52 Weeks of Healthy Eating- Week 13- It is Not as Easy as Calorie in/Calorie Out

I am guilty. I have said this too often to clients knowing full well that it is much more complicated than this. In the American Council of Exercise(ACE)’s March 2021 issue of Certified, Daniel Green visits this conventional wisdom and shows how much more complicated weight loss is. This will be a critique of Green’s article.

For many years, many, myself included have engaged in reductionist logic regarding weight loss. As I have gotten older and more educated, I have come to realize that there are many factors as to why a person is over fat and how some of these factors are out of that person’s control. As a mental health clinician, I also understand how unmitigated and untreated mental illness can also lead to obesity and other deterrants to optimal health. I am often fond of saying, much to my wife’s chagrin that depression is a progressive disease. Isolation then sedentary living, stress eating are not usually the first signs of a depressive episdode, but will eventually show themselves as the depression worsens. As one disengages from the world and maybe anxiety sets in, thinking errors around how the person percieves the world will cause one to get deeper into the throes of depression.

With this understanding of depression, let’s look at the classic tome, eat less and move more. “”The problem with the balance sheet approach to weight loss,” says Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, ACE’s president and chief science officer, “is that every person’s response is going to be different.” Two individuals of the same sex, weight and age can follow the same dietary pattern and physical-activity program and see very different results due to hormonal, metabolic and genetic differences“(Green, 2021). Add to the equation, mental health concerns and daily stressors and you can see how complicated this can get. Also pointed out by Green and I would completly agree that the calories in/calories out narrative places the blame on the person trying to manage their weight.

Challenging the narrative, I try and move the client away from this narrative and help them think critically about their relationship with food, realistically about their mental health, mindfully about genetic factors and compassionately and gracefully about body image. Following thsi approach, I find that I am in allignment with ACE’s Mover Method (https://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/ace-mover-method/).

Green offers the heading in his article entitled “Accepting That Which We Cannot Change”. This is a big part of my philosophy, controlling the controllables. Green offers “While they may not be able to alter their genetics or childhood experiences with physical activity and nutrition, they can change how they respond to these things. This becomes particularly important as people age and their body no longer responds to diet and exercise as it once did“(Green, 2021). As a dad in his mid 40’s at this point, it is really interesting to see how much my body does not respond to diet and exercise as it once did. Especially exercise. I have been a long distant athlete since my late 20’s, running my first 50k in 30’s and back then, it was not uncommon to run straight through 7 days a week and within 3 days of completing a 50 k. Now adays though, I need a day or a couple of days to recover. Nutrition has been my nemesis for the last 5 years. Genetically, I come from short, often overweight people, prone to diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressures. I have watched even as I have dialed in my diet over the last 10 years, the biomarkers can be questionable. As you get older, energy levels falter, somedays now, it feels like falling off a cliff rather than a little stumble. “Wait, I can’t do 2 a day trainings ranging 4 hours in one day like I used to?” This has been an adjustment the last two years, especially as a person with ADHD.

In sum, this was a great article and I encourage you to hop over to the ACE website and read it in full.



Green, D. (2021). Certified™: March 2021 – Rethinking the concept of calories in vs. calories out. Retrieved March 23, 2021, from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/certified/march-2021/7804/rethinking-the-concept-of-calories-in-vs-calories-out/

This week’s menu features

Peruvian grilled chicken, rice and quinoa blend and steamed broccoli:

Keto Chicken Cheese Bake(https://www.afamilyfeast.com/keto-chicken-cheese-bake/):

Breakfasts are going to be my usual for the next few weeks, oatmeal, eggs and toast, muesli and random cereal mixed in.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: Week 12- Sun’s out Gun’s Out

This week, I would like to move away from diet for a moment and celebrate that it was warm this week, well, warmer. Soon however, it will be really warm and we will all be shedding our sweaters and sweatpants for t shirts and tank tops. It’s time to get our guns out. In order to get our guns out though, we may have to do some work getting them ready. This week, I am going to give you 5 exercises you can do to tone your arms for the coming spring and summer season.

Keeping your arms healthy is not just for showing them off while going shirtless or wearing a bikini. Addressing functional health, healthy shoulders and arms allow for fluid, functional movement such as getting dishes off a high shelf, lifting a box from a counter to a shelf above your head or picking up a load of laundry and carrying it up a flight of stairs. Weaknesses in the shoulders will limit full external rotation and range of motion. If you have had trauma to your shoulders such as a rotator cuff injury, it is important that if you have any impingments, you see a doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor along side and before you begin any exercise program.

The other piece of getting your gun’s out is taking care of your skin. Our long dry northern winters are deceptively dry. When I go running on a cold winter day, I often find that I am more dehydrated and my skin is more chapped as if I had gone running on hot, windy day in July. Using lotions, drinking plenty of water and seeing your doctor to address any issues with eczema, rashes or acne will help your skin be ready for summer vibrance.

Exercises- try these excercises, start with 3 sets of 5 (3×5) and then work your way up to 5 sets of 5 (5×5) and if you really want to get advanced, go to 3 sets of 10, increasing weight up to 5 pounds each set.

Push up (for beginners or those with weak or compromised shoulders, it is okay to do these from your knees and it is okay if you can’t get your elbows 90 degrees)

The correct way to do a pushup - CNET

Push-up capacity linked with lower incidence of future cardiovascular disease events among men | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Plank – start with 15 seconds, then work your way up, a good goal is 2 minutes

Plank Variations: 5 Exercises for Your Core - SilverSneakers

Shoulder Press

What is the correct form for a shoulder press? - Quora

Standing Dumbbell Curl

Dumbbell Curls: One Of The Best Basics For Better Biceps

Seated single dumbbell tricep extension

Pin on Arm Exercises

This week’s meals

I am going full bro this week and going for some grilled sirloin burgers and a rice quioa mix. I may cook up some chicken later in the week. This is a classic lifter meal. Ask any body builder how to make gains, they will point you to protein and rice. I am not trying to make gains, just want something simple in my life this week.

Meal 2 this week will be a Kung Pao Chicken dish that is fairly Whole30/Paleo


Breakfast will be my usual, oatmeal or eggs and toast.

Snacks will be something new, an anabolic popcorn and protein fluff along will my usual nuts and bars.


protein fluff is super easy and makes a lot for not a lot of calories:

1 scoop of any flavor protein powder(30g)

8 ounces of almond milk

1 cup of frozen mixed berries, strawberries or blueberries(these fruits are important as they are low on the glycemic index and won’t spike the blood sugar, which is what makes this a perfect snack)

1 t of xantham gum

1-2 T of Truvia artificial sweetner or 1 -2 T of Walden Farms Sugar Free syrup

Throw all of this in a blender and blend until the machine stops sounding angry (1 -2 mins)

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: What Happens to Your Body When You Exercise

This week, I want to look at two overlooked aspects of “exercise”. I want to talk about Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).

EPOC- Your body is not done after you get done exercising. In the same manner that your engine in your car is not cold immediately after switching it off, your body goes through a similar process of cooling down. EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function (called homeostasis). It also explains how your body can continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout. A couple of cool things to think about: 1. An exercise that consumes more oxygen burns more oxygen. This equals an increase in net calories burned. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great form to utilize to maximize this effect. It is important to note that intensity not duration is the factor here. A long workout is not the answer, a brief intense workout will do the trick. Think of a HIIT Spin Class, High Impact Aerobics and Tabbatta Sets.

NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting. Even trivial physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of a multitude of exothermic actions that culminate in an individual’s daily NEAT. This is why we focus so much on 10000 steps; it can lead to a caloric burn of 2000-3500 Kc/ week. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. Taking a 30-minute walk during lunch, parking farther from the entrance of the grocery store, taking the bus and then walking the rest of the way to work if feasible are all ways to add NEAT to your regular routine.

This week’s menu features some comfort food:

Ham and Potatoes Au gratin

Meatloaf and green beans

Also, this week, we will be feasting on Corned Beef and Cabbage as it is St. Patrick’s Day.

For funnsies – we made an animal cracker inspired cheesecake for Sunday’s dinner.

Breakfast is a bit different, eggs and ham steaks and oatmeal.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: No Such Thing as an Empty Calorie

It was a busy weekend. I had my first event for 2021, a 45 mile gravel race over in Ohio’s Amish country. It was a beautiful, sunny day across windswept farm land, buggys, horse drawn farm machinery and Amish children smiling and waving. Oh and it was cold, mid 20’s with a max wind gust of 15 mph making the real feel in the teens. I knocked out the ride in 3:45, and I am not sure how people did it in 2:16. I still have a lot to learn about bike riding and I have been riding for the better part of 30 years. My summer 40 miler got cancelled, so I signed up for a mountain 50k, this will make two mountain events this year, the other is a mountain 28 miler.

Lost Turkey Trail 50k: https://www.facebook.com/groups/685728304891561/

Boulder Beast: https://www.patraildogs.com/boulderbeast

This week, I want to look at the myth of zero calories. This is a very complicated subject, one that I found to have many white papers written on. It is true that some calories have more oomph than others, but every food calorie counts. As I have written in other posts, it is what you eat that fuels the machine. Just like in a car, if you put garbage gas in, you are going to get garbage performance. Eat more fat and more protein and when it comes to carbs, make sure they are not processed and are going to be used for the fuel. The wrong carbs can be high on the glycemic index and can convert quickly to sugar, think of a NOS system in a car, that quick boost of fuel are how the foods high on the glycemic index work. Empty calores are those calories that come from solid fats and added sugars. All of these have some nutrient value and indeed, many of the affordable foods people buy in the grocery stores have some sort of combination of these two types of calories. These two types of calories do provide the body with energy. The main problem with a lot of these foods is the processing and the added salts, sugars and preservatives and form of fat used, all of which can lead to long term health problems. A better way to approach this to come at your food by looking at caloric density and balance Eating foods liek fruits, vegetables, whole grans, nuts, seeds, lean protein, seeds and healthy fats is a more balanced approach and an approach that will add to satiety.

This week, I was busy, so my meals are pretty simple.

For meal 1, I have a sheet pan roasted veggie and smoked sausage, I made this a few weeks ago and was a good meal. For Meal 2, I have a Bolognese Sauce with Banza Pasta.

My breakfasts are going to be the same for a few more weeks, Oatmeal, Muesli, Eggs and Toast.

52 Weeks of Healthy Eating – Words from the Heart

It is February and in honor of Valentines Day, I want to discuss the idea of eating organ meats. As with all the current diet rages these days, organ meats are starting to enjoy their time in the spotlight. Organ meats are full of nutrients and are often more nutrient dense than muscle meat. Organ meats are often rich in the B vitamins, iron and zinc. While I am not a fan of organ meats, I supplement every other day or so with a beef organ supplent that has desicated and freeze dried kidney, liver, heart, pancreas and spleen.

Heart is high in CoQ10 which is an antioxidantm which is 10 times more potent than vitamin E. Heart is also high in the heavy metal selenium, iron and zinc. Kidney also is high in selenium. Liver is the best source of vitamins and minerals. 4 ounces of liver can give you almost a weeks worth of vitamin A which is important for immune health and B12. There is more info out there about offal ingestion, but it all circles around to this central point, offal is high in metals, minerals and vitamins.

Some downsides are the presence of serious pathogens and over consumption of vitamins. Overall, offal is great for you. I still don’t like it though.

This week on the menu:

Breakfast will be the usual. Eggs and toast or oatmeal. Maybe Mueslli.

Meal 1:

Greek Grilled Chicken Chopped Salad.

This salad will have grilled chicken, chopped cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, chopped pepperoncini, chopped kalmata olives and tzatziki sauce.

Meal 2: Easy Mushroom and Ground Beef Skillet – with red quinoa