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BY MARK HYMAN, MD

 

It’s time to change the way you think about fat. For 30 years well-meaning diet gurus have preached that eating fat makes you fat.

 

I’m here to tell you that fat, in and of itself, is not what is making you fat. Instead, it’s eating too much of the wrong kinds of fat. After all, all fats are not created equal. But, if you are like 90 percent of Americans, you are eating the wrong kind of fat most of the time. Time for an oil change!

 

What is Fat?

Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks. The average person is between 15 and 30 percent fat! Of all of the types of fats in our diets, the body only REALLY needs two—omega-3 and omega-6.

What is an omega fat? The omega numbers (in this case 3 and 6) refer to where the hydrogen atom joins the fat molecule. Remember, the name is just basic chemistry lingo. What is important is to understand the impact of different fats on the body.

The higher-quality the fat, the better your body will function. That’s because the body uses the fat you eat to build cell walls. You have more than 100 trillion cells in your body, and every single one of them needs high-quality fat.

How do you know if your cells are getting the fats they need? Your body sends signals when it’s not getting enough good fats. It’s up to you to recognize the warning signs:

  1. Dry, itchy, scaling, or flaking skin
  2. Soft, cracked, or brittle nails
  3. Hard earwax
  4. Tiny bumps on the backs of your arms or torso
  5. Achy, stiff joints

Why does the type of fat matter? Building your body from the inside out is just like building a house. You can frame the house with the cheapest stuff you can find or you can invest in quality materials that are going to be energy-efficient and last a long time.

 

Which Fats to Eat and Which to Avoid

If you want to settle for cheap and easy, stick with a diet of processed foods. Most processed foods are made with poor-quality omega-6 fats because they are abundant and cheap. Plus, fat makes food taste good and improves its texture.

Take a look at the ingredients of your favorite packaged food. If the list includes oils made from corn, soy, or safflower you are getting a sub-par fat. When the body puts these cheap fats to work, the cell walls are also sub-par. That means instead of flexible and responsive, cell walls are stiff and rigid. The more rigid the wall, the slower the cell functions and the more vulnerable it is to inflammation.

 

To ensure your body has the fats it needs to construct high-quality cell walls, you need to eat more omega-3 fats. For starters, cell walls made from omega-3 fats are flexible, allowing cells to respond more quickly to messages. Secondly, these “good” fats help the body churn out prostaglandins, hormones that put the kibosh on inflammation. The best places to find omega-3 fats include cold-water fish, organic canola oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and sea vegetables.

 

Your body is designed to run on high-quality fats. Scientists suspect that early humans ate almost equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats (back then most people got their omega-6 fats from seeds and nuts). But, as people began to refine oils from plants, the ratio became skewed more toward omega-6.

 

As a result of fats being out of balance in the modern diet, our bodies are more vulnerable to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. After all, when the human diet contained a balanced number of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, heart disease was almost nonexistent. Now cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the developed world.

 

Body Boon

The more omega-3 fats you eat, the easier your body cools itself. A cool body is a less inflamed body. And inflammation is at the root of nearly every chronic disease, especially those impacting the brain and the heart.

 

Of all the body parts dependent on high-quality fat, the brain is uniquely vulnerable. That’s because the brain is made up of 60 percent fat, the biggest portion of which is an omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA for short).  Your brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

 

After the brain, it’s the heart that will thank you for eating more omega-3s .(4) The heart is a direct beneficiary of omega-3 fats. They tamp down cholesterol by reducing levels of bad fats (triglycerides). Meanwhile, they raise levels of good fats (HDL) in the blood. Part of their magic is that omega-3 fats make blood more slippery, which reduces the likelihood of artery disease. (5)

Beyond the heart and brain, eating the right fat also helps you shed fat. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. Ironically, it’s not eating fat that makes you gain weight it’s eating the WRONG types of fat.

 

3 Ways to Change Your Oil

The process of rebuilding all the walls of your cells can take up to a year, so there’s no time to lose. Here are three ways to change your body’s oil:

  1. Eat more wild or sustainably raised cold-water fish. Aim for two servings a week. The best sources of omega-3s are wild salmon, sardines, herring, or small halibut. Of course, everyone is concerned about the sustainability and safety of fish. It’s important to know where your catch comes from.
  2. Buy omega-3 rich eggs. These are one of the few animal products that are low in toxins and high in quality fats that balance blood sugar. These eggs supply the body with DHA and don’t raise your cholesterol; just the opposite. Enjoy up to eight of these eggs a week.
  3. For good measure, take an omega-3 supplement twice a day with breakfast and dinner. Look for a reputable supplement maker that certifies its products are free of mercury and other contaminants (for more information, see The Healthy Living Store). Choose a supplement with 500 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fats (a ratio of roughly 300 EPA and 200 DHA is ideal).

Of course, it is understandable that people who try to lose weight do so by eliminating fat from their diets. But remember there is no such thing as a healthy fat-free diet. Fat is essential for good health. The key is knowing how to maximize good fats and reduce bad fats to keep your body protected and to rebuild itself every day from the inside out!

Mark Hyman, MD believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. He is a practicing family physician, an eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine and a medical editor of The Huffington Post.

Posted by Jerelyn

Change is an uncomfortable process, and your brain is hardwired to resist it. Here are a few tips that can help you retrain your brain to stay on the right path.

 

Change is an uncomfortable process, and your brain is hardwired to resist it.  When your brain tells you to stick with the same old habits that have made you unhealthy, you need to fight back.  The steps on Brain Fit Life are designed to help you rewire your brain, but don’t expect it to be as easy as flipping a switch. It takes time to overwrite old neural pathways with new ones.  Here are a few tips that can help you retrain your brain to stay on the right path.

 

Don’t try to change everything at once.

 

If you have come to the decision that you want to make changes in your life, you probably want them to happen NOW!  But after 30 years of helping patients navigate the change process, I have learned that taking a gradual approach is the surest way to success.  So many people try to change all at once, but this almost inevitably invites disappointment and failure.  You don’t have to change dozens of behaviors at once.  Start with a few vital behaviors—the ones that will have the biggest immediate impact—and go from there.

 

Believe you can do it.

 

If you don’t believe in yourself, you will never achieve your goals. Take what you learned – Kill the ANTs and start changing your negative thinking patterns to honest and positive thinking to help you believe that you can do it.

 

Don’t swap one bad habit for another.

 

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you may think that kicking your sugar habit is the ultimate goal.  So, instead of chomping on chocolate in the afternoon, you start sipping a diet soda or a café latte.  Yes, it isn’t chocolate, but it still isn’t good for your brain.  I see this so many times with my patients who quit one bad habit only to acquire another one in its place.

 

Some people even turn to illicit drugs.  At the 2010 meeting of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, researchers presented evidence that some people who have bariatric surgery replace their food addiction with drug or alcohol addiction.  A survey of post-bariatric surgery patients in substance abuse programs revealed that 85% of them put some of the blame on “addiction substitution,” and 75% thought “unresolved psychological issues” played a role in their substance abuse.

 

This doesn’t surprise me!  As I’ve said before, stapling your stomach may be working on the wrong organ.  There may be underlying biological, psychological, social, or spiritual causes for your overeating.  If you get rid of your problem foods or have surgery to shrink your stomach but do NOT address these underlying problems, you won’t make any progress.  You will simply look for other ways to self-medicate.  To be your best self, you need to kick your bad habits without replacing them with others.

 

Remember that change never stops.

 

Our bodies and lives are in a constant state of change.  Marriages, divorces, job transfers, pregnancies, injuries, illnesses, and hormonal transitions are just some of the many things that keep us in flux.  Because of this, as you reach your initial goals, you may decide that you want even greater results.  Or, unexpected things might happen in your life that make you reevaluate your original benchmarks and downshift your expectations.  Just know that with every change that comes into your life, you have the power to be in control of the way you handle that change.

 

DR. DANIEL AMEN is a co-founder of The Daniel Plan, physician, double board certified psychiatrist, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, neuroscientist, and nine-time New York Times best selling author.  He is the founder and medical director of Amen Clinics in Newport Beach and San Francisco, CA; Bellevue, WA; Reston, VA; Atlanta, GA; and New York City, NY.  Dr. Amen’s extensive research and innovative approach to optimizing the brain has helped missions of people worldwide.    

Untitled Document

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold." (1 Peter 1:7a NLT)

The Bible repeatedly says that God has promised to meet your needs: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

But the Bible also tells us that with every promise there is a condition. One of the conditions for this promise is that you have to trust him. The more you trust God, the more God is able to meet needs in your life.

So, how can you learn to trust God more so he can meet all of your needs? How can you learn to have greater faith? 

You don’t get faith by sitting in a Bible study group or just talking about it. Faith is like a muscle; it develops by being used. The more you use your faith, the more it gets stretched. And the more it gets stretched, the more God is able to bless your life. 

We call the circumstances that God creates to stretch our faith "trials": "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold" (1 Peter 1:7a NLT).

There are four common trials that God uses to test our faith, and, chances are, you’re in one of these tests right now. When you go through them, you can know that it is an opportunity for you to develop your faith so you can trust God more. I'll talk about the first two today and the next two tomorrow.

  1. The Pressure Test

The pressure test asks the question, “How will you handle stress?" Will you depend on yourself, or will you depend on God? Psalm 50:15 says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me" (NIV). Do you turn to God when you're in trouble and not to other things?

 

  1. The People Test

God often uses people in your life to test and stretch and develop your faith. This test asks the question, “How will you handle disappointment?” Life is often disappointing. Careers, marriages, and even plans don’t turn out the way we planned them. But the most disappointing thing in life is people. Why? We get disappointed by people because we expect them to meet a need that only God himself can meet. This is a test!
Your problem is not the people in your life. Your problem is your response to the people in your life. People are not the problem, and they’re not the answer to the problem, either. The answer is God. When you expect other people to be your savior, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. 
Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence” (NLT). What happens if you trust in the Lord? Look at God’s promise in Isaiah 49:23: “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (NIV).

 

Talk It Over

  1. Which of these tests is God using in your life right now to stretch your faith?
  2. How will you choose to respond to the stress and people in your life that are testing your faith?

Pastor Rick Warren's radio teaching and daily devotional, Daily Hope, is offered across America and designed for your daily quiet time.  Love, learn, and LIVE the Word everyday with Daily Hope!  Subscribe to the free Daily Hope Devotional or listen to today’s radio broadcast!

Posted by Jerelyn

BY MARK HYMAN, MD

 

The average person gains 11 pounds for every diet they go on. Even worse, when they lose weight, they lose muscle and fat. When they regain weight, they gain back all fat. And since muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat, their metabolism is slower than when they started the diet. The cruel fact is that they then need even less calories to maintain their weight.

 

Haven’t you known someone who was very overweight and said they don’t eat that much? They may not be lying. They have just damaged their metabolism by yo-yo dieting.

 

The key to losing weight and keeping it off are two simple things. First, automatically reduce your appetite not by white knuckling it and starving yourself but fixing the out-of-whack hormones and brain chemistry that drive hunger and overeating.

 

The second is to automatically increase your metabolism so you burn more calories all day long. Unfortunately, most diets do the opposite – increase hunger and slow metabolism.

Here are the five reasons most diets fail and how to succeed.

 

1. You use willpower instead of science to control your appetite

There is a science of hunger. Unfortunately, most diets (eating less) will trigger hunger. You can only hold your breath for so long. You can only starve yourself for so long. Powerful ancient mechanisms compensate and protect us from starvation (even if it is self induced). Our hunger dramatically increases, our cravings ramp up and our metabolism slows way down to conserve energy. Eating certain foods (low fat, higher carb or sugary foods) actually increases hunger and slows metabolism.

Success Principle: Appetite

  • Eat enough to satisfy your appetite (but only real whole fresh food).
  • Eat protein for breakfast and avoid eating 3 hours before bed.
  • Compose your meals to balance blood sugar and lower insulin. Combine protein, fat and low-glycemic, non-starchy carbs (vegetables, fruit, small amounts (less than half a cup of grains and beans) at each meal. Fat and protein and fiber slow insulin spikes.

 

2. You focus on calories (eating less and exercising more)

 

The mantra of calories in/calories out, of energy balance as the key to weight loss, is quickly entering the scientific dustbin. In my last blog on Automatic Weight Loss, I reviewed the science behind that fact that all calories are not created equally.

 

Some calories make you fat, some calories make you thin. What we now know is that any foods that spike insulin (sugar, flour and even excess grains, fruit and beans) trigger a shift in your metabolism. What does insulin do? It drives all the fuel in your blood from the food you just ate into your hungry fat cells (visceral or belly fat).

Then, your body thinks you are starving even though you just at a giant bagel or sucked down a Big Gulp. And remember, two things happen when your body thinks you are starving – you increase hunger and slow metabolism.

Have you ever eaten a big meal, then, an hour later, felt hungry again and needed to go raid the fridge or eat something sweet? That’s why.

 

Success Principles: Calories

  • Focus on very low-glycemic foods as the staples of your diet. Nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, grass fed meats, low-glycemic veggies (greens, salad fixings, etc.)
  • Use grains and beans sparingly (not more than a half cup once a day each).
  • Use sugar– in very small doses. And all sugar is the same. If you have to ask “is ______ OK?” It isn’t.
  • Don’t use artificial sweeteners– they trigger sweet receptors, hunger and slow metabolism leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

 

 3. You eat a low-fat diet

Most people still believe we should avoid egg yolks and that eating a low-fat diet will help them lose weight. The old idea that fat has 9 calories per gram and carbs 4 calories per gram led to the mistaken idea that if we cut out fat, we would lose weight.

 

Well, look what’s happened to America in the last 30 years, where low fat has been the rage and the method for weight loss. We are fatter than ever (70 percent of us are overweight), and now, 1 in 2 Americans has pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes or what I like to call “diabesity.”

 

Harvard scientist Walter Willet reviewed all the science on low fat and weight loss and found that it is not eating fat that makes you fat but sugar. A recent study by David Jenkins found that a low-carb (26%), high-fat (43%) vegan diet was more effective for weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk factors than a vegan low-fat diet. The high-fat group lost 4 more pounds and dropped their cholesterol 10 more points by eating high fat. They called it Eco-Atkins!

 

Other studies show that by eating more fat and less carbs you can increase your metabolism by 300 calories a day (eating the same total calories a day). That’s like getting the benefit of running for an hour a day without getting off the couch. You could call it “The Butt Diet.” Sit on your butt and lose 1 pound every 11 days.

 

Success Principles: Fat

  • Don’t fear fat. It actually makes you feel full, speeds up your metabolism and helps you lose weight.
  • Eat good fats at every meal.
  • Eat vegetable fats, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut butter or oil
  • Eat clean animal fats (organic eggs with the yolk, chicken, grass-fed meats) and fish with omega 3 fats (sardines, herring, wild salmon, black cod).

 

 4. You have hidden reasons and need medical help

There are reasons beyond your diet or amount of exercise that affect your weight and metabolism. Your body is a system and many things affect metabolism. I have written about them in my books, The Blood Sugar Solution, or The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.

 

The biggest hidden causes of weight grain or resistance to weight loss are the things that cause inflammation. And inflammation from anything that triggers weight gain by worsening insulin resistance.

 

What causes inflammation?

 

Hidden food allergies or sensitivities. Gluten and dairy are the most common culprits. But don’t switch to gluten-free or dairy-free options. Gluten-free cakes and cookies are still cake and cookies. They are still very high in sugar and refined carbs and flours. Just try soy yogurt with the sweeteners. You wouldn’t eat it!

 

Gut Problems. The microbiome – the 100 trillion bacteria in your gut – play an enormous role in metabolism and health. If you have bad bugs (from eating refined, high-sugar, carb, low-fiber diet or taking antibiotics, acid blockers) they can either trigger inflammation or alter how your food is broken down and absorbed. Fecal transplants from a thin to an obese person will change their metabolism. What’s next? Poop transplants for weight loss. Maybe!

 

Toxins. Science has discovered that common environmental chemicals (pesticides, household cleaners, make up, pollution and heavy metals) can be “obesogens.” Chemicals that make you fat. In animal studies, giving rats a toxin caused weight gain even if they ate the same amount of calories and exercised the same.

 

Success Principles: Find Hidden Causes of Weight Gain

  • Try an elimination diet. Not eliminating calories but getting rid of inflammatory foods. Start with gluten and dairy. 100 percent for 3 weeks.
  • Fix your gut. Avoid gut-busting drugs (acid blockers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories).
  • Starve the bad bugs by eating a low-glycemic, low-fermentation (starch) diet. Take probiotics. See a Functional Medicine doctor to get help if you don’t success on your own.
  • Detox your body and your life. Reduce exposure to environmental and common chemicals. See the resources at the Environmental Working Group to reduce exposures in skin-care products, household products and the food you eat (meat and veggies). And the NRDC resource for eating fish without mercury. Eat two cups of cruciferous veggies a day (broccoli family). You may need help from a Functional Medicine doctor to do a medically supervised detoxification program.

 

 5. You don’t have a plan.

Health is not something that happens to you. It is something you have to plan, like a vacation or your retirement! Most of us fail because we don’t “design our health.” We don’t set up the conditions for automatic success.

In my book The 10-Day Detox Diet, one of the days is focused on the principle of “Design.” How do you design your life so that you don’t have to think about doing the right thing? You create conditions for making it easy – have all the right foods in the house, the right ingredients all ready for your morning protein shake, creating an emergency travel food pack, having your plan for exercise for the week in advance.

 

Also, we find that doing things together makes them easier. At Saddleback Church, we got 15,000 people to lose 250,000 pounds in a year by having them do it together. Every body needs a buddy! Joining a group of people doing this in person or an online community or group makes it fun and makes it work. We have created online challenges where people have had profound success in redesigning their life for good.

 

Find what works for you but don’t expect health to happen. You have to plan for it!

 

Success Principles: Create a Plan

  • Commit to designing your health. Do it weekly on Sundays!
  • Create an emergency life pack of food.
  • Join a community or get a buddy or a friend.

 

The science of health and weight loss is not a mystery. But old ideas die hard. If you look out for these five ways that diets fail and focus on the principles of success then you will build habits and practices that work. Health and weight loss are not a struggle. It’s not rocket science, just science!

 

Mark Hyman, MD believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. He is a practicing family physician, an eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine and a medical editor of The Huffington Post.

Posted by Jerelyn

One of the most powerful tools to keep you on track with The Daniel Plan is your journal.  Tracking your results keeps you focused and in tune with your progress.   One of the primary reasons why people don't succeed at losing weight and getting healthy is because they neglect to track their food intake and daily habits.

 

Research shows that keeping a food journal DOUBLES weight loss in just 10 weeks and helps you maintain your ongoing achievements. Describing your journey in a written format will help you stay focused on your goals and gives you a record of your progress to help you stay motivated and use that momentum to keep moving forward.

 

Perks To Keeping a Journal

1.) Carefully thought out goals that are written down are powerful.

2.) Keeping yourself accountable is directly tied to success.

3.) Writing down everything that goes into your body makes you conscious, aware, and more likely to do the right things (avoiding food amnesia)!

4.) Keeping a journal lets you see your progress. Often progress in one area will spill over and create positive impact in another area. Before you know it, you will be a new person.

 

It All Starts With Setting Goals

Before you start journaling, make sure you set goals for yourself. These goals should be:

  • Specific: goals are clear and distinct.
  • Measurable: emphasizes the need for tangible benchmarks.
  • Attainable: goals need to be realistic.      
  • Relevant: goals that matter.
  • Time-bound: stresses the importance of attaining the goal within a certain time frame.

 

Setting these goals will help your brain help you make it happen!                

 

Track Your Daily Habits

Eating right is only part of The Daniel Plan. Getting more physical activity, doing mental exercises, changing negative thinking patterns, reducing stress, knowing your numbers, getting good sleep, taking your supplements—these are all important aspects too. If you want to get the most out of The Daniel Plan, you need to track your daily habits and keep track of how your are doing in the 5 Essentials: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends.

 

The Daniel Plan Journal will help you assess your health, stay motivated, track your progress, and adopt new habits. It will also give you the encouragement you need to stay the course with biblical inspiration each day. This is what makes The Daniel Plan unique—faith is the starting point.

This 40-day journal will help you move toward your goals of healthier living.


 
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