Thursday, March 05, 2015

An Apology to Carolyn Kallio

In the earlier days of this blog I once wrote a piece that was highly critical of the very pro-beef messages being put forward by then Beef Information Centre registered dietitian Carolyn Kallio.

My view on beef at the time was that it carried with it more risk than I now think the evidence actually supported. I don't think I took enough time to read the red meat studies with sufficiently critical glasses and instead trusted others' opinions without doing my own truly due diligence. At the time I was concerned about increased cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease risks with red meat consumption, and while there may well be some slight risks to red meat not shared by other protein sources (especially with processed red meats), my take was overblown.

I've written more positive pieces on red meat since then (including this one on how it's almost certainly not going to kill you if consumed moderately), and I think too for the most part my writing style has softened over the years, and while I can't change the past, I can correct it.

Carolyn, I'm sorry. I was wrong both in how I interpreted the literature, and also in how I wrote about your work, and I have deleted that post from my blog.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

You Can't Teach Yourself Not to Fall

Truly, falling happens.

Whatever it is you're trying to do with your life - improve health, nurture relationships, parent better, lose weight, cook more, improve fitness, run faster - the fact of the matter is, sometimes you're going to suck at it, sometimes you're going to fall.

Getting mad at yourself that something inevitable happened, well that's not very helpful.

Instead of spending time and mental energy on being upset that you fell, instead focus your attention on getting back up.

Easiest question to help you to do so?

"What can I do today that will help?", and then do it.

Falling down doesn't matter. All that matters is that you get back up.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Why You Should Aim to be Diligent, not Militant

Further to my post from yesterday, if you focus on remaining diligent, not militant, you've got a shot.

Regularly, thoughtfully, diligently, asking questions like, "is it worth it?", when considering dietary indulgences, and then following up with, "how much of it do I need to be happily satisfied?", rather than militantly, blindly, saying "No", and you'll have a far better chance of longterm thoughtful reduction.

All or nothing lifestyle changes might start off with a well-intentioned "all", but almost invariably lead people back to an all-encompassing, "nothing".

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Monday, March 02, 2015

Why I'm Not Fazed by Long Term Weight Management Stats

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It's no secret that I believe modern day dieting is broken.

Traditionally it has relied on extremes of restriction, under-eating, over-exercising, and cultivating lives that often at best are describable as merely tolerable.

Not only are these regularly extreme approaches the ones that society has adopted, but they're also often the approaches that medicine has studied.

Is it no wonder then that long-term weight management has proven itself to be elusive?

Expecting people to live lives where food can't serve to provide comfort and pleasure, where guilt and shame are meant to shape decisions, where fighting hunger with distraction is encouraged, where reality is ignored - go figure the long term stats stink.

We need new goalposts. Where goals aren't number based, where the healthiest life you can enjoy is the aim, where food retains its ability to provide comfort and celebration, where our personal bests are considered great, and where like everything else in our lives, we're comfortable with the fact that our personal bests will vary - both between individuals, and even within individuals.

Ultimately if your diet gives your life the finger, don't be surprised if you eventually tell that diet to kiss off.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Laugh More Infectious than Measles

Today's Funny Friday video is of a Russian baby with a tremendously wonderful laugh.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

When Intermittent Fasting is No Longer Intermittent Fasting

For those of you not familiar, there are three main intermittent fasting camps. There are the folks who truly fast for 1 or 2 days weekly and who eat as sensibly as they can enjoy on the non-fasting days (folks like Brad Pilon), there are the folks who have an 8 hour eating window following a 16 hour fast (folks like Martin Berkhan), and then there are folks who alternate sensible days of eating with days of very-low calories, where those calories are typically consumed at once at midday. It's the last group I'll be talking about and I think it would be fair to say that Krista Varady is this group's primary researcher and champion.

Recently she published a new study whereby she compared the impact of having those 500 calories all at once midday, vs. spread out in smaller meals or consumed at dinner time on weight loss and some metabolic parameters. According to her study, it was undertaken in part because of the low levels of tolerability found among new adherents to her style of dieting. The findings were straightforward. A full 20% of each treatment arm dropped out before the 8 weeks were over which no doubt speaks to the challenge of this style of eating. Weight loss and metabolic changes were roughly the same between groups.

Reading this study, two things kept nagging at me. The first was the use of the word "fasting". Can you really describe a day where you eat a bunch of small meals (or really anything at all) fasting? Doesn't strike me as alternate day fasting, strikes me more as alternate day very-low-calorie-dieting, or maybe alternate day protein-sparing modified fasting (and for the record, I never understood that term either), and I can't help but wonder if part of the challenge with adherence is the negative associations people might have with the word, "fasting". And the second thing of course was the dropout rate. 20% in just an 8 week study strikes me as extremely high. Consequently, while no doubt a useful strategy for some, I can't say that I'm hopeful this approach will suit too many.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Study for the "You Can't Outrun Your Fork" File

Published this month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine was a study that looked at the impact of an interventionist led program geared towards increasing physical activity in sedentary women with overweight and obesity.

The outcome of the intervention was in one sense quite significant - at 3 months the women randomly assigned to the interventionist led group reported performing nearly 4x as much exercise as the women randomly assigned to a self-directed intervention. Unfortunately though, by month 12, that difference shrank to the point of no longer being statistically significant.

Why did their exercise drop off so much?

Perhaps it was because of the fact that exercising more at 3 months didn't result in any increase in weight loss for the interventionist led group, which, like it does with gym goers every New Year's season, may have led those folks exercising more at month 3 to have long since given up exercising more by month 12 following the repeated frustration of scales that didn't do what was hoped of them.

Overselling exercise's benefits to weight while underselling its benefits to health, does a disservice to both.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

There's No Question that Nothing Will Change if you Change Nothing

The inconvenient truth of healthful living?

It requires effort.

Just make sure that your efforts are enjoyable as the more extreme the effort, the more short-lived it's likely to be.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Consistency's a Far Better Goal than Perfection

Consistency in doing your best, where your best will vary day by day. Sometimes variance will be consequent to things out of your control (illness, travel, celebration, tragedy), and sometimes variance will be within your control, with the point being, no one's perfect, and the harder you try to be, the surer you'll fail.

(Sorry for brevity, still sick!)

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