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Hardly a Diet

The original graph of body size versus metabol...

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When we think about a diet these days, we all have the same image of celery sticks, dry biscuits and lettuce leaves: tasteless food and an endless feeling of hunger. A constant feeling of being dissatisfied and wanting more. And the unending desperation to eat something solid and substantial. I’d like to say that these kinds of diets are well out of fashion but alas, there are some out there that still treat the body this badly.

The studies done into ‘deprivation dieting’ (which is what the above description… er, describes) have proven one fact above all else – when you deprive your body in such a way, you both decrease your metabolic rate (because your body thinks starvation time has come around again) and increase your subconscious need to binge eat. These are both unconscious, physiological body responses to a sudden and sustained lack of food. These responses are genetically built into us and were what helped our ancient ancestors to survive fammine. What they are not, is any help to losing weight. (more…)

To Boldly Go

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So, hard on the heels of my last post, I thought I’d set down a few details of exactly what I’m going to do to lose weight. Now don’t get all excited and start taking notes 🙂 – these are just the first few small steps. This plan will change and evolve as I go along, as I learn what works and what doesn’t. At the moment, that’s a key element – I want to avoid that whole ‘ repeating actions that don’t get me the results I want’ thing, by making changes as I go.

The basic plan for the first week is pretty simple. I am going to use the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. I know I’ve spent plenty of words trashing all things diet, but there are a few that aren’t all evil. This is one of them. It’s a high-ish protein, controlled carbohydrate diet that has been scientifically proven to help people lose weight when they carry most of their weight around the middle. Which is me. (more…)

A small change in direction

I wanted to start this post with some brilliant observation about life that would completely sum up the last few months in a sentence or two, and thereby relieve me of the need to explain why I haven’t posted much recently. Unfortunately, brilliance is missing from my brain this morning, and instead, I’m just left with the explanation, and an apology.

When I started this blog, I’d wanted it to be a place where all sorts of weight-related ideas and issues could be explored. But before that, I’d also wanted the blog to be a record in a way, of my own journey. Don’t worry – I know full-well what a blog cliche that is. 🙂 For me, however, my own journey is really where all the other stuff comes from. I have a weight problem, and in an attempt to conquer it, I have tried to learn as much about it as possible. Wanting to share what I learned was an automatic next-step for me. (more…)

The Thin Myth

Yumcha eating utensils

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I know some thin people who are just thin. Always have been, probably always will be. They’ve never had any extra weight on their bodies and they’ve never given a thought to eating too much beyond that one last dumpling at Yum Cha once a year. From time to time they’ll mention how they’re worried about not fitting into their clothes – but pictorial evidence over the years proves they actually don’t have any weight concerns. These are the people who are the least judgemental with people who do have weight problems. They might find it hard to understand – but they rarely judge. (more…)

Sweet Dreams: How Sleep Deprivation Makes You Fat & Depressed – Part 5

This is a graphic which shows the average hour...

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Most people believe that they can skip an hour’s sleep and not be affected. This is not true, unfortunately. Just an hour less sleep at night will affect your moods and your responses throughout the following day. It’s also a common belief that if you miss sleep during the week, that having a good sleep in on Sunday morning will catch you up. While an extra injection of sleep will definitely help, it won’t actually undo all the damage missing sleep in the first place will cause. The only way to ensure you don’t suffer with sleep deprivation is to make sure you get the right amount of hours every night. Yeah, sounds easy, doesn’t it. Don’t you just hate it when people do that? (more…)

Sweet Dreams: How Sleep Deprivation Makes You Fat & Depressed – Part 4

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

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When we sleep, we dream. Everybody does it. You probably won’t remember what you dream most of the time, but you definitely do dream. If you didn’t, you’d die. Why? Because dreaming occurs during REM sleep, and dreaming performs essential functions to continued brain health. Like a lot of other things that happen in your brain while you slumber through the night, chemicals get to work, sorting out stuff, building more stuff, and generally doing all the heavy lifting so that you can get up the next morning and function properly as a human being. (more…)

Sweet Dreams: How Sleep Deprivation Makes You Fat & Depressed – Part 3

Sleeping cat

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Mechanics of Sleep

I went through most of my life with just one rule when it came to sleep – as long as I got at least 4 hours, I’d be okay. For long periods of time, I actually averaged 4 hours (I kept track, believe it or not – yeah, a bit of a geek, I know). One particularly drawn-out, stressful time in my life provided me with just 3 hours of sleep per night, 5 nights out of 7. This was also a period during which I put on a substantial amount of weight. (more…)

Sweet Dreams: How Sleep Deprivation Makes You Fat & Depressed – Part 2

Overview of biological circadian clock in huma...

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When I was younger, I resented sleep. Not because I had trouble sleep – not at all – but because I had so much I wanted to do in a day and sleeping just felt like a waste of hours I could be doing something so much more interesting. As a result, I did everything I could get away with to reduce the hours ‘wasted’ in idle slumber. I stayed up late, often all night. I’d also get up early and when you’re young, it’s so easy to spring out of bed, firing on all thrusters, paying little or no attention to the sleep debt you’re busily incurring. (more…)

Brief Interlude

Painter on His Way to Work

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Dear Community

Happy New Year!

My apologies to you all for the unscheduled break in transmission. Real life has a marvellous way of interrupting you, just when things are getting interesting.

And of course, there was all the Christmas festivities and … well, you know how it goes.

Anyway, I have a long list of what I hope are interesting, helpful, practical and exciting posts headed your way.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting about companion websites this this blog, some new scientific research on obesity, a few things about exercise that you probably don’t know, and the long-promised story of how I came to be writing this blog in the first place.

So please stay tuned. We’re just getting started!

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Causes of Obesity Part 6 – Clinical Issues

Weight and height are used in computing body m...

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We’ve all heard them, those ‘excuses’ for being big – “I have big bones” or “It’s all hormonal”. They’ve become such a cliche now that nobody pays any attention to the fact that, for some of us, those excuses are actual real reasons why we have a weight problem. What’s also hard to grasp is that there are a huge number of physiological reasons why the body either puts on weight, retains it or resists losing it. Unfortunately, I can’t cover all of them here. Instead I’ll give you a brief overview of the kinds of things that might be affecting you.