I am reading Protein Power, by Dr. Eades.
I really like it because, I have to tell you, some parts of it are right up my alley. After the introductory chapter and the medical explanations, Dr. Eades goes into how you should measure you percentage of lean and fat body mass, so that you can come to a better understanding of what your ratio is and what your healthy ratio should be, for optimal health, and to promote regulation of your hormones. So, you take various measurements, including your height, circumference at waist and hips (if you are a woman), and plug it into their equation, which is supposed to result in a more accurate understanding of your body mass composition. Once you get this number, Dr. Eades helps you to determine what your minimum daily protein intake should be, so that you can maintain muscle mass while you burn of your dietary fat and adipose tissue, because…you're cutting carbs, baby! (Surprise! Not!). For people like me, who have a lot of weight to lose, or for people like me, who have certain warning signs of hormonal imbalance, you eat 30 or fewer grams of net carbs daily until you get closer to your healthy ratio of lean and fat body mass. So far, I like Dr. Eades book. I'm going to go home later and plug in my measurements and do out the math, and will report back.
One thing that Dr. Eades has emphasized, thus far in the book, is that he really doesn't care about a measurement as simplistic as your weight. Using CAT scan technology, Dr. Eades shows abdominal cross sections of four different people – an average person, a high-level athlete, a person with intra abdominal fat (an apple-shaped/beer belly type), and a person with hip/butt fat (a pear-shaped/junk in the trunk type). Fascinating. The average person and the pear-shaped person carry their fat just under the skin, so it lies like a fat blanket on top of their muscles. The apple-shaped person carries their fat within their abdominal cavity, surrounding their organs, and even inside some of their organs. It's the latter type of fat storage that is related to insulin resistance, which produces all sorts of problems for the body. The pear shaped person, who weighs the same as the apple shaped person, is actually more likely to be much healthier. It goes to show that your weight alone is less of a predictor of health problems than is how much fat you carry for your size and where you store it. It is really quite visually striking.
One suggestion that Dr. Eades made is that individuals stop weighing themselves and start measuring themselves instead, because this is a better measurement of whether you are becoming a healthier person (i.e., one who is less likely to suffer from disease and premature death). Another way that he suggests to measure success is to get yourself a pair of too-small pants, and keep trying them on, week after week, noticing how much closer you are getting to fitting in to them as you continue with his program. The language he used evoked powerful images for me, and may for the other women out there who've experienced the struggle to fit into "skinny jeans". I won't quote him verbatim, but he starts off with these pants which you may not be able to get past mid-thigh. As the weeks progress, and you lose fat and gain muscle (through exercising), you'll be able to work those pants up your thighs. Eventually, you'll get them over your butt. Then you'll be able to zip them a bit, if you lay down on the bed and suck it in. Another week or two, and you're able to zip fully and button (using the lay down-suck in method). Before you know it, you're in those damn skinny jeans, girl, and they fit comfortably. Congratulations.
I am so enamored with this "skinny jeans" measure of success, that I am going to go out there, buy myself a pair of size 10s, and get started on Sunday.