Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Obesity’

Diet…or lifestyle? It’s a commitment thing…

Mother Nature’s Diet is not ‘a diet’ – not in that fad diet sense of the word. Mother Nature’s Diet is a healthy lifestyle.

There’s a big difference.

In short…

A temporary diet, comprised of temporary changes to what you eat and how you move, will generate temporary results.
Quit the diet, lose the results.

Live a healthy lifestyle, all the time, and get improvements in your health, that last all time.

See how this works?

Wrong way of thinking

Lots of folks say to me, something like…

“What am I supposed to do? What should I eat? This Mother Nature’s Diet thing, where’s the diet bit, the menus, the meal plans, the recipes? Tell me what to eat every day? How long will it take me to lose two stone?”

This is the wrong way of thinking. Folks need to stop focusing on what they eat in order to lose unwanted body fat. Better to spend time thinking about what not to eat. Better to think more about exercise, water, sleep, stress reduction…placing all our attention on what we eat is not the optimal way to focus on fat loss.

Generally speaking, you can’t eat your way thinner. Better to think you need to un-eat your way thinner.

Lifestyle

All the people I know who ‘go on diets’ and all the people I meet who are forever searching for ‘the diet that will work’, they are the people who are still not happy with their body weight and shape.

Ever searching. Never finding peace.

The people I know who are happy with their lean, strong bodies; the people I know who have lost weight permanently and they are at peace around their food, these people don’t ‘follow diets’ but they live a healthy lifestyle.

Today, next week, next month, next year.
It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
Sure, it changes, it evolves, as these people learn new nuances and distinctions (because these kind of people like to keep learning, always) but they never stop ‘healthy living’ because they are committed to looking after themselves.

Commitment

And that’s the name of the game.

All-too-often, the people flitting from one fad diet to the next, are doing it out of some kind of sense of duty (they feel grudgingly obliged to try to make some effort to lose some weight) or they are doing it in pursuit of some short-term, temporary goal, possibly something vain or superficial like a desire to drop a dress size for the office Xmas party, full-well knowing that the weight will go straight back on over the following holiday season. Or they just want to tone up for the beach while on summer holiday, but then they couldn’t care less after August.

I’m not judging or belittling such people, merely trying to highlight the fault of this mindset.

If you treat your health, and your body weight and shape, as something to be manipulated a few times per year to fit around your party schedule or your summer holiday, then it’s no wonder you are not getting the lasting results you say you want. How would your marriage or career be working out if you took that approach in that area of your life?

The folks who maintain their desired body weight and shape all year round are the folks who skip the fad diets and commit long term to a healthy lifestyle.

That’s commitment.
Commitment to healthy living.
Commitment to eating well all year round.
Commitment to moving your body every day.
Commitment to yourself.

Commitment to achieving the right results…the approach that lasts, in your business, your marriage, your parenting, your health and fitness.

So how about you?

Are you committed to healthy living?

If you are honest enough to admit that you are not committed…I applaud you!
If that’s you, and you want to change, try reading this short free ‘7 Classic Mistakes…’ ebook, it highlights this ‘fad diet thinking’ problem and some other mistakes many dieters make.

If you are committed to healthy living, then you will love the Mother Nature’s Diet book, it’s full of wisdom and truth and it very much speaks your language. Get yourself a copy today and get reading.

And if you are real healthy living geek like me, and you want to connect with a like-minded tribe and expand your knowledge to the nth degree, come check out MND Life! and join our friendly club, complete with as much nutrition-nerd, health-geekery as you can handle.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go on then.

To hell with fad diets and temporary results…

I was frustrated…

For years, because…

Weight loss, nutrition, healthy living…it had all become so confusing. All the experts and their opinions, they all seemed to contradict each other!

It all left me feeling exhausted. It can be hard to know what is the right thing to do with so much conflict and complexity.

Mother Nature’s Diet is here to save you!

  • Are you fed up with fad diets?
  • Had enough of the gimmicks, the promises, the b/s?
  • Are you fed up with being lied to and hard-sold 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. How can you make sense of it all?!

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

In my popular book, I help you make sense of the confusion. This book is the end result of 28 years spent figuring it all out, and now it’s here for you in common-sense plain English.

Check it out here!

This book is the breath of fresh air we all need to take control of our health, lose weight and feel great.
…not to mention tackling the major public health challenges we face in the Western world today – obesity epidemic, type-2 diabetes out of control, NHS struggling to fight off bankruptcy and privatisation.

The solutions are all in this book! 

Click on the link and download your copy today, you can get started immediately!

So, go on then, treat yourself to the best version of you in 2020!

To your good health!

Karl

Is it time you learned to make a proper decision?

Fourteen years ago today, I made a decision.

On 4th February, 2006, at around midday I guess, I was sitting in a personal development seminar in London, listening to the presenter talking about the power of making a real decision.

At that time, I was 35 years of age, I was very overweight, around 226 pounds (103 kilos, BMI of about 30), smoking, drinking daily, not exercising very much, had terrible bad skin problems, nasal congestion problems, and hated myself for how I looked and felt.

I had ‘tried’ for years to quit smoking, but always failed. Justifications about the waste of money, the idea that I might die of cancer some decades later, just didn’t seem to have enough mental leverage on me.

In 20 years of smoking, for 17 years of that time I had tried to quit. I had quit hundreds of times, sometimes lasting a few hours, sometimes a few days, weeks or months, but I always went back to it. I just liked it too much. I wanted to smoke. In a mind that frequently defaulted to self-loathing, smoking was an escape, a guilty pleasure that relaxed me.

The presenter explained that the word decision shares the same Latin root as the word incision. Decision literally means “to cut off” in the context of “to cut off from any other option or possibility.” He explained that a real decision is a powerful commitment to a set course of action. He lamented that folks have ‘weak decision making muscles’ these days, making decisions about what to have for dinner, but not about how to live more fulfilling lives.

I listened, and it really hit home with me.

In one of those wonderful moments of clarity (call it a light bulb moment, an epiphany, whatever you like) I realised “I want to be a healthy person!”

In that moment, my mind held a clear vision of myself as one of those people you meet who just looks and acts healthy, bouncy, energetic, oozing wellness and energy and enthusiasm for life. Tanned and smiling, bright eyed and bouncy. I wanted to be that person.

I stood up and left the room, walked to the nearest bin, took out my packet of cigarettes, crushed them up and threw them in.

Not a glimmer of emotion.

I just smiled, felt good about my decision, and have never wanted one since. No effort. No struggle. No cravings. No will power. No patches or gum. I just decided I wanted to be a healthy person, and healthy people don’t smoke. Smoking no longer fit with my identity, I had changed, I had made a decision about the man I wanted to be.

14 years today.

That’s the power of making a firm decision.

Maybe you already know my story, and I’ll keep it very brief here, but that day started a decade plus quest for good health. In the months and years following that day…

  • I transformed my health completely
  • Lost 101 pounds of unwanted bodyfat
  • Quit smoking (14 years today)
  • Quit drinking (8 years, 1 month and counting)
  • Cured my health conditions
  • Came off 17 years of prescription medications
  • Learned everything I could about health, nutrition, weight loss, exercise, disease prevention, longevity and more
  • Attended seminars and conferences and training events
  • Read over 847 books and research papers and reports about every aspect of health and nutrition and physical training
  • Started running
  • Completed 14 marathons and two ultramarathons
  • Cycled John O’Groats to Land’s End
  • Trained as a Personal Trainer
  • Created Mother Nature’s Diet as my personal blog
  • Formulated the 12 Core Principles
  • Mother Nature’s Diet (MND) became my business
  • Quit my job and closed my previous company to run MND

It all started that day, 14 years ago today, in that hour, that minute, that empowered me to throw those cigarettes away. In those ten or twenty seconds that I made that decision, as that vision unfolded in my mind, as I changed my identity of who I wanted to be, I started a journey that ultimately shaped my life for the last 14 years.

That’s the long term power of making a firm decision.

Life-changing in so many ways.

My health, my self-confidence, my life, hobbies, career, most of the people I now spend my time with, my circle of friends, countries I have been to, and if I now live 20 years longer, then everything I do in those 20 years, it will all be down to that one decision I made in that one minute, at about midday on the 4th February 2006.

So, the point of this post is this…

Do you have weak decision making muscles?

Have you been making weak wishes, lame daydreams, vague ideas, and calling them decisions?

Is it time to muscle up, to level up your decision making skillset, and make a clear firm decision or two about where you are going in your life, about what you want, who you want to be, and what you are now determined to do to get there?

It only takes one seemingly small decision to change the entire course of your life.

Time to flex those decision making muscles, you have so many exciting tomorrows to look forward to.

More power to ya.

Is it all your own fault or not?

It’s frustrating, but often I find myself writing about the great hotly-debated topics of the health and weight loss industry…

  • ‘Calories matter’ versus ‘calories don’t matter’!
  • ‘We should all go low-carb’ versus ‘carbs are not the whole story’!
  • ‘Exercise is crucial as a weight loss tool’ versus ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’!

Oh how these arguments go round and round and get turned inside out and upside down daily; every opinion being ‘proved’ every way by some credentialed expert quoting a study here and a study there! It’s no wonder the general public are fed up with it all and utterly confused!

And so often, arguments come down to playing ‘the blame game’ – that is, who is to blame for rising obesity? In crude terms – is it all your own damned fault, or not, that you’re fat?

Two sides to blame

I recall the clever and well-respected Dr Mark Hyman tweeted about his new book release.
But what more stirred my thoughts on this topic was equally clever and well-respected author Nina Teicholz’s retweet, and the comments it generated.

We see one side of this story, the likes of Dr Hyman, Nina Teicholz (both of whom I like, follow and respect) and many others saying that in broad terms, governments have given the public poor dietary advice over the last 40 years. They have been telling us to place carbs at the bottom/base of our food pyramid, to get 30% to 50% of our calories from grains and starches, and they have largely ignored mounting evidence, until very recently, about the dangers of added sugars. These guys argue that food companies and the sugar industry have lobbied governments and paid off scientists to distort and hide the truth…dietary fat has been painted as the bad guy, and after 40 years, we have obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics as a result.

They conclude “It’s not the fault of Americans that they are fat and sick!”

But interestingly, plenty of people see the other side of the argument – that in fact people still have free will to decide what they put in their mouths. People still have free choice whether they watch TV, or go to the gym. During these years that the obesity epidemic has grown, people have had free choice whether they buy fresh meat and vegetables in the supermarket and cook a meal, or whether they order a pizza or Chinese take away.

So, who is right? Have governments failed their people? Have food companies piled it high, sold it cheap, and spent a fortune on advertising? Have we lived through times where far more money has been spent on designing hyper-palatable foods, and on advertising those foods, than has been spent on research into effective weight loss protocols and helping educate the public about healthy living?

Or, have people failed themselves, failing to exercise personal responsibility for their health outcomes? Have people failed to buy the foods they know are healthier? Have people failed to exercise regularly? Have people passed off the blame for their own apathy?

I see this battle rage daily in the media, on the health blogs and groups I follow and I see everyone looking for the answer. Personally, I think the problem is that everyone is trying to prove they have the answer. I don’t think we are going to come up with the answer. I think both sides of the argument have an answer. Perhaps both are right. But perhaps neither are right all the time, for all the people.

Despite the facts that all these scientists and authors, doctors and experts should not need to be reminded, the truth is that as they publish their books and blogs, they constantly seem to forget that one size does not fit all.

Over the years as I have learned about health, fitness and nutrition, this has pretty much become my number one guiding principle. There just is not one answer for all people. It’s not possible, there is no one single solution for any problem in health, weight loss and nutrition.

Seriously.

  • We all know someone who smoked for 20, or 30, or 40 years yet didn’t develop lung cancer.
  • We all know someone who is overweight, stressed, doesn’t exercise, and drinks too much, yet they haven’t had a heart attack.
  • We all know someone who eats loads of sweet foods yet they are not overweight and don’t have type-2 diabetes.
  • We all know someone who does no exercise yet they remain slim and lean. (Yeah I know, we all hate that person!!)

The point is, even the things we think are “a certain sure thing” are still proven wrong time and again by people who don’t fit the norm. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in any aspect of health, weight loss and nutrition.

Reality time

I believe, that the observed and worrying reality in obesity trends is caused by many factors. I can certainly tell you that for myself, for my own 101-pound weight loss (46 kilos of unwanted fat, 7 stone 3 in old-English language) I just needed to eat less, and move more. I ate and drank too much, and I ate and drank the wrong things, and I did too little exercise. I can tell you that I have been driving around the country delivering my health seminar for the last six years and people come up to me all the time during those talks and say “You are the kick-up-the-butt that I need! I eat too much and don’t workout, it’s all my own silly fault! Thanks for being honest with me!”

This is no judgmental fat-shaming, this is just what people say to me of their own free will.

But that is only some people. Not all people.

On the flip side, other people eat pretty well and make efforts to be active, yet they can’t seem to win the weight loss battle.

For many people, government guidelines that were created over 40 years ago, have failed to change with the times. The reality is that today, car ownership is up and people are far less active than they used to be when dietary guidelines were established. I think that for many people, they are consuming far too much starchy carbohydrate and just not leading active enough lives to burn up all those calories.

Food manufacturers have done nothing to help, they have positively made things worse. Far too many processed foods are now promoted in big-size servings, they have too much added sugar, convenience packaging and high-spend advertising promotes over-consumption.

There are many factors behind the obesity epidemic in the US, the UK and across Europe and elsewhere. We could talk about psychological and societal factors, economics, obesogenic environments, hyper-palatable foods, carbohydrate tolerance and sensitivity, and many more factors besides (all covered in my books if you want to learn more) but one reality stands over them all – one size does not fit all.

All factors are ‘the’ cause for one person, but no single factor is ‘the’ cause for everyone.

So the point of this post is to say to you – if you are overweight, and struggling to win the battle, which factor is ‘the’ answer for you?

And if you need some help figuring that out, let me know.

To your good health!

Karl

Just do it… (yes? no? annoying?)

Just do it.

– So cliché it’s annoying?
– Over-used?
– Just makes us think of a certain brand of footwear and clothing?

Here’s the thing.

I follow a lot of health experts, food bloggers, doctors, fitness professionals, I am a member of many groups, I attend a lot of seminars, lectures and conferences, and I see and hear a lot, I mean a LOT, of talk.

I don’t see or hear anywhere near as much action.

  • All these folks debating low-carb versus high-carb.
  • The LCHF (low-carb high-fat) folks locked in mortal combat with the Registered Dietitians still promoting high-carb diets as promoted by our government.
  • Folks raving about the wonders of ketogenic diets.
  • Other folks saying ketogenic diets don’t work.
  • Folks talking about the benefits of juicing.
  • Other folks saying juicing is a silly fad diet.
  • I hear people espousing the benefits of weight lifting so vociferously they are starting to claim that cardio is harmful and their clients should only ever lift weights.
  • I hear other people equally enthusiastic about running and cycling, shunning weight training.

Oh and so it all goes on and on and on…arguing, posturing, postulating. (The cynic in me could argue that these ‘experts’ all have a book to sell and an online course, seminar or program, so they all have a bias, a vested interest in promoting ‘their way’ but that’s a topic for another day…)

Here’s the thing.

Amid all the conflicting opinions and contradictory advice, many members of the public are more confused than ever.

There are days I look around the diet, health and fitness industry and just despair at the public-facing messages that are out there. Credentialed doctors putting down the beliefs and ideas of other credentialed doctors. Editors of medical journals publishing editorials telling people not to trust most of the research published in medical journals. Doctors, PhDs and nutrition experts publishing and blogging dietary advice in complete opposition to the advice that our governments and public health services promote.

Seriously, how the hell are ordinary members of the public supposed to have any confidence in any of them?

The vast majority of ordinary, hard-working men and women just want to lose 30 pounds, shape up a bit, feel like they have a bit more energy and do their best to resist the signs of ageing. They must look at all these TV shows and diet books and see all these conflicting, arguing experts, and just throw their hands up in hopelessness and despair.

“Sod all these doctors who don’t agree with each other!” and just pour another glass of wine, open a box of chocolates, and turn the channel over and watch something else.

Now, just do it

If that’s you, then I say sod them all. Ignore them all. Just do it.

Just pick one thing that sounds right to you, and run with it. If you have been eating lots of carbs (you know, cereals, bread, pasta, rice, all that) for the last ten years, and the end result now is that you are 50 pounds over weight, well then try six months without cereals, bread, pasta, rice and spaghetti, just try it – starting today – and see how you get on.

Just get on with it.

If you know you eat too much sugar, just try a 30-day sugar free challenge. No cakes, no biscuits, no chocolate, no beer, no wine, no sweets…30 days.

Come on. You’ve got this. You can do this. It’s just 30 days.

Just get on with it.

If you are overweight and out of shape and you know that one of your downfalls is that you never take any exercise, then just do it, get out there and move your backside.

Come on, 30 days, exercise every day. It might be ten minutes, it might be two hours, just do something every day.

Sod all the experts, just do what you enjoy, just make sure you do something every day.

  • Feel like running? Then run.
  • Fancy lifting some weights? Then lift some weights.
  • If you are coming from doing nothing, then doing anything is an improvement.

Just do it.

Less talk, more action

Stuff all the experts.
Stuff all the conflicting advice.
Stuff all the confusion and contradiction and industry in-fighting.

Stuff the lot of ’em.
Just go do what you gotta do.

Just start.
Today.
Now.

Just get on with it.

To your good health! Happy New Year! May 2020 be YOUR year!

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.

cof

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:

cof

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.

cof

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.

cof

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have a choice…

You have a choice…
But a lot of people don’t realise this.

Sorry, today the topic is rather morbid – disease and death. I am working on a presentation called ‘You have a choice’ and so I thought I would share the basic idea with you.

Over the years, the things that kill us have changed. 20,000 years ago, our caveman ancestors were killed by predators, accidents and infectious diseases. High infant mortality was almost certainly the #1 cause of death.

Then for a long time, in more recent history, it was wars, poverty, infectious dieases and malnutrition that was killing us.

But through technology, medicine and public sanitation, many of those things have been sorted out.

Now, what kills most humans is NCDs. Non-commincable diseases.

‘Non-communicable’ means they are not infectious, we don’t ‘catch’ them, they ‘develop’ inside us. Worldwide, around 55 to 60 million people die every year. These NCDs account for about 70% of those deaths. The four things that kill most people are heart disease and stroke (circulatory diseases), cancers, diabetes and lung conditions.

What these diseases all have in common, is that they develop inside us, over time. Another word for ‘develop’ might be ‘grow’. They grow inside us, and therefore we have some ability to exert an influence over that growth process.

Of course, some of these diseases are unavoidable. Some people are born with heart problems, some people inherit a genetic malfunction that can lead to a cancer forming at a young age, and some people inherit genes that make them predisposed to certain cancers. But in all, inherited conditions and genetic abnormalities only really account for about 10% or so of cancers, and less than 10% of heart disease.

What of the other 90%? Well, we can exert some influence over the other 90%.

For instance, the #1 preventable cause of cancer worldwide is smoking. Smoking causes heart disease, lung cancer, other cancers and several lung diseases. According to WHO, the World Health Organisation, smoking is the primary cause of death behind roughly 10% of all human death every year.
So there we have a choice – don’t smoke, and you should live a little longer.
See how this works?
You have a choice.

According to Cancer Research UK, and the NHS, approximately 42% of cancer deaths in the UK are caused by smoking, obesity, drinking alcohol, poor diet, lack of exercise, irresponsible sun exposure and exposure to toxic chemicals at work.
Well, you can choose not to smoke, you can choose to eat sensibly, the Mother Nature’s Diet way, you can choose not to drink, or to drink much less, you can choose to eat a better diet, more than your 5-a-day, you can choose to exercise regularly, you can choose to be sensible in the sun, and you can choose not to work in an environment where you may be exposed to toxic chemicals.

Just those things, in that paragraph, that’s almost half of UK cancer deaths taken care of right there. You can choose not to be a part of that statistic.

Now of course, let’s not talk about saving lives. We can’t save lives, we can only prolong them. Personally, I’m all for a longer life! The truth is, we’re all going to die, one day, that’s a fact of life. But average life expectancy in the UK is around 80, so I am saying you can choose, do you want to go at 65, or make it to 95? How you live, can make that difference.

Many of the things that cause cancer, are the same things that cause heart disease. And it just so happens they are also the same things that cause diabetes (type-2) and certain lung diseases. While smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, it is also the leading cause of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and it is one of the leading causes of heart disease.

Poor diet and a lack of exercise are the leading causes of obesity and type-2 diabetes. Obesity in turn is a major cause of heart disease and a direct cause of ten types of cancer, including breast cancer and bowel cancer. Being diagnosed with diabetes takes 10 years off your life expectancy, and diabetes in turn is a leading risk factor for heart disease.

You see, it’s the same things, time and again, causing so much of our ill health.

So today my message is simple: You have a choice.
I find a lot of people just don’t realise it.

We grow up with ‘common knowledge’ like “Smoking gives you cancer” and “Being obese, you’re a heart attack waiting to happen.” but beyond that, I find that most people really don’t realise that if we all just made some smarter choices, we could hold off 50% of deaths in the UK for an extra decade or two, just through some simple healthy living. And heaven knows how this would ease the burden on our beloved NHS.

So now you do know, that you have a choice.

What are you going to do differently?

Keeping things simple

This week, I have been reading a lot of things that resonate with me around a central theme of simplicity. I often talk about how the diet industry and the health-and-wellness industry over complicate everything in order to sell you ‘solutions’ This may be selling you supplements that promise amazing results – yet in reality, in the overwhelming majority of cases, supplements maybe make up about 1% of the story in total, at best.

Or it may be selling you ‘detox’ retreats, or fad diets promising to rid your body of ‘toxins’ – when in reality, there is no scientific truth behind the idea that if you eat a few extra vegetables you are somehow going to ‘release toxins’ that might be in your blood waiting to harm you. If your blood was ‘toxic’ you would be in hospital, fighting for your life. Don’t buy into this bullshit sales rubbish.

I read a lot, and I teach ‘science reduced to simplicity’ as the core of what I do at Mother Nature’s Diet. Time and again, I find that there really are only a handful of genuinely good ideas, all of which are of course encompassed in the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet.

Today, I was reading about ‘The Simple 7’ taught by the American Heart Association. Heart disease remains the global number one cause of death, and back in 1978, experts at the American Heart Association thought that rather than spending all our time trying to ‘cure’ heart disease, prevent people with heart disease from suffering heart attacks (and strokes), and keep people alive for longer after a heart attack, why not spend some time trying to help people not get heart disease at all in the first instance.

Now this is my kinda medicine – prevention is better than cure!

The American Heart Association came up with ‘The Simple 7’ Read more

Fitness or fatness?

Is it healthier to be slim but not fit, or overweight but physically fit?

Does it even matter?

I spotted this question being debated – rather excitedly to be honest – online in a Facebook Group and I thought I would share it with you.

There are many opinions on this. Some people think we should stop obsessing over body image, and there is too much public pressure on us to be thin. Some people say it’s wrong to assume that an overweight or obese person is either lazy, unfit or unhealthy. Maybe that person exercises and is physically fit, they just happen to be overweight too.

Others point out that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many poor health conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is true, being overweight or obese is a risk factor for all these diseases, in fact being overweight or obese is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK, and worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

But while being overweight or obese contributes to several of our most prevalent diseases, so does a lack of physical exercise. That’s right, when we look at lists of all the factors causing type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, while we see ‘overweight and obesity’ on the list, in every case, ‘lack of exercise’ is right there on the same list too.

If we dig a little deeper, we actually find out that fitness matters more than fatness, when it comes to all-cause mortality. If you read the short abstract from that study which was published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, you’ll see that overweight and obese people who maintained good physical fitness, lived about as long as normal weight people who maintained good levels of physical fitness too. As the article says “Compared to normal weight-fit individuals, unfit individuals had twice the risk of mortality regardless of BMI.”

So there you have it. It turns out that it’s more important to be fit, than to be thin, if living a long healthy live and avoiding major diseases is your objective.

In a society that values ‘the body beautiful’ so much, and uses stereotypes of slim and lean models for advertising and marketing, it seems we have been putting too much focus on looks and not enough focus on action. If we want to hold back heart disease and cancer for as long as possible, then we should enjoy regular exercise more and stop worrying so much about our bodyfat levels. It seems the 6-pack really is just about vanity, rather than health.

Of course, at Mother Nature’s Diet we already knew this! Our focus has always been on being healthy, and I have said for years that if we work towards being healthy on the inside, our bodies will take care of how we look from the outside.

In my own personal weight loss journey, I wrestled with my weight for 20 years, yo-yo dieting in and out of obesity. All that time my focus was on losing weight to try to look better and feel happier about myself. Only when I changed my focus to being healthy did I finally crack it, and lost 7 stone 3, that’s 101 pounds of fat, or 46 kilos to my European friends.

Living by the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet we focus on eating healthy nourishing whole foods, we don’t count calories, and we aim to stay active and exercise almost every day.

Sounds like we’re doing the right thing if you ask me.
Well done, keep going!

To your good health!

Are we normalising obesity?

The rising obesity problem is a subject that is constantly in the news these days. As with every ‘latest thing’ that comes in and out of the public consciousness, when a topic is hot, we find every journalist and blogger out there writing about it, and opinions become varied, multitudinous and often contentious. And so it is with obesity.

In recent years we have seen many opinions about obesity, and read much shared research. We see that obesity can be blamed on genes, and we can read that childhood obesity is down to parenting, not junk food. We might read in the news that obesity could be classified as an eating disorder, or the next day the news will tell us that obesity is caused by poverty. We read that in the US, obesity is being treated as a disease, and we see obesity being blamed on something called obesogenic environments. Another day we may read about the obesity-promoting role of hyperpalatable foods, and we are constantly reading that sugar is to blame for obesity, and other addictive foods. We see the obesity epidemic blamed on the giant corporations of the food industry, and we may have even read that obesity is socially contagious.

Amid all this, while many derogatory words have been written about obese people over the years, now we see the tide turning. Many journalists and bloggers are now reporting that fat shaming does no good, it only makes things worse, it hurts people, and it’s time to stop blaming obese people for their condition; we must be more understanding and supportive. It is suggested that obesity is actually just a learned set of behaviours. We are seeing new reports that obese people are treated differently, to their detriment, by the doctors, and some experts are saying that if you put together everything above, then it plain isn’t your fault if you are fat.

Normalising obesity

It certainly is a contentious topic. I’m not going to go through all those news articles linked above and address each one of them in turn, giving my analysis and opinion on them all, that would take many pages of writing. Suffice to say that some of those articles I broadly agree with, some I largely disagree with, and most, or perhaps all of them, I would say contain some truth, but not ‘the only truth’.

The weight problem in the UK is accelerating rapidly. Official data from 2013 shows that 26% of men in the UK are obese, and 67% of men in the UK are either overweight or obese. For women, those figures are 24% and 57%, respectively. Of all the large, populous nations in Western Europe, the UK is the fattest. In the United States, the problem is even worse, with 71% of men and 62% of women overweight or obese.

To give that data some context, 50 years ago, in the mid-1960s, obesity in the UK stood at around 1.5% (1.8% men, 1.2% women, in 1965).  Read more

Time to look at your habits…are they supporting you, or not?

I have a friend who used to eat biscuits all the time. He loved biscuits, especially those chocolate-coated ones, and chocolate-chip cookies. But he was overweight, he was out of shape and he knew that he was eating too much sweet food, and he was heading for obesity and likely type-2 diabetes. He also knew that eating three or four biscuits every morning, and then three or four biscuits every afternoon, and sometimes another three or four biscuits in the evening, was making all the rest of his food taste bland, so he wasn’t eating his veggies. He knew he was in danger of letting his ‘biscuit habit’ or ‘biscuit addiction’ take over his diet entirely, to the detriment of his health.

So he changed. he started eating a banana as his mid-morning snack, and an apple as his mid-afternoon snack. If he feels the need for an evening snack, he’ll eat some raisins or sultanas.

At first, this wasn’t easy. Day one was torture Read more

Beware of hidden sugar.

This is a common theme, but always a topic worth revisiting. I was looking at the amount of sugar in certain foods the other day, and comparing a small fruit yoghurt with a chocolate coated tea cake,  and other items that may be consumed as mid-meal snacks, late-night snacks, or as dessert after a meal.

You see, the yoghurt is a classic example of the kind of foods that have become enormously popular over the last 20 or 30 years, as the words ‘low fat’ have been used as marketing tools to get people to buy these foods thinking they are opting for foods that are healthier options and may help with weight loss. IMG_4869

Typically, a parent buying foods in UK supermarkets for their children to have as dessert may consider a chocolate coated tea cake as a ‘naughty treat’ only for special days or holidays, but they may look upon fruit-flavoured low-fat yoghurts as healthy options for ‘every day’ consumption.

However, looking at the ingredients of this Tesco low-fat orange flavoured yoghurt, we see that sugar is the 4th ingredient listed, and Glucose-Fructose Syrup is the 5th ingredient listed. On food labels, ingredients are listed in size order. Glucose-Fructose Syrup is the UK name for HFCS, High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Read more

Why we have an obesity problem

Do you want to know why we have an obesity epidemic?

Because you can buy 5,496 calories for £14 – 24 cans of Strongbow cider, 440ml cans, 229 calories per can.

The calories in the Strongbow come from the sugars and of course the alcohol itself. Half comes from sugars, all of which you absorb and half comes from alcohol, all of which you don’t. (The metabolism of alcohol is a complex scientific process, but you could think of it as ‘half the alcohol is converted into a form of sugary energy your body uses, the other half just fucks up your liver.)

If you are a regular reader of my work, you will likely have read about how your body depletes small amounts of certain valuable micronutrients in order to process sugar. Quote “It requires some B vitamins (particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine), and B3 (niacin)), some vitamin C, and also calcium, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, zinc, chromium and sodium in order to absorb and use the energy provided by refined sugar” – read the full article here: https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2014/12/23/white-refined-sugar-is-an-anti-nutrient/

The Strongbow works out at a cost of £1.33 per litre. Without getting lost in the minutiae of scientific detail let’s say a litre weighs 1 kilo, which is close enough.
So this 24-pack of Strongbow costs £1.33 per kilo, and the whole pack weighs 10.5 kilos, and contains 5,496 calories, giving you 520 calories per kilo, calories which all come from sugar and alcohol. Read more

MND TV Episode 6 – Fat makes you Fat! No, It’s the SUGAR! Just eat your 5-a-day!

MND TV Episode 6 – a very brief word on some of the ever-changing advice out there in the land of diets, health and fad diet sales tricks!

“Don’t eat fat it will make you fat!”

“No, no it’s not the fat now, it’s sugar – just don’t eat sugar, it’s the cause of rising diabetes and the obesity epidemic.”

“Just eat your 5-a-day!”

“Oh no it’s not 5-a-day anymore, it’s 7-a-day, you must eat your 7-a-day to combat cancer and other diseases!”

Why these gems of wisdom are not helping, and society as a whole seems to be suffering more ill health despite decades of this advice.

http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/09/16/mnd-tv-episode-6/

This Episode is short and is really just a follow-up to MND TV Episode 5.

The drugs don’t work and you can’t trust the media!

This is important.

YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THIS.

It you have ever been prescribed statins, or if someone you love is taking statins, you DEFINITELY need to invest half an hour of your day into reading this post and watching this important and educational video.

This is a fascinating watch, well worth 18 minutes of your life.

I posted a slightly controversial post on our very active MND Facebook page the other day, in a nutshell I was saying “We seem to have more medical science and nutrition knowledge and qualified experts than ever these days, yet in general the whole of society is fatter and sicker than they have ever been before. Are we getting lost in the detail, buried in science, digging too deep and missing the bigger picture? Is all that science being hijacked by companies trying to sell us stuff, supplements, compression clothing, training programs and exercise equipment? Maybe all we need is to get back to nature, use some common sense, live more naturally and shun some of the endless modern inventions.” I have spoken extensively about this here: http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/09/01/mnd-tv-episode-1/ That was the thrust of my post – but it’s a highly relevant thought to keep in your mind as you watch this video and read this post.

Now watch this video

Truth That Lasts: David Newman at TEDxColumbiaEngineering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCk_vTkS6bU

The first 6 minutes Dr Newman explains how “scientific research” showing truly miniscule results, really imperceptible results that actually aren’t results at all, ends up reported in the popular media as “fact” which is “proven by science” and people believe it and spend years basing their behaviour on these reported facts. Read more

Too much food causes more death and ill health than too little food

Wow, how dreadful is this. It seems that there is now more death and poor health around the world caused by people eating too much food, than there is caused by people who don’t have enough. That’s a very sad 21st Century problem, and when I think of those who don’t have enough, it makes me feel terribly sad that we have allowed this to happen.

This short post is not the place to discuss farm policies, farm subsidies in the US and EU, food distribution and fair trade.

I wrote this a year ago: https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/03/11/focus-on-what-really-matters/ – noting that there were a little over 1.5 billion overweight people on Earth.

Then this week this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27586365 – notes that we are now over 2.1 billion overweight people.

Have we added HALF A BILLION, a staggering 600 million more overweight people in just a year?

Does that mean that everyone on earth will be overweight in just a few years?

The research concludes: “Because of the established health risks and substantial increases in prevalence, obesity has become a major global health challenge. Not only is obesity increasing, but no national success stories have been reported in the past 33 years. Urgent global action and leadership is needed to help countries to more effectively intervene.”

Wow, people need my help even more than I thought!

www.MotherNaturesDiet.me – better go spread the word!

 

The MND Guide to Body Composition – free eBook

How do we know what is ‘too fat’?

How do we define ‘too thin’ at the other end of the scale?

Should men all aspire to the stereotype ‘6 pack hunk’ and are women unfairly pressured by the media to be ‘rail thin’ like catwalk models?

Is it healthier to be ‘a little chubby’ or ‘skinny as a rake’ or somewhere between the two?

Is it healthier to be ‘build like a brick outhouse’ or ‘built like a racing whippet’?

In short, what is the optimum amount of fat and the optimum amount of muscle men and women should aim for in order to achieve supreme good health and longevity.

This little book will answer those questions for you.

Download your free book here: The MND Guide to Body Composition. 2013.

A few words from the start of this little book… Read more

Switch off the TV – it’s killing you!

I heard this today –

“American men spend 53% of their leisure time on weekends and holidays watching TV, 4% of their time reading.”

Country with the largest obesity problem = USA.

You go figure it out.
While figuring it out, get up off your backside, switch off the damn TV and go for a walk with someone you love and discuss these statistics!

Enjoy the bank holiday! x

Britain’s widening waistline

Holiday treats and the changing acceptable standards of Britain’s waistlines.

August 2012: OK, OK, I had an ice cream! Damn, what a confession!! I am on holiday, and I have to make the best of the shops that are available, and I have to treat my kids like normal kids, and that means going to the beach and buying ice creams! Normally, I don’t partake myself, but I did today and it was very yummy!! Oh well...just one sin...

Read more