Monday, November 27, 2006

A Warm Hello to My International Visitors!

While 75% of my recent visitors (approximately the past 3 weeks) live in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), the remaining 25% live outside the states.

Please accept this warm welcome to my visitors from:
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Brazil
I have traveled to Canada, the United Kingdom, and Italy. I have also traveled to France, Germany, Amsterdam, Spain, and Switzerland. My most fond food memories come from Italy and Spain.

Both years that I traveled Europe, I came home thinner. I find that the availability of healthier food choices in other countries (from ingredients to prevailing attitudes about food) is often the subject of books I read about health. In fact, the growing weight and general health problem in the United States is highly attributed to SAD, or the Standard American Diet.

I most enjoyed the book, "
French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure" by Mireille Guiliano. I recommend this book to anybody as a wonderful commentary on weight issues that reach far beyond superficial motives and quick fixes.

I hope to see all of you again soon!

PS: Thanks to Google Analytics for the cool maps and site visitor statistics that allow me to "see" my International friends. If you have a blog, you need to sign up for this free service.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Common Question: How Do I Keep the Weight Off After a Cleanse?

I am surprised at how many times we get this question at the Yahoo group. Many members are frightened by internet urban legend that laments, "once you come off the cleanse, you pack on huge amounts of weight the moment you eat a morsel of food." These claims are often made by people who either didn't actually do the cleanse, or did the cleanse and went back to crappy eating afterwards.

In spite of the consistent evidence that weight is lost when you burn more calories than you consume - people still ask about what it takes to keep weight off. By confusing the basic answer, companies pocket kajillions of dollars while consumers bounce from solution-to-solution - believing that the answer lies in a remedy that can be purchased off the shelf.

So here's my official answer to the common question about managing weight after a cleanse:

1. Break the cleanse properly. Don't miss a single step in the process as described in the book.

2. Make a slow return to eating. Don't have a bacon cheeseburger right after you complete the "breaking" process. Remember, your metabolism slowed during the cleanse and requires some time to increase to normal levels. Naturally, if you pack in the calories now, you can't metabolize it all.

3. Reduce portions. Today's inhuman portion sizes produced lots of spare tires. Don't judge the proper portion by the tub of pasta served by your favorite Italian food restaurant. I had a small-dang-boat of pasta (Rigatoni Martino) at Carrabba's yesterday. I jumped in head-first and almost got lost in the bowl. It may have been delicious, but normal serving sizes say that my tub held enough food for probably 3 servings.

4. Exercise. Physical exercise helps the body burn calories. If you're gonna burn more than you eat, you must be physically active. Don't buy into the notion that you must have the latest exercise video to do this. Do what you enjoy. Garden. Walk. Ride your bike. There's no magic. Just get moving. If you choose to just control food without exercise, prepare yourself for tiny tiny portions. In my opinion, such a lack of balance isn't healthy.

5. When health is just as important as weight loss, improve the quality of your food. Some people just care about weight. While that may work for them, I'm also interested in long-term health results. In that case, choose whole complex carbs over simple and processed carbs (e.g. white bread, white pasta, etc.) Include lots of "living" foods. It's the living enzymes in food (such as uncooked vegetables) that aid our digestion. Don't fill your days with dead, overcooked, over processed food with no nutritional value.

6. Keep life interesting. Many "diets" require you to omit certain foods for life. That's a great way to lose interest in food and go back to gorging on your favorites. Make sure your eating includes small portions of things you love and some exploratory foods, like the purple whattsit-veggie that you've never seen before.

7. TRUST YOUR BODY'S CUES. You are your own best advocate. You know how certains foods and habits make you feel. Instead of hoping that somebody else's prescription will work for you, learn to manage your own health. You know when you're getting full. Push away from the table. You know which foods make you tired. Don't eat them and cause yourself to skip exercise. See my post on "Doctor Yourself" about your responsibility to learn about your personal health and stop letting propaganda rule your decisions.

Rock on.