Habit vs. Willpower
- POSTED ON: Apr 06, 2011





Successful weight-loss requires establishing new eating Habits.
For successful maintenance of that weight-loss,
one must create a new “normal” which is based on those Habits.

A Habit is a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior.
Specifically here, a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition
that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance; and
an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

Habit comes from repeated behavior.

Willpower is defined as energetic determination.

Willpower and Habit are related.
because Habits are ESTABLISHED…
i.e. brought into existence via some act of will…
…..one’s choice or determination…
and it initially takes willpower to establish a habit.

More About the BMI
- POSTED ON: Apr 05, 2011

Previously I've written two articles about the Body Mass Index (BMI).
Below is a very wise statement about the meaning of the BMI

by a member of one of the forums I frequent.

"Well, here's the thing:
there can be a difference between "heavy" and "unhealthy".
Not everyone who is over the BMI range labeled "normal"
is necessarily an unhealthy, unfit specimen.

This is just a natural result of using population-level averages
to define arbitrary cutoff values:
of course any given individual
may have differences from the overall average!

I don't quite think BMI is bad science, in itself:
it's just a number, after all.
It's how it's used that can lead to trouble.

The BMI charts, which are really just fancied-up height/weight tables,
are supposed to offer a first-glance idea of whether you are "likely"
to have a suite of health problems associated with being overweight.

But ideally, if you've got the individual right there in front of you,
you could take a "second" glance and see if the person really does
have the health problems "correlated" with being in a certain range.

One could check out their heart, measure their blood numbers
for things like cholesterol, etc. -- you don't have to "guess",
when you've got a person right there.

(But, alas, medicine as practiced currently does tend towards
the easy, look-it-up-on-a-chart approach,
and all too many doctors never go beyond that.)

And as I say, it's quite possible for someone to be outside
the chart range but not unhealthy in these other ways
(and vice versa: BMI in the normal range
is not an automatic guarantee of health!).

So yeah, I'd think that one shouldn't panic about being a bit
outside the range that The Chart says you should be in,
if you're otherwise fit and healthy.

At the same time, if you've got a BMI in the 30s,
you probably don't really need The Chart to tell you
that you may have a problem with your weight.

Body Mass Index: What about the BMI?
- POSTED ON: Apr 04, 2011

No one wants to be in the "Obese" category,
because that label goes past a little bit "Overweight",
and defines one as actually too "Fat".

The numbers I previously posted in  "Normal, Overweight, or Obese"
are standard BMI (Body Mass Index) numbers.
BMI categories are:

• Underweight = <18.5
• Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
• Overweight = 25–29.9
• Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Many athletic people who are carrying a lot of muscle under their fat strongly
protest that their muscles make them an exception,
and therefore they don't fall into the standard BMI categories.

However the following quote from Bodybuilding expert, John Barban, is very on Point about this issue. 

BMI chart – What is all the Fuss About?

I was reading a blog about the BMI (Body Mass Index) chart the other day and noticed that many people were saying that it’s not accurate and is an outdated measurement and needs to be replaced/revised.

So I started to think about why anyone would say this. The BMI chart was created over 100 years ago as a way of charting body ‘fatness’ or ‘thinness’. With the influence of Ancel Keys (visionary scientist way ahead of his time) BMI became a prominent tool in the 1970′s for assessing population health risks.

There is a criticism that the BMI doesn’t account for different ‘frame’ sizes of people (endomorphs and ectomorphs) or athletes who have built up their muscles to a much larger degree than the regular population. Both of these criticism’s seem to be weak as true ecotmorphic or endomorphic people are very rare…in other words, for MOST of the population the BMI works just fine, and that was the point in the first place.

The athlete argument doesn’t hold much water either, as they represent a very small percentage of the population and many of them at all levels use steroids and other drugs that artificially elevate their lean body mass. In other words, the BMI was never meant to be applied to people taking steroids and GH.

So what about ‘natural’ athletes and bodybuilders who don’t use drugs but just build lots of muscles? Surely they wouldn’t be in the ‘normal’ BMI range…right? Wrong!

A few days ago I posted pictures of myself after a 5 day fast (I weighed 176 lbs in those pics…granted this was mostly a water reduction)…as of the moment I am writing this my bodyweight fluctuates between 180-183lbs. In both cases I am still within the normal BMI range. And this is where the argument about athletes being in the ‘overweight’ BMI range because of increased muscle mass falls apart for me.

In these pictures -> DO I LOOK SKINNY? I’m well within the normal BMI range…and I don’t think I look too small or lacking in muscle development. In fact I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to build as much muscle as I can…and I STILL fall within the ‘normal’ BMI range. If anyone was a candidate for being ‘overweight’ due to muscle mass I thought surely I would be it…but nope I’m still ‘normal’.

So the argument that athletes can build enough muscle to somehow push them out of the normal BMI range seems a bit wonky to me (unless of course they are using steroids or were true endormorphs to begin with…which is an exceedingly small portion of the population). Look at those pictures of me again, do I really look like I could possibly get bigger? Do I look like I NEED to be bigger? AND do I look unhealthy at the size I am?

The problem people have with the BMI is not the chart itself, but what the chart MEANS to them. The chart is meant to show ‘fatness’ and categorize it as normal or abnormal on both the high and low end. The key word here is ‘normal’.

What SHOULD be normal for a human body and what has BECOME normal in modern western societies are two different things.

The BMI chart shows what SHOULD be normal, not what is currently considered normal.

If most of the population is overweight (according to the BMI chart) the error in logic could be that the population is right and the BMI chart is wrong.

I think many people have a sharp emotional reaction to things like the BMI chart because it categorizes you in a way that feels discriminatory and prejudicial. Of course there is no emotion behind the BMI chart, it’s just a mathematical equation…but there is some thought and research into it, it’s not just a random idea, so you know there is some validity to the category you’ve been placed in according to the chart. And this is why it bothers people. If there is some good reason why you are categorized as ‘overweight’ then you’re faced with the following dilemma about your belief in the normalcy of your current body size:

Either the chart is wrong, or YOU are wrong.
It’s much easier to dismiss the chart as being inaccurate and not useful for your specific body shape and size or whatever excuse you like, than it is to accept the fact that perhaps you’re in fact simply overweight.
The final point on this topic is the view from being in the normal category vs the overweight or obese categories.

I used to be much heavier than I am now and I used all the same excuses explaining away the BMI as antiquated and outdated and didn’t account for the mountains of muscle I had built over the years. In reality, I was just fat.

Once I went through my cut down and got rid of all the excess weight I ended up right where the BMI chart predicted me to be at the high end of the normal range…which makes perfect sense as I’ve built as much muscle as I can without drugs.

If I’m currently in the normal category, and I’ve spent my whole life trying to build muscle, and all of my measurable health markers are in very good shape, and I’m happy with the look and shape of my body, and I have a golden Adonis Index ratio…then how is it possible for me or anyone with roughly my frame (which is average) to actually be in the overweight category without simply having more fat mass on their body and subsequently looking worse than I do right now?

In other words, if some people suggest the BMI cutoff for ‘overweight’ is too low, then what does that make me in these pictures? Underweight?

Or is it that people who don’t like the category the chart puts them in immediately react by dismissing the chart as being wrong instead of heeding the guidance it provides to lose some weight. This of course is cognitive dissonance at its finest.

For anyone who is in the ‘normal’ range the BMI chart seems to make perfect sense, or at least it does to me.

by John Barban, Bodybuilder,  (www.johnbarban.com)
who currently has a business association with Brad Pilon, the author of Eat Stop Eat.

 Here are the pictures which are referenced in the quote above.        


Food Addiction
- POSTED ON: Apr 03, 2011


Some people believe that food addiction
is more a matter of psychology than of physiology.
I find the question interesting.
Are those cravings for sweets and starches REALLY a problem of the mind,
or are they problems of the body?

I, myself, have spent a lifetime considering this issue a psychological one.

My personal experience with this involves about 20 years of Therapy
while working to overcome that problem,....to no avail.

With professional help, I've dug into my psyche on the "whys";
I've taught myself most of the "hows"...in fact...
I've learned and incorporated most all of the various recommended Behavior Modifications.
Numerous "mindful" eating behaviors have become Habits for me.

For many, many years, my pattern has been not to label foods "good" or "bad",
but to allow myself to have a little of anything I want, including the occasional sugar-laden dessert.

Those techniques have helped me RESIST the cravings,
but they have NOT REDUCED or ELIMINATED the cravings.
There are quite a few “Experts” who feel that the term "addiction" is not helpful,
when talking about food, and they tend to avoid using it for various reasons.

At this particular moment,
I have finally reached the point where I am willing to seriously consider
the possibility that these cravings may have a strong physical element,
rather than being merely psychological.

I've begun to think that new way, due to my exposure to
Good Calories Bad Calories (2007) by Gary Taubes,
and his recently released book, Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (2011)
which is now featured for discussion here on BOOKTALK.

Perhaps many of us DO have a physical intolerance for certain food substances....
Perhaps the physical tolerance for them varies between individual,
just like some people have bodies that are allergic to peanuts...
and to varying degrees....,
maybe there is something to the Theory about Insulin and Carbohydrates too. 
  I don't know.  

I DO know that psychological treatment won't resolve a physical problem.
All the therapy in the world won't let those who have a severe peanut allergy,
eat peanuts without side-effects.

This year I began a personal experiment
to see what a lengthy Low-Carb commitment will do in my body.
I am especially interested to see whether or not
a total elimination of sugar and refined grains,
and a serious restriction of whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit
will eliminate or greatly reduce these cravings in my own body.
This is a day-by-day experiment...which is being carried out with planned pauses
....and at this point....
I don't even know how long I'll be able to stick with that Experiment-of-One

Each of us does the best we can with our own experiences.
The same things don't work for everyone.

In my own body, it makes no difference whether it is white sugar,
or "natural" sweeteners. MY body treats them all the same way.
I am learning that...right now... this seems to be true for me
even with regards to many starches.

In fact, recently I learned that a few weeks of extremely-low-carb eating
does reduce my cravings for sugars and starches, however,
within 24 hours after having half a cup of Lentils ...(complex natural carbs)... for lunch,
all of my sugar cravings returned.
And....I've carefully examined my surrounding circumstances...mental state....etc,
and feel fairly certain that this instance was not due to a psychological issues.
So…that leads me to believe that there must be some type of physical element involved.

Life goes on.
We all do what we can.
I'm now living as a normal weight person,
and I'm willing to keep doing whatever it takes to make that a long-term status.

Hunger vs. Appetite
- POSTED ON: Apr 02, 2011

There is a difference between Hunger and Appetite.
Hunger is the "body's call for nourishment".
Appetite is the "desire for gratification of some want, craving, or passion;
therefore appetite is eating and drinking for relaxation and pleasure.

But...of course...Cravings and Urges don't ONLY originate in the Body.
Some, due to conditioning, originate in the Mind.

The craving for Alcohol by an Alcoholic seems to have a physical element,
and these cravings are reduced and even disappear via abstinence.
Low-Carbers believe that cravings for carbs--especially refined sugars and starches
have a physical element,
and that these cravings are reduced and even disappear via carb-restriction.

 The Low-Carb position is:
Insulin is what drives physical Hunger.
A reduction of carbohydrates is a reduction of insulin.
Therefore, reducing carbs...and thereby reducing insulin...
will reduce the physical craving for excess food.

Research studies have proven that the Human body
will SURVIVE and THRIVE without carbohydrates.
While the Body can USE Carbohydrates, it does not NEED them.

Low-carb eating is only a reduction, not a total elimination, of carbs.
Almost every low-carb plan includes green leafy vegetables,
and other low-starch vegetables like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower,
cucumbers...and father along, nuts and berries etc., all of which have carbs.

Even those hard-core, zero-carb people get a few carbs from their eggs,
cheese, yogurt, trace amounts of onion, garlic and spices for seasoning.

I find it interesting to note that studies clearly show
that meat and other animal products contain,
every single vitamin and mineral...except for vitamin C,
and in much larger amounts than what is found in fruits and vegetables.

These studies also indicate that
eating a high amount of sugar and starch
actually DEPLETES the body's vitamin and mineral supply.
and that this process actually causes the body to need more of them,
including vitamin C.

For example--the famous scurvy that English seamen got
which was remedied by eating lemons ..citrus fruit...,
only happened to those whose diets were Very High Carb,
while the seamen who ate higher protein with few carbs
did not suffer from scurvy.

So WHY aren't these dietary facts commonly known and understood?
I think this becomes very clear when we are wise enough to..


By the Way, while thinking about APPETITE,
you might want to check out my new video Six Cereal, Bars, and Nuts
which is posted in the TIDBITS section of  RECEIPES.

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