Month: November 2015

[VIDEO] Toby Threadgill on Thyroid, Strength and Staying Young

[VIDEO] Toby Threadgill on Thyroid, Strength and Staying Young

Toby Threadgill is an elite caliber athlete who travels the globe teaching classical Japanese martial arts. He is the only non-Japanese in the world to currently hold ultimate authority over one of the old samurai era martial arts schools. His schedule can be grueling with him traveling over 130,000 miles a year and teaching 8 hour days, 10 days straight. He also teaches international law enforcement as well as members of our international security infrastructure. At the age of 54 he approached Dr. Peikari for help in maintaining his physical prowess.

Says Threadgill: “I suffered for 20 years before I met Dr. Cyrus Peikari. I tried training harder, but it only made me hurt worse. What amazed me is that I had all these blood tests, and had seen all these doctors, for all these years, and had constantly complained of these symptoms, but no one ever got it. No one even brought up the possibility of hormone deficiency. Then I met Dr. Peikari, and within 10 minutes of talking to him, he knew what was wrong with me. And he turned out to be correct, which blew my mind. As soon as I got on thyroid replacement, within 2 days I felt better. Within a week I was feeling normal, and within 7 weeks I was building muscle again, while the joints were no longer hurting the way they were. A year later, the difference is dramatic. I had suffered, undiagnosed, for 20 years; and after I turned 50, everything accelerated and I fell apart. Everyone just told me I was getting old; but I knew something wasn’t right. It was so frustrating knowing that something was wrong, but having doctors either tell me that nothing was wrong, or that there is nothing I could do about it. The things I was experiencing were really devastating…until I met Dr. Peikari. I’m 56 years old, but now I feel like I’m in my 30’s again.”


Sculpting the “Golden Ratio” physique

Sculpting the “Golden Ratio” physique

david and cyrus

by Cyrus Peikari, M.D.

Is there an “ideal” physique? I’ll discuss that in a minute, but the important thing is that you love your body as you are now. Don’t try to get into shape to be happy: instead, be happy now, exactly as you are, because you are perfect.

Once you learn to love yourself, the weight loss journey becomes easy. Letting go of guilt, anxiety, and negative feelings will decrease your cortisol levels. Immediately, you’ll see physical changes. When you relax, your cortisol levels drop; water weight comes off, you feel energy, and you move from fat-storing to fat-burning.

So is there an “ideal” physique?  Michelangelo reportedly designed his David statue using the “golden ratio” of proportions.  First studied in ancient Greece, this ratio is approximately 1 to 1.618. It is the same ratio found throughout nature, such as the veins of tree leaves.  It is the same number, as well, obtained from dividing any number in the Fibonacci sequence by its predecessor.

For over 2000 years, the golden ratio has fascinated sculptors, biologists, painters, mathematicians and architects. For example, the Pantheon in Rome incorporates many elements of the golden ratio. And Leonardo da Vinci’s book “De divina proportione” (On Divine Proportions) is based on the golden ratio.

For years I struggled with weight loss. Forget any “golden ratio”: being short, it was a battle to keep from becoming a perfect sphere. I’ve got an apple-shaped body. The problem is that can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin and hair issues, fatigue, and loss of libido.

It wasn’t until I “cracked the code” to eating rhythm that I started to see results. After years of doing it wrong, it suddenly became easy. Now I have that golden ratio: In the attached picture, taken this morning, my shoulder to waist ratio is 1.6 (both linear and circumferential).

I did this by enjoying potato chips and chocolate every day.  I don’t do any cardio. And I do only 2 or 3 easy, 30 minute weight lifting sessions in the gym each week, with just 9 or 10 easy sets per workout.

Mostly, I achieved the golden ratio by lying on the couch and watching Netflix. That’s right, relaxation is the key.  And strategically eating great food such as hamburgers and fries allows your body to rest, which lowers cortisol levels.

It worked for me, and it can work for you.

Personally, I don’t use any supplements, hormones, or diet pills. However, some of you may have an undiagnosed hormone deficiency. I see patients with thyroid or another hormone deficiencies that have been missed for decades. Fixing a hidden hormone deficiency brings results faster.

It is so rewarding when I can help my patients get off their diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications. It’s such a relief to stop the frustrating cycle of restrictive diets and harsh exercise programs that dig a deeper hole. The easier way is fun!

Please take a minute to post your own experience. I’d love to hear what has (or hasn’t) worked for you.



P.S. In case you missed it, I discuss cortisol in more detail in this blog post and video:

[VIDEO] Which is better: walking or jogging for weight loss?

by Cyrus Peikari, M.D.

Watch the surprising conclusion to this “tortoise vs. hare” parable. In the short term, jogging might beat walking for weight loss. But what about the long term? I discuss the differences in this short video. We also touch on cortisol, the catabolic hormone, and its relative levels in jogging vs. walking.

How to shed 10 pounds of fat by eating at Chipotle

How to shed 10 pounds of fat by eating at Chipotle

By Cyrus Peikari, M.D.

A question I get often is this: Do I have to give up the foods that I love, to lose body fat? The answer is, “No!” For those of you who have been following me, you know that I’m currently eating chocolate and potato chips every day, while still shedding body fat and getting stronger…all without doing any cardio whatsoever.

Your next question might be, will this work for me? Yes, if you follow the correct plan for your body, the results should come fast. The trick is answering, “What is the best plan for me right now?” With my patients, the answer takes a little testing and tweaking. Before the more advanced “Netflix and potato chips diet”, I teach patients about other diets, such as the slow carb diet, or a vegan diet. And as we will see, using Chipotle Mexican Grill, you can do both slow carb and vegan at the same time, on the run.

The first diet, and one of the best, is the “slow carb” diet, popularized by Tim Ferris’ on his 4 hour body (4HB) blog. If Mr. Ferris ever wins the Nobel Prize, I suspect it will be for his efforts in promoting this diet. Of Tim’s accomplishments, his diet has the potential to do the greatest good.

Why does the slow carb diet work? Perhaps because Tim designed it for fallibility. Knowing that we humans will cheat on any diet, he built in a mandatory cheat day…a day of reckoning where you can (and should) eat as many donuts, Snicker’s bars, and pizzas as you want.

With this hedonistic cheat day, Mr. Ferris lets us think that we’re getting away with murder. However, he has a secret agenda: there are several hidden benefits to this day of carb reckoning. For one thing, it makes dietary adherence skyrocket. Because you know you can eat that chocolate cake on Saturday, you endure the other 6 days (which as we will see, really aren’t bad at all).

For another benefit, the cheat day helps to keep your metabolism from down-regulating. For example, most of you have tried a diet and lost weight for the first few months; however, you then reach a plateau, and the weight starts to creep back on, even if you eat less and exercise more. However, by using Tim’s method of carb overload to strategically spike insulin levels one per week, you can help keep up your metabolic hormone levels, particularly thyroid and sex hormones.

A third benefit of the cheat day is that eventually you start to get sick of it. After a few weeks or months, you notice that you feel mentally alert and energetic on regular days. However, cheat days are the opposite: you feel bloated, mentally foggy and tired. You even start dreading cheat days, which causes you to start cheating in moderation: for example, for just one meal. Because this is a natural weaning process, it works long term. Eventually, you may go a month between cheat days; although that’s the maximum gap, to avoid slowing your metabolism.

Having helped many patients shed many pounds over many years, I would make a few humble suggestions to Tim’s 4HB slow carb diet. For one thing, in his book, the Four Hour Body, Tim optionally recommends taking 4 supplements, known as a “PAGG” stack. “PAGG” is an acronym for the combination of the following four supplements: Policosanol, Alpha-lipoic acid, Green Tea Flavanols, and Garlic extract. Tim even suggests that these 4 supplements are the “four horsemen” of fat loss, which to him seem to work synergistically.

I disagree with Tim on this. (I think Tim himself might disagree now, since in later years he seems to recommend less supplements). In my experience, patients who took the PAGG stack lost a little bit extra fat initially, but the weight came back after a few months when their bodies adapted to the medication. Worse, it is a brutal schedule of four times per day dosing of drugs not studied extensively in humans. So it seems like much potential toxicity, with little long term benefit.

Another tweak to the 4HB slow carb diet that I would suggest to Tim is this: eliminate alcohol, even on the cheat day. I like to avoid conflict, yet this is the most controversial statement I’ve made to date. It gets some people angry to hear this; but I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you. For many reasons, I feel that eliminating alcohol altogether is the single best move you can make for your long term health and success, exceeding the vast benefit, for example, of quitting smoking. I won’t belabor this point, but please take the time to think it over and arrive at your own decision.

The slow carb diet can be a bit challenging to follow at first, especially when you are traveling or on the run. That’s because fast food restaurants are based around high carbs. Now, let’s make it more difficult: is it possible to eat BOTH slow carb AND vegan at the same time?

Before my current “Netflix and potato chips diet”, I followed both a slow carb and vegan diet…at the same time! Talk about brutal! However, it is quite easy now, thanks to improving commercial menus. One of the best options is Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Several years ago, when I started with the combined slob carb/vegan diet, Chipotle didn’t have much in the way of vegan options. That’s because their beans, which are a slow carb mainstay, were made with pork. However, in late 2013, Chipotle converted all of their beans to vegan.

Let’s look at a sample from Chipotle’s menu, available in a convenient calculator on their website. In the first example we are eating slow carb, but not vegan. Our ingredients are a basic burrito bowl with black beans, chicken, salsa, guacamole, and lettuce. That equates to 555 total calories, with 30 fat grams, 36 carbohydrate grams, and 42 protein grams. By eliminating the tortilla and rice, we’ve made it slow carb, while retaining a lot of protein. The carbohydrates come from the beans, but luckily beans are “slow” carbs, so you’re fine.

Now for the vegan option: simply remove the chicken, and add extra black beans or pinto beans. For example, a burrito bowl with black beans, pinto beans, salsa, guacamole, and lettuce comes to 490 calories, with 24 fat grams, 37 carbohydrate grams, and 16 protein grams.

It’s delicious! So you can eat both slow carb and vegan, with friends, on the run: Chipotle makes it easy. But all this talk of slow carb and vegan is making me hungry, so I’m going to eat some potato chips and chocolate.

What do you think? Please take a moment to comment right now. Your responses make me so happy!



I screwed up…big time!

I screwed up…big time!

Ok, I screwed up. I admit it. For decades, I tried running to lose weight…but it only made me fatter. Skinnier? Yes, at times…but skinny fat. And because the stress of running increases “cortisol” levels in the bloodstream, if you ever stop or slow down, the fattening comes back faster and more furious than ever before.

Don’t get me wrong, running is a great stress reliever and feels wonderful. And I’m proud to have a couple of friends running in the Boston marathon. But for the rest of us, are we getting too much of a good thing?

Based on years of working closely with patients, it seems that too much cardio, in the long run, is often counterproductive.

I made this video to explain why:

I also touch upon adrenal fatigue, over-training, and catabolic hormones such as cortisol. (Cortisol is the stress hormone that can cause you to burn muscle and store belly fat instead).

So remember…the trick to getting a great physique is to BE LAZY!

Has anyone else been though a similar experience. I’d love to hear from you; please do comment below.