What Body Type are You?

According to one theory there are three basic body types and to some extent personality can be determined by your body type:

The Endomorph is a body type that naturally tends to be overweight. These body types are assumed to have a greater love of comfort and luxury and they are more tolerant than the other two body types.

The Mesomorph is the muscular body type. These people are naturally endowed with more muscle and their respective personality is thought to be more dynamic, energetic, competitive and inclined to take risks.

The Ectomorph is the naturally slender person. They are thought to be more artistic, introverted and sensitive than the other two types.

When I took a university kinesiology course many years ago, at one point the professor had us all stand on a stool against a backdrop of engineer type squared paper to measure what body type category we fell into. I thought it was a bit creepy at the time and from what I gather it's unlikely people study William Sheldon's theory of 'somatotypes' in kinesiology courses these days. But it is a fact that different people are born with different predispositions toward one of these physical body types. Whether personality can be correlated with body type is another matter altogether.

A weight loss strategy may possibly be more effective if it takes into account your natural body type. I'll look into this in a future post.

The above fine art print is 'Fat Cat' by Kevin Snyder

Plus Sized Prom Dresses

If you are an overweight teenager and need to find an attractive dress for your highschool prom this year, take heart that there is an incredible selection of beautiful prom dresses in plus size available for your perusal online. Check out Sydney's Closet to view dozens of different plus size styles. Also check out some of the leading wedding dress websites, they usually have large prom dress selections for all sizes.

Black seems to be back in a big way this year. Black is very flattering especially for women with a 'winter' season complexion. The other colors that seem to be in this year for prom gowns are punch colors. No more pastels, rather consider citrus yellow or sunset orange. If you think this might be too bold for your look, a good solution would be to find a black dress with beautiful punch color accents. Also consider some kind of glitter accent for your overall look on this very special night.

Congrats to all 2006 grads!

Fitness Goal: Muscles

Sometimes the main goal of a fitness program is not weight loss, but rather a healthy and muscular body frame.

In these pictures, Aaron Ferguson weighs only five pounds less in the 'after' photo. In the before photo, he weighs 166 pounds and has a body fat ratio of seventeen percent. In the after photo he weighs 161 pounds but his body fat ratio has been reduced to an unusually low six percent.

Aaron was able to transform his body into a supremely muscular frame within only twelve weeks. This wasn't done primarily for appearances sake. In the process he cured the pain in his lower back (due to sacral joint problems). He had thought he would need a spinal fusion but his intense fitness program fully cured his back pain.

In the process he has become a muscle man extraordinaire. See Aaron's story here.

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture can help you lose weight. It is recognized by the World Health Organization as an effective treatment for weight loss together with a range of other common health problems including headaches, neck pain, stress and fatigue.

Acupuncture is a central component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and has been practiced for over 2500 years in parts of Asia. There's a growing interest in traditional Chinese medicine in the Western World. It's an alternative to the Western path which often seems to rely excessively on prescriptions or surgical solutions.

If you've tried losing weight without success, it may be really worth your while to investigate accupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine solutions.

The above photographic print is 'a close view of acupuncture needles treating a stomach ailment' by O. Louis Mazzatenta

The Raw Food Diet

The Raw Food Diet is becoming increasingly popular in some circles. The diet is relatively simple. Basically you are limited to foods that haven't been processed or cooked.

The diet consists mostly of raw vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits.

A friend of mine went on the diet a few months ago. She's lost a ton of weight and looks really good. Her complexion is radiant and her eyes are bright. She looks a lot younger. The other day she super-enthusiastically said to me; "Did you know that you can eat oatmeal raw?!"

Actually that's one thing I have been doing the last five years. I often eat an oatmeal granola mix for breakfast. I mix a big batch of mostly oatmeal (I buy it at a fabulous store that packages raw oatmeal in one kilo bags) and a granola mix, some long-grain unsweetened coconut, some raisins, peanuts and almond bits, and whatever else I have around that would go into this) and then I mix it all up and store it in a huge glass jar). In the mornings, I put some in a bowl, pour boiled water over it, slice up a banana or other fruit and this is my typical breakfast. My husband eats it too, but instead of boiled water, he prefers to pour cold cold cranberry juice over it. Oatmeal is one of the foods that can keep you going for a long time in the morning without getting hungry.

But personally to me the raw foods diet seems extreme. I think anyone who follows the Raw Food Diet for a long time period must have extreme dedication to their weight loss goals.

But I would completely agree with the underlying principle which is that if your diet is composed largely of raw foods, your overall health is bound to improve. I'm not a professional nutritionist but I can believe that the relative absense of raw foods in our diets is largely responsible for the increasing incidence of asthma, learning disabilities, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes and obesity.

If you are interested in more details about a raw food diet, has a good overview. They also provide links to the leading sources of online raw food diet information. The most popular Raw Food Diet related book these days is Raw Foods For Busy People: Simple And Machine Free Recipes For Every DayIt's gotten great reader reviews. Here's a couple of examples of what people are saying at Amazon;

"In our modern, grab-and-go society, most people don't have the time for radical changes in their diets. But, fast food is literally killing us! It's no secret that at least half of the western world is suffering from one ailment or another; and it's not gettin' any better! So, how do we improve our health, while maintaining our go-go-go lifestyles? Jordan Maerin has the answer in her new book "Raw Foods for Busy People." Whether you're looking to just add more raw food into your diet, or you're going for the extraordinary results of a 90-100% raw food diet, Maerin's book can make that path a lot easier.

She starts off with the basic ideas behind the raw food diet, including her own personal journey, then moves onto pages full of delicious, easy-to-make recipes (most of which you can make without having to spend hundreds of dollars on new appliances!). And if you thought raw food was boring or tasteless, think again. My personal favorites here are the Pesto-stuffed Vegetables, the Curried Coconut Soup and the Cottage Pie! So, if you're looking for a healthy alternative to fast food, and you can't afford highly priced gourmet raw food meals, "Raw Foods for Busy People" has everything you need to get started on the path to awesome health."


"Its very apparent that a lot of love went into making this book. The layout, additional info and resources are excellent and presented very clearly.

As a single guy with not a lot of free time I searched all over for a Raw Foods cookbook that I could use. This is the ONLY book I found that has things I'd eat, enjoy and are easy to make without exorbitant costs or prep times or weird ingredients. Honestly after researching a lot of the Raw Foods books I figured the only people who could eat this way are housewives with a lot of money, I couldnt imagine anyone spending the time or wanting to eat a lot of the recipes in these other books.

After making many things from the book I can say that they fall into two categories-great or bland/too watery. Things like the cinnamon stewed apples, cashew cream, schezwan marinade, halvah shake, puddings and the dehydrator recipes are outstanding. Others like the gravy, curry apple marinade, tahini marinade, mashed potatoes and others are way too watery or lack flavor.

I'd still rate this book 5 stars since theres no other raw cookbook like this but I think she needs to fine tune some of these recipes. Would still highly reccomend it though. It was a big relief to get a practical book like this after my 1st purchase- Raw in Ten which was truly an awful raw book."

Before and After Weight Loss Pictures

If you are looking for before and after weight loss pictures and photos, here are some examples of men and women who lost a lot of weight. Click on their names to see their photos:


Cathi Lee (from 500 to 170 pounds)

Kristie Alley (lost over 50 pounds)


Michael Becker (from 280 to 227 pounds)

Ultraclyde (from 290 to 170 pounds)

Jimmy Moore (from 400 to 220 pounds)

Aaron Ferguson (from 17 percent body fat to six percent body fat)

I would like to get a long list of before and after pics of people who have successfully lost weight. If you'd like a write-up and a link to weight loss pics on your website from here, please write me in the comments below.

Losing Fifty Pounds in Four Months

Ultraclyde has lost more than fifty pounds in just over four months. His body fat ratio is down to 13.6 percent. His secret? Training for a marathon.

In September of 2005 he weighed 222 pounds. Today he weighs 170 pounds at six feet tall. Because of his heavy fitness workout schedule, Ultraclyde has to eat a great deal of food just to maintain his current weight. He estimates he needs to consume 3700 calories a day just to stay at his current weight and not lose more weight.

Back in 1997 when he was 22 and just out of university, he weighed 262 pounds. At that point he joined Weight Watchers where he became the star of his class and was down to 209 pounds within a few months. However, he gradually regained all this weight plus more. By 2001, he was up to 290 pounds.

Since then he began exercising on a regular basis and in September of 2005, when he started his marathon training web site, he weighed 222 pounds.

UltraClyde's story is really inspirational for people considering a serious exercise program as part of their new lifestyle. He is seeking stories from other people who have lost over a 100 pounds as a result of marathon training. Check out his site at UltraClyde.

The picture on the left is Ultraclyde in 2001 at 290 pounds. The photo on the right is his current weight of 170 pounds, taken in January 2006.

Health Benefits of Spirulina

Spirulina is purported to have incredible health benefits. It's often recommended for people who are obese as it has huge nutritional value and can replace a meal and help you lose weight. And it can help you stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Spirulina is like seaweed, expect that it grows in fresh water, not sea water.

Spirulina is remarkable in the sense that it is composed of about 65% protein. This protein is perfectly composed, with all the essential amino acids present. This is very unusual for a vegetarian source of food; for example, soybeans are only three percent protein.

Spirulina is also an excellent source of B12, another nutrient usually only found in significant quantities in meat. One teaspoon of Spirulina will provide you with 250% of the recommended daily value of B12.

Spirulina also contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), lots of iron , chlorophyll and phycocyanin.

I'm personally not a believer in vitamins or supplements. I think it's much better to change your overall diet toward the healthiest foods rather than focus on various pills and supplements. But spirulina is one item I could personally tout as a real aide to weight loss.

The picture above is "Mirror Lake", an art print by Marcia Burtt

Britney Spears Weight Loss Timing

Britney Spears has gained a lot of weight since her pregnancy. Her baby boy was born just four months ago (on September 14th) but already she is getting a lot of rude press about not yet having regained her pre-pregnancy figure.

I don't know anyone personally who was able to lose their pregnancy weight in less than six months. Do you? Most women take a minimum of a year before they are back to pre-pregnancy weight, if ever. There's always reports in the tabloids about celebrities who lose their baby fat within three months but I'd question the validity of these reports in most cases.

Britney Spears is not letting this baby be cared for by full-time nannies. She is still breast-feeding and spending her days with the baby. That's something we don't see a lot of celebrities doing. It's not a good idea to start a rigorous diet or exercise program when you are still nursing and the baby is only four months old. Hopefully she is not too troubled by negative press and can devote at least a year to herself and the baby without worrying about getting back into supremely good shape in such a hurry. The above pic is a PR photo taken some time before her pregnancy.

Britney Spears Update February 16th:

Spears is featured on the cover of People's Magazine February 25th Edition. She's lost a lot of weight over the past few weeks. In the magazine she says she has been working out by doing cardio, pilates, yoga and weights in addition to going for long walks with her baby. She has to keep it relatively light on the cardio workouts because of a knee injury from 2004.

Update February 22: This photo by Hollywood Rag was apparently taken after her photo shoot with People Magazine earlier this month. It looks like she's back to gaining some weight again. Some gossip magazines are speculating that Spears is pregnant with her second baby now.

Update March 10th: The rumors that Britney Spears is pregnant again are getting stronger and stronger.

Update May 26th: Here's a picture of Britney Spears from yesterday. Britney confirmed her second pregancy a couple of weeks ago on the David Letterman show.

Update August 18th: Spears has told People Magazine that she can't wait to get back in shape after this second pregancy. She feels she's been pregnant forever and she's excited about being able to sweat like she used to and getting her body back in shape with a routine. She plans to start working out in a huge way after this second baby is born.

I wish her great luck with this. It's harder than it sounds, especially if she plans to breast feed for an extended time as she's doing with the first baby.

Update November 7th: Britney Spears made a brief visit to the David Letterman show while she was in New York yesterday. She's really gone all out to get in shape quickly after this second pregnancy. Personally I prefer her hair without bangs because she has such an amazing face and the bangs hide it but she looks fantastic and very fit just weeks after the birth of her second baby. See the video clip here;

Overweight and Depressed - Natural Cures

If you suffer from depression as well as being overweight or obese, you may be interested to know that natural cures for both ailments are very similar. There are certain nutrients that are especially recommended for people who are experiencing clinical depression. These same foods can help people lose weight.

Exercise has also shown to be very effective for combating depression as well as obesity.

See an article about beating depression and obesity here.

Upscale Weight Loss Retreats

If you are overweight and also happen to have lots of time and money available to you, a very pleasant way to lose weight would be to vacation at a weight loss retreat.

Some of these resorts are exorbitantly pricey. You can pay more than $6,000 a week at the really posh ones. That would translate to a mere $2,000 for the average pound lost. But the offerings are an incredible treat. Often the resorts are set in a gorgeous natural setting. The food is light on calories but absolutely gourmet. And you can spend your day getting Tai massages, personal weight loss and fitness assessments, nutritional guidance, cooking classes and unlimited pampering.

But you don't have to be rich in order to consider a weight loss resort for your next vacation. Some can cost less than $100 per day. As well, a lot of fasting retreats have sprung up in the last few years and some of them are reasonably priced and very good value for your money. Spending a week at a place with professional personalized weight loss guidance can be a very good springboard toward further successful weight loss when you return home refreshed and motivated.

Biggest Loser - Suzy Preston

Biggest Loser finalist Suzy Preston lost 95 pounds. She is an ex-hairdresser living in Seattle who weighed 250 pounds in highschool and started on the show weighing 227 pounds. She now weighs 132 pounds. She is 29 and her height is five feet and four inches. Her initial body fat percentage was 47 percent and she was able to reduce it to fifteen percent.

Biggest Loser Diet Club – Sign Up Now

Suzy is now a poster babe for the Biggest Loser program (as in the pic here). She's also dating Matt Hoover, the ex-wrestling coach who went on to win the series and managed to kick his heavy drinking habit in addition to losing over 100 pounds.

Suzy lost an incredible twenty pounds in the first week of the show. The participants had to work out for five hours a day and were limited to 1,200 calories per day. Now that the contest is long over, she has gained eight pounds but has managed to keep most of the weight off by doing cardio and weight training five days a week.

Update March 28th: Matt Hoover just proposed to Suzy Preston live on the Today show. They've been maintaining a long-distance relationship over the past year. They were both 29 years old when they met and started their relationship on the 8th week of the Biggest Loser.

The Biggest Loser: The Weight Loss Program to Transform Your Body, Health, and Life--Adapted from NBC's Hit Show! continues to be a best-seller. It's ranked as the 77th best selling book on Amazon right now. It sells for $12.98.

Losing the Last 10 pounds

I think the last ten pounds are the hardest to lose. Maybe this is because sometimes we set unrealistic goals and our body is already at a natural weight that is a few pounds more than we would like but is actually closer to the realistic ideal for our age and height.

In my case, I've managed to get down from my heaviest weight of 215 to a current weight of 162. Given I'm sixty nine inches tall I'm no longer considered overweight by any official standards. But before I was pregnant I weighed about 150 and I felt much better at that weight. So I would like to lose the last ten pounds.

Above are two virtual models. The one on the right weighs 205, which is what I weighed just after my baby was born. The left one weighs 162 pounds, my current weight. These virtual models are 5 feet nine inches. If I really looked like the one at 162, and didn't just weigh the same as her, I probably wouldn't be so keen on trying to lose more weight. But sadly this is not the case. My excess weight seems to have settled on my face, back of my arms, and around my stomach.

My baby is two years old now. It's taken me a long time to lose fifty pounds. I discussed this in the post-pregnancy post. I basically lost the weight by reverting back to pre-pregnancy eating habits. My eating overindulgences during pregnancy consisted of lots of vanilla icecream and apple pie, some chocolate, lots of healthy bread slathered with butter. But my main diet was quite healthy, with a big focus on legumes, greens, fish and nuts.

So in the last two years, I've mainly avoided the sweets and tried to limit my bread and butter indulgence. I've never felt hungry and continue to eat what seems like a huge amount. I guess this has been possible because I've been breast feeding all this time and that uses up a lot of daily calories.

But I know I've stabilized at my current weight and need to take special action if I want to lose ten more pounds.

My goal is to lose this over the next eight weeks by ramping up my weekly walking routine and by avoiding bread and any food products with sugar in them. I would like to walk a minimum of three miles at least four times per week. I'll try to really focus my diet on brown rice, greens, oatmeal, lots of legumes, nuts and fish. (I will try to keep my meat consumption to a minimum, though I still have to cook it regularly for my husband.)

I won't be counting any calories and I won't be limiting myself in any way. I don't think it'll be necessary to experience hunger pains in order to reach this goal if I stick to the walking mileage goal.

So wish me luck. I've already delayed starting on my goal, but the new start date is January 23rd (after my baby's second birthday party). By sometime in mid to late March I would like to report that I've succeeded.

Progress Update March 11th: I completely failed. I've lacked motivation and haven't stuck to my goal of regular walking or watching my excess food consumption. I've lost a pound and am now at 162. That's after several weeks since I last wrote. The urgency just didn't seem to be there. Other priorities took hold.

But now I'm getting the first taste of spring. I'd love to be very fit and slim again. So I am going to try this again. Give me eight weeks to lose 10 pounds as per method above. I think my motivation is really on side this time. That's a central key to weight loss for me. I want to look great when the short sleeve season comes. Check back here on May 10th. I'll be successful this time! Anyone want to join me for this deadline?

How Samuel Got Thin 100 Years Ago

Here's the continued excerpt from "The Fun of Getting Thin", a book written by Samuel G. Blythe about a hundred years ago (and now a Project Gutenberg eBook). It's interesting to read one man's personal weight loss story and how he went on to lose fifty pounds way back then.

See the previous and first chapter here.

Broadly speaking, the methods of fat reduction most in vogue are
divided into four classes--mechanical, physical, medicinal and dietary.
The first two are not worth considering by a man who has anything else
to do. I do not doubt that a man who could devote his whole time to
the work could, by means of some of the appliances offered--from the
apparatus in a gymnasium to rubber shirts, get off fat--nor do I doubt
the efficacy of exercise and its accompaniments in the way of sweating
and baths and all that; but when a person has a living to make these
methods are useless, not through any demerit of their own but because
the man who is fat hasn't the time or opportunity and, more than all,
soon fails in the inclination to use them.

If you can tell me anything more ghastly than taking a system of canned
exercises in the morning or at night in one's bedroom or bathroom, or
elsewhere, with no other incentive than some physical gain that, when
you come to sum it up, is largely fictitious in value--or comes
inevitably to be thought so--I would like to have you step forward and
name it. I have been all through that phase of it, and I know; and I
also know by heart the patter of the persons who recommend it.
Further, I know the person round the forties doesn't live who enjoys
this sort of thing--no matter what he says about it; and without
enjoyment exercise is of no use or worse than useless. It can be done,
of course; and lumps of muscle can be stuck on almost any part of the
body--but what's the use to the person who has to make a living? Then,
too, I am speaking now of methods that can be used by men and women who
are no longer young. A young man can and will do stunts in physical
culture that an older man cannot do, either satisfactorily or

So far as the medicinal or drug method of fat reduction is concerned,
any fat man or woman who takes drugs to reduce flesh, or to help,
deserves all that he or she will get--and that will be plenty. There's
no need of saying anything further on that subject. Then there remains
the dietary method--the old familiar friend, diet. Starting with
William Banting--maybe it didn't start with William, but before
him--but, starting with Bill for present purposes, there have been more
systems of diet invented and promulgated than there have been systems
of religion--and that means about one in every hundred has evolved a

You can get them of all sorts and all sure to do the work, ranging from
an exclusive diet of beefsteak and spinach to desiccated hay and
creamed alfalfa. There are monodiets, duodiets, vegetable diets,
fruit diets, nut diets--all kinds of diets--each guaranteed to take off
flesh if you have too much or to put it on if you have too little.
Basically, however, the antiflesh diets are about the same. You are
told to cut out everything you want to eat and exist on triply toasted
bread and the white meat of a chicken, or string beans and sawdust, or
any other combination the sharps say will not produce fat, but will
sustain life in a lingering form. They surround these diet talks and
presentments with a lot of frills about proteins and calories and all
that sort of guff, and make it as difficult as possible. Now, mark
you, I am not saying diet--scientific diet--is not a good thing, a
magnificent step forward in the progress of this world; but I am saying
that the average fat-reducing diet is impossible to any but a man or
woman of the ultimate will-power, and is a hardship that need not be
endured. I have tried these diets, and I know! They may help reduce
flesh, but they are not easy to follow and they do not contain things
that any person wants to eat or is accustomed to eat, or will eat, to
the exclusion of things that person does want to eat and will eat. It
can be done. One of these diets can be followed if the will-power is
there, and the flesh will come off; but the method does not conduce to
the best results--the physical force is reduced, and there is a much
easier way.

I have one of these diet lists before me now from the highest-priced
flesh-reducing specialist in the world, who claims to have taken
mountains of flesh off mountainous men. In the beginning, for example,
it says: "You will understand, of course, that sugar is entirely
debarred. Also, that fats, milk, cheese, cream, eggs, and so on, are
cut off for the time being. Also that bread and farinaceous foods are
all cut off. In place of bread or toast you must use gluten biscuits."
For breakfast, in this dietary, one or two gluten biscuits are allowed
and a cup of unsweetened coffee. Also, six ounces of lean grilled
steak, chops or chicken, and any white fish--or the whites of two eggs.

This is about the layout for luncheon and dinner. It is all about as
exciting and appetizing as that. The proposition is, of course, that
you are not taking food which will make fat and you must, therefore,
inevitably lose flesh. So far so good; but the difficulty is not in
the system, but in the hardship of carrying it out. You can't have
anything to eat that you want to eat. You torture yourself for a space
and lose some flesh; then when you do go back to your normal method of
eating the flesh comes galloping back--and there you are! It is the
same with exercise. You can take off fat by exercise; but, once you
begin, you are doomed to everlasting exercise, for the minute you stop
back comes the fat--and more of it than you had before you began to

It is a tough game, anyway you play it, if you are disposed to be fat.
No man living, who isn't a freak, can persist always in one diet. Nor
can any man who has anything else on his mind be always
exercising--especially after he has reached forty years of age, when
there are so many better things to do and time is valuable, and the
real idea of how to live has just begun to percolate. Also, until one
is forty, if reasonably healthy, flesh is a joke, and not so much of a
burden as it becomes later. I haven't a thing in the world against any
or all of these methods. I have tried most of them and know most of
them are bogus; but I am not trying to dissuade any person from taking
off fat in any way that suits any individual fancy or the fancy of any
reducer into whose hands the victim may have fallen. If you have a
good method go to it--and more power to you!

My idea is this: I am setting down here a record of my own experiences,
and that is all. Every person who does not like what I have to say is
cheerfully advised to lump it. Any person who is as fat as I was and
who wants to get thinner is at liberty to follow my method. If
circumstances are similar results will be similar. If not there will
be no results. I am not advising or urging or putting forth any
propaganda. Here is what happened. It may suit you or it may not.
Either way I am indifferent. In the words of the coon song: "I've got

I hope I make myself clear. I have no mission or message or any
flubdub of that kind. I am not one of those boys who urge you to do
this for your own good. I have read a ton of literature put out by
persons who found something that agreed with them and immediately
started out to reform the world along that line. Your reformer,
anyhow, is a person who wants all the rest of the world to do as he
wants the rest of the world to do, not as the rest of the world wants
to do. And the reason reformers get past so numerously is because our
society is so constituted that we spend every one of our brief years
doing what other people want us to do and tell us to do, and never do
anything we ourselves want to do. Once I got seventeen pounds of books
telling that the only way to cure everything was to fast. I knew a man
who tried that. The results were grand. He fasted a long time and
cured himself of what ailed him. Only, unfortunately, just before the
last vestige of disease was removed the fasting killed him. I contend
that man might just as well have died of what ailed him originally as
to cure that disease and die of the cure. It seems to me it is as
broad as it is long.

However, have at this fat-reduction process of mine! You must bear
with a few personal reminiscences. I was a big, husky brute of a
boy--thick-chested, broad-shouldered, country-bred and with an appetite
that knew no bounds. After I got going at my business, when I was
twenty-five or so, I was pinned down to a desk for about ten years. I
worked hard in a most exacting place. I was so healthy it hurt. I had
just as much appetite for food as I had ever had; but I didn't get a
chance to bat around as I had been accustomed to do and burn up that
food. The result was inevitable. I began to get fat. I had a big
chest--forty-six inches--and the fat filled in underneath. That big
chest, combined with my broad shoulders, concealed the size of my
paunch, and I didn't realize I was accumulating that paunch until it
was soldered, riveted, lashed, glued, nailed and otherwise fastened to

When I got my growth I weighed about one hundred and eighty-five pounds
and was a pretty formidable physical proposition. When I woke up to
the fact that I was getting fat I found I weighed two hundred and
twenty pounds. That extra thirty-five pounds was mostly fat--excess
baggage. Still, it didn't bother me any. I had the strength to tote
it round and had the shoulders and the chest to conceal it. I didn't
show any bay window, as most fat men do. As they used to say: "You're
big all over. You carry it all right."

All this time I was eating three or four times a day and eating
everything that came my way. Also, I drank some--not excessively, but
some whisky and some beer, and occasionally some wine and
cocktails--about the average amount of drinking the average man does.
I thought I was getting too fat, and I wrestled with a bicycle all one
summer, taking long rides and plugging round a good deal. I did some
centuries, but continued eating like a horse--naturally because of the
outdoor exercise--and drank a good deal of beer. As will be seen, all
the fat I had was legitimate enough. I put it on myself. There was no
hereditary nonsense about it. I was responsible for every ounce of it.
The net result of that summer's bicycle campaign was a gain of five
pounds in weight. I was harder--but I was fatter, too.

When I was thirty-five I began to experiment. I then weighed two
hundred and twenty-five pounds. I went to the canned-exercise, the
physical-torture professor, the diet, the salts, and all the rest of
it, taking off a few pounds but putting it all back again--and more--as
soon as I stopped.

These attempts numbered about two a year. Between times I ate as I
wanted to and drank as I pleased. Things ran along until the first of
January, 1911. I knew I was getting fatter, for my tailor told me so
and my belts and old clothes all proved it. Still, I didn't bother
much. I thought I was lingering round about two hundred and
thirty-five--too much, of course; but I got away with it pretty well,
except in hot weather and when I went up in the high mountains, and I
was reasonably content. I was fat, all right. My waist was only two
inches smaller than my chest and that meant my waist was forty-four
inches in girth. As a matter of fact, being scant five feet ten and a
half, I was bigger than a house; but I deluded myself with that stuff
about my broad shoulders and my deep chest, and thought it didn't show.
It did show, of course. I was a fat man--a big fat man--carrying forty
pounds or more of excess weight.

I had dieted and quit; exercised and quit; gone on the waterwagon and
fallen off; had fussed round a good deal, spending a lot of money in
the attempt, and I was getting fatter all the time. I hated to admit
that fact. I tried to fool myself into the conviction that I wasn't
getting any larger--and all the time I knew I was. I even went so far
as to stop getting on the scales; and when anybody--as almost everybody
did--said, "Why, you're getting bigger, ain't you?" I always replied:
"No, I think not. I stick along about two hundred and thirty-five

A year ago last summer I went up into the mountains, where I usually go
for my fun. I had noticed a shortness of breath and a wheeziness in
previous summers, and had felt my heart pounding pretty hard; but that
summer I noticed these things acutely. I couldn't get any air to
breathe. My heart pounded like a pneumatic riveter. Any little
exercise tired me; and when in the lowlands in hot weather I was the
perspiring marvel and the most uncomfortable as well as the sloppiest
person you ever saw. It was fierce!

I was doing a good deal of walking in those days--had to burn up the
fuel I was taking into my body. Also, I noticed it was mighty hard to
keep awake after dinner unless I got out into the air and kept moving.
I felt well enough and the doctors said I was organically all right. I
kept informed on those points--but I was fat! Also, though I lied to
myself, I knew I was getting fatter.



On New Year's Day, 1911, I weighed myself. I don't know why, for I
hadn't been on a scale for two or three years. I set the weight at two
hundred and thirty-five and it bounded up like a rubber ball; so I shoved
it along to two hundred and forty and it still stayed up in the air.
When I got a balance I found I weighed two hundred and forty-seven
pounds. I was amazed! Also, I was scared; for it instantly occurred to
me that if I had gone up to two hundred and forty-seven in two or three
years from two hundred and thirty-five I should keep on going up if my
manner of living didn't change--and that presently I should weigh three

That two hundred and forty-seven pounds was a facer. I was forced to
admit to myself that I was fat, disgustingly fat--too fat; and that I
should get fatter! So I sat down and looked the situation in the eye. I
recounted all my former efforts to get thin and discarded them one by
one. I knew myself, and knew the ordinary diet proposition and the
ordinary exercise proposition were not for me. I knew I was wheezy and
that my heart was getting choked with fat; that there were great folds of
it on me, and that it was up to me to get rid of it or quit and wait for
the inevitable end. If it kept on I knew I should blow up some fine day.
Besides, I was uric-acidy, rheumatic and stertorous and clumsy. I had
about fifty or sixty pounds of poisonous junk wrapped round me, and I
knew I should suffer for it in the end, though I didn't feel it much and
carried it with a fair assumption of lightness.

I was not an amateur at the game. I had been through the mill. I spent
several days in going over the whole matter. It was reasonably simple,
too, and needn't have taken so much of my time; but I was protecting
myself, you see, gold-bricking myself--trying to find a way out that
would not deprive me of things I liked to do, of pleasures I wanted to
enjoy. It was pure selfishness that dominated me and made me do so much
figuring on a proposition I knew was contained in a sentence; but I did
fight to hang on to the old way of living.

After each session of false logic and selfish hypothesis I invariably
came back to the same proposition, which is the only proposition--and
that was: What makes fat? Food and drink. How can you reduce fat? By
reducing the amount of food and drink--that is all there is or was to it.
The only way to get rid of the effects of overeating and overdrinking is
to stop overeating and overdrinking.

I went over my food habit. I was accustomed to eating a big hired-man's
breakfast--fruit, coffee, eggs, waffles, hot bread, sausage, anything
that came along; and I heaved in a lot of it--not a little--a lot! I
didn't eat so much at luncheon, but I ate plenty; and at night I simply
cleaned up the table. I wasn't so strong on sweets and pastry, because I
usually drank a few highballs during the day, and highballs and cocktails
and sweets do not go well together--that is, the man who takes alcohol
into his system usually does not care for sweets. Beer was one of my
long suits too--Pilsner beer. I did like that!

I looked this food habit squarely in the face. I impaled the drink habit
with my glittering eye. I knew I was eating about sixty per cent more
than I needed or could use, and that I was drinking a hundred per cent
more. I knew that nothing makes fat but food and drink. I knew excess
of food will make any animal fat and I saw I had been eating freely of
the most fattening kinds of food. I knew beer and liquor were made of
grain, and that grain is used to fatten steers and cows and pigs. I
refused to adopt a diet like any of those unpalatable ones I had
experimented with, but the remedy was as plain as the cause. It was
simple enough if I had the nerve to go through with it.

Inasmuch as an excess of food and drink make an excess of fat, it follows
that the reduction in the amount of food will stop that fat-forming and
give the body a chance to burn up the excess fat already formed. That
was my conclusion. Mind you, I reached that conclusion before I made any
of my arguments; but I didn't want to admit it as reasonable or logical,
for I hated to give up the pleasures of the table and the sociability
that came with the sort of drinking I did. I was trying to find a way
out that would be easy and comfortable. And all the time I was getting
fatter! The scales told me that.

This backing and filling and argument with myself lasted all through
January and part of February. It took me six weeks to get myself into
the frame of mind where I admitted the truth of my conclusion. I was no
hero. I didn't want to do it. I loved it all too well. I was as rank a
coward in the beginning as you ever saw! It appalled me to think of
restricting myself in any way, for I liked the pleasures that I knew I
must forego. However, when I got up to two hundred and fifty pounds I
sat down and had it out with myself.

"Here!" I said to myself. "You big stuff, you now weigh two hundred and
fifty pounds! In another year or two you will weigh two hundred and
seventy-five pounds! You are uncomfortable and heavy on your feet, and
you are gouty and wheezy; and it's a cinch you'll die in a few years if
you keep on this way. You know all this fat is caused by an excess of
food and drink, and you know it can be taken off by a reduction in those
fatmakers. Are you going to stick round here so fat you are a joke,
uncomfortable, miserable when it's hot, in your own way and in the way of
everybody else, when, if you've got the will-power of a chickadee, you
can get back to reasonable proportions and comfort merely by denying
yourself things you do not need?"

All the old arguments obtruded. See what I should lose! Life would be a
dull and dreary affair--a dun, dismal proposition. I admitted that. On
the other hand, however, life would not be a wheezy, sweaty,
choked-heart, uncomfortable proposition. I finally decided I would go to
it. And I did.

My method may be utterly unscientific. I suppose it hasn't a scientific
leg to stand on. Still, it did the business. And I maintain that
results are what we are looking for. The end justifies the means. I
didn't figure out a diet. I had a dozen of them at home that had cost me
all the way from two dollars to two hundred and fifty dollars each. I
didn't buy a system of exercise. I read no books and consulted no
doctors. What I did was this: I cut down the amount of food I ate sixty
per cent and I cut out alcohol altogether! I carried out my argument to
its logical conclusion so far as it concerned myself. I didn't give a
hoot whether it would help or hurt or concern any other person in the
world. It was my body I was experimenting on, and I did what I
dad-blamed pleased and asked no advice--nor took any.

Instead of a hot-bread--I have the greatest hot-bread artist in the world
at my house, bar none!--waffle, sausage, kidney-stew, lamb-chop,
fried-egg and so forth sort of breakfast, I cut that meal down to some
fruit, a couple of pieces of dry, hard toast, two boiled eggs and coffee.
I cut out the luncheon altogether. No more luncheon for me! I cut down
my dinners to about forty per cent of what I had been eating. I
diminished the quantity, but not the variety. I ate everything that came
along, but I didn't eat so much or half so much. Instead of two slices
of roast beef, for example, I ate only one small slice. Instead of two
baked or browned potatoes, I ate only half of one. Instead of three or
four slices of bread, I ate only one. I didn't deprive myself of a
single thing I liked, but I cut the quantity away down. And I quit
drinking alcohol absolutely.

What happened? This is what happened: Eating food is just as much a
habit as breathing or any other physical function. I had got myself into
the habit of eating large quantities of food. Also, I had accustomed my
system to certain amounts of alcohol. I was organized on that
basis--fatly and flabbily organized, to be sure, but organized just the
same. Now, then, when I arbitrarily cut down the amount of food and
drink for which my system was organized that entire system rose up in
active revolt and yelled for what it had been accustomed to get. There
wasn't a minute for more than three months when I wasn't hungry, actually
hungry for food; when the sight of food did not excite me and when I did
not have a physical longing and appetite for food; when my stomach did
not seem to demand it and my palate howl for it. It was different with
the drinking. I got over that desire rather promptly, but with a
struggle, at that; but the food-yearn was there for weeks and weeks, and
it was a fight--a bitter, bitter fight!

When I went to the table and saw the good things on it, and knew I
intended only to eat small portions of them, especially of my favorite
desserts and my beloved hot-bread, I simply had to grip the sides of my
chair and use all the will-power I had to keep from reaching out and
grabbing something and stuffing it into my mouth! My friends used to
think it was all a joke. It was farther from being a joke than anything
you ever heard about. It was a tragedy--a grim, relentless tragedy! It
was acute physical suffering. My body cried out for that same amount of
food I had been giving it all those years. I wanted to give it that same
amount. I have had to leave the table time and time again to get hold of
myself and go back to the smaller portions I had allotted to myself. I
liked to eat, you know.

Nothing much happened for a few weeks, though the waistband of my
trousers grew looser. Then a lot of excess baggage seemed to drop away
all at once. I weighed myself and found I had taken off twenty-five
pounds. Friends told me to quit--that I should overdo it. I laughed at
them. I knew I was still twenty-five pounds too heavy and I was just
getting into my stride. It is strange how men, and especially fat men,
who haven't the nerve to reduce themselves, think a man must be sick if
he takes off flesh. I knew I wasn't sick. Indeed, I was just beginning
to get well.

By the end of three months I had taken off thirty-five pounds. It was
coming off well, too. My face wasn't haggard or wrinkled. I looked fit.
My eye was clear and my double chin had disappeared. Also, I had
conquered my fight with my appetite. I had won out. I was satisfied
with the smaller quantities of food and I felt better than I had in
twenty years--stronger, fitter--and was better, mentally and physically.
After that it was a cinch. I kept along, eating everything on the
bill-of-fare, but in small quantities. I didn't vary my diet a bit,
except for the eggs at breakfast. If I wanted pie I ate a small piece.
If I wanted ice cream I ate a small dish. If I wanted pudding I ate some
of that. I ate fat meat and lean meat and spaghetti, and everything else
interdicted by the reduction dietists--only in small quantities! And I
kept on getting smaller and smaller.

The fat came off from everywhere. I had been incased with it apparently.
My waist decreased seven inches. A big layer of fat came off my chest
and abdomen. My legs and arms grew smaller but harder. Even my fingers
grew smaller. My excess of chin evaporated. And at the end of the fifth
month I had taken off fifty-five pounds. I weighed then one hundred and
ninety-five pounds, which is what I weigh today.

Every person, I take it, has a normal weight; and if that person gives
his body a chance, and ill health does not intervene, the body will find
that normal and stay there. I take it that my normal weight, on account
of my big frame and bones, is about one hundred and ninety-five pounds,
at the age of forty-three. At any rate, it has stayed at a hundred and
ninety-five since the first of last July, and in that time I have loafed
for two months and ridden on Pullman cars for two other months, and have
not taken any exercise to speak of; but I have maintained my schedule of
eating and I have not taken any alcohol. I figure I can stay where I am
indefinitely on that program--and that is my program indefinitely.

There are certain economic phases of a campaign of this kind that should
be mentioned. It is expensive. Not one item of clothing, save my hat,
socks and shoes, which fitted me last January is of the slightest use to
me now. I didn't get to cutting down clothes until I was sure I would
stick. Since that time the tailors have had a picnic at my expense. My
shirts were too big. Instead of wearing a seventeen-and-three-quarters
collar, I now wear a sixteen-and-three-quarters. My waist is seven
inches smaller. I even had to have a seal ring I wear cut down so it
would not slip off my finger. While in the transition stage I looked
like a scarecrow. My clothes hung on me like bags.

Since I have had my clothes re-made and new ones constructed I am an
object of continual comment among my friends. They all marvel at my
changed appearance. They are all solicitous about my health. They do
not see how a man can take off more than fifty pounds and not hurt
himself. I do not see how he can keep it on and not kill himself. They
tell me I look like a boy--and I feel like one. I'm as active as I was
twenty years ago. When I was in the mountains this summer, at an
altitude of seventy-five hundred feet, I could climb slopes with no
exhaustion that I couldn't have gone fifteen feet up the year before. My
mind is clearer; my body is better. I figure I have added a good many
years to my life.

And all this time I have had everything I wanted to eat, but not all I
wanted to eat until I got myself readjusted to the new system. I missed
the alcohol at first, but that is all over now. It was a part of the
game and I used to think a necessary part. I have cured myself of that
delusion. If there is a thing on earth the matter with me the ablest
doctors in this country can't find out what it is. I am a rejuvenated,
reconstructed person, no longer fat, aged forty-three--and the White
Man's Hope!

As to the exercise end of it, there wasn't any exercise end. It happened
that I met a man last March, when I was in the first throes of this
campaign, who had made some study of the human body. I liked him because
he was modest about what he knew, and not a faddist. We talked about
exercise. He told me one thing that stuck. He said: "Walk a little
every day. If you have half an hour walk a mile. If you have an hour
walk two miles. Don't try to see how many miles you can walk in the
half-hour or the hour, but take your time. Look at things as you go
along. Be leisurely about it. When a man goes out for a walk and walks
as hard as he can or does anything else in the shape of exercise as hard
as he can he is subjecting himself to just as much nerve strain as he can
subject himself to in any other way. Be calm about your walking, or
whatever else you do."

Formerly it had been my custom to plug out after breakfast and gallop
three or four miles as hard as I could and then go to work. I cut that
out. I walked an easy, leisurely mile or two miles, looking at the trees
and flowers and watching the people and looking into shop windows, and I
got a lot of good out of it. Then it grew hot, and I cut my walking to
half a mile or so down to my office in the morning and back at night.
Occasionally, after dinner, I would walk a couple of miles. This summer
I went fishing and tramped about some, but not much. In reality, I had
no scheme of exercise, and I took little. I didn't need it. I didn't
have masses of food and drink in me to be burned up. I was normal.

As I said, I suppose all this is absurdly unscientific--and I don't give
a hoot if it is. It worked for me. I don't know whether it will work
for any other person on this earth. Nor do I care. If you want to try
it on, provided you are fat, here are the specifications: I assume it is
an axiom that we all eat too much. I know I did--about sixty per cent
too much. Still, I guarantee nothing. I make no claims. I have set
down the facts; and the only warning, advice or admonition I have to give
is that any person who makes up his mind to try this method and thinks he
isn't in for the hardest struggle of his life would do well not to try.
This isn't a frolic. It's a fight.

Get Rid of Your Diet Pills

The FDA issued a warning a couple of days ago about two brands of diet pills. These are popular pills commonly known as "Brazilian diet pills" and imported from Brazil. Their brand names are Emagrece Sim and Herbathin. The FDA says the use of these pills could lead to serious side effects or injury. They contain amphetamines, tranquilizers and antidepressants. Amphetamines are addictive.

Sales of these two brands of diet pills has been booming. People have been buying them online at a cost of about $230 for a months supply. They claim to have 'all-natural' ingredients but this is clearly not the case.

Amphetamines can be dangerous for people with heart problems or high blood pressure. And the tranquilizers in the pills can become habit forming and can cause people to be dizzy and drowsy. The FDA says it is now blocking the import of these drugs into the United States.

The art print above is Two Forks by Bob Carlos Clarke.

Best Pedometers for Walking

Pedometers can be a useful tool for weight loss. If you've set yourself a fitness goal via walking so many miles per week, a pedometer can be very helpful in keeping you motivated and on track.

They've really come down in price over the past couple of years. You can now buy an excellent pedometer for about $20. The one shown here is the most popular and highest ranked pedometer on Amazon : Omron HJ112 Pedometer It's on sale now for $22 (from a regular price of $39).

Over 100 people have written reviews about this pedometer at Amazon. And the verdict is quite unanimous that it's the best one on the market right now. Here's a couple of people's comments:

If you are wondering whether you want a pedometer, let me add my vigorous "yes". Wearing a pedometer has a way of making you parse every step you take as exercise....even walking down the hall to ask an officemate a question raises your step count just a bit, and soon enough you will be raising your ambitions to 10,000 steps a day or even more without needing to make a production over going to the gym. If you are wondering "which pedometer," I'll add my pitch for this nifty little Omron. My last pedometer: inaccurate, physically uncomfortable, impossible to wear with a dress, broke after 2 months. My Omron: accurate, comfortable clip, even works if I just stick it in a pocket or purse, have dropped it frequently to no ill effects. Best of all, it has quite sophisticated features: it tracks not only steps, miles, and calories, but "aerobic steps" - if you keep walking for 10 minutes or more it counts as aerobic - it is even smart enough to let you pause for up to a minute and still count subsequent steps as aerobic. Finally, it has a 7-day memory that allows you to track all these features back a whole week so you can see your improvements. I can't say enough about this product. I know they call it "premium" but for less than the cost of a couple of weeks at a gym, you'll have a permanent and genuinely practical exercise system. It is the best fitness value of any kind on the market.


After using, being dissatisfied with, and discarding a half dozen or so other pedometers, I can honestly say that the Omron is the best of the bunch. The setup is simple, it's incredibly rugged (I've dropped it on the pavement more times than I can remember), and its sensitivity is unmatched by any pedometer I've used before. A major advantage is that it records steps taken, calories, etc., even when tucked inside a pocket of your clothing or inside your purse (assuming you carry a purse)...It has a lot of useful features (including the seven day memory for number of steps taken, calorie count, distance). I am totally pleased with this product and would recommend it to anyone.

Teen Age Weight Loss - Personal Story

I was an overweight teenager. Not by much mind you. At my fattest, I weighed about 165 pounds. Given I'm now sixty nine inches in height, this would not have been considered obese by any means. But as a teenage girl growing up in the late 1970's, it was a problem for me.

In those days, there were not as many overweight teens as today. I was quite self-conscious about being somewhat overweight. But I did it to myself with emotional over-eating. The problem persisted, off on and on for about two or three years.

My parents were recent immigrants. They didn't have much money to spare. In one sense this was fortunate for me. We hardly ever had any kind of packaged or processed foods in the house. Although my parents didn't have much money, we probably ate better than most households. We didn't go out to eat at fast food restaurants. My mother didn't buy any food that came in a box. There was hardly any processed food ever. It was basically meat and potatoes, some vegetables, quite frequent home-made baked goods, and (also for snacks) lots of bread and butter. Bread was the key staple. Typical central European food fare.

I remember that there was always milk in the fridge. But I don't recall having juice except on special occasions. And Coke or any other pop drink was completely unheard of in our home. Knowing what I do now, in my personal research about nutrition, I know we ate far too few beans and legumes, greens, fish, raw nuts and good breakfast items such as oatmeal. We usually had a vegetable at dinner, but the variety and choice of vegetables could have been much better. And I now know that we overdid it on the milk, butter, cheese and bread.

But it would be difficult to become obese based on the food available in our home back then. So I never did. But due to emotional hang-ups (in hindsight, due mostly to the tensions in the home due to my father's mental illness) I did manage to eat myself into weighing at least twenty pounds more than ideal.

I remember putting myself on a self-devised diet when I was in grade 10. I lost all the excess weight quite quickly eating dried cottage cheese and some other stuff that I don't remember. Everyone noticed, even my handsome P.E. teacher wanted to know the secret of my weight loss at that time ;-). But I gradually put most of the weight back on.

Once I left home at 18 to go to university, my life changed and I didn't have time to think about food. Throughout my twenties and up to my mid thirties I was very active physically. I played lots of tennis and walked and jogged frequently. Given that I had grown up on unprocessed foods, I continued to eat relatively healthy foods and never needed to diet. My weight problems were over until just recently (see the post about my post-pregnancy weight loss battle).

If you are a teenager reading this, I would love to give you advice but I am not a qualified nutritionist. One thing I can say with certainty is that it is really helpful to learn about truly nutritious foods. There is so much misinformation out there about what really healthy foods are.

You really don't need to go hungry to lose weight. If you can focus on eating lots of the healthiest foods and beginning some kind of walking (or other regular exercise) program, you will be truly set on the path to weight loss and to reaching your ideal weight. I'd recommend reading all about the healthiest foods at This is a non-profit website and the best source of nutritional information I've come across.

iPod Fitness Program

If you are trying to lose weight, it will go a lot faster if you begin a regular exercise program in addition to changing your daily eating habits.

And if you are one of the people who now own an iPod video playback you might be interested to know there are several companies out there who have recently developed customized fitness programs you can download to your iPod.

PumpPod is one of these new upstarts. They've developed forty different fitness and exercise programs that you can download for about twenty dollars each. They say it's like having a personal trainer in your home. The programs provide step-by-step workout instructions and color images to show you how to do the various exercises properly while you listen to music.

If you don't already own an iPod, you've probably heard they can be of great help to people who are starting regular walking or jogging programs. It's fun to listen to music or your favorite podcast program while out exercising. It's just one more little motivational helper if you are in need of one.

Natural Cures for Diabetes

Forbes Magazine reviewed a very encouraging report today about how the average person can quickly cure their type 2 diabetes and reverse high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Researchers put thirty overweight and obese men on a high-fiber diet and asked them to exercise for 45 to 60 minutes a day. Within just three weeks half the men had reversed their type 2 diabetes and other risk factors including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.

This is an amazingly short time period! Most people think it would take much longer to improve your health so significantly.

The men were not restricted in how much they ate. They were allowed to eat as many vegetables, fruits and whole grains as they wanted so they weren't left feeling hungry. The diet was developed by the Pritkin Longevity Center and consists of eating 65 to 70 percent complex carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits and whole grains), 15 to 20 percent protein (legumes, nuts, soy and some fish and poultry) and 12 to 15 percent fat - restricted to less than half from saturated fat.

The exercise consisted of walking on a treadmill for 45 to 60 minutes a day.

Participants lost an average of two to three pounds per week over the course of three weeks. All were still overweight or obese at the end of this period, however their heart health improved dramatically.

This is very encouraging news for anyone who's been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and who is willing to make serious life style changes to quickly reverse these illnesses.

Swiss Chard Recipe in Oprah Magazine

The January 2006 issue of Oprah Magazine has a recipe for cooking swiss chard. This is the first time I've seen a swiss chard recipe in a mainstream magazine. Their recipe includes bacon bits, which I'm sure tastes nice, but is not necessary to enjoy the great flavor of chard.

Swiss chard is one of the three healthiest vegetables you can eat. It's only 35 calories per cup. It's got way more vitamins and minerals than even spinach, and spinach is usually considered one of the most nutritious of vegetables. If you are trying to lose weight then eating lots of vegetables is ideal. It will fill you up and satiate you for very few calories and lots of nutrition.

The combination of photonutrients and fiber in swiss chard seems to be very effective at preventing digestive tract cancers according to several studies.

One cup of swiss chard has over three hundred percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K. Vitamin K is very important for bone health. A cup also provides you with 109 percent of the daily recommended value of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is thought to play a role in cancer prevention and prevention of oxygen-based damage to cells. It's also very beneficial for vision and eye health. If you are a smoker it's particularly important to get more Vitamin A and C.

One cup of swiss chard also provides 52 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C, 27 percent DV of potassium, 38 percent of magnesium 22% of iron, 16% of Vitamin E and 14% of fiber. It's an amazingly nutritious vegetable!

Here's the very simple way I cook chard;

Simple Swiss Chard Recipe

Wash the chard and cut it into bigger than bite size pieces. I use the stalk as well. Throw the chard into a pot (with a lid) with a tiny bit of water. Cook on high heat (boil, steam) for one to three minutes, depending on how tender you want the texture to be. Add a little bit of salt and butter or olive oil at the end.

That's it! It's a simple and fast recipe. You can vary this in countless ways. I usually throw in any left-over vegetables from the previous day. Onions, garlic, mushrooms, sesame oil or sesame seeds would also all add good flavor.

WHFoods has a similar recipe they call Mediterranean Swiss Chard (as pictured above). They also provide much more detailed nutritional information.

Getting Rid of those Love Handles - Mesotherapy

Do you have a double chin, love handles or other localized areas of fat on your body?

Mesotherapy is a new medical procedure that doesn't involve surgery and doesn't even require an anesthetic. It's supposed to enable you to target areas of 'stubborn fat pockets' and dissolve this fat via micro injections. It's also said to be effective in reducing cellulite. Mesotherapy (also known as lipodissolve) has been around for about ten years in South America and Europe. The treatment consists of injections of soy bean and enzymes to dissolve localized fat deposits.

The cost of the treatment is not cheap but not outrageously expensive either. It usually costs over $200 per visit. Some clinics claim you can lose up to three inches from around your waistline in only three visits. I'm seeking comments below from anyone who's tried mesotherapy treatments.

Mariah Carey Weight Loss Watch

One prediction we can probably make for 2006 is that Mariah Carey will try to lose weight this year. It looks like she has gained quite a few pounds in just a few months. This most recent photo makes her look quite fat in December 2005. I'm not sure how many years ago the other publicity photo was taken.

Mariah Carey will turn 36 this year. She was born March 27th 1970. Her current album 'The Emancipation of Mimi' has been incredibly successful, and has sold almost eight million copies already. This could be a wonderful year for her.

Fat and Pregnant

To continue from the last post, I let myself get fat as soon as I found out I was pregnant.

I had been trying to conceive for over three years. When I found out I was pregnant I thought it was an absolute miracle.

Doctors recommend a 25 to 35 pound weight gain during pregnancy. In a previous generation, they were recommending twenty pounds or less. At that time a lot of women who listened to their doctors didn't gain enough weight for an optimally healthy pregnancy. Who knows if the current recommendation is correct?

The pregnancy books say that you can expect to gain less than five pounds in the first trimester. This certainly wasn't the case for me. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I started to eat for two.

I was so afraid of a possible miscarriage in the first trimester that I put on lots of comfort padding. By the 23rd week of pregnancy, I had gained 35 pounds. By the time I gave birth, I had gained sixty five pounds.

My baby boy was eight pounds and six ounces at birth. (That's the little goo above at about three or four months.)

Some of my friends who had their babies early in life and who are naturally slim and fit also gained mega weight during pregnancy. One of them gained almost 100 pounds in each of her two pregnancies and was able to regain her slim shape relatively easily. I wonder about the current recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy. Personally, I think different people's bodies have different needs and it may not be detrimental to gain more than the recommended amount especially if you are at a slim weight before getting pregnant. But I am in no way qualified to speculate about this.

I've read that being overweight or obese will decrease your fertility. My hunch is that being fat can sometimes be a symptom of your hormones (thyroid gland or pituitary gland) not working properly and that getting the hormones regulated (in a natural way) may actually be more important to fertility than the excess fat involved.

I had been trying to get pregnant for so long that I really thought it wouldn't be possible anymore. But about eight months before I got pregnant I made some very significant lifestyle changes. I was probably only ten pounds over my ideal weight when I started with these changes, but I believe my hormones were significantly out of whack. By the time I got pregnant, I was in great shape. I've written earlier about the diet and fitness program I undertook over those months.

In the next post I hope to cover:

Weight Loss after Pregnancy

Two years ago I weighed 215 at the end of my pregnancy. I had gained about sixty five pounds while pregnant. Once the baby was born, I dropped fifteen pounds (including the cute eight pounder with the big head) very quickly and got down to about 170 without dieting within a few months. I currently weigh 163 pounds at five foot nine inches.

(That's the little goo on the right, at about six months old.)

The plan was to breast-feed for one year, but here we are two years later and I'm still nursing. For this reason, I haven't fretted too much about my weight and have not been dieting in any sense of the word. For this reason too, I think most of the weight came off quite easily. I think the nursing requires me to eat a minimum of an extra 600 calories per day in order to not lose weight. Sometimes it really feels like it must be closer to 1,200 calories as I can get extremely famished just after nursing.

But now that the baby is two I want to wean him as soon as possible. Breast-feeding is an exhausting endeavor. At least it has been for me personally. My overgrown 'baby' is still in the habit of waking up several times a night for a little nursing. Overall though, I'm a great believer in the advantages of breast feeding infants if possible, so I have no regrets.

During this two years I haven't worried about my weight too much. I've been completely preoccupied with the demands of being a mother. My personal appearance (same sweatpant uniform daily) and (complete lack of) grooming have slid completely off the reasonable scale. Other than my husband, there are no grandparents or relatives who live close by and can look after the baby and I haven't left him for more than a couple of hours on any occasion. So it has been a grueling journey at times for someone who's previously lived an independant and spontaneous life and didn't have her first child until the age of 42.

But now here I am, ready to get back into really good shape. I'm no longer overweight as far as BMI goes, but I'd like to weigh 150 again and be really fit. My goal is to do that over the next eight to twelve weeks.

Update December 2007 : Ha ha ho ho ho!

It's not really funny and it's a couple of years later and i'm no closer to my goal. I'm just hovering at the very top end of the normal BMI scale so I'm not complaining too much, but jeez, where is the old me and the perfect physical form I was once in?
Here's a photo of the little goo fascinated with an insect on his finger at about 3 and 1/2 years old.

Update 2009: I finally reached my goal weight of about 150 pounds in the spring of 2009. This was after i'd been walking on a very regular basis for over a year. I don't like to publicize it, but it was probably also due to the fact that my husband and I seperated, and this meant I no longer had to cook his preferred style of meals and i was freer to eat and live a healthier way.

Update 2011: I've kept the weight off!

Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga is not the first thing that comes to mind when people are considering weight loss fitness strategies. It's not an aerobic exercise and aerobic exercise (even brisk walking) is considered best, as it burns the most calories and revs up the metabolism.

However successful weight loss is not all about the logical and physical aspect of diet and exercise. There is a mental (and even spiritual) element required to actually achieve the goal and to be able to change deeply entrenched daily habits.

If willpower or emotional issues are key aspects of your struggle with weight loss than a regular practice of yoga could be very helpful in providing you with a breakthrough in this regard. It can help you become much more aware of your subconscious mind and to instill a calmer and more joyful attitude to life.

Aside from this very important mental aspect of yoga, there is also the physiological benefit. Some of the yoga positions ('asanas') are particularly helpful in stimulating the thyroid gland. The thyroid is the key organ responsible for maintaining a healthy weight level.

The shoulderstand is the most effective yoga position for correcting thyroid imbalances. To see step-by-step instructions on how to do the shoulder-stand go to this page. I've read over twenty yoga books over the years and my personal favorite is "Yoga Self-Taught" by Andre Van Lysebeth. This book proposes a twenty minute routine of the best yoga positions. Their discussions of the health benefits of each of these asanas is outstanding.