Tag Archives: Fitness

On Diet: 8 Lessons I’ve Learned

After recently reading Tim Spector’s The Diet Myth, it occurred to me that I’ve read a number of informative books on diet and nutrition. They include such books as Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, and The Complete Guide to Fasting. I’ve experimented with the suggestions and advice in these books with varying degrees of success, and failure.

Based on what I’ve read and my personal experiences, I’m going to share 8 lessons I’ve learned about diet and nutrition. Bear in mind that these are general guidelines. This is not a set of diet rules or a list of what to eat, or what not to eat. These are the common diet and nutrition themes that appear in just about everything I read. They are also the themes that I’ve had the most success with in my personal diet experiments.

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Book review: The Diet Myth

Book cover for The Diet Myth by Tim Spector

One of my primary reading genres is books about health and nutrition. I feel it’s vitally important that we’re aware of what we’re feeding our bodies. I typically make it a point to read at least one book from this group every year, although I wouldn’t mind reading more. Unfortunately, I’d gotten away from reading in this area over the last year or two with the last good book I read about nutrition being The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung back in in 2019 (which I would highly recommend, by the way).

One of the challenges with reading health and nutrition books is identifying books based on solid science. There are so many books on the subject that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Depending on the quality of the book, suggestions can be life changing for the better, or, if not researched properly and supported by quality data, they can have negative effects on one’s health, potentially even hazardous outcomes in the extreme.

Fortunately, one of my favorite blogs, A Learning a Day, made a strong recommendation for a nutrition book, The Diet Myth by Tim Spector. Given the good experiences I’ve had with previous recommendations from the blog, I added it to my (lengthy) reading list and finally got around to reading it.

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2021 Fitness goals

Each year I like to review my fitness goals for the prior year and set new ones for the upcoming year. Doing these reviews helps to keep me focused and on track. As people like to say, you achieve the results you measure.

My goals for last year were centered around working out, walking, and diet. These have been the areas of focus for the last 3 years, and I plan to continue these into 2021. As you’ll see below, the COVID pandemic impacted my goals for last year, and I’m still figuring out how to adjust my goals for 2021 based on the challenges of the continued lock-downs and closures.

Let’s get into it by looking back on 2020 and then ahead into 2021.

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2020 Fitness Goals

Every year I like to review my fitness goals for the prior year and set new ones for the upcoming year. I’ve found that setting measurable goals and then publishing them keeps me on track and holds me accountable.

In 2019, my goals were focused around three areas – working out, walking, and diet. These were the same 3 areas of focus for 2018, and they will be the same for 2020.

When looking back over the last year, things went well for the most part. There a couple of adjustments I’d like to make. Otherwise, it’s going to be more of the same in the upcoming year. Sometimes it’s best not to fix it if it isn’t broken, if you know what I mean.

Here’s the look back at 2019, and the look ahead at 2020.

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Book review: The Complete Guide to Fasting

Book cover for The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason FungOne of my primary reading genres is health and fitness. I have an interest in understanding how diet and exercise affect our physiology. I’ve learned a lot over the last few years that have led to adjustments in my personal eating habits and exercise routines. It’s helped me to control my appetite, maintain a healthy weight, and generally feel better all around.

One area that I’ve been particularly intrigued by is fasting. I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting for the past couple of years and have occasionally mixed in a full 24-hour fast. I even did a 48-hour fast a little over a year ago, which was a great learning experience.

I want to continue fasting and to incorporate longer periods of fasting into my routine. To help me understand more about it, how to prepare, and what to do during a fast, I decided to read The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day and Extended Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung.

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Lessons from fasting for 48 hours

Empty plateOver the last couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with diet. I’ve done things such as near elimination of refined sugars and reducing my intake of carbohydrates to see what effects it has. I’ve also added intermittent fasting where I go between 12-16 hours, and sometimes longer, between dinner and my first meal of the day.

One item that intrigued me was fasting. A good friend had done 48-hour fasts and talked about the benefits that it offered. 48 hours seemed like a long time to go without eating as I had never gone much beyond a day between meals. After doing some research, and watching an interesting documentary, The Science of Fasting (available on Amazon Prime), I decided to give it a shot. Here’s my experience, what I learned, and whether it is something I’ll attempt again.

Before reading further, be aware that this is not medical advice by any stretch of the imagination. I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist. This is just a recounting of my experience and what I learned that should be used purely for your informational purposes.

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2019 fitness goals

I’ve found that the best way to stay on track with my fitness and diet routines is to set goals, and then to state them publicly. Having measurable goals keeps me focused, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with setting up a bit of accountability to go along with them.

In 2018, I had three primary goals – working out, walking, and diet. Three priorities is a good number and about the most I can focus on at one time.

For the most part, the year went really well. Here’s a look back at the year that was, and a look forward at the goals for 2019.

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2018 fitness goals

Just like years past, I had three primary fitness goals for 2017 around working out, activity, and diet. 2017 didn’t go quite as I would have liked due to a number of planned and unplanned circumstances. There was travel for work, an extended vacation, and the gym I frequent closed 3 weeks for remodeling. The loss of my furry companion in November didn’t help either.

I’m not suggesting or saying that 2017 was a disaster, it just wasn’t as good as 2016. For 2018, I’m going to make a few minor adjustments, set a couple of stretch goals, and make it happen!

Let’s take a look at 2017, and then set the goals for this year.

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Book review: It Starts With Food

It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa HartwigOne of my reading themes is health and fitness. And why not? What we do and eat on a daily basis has a huge impact on our quality of life. It affects how we feel, energy levels, quality of sleep and more.

My latest read in this genre was recommended by my sister Tricia, who has become more aware of and interested in learning how food affects health. She suggested that I read It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.

Given how much I got out of Wheat Belly and Grain Brain, adding It Starts With Food to my reading list was a no brainer. I was interested in seeing what other nutrition tips and ideas I could pick up from another source.

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Book review: Born to Run

Born To Run by Christopher McDougall coverI’m not a runner. My entire running career consists of my one and only 10K (which I completed in just under 50 minutes by the way). So it would seem odd that I would read a book about running.

On the other hand, friends are one of the recommendation sources for my reading list. In fact, out of all my sources, friends are my favorite, even more than my nemesis – the Amazon recommendation engine. The reason is pretty obvious. My friends and I share many of the same interests.

Therefore, it really isn’t much of a surprise that I ended up reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It was recommended to me by Steve Hudson, a good friend of mine who has been a good source of book recommendations. We’ve been sharing our experiences related to food, diet, and fitness. During one of our discussions, he suggested I read McDougall’s book.  While he’s more of a runner than I am, he still felt that I would enjoy it.

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