I’m walking the walk and talking the talk!

by Eric on December 14, 2011

After all these posts about the pros/cons of wheat consumption, I decided that I would choose to go gluten free and on a weight loss program in December and see the results.

I picked a custom made plan from my “Take Shape For Life” program and tweaked it to make sure to avoid gluten. The results so far I can only describe as staggering! I weighed in on December 3rd and by December 13th I had lost 10 pounds!

I haven’t been starving either, I’ve been eating every 2-3 hours with some shakes, soups, drinks, and puddings I ordered.  I also enjoy  two VERY large “lean and green” meals.  I’ve got some pictures up on facebook if you want to friend me and take a look. My favorite lean and greens are salads with cooked chicken and a myriad of my favorite fresh and pickled veggies.

I have encountered some challenges along the way, but I used techniques I have learned from “Dr. A’s Habits of Health” book and things that I have learned from Personal Training.

Here are some of the challenges I have faced and solutions:

Challenge #1 “I like mindless eating”

Have you ever sat down to watch a movie and then realized (or maybe never realized) when you finished the movie that you just ate 3 bowls of buttered popcorn, 2 cans of coke, and a box of candy? You only intended to eat a small bowl of popcorn, 1 can of coke, and a couple pieces of candy, but your active mind was busy enjoying the movie so mindlessly you just kept feeding the mouth.  I use 2 main strategies to curtail this effect.

Solution: “Out of sight out of mind(less eating that is!)”

I watched a movie with my wife recently and I air popped a prescribed amount of popcorn, then I put the popcorn away in the back of the cupboard. I used low cal spray butter and salt and then put that away. I’m sure you know that if you keep it on the coffee table next to you during the movie, it’s as good as gone! So I knew that when I finished the popcorn I would mindfully have to go back to the kitchen to choose to cheat.  So I knew there would be no more popcorn for the rest of the movie so I was more mindful, but I still forgot about it and ate it too fast… luckily I was ready with a pack of Gum and a large glass of water… which leads into strategy #2

Solution: Keep healthy mindless foods around.

I keep the pie hole busy all day, but I just leave out the pie. Gum, water, celery, tea, cucumber, celery, and pickled veggies (my favs are peperoncinis, pickles, asparagus, and mild pepper rings) are all examples of different foods I keep around in easy reach and in good supply to battle my mindless eathing habits.

Challenge #2 “I’m going to a party and I will be enticed to eat unhealthy foods”

Solution: Plan ahead and share what you are doing.

This can be uncomfortable, but talking to the party coordinator about your dietary restrictions does 2 wonderful things.

1) It creates a new person to be accountable to. If you tell that person you are avoiding cake and you show up and eat 4 pieces in front of her, that will be embarassing. Yes, it makes it a challenge for you and you might still choose to eat the cake, but now your word and your plan has been revealed and you will be letting someone down. Don’t stop there, tell your family and friends what you plan to do as well. Be detailed.

2) It may help you to know what foods will be available at the party and then be able to make decisions on what you can eat more of.

The bottom line is that if you just show up to the party without a plan of how much you will “cheat” or not leaves you open to mindless eating at the party.

Hey don’t forget to bring your pack(s) of gum and water bottle to the party by the way!!!


Hope these tips help!




The Last Word on Gluten?

by Eric on December 6, 2011

So you don’t have Celiac Disease. No reason to avoid wheat then right? Wrong…. Or at least that’s what William Davis MD author of “Wheat Belly” says. You may remember from my last post, that it’s been established that wheat of today is not the same wheat of even 50 years ago. But even with the changes, why would we want to avoid Gluten/wheat if we are not diagnosed with the disease?

Doctor Davis’s main point has been to establish wheat as the main culprit in adding visceral fat due to its insulin spiking ability. To follow this post I need to give you a little basic background in how our bodies process sugars:

The role of the pancreas in managing blood sugar is a topic big enough for more than one blog post, but for the sake of this article, what you need to know is that the more you spike your blood sugar, the more your body reacts by releasing insulin that leads to storing fat. The more you do this, the more your body becomes more insulin resistant, leading on a path to Type 2 Diabetes. If you’re active right after meals, you may be able to avoid the spike, but If you don’t utilize the energy, the “spiking” occurs, and it gets stored often as visceral belly fat!

All carbohydrates don’t affect blood sugar the same. Eating wheat based bread has been shown to have a greater glycemic effect than eating table sugar. Compared gram for gram, whole grain bread is rated at a GI of 72, while table sugar has a GI of 59. The author isn’t advocating you go out and eat table sugar instead, but to understand that, from a blood sugar/insulin response viewpoint, it IS worse.

The reason why is because Wheat’s complex carbohydrate structure is made up mainly of Amylopectin A. Amylopectin “A” is the easiest and quickest to digest and convert to sugar (therefore spiking blood sugar the easiest with subsequent insulin response). Amylopectin “B” is found in bananas and potatoes, and Amylopectin “C” found in many beans. Amylopectin “B” and “C” resist digestion earlier in the digestive process, resulting in less of a spike in your blood sugar.

Most of us are smart to slow digestion of the sugars of Amylopectin “A” by eating bread in a sandwich format (with the meat, cheese, and other higher protein and fiber foods “mixing” with the foods to slow digestion).
This is a viable strategy, but without the right balance of proteins and fiber, you will most likely get a faster sugar uptake by eating wheat based foods than other choices.

It has also been shown to indirectly increase appetite!

In some people (not just people with Celiac disease), Polypeptides from wheat show the peculiar ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to opiate receptors. Because of this ability they named them “Exorphins”. The binding to the opiate receptor creates a mild euphoria that comes from eating wheat products. Let me be clear, this is not a normal function of your food. The blood brain barrier is there to prevent things like this from happening.

Have you experienced this yourself?: You buy a fresh loaf of bread, and then sit down and eat the whole loaf! Literally, for some of us, bread is our Crack! It has been shown that Opiate-blocking drugs such as naloxone and naltrexone can nullify this effect.

Dr. Davis says:
“When administered to normal people or people with uncontrollable appetite, opiate-blocking drugs yield reductions in appetite, cravings, and calorie intake, as well as dampen mood, and the effect seems particularly specific to wheat containing products.”
If wheat products can cause an opiate “high”, it is effectively an appetite stimulant, enabling us to eat more calories from wheat to feel better.

So these are some of the biggest points the book makes. There are other less desirable components of wheat also covered, but for the sake of time, I have summarized major points in the book related to weight loss and general health. If you desire to see where he cites his sources, I encourage you to go ahead and download his book on kindle or pick up a copy at your local book store.

So what are my thoughts? I learned that the typical American consumes 75% of his or her carbohydrates from wheat based products, so this would a difficult thing to eliminate altogether. So I do not think I will aim to be gluten free for the rest of my life. I don’t have Celiac disease (as far as I know), but reading about this has been enlightening. As with anything, you have to decide the validity of what is being said. I appreciated Dr. William Davis’s take on things though because he honestly doesn’t make absurd unrealistic claims or talk down to you. Most of what he says does make sense to me. I don’t endorse a gluten free diet as of yet, but “Gluten Free” is now a buzzword just like “low fat” that people are just starting to see everywhere advertised on their foods. Remember, even gluten free foods can be unhealthy, just like “low fat” foods often are unhealthy high calorie foods as well. I hope this blog can be a start for some people to judge for themselves the possible risk in eating a high grain/high gluten diet.



The 2nd Word on Grains/Gluten

November 16, 2011

So it’s time for the second word on Grains/Gluten!   I picked up the book “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD last week. I’ve had time enough to latch on to some really neat key points that I think that everyone would benefit knowing about. Again, I’m not sure this is a definitive “NO” regarding […]

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The First Word on Grains/Gluten

October 26, 2011

So the last time I left you, I decided that I would start researching IF eating gluten free or grain free might be the best option to consider for improved health. I decided to review a minimum of 4 sources to sort through the issue at hand. I have reviewed the first source which is “Anti Grains” and […]

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The Wheat Conundrum Part 1

October 12, 2011

Each year there comes a time where I say to myself; “Am I really healthy? Could I be healthier making more dietary changes?” Each time the answer is usually “not as healthy as I’d like” and “YES!”. This month I’ve decided to tackle the complex issue of whether it might be healthier to cut back […]

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Have I LITERALLY become a Stale Saltine Cracker?

September 28, 2011

I recently did a little soul searching and decided that the hugely effective fitness routines I created in 2010 and 2011 have become STALE to me like a saltine cracker, forgotten about and left in the box for 9 months, found again, and spit out into the garbage in a gross bolus of disgust! Lucky for me, I know […]

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Weight Loss Supplements Demystified

August 23, 2011

Weight Loss Supplements Demystified A common question many exercisers ask is: “How do supplements support my weight loss goals?” There is a great deal of confusion by the consumer as to why and what they should take. First, one must understand how weight loss is accomplished in the first place. Weight loss occurs when your […]

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Do you feel you have a “set point”?

August 9, 2011

Have you ever decided to make a major healthy lifestyle change but then you seemed to reach a limit on how much weight loss you could attain? This can be a common unwelcome surprise for many people involved in a long-term diet situation.   There are many theories as to why the results might not […]

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Why we Wait with Weight!

July 30, 2011

We’ve all been there, you ate healthy for a week and did a few workouts… and then you hopped on the scale… NO CHANGE! Yikes! So what might be going on if you haven’t seen ANY weight loss right away and you’ve been working out hard for a few weeks? First off, don’t panic! Most […]

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This is Personal!

June 15, 2011

So I’ve been musing on what I should talk about with my blog. I’ve come to a crossroad in that I want to talk from a more personal place of what I see and experience, not just a “seminar” on a blog. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly want to research and teach others about […]

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