Category: Weight Loss

What is the Protein Sparing Modified Fast Diet?

There are some crazy crash diets out there. You’ve got the cabbage diet, where people live (or try to live) off of cabbage soup for weeks at a time. You’ve got the gelatin diet of the 70s, where people would try to lose weight by eating only gelatin (it didn’t work and some people got really, really sick). There are dozens of variations of crash diets, and most of them are unsustainable, unhealthy, and ineffective. 

There’s one that’s a little different: the protein sparing modified fast. No less extreme but far more reasonable and effective than the others, the protein sparing modified fast, or PSMF, is an ultra high protein, low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie diet. It’s intended to accelerate fat loss and minimize muscle loss. It is not intended to be a long term way of eating, but rather a short term intervention that can springboard a person into greater sustained weight loss and healthy living. 

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Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

Apple cider vinegar is purported to have a number of impressive benefits. Chief among these is that apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight—allegedly. As I wrote previously, much of the hype around apple cider vinegar benefits is unsubstantiated by the available science. It has some provocative effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity that are not to be discounted, but otherwise, apple cider vinegar is not the miracle tonic some would have you believe.

I didn’t cover the question of whether apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight, though, so I’ll dig into that question today. I wouldn’t blame you for being skeptical. You should be. Losing weight is a notorious struggle, especially if one follows conventional diet advice. If a cheap, readily available product could prompt dramatic weight loss, everyone would know about it. Apple cider vinegar would no longer be cheap and readily available because it would be the hottest commodity around.

So I think we all know that it’s not going to “melt the fat away” or any such nonsense. I’m more interested in whether it’s something you could add on top of an otherwise healthy diet and lifestyle to give you a small leg up. And before you roll your eyes and accuse me of buying into some supermarket tabloid headline—One Secret Trick for Losing Weight without Even Trying!—there are some potentially interesting metabolic reasons to think that apple cider vinegar might do something here.

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Ask a Health Coach: How Do I Lose 10 Pounds Fast?

Hey folks, Board-Certified Health Coach Chloe Maleski is here to answer your questions about healthy weight loss. Want to feel lighter and more at home in your body? We’re here with guidance and support! Have a question you’d like to ask our health coaches? Leave it below in the comments or over in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group. Jordan asked: “How do I lose 10 pounds FAST! I have a friend’s wedding coming up, need to fit in my bridesmaid’s dress, and put off losing my Covid weight because…Summer. I know this isn’t the best way to do it, but help!” Hi, Jordan! First, take a deep breath and know that you’re not alone in feeling like health, fitness, and wellness goals fell by the wayside this Summer. Similarly, many folks put on extra, unwanted weight over the past few years. A lot has happened! A lot is still happening! Not feeling our best or most comfortable in our body can be particularly stressful when we have special occasions ahead. This is doubly true when there’s pressure (internally or from others) to fit into a particular outfit, look a certain way, or be “on display.” Just to say: I get it. And…you’re spot on: The “lose weight fast” approach is never the optimal path towards healthy, sustainable change. That said, there are steps you can do in the immediate term…and steps to set you up for success long after the wedding. Let’s break it down. How to Fit into That Dress To start with the obvious: Is there any way to alter or change up the dress? I know, I know…a wedding’s a big day and often requires advance planning and great expense. Still, if there’s an option to tailor your dress or choose a new one, please know there’s zero shame in that. You want to enjoy your friend’s special day. Doing so will be way easier if you’re wearing something that fits! I recognize this might entail having an honest, vulnerable conversation with your friend or others involved in the planning process. While that may be difficult, folks sometimes respond better than expected. In fact, they may be experiencing similar places of insecurity. Try to keep all of this in perspective. However special the occasion, it’s one day. It’s also about way more than a dress. This time next year, what you wore will be the last thing anyone remembers. As a Primal Health Coach (and not a stylist or tailor), I do have more to suggest. You didn’t mention how far away the big day is, but I get the sense it’s coming soon. That’s fine. Even if you followed the guidance I’m about to offer for just one week, you’d still feel lighter and more at home in your dress and your skin. Our bodies truly are on our side and are remarkably responsive when we give them what they need to thrive. Even better news? What they need isn’t complicated and doesn’t have to … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: How Do I Lose 10 Pounds Fast?”

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Ask a Health Coach: Can You Be Overweight and Healthy?

Hey folks. Board-Certified Health Coach — and Primal Health Coach Institute’s Coaching Director — Erin Power is here to answer your questions about weight loss, diet culture, and health at different sizes. If you’re wondering how these fit into a Primal approach to eating and lifestyle, read on! Have a question you’d like to ask our health coaches? Leave it below in the comments or over in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.  Tamara asked: “Can you settle a debate between my sister and me? I am so sick of diet culture and fat shaming. Yes, I’m a large-sized woman by some standards, but I feel fine and am otherwise healthy. My sister insists that can’t be the case and keeps telling me to lose weight or go to the doctor. This infuriates me and makes me feel like crap about myself. Please weigh in: Can you be overweight and still be healthy?” I have immense empathy for anyone struggling with fat shaming or the painful, harmful effects of mainstream diet culture. I’m so sorry you’ve experiencing this, Tamara. Shaming, stigmatizing, or stereotyping someone about their body size or other aspects of physical appearance is never okay. It’s also the exact opposite of what usually encourages a meaningful and productive approach to achieving health and wellness. Having this come from a sister or other family member is especially rough. Family dynamics tend to be long practiced, deeply triggering, and difficult to shift. Plus, it’s just not as easy to walk away from a relationship when it’s with a family member. It’s never comfortable to be in relationship with someone who oversteps boundaries and comments on or criticizes your body or weight. Many people unfortunately experience such treatment from family members, partners, friends, colleagues, or even strangers on the Internet. Again, this is never okay. Good for you for recognizing that and seeking backup. Before we get to your question, I do want to encourage you to let your sister know how her words are affecting you. Rather than point out what she’s “doing wrong,” you might calmly and honestly explain that while she may mean well, her commentary is painful, leaves you feeling bad about yourself… or whatever wording rings most true to you. Approach this as setting a boundary, rather than as lodging a complaint, which could cause her to become defensive and shut down. It’s incredibly important for you to speak what it was that bothered you, why, and how you wish to communicate about this topic moving forward (if at all). Let her know that if you want her advice in the future, you will specifically ask. Otherwise, request that she kindly refrain from bringing up your body weight. Now onto your question… Health at Any Size? It’s really important for me to disclose that while there are many experts on this topic (and while the anti-diet approach is one that is growing increasingly interesting to me as a coach), I am not a leading expert in … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: Can You Be Overweight and Healthy?”

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Amber’s Keto Success Story

Today I’m sharing Amber’s story of making her way from vegan to pescatarian to keto—and, ultimately, to health! Have you improved your health, tackled a fitness goal, or overcome obstacles with the help of the Primal Blueprint? Inspire others by sharing your success story with the MDA community. Contact me here. Hi, Mark! I wanted to share how putting the steps provided in your book into practice has changed my life. Thanks for reading. I was already 20 pounds overweight when I gave birth to my son in 2016. During pregnancy I put on another 40 pounds, which put me in the obese category. I let myself indulge in every craving (mainly strawberry shortcake) and paid no attention to the scale. I was overly confident the weight would fall off after delivery, but when it didn’t, I started to think this was just my new normal. Six months later I joined a gym. On day one I stepped on the scale, and when the number was displayed I was completely mortified. I had zero muscles in my abdomen, and they often had to create different exercises specifically for me as I could not participate in their regular classes. I was embarrassed but determined, and after 11 months I was down 30 pounds and feeling proud. However, I was hungry most of the day. In an effort to drop the weight, I had “tinkered” with diets. At the time, I was on a vegan diet that quickly turned into a pescatarian diet. One day, my gym announced they were moving locations and could no longer provide daycare for my son. Just like that, my gym days were over. I tried to “will” myself to the gym at 5 a.m. but it NEVER went well. I could barely keep my eyes open let alone do a proper workout. I let the membership expire and quickly noticed the weight coming back. I could not understand how this was happening. I thought I was making healthy meals. A normal day went like this: One piece of sourdough toast with avocado and some juice. For lunch I would make vegan nachos comprised of a starch-like substance to substitute for cheese along with black beans, rice, lettuce, and tomato served over chips. For dinner I would make yet another dish with beans or fish with gnocchi. It went on like this for the next two years, and abruptly white wine enters the picture. Wine became a constant in my life and—surprise!—I started gaining even more weight. I was tired all the time; I went to bed at 8 and yet woke up exhausted. At age 32 I thought for the first time that this was not any way to live life. I decided to address this extreme exhaustion with my doctor. She ordered labs, and when the results came back (sparing you the details) everything was elevated to “red” in EVERY category. I was shocked and ashamed. My doctor explained a “new” diet she heard remarkable … Continue reading “Amber’s Keto Success Story”

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Are There Any Good Carbs?

I’ve long espoused a fairly low-carb lifestyle for optimal health, but “low-carb” means different things to different people.

For some, it means eating the fewest carbs possible, as in a strict carnivore diet or something more like carniflex, a meat-centric approach that strategically includes some plants.

For others, it means a keto or Atkins-style diet that restricts carb intake.

Some people don’t count carbs at all but still consider themselves “low-carb” because they eat mostly meat, eggs, and vegetables, and they limit things like grains, fruit, legumes, and added sugars. Sound familiar? That’s the classic Primal or paleo approach.

What all these low-carb folks have in common is that they need to decide what to eat day in and day out. Thinking about food all the time can become tedious, especially when you’re trying out a new way of eating and don’t know what’s “allowed.” It’s tempting to sort foods into discrete categories based on macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) and quality (“good” versus “bad” foods) to reduce decision fatigue.

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