The Secret Life of Fat


That’s the name of a new book, subtitled, The Science Behind the Body’s Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You, by Sylvia Tara, PhD. A couple days ago I was listening to a People’s Pharmacy show, #1068, aired on Feb 2 in which Joe and Terry Graedon spend approximately three quarters of an hour interviewing the author.

Sylvia Tara struggled with weight control for the majority of her life and out of that became motivated to learn everything she could about fat, hoping to discover the secrets of successful weight maintenance. What she found underscores my last blog post on The Buffer Zone Diet as well as my own experience with weight control.

The part of the interview I found most interesting was Dr. Tara’s explanation of the hormonal influencers on our fat. She explained that growth hormone, a fat-busting hormone, peaks at night. Consequently, one of the best ways to both lose fat and maintain weight loss is through extending the overnight fasting window.

Sylvia was successful in losing an excess 30 pounds and has kept it off by avoiding food between approximately 4:00 pm and 10:00 am, a similar system to Fred Cuellar of the Buffer Zone Diet.  I also have always found this to be the easiest weight control formula and have practiced it for years, so much so that I rarely eat a meal in the evening.

Sylvia Tara also explained that when we become hungry, our body releases a hormone called ghrellin which in turn increases the output of growth hormone. Therefore, when you experience hunger late in the evening after missing supper, the realization that your body is releasing chemicals that access and burn fat stores can be encouraging. If you feel a real need for nourishment, a small amount of lean protein with some fruit or a vegetable can provide energy and relieve the intensity of hunger.

Of course, eating a healthy diet during the remainder of the day, getting plenty of sleep and including physical activity in your daily routine are important as well to good self-care and effective weight management. Finding a good support group can be a crucial factor as well. Weight Watchers, TOPS, and many others have proven track records for success.




Review of The Buffer Zone Diet

Image result for the buffer zone diet book

I received a copy of this 333 page book from the publisher about six months ago. I feel Fred Cuellar’s very wordy and rambling style could benefit from some editing, removing extraneous information and adding some clarifying charts to illustrate his basic tenets. I’m glad I kept reading though, because there are plenty of gems in the roughage.

In the last third of the text, the author defines the Buffer Zone eating plans. The first 208 pages describe in detail all that Fred learned via experience in diet hell and through his extensive research in healthy weight management. What he discovered is actually the same way I lost weight after each one of my six pregnancies and how I lose extra pounds that creep on ever since – eat a well balanced breakfast, a healthy lunch and very little if anything in the evening.

On page 209 he begins the chapters that define the Buffer Zone diet variations: 1, 2 and 3. Buffer Zone 1 is where he recommends most people to start and it consists of a balanced breakfast, a healthy and satisfying lunch with a light supper meal. The hard core, Zone 3, consists of a good breakfast with a big lunch, no supper. Zone 2 is a variable combination of 1 and 3.

Mr. Cuellar spends considerable time on the importance of daily physical activity, sufficient sleep, and what constitutes a healthy diet. He uses a number of case studies to illustrate common missteps that lead to weight gain and diseases of lifestyle such as high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes and coronary artery disease. The case studies also show how people enmeshed in poor habits can incorporate strategies for healthy living. He emphasizes no snacking, but allows food cravings to be included, with moderation, in the planned mealtimes.

I love all the practical information the author included and since it’s the same weight management program I’ve always used, I know it works and it works very well. I believe it’s the easiest way to lose weight because there’s very little deprivation. You wake up hungry and eat a big, healthy breakfast. At midday, another big, well-balanced meal. When I feel I must have something in the evening, I eat some lean protein (bit of chicken breast, a cheese stick or a homemade smoothie) possibly with some vegetables. Fiber wafers and gum can also help to get you through to bedtime.

Zones 2 and 3 incorporate periodic prolonged fasting (starting after lunch and ending the following morning) which has been demonstrated by considerable research in the past few years to have a host of benefits, including slower aging and a longer, healthier life. Additionally, a recent study by researchers from Loma Linda University and the Czech Republic yields further supportive data for the success of this strategy for effective weight management.

If you are needing help for shedding some unwanted pounds and are looking for advice and encouragement, I would recommend this book. If you only want the brass tacks, just skip to chapters 11 – 14 for the diet low down. I love Fred’s question on page 318 that he asks himself when he wants to indulge cravings and it’s not time to eat – “What’s more important to me; what I want now or what I want most?”  That’s something we would all do well to keep in mind.

Book Review: Beyond Embarrassment

I was asked to review this book by JoAnne Lake, published in 2106, and was happy to do so as it addresses a little known and serious health problem. The book is no doubt one of the best resources available to anyone struggling with the condition of Neurogenic Bladder (NB). It’s an interesting and very informative read, covering the causes of NB and the author’s own medical history and struggles. A large portion of the 247 pages of text is devoted to coping strategies – physical, emotional and spiritual.

I believe anyone who needs information on this difficult medical condition and/or encouragement in dealing with neurogenic bladder will find a wealth of both within the pages of Beyond Embarrassment. I highly recommend it for health professionals as well as those whose lives are challenged with this nerve/bladder dysfunction.

I learned a great deal from reading the book and gained understanding of the struggles that persons who suffer with this condition endure as well as the hazards of certain procedures. The vaginal hysterectomy in particular appears to be one of the leading causal factors.

The question and answer sections which are primarily composed of letters JoAnne received from readers of her blog detailing their personal stories are enlightening. Additionally, the detailed appendices are valuable additions to JoAnne’s very human and engaging book.

Happy Father’s Day!


This photo represents the practical portion my final exam in a two-part course in Adobe Photoshop Elements (PE). It was taught by two quilters, Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki through their interactive online courses. You can read about all they offer at Pixeladies.

I found the courses very interesting and fun, although challenging in that PE is so incredibly complex. It takes a tremendous amount of practice to become proficient at something that has such vast capabilities.

I did gain a good foundation in the most important and useful things for photo editing and I may take other Photoshop courses later on. One great thing about Pixeladies courses is the homework requirements and the fact that Deb and Kris check the student’s work, answer questions and make a lot of helpful suggestions.

Each week we were provided chapter pages of instruction to print out, a very interesting and informative video with Deb teaching that week’s topic and a homework assignment to put the instruction into practice. We were able to interact with all the other students and view their work as well.

Most of the other students were quilters around my age, many having similar interests so it was a group I felt very comfortable in and was inspired by much of their work. I recommend their courses, especially for quilters, as a significant part of some lessons’ content is quilt photo editing related.

You get the best price on PE if you sign up for I and II at the same time. Doing only the first course wouldn’t gain you many skills or tools. If you want to learn photo editing with PE, you really need both courses.