5 Foods to lose weight + thoughts

Yesterday Christine brought in about 1 million diet and recipe books, I love books especially recipe books. There were a couple I was excited to look at one was the JJ Virgin book. When I opened the book wow was I disappointed. First thought, who has time for this? Look I value my health and fitness over most things, this brings quality to my life and in a world that is at times overwhelming knowing I can rely on me taking care of my body is valuable. Second thought, disgusting! Why would I want to eat this crap? Third thought, diets suck.

This email showed up in my box today talking about using your must have foods to help you lose weight and not feel like you are on a diet. It was written by the Eat Stop Eat guy who I'm a big fan of his fasting and reverse taper protocols. He makes excellent points on how most diets suggest consuming too much protein as well as how dieting at low calories for extended periods of time can hurt your body contributing to that rebound in weight gain. Over the years I've used a lot of what I've learned about myself as well as others, for me being able to overeat some days and under eat others makes me happy, keeps me strong and maintains my body goals. 

Last thought before the email is if you are on a program made for bodybuilders and you are not taking PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) it is not healthy.  It is not okay for your hormones, and it will work but at what cost, your health. Trust me, if 70% of girls competing in bikini use PEDs how many others who we look at with the bodies we want do them. #noeggwhites #noricecakes #gross

From Eat Stop Eat. List the 5 foods you know you have to eat in order to stay sane and happy OR help you lose weight. They can be any combination of the daily things you eat that either:
A) support your weight loss efforts, or
B) You need to eat in order to NOT feel like you are on some crazy restrictive diet that is slowly ruining your life and making you a miserable person to be around ;)

Here’s my list:

1) Protein - I like to have around 100 grams a day (I explain why in How Much Protein), and without supplements this takes a little practice

2) Water - OK, not technically a food, but it helps keep my head clear and I can tell when I forget to drink enough.

3) Espresso in the morning - Probably the only thing that keeps me from committing terrible crimes

4) Guinness - Want to make me VERY aware that I am dieting? Then take this away from me. I don’t need a drink every night, but knowing I CAN have a pint if I WANT TO goes a long way in making responsible eating manageable.

5) Mint chocolate chip ice-cream - If I had to choose between having ice-cream or abs, I would go buy bigger pants right now. The ice-cream would win. Luckily, I don’t have to make that choice. I just have to keep the serving size realistic.

That’s my 5 foods. If I keep these in the rotation, then weight loss and weight maintenance are much easier for me. If I don’t keep these in check, then weight loss becomes difficult and I become miserable. I feel "restricted" which usually ends with me breaking down after a week or two, since I miss eating the foods and having the drinks I like the most.

I’d like you to take some time and identify your 5 foods.  They can be any combination of foods you feel you need while losing weight and foods you want in order to feel human.

Once you have your list of 5 foods, here’s what you do next.

Tally up the calories that come from your 5 foods. Feel free to round up.

For me this comes to:

1 - 100 grams of protein X 4 Calories per gram, plus a bunch of heavy rounding = 500 Calories
2 - Zero Calories
3 - Zero Calories
4 - 120 Calories, but I’ll round to 150 to be safe
5 - 250 Calories, but I’ll round to 350 to be safe.

Next subtract these calories from your daily calorie goal.

So my "must haves" come to 1,000 calories. This means I have anywhere from 800 to 1,400 calories every day for other food. And remember, it’s not like I have ice-cream and Guinness EVERY day, so sometimes this number is lower.

The bottom line is now I only have to worry about the other foods I eat in a day. And it’s much easier to be good knowing that the foods I really want to have, I’m allowed to have. No feeling deprived.

Identifying your "must haves" helps keep everything in perspective as you try to manage your weight.

How's That Working For You?

Nutrition is key in so many areas of life. With so many options of eating almost making it more confusing as to how we reach out goals, let's talk about three of the most important issues.

First, do you have a nutrient deficiency?If you are an athlete you are more likely to be deficient in iodine, vitamin d, zinc, vitamin e, calcium, and magnesium. Add to this if you are on one of the more popular diet plans vitamin b7, chromium, and molybdenum. Furthermore are you under stress you may need more protein and omega 3. 

Blood, saliva, and urine testing are ways to accurately see what is going on. Let's look at something a little easier as a starting point. 

Here are a few of the most common 

  1. Water (low-level dehydration) solution, you guessed it drink more water. 
  2. Vitamins and minerals solution, eat more variety of foods rich in vitamins and minerals and supplement with absorbable minerals and vitamins.
  3. Protein particularly in woman and in men with low appetites solution eat more foods rich in protein.  How much protein do you actually need? Ask your coach.
  4. Essential fats solution, eat more good fats grass fed beef, fatty fish, algae oil coconut oil and or supplement with a whole food omega 3. 

Next how much are you putting into your piehole.

For example, men might begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at most meals; and
  • 2 thumbs of fat dense foods at most meals.

And women might begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at most meals; and
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at most meals.

This can also be dependant on other factors. How is your digestion and gut health? How is your sleep?  What is your body type? Don't know ask your coach for help, we are here for you.

For 9 in 10 people, eliminating nutrient deficiencies and getting food portions right will make a huge difference in how they look and feel.

However, for those who want to go further – because they have more advanced goals or because they’re already doing the first two and still struggling – what is your food composition.

Last but not least meal frequency.

For years dietitians and nutritionists (myself included) thought that the best approach to splitting up your daily food intake was to eat small meals frequently throughout the day.

From early research, we assumed that this would speed up the metabolism, help control the hormones insulin and cortisol, and help better manage the appetite. However, we now know better.

All the latest research suggests that as long as we eat the right foods in the right amounts, meal frequency is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I find eating 2 meals per day works best for me. 

Always listen to your body, do a self-check in asking the question "How is that working for you?"

Remember we are here to help, ask the question, and when you feel like you are ready to make changes, don't overwhelm yourself with doing it all at once. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. When you are struggling don't give up let's problem solve. Realize fixing a long term gut issue or hormone imbalace can take months and the results can be profound. You deserve optimal health and we are here to help. Our staff is extremly knowlegable in many aspec of health with all our own experiences with self experimentation. 

Now Go Lift Something Heavy

How's your squat?

This morning I was scanning Youtube over a cup of coffee and come across this video: https://youtu.be/Fob2wWEC72s

This is pretty well in line with how we teach squats at Karma. I teach the squat from the ground up, so feet first with 8 "rules" most of which are negotiable.

The first 3 address the feet:

1. Feet about hip width apart -- (totally negotiable). Depending on what feels comfortable and natural. I personally squat pretty narrow. Coach Nicole tends to squat fairly wide. Katy (while re-taking a CrossFit course) actually had her knee tweak while being made to squat into the "cookie cutter" squat idea in this video.

2. Toes about 15 degrees out -- (totally negotiable). This falls in line with number 1, it may just feel a little better to toe-out more, but I will tie that to another point in a moment.

3. Weight in your heels/mid-foot -- (not negotiable). This has to do with how the muscles recruit how the knee gets loaded while squatting. The idea that squatting is bad for the knees isn't correct but squatting too far forward on your foot can be rough on the knees and needs to be avoided.

The next 2 address the knees:

4. The knee shouldn't extend past the toes -- (totally negotiable). This is a really common misconception with squatting, but it relates to #3 above. For many people the knee goes out past the toes because the are too far forward in their feet. And we already said that is a non-negotiable point, your weight needs to stay heel/mid-foot. If you have flexible ankles or are wearing weightlifting shoes or both your knee might well extend past your toes while keeping your weight back in your foot. If that's the case you're fine!

5. The knee tracks inline with the toes/point of shoe -- (not negotiable). So, many people might say "Well the Chinese lifters..." and yeah, I know. Basically the knee is a hinge, and hinges are not really meant to twist. If that doesn't make sense take the top hinge off of any door in your house and see how the bottom hinge holds up. In this video the doc refers to this as the joints being stacked. For long term knee health this matters.

The next 2 address the hip:

6. The hip should drop below the knee or "below parallel" depth -- (negotiable). This is really negotiable for new lifters mostly, eventually everyone should be working to that depth as it takes the hip through a full range of motion and will help keep the joint healthy. Besides that, how else our you going to poop while camping? If you're a new lifter and you can't get to that depth without breaking one of the non-negotiable rules above or without keeping your spine in a good position (more on that in a second) then chasing that depth might do more bad then good.

7. The hip should start the movement back and down (semi-negotiable). So this is really based on proximity to the spine. The brain communicates with the body though the spine so body parts closer to the spine get the information first and should move first. This is really what is meant by "core" it has nothing to do with having a six-pack set of abs! The reason I say semi-negotiable is in part because nerve impulses are electricity and that moves fast enough that the time from your hip to knee is basically irrelivant and a good squat often looks like the movement is happening simultaneously. However, and especially in CrossFit, most people come in squatting pretty badly so if you exagerate the movement of your hips back you are less likely to break the non-negotiable rule about weight distribution in your foot from above. It is an over-correction to teach it this way, but as long as it is smoothed out as the squatting motion matures that's fine.

The last one addresses the lumbar spine:

8. Keep your back straight (non-negotiable). First off, staight isn't the same as vertical. Second, the spine has some natural curve to it anyway, that's what we want to maintain. This is a problem when you load the spine in an excessive arch, the weight bearing discs in the spine don't like that. What this looks like is often confused with starting the motion from the hip. Starting from the hip is "hinging" and the butt moves back. Starting from the lumbar is "arching" and the butt moves back. One is good, the other isn't. Then of course there is the butt rounding under in the bottom position or the "butt wink". There is a lot that can be addressed here that I will save for another time, but basically the spine loaded out of the normal curves is not a good idea. In the video you'll see that talked about as it relates to the range of motion of the hip joint and why different positions are needed for different lifters. Sometimes it's just poor motor control. At any rate it should be avoided.

Who's That Girl?

Hard work pays off. Follow the plan, work with yourself, not against yourself. Find motivation, surround yourself with like-minded people. 
Before and after photos from Renee's first NPC bikini competition. She has been a CrossFit athlete at Karma CrossFit for five years and had an excellent base of muscle.

Nine weeks of prep, posing practice, walking in heels, mentally getting ready to be judged on stage. Some people will dismiss Bikini competition as being something other than hard work, too girlie.  Ask anyone who dedicates the hours at the gym, food prep and time away from family and dealing with dismissal from unsupporting people as well as crabs. Not only did Renee do a fantastic job placing 3rd she became stronger in the process increasing her Deadlift, Squat and Bench numbers. 

Everyone's journey is different. Enjoy the process it is rewarding and you will find out a lot about who you are.

Lets Talk About My Menstrual Cycle

Around here it gets referred to as shark week, and I intend to have buttons printed indicating where I am so people understand what the hell is going on in my body, in hopes that far fewer feeling will be hurt. Let's face it I dish out a lot more shit than whip cream even in an up cycle, and you MUST be a strong person to take me on and stick around as I'm not a personality to be taken lightly. 
Ok, ok, so why do I want to talk about my period? Today I woke up feeling FANTASTIC! Even above my typical awesomeness and I couldn't figure out why. Well, Renee brought me coffee, which made my day. It's Friday and those make me pretty stoked for the weekend. Great conversation with a client, did some high-tech problem-solving, it's leg day, hmmm, oh hello Aunt Flow.
To some, this may seem confusing "I thought you are bitchy, crampy, tired, nobody wants to be around you because basically when you bleed you are a bitch." 
Understanding and accepting how hormones fluctuate throughout the month can empower you to be more productive, creative, kinder, and dominate as women should.  
Here is the run down on a female cycle.
Days 1-5, the menstrual phase can be empowering. More rational thought and mental awareness, it's a time when I experience a lot of epiphanies. Although I may find myself a little more physically tired,  it's heavy week weightlifting time for me, and I can put up some high numbers. In many native cultures that held women in high regard, they believed at this period women were more intuitive. 
It's a splendid time to let go, re-frame, new ideas, you'll have some wicked inherent creativity. Rest & Renewal.
Now we are talking, embrace the energy days 6-13 offer. With estrogen and testosterone revving up you'll feel more confident, outgoing, energetic, basically a take on and over the world kind of energy. 
Now is the time to take on those research projects, you have clarity and can concentrate. It is a crucial juncture for learning, starting new challenges like exercise or meal plan and be able to follow through. 
With the rise of progesterone on days 14-20 the high levels of energy, you experience go towards emotional well-being and relationships. It's a magnificent time to communicate, create relationships, be supportive, and be a team player. 
The creative phase days 21-28. What most times is referred to as PREMENSTRUAL and dreaded by most humans on planet Earth. Your hormones are bottoming out, feelings of self, less empathy for others, critical of most things, without understanding that you need to show yourself more kindness be less type A, and give yourself room for love and rest. A splendid time to be inspired, imaginative, identify and solve problems. Best time to do a real house, mind, body cleanse. 
Once I learned about how my hormones cycle, so many things I did, tolerated and reacted to made sense. I learned I could be more empathetic to others needs and more giving to myself without feeling selfish. My goal here is that at least of few women and men read this and can accept the cycle that women experience with love and understanding. 

When I Eat 5000 Calories in One Meal

As the holidays are upon us, I wanted to share my experience with WD (Warrior Diet). Some of you have heard me talk at length about how much I love this way of eating. Now to be fair I followed this diet a lot like I follow a recipe, I feel my way through it and make it my own.

Why am I sharing today? Yesterday in one sitting I ate and drank 5000ish calories, for a 5'4.5" 120# 45-year-old woman I'm saying that is solid when I eat about 1100 calories for post workout and another 800 calories before bed. My scale weight was the same today as it was yesterday post eating coma-inducing amounts of food. 

It was 2010 when I first read the book by Ori Holfmekler; it was the complete opposite of what I had been doing in contest prep with Team Bombshell. In that contest prep I'd lost strength energy and my sense of wellbeing, it completely drained me, and I was ready for a change and taking on the WD was just what I needed. 

Although I'd say my thyroid function was down from all the conditioning, the massive amount of reps and low-calorie low-fat diet (which I added to what they suggest because I was dying). My body-fat percentage was I'd say close to a legit 12%; Will had me at 9% with calipers, my insulin, and other functions were prime for adding more calories and staying lean.

Here is what I did.  

  • Coffee with cream 
  • Workout prepping for Masters Open USAW (weightlifting) at 8 am or 10 am 
  • Post workout I'd start to eat at either 11 am or 1 pm
    • 1-2 pounds of meat, about 4 cups of broccoli or other steamed veggie and then potatoes (sometimes crisps) or rice, really anything else I felt like eating until I was full. Sometimes I'd take a nap and then get up and continue eating if I had time left. The eating would continue until my 4-hour window closed.
  • That was it; I didn't eat anything outside of my window.
  • On non-training days I would eat what I would call "normal" breakfast lunch and supper. 

While following this protocol of eating I had more energy, clearer thought process, was positive and got a lot done because I wasn't cooking food, cleaning dishes or eating food which can all be time-consuming. Also doing this gave me the opportunity to eat one type of meat every day which I think is important for variety. 

This way of eating went against everything I had ever felt right in fitness.

  • Eat six meals per day or more
  • Eat every 2 hours
  • Eat all the protein 
  • All Fat is bad
  • Don't eat too many carbs
  • Don't eat after 6 pm
  • If you eat carbs before bed, you will store them as fat
  • Artificial sweeteners are awesome
  • Keep your glucose level, so you don't lose your shit
  • If you don't eat, you will burn muscle 
  • Your metabolism will slow down
  • Always eat breakfast it gets your metabolism going for the day

All of those things were untrue or at least for a whole lot of people I've worked with doing intermittent fasting to correct hormone issues and me. Not only did I function better, get stronger, stay leaner I have more time to do things that make me happy. So why do so many people promote the many meal frequency diet? If you are using performance enhancing drugs, you have to eat more often, and it doesn't matter if you eat low fat because your body is chemically altered. Am I against drug use in sport or just for shits and giggles, honestly not at all, if that's what you want, go for it, just don't hurt yourself and get help from a reliable person. 

The issue is when a drug using person promotes their way of doing things to the non drug users as the only way to acheive their body. Low fat, high cardio, small meals all day long, mass amounts of protien. It's time for this to stop, we have better information and should just stop looking at someone with an amazing physique and trying to follow what they do "Less the drugs of course" which in tern = not the same results, continued frustration and failure.

Not long ago I read that 70% of bikini competitors use drugs, seriously? Why? Whoever they are getting coaching or information from only knows how to get people into shape using drugs. They push to the last minute, not following their plan in the first place and need to drastic diet, take clen, T3 or Anavar. It hurts my soul when these people promote their way as healthy, look at me; I'm so fit. Like photoshop and filters, smoke and mirrors you will never see the truth because there is no long hall in fitness for these people.

My final thoughts.

  1. Eating once or twice per day is awesome. Currently, I'm four months out of competition prep, weigh 120# at 13% body fat (via DEXA-scan) eating 2200 calories per day
  2. Competition weight 114# at 12% body fat eating 1400 calories per day doing too much conditioning and feeling like poop
  3. Everyone is different, and one way is not for everyone
  4. Eating egg whites alone is stupid if someone gives you that on your meal plan shin them. Seriously, you need fat soluble vitamins; you need cholesterol and fat to make hormones
  5.  Lift heavy weights, and heavy is relative. If you spend time under tension with a lighter weight that's awesome, just don't do a ton of cardio or conditioning thinking that is the way to health
  6. Please learn the basics squat, press, deadlift from someone who knows what they are doing. You will learn not to be afraid, get the free weights moving and stay away from the machines
  7. Ultimately health should be your goal

Look I believe that we are all different and need variety but sometimes people are so caught up in the dogma that they convince themselves it's real. Placebo is about 1/3, so anything is possible if you believe it. 

Am I sold on the Warrior Diet no, there are several things that I just can't agree with, and I'm ok with that. I like knowing I don't have to eat breakfast, or every two to three hours to keep my health and fitness at their peak. 


The Glassman Chipper: Week 12 "Interview: Coach Greg Glassman"

What better way to get answers to the CrossFit frequently asked questions than to ask the founder?  In this Week 12 article, Coach Glassman speaks with the CrossFit Journal to reiterate many points made in the previous 11 articles.


  • "Done right, they (the Workouts of the Day) have a horrific impact; they're designed that way."
  • "...gaining familiarity has to be the first step."
  • "We design and deliver a broad-based general fitness."
  • "Blending workouts from each domain (gymnastics, weightlifting, sprinting) gives us a total greater than the sum of the parts - a gorgeous hybrid."

Post to comments.

The Glassman Chipper: Week 10 "A Postural Error"

A Costly Biomechanical Fault: Muted Hip Function (MHF)

By now, I would hope that you have realized that the majority of the movements (and all functional movements) that we perform center on shoulder and hip function.  The Glassman Chipper article for Week 10 describes how hip function radiates up and down stream through the rest of your body, and degrades efficiency and effectiveness when operating sub optimally.

Review the notes, and if you are experiencing MHF, dial-in your high-rep Push Press form as an assessment. Beyond that, if you still want to put in work, the CrossFit Journal is an excellent resource.

Post to comments.

The Glassman Chipper: Week 9 "Fast Food"

Fast Food deconstructs the label, providing example that it is not necessarily faster than healthier options, nor is it necessarily food.

The bottom line is: Put yourself in the mindset to make better choices.  The prices do not have to be the determining factor, and the payoff is definitely worth it.

Post to comments.

The Glassman Chipper: Week 5 "The Muscle-up"

On the original layout of the CrossFit.com website there used to be a section where athletes could post their first muscle-up.  As the community boomed, and the overall proficiency of movement increased, this feature became less relevant.  Nonetheless, the muscle-up remains a right of passage for CrossFitters and is recognized internally by gyms as an achievement of training progress.