Sunday, 4 October 2009

6 week cure for the middle aged middle

I just got hold of the latest book by Protein Power authors, Dr.s Michael and Mary Eades. Its called the 6 week cure for the middle aged middle.

The book details why in middle age people tend to have bellies despite being slim overall. It details why our eating and drinking habits are playing havoc with our hormones and causing fat to be deposited where it ain't supposed to be!

I also discovered how saturated fat can actively trim your middle, why the "eat less exercise more" prescription fails-and what to do about it and how to fight the fat stored inside your liver that leads to hard-to-lose middle body flab.

In my own experience, I have always had a belly despite being slim overall. I have lean arms and legs, but my belly looks like it has been inflated at times! One of the major culprits is caffeine. Excessive caffeine consumption can increase cortisol which you may be aware can increase fat gain.

Although I am only 29 I am going to give this a go for 6 weeks. Weeks 1&2 is about giving you liver a rest throughout the day by drinking protein shakes only and then having one meal at night.

I am currently on day 2 of this program with NO COFFEE! Now I happily admit I am a coffee junkie (as well as a carb junkie) so this is bloody hard! I have a pounding headache and I feel like I am on withdrawal mode. Last night I am sure I dreamt about cappuccinos!

I will give you some feedback on my results. I wont be doing measurements, I will simply be giving feedback on how I feel and whether my belly reduces!

Wish me luck!



  1. andy, no coffee? you and judith (she's doing the same program) are brave, brave people.

    sidenote*over at, the author is doing a coffee friendly version of the "6weeks". ill be interested to see who pans out better, with or without my beloved java. godspeed!

  2. Andy, good luck! I am onto the first day of week two and I am getting very tired of shakes! The no caffeine was a struggle and the headaches lasted for days but I am ok with it now. It is working - have lost nearly 2 kgs and 4 cms already. Stick with it!

  3. Hello Carb Junkie,

    I just saw your blog today and as a struggling carbaholic myself I was interested to read your posts. A couple of things to share – 1) If you severely cut your carbs down there is no question you will lose the fat around the middle – of that I am sure, especially since you mentioned you have always had a little extra fat there—hereditary predisposition to fat deposition around the middle due to insulin processing—but 2) I thought it was interesting that you were concerned about the cortisol reaction to caffeine but 3) didn’t realize that your cortisol was cranking like crazy after not eating for so long, and that’s what made you feel so awesome on your job interviews!

    Cortisol causes your body to use sugar for fuel, true, but that’s because it is fast fuel, the quick energy that is needed to fuel your fight of flight response (fat is slow fuel). Part of that response is the effect of cortisol on your brain, which is to sharpen cognition, create hypervigilance and focus so you can deal with the stressor or danger. In an unfed state your cortisol is up to release enough sugar needed for fast fuel and sugar required to facilitate fat burning. (The longer it takes you to eat something in the morning, the longer your cortisol stays elevated.) When cortisol is up, your brain is clicking and all the right words come right to mind – you feel like you could do anything. That’s cortisol talking :). It’s magical stuff. But too much is not necessarily good for you. (See the work of Robert M. Sapolsky—the leading researcher on cortisol and stress—great stuff. Try this article: How Do Glucocorticoids Influence Stress Responses? Integrating Permissive, Suppressive, Stimulatory, and Preparative Actions.) Our bodies put limits on the good stuff.

    I had the same experience as you did. I like to go the gym in the morning and then straight to an interview without eating so my brain fires on all cylinders. By the way, I don’t buy the cortisol story that says preferential fat-burning over sugar makes you thin—your body is smart and will use the calories in the most efficient way possible, which means fat burning vs. sugar whenever it can – it works it out. Sugar burning is actually much less efficient (you burn more wasteful energy than you do with fat). The problem is its really hard on the body and brain so you can’t do it for very long, and the more you burn, the more you want. You can burn a lot of fat with sugar burning intensity, but eventually it catches up with you.

    The problem with caffeine is it does stress the adrenals, as does constantly eating sugar and high intensity sugar fuel burning. This eventually can lead to adrenal burnout (I’m there). Especially when you love to work out hard, like you do! (I know how you feel--enough with the pansy stuff!) We are kindred spirits, my friend, which is why we are carbaholics or more accurately, cortisolaholics. Both of them feel good. We like to work hard and play hard, which takes a lot of fast fuel. Cortisol drives you to eat carbs to ensure sugar availability. And I believe carb junkies’ brains are a bit different; maybe we don’t make enough serotonin so we go after the dopamine tap from sugar or the endorphin surge from an intense workout.

    So there is a good reason to avoid the caffeine—too much adrenal stress. Now that I’m 54 and my adrenals are dealing with the extra load of hormone production thanks to menopause, I have to stop all the sugar eating and high intensity sugar burning. Argh!!!!

    Maybe I missed this in your earlier posts, but right now, have you eliminated all the junk sugar calories? How long did it take you to figure that out? Sheer brut force suffering or what?


  4. Hi Brenda!

    Thanks for the interesting info on cortisol. I have definately got rid of the sugar calories most of the time!

    I am addicted to the cortisol high. Are you saying it is bad for the body to be in this state for too long? Surely if it is a natural way to be it must be good for me?


  5. Andy,
    Not at all -- I'm not saying its bad -- it's good for you -- up to a point. With all things in nature, it's all about balance. The extra cortisol from not eating is no big deal, unless you get into trouble from other stimulants and/or stressors in your life. Hard long duration exercise is probably the biggest risk for a hard-driving cortisolic.

    If you go hard all the time, don't get enough sleep, don't eat well, don't take days off, have too much other stress (family, financial, etc.) in your life--well, you get the picture. Stress is good, but it's cumulative to your body. Just enough is great, too much is not. Excess cortisol hurts the brain and stresses the adrenals, but if you get enough rest, your body inactivates the excess cortisol and rebuilds adrenal tissue while you are sleeping. Your body is so incredibly wise -- there are a whole bunch of safety valves so "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." It will take good care of you if you are reasonable.

    So my suggestion is to go ahead and work hard, but 1) don't use stimulants, because they push you outside of your body's natural control system to prevent excess cortisol(e.g. when you overtrain your body shuts you down like it or not; don't use stimulants to work around that) and 2) don't undervalue rest. Most of us don't have the luxury of sleeping an extra hour or two when we work out real hard, but you need that sometimes. If you can't get enough sleep, pull back on the workout duration or intensity. Also, keep the time ratio of continuous exercise (running, cycling, walking) to strength/power, meaning very short duration high intensity exercise, at less than 2:1. Continuous exercise really pounds on the body. I got addicted to long, hard bike rides over the past few years, and I think that's what created my problem. Strength training is much easier on your systemic equilibrium.

    I know while you are working out it feels so good and you feel like you can keep going, which you can, because your body is wonderfully compliant and the endorphins are flowing, but there is a price to pay if you push the envelope too often. Remember, it's not what you do every once in a while that's a problem for your body, but what you do every day. So if you go to the gym and work like a maniac at high intensity 5, 6, or even 7 days a week then shortcut your sleep, after 10-15 years, it adds up and you have a price to pay. Makes sense?

    Mostly though, don't forget to just enjoy life. Congrats on getting rid of the junk sugar. I'm still trying to crack the code on that one.


  6. I would love to know how you did on this. I tried it after Judith, and I can only say it made me feel miserable.