Monthly Archives: December 2011

Quotes to reflect on for 2012

The Christmas break is coming to an end and it is time to look forward to 2012. I thought I would sign off for 2011 by sharing a selection of favourite quotes:

“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” – Frank Tibolt

“You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act. It’s a habit” – Aristotle

“Whatever the situation, it is important you recognise that fearfulness is a product of your own mind. You should aspire to operate with an awareness of your fear and to contain the danger of paralysis by deliberately self-managing your mindset with great determination.” – Unknown

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit

“Attitude, not aptitude will determine your altitude.” – Unknown

“An expert is a master of the basics.” – Unknown

“Although nobody can go back and start a new beginning, anybody can start now and create a new ending” – Chico Xavier

“The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of it’s way to line up all the pins either.” – Tim Ferris

“Do not stop yourself from acting because you overestimated the competition and underestimated yourself.” – Unknown

“Purpose as a currency is more valuable than money.” – Proverb

“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.” – Lou Holtz

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

Must-See Video: Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt lecture at Ancestral Health Symposium 2011

This just became my new favourite YouTube video!!

Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt shares the horrifying statistics for obesity in the western world as well as the latest scientific evidence on the causes. He then goes through the extraordinary story of Dr. Annika Dahlqkvist’s fight with Swedish medical authorities to get low-carb nutrition recognised as a legitimate approach to addressing obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Dahlqkvist won the case, and as a result, low-carb living is becoming mainstream in Sweden.

This video is well worth 55 minutes of anyone’s time, in my humble view!

How to survive international air travel

Neither appetising nor Primal


“If you don’t like something, change it.

If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

Mary  Engelbreit


If you have read any of my other blog articles, you know my approach to weight loss prioritises food quality over food quantity. I don’t bother with calorie counting. Instead, I focus on eating the right stuff.

But modern living sometimes puts you in situations where you have to get by with less than ideal food sources. One example is international air travel, which I do a lot of. In fact, I am writing this article on a flight from London to New Jersey.

Airline food is not very appetising and caters poorly for a low-carb life-style that emphasises non-processed foods.

When I first started my diet, I thought diabetic in-flight meals was the solution. But I have been disappointed and  horrified with what airlines serve diabetics. An abundance of refined carbohydrates and very little fat is what airlines seem to think diabetics need. Get ready for a serious spike in blood sugar if you eat that!

Instead, I stick with the standard meals on offer. I then follow a few simple tips to make in-flight meals acceptable:

  • I generally only eat the meat, poultry or fish in my meal along with the few limp and overcooked vegetables that come with it.
  • I do not touch the starch that is served with the meal.
  • I also leave the dessert alone.
  • If the meal comes with cheese, I eat it on its own.
  • If I am sure the little wrapper of  “butter” is actual butter, I will eat it. I generally melt it on top of my meat, poultry or fish. Sometimes I just eat it straight out of the wrapper. (This attracts looks from my fellow passengers that range from puzzlement to horror.)
  • If the salad dressing comes on the side, I generally leave it and eat my salad undressed
  • If my salad is read-dressed, I choose not to worry about the potential for highly processed plant or nut oils. I eat the salad.
  • The same goes for wheat or additives in any sauce that may have been poured over my meat. I don’t worry about it. I figure I need to eat something. I don’t go out of my way to eat all the sauce, though. Just the stuff that happens to cling onto my protein.
  • If there is a choice of meals, I avoid the pasta options. The other choices usually contain more protein and fat.
  • Sometimes I bring food with me on the flight. Typically, this would be nuts, vegetable crudities, or snack-bags of chorizo. I leave all left-overs in the flight cabin when I disembark. I don’t want to be stopped in customs with food I’m not supposed to bring into my destination country.
  • If the departure airport has decent restaurants, I may have a large low-carb high-fat meal before boarding my plane, so I can completely avoid eating the in-flight food. I am particularly fond of all-day English breakfast and steak with salad.

Some might argue a long-distance flight is an ideal opportunity to practice intermittent fasting. At the risk of upsetting Paleo purist, I have to admit I don’t find fasting very pleasant. The same goes for long-distance air travel. I fear combining the two would tip me over the edge.

Each to his own, though.

Happy travels!

Must-See Video: Enjoy saturated fats – They’re good for you!

This lecture by cardiac surgeon Dr. Donald W. Miller explains the history of how saturated fats became so demonised. Dr. Miller argues we should reconsider our attitudes to saturated fats and ensure we make it part of our daily diet. Thought provoking stuff.

How I use Twitter to do health research

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is uniquely your own.”

Bruce Lee

If you are serious about loosing weight, I recommend you put some time and energy into understanding nutrition.

I hope my blog inspires others to address their weight problems, but I know very few will duplicate my approach exactly. Most of you will likely have to adjust my formula to suit your own personal circumstances.

But it’s very easy to make mistakes when you change a weight loss program. One small misguided decision could slow down your progress dramatically. Also, there are a lot of people out there who peddle weight loss programs that don’t work or are detrimental to your health. The internet has given everyone a medium to peddle their wares for good and bad. More than ever you need knowledge and good dose of critical thinking to make an informed decision about your health.

I rely on Twitter to find a lot of my health research material. With Twitter I don’t have to search for the information I need. Instead the information finds its way to me. By following people who are interested in health and nutrition, I get to hear about the stuff they write about as well as the stuff they read. It’s like tapping into a huge network of reviewers and referrers.

Here are some of the people I follow on Twitter:

@chriskresser
@ChrisMasterjohn
@deniseminger
@FitnessExplorer
@glutenfreegirl
@livinlowcarbman
@Mark_Sisson
@nedkock
@NoraGedgaudas
@PaleoComfort
@robbwolf

I also use Twitter to make people aware of the materials I post on this blog or interesting materials I find on the net. If you would like to follow me on Twitter my ID is @PrimalPeter

If you have not used Twitter before, here is a video tutorial:

For a comprehensive on-line guide click here.

In future articles I will talk about how I use YouTube, Facebook, Google, Podcasts and good old printed books to continually expand my knowledge about health and nutrition.

Must-See Video: Loren Cordain Lecture

Loren Cordain is one of the scientists who provided the foundations of the Paleo movement through his research. In this lecture, he goes through the scientific principles and hypotheses behind Paleo nutrition.

I personally have a hard time with Dr. Cordain’s assertion that  you should limit saturated fats in your diet, and I am more relaxed about dairy than he is. But overall I find his research insightful  and fascinating.

 Disclaimer

This blog reflects my personal opinions and experiences. None of the material I make available should be construed as medical advice, nor should it replace proper medical consultation. If this blog inspires you to start your own weight loss program, I encourage you to consult a medical professional. If you, your friends or your doctors wish to question or challenges any information on this blog, I welcome your feedback. Please leave a comment by the relevant blog article.

How I thought myself thin

I made the point in a previous article that to a degree you think yourself thin.

Here is a technique I used to keep myself focused on my weight loss goals. It may sound like clichéed pop psychology to some of you, but bear with me. This really did work very effectively for me.

Some time ago I stumbled upon a piece of motivational writing that suggested a simple approach: Write about your future in present tense as if it has already happened. Then read through it once a day.

I decided to break it down under three headers:

  • What I want my life to be
  • How I need to live today to achieve this
  • How the world will tell me I am achieving my goals

I also decided that absolutely no negative statements would be allowed. This meant eliminating my tendency to focus on what I couldn’t do or couldn’t eat.

It took a while to write something that felt right and sounded authentic. I think I went through 15 or 20 revisions over the course of a week.

I ended up calling the end result my Personal Health Resolution. And I did read through it almost every day for a couple of months. I decided to set no other goals for myself. All I had to do was read about the future I had imagined for myself.

It is interesting how this prompted me to take little steps every day, and how this in the end resulted in a lot of change.

I am pleased to be able to report that my Personal Health Resolution is nearly all reality. As far as my 7-year old son is concerned, Daddy is still fat. I also have a long way to go before I would describe myself as a proficient tennis player. But I am otherwise living the life I imagined for myself.

Here is the Personal Health Resolution I ended up with. If you decide to write for your own, leave a comment and tell us about it.

PETER’S PERSONAL HEALTH RESOLUTION

What I want my life to be

  • I am agile, flexible and free of mobility impairments, discomforts and aches
  • Exercise is an enjoyable social activity I share with my family and friends every week both at home and when I travel for business.
  • I am a proficient tennis player who plays every week, sometimes several times a week.
  • I am comfortable in my skin and wear summer clothes and swimwear confidently.
  • Food is a guilt-free enjoyment that comes free of worry about weight gain.
  • I enter men’s fashion shops with confidence knowing I will find clothes I like in sizes that fit me.

How I need to live today to achieve this?

  • My diet consists mostly of meat, fish, eggs and vegetables.
  • I avoid grains and sugary foods as well as drinks that contain calories.
  • I eat when I am hungry and I eat until I am full.
  • I am the guy who gets local friends together every week to play basketball in the local park.
  • I take part in weekly tennis classes and I play matches with friends once a week.
  • I adopt a mindset and a daily routine that makes it natural and easy for me to get 8-9h sleep almost every night
  • I experiment with foods to develop meals I really enjoy eating whilst achieving my health goals
  • I study exercise and nutrition to improve the effectiveness of the daily habits I adopt.

How the world will tell me I am achieving my goals

  • My doctor tells me she is impressed with the health improvements I have achieved and with my insights into human health.
  • People start saying things like “What happened to you? You lost a lot of weight!”
  • People start seeking my advice on how to loose weight and improve their health.
  • I get invited to participate in sports activities I didn’t get invited to before.
  • My son stops saying “Daddy, you are really fat!!”

Must-Hear Interview: Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint”, is on my list of Top-3 books on ancestral health. In this interview with Sean Croxton of UW Radio, Mark explains the principles of the Primal Blueprint including The Ten Immutable Laws of Primal Living.

To listen to the interview click here

Primal Case-Studies: Phil’s story about diabetes on a low-carb diet

Phil is a friend of mine who has switched to a low-carb life-style to manage his diabetes.

Phil started his new life-style a mere 7 weeks before this interview. But as you will see, his early results are nothing short of spectacular.

We will check in with Phil periodically. This is the first instalment of his story.

What was your health situation before you decided to change your diet and life-style?

I have had type 1 diabetes for the last 5 years. After the initial shock, I had settled into a reasonable routine. The Doctors were reasonably happy with me. I was doing most things right.

But I was gradually putting on weight, was finding exercise hard to do, and was finding it hard to maintain my sugars at the right levels. Almost every day I would have times where I was low (hypos) or high (hypers) and each had its own problems.

What caused you to suddenly make changes in your life?

I read the book that you recommended. Suddenly everything made sense.

What have you learned about diet and health you did not know before?

Just how linked they are. I always thought that diet had an influence with health, but I just assumed it was purely down to keeping your weight down and eating enough vitamins/minerals to be healthy. I didn’t realise just how important to the body’s health everything we put into it is.

What changes did you make in your life and what pace and order did you make them in?

I went straight in and cut out all bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. With immediate effect. And then I cut right down on fruit. That was the hardest as I am addicted to fruit. I still eat it occasionally, but in moderation.

Then I set about finding all the things I can eat that I like and eat them as much as I want. Eggs for breakfast. Meat, fish and more meat and fish.

What challenges did you have in putting your new life-style into practice?

There are some moments where I have nothing that I can eat. That is hard. And shopping for the family is hard. I can’t force things on them but I don’t really want to make lots of things that I can’t eat.

What changes have you seen so far and what difference has it made to you?

I lost over a stone (7Kg) in the first 3 weeks. Since then my weight has stabilised. But the main change is in my sugar levels. I still feel I am calibrating my body, so I am not yet perfect, but generally my sugar levels have been fantastic.

Apart from the odd mistake, I can now keep my sugars within the normal range pretty much all day. I don’t have the high sugars after a meal which made me drowsy, and I am pretty sure this is going to be help me avoid problems in the future.

What changes do you expect to see in the future if you continue following your program?

I think I should lose a bit more weight, and I am hoping to be able to build up my exercise levels. Exercise is the only area that I still can’t quite manage properly. At the moment exercise seems to put my sugars up and I can’t seem to predict it. But it will come.

What challenges do you think you will have going forward in sticking to the program?

I have already noticed my wife and family are getting bored with the meals I have been preparing so I think I will have to get more imaginative. And I think Xmas is going to be difficult.

Further Reading

The book Phil refers to in this interview is “Diabetes Solution” by Dr. Bernstein.

Successful weight loss – it’s the thought that counts

“You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act. It’s a habit”

Aristotle

Weight loss is not just about what you eat. The way you think about food, exercise and why you want to loose weight is at least as important.

To turn my health around, I realised I had to address my mindset and consciously change the myriad of little decisions I make every day about what I eat and drink.  Your health is a reflection of your habits, and these in turn are a reflection of your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and emotions.

So, how do you change all this?

Everyone is different, and my example does not apply to everyone. But here is what I did:

I FIRST ADDRESSED MY SELF-MOTIVATION. I started by confronting my personal inertia and developed a technique to keep myself motivated and honest. This technique helped me make a subtle but profound shift in my thinking. It became more about the differences weight loss would make to me rather than the weight loss itself.

I RESOLVED TO DO MY OWN RESEARCH. The diet and exercise regimes I have tried in the past did not work very well and made me miserable and vulnerable to colds and flu. I told myself this time would be different, and I began to question everything I had been told about healthy living. This led me to explore the writings and research by serious minded people who offer an alternative viewpoint on human health. Many of these take an evolutionary perspective on health, which means they look at the life-style and diet of hunter gatherers for clues to how we should live and eat today.

I MADE EXERCISE PLAYFUL AND SOCIAL. Instead of being a means to an end or a chore, I turned exercise on its head. Exercise became something I would be able to do and enjoy as a result of loosing weight. I also chose to do social activities over solitary ones. I play a lot of basketball and tennis now. My level of proficiency in both games is no more than mediocre, but I enjoy the camaraderie and I have fun.

I will explore each of these three topics in more depth in separate articles. The main point I want to make is that to a degree you think yourself thin. You need to get your head right if you want to loose weight.

Often the epiphany that makes people change their life-style is some kind of dramatic or threatening event. It could be that a person close to you got seriously sick or even died. Sometimes it’s a medical test that says you are sicker and in more trouble than you thought. I hope that neither is the case for you, but in some ways these dramatic events make it easier to change your mindset. If you don’t have any of these things driving you, in some ways you it’ harder to get and maintain your motivation.

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