Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's easy to be a critic....

When I need to take a break, I spend my time surfing the 'net to see what's going on with the world. Tonight, I thought I'd check out what people were saying about the book I wrote, Women's Health Perfect Body Diet.

So far, what I've seen is that the comments are 50/50 pro/con. Some women LOVE the plan and are so happy that they finally feel full, while others feel the glucomannan is a gimmick and that the plans designed are not customizable at all. This, I find, is a pretty harsh thought, but we're all entitled to our own opinion.

However, with this all said, it's easy to be a critic instead of coming up with a better solution. When I was asked to write a diet book for Women's Health last year, I went straight to the book store and checked out all the other diet books on the shelves. From Protein Power, to Sugar Bustars, to Body for Life, I wasn't sure how the heck I could write a diet book that would be different than the zillions of other diet books out there now!

But, I had just finished a recent research project at UConn the previous year with glucomannan and had been using the fiber myself successfully for two years.So, I thought, "Hey, why not come up with a book about this? No one else has tried to write about the benefits of staying full with a calorie-free fiber!"

Also, I knew from personal and research experience that not all women were meant to follow the same type of diet plan. Some of us do better with more carbs in our diets, some do better with much less. So, that's why I gave two options and had women learn (through the diet challenge) which option was best for them.

At least I tried to give options, where other diet books preach that there's only one way, and no other, to eat right and lose weight. Too boot, some woman out there critisized the book (and me) for only having these two options. I felt like writing her and saying "If this book isn't for you, you have every right to pick up one of the thousands of other diet books out there and find one that does work. No one is making you do this diet. You have a choice and you are the one that knows your body best. So go forth and discover."

Another critique about the book is that it's too structured. Well, when I was asked to write the book, I was also asked to provide weekly diet examples, which I did. It took a lot of though and effort (knowing that most of the women out there would choose their own meals), but it was done. However, the key word in all of that is that the plans are EXAMPLES. They're just to show you what you can do with the food. They're not meant to be the end-all, be-all of what you eat everyday. That would be impossible to do for each and every person!

I'm really sorry if it sounds like I'm ranting, but I needed to convey a few of my thoughts on this issue. If it was really easy to write a diet book that worked for everyone in the world, do you think there would be so many available? This book is just one option and some people find it's a good one for them.

If anything, the book is full of great nutrition information and explains a lot of the reasons why it's hard to lose weight and why our bodies fight against us when we try to do so. When I wrote those topics, I just wanted women to be aware of what they were up against so that they could fight back with the right equipment and thoughts. This way they'd have a better chance at winning.

Since there isn't a formal place yet on the Women's Health Website for women to discuss the book, if you have any questions or need any help with the plan, please email me. I've helped many women so far and I look forward to helping more. There's also a lot of discussion about this book and a few women following it on the Oxygen mag message boards.

Overll, instead of being a critic, try putting yourself in the place of the author. In my case, I wrote a book with the best of my ability. Sure, maybe it's not South Beach or Eat Right for Your Type (some of the best selling diet books right now), but those were already written and I was asked to come up with something new. That I did.

Now, I've got to finish my PhD (and get married this year...). Yikes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NROL4W Podcast and PBD Radio Interview

This last week has been pretty crazy for me. I was away in St Louis over the weekend for a seminar with the brilliant Stuart McGill, PhD and John Berardi, PhD. I took away some excellent information about low back health from Stu, and new ways to approach nutritional coaching from John. Thanks guys!

Then, when I got home, the next night our house had a fire. The damage was about $10K worth and was one of the most frightening things I've ever been through.

I've also started the second half of my dissertation project, so my days have been full of me taking blood from my subjects and then (when my hands were clean...) cooking all the food for the feeding intervention. I've got 6 more weeks of this until I start all the bioanalytical assays and dissertation write up.... then, I'll also be a PhD!

In the meantime, I've been promoting my two new books.

First, for The New Rules of Lifting for Women, I did both a one-on-one written interview with Ryan Andrews, of Precision Nutrition. Then, Lou, Alwyn and I did an audio interview. Check them out! Both are quite entertaining.

Second, I was interviewed by Judyth Piazza of American Perspective to talk about Women's Health Perfect Body Diet. To listen to the show, click here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger is dead, RIP

I cried when I read this:

January 22, 2008, 4:42 pm
Heath Ledger, Actor, Is Found Dead at 28

This amazing actor and incredible man, who was the same age as I, is dead? This is just not right.

Rest in peace Heath.

One of your fans, Cassandra

Friday, January 18, 2008

Probiotics may ease stress-related gut problems

As a firm supporter of friendly bacteria (probiotics), I was happy to read this new report:

1/18/2008 - Gastrointestinal problems associated with stress may find relief from probiotic supplements, reports a new study from Lallemand.

Using a proprietary blend of probiotics, researchers report that abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting were reduced by the supplements, according to results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study published in the journal Nutrition Research.

The research, in collaboration with scientists from Savoir-Faire & Cie and Proclaim, adds to the science behind Lallemand's Probio-Stick preparation containing Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 and Bifidobacterium longum Rosell-175. "The results indicate that Probio-Stick can provide a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal symptoms experienced by individuals affected by chronic stress," wrote lead author Laurent Diop.

According to background information in the article, stress plays a key role in the development of symptoms linked to disease, including physical, gastrointestinal, and psychological symptoms. Diop and co-workers recruited 75 volunteers aged between 18 and 60 and randomly assigned them to receive either the daily probiotic or a sensorially identical placebo for three weeks. At the end of this period, the researchers report that abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting were significantly reduced in the group receiving the probiotics, compared to the placebo group. On the other hand, no benefits were observed for other measures of stress, including dry mouth, loss of appetite, swallowing problems, rectal pain, cardiovascular, sleep problems, and the broader symptoms, such as social, psychological, or emotional problems.

"The human microflora is a complex ecosystem that contributes to the equilibrium of different gastrointestinal functions," explained Diop. "The potential beneficial effects of probiotics are due to the modulation of intestinal flora, modification to the mucosa to prevent the adherence of pathogens, and modulation of the immune system. "However, the researchers could not identify the key mechanism or mechanisms, and called for future studies to elucidate the precise modes of action.

"This probiotic supplement could act on the residual intestinal microflora, the epithelial barrier, and the immune system to improve such stress-induced gastrointestinal symptoms as abdominal pain and nausea or vomiting," they stated. "The consumption of probiotics can contribute to regulating gastrointestinal functions to restore the normal gastrointestinal equilibrium. "

Source: Nutrition Research (Elsevier)Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 1-5 "Probiotic food supplement reduces stress-induced gastrointestinal symptoms in volunteers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial"Authors: L. Diop, S. Guillou, H. Durand

To get your own quality probiotics, containing these two researched bacteria, check out NSI's Probiotic 15-35.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Protein enhances weight loss

This week, Australian researchers published a long-term weight loss study in healthy adult (49 + or - 9 years) overweight women (BMI initially ~32).

In this study, they followed 79 women for more than a year (64 weeks) to see how protein influences weight loss and compliance to a dietary program.

The women were placed on one of two diets: A energy-reduced high protein (HP) diet with 34% of energy from protein, 20% of energy from fat, and 46% of energy from carbohydrate, or a energy-reduced high carb (HC) diet with 17% of energy from protein, 20% of energy from fat, and 64% of energy from carbohydrate. For the first 12 weeks of the study, the women saw a dietitian very four weeks to ensure they were following the plan. Then for the remaining 52 weeks, they were asked to follow the same regimen as during the short-term study if they could, but those consuming the HP diet could substitute chicken, fish, or pork for red meat, whereas those consuming the HC diet could omit biscuits and substitute them with more bread, potatoes, or rice. During this time, they only saw a dietitian every 3 months.

As you probably guessed, not every woman was compliant with the program when they were left to do it on their own. During the free-living 52 weeks, when the results of all the women were analysed, it appeared that there was no difference in weight loss or fat loss(about 10 lbs on average and 6 lbs of fat). However, when the women were seperated into those that actually ate the HP diet and those that actually at the HC diet, there was a significant difference: Women who followed a HP diet lost MORE weight and more fat than those that ate the HC diet. Protein intake was inversly related to weight and fat loss such that for those that are more protein lost an average of 14 lbs and 10 lbs of fat compared to those that ate less protein (and more carbs) who lost 7 lbs and 5 lbs of fat over the course of a year.

Body composition was measured my DEXA, the gold standard for body comp assessment. After 64 weeks, body fat was higher in those that ate more carbohydrate and lower in those that ate more protein. The same was seen for belly fat - more belly fat in those that ate a higher carb diet compared to the higher protein diet.

Bone health was also assessed in response to the diets: Overall, decreases in the 24-h urinary bone turnover markers—ratio of dexoypyridinoline to creatinine and the ratio of pyridinoline to creatine were not different between diets and there was no relation with weight loss or any dietary components. Calcium excretion was also not different from week 0 to week 64 in the two dietary groups.

Overall, as you can plainly read here, eating more protein to help a woman lose weight and fat is more beneficial than eating more carbohydrates and less fat.

Now, there are differences among women such that some women will lose more weight and fat with less dietary fat, but on average, for the majority of women out there, bumping up your protein with fresh meats, fish, poultry, and dairy can help you be a bigger loser :)

Monday morning laughs

Joe Stankowski over at Morning Cup of Joe first posted this (that I know of), and I just had to post about it too.

Here's something from the blogworld that will have you laughing for sure: Monday Laughs

Now, until I get to writing a more creative post, you enjoy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On the radio

This morning from 6 am to 12 noon, I spoke with several radio shows about my new book, Women's Health Perfect Body Diet

To hear one of the broadcasts with Dan Ramy of WBEX in Chillicothe, Ohio, click here

(Dan has SUCH a great radio voice! It was great talking with him!)


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Fat Loss Pros

This past summer I was brought on along with many notable experts on fat loss to speak about my tips for permanent fat loss success. Jen Heath put us all together on one DVD for you to enjoy.

Some of the experts on this project include:
Dr Lonnio Lowery
Scott Abel
Kelli Calabrese
Charles Staley
and... Alwyn Cosgrove (the Scottish Fat Loss Genious!)

I blogged about this last year when it first came out, but I wanted to bring it up again due to the wealth of information you'll get in one easy listening experience. Also, because this is the time of year that we're all looking to lose a bit of holiday flab.

To pick it up or check it out, click here

If you get it, let me know how much you love it!

Happy Fat Burning!

Bench Hip-Pops - One of my favs

One of my favorite exercises (or movements, I should say) is this you see to the left.
It's called a bench hip-pop and it's great for tightening the glutes.
The reason I love it so much is because it really targets all the gluteal muscles and the hamstrings. I usually do it between sets of bench, or other heavy exercises as a way to keep my heart rate up and burn more calories while I'm waiting to do my next set.
Also, since mother endowed me with a nice full butt already, when I load these muscles too much, they grow more than I like.
With this exercise, there's only a small amount of load, but a lot of contraction - which still gets the muscles firing and burning energy, without stimulating a lot of growth.
So, what you do is lie at the bench like you see me doing here with one heel on the bench and the other leg out in the air in front of you. From the floor, bring your hips up until your hips are fully extended and your glutes are well-contracted. Then, lower and repeat that movement over again for as many reps and you like - I usually perform 12 to 15.
You can also do this just on the floor or on a swiss ball. Both are effective at waking up the butt and getting it ready to fire. :)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Teleseminar for New Rules of Lifting

On Monday January 7th, Lou, Alwyn and I, the creators of the New Rules of Lifting for Women, will be doing a teleseminar for John Berardi's Precision Nutrition website.

For this teleseminar, we will be answering questions from those interested or already doing, the program in the book.

To have your question answered, please email me at cassandraforsythe@gmail.com

Thank you!

Perfect Body Diet Update

The Women's Health Perfect Body diet released on December 26th, 2007 is generating a lot of interest and sales are great.

However, unfortunately, Women's Health does not have the PBD website up yet. I was in NYC yesterday speaking to the company about this and they hope to have it up soon. There were some glitches in the system and they apologize for the delay.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the book, like about the diet or glucomannan, please feel free to contact me or post questions here. I will reply right away. The best contact for me is my gmail address: cassandraforsythe@gmail.com

I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon!