Tag: Intermittent Fasting
by Cyrus Peikari, M.D.
Warning: I don’t like using tricks like these to lose weight fast. I’d much rather have you stay lean and “beach ready” year round. Why? Because when you look good on the outside, you are healthy on the inside.
Think logically: when you have a lean, strong, sexy body, you are less likely to get diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Often, you can “cure” those diseases by losing just 10 pounds of belly fat.
The following tips won’t reverse years of bad habits. However, they can give you a quick “tune up” and give you confidence at the beach. I want you to take that confidence and nurture it: let it inspire you to make positive, long lasting changes to your diet and health routine.
Tip 1: Cut salt
Excess sodium causes fluid retention. This fluid retention makes you look big and bloated. Try to cut salt at least 3 to 5 days before hitting the beach. Be careful, because salt sneaks into most foods these days. Examples of salty foods include: cold cuts and cured meats, chips, pizza, processed chicken, soups, cheese, sauces, and most junk food.
Tip 2: Skip one cheat day
If you are following my version of the slow carb diet (see my free slow carb diet articles or videos), you use Saturday as your “dieters gone wild” day. Unfortunately, the fast carbs (like bread, pasta, and chips) cause fluid retention for several days. I recommend skipping one weekly cheat day before your trip to the beach. You’ll be amazed at how much tighter you look in the mirror. However, don’t skip your cheat day for too many weeks in a row; it’s a mistake I’ve made many times. Regular cheat days are essential for maintaining your hormone levels, particularly thyroid, leptin and testosterone.
Tip 3: Do some light resistance exercise
Just a few minutes of resistance exercise gives you that muscle “pump” that looks so good in photos. You don’t need a gym: pushups, squats, and planks are my favorite. You can even add a few calf raises to make those calves really pop!
Tip 4: Choose your supplements
I don’t use many supplements, but a few are helpful. I take a multivitamin a few times a week to help with skin clarity. Nearly every day I’ll have a protein shake: this helps to preserve muscle when losing weight. And when I’m trying to drop weight a bit faster, I’ll take a Slim Cut Pro® tablet at breakfast and lunch to help with metabolism and hunger.
Tip 5: Tan
Tanning is a massive lever for looking good in a hurry. I feel that a mild amount of natural sunlight is good for most people. However, if you don’t want the extra radiation, consider a spray tan instead. It’s worth it.
Tip 6: Modulate your diet
Ok, this is an advanced technique. I really don’t recommend it unless you are very experienced. With this technique, you temporarily INCREASE calories to drop weight. That’s right, if you’ve been dieting hard for a long time, eating more may cause weight to drop temporarily.
For example, one of my athletic patients was stuck at 205 pounds, and he could not get his weight down to his goal of 199 pounds, despite months of hard exercise and severe calorie restriction. I told him to DOUBLE his daily calories. He was convinced that I had lost my mind! But when the patient came back the following week, his weight had dropped to 199 pounds. What happened? By increasing his calories to maintenance level, he took the stress of his body, and his cortisol levels dropped. So the weight he lost was water weight. (As I describe in my YouTube videos, high cortisol from stress causes water and belly fat retention).
Tip 7: Be confident
You don’t need any of the above tricks…you’re already hot! Have confidence in yourself. Stand straight and project your positive energy to others.
These are some tricks to get you looking good for the beach fast. But don’t stop here. Keep getting lean, strong and sexy: it’s the best way to prevent chronic diseases. Don’t you want to be healthy, so that you can better serve humanity?
There’s no magic bullet for achieving a lean body year round. But luckily, it’s not as hard as you think. I eat French fries and chocolate every day, and my only cardio is walking. I’m doing it, and you can, too! Your first step is to spread the positive energy. Please take a moment to share this article with someone you love.
by Cyrus Peikari, M.D.
In this video I share three of the top diet strategies I use to help patients lose weight, and keep it off long term, while still being able to enjoy the foods that you love… such as chocolate chip cookies!
Q: What if I overeat during the holidays? What should I do?
A: Don’t worry. Enjoy it and move on. The extra calories were good for you. Your leptin levels are up, and your metabolism is ready to burn fat faster.
If, accidentally, you eat 5,000 calories in one day, you probably won’t gain a full pound of fat.
Forget the guilt! Tell yourself that you deserved it. The worst thing you can do is to fall into a shame cycle. This is why many people start extreme diets and exercise binges after the holidays.
I know, because I’ve made the same mistake many times. I’ve tried the crash diets and the cardio binges. You may see short term improvement, but then you hit a plateau, and the weight gain comes crashing back with a vengeance.
Weight loss is like a marathon, not like a sprint. Slow, smart, incremental changes in diet and exercise win in the long run. Listen to your brain, rather than your emotions.
Please post your questions below, and share this with a loved one who struggles with food guilt.
Cyrus Peikari, M.D.
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: https://cpeikari.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/i-screwed-up-big-time/
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!
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.