSONAL level, I get that. I personally enjoy training in an acrobatic, far-less-than-safe manner, as I find it FUN, and therefore more effective. But the overall point remains. Your body is only slightly individual to you. There are honest-to-goodness diagrams and charts that once I can figure out your body physiology can actually TELL ME how your body will break down various foods.

Its absolutely true that some diets will absolutely not work with some body types and others will, in that SMALL way, you are an individual… along with EVERYONE else in your body type category.

Everyone is different, mentally. But physically, its almost funny how NOT UNIQUE we are. Once we figure out our personal cravings and addictions, once we know what our breaking point is, our physiology is VERY predictable. So use that. The metabolism is a machine, its like a car, every type of car is different, but then individually they are all pretty much the same. Learn how to control your car, learn how to be an effective steward over the ONLY BODY you’ll ever get. Stop making excuses, stop taking shortcuts, stop pretending that the doughnuts are better than you.

Health isn’t a hobby, its a lifestyle! Live clean, love your body NO MATTER WHAT SHAPE ITS IN, but know you can ALWAYS push to be better, ALWAYS.

I’ve been away: The trouble with cheat days

Posted in rantings of the madman with tags , , , on July 1, 2014 by kirkwestwood

So, I’ve been out of the saddle for a minute.  I haven’t been writing in… well… as time stamps would display, about a year.  But I haven’t been off the fitness wagon, just the blogging one.  A lot has changed since I started this blog in 2011.  When I began my fitness craze in 2009, I was just a man on a mission.  I knew absolutely nothing more, or less, than your average person.  I believed what Cosmo covers and Jenny Craig ads were teaching about weight loss.  So I committed to figure it out.

In the last 5 years of my fitness insanity, to include but certainly not limited to my personal endeavors with weight-loss I have gleaned a fair amount of knowledge, a lot of experience and even a few certifications.  What started as just me wanting to lose a little weight, became over 70lbs of fat, and the addition of at the National Academy of Sports Medicine: Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, AND Women’s Exercise Specialist certifications.

I found that I really loved this stuff.  I LOVE working with my clients on their various goals, I LOVE staying active and working with people.  I HATE when those people (who I just said I loved) try to explain to me how Cosmo/Jenny Craig/Weight Watchers/ Dr. Oz has it right, and I am somehow misguided.  There is a LOT of mis-information out there (most from the 4 entities I just mentioned), a LOT of “gym-science” and even MORE information that is actually designed to HURT you, not help you (i’m not kidding, there is widely believed dietetic “wisdom” that is honestly designed to keep you NEEDING the program… yaay capitalism)

Lots of the misinformation is completely forgivable, much of it sounds so obvious that it is easily accepted into our mainframe of knowledge right past the “common sense” filters.  But one such piece of information makes me want to punch a kitten.  It has crept its way so deep into these dieting programs that I have people SWEARING by it.  so… WE NEED TO TALK.

The Cheat Day:
Lets start with the “Pro”.  Cheat days are fun.  They give us something to look forward to.  You get to go to a restaurant and order what you want, or eat a plate of cookies, or … whatever.  Cheat days make the week “worth it” and you might even really ENJOY them.  They make the idea of trudging through life only eating soy paste and drinking cabbage water sound actually doable.  But here is the problem:

Cheat days are truly harmful.  TRULY.  Not just dietetically, but psychologically, physiologically and holistically.  And here is why:

I’ve said it here 1000 times.  Health is not a hobby, its a lifestyle.  You need to redefine your lifestyle, you NEED to get into a groove of eating right, liking your food, craving your food, and wanting your food.  You SHOULDN’T be eating soy paste and cabbage water, if for no other reason, than that sounds disgusting.  Find your foods you like, and make them work for you, there shouldn’t need to be a “cheat” day, because you should be LOVING what you eat.  NO ONE loves food more than me.  If once a week you eat a large pizza and an entire package of nestle cookie dough, you are depriving your body learning to process cleaner foods. (if you’d like clarity on what I mean, please ask)

If you spend all week being “good” and then habitually (as in weekly) take a break from that, you are actually doing massive damage to your metabolic systems ability to process food regularly.  Chances are, you’ll be a steady weight all week long, and then the day after your little excursion you’ll see a 3-7lbs JUMP in the scale.  Is this a big deal?  YES!  Your body can’t restructure muscle, or reform skin, or re-sculpt definition, or ANY of the restorative processes you want to accompany weight-loss if your body is CONSTANTLY reburning the same 7lbs.  Simply put, it is better to eat a cookie a day, then to eat a box of cookies once a week.

Cheating is CHEATING.  It undercuts the system, and confuses your body.  It actually makes your body work harder to do very basic processes.  If you live your life in moderation, a cheat day is unnecessary.  If you NEED ice cream to survive, then build a single serving of good whole ice cream into your weekly diet.  Truly won’t hurt you.  If you NEED sweets, there are literally DOZENS of work arounds and tricks that will help fulfill or curb those cravings, and it does it so effectively, that you will soon crave the alternatives.

Sugar is NOT the enemy, GLUTTONY is! And a cheat day, is the VERY DEFINITION of Gluttony.  Taking a day to eat whatever you want, hurts the physiology of metabolic process, but unfortunately thats not all it does, it has a psychological effect to.

The cheat day is the dietetic equivalent of staying in an abusive relationship, because you know deep down your “partner really loves you”.  This food is hurting you, your body actually knows that, and SO DO YOU.  But you are standing by it, convincing yourself you aren’t strong enough, convincing yourself that the food is somehow better than you, all while reassuring yourself, that like the abusive partner “its not their fault”.  This is honestly damaging and will keep you from truly fulfilling your life long goals.  I had a client recently tell me, “I don’t want a crash diet, I want to be healthy forever”, I love it, I couldn’t agree more, so lets get past the idea that cheating is an option.

I try to be encouraging, and tough love is really my M.O. but it really is hard when you hear people that are beautiful and intelligent re-hash and repeat garbage that was literally invented by a multi-million dollar weight-loss corporation designed to keep you coming to their weekly meetings.  Redefine yourself.  Refind yourself.  Break free of the shackals of BS food.  Don’t “cheat”, find your core and fly.

Worry about your plate.

Posted in rantings of the madman on June 21, 2013 by kirkwestwood

So, I’ve come across a new “trick” to keep my personal calories down. It might work for you, it might not, but either way… its worth mentioning.

See, the problem is, I CAN EAT. I’ve met very few people in my life that could actually pack away more food than me (hot dog eating champions aside). I can (no joke) eat an X-large pizza by myself and not actually feel overly/painfully full. I can eat, but I don’t NEED to.

The other day, I was seriously busy, running around no time to stop. I kept my schedule pretty well, but there was never any to sit down and eat anything, so my meals consisted of things like a single cup of yogurt, or a handful of trailmix. I was amazed at how these small proportions kept my hunger at bay and actually kept me pretty energized to keep going. But that evening I ended up in a shopping center with an hour or so on my hands and it was about that time (food).

I wandered into a ZPizza (best pizza ever) and saw what slices they had available (1 OLD pepperoni) and I got talking to the guy. Instead of Methuselah’s left overs, I opted for him to make me a small pesto pizza, and thought I’d only eat half and save the rest. That didn’t work out.

I have very little self-control when it comes to food. If I see it, if its there, I can and will eat it. Period. So, since that occurence I’ve been trying something new, and have been finding that it REALLY REALLY works (for me).

I have stopped worrying about what I put in my mouth, and ONLY putting thought into what goes on my plate. If it goes on my plate I’ll eat it. Serving platter piled high, I can finish that. But as I’ve started looking at my plate as meal, it puts you into a new mentality. When you go to a restaurant, try not ordering something big and only eating some of it. But, try ordering off the kids menu, or the appetizer menu. If the food isn’t there, you can’t eat it (physics is funny that way).

Stop thinking about “seconds”. For the time being, no more “seconds” fill your plate calorically to your standards, and then STOP. No extra, nothing left, nothing more, no less. If you worry about your PLATE, it can help you visualize your meals better. It helps you come to a simple stopping place “my plate is empty”. Don’t start off slowly, and then get more, get what you’re going to eat… then eat it.

For the next few days, test this theory. Don’t worry about your stomach, or your mouth. Just worry about your plate. Don’t sit next to a BOX of wheat thins for a snack, but get a cup of them and put the box away… when the cup is empty, you’re done.

Give this a try, I find it’s really working for me.