Emotional eating

Some people talk a lot about emotional eating, but does it really exist and if so, what is it? My answer to this is yes and no and they are answers to different definitions to the term.

The first is when people set a diet where they do not get enough calories or nutrients. In this case you will get strong cravings. This is not emotional eating, you are just hungry so your body screams out for food. You need to eat according to your caloric demands, but eat the right foods – low-fat, high-carb vegan (preferably raw) and you will not gain weight you are not supposed to gain.

The other answer is that digestion and emotions is two things the body cannot handle simultaneously so when something happens that really sets off the emotion meter, something sad for example, one reaction from us is that we want to get away from it. Food is one way to do it. This is really easy to do as meat-eaters, because all that food is hard to digest. As a vegan, high-carb vegan or high-carb raw vegan this becomes more difficult as we go along the stages, but we can still do it. This can happen even when we eat enough calories, though if we are on the top of our game as food is regarded we are less vulnerable towards emotions. I would consider this emotional eating. It is a good thing to develop emotionally to a level where we do not need to do this, but I do not consider it a problem as long as we eat the right foods, i.e. high-carb vegan or raw vegan.

The last is force of habit. When I watch a movie I want to eat popcorn. I don’t do it any longer, it’s been a REALLY long time since I had it last, but the habit is still there. This I would also consider emotional eating, which can be fixed by replacing with healthier habits. I try to just start watching, usually I don’t care, or I try to have some juice instead. Or sometimes I can make a raw vegan treat.

Got cravings? Got Exercise!!!

A big worry that many of us who wants to eat healthy have, especially at the the beginning, is how to deal with cravings. There are a lot of answers given – eat enough calories, eat a high-carb diet (preferably fruit), make sure to get a savory meal like a stew, many different answers to many different cravings, but one that I have noticed recently is actually exercise. As I have continued on this exercise regimen and gained strength I tend to subconsciously evade many of the less than optimal foods that I have eaten before as they will directly interfere with my fitness regimen. Especially fat, there really is something at work behind the scenes making me not buy the nuts, the avocados and many other high-fat foods as they would not work as well as what I’m doing now. Of course I might have a handful of nuts, a little of nut butter or some nut milk every once in a while, but somehow it’s subconsciously kept within the limits in a way that no amount of “willpower” managed to do before. This despite the fact that due to economical reasons as I eat more cooked foods my caloric intake has lowered a bit. I find this extraordinarily inspiring.

2 months of adaptations

I just went through my training log today and compared how I’m doing now compared to when I started this regiment at the beginning of march. While I am still mostly on the first progressions and a lot of work remains to do, I really have come far. I almost never get any back pain nowadays before either, which I used to before. So glad I stuck with this program, only wish I had found it earlier. Looking forward to what results the future will bring.

Beginning of march:

Squats (1st progression)

1×8

1×15

1×26

Pull-ups (1st progression)

1×24

1×26

1×26

Push-ups (1st progression)

1×15

1×11

1×15

Leg-raises (1st progression):

1×10

1×10

1×10

Calf Raises (1st progression) :

1×21

1×31

Now:

Pull-ups (second progression):

1×26

1×23

1×22

Squats (first progression)

1×33

1×33

1×31

Push-ups (1st progression):

1×50

1×42

1×43

Leg-raises (1st progression):

1×19

1×18

1×17

Bridges (1st progression):

1×39

1×35

1×35

Calf raises (1st progression)

1×30

1×28

1×26

1×26

What sort of exercise should I do?

Usually when we get into fitness regimens we do so with some kind of purpose. Unless this purpose is to get better at this particular activity, it can often lead us to question what particular activity would be best for us. I’ve been there. I’ve trued going to the gym, running, swimming, lots of things to help me loose that backback on the front. The fact is that as long as it is an activity that exerts you it does not really matter what you do, you will get leaner in time. The most important aspect is consistency and for consistency there is one single thing that matter – do you enjoy this activity or not? If this activity makes you smile you will return to it in a couple of days, next week and next month. For me, this is bodyweight training. Going to the gym cannot compare with the fun (and results) I get out of doing some bodyweight calisthenics at home. And I’m seeing great results too. It needs to be progressive though, in other words get harder as you get strong. There is a book called Convict Conditioning which has very good explanations for these progressions for 6 major exercises. So far I can do 5 of them, not strong enough in my back to get up to a handstand.

So whatever activity you do make sure you enjoy it with a smile. That said we should try to do activities from a few different areas. There are 5 areas really: strength-, endurance-, cardiovascular respiratory-, flexibility- and what is known as neurological training or simply neuro training. I will be discussing my views of these in some following posts from material I have taken in so for now let us just focus on the first three. First off I do not necessarily obsess over the difference between strength and endurance. Yes, the standard view is that strength is built when you lift a weight no more than 6 times and the more you do above that is endurance training. I believe it’s true definitely, but not set in stone. Say a guy could do 6 one-arm pull-ups and he were to increase this to 15 one-arm pull-ups – is he just building endurance? I don’t think so, that is a massive Strength movement. In fact, the two are inseparably linked. Especially in progressivist bodyweight training that is based on a double progression. Since you cannot just increase your weight by adding 5 kilos, you increase the weight a LOT by changing the exercise a bit so you must work a lot at the range known as “endurance”, but of course it builds strength as well. If you cannot do 20 full pushups, the chances of you being able to do 10 repetitions of the next progression is slim.

So what about cardio, is it important? Yes. It is vital that you enjoy the activities, but the benefits from training differs a lot between “weights” and “cardio” activities and they are benefits we all sorely need so it is important that we get some mix of both. It does not need to take a lot of time either. I take 30-40 minutes ever second day to do calisthenics and the days in between I go for a bikeride (pacer recommended so you can objectively measure how you are doing, they are pretty cheap and sold at good bike shops). I’ve ended up doing this for about 6-7 days/week for the past couple of weeks (before I biked every day, which did not give enough recovery) which works very well for me. So to answer the question of which comes first, it doesn’t matter. Start with one activity to get the ball going. Once you have adapted to this activity so it is easier for you to do it than not then add the other type of activity. Always make sure it is one you enjoy. I find cycling a lot more enjoyable than running and it is low-impact so I can do it more often and a lot easier to perform if you are not lightweight. But if you enjoy running more and is fit enough to do it – go for it. Do the activities you enjoy with a smile and you will see improvements. We are in this for the long haul. Just as we did not get to where we are today in one day of not working out it will take a couple of years to become truly fit, but we will see some improvements along the way. It’s just important to bear this in mind and not get sucked into the short-term perspective that is so prevalent in our society.

Going to head out for a 14k bikeride after I finnish my water now. Have a great day 🙂

Chai datorade and “how do you get enough protein for recovery?”

If you look around yourself in the locker room of a gym you will undoubtedly see quite a few people chugging down protein drinks in hopes of gaining strength. Problem is that this is not really doing much good, because muscle isn’t build totally from protein. Not even a third of muscle is made up of protein. More than seventy percent of healthy muscle is water. In fact, there’s barely eighty grams of protein in a pound of muscle – certainly no more than a hundred grams. if the extra intake of one-hundred and forty grams of protein advised by modern writers was really added to water and turned into muscle, a guy consuming this much protein would gain more than six-hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle in a year. To put it another way, he would have five or six times as much muscle on his body than Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime as Mr Olympia – after only twelve months of training. Even if you somehow lost more than three quarters of this protein as energy or through faulty digestion or via inefficient tissue-bulding, our average two-hundred pound bodybuilder would still become easily the most muscular man on the planet within a year, if all this extra protein was transformed into body muscle. In fact, as research like the China Study has found, the optimal range for protein intake is around 5-10% of calories from plant sources, which is easily found is almost all whole foods. There are a few, like dates, which are lower, but eating a variety of whole foods and you will get enough.

In fact when we work out we primarily use our muscles and the fuel for this is glycogen, a simple carbohydrate that fuels all our cells, including muscle cells. In order to recover properly from the workout, one must supply the carbohydrate lost during the workout. The most easily assimilable source is the simple carbohydrates found in fruit. Now I know, you do not want to become a raw vegan, I understand, I’m not 100% either, but I do eat fruit after workout. But if this is impossible, make sure to resupply with a meal of complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, oats, even some rice noodles, legumes (they are a bit higher in protein, but predominantly carbohydrate). I will give you some interesting recipes for this as we go along, but for now hold steady with a chai dateorade.

250 grams dates (about 20 iranian)

spices – cinnamon, powdered ginger, cardamom

1 liter (more if you like) of water (I substituted about half of the water with homemade oat milk to increase the calorie content

– Blend, blend, blend. Pour into a jug and then enjoy while doing something productive or just relaxing. Writing a blog post like this for example.

Training

Good morning everyone!

Hope you have had a good nights sleep. I managed to get to bed decently early so I feel pretty well-rested today and motivated to get going with my fitness regimen after I finnish drinking my liter of water. I’ve been going to the gym haphazardly for years without success yet this bodyweight program I’m on now is getting me far greater results. This is due to a few reasons one has to remember about getting training to work (that I have learned through not doing it).

        The first one is that you have to enjoy the kind of training you do. If you do not enjoy it, you will not do it. Or at least do it often enough and consistency really is the most important aspects of building fitness in my view. I used to work-out less than 1 day/week on average (though more in periods), of course I could not build fitness on that. I heard Doug Graham say that fitness development follows the formula F.I.T. – frequency, intensity, time and I agree with it so it is not the only variable, you start cycling every day you are not doing strength, then once you have adapted you increase time, then you increase intensity.

        The second thing I have learnt is not to make any big promises. Or rather commit to these things when you are in action committing to them. I have for all my years of failed gym going had an expectation that I would go 5-7 days/week and train. That expectation was too big. It was too far removed from what I was actually doing that I actually ended up not going at all. Do not commit to doing this when you are sitting in front of the computer, do not make big declarations. Just make the steps. When I do my bodyweight training I do not commit to doing bodyweight training every day, I commit to doing this is the new. Similarly, when I go for a bike-ride I commit to cycling in that moment. When I finnish training I commit not to make a perfect diet for the rest of my life all my time. We are not perfect, this is not possible, but I commit to making a smoothie for my athletic recovery. Now if you excuse me I am going to commit to doing some calisthenics…

Survivorship bias

A recent discussion I had has prompted me to write this host about what I realize to be one of the biggest problems assailing not only the world of nutritional research, but science at large, the problem is, as the name of the title, survivorship bias. Now, what is survivorship bias? Let’s illustrate with an example. Say you have a certain model that is followed, say a certain way to do stock exchange. And then you poll a number of CEO’s, the actual number is not important, say 100 of them and it shows that 100 of them did use this model. This would then be reported as a 100% chance that by following this model you would become a CEO. That is the survivorship bias, because we are told absolutely nothing about either the CEO’s who did not follow this model or the people who followed the model and did not become CEO’s. We are told about one single variable about the past and are asked to generalize about it to the future. The future is by it’s very design unpredictable and lead to chance. A lot of things happen by randomness, which plays a huge part of our lives. The model is not always the reason for success. Boxers in the past ate a horrible diet, sometimes steak right before the match, abused their bodies without getting sufficient rest or sometimes even hydration. This does not make a good model for a boxer to follow, but by following only the survivors of the program we are led to think so.

If the survivorship bias is used negatively, that is that we know of something here, that could really be a problem. It’s only variable, but we would urge you to be cautious about it and maybe try to remove it from your life I don’t have as much problem with it. My issue is more when it is used in a positive fashion, positive here meaning, using the survivorship to justify continued use of something on the basis that these people did fine while using it, and maybe even improved on something, e.g. disease reversal. As long as we are told only one variable, doing these comparisons are EXTREMELY dangerous and irresponsible.