Are home schooled children leaner than traditionally schooled kids?

I saw the article Home schooled children leaner than traditionally schooled kids and just had to share and keep it.

It is just one study but it’s an important consideration. The impact of school on socialisation and health. The study makes clear these results came before the latest health standards were implemented at school but also makes clear the dependence you have on the school system when you’re kids are there.

It’s also important to remember that we haven’t heard the whole story

  • What’s the range and regularity? These are averages 
  • How much leaner? I didn’t see any numbers. 
  • What was classed as traditional
I’m not ripping apart the study. Just something I think of regularly in any study. Every report you get is biased but the bias is always slightly different. You will never get the full story so it’s work thinking a little deeper. 
An interesting question though. 

Why eating while moving can be bad for you?

Building on the idea that it’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it it’s important to explain the reasons why moving while eating can be bad for you. Knowing this can make sure it never is bad for you by empowering you to get all the benefits and not the problems.

Moving around conflicts with Digestion

Besides health and safety reasons like distracting you while doing dangerous things or encouraging you to spill liquids when you are working around high voltages its really an issue of your body finding it hard to move around while digesting food at the same time.


So it’s actually a resourcing issue. Moving requires more oxygen, energy, water and other nutrients which are all delivered in blood. So moving means more blood is delivered around the body. The faster you move and the higher its intensity the more blood that’s required.

Blood supply

The problem is that the stomach is generally the body system that requires the most nutrients and therefore blood. Moving is basically the only thing that requires more blood so these two systems often compete for a limited blood supply. It is why your pulse goes up when you exercise. It’s your bodies way of getting more blood around the body.

The same can happen when you eat, just at a much smaller scale. It’s why you often feel tired after a big meal. All the blood is being diverted to digest the food you ate so less is available.

This is why the most important factor in whether activity is ok or not is the intensity of the activity versus the difficulty of the meal to digest. This is about the size of the meal and type of food eaten.

High intensity exercise is fine when a meal is easy to digest meaning it is:

  • small
  • high in water content
  • low in bran and high fibre foods
  • low in protein
  • preferably liquified like soups, thinner soups preferred

Medium intensity exercise is preferred when your meal is moderately difficult to digest. Things like:

  • bits of softer food like cooked pasta and rice.
  • a medium size meal
  • thicker soups

Low intensity exercise is better when your meal is hard to digest. This includes:

  • a big meal
  • high protein content particularly tough meats like beef
  • lots of hard solid food: not liquified

I can see quickly how these lists can be misinterpreted so I’ll work on them over time. For now I hope their simplicity can be a useful guide. Common sense is always recommended, these details just complement.

Don’t challenge your stomach

The basic idea is that anything that’s a challenge for the digestive system will require more blood from the body. That puts it in conflict with the blood required by the movement system. If the blood required for both digestion and moving is greater than your body can provide then problems arise because one system or both won’t get enough. So either you can’t move as well as you like or your body can’t digest things properly.

The right balance

You must therefore find the right balance with the key being eating foods that are easy for your body to digest. That’s why liquified foods like soups and drinks are so good when you move. Your body just doesn’t have to do so much to digest them because they are already broken down. Reducing the challenge on your digestive system and thus your body and its ability to supply blood.

Stomach pains

Dehydration, whether it is caused by exercise or something else can cause pain while your body digests a meal. Tomorrow I will explain how I have learnt to deal with stomach pains from dehydration

Everyday activities

In two days I will explain how knowing all this helps me enjoy everyday activities more.

How to lose weight: It’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it.

An important reason I find it easy to keep my weight down is because the way that I eat my food is different than those who put weight on. I’ve talked about setting aside specific time to eat and doing nothing else. That’s one way but lots of people do that and I’m not talking about eating up side down either if you thought it would be something silly :-).

What I am talking about is of course something simple that anyone can do but the general advice from experts, until recently is not to do it. They were adamant that it won’t have much impact on weight loss. Have you guessed what it is yet?

The secret

Moving. Yep it’s as simple as that. Walking, dancing, playing. Anything that gets you physically active. Just try and move any chance you get. an obvious idea is to move while you eat, instead of sitting down to eat. Stand or better, move around.

There area  a few gotches though so I’ll go through a little of what I have found in my years of moving while eating. I do it all the time but I’ve spent time learning how to do it right.

I often move while I eat. Sacrilege I know but because I know sports science and know why it can be bad for you I also know how to make it work and get around the bad aspects so it won’t hurt you.

Burn calories while you consume them

The basic advantage of eating while moving when considering weight loss is relatively obvious. If you burn calories while you consume them then you’re obviously having a dent on your energy balance. Though this is no use if it is the only time you move or you move less at other times of the day as a result of moving while eating. The idea is just about increasing the opportunities in your day to burn calories. Make this effortless and the weight will simply come off. Sounds too simple to work but it does for me so why won’t it for you?

Over the years I’ve found so many situations where this works perfectly, complementing my life and even making me appreciate my food more instead of less.

I’ve been doing this for years without problems so I feel ready to share. I just need to explain why it can be bad for you so you can learn how to do it without problems too.

There are a number of reasons why eating on the move could be a problem. Firstly you should know the basics of what eating on the move means to me.

Health and Safety

I only eat while moving slowly and where it won’t be a safety hazard. As silly as it sounds its important to make this point.

Normal rules apply. Use common sense. If I’m doing something potentially dangerous like DIY I don’t technically eat and work at the same time. For example I will do some drilling, stop put the drill down, have a nibble or a drink, put the food or drink down and resume drilling.

I’m pretty safety conscious and I know what I am like when I am busy and follow someone elses instructions I can easily misinterpret things so I feel it’s worth being pretty clear.

What situations?

The main situations I eat while moving are while doing house work, particularly:

  • washing up,
  • loading the dishwasher and washing machine
  • cooking.

Though not while doing things where my hands won’t be clean like

  • hoovering
  • cleaning

I only do certain types of activities when I eat and generally it’s stuff that:

  • has low intensity
  • doesn’t require much thought

Enjoy the experience

That means I can focus most of my attention on my meal and thus fulfil the principle I laid out of setting aside time specifically for eating so you can enjoy the experience.

Kick back

These mundane chores are now a chance for me to kick back and do something I enjoy. My senses tune into the food not the boring task at hand. At the same time I get something done that needs to be done.

Multitask: Don’t add work more to your busy day

This fulfils the next principle of not adding even more work to your day. Quite the opposite. You have now combined tasks, eating and chores and burnt calories in the process. Achieving three tasks for the price of one.

Multitasking. That’s how I roll and why it works. Over time I have found more and more situations where this works and so my life has become easier and easier. Weight loss and the strengthening act of moving is built more and more into my day.

Putting it to work

Thanks for popping by. I hope this helps and please let me know what you do with this information. These points have freed up my life a lot. I just get stuff done and have more time for fun yet I’m much more active throughout the day. Though it’s taken time to figure out how to apply the ideas. Absolutely get in tough if you want to know more.

Want more?

This is the first in a series of posts on weightloss. If you like this then checkout the other articles listed below.

Weight loss: Avoid empty experiences. Make the most of each experience.

One specific thing I have changed is a focus on being in the moment more. I am a confessed workaholic always on the go. Previously I often rushed meals not really noticing what I was eating. So often I would pick something that filled me up instead of something that tasted good. I focused on quantity over quality.

These days I make sure I take time each day to properly enjoy food or anything else fun. I didn’t realise before but my brain can only process so much information at once. Taste and other sensations are just part of the information the brain can process. If there is too much information flowing around these simple information like this can get loss in all the noise just like anything else.

So I tried an experiment to see if I could really appreciate a meal while also reading something interesting like Facebook. I found I couldn’t because I was too distracted by reading. I could enjoy strong flavoured foods, generally fast food type stuff but not the really special stuff with more subtle flavours. What I also found is that if I didn’t appreciate the taste and sensation of the meal then it felt like I hadn’t eaten at all. To the point that I was still hungry.

My stomach might not have been crying out for food but my mind was because it was expecting some food based entertainment. So I reach for a biscuit, get another drink or pop to the shop for food even though I had already eaten a full meal.

This got me thinking. Is it then possible to completely forget a meal? So I carried on doing the normal things I do at the same time as eating. True enough I started to notice times when I couldn’t remember whether I had eaten. I was not yet hungry but the meal time had passed. You know that situation when you weigh up whether you will be really hungry if you don’t eat. I checked with my wife what I had eaten. Even when she reminded me of the meal I had enjoyed including a whole pizza I couldn’t remember the experience of eating it all. It was my favourite pizza as well but I had rushed eating it. Paying no attention. I felt like I had been robbed of a special moment. It seemed weird but I felt empty.

Food does have a special place in my heart. But now I was in that unhappy place where I couldn’t or shouldn’t eat anything more. I had eaten plenty but I felt empty because I couldn’t remember it. I had the urge all night for more. I paid attention to breakfast I can tell you. That was a special meal that day 🙂

Experiences like these remind me to make sure I experience my food and other special moments because they really are good for my soul as well as my body. This small change has made a huge difference. I can really feel just how much it helps me to enjoy my food more and as a consequence, eat less.

So tell me am I alone or have you experienced this yourself or anything like it? Does paying more attention to your meal help you enjoy it more and maybe crave less extra food?

How activity and exercise improves your health

Child running around a wet play area

For years we have been told that exercise is good for us. Now the evidence is becoming indisputable.  Being inactive is as bad as smoking or drinking too much alcohol. It could even be more serious than that.

Over the years I’ve found so much information I didn’t know what to do with it. I mainly shared it through my original blog or kept it private hoping to share it when I found the right approach. For many of these articles I’ve now been waiting years which just isn’t helping anyone.

I recently realised my blogs are the perfect medium on which to share because I’m most interested in the discussions and debate around this topic. I don’t feel I have the answers, I share because I’m interested in learning and using what I learn to help me on my journey through life.

I have now started to organise all I have found and it’s re invigorating my dreams because the message really is about living your life. The act of living itself is what we must do. Moving is living. Activity to me isn’t just physical it is mental and emotional. Thinking about things makes your brain active, experiencing emotions involves both your brain and your body.

For now most information will be about physical activity because that is what is most available. Though I am looking for and finding interesting articles in all three areas. Over time this and all the other posts will grow as I continue this life journey.


For now I’m creating a series of articles covering the various topics related to activity and health. So far I have published:

Key articles

Activity is so useful throughout life that I’ve also compiled a list of the main articles worth reading to build your general knowledge.

Useful Reading

Here is more useful information

How to lose weight: Be active, keep motivated and have fun

In other posts I’ve talked about the obvious, physical activity. It is key but I remember now that simple activity is more important. Keeping your mind and soul busy is as important as your body. That just means doing stuff. I often eat because I’m bored. When I plop down in front of the tv I always end up thinking of food. So when I’ve lost weight it’s because I’ve had stuff to do. Either I’ve been busy at work or home or both but I’ve had stuff to occupy my mind.

I still watch TV but I found it a lot easier to do other things when I listen to stuff so podcasts and radio were more helpful. It didn’t particularly matter what I did. As long as it didn’t mean I ate more of course. Just whatever took my fancy. Useful stuff like cooking, cleaning or DIY or fun stuff like going for a walk, playing tennis, visiting the cinema or reading a book.

The point was it was taking my life forward and adding fun. Activity became a useful and fun distraction. So often I would start a little lethargic. After a long day, all that kind of stuff and really quickly I would forget my tiredness and be immersed in what I was doing and happy.

Tell me what you are going to do today to have a little fun. I always like ideas. Most of all have fun 🙂

Weight loss and Christmas. The food addicts guide to feasts part 2

This post follows on from part 1

Holiday health

What I have learnt at these times of feast is that they are also times that I don’t feel as healthy as I normally do. You see I am fortunate because I generally enjoy good health. I don’t suffer with regular pain like many others tell me they do. The pain of headaches or stomach problems or whatever. This could be luck but I’ve always felt it’s also down to my lifestyle. What tells me this is that when I live like others do, which is what happens during the holidays and other periods of feast then I start to suffer the ailments that others do.

For example, yesterday I had the usual holiday back pains, I know how to fix them because I know why they occur. Lack of normal activity is, funnily enough the biggest trigger for injury. Strange, but true. So a walk and a few simple moves cure it. I just need to keep my body ticking over until normal activity resumes after christmas. I know this is the solution because it has happened so many times. Lack of activity is always the cause and being active always fixes it.

Handling a food hangover

So you can see why being uncomfortable is now what I associate with eating too much, very much like a hangover comes from drinking too much alcohol. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever eat too much. If the urge takes me I do it. Life is for living and when good food is around I eat it. What I have learnt is how to recover quickly and avoid the problems it brings. This holiday one approach has been mixing days of less food with days of plenty. The maths is quite simple.

If I eat the equivalent of 2 meals in one sitting then I often skip a meal.

I just wait until I am hungry again. I don’t do this for long, weeks or months but a day and particularly a meal here and there makes all the difference.

Fast weight loss

What it means is that I am enjoying the food that I eat more because I want it because I am hungry. Less and less do I just eat because food is there.

I don’t have food laying around, that would be silly, I would just eat it, whether I want it or not.

To prevent this I’ve frozen food or packed it away some how and ensured the dates are long enough. So I have set up my environment to support me and minimise my binge eating but I’ve also set up my mind. I am actually never that far from a lovely meal and I can happily enjoy the pleasure of looking forward to it. This is one of the most powerful influences I have found. I know that eating too much beforehand will literally change the taste of the food and ruin the experience. This gives me the strength to enjoy the process of fasting.

I fast every day, but it’s just a normal fast. For normal people, not food addicts, it’s the space between a meal. I see it differently. For me it’s actually the void where random nibbles used to be. The technical term is snacking which is what I always thought the point of a holiday was. You snack all day, a mince pie here, an orange there, some cream, don’t mind if I do. At least that’s how it used to be. These days I don’t allow myself to go too long without a meal that inspires me. it must be a meal that is an experience that I savour. This is what gives me the strength and desire to avoid food in between. The way I live is that I remember the last heavenly meal I had and spend my time happily in the knowledge that the next is coming soon and it will be just as good, hopefully better.

Eating holidays

The challenge for the holidays, Christmas being the hardest next to Easter, is that it is an eating holiday. It is literally what you’re supposed to do. A food addicts nightmare and heaven rolled into one. I’ve just realised that what happens over christmas is that you either willingly, or sometimes against your will, visit a place that you can’t leave until you have eaten and drunk more than you should in a week. To do anything else would offend those who invited you and spoil everyone elses fun. For a food addict it can be a little like a prison. A very well appointed one but something you can’t escape with rules and expectations you must abide by all the same. The message is clear.

You are going to eat a lot and you won’t leave here until you have done so.

You see, since I’m known to eat plenty, people often lay on the types of and amount of food they think I will like. That’s nice though isn’t it. It’s nice that they went to all that effort. Often its home made so they really have gone to a lot of effort. And I don’t like to disappoint. I no longer gorge myself often but this is the season of plenty and I absolutely hate food going to waste. So I find space. I know far too much about how to adjust my metabolism, posture or whatever I need to get food from my plate to my stomach. Even when it won’t fit, I still have more tricks and I’m not talking about bulimia. That would be a waste of food.

I get big because it all goes down and stays there. I still do this because that’s life. What is fun is that I now have a thousand ways of dealing with this challenge. Short fasts or just not snacking so much is one useful solution. I’m not so hungry between meals when they’re so big so I take advantage and the calories even out, or more accurately the calorie surplus is just a lot smaller.

Forbidden fruit

What life has taught me is that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder. I have also found plenty of reasons to value foods that are supposed to be banned. Of course moderation is the answer but it sounds dull. So let me tell you about the moderation I just practised. Lunch generally has a dessert with it. At least in my life that’s true and at Christmas the standards are raised. Yet there is food that is getting past its use by date and I have to balance my compulsion not to waste food. It’s the same story we all face this time of year with so much great food around but few seem as bothered about letting food go to waste as I. So they don’t have to learn how to eat this all up along with the food that I planned to eat in the first place without eating too much.

It gives me something to think about. That’s actually the fun part. It becomes a problem to solve. What would you do if you wanted a mince pie but then saw the banana that needs eating up and remembered the last bits of madagascan vanilla custard on its last day. Maybe its obvious. You make the banana the star accessorising with the mince pie and custard as the supporting cast. Of course then you have to top with a little irish cream. It is christmas after all. Mouthwatering. It was for me of course. It may be an obvious solution to you. Either way it’s a reminder that fruit works because, if you know how to use it, then it is all about quality over quantity. Quality of taste and nutrients over quantity of calories. Making it the star and pairing it with something means you can literally have your cake and eat it. Another day I will pair the mince pie with a satsuma. The orange cuts perfectly through the indulgence of the mince pie. It’s perfect with or without cream.

I just wanted to inspire you. I love fruit, using it as part of indulgence is just natural to me. It’s just a benefit that it helps shed the pounds.

The story continues

I sense I am getting into my stride now. All sorts of memories are flooding back to me that I want to share but I expect neither you or I have the time to explore it all right now. This has turned into such a long post I feel it should be broken into parts so it is not so overwhelming and becomes easier to digest. The rest of the story will come out over time. The point has been to explain a little why I feel I know a little about losing weight. That means I have to introduce you to my inner food addict. The fact that I have never got particularly large is not luck it is through prolonged effort. It shows that I must know something. I am just like any one else, I gain weight and lose it for the same reasons.

I used to think I would eventually just get really big because I hadn’t proven I knew how to lose weight, only put it on. I had to put on a stone or two and lose it several times before I could trust that what I was trying would work. Making this manageable and fun has been my lifes quest and taken several years longer. Even now I’m still learning.

With this post I also wanted to build on the idea that happiness should make you thin not the other way around. So being happy should achieve your life goals. That’s a dream but so many amazing things have been achieved simply because people followed their dreams.

This post follows on from part 1

Related articles

Of course this post is related to so many more that I couldn’t include.

Weight loss and Christmas. The food addicts guide to feasts part 1

I am now living in that nice space where I don’t fear putting on weight simply because I know exactly how to lose it. It’s been a complicated road to get here but worth it. I actually started the journey when I was twelve. Few things stand out in my memory as well as me getting a love for weight training, sculpting my body and learning how it works.

With hindsight I can see the engineering, artistic and practical influences in my particular approach because that is the kind of family I come from. The men are generally engineers, the women more artistic and generally practical.

My inner food addict

What I’ve learnt comes down to accepting myself, my humanity and the life I lead. I am who I am. I get results because I work honestly with what I have. I love to move, to walk, to run and stay active which makes burning calories that bit easier but I could still put on plenty of weight because I’m not a professional athlete. So I don’t have the time to move enough to negate all the calories I would eat had I not figured out how to eat all I want and want what I eat. Knowing that it will get me to the weight I want to be.

Right now I’m really enjoying the holiday season because I know how to make Christmas work for me. I use the basic principle of feast and famine that our bodies expect, to make each day work for me not against me. Right now I just balance quantity with quality. Some days the quantity of food on offer is vast, others it’s more normal. At times I really do eat a lot and I mean like 2-3 meals worth in one sitting, some days I do that for each meal, That’s rare now but something i used to do often.

I still remember when I did just this for a week when we travelled on the QEII a few years ago. I found it easier at each meal to tell the waiter what I didn’t want on the menu. You see I agreed to go because it was a cruise and when I learnt that this means it is

a floating restaurant of the highest quality where all the food is free

The food addict in me took over. How could I say no!!! Each meal would cost atleast £30 in a top class restaurant and I had 3 per sitting and it was all free. My logic was that if I didn’t eat it then it would have gone to waste wouldn’t it. Said like a true addict don’t you think!!!

Fattening up

Of course I put on a stone in one week. Not the first time I have done this but the most memorable and I didn’t regret a gram of it.

I can still remember the feeling of the new fat being laid down.

For those not accustomed to it I’ll try and explain. Each person lays down fat in their own particular way. Some put it in their bellies, some their legs, some deep inside their bodies, others more at the surface. The only exact way to know is to have a scan. That’s a medical procedure and not something I have access to so my low tech alternative is through feeling it. It’s like when you have a hair cut and you suddenly feel the wind in places you haven’t for ages. It reminds you that you’ve had a haircut. The feeling goes in a few days, not because your nerves stop sensing the wind but because your brain stops paying attention to the information.

I hope to explain this process in detail at some other time. For now it’s enough to understand the opposite process is happening. I always get a new layer of fat around my belly. It feels like insulation very much because my sense of feeling around my stomach gets dulled. Touching it just feels different. I know I’m touching it but I don’t feel the sensation as clearly as I did before. Over time this sense adjusts. The nerves either get rewired or their signals are listened to better but for a short while I am acutely aware most of the time that I am now bigger, heftier. Even the way my clothes feel on my skin is different.

If you understand what I am saying because you get the same results. You know what it feels like to gain a lot of weight in a short time. You may then then understand the challenges I face saying “no” to food.  It literally was not how I was raised. Finishing my plate was a sign of respect and wasting it is an offense. So changing my attitude to food, focusing on quality over quality has been anything but easy. It has taken years and huge amounts of learning.

Continue to The food addicts guide to feasts part 2

How can you lose weight and be happy?

I’m planning a series of articles on weight loss tips and weight loss resources. Something I’ve been researching for years. There is so much to say but of course so much has already been said. That’s why I thought I would start with something that seems to get forgotten. Happiness. Why are you trying to lose weight and particularly what will you gain and lose if you do?

The general message is that you can either lose weight or your can be happy. The two seem to be mutually exclusive and I don’t agree. I never have and it’s one of those burning questions I’ve had for years and now I feel not only have I found my answer but I can put it into words too.

Losing weight isn’t generally the challenge for most. Lots of people have lost all the weight they wanted, often even more. Yet they generally put it back on again. When they keep the weight off there are various explanations why but it’s ultimately a very personal set of circumstances. Great, that worked for them, but what about you. It’s easy to feel that it’s really down to luck. Some pick the right approach, or have the right support structure or right genes, other don’t. That’s how most people feel.

That’s not how I see it. I’ve been looking into this question for more than half my life and I’ve struggled for years to come to a clear universal truth, just like everyone else.

The simplest answer I can find is that if you are happy doing something you will continue to do it.Losing weight isn’t hard if you do the right things for long enough but whatever you do you must do it for life. So that means losing weight should make you happy, or better, being happy should make you lose weight.

I will return to the topic of happiness later. For now I just wanted to make this point. Give you an idea where I am going and a little more detail behind this blog. Happiness as its root. When achieving happiness also delivers health, weight loss and general balance we’ve achieved what I set out to achieve.