How Not To Get Bullied, Beat Up or Bamboozled Part 2

As mentioned in the previous article, the school, the teachers, the workplace or any other institution is going to be very slow in dealing with bullying at school or the workplace. This is why, if you think that you are being bullied, you need to make yourself more bully proof.

Start with getting yourself stronger and healthier. I know that this is difficult if you are chronically under or over weight, sick or have some kind of condition that impedes your progress.

Most bullied young people usually get a hard time at home. Their parents are either over-bearing, critical, angry about something most of the time or just not there. Often the adults are still trying to resolve their own emotional problems and it really is hard if they are alcoholics, addicts and/or bully and tease you at home. (When I reached 17, I became physically strong enough to warn my mother to never hit me again. My aunt and other relatives stayed clear as well.)

Getting stronger will be difficult at first. Bullies will attempt to interfere with your progress. (I know this from experience). They often want to keep you “in your place.”

This is why it is best to make a plan and train in private.

Along with exercise, eat fresh foods as much as you can. This means HIGH PROTEIN, fresh vegetables and water. Not your junk, breakfast cereals, pop, candy and pastries. Even if you are dirt poor, you can still eat healthy with oats, vegetables, rice and eggs. Eat food as fresh as you can. Learning to cook your own food will improve your health, confidence and ability to concentrate.  If you are unsure what to eat, check out the metabolic test.

I have seen underweight or overweight teens (and adults) who are too lazy to take 20 minutes to make something healthy to eat. Learning to cook is not only healthy for you, but it is a great skill to use to save money, get healthy and entertain other people. Even the wealthy Chinese aristocrats were expected to know how to cook.

Along with exercise and good food, you have to get eight hours of sleep per night. Turn off the the computer and television. Better yet, lock it up after 6 p.m.

If you have to, save your lunch or Starbuck’s coffee money and get training. Even if you have a part-time job, train for at least a couple of hours per week.

Within two months, you will get stronger. Train, eat, sleep will be your priorities for 60 days. As you get stronger, the bullies may try harder to “put you in your place.” Ignore it. Keep busy with part-time work, studies or hobbies… and training. They will start to back off. After six months, you will probably be able to take apart some of them and they will know it.  It took me one summer to get strong enough to back down two of the bullies.  Five years to get them all to stay away.  Even the bigger ones.  Deep down, they are cowards.)

Start to approach them one at a time and watch them back off. It is here that you have to keep improving yourself. Trust me, I know that it is hard and you may not have any support at home. Just keep working. The results are worth it.

In the next article, we will discuss training.

Stay keen,

Coach Doug

How Not to Get Bullied, Beat Up or Bamboozled part 1

Interview with Sara Troy of Self Discovery Radio

The Nanny State approach to stop people from being bullied is a dismal failure.  Bullies are able to run free without accountability and schools are being held legally liable. You only have to watch some of the children’s sports to watch how the parents threaten and disrespect sports officials, such as hockey games.  These same parents bully their kids if their kids perform poorly.  The kids, in turn take their anger out on children whom they can bully.

When I was in high school, I recall the school vice principal talking excitedly about a “good hockey fight” during the high school hockey games.  Yet, I got sent to the school office trying to defend myself against a classroom bully.   Even then, the school was fine with fights occurring off of the school grounds.  Then came a change in culture due to the imported gangster mentality, lower morales and the narcissistic attitudes where swarming and open use of weapons and drugs was acceptable.

The mass-murdering school shooter is NOT a bullied child (or a Goth).  In the Columbine shooting, the leader, Eric Harris came from an upper class family, with a retired major for a father.  Harris plotted to kill people a year before the attack.

It is often the bully themselves who want to step up their show of power.  Bully shooters will tend to not shoot other bullies.

Single parent families are the norm nowadays with a lack of father or authority figures in many children’s lives.  Certain codes of conduct have gone by the wayside with teachers, religious leaders, politicians and even some law enforcement.  So, where do young people go for protection if their parent or parents are tired from work or too involved with their own activities? Or the teachers who are busy with their own weird agendas (eg. workshops for cross-dressing).

“Zero-tolerance” for violence in schools just gives the bullies more freedom.  The good students abide by the rules, while the bullies have a hey day.  Pink shirt day is another useless attempt to control the problem.

Self-protection starts with the individual.  They need to like, respect and believe in themselves.  Fitness and self-defence is a good start as it gives the individual the confidence to do other things rather than be afraid most of the time.

The Hypoglycemic and Alcohol

Was it alcohol? Early commuters were literally stepping over an unconscious man at a Surrey skytrain station one morning. Though he appeared drunk, the man was actually hypoglycemic and suffering from low blood sugar. Though the man had not consumed any alcohol, his failure to eat or eating too many simple sugars probably caused his blood sugar to drop.

This can happen when hypoglycemic people drink alcohol. The high sugar content of some alcoholic drinks alone can some people’s blood sugar to drop so fast that they do appear intoxicated. This is because over consumption of sugar causes the pancreas to release too much insulin into the blood stream.

This is why many people feel groggy or “dinner drunk” after a few drinks, a sweet snack or highly processed carbohydrate meal (like a milk shake and French fries). It is more of the “sugar low” than the actual alcohol that brings on the grogginess. Usually, while drinking, the hypoglycemic drinker feels tired, but not hungry. So, they often reach for another drink for a temporary energy boost. (They might even think that their “low fat” intake is doing them a favor. Instead, the alcohol are quickly stored as body fat.)

Even on a hot day, a “barley sandwich” can take the edge off of the heat and have a calming effect. But, this calm is sometimes a hypoglycemic reaction. To counter this low blood- sugar effect, it is important to eat something while drinking. Also, naturopathic Dr. Logan Sisk, recommends adding chromium in food or supplements to stabilize blood sugar. That and a high protein diet.

Hypoglycemia is often masked by several symptoms: The symptoms can vary depending on how low the blood sugar level drops.

Mild hypoglycemia can cause nausea, nervous feelings, cold and clammy skin, sweating, hunger and rapid heartbeat. (I have felt this after instructing 3 fitness classes and without eating for over 5 hours.)

Moderate hypoglycemia often makes you feel irritable, anxious, or confused. You may have blurred vision, feel unsteady, and have difficulty walking.

Severe hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, and coma-and it may be fatal.

Being aware of the hypoglycemic effects of alcohol can allow one to still enjoy alcohol while preventing medical problems. More important, it can help with assisting someone with this condition.

Carbon Dioxide and Fat Burning

Carbon burning. Courtesy of Nikon D7200

Carbon dioxide can be produced from oxygen and from fat breaking down,” is a concept that most people cannot get their heads around.

I took another look through some of my biology and chemistry books to refresh my memory about the break down of fat in the body. Sure enough, fat, which consists of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen does produce energy while breaking down into water (hydrogen and oxygen) and carbon dioxide (carbon and oxygen). The water escapes via sweat and the urinary tract and the carbon goes out the lungs.

It is like burning wood: more oxygen = more heat + more carbon dioxide.

So, according to researchers Ruben Meerman and Andrew Brown for the University of New South Wales, Austrailia, to burn 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of fat, a person needs to intake 29 kg. (64 lbs.) of oxygen and will produce 38 kg (62 lbs.) of carbon dioxide and 11 kg (24 lbs.) of water.

This makes sense to me as the serious kick-boxing and fitness trainees breathe deeply and the overweight novices breathe in a series of short pants. It usually takes a few weeks before the beginners either start breathing deeper or drop out. Another observation is that I rarely see the unfit and overweight people really breathing hard during training or fitness tests. They tend to just move along at the same mediocre pace literally for years at a time. Little do they know that they are missing out on huge benefits of deep breathing.

This science of breathing all ties in with building strength and fat-loss. The deep breathing draws in the needed oxygen to produce energy as well as get rid of the excess carbon. Just like some guys with fast cars insist that they have to drive it fast to “clean out the carbon.”

In his book, Yoga and Health, yoga instructor, Selvarajan Yesudian talked about breath control and weight control. One of his clients had tried all sorts of exercise, including boxing, to lose weight. Yesudian explained to her that deep, regular breathing would reduce fat. Then, according to this yoga guru, his female client did reduce her body weight by changing the way that she breathed while swimming. Yesudian then observed an underweight man who was able to increase his body weight through a series of breath retentions, while the man was body surfing. Something that I just might explore on my next trip to Kona, Hawaii.

In the meantime, you can learn much more about breathing and conditioning in my book:

Flat Gut After 50

Stay Keen,
Coach Doug

https://www.livescience.com/49157-how-fat-is-lost-body.html

From Beer Gut to Stevo Standup

Congratulations to Steve who shed his beer gut and packed on some muscle in time for the beach in record time.

Steve starting out with a 24 pound extra passenger. Not the tight back muscles.

Steve, a 60 year old, farmer and bee keeper,  started out with a keg-sized beer gut, slouching posture, unable to touch his toes and would get winded after a few squats and push ups.  Worse, his body fat and blood pressure were at unhealthy levels.

 

 

Steve’s gut was actually obstructing his view of his feet.

 

 

 

Steve’s back Feb. 2018

Steve figured on doing something about his health and fitness situation and hired me on to train him.

Even with short lay-offs due to work and illness, Steve persisted with his training.  Some days were easier than others, but we made each session count.  That beer gut had to go.

We stuck mostly to standing free weights (cleans and presses), full-range bodyweight and breathing exercises and stretching.  Steve reported a “definite shift” in his abdominal area. Where it was originally a bloated mass of flesh, his stomach became more of a wall flexible muscle.  This meant that Steve could bend and twist at the waist.

Steve’s ribs and more muscle definition started showing.  There was a six pack coming up fast underneath the final layer of stomach fat.  The beer gut had been given an eviction notice and his triceps were forming a “horseshoe shape.”

Steve at the beach in June. He has less of a gut, better posture, shoulders more aligned.

Most important, Steve was able to move more freely and not struggle to get up from a sitting or prone position.

Beer gut almost gone. Actual ribs showing.  Muscle definition showing in the triceps.

Although, his weight only dropped about 12 pounds, Steve’s overall body fat was replaced by

Note the “V” shaped back, with muscle definition, wider shoulders and narrower waist.

muscle weight.  Functional muscle weight.  The kind of muscle muscle needed for hard manual labour and to able to recover quickly.  It is also the kind of muscle that can help you run across the street in a hurry, bicycle up hills and avoid accidents in general.  The functionally fit person is more of an athlete than just “looking good.”

Steve now does 50 deep squats and 20 push ups as part of a warm up.  He can reach his toes with his legs straight and roll up from the prone into the standing position without assistance from his hands.  I call this latest movement, the “Stevo Standup.”

Well done, Steve.

–Doug Setter

 

The Five Stages of Adrenal Exhaustion

Fatigue, nervousness, sleep problems, mood swings, muscle twitches, digestive disorders, lack of concentration and proneness to illness does not just happen over night.

Often, the above symptoms are the result of adrenal exhaustion. Many of us have been there and have not realized it until it was too late. Just like many other mental, physical and even financial ailments, there is usually a process leading up to the problem.

Let’s look at the body’s nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system gives us adrenaline and cortisol and the parasympathetic nervous system calms us down with sedating hormones such as calcitonin. Both nervous systems work to keep our bodies in balance and harmony.

When we get into a stressful situation, like a threatening stranger on a dark street or what looks like a bear stumbling through the bush. The sympathetic nervous kicks into high gear and dumps adrenaline, cortisol and sugar into your blood stream. Your blood pressure gets cranked up and you become very alert, aware and ready to fight, flee or freeze like a statue.

In 1956, researcher Hans Selye, wrote The Stress of Life and identified three stages of stress. In 1990, Dr. David Watts, author of Trace Elements and Other Essential Elements added two more stages. These five stages of stress are:

  1. Alarm

  2. Resistance

  3. Recovery

  4. Adaptation

  5. Exhaustion

During the alarm stage, you are totally focused on fighting or getting away. Your heart rate and blood pressure and sugar levels are “through the roof.” Your body’s resources are all focused on your immediate, short-term survival.

As you run or fight, you enter the resistance stage. Your adrenaline is still high, but you are more aware of your surroundings and starting to think more clearly. As a kick-boxer, I usually got to this high-adrenaline “thinking stage” by round two.

At the recovery stage, the danger has passed, you have found a safe place and are calming down.

The adaptation stage is where people do not reach the recovery stage. They spend too much time in the resistance stage and are constantly looking over their shoulder for more danger. When I was on a peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia (the Balkans), I was constantly wired for an emergency. I had trouble sleeping and was constantly urinating. Later, back in Canada, I lived in a low-end neighbourhood where I was overly cautious of being robbed or assaulted. I confess, at the time, I kind of thrived on the adrenaline high. It was like being overseas again.

This where you either learn to take the stress or start taking precautions so that the stress does not ruin your health.

The exhaustion stage comes after your body is drained of essential nutrients and breaks down from fatigue. This exhaustion can also lead to disorders such as: arthritis, eating disorders, back pain, teeth grinding, insomnia, irritability, increased use of stimulants (alcohol and drugs) and proneness to accidents.

Modern living makes it difficult to resist this exhaustion stage. Modern living cuts us with a two-edged sword. On one edge, the high stress of work, home and education can make huge stress demands. On the other edge of the exhaustion sword, people seldom allow themselves to recover. They eat poorly and run on coffee, cigarettes and processed foods to keep themselves going through the day.

If you want to build a resilient mind and body, learn more about re-programming yourself to being stronger, fitter and faster, in my book:

Strength-Endurance Secrets: Build an Unstoppable 2nd Wind for only $39 USD.

And as an added bonus, I am including a Special Report: Setter’s Seven Simple (Herbal) Supplements. This Special Report explains reveals the readily available, inexpensive and even free herbs that can reduce inflammation of your joints and boost your immunity, energy, concentration and libido. Many of these herbs are used in expensive medication. But, you can reap the same benefits for as much as less than 1/10th of the cost. This report can save you hundreds of dollars in medications.

Order your copy of: Strength-Endurance Secrets and get your FREE Special Report today.

In Health,

Coach Doug

Beer Gutology Breakthrough

It’s finally out of the way,” my client exclaimed.

“What’s out of your way?” I asked. “Your attitude?”

“Nah,” he replied. “My gut finally shifted out of the way and now I can keep my leg straight and touch my foot.”

This was a breakthrough. We are talking about a guy who had trouble just seeing his feet, let alone touching them. We had been working hard at leaning out that personal beer keg of his. While he was farmboy strong, he had a heck of a time with flexibility, any kind of endurance and movement.

That is until he got some control of his breathing.

He was often inhaling and exhaling at the wrong time and holding his breath too long as well as panting and gasping like a steam engine. We finally got him to exhale deeply while performing abdominal exercises. The same with Hindu Squats. Then we moved onto other exercises.

Part of the problem was that his paunch was pushing against his lungs, especially while on his back. This crowding of his lungs, made it difficult for him to breath or concentrate on what he was doing. He jokingly bragged about his “42 pound handicap.”

So, we worked the abdominal muscles at different angles where he was not struggling to breathe. Then we really focused on his breathing when he finally felt a “shift” inside of his rib cage.

You see, many peoples’ stomachs get bloated from lack of exercise, slouching at a desk, eating junk and guzzling massive amounts of beer. Not only is there a layer of (cutaneous) fat just under the belly skin, but also (viseral) fat amongst the internal organs. The weight of the internal fat and a weak stomach wall lets the internal organs sag below the ribcage. When the gut sags, so does the person’s energy.

The problem with many fitness programs is that they try to flatten a bulging belly with a one-size-fits-all approach of “burning more calories” and lots of cardio exercise. They almost always skip body alignment and the essential breathing techniques. So, the pot-bellied client often gets spindly arms and legs, lower back pain and a whole lot of frustration.

My particular client was able to extend his hand to touch the foot of his straight extended leg after I coached him closely with a deep breathing technique. It enabled him to stretch farther on his own without any outside assistance. This is where he finally felt that “internal shift.” His agility has also improved to where he can almost stand up from sitting cross-legged without the use of his hands. Instead of being breathless after exercising, he calms his breath in less than a minute.

Here is the trick.  (Exhale as you stretch or do abdominal exercises.)

He literally breathed his way to greater strength, flexibility and a flatter stomach.

If you want that kind of body control and fitness, get my book:

Flat Gut After 50

In Health,

Coach Doug

Where Are All The Fat Vampires?

Ever wonder why you never see fat vampires at the movies?

courtesy of common creative

Not in the teenage vampire love stories.  Heck no. That would ruin the ratings for certain.

Not in the classic vampire movies.  Those people were pretty lean back in the 1800’s.  Even the science fiction or modern vampires stayed pretty lean. (OK, maybe that really big one in the first Blade movie with Wesley Snipes.)

Even the real crazy, ugly ones are often gaunt, stringy or ripped with sinewy muscle.  The exception being, the beautiful, but fictional, Vampirella.  But, she is from another planet, so she can live in the sunlight and avoid that scrawny, sinewy look.

When you think about the vampire’s metabolism and lifestyle, it makes perfect sense. They usually wake up famished.  So, they are fully motivated to skulk around the shadows and pounce on unsuspecting victims. Sometimes they might use the hypnotic eyes trick to subdue some weak-willed human.  Then they sink their fangs.

Otherwise, there is a whole lot of creeping around, chasing after humans, climbing up buildings, breaking into places and dodging angry vampire-killers. And human-hunting goes on in any weather. Rain, snow, sleet, fog (fog is actually good), thunder showers and hot, humid nights. They don’t take any breaks.  No sitting by the fireplace, watching television or hanging out at the bar (though that is a good place to find humans). And vampires cannot just pop into the convenience store for some junk food. They have to get their blood ration, go hungry or stay in hibernation.  Fat vampires were non-existent.

And they got their sleep.  There are no fat vampires or 24 hour vampires. Being hyper-sensitive to sunlight, they had to strictly work the night shift and sleep all day. So, even after the longest night of stalking and chasing prey, not to mention fighting and eluding revenge-seeking humans, the vampire still got plenty of nap time. Often more than 12 hours at a time. Exercise, eat, sleep. Three ingredients of a long life were there in the vampire lifestyle.

And you never heard of one of them eating junk food, candies, pastries or high-sugar breakfast cereals.  Or smoking cigarettes.  Or drinking pop or alcohol did you?(Well, the vampire played by Colin Farrell in the 2011 remake of Fright Night did have a beer.) Nope, it was a strict diet of iron-rich blood, lots of exercise scrambling around in the dark and deep sleep. It is probably why the undead beings never had to visit the dentist or doctor.  Not unless the vampires were going for a snack.

Now I am not advocating that kind of lifestyle, especially the late nights and blood drinking. Unless you have a photophobia or condition like XP (xeroderma pigmentosum), you are going to miss out on the benefits of sunlight. Blood drinking is dangerous as the blood can carry pathogens, is difficult to digest.  It also contains too much iron for humans (causing haemochromatosis) which can damage the internal organs. And all of that skulking around in the dark and attacking people will make you unpopular and maybe land you in jail.

But, I fully support the natural,  functional fitness exercises, deep breathing, body alignment and several other factors that the vampire lifestyle can replicate in my book: Flat Gut After 50.

Take the Metabolic Test

Are you eating right for your metabolic type?  Take the Metabolic Test and find out.

APPENDIX A : METABOLIC TYPE TEST

Based on The Balance by Oz Garcia

  1. Do you tend to get angry?

    1. Easily

    2. Almost never

    3. Occasionally

  1. Do you tend to get anxious?

    1. Easily

    2. Almost never

    3. Occasionally

  1. Your appetite is:

    1. Above normal

    2. Below normal

    3. Normal

  1. You find it easy to:

    1. Lose weight

    2. Gain weight

    3. Maintain weight

  1. Your hair is usually:

    1. Dry

    2. Oily

    3. Normal

  1. Your skin is usually:

    1. Dry

    2. Oily

    3. Normal

  1. Bedtime eating makes you:

    1. Toss and turn all night

    2. Feel good

    3. Indifferent

  1. During the day, you:

    1. Sometimes forget to eat

    2. Get hungry often

    3. Eat only 3 times per day

  1. Emotionally, you tend towards:

    1. A hot temper

    2. Calm, cool and collected

    3. Occasional emotional upsets

  2. You exercise:

    1. Frequently and enjoy it

    2. Seldom, and dislike it

    3. Sometimes and enjoy it

  1. You fall asleep:

    1. Easily

    2. With difficulty

    3. Within half an hour

  1. You feel fatigue:

    1. Seldom

    2. Often

    3. Occasionally

  1. If exercising, you like to choose:

    1. Intense aerobic exercise

    2. Weights and machines

    3. Either or

  1. Your blood sugar is usually

    1. Low

    2. High

    3. Normal

  1. Your breakfast is usually:

    1. Skipped

    2. Large

    3. Average

  1. You like raw salad and vegetables:

    1. Quite a bit

    2. Indifferent

    3. Sometimes

  1. You tend to feel too warm:

    1. Very rarely

    2. Frequently

    3. Rarely

  1. You are most alert:

    1. Bright and early

    2. Around noon

    3. Whenever you get up

  1. Around evening, you tend to:

    1. Go to bed early

    2. Come alive

    3. Gradually slow down

  1. Regardless of what you eat, you:

    1. Have trouble gaining weight

    2. Gain weight easily

    3. Have stable weight

  1. Your stamina is:

    1. Above normal

    2. Low

    3. Normal

Total the letters. A’s = Fast Burners, B’s = Slow Burners, C’s = Mixed Burners.

METABOLIC TYPE

Just as there are several different blood types among human populations, so too are there different metabolic types. Determining your basic metabolic type can help you to better understand your body’s basic needs in terms of nutrition, exercise and rest. Fast and slow metabolisms, also known as fast and slow oxidizers or burners, have been written about for decades.i In the book, The Balance, Oz Garciaii describes three basic types of metabolisms. You can take the test in Appendix A to determine if you are a Fast, Slow or Mixed Burner.

FAST BURNERS

Fast burning metabolisms are usually found in hyperactive people who often thrive on anxiety and irritability. They are often impatient Type A personalities who seem to have their adrenal glands stuck on high. They tend to have bursts of energy and have difficulty relaxing. The fast burner often has an addictive type of personality and displays obsessive traits or develops an abuse of drugs or even food. Fast Burners may not all be lean and active, but they are constantly looking for quick boosts of energy, usually through quick carbohydrate fixes.

If you are a Fast Burner, you probably skipped the metabolic test and are in a hurry to find answers. Fast Burners, like yours truly, burn out their mineral supplies like there is no tomorrow and have difficulty building muscle. This is why I disagree with diet pills that are mild stimulants that contain substances such as theobromide, caffeine and ephedrine. These “quick-fixes” will only tire you out in the long run.

A Fast Burner must maintain a steady flow of energy from their food. Take a typical eating pattern:

Breakfast: Coffee, toast, fruit

Snack: Coffee or pop and a donut

Snack: Coffee, muffin or donut

Lunch: Juice, yogurt, salad with dressing, bagel

Snack: Diet Coke

Supper: Chicken breast, boiled potato and pre-frozen mixed vegetables

Snack: Apple

It is painfully obvious that this eating pattern is packed with sugar at regular intervals. While it might fit the low-calorie, low-fat format, it is going to give the eater more ups and downs than a runaway roller coaster.

An effective fast-burner eating plan would be more like this:

Breakfast: Water, oatmeal, three egg whites

Snack: Peanut butter on whole grain crackers or chicken fingers

Lunch: Chicken or salmon salad

Snack: Protein shake

Dinner: Water, lean beef, stir-fried or steamed vegetables

Snack: Water, slice of turkey breast

The Fast Burner can tolerate higher amounts of fat and oil as they need the gradual release of their concentrated energy. Most fruits and fruit juices are high in fruit sugar (fructose) and should be avoided. However, vitamin-rich fruits such as apples, pears, apricots and all types of berries are okay.

When I find six small meals a day a nuisance, I try to have at least two good sit- down meals per day. I often did this while I was in the military, while working around the base. I found that I could actually make faster muscle gains by eating fewer meals, but eating those meals slowly.

Those high-speed, Type A people who are too busy to eat must discipline themselves to either prepare their meals in advance (and use plastic containers) or arrange to have two relaxing, uninterrupted meals per day. Many Europeans, like the Germans, eat like this. They have tea and some heavy bread in the morning, a huge (often two hour) lunch and then a moderate supper in the evening. If you have been to Germany, you might have been amazed as I was to see stores close, restaurants fill up and so many people just relaxing during one of North America’s most frantic times of the day. Some might argue that this is a slack attitude. However, from my experience there, I would have to challenge anyone who questioned the productivity or good health of Germany’s people.

If you are a very active fast burner, such as a competitive athlete, you can add more complex carbohydrates, like rice, yams or potatoes, to your diet. As for exercise, fast burners often benefit from anaerobic exercise, such as weight lifting, sprinting, team sports or even yoga. The short duration exercises help build muscle tissue and can have a more calming effect than aerobic exercise.

SLOW BURNERS

On the other metabolic extreme, slow burners tend to be easy-going, have low blood pressure and good digestion and often dislike exercise.

A typical slow burner eating pattern is as follows:

Breakfast: Two waffles with butter and maple syrup, two cups of coffee.

Snack: Apple.

Lunch: Baked potato, egg salad, roll with butter, fruit cup, coffee.

Dinner: Salad with dressing, rice, brownie with vanilla ice cream.

By now you can see the low-food value and high sugar content of most of these foods. This slow burner’s energy is going to drop about an hour after every meal. Unfortunately, many of us have grown to accept that afternoon “dinner drunk” syndrome as being normal. When you eat properly, you can often go back to work feeling satisfied and alert. An effective slow burner eating plan would be more like this:

Breakfast: Two eggs, poached or over-easy, steamed vegetables, one cup of herbal tea.

Snack: Protein shake.

Lunch: Salmon salad with greens, tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice, one pear.

Snack: Low-fat yogurt or cheese (if you can tolerate dairy) or almond butter and rice crackers.

Dinner: Chicken breast and stir-fried vegetables.

Slow Burners should minimize their fats and oils and stick to whole fruits such as apples, bananas and citrus fruits. Bananas and citrus fruits are high in potassium, which is a mineral that tends to be low in most Slow Burners. Grapefruits have been used for decades for weight loss as they tend to help kick-start a slow metabolism. Be aware that some people are allergic to citrus fruits and might react adversely to them.

MIXED BURNERS

Only about ten percent or less of the population is estimated to be Mixed Burners.iii If you are one of these, you will have a fairly even flow of energy unless you “fall off of the wagon” from a steady intake of processed foods, coffee and reckless living. However, a Mixed Burner metabolism is not a free ride.

You can take food choices from the other types of burners and determine what works best for you. Sometimes you might perform more like a fast burner and others you might perform like a slow burner. You have to find out for yourself.

As for exercise, use anaerobic exercise, like weight-lifting to slow yourself down and aerobics, like running, to speed up your metabolism.

i Fredericks, Carlton, Ph.D. (1988) Psycho-Nutrition. Berkley Books: New York.

ii Garcia, Oz w/Kolberg, Sharyn (1998) The Balance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regan Books: New York. P.19.

iii Ibid.

Sunlight, Winter Blues and Alcohol

 

Does the lack of sunlight and the “winter blues” force people to drink more alcohol? The holiday spending frenzy, lack of sleep, family strife, working overtime and fatigue seem reason enough to have a few more drinks of alcohol than usual. It is also thought that the winter time isolation causes people to drink out of depression which goes hand-in-hand with the boredom of living in the northern regions.

Maybe it is not just the cold, stress or loneliness. Natural light and fresh air can also be a factor in health and alcohol cravings. Though it might sound strictly psychological, there is also a physical side to darkness and drinking alcohol.

Here is an interesting rat study. In 1973, Dr. Irving Geller, Chairman of the Department of Experimental Pharmacology at the Southwest Foundation for Research and Education conducted an experiment on stress and the drinking habits of rats. It was noted that rats preferred plain water during the week, but went on alcoholic drinking binges on the weekends. At first the behavior seemed typically human, but the rats did not follow any kind of work and play schedule. This puzzled the scientist until it was noted that the automatic switch on the lights was out-of-order and the rats had been in constant darkness over the weekends. Just by leaving the rats in darkness triggered alcohol cravings within them. Dr. Irving Geller referred to this as “darkness-induced drinking phenomenon.” He relates it to the work reported in 1963 by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Julius Axelrod, who found that the rat pineal gland produced more melatonin during the dark nighttime period than when it was light.

Dr. Geller later went on to experiment with injections of pineal melatonin to rats kept on a regular light-dark cycles and not subjected to any anxiety. The injections alone turned these rats into alcoholics. Dr. Geller stated that “it is only through such animal studies that one can hope to attain a clearer understanding and perhaps an ultimate treatment or cure, or both, for alcoholism in humans.”

I know from observation that several co-workers in the military needed a few beer to help them induce sleep. One guy admitted that he tried various other treatments and vitamin supplements, but nothing else seemed to help. So, maybe there is something to the body’s natural sleep cycles and alcohol cravings.

Aside from alcohol consumption, darkness can also trigger depression in some people. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a condition that occurs in some depressed people, takes place during the Fall and Winter months. Fortunately, it can be controlled with regular exposures of natural light and even sun-tanning beds. Part of the reason that our university “Study Week” was in the middle of February was because of the high-stress and depression overcoming several students during these winter months. Anyone who studied at a prairie university or college can relate to this.

The type of work that people do can also trigger this depression and alcohol craving behavior. Shift workers and indoor workers (eg. Factories and offices) often socialize in bars and drinking establishments. In reality, outdoor and well-lit environments would be healthier for them.

Children are also more subject to this darkness, depression and possible alcohol addiction. With the skin cancer scare, they told to avoid the sunlight. They spend more time behind computers and indoors. Over-protective parents drive them to schools with minimum physical education programs. It makes me wonder if this lack of natural light is going to make them more prone to depression and alcoholism?

When I was first in the Canadian military, I found a big difference in health, outlook and drinking habits by switching my job as a shift-working Morse code operator to a field unit radio operator. Maybe the new work was more interesting, but there was considerably more out door and sunlight time involved as well. While myself and other soldiers might have griped about adverse climatic conditions, the outdoor living was still a healthier option than working indoors, hunched behind a desk…in a dimly lit office.

How much sunlight is needed? According to a university text book, something like 10 minutes of facial exposure is the bare minimum. This seems a bit low to say the least. I would bank on at least an hour a day, with some activity. Of course, if someone has been living like a mole for months at a time, they have to gradually expose themselves to sunlight. Too much sunlight, too soon runs the risk of burning and possibility of pre-mature wrinkles and skin cancer. This explains why our parents insisted that we wear hats and sunscreen.

So, if you are feeling a bit of the winter blues or craving a drink, it might be an idea to try out a tanning booth, go for a walk or hit the ski slopes.

Learn more in Simple Secrets to Handle Your Alcohol Better: Student’s Edition.