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Why we have an obesity problem Part #2

A while back I posted Why we have an obesity problem.

If that was Part #1, this is Part #2.

I was visiting my local Post Office the other day. It’s a busy little sub-Post Office counter built at the back of a neighbourhood convenience store, as many Post Office counters are these days. It’s almost always busy, and customers form a queue along one of the aisles of the shop. Here is the view as I stood in the aisle awaiting my turn to be served.

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Great, ‘the £1 zone’ is right there, where folks who just want to post a parcel or buy some stamps or apply for a drivers licence, have to stand and wait to be served.

I grabbed a packet of cookies and turned them over to see the nutrition label.

Check this out:

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This twin-pack of ‘vanilla flavoured cookies with chocolate chips’ weighs 400 grams net weight. As you can see, the cookies deliver 495 calories per 100g. In round numbers, this is 2000 calories – for £1. (For my readers outside the UK, at current rates, £1 sterling is €1.14 Euros, or $1.29 USD at current, Feb 2019, exchange rates.)

2000 calories is the recommended daily intake for an adult female in the UK, wishing to maintain body weight (not gain or lose).

2000 calories, your entire daily intake, for £1.

Let’s just check the ingredients label to see what these cookies are made of.

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Now, remember the way an ingredients list works – the items are listed in descending order, from the item that makes up the greatest percentage of the contents, down to the minor items listed last.

These cookies are made of – refined wheat flour, palm oil, sugar, chocolate chips (which are made of sugar and more palm oil) and then some coca butter and then lesser items.

Broken out by macronutrient, the 2000 calories in this £1 pack consist of:

  • Just over 50% sugar – 262 calories of carbs out of 495 calories per 100g. (Carbohydrates contain around 4.1 calories per gram.) They list “of which sugars” as a sub-set of the carbohydrate, but given that the ‘non-sugar’ is just refined wheat flour, once inside your intestines it is broken down and absorbed as glucose just the same as the refined sugar, so to your blood, to your metabolism, it’s all sugar. Out of 2000 calories – approx 1060 calories of sugar
  • After the flour and refined sugar, the only other substantial ingredient is the palm oil (not the best thing to be eating) which contribute the overwhelming majority of the calories from fats in this product. (Fats contain around 9 calories per gram.) SO we get around 212 calories of fat (palm oil) per 100g. Approximately 43% of this product is fat
  • Out of the total 2000 calories in the pack…it’s 53% sugar, and 43% fat – and that fat is not a healthy fat like you get in fresh fish, olive oil or avocado, that’s fat from palm oil
  • As for this ‘food product’ providing any possible health benefits…like vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids…forget it

We have an obesity problem in this country, and that problem is a burden that is unfairly heaped onto low income families, and this is a big part of what is causing that problem. Crap food, refined sugar, refined plant oils, and cheap processed grains, are everywhere – cheap food, easy to buy, in our faces, tempting, tasty, packed and displayed to make our kids nag and pester for it.

While 90% of people I meet say they “can’t afford to buy organic” fruits and vegetables, but convenience stores are punting 2000 calories of sugar and fat for just £1, we are never going to solve the problem.

Public Health England needs to sort this out. Food manufacturers and mass market retailers are one of the most potent forces driving the obesity problem in the UK, and there can be no doubt that the abundant availability of cheap sugar is also exacerbating the type-2 diabetes problem too. This puts an increasing burden of poor health on to poorer families – the government should be subsidising bloody fish and vegetables, and taxing the hell out of sugar and palm oil. Clearly, with 2000 calories on sale for £1 (how do they even do that? The cost of overheads, the packaging, the shelf space, the store staff???) this is not happening, and we have a food system that enabled unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers to dump a mass of cheap, health-damaging ‘food products’ on to the market without any sugar taxes or other barriers to stop them.

Shame on you Public Health England.
Shame on you UK govt.
Shame on you food manufacturers.
Shame on you major food retailers.
Shame on all of you. Our NHS cannot afford to treat this burden forever. We have to rebuild a country that understands ‘prevention is better than cure’.

 

Smoking, death, decisions, goals, consistency and success – in that order

When I tell ‘my story’ in writing or at my seminars, I often say that “I was trying to lose weight and be healthy, but getting it all wrong for 16 years” and then, from my mid-30s, I started getting things right. The day I started getting things right, was 13 years ago today.

13 years ago today, on the 4th Feb 2006, I was 35 years old, over weight, out of shape and in poor health. I weighed 220 pounds, that’s 99.8 kilos (or 15 stone 10 in old English money) and I had a BMI of 29, and my bodyfat was 25%. This wasn’t my heaviest, I had been 15 to 30 pounds heavier at various times in my teens, my 20s and just three years earlier in 2003, in my 30s.

By this point, 2006, I had been yo-yo dieting for 19 years. I had smoked for 18 out of the previous 20 years, I had quit hundreds of times – some lasted a day, some a week, some a month, once I even managed a whole year off, but then it somehow crept back in. I could never quit based on rationalising to myself.

  • If I told myself “it’s a waste of money” that didn’t so it. I had a good job, I was earning plenty, and I mostly smoked roll-ups in those days (roll-your-own) so my dozen smokes per day probably only cost me about 10 quid per week, it was pocket change to me then
  • If I told myself “it’ll kill you one day” that didn’t do it either. I was only in my 30s, I couldn’t really imagine being like my granddad, who has smoked all his life and passed in his 70s from emphysema
  • If I told myself “it’s not good for you” that wasn’t hitting any emotional triggers for me. I had used jogging as a weight control on and off for years, so when I really put in the effort, I could haul arse for a few miles round the block (my excess weight battering my right knee, that later ended up in surgery) so I told myself it was OK, I was fit enough
  • No matter how hard to tried to quit smoking, it always crept back in, every time, after hundreds and hundreds of attempts to quit

So, at this point, early 2006, I was smoking again, drinking far too much, unhealthily overweight, not exercising regularly, unfit, out of shape and my body was covered in itchy red hives, an unsightly rash caused by a condition called urticaria.

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I had a good job, I loved my kids, my life was ‘on the up’ in terms of growing my career, my family, my wealth…but they say the real wealth is health, and I knew all was not well. Read more

STFU, take your HTFU pills, JFDI and GSD…

Imagine a line…

In your mind’s eye (or grab a piece of paper and draw a line for real, if you like) imagine a line, horizontal, left to right, across a sheet of paper.

Draw a big fat dot at each end.

Over the dot on the left end, write “Here, now, where I am, the start point, my reality” or words to that effect.

Over the dot on the right end, write “My goal, my target, where I want to be, where I am trying to get to” or words to that effect, words that mean something to you, to signify the body you say you want, the energetic feeling you say you want, the weight you wish the scales said, the feeling, look, strength, muscle, fitness – whatever it is you said you want…a month ago, as New Year’s Eve was upon us. What was your goal for 2019?

Now you have a line, and the left end represents where you are, let’s call it the start point, and the right end represents where you want to be, the goals you set yourself a month ago, the way you want to look and feel and perform.

Now draw a big circle around the line between the two. (Actually, it’s probably not a circle, more of an ellipse or egg-shape, right?)

In the circle, or ellipse, along the line from the left hand end to the right hand end, write these words:

Lots of work. Hard work. Consistent effort. No excuses. Get it done. Make sacrifices. Sweat, Hurt. Achieve. Feel pride.

The middle bit [ain’t so popular]

It’s been my experience in life so far, that folks all know what the dot on the left hand end looks and feels like, I mean, that’s the here and now, the reality, of course they know.

And folks all know what the dot on the right hand end looks like – it probably looks like the images they see in magazines, or photos of themselves from 20 years ago, or their favourite athlete or sports star.

But it’s the bit in the middle most folks ain’t so keen on.

Folks know where they are starting from, and they generally know where they want to get to, they just don’t like all the hard work and sacrifice in the middle.

No one wants to do the hard work these days. 

If you are one of the few, who ain’t afraid to graft, then the last few lines won’t offend you, they’ll make you puff your chest out with pride and say “He’s right, it takes effort, that’s me, I do that, and I am getting results.”

If you are one of the many who doesn’t like the bit in the middle, the hard work and sacrifices, then the last few lines might have offended you, and if they did, then you can choose to be offended, and bugger all will change, or you can choose to take this blog post as a friendly-but-honest kick up the butt, and you can resolve to double-down on your efforts and get some stuff done.

A lot of folks have already given up on the promises they made themselves less than a month ago.

Seriously, it’s Jan 30th, not even a full months since those New Year’s resolutions, and many folks have already given up. Jeez, I made myself a promise on Feb 4th, 2006, to “change my life and become a healthy person” and I am still holding dead strong to that promise every single day, almost 13 years later. If you can make a month, that’s a pretty poor effort.

A lot of folks need to STFU and stop complaining about everything that’s ‘too hard’ or ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘it feels uncomfortable’ or ‘but it’s raining’ or whatever, and take their HTFU pills (you know, Harden The **** Up pills…) and JFDI.
We ‘Get Stuff Done’ (#GSD – maybe you prefer Get Sh*t Done….) when we quit complaining and letting our excuses stop us, and we knuckle down to the hard work that HAS TO FILL THE GAP to get from the dot at the left hand end of the line, to the dot at the right hand end of the line.

I’ve been #GSD for 13 years now, and I’m still firing on all 4 cylinders, more motivated and more driven than ever.

In that time I could have used every excuse going – young kids, building my business, ups and downs, almost hit bankruptcy, rescued that from the brink, fought and paid huge debts, marital ups and downs, family bereavements, emotional lows, injuries, accidents, financial stress, emotional stress, career success and failure – if you can name it, I’ve had to get through it.

Still here. Still fighting. Still winning.
More details on all that, and how to get the results you want, in this book for you.

We all know the dot at the left end of the line.
If you want to get to the dot on the right end, you have to be prepared to do the hard work and make the sacrifices, that sit along the line in the middle.

Short cuts are bull***t, just distractions. Imagine that line was a map, to drive from, say, London to Liverpool.
It’s about 220 miles to drive from London to Liverpool.
There’s no genuine shortcut. If someone is trying to sell you a “do it in just 50 miles” solution, you have to know that’s b/s.
It just can’t be done.
The only way you are ever going to drive from London to Liverpool, is on the roads, from A to B.

You can tackle it, by the most direct route, and just knuckle down to it and get the job done, and you’ll cover about 220 miles.
Or you can be distracted, by every b/s promise, false start, trick and gimmick, and keep going off sideways, seeking short cuts, quick hacks, and inevitably, you’ll end up spending your life wasting time on the side turnings, driving hundreds of miles but getting no closer to the end destination.

There are no short cuts.
You just gotta tackle the hard work, be consistent, stay motivated, stay on track, and go chase your goals and dreams.

Yes or yes?

So, if you need some help along the way, Mother Nature’s Diet is here for you, with tips and guidance to help you avoid the biggest mistakes that most people commonly make.

Time to STFU, take your HTFU pills, knuckle down and JFDI and GSD.

To your grand success, to you excellent good health!

Karl

Diets; massive weight loss; and the greatest health threats of our time…

I want to share a couple of things with you that I have read recently.

This is a fairly long read, but I encourage you to find a few minutes to read it if you can, it’s harrowing and insightful.

One quote that rings so true…something I have said many times myself, is this…

Tommy writes:

“Here are the two things I have come to believe about diets:

1. Almost any diet works in the short term.
2. Almost no diets work in the long term.

The most depressing five-word Google search I can think of—and I can think of a lot of depressing five-word Google searches—is gained all the weight back. Losing weight is not the hard part. The hard part is living with your diet for years, maybe the rest of your life.”

That’s the truth, and that’s why I teach Mother Nature’s Diet as a permanent healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet, not a temporary eating plan. You need permanent change, to achieve permanent results.

Reading that whole article, as many others I have read, and through my own personal weight loss transformation and the private one-to-one health coaching clients I have worked with over the years, I am struck again and again with one overpowering observation:

So much of the obesity crisis, it’s not that folks fail to understand that “eating veggies is good, eating cakes will make you fat”, or it’s not that folks don’t understand they need to exercise.

People know that stuff.

It’s sadness, it’s desperation, it’s social anxiety, it’s loneliness.
People eat for comfort, for pleasure, to escape.

In all walks of life, people get addicted to all kinds of things – alcohol is the obvious biggest one, but also hard drugs, shopping, online gaming, smoking, sex, pornography, gambling, and food.

So often, we see addictive behaviour to alcohol, or drugs, or food, is really just a lost, confused, hurt, lonely, unhappy person hiding from reality, seeking some comfort, and taking solace, habitually, in their go-to-pleasure of choice.

It starts as just one drink, or just one cake, or just one hit…and we never think it’ll lead to the addiction that it does.

Food, unlike hard drugs, is legal, and easy to buy, anywhere and everywhere.
And food, unlike cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling, isn’t locked behind any kind of licensing laws, age restriction or advertising ban.

While I am still a big believer in personal responsibility, to the food-addicted, morbidly-obese, lonely depressed comfort-eater, food companies and their marketing agencies are like legal drug-pushers, and our society is doing very little to help these people handle their unhealthy habit.

Lots to think about there.

Greatest dangers

Also in the news this week and of great interest, the World Health Organisation (WHO) put out a list of the greatest health hazards we face worldwide. This is worth a quick read, it’s only short.

The take away points to note:

  • Air pollution is becoming a more serious problem every year – my advice? Move to the country, sell that old diesel car, and get your home boiler serviced
  • Anti-vaccine madness…oh for goodness sake, study the science, not the hype, and don’t base important decisions about your child’s health on a Meme you saw shared on Facebook
  • Antimicrobial resistance – could become a very serious issue in the future. When the human race can no longer rely on antibiotics, you could actually die form a papercut. Ditch the hand sanitizer, don’t be afraid of mud, stop obsessing over germs and hyper-cleansing every inch of your home with a dozen chemical cleaning products, and buy top-quality meat, organic, or free ranged, or grass fed, to help reduce antibiotic use in farm animals

Until next week, keeping it real out there!

To your good health!

Karl

Free help for those who want it…

One of my goals since I started Mother Nature’s Diet has always been to help as many people as possible for free.

I honestly believe that good health is our birthright, and it should not be something we have to pay for.

I think ‘they‘ have made the world of diet, weight loss, healthy living, ageing, fitness, disease prevention and other related areas, all so super-complicated in recent decades.

They spent years telling us that fat is bad, then fat is good and sugar is bad. They told everyone to go running, then they say everyone has knee and back problems from running, and we should all be lifting weights. Cholesterol is bad, no no cholesterol is fine. Too much sugar causes diabetes…no no there is no evidence that sugar causes diabetes. They contradict, and they argue, the so-called experts, over everything.

And if you read The Daily Fail or certain other newspapers, then over the years they have run headlines telling you just about everything causes cancer or heart disease or makes you fat!

It’s all so bloody confusing. And all so bloody frustrating!

  • I personally spent 20 years lost in that confusion
  • I yo-yo dieted as I tried every fad, followed every trend, read all the diet books
  • I ended up overweight, confused, and with knackered knees (yes, it was the running!!)

So, out of this confusion, the ‘health guru industry’ has emerged (ummm, maybe I am a part of that…whaddya reckon?) and suddenly we are told the answers we are searching for are in this £99 pound diet plan called “The 7 Magic Secrets to weight loss”, or the answers are in the £39 per month gym plan “Total New Body” or such like, or you just have to sign up a mere £397 for this 6-month group coaching course and all will become clear to you as they reveal “the secrets the doctors don’t want you to know” or whatever. You know, there’s lots of this stuff out there, I’ll bet you’ve seen the adverts.

And that’s OK, I guess, these folks are all just trying to earn a living, just like me, and so good luck to ’em. Providing they are selling something genuine, and providing it works, at least for some people, then I guess that’s OK. But here at Mother Nature’s Diet, I see things a little differently.

I don’t think you should have to pay to learn the basics, to have the basic knowledge of how to be healthy. I don’t think there are any ‘secrets’ or ‘magic formula’ – I think that most people need a little guidance, to cut through the dietary and nutritional confusion, and then there is just common sense, personal responsibility, and good old fashioned hard work.

For that basic knowledge, I don’t think people should have to pay. They should teach this stuff at schools, leisure centres, health centres and pharmacies around the country, for free. Because there are a lot of folks out there who can’t afford to pay.

Bottom of the income ladder

Sadly, the reality of our society is, that Read more

Part 10 – Fermented Food Recipes

Part 10 – closing out our mini-series on the microbiome and gut health, this final post offers you recipes for some fermented foods you can make at home to nourish your gut flora.
Enjoy!!

New Dawn Health

Today is my last post on the microbiome. Here are three recipes that I regularly make. Go on, give them a try! As your confidence grows, you can expand your repertoire using the many recipes and variations of these, online. A little a day, keeps trouble at bay!

Homemade Sauerkraut

Equipment needed

A large fermentation or mason jar; a large bowl; a rolling pin; a fermentation weight

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of Cabbage (white or red)
  • 1-3 Tablespoon sea salt or Himalayan rock salt (more for a bigger cabbage)

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop or shred the cabbage. Put it into a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt.
  2. Pound with a rolling pin for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage has leaked enough cabbage juice to cover itself. If it doesn’t, you can add a little filtered water.
  3. Transfer the cabbage into a big sterilised fermentation jar, pressing and coimagesmpacting the cabbage down hard underneath the…

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Part 9 – Optimising your microbiome

Part 9 now in our mini-series on the human microbiome and gut health, from my friend Dawn at NewDawnHealth.co.uk and this is probably my favourite so far, all about how to optimise your own microbiome.

I love the opening line – seed it, feed it and weed it, that’s a brilliant analogy.
If you could see the inside of your own gut (eugh, yuk! Poop in the making! lol) under a microscope, you’d see filaments stretching down into the ‘soil’ of digesting food and bacteria, not unlike the way a tree sends its roots down into the soil beneath our feet. It’s very similar, if on a different size scale, and it’s a great way to think of our health and our approach to a healthy gut. If you planted a tree in unhealthy soil, you would grow a small, weak, sick tree. Well if your body plants it’s “nutrition seeking roots” into poor “soil” (that’s junk food, crappy ‘beige’ processed carbs, pesticide residues, alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners and additives, etc.) then what’s that going to do for you??

Read this, think about what you are feeding your body, the ‘soil’ you are giving to those roots, and remember “you are what you eat.”

Final part in the series tomorrow!

To your good health!
Karl.

p.s. and please, show my friend Dawn some love, go on over to her blog and give her a Like or a Follow, show some thanks for letting us share these! Thanks Dawn x

New Dawn Health

Caring for our microbiome is like tending to the soil in our vegetable garden. We need to weed it, seed it and feed it.

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  1. We can weed-out, kill-off, or out-compete any unbeneficial species
  2. Then we can seed it with fermented foods and probiotics
  3. We need to make sure to feed it with the right diet including prebiotic foods
  4. We need to tend it with a nurturing healthy lifestyle

The dietary changes that you make will have a rapid effect on your microbes. Within days of improving your diet, your microbes will respond. You will need to be consistent to maintain the changes though. Here are some top tips.

Feed your microbiome lots of fibre from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and wholegrains (if you eat grains). Fibre rich vegetables are apples, artichokes, avocados, beans, berries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery, greens, figs and kale, to name a few.

Eat a raw…

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Don’t over-think this, permanent weight loss isn’t as hard as many people think it is, here’s a couple of top tips…

Two weeks in to January.

Just hitting week three.

According to surveys, this is the week “most” people give up on all the ‘new year, new me’ stuff, the diet, the weight loss efforts, the gym, all that.

So, if you are still fired up, motivated, enjoying it and pushing forward – kudos to you, well done, you are doing better than most.

But if you are struggling, here are two thoughts from someone who did it, pushed through, stuck it out and lost the weight, 101 pounds of it, and kept it off, now some 12 years later.

Perfection is bull****

Don’t strive for perfect.

Don’t be that person who ate one bad thing, made one small mistake, and then decided that everything had gone to rat sh*t as a result.

I’ve seen that so many times.

January 16th: “OMG, someone offered me a biscuit at work, by the coffee machine, I ate it, oh well that’s the diet screwed then, sod it, might as well cancel the gym membership and order pizza tonight and open a 6-pack of beers!”

That’s dumb.

Don’t be hard on yourself, it was just one small slip up, boo hoo, get over it and move on.

I can assure you, success comes from getting it right 90% of the time, not from being too hard on yourself all the time chasing 100% perfection.

So the only thing you should give up in the 3rd week of January, is this ‘set-yourself-up-to-fail’ idea of chasing ‘perfect’.

Let that go, and you’ll give yourself permission to be humanly imperfect, which is just what you need to be to navigate the crazy times we live in and keep making forward progress.

Consistency

Once you have let go of the trap of perfect, you’ll be far better equipped to survive the ups and downs of life, which is what you need to achieve success with Tip #2 – stick with it, foe the long haul, be consistent.

The number one pitfall for most people, is ‘fad diet mentality’.

A fad diet is just that – a fad. A temporary change in behaviour that will likely deliver you a temporary change in your results.

You eat less for a few weeks or months, and you weigh less for a few weeks or months.
When you return to eating how you always have, guess what? Yep, the weight returns too.

It’s the ultimate frustrating hamster wheel of modern life.

Instead, you need to adopt a permanent healthy lifestyle, to achieve, keep and enjoy, permanent weight loss results.

If your new January regime has involved cutting back on sugary foods, eating smaller meals, exercising more often or drinking less booze, that’s great, well done you. Now understand that sticking to it, making these changes at a level you can enjoy your life and stick to the changes long term, permanently, will give you long-term, permanent results.

If you want these changes to last, if you want 2019 to be the year you finally break the yo-yo diet cycle, then employ these two tips to work to your advantage:

  • Give up on perfection, just ‘be good’ and aim to make progress on your former self. Don’t berate yourself for small mistakes, just keep on moving forward
  • Stick to it. Don’t be an all-or-nothing maniac, don’t be a quitter, just be consistent. Put good new habits in place, at a level you can live with and enjoy, and stick to it through January, February and onward from there

Achieving weight loss isn’t as hard as many people think, permanent results are achievable, you just have to know what to do and apply yourself to it. If you want more help and simple tips and guidance, plus a full 28-day meal plan and home exercise routines for all levels and abilities, check out my brilliant little book on Amazon Kindle and it just might help keep you on track.

To your 2019, your year!

In good health!

Part 8 – Probiotics and prebiotics

Continuing in our 10-part mini-series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, today Dawn explains the difference between PRObiotics and PREbiotics, and the role of both in your health.
With diet tips and some guidance on supplements, read on to learn what you need to know…

New Dawn Health

Probiotics

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Probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms that we can eat to improve our health. As far as we know, they don’t necessarily take up residence in our gut but can give us benefits as they pass through.

There are two ways to consume probiotics, either from fermented foods or from probiotic supplements. We don’t yet know if probiotics in food (albeit much cheaper) are better than probiotic supplements, or vice versa.

Current objective opinion is that for healthy people, probiotic supplements don’t significantly change the microbiome, but in ill health or disease they can help restore a healthier microbiome.

Summary analyses of hundreds of trials has showed substantial evidence for the benefit of probiotics for treating diarrhoea; constipation; acute upper respiratory tract infections; eczema and dermatitis in children, improving metabolism; lowering cholesterol; reducing infection rates; and lowering markers of inflammation, like C-reactive protein. Promising research is underway regarding benefit for…

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Part 7 – New tests & treatments

Continuing in our 10-part mini-series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, today our friend Dawn, from New Dawn Health, will explain what tests and treatments are now starting to become available and even commonplace as we understand more about the microbiome.

Dawn writes:

The microbiome is like a barometer – it reflects if all will be calm or if a storm is brewing. Today’s post looks at some of the tests and treatments currently available.

The most common way to assess your microbiome is via a comprehensive digestive stool test. It can be done privately, and your GP can order one for you (with good clinical justification). This will give you a thorough overview of the health of your gastrointestinal tract. It evaluates how well you digest and absorb your food; it identifies some of the yeasts, bacteria and parasites and what short chain fatty acids they are producing. It also reports on levels of gut inflammation, pH, food fibres and if there is blood in the stool. I use this private test regularly in my Nutritional Therapy work. Clients find it very helpful to see for themselves the microbes they have and how well their gut is functioning. They are also very reassured to see how those markers of gut health improve with nutritional interventions.

The very latest private stool testing identifies microbial RNA (ribonucleic acids) produced from anything and everything living in the gut. It uses new technology called metatranscriptome sequencing. Compared to older technology, this can identify all the bacteria (not just some) plus the yeasts, bacteriophages, parasites, fungi, and viruses, (and names them for you), which older stool testing doesn’t. In addition, the test identifies all the metabolites being produced and the ones missing. The app-based report gives dietary recommendations and foods for improving your unique gut health based on the results. I am about to do this test on myself, so I will keep you posted!

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As you now know, the vast majority of microbes should be in your large intestine, or colon. However, in some people with upper abdominal bloating, feelings of fullness, pain and fluctuating stool (all very common symptoms) there is a test to see if large amounts of colonic microbes have moved upwards into the small intestine. The test is called a Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) test and you can do it yourself at home. It’s a breath test to capture the gases (hydrogen and methane) given off by the bacteria after a test drink. This is not a test commonly done on the NHS.

Have you heard of faecal transplants?  Hospitals are now transplanting filtered faecal microbes from healthy individuals into those with diabetes, obesity, Crohns and ulcerative colitis (UC) to rapidly improve their microbiomes. The results to date are very promising and this is likely to be a fast-expanding field of gastroenterology. I know, you think it sounds rather yukky, but anyone with debilitating Crohns or UC will tell you, if it offers relief from a lifetime of pain, steroids and drug side effects, it’s more than worth it.

I appreciate the sometimes awkward, personal side of bowel and digestive issues, and I know it can be difficult to talk to people about such problems. If you have any concerns, you can talk to me, I am a trained and qualified Nutritional Therapist, as well as being a practising osteopath for 24 years.  We can talk in total confidence, and trust me, I have heard it all before and I just might be able to offer an understanding ear and some helpful advice. If you are at all interested and want testing, please contact me and I’ll arrange to have tests sent out to you at home, and I’ll explain to you how testing is quick and easy.

Look out for Part 8 tomorrow, when I’ll explain the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, and how and why you need both in your diet. See you then.

Original Post on NewDawnHealth.me here.

– Thanks Dawn!  🙂

 

Part 6 – Microbiome and disease

Part 6 – Your microbiome and the link to diseases.

Moving in to the 2nd half of this 10-Part short series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, in this post today Dawn explains some of the connections scientists are unravelling between the microbiome, gut health, immune function and certain diseases.

As this area of science is emerging and becoming clearly, it’s all quite fascinating and at the same time possibly quite worrying. Remember, it takes a long time for science to ‘prove’ things beyond doubt. One study will highlight a possible link, suggesting ‘more research is needed’ and that’s an open invitation for other scientists to run a study delving deeper..and then often we see ‘rinse and repeat’ of that process over and over. It takes years to conduct studies; time to design the research, raise the funding, recruit volunteers, conduct the research, analyse the results, write up the conclusions, put it through peer review and eventually publish it for the public, doctors and other academics to read. This is why it sometimes takes decades for research to make progress in certain areas.

In the fields of human health and nutrition, some big areas that are emerging through this long-winded process now are genetics, the microbiome and gut health, links between our diet and disease, links between our lifestyle (alcohol, stress, sleep, etc.) and disease.

Personally, after half a lifetime (28 years now…) studying, trying, experiencing, learning about these things for myself (ummm, using a ‘study population of n=1, namely me, myself and I) through trial and error, I am utterly certain that a vast amount of the chronic disease burden we are experiencing in the Western World today, could be alleviated, eased or reduced in some way by individuals adopting a healthier lifestyle, somewhat more in tune with the natural world we live in. What do I mean by that?
– reduce the amount of processed foods we consume
– eat a diet largely comprised of fresh whole foods
– cut back on “additives” which means things like added refined sugar, and refined seed oils
– move more, exercise every day in a variety of ways
– healthy sleep: your bedroom should be dark, cool, and free from electronic devices!
– drink more water (less fizzy drinks, alcohol, sugary drinks and juices and those damned energy drinks – do everything on this list and you won’t need energy drinks, you’ll have much more natural energy in the first place!)
– get plenty of healthy natural daylight
– minimise the amount of chemicals you come into contact with, things you spray around your home and breathe in, things you put on your skin, and things in your food (buy organic)

You see, these are simple actions, nothing extreme, but I believe that over the next 40 years, science is going to show us that these kind of actions are a huge step in the right direction towards decreasing the international cancer burden, the heart disease burden, and the prevalence of auto-immune conditions.

Of course, you know, this is all built in to the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet. Ha, like I needed to tell you that…

Well, now read on to see what my friend Dawn has explained to us in Part 6, all about the links between your microbiome, gut health and diseases.

To your very best health in 2019!
– Karl

New Dawn Health

The differences between peoples’ microbiomes is one reason why we each have different susceptibility to different diseases.

Microbial imbalances are thought to contribute to disease through the cross-talk between the microbes, the chemical waste products they produce and our immune cells. When toxic, this drives an inflammatory response.

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Dysbiosis is the name given to an imbalance between beneficial and unbeneficial microbes; typically too many “bad” ones and too few “good” ones. Research is currently unravelling which microbes are beneficial, which ones are neutral and which ones are harmful.

Dysbiosis causes bloating, cramps and abdominal pain as the microbes produce gas and other chemicals, which can distend and irritate the gut. Mild, sub-clinical gut disorders are increasingly common these days. Many people are living with tolerable, but uncomfortable, levels of bloating, gas, digestive disorders and irregular bowel movements. They are called functional disorders, like IBS, because the functionis affected but there…

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Part 5 – Gut-brain communications

Part 5 – gut health and brain health.
Continuing in this 10-Part short series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, in this post today Dawn explains the connections between gut function and brain function.
It’s interesting stuff, and helps to explain one of the ways in which our diet can influence mental health.
Read on Part 5 and learn more, then look out for Part 6 tomorrow.

New Dawn Health

Imagine a web of communication (some of it wireless) between all our cells. Microbes are the key link in this communication.

vortex-blue-2A significant proportion of the calories we eat don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream for use by our bodies. Instead, the food is eaten by the microbes further down in our colon. As the microbes eat the food they produce waste products. The waste products are important communication molecules.

Initially, the waste products give signals to our gut lining cells and gut immune cells, starting the conversation, if you like. Thereafter, some of them may get absorbed into our bloodstream and continue the ‘conversation’ anywhere in our body. This can be good or bad, depending on the microbes and what messages they are sending.

The beneficial microbes make helpful communication molecules like short chain fatty acids and vitamins which keep us healthy. Unhelpful and pathogenic microbes produce toxins called Lipopolysaccharides…

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Part 4 – Microbiome and antibiotics

Part 4 – hey, welcome back, today we are continuing with this 10-part mini-series of short posts looking at the human microbiome and gut health.
In today’s article, Dawn writes about your microbiome and antibiotics, and what happens to your microbiome when you are prescribed a course of antibiotics, and what you can do afterwards to help yourself restore good order.

I hope you are enjoying this series of blogs – it’s kind of Dawn to let me share these with you, so if you are enjoying the learning, please show your thanks with a Like or a rating or a social share, thanks!

New Dawn Health

antibioticscoursebottlesg1_1269262

Antibiotics originated as one life form producing something against another life form. For example, penicillin is a substance produced by fungi which stops the growth of bacteria. Modern antibiotics are synthetically made and have been in widespread use to fight bacterial infections. They have saved many lives and speeded the recovery from infection for most of us, but remember, they cause collateral damage to the beneficial microbes and diversity of your microbiome.

When we take antibiotics, our resident beneficial microbes are also killed. The more we take, the more are killed. In time and given opportunity, our microbes do repopulate our gut, but they don’t necessarily grow back the same, or as plentifully, as they were before.

Taking too many antibiotics can leave us more susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, like clostridium difficile, gonorrhoea and MRSA. Resistant bacteria can cleverly pass on their antibiotic resistance, thus out-competing other species.

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Part 3 – Microbiome and your immune system

Today, in Part 3 of this short series on gut health, you can learn more about what all those billions of microbes and bacteria are doing down there in your gut, when things are going well…and when they are not!
Read on…

~*~*~*~*~

About 70% of our immune cells are housed in the lining of our gastrointestinal system, or gut. Our gut is the biggest immune organ of the body. Likewise, it’s also where the majority of our microorganisms reside. This is not a coincidence. It makes complete sense. The food we eat is the largest exposure of foreign material that we bring into our body, so it makes sense for our immune system to reside in our gut. The outside world is literally experienced through the filter of the gut microbiome (and of course through our lungs), defending us against unwanted microbes and toxins.

Read more

Part 2- Functions of the gut microbiome

Continuing from yesterday, this is Part 2 of my friends short series on the microbiome. Today – what are the key functions of the microbiome?
I mean, we’re carrying these literally trillions of “little passengers” around on our bodies with us all day every day – it’s good to know why!! They ought to be “paying their bus fare” one way or another!
Read on in today’s short easy read…

New Dawn Health

microbiome700Our microbes:

Help us digest our food.

Protect our gut lining cells from pathogens and toxins.

Help teach and mature our immune system to function properly.

Make B vitamins, Vitamin K and amino acids (proteins).

Break down, by fermentation, non-digestible dietary fibre that we eat.

Regulate our metabolism (how much energy we get from food) and help to regulate our weight and how much body fat we store.

Make waste products called short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) that provide food for our gut lining cells. These are important communication molecules.

Influence sleep, mood and brain function.

Regulate the repair and growth of our body’s cells.

Are key to our health and disease.

Coming up tomorrow in Part 3, we’ll take a look at your microbiome and how it forms a crucial, and major, part of your immune system. Few people realise how important our gut is when it comes to…

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The Human Microbiome

My good friend Dawn over at https://www.newdawnhealth.co.uk/ is running a 10-part mini-series on her blog over the next 10 days, educating us all about our microbiome and gut health.
She’s a smart cookie who knows her stuff, so I for one will be reading and paying attention, and I will re-post all 10 parts here for you guys too.
Here is Part 1!
Enjoy.
To your good health,
Karl.

New Dawn Health

Introduction

For many months now, I’ve been researching and listening to lectures about the human microbiome. My short, easy to digest (ha, ha, pun intended!) blog series is about how our gut microorganisms significantly influence all aspects of our health (and disease) and how to turn this knowledge into healthy new habits. I hope you find it helpful and I welcome any comments or questions.

microbiomeblog1

This post is Part 1 of a 10-part series. Here is the outline of the series:

Part 1 – In the beginning

Part 2 – Functions of the microbiome

Part 3 – Microbiome and your immune system

Part 4 – Microbiome and antibiotics

Part 5 – Gut-brain communications

Part 6 – Microbiome and disease

Part 7 – New Tests and treatments

Part 8 – Probiotics and Prebiotics

Part 9 – Optimising your microbiome

Part 10 – Fermented food recipes

Part 1 – In the beginning

The…

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Two of this, one of that…

I think today will be the shortest blog post I have ever written.

I am not good at brevity…but today, I will excel…

Today, the message is simple.

You know that old expression we have probably all said to our children, or had said to us by our parents “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.”

Well, I have ‘Karl’s version’ of that expression:

“You have two legs and one butt, use them in that proportion.”

Try to spend twice as much time on your feet, moving, as you do sitting on your butt, inactive.

Words to live by.

Happy New Year, may the year ahead be filled with health and happiness for you and your loved ones.

 

Alcohol – 7 years without a drink

It’s been seven years to the day since I last drank alcohol.

Best.
Decision.
Ever.

When I quit, my intention was to go for 12 months without a drop. I made it through those 12 months, and then felt so good for it, that I instantly decided to just keep going.

It’s become rather trendy of late to make a big noise on social media about not drinking. We have folks seeking sponsorship for it, asking for a charitable donation if they can go 30 days without drinking. Dry month.Dry 90 days. We have this whole ‘one year, no beer’ movement, I think someone has even managed to make a business out of it.

That’s all good, good for them, I hope they are helping to spread the message to those who need to hear it.

When I quit, I did it for me, and for my loved ones.

No noise, no fanfare, no self-aggrandizing on social media, I just stopped poisoning myself, quietly, and started immediately feeling better for it.

I stopped for my health.

I stopped because I finally admitted to myself that my relationship with alcohol was not a healthy one. I would drink every day, and I was afraid of the thought of evenings going by that I was not having a drink.

If something had that much control over my thoughts, I needed to take charge of that situation.

I stopped to be a better father to my children.

I stopped to be a better man.

It was the right thing to do, one of the best decisions I have ever made.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your health in 2019, I encourage you to look at how you use alcohol. What? When? Where? How much? Why?

If you need any help, you know where to find me.

1luvx

 

Happy New Year! Here, have some free stuff! No catch, just free, for 2019, for you…

Happy New Year!

It’s the first day of 2019, let’s celebrate with some free stuff!

I dunno about you, but my inbox is ram full of folks trying to sell me stuff today, my finger has gone into ‘en masse delete mode’ as it’s all just too much to wade through.

This email is different.

Absolutely free. No catch. No tricks. No b/s. Just free, ‘cos I’m a nice guy 😉

You don’t have to watch a 7-minte video, then put your email address in, then click the double opt-in in your inbox, then agree to the GDPR terms…none of that.
Just links to free stuff.
You don’t have to give me anything.
No catch.
Just free.

Happy New Year!

127 Weight Loss Tips – FREE eBook from Mother Nature’s Diet.
Most folks hit the New Year saying they want to lose some weight. Maybe they just wanna burn off the mince pies and booze of the last fortnight, or maybe they are set on turning around years of weight control issues. Either way, here’s a free book packed with 33 pages of weight loss tips and ideas. No links or clicks or email addresses required, just go here and it’s yours. Enjoy.

The Weekly Weigh-In
Here’s a free newsletter for you. I produce a short weekly newsletter, goes out as an email every Wednesday, usually a 5-min read, with links to find out more if you are interested.
Full of tips, motivation, rants, ideas, news, sometimes funny, sometimes serious.
Sign up for free here (OK, you do have top put your email in for this one, I mean, how else can I deliver an email newsletter to you???)

The 7 classic mistakesmost people are unwittingly making that hold them back from achieving the body, health and fitness they truly desire.
Another free eBook for you.
These 7 big mistakes cover the reasons 95% of people fail at 95% of diets. In my decades of experience, it always comes down to one of these 7 things.
Get your free book here, again, no bull, no sign up, just free.

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet
The Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle is based around 12 Core Principles. Not secrets, not magic, no rocket science, just simple common-sense (but not entirely common knowledge) healthy living ideas.
Learn all about them here – one page for each, short and easy to read, I made it simple for you.

Webinar – Beginners Guide to Mother Nature’s Diet healthy living
How about this, my generosity knows no end…an entire 1 hour webinar, for free, you don’t have to sign up, it’s just ready for you to watch. Go!
I make an hour-long (often more) webinar for my paying members every month, like this one. Today, you get this one for free.
Unlike those b/s webinars you get tricked into, this isn’t 10 minutes of free info wrapped up in a 40-minute pressure sales pitch, no, this is just a whole free hour of useful healthy living advice for you.
Watch, learn, enjoy, right here!

The Mother Nature’s Diet guide to Body Composition
Another totally free eBook for you – how much body fat is too much? How much is too little? How do we build muscle? How do we ‘slow the clock’ and hold back the signs of ageing?
Lots of interesting stuff covered in this book for you.
No sign up, no time wasting, just read it or download it right here.
Free. 100%.

The Mother Nature’s Diet blog – this blog!
I started blogging in 2011. Over the last 7 or 8 years, I’ve written north of 650,000 words. It’s all here. For you. For free.
I look back at a few things I wrote in the early days and I cringe. But I have resisted deleting them, because while I know better now, they reflect the truth of my own journey, my own learning, my own growth.
Three quarters of a million words on healthy living, that’s like 5 novel length books. Free. For you. Here. Go get it.
Some best reads?
White Refined Sugar is an Anti-nutrient
Some popular questions answered in FAQs
What’s gone wrong with our food?
There are many…use the ‘word cloud’ or search box to find topics that interest you.

Mother Nature’s Diet – the book
OK, this one isn’t entirely free, it costs £3.99 (about 5 Euros or 5 bucks US), but that’s a big discount for the Kindle version, so it’s worth a mention.
Check it out here, you can download and read 20 or 30 pages for free, so go for it!

More free stuff, things I make, stuff I do for free –

I make YouTube videos, the goal is to educate and entertain, and occasionally rant, lol.
Go on, head over to YouTube and subscribe, you might like it, a little weekly motivation for you.

Mother Nature’s Diet on Facebook.

On Twitter.

On Instagram.

Please come and join our free friendly Facebook Group.

There you go, free stuff (almost all free…just the book costs a couple of quid!) for you – no sign up, no hoops to jump through, no tricks, catch or gimmicks, just free stuff to help you get 2019 off to the best start.

I hope this email has something you find helpful – if it doesn’t, seriously, you ain’t trying very hard.
If you got to the bottom here, the last line, and haven’t yet found something interesting or useful, then this is just for you, this is what you need…
https://youtu.be/sCX-UlWmNWo
https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2018/04/30/you-dont-really-want-to-change-youre-happy-as-you-are/
https://youtu.be/jb9b-tzGI0E

Happy 2019!!
Go get ‘em tiger!

1luvx

Why wait til New Year? Let’s start now…

Give your loved ones (or yourself? yes?) the gift of abundant good health in 2019, what better gift to give!

I have dropped the price of my book on Kindle for you, a huge price reduction for Christmas, it’s 66% reduced now, for the next few days you can pick up a bargain!

“It’s a good read and I’m 5lb down already and I haven’t even finished the book yet!” – Ms G, South East.

Amazon UK here.
Amazon US here.

This easy-reading, plain-talking and insightful eBook includes a complete 28-Day Plan, including all you need:

  • Print off the healthy Meal Plans for weight loss each week
  • Print off and follow the home Exercise Plans (set for Beginner’s, Intermediate, or Advanced, so you can find the right challenge for your abilities, or work through them all as you get fitter and stronger)
  • Meal plans, home workouts, shopping list, basic recipes – it’s all in the 28-Day Plan

You’ll find the book offers you real-life experience combined with well-researched facts:

  • Packed with tips for a healthy lifestyle
  • All workouts can be done at home, no special equipment required
  • Less ‘cut the carbs’ and more ‘learn to eat healthy carbs’ instead
  • Ideal for those seeking a healthy wholefoods diet
  • A great healthy approach to low-carb diets
  • Common-sense based healthy diet

MND_cover_A42Mother Nature’s Diet is a common-sense healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet, that will help you lose weight, feel great and resist the signs of ageing.

Mother Nature’s Diet is for people who care, people who want the best for themselves, and people who are prepared to put in a little effort to get permanent lasting results.

“Mother Nature’s Diet makes sense of all the science, cuts through the confusion, and tells you what to do in plain English. It’s a breath of fresh air!”

Mother Nature’s Diet – the place where preventive medicine meets personal responsibility.

Simple, enjoyable, beneficial changes in your life.
Lose weight, feel great and have more energy.

“Testimonial! Okay, I need to boast, lol, not for me, but for my other half. In less than 3 weeks of properly following MND he has lost (drum roll please!!!)……. 1 stone! Not only that, but his shape has improved too! Say bye bye to belly fat, and hello to trimmer and more toned!! Oh and best of all, he is finding it a doddle as the MND 12 Core Principles are so easy to follow and implement. Thank you Karl!” –  Ms. J, Wales

“I’ve been following the MND lifestyle for 4 weeks today – lots of positive changes including over 7lbs lost.” – Mr J, South West

“Mother Nature’s Diet makes sense of all the science, cuts through the confusion, and tells you what to do in plain English. It’s a breath of fresh air!” – Mr H, South West

“A very welcome and much-needed return to some common-sense in the world of diet and nutrition.” – Mr W, South East

Mother Nature’s Diet.
Your healthy lifestyle guide, packed with handy tips including exercise plans and wholefoods meal plans for weight loss.

Get the book now, while there is time to read it over the holidays, ready to hit Jan 1st all fired up and ready-for-action!

Yes?
Good idea?

Amazon UK here.
Amazon US here.

Merry Christmas to you!

Quick, run for that mince pie!!

Christmas is almost here! Yippee!!

It’s Christmas Day tomorrow, we are right in the middle of prime-time “calories central” as we round out the ‘office party season’ and start the ‘family feasting’!!

I’m not stupid, I know that late December is pretty much 100% the worst time of the year to promote healthy living, abstinence from alcohol, and ‘stop eating sugar’ advice!!!

I know! OK! I get it!

(It’s OK, I’m sure you’ll love me again come January 2nd…)

In the interests of trying to remain popular, I’m not going to say a word about alcohol (you are probably sipping a drink while reading this now, so relax and enjoy yourself.)

Let’s just talk about sugar.

As you stock up the kitchen cupboards with boxes of mince pies, big tubs of Cadbury’s Roses, Celebrations, Heroes and Quality Street, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and all the other sugary delights that are so popular in this country, just spare a thought for how much exercise you might have to do to burn that stuff off.

(If you have heard the expression ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ and ever doubted it, you might find this quite interesting.)

  • A standard deep-filled Sainsbury’s mince pie contains 262 calories (according to Sainsbury’s website as of this morning) and an awful lot of sugar
  • Few people understand how many calories we burn when we exercise
  • Roughly speaking, a 10.5-stone woman of 40’ish, jogging for 30 minutes, will burn approximately 267 calories (we are all different, this is an average figure, so if that is 10.5-stone of lean muscular athlete, the data will be a little different.)

Yes, you are reading that right. You have to go out jogging for half an hour just to burn the calories in one little mince pie!

OMG!!

  • How about that after-lunch Christmas day or Boxing day sit-down on the sofa, watching a movie while cuddling that big tub of Roses or Celebrations? Obviously the size and content of all the different sweets varies, but on average you are likely looking at 40 to 50 calories per sweet, so a dozen sweets can quickly clock up 500 calories, and it’s all sugar!
  • For a 14-stone man, that’s about an hour and a half of gentle cycling, or two hours of golf, to burn through those 500 calories. Just a dozen Roses!
  • And as for the Christmas cake, a modest slice of Tesco Finest iced-top fruit Christmas cake delivers around 400 calories
  • A 12-stone woman would need to do 40 minutes in a step aerobics class to burn through that one modest slice of cake

Obviously, I hope you enjoy your Christmas, enjoy time with family and friends, and enjoy ‘a little of what you fancy’ over the holidays. But while you are indulging this week, surrounded by boxes of chocolates, mince pies and sweets, you might want to think about scheduling in plenty of time for some additional exercise…or join the masses on Jan 1st moaning they are “feeling fat” and regretting their holiday excesses!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!

To your good health!

Karl

Change your breakfast, change your life

Breakfast. I don’t know why but many people embracing healthy eating and lifestyle change seem to struggle with changing their breakfast.

Maybe because it’s the first meal of the day…perhaps that “I am going to change, I am going to lose weight and feel better, it all starts tomorrow.” always starts with breakfast.

Day 1. Meal 1. Oh s**t. Ground zero. Healthy eating starts now.

People always ask me what to have for breakfast. People have eaten – just as I did – nothing but cereals and toast for years. I did that every day for about 35 years. 

The short answer: switch to scrambled eggs

It’s quick, it’s easy, and I find most people like eggs. With some practice, personally I have got the art of knocking up a few eggs down to just three or four minutes. I encountered one lady who claims to have it down to 90 seconds. That beats me, I have no idea how she does it that quick!

I grab my unpasteurised, grass fed butter, stick a chunk in a pan, pop the heat on, and it starts melting. I grab a bag of spinach from the fridge, throw two or three good hand-fulls in the pan, pop it back and grab the eggs. Crack three or four in. Start stirring. Slice up a fresh tomato on the side of my plate, stir again, turn off heat, serve.

Scrambled eggs, with spinach and tomato. Quick and easy. Four minutes. Done. Could chop and throw in a couple of mushrooms. Optional.
Four more minutes to eat.
Two minutes to wash the pan and put the plate and cutlery in the dishwasher.
Breakfast. Nutritious, healthy, tasty, done in ten minutes.

Questions

Some folks say to me “I don’t have ten minutes for breakfast!”

Really? You might want to re-evaluate how you are living your life. I mean, get your butt out of bed ten minutes earlier. Do you want to be healthier or not? Set your priorities here, now, and stop making excuses.

Some say “I tried that and it just wasn’t filling enough, I need a bit more bulk.” (Stop. Look down, at your own belly – is that the kind of bulk we’re talking about here? ‘Cos it looks to me like you already have plenty there…yes? Maybe it’s time to reappraise that appetite of yours, and recognise that eating too much has been your issue for some years, and to turn that around we need a period of some years where you have to eat too little. Ouch, that hurts. Sorry.) 

But if you do need a more substantial breakfast, you can always grill a bunch of sausages when you have time (Sunday afternoon perhaps) and then keep them in the fridge. Each day, just chop up a couple and throw them in with your spinach and eggs. Voila, breakfast more substantial for only a few seconds extra effort.

Binding

The next objection (obstacle, reason, excuse) I get is “But I can’t eat many eggs, they bind me up.”

OK, I understand, though from my experience, I would say that if you have the rest of the Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle in place, such as 10-a-day or more fruit and veg, they you’ll have plenty of fibre in your diet, combined with good hydration and regular varied exercise, this should all ensure you have good gut function and once you get in the habit of eating eggs regularly, everything is usually OK.

If eggs bind you up, is it really the eggs? Eating enough fruit? And veggies? Plenty of water? Plenty of movement and exercise? Check all your bases.

Dead boring

This is the one that makes me laugh.

People say “Eggs, sure, I can try that, but what like, the next day? I mean, surely I’m not going to have scrambled eggs every day? Every day, OMG how boring, like the same thing every day, that’s so dull. What else can I have for breakfast?”

Why is this even an issue?! 

Seriously, years trying to help people improve their diet and lose weight, and I never met anyone eating boxed cereals for breakfast who says “Oh God, bloody flakes of wheat or corn, shaped and covered in sugar and chocolate flavour…again, oh how boring!”

No one.

Ever.

I never met anyone who said “I am so bored of this butter dripping off this toast yet again today, ummm with chocolate spread on it, yeah, so boring.”

No one.

Ever.

When people eat sweet tasting cereals and toast (yeah, those processed comfort foods that got you overweight in the first place) for breakfast they seem perfectly happy to eat the same thing for breakfast every single day for 30 or 40 years and they never complain that it’s boring.

Suggest scrambled eggs, and two days in folks be like “And…?”

Get a grip.

It’s real food.

Once you stop poisoning your palate with the ceaseless sweetness of processed foods, after a few weeks you might actually start being able to taste real, fresh foods once again. Suddenly, your life can move beyond everything needing to be sweet at breakfast, and hot and spicy in the evening. Really, life on Earth isn’t all sugar and chili powder, that’s not real fresh food that’s at fault, it’s YOU, you ‘broke’ your palate and you just THINK broccoli is boring, because all you know how to taste is sugar and chili.

Your problem.

Get over it.

Monday to Friday, when time is tight, have eggs.

At the weekend, if you have more time, you can do more. Experiment with fresh fruits, and some nuts. Learn to make nut porridge. Buy a blender or NutriBullet and make a smoothie. Try fresh fish, sardines, or smoked salmon. Or a good old full English breakfast – bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato. Just buy organic, buy quality, no rubbish.

Change your breakfast, change your life.

Get that first meal, on that first day, nailed, and the rest will follow.

Enjoy.

KISS for an easy life…

KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

The KISS idea has been around for a long time, I’m sure it’s not new to you.

But sometimes the age-old ideas, the things we think we already know, get buried so far back in our cluttered minds that it’s good to drag them out again and refresh them.

When you can’t see the wood for the trees, sometimes it helps to go back to basics.

Can’t focus on 12 things at once

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet are fabulously simple to grasp, in my humble opinion, but I often find people who like Mother Nature’s Diet and want to live this way who find one major problem with them – there’s 12 of them! Twelve!

Holy moly, how can anyone work on 12 things at once?!?!?

OK, I get it, there’s a lot to take in.

Let me help you

Life is complicated, so let me help you make this a bit simpler.

You’re overweight, or out of shape, or unfit, or unhealthy, or ageing badly, or worried about your future. OK, so you want to see improvements, you want your ‘outcomes’ or ‘results’ to change.

Well, then, you’re going to have to make changes.

You see, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing…
You’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.

What you’re getting, that’s your results. That’s obesity, or feeling unfit, or ageing poorly, or whatever it is that troubles you individually.

So to change your results, you have to change your behaviour. You gotta do something different, to change your outcomes, that’s how this works.

KISS

There are 12 Core Principles. Ignore 11 of them, and just pick one.

Work on that one. JFDI. No excuses, forget the other 11.

Pick one and do it.

Once that’s in, once that’s habit, once you’ve nailed that bad boy and life’s lookin’ rosy, then go pick another and do that.

See. Simples. Aren’t you glad I showed up?

You might start with Core Principle 1. Just cut those starchy carbs and processed grains down, and eat a load more vegetables instead.

That’s it, for the next month just do that, maybe two months, just do that til it’s nailed.

Then pick another.

Boom!

Simple. Don’t get stressed, don’t get confused, don’t get overwhelmed. Just pick one thing and get it licked.

No ‘paralysis by analysis’ here, just steady progress.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Progress, not perfection

You don’t have to tackle all 12 Core Principles in one day or one week. The goal is progress, not perfection.

Every day, I just strive to be a better me than I was yesterday. No competition with anyone else, no race to reach a certain destination in a certain time, just looking to be the best version of me, that’s all.

How about you?

To your good health!

 

The 7 secrets to permanent weight loss…

In my experience of life so far, there really are only a handful of basic good ideas behind success in most endeavours, and that includes weight loss. All the analysis and complexity on top of those few basic good ideas, all the confusion and tricks and gimmicks, well, it’s all just detail, detail broken out of those few basic good ideas.

So you want to lose some excess weight, some unwanted body fat. Let’s take a look at those basic foundation good ideas:

  1. Eat less, and eat better. You know, at the end of the day, eating less remains one of the most reliable ways to lose weight, but you need to combine it with eating better. I mean, sure, a calorie is a calorie and all that, but I just don’t see that the “16 cupcakes per day and nothing else” diet is going to prove to be particularly sustainable long-term, nor particularly healthy. Do you? So eat less, but eat better. Swap out that sandwich for a salad. Swap out the sugary breakfast cereal for some fresh fruit. Cut back on all those starchy carbs, the bread and pasta, and eat more fresh veggies instead. Really, it’s not that hard, is it?
  2. Get some regular exercise. Here the key word is regular. Consistent wins the day. That heroic three hour gym session you did that one time, well sure it made for a good Facebook post but if it was the only exercise you took all month, then it’s not likely to have changed your life. However, if you had instead exercised moderately for even just 20 or 30 minutes every day that same month, then by the end of 30 days that will have been far more beneficial. get out there and move your butt, daily, and see the changes. Get some variety going on, try a new sport or class, don’t just always do the same thing. Remember, consistency wins the day.
  3. Drink more water and less booze. Because most folks in our culture drink far too much of one, and not enough of the other. Often times, what your mind tells you is a hunger pang, is actually a thirsty call for water. Too many people are snacking between meals when they just need a breath of fresh air or a glass of water. And as for the booze…if you are trying to lose weight, cut back, or try stopping completely, try 30 days and see how it goes. If you find it a struggle and can’t do it, maybe that tells you something about your relationship with alcohol. ooh, that’s a whole different conversation there isn’t it?
  4. Get a good night’s sleep. My old mum used to say that every hour before midnight was worth two after midnight. I have no idea if they have ever done any research to see if that’s true, but anecdotally I can tell you from my own experience that she was dead right. Get to bed earlier, try to get seven or eight hours per night, the more the merrier if you feel you need it. Lack of sleep messes up your normal hormone regulation and makes weight loss much harder. Help yourself to shift those unwanted pounds by getting a good night’s sleep, every night.
  5. Stop snacking. Seriously, you are not going to die of starvation in the five short hours between meals. Don’t believe me, reach your hand inside your shirt and squeeze a bit of belly fat. There you go, plenty to keep you going. Right? Like we said in point three above, half the time that’s thirst, not hunger. If you ate breakfast only a couple of hours ago and you have been largely inactive sat at a desk or in a car ever since, then you can’t possibly really need more food in order to survive and keep functioning.

    Either you are feeling false hunger as a result of too much sugar at breakfast (see point one, above); or you are just thirsty (see point three, above); or like most people you are just bored. Ummm…that’s the big one. Most folks snack between meals because cakes are nice, bagels are tasty, cookies are yummy, biscuits are so hard to resist. If fat loss is your goal, you need to break that habit. Eat a proper meal, then you’re all done til the next proper meal. Stop the snacking, you’re using food as a pastime, a leisure activity, a boredom reliever. Stop it, it’s making you fat.

  6. Stop thinking like a dieter. Seriously, get off that idiotic roller coaster. “Oh I’ll just starve for a month, drop a dress size, feel better about myself at the office party, then I can go back to cake and pizza and pile it back on again!” That crap, you do it every year. Stop it, it’s dumb and it’s bad for you. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, like Mother Nature’s Diet, and stick to it. Healthy, enjoyable, sustainable.
  7. Just eat real food. Don’t go out and buy four new recipe books, the ‘inch-loss plan’ this, and the ‘bum-and-thighs’ that. You’ll just end up with hundreds of new recipe ideas to try and it’ll make you think about food all day long! Stick to the basics – eat a portion of protein with every meal. That’s a palm-sized piece of meat or fish, or a couple of eggs. Then fill the rest of the meal with fresh vegetables, or a salad. Really, that’s it, that’ll sort you out for a month or two, and you’ll see the weight fall off.

    A couple of eggs for breakfast, maybe add spinach, a tomato, some mushrooms.
    A salad for lunch with smoked salmon, flaked mackerel or some feta cheese.
    A small chicken thigh and steamed vegetables for dinner, that’s easy.

    See, a serving of protein at every meal, because protein is the most satiating food, so it will satisfy your appetite, and because the high-protein foods, meat, fish and eggs, are the most nourishing foods, providing the most vitamins and minerals. And then vegetables with every meal, they are bulky and fill you up, and provide more nutrients, without adding too many calories. Ideal for weight loss. Really, don’t let the whole cooking thing get too much more complicated than that.

There you go, seven solid basics. It all makes sense, doesn’t it?

Well, go on then.

To your good health!

Karl

Palm oil, hype and misleading news…time to get the facts…

Social media in the week of 12th November 2018 = Palm oil and orangutans.

OMG, so much hype.

Seriously, it’s time to nail down the facts.

The British supermarket Iceland re-used an old promotional video made by Greenpeace some time ago. Iceland never intended or realistically expected this advert to run on British TV, and it was not banned because in fact, being of ‘political origin’ (that is, Greenpeace is a political activist group, not a commercial company like Iceland) the video in fact immediately contravenes advertising standards in the UK. It was never going to pass as an advert, Iceland knew this from the get-go, and to then suggest they made it as an advert and then it was banned, is, at best, disingenuous.

Please get the facts on this issue from this excellent and clear post from Suw Charman-Anderson on Facebook.
My thanks to her for this post.

This whole ‘Iceland banned advert’ thing is just a huge, clever, relatively inexpensive bit of PR for Iceland.
You may like to know that formerly, on a previously published (early 2018) version of this list, from Ethical Consumer magazine, Iceland featured as worst British supermarket for palm oil products.
The list now shows no mention of them on “Best…” lists, but notes that they have made a commitment going forwards…I suspect, this whole PR stunt is in danger of backfiring on them, and this is a rapid knee-jerk reaction to mitigate it all turning into a car crash of negative publicity. I hope to see them hold strong on their promises in 2019.

What we need is a clear understanding of the facts.
This WWF blog is clear, balanced, and free from hype. Please read it and understand the issue.

Fact: It’s a freakin’ disaster to be chopping down forests in the tropics to make chocolate spread and peanut butter for the rich in Europe and North America, and causing the extinction of the Sumatran tiger and orangutan along the way.
But, ditching palm oil and switching dumbly to other oils will only make things worse!

Guess what…there is a solution.

Wanna know?

Stop eating ****ing chocolate spread!!!!

Wow, revolutionary!

Now let’s see, all those millions of folks out there on social media sharing posts about how much they care about orangutans…do they (you?) all care enough to just stop buying chocolate spread?

Boycotting palm oil is not the answer, it’s just not that simple

The answer is to buy sustainably-farmed palm oil, or, even better, reduce your consumption of processed foods to a minimum thereby reducing the need for the palm oil, or any other oil, in the first place!

See, who knew (I bloody did) that once again, the correct, and best solution is sustainable agriculture not ‘herd mentality bulls**t’ that might do more harm than good.

For what it’s worth, Mother Nature’s Diet is pretty close to an “as low as you can go palm oil content” lifestyle.
Core Principle 3: minimise processed foods (there goes the chocolate spread)
Core Principle 2: eliminate refined sugar (there goes the confectionery)
Core Principle 7: eat plants and animals (we base our diet mainly on fresh whole foods)
You see, the Mother Nature’s Diet way eliminates many of the products that include palm oil from our shopping trolleys, our use of the stuff is minimal, just a bit of shampoo or washing powder…that’s about it.

Once again, Mother Nature’s Diet and sustainable agriculture: good for you, good for the planet.
See how this works?

You can reduce demand for palm oil by eating local, seasonal, fresh whole foods, by eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way.
Less processed food, less imported food, more seasonal fresh whole foods.
As I always say in my seminars and webinars, the Mother Nature’s Diet way is the best combined lifestyle approach to optimal good health, and care for the environment and animal welfare, farmed animals and wild animals, all in one, it’s all in the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet. 

Why not learn how to change your life, and our planet, for the better, and remove most of your demand for palm oil products at the same time?
Just get yourself a copy of the book, read up, and make some simple diet and lifestyle changes. 

And no, I’m not “hijacking the palm oil hype” this week just to try to sell a few copies of my book. I started Mother Nature’s Diet and wrote my book in the first place because of the damage being caused – to our health and our planet – by the modern Western diet and the unsustainable nature of intensive industrialised agriculture.

So, now you know the facts.
If you care about the rain forests, if you care about the Sumatran tiger, if you care about the orangutans, it’s time for you to prove it.

To your good health!

Karl

Controlling those sugar cravings…

We all know what those sugar cravings feel like, when you just can’t think straight for lusting after something sweet-tasting.

It would be easy to say that sugar cravings are just greediness, and no doubt in some people maybe that might be true, but likely not in most.

Personally, I think it’s more about habit, than greed, for most people. I also think it’s boredom or apathy for a lot of people. We know we shouldn’t, we know intellectually that those sugary foods are fattening, we know in our head that ‘a moment on the lips, means a lifetime on the hips’ but still, that desire for something sweet isn’t an intellectual decision, we’re not weighing up the scientific research papers on carbohydrate consumption and obesity, it’s not a decision we make in our head, is it, it’s a decision from the heart, it’s emotional, not intellectual.

Well, maybe it’s partly biological too.

Refined sugar

When we consume refined sugar, in order for our body to metabolise the sugar we need to use small amounts of several nutrients, such as vitamin B1, B3, and C, and also small amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, chromium and zinc. if we eat a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, but low in highly-nutritious fresh whole foods, then over time we will be slowly depleting our body’s reserves of these nutrients.

The amounts used are very small, and most people consume enough fresh whole foods to replenish the B1, B3, vitamin C, calcium and sodium. For most of these nutrients, the sugar is unlikely to drive them into a mild deficiency, however zinc is a different story. People who eat a diet high in processed carbohydrates, and we are talking about cereals, bread, pasta, pastries, cakes and so on, are also potentially losing zinc through the phytates in these foods made from grains.

Phytates (also phytic acid, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume they are the same thing) are a compound found in grains (and legumes) that bind with certain minerals in your gut, and stop you from absorbing them.

So for people who eat a diet high in processed carbs and refined sugar, zinc reserves are taking a double-whammy hit, and Read more

Are you getting enough?

In our private Mother Nature’s Diet Members Group this week, we’ve had some interesting discussions around the subject of sleep. One of our Members shared this interesting article from the news, reporting on scientists that have made new discoveries in how our circadian rhythms (which help to regulate sleep and hormone function and more) are linked to the movement of the sun – in humans and other species too.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read the article, and this further article that is linked, which explains how we are suffering from society-wide sleep deprivation, which is contributing massively to all sorts of ill health, including cancer, and is costing the nation over £30bn per year in lost productivity.

We discuss the value of sleep regularly in our Mother Nature’s Diet Members Group, and ensuring you are getting adequate sleep is covered in Core Principle 10. Sleep is pretty much the best antidote to chronic stress, and in our Members Webinars we discuss the importance of getting enough good quality sleep. Your bedroom should be dark, cool, ventilated, calm and quiet. No electronic devices, no checking Facebook on your smartphone at three in the morning, and no night lights.

It is important to be asleep at night, in the dark, not awake, working or looking at your screen! Research is uncovering mechanisms that show how DNA repairhappens at night, while we sleep in the dark, and this may explain the link between working night shifts and higher mortality.

Gains

It seems pretty certain that sleep is important for many reasons – from stress reduction to combating cancer. There is growing evidence to suggest that depriving yourself of sleep through adult life is likely to leave that adult life, well, shortened.

In addition, another MND Member this week shared this fascinating blog post about a study that took a small group of overweight nonsmokers, and put them on a calorie restricted diet for two weeks, half the group getting adequate sleep, and half the group on reduced sleep. In short, the results showed that both groups lost weight, but most of the weight the sleep-deprived group lost was muscle mass and body water, whereas most of the weight the adequate-sleep group lost, was body fat. So, the lesson learned – if you are trying to lose fat weight, get Read more

The many reasons why we seem to be losing the fight against rising obesity

As I have written before, the classic weight loss advice to ‘eat less, move more’ has fallen from popularity in recent years. Frankly, those of us in this industry still promoting ‘eat less, move more’ as relevant advice in the face of the rising obesity epidemic are seen as rather outdated, rather old-school. As I have also written before, I do believe that the advice should be updated to ‘eat less, eat better, and move more’ which rather improves on, and corrects, the original expression.

But still, it’s far more current to besmirch all that old school talk as being fattist, as lacking understanding, as being outdated, outmoded and out-of-touch. It’s considered politically incorrect these days to suggest that obesity is on the rise because people eat too much and don’t exercise enough, and indeed it’s now becoming popular to say that any so-called health professional preaching such ancient wisdom is poorly educated and lacking in sympathy and understanding for the victims of the root causes of rising obesity.

To suggest that obese people ‘just eat less and move more’ is now seen as being about as constructive and helpful as telling a depressed person to ‘just get over it and cheer up a bit’. It’s now fashionable and politically correct to see obesity as an eating disorder, and to say that anyone preaching ‘eat less, move more’ is guilty of the most heinous of 21st century crimes – fat shaming.

In our complex modern world, with obesity growing at an alarming rate (or is that just changes to the system of classification?) there are many factors we can blame for rising obesity.

I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now.

All of these factors are relevant, they all play a role, they are all true, all valid, ALL OF THEM account for why some people are overweight, and all of them matter. I am not disagreeing with any one of the thigns on that list, or a dozen more, such as the role of environmental pollution, the rise in the number of TV channels, the role of anti-obesity attitudes in our society, the availability and nutritional content of school lunches, the increase in sugar content in foods, and so on and so on.

But here’s the thing. Read more

What’s your reason why? And is it strong enough…

Why do you want to be healthy?
Why should you eat well, exercise, get an early night, drink more water, drink less booze, eat your veggies, cut down on the hedonistic lifestyle, manage your stress, join a yoga class, go running and lift a few weights?
Why would you do all that?
What’s your motivation?
What’s your reason why?

Maybe you want ‘the body beautiful’ – whatever that means to you.
Maybe you want to get your hands on someone else’s body beautiful!
Maybe you want to be bursting with energy.
Perhaps you are striving to resist the signs of ageing.
Maybe you have a family history of ill health and you are making every effort not to follow that line.
Perhaps you want to improve your performance in your chosen sport.
Maybe you want to avoid ill health, the decline of serious illness that comes later in life.

There are plenty of reasons to engage in a healthy lifestyle – do you know what yours is?

Thinking time…

That last question…

Do you know what yours is?

Did you have to think about it, or did the answer Read more

Really, it’s not rocket science…

Mother Nature’s Diet is based on the exceedingly simple, but thoroughly researched, 12 Core Principles.

I say ‘exceedingly simple’ because I believe that to be true. I believe that losing weight, having plenty of energy, avoiding ill health and feeling great truly is exceedingly simple, and after 20 years of being overweight and out of shape, drinking and smoking, being unfit and suffering health problems, now I have ‘found my way’ I am amazed how simple it all is.

However, that is only my own personal perspective. And it seems, among the thousands of people that I meet every year, that most people would not agree with me. Most people seem to really struggle, as indeed I did for 20 years, before I figured out what to do. So the question then becomes, what changed for me, from my two decades of struggling, to suddenly turning a corner and finding things so much simpler?

(Note, I say ‘simple’ but not ‘easy’. Healthy living is simple, but not always easy.)

No guidance

You see, when I changed, it took me several years, and a lot of trial-and-error,because I didn’t have a handy guide like the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet to point me in the right direction. I had to read all the contradictory diet ideas, try everything out, see through all the glitzy snakeoil sales pitches and fad diet marketing tricks, to find what really worked, so it took me some time.

Beyond the ‘how to’ I also changed my mindset. It wasn’t some glorious shining epiphany moment, it wasn’t a ‘eureka’ moment, I didn’t ‘see the light’ one day and suddenly ditch breakfast cereals and start eating broccoli. More, it was a series of slow dawning realisations, occurring mostly but not exclusively between the age of 30 and 40, as I slowly realised that if I carried on the way I was, I would almost certainly suffer obesity and type-2 diabetes through my 40s; I would likely have high blood pressure and be a prime candidate for heart disease in my 50s; and quite likely die young of cancer in my 60s, as many in my family have done before me.

So my mindset changed, I reaffirmed that I had so much to live for in my life, I ‘woke up’ to see clearly that no one else is out there looking after my health, it’s down to me. I realised that there is no government minister or department charged with helping me to look and feel my best and resist ill health and the signs of ageing. My GP doesn’t make house calls to ask how I feel today. The NHS, the food manufacturers, the drug companies, the local farmer, none of these people wake up in the morning tasked with ‘making sure Karl doesn’t develop heart disease’ as one of their goals for the day. No, I realised that only one person can do something about making sure I don’t develop heart disease a decade from now – me. And it starts with taking proactive steps today, tomorrow, and every day.

“An apple a day…keeps the doctor away”

If you never put any money away, never save any, then you are not going to be surprised 15 years from now if you have no savings. Right?

If you never get your car serviced, never do any car maintenance yourself, and never pay any attention to warning lights that light up on the dashboard, so no oil change, no air in the tryes, no radiator top up, then you won’t be too surprised a few years down the line when your car breaks down.

Well your health is the same. If you do no maintenance, then why act surprised when things break down? If you don’t eat an apple a day, and yo don’t get some exercise, and you don’t do any of the things we know we should do for good health, it seems obvious that at some point, things are going to break down, and go wrong. We know the saying isn’t “Three donuts a day, keeps the doctor away.” We know that. Yet folks out there eat donuts every day instead of apples. We know we should exercise every day, we know we should stop smoking, drink less alcohol, drink more water, eat our veggies, and we know that fish is good for us. But how many folks don’t follow these simple tips?

Take charge…or perish

No one else is out to look after your good health, you have to take personal responsibility and look after yourself.

Apathy is a killer.

After my mindset changed, and I took personal responsibility for my own future, then I made quick progress, losing over seven stones of unwanted fat (101 pounds, or 46 kilos of body fat), getting super fit and healthy, coming off my medications and quitting smoking and drinking completely.

And I figured out the 12 Core Principles that I now share with you, to help you get there quicker, and easier, than I did.

Core Principle 1 – cut back on all those starchy carbs, most folks eat far too much of that stuff and they don’t lead high-energy lives that burn all that sugary fuel.

Core Principle 2 – quit the refined sugar, it’s a modern-day dietary disaster.

Core Principle 3 – reduce your reliance on processed foods, switch to fresh, ideally local, whole foods, better for you, better for the planet, better for animal welfare, better for farmers, better for everyone.

Core Principle 4 – stop smoking and drink less!

Core Principle 5 – get out for some fresh air every day.

Core Principle 6 – drink plenty of water, be sure you are well hydrated.

Core Principle 7 – just eat fresh whole foods. Vegetables, fish, eggs, meat, fruits, nuts, seeds and really not much else.

Core Principle 8 – focus on quality, not quantity. Buy organic, buy sustainably farmed.

Core Principle 9 – get some exercise, every single day!

Core Principle 10 – chill out, work a little less, laugh a little more, reduce stress and sleep more.

Core Principle 11 – spend more time out in nature, enjoy the countryside, make it a habit.

Core Principle 12 – get the above right 90% (or more) of the time and then chill out over the last 10%. Your long term results will not be determined by the 5% or 10% of the time you skip a workout or eat the pizza and ice cream. Your long term results come from the 90% to 95% of days that you DO workout and you do eat the veggies and fish. Get it right at least 90% of the time, and stick to it, consistent simple healthy living will win the day.

Really, it’s not Rocket Science…

So my question to you is this: what’s stopping you?

If you just refuse to take your own health seriously, and you can’t follow such simple steps to take care of yourself…why not? What needs to change about your mindset?

My invitation to you is this – take your health seriously, before something serious takes your health.

To you and your future!

Karl

If you could put a price on it, what is your good health worth?

I think it’s true to say that most people don’t realise the true value of good health, until it’s gone.

I meet people every day who won’t spend the extra money to buy organic, they definitely won’t spend the extra required to buy grass-fed meat or organic, free-range poultry. I meet people every day who say gym membership is too expensive, running shoes and lycra clothing are too costly, and they don’t have time to work out because they are too busy working, because their demanding career comes first.

When it comes to making the best health decisions, price is often an objection.

Yet I also meet a lot of people who have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and I have never yet met one person with a terminal cancer or in recovery after a heart attack, who still thinks gym fees are too expensive, or still says buying organic isn’t worth the cost. I’ve never met anyone who has been given a terminal diagnosis, who wouldn’t give you all the money they have to live a few years longer.

It’s true, most people don’t value their good health until it’s gone.

Causes and factors

Of course, the whole subject of what causes cancer or what causes heart disease is generally a bit more complicated than ‘well you didn’t buy organic veg, so now you have terminal cancer’, or ‘you didn’t work out in the gym, so now you are cruising for your second heart attack’. Certainly, in reality it’s a lot more complicated than that.

In the real world, what causes these ill health conditions is usually a combined effect of many such factors and causes, stacked up over a period of time. Of course, a certain percentage of cancers are unavoidable, genetic defects. A certain percentage of heart conditions are congenital defects, there’s little we can do about them. But the truth is that the vast majority of diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases and cancers, are affected, and made more likely, to one degree or another, by our diet and lifestyle choices.

There are many known Read more

The more you just ‘do’, the more you will continue to do 

I observe people quite a lot in my life.

My work is very varied, and involves public speaking, training people, working in groups, coaching people, leading people in outdoor activities, meeting friends and colleagues, mentoring people, working on collaborative projects and so on. Throughout this varied work, over the last two decades, I have observed that it’s only really quite a small percentage of people who ‘just do’ things, compared to a majority who live somewhere on the periphery of action – usually either right ‘on the cusp’ observing, wanting to take part, vicariously living on the edge, but never quite stepping up, or others tend to be further back, watching the action from something of a distance, or even way back, along with the ‘wall flowers’ of our world.

It takes all sorts, as they say.

Allow me to explain what I am talking about.

I find that few people ‘just do it’ as the expression goes. By it, I mean all kinds of things. Most people move into adulthood and fairly quickly settle into a set of circumstances that are familiar and comfortable. When the suggestion comes up to do something different, to push into unfamiliar territory, they default to a bunch of ‘reasons’ (ummm, excuses I call it) to hold back.

It might be trying a new sport, going on a trip, or changing a familiar routine, but people resist new, they resist change, and this can go on for months, for years, for decades. If you are one of those people, maybe you realise, it can go on for an entire life time.

All the excuses

I’ll write using the terms “I” and “you” but these are not about me, and you, they are just generalisations, about many people.

Last weekend I led a couple of friends to climb their first ever mountain, so that seems like a good place to start.

You’ve never climbed a mountain but you have always thought you might like Read more

You don’t really want to change…you’re happy as you are…

You like your life just the way it is. You’re comfortable where you are, you don’t want to change.

Your body, your weight, your health…how you look and how you feel, you are happy where you are, right?

The brilliant, original and funny Larry Winget says this, and I think he is bang on right. Perhaps you are sitting reading this. As you sit there, I’ll bet you are sitting mostly still, not really moving much at all. I guess you are fairly comfortable. I mean, if you were uncomfortable, you would move, right?

If you were sat there and you were uncomfortable, say your left buttock had ‘gone to sleep’ or you had pins and needles in one foot, or the chair side was digging into your leg and making you sore, or if there was a lump or spike sticking out of the chair seat that was painful to sit on, well then you would move, right?

You see, as Larry says, when we are uncomfortable, we move, we shift, we change, until we can become comfortable again. But when we are comfortable, we stop moving and stay put, we relax.

Now apply that to everything in your life.

  • What you see when you are naked standing in front of a full length mirror
  • How you feel, your energy levels, your level of vitality
  • How you look, your body shape, your weight, your muscles, your belly and bum
  • What you have in your bank account
  • How you feel about the job you get up and go to every day
  • How you feel about your relationships…with your spouse or partner, your boss, your kids
  • Your sex life
  • Your performance in your choice of sport or hobby
  • Your performance in bed
  • Everything

You are comfortable with where you are at.
If you were truly uncomfortable, you would move, shift, change.

Every week people tell me how unhappy they are about their weight, or how they look, or how they feel, or their energy levels, or their muscle mass, strength, speed, love, life… but then they trip out all the endless excuses why they can’t eat this, won’t train that, too busy to work this, don’t like to eat that, don’t have time for this, feel awkward doing that…the list is always long, it just goes on and on.

The truth is, they are comfortable, and until they get uncomfortable, they just won’t change.

I’m not saying they are happy. Just, comfortable.

Ouch.

Sadly, all too often, I meet people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, for whom finally ‘getting uncomfortable enough’, is a heart attack, or a cancer diagnosis, or the loss of a loved one.

Don’t be one of them.

Set your goals, keep your standards high, and get uncomfortable enough to make forward progress.

To your good health!

Karl

Change, change again, and then change again!

Training!
How is your training going?

Core Principle 9 of Mother Nature’s Diet says ‘Exercise, daily. Move naturally. Variety, moderation, consistency and structure.’

Do you? Move, daily? With variety and consistency?

Let’s focus on the variety bit today.

As a set of basic guidelines, at Mother Nature’s Diet we encourage variety, we encourage you to do some cardiovascular exercise, such as running or cycling or swimming, at least a couple of times per week, and some strength training, such as weights, bodyweight calisthenics or similar resistance training, at least a couple of times per week. With a backdrop of walking every day, and a session or two each week of yoga or simple stretching, this makes for a good balanced week – that’s plenty of variety.

If you are currently inactive, or if you don’t follow any kind of specific exercise plan or training regime, then that basic framework described above should be a good goal to aim for, so get started and stick to it.

But if you are already following a training plan, you do already exercise regularly or play a certain sport, then you need to incorporate variety in other ways. We are talking about including more variety in your training from week to week, month to month, year to year, to keep your body and fitness growing and to keep you interested, fresh and making progress.

Plateau busting

All too often I meet folks who exercise on a regular basis but they are tired, not getting results, fed up because of a lack of progress. This is so common, it happens to almost everyone, and it can be such a frustrating place. Maybe you run and your 10k or half marathon just doesn’t seem to be getting any faster. Your PB has been stuck for two years and it’s driving you nuts. Or maybe you lift and you just can’t understand why your bench hasn’t improved in over a year, despite the fact you train chest twice a week without fail.

Being stuck is often a result of doing the same thing all the time and not creating any variety in your training. The runner who Read more

Step right up! It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for…

Step right up! It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for.

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get some. Its name?

Exercise.

At this point, you might think this is b/s, you might think I’m toying with you. But no. I am in fact, quoting verbatim from this page, on the NHS website.

Not snake oil sales tricks, not hyperbole, not lies or sensationalism designed to sell you the latest miracle supplement or piece of over-priced exercise equipment. The NHS. A website giving you sensible advice paid for by your taxes.

Regular, varied exercise really is the miracle cure worth hundreds of billions of pounds that we all wish for…yet it is right there, freely available to us, and many ignore it.

Regular exercise can help prevent heart disease, the global #1 killer.

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of certain cancers.

Regular exercise can improve blood sugar regulation for diabetics.

Regular exercise can help prevent type-2 diabetes.

Regular exercise can help with diabetes management.

Regular exercise seems to help prevent dementia.

Regular exercise can help combat rising obesity.

Regular exercise can help reduce all-cause mortality.

The WHO, the NHS, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes.co.uk, Harvard School of Public Health – these are not quack sources, not snake oil salesmen, these are the biggest names in public health. Exercise is the miracle cure, yet surveys suggest that only around one third of UK adults take the minimum recommended amount of daily exercise (and frankly, that minimum is set pretty low) and a full one third of UK adults get absolutely no exercise at all. Zero. Nothing. None.

Pound for pound, it’s the best and cheapest preventive medicine strategy available. I have written before that fitness is more important than fatness, and Mother Nature’s Diet includes Core Principle 9 – varied daily exercise.

So the questions is – are you doing it?

If not, why not?

To your good health!

Karl

Do this, live longer. Odds on. It’s simple.

If you have attended one of my live seminars, you will have heard me explain, in as much detail as I had time for on the day, that I believe the Mother Nature’s Diet lifestyle offers you the best all-round sustainable healthy lifestyle for avoiding heart disease, stroke, all-types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more.

The 12 Core Principles have been worked out and put together from my own 27-year journey through obesity and poor health to the outstanding good health and abundant energy that I now enjoy, combined with the hundreds of books and studies I have read, dozens of courses and seminars attended and everything I have learned meeting with experts and learning through observation, trial and error.

I believe that MND offers the best all-round preventive medicine lifestyle, the best way for most people to live to extend life, avoid all causes of premature mortality, improve farm animal welfare, help conserve our environment and mitigate climate change and enjoy protection against the signs of ageing. I teach that I believe we all have more choice in these matters than we know.

In my live seminars, or in our MND subscription Members Group, I often explain that I think over half of all chronic ill health in our country is broadly avoidable, for most people. Of course, there are details, and exceptions, but I do believe that over half of all heart disease, stroke, cancers, type-2 diabetes and more is entirely preventable. Cancer Research UK suggest that around 42% of UK cancer is easily preventable, and I often say that I believe their data to be conservative.

So, to that end, you may be interested in this study from Canada which looked at all cancer cases in the Canadian province of Alberta in 2012, and calculated that 41% of cancer cases could have been avoided through lifestyle and environmental modifications.

Again, personally, I would imagine this data to be pretty conservative.

This is not the first time I have shared such research with you. There is growing evidence to support these claims.

Here’s the point, and I’ll keep it plain and simple and short for you. HALF of all the cancer and heart disease in our society could be avoided. HALF. Mother Nature’s Diet is a simple, easy-to-follow, sustainable lifestyle, it costs you nothing to follow the site, follow the blog, follow the 12 Core Principles, yet it could massively reduce your cancer risk and extend your life by a decade or two.

Half of all cancer
Half the misery
Half the tears
Half the loss

I invite you to take your health seriously…
…before something serious, takes your health.

1luvx

Karl

Stay sober, have sex and eat chocolate

Some people look at the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet and they tell me it all looks too hard, too limiting, too restrictive. Broadly speaking, I work hard to make Mother Nature’s Diet as simple, accessible and sustainable as I can – I think it’s all based on common sense, I think I have taken lots of science and given you some simple easy steps to follow, and I think it should prove beneficial to almost everyone.

I’m big on common sense, and on keeping things simple, and natural, avoiding overly-complicated solutions, expensive supplements and complex guidelines to follow. Mother Nature’s Diet is all about sustainable lifestyle choices – no fad behaviour, just sensible long-term healthy living.

Making changes

I am constantly suggesting that you drink less alcohol, because alcohol consumption in our society is, in my opinion, too high, and most people do not realise it is a risk factor for cancer and other health problems. New research now shows that even moderate alcohol consumption is a risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline. Folks, we all need to drink less. A glass or two, four, five or more times per week is not ‘moderate’ and we need to cut down.

However, there is good news around chocolate. While we all need to drink less alcohol in order to resist cognitive decline, research really does seem to support the fact that eating a bit of dark chocolate has quite the opposite effect and can be good for cognitive function as we age. This is good news! Drink less alcohol, but feel free to eat some good quality dark chocolate! Hoorah for dark chocolate! Just remember, it’s the high cocoa content that is beneficial, so make sure you buy high quality dark chocolate, not the sugar-filled cheap milk chocolate! While you are at it, shoot for Fairtrade, and organic!

Research also suggests that maintaining muscular strength is another way to defend against cognitive decline. In my blog posts and at my live events, I tell you to lift weight, or do bodyweight exercises (like push-ups, squats and crunches) to maintain muscular strength as you age. I often say this advice is more important for ladies of 50 and over, than it is for men of 40 and under. That is to say, as a stereotypical generalisation, that younger men rarely lack muscular strength, but older women frequently do. Ladies, this is important – use your muscles! Use it or lose it!

You may not like weight training, but there are plenty of ways to use your muscles without hefting barbells in a gym full of sweaty grunting types. You can take up a sport you enjoy, join a yoga class, workout at home in front of a home-workout DVD, or engage in our other favourite home workout – bedroom athletics. Research has linked a regular healthy sex life in women with living longer. That’s got to be good news then!

And all that dark chocolate, sex and weight training…or weight training, sex and dark chocolate, depending on which order you like to put it all in, is bound to help you experience a range of positive, happy emotions. That’s good news too, because research now shows that people who experience a range of positive emotions, seem to suffer less systemic inflammation, which is a key marker for so many chronic health problems, from irritable bowels to heart disease.

So, you see, I think the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet aren’t so bad after all –

  • Drink less booze
  • Eat some dark chocolate
  • Hit the gym and enjoy some weight training
  • Have more sex
  • And enjoy it all

See, that’s not so hard, is it?

This healthy living thing isn’t as bad as you might think. At Mother Nature’s Diet we don’t count calories and we don’t starve, instead we eat plenty of delicious, wholesome good food, including dark chocolate, and we enjoy our regular exercise, including good sex, and we like to get a tan and we get plenty of healthy sleep.

No fad diet mentality here, no deprivation, no misery.
Just sensible, sustainable healthy living.

What’s not to love about that?

The hard stuff is easy…it’s the easy stuff that so many people find hard

Promoting common-sense based healthy living, the Mother Nature’s Diet way, I travel around the country doing seminars and workshops, I give people one-to-one training and mentoring, and I meet a lot of doctors, trainers, nutritional therapists and other health professionals.

When I started all this five years ago, I would have thought it would be ‘the hard stuff’ that people would struggle with, that was my expectation. By ‘the hard stuff’ I mean overcoming years of low self-esteem, quitting smoking, overcoming the spiral of negative emotions that so often lead to poor health habits in the first place, or learning about nutrition and exercise, learning what to eat and what to avoid. I would have thought that was the hard stuff that most people did not understand, and I would have thought that would be the stuff folks find hard to deal with.

But in reality, when I talk to people who are making changes to their diet and lifestyle to lose weight, get fitter and improve their health, it’s not that stuff they are looking for help with. Far more often, the stuff they want help with is stuff that I think is ‘the easy stuff’. It’s things like – ‘what can I eat for breakfast?’ and ‘how can I find time to exercise?’ and ‘what am I supposed to eat for dinner?’

Seriously, this is the easy stuff!

Let me share with you some simple tips for the things people tell me they find difficult.

What to eat – breakfast

  • We want to get away from cereals and toast. Make scrambled eggs. Once you get good at it, then it only takes three or four minutes, that’s no time at all. I met a lady the other day, a GP, who said she’s got hers down to under 90 seconds! Quicker than me!
  • I like to add greens to my eggs, so I throw in a few handfuls of spinach while they are cooking, it all cooks down in there and adds valuable nutrients to my breakfast. Sometimes I add some mushrooms too, and then a fresh tomato on the side
  • If you fancy a sausage or two, or some bacon with your eggs, that’s great. But organic sausages, high meat content and gluten free, that’s best
  • If you want the bacon or the sausages, but don’t have time to grill them every day, then just grill a batch at the weekend or one evening when you do have time, and then keep them in the fridge – you can grab a couple out, chop them up and thrown them in your scrambled eggs to heat up while you are cooking, it only takes seconds
  • Cooked brekky in under 5 minutes = no excuses
  • Sometimes in summer I like a bowl of fresh fruits for breakfast, with a handful of mixed nuts added to make things a bit more substantial. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apple and later in the season, blackberries too. You might like to add pineapple, watermelon or grapefruit
    If you own a blender, ‘bullet’ or similar, then knocking up a breakfast smoothie a couple of times per week can be a very quick solution – you can even take it with you and drink it in the car!
  • Further ideas if you have time, are on this site

Read more

Fix your diet and live longer…simple, right?

In the spirit of keeping things short and simple, let’s get straight to the point.

I made a little video for you, it’s only 11 minutes, and it briefly explains Mother Nature’s Diet and the 12 Core Principles in the most short and easy way I could! I was aiming for inside 10 minutes…got it in just over 11, that’s pretty good for me!

This healthy living game doesn’t have to be difficult, it really is simple stuff.
Try these –

See how simple this stuff is!

Now of course, if you want ‘complex’ then there is plenty of detail and plenty of science behind it all. You might like to read more about how a sedentary life (that means you don’t do much exercise) can increase the risk of kidney cancer and bladder cancer.

Or perhaps you would be interested in reading about the role of excess dietary carbohydrate in driving health conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

This line stands out “An insulin response with every snack and meal for years can, in genetically vulnerable people, cause insulin resistance with variable expression among people and among different body tissues.” Read the whole (short) article in the British Journal of General Practice here.

As the article suggests, possibly the treatment protocol that has prevailed for decades – a diet based on whole grain ‘slow release’ complex carbs, and taking medications to control blood glucose, may in fact be the wrong approach, doing patients more harm than good. The correct approach, of course…well, that would be Mother Nature’s Diet. Natch.

If you need any further convincing on this topic, you should watch this lovely half-hour video from the highly personable Dr David Unwin, whom I have met and he’s a lovely chap, awarded as ‘Innovator of the Year’ by the NHS, for treating diabetic patients with a low-carb diet.

To your good health!

Karl

Whose job is it to keep you from getting sick?

Oh dear…were banging the ‘personal responsibility’ drum again! Feels like déjà vu…

A while back I asked ‘what saves the most lives – fire fighters or smoke alarms?

Let’s revisit this topic, and dig just a little deeper. It seems to me that in many, perhaps most, areas we grasp the idea that prevention is better than cure. We fit smoke alarms to our homes, we buy soft furnishings treated with fire retardant, we teach our kids not to play with matches, we all do our best not to leave candles unattended and so on. The UK Fire Service spends a good chunk of it’s budget on “undertaking preventative activities to reduce the risks of fire; and carrying out safety inspections of business premises” to prevent fires happening in the first place.

The UK Police service spends time and money on crime prevention, community policing and public safety. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has become a standard part of doing business in our country, and together with RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) these organisations do good work to reduce injuries and accidents in the UK, in businesses and homes.

And the NHS, to be fair, does promote a healthy lifestyle – they tell us to eat our 5-a-day, they offer resources and advice to help people to stop smoking, they tell the British public to drink less alcohol, and that alcohol contributes to cancer and more, they offer advice on weight loss and they promote regular exercise, clearly stating “Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose.”

So, our national emergency services are clearly ‘bought in’ to the idea that prevention is better than cure. I think we all are – I mean, no one buys a car and never gets it serviced, never has the tyres replaced, never tops up the windscreen wash, never has new brake pads put in, never puts fuel in it. No one does that. After a few days, weeks, months or years, what use would that car be if you never looked after it, never did any maintenance? Of course, it would be useless.

As a society, we get it, this idea that we have to do maintenance on something to keep it running well – worn tyres and worn brakes are a recipe for an early grave should you be required to make an emergency stop in wet weather…yet obesity, a lack of fitness, insulin resistance and high blood pressure are a recipe for an early grave too, and yet so many people will pay to get their car serviced every year, but they never commit to that same level of maintenance for themselves.

Whose job is it to keep us from getting sick in the first place?

RoSPA and the HSE do their best to give us safety advice and to ensure our work places and public spaces are safe, but ultimately is it RoSPA’s fault if I drive too fast on poor tyres in wet weather and I have an accident? No, of course not. That would be my fault.

And so the NHS tell us Read more

Vitamins, minerals and orangutans…

The Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle is built around the 12 Core Principles, an easy-to-follow set of nutrition and lifestyle guidelines – not hard rules, but guidelines to help you find the optimum diet and lifestyle for you, so that you get the best results.

In conversation recently, someone asked me ‘Why Core Principle 3, why do we have to cut down, or cut out, processed foods?’

I’ll answer that question now. Firstly, one reason we strive to minimise processed foods in our diet is in order to help us comply with Core Principle 1 (grains and excess starchy carbs) and Core Principle 2 (refined sugar).

We can walk the aisles of a modern supermarket and succumb to the illusion of choice – row upon row of different shapes, sizes and flavours; all the brightly coloured attractive packaging; it’s easy to think the 50,000 foods in a modern supermarket are all different. But in reality, many of them are actually just variations of the same thing. The truth is that a lot of processed foods are made from a basic starch (wheat, corn, rice, oats) with added soy and sugar. Then oils are added, such as palm oil or various vegetables oils, and then small amounts of other ingredients are added and finally artificial flavours, colours and preservatives round out the manufacturing process to create the final ‘food’.

It’s only in this final stage – adding the artificial colours, flavours and individual shapes and sizes, that many of these foods are differentiated from each other. There may appear to be 138 different breakfast cereals in your local supermarket, but if you break them down and look at them nutritionally, they are Read more

Are we struggling with the wrong things?

I urge you to take the time to read this if you want to make sense of your life and the things you struggle with.

What do you struggle with?

  • Your weight? The number on the scales?
  • Your career, your income, your bank balance, your business?
  • Your life choices, balancing family, kids, marriage, career, life? Do you feel empty, or fulfilled, do you constantly question if you are making the right choices in life?
  • Relationships? Love?
  • Do you think happiness is something that you will feel in the future, when you lose that weight, when people accept you, respect you, love you? Will you be happy when you are rich, secure, retired? When you can quit the job? Will you be happy for 2 weeks out of 52 when you are on holiday?

Read this.

Take the time.

Recently, I was reading Ray Dalio’s new book, Principles, and these words struck me, and I just have to share them with you. As always, I’m pressed for time, the last thing I have time to do is type up several hundred words that are not even my own words. But sometimes, you just have to do something that feels important.

Of course, I could do this the quick way, and just photograph the relevant couple of pages from the book and share them in this post saying ‘read this’ – but instead I am going to write the words out, because there is no better way for me to learn this and really take it in, than to write it all out for you. When we share words of wisdom or a passage of text, we not only pass on that gift to others, but we get to learn it and experience it all over again for ourselves. That sounds like a win:win to me.

Ray Dalio – Principles

Context: the author is Ray Dalio. Maybe you have never even heard of him, he’s a superstar in the world of finance, but to the rest of us, he’s largely unknown. In short, he’s probably the most famous and most influential person in the world of hedge funds, ever. He predicted things like the subprime financial meltdown in 2008 and no one else believed him. They do now.

He spent 40 years building a hedge fund company that is ranked by Fortune as the fifth most important private company in the US, Forbes magazine rank him as one of the 100 richest people in the world (he’s worth about $17bn), and Time magazine ranked him one of the 100 most influential people on the planet. He started trading stocks aged 12, he was working neighbourhood jobs for money from age 8, he was not born into millions, he started his company from home working alone, went bust after a few years and had to start again, has been ‘down and out’ in business and finances twice, then became a billionaire. He’s married, got four kids, been through some life drama, and gives away millions and millions to good causes. He’s now retirement age (68) and writing his memoirs and all he learned in life, to pass on after his death. This book is the first half of that work. Seems to me he’s a pretty smart guy.

I’m going to share a couple of pages from his book. This is him closing out the first 120 pages of his book, summarising his life story and then the rest of this book goes on to share the lessons he learned along the way.

Take it away, Ray:

“Watching the same things happen again and again, I began to see reality as a gorgeous perpetual motion machine, in which causes become effects that become causes of new effects, and so on. I realized that reality was, if not perfect, at least what we are given to deal with, so that any problems or frustrations I had with it were more productively directed to dealing with them effectively than complaining about them. I came to understand that my encounters were tests of my character and creativity. Over time, I came to appreciate what a tiny and short-lived part of that remarkable system I am, and how it’s both good for me and good for the system for me to know how to interact with it well.

In gaining this perspective, I began to experience painful moments in a radically different way. Instead of feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, I saw pain as nature’s reminder that there is something important for me to learn. Encountering pains and figuring out the lessons they were trying to give me became sort of a game to me. The more I played it, the better I got at it, the less painful those situations became, and the more rewarding the process of reflecting, developing principles, and then getting rewards for using those principles became. I learned to love my struggles, which I suppose is a healthy perspective to have, like learning to love exercising (which I haven’t managed to do yet).

In my early years, I looked up to extraordinarily successful people, thinking that they were successful because they were extraordinary. After I got to know such people personally, I realised that all of them Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet

Weight loss, nutrition, healthy living…it has all become so confusing in recent years.

It can be hard to know what is the right thing to do.

  • Are you fed up with fad diets?
  • Had enough of the gimmicks, the promises, the bullshit?
  • Are you fed up with being lied to?
  • Are you tired of the contradictory messages, ideas and advice?
  • Are you bored of being sold ‘the magic secret’ to this or the ‘only supplement you’ll ever need’ for that?

All the health experts seem to preach messages that are in conflict with each other.

The internet seems to be awash with self-appointed diet gurus promising you ‘the secrets’ to weight loss, the secrets to fat burning, the truth about ageing well…yet the solutions they offer seem to involve buying some powdered supplements or sticking to some crazy workout schedule.

Mother Nature’s Diet is the antidote to all that conflict and contradiction.

No fads, no gimmicks, no so-called superfoods or supplements.

No starving, no calorie counting, no suffering.

Mother Nature’s Diet is a common-sense healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet, that will help you lose weight, feel great and resist the signs of ageing.

Mother Nature’s Diet is for people who care, people who want the best for themselves, and people who are prepared to put in a little effort to get permanent lasting results.

MND_BOOK_MOCK-UP_hires

Personal responsibility

Mother Nature’s Diet is all about taking personal responsibility, and working on yourself to get the best out of your life, in every way. Whether you are currently aged 30 or 70, if you are the kind of person who refuses to accept that turning 40 means “it’s all downhill from here” and if you believe that we can be slim and healthy and full of energy in our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, then the Mother Nature’s Diet way of living just might be the lifestyle you have been searching for.

If you think the right way to live is to eat fresh whole foods, rather than searching for answers in the form of supplements, pills and powders, then Mother Nature’s Diet will resonate with you.

“Doc, can’t I just have the pills?”

A while ago I interviewed an NHS GP about the state of healthcare in the UK, and I asked the questions “Are people working hard to help themselves?”, and I was shocked to be told that while many GPs do take the time to give lifestyle and dietary advice, repeatedly, the reality is that a staggering nine out of ten patients just disregard that advice and ask, “Doc, can’t I just have the pills?”

This is the sad truth – the NHS is going bust because people are not taking personal responsibility.

Nine out of ten people. That is shocking and saddening to me.

If you just read that little story and, in your mind, you thought “I’m the one in ten, I don’t want to just take pills, if there is a way I can help myself, then I will.” If that’s you, then you’ll find that Mother Nature’s Diet is the lifestyle for you.
You will enjoy this book.

Mother Nature’s Diet is the point where lifestyle medicine meets personal responsibility.

  • If you want to lose that excess weight for good, no more fad diets, no more yo-yo weight loss, then Mother Nature’s Diet may be the answer you have been looking for
  • If you are prepared to get outside every day for some fresh air, take long walks at the weekends and switch off that TV from time to time, then you’ll feel right at home living the Mother Nature’s Diet way
  • If you want more energy, and freedom from sugar-lows and the afternoon slump, then Mother Nature’s Diet is for you

Mother Nature’s Diet – the place where preventive medicine meets personal responsibility.
The best version of you: fit, healthy, and full of energy, now and far into your future.

All you need to know

Mother Nature’s Diet is made up of 12 Core Principles, these are 12 simple points to guide you to optimal good health. The 12 Core Principles are easy to understand, easy to implement in your life and easy to follow. Living this way requires no science degree, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I have worked hard to remove the science and complexity, and the end result is purposefully simple, as good health should be. And far from starving, this lifestyle is abundant, you shouldn’t need to suffer in order to be healthy.MND_cover_A42

The 293-page eBook includes a 28-Day Plan, all the details you need to make these sustainable, enjoyable, beneficial changes in your life, to lose weight, feel great and have more energy.

Available for immediate download now.

What people are saying…

“This book is clearly written with passion and integrity, masses of commonsense, a framework of experience and thorough research, and packed with real-life constructive suggestions. If you want to change your life and health for the better, I can only strongly recommend that you buy it, read it and implement it; it’s the best £9 you will ever spend.” – Mrs T, Norwich

“If you care about yourself, if you want to be the best you can then you need to buy this book, it’s not just a way to eat well but also a way to live your life well too … it will be the best investment in You that you can ever make!” – Mrs V, France

“I wanted to crack on with discovering MND… love the no-nonsense, common-sense and pep-talk style – accessible, and am aiming for ‘progress, not perfection’ … thanks, Karl!” – Mrs G, East Anglia

“It’s a good read and I’m 5lb down already and I haven’t even finished the book yet!” – Ms. G, South East

“I have found the book great. Exactly the tool I wanted to learn from and digest (pardon the pun!)” – Mr B, Hereford

“Testimonial! Okay, I need to boast, lol, not for me, but for my other half. In less than 3 weeks of properly following MND he has lost (drum roll please!!!)……. 1 stone! Not only that, but his shape has improved too! Say bye bye to belly fat, and hello to trimmer and more toned!! Oh and best of all, he is finding it a doddle as the MND 12 Core Principles are so easy to follow and implement. Thank you Karl!” – Ms. J, Wales

“I have suffered with irritable bowel syndrome for many, many years. I was told to eat fibre – given Fybogel from the doctor, etc., suffered with lots of painful cramps, bloating etc., going one day being constipated, the next loose. I follow MND and no bloating, and bowels are now normal. Happy days!” – Mrs H, UK

“I’ve been following the MND lifestyle for 4 weeks today – lots of positive changes including over 7lbs lost.” – Mr J, South West

“Listen to Karl! I cut all the rubbish out of my shopping list, my trolley has never looked so healthy. I weighed myself today and I’m 6lbs lighter and I’ve eaten loads this week, not felt hungry and am determined never to follow any weight loss programme ever again, just healthy eating and exercise and no sugar!” – Ms. C, UK

 

“I have lost 5lbs in one week just by following MND and home workouts. I cannot believe it! My stomach has really gone down. I’ve stopped the bread and stuck to the 12 Core Principles. I still cannot believe it. Just having more energy is awesome!” – Ms R, London, UK

“I’d tried paleo, LCHF, considered raw, vegan, not to mention a decade of weight watchers, slimming world and none of it made any sense. All contradicting each other and often within their own ‘rules’. MND 12 CP’s are the way to go – Karl has made them so simple to follow! What I found useful was to write down what each CP meant to me in terms of what to work on. I did that in Jan after the seminar and will do again shortly as I’ve made a lot of little changes in those 6 months.” – Mrs Smith, South East, UK

“Thought I would share this to celebrate!!! Dropped a dress size in 2 weeks!!!!! And can now wear skinny jeans!!!! Am soooooooo happy!!!!!!!” – Rose, UK

“Quitting sugar and alcohol (didn’t drink much anyway) has changed my life. Karl Whitfield changed my life, his MND and 12CP showed me the way and I followed x Thank you x” – Mrs Wade, UK

“I would urge anyone who thinks this diet/way of life is restrictive to do what I did and start with just a small manageable time period to see how you feel afterwards. I guarantee that you will notice a major difference in your body, your health and it won’t seem as restrictive as before, but instead you will discover a new lease of life. I will be doing more and more 4 week periods, until I do more of them than I do more of the bad eating. Thanks for the hard work that goes into MND. It is highly appreciated.”

“I’ve lost 7lbs in 12 days Karl, and yes it is all yum, and beats a sandwich and crisps any day!” – Ms C, UK

“I’m down a dress size in two weeks as I’m no longer bloated and sluggish.
My anaemia is no longer tiring me out so much in the day!!!!
I’m sticking to this!!”

“MND has got me from 20% body fat to around 15% some times under fluctuates slightly but really impressed and not really made many drastic changes just been more aware of what I fuel my body with. Knowledge is power so massive thanks to Karl Whitfield for his… very inspiring … help.” – Mr R, Yorks

“15 weeks in 1 and half stone lost… apparently, so I’m told, I’ve lost it from my back and love handles, neck and face.” – Mr P, Midlands

“MND really does work!” – Ms R, London

Get your copy immediately and start making changes for your best health ever right now!

Eat less, move more…the diet deniers strike back…

Following the last post, this blog has registered it’s first official reader complaint!
A milestone to be sure!

In the last post I wrote about the ‘eat less, move more’ phrase, and how many health and fitness professionals, people I referred to as ‘the diet deniers’ for a bit of a tease, discard this phrase as being unscientific nonsense that has no place in helping solve our global obesity crisis. If you have not yet read that post, you may like to go and read it now.

In that post, I argue that in fact, eat a little less and move a whole lot more is great advice that probably is highly applicable to at least half or maybe as many as three quarters of all the overweight and obese people in our society that need and want to lose some weight. I went on to say that the saying should be revised to ‘eat less, eat better, and move more’ to meet the needs of as many people as possible.

Steve, a really good friend of mine, read that post, and challenged me on my thoughts. You know who your true friends are; it’s the people who don’t mind openly challenging you in the hopes that one, or both of you, might learn something. True friends can challenge each other without fear of upset or conflict, when you share the common aim of learning, when you both just seek the truth.

My friend Steve is a Personal Trainer, and a damn good one at that. He’s young, just turned 30, and he’s in great shape, he looks the part, lean, muscular, fit and strong and healthy. He’s always been in good shape, since playing sport at school, and he’s a highly qualified PT, constantly taking courses, expanding his knowledge base, always learning. Steve is roughly six foot tall, and he weighs a little over 13 stones (he’s around 186 pounds, or 85 kilos), so he’s pretty muscular, athletic looking I would say, and low enough body fat to have visible abs.

He challenged my thoughts last week and said that he thought I was being overly simplistic, he laughed and said “I’m one of your diet deniers! I think a few people should ‘eat less and move more’, but for most overweight people out there that’s not enough, they need personalised help, help with nutrition, perhaps a low carb diet, a ketogenic diet maybe, or they need help with a personalised training plan, they definitely need more than just ‘eat less, move more’.”

Here’s how the conversation followed –

Karl: Sure, all those things will be a big help to a lot of people, and for sure once someone is ‘on their way’ and the weight is starting to come off, they may need those things to keep making forward progress and to get into really great shape. But for a lot of folks, they just need to get started, they need to stop over eating and get out of their sedentary rut, start moving more.

Steve: Nope, that’s not enough man!

Karl: OK, try this for me buddy. I want you to experience something for me. You’re still a young buck, only 30, and you’re very healthy and in great shape. At your age, I know you can do this, I know you can do this experiment for me and come back from it, no long term damage, you’re the expert.

Steve: Go on…? Read more

The diet deniers

Eat less, move more – annoying cliché, or inconvenient truism?

I have been following the diet industry, in one way or another, for almost 30 years now, either as a customer trying to lose weight, or as a professional who ‘cracked the code’ and is now trying to help others.

I have seen trends sweep through this industry – fashions, buzzwords, fad diets of course, that come and go. A few years ago, the phrase ‘eat less, move more’ became ‘the latest thing’ in the media, perhaps rising partly off the back of the popularity of Paleo diets. The increasing use of this expression seemed to rise as a result of press articles summarising the words of doctors, scientists and personal trainers who were promoting studies showing that lack of exercise and the ease of access to hyperpalatable, high-sugar, obesogenic foods were the main societal drivers of the obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics.

Now, the latest, latest new thing, in the last year or so, has been to decry this expression as the most naïve and pointless weight loss advice ever promoted! It has become très trendy among the educated classes to laugh at the idea that eating less and moving more could possibly be good advice in tackling the rising obesity problem.

Almost every day now I read posts by diet and nutrition bloggers, or I see books from doctor-this and PhD-that, brushing off ‘eat less, move more’ as laughably short-sighted, and “anyone who says that clearly doesn’t understand the complex factors driving the obesity epidemic” and “oh how silly, if only it was that simple” and “telling an obese person to eat less is as pointless as telling a depressed person to just cheer up.”

Well ex-cuse me, you highly-educated diet-snob, but I’ve been both an obese person, and a depressed person, and I can tell you ‘eat less, move more’ worked a hell of a lot more effectively for me than ‘just cheer up’ ever did, so you can stick your PhD where the sun don’t shine pal, because I’m pretty darned certain that about 50% or more of all the overweight and obese people I see and meet out there in the real world damn well need to just eat a little less, and move a whole lot more, and in a great many cases they are perfectly happy to admit it!

Obesity is a multifactorial condition

Now I know the obesity epidemic is being driven by a lot of complex factors. I know some people overeat as an emotional crutch to make up for traumatic or psychologically damaging events that happened in their past, sure that maybe accounts for about 5% of the overweight and obese people out – probably only really 1% or 2%, but I am being generous.

And I know that there are genetic factors, some people Read more

Chill out before you peg out…

Why stress is so bad for you and you need to sort it out.Why stress is so bad for you and you need to sort it out.

The following is an extract from my new book, Mother Nature’s Diet, available for immediately download right now.

It’s all about your hormones

Everything in the human body interacts with everything else.

There is virtually no system or function that operates in isolation, everything is interconnected by your central nervous system (kinda like the wiring in your supercomputer), your blood (the river of life) and by the chemical signals and instructions that blood carries around, in the form of hormones, proteins and other compounds.

Hormones arrive at an organ or a certain type of tissue or cell, and deliver instructions telling those tissues or cells what to do. When hormone signalling works well, like signalling in a computer or on a railway network, all is well. When signalling is ‘shot to shit’, just like on a road or rail network, all hell breaks loose, and we either have major crashes, or everything seizes up in grid lock. That’s how important hormones are.
You have hormones that govern when you feel hungry or full; hormones that make you happy or sad, angry or calm, lively or relaxed. Hormones and minerals between them regulate many complex processes in the body including appetite, blood pressure and elimination of waste.

Fight or flight…rest and digest

You have likely heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response. When you feel fear, when you sense some imminent danger, your body releases a rush of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol are the ones you will have heard of) and prepare you to either fight, physically, or to run away. Yes, this all dates back to caveman and the proverbial sabre-toothed tiger, these hormonal systems have been keeping us safe since we climbed down out of the trees in East Africa seven or eight million years ago.

When those stress hormones flood your body, they trigger a whole Read more

Brexit and booze

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about politics! I’ll keep my views on Brexit to myself.

This is the first in a series of posts that will eventually come together as a short series on “ignoring the elephant in the room” and as the series builds, you’ll see how the posts all connect together, to highlight ‘gross national stupidity’ and the ignorance our media perpetuates by spreading lies and misinformation.

£350m per week for our NHS

As surely everyone in the country can remember, during the Brexit campaign, the Leave campaign drove around Britain in a bus touting the slogan “We send the EU £350 million per week, let’s fund our NHS instead. Vote Leave”

Brexit bus

This was one of the cornerstone arguments of the Leave campaign – stop giving money to the EU, and give it to the NHS instead.

This post is not about politics, but you may have followed in the news how this £350m GBP promise has been pulled apart and rubbished…the £350m figure does not account for Britain’s EU rebate, it’s a gross figure not a net figure, and it fails to account for everything our nation gains in return for EU membership. Scholars have largely proven that in fact, once the UK leaves the EU, there will be zero surplus cash available for the NHS, quite a lot less that £350m per week.

At this stage, at time of writing, there is no sense exploring that issue any further because:

  • Until the Brexit negotiations are complete, nothing is certain and we can’t know whether the UK economy is going to be better off or worse off
  • That’s not the point of this post

What’s this got to do with health?

Read more

Save yourself a bunch of hassle, a small fortune, and years of poor health – JFDI

This post, in a nutshell:

  • I was a fat yo-yo dieter for 20 years, in and out of obesity, trying fad diets and fad bouts of exercise
  • I finally ‘figured it all out’ and lost 101 pounds of fat, or 7 stone 3, or 46 kilos
  • Now I have spent 11 years obsessed with health and fitness and read 847 books and research papers on all-things-health related
  • I have spent the last five years trying to teach the best of what I learned – no gimmicks, no fads, no selling snake-oil supplements, no bullshit, just the truth
  • Most folks don’t want this truth, it’s too boring. It’s not very sexy, it doesn’t sell
  • Ugly as it sounds, the reality is that ‘most’ doctors and ‘experts’ are disinclined to teach healthy diet and lifestyle modification as preventive medicine. Instead they wait for people to mess themselves up, then when they come for help, they prescribe drugs or surgery
  • And most ordinary people are turned off by honest advice to eat healthily and exercise more, and instead they prefer to live the hedonistic life, wait til shit goes wrong, then take those prescription drugs in the hopes that can fix things
  • This strategy falls apart when the NHS goes bust and everyone has type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer
  • The solution? Follow my boring and sensible advice, follow the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet, and stop using food and alcohol as cheap thrills and anxiety drugs to make up for the fact that other areas of your life are less than fulfilling

The size of the problem

If you follow this blog then you know my back story and there is no real need for me to go through it again. For those who are new to this blog, here is the super-short version. I struggled with my weight from age 14 to age 35, yo-yo diets, exercise fads, in and out of obesity. I smoked for 20 years, drank pretty heavily for 26 years, had skin problems, nasal congestion problems, took prescription meds for 17 years, and fought low self-esteem my entire life. Mid-30s, I started to learn about nutrition and turned it all around. Lost 7 stone 3 (101 pounds, 46 kilos), got fit, ran a bunch of marathons, had some injuries and accidents (including every running injury in the book, knee surgery, fractured spine, busted some ribs, bust a few bones) and then studied and became a Personal Trainer. Long version here.

Along the way, I read hundreds of books, hundreds of research papers, attended dozens of training events, seminars, conferences and more. I learned a ton about health, nutrition, disease prevention, fitness, training, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, weight loss, mindset, personal development, farming, agriculture, the environment, history, anthropology and a whole lot more. Along the way I got really pissed off with all the confusing and conflicting research and advice.

  • Meat is good for you : no, meat gives you cancer!
  • Dairy is good for you, it’s a superfood : no, dairy is full of pus and gives you breast cancer!
  • Running is good for you : no, running trashes your knees and hips!
  • Low-fat is the secret to losing weight and avoiding heart disease – so just eat less fat and more carbs! : No! Fat is essential…it’s the carbs that cause heart disease and make you fat!
  • Coconut oil is good : no, coconut oil is bad!
  • Put butter and fat in your coffee : no, coffee is already bad for you, it’s worse with butter in it!
  • Weight training is good for you : no, weights will make you bulky and you’ll end up damaging your joints and taking steroids!
  • Calories are all that matter for weight loss : no, calories don’t matter at all!

And so it goes on and on and on. I read every book, paper and blog on every topic for 27 years and it all drove me nuts. Every expert disagrees with every other expert! And today, if anything, it’s only Read more

Every master was once a disaster

Every master was once a disaster…it’s worth remembering, that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and few people are great at anything the first time they try it.

I was listening to one of these personal development guru types the other day, a great speaker and author called T.Harv Eker who teaches people how to get rich, and he used the phrase ‘every master was once a disaster’.

The phrase came back to my mind the very next day when I was training with a PT client who was really struggling with the challenge I had set for him. This guy is around 40 and he’s let himself get out of shape; you know, bit of a belly, let the fitness go, not done any strength training in years. He is in perfectly good health, has no heart problems and not morbidly obese, so I was pushing him pretty hard to get through this workout challenge, and he was swearing and cursing and flagging big time.

I could see he was reaching exhaustion, but on each exercise I was pushing him to go one or two extra reps, just to get the best out of him, the best he could do that day. He was swearing at me, sure, but he was mostly swearing at himself.

When we finished the workout, he was hard on himself, berating himself for doing poorly, for being unfit and out-of-shape. He was ashamed, maybe that word is too strong, but he was disappointed by how few push-ups he could do, how few burpees he could do, how few dips he could do. I told him, ‘every master was once a disaster’ and he shouldn’t be so hard on himself now, but instead understand that he has work to do to move from ‘disaster’ to ‘master’ and he should be proud that right now he is taking the necessary steps, doing the work, pushing himself forward, and starting to make improvements.

I do a lot of push-ups, I guess 200 to 500 per day most days. In fact on a good day, I think little of doing 1000 in a day. But it wasn’t always like that. When I first decided it was time to get fit and healthy, I couldn’t finish a single set of 20. I was only 20 years of age. Let’s be absolutely clear, failing to complete even one set of 20, flaking out at less than 15, as a young man aged just 20, that is very poor. I was at ‘disaster’ at that time, but I didn’t beat myself up too much for that. I just said ‘OK, it’s 14 today. OK, let’s shoot for 15 or more tomorrow’ and started making progress from there. Now I do 1000 in a day, no big deal.

The lesson to learn is this: often no one is as hard on us as we are on ourselves. Don’t beat yourself up too much, instead take pride from the fact that at least you are here, you’re reading this blog, you’re trying to live by the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet, you’re working out, even if it’s starting with just one push-up, well done you, that’s one more than yesterday. Just start, and keep moving forward. As I wrote last week, the road to ‘master’ is seldom straight, upward and easy; instead it’s fraught with setbacks and trials and tribulations along the way, but you have started, you have made a move from ‘disaster’ and you are on your way. Master awaits, you just have to keep making forward progress.

Exercise, diet, lifestyle. Keep making progress. Don’t be too hard on yourself, the journey is long, stay the course. Rather than emotionally beating yourself up for errors in days gone by, mistakes you have made that cannot be undone, keep going consistently now, keep making forward progress, and never look back. Consistency is where so many fail. Stay the course.

Whatever your goals, keep chasing them, keep working; and as you move towards mastery, one day at a time, just remind yourself that every master was once a disaster. Keep going, you’ve got this.

 

 

Bumps along the road to success

The path to getting the results we want is never the smooth, easy road we imagine it is going to be.

For almost 47 years old, with a history of 20 years of smoking, heavy drinking and yo-yo obesity, now I am in pretty good shape for a guy my age. I’m healthy, full of energy, got zero health complaints, I’m fit-as-a-fiddle, I train every day and barring a couple of minor muscular niggles, I am fit and strong in every way. ‘Minor muscular niggles’, yeah I have a few of those, currently the main one is a rotator cuff issue in my right shoulder that’s been holding back progress on my bench press for almost nine long months. I used to get frustrated about the aches and pains, but over the years I have now come to realise they are just part of life training over the age of 40, I just have to live with them.

I was having this conversation the other day with a coaching client of mine, we were talking about working around the minor niggles. He was frustrated by a neck/shoulder ache that was stopping him doing his upper body training properly, and I was encouraging him to train more lower body while his upper body strength is compromised. This is life, the journey is never smooth, it never goes to plan, there are always hiccups along the way. My client was having a crap day, he was feeling down about his training, things not going to plan, progress too slow. This week he can’t train upper body properly because of this neck/shoulder ache, all last month he was off running because of a touch of shin splints, he was feeling exasperated, “I just want to get on a train hard every day! It’s not fair! It’s slowing my progress, all these damned injuries!”

The ups and downs

I can empathise, I have been there myself. The road to success is never the smooth journey we want it to be. When we start out on our health transformation, to lose the excess weight and get all fit and healthy, we imagine in our minds that it will all go smoothly. We imagine that after years of not doing the right things, not looking after ourselves, smoking, drinking, eating too much fattening food, not exercising, making the wrong choices, we imagine that once we start ‘being good’ and doing all the right things, then everything will be good, everything will work well, everything will go in our favour. We have some unquestioned mental faith in the depths of our mind that quietly assumes that we are switching from ‘being naughty’ to ‘being good’ and therefore nothing will go wrong, the quiet forces of the universe will line up in our favour and everything will be perfect, it will all go in our favour.

Then we start, and for the first month or two things often start out well, weight falling off, we get over the ‘OMG I am so unfit’ and start to find aspects of exercise that we quite enjoy. Days are early, resolve is high, results come quickly. Oh the joy of it all! And then we hit our first plateau. Down to Earth with an almighty thump.

Success

Two months in, two stone down, the weight loss slows to a crawl and we pick up our first training injury. And so the honeymoon period is over, and the real work begins. What can I say? It’s hard. People reading this who have done it, you’re nodding right now and saying ‘oh yeah, oh brother, I know just what you’re talking about’ and folks reading this now who have never been fat and had to lose it all, you folks who have always been slim, you have no idea what I am talking about.

Hiccups along the way

I had someone came up to chat with me in the lunch break at one of my seminars last year, and he shook my hand and thanked me for a good morning, he said he was feeling inspired and learning some great stuff, and then he said “…but it’s OK for you, I mean look at you mate, you’re in good shape, you’re slim and fit, you’ve got your pecs all squeezed into your tight t-shirt, you’ve got your flat stomach, you run marathons and you lift weights, you rock climb and you play squash, you know how to cook all these healthy meals, you know all about what not to eat…you know mate, it’s OK for you, you make it all sound easy when you are telling us what to do, but some of us have a lot more work to do to be able to do the things that you can do. We’re not all you!” He then went on to tell me of this injury he has to work around, that food allergy he has to watch out for, and this work commitments that he has to fit the rest of his life around. He told me of his unsupportive spouse, his career commitments, his lack of cooking skills and his financial pressures.

I really understand. I truly do understand all those things, all those headaches, hiccups and obstacles we face. Because I have faced them all too. When I am standing up there in my tight t-shirt delivering my seminar, I’m talking to a room full of people, many of whom are at Ground Zero on their health transformation, Day One of their own personal weight loss journey…meanwhile I’m standing up there at year eleven. Year. Eleven. Eleven years earlier I was at my own Ground Zero, Day One on my own personal weight loss and health transformation journey. At that time I too would have looked up at ‘tight t-shirt man’ and thought ‘well it’s OK for you pal, you’re all slim and fit and healthy…’ and I would have thought that guy didn’t understand the challenges I faced.

For eleven years I have overcome all those obstacles myself, every one of them. I have had a gazillion hiccups along the way and I can promise you the road to success is never the smooth, easy, endlessly-upwards journey we imagine it is going to be. I’ve had shin splints, a fractured right tibia, right knee surgery, a fracture in my left foot, a broken toe, every running injury in the book. I ran my first marathon with a fracture in my lower leg still healing. I ran that marathon with only 1 training run in the 12 weeks before the event. I fractured my spine on L2 and L4 in a training accident in 2012. I have had muscle spasms in my back so bad I couldn’t stand up straight and walk. I have had to retire from running completely because of a destroyed meniscus in my knee. I have broken a toe and several fingers in training. I fell over 200 feet down the side of a mountain in 2014 and bust five ribs. I have had pulls, sprains and strains in almost every muscle I can think of. I have had to stop training for a week here, a fortnight there, a month here and three months there more times than I can possibly remember.

I have had running injuries, climbing injuries, cuts, scratches, breaks and bruises. Bike crashes, expensive bike crashes. I’ve ripped clothes, ripped skin, busted bones and shed blood, sweat and tears. I’ve had to juggle it all with family life. Three young children, my own businesses, endless 15-hour workdays. I’ve been through losing my mother to cancer in her 60s, the loss of friends and family members. I’ve been through the sleep-loss of young children, the emotional ups-and-downs of married life, near bankruptcy in business, the highs and lows of recession, and more.

I always say I lost 7 stone 3, or 101 pounds of fat, 46 kilos to my European friends. In reality I have probably lost 200 pounds of fat, counting all the times it went up and down. You lose two stone, then plateau and put one back on again. Then you have to lose that one again before breaking new ground and losing more. And so it goes on.

Consistency

Hiccups along the way? I’ve broken bones, lost loved ones, built businesses and had almost every injury in the book. How come I get to be the slim fit guy in the tight t-shirt teaching the weight loss seminar?
Because despite all that shit, I stuck it out.

I didn’t let those hiccups stop me. I didn’t let the shitty days take me out of the game for good. I never quit.

When it’s all going wrong, we get demoralised, we feel down, we feel like giving up. We hit these plateaus and the voice in our head says “What’s the point? It’s not working any more, you might as well give up.” And “See, dummy, you’re injured again. You didn’t have all this hassle when you were a couch potato, this exercise malarkey is bad for you!! You might as well just stop and go back to the DVD and a tub of ice cream, that didn’t hurt, you didn’t ache all over then!” Those voices in our head would screw us over if we let them, they would stop us every time. We have to learn to master the voices and stay the course. It’s these ups and downs, these plateaus in our progress, these hiccups that derail most people’s weight loss efforts and cause most people’s plans to fall by the way side.

Success is not the smooth journey we imagine. The road forward is fraught with hazards and hiccups. I am sorry, that’s just how it is. When you actually start using your body to work hard after a decade or two of neglecting it…it grumbles back at you! It aches and moans, it creaks and groans. Now and then something breaks, you’re out for weeks or even months with an injury. You have to learn to train around your injuries and aches and pains.
Legs hurt? Train upper body.
Shoulder injury? Work lower body.
Can’t run? Cycle.
Can’t cycle? Swim.
You have to learn to do whatever it takes to keep making progress, no matter how slow.
Just don’t ever quit.

If you want the results, damn the hiccups, you have to find a way. The rewards go to those who stay the course.

Never, ever quit.
That’s how winning happens.