Tag Archives: Melanie Thomassian

Would a “Treat Meal” Improve Your Weight Management Efforts?

Melanie Thomassian at Dietriffic thinks so. And maybe not just a treat meal but a treat day, once once a week. I’m sure she’s right, at least for some folks. In my books, I talk about “cheat meals” – same thing as a treat meal.

Visit Melanie’s blog for details.

On the other hand, if you’re seriously addicted to certain fattening foods, you might do better swearing them off permanently. For example, alcoholics should never temp themselves with a drink “just this once.”

How Common Is Starvation Mode as an Explanation for Stalled Weight Loss?

Melanie Thomassian, RD, has a great post on the over-diagnosed “starvation mode” theory that many folks use as an explanation for a stall in their weight loss journey. Rather than a starvation-induced reduction in metabolic rate, there’s usually another issue, such as under-estimation of calorie consumption or poor compliance with the weight loss plan.

Read the rest.

Exercise Isn’t Supposed To Be Fun

MP900049602Melanie Thomassian’s recent blog post on physical activity reminded me of a Ken Hutchins essay called “Exercise vs Recreation.”

One of the key take-away points of the essay for me is that exercise isn’t supposed to be fun.  Ken wrote, “Do not try to make exercise enjoyable.”  Getting your teeth cleaned isn’t supposed to be fun, either.

Once I got that through my thick skull, it made it easier for me to slog through my  twice weekly workouts.  Another excerpt:

We accept that both exercise and recreation are important in the overall scheme of fitness, and they overlap to a great degree.  But to reap maximum benefits of both or either they must first be well-defined and then be segregated in practice.

Read the whole thing.

My First Ever 24-Hour Fast

Mount Humphries as seen from Antelope Hill

Mount Humphries as seen from Antelope Hill.  My wife and I may climb it in a few months.  The Peak is 12,633 ft above sea level.

I just finished my first 24-hour fast.  It wasn’t bad.

Melanie Thomassian’s recent review of fasting was my motivation to give it a try.

I drank all the water and black coffee I wanted—that still qualifies as a fast in my view.  The closest I’d come in the past to a prolonged fast would be a gastrointestinal disorder involving nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It’s easy to avoid food when you know it’s going to make you sick!

I didn’t experience any weakness, dizziness, lack of concentration or any other adverse effects, except possibly for some mild irritability.  The latter may instead have been due to my frustration with my work schedule.  I had misread my schedule and thought I had the day off.  Turns out I had to work a 12-hour shift after all.  I wasn’t happy about having to go in to the hospital.

Out of the 24 hours of fasting, I slept for 7.5 hours and worked a very busy shift for 12.  That helped keep my mind off food.  Craving for food didn’t start until the last two hours.

Another thing that may have helped me was that I usually eat less than the 130 grams a day of carbohydrate that your average dietitian says we need.  I eat more like 80–100 grams of digestible carb.  I’ve been as low as 20–30 grams for months on end.  So my metabolism is already geared up for living off energy from ketones and for producing blood glucose from body proteins and glycerol  (a product of body fat breakdown).

I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, but I’m glad I did it once.


Is It Time To Start Fasting?

Dietriffic dietitian Melanie looked into fasting recently.  Some of her thoughts:

The main problem with this whole area of intermittent fasting, is that research in humans is severely lacking, and what I’ve found online is something I can only describe as ‘evangelism’ in support of this way of eating.

That’s not to say some of what is being said isn’t true, but much of it should be taken with a pinch of salt!

Anyhow, some of the research suggests intermittent fasting may lead to;

Many of these benefits are also commonly cited for calorie restriction and exercise, which seems a more natural way to achieve better health, without the downsides of periodic food deprivation (see here and here).

One group of researchers, however, were extremely enthusiastic about this whole idea of fasting, claiming;

Since May 2003 we have experimented with alternate day calorie restriction, one day consuming 20-50% of estimated daily caloric requirement and the next day ad lib eating, and have observed health benefits starting in as little as two weeks, in insulin resistance, asthma, seasonal allergies, infectious diseases of viral, bacterial and fungal origin (viral URI, recurrent bacterial tonsillitis, chronic sinusitis, periodontal disease), autoimmune disorder (rheumatoid arthritis), osteoarthritis, symptoms due to CNS inflammatory lesions (Tourette’s, Meniere’s) cardiac arrhythmias (PVCs, atrial fibrillation), menopause related hot flashes. We hypothesize that other many conditions would be delayed, prevented or improved, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain injury due to thrombotic stroke atherosclerosis, NIDDM, congestive heart failure.

For the last year I’ve batted around the idea of intermittent fasting but haven’t pulled the trigger.  If I do it, it’ll probably be for a 24-hour period.

Melanie’s a smart lady.  Read the rest.