Euromillions winners: an improvement

As bitter as I am that I didn’t win the 101 million quid, at least these most recent winners have something going for them in the first place:

You know, for some reason I just find that I trust the character, motivations and intellect of slim people just a tad more than fat people, and am therefore slightly (ever so slightly) less bitter about their winning than I am about this couple who won the last big one:

I mean they look sweet. But really, winning a gazillion quid AND having more than one chin each? That’s just being greedy.

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Far out, mainstream media get something right: exercise myth busting

So the common media tends to come across as complete and utterly ignorant when it comes to fitness and diet, so when they do get it right it deserves a mention.

Not only is MSN right on all points mentioned, their list is almost the same as my list of most annoying exercise/diet myths:

Myth 1: Performing sit-ups gets rid of fat around the stomach

This has got to be the most annoying and commonly heard exercise myth. I like their example of the fact that if the above were true, gum chewers would have skinny faces! Might be stealing that one for future use…

Myth 2: Muscle turns to fat when you stop exercising

Again, their reasons are spot on. If you don’t workout, muscle will degenerate, and you’re likely to gain fat if you don’t change your diet. But strictly speaking muscle does not transform into fat.

Myth 3: You have to exercise for 20 minutes before you start burning fat

On the contrary, a High Intensity Interval Training session should last no longer than 20 – 30 minutes, generally speaking.

But it certainly depends on the person, and more importantly, what sort of activity you’re performing.

Myth 4: Miracle machines and potions can get you fit with no effort required

Believe me if there was a pill that I could take that could do all the hard work for me, I’d be taking it. But then, so would the rest of the world.

Myth 5: Resistance (weight) training impedes weight loss

Their explanations as to why the above statement is rubbish are so spot on I’m going to reprint it here:

Weight training is a great add-on to cardiovascular exercise because it helps maintain muscle mass, boost metabolism and reduce fat. After age 20 our metabolic rate can decrease by around 1-2% per decade. This is primarily due to muscles shrinking with age and decreasing use.

In addition, we lose both fat and muscle during weight loss. So relying on an eating plan without upping exercise levels, will mean the greater the muscle loss. Weight training can help you keep the muscle while you lose the fat. Particularly on the upper body which isn’t loaded much by walking, jogging or cycling etc. Weight training can help you achieve your goals.

The only quibble I have with their explanation is that weight training is a “great add on to cardiovascular exercise”; cardio should be the “add on” to weight training.

Myth 6: It’s best to exercise before breakfast because you burn more fat

Yeah, I’ve heard arguments for and against – as the MSN article also says. I’d say its a bad idea, as it could stunt our metabolism i.e. you body is going to be starving after such a start to the day, so is going to suck back any energy you consume later, as fat.

I think its very important to always eat withing half an hour of waking to get ensure your metabolism is up and running properly right from the start of the day.

Myth 7: Exercising after main meals is better than before

Again, maybe maybe not. Certainly if you’ve just eaten a load of carbs, then a workout soon after is going to be a huge help in reducing your insulin spike which will go someway to keeping the fat off.

Myth 8: People that are very overweight should avoid exercise

I’ve never heard this one! Show me someone who believes this and you’ve shown me a retard.

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I’m a sucker for sleep

I love my sleep.

Due to an early morning trip to the airport to pick up my best mate from the airport this morning, I only had 4 and a half hours sleep last night.

So while the sacrifice was well worth it, it did remind me just how much I value my sleep – and why.

I nearly  always get at least 7 and half hours sleep – I like to get 8 hours if I can. If I get less than 7, I’m going to feel like shit the next day and find going to the gym pretty pointless as I’m washed out, and tend to increase my chances of straining of pulling something.

Plus if I’m trying to lose fat, sleep deprivation really puts a spanner in the works. It is very obvious to me – as a result of experience – that a lack of sleep seriously thwarts my efforts to lean up.

And here’s some stuff to back up my lessons learnt from experience:

“Studies consistently show that the less sleep people have, the greater their chances of obesity,” confirms Dr David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum. “People think sleep is just sedentary, so it can’t possibly help you lose weight, but lack of it mucks up our appetite hormones.”

Yeah ok so it makes you want to eat more apparently. Not exactly the point I was trying to make. But still, its a related point.

Actually here’s the quote I was really after:

“Also, sleep deprivation puts increased stress on your body, making us produce more steroids from our adrenal glands, causing us to retain more fat in our body. The result of all these things is that no matter how hard people try to lose weight, they will have an uphill battle if they don’t get a good night’s sleep.”

Read and heed.

But wait there’s more – read the last paragraph regarding the fact that the lack of sleep causes insulin issues:

Researchers from the University of Buffalo in New York, found that those who slept on average for fewer than six hours a night during the working week were 4.56 times more likely to develop impaired fasting glucose than those sleeping six to eight hours a night.

Whadayano it fecks with your glucose/insulin levels. I’m guessing this is why its so hard to get the fat of no matter what you else you do, if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Plus you need a full nights sleep to allow your muscles repair after the strenuous resistance training workout you should be in the habit of doing 3 or so days a week.

Lucky  for me its my cheat day today anyway so I don’t really care.

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Big Brother UK

I swear I don’t watch it. Honest.

But man, I feel for poor Jay.

He’ll be used to keeping to a strict diet and gym regime similar to mine (yes believe it or not he wasn’t born massive and ripped), and the lack of protein is – quite obviously – killing him mentally. And he’s wasting away – literally.

His muscles are melting away. His ripped physique is disappearing bit by bit into a growing layer of fat.

He is an exquisite example of how crucial ones diet is to how one looks.

Oh how I feel his pain.

What’s amazing (I guess I shouldn’t be amazed by now) is how no one gets it! No one else in the house – and very few in the media – seems to realise what happens to the human body – particularly a muscular one- when you starve it of protein.

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Is MyPlate any good?

So apparently MyPlate is supposed to replace the well known “food pyramid” as the tool to teach the pleb masses what to eat.

I remember being taught about the food pyramid at primary school – there was a poster promoting it that stayed pinned to the wall of our classroom throughout all the years I was there.

Now readers of the blog will already know that I’d never recommend the food pyramid as as a guide to a healthy diet. Its bollix really, heavily influenced by lobbyists from the grain and diary industries, I reckon.

But lets do a quick review of both MyPlate and the old school food pyramid, just for fun – and also to see just whether the elite-governmental-advising-saints-in-white-lab-coat scientists have learnt from their long standing mistake (which is, after all, what the scientific method is all about I had thought) that is the old food pyramid.

Ok so the food pyramid is awful:

1) It basically says to concentrate your diet mainly on everything I’m telling you to avoid: bread, pasta, cereal etc.

2) It has fruit at level pegging with vegeatables, which is outrageous – fruit is packed full of sugar. You should only use fruit as you would an energy drink – during rigorous exercise or sport (or on your cheat day).

3) Protein is 3rd up the pyramid! On level pegging with dairy no less! As we should all know by now, the western diet is notoriously deficient in protein, and dairy has a lot to answer for with regards to obesity, diabetes etc etc.

4) Fat (and oil, although they are essentially the same thing) is plumped into one general evil catergory, along with “sweets”. Of course, readers of this blog will know that fat is infact vital to a healthy, lean diet and far superior to the carbohydrates promoted at the bottom of the pyramid.

Its all so completely wrong. No wonder there is such an obesity problem – thanks to this amazing piece of governmental incompetency propaganda advice (which we tax payers all pay for) the vast majority of westerners wake up to a bowl of cereal drenched in milk, and/or a piece of toast followed by bread or pasta at lunch, complete with rice/pasta/potatoes at dinner all the while merrily thinking they’re on a “healthy, well balanced diet” and simultaneously wondering why the fuck they look so fat and ugly, and why the fuck their kids are growing up fat and ugly and riddled with diabetes, asthma, ridiculous allergies, or all three.

I digress.

Believe it or not, MyPlate is an improvement.

1) Protein now has a much greater place of importance, taking up a quarter of the plate. An improvement.

2) Vegetables have the biggest portion, and a much bigger portion than fruit. Significant improvement.

3) Diary is relegated to a side serving – good stuff. Although it appears they’re suggesting drinking it instead of water. Not good AT ALL (unless you’re into impersonating beached whales).

4) Refined sugars are ignored completely, which is excellent.

4) Grains are given far too bigger a portion, which is a major let down.

5) It completely omits fats. Weird really, and worrying.

In short however, its a welcome upgrade to the pyramid.

I’ll take three key things from all of the above:

1) I’ll never understand why people allocate scientists such revered, unquestioned, authoritative statuses, when its taken those same scientists, what, 50 or 60 years?! to update a terribly flawed (and biased to vested interests) dietary plan.

2) Related to the above: I’ll never believe or do stuff just because the majority already do. The majority are ignorant plebs.

4) I’m still not confident with the spelling of pyriamid pirymad pyrimad pyramid.

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There is no such thing as “good” pasta – take two

There is only bad or worse pasta.

Prevention.com like to differ.Which is why I’d bet the vast majority of their avid followers are far from the epitome of leanness.

I’m not going to review each of their examples of bad pasta; instead all I need to do is make the sweeping comment that many of the things they suggest as being the bad ingredients (butter, cream and meat) I’d far sooner guzzle down, than the pasta itself! (In fact, butter/cream is my preferred form of fat consumption for fatloss, nutritional and health reasons. Don’t believe what your mama told you: its not the butter that’s causing heart attacks and fatties).*

If you take a person’s diet and cut all the pasta out of it, and you take another person with exactly the same diet and instead cut all the butter and cream out of it, the first person will lose more weight (or gain less) than the second (all other things being equal).

I’m not going to review each of their examples of “good pasta” either. I mean, whats the point.

You know the drill: pasta is a refined carb that will spike your insulin levels, causing your body to store more fat while at the same time making it hard for your body to burn fat as energy.

If you really want to give your body the chance to lose fat, you’ll save pasta for your cheat day.

*This is an excellent – but fairly heavy going – article on why butter is not only fine to eat while getting leaner, but should in fact be a preferred ingredient for anyone.
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Sorry, you can’t blame your fatness on your genes

Its amazing how many people seemed to be resigned to the idea that they are the shape they are because, well, that’s just who they are. Like, its not their fault, they were born that way.

What rot. Everyone can do something about their shape, size, body fat percentage and general attractiveness. I just can’t understand how people – in particular fat people – can be so clueless or noncaring about their appearance, health and physical ability that they are able to convince themselves that they just can’t help the way they are.

What is certain is some people undoubtedly are dealt a superior set of genetic cards but not everyone with a bad stack is overweight.

Without a doubt,  some people are blessed with genes that enable them to burn fat and/or build muscle far more easily than others. Some of my ripped mates at the gym get to eat way more carbs than I can. They seem to – at least at this stage in their lives – be either able to  naturally absorb more of the carbs into muscle (or perhaps pass more of it through without absorbing it at all) or perhaps they are able to more easily burn fat stores. I don’t know.

But as the study notes above, those with average genes aren’t all fat – which means I have a message for those with average genes who happen to be fat:

Not only that, but:

Interestingly, a study by US consumer organisation Consumer Reports that screened 21,000 readers to find the 16 per cent of people who were ”always-slim”, concluded the overwhelming link between them was healthy eating habits, portion control and regular exercise.

Taking my example of the ripped guys at my gym who aren’t as strict with their diets as I am, I bet they would still be fat – good genetics or not – if they didn’t work out the way the do (regular, intensive resistance training) and if they didn’t worry about what they ate at all.

So fatties: don’t be going all jealous over slim people, because they are generally slim for other reasons other than genetic make up.

Note: many many fatties get to the stage of giving up and accepting their wobbling figures after trying various forms of starvation dieting. By starvation dieting, I mean the conventional “calories in vs calories out” dieting.

Unfortunately, although this can work for some fatties – eventually – it is horribly hard going, and hard to keep up. Not only this, but it often ends up stunting ones metabolism so that your body ends up increasing its propensity to store excess energy as fat. All in all it has a terrible pain to gain ratio.

Thankfully, you have this blog to help keep you properly informed so that you can maximize your pain/gain ratio.

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