Archive for Psychology of Eating

Reader Question, and What Causes Food Addiction


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Mark and I had some pictures done, and we got Air-Brushed!  I LOVE being airbrushed!  Can it follow me around everywhere?

I’ve got a great Reader Question here that I think many people will relate too.  She wants a plan to “get her back on track”  ( I’ve cut and pasted so we can just get to the meat of the matter).

Hi Debbie,

I’ve been reading your blog and have learned so much from you.  I’m trying to cut out the sugar, and cut back on what you call “the grains” too.  It’s hard.  I run, and on my running days I do better when I have some healthy cereal, like Kashi.  But I’ve realized my running days are also my hungriest days, and I eat things I shouldn’t.  My husband thinks I need to eat more carbs like whole wheat spaghetti, and that I’m starving myself.  After reading what you say, I’m not sure if he’s right or not.  

More than anything, I want to lose 20 pounds.  I’m a good runner, I usually place in my age group, but I don’t look like a runner at all.  Now it’s summer, and I’m still in the same place I was when I started reading your blog and following your advice.  I think I need a food plan to get me on track. Can you help me?

I really appreciate this lady’s honesty, because I know she speaks for many.  Yes, I can help, but when there’s an addiction, and there often is with processed carbohydrates, it really comes down to us HAVING A REASON TO STOP, THEN MAKING A PLAN, AND STICKING TO THE PLAN BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE IN THE REASONS.

Our actions stem from our beliefs.

I know I’ve written about this before, but do you all remember me telling you that several years ago, in the midst of my Carb Addiction and Binges, I joined an on-line Binge Eating group?  I was only on it ONCE.  When I read comments from women in their 60s and 70s who have been in full blown binge/purge modes for decades…… that had a HUGE effect on me.  I decided right then and there, that wasn’t going to be me. I wasn’t going to waste any more years of my life eating crap and then regretting it.  What a waste of mental space and precious time; and the physical damage that happens from those binges is dangerous.  What happens when you try to restrict your sugars and grains to just once or twice a day?   Just like with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, you can’t “limit” your processed carbs; it won’t work.  You have to “eliminate” them to break the addiction.  And going “gluten free” and eating “gluten free carb products” doesn’t work either.  Those addictions centers are still being triggered.  It’s sad, I know.

Let me tackle a few more issues in this email.  One, “I’m a runner, so I need cereal.” No. You. Don’t.  You don’t.  I’m living proof that anyone who works out – a lot – doesn’t need sugar and grains to fuel their workouts, or build and maintain muscle, for that matter.  Do you need carbs in the form of vegetables and some fruits, for energy?  Yes, but if you need to lose weight, you’re going to need to watch the fruits, and make sure that heavy, starchy vegetables, like potatoes, are used WISELY.  That would be individual, and she and I will talk about that.  There’s a method…

Besides, processed carbs – and yes, Kashi is a processed carb, 100%, – break down so quickly, compared to protein and fat, that you’re hungry again very quickly!!  Why? Processed carbs from grains and sugar SPIKE HUNGER;  they don’t quench hunger, it’s a hormone thing.  Sugar and wheat trigger opioid, or pleasure centers, in the brain.  The Gliadin Proteins in wheat specifically stimulate appetite, always.  Insulin resistance, Leptin resistance, the natural controls put in place to regulate our appetite?  Ruined by processed carbs. That’s why it’s so easy to over eat them.  When was the last time you overate beef or chicken?

Next, of course her running days are her hungry days; long endurance workouts always make you hungry. That’s one of the reasons why short “burst” workouts are better for you.

Let’s talk about running.

Many people run because they absolutely Love Love Love to run, they get a high from it, they use it to clear their head, it makes them feel great.   Many other people run to lose weight, or to try and keep weight off.  That’s very different from the first reason, there’s a lot of cortisol and stress associated with running as a weight loss tool.  Let me be real clear:  neither running, nor ANY exercise, helps you lose weight or keep weight off.  I’ve worked in a gym for 27 years, there’s plenty of overweight members who exercise regularly.  I’ve done at least 100 races in my life.  Seven of those races were half-marathons; have you ever been to one?  In the front holding pens, you’ll see all the sleek, skinny, super fast runners; in the hind pens, you’ll see the un-sleek, un-skinny runners, and there’s plenty.  A lot of them are fast too!  ( I was always in a way way back rear pen – I’m not super sleek or fast! I’m just consistent.)

My point: you don’t have to be skinny to be a good runner, and conversely, running doesn’t make you skinny.  Our body is meant to move and exert energy.  If people from my classes are reading this, what’s one of my favorite lines at the end of a class?

YOU DON’T DESERVE A TREAT AFTER THIS.  IT’S JUST EXERCISE.  WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO IT.  Somehow, completing an exercise session has become another reason to celebrate ourselves.

Last, I want to address the “get back on track” thinking.  If I had a dime for every time I heard this, I’d be rich.

If you fell off track in the first place, that’s proof that you eat according to calories, not health.  As long as you believe Calories In/Calories Out, you’re doomed to “falling off track”.  One, those carbs stimulate and trigger appetites and hormones so strongly, that as long as you’re putting them in your mouth, the addiction continues.  Two, if you fall off track, and eat the grains and sugars with the thought that you’ll redeem yourself starting tomorrow/Sunday/the 1st, you’re just perpetuating the cycle in the deepest neural habit centers of your brain.

Remember a while ago I went to that Behavior lecture, and learned that the Brain Doesn’t Want To Do What’s Best For Us, THE BRAIN WANTS US TO DO WHAT’S EASIEST FOR US.   

If we want to be successful, we have to Set Ourselves Up For Success.  This means we have to have a REASON for sticking to our plans!  My reasons?  I think sugars and grains are killers!  Honestly!  I think Fats and Proteins and tons of Vegetables make my cells healthy, make my skin good, give me great energy, and keep my immune system strong.  I believe this stuff, because I’ve invested time and effort learning it and drilling it into my brain.

If you’re struggling, you need that brain drilling too.  Build a little time into every day to either read a book or listen to a podcast that helps solidify healthy thinking and healthy behaviors.  It’s always about our day to day actions, right?  Our actions stem from our beliefs.  Create a belief system that allows you to feel and look at great as possible, and never stop working on it!

Here’s a few suggestions:  my blog:);  the podcasts at www.livinlavidalowcarb, and the podcasts at www.undergroundwellness.  Want a great book suggestion?  Read Wheat Belly.  He lays out the science against grains that’s impossible to argue with.    And as always, eat Real Whole Food.


Is Life Passing You By While You Diet?

usEasterWow! Mark’s post generated a lot of hits, links, and emails!! He’s promised to do more Man Posts for me soon. He’s a great spokesperson for me because he’s not “Lucky”; he’s come to this place through the same ups and downs everyone else has. He just had many epiphanies along the way; we want you all to have epiphanies too.

Here’s one I hope everyone gets: If a large portion of your daily thoughts focus on dieting, food, calories, the scale, and your weight,.. what a waste of the life God’s given you. Really. Think about that. I’m not saying that judgmentally, I’m saying that as someone who’s wasted a lot of her waking thoughts on those exact subjects, and it makes me feel ashamed. I don’t know God’s plans, but I do know He didn’t put me here on earth to Diet.

Years ago, when I was agonizing over how to stay skinny and succumbing to weekly rebound binges, I knew the calorie and fat count of every food I put in my mouth. I would balance that with my workouts. I’d felt guilty for years over the obsessiveness of my Diet Lifestyle, so I decided to look into an Overeaters Forum. This had a huge impact on me: there were women in their 60’s and 70’s agonizing over their binges and purges…… 60 and 70 year old women were still dieting, binging, and obsessing??? Here was my thought: ” A LIFETIME of Dieting???”

I forget a lot of things, but I vividly remember what I read on that site, and it really scared me. The thought that I’d waste even more decades DIETING, regretting, sneaking food, feeling the horrible after effects of binges, ugh. Unbearable. That was a real wake up call.

At that point, I’d been learning about Real Whole Food, the many benefits of fat, and toying with the idea that chemicals and grains could be harmful for me. I was also tired of eating 5 to 6 dumb “mini-meals” a day, and dealing with painful bloat every afternoon. The more I learned, the more my diet lifestyle seemed wrong. Unfortunately, my Protein Bars that tasted like Snickers, and the Diet Dr. Pepper I drank six times a day – on a strict schedule, along with other Diet Foods, had an enormous hold on me. Addictions 🙁 But I broke the addictions 🙂 You can too.

I’ve had a lot of email, and worked with a lot of clients, who sound just like I did. You can break the chains of dieting, I swear, I promise.

It starts with a new mindset: Food is about nurturing and feeding our body; when this is your attitude, when the Diet Mindset of fear and obsession is gone, there’s a weight off your shoulders and stumbling blocks disappear in your mind. You start to make food choices based on these thoughts: what foods and spices and herbs will build my muscles / energy / mood /hair/ eyes/ immune system/ neurotransmitters/ brain cells/ joints/ thyroid gland/ etc. The days of balancing that calories in calories out scale ( which DOESN’T work ) become replaced with just eating Real Whole Food; and the peace of mind that comes with that is priceless.

BONUS: Eat Real Whole Foods three times a day, quit the dieting, and you free up your mind to LIVE THE LIFE GOD PLANNED.

SECOND BONUS: Eat Real Whole Foods, quit dieting, get Healthy, and YOU BECOME A HEALTHY WEIGHT. Honest!! There’s now a huge Real Whole Foods/Paleo/Primal community out there to prove it.

That said, Addictions and Habits are hard to break, and most of us have grown up in an era of serious Marketing by Big Phuvernment** that has us convinced that Fat is Bad, Low Cal Diets are Good, and you need Special Diet Products to be healthy. It’s a Lie, but it’s an effective lie. If you’re ready to change, get in touch with me. As one client told me this week:

“Yes! I’m eager to keep learning and incorporating nourishing foods into my diet and my family’s. All of this has given me such a better relationship with food. Instead of being fearful of what food will do, I am feeling more excited about what I can get food to do for me. Totally crazy! I never imagined I could be at this place :)”

** Big Phuvernment: the sexual union of Big Business, Big Pharma, and Government.

Want To Lose Weight? You’ve Got To Develop Lean Habits.

usEaster This post is in response to some sad emails from those of you who’s head gets turned every time you pass the display counter at Starbucks, or a bag of Stacy’s pita chips, or cave when a bread basket wafts up your nose.  “Good days” and “bad days” are going to be a thing of your past, because you can Change Your Brain Patterns – I promise!  Repeat that to yourself out loud, because your brain believes what your mouth says.  All Dieting has to stop, and healthy beliefs and facts need to be absorbed, if you want a different body.

The data consistently shows that Dieting Causes Weight Gain.  It’s a sure-thing that if you try to restrict calories, there will be rebound binges.

Want a plan?  Here you go:

Focus on changing your habits and thought patterns.  Habits are the ONLY way to a lean, healthy body Habits are what we do day after day after day, with very little effort. We develop healthy habits through planning, practice, and belief. 

( If you believe that you can cancel out crappy food with starvation or heavy exercise, you’ll never keep your weight off.  Ever.  If you believe your body needs nutrient dense food to run well, you’ll be lean and healthy. )

Eat three meals a day.  Don’t snack, at all.  Make sure all your meals are at least moderate in size, bigger if you’re active. (Tiny diet meals cause snacking; let’s change this so you’re not high on blood sugar and insulin all day.)  (Insulin is a “fat storage” hormone.)

Eat plenty of good fats, good proteins, TONS of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, and some dairy if you’re good with that.

Eat on a schedule ( morning, noon, and night).  Skipping a meal because you’re not hungry, maybe trying to “eat intuitively”?….Ugh.  Disaster waiting to happen!  Hunger influences our choices; wait til you’re hungry, and there’s a good chance your choices will be BAD.

Don’t rely on Willpower to get you through the day; willpower is in very finite supply.  Using willpower depletes the glucose stores in your brain and leaves you feeling weak and depleted; what psychologists call, “decision fatigue“.  Disaster waiting to happen – again!  Work on developing new Habits and Thought reducefleshPatterns. 

Quit living by the seat of your pants.  Plan, Plan, Plan, and then sit down and Plan.  If you Fail to Plan, then just Plan to Fail, because changing your thought patterns and your habits isn’t going to happen naturally.

Carry Out Your Plans.  Shop, pack, freeze, cook, keep a running list though the week of meal ideas, lunch ideas, and grocery needs.

You think that you can’t do this because you’re too busy?  Oh please!  Get rid of that  excuse!  Tomorrow I’m posting a Success Story by my friend, Terry Kaye.  She’s a mom of 3 boys, two of which have health issues, she works a few different jobs, she works out, and she cooks every day.

Who do you know who isn’t busy?? And don’t we want to teach our kids how to successfully handle normal, real life?  Plan, Plan, Plan, and Plan.

Delete any thoughts of “making up for this later”,  or starting over tomorrow/Sunday/Monday/the 1st etc.  That’s ” Diet ” thinking, seriously.  Diet thinking means you’re negotiating with yourself that if you eat crappy food now, you’ll starve yourself later; which would work if your body was a Calories In Calories Out system.  It’s not.  It’s a Chemistry Set.  The chemistry you set in motion with lots of crappy carbs and toxic chemicals will NOT be balanced out with Starvation or Excessive Exercise.  Ever.

Delete any thoughts that carby foods made with flour and sugar (muffins, donuts, cookies, etc)  at Wegman’s, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s are Healthy because you bought them at Wegman’s, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s.  Products made with grain flour and sugar are still products made with grain flour and sugar.  They’ll spike your blood glucose, your insulin, and your cortisol, and put on belly fat. Junk food is junk food.

If you really want to change the way you habitually think about food, get in touch with me.  The more you understand how your body works, the easier it is to make smart choices.  Habits are the ONLY way to a lean, healthy body.  Habits are what we do day after day after day, with very little thought or effort, and ZERO decision fatigue.  Does it take a few months to change your habits?  Yes.  Looking back though, what’s a few months.  Ask yourself, where do you want to be Next Year on This Date.  Exactly where you are right now, doing the same old habits and patterns; or lean, healthy, and using newly instilled habits?  Ask yourself this: how long have you been using the same old Diet methods to try and change your body? How many years?  What’s the definition of Insanity?   Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

Everyone is capable of change, but doing the same old thing will always bring about the same old results.  Commit to Real Whole Food, and commit to changing your thoughts and habits, you can do this!

Man Post by Mark coming this weekend.  🙂

Need Willpower to Lose Weight? Build Habits, It’s Easier!

5 of us snorkelingI received a couple emails this week that I want to share.  The first one is from a woman named Chris who’s struggling with staying on a plan.  Here goes:

Hi Debbie,

I’ve been reading your blog, and other paleo blogs, and trying to follow the paleo eating plan.  I’m starving and I’m miserable, and I can’t go more than two days without eating cereal, crackers, or whatever is on the conference table at my office.  Is this impossible for someone with no willpower like me?

I told Chris I’d answer her in my blog, because this scenario is very, very common.  But first, here’s an email from Missy, who’s been working with me for a few months now. Missy is a single working mom; the definition of busy.  She’s struggled with food addictions and consistency, but her PERSISTENCE is paying off:

I hit the 10 lb mark on Saturday, already…. without even really thinking about it or concentrating on it other than to not eat grains. my mood and energy keeps slowly getting better and better and i’m feeling very motivated. people are starting to ask me what i’m doing and I go off like a crazy person about eating real whole food. hahaha I usually apologize and give them time to let it sink in and I give them the resources that I’ve found as well as your website and just tell them to inform themselves. be a smart consumer. don’t allow yourself to be misled by big food and big pharma. there’s no magic pill. there’s no starvation diet. one of the best lines in this book so far is “your body can’t tell the difference between jenny craig’s packaged meals and concentration-camp fare.”

I want to shout all this stuff from the rooftops!

I made a new dish over the weekend with spaghetti squash. it was creamy pesto chicken with peas and carrots over spaghetti squash. YUM! I made my boyfriend try it (he stopped at taco bell on the way to his house – I stopped at the grocery store), and he said that he would eat it if he HAD to, but that it tasted funny. haha as we were sitting there watching tv, me satiated and happy, him complaining that his stomach didn’t feel good and that he was starting to get hungry again (already only about an hour after he ate his taco bell), so I offered him some of my “pasta”. he said that he would eat it….. and then I got him to admit that it was good. 😀 I win. he ate a whole bowl!

The book Missy is referring to is one I recommend all the time, The Mood Cure or the Diet Cure, by Julia Ross.  She and I are meeting this week to discuss the protocols and science behind it.  I’ve said again and again, the amino acid therapy this book uses to re-adjust moods, addictions, anxiety, etc,  is incredible, honest.

Back to Chris,.. is eating Real Whole Food possible if you have no willpower?  YES!!  I used to eat literally a few boxes of ice cream a WEEK, and I could finish off a box of Kashi or Mini Wheats in TWO days.  And there-in lies the problem:  sugar, flour, and chemicals are incredibly addictive. You have to give them up if you want a healthy body and a healthy weight.  Unfortunately,  your addicted mind will rebel badly if your addicted body isn’t getting them.  What to do?  Be patient with yourself.  You’re breaking years ( decades??) of bad habits; neural pathways and brain patterns that have been nurtured and sustained over and over again.  You’ve got to build healthy habits!

Here’s a little strategy:  (1) You’re going to have to change the way you think about food.  Do the donuts on the conference table call to you?  Then you don’t think of them as sugar/flour/chemical bombs that cause cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks.  Want to dive into the bread basket?  Then you’re not thinking that the high insulin and blood sugar will give you wrinkles or make you impotent.  Think you’ll satisfy your needs hypnosis slimwith Weight Watchers frozen desserts?  Those chemical cancer factories will in NO WAY satisfy your brains desire for ACTUAL NUTRIENTS, and before you know it, the Rebound Binge happens.  Educate yourself!!  Read my site, read Grain Brain, read Wheat Belly, read Mood Cure.  Stop thinking of food in terms of calories; look around.  Where has the Calorie Myth gotten us?  70% overweight, and everyone’s sick.  That whole line we tell ourselves, “I’ll eat this now and exercise/starve/purge/just eat broccoli.. later”  DOESN’T work.  Ever. Your body is a Chemistry Set, not a Math Equation.

(2) Set yourself up for success.  If you’re hoping that you can keep your trigger foods in the house and ignore them, you’re wrong.  No One In Your House needs those foods.  Kids DON’T need sugar, flour, or chemicals, it has the same destructive effects on them as it does on you.  The average disease takes 20 years to manifest.  Just because your kids are slim now doesn’t mean poison food isn’t affecting them, because it is.  Toss that excuse out the window.

You MUST start planning your week; ask your self:  when can I shop, when can I cook, when can I pack?  What can I freeze and use later?  Then plan it and write it down on your schedule.  It’s a mind set.  Go into your office on a full belly, have a great lunch packed, know you’ll be eating Real Whole Food for dinner, and junk food at the meetings won’t call so loudly.  Out running around all day?  PACK!  and not stupid diet food, but Real Whole Foods, and those toxic fast food/gas station restaurants won’t be tempting.

If you’re persistent with your self education, and consistent with your planning and scheduling, change happens.  New habits form. The best thing?  Willpower, which uses up a lot of energy, is quite draining, and completely limited, isn’t necessary anymore.  Do you look at a dirty cigarette on the street and ever have even a tiny desire to put it in your mouth?  No, because you think it’s gross.  There’s no effort whatsoever involved with that decision.  Keep learning, stay determined, and pretty soon, there’s very little effort involved with your food choices.  You’ll just choose delicious food that you know your body needs to thrive.  You’ll become a Nutrient Seeker to your very core, and then the issue of willpower isn’t even an issue anymore.

Chris, and everyone else struggling out there, please don’t give up on yourself.  Real change, Brain Change, takes time. You’ve had a lifetime of hypnotizing by BigPhovernment that CaloriesInCaloriesOut works, and now consciously, you know it doesn’t.  It’s your subconscious that needs work.   If it’s important to you, then schedule a few minutes every day to fill your brain with the thoughts you want to think.  It’s not going to happen with luck; our life is what we make of it.  If you need help with your habits and consistency, get in touch with me.  I can help you understand your Biology and give you tips for your Psychology, to turn you into a Real Whole Foodie. ***** REMEMBER, TESTOSTERONE LADDEN GUEST POST BY MARK ON APRIL 13, TUNE IN FOR A MAN’S PERSPECTIVE ON BEING HEALTHY AND LEAN. *****

Want To Lose Weight? It’s Simple, Honest. & Another Success Story – Use It For Inspiration.

jigglemacineI was checking out at the grocery store the other night and the lady behind me, who had a few pounds to lose, was unloading her items onto the conveyor belt.  She had a cart full of Diet Products: diet bread, diet soda, diet ice cream, diet frozen meals, diet cookies, diet cheese.  She looked at me and said,” time to do this again because I’ve gained so much weight with this snowy winter”.  I wish I could have said something, but that would have been rude.  She was a stranger. I save unsolicited advice for my kids and husband, (who appreciate it tons and hang on my every word).

Just an hour earlier, I’d wrapped up a nutritional consult with someone who’s under a tremendous amount of stress (seriously, if there were a competition, she’d win.  I don’t know how she does it.)  She comes from a heritage and country where rice and noodles are common and normal. (sounds like America, but it’s not.) She’s lived here several years and feeds her family traditionally.  She and I have met before about her weight and her willpower, and my advice is the same now as it was then.

To both ladies, and everyone out there trying to lose weight:  Traditional dieting,fat banished w tapeworms where you cut calories and fat, and maybe use Diet Products, is PROVEN to MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT.  PROVEN, in study after study.  You might lose a few pounds or several initially, but if you lost the weight DIETING, you’ll gain it back.  Unfortunately, the havoc you wreck with your hormones (thyroid, estrogen, neurotransmitters, insulin, cortisol) and your liver, will slow your metabolism and create signals in your brain that are focused on GAINING weight in case the starvation situation happens again.  

Let me repeat:  If you’re eating products like pasta and bread, or any sort of Diet Product, you’re putting substances in your body that make you GAIN WEIGHT and cause disease.  Also, those foods are addictive.  “Moderation” doesn’t work with these foods.  As long as you’re eating flours, sugars, and chemicals, you’re nurturing the addictive areas of your brain.  If you want to lose weight you’ll have to Ditch Those Foods Forever.  Scary?  I know.  And sad too.  Trust me though, once you’re free, you’re FREE. You won’t miss them once the addiction is gone; as a matter of fact, fake foods and processed foods will taste horrible once you switch to Real Whole Foods.

Here’s the amazing thing:  we’re all smart people.  In most of life, if we try something and it doesn’t work, we move on.  That’s normal.   That doesn’t happen with Dieting.  It’s NEVER worked. Ever. In all these years.   I’ve counseled people now who’ve literally done more than 20 attempts at losing weight through several different and some repeat Diet Methods.  There’s some initial weight loss, regain, additional gain, and eventually, NO WEIGHT LOSS AT ALL using methods that previously worked.  And yet, there’s this odd willingness to keep trying the same old thing over and over and over.  What’s the definition of Insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Listen to what your body is telling you:  Flour, Sugar, and Diet Products make your mind and body sick.  You’ll never lose weight permanently, feel energetic, and be healthy as long as that’s your paradigm.  Ever.  If you read this and you think, “no way can I give up my cereal/crackers/wine/girlscoutcookies etc, know this: your addiction centers are calling your shots.

You can quit, you can change, you can lose weight and feel great, but ONLY on Real Whole Foods.  Really, google “keep weight off after dieting” and read the depressing headlines that pop up.  If you’re struggling, get in touch with me.  People with the same addictions to food that you have have successfully changed their life because they developed HABITS and ATTITUDES about their health and their food that makes their body happy and calm, as opposed to the stress and anxiety of Dieting.

Here’s that Success Story, use it for strength.  Cindi is a single mom with a more-than-full-time job and 2 boys who play lacrosse every day up and down the East Coast.  She’s busy, and she’s managed to make Real Whole Food work for her and her sons.  ( No, she doesn’t have a cook.)  It’s just an attitude, a lifestyle pattern, remember that other quote I love: It’s just an effort until it’s a habit.

I am a 54 year old mother of two teenage, very active boys.  I am the Program Execution Director for a large business unit of a major defense contractor.  I commute roughly four hours each day and have a demanding job while at work.   I am active and energetic and am used to feeling good most of the time.  I have suffered from periodic migraines for many years along with annual bouts with colds, bronchitis and allergies.  Overall, I felt pretty healthy and other than my migraines, I viewed the colds, etc as somewhat routine.  I love to cook and make many of our meals but we eat out often or I turned to convenient meal options at home (tacos with taco seasoning mix, recipes including packaged ingredients, lunch meats) due to my hectic work and my boys’ hectic lacrosse schedules with year round games and tournaments.  Over the last year or so, I began feeling increasingly achy, particularly in my knees and joints.  I also was unable to shed the extra 10 pounds that I had gained over the last couple of years despite following multiple regimens (very, very frustrating and demoralizing!).  I was tested for arthritis and went to the orthopedist as well for a knee check…..nothing abnormal.  I continued to exercise regularly by walking, lifting weights, doing yoga and ballet barre work but always felt very stiff even after yoga stretching and ballet.  Given that there are so many variables to how a person feels, along with the marching of time, I just assumed I felt bad because I was getting older and had a stressful life.

I have known Debbie Abbott for over 9 years and have trained with her regularly throughout this period.  She is extraordinarily positive, compassionate, educated, and interested in learning and teaching friends and clients about nutrition and health in a non-judgmental, kind manner.    I value immensely my time with Debbie as I always feel good after being with her.  I mentioned how I was feeling to Debbie during a training session and she suggested I do a nutritional analysis.  I completed the paperwork.  Debbie also suggested a simple 10 day detox that consisted of organ supportive supplements and easy-on-the-liver-and-organs organic whole foods such as a fruits and vegetables, homemade broth, lean protein AND NO CARBS other than those from fruits and vegetables.  Debbie was very supportive leading up to and during my detox, offering to gather the foods that I needed and bringing over homemade bone broth to kick start the process.   I have to admit that I did not have very high expectations for this 10 day period as it just didn’t seem like I was doing that much that was different from my regular eating routine.  Boy, was I wrong.  I got on the scale routinely during the 10 day period and the number was going down almost every day.  At the end of the detox period, my weight had dropped almost 10 pounds and my general feeling of achiness was subsiding.  I did another 10 day detox.  After the 20-day period, I had dropped 14 pounds and my knees and joints felt much, much better.  It was as though my system had been clogged and my revised diet and supplement regimen had freed the clog to enable my body to function normally again!  I went through the detailed nutritional analysis with Debbie after the detox and she recommended specific supplements and enzymes for me to correct what appeared to be a general inflammatory condition that had probably developed over years.  I have now been taking the supplements and eating (for the most part) a sensible whole foods diet with very few carbs for over 15 months.  I do not place limits on any real foods, including the use of butter and nuts.  My weight has remained stable within a pound or two over the 15 months and overall I feel very good.  I have not had a migraine in 15 months which is remarkable as I was having one almost every month prior!  I have not had a cold or any digestive upsets in 15 months.  As a matter of fact, this is the first 15-month period since I was in middle school that I have not gotten bronchitis and had to go on antibiotics!  I am mindful of the things that I buy and eat by asking myself if the food will do anything for me and my boys nutritionally……..sounds like a little thing, but over time it works.

I am thrilled that I now have a sensible diet that is flexible with few restrictions.  I eat well and feel good almost every day.  I am thoroughly convinced that the marching of time is not a leading indicator for feeling bad and that what we eat is hugely important!  I am very grateful to Debbie for her insight, support, and nutritional guidance.  If you have the opportunity to work with her or interact with her, seize it!  You will be rewarded in many, many ways.  – Cindi Shelburne

Success Story! Weight issues, Fatigue, Joint Pain, and Reflux – sound familiar?

motivation and habitI love when I get to post a Success Story because they always hit home with so many people.  This one will also:  smart woman, years of weight issues, several diet attempts, stomach problems, joint issues, fatigue.  Ring any bells?  Rebecca solved all this without counting any calories, or following any traditional diet paradigms.

Here’s her story:

Like most women, I have struggled with weight my whole life; it wasn’t until I really started to have some significant quality of life issues, that I realized that something had to change….and fast!
I had met Debbie Abbott years ago where my husband Tim and I belonged to Old Town Athletic Club where she was a trainer/instructor, but had not really seen her in years. As God would have it, she ended up coming to Grace Bible Church where I had been a member of for years. Debbie was offering the women of the congregation some nutritional counseling classes and that was when I became aware of her nutritional training. I was unable to make the classes due to my work/life schedule in the Fire and Rescue Department, but took this as an opportunity and prompt to call her to make private appointments with her which I shared with my Mother, who was also having some health concerns.
It was February 2011 that we first got together, prior to our meeting, Debbie asked me to read some information on Mark’s Daily Apple “with an open mind” so I would have some knowledge on the subject of Paleo eating before we met. Well let me paint the picture of what my life was like at this point: in early 2011, I was 44 years old, a wife, mother of two children ages 24 and 6, and a 21 year Firefighter/Paramedic/Supervisor. Overall, I have always been active, considered myself healthy and obviously my job demands a certain minimum level of fitness. With the exception of a few very short periods of time in my life, I always seemed to be carrying that extra “20 or so pounds” around and praying/wishing/making new years resolutions that they would go away! Sound familiar? I followed every conventional diet known to human kind and with each one, I would loose some weight and it would come right back because it was never anything that I could maintain or feel good enough to want to. I had a life long history of elimination miseries and lactose intolerance, food sensitivities that would cause my skin to itch and break out, brain fog etc….. Finally, I had hit a wall, I went to my Doctor and had every known test done to find out why I was having chest and back pains, severe joint pains with weakness and disability, fatigue and trouble sleeping. I truly was fearful I had something really seriously wrong with me. I knew if things didn’t turn around soon, the state of my health was going to end my career long before I could really afford to retire! Well of course the Doctor said I was “fine”, maybe a little vitamin D deficiency but otherwise all my vitals looked great, BP 100/60, resting heart rate of 56, cholesterol and all blood levels NORMAL. I can tell you, I was far from normal or healthy!!! Now I had just given up cream in my coffee cold turkey to stop having the chest and back pain that the dairy was causing, but when I met with Debbie that first day and we talked about “grains and processed foods” something in me just clicked! I had tried conventional wisdom, the standard American diet and the laughable food pyramid to no avail. I was ready to really make a change that would be permanent and not only take my pain and fatigue away but lengthen my life and it’s quality….remember I had a six year old at the time and I really want to be able to enjoy the eventual grandchildren from both of my kids!
So I really took to heart everything that I was learning from Debbie about blood sugar and digestion, that is where it starts folks! After that very important first revolution and enlightenment, it is an adventure in real whole foods that has been so rewarding! The kicker is that not only did I start to feel better right away, no more roller coaster of ups and downs but the weight literally started falling off me : ) Everywhere I went, people would say something about how good I looked and asked me what I was doing. My self esteem had really taken a beating all those years with all the weight I had been carrying. People would always tell me that I was not overweight but “large framed” but I knew better, I felt terrible in my own skin. I was an educated health care provider for Pete’s sake! I was supposed to be an example to those I work with and here I was, unsuccessful in loosing the weight and keeping it off despite my “healthy lifestyle”. Oh we all thought we were doing everything right, grilling, baking, eating salads, using all the right oils and eating a “balanced” diet full of veggies, lean meats and fruits and yes lots of whole grains…the complex carbs, Hah! I felt so betrayed! After I got over the “I wish I had learned this 30 years ago, I got busy. I had to rethink everything I ever knew about healthy eating….low fat, high complex carbs, taking a multiple vitamin daily…blah blah blah! In a matter of weeks, there was such a noticeable difference both on the inside and out. The pain in my shoulders, elbows and wrists had just about disappeared, (caused by the inflammation in the grains I had been consuming daily) I was sleeping better, my mind was clearer and get this? I would eat three meals a day, with out snacking and I was really satisfied (and not hungry an hour after just eating a normal sized meal) throughout the day where I hadn’t been before following all the other “diets”.
I love to shop for and cook fresh food and I am blessed to have a wonderful, supportive husband, which I know is a big part of my success! My Daughter (who has lost 70 pounds!) my Mother,and my Husband have all experienced improved health and weight loss due the changes we have made in our daily eating, choosing real whole foods. Debbie frequently says , “leanness is a side effect of good nutrition”, and “nutrition is 90% of it”! I have adopted another saying from “Paleo Mom” when sharing this lifestyle with others,”It is only effort until it becomes routine”, that is so true!!! If you know me, you know that if I believe in something, I will talk your ear off about it! I just love telling people about real whole foods and staying away from anything processed or artificial. What breaks my heart is seeing all the people who you know could be so much healthier and happier if they could just get past the “I can’t give up this or that”. If they only realized that they would be getting so much more out of their lives and enjoy each day more if they would just “open their minds” and give real whole food a try. I am a true believer, never going back to the old way of eating, why would I? I have maintained a 25 pound weight loss for almost 3 years now…without dieting, exercising to excess or feeling hungry or deprived.

I am starting my 25th year in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department as an EMS Supervisor/Captain II, and I no longer doubt that I can do my job and I look better in my uniform and feel like I am being the positive roll model for others in the department that I have always wanted to be.

I am so very grateful to Debbie Abbott for her tireless dedication to bringing the truth about real whole food nutrition to me; her passion is contagious and I hope everyone gets “the bug”!

How to REALLY Lose Weight (it’s not by dieting!) and Looks Healthy But Isn’t

debbie (27)I had the opportunity to look at a diet plan that a very large employer has probably paid a whole lot of money for their employees.  This plan includes a P90X style workout several days a week, and meal plans around 1300 calories.  You know how I say that Diet Plans (pills, programs, menus, foods, drinks etc) are just money makers, not actual “ways to lose weight and keep it off”?  This falls right in that category.

GOOD NEWS:  plans that have you starve yourself and work your butt off AREN’T NECESSARY.  No matter what Main Stream Media/Medical/Business/Government  would have you believe, the science Truly Truly Truly doesn’t support the THEORY that restricting calories through diet and burning more calories through exercise EVER works long term.

What the SCIENCE actually says is that if you Diet, you can be pretty assured of GAINING WEIGHT and causing Nutritional Deficiencies that will cause health problems for you down the road, or possibly immediately.

Here’s some pretty sobering statistics:

* A government review of 55 studies found NO SUSTAINED WEIGHT LOSS AT ALL AFTER 12 MONTHS.

* Between 95 and 98% of everyone who loses weight on a DIET, Gains It All Back


* The more weight initially lost, the greater the rebound weight.

What’s going on here?  Why doesn’t restricting calories, limiting fat, and exercising a ton work?  Simple:  You’re a chemistry set, not a math equation.  Traditional, typical dieting SCREWS UP YOUR HORMONES.  Eating Diet Foods and Drinks screws up your liver.  Following a low fat plan depletes your hormones and messes up your brain (which is 60% fat).  Restricting calories shuts or slows down the thyroid almost immediately.  The neurotransmitters take an immediate hit with low cal dieting – there goes your mood/energy/thought patterns.  Cortisol increases BECAUSE LOW CAL DIETING IS SEEN BY THE BRAIN AS STARVATION, which equals STRESS.  Insulin ALWAYS increases when Cortisol increases.

Are you getting the picture?  Probably.  Here’s what’s harder for DIETERS to believe.

If you eat a diet of a couple thousand calories or more FILLED with FAT, PROTEIN, VITAMINS, and MINERALS from TONS of good fats, fish/meat/eggs/seafood, and tons of vegetables, you will lose weight.  Honest.  Your body doesn’t want to starve. Your body doesn’t want to diet. Bad things happen when you force it too.  Your body wants to run correctly:  it wants to have normal cell turnover, it wants to make all your sex hormones in normal amounts, it wants to repair every day damage, it wants to run thousands and thousands of chemical reactions that rely on the FUEL YOU PROVIDE YOUR BODY to complete.

Again, You’re Not A Math Equation, You’re A Chemistry Set.

Let’s look at a couple foods included in this program and other large programs; look at their ingredients and honestly access if you think these ingredients could in anyway make your body permanently slimmer, healthier, and more energetic.

Diet Cherry 7Up Antioxidant:  Filtered carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup or sugar and less than 2% of natural flavors, citric acid, potassium citrate, calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor).   ***** The FDA “plans” to study (it’s “high” on the priority list) the calcium disodium EDTA because it’s suspected of mutagenic, teratogenic, subsacute, and reproductive effects. Those middle two words – I don’t even know what they mean and I’m not looking them up.  I don’t need to.  This product contains dangerous chemicals in addition to high fructose corn syrup and sugar.  Antioxidant my ….

Weight Watchers Brownie Bliss ONLY 2 POINTS! Note the flours, sugars, hydrogenated oils, and chemicals:

Powdered Sugar, Sugar, Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Unsweetened Chocolate, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla Extract), Water, Enriched Wheat Flour Bleached (Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Condensed Skim Milk, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Corn Syrup Solids, Inulin (Natural Extract of Chicory Roots), Glycerin, Soybean Oil, Pea Fiber, Dry Whey, Chocolate Liquor, Egg Whites, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Propionate (Preservatives), Nonfat Dry Milk, Caramel Color, Whole Milk Solids, Reduced Mineral Whey Powder, Dextrose, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Xanthan Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Red 40.    

Let’s wrap up with a real shocker:  The American Heart Association APPROVED Subway meal:  Black Forrest Ham Sub, Apples, and Skim Milk:

The Ham:  Water, dextrose, 2% or less of modified food starch, salt, potassium lactate, seasoning [potassium chloride, pork stock, sugar, yeast extract, salt, lactic acid, fructose, sunflower oil, cysteine hydrochloride, calcium lactate, modified food starch, flavors, grill flavor (from sunflower oil), polysorbate 80, rendered pork fat, and smoke flavor], sodium phosphate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, caramel color.

The Bread: ITALIAN HERBS & CHEESE BREAD Subway® Italian Bread, Monterey Jack cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, artificial color), cheddar cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, artificial color) potato starch and powdered cellulose added to prevent caking, natamycin [a natural mold inhibitor]), garlic powder, corn maltodextrin, long grain rice powder, salt, toasted bread crumbs (wheat flour, dextrose, modified wheat starch, sugar, salt, yeast, caramel coloring, paprika), spice, parmesan cheese solids (milk, cheese, cultures, salt, enzymes, calcium chloride), cellulose, modified palm oil, oregano, natural and artificial flavor (including butter extract), sunflower oil, whey, gum arabic, citric acid, yeast extract, lactic acid, calcium lactate, disodium phosphate and not more than 2% silicon dioxide added (as anticaking agent).

I’m not even going to print the Apples and Skim Milk ingredients; trust me, they’re LOADED with flavors, preservatives, and additives.

Back to my original topic, Traditional Dieting/Calories In /Calories Out is a BUSINESS.  It promises weight loss and rakes in money.  In 2012, about 108 Million Americans were on a Diet, and the Industry brought in $20 BILLION that year, $20 BILLION.  It promises weight loss, but it doesn’t deliver weight loss.

Want to lose weight:  get your head on straight.  You need to eat Real Whole Foods Every Single Day.  You need to plan, cook, shop and pack, and make smart choices when you eat out.  Not because the food is “fattening”, but because it’s loaded with flours, sugars, bad oils and chemicals that make you sick and addicted.  Focus on the word “addicted”, because that’s the biggest struggle I see:  not being able to stop eating or resist foods calling to you.  As long as you’re eating addictive foods containing  Flour, Sugar, and chemicals, you’re going to stay addicted.  It’s just like cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs.  Trying to be “moderate” just ensures the addictive patterns continue.

I do a lot of work with Julia Ross’s Mood Cure and Diet Cure.  It’s an Amino Acid supplement program that restocks/replenishes the neurotransmitters in your brain.  You become ” Normal “, as opposed to Food Driven.  It’s an excellent program that I’ve used on myself, my husband, and several clients.  The results are unbelievable.  If you think you can’t stick to a Real Whole Foods program because the Fake Foods/flours/sugars/chemicals constantly call you, get in touch with me.  You can change.  You can get healthy.  You can be normal weight and full of energy.  Honest. You just need to become a Real Whole Foodie.

Cereal Stumbling Blocks, and Recipes

Wow!  My little post on Thomas English Muffins struck several nerves – good!  It’s pretty eye opening when you realize that food you’ve put in your body for (decades?) years, and are now feeding your kids, is toxic sludge that’s setting you up for disease.  And weight gain.  And depression.

Let’s look at a few more products that are pretty embedded as healthy breakfast options, and examine their ingredients.

Total-Blueberry-Pomegranate-750General Mills Total Blueberry Pomegranate 100% Nutrition Cereal

Oh good grief. 100% Nutrition? Are you kidding?  By the way, 3/4 cup of this stuff is 100 calories, and 0 fat – it’s a Dieter’s Dream! Plus look: it’s healthy!  There’s Blueberry and Pomegranate, which we all know from Dr. Oz are really good for us, and it’s America’s #1 Source of Whole Grain.

Just kidding, there’s no actual fruit, they just concoct a smell and taste effect fromwheat chemicals, and there’s no actual “Whole Grain”.  Here’s what a whole grain of wheat looks like:

See the first 7 ingredients listed?  Ingredients are listed in the order of their predominance; this means that the first 7 ingredients in this cereal are SIMPLE SUGARS.  There’s no complex carbs here that might take a while to break down and slowly seep from your small intestine to your blood stream.  There’s a bunch of Simple Sugars that your body (or your child’s) will have no problem quickly breaking down to glucose (bc it’s so highly processed), shooting through the intestine wall, into your blood steam, creating high blood sugar, the resultant insulin reaction, and then inflammation, glycation, brain fog, and finally, low blood sugar fatigue and hunger.

All the chemicals, many of which are linked to cancer and behavior problems, will go to your liver, as that’s one of it’s jobs: break down chemicals and dispose of them.  Your liver has around 500 jobs.  It’s actually the BIGGEST PIECE OF OUR DAILY METABOLISM, around 50/60% of our total daily calorie burn.  What do you think happens to your liver, or your child’s, when it’s hampered from it’s duties because it’s trying to breakdown and dispose of Red dye 40, Blue dye 2, “and other color”?

Notice there’s also Sucralose.  Ugh.  Remember that from the Thomas English Muffins?  It kills beneficial gut bacteria, it causes migraines and headaches, it raises blood sugar, it’s highly linked to cancer.

All those vitamins and minerals on the list:  They’re Added in, let’s be very clear that they’re in NO WAY a natural part of this cereal.  Anything of nutritional value was destroyed in processing the wheat, the barley, the sugars, the rice, and the corn.  Destroyed.  Those synthetic vitamins and minerals you see listed were manufactured in China (that’s where most cheap vitamins and minerals come from now) and added to the cereal.  Trust me, those are rarely EVER the body’s preferred forms of those vitamins and minerals. Ever.

Now I’m going to expose a Dieter’s Dirty Little Secret.  Cereal like this isn’t just for kids; adults eat it too, often times for dinner, or after dinner snacks.  HELLO STOMACH BLOAT:)  Wheat/carb products like this are incredibly addictive.  Remember the link to Dr. Davis’s site, Wheatbellyblog, he does a great job of breaking down the science of gliadian proteins, their opiate effects, and the resultant appetite stimulate they cause.

What are some good alternatives to Cereal?  There’s plenty, and I’ll list them below, but a few more words about Cereal and how it’s a very common “stumbling block” food.

I get questions all the time asking me how to lose weight.  Many of the people who ask this are highly, highly addicted to both whole grains and simple sugars, and when it comes down to it, they have a really hard time thinking of giving them up.  So don’t focus on that.  Don’t focus on what you can’t have and how sad it makes you feel.  Focus instead on the nutrients in your food, what exactly those nutrients OR ANTI NUTRIENTS are doing in your body, and ASK YOURSELF THIS:  If I eat this, how will I feel in ONE hour:  Not even thinking about food?  Stuffed?  Depressed? Hating myself? Bloated? On to the next project? Level? In a Tailspin?  HINT:  An hour after you eat, you shouldn’t even be thinking about your meal; that would mean you ate healthy food that satiated you, and your digestion worked perfectly.  You can MOVE ON.

If that’s not your reality, try to not be so mindless about eating, which is hard if you’ve got an addiction.  Addictions highjack your brain neurons, make them throb and pulse and send signals that compel you to dig in.  If you’re addicted, make a promise to yourself that at least you won’t keep cereal, crackers, pretzels, chips, bagged cookies, and other hand-to-mouth munchie/easy/brainless foods in your house.  Start there.  What about the kids and their need for snacks?  THEY DON’T NEED THIS POISON, AND THEY DON’T NEED TO FIRMLY ESTABLISH MINDLESS MUNCHING IN THE LITTLE BRAINS. Why set them up for a life time of struggle? They’ll not only live if you get that stuff out of your house, they’ll actually thrive.  So will you.  You can do this!  Pledge today that you’re on your way to being a Real Whole Foodie.  Now for the Breakfast Ideas:

1. meat and cheese roll ups

2. eggs scrambled in butter/coconut oil, veggies added or not

3. nitrate free sausages and bacon

4. assorted smoothies:

Wheat Withdrawl Zinger, Dr. Davis;  Elana’s Pantry Smoothie list

5. paleo pancakes ( make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for another morning)

6. apricot power bars  ( love Elana’s Pantry!!!)

7. egg cups  ( super fast to reheat; great for “on the road”)


“I’m sad because I can’t eat like Normal people eat.” Hmmm. Let’s look at that:

cereal:time to makeOh boy have I heard my title statement a million times, several of those times in my own head, and in the past few weeks from both clients and friends who are trying hard to eat well. Please don’t feel sad because you think you’re not eating Normal foods like a Normal person; let me show you why.

What’s Normal in 2014?  Normal people go on a diet to lose weight and make an effort to quit eating processed food, fast food, and junk food (or at least eat smaller amounts or diet versions).  Foods that have become so NORMAL that Real Whole Food often seems “not normal”.  Eating Real Whole Food can feel so full of effort, so out of the NORM, that it actually creates stress, or a feeling of virtue for sticking to the plan, or feelings of sadness over missing your old foods.

What does the Normal Person in America look like today?  Well, about 70% of the U.S. is overweight, and over 30% are obese.  About 70% of all Americans are on at least 1 prescription drug.  The average amount of meals eaten outside of the home is a solid 50%. One in five breakfasts is from McDonalds.  The top 10 products sold in US grocery stores: (10) Soda (9) Cereal (8) Frozen Dinners (7) Salty Snacks (6) Milk (5) laundry detergent (4) eggs (3) PB and Jelly (2) packaged meats and (1) Bread.  Those are Normal foods.

The average sales growth for Bread is increasing about 4.3 Million a year, for average total sales of 10 BILLION a YEAR.  44% of Americans in the top income level  eat less than one serving of fruit/veg a day.  41% of Americans in the lowest income level eat less than one serving of fruit/veg a day. It’s pretty Normal not to eat fruits and vegetables.  Top income earners eat fast food more often than the lowest income earners; 50 MILLION Americans buy fast food each WEEK, with only 28% of Americans saying they eat No fast food.  (Fast Food is definitely “Normal”.)

In just a few more years, 2020, the CDC says that about 50% of the US population will have Diabetes.  Cancer hits 1 out of 3 people, but the CDC predicts increases EVERY YEAR FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS.  Same with Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s.  So we can say that Normal People are really, really, sick.  Our poor kids are in real trouble, because for the last few years every health agency out there is predicting – for the first time in our history – a SHORTER lifespan for our children.

If we use statistics and averages to define Normal, Normal doesn’t look so good.  Oh!  What about the Normal, Average dieter?  Around 95% of EVERYONE who loses weight on a diet, gains it back; about 50% of those people gain back a little extra.  That’s another Norm.

Let me be really clear:  today’s Normal food has created today’s Normal person.

Why would we want to be Normal?  It sounds horrible!

I still relate to that statement though, because like I said, I’ve thought it myself.  My jump off the Diet Roller Coaster was only a few years ago.  I had decades of starving myself, consuming tons of gut-wrenching diet foods, and giving into the inevitable binges.  That’s when Calories In Calories Out ruled my life.  Thank you God that it doesn’t anymore.  Being a slave to fake food, processed food, fast food, junk food, excuse my language, but it just sucks.  Really.  It feels so good for the few minutes you’re doing it, and then immediately afterwards, the guilt, the pain, the depression. That’s definitely not true happiness….know what I’m talking about?

You don’t have to be normal!  We can be like our Grandparents, or maybe Great Grand Parents, and just eat real food when it’s a meal time, and then go about our life when it’s not meal time.  Simple. Except for when it’s not:  you’re busy and it would be just so much easier to go buy dinner for you and the kids at a KFC or Subway.  You’re busy and tired and going out just sounds better.  You’re busy and that commercial for Marie Calendars says her lasagna makes families happy and close, just like real food. You’re busy and that darn co-worker brought in cookies.  Oh oh oh!  You’re busy and watching the Olympics and all the Olympians – who have smokin fit and hot bodies – are promoting McDonalds nuggets or the new Frito Sub at Subway and you think – Why Not?  It’s works for them!

Listen:  planning, shopping, chopping, cooking, and packing is only an effort for a little while. Thinking of food as nutrients that make your body and mind is an effort for a little while.  Everything new, every new effort, takes some mental strength and fortitude.  When it comes to food and cooking, we also have to undo decades of Brain Washing by Big Food that their crap is just as good for us as Real Food. It’s not just as good for us, and our new definition of Normal has made us overweight, very sick, depressed, and low in energy.

We can change all this by what we put on the end of our fork.  Honest. Energy, health, clear-headedness, and genuine excitement for the gift of our days here on earth can be yours.  Pledge today that you’re going to take control of your life, control of your thoughts, control of your schedule, and become a Real Whole Foodie.

Dieting Makes You Crazy

future of nutritionAre any of you listening to the free, on-line lectures this week via either Future of Nutrition or the Paleo Con?  They’re great!  What a wealth of information, motivation, and inspiration.   If you want to improve your health or lose weight, you’ve got to change your brain.  To do that, you’ll need to fill your brain with thoughts outside of your normal thought patterns.  If “diet mentality” has dominated your thoughts, then listening to totally different perspectives, over and over again, will help you shift to thinking of food as medicine/information/how we feel/chemistry; not math/calories/our enemy.  These conferences are turning the Diet Industry paradigm on it’s head; I love it!   paleo con

Can you think of one other industry on earth that Fails so regularly, completely, perpetually, and yet is promoted, advised, trusted, and believed over and over and over again?  Every year people spend BILLIONS of dollars on diet foods, diet pills, diet potions, diet programs, weight loss surgeries, and every trick in the book, to either lose weight and gain it back, or not lose weight at all.  It doesn’t make sense:  fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Diets don’t work.  Ever.  One of the speakers likened Dieting to holding a volleyball underwater:  as soon as you let it go, KaBoom!  He also said that when you’re a Dieter, you either have Good Days, or Bad Days.  Who relates to that?? How many times have you said that to yourself: I was bad today. ?  That’s a sure sign you’re in Diet World; you’ve either stuck to your low calorie diet magic foods, or you’ve blown it.  You were either Bad or Good.

Ugh.  Please please please, if you’re stuck in that world, you’re doomed to weight gain, lots of failure, and missing out on life because food, dieting, and weight hi-jack your thoughts. Low fat, low cal dieting also makes you fat, sick, and potentially crazy. Look around.  Look at the evidence.  70% of the U.S is overweight.  70%.

Go back to when I said that the Diet Industry fails time and time again, yet continues to profit (greatly) and be promoted by main-stream medicine as the solution to your problem.  Here’s an except from WebMd from googling, “how to lose weight”:

“You can safely lose 3 or more pounds a week at home with a healthy diet and lots of exercise, says weight loss counselor Katherine Tallmadge, RD.

How to Lose Weight Fast

If you burn 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week, you should lose about 1-2 pounds per week.

If you want to lose weight faster, you’ll need to eat less and exercise more.

For instance, if you take in 1,050 to 1,200 calories a day, and exercise for one hour per day, you could lose 3-5 pounds in the first week, or more if you weigh more than 250 pounds. It’s very important not to cut calories any further — that’s dangerous.”

Do you see the insanity of this line of thinking?  It’s NEVER worked.  Science has proven for years that reducing calories and withholding nutrients sends our body into STORAGE MODE, not burning mode.  Even hours of exercise won’t work, trust me.  Exercise for health, not weight loss.  Besides that, 1,050 to 1,200 calories a day?  Can you say, “starving frenzy”??  I mean, talk about a rebound binge waiting to happen.

When you reduce calories/diet, the body and mind become “stressed” because famine is perceived; when this happens, stress hormones like Cortisol are released into the blood stream.  Cortisol increases triglyceride production, it inhibits sensitivity to leptin and insulin, it shuts down digestion, it prohibits the body from burning fat, it turns muscle tissue into sugar/glucose for fast energy.  When that glucose isn’t actually used to “outrun the sabertooth”, then the body repackages that excess glucose into fat, and stores it in the belly area.  (This is the connection between stress and belly fat.)

I’ve had two emails this week expressing sadness over saying goodbye to favorite foods.  Expressing sadness over anticipated, up coming hunger and deprivation.  This doesn’t have to happen.  Eating a Real Whole Foods/Paleo/Primal type diet isn’t about low calorie, or low carb, or low fat, or hours of exercise. It’s not about small plates, counting calories, putting your fork down, or counting your chews.  It’s about deleting processed foods and eating good sized meals of meats, fats, vegetables, some fruits, some nuts and seeds, and some whole fat dairy if you can digest it.  It’s being a “nutrient seeker”.  If you’re actually hungry, then you need to eat more at your meals.  If you did eat adequately, then recognize that your hunger isn’t “hunger”, it’s just your brain wanting pleasure from the foods you’ve been spoiling it with, or it’s crying for the constant stimulation it’s used to.

That might sound a little harsh, but it’s the truth.  There’s an upside to that though.  Our body, our brain, our taste buds, our neural nets – they’re adaptive.  They won’t adapt to starvation, or actually, they’ll adapt with negative patterns, habits, thoughts, and results, but they will adapt beautifully to a lifestyle that focuses on feeding yourself sufficient nutrients to build your cells, repair damage, fight virus and bacteria, and have normal, healthy levels of neural transmitters like serotonin and dopamine.   You know, before “dieting” became a “thing” in the 1970s, very, very few people were overweight. It’s time to throw off the diet yoke. It’s never worked for anyone.  Quit making yourself crazy, and focus on re-aligning your brain to accomodate planning, packing, and cooking.  Start looking at food, even fat, for the nutrients it provides.  Start looking at processed foods as the toxic chemical poisons they are.

You are not destined to be overweight, sick, or tired.  You can be a healthy weight, unbelievably well, and energetic.  Eat foods that nourish your mind and body.  Be a Real Whole Foodie.