Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Quick Update

We're in the process of moving so life is a bit stressful right now.

I've been doing a decent job of keeping up with my workouts.

This morning I ran 3 miles and biked for 25 minutes. I weighed in this morning.

WEIGHT: 188.5
Difference: 1.5 lbs. since January 1, 2007

My eating has been good. I still eat a light lunch and a mild dinner. But some days I just pork out. It is very noteworthy that I am not ingesting the WO as of late. I've not taken any WO regularly for about two weeks now. I am continuing to take 3 capsules of flaxseed oil every morning, however.

I imagine that once we're all moved in to our new home and my mind can focus better, then I'll take up the WO again on a daily basis.

Friday, January 12, 2007

My Set Point is Set

I believe my set point is set.

It has been well over a month since my lips have touched walnut oil. During that time, I've hardly held back at all on my eating.

A typical day of eating now goes like this:

I still don't eat breakfast. Since the weather has been so cold, I usually start my day off with a cup of water and then a cup of hot chocolate. That keeps me content until lunchtime. For lunch, I usually have been eating a cup of yogurt, some fruit, some crackers and then either pudding or ginger snap cookies. Then in the afternoon between 3 and 3:30pm, I get hungry again. Sometimes I raid the vending machine. Sometimes I just drink lots of water. When I get home from work, I will head straight for the pantry and eat whatever is in there ... chips, ginger snaps, crackers ... whatever. Then my dear wife will cook dinner and I'll have at least a helping. After the kids are in bed, if there is ice cream in the freezer, I'll have a bowl.

Just this Friday night, we went to On the Border. We ordered an appetizer and then shared a full plate of fajitas. Then we shared a cream cheese desert. I was so full afterwards. That dinner didn't slow me down though. I still pigged out on Saturday and Sunday. I'd eat my own breakfast and lunch and then I'd eat whatever the kids didn't eat (I hate wasting food!)

Last night I decided that I need to stop this binge. Now that we're settled in our new home, life should be returning to normal and this week looks like the first full week of normality.

This morning I got up at 4:50am to go to the gym. I only managed to get in 20 minutes on the treadmill and 500 jumps on the jump-rope before I had to get ready to go to work. After showering, I faced the impartial judge ... the gym scale.

I fully expected to see my weight up in the 190s or even at 200. I stepped on ...

WEIGHT: 188.1
Difference: 1.9 lbs. since January 1, 2007

In my opinion, even though I seemed to be pigging out, I think I (unconciously) stopped when I was satisfied.

My wife and I had this conversation earlier this weekend. She's been diligent about the SLD and weighing in regularly. She keeps shedding pounds. She keeps expecting to see her weight bounce back up too, but as I told her, her set point is being lowered and she is eating less even though she doesn't think so.

Anyway ... I think the diet still works. I've been at 188 for the last month despite my non-chalant attitude about eating. To my credit, I am still working out. Last week I managed to play basketball 3 times. This week I'm determined to get in at least 4 workouts.

Today I'm going to start getting back in the habit of taking the WO in the afternoon during that stretch when I feel hungry again.

One last comment ... I don't think the cold weather helps with cutting back on food. Whenever it is cold, I tend to eat/snack a lot more. I'm sure that once the warm weather arrives, shedding pounds for both my wife and me will be a lot easier. We'll eat less and be more active.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Another Fascinating Article on Smells and Tastes

I found this article combing over the Web today. The link is here.

Sniff before you eat

Many of us work longer and harder hours this time of year. We have more things to do because of the holidays and family gatherings. The stress builds and many of us begin to eat ... more.
What is it that makes us eat so much during the holidays? I believe it is two things:

The wrong foods are more readily available.

The smells and aromas are familiar and comfortable and remind us of fond memories.

It’s no secret that baked goods are abundant in offices during the holidays - from patients, sales reps, specialists, and co-workers. Everyone has a favorite holiday treat. What’s yours? Do you confiscate the chewiest caramel/chocolate/nut candies for your own operatory?

Of course, the doctors who send the fruit baskets or fruitcake might as well keep it for themselves because we don’t eat it in our office. If my choice is a homemade cookie or a piece of fruit, which one do you think I’ll go for? Honey, look out! I’m a woman in menopause on a mission. It’s turn down the thermostat and heat up the chocolate desserts!

Now that I have increased my blood pressure and my appetite by writing about two significant things in my life, let’s get to that four-letter word - DIET.

There is no diet program right for everyone. Why? We are all different. Some of us need more fat, more carbohydrates, or more protein. What you need and in what proportion is important for your health. How much activity or what kind of exercise you need is also important. When you have determined this information, you will be ready to look at essential oils and how they can support you in weight loss and maintenance. The only universal statement we can make about weight loss and maintenance is to eat a variety of foods, watch portion size, and exercise.

Abuse, especially sexual abuse, and poor self-esteem can affect how a person uses food. Essential oils can increase feelings of well-being and counter issues of abuse and low self-esteem. Essential oils can also help control and eliminate cellulite. Brain chemistry (see below), Ayurvedic medicine, poor self-esteem (which often leads to poor nutrition), and cellulite are four things that when teamed with essential oils can improve weight loss and maintenance.

Brain chemistry and how essential oils affect amount, desire for food

There is chemistry involved in smelling and wanting food. First, it is a learned response. See the food, smell the food = want the food, eat the food. There is also this formula: See the food, smell the food = don’t want the food, don’t eat the food.

What happens in the second formula? Many people think that being hungry has to do with blood sugar levels or a full stomach. Dr. Alan Hirsch is founder and neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. He specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of many smell- and taste-related disorders.

Dr. Hirsch says we feel full “because of a special mechanism in our brain. Specifically, the satiety response is regulated in what is technically known as the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain that regulates many basic drives. We call this portion of the hypothalamus the satiety center. One reason we stop eating is that this center signals a fullness or a sense of being satisfied.” Scientists have damaged this part of the brain in rats and the rats have eaten themselves to death.

How can we affect the hypothalamus to signal full? The nose is directly connected to the hypothalamus. So now we have another formula: I smell it = I eat it.

Dr. Hirsch points out that when the nose is stuffy, it actually smells more deeply. The more deeply you smell, the more the hypothalamus is affected. Your nose has two nostrils, and only one is open at a time. Smelling through the nostril that is not as open can cause greater stimulation to the hypothalamus. Take your finger and close one side of your nose. Now smell. Close the other side and smell. Notice the difference in scent and ease of smell. One side is harder to smell through and the scent is stronger.

Dr. Hirsch explains: “An odor molecule in the air makes its way to the top of the nose to a pin-sized area of the olfactory membrane where millions of olfactory receptors are found. The odor molecule moves through a thin area of mucous and binds to receptor sites on the olfactory nerve. These receptor sites may be very specific, in that they are designed to detect particular odor molecules.

“We also know that some odor molecules respond better at some receptor sites than at others, which is part of the mechanism that allows us to discriminate between odors and identify odors that are present in our environment. Each of these receptors - and we have millions - will link with odor molecules that match them.

“Once an odor molecule reaches a receptor site, the body’s electrical signaling system begins operation. The odor molecule stimulates a long, thin neuron nerve cell known as the bipolar receptor cell to fire. Now a representation of the odor molecule is transmitted up to the olfactory bulb at the top of the nose. The important point here is that the representation - or neural image or picture - of the odor changes. Through a complex mechanism, the original odor stimulus is intensified by a factor of 1,000.

“The intensified odor signal is projected through the olfactory bulb and reaches the main components of the brain. In other words, the system operates to take individual odor molecules and then intensifies them in such a way that the brain can respond to them.”

The part of the brain where this is taking place is called the limbic lobe, which is the seat of our emotions. The limbic lobe activates the hypothalamus, which controls our drives and instincts and ability to feel full. Smelling food can trigger instinctive or mindless behavior, so we put food in our mouth. An emotional state can also trigger a desire for food.

Sometimes we can control what we feel by smelling certain scents. A vanilla scent in a house on the market seems to increase its chances for a sale. It is thought that vanilla gives people a sense of security and hominess. Scents can affect one’s appetite, as well. You can see and smell donuts in your office and want to eat one. If you smell a vanilla essential oil, you can feel secure and homey. This could replace the need to eat a donut.

Without having to intellectually respond to scent, we can react very quickly or unconsciously. The sense of smell can help us control our appetite and any irrational responses we have to food. Perhaps used consciously it can give us control where our willpower fails, such as in controlling cravings.

The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Institute of Chicago found that inhaling a culinary scent such as basil, oregano, or lemon regularly throughout the day, especially when hungry, could suppress the desire to taste and therefore eat. By inhaling an aroma three to six times in each nostril, the desire to eat is inhibited. If the scent is not adequately smelled, it can increase the desire to eat, so it is important to smell the oil deeply and as many times as suggested.

It was also found that oils should be changed each day to have the best effect. We are naturally attracted to different smells and tastes each day, and eating the same foods over and over again leads to feelings of deprivation, which is the most common cause of failure for most diets.

Cheating on a diet could be just another way to increase variety. Dr. Hirsch also found that people cannot smell too much. In fact, the more people used scent to control their appetite, the more weight they lost in his study. So hygienists, follow your nose!

Which scents to use

Most people prefer sweet smells. Chocolate fragrance creates serotonin in the brain, which is linked to cravings for sweets. Smelling chocolate can reduce the desire for sweets. Banana, green apples, and peppermint were also found to be successful, while the flower and medicinal smelling oils were least effective. The oils associated with cooking or culinary herbs were best. When the chocolate goodies come into the office, don’t eat them, just smell them.

Fragrances are not essential oils and some people are allergic to them. I know this is my mantra, but safely using these oils with allergies is very important. Essential oils are natural products steam-distilled from plants.


People with asthma or migraine headaches may find that sniffing many smells can aggravate their conditions, so they should be very careful.

Toxicity of the liver has been reported when people use too much oil. Essential oils are not water-soluble. The liver must break down the oil into a more soluble form with the use of enzymes. If the oil is introduced into the body faster than the liver can convert it, toxicity can result. This has been primarily noted in skin application, but is worth noting here.

Aromatherapy tip

Scent of the season: cinnamon - Cinnamon has a sweet, spicy-hot fragrance that is so potent, only small amounts are needed to perk up an aromatherapy blend. The scent is well known for its use in cinnamon rolls, candles, and many comfort foods.

Uses: The essential oil of cinnamon is best described as a mover and a shaker. It is a physical and emotional stimulant that gets the blood and mind moving. It also affects the libido and is known as an aphrodisiac, as well as an antidepressant.

Now, this could be really good or really bad! Researchers found that just having the aroma in a room reduces drowsiness, irritability, and the pain and frequency of headaches. It also increases the action of enzymes that break down food in the body, aiding the metabolic process. The essential oil fights viral, fungal, and bacterial illnesses and boosts the immune system.

Last caution: Both the leaf and bark essential oils can irritate, redden, and even burn sensitive skin, so use them carefully - no more than half a drop in a bath.

Avoid their use altogether in cosmetics.

Debra Grant, RDH,CA, manages her own company, Oraspa, Inc. Her continuing education in integrative dentistry and dental hygiene ensures state-of-the-art information for the contemporary dental office. She is the creator of Perioromatherapy, a therapeutic technique used in her dental office. Debra offers educational programs as a speaker and consultant. She can be reached at or

The Monthly Fast

As you may know, I'm a <a href=",6929,403-1,00.html">Mormon</a> (member of <a href="">The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints</a>). In the Church, the members fast together on the first Saturday/Sunday of the month. Most members start their fast on Saturday and end it sometime in the afternoon or evening on Sunday. For more information about religious fasting, read <a href="$f=templates$3.0">this article</a>.<br /><br />Yesterday was the first time my wife and I were able to fast together in a very long time. She doesn't fast when she's pregnant or actively nursing. So now that our youngest is doing well with a bottle and is starting to eat solids, she felt that she could fast. She was talking to our neighbor about this and our neighbor mentioned that they were doing a clense this weekend. They eat nothing but vegetables and drink nothing but water. I've heard people do that before. Maybe I'll try it one of these weekends when the BCS championship and Super Bowl football games are over. But our neighbor says they've done it before and have lost a few pounds. The biggest temptation for them is beer.<br /><br />I've also read a bit on Seth's blog about fasting or semi-fasting. You can read all about that <a href="">here</a>.<br /><br />So I started my fast Saturday night. I just wasn't hungry during the day and didn't eat dinner until around 7:30pm. Fasting isn't so tough. I've found it much easier to do since I've been doing the SLD. The thing I miss most when I'm fasting is the water. I get so thirsty. As a missionary serving in Central America, during fasts I would get cotton mouth and I craved water so much. We'd hike around visiting members on fast Sunday and I remember not really sweating because I didn't have much water in me. But as soon as I broke the fast and took those first sips of water, the pores in my skin seemed to release a floodgate and I would immediately begin sweating.<br /><br />Yesterday I ended my fast at dinner time. When I end my fast, I find that despite being so hungry, I fill up quite quickly. So all I had the other day was a small dish of enchildas, two pieces of wheat bread and a bowl of ice cream.<br /><br />This morning I weighed in after my 30 minutes of running and 30 minutes of biking and was happy to see that I finally broke the 190 plane I've been on for the last two months.<br /><br />As always, same time of day, same scale with just the gym towel.<br /><br /><strong>WEIGHT: 188.8</strong><br /><em>Difference: 1.2 lbs. since January 1, 2007</em>

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Ring In the New Year, Burn Out the Old Pounds

Christmas 2005 vs. Christmas 2006

We flew home to Idaho for Christmas in 2005. Along with all the warmth and memories that go along with being home for Christmas are all the chocolates, candies, cakes, pies, cookies, Doritos, popcorn, soda, egg nog and delicious food laying around the house just waiting to be eaten. Then there is that wonderful big screen TV with all the comfortable sofas to sit on while we watched movies and football games. It was a very memorable Christmas. I indulged and ate like a porker. I did not hold back at all. In fact, I kept telling myself that I'd be joining the gym in January and that all those pounds would just fall off once I started working out. Unfortunately I was missing half the idea ... not only did I need to work out, but I needed to control my appetite to eat.

Thankfully I stumbled accross the Shangri-la Diet and the rest is history.

So Christmas 2006 was a little bit different. This year we went to Florida. All those wonderful treats were there just like last year, but this year I was able to hold back a lot more. I did eat my fair share of cookies and chocolates, but it was nothing compared to the amount I ate last year.

Another Great Post By Seth

I was over at Seth Robert's blog this afternoon and read another great post about drinking olive oil. He cited come evidence about how ancient cultures followed some principals of the SLD. Go have a read ... you won't be disappointed.

A New Year, A New Goal

Yes it's a new year, but the goal really isn't new. The main goal is the same ... lose excess pounds. What is really important is that target weight ... 175 lbs. Yesterday I started the New Year on the right foot. I got up at 6am and played basketball for 150 minutes. Despite getting in a good work out, I didn't restrict myself at all as far as eating went. I ate some cold cereal, a couple of Taco Bell burritos and a bowl of popcorn while I watched the best college bowl game in my life (Boise St. vs Oklahoma).

Today we'll be going to the gym after work. So I'm getting off to a really good start.

My wife went to the gym yesterday and had a chance to weigh in. She was pleasantly suprised to see that she weighed the same as when we left for Florida two weeks ago. She was sure that she gained weight. I suggested to her that she didn't put on any pounds because the food we ate during the trip was "foreign" to our bodies. Either that or she burned a lot of calories trying to manage the kids in the car on our 15 hour car trip.

Best of Luck To You This Year

If you have put "lose weight" on your New Year's Resolution list, then I suggest you give the Shangri-la Diet a try. Start by reading through this blog and the Seth Robert's links to the side. The link entitled "Video About the SLD" is also a good start. Of course you can always buy the book and get all the info right from the horse's mouth. But I also encourage you to go visit his forum. There have been some significant developments in the diet since it first came out.

Another great resource is Stephen M's blog. I first found out about the diet from reading his blog. He has some pretty good advice as well as a consolidated list of advice on the subject.

So best of luck to you in 2007 and may this be the year you finally reach that goal of losing weight!