Category Archives: fitness and nutrition

One more race to go…

Updated 1 January: we raised almost $60,000 for the GBS/CIDP Foundation! The campaign is now over, and regular blog posts will resume sometime soon.

Updated 23 December: we’ve now raised over $53,000 for the GBS/CIDP Foundation! Thank you to all of you for your generosity since I wrote this blog post. You can still donate: let’s see how much we can raise! The new deal is I’ll donate $1 for every $1 you donate, and Google will match my donation. So, every dollar you donates results in $3 being donated!

Cliff notes version: donate now to our fundraiser for the GBS/CIDP Foundation, and we’ll donate four two dollars for every dollar you donate! There’s only 11 days to go!

Zoom Turkey Trot 2015

Zoom Turkey Trot 2015

Help us raise $6,000 more for a good cause

It’s been ten months since I shared the story of having GBS in 2009. Six years later, I’ve decided to turn a negative experience into a positive one. It’s been quite a journey — we’ve now run 51 races of the 52 races I promised I’d run to raise awareness for the GBS/CIDP Foundation, and we’ve raised $46,000 $53,000 of the $52,000 I’ve promised to raise. Pretty good news! But the problem is there’s now only 11 days left to raise the remaining $6,000!

I’m sure there’s no lack of desire from many of you to donate. I know, I know: you keep forgetting and you’re really busy. Well, let me try and help get you motivated: if you donate a dollar, I’ve orchestrated a scheme to donate another four two dollars. That’s right, your $1 results in $5 $3 going to the GBS/CIDP Foundation, and your contribution is tax deductible. (Small print: I’ll do this for the next $1,500 that you donate.)

So, donate now by visiting this link. If everyone donates a total of $1,200, we’ve met our goal! We’ve met our goal, but let’s keep going right up to December 31!IMG_7203

How are we doing this?  I recently received a $1,500 per diem for advising work, and I’ve decided to put it up to match your donations to the fundraiser. I’ve also decided I’ll put in one more dollar of my own hard-earned savings to match it. Then, my fantastic employer Google matches donations that I make. So, all up, when you put in $1, I put in $2 $1, and Google puts in $2 $1 more to make it a total of $5 $3.

That’s it. Eleven days to go, let’s get this done!

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Thank you…

 

We’ve had amazing support throughout this fundraiser. Almost 200 people and organizations contributed, and I owe them all a ton of thanks for helping raise awareness of GBS and related conditions, and helping the important work of the GBS/CIDP Foundation. A complete list of contributors is here.

 

 

 

$42,000 raised for the GBS/CIDP Foundation

After suffering from GBS in 2009, I’ve been on a mission to raise $52,000 for the important work of the GBS/CIDP Foundation. They’re a small non-profit with an enormous heart, and they do genuine good for people suffering from rare, debilitating conditions.

You, yes you. You should donate!

You, yes you. You should donate!

We now have less than $10,000 to go to raise our goal of $52,000!  Here’s your big chance to donate and drive us home to the goal, or to convince that family member, friend, or your workplace to help us get it done. We won’t stop when we get to $52,000 — just imagine how much we can raise if we make the goal with four months of the year left!

These feet are ready to race

These feet are ready to race

What’s been happening?

I’m not just raising money, I’m running 52 races this year to raise awareness of GBS and related conditions. We’re now 25 races of the way to our goal of 52 races. I’ve written a report about races 5 through to 25, and you can read them here: http://fiftytwofives.com (just scroll down the home page). My favorite race so far is the Presidio 10k just for the beauty of running around and across the Golden Gate Bridge. The most exotic has to be a 10k race in Buenos Aires, which might also have been the toughest on a hot and humid day while I was jetlagged. There are two races that have surprised me: the Double 5k where I won $50 in prize money, and the St Lawrence Run for Fun where I accidentally won the race.

One US-stralian in a sea of Argentinians before the start of a 10k race in Buenos Aires

One US-stralian in a sea of Argentinians before the start of a 10k race in Buenos Aires

I think a lot about raising money, and I’ve learnt how hard it is to get people to open their wallets and donate. You know, I often think: what if every LinkedIn and Facebook connection I had donated just $1? We’d be about $3,000 further ahead, that’s what would happen. And imagine if they each donated $10. Wow. It’s really the smaller donations from more people that could make the difference — so please do encourage folks to donate, even if they can only afford $1 or $10. And if you haven’t donated, and you’re suddenly feeling inspired, just click here.

To those I owe thanks

We’ve had amazing support throughout this fundraiser. Almost 200 people and organizations contributed, and I owe them all a ton of thanks for helping raise awareness of GBS and related conditions, and helping the important work of the GBS/CIDP Foundation. A complete list of contributors is here.

 

More Sweatember Action

It’s getting late in Sweatember, and I’ve only shared one workout. It’s time to take my Sweatember motivation to the blog and share more ideas.

My buddies at I Choose Awesome are a tough, energetic bunch of Australians. They have great ideas for challenging workouts, and I took one for a test drive this week. Give it a try.

Half An Hour of Power

Write down these six exercises on a piece of paper, and head to the gym. If you don’t know the exercises, the links have short videos:

Try the Half An Hour of Power workout

Try the Half An Hour of Power workout

Start your stopwatch. Do ten of the first exercise, then move onto the next one. When you’re done with all six, that’s one round. Start again from the top, and see how many rounds you can do in thirty minutes. (For what it’s worth, I managed 7 and a bit yesterday — couldn’t quite get to 8.)

Too Hard?

It’s ok if you can’t do a pull up, or you’re worried about a kettle bell clean. Substitute something easier until you’re ready for the full Half An Hour of Power.

For an easier time than a pull up, try a row. If you don’t like the sound of a kettle bell clean, pick up an object (such as a medicine ball) and put it down again. You can always do your push ups on your knees to make them easier. If you don’t like the sound of any exercise, replace it with another one; for example, if you don’t like the burpee, replace it with a abdominal crunch.

Have fun.

I’m not an exercise professional. Do this at your own risk. Talk to a professional before beginning an exercise program.

Welcome to Sweatember! Here’s a fun workout for you…

It’s Sweatember! I’m amping up the exercise for the month, before I descend into the darkness of Eatober. Anyway, this month, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite workouts, fitness ideas, and more.

We’re all time-crunched, so here’s my favorite, motivating workout that fits in around 30 minutes. You can warm up, get a tough whole-body workout, cool down, and shower in in less than an hour. It’ll make you fitter, stronger, and leaner. And it’s called satellites.

Choose Five Exercises

Satellites: a tough thirty minute workout, and nothing to do with the space variety.

Satellites: a tough thirty minute workout, and nothing to do with the space variety.

Pick five exercises that don’t exercise the same body parts, and that you can do within a small corner of the gym. You’re going to be moving between the exercises frequently, so make it easy to switch between any pair. You’re going to be doing each one (maybe) 80 times, so don’t make them too challenging.

Here’s a few examples that I like:

  • Push ups – there are tens of variations. An easy variation is to find something at chest height that you can lean against at a 45 degree angle. A hard variation is a regular push up with your feet raised on the stairs
  • Squats – on the easy end, sit in a chair, stand up, and sit down again. On the hard end, try that on one leg without allowing yourself to actually sit (just touch)
  • Abdominal crunches – there’s more variations on these guys than any other exercise
  • Burpees – the basic variant goes like this: start in a push up (plank) position, jump your feet forward, reach your hands up into the air, put your hands back on the ground, and jump back into the plank
  • Jump rope – it’s good to have an aerobic exercise in the mix

This morning I chose jump rope, medicine ball slams (ball above head, slam into ground, catch, repeat), burpees, kettle bell swings, and an abs exercise (that’d take too long to explain).

You could try inverted rows, riding a stationery bike, boxing, running across the basketball court, using the rowing machine, jumping (star jumps, box jumps, hopping, and so on), something new school with a kettlebell, or something old school that looks good in the mirror (bicep curls, shoulder presses).

Write your exercises down and number them 1 to 5

Here’s an example: (1) Push ups (2) Box jumps (3) One arm kettlebell swings (4) Inverted row (5) Burpees

Prepare for satellites

Here’s the concept: each time you work through the exercises, one of them is the “planet” and the others kind of orbit as “satellites”. You’re going to do five sets, since there are five exercises.

The first set, your first exercise is the “planet”, and you go back to it between each other exercise. You do exercise 1, then 2, then 1 again, then 3, then 1 again, then 4, then 1 again, and finally 5. Shorthand: 1-2-1-3-1-4-1-5.

Since we’re getting this done in 30 minutes total, let’s do 20 seconds of each exercise, and give ourselves 10 seconds to change exercises and rest. That means you’ll get through this set in 4 minutes: 160 seconds of exercising, and 80 seconds of resting. (If you want to be picky, it’s really 3:50 since you don’t need the rest at the end.)

Once you’re done, rest for 1 minute.

Now exercise 2 is the satellite, and so on:

  • Set 2: 2-3-2-4-2-5-2-1. Rest 1 minute
  • Set 3: 3-4-3-5-3-1-3-2. Rest 1 minute
  • Set 4: 4-5-4-1-4-2-4-3. Rest 1 minute
  • And, finally, Set 5: 5-1-5-2-5-3-5-4

Five sets, four minutes each, and four minutes of resting. All done in 24 minutes. 3 minutes to warm up, and 3 minutes to stretch when you’re done. Total 30 minutes. Plenty of time for the shower.

Timing your workout

Time is hard to track when you’re sweating it out. I’d suggest getting an app for your iPhone – I like Tabata Pro, though HiiTTimer is ok too. These beep when it’s time to move to the next exercise, and they play your music in the background. You can also buy a timer online that you can hang on your wall – just like they use in boxing gyms! If all else fails, use the online-stopwatch in your web browser.

If you want it tougher, increase the length of the exercises – try 30 or 45 seconds – or make the exercises tougher.

One last tip: I like to arrange my five exercises in a line on the ground. I might put my medicine ball next to my jump rope, next to my bosu ball, next to my towel, next to a kettle bell — all in a neat line. This helps me not make mistakes and get lost — I can see which exercise is number one, two, three, four, and five, and I can easily tell what’s next.

Give it a try — enjoy Satellites!

I’m not an exercise professional. Do this at your own risk. Talk to a professional before beginning an exercise program.

Five fitness gadgets I love

My passion is fitness, and part of fueling the passion is having the right gadgets to stay motivated, work hard, and enjoy what I do. Here’s my top five (which is subject to change any year).

FitBit

I’m not the first to put the fitbit at the top of a list — mashable did it just two weeks ago.

The original fitbit. A small, clever, wireless pedometer that’ll keep you motivated

For $99 you get yourself a tiny, wireless pedometer. It counts daily steps accurately, measures how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, and has a nice stopwatch. It also has a clock, a fairly useless calorie burn guesstimator, and a few other features. The stopwatch is useful for timing how long you’ve been asleep — press and hold the button on the front and the stopwatch starts, press and hold the button and it stops. If the stopwatch runs for an extended period, fitbit figures out you were asleep and records it as such.

What’s most cool is the website. When you walk past the basestation that comes with your fitbit, your data is uploaded to fitbit.com. You can then inspect the data online, including step totals for the week, badges you win for hitting milestones, lifetime achievements, average sleep duration, and more. For me, there’s a healthy competition with friends I’ve connected to on fitbit: who’s did the most steps this week and where am I ranked. You get a weekly email on Tuesdays with a summary of last week’s performance.

The fitbit leaderboard at the fitbit.com website. If you own a fitbit, compete with your friends.

I can’t say I’m achieving my step goals every week, but I love how the fitbit motivates me to move.

TRX

The TRX Suspension Trainer or TRX is a new essential in my fitness arsenal. I throw it in my carry-on luggage when I travel, and toss it in the car when I hit the running track. It’s around $200.

The TRX is simple: two handles attached to each end of a strap, with an anchor point in the middle. You attach the anchor point to a stable, high mounting point, and then use the handles to workout. It’s a cousin of men’s gymnastic rings. You can attach it to a tree, monkey bars, a chip up bar in the gym, or the (slightly expensive) mounting options that the TRX folks sell.

The TRX is cool because it replaces a variety of other workout gear. You can use it to exercise your chest, back, abs, arms, and much more — it’s a fine alternative to dumbbells, barbells, and the variety of machines in your gym. The bonus is it’s also unstable in a good way — you need to work more muscles to carry out many of the exercises, and so even the humble pushup becomes more of an abs and shoulder stabilization exercise. The video that’s embedded below shows you fifty exercises you can do — it illustrates the amazing versatility, even if a few of the exercises aren’t to my liking.

Chin up bar

When I was in high school, my record number of chin ups was (maybe) three. They’re a lifelong nemesis. But me being me, I like a challenge — so what’s better than installing a chin up bar in your garage, and getting after improving? I’ve tried a few, and the stud bar pullup bar is the standout winner at $140. It’s sturdy, reasonably easy to install, and easily mounted far from walls.

The stud bar pull up bar. It attaches sturdily to the studs in your roof, giving you plenty of clearance from walls.

Chin up bars aren’t just for chins ups, and they don’t just work your lats (the muscles under your armpits). With a forward grip, you sure do work your lats, but you also work your core muscles and more. With a reverse grip, your biceps come into play. And there’s lots of great abs exercises you can do by hanging from the bar, and lifting, raising, or rotating your knees. If you want a strong core, it’s a great investment.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are rubber bands with (usually) handles at each end. Similarly to the TRX, they’re a versatile way of working muscles in a way that doesn’t require iron. They’re almost as portable as the TRX — easy to throw in a bag when you’re travelling. My favorites are from bodylastics.com. For $36, you can buy their entry-level set — and, honestly, I wouldn’t but their more expensive ones (unless you’re super strong, or you want to work out with a partner frequently).

A truly random picture of a few resistance band exercises. It shows you that pulling the ends of a long rubber band is a versatile way to exercise your body

The idea is fairly simple: pull the handle, stretch the band, work one or more muscles. For example, you can wrap a band around a pole, and pull the handles on each end toward your hips to work your back muscles. The bodylastics products come with a nice booklet that illustrates tens of exercises, and has a few suggested routines for those interested in different sports and with different levels of experience. YouTube is also full of resistance band workouts.

Agility Ladder

An agility ladder is a set of plastic straps that are held together on either side by a rope or strap to make a ladder-like apparatus. You lay it out on a floor or path, and then run through it in a variety of different ways; indeed, “run” is a gross generalization, there’s tens of complicated ways to traverse the length of the ladder, many involving complex aerobics-like moves. The benefit is a cardio, brain, and agility workout — you work up a sweat while also teaching your body how to react, accelerate, and move in patterns. They’re incredibly portable, they stow away in a small bag that’s easily thrown into your luggage.

Three guys making their way through an agility ladder. It’s fun to follow someone else — a great way to learn, and challenge yourself to a race

I’ve got a list in my head of around thirty different moves I do with an agility ladder — I do each one up and back, catch my breath, and hit the next. It’s a buzz, and doubly-so if you’ve got headphones, music that you can keep pace with, and you’re in the mood to push yourself.

Honorable Mentions

I’m disappointed I couldn’t squeeze in my iPod, jump rope, medicine ball, Bowflex 1090 dumbbells, or some humble cones. If this post gets more than a few views, I’ll post my top ten someday soon. See you all next week (and apologies for the intermittent posts this month — work is super busy).

Setting Your Goals: 5 Steps to Creating Your Future

You need a plan to reach a destination that means something to you. Where are you headed this year? What about five years from now? If you could dream, where would you be in ten years?

Here’s a useful tool that I use to think about my goals. Every six months or so, I take a piece of paper and write down my goals. I take a photo with my iPhone, and make it my desktop wallpaper — and then it’s there to remind me every day for the next six months. I’ll explain in this post how I think about creating the goals.

I don’t know where I learnt this approach, or whether I invented it myself, but I was amused to find the same idea on a lululemon bag recently. Not only do they make great yoga and sportswear, they give great advice. You should shop there, if only so you can read the bag.

Advice to live your life by. On a shopping bag from lululemon.

1. Two career goals

Step one is to create two career goals for the next twelve months. What do you want to achieve in the next year?

Everyone who’s working probably has goals in a system somewhere, but these should be more personal. What do you want to learn to do better? What characteristic do you want to develop? How do you want to be perceived by the people around you? Where should your focus be? How do you want to direct your energy?

My recommendation is that your goal should be a few words that mean something to you. A short phrase that triggers a longer thought. Something you can glance at and consume.

2. Two health, fitness, and wellbeing goals

You’re getting to know me through my blog, so you won’t be surprised by this section. I’ve learnt that the number one priority in life is health; without health, you can’t look after your family, yourself, or your career.

So, now it’s time to write down two goals for the next twelve months that are about you and your health, fitness, and wellbeing. Do you want to get to a healthy weight? Eat right? Get exercising? Sleep better? Fix your posture? Take tests to check on family conditions? Or do you want to take it something to the next level? How about trying my ten tips for being fighting fit?

3. Two personal goals

The final step for planning this year is to think about your personal life and capture two points. Do you want to travel more with the family? Take up a hobby? Switch off from work on the weekends? Call your friends? Make new friends? Help the community? Give your time to a cause?

4. This year, in 5 years, and in 10 years

Steps one, two, and three give you six points to focus on for the next twelve months. I recommend repeating them to create a five year plan, and again to create a ten year plan. I enjoy this part the most: thinking about the next year is a little tactical, but turning a dream for the future into goals for the future is fun. This is where you get to think about who you want to be, what success is for you in life, and what you want to be doing in your career after you’ve made substantial progress. I’d recommend thinking about your larger financial goals, your wellbeing, what success is for your family, and what your perfect career looks like.

While you’re writing this, think about coherence: is the one year plan leading to the five year plan? Five year leading to the ten? One year leading to the ten? Don’t be afraid to go back and make adjustments. You want your one year plan to take you roughly 20% of the way to your five year goal.

When you’re done, you’ve got 18 points on a page. I can fit this easily on a small sheet. As I said, I keep the points very short and consumable in a glance. Then it’s photo time, and time to make it your desktop background.

5. Refresh

Every six months or so, you should refresh your goals. Read the previous entry, and make an honest assessment of how you’ve gone with your goals. Copy over the phrases you still like or that shouldn’t change, and make a few adjustments where you need. Don’t get too unhappy with yourself the first time around — I started by writing overly ambitious goals, and I’ve learnt that it’s better to write down achievable goals that push me in the right direction. I don’t tend to change the ten year goals, and I rarely tweak the five year goals. I often make changes to the one year plan, but always in the context of asking: is this helping me get from today to my five year goals?

This is an enjoyable exercise for me, and an investment in thinking about myself. I hope you find it useful too. Let me know how it goes.

The don’t eat grains mantra: why it makes sense

I listed my top ten tips for getting in fighting fit shape in this blog post. Tip #1 (“Don’t eat grains”) seems to be controversial with some, so I thought I’d explain a little more of why it works for me and makes staying at a healthy body weight easy.

Plan A: Measure and Track your Caloric Intake

Here’s the traditional thing that most folks do: they work out how many calories they should be consuming, with a focus on making sure they consume slightly less than they burn. If you eat much less than you burn, your body panics, starts breaking down muscle instead of fat, and counter-productive things happen. The trick is consuming a little less than you burn, and your body dips into its fat reserves, and healthy weight loss happens. Again, take all this with a grain of salt: I’m a computer scientist, not a nutritionist, and you should do your own research and get your own plan from a professional.

So, let’s try that. There’s a variety of sites that let you figure out how many calories you’re probably burning, enter how much you weigh, add a bunch of other data, and then suggest what your caloric intake should be given your body weight goal and a healthy weight loss rate. Here’s a tool from dietitian.com that’s linked to by the US Food and Nutrition Center at the USDA. When I enter my data, and say that I want to drop my body fat by 1%, and lose 1 pound per week to do it, it tells me to eat about 1700 calories per day; that is outrageously low and wrong. Ok, so now I’ll try another US government tool, the “SuperTracker” at ChooseMyPlate.gov. It tells me I should eat 2800 calories per day; that seems a little high, but in the ball park. The guys at Fitness Wave do hydrostatic body testing, where they put you in a tank and figure out your body fat percentage fairly accurately, and they tell me I should eat 2800 calories per day to maintain weight. Another tool I’ve played with is MyNetDiary, and it says I should eat about 2400 calories.

So, I’m confused. And if you get this wrong, you’re either going to starve and bad things will happen, or put on weight. Most of us should find a nutritionist, otherwise it really is a guessing game until you figure it out through experimentation. Of course, you can try eating roughly to an approximate sensible target, and measure what happens over a few weeks. But, anyway, since we’re trying to put together “Plan A” in this blog post, let’s go with 2600 calories per day as a guesstimate for maintaining my current weight.

Ok, so let’s pretend I’ve fallen out of bed, headed downstairs, and I’m grabbing breakfast. Let’s say I eat steel-cut oats with fruit and nuts and 1% milk, and have a Starbucks tall latte on the way to work. Total price tag from MyNetDiary is 753 calories. I hit the gym, and grab a Starbucks apple bran muffin and another coffee at 10am: 510 calories. At 12, I grab a sandwich at work with two pieces of wholegrain bread, some chicken breast, two slices of cheese, tomato, and lettuce: 454 calories. By 3pm, I’m dragging, and grab another coffee and a Clif bar from the food machine: 430 calories. Now it’s dinner time: I decide to have a stir fry, with rice, chicken, and some vegetables: 510 calories. No after dinner snack for me today. Total: 2657 calories.

So, I’m pretty close to the 2600 calories, remembering the target isn’t science. I’m probably not gaining or losing weight, and I ate reasonably well — do you eat better or worse? If I was eating slices of pizza for lunch, waffles for breakfast, eating candy, drinking soda, or hitting take out for dinner, we’d be blasting into the 3000+ territory easily, and then we’re packing on the weight.

In practice, what makes or breaks this kind of plan is meticulous tracking, and having an accurate target that accounts for your goal, your output (exercise), and your inputs. It can work if you work hard.

What makes it hard is the high-carb foods. If I threw in a couple of slices of toast with honey for breakfast, you can add 170 calories to the total (and I could easily do that on the weekend, or even eat four slices for lunch). A cup of rice is 220 calories — if I eat 1.5 or 2 cups with my stirfry instead of 1, it’s goodbye to the plan for the day. A bowl of pasta (say 1.5 cups of plain old spaghetti with sauce) is 330 calories.

Of course, sometimes you need a blast of energy, and this high carb loading is a good thing. If I was hitting the hills on the mountain bike for three hours, it’s probably a good idea. If I was a marathon runner who’s training hard, I’d need this kind of intake. But most of the time, I’m a sedentary office worker (even though I probably do a good 60 to 90 minutes of exercise each day of some material form). So I don’t need the energy, and I don’t want my insulin spiking, and my body storing it as fat for the apocalypse…

Anyway, I’ve given this a good college try, and it doesn’t work for me. Too much measuring, recording, counting. Too much going over the goal by lunch, and winding up hungry later on to hit the goal. Too complicated.

Plan B: Skip the grains

Here’s the non-traditional thing to do: skip the grains, and go easy on the high-sugar foods (don’t eat anything with more than 10g of sugar per 100g of product).

I’ve got an awesome breakfast that I cook every morning. It’s a kind of souffle pancake filled with fruit and nuts. The ingredients are eggs, fruit, nuts, vanilla, and cinnamon — I’ll make a video of how I make it sometime, and take this blog into youtube cooking land. But, bottom line, when I eat it, it’s mighty big and I’m full, full of energy, and happy. It’s about 400 calories in total.

After the gym, I have a small handful of nuts, some carrots or snap peas or celery, and some turkey jerky. Again, gets me back to feeling full, and restores my energy.

At lunch, it’s salad with lean meat. I’ll have a massive portion of chicken and spinach, and sometimes throw in plenty of colorful greens. For a mid-afternoon snack, I have another massive portion of chicken and salad. Effectively, I’m eating two lunches per day.

For dinner, I stick with meats, vegetables, and salads, and that means lots of BBQs / cookouts, and plenty of spice in the food we cook. Last night, I had roasted tri-tip, a spinach and sweet potato salad with a lemon dressing, and a delicious shredded lettuce, almond, and carrot salad with a yummy dressing.

All up, I love breakfast, and I love dinner. The rest can be a bit of a chore, but I am certainly always eating and feeling full. And who said that food has to be a hedonistic experience at every meal anyway?

When I put this into a tool, even with plenty of different variations, it’s always either on my target, or slightly under. And even when I throw in a glass of wine, or a sweet treat at the end of the day, I’m never over by more than a couple of hundred calories. It’s pretty hard to miss when you don’t eat grains, and you steer clear of the high sugar stuff.

I also feel great on Plan B — I just plain feel better from having given up grains, and steering clear of high sugar foods. My digestion is better, and when I mess up and eat wheat, I feel sick. That’s converted me — if I feel great without grains, and terrible when I eat them, then I don’t need them in my life.

Am I short on any nutrient and do I get enough fiber? No and yes. I eat an amazing variety of vegetables and fruits, nuts and meats, and spices and condiments. From my tracking, it looks like I’m spot on where I need to be. I don’t need “whole wheat” (lots of carbs with some indigestible fiber stuff attached) to somehow be magically healthier — there’s no problem that needs solving.

The Bottom Line

I’ve tried two basic ways to get to a healthy weight and maintain it: calorie counting and planning, or just avoiding grains and high sugar foods.

Calorie counting is too complicated for me, and prone to big, bad misses that are fueled by messing up when I eat high carb foods. I’ve never been successful following Plan A. How about you?

Avoiding grains is a basic rule, and it doesn’t require meticulous recording and counting to be roughly right, day after day. The bonus of avoiding grains for me is that I also feel better, perhaps I’m slightly gluten intolerant and blissfully lived most of my life not knowing (and now I feel better!). I’ve been successful on Plan B.

If you’re interested in Plan B, perhaps you should have a chat to a nutritionist, and see if giving a grain-free eating plan is right for you. Ask them if you should try it for 30 days, and then share your data with my readers, and let’s see where the thinking goes.