Saturday, May 31, 2014

Glutton Free Diet May Eliminate Heartburn

A new not-so-scientific study shows that following a glutton free diet may completely eliminate heartburn. It should be noted that this study, which has been ongoing for over twenty years, was conducted with a small sample size -- one. That one would be me.

For all of my adult life, I have kept chalky antacid tabs by my side to combat frequent bouts of heartburn. I tried Pepcid AC, but didn't find it effective at all. The only prolonged periods of heartburn free life that I've experienced have come during times of watching my calorie intake, and avoiding over-eating. Sure, there are certain foods that will trigger it with a small portion, but overall I am enjoying life without Tums.

If you are tired of that feeling of acid bubbling up into your esophagus, tired of drinking the Maalox or popping the Rolaids, tired of taking your daily Prilosec; try eating less instead. Sure, it's not as easy as getting a prescription from a doctor, and you will likely miss the satisfaction of a completely stuffed stomach; but the end result is that you will feel better and may even lose some weight in the process.

I plan to continue this study indefinitely... or for at least as long as my own willpower continues to keep my appetite in check.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Willpower. Self control. Stick-to-it-iveness. Intestinal fortitude. Determination. Resolution. Commitment.

Call it what you will, but one of the essential keys to successfully living a glutton free life is your own resolve to stay the course. Resisting temptations, ignoring urges, forcing yourself to get out and move -- it all takes willpower. The best laid exercise plans, the healthiest lifestyle choices, the most fool-proof trendy diets -- all are worthless without your own will to accomplish your goals.

At 3:00 in the afternoon when your stomach's growling and you really want that bag of Doritos and a crisp, cold, sweet Mexican Coke -- you have to be strong and resist. Drink some water instead. Those complimentary donuts that someone brought to the office? Just say 'no'. The Sour Cream Lemon pie that was specially prepared for Easter Sunday? OK, you can have a small piece of that, but you'd better cut those calories out somewhere else.

Asking for the "glutton free" options at your local Cheesecake Factory or Claim Jumper restaurant isn't going to get you very far -- it is up to you to either choose healthy menu options, or divide your meal in half at the start and take the rest home. If you find yourself at Red Robin craving a burger, ask for a side salad in place of fries -- and figure out how many calories were in that burger, because you will need to give up eating something else to compensate for it.

Of course, choosing a restaurant with healthier menu items is a better idea, if you must go out. Grilled salmon and vegetables is almost always a better option than a fattier, higher calorie hunk of beef; but it requires willpower to order the fish, because a big, juicy steak would surely taste better. At that very moment, when flipping through the menu and deciding what you will order, you determine whether or not you will succeed at losing weight, lowering your cholesterol, keeping your blood sugar in check, reducing your sodium intake, and eating a balanced diet. No gimmicks. No preset program. Just you making a choice.

No sure-fire, fool-proof, be-all end-all diet needed. No revolutionary, cutting edge scientific break-through. Just follow the same wisdom that has been around since the book of Proverbs was written thousands of years ago -- don't be a glutton. It's that simple. It's that difficult.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hop, Skip, Jump.

Walk. Run. Bike. Swim. CrossFit. Garden.

The first rule of the Glutton Free club is to get off the couch. You can't lose weight if you don't burn more calories than you take in, so if you sit in an office chair all day, and then come home and sit on the couch; you probably aren't going to have much luck taking off the extra pounds -- and starving yourself isn't part of the Glutton Free way.

If you can't make time to go to a gym to workout, find some activity in "your own backyard" that will work for you. I can't seem to make time to get to a gym, but I have plenty of black-top and sidewalk right outside my front door. I can walk, run, or bike. If time is the issue, try some high intensity interval training. But do something. If the weather outside is frightful, go to a thrift store and buy some weather-appropriate workout clothes. Or spend the money on some decent Under Armour ColdGear or HeatGear and quit making excuses.

Back in April of 2011, when I first decided that I didn't want to spend my life at 240 lbs., I made an abrupt lifestyle change by starting a "Couch to 5K" program. I downloaded a C25K app for my iPod Touch, and found the training routine to be very effective. The weight really started to come off fast when I limited my calorie intake to 1800 calories per day.

By August of 2011, I had dropped to 197 lbs. and was able to do 5K jaunts three times per week. The only problem was that I had started so abruptly that my previously-complacent 40-year-old body did a little bit of complaining. I was icing and elevating my knees constantly, trying to reduce the tendinitis pain, but eventually it won out. By the end of the 2012 summer, the combination of knee, shin, ankle, and achilles pain had taken their toll, and I gave up on running... and fell back into a bit of a slump.

By April 2013, after a winter of way too much cheeseburger and fries gluttony, I was back up to 230 lbs. My wake-up all came with a spring trip to the doctor to finally get my over-40 labs done -- and everything came back borderline high. I knew I had to do something, so I started walking. I take my son to karate three times per week, and I had been spending the whole time just sitting -- sometimes in a chair at the dojo, sometimes in the local coffee shop... consuming empty calories. So now, I get out and move, and I limit my consumption of empty calories.

You can start out at a casual pace, but should work towards 15 minute miles for as many miles as you have time to walk. If you get the RunKeeper app for your phone or iPod, you can listen to music (I use Pandora radio) and have a voice that updates your pace every 5 minutes. After a year of walking, I was finally able to consistently get under a 14 minute mile average over 5 miles, in a town full of tough hills.

After hitting a bit of a weight-loss plateau at ~208 lbs., I decided to shake up my walking routine by adding some running -- and I'm happy to report that the transition has been both effective and mostly pain-free. Most importantly, there has been no sign of the tendinitis pain in my knees that I encountered three years ago. I still have to do a combination of walking and running, but hope to increase the amount of running I do each week.

No more excuses. Get off the couch and get moving. It's all part of the Glutton Free lifestyle.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What is The Glutton Free Diet?

So, you may be asking, "What is The Glutton Free Diet?" Well, besides being a play on words, it is a not-so-revolutionary, not-so-new, healthy way of life that can be summed up as avoiding gluttonous behavior (a glutton is a person who eats and drinks excessively or voraciously).

The main points of the Glutton Free Diet are probably the same lifestyle changes that your doctor has been telling you to make for years now. After a while you feel like you are living in a Kaiser Permanente commercial. The main points are as follows:
  1. Excercise. Walk, run, ride bike, etc. Just get off the couch a couple times per week.
  2. Lower your sugar intake. No soda pop.
  3. Cut the simple carbs. Complex carbs are okay in moderation.
  4. Drink more water.
  5. Make smart food choices. Get a side salad instead of fries.
  6. Pay attention to your calorie intake. If you take in extra calories at lunch, eat less for dinner.
  7. Don't over-eat. Dish up small portions. Stop when you are full. 
Everybody has slightly different dietary needs, so customize as needed, but keep common sense at the root of your food choices. 

In my own case, I have struggled with obesity, high cholesterol, and prediabetes in recent years. A year of vigorous walking (three times per week) was able to help drop 15 lbs. and bring the cholesterol under control, but my blood sugar levels took another step closer to the diabetic range, so I needed to make some drastic changes.

For me, French fries are the enemy. So are big bowls of ice cream -- I often eat a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert instead. No more soda pop or dried pineapple. Pasta and bread are okay in moderation, especially if whole grain. In addition to making better dietary choices, I have stepped up my game and added running to my exercise routine. The year of walking has been good for my knees and tendons, and the transition to running has been mostly pain free.

Just over three years ago I weighed 241 lbs., and today I am right at 200 lbs. My goal is to make it down to 185 or 190, and then transition to a caloric intake level that maintains my weight. For reference, I am 5'-10" tall and 43 years old. [3/29/15 Update: I just weighed in at 176 lbs.]

I don't really know where this blog will go, but I hope to post whatever I think pertains to living the "Glutton Free" life.