How are planks done?

I don’t use a gym for my workouts. I try to use exercise that I can do anywhere using equipment that I can take anywhere. The equipment I use is my own body. My body doesn’t cost anything and it’s always open for business. Using my body weight I do pushups, situps, jumping jacks, and planks. Here is a video on the proper technique of doing a plank for beginners.

Thinkinthin is Back.

I’m back! I apologize to all my readers/visitors who haven’t been able to reach this site for months. Technical issues cast my down in to oblivion. I was a webless wonder. That’s 2 ‘W’s instead of the requisite 3.  Everything’s better now.

I will start off by reporting that I’m down to 217 lbs.


Low Carb/High Fat/Moderate Protein plus Intermittent Fasting (I eat all my calories in an 8 hour window) — but I do enjoy a triple cream coffee (NO sugar) 2 or 3 times while fasting. Works for me! 45 lbs to go. I began at 285. I plateaued for a while in the 240s going up a little, down a little until I realized I was eating too much protein and not enough fat. I’ve been losing steadily ever since.

I suppose this eating protocol could be called Keto or ketogenic. Fancy words for ketone-forming fat-burning. When your brain has no glucose for energy the body creates ketones instead. That only happens through carbohydrate starvation. Keto-people talk about Macros. “Um .. what are your macros, man?” Gotta be 70/25/5 or 75/20/5. That’s 70% of your calories from fat, 25% from protein, and 5% from carbs. That’s 20 grams of carbs per day. Sounds impossible but it is doable. Starting this way for a few weeks will train your body to prefer fat over glucose for energy. Then you can up your carb eating to maybe 80 grams a day.

I have progressed closer to 80 grams per day. I have more energy. I am hungry less often. I have lost weight.

I have lost more weight by adding Intermittent Fasting. I stop eating at 9 pm or 10 pm and I don’t eat again until 2 pm the next day. That fasting period rests my digestive system, promotes cell-repair, and makes me less drowsy during my work day. Sounds nuts but it’s absolutely true. Now, it’s not a pure fast–I actually get to enjoy 2 or even 3 triple cream (no sugar) coffees while fasting. I LOVE it!

I am a type 2 diabetic and I manage my diabetes without meds–no metformin and no insulin. If I use meds fasting is dangerous because my blood sugar would crash too low. Comas No Más.  Around 1:30 pm before my 2 O’clock meal my BG has dropped to 70 or 4 depending on which half of N. America you live in. I’m from Canada so I would say 4. Sometimes it is in the low 5s. This is very encouraging to me so I am going to stay with this plan for a while.

I will keep you all posted.

Chris Powell Doesn’t Get It


Here’s something annoying about one of my favorite reality tv shows that I noticed upon watching the premiere of Season 5 of Extreme Weight Loss:
Chris Powell doesn’t understand Keto.

Keto is short for ketosis, a process where your body stops burning carbohydrates as fuel and switches to the burning of ketones, a by-product of fat-burning. This will occur when you bring your carbohydrate levels to around 50 grams per day or lower.

Many keto activists teach that number should be 30 grams of carbohydrates and advise 20 grams per day to kickstart you into ketosis over a number of weeks–you’d be surprised how many greens and low-glycemic vegetables can add up to 20 grams. However, most individuals can still maintain ketosis while consuming 50 grams which allows for a for a much greater increase in the consumption of vegetables and more leeway with flavorings that may contain extra grams of carbohydrates. Abel James, of and of the new hit show: My Diet Is Better Than Yours, believes you can eventually jump to 80 grams of carbs per day as long as your fat consumption remains high.

I really like Chris Powell, the host and trainer, of Extreme Weight Loss. This is the show that chronicles the weight loss journeys of extremely obese clients over the course of a year. They typically need to lose 150 – 200 pounds. Chris has changed the lives of so many clients on the show who do indeed lose the weight by the end of one year.

Episode 1 of Season 5 featured identical twins. 50 days in one of the twins developed a serious case of plantar fasciitis and needed to be sedentary for 2 weeks so Chris decided it was a perfect time to conduct an experiment pitting a High Carb diet against a Low Carb diet.

Chris Powell, who usually uses carb cycling as his diet choice (which may indicate a bias going into this experiment) this time started with one twin on a high carb low fat diet and the other twin on a ketogenic low carb diet. The ketogenic twin was also severely limited in exercise due to the plantar fasciitis.

But get this?
The diet trial was for two weeks only! The ketogenic twin complained throughout of loss of energy and not being able to exercise both due to diet and the injury.
But, at the two week weigh-in the ketogenic twin with the lack of exercise lost 14 pounds to his twin’s 13 pounds.

And what did Chris conclude? That low carb diets work for sedentary people but most weight loss plans include exercise and therefore require all the higher carb macros be included. What Chris failed to understand is that the twin on Keto wasn’t adapted to fat-burning yet and that is the reason he felt low on energy. His body–like a bratty child–refused to consume the fat and wanted glucose from carbs. The sugar dependent body doesn’t burn fat easily and thinks it’s starving if you deprive it of simple carbs. That’s it in a nutshell.

Chris Powell’s experiment was woefully inadequate as the period of 2 weeks wasn’t enough to allow him to discover 5 much-touted benefits of Ketosis or even well-executed low carbing:

1. There is greater long term weight loss when eating a ketogenic diet;

2. The weight lost stays off when eating low carb for life;

3. Ketogenic diets are the only way of reversing insulin resistance;

4. Following the adaption period energy returns with greater weight loss and muscle retention than high carb diets;

5. Metabolism doesn’t drop when losing weight low-carb as it does on a high-carb low fat diet.

In conclusion it may take more than two weeks to become adapted to the ketogenic lifestyle. A couple of months or more for some depending on how long and how aggressively the former diet relied on simple carbs. Even the brain can switch to burning ketones, the by-product of fat burning, and actually perform better than on glucose. Athletes who make the switch praise the boost ketosis gives to their performance without the need for carb loading.

But even though the low carbing twin wasn’t actually fat-burning adapted he still lost more weight with next to nil exercise. If he had been adapted, he wouldn’t have suffered low energy–his energy would have increased–as thousands of ketogenically-adapted people can attest.

Chris Powell may have tried to do his level best to prop-up low fat dogma because he doesn’t fully understand the ketogenic diet but he unwittingly gave many a reason to conduct some further research into this concept: ‘More Weight loss, but less exercise on Low Carb/Higher Fat!’

The show, and Chris Powell, are still inspirations, and I will continue to enjoy watching the journeys of men and women changing their dire health outcomes. But it was disappointing.

What Did Gladiators Eat?

Hollywood has given us a grossly inaccurate picture of gladiators. The arena fighters to the death are depicted as lean and muscular athletes or largely muscled but lean ogres. But the real truth found at archaeological digs and the written record of their contemporaries draws quite a different picture of the slave death match participants.

I first began my investigation into the truth about gladiators when reading about Veganism, specifically the Starch-based form, and I discovered that Roman gladiators were referred to as ‘Barley Men’. They ate a starchy plant-based diet. The proponents of this eating discipline loved that little known fact because it shows that starches must have given gladiators their fit, trim, and powerful builds and not a high fat/protein diet. At first, the fact gladiators were called ‘Barley Men’ shook my paradigm that animal protein was a must for muscularity and this new information reinforced my decision to give the starch diet the good old college try.

But it didn’t fully sit well with me and I wondered if there was possibly more to the history of the ‘Barley Men’.

There was more to it. It turns out that there was another reason gladiators were given a high starch diet (the Starchies are going to either hate me or bravely embrace the need to do further research on their own) and that reason was–wait for it–to make them fat. Why would the slavers or merchants of mayhem in the arena want gladiators to be fat? Good old fashioned capitalism of course; if you want to be rich or gain influence over the masses you gotta give the people what the people want. Supply and demand, baby.

You see, fat gladiators could survive more cuts and it drew out the battle longer for the blood-thirsty spectators who wanted (demanded) to see more Games of Thrones gore before the slaves gave up the ghost. Fat gladiators last longer. In today’s PPV boxing or MMA fights, we don’t want no lousy 30 second knockouts. The arenas back then were not much different. They may love their death matches but they don’t want to see someone gurgle their last breath 30 seconds in.

I’m sorry for you lovers of Russel Crowe’s cut and ripped model of a gladiator in the eponymously named movie, Gladiator. He would have been chubby. Roman soldiers, by the way, have often been depicted as vegetarians by the meat-shunning community but archaeology has proven inconvenient for many entrenched beliefs (from the dissing of the biblical record of now proven historical figures to even the push away from fat eating in the last few decades).

The Roman soldiers did indeed eat lots of barley, spelt and rye but bones excavated from Roman milBritish and German military sites dating from Augustus to the third century show the Romans ate ox, sheep, goat, pig, deer, boar, and hare, in most places and in some areas, elk, wolf, fox, badger, beaver, bear, vole, ibex, and otter. Broken beef bones suggest the extraction of marrow for soup. Alongside the animal bones, archaeologists found equipment for roasting and boiling the meat as well as for making cheese from the milk of domesticated animals. Fish and poultry were also popular, the latter especially for the sick.

So, the lesson learned here for me, is to always do your own research and never blindly follow someone else’s word. Of course I always counsel this I just had a potato-addiction relapse. And I’m sorry for leaving you with the image of a plump Russel Crowe.

No longer Vegan

I have given up on the Starch Solution plant-based diet. I can’t stick with it because my blood sugars spike too much on starches. But my foray into Veganism did open my mind to the fact that we meat eaters shouldn’t be so dogmatic about our Way of Eating being the best and only Way. I have seen success stories where type 2 diabetics have reversed their conditions with a plant-based approach. Who knows why they succeeded where I didn’t. Maybe they stayed on insulin or metformin while adjusting to their new eating approach — I wouldn’t use meds. Or it could have been a genetic and ancestral disposition toward potatoes that slayed the giants in the land. I have no clue. But starch just doesn’t work for me so my beloved potatoes have been cast aside.

I tried the Raw Foods approach too, a few months ago. It has worked for others. And at first it worked for me — my blood sugars began to level out. But I finally realized that I would go nuts chomping like a bunny the rest of my life. I had to be realistic. I did learn something more than the fact that I am no Vegan or Vegetarian though. My experiments with veggie-focused diets have humbled me and broadened my perspective. They do work for many people providing they supplement with B12. And I promise I won’t mock and ridicule Vegans or Vegetarians any more. Now please leave me in peace as I joyfully lay waste to a plate of chicken drumsticks.

The Starch Solution Challenge

The Starch Solution Challenge: This commitment means adding any one of the following to your regular diet:

3 to 4 cups of steamed rice
3 to 4 cups of boiled corn
3 to 4 mashed potatoes
3 to 4 baked sweet potatoes
2 to 4 cups of cooked beans, peas, or lentils
3 to 4 cups of boiled spaghetti noodles
6 to 12 slices of fresh bread

You can mix and match any kind of whole grains, legumes, or starchy vegetables to make up these additional 600 to 900 calories daily. The effect of adding these appetite-satisfying, nutritious choices will be to displace fattening and sickening foods (meats, dairy products, and oils). Spontaneously, without any conscious thought, your intake of calories, fat, cholesterol, and chemical contaminants will diminish and fiber, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrate will increase.

My comment:
Because I am type 2 diabetic I had to do this a little differently. Diabetics should consult their family doctor or other health care professional. If you eat a lot of fat while eating a lot of starch/carbs you could cause real trouble for your blood sugar management. I had to go almost completely off fats when I switched to starches but my experience has been wonderful.

My Starch Solution Experience

I have seen so so many testimonials of people on the Starch Solution. If the testimonials are to be believed, countless people have experienced weight loss and reversal of a host of medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, IBS, allergies, skin problems, liver disease among others following the starch based diet. Their diets are based on potatoes, rice, beans with vegetables and fruit and whole grains. Most of the calories are from the starches. It’s odd eating this way as a type 2 diabetic but I am enjoying success. I can’t eat wheat so I don’t. And I still eat a little meat. But for the most part I have given up dairy and the huge amounts of animal protein and fat I used to eat. I eat about a third of the meat on some days. And I go without meat some days. I have more energy and feel better than I did eating the mostly meatarian way. And I’ve lost another 5 lbs since following this regimen off and on over the last month. I am now going to try following it more closely. I will keep y’all posted.

I do continue to incorporate the intermittent fasting component. After my last meal in the evening I don’t eat until the passage of 12 to 16 hours. My night’s sleep is included in that fast so it’s easy to stay with it. The benefits of a short fast begin at 12 hours. I am finding that the Starch Solution blends very well with IF. I don’t know why this is the case but it has been my experience so far.