Posts Tagged ‘dietitian’

A beer, a large pretzel, two white sausages, and sweet mustard on a picnic table

“Weisswurst lunch at Viktualienmarkt” by Thomas Kriese, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Last year, my now-fiance and I took a vacation touring various parts of Germany.  The entire trip, I showed little restraint on food, as I absolutely LOVE German food. So, I happily ate sausages, pretzels and beer.

And to my shock, I not only didn’t have any issues with my blood sugar and hypoglycemia, but I also lost weight!

Ever since then, I’ve been curious as to why that is, and during a recent call with my dietitian, I asked. Here was the highlights of her response:

  • While I wasn’t working out like I usually do, and the walking all day probably didn’t burn extra calories, walking all day is a slow carb burn vs. a big, fast carb burn with an intense workout. She advises her clients, if they do gorge on carbohydrates, to go for a 10-15 minute walk after to start the burn process. So, while I was walking, I was slowly burning the carbs off vs. the high/low calorie/carb burn of my usual day.
  • The fat and protein in the sausages probably kept me full, allowing me to eat less often and eat less calories.
  • There’s a difference between American and European wheat, which could impact how it impacts my hypoglycemia. I’ve actually noticed this myself, when I drink American beer, I end up feeling ridiculously hungry and not well. If I drink German beer, however, I don’t feel this way. I think it has a lot to do with the additives and such we put in our beer.
  • Portion sizes are smaller over there.  Maybe so, maybe not, I’ve eaten some pretty giant pretzels and drank some giant beers, but overall, probably so.

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Ah, the new year is upon us, which means the gym is flooded with new year’s resolution people. Most regular gym goers hate this time of year because the gyms are crowded, but know it will be short-lived. I get inspired by more people trying to become healthier.

One of the main reasons I think people quit coming to the gym is that it seems so complicated. But here’s the secret: It isn’t.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me to go with them to the gym and learn how to weight lift. I go, and the main question I get afterward is, “That’s it? That seems to simple.” Yep, it does, and it is.

So why does it seem so complicated?

  • Trainers make it that way. I’ve blogged about this before, trainers are salespeople. Their job performance at most gyms is based on how many of their clients they get to renew their training packages. So think about it, their goal is convince you that you need them, and one of their favorite ways to do this is to make things look so complicated that you couldn’t possibly do it on your own.
  • Gym regulars get bored. So they try new things. Or, they haven’t realized yet that muscle confusion is (mostly) a myth. This is one of the reasons why you see the regulars doing crazy, complicated things. But you don’t need to. After a couple of years, if you get bored, sure, go ahead, try something fancy now and then, but when you are just getting started, you don’t need to make your workouts complicated.
  • Gym regulars have different goals. Yes, professional athletes and bodybuilders do more complicated things. That’s because they have vastly different goals than most people. Unless your goal is to become one of them, you don’t need to do fancy stuff.
  • The fitness industry tries to hook you with “new” things. This isn’t necessarily bad, I like trying new classes and such. But, as someone who has been an athlete since age 4, I can tell you that “new” is actually “repackaged.” For example, High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) looks suspiciously like the old lactate training I did in high school swimming.

Recommendations for the average person and general gym-goer

Unless you are planning to become a professional athlete or fitness competitor, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Focus mostly on diet. This is, by far, more important than the gym. If you want to hire a professional, I recommend a registered dietician vs. a trainer.
  • You don’t need to do more than an hour per day at the gym, 5-6 days per week. I plan to do a whole post about this someday, but seriously, no more than an hour per day, I don’t care what the gym regulars or trainers tell you.
  • You should enjoy your cardio workouts. I personally like to learn a new skill through cardio (such as dancing, karate, etc.). I can’t stand to watch the bored people on the cardio machines at the gym. Unless you genuinely enjoy that, don’t be one of them. Find something you enjoy and…
  • Know your target heart rate and make sure you’re in it during all cardio sessions.
  • Weight training should be straight-forward and simple. There are two books I recommend (pick one, then when you get bored, go to the other) to get started:
    • Body Sculpting Bible (the link is for the women’s version, but there’s one for men too).  I used to carry this book to the gym with me everyday I was on the program. I used it so much over a couple of years that I destroyed the binding! I love that it shows pictures, and comes with a DVD to show you how to do every exercise.
    • Body for Life. Ridiculously simple weight-lifting and cardio program.

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A decorative plate of cooked meat and vegetables

“Atun Rojo sobre Pisto” by Javier Lastras is licensed under CC BY 4.0


I visited a new family doctor recently and he advocated for a much higher protein diet and less carbs, almost to the point of being the Atkins Diet. He said this would help me go longer between meals and reduce my carbohydrate intake, which may help with my acid reflux.

My questions, his responses (shortened, not word-for-word):

  • I thought eating high amounts of protein was bad for your liver? You’d have to eat A LOT of protein and you’d stop eating well before that because you’d be too full to continue.
  • What about drinking protein shakes and powders? Then, yes, you could overload on protein. I prefer you eat natural protein most of the time from animals and vegetable protein.
  • How come my dietician said something else? Because most dietitians disagree with this, but I’m telling you, it works (My note: I’m still a huge fan of dietitians).
  • Eating so many carbs might be causing my acid reflux? But I only eat good stuff, like whole grains and fruit? And I haven’t seen any research on that?  There isn’t any research on this (My note: Keep in mind, we tend to only do health research in this country when a pharmaceutical company is paying for it, which they obviously wouldn’t in this case because it could hurt their business), but I’m telling you that I’ve had several patients be able to reduce or go off acid reflux medication after going on a lower-carb diet. You don’t fit the typical patient that would have acid reflux, so I think the carbs might be the issue (My note: Stress too).
  • (In a later phone conversation) I’m really frustrated. I need more guidance and you said a dietician probably wouldn’t be of help. Ok, try reading the Zone Diet books. That will help. (My note: I haven’t done so yet).
  • What about weight gain? You won’t gain weight if you eat enough protein and continue to eat healthy with a bit more fat. Americans are the only ones who believe in the low fat diet and it’s not helping us stay thin.

So I went home promising to give it a try. And, to be honest, I was frustrated as hell. I literally opened my fridge and pantry looking for something to eat and said “Shit” because I couldn’t figure out what to eat.

After the initial annoyance was over, I gave it a try. The first time wasn’t fun, but after a few other trials, IT WORKS! If I eat 25 g at my meals and keep my carbs below 30 g, I can go until the next major meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) without any symptoms of hypoglycemia! Sometimes I’m still hungry, but it’s not low blood sugar, so I snack on no-carb foods such as raw veggies (which is how I still get my fiber up).

Yep, it’s hard to pass-up french fries with my burger or pass by a bagel, but I feel so much better, that I’m able to do it.

Additional benefit: It’s been really easy to maintain my weight with this new plan too. Actually, I’m underweight by 2 lbs now, so I need to eat more!


Now I have to rewrite my Outline of a Hypoglycemic Diet post again. Sigh…I’ll get around to it soon.

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