Body Fat Eyeball Test

The ways of measuring fat percentage are not always exact. So many variables can skew the results. Even the gold standard — DEXA — can give inaccurate readings with two DEXA machines from the same company giving different numbers. But if there’s one fairly reliable way of judging your fat percentage by stages during your weight loss journey, especially if your end goal is the Holy Grail of sexy fitness — 6 pack abs — it is the simple eyeball test. Comparison pics of various stages of fat loss in other pilgrims can be combined with the caliper, electronic devices, or tape measure. I actually just use the pics because I don’t want to waste my time with constant measuring. And here they are. Notice that the 6 pack appears roughly at 10% body fat in men and at about 14% in women.

Crazy Cheap Keto Tip

This is a fantastic Keto tip.  I love this tip. Noobies to this WOE (way of eating) have anxiety about getting enough healthy fat but it’s really not that hard. You can add butter to meals. You can leave some fat on cuts of meat. You might learn to love avocado which also has the added benefit of being quite high in potassium. You can cook with coconut oil (tolerates very high heat without denaturing). Use olive oil in your dressings (some fry with it but olive oil is known to break down at high heat).  You can eat cheese to get your fat but be careful of that addicting casein protein–it’s an opioid. And forget what the Bread board says, eggs are your friend. But my favorite is this — because it’s so quick and easy — 1 can or tin of coconut milk a day. It has most of your daily fat need for the Keto WOE. Also, it’s bloody cheap.

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 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 not for weight loss plans that include exercise. 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 6 much-touted benefits of Ketosis. These benefits are as follows:

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.

6. Ketogenic diet is used to control seizures in epileptic patients.

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.