Category Archives for "Health & Wellness"
Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness
Your goal is to get in top shape. You are serious about your workouts. You eat clean, too. However, no matter what you do or try there are 10 or 20 pounds of fat that are just standing on the way between the body you have now and the body you’ve always wanted.
In this article, (and in the video below) I will share with you the top 3 barriers that stand on your way to getting the body they’ve always wanted.
The irony is that most people would think that their diets or their training plans aren’t working. The biggest barriers that keep people from succeeding actually have nothing to do with diet and working out. And, as long as they are not addressed, no matter what you do with your nutrition and training you will most likely not succeed.
Here is a good test for you: When you look 6 months or a year out into the future how do you see yourself there? Do you see yourself having the body you’ve always wanted, or do you imagine yourself having the same body you have today?
People fail because they don’t see themselves having the body they’ve always wanted. What that means is that on a subconscious level they don’t believe that it is possible for them.
Until you change this image in your mind, until you begin to consistently see yourself in future situations with your new body your chances for attaining that body will remain slim at best.
Beliefs shape our reality. If they are empowering our reality will reflect that. If they are disempowering our reality will reflect that as well.
All kinds of negative self-talk are examples of disempowering beliefs. Here are some examples of disempowering beliefs:
I am not capable of attaining the body I’m imagining
I don’t have what it takes to achieve that
I can’t resist food
I don’t have the willpower it takes
I don’t believe I can do it
I don’t look good either way
I’m not worthy of looking good
I’m not worthy of being liked
For as long as you maintain these (or similar) disempowering beliefs you will keep sabotaging your efforts. You have to put in a very serious effort into replacing these disempowering beliefs with new and empowering beliefs.
How do you replace disempowering beliefs with empowering beliefs?
Here is the formula:
Actions create results which create our beliefs!
To put it simply you have to set small attainable goals and then you have to begin taking decisive action on these goals. This way you will begin creating results in the right direction. And, these new empowering results will begin to replace your disempowering beliefs with empowering beliefs. It sounds simple but the more disempowering beliefs you’ve nourished and let flourish over the years the more effort it will take to get rid of them.
So, start to work on knocking down this barrier immediately!
Your WHY’s keep you motivated. The bigger the WHY’s the bigger your motivation. And, trust me, there will be times when no matter how mentally strong you are you will have to have a lot of motivation and willpower to continue pressing on.
Most people who fail to get the body of their dreams don’t have big enough WHY’s – they haven’t taken the time to create a strong list of reasons why whey want these results for themselves.
If you aren’t currently clear on your WHY’s take the time to ask yourself, “Why do I want to have a fit and awesome body?” Give as many answers as you possibly can think of. Is it for your loved one, for your family, to gain more confidence, to get a modeling gig, to have more energy and feel better about yourself? All of these could be legitimate reasons for you.
Until you take the time to figure out your powerful WHY’s you will almost always find it extremely difficult to continue when those unsurmountable walls rise in front of you, and they always will – at one time or another.
If you continue to blame your lack of success with getting the body of your dreams to your nutrition or training, while ignoring to address the three barriers I told you about, you will most likely continue to suffer disappointments.
If you, however, take the time to work on your mental image of yourself, on your beliefs and on your WHY’s there is no doubt in my mind that you will soon find out that all the other factors are also working for you and that your body is slowly evolving into the body you’ve always wanted for yourself.
Here are your action items for the day (don’t put this off!): After you finish reading this text take the time to list all your WHY’s on a sheet of paper.
Next, create a plan, consisting of small measurable goals, which when reached will give you the results that will help you replace your old disempowering beliefs with new and empowering beliefs.
And, finally, believe that it’s possible for you. Start picturing yourself with your new attractive and fit body.
There is a particular reason why fat people are fat! It isn’t slow metabolism. It isn’t the lack of exercise. And, it isn’t eating too many carbs or too much fat. Although, these are all good reasons they none of them is the chief reason.
I’m so excited to talk about this issue that honestly I don’t want to give out the true reason here – you will have to watch the video above.
In the video, besides naming and explaining the true reason why fat people are fat, I also talk about my experience with this problem.
At the end give two steps that any person with chronic weight gain / fat gain problems can take to turn things around. Hint: it starts with you and your mind! And, it has a lot to do with taking responsibility and quitting being (or playing) a victim of your circumstances.
It’s never a great idea to eat what you want but it is possible – without gaining any weight.. or fat, just to call it what it is.
During my competitive bodybuilding years, I used to eat six times a day and I used to carefully measure everything I ate. It was cumbersome and boring.
Then one day I decided that I wanted to be able to – at least sometimes – enjoy foods that others enjoyed, too.
So, I searched the web and found something that looked promising. I tried it and it worked. It’s called Intermittent Fasting (I’ve written about it before).
In this video, I share exactly how and when I fast.
Althugh, I still eat healthy whenever I want I allow myself some indulgences. Not only is it not affecting my body fat level but I actually stay lean while maintaining the muscle mass I had before I started. My strength has gone up. And, I feel great.
I want more people to know about Intermittent Fasting. It allows freedom. It is liberating… and it’s healthy.
Have you tried Intermittent Fasting? Let me know in the comments below.
This course is for you if you fall into any of the categories:
What this course IS NOT…
What this course IS…
I just read an article referencing the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. This report is prepared by a body of distinguished scholars in the arena of nutrition and human health, and it its purpose is to provide suggestions to the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture for revising the Dietary Guidelines for Americans put forward by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Well, dietary cholesterol seems to finally have been acquitted. Here is what the Committee has to say about dietary cholesterol and the recommendations it makes:[blockquote quote=”Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day. The 2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, consistent with the conclusions of the AHA/ACC report. Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”]
“What took them so long?”, you may want to ask. Well, you know how it is – when someone makes a mistake he doesn’t want to admit right away that a mistake was made (this someone could be the government, too). Some time has to pass. Something like half a century is reasonable…
Note that dietary cholesterol and LDL are two different things and you and I should steel keep a close eye on the serum levels of LDL. But again, LDL has little if anything to do with dietary cholesterol (like in egg yolks and meat).
Other notable recommendations that were made in this report are:
Eat more plant-based food and less meat and meat products – it’s not only healthier but also environmentally more sustainable. I agree.
Up to 400 mg of caffeine a day (3-5 cups) is good for you – there is evidence that caffeine in these doses may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes, Cardio-vascular Disease (CVD), and Parkinson’s disease. Also, at these doses caffeine “is not associated with increased long-term health risks among healthy individuals”. Just the coffee, however, is what the committee means – not all the added sugar and whip cream, etc. that usually comes with it.
Limit added sugars to no more than 10 percent of daily calories. This one doesn’t make much sense to me. If we take the average recommended 2000 calories diet 10 percent would mean not more than 200 calories of it should come from added sugars (sugary drinks, etc.) – that’s 50 grams of sugar! That’s a lot any way you look at it!
I suspect that in a few decades this recommendation will be brought to zero grams of added sugar. All the sugar recommended at this future time will be coming from natural sources, like fruit. Then again, we still have some time to wait to see this improved.
Truth is some added sugar won’t kill you – it won’t even cause damage. But not every day and not 10 percent of your calorie intake. And, when you consider that most individuals well surpass the recommended average daily calorie intake…
More dairy but in low- or non-fat version. This is another one that will be fixed in the future, I’m sure. Full-fat dairy is shown to be more beneficial for health than low- and non-fat dairy.. And, it makes sense to be that way. Aren’t we evolutionarily more adapted to full-fat dairy since that’s how we’ve been consuming it for millennia? Check out this scientific article by Stephan Guyenet for more science-based info – New Review Paper by Yours Truly: High-Fat Dairy, Obesity, Metabolic Health and Cardiovascular Disease.
As Stephen states in his article:[blockquote quote=”Typical dietary advice includes the recommendation to eat low-fat or skim dairy products. This is based on the hypothesis that avoiding the (mostly saturated) fat in dairy will reduce the risk of obesity, metabolic problems, and cardiovascular disease. This idea is logical, but not every idea that is logical is correct when tested scientifically, particularly when it pertains to a complex natural food.”]
If you want to read the whole Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee you’ll find other discussions and suggestions that may be interesting, like taxation on higher sugar- and sodium-containing foods, etc. My goal in this article was to make a mention mainly on dietary cholesterol and a couple of other key recommendations that stood out to me.
Like a lot of folks out there, I strive to be healthy and with this I try to do what I know should aid to my “good health” efforts and avoid doing what I think is clearly damaging to my health (and by extension physical performance). I like cooking with cow’s butter and I also make my own home-made yogurt – Bulgarian style (I’m Bulgarian by birth).
So, naturally, I started buying certified organic full-fat milk from the local grocer. With “organic” being so controversial nowadays, especially to the ways it is regulated I am somewhat suspicious of organic produce, but even more so of organic animal products – the meaning is so blurred in this category. What exactly does “organic” mean in animal products? It mostly mean that the animals were fed certified organic feed. That’s it!
I also new that there is an option to buy grass-fed milk from the natural store and I’ve read on numerous forums and websites people extoll the virtues of grass-fed dairy and often advise against conventional and even certified organic milk and butter.
I set out to find out for myself where the truth lies in the argument “grass-fed vs. organic milk”. Below is my pros and cons summary of findings for each type of milk.
(A note: Anywhere in the bullets text below where you see “..is” you should probably read, “..is supposed to be”.)
Dioxin in cow’s milk
Dioxin and related chemical compounds are environmental chemical pollutants that accumulate win the fat tissue of animals and humans. I am not going to go into detail on this as it is covered elsewhere much better than I would ever be able to cover it, but just know this much:
Dioxins are airborne and deposit themselves onto soil and grass, also into waterways and thus become a source for ingestion by both range-free animals and fish. The EPA report (link above) states that:[blockquote quote=”Feeds derived from seeds contain lower concentrations of dioxins, since the seed is not directly exposed to the air. Ruminants therefore are more vulnerable to dioxin exposure than poultry and swine, as their feed source is predominantly roughage based.” source=”Dioxins in the Food Chain: Background” source_link=”httpss://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/emergingissues/downloads/dioxins.pdf”]
This basically means two things:
In other words, milk derived from grass-fed cows will vary substantially in its levels of dioxins. I can only guess that remote small farms produce grass-fed dairy that is very low in any kinds of environmental toxins. On the other hand, even small grass-fed dairy producers – although with no intention at all – put out (unknowingly) grass-fed dairy with much higher dioxin levels than certified organic cows.
So, what should I (You) do now?
To be honest, when I set out to research the topic of grass-fed vs. organic milk I, just like you I believe, hoped to discover that grass-fed milk is cleaner than certified organic milk and as an added bonus it offers higher micro-nutrient levels.
My personal conclusion is this: If I want to put the emphasis on cleanliness from environmental pollutants I should stick with certified organic dairy and sacrifice on some of the micro-nutrients that grass-fed dairy would offer (all while I keep high hopes for the certified organic operations to be diligent in following the rules and regulations).
If I want to take advantage of the better micro-nutrient profile (especially the higher levels of vitamin K2) in grass-fed dairy my best bet is to find a local farmer who offers grass-fed milk, research the location of the farm and its adjacent pastures and decide for myself whether the remoteness (or proximity) of the farm to industrial complexes and manufacturing guarantees a relatively safe choice of grass-fed dairy.
The problem with store-purchased grass-fed milk is that you can never know and you cannot possibly research to see where exactly the milk originates. Large grass-fed dairy operations usually purchase the milk from many smaller farms.
What is your course of action after knowing what I know about grass-fed and certified organic milk?
During my competitive bodybuilding years I, just like everyone else in this particular field, was mainly interested in increasing my muscle size. This is no longer the case. Still, the science of inducing Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) and counteracting the Muscle Protein Breakdown (MPB) fascinates me a lot. It still applies to what I do, if not for any other reason, at least for the fact that being careless in this matter might result in losing muscle mass – and from there diminishing athletic performance. And, I care a lot about optimal athletic performance.
While I was researching my post on the methods for calculating protein intake, I stumbled on a meta study. In this post I want to examine this meta study alone. It’s quite interesting and, even more importantly, it is written in a language that a layman like me can easily understand. I encourage you to read the paper if you have time.
The name of the paper is, “A Brief Review of Critical Processes in Exercise-Induced Muscular Hypertrophy” and it could be found here. Of course, the paper includes references to other papers, based on which it draws its conclusions (in case you’re interested in the sources).
My notes are below. I’ve capitalized a few words here and there for additional emphasis. I did this only in places where the conclusion drawn ran counter-intuitive to popular belief (and counter-intuitive to many industry publications and the advertisers in them), or I didn’t know about it at all.
In my last article I wrote about the different dietary protein needs in general. I also expressed that although it is clear who needs baseline protein levels (current RDA), who needs more than that and who needs less, it is still not very clear how to determine the exact needs for each individual.
In order to determine exactly how much dietary protein an individual needs, IDEALLY, we need to know and be able to use ALL of the following:
Unfortunately, after some serious time spent looking for official papers I was not able to find the type of research that could help me devise an exact daily protein intake for a particular individual, based precisely on the points of inquiry I described above. At the very least, this does not seem possible without using a very sophisticated lab (I can only guess).
Nonetheless, there is enough information that can at least provide us with a good starting point, which can represent a level of dietary protein intake that, with some perhaps minor adjustments and fine-tuning, could allow us to arrive to a relatively precise (for the particular time in one’s life) daily dietary protein intake levels.
These are the general numbers that can provide a starting point. Examples below.
(Tip: Use the instant kilograms to pounds converter at the bottom right if you don’t know your body weight in kilograms)
Not sure how to interpret “top athlete”. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “athlete” as “A person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength”. If I have to work with this definition and adapt it to “top athlete” it would probably be something in those lines: “A person who is trained to have superior abilities at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength”. A top athlete – for the purposes of establishing total dietary protein requirements – would be someone who trains intensely at least 5-6 times a week.
My personal suggestions for additionally modifying the baseline daily protein intake (o.8g/kg/day), based on activity level and intensity:
Subject: Female top athlete
Weight: 125 lbs (57 kg – using the converter – bottom right)
Subject: Male, sedentary lifestyle
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
There is an alternative way to determine the dietary protein levels. It’s based on total daily calories intake:
The rest of the calories, after total daily protein is calculated, go toward total carbohydrate and fat intake.
Total daily calories: 2000
Subject: Sedentary individual (15 percent):
2000×0.15=300 (calories from protein)
Subject: Very active individual (30 percent):
2000×0.3=600 (calories from protein)
I do not personally prefer the second method – it is far more general and less specific than the first method. However, the second method is easier to put to use.
Additionally, in my personal view the first method would be more accurate if it is used to determine the dietary protein intake for persons of normal body weight (not overweight or obese). I do not see a reason why one should provide extra protein by accounting for large quantities of fat as a part of total body mass. Fat is far less metabolically active tissue than muscle tissue and it does not need much protein at all.
So, how do you tell if you are of normal body weight?
Normal body weight is when the body fat levels are 20-25 percent for women and 10-17 percent for men. Essential fat (must have to be healthy.. and alive) for women is about 10 percent and for men is about 5 percent. So, we are talking about 10-15 percent above this essential fat level for women and 5-12 percent above for men (On the ‘Net you will find sources offering different numbers as to what’s a normal body fat percentage for women and men. The numbers above are my rounded up approximations, based on my experience as a heavy individual and as an extra lean competitive athlete. Also they are based on my personal observations of populations on two continents.)
The subject is a male, sedentary, body weight=225lb (102 kg), body fat percentage=30%.
Weight of fat tissue alone: 67 lbs (30.6 kg)
Weight of fat tissue above normal weight levels (at 17 percent body fat): 29 lbs (13 kg)
225-29=196 lbs (89 kg)
If protein requirements were calculated using the initial 225 lbs body weight, the total protein would come out to 81.6g/day
If protein requirements were calculated with the correction for excess body fat, the total protein would come out to 71.2g/day.
That’s more than 10g of extra protein a day – and more than 40 Calories extra a day – that the body simply doesn’t need.
So, when calculating total daily dietary protein requirements using the first method, I’d suggest that, if necessary, you make a correction of the total body weight and equate that to ‘normal’ total body weight.
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If this article has any omissions or inaccuracies, please use the comments below to let me know. I will research and update the article accordingly.