Weight Loss, PH Storyboards, New Home Page

Still making progress on my monotonous yet strict weight loss regimen. I am quietly thrilled with the results; however having lost about 2.5 stone (35 lbs) and 2 sizes smaller in trousers, tops, even bra size, because I am only 5 ft tall, I am still classified as overweight according to the bmi tables, which only compute height and weight, not muscle. So I continue on and hope to lose another stone and a bit, although at the rate I am losing weight, it is likely to take some time.

My regime is not dramatic; I have mainly cut down on certain things, i.e. 1 slice of wholemeal toast for breakfast with poached egg, only 1 slice of bread with lunch of soup or avocado or tuna with salad. I also have only about 1/2 glass of juice in the morning, and only 1/2 glass of wine with dinner, which is still much the same as always. I don’t have any cakes, muffins, scones, i.e. all the goodies I really liked. Will power is something I am not short of and I am very resolute in not straying from my path. I realize that the result I want each week is to see a downward trend in the weight and am not willing to sacrifice this result for the transient pleasure of a meal or dessert.

My partner who also lost a considerable amount of weight last year, has a totally different psychological makeup to me: he is much more extreme, doing drastic things such as totally cutting out bread and potatoes, eating pilchards for breakfast, even doing limited fasting, eating berries only in the day. But, faced with a family occasion, he falls off the regime totally, drinking lots of wine and indulging in chips and puddings. Well, each to his and her own.

Positive Health PH Online finally, after months of delay and struggle with IT engineers, unveiled our new Home Page. I must announce that this was not my design; the idea of swapping my beloved animated skyscraper adverts on the Home Page for thumbnails of Listings and adverts never crossed my mind. The upgrade has been a massive re-design; all the elements of PH – Front Cover, Articles in Current Issue, Book Reviews – are there; as well are displays of several Course, Events, Products, Clinics and Therapist Listings, which refresh about every 90 seconds. Also displaying are the Animated Topic Banners and Promote Yourself (PY) ads, which also display alongside the slides of the Storyboards.

This last development – the Storyboards – has been to me the most profound revelation of what PH Online has published over almost 20 years. The slides – in pink, blue, light yellow and red – rotate over the line – Click to Open Storyboard List. The List – a selection of topics ranging from colon health, dentistry, sleep, cfs-me, dietary choices, women’s health, meditation, environmental and others – enables readers to select from a drop-down menu and view introduction colour slides for articles, as well as a link to the original article.

Despite that I am one of the Founders of PH, have been the Editor since the beginning of PH and have commissioned and edited all the articles on the site, I have found it inspiring to view the storyboards and realize what an amazing and timeless archive of information spanning the complete spectrum of complementary medicine. The Storyboards merely provide a snapshot of the content of PH Online; however they make the articles more accessible to readers who may be daunted with a subject menu of about 150 topics. I am well pleased with the result and the readers have gone up significantly.

Back to finalizing Issue 200, scheduled to be published 25 Oct.


Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)

In the mid 1960s while living in Vancouver I developed a stomach bug. It was so bad that if I was out and about and the pains started I used to rush into the nearest shop and, like a madman, told them I had to use their toilet!

The pains were so intense and came on so suddenly that it placed severe restrictions on my life, both at work and play. Doctors gave me something or other than had no effect whatsoever and I was at my wit’s end about what to do.

Passing a shop one day I saw a book called Feel Like a Million by Catharyn Elwood. I bought it and read it in a day. The message I took from the book was that I needed to go without food for a while. I did that and the pains vanished, never to appear ever again.

Now, in 2012, it seems like an obvious thing to have done but in the 1960s this was advanced thinking!

I began to read a lot of books about health and among those that I remember many were by Adelle Davis. These were about alternative health, cooking in particular, and I learned a great deal about health and food from the above authors.

Some years later, living in Victoria on Vancouver Island, I rented a house (it was either a replica of Ann Hathaway’s or Shakespeare’s house I just can’t remember which). I used to phone a local organic farmer and he would go out and plough up a sack of carrots that I would then wash and turn into juice. I wasn’t a fanatic but I did follow a healthy lifestyle part of the time, quite rubbishy a lot of the time!

Ever since those days I have followed the concepts of good nutrition (not always in practice but in theory!) and this culminated into a magazine Positive Health, published with my partner in 1994 until 2005, 150 issues in total. Since then it has been published online as www.positivehealth.com and enjoys a lot of support. My partner, Sandra Goodman, is a PhD and knows far more about the whole of Complementary Medicine so she is the driving force behind the content.

I am writing about this because watching a Horizon programme last night, about calorie restriction, it reminded me of those early days. Also in the 1980s I bought a book by an American Professor, Dr Roy Walford (Maximum Life Span) and for some time I practised a one-day fast per week. I had good results in terms of weight control. Energy and alertness were not a problem for me then so I cannot say that fasting improved either.

The Horizon programme concentrated on alternate-day fasting (ADF), this is something I have not tried before. But I am going to try it now. What particularly interested me was that during the fasting period, scientists discovered that the brain generates a series of new brain cells and connections, and this is something I most definitely need.

I shall start next week, 13 August 2012, on Tuesday and Thursday each week. Perhaps not a true ADF but sufficient for me. I’ll report back on how it progresses.

Lost 2 Stone; The Men Who Made Us Fat

I have found the BBC 2 Series The Men Who Made Us Fat compelling watching; not only is it subversive and clever, but pure evil in revealing the nefarious, greedy and successful but corrupt motives and actions of the agrochemical, advertising, political and international organizations.

Researcher and Presenter Jacques Peretti has gone back to the beginnings, the initial impetus of the obesity epidemic by looking at how surplus corn was transformed into a valuable commodity – high fructose corn syrup and an indispensable ingredient in so much of the energy-dense, junk foods. Scientists and marketing gurus from the era of the 1970s and 19780s report on research revealing that feeding rats and humans with larger portions of junk food and fizzy drink sodas – with huge amounts of sugar – has led to the present obesity epidemic. Also that the cause of gaining weight, as pointed out by John Yudkin decades ago, was sugar and not fat, despite the marketing obsession with low-fat foods.

The genius of marketing has produced super sized and combo meals which has transformed ordinary eating habits into gorging, out-of-control, fat consumers. And the food and nutrition industrial lobbyists have resorted to tactics reminiscent of the tobacco company executives – threatening to withdraw the US funding of the UN if a damaging report was published. A similar lobbying ploy was used to prevent the publication of a report presented to the Labour Party’s Tessa Jowell proposing limiting advertising to children. These reports were never published.

To Positive Health PH Online nutrition readers who have followed articles on the subjects of cholesterol, fat, obesity and junk food, this series won’t be news; however the point is made is elegant fashion.

I have lost 2 stone in weight over the past 6-8 months, having been tricked by my GP into being weighed. When I discovered that I had gained 2-3 stone over the past 20 years, I was shocked. So, never having been a compulsive or excessive eater, I have had to cut down on smaller things: only 1/2 glass of juice in the morning, no fried eggs, just poached eggs, no sandwiches, just 1 slice of wholewheat toast in the morning and 1 slice of bread at lunchtime. Only 1/2 small glass of wine and no muffins, pastries, crumpets or scones. So I have been losing about 1 pound per week, not drastic, but 2 trouser and top sizes. This is fairly motivating. I still want to lose another stone – time will tell.

Organizing Time: Update since Last Blog

Despite thinking every day about really juicy items to post on this blog, this is lamentably the first blog in 2012. How pathetic is that you may ask!!

Well, you know the old adage, excuses, excuses, excuses. Autumn Oct-Dec 2011 was justifiably taken up with my partner and webmaster Mike’s hernia operation in October, and the complications ensuing which resulted in kidney failure due to urological problems caused by his enlarged prostate. The TURP surgery in Dec was eventually successful and by the first few months in 2012, Mike was right as rain.

I have been reading various lengthy cancer books to review and blog about, and haven’t yet had the time to complete these. But I will very soon.

The reality of life, as most of PH Online readers will recognize, is that the multitude of tasks involved in publishing a monthly magazine, with articles, research, press releases, book reviews, a variety of advertisements, social media – Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In – both for me personally as well as for PH,  has meant that the time to work on my personal and PH blogs has never materialized until late at night, when I am too tired to write them.

I speak with many, many people involved in running practices, courses, selling products and putting on workshops, and I recognize that most are similarly running around trying to squeeze 30 hours out of each day. The difficulties facing just about every small business today and the scarcity of funds means that hiring additional staff, renting premises, purchasing all the paraphernalia, committing to phone/ broadband contracts is not usually a viable option. Especially during the past few years when all businesses have had to cut costs in order to survive.

However, here we are, about to publish Issue 195 of Positive Health PH Online. As the saying goes, we are leaner in all aspects of our operation. All we need to really grow the money is advertising expansion internationally, either through partners in varying countries or investors with the infrastructure to realize how international PH actually is.

My latest venture to make my life easier is to unsubscribe from numerous emails I receive daily. It is staggering that if I leave my office for even 30 minutes there are generally 30-50 emails waiting upon my return. For the past few days, although this is taking a bit of extra time, I am clicking on the unsubscribe link, hoping that this will result in me having to spend less time deleting all the unnecessary emails from my inbox.

Hopefully my next blog won’t have such a large gap.