The Law of Caloric Density

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When I was in the depth of my disordered eating, I remember hearing about the law of caloric density. It was being promoted by an MD named John McDougall out in California. McDougall is a big fan of the starch-based diet. He thinks the ideal diet for humans is one that is based on starch.

Personally, I think McDougall goes too far with the starch. He completely eschews animal protein, dairy, and high-fat foods. Severely limiting fat intake can lead to a number of problems and the foods that he eliminates have plenty of health benefits.

Be that as it may, one concept I remember well and I still adhere to is this law of caloric density. It says that you should emphasize foods that hover around 1 calorie/gram and limit the ones that go below or above that.

Spinach has .3 calories/gram which is so low it's not even worth counting. Imagine getting 2,000 calories a day from spinach!

Then there are the processed foods and the desserts, which hover around 4.5-5 calories per gram. A piece of...

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How to do Intermittent Fasting if You Have an Eating Disorder

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In my latest video this week, I talk about the promise and hazards of intermittent fasting. The risks are especially high if you have an eating disorder. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but it does mean you need to exercise caution.

I remember fasting to lose weight about six years ago. It felt great because I was losing weight fast (bad idea- you know why if you've read my previous e-mails) and getting results. But I hated it because I had no energy.

I've heard that after the first few days, you don't even notice. Maybe that's true for others but it wasn't true for me! I felt lethargic, tired, and I passed out a couple times in my own home due to low blood sugar levels. Sometimes I wish I could go 10 days without eating but I've never been able to pull that off, and I'm more committed to NOT BINGING than anything else.

Fasting can be healthy, but it can also facilitate the binge/purge cycle: fast->binge->repeat. Fasting has an ugly side is what I'm saying. Do it right or...

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What's Lacking in the Health and Fitness Industry

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I get ads for all sorts of fitness products, gadgets, systems, and health foods almost daily. In fact, it takes up most of my Instagram feed these days.

We live in a golden age of health. It's never been easier to get healthy. Online personal trainers, apps, trackers, better fitness equipment, more gyms, 24/7 gyms, online markets to find supplements, books, YouTube.

The missing link in all this is this: behavorial modification.

If you think about it, most of our medical bills in this country stem from poor lifestyle, poor choices, poor preparation for the future, inability to take care of our bodies, and a general neglect of health.

Yes, there are patients who get into accidents, develop neoplasms in the brain, and have bad luck, but in my experience, most problems come from a lack of exercise, neglect of the body, poor diet, unhealthy cultural preferences, and in ability to read the obvious signs.

What if everybody worked out 30-60 minutes a day, meditated, got 15 minutes of sunshine,...

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How to Stop Eating Once You've Started

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I just uploaded a new video. This one is on how to stop eating once you've started.

Have you ever heard someone say something like, "if I eat anything, I'll eat everything, so I eat nothing." That's what I'm talking about. That's assuming that you have no control and that bingeing and overeating are fait accomli.

I confess. I used to look at "thin-spiration" blogs, pictures of thin, pretty women (and men) who had the physique and lifestyle that I wanted. Much like social media today makes us depressed because everyone else is living cool lives, looks pretty, and has everything they want. Of course, that's not true, but that's the image that the "thin-spo" blogs promoted then and today.

I remember how hard it was for me to stop eating once I started. In fact, it was harder to stop than it was to fast and completely abstain from eating.

If you feel like you can't stop eating, then I encourage you to check out my video:

...

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Why You Should Avoid Maximum Weight Loss

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One thing that always amuses me is the "health" magazines at grocery stores, with pictures of fabulous women promising "maximum weight loss" on the front cover.

One of the worst tendencies of humans is to seek maximum advantage with the least amount of energy expended.

This goes back to the hunter-gatherer days I suspect, when energy was scarce, humans were hungry more often than not, and it was hard to obtain a sufficient number of calories from the environment. Hence the need to store body fat efficiently and our reluctance to give up that hard-earned energy.

We're still hunter-gatherers in many ways, and if you're wondering why making changes is so hard, then blame your great grandparents x1000. They were the ones who gave this lazy gene and this predilection for laziness and shortcuts.

These magazines know that, and they want you to buy their solutions to quick weight loss or rapid weight loss.

My question is always, "why?"

I can guarantee you that you will not necessarily be...

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Why I Ditched Meal Plans

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I can't tell you how many times I made these elaborate meal plans only to follow them for two or three days at best.

I realized that meal plans are meant to be broken and that I needed something else.

What I needed was principles that guided me in all situations. Let's fact it, a meal plan is only as good as your ability to follow it. If you can't follow it, then what good is it?

Self-control was everything. Once I had self-control, I could follow any meal plan I wanted: vegan, low sugar, whatever. Without self-control, all those plans were worthless.

This is why I advice against meal plans. I like principles that you can apply anywhere. What do you eat at an airport, conference center, a party, a bad restaurant, in the car, on the go? A meal plan is worthless in those cases because all these meal plans assume you always have access to modern conveniences.

I laugh when I see meal plans where every meal is this beautifully prepared meal with vegetables, protein, and starch. Yeah, that's...

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Why I Don't Buy Recipe Books

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I think a lot about what is going to be obsolete in the future: manual laborers, drivers, checkout lines, tax preparers, etc.

I think we can add the recipe book to that list. And here's why.

I can't imagine how many recipe books have been written. I would guess at least 50,000, if not 100,000. I don't think we need more recipe books!

One thing I've noticed almost every patient has is at least one recipe book. Rich, poor, it doesn't matter. I have a patient on Medi-cal (a venture between the federal government and the state of California) who lives in a fly-infested home (another story). But you know what she has? Recipe books. And lots of them. And they look new too.

Another thing I've noticed is that they sit on the shelf like they haven't been touched in years. But they look nice!

Recipe books follow the same fate as exercise machines: they seem like a great idea, but then they only get used a few times and then, they sit on a shelf and collect dust or laundry.

Recipe books have become...

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Weight Loss Advice from 1951

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I was watching a short clip the other day of a weight loss video I saw made in 1951. The narrator referred to a "reducing diet" instead of a "weight loss diet." He even referred to a "slimming diet." I had to chuckle.

What I noticed was this:

The weight loss advice offered in this video was as good if not better than the weight loss advice offered today. It said that women should eat enough to be satisfied but no more, that they should eat meat, starch and milk (this video was made by the National Dairy Board, after all, but dairy does have a roll in most people's diet.), and cut down on the sweets.

It featured a few college women in Michigan who were looking to get "slender." The desire to be slender goes back to the 1920's for various reasons, although the standard has shifted a lot since then.

The narrator cautioned against eating too many sweets or desserts.

All the ladies did was eat a little less and kept doing that for an extended period of time.

The narrator said that too much...

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Health is More Than What You Eat

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When I say the word "health", what comes to mind? Food, exercise, supplements, etc.

But what if I told you "health" is much more than that? Here's what I mean.

Yes what you eat matters, but also how you eat. Exercising is good for you, but the type of exercise always matters too.

What about other components of health? What about sleep? What about taking exercise breaks during the day? What about standing? Drinking water? Meditation? Laughing? Social life? Skin health? Air quality? You don't see too many books about those topics do you?

One of my motivations for getting into the coaching space was that I have a unique message. One thing that makes it unique is that I believe health is more than what you eat. But how many YouTube channels are there about diet and nutrition? 1 million? How many diet books have ever been written? How many studies on diet have been conducted?

Diet matters, but not as much as we've been led. There are so many components to a healthy and happy life that are...

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No Shortcuts in Life

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If you want to make a lot of money online, do this:

tell people that you can deliver a result faster than anyone else. People love speed. Success loves speed.

Now, this is fine as long as you can deliver the actual result. In some cases, however, there is a long process involved, and selling long processes don't sell very well online. Everybody wants everything yesterday.

When I was taking chemistry as a pre-requisite to get into PT school, I had an Indian tutor named Santosh. I remember asking him to give me "hacks" that would let me learn faster. I remember him telling me, "you are taking shortcuts."

Yes I was! I wanted to learn it, take the test, and then forget it (which is what I did with 95% of the information I learned in college).

But I couldn't take shortcuts on the way to the exam. I had to sit down, focus, learn it, struggle, get some bad grades, and then I eventually passed. But it wasn't easy.

Same with my eating disorders. I had to practice, experiment, see what worked, see...

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